Created By: neoYTPism on June 18, 2011 Last Edited By: neoYTPism on December 18, 2011

Free Standing Doors

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Trope

Do We Have This One?? Oh, and I am open to title suggestions. EDIT: And yes, this is the same YKTTW as arbitrary door, I just changed the title myself to better reflect that these often are NOT arbitrary. Again, I am still open to title suggestions.

A form of Mind Screw, this is when a door is placed in a setting where it can easily be walked around if closed. Apparently, this is closed for "symbolic" value, though one has to question even the symbolic value of something that can so easily be walked around in the first place.

In some cases, however, there really is practical value to the door for reasons that can require context. Often times magic is involved.

Examples:

Film
  • Monsters, Inc. presents an alternative approach; where some of such doors LOOK arbitrary on one side but can actually function as a portal if hooked up to the right machinery.
  • A variation occurs in Blazing Saddles. The townsfolk try to slow down Heddy Lamaar's army by building a toll booth in their path. It works: even though they could have easily ridden around it, the army waits until someone brings a load of spare change, and then they go through it one at a time.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth manifests as a toy tollbooth in Milo's room. Being bored and having nothing else to do, Milo gets in his toy car and drives through, only to find himself in a land of adventure.

Literature
  • In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, there's a time machine that manifests itself by creating a doorway on the nearest convenient wall. At one point, the characters go back in time to visit the dodo before humans discovered it and made it extinct, and there are no walls, so it's just a door standing by itself in the middle of the forest.
  • The Last Battle: the doorway to the barn exists standing by itself in Aslan's Country.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth manifests as a toy tollbooth in Milo's room. Being bored and having nothing else to do, Milo gets in his toy car and drives through, only to find himself in a land of adventure.

Video Games
  • In King's Quest II, there are three locked doors in the middle of nowhere, one right behind the other. Justified because they're magical, and once you unlock all three, you can walk through to another world.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has The Inexplicable Door which leads to The 8-Bit Realm, parodying the trend in videogames of the 8-bit era to connect levels or areas with a door which is not attached to any building.

Western Animation
  • This from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
  • In Bucky O'Hare there is a door like this on the Righteous Indignation, it leads to another dimension (Billy's).
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "Porky in Wackyland", the Do-Do draws a door in mid-air, then enters it by lifting it up like drapes and going under it. Porky tries to force the door open, even though he could easily go around. Do-Do then peeks from a window floating in mid-air and Porky goes through it. And then we see the door from the other side as an elevator, which then rises up into the sky. Yes, this is a strange cartoon.
    • On the occasions when Wile E. Coyote goes after Bugs Bunny, he seems fond of putting up a door (or window, or elevator booth) in front of Bugs' burrow. Perhaps he wants to do things as formally and by-the-book as possible, the better to show off his "Super-genius".
    • Bugs himself often puts up doors in front of his adversaries in order to confound them.

Real Life
  • Such a door exists as an art installation in the Solling hill range in Germany.
Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • June 18, 2011
    Octagon8
    Such a door exists as an art installation in the Solling hill range in Germany. Not exactly sure about the context it appeared in, but I still remember how much it confused me when I saw it a few years ago.
  • June 18, 2011
    TonyG
    • Looney Tunes:
      • In "Porky In Wackyland", the Do-Do draws a door in mid-air, then enters it by lifting it up like drapes and going under it. Porky tries to force the door open, even though he could easily go around. Do-Do then peeks from a window floating in mid-air and Porky goes through it. And then we see the door from the other side as an elevator, which then rises up into the sky. Yes, this is a strange cartoon.
      • On the occasions when Wile E. Coyote goes after Bugs Bunny, he seems fond of putting up a door (or window, or elevator booth) in front of Bugs' burrow. Perhaps he wants to do things as formally and by-the-book as possible, the better to show off his "Super-genius".
      • Bugs himself often puts up doors in front of his adversaries in order to confound them.
  • June 19, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • A variation occurs in Blazing Saddles. The townsfolk try to slow down Heddy Lamaar's army by building a toll booth in their path. It works: even though they could have easily ridden around it, the army waits until someone brings a load of spare change, and then they go through it one at a time.
  • June 19, 2011
    PaulA
    • In Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency, there's a time machine that manifests itself by creating a doorway on the nearest convenient wall. At one point, the characters go back in time to visit the dodo before humans discovered it and made it extinct, and there are no walls, so it's just a door standing by itself in the middle of the forest.
  • June 19, 2011
    Hadashi
    • In Bucky O Hare there is a door like this on the Righteous Indignation, it leads to another dimension (Billy's).
  • June 19, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • The Phantom Tollbooth manifests as a toy tollbooth in Milo's room. Being bored and having nothing else to do, Milo gets in his toy car and drives through, only to find himself in a Land Of Adventure.
    • The Last Battle: the doorway to the barn exists standing by itself in Aslan's Country. (It's been a while since I've read it.)
  • June 20, 2011
    henke37
    I think we need to note the variation that the door does connect to somewhere else.
  • June 20, 2011
    MetaFour
    • In The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three, Roland encounters three doors on a beach, each of which leads him from his world to inside the mind of someone in our world.
  • June 20, 2011
    Rolf
    Literature
    • In Contact, there were a door stuck in middle of beach. Four members of 5 entered it, and each member went to different fake place and era. Only one didn't go, so her "father" come to beach.
  • June 20, 2011
    BuckRivera
    • Accidental inversion: Star Trek Voyager's sickbay set had an impossible door, a sliding door that couldn't possibly open because the wall ended about six inches next to it.
  • June 21, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    • There's a door just in the middle of the room in one of the later episodes of Soul Eater when Maka goes inside Soul's...well, soul. It open up into another space entirely, but that's the mind for you, physics is sort of optional.
  • June 21, 2011
    jaytee
    Yeah, definitely note in the description that this is just as often subverted as played straight.

    This is part of the Reconstituted Man trick in The Prestige.
  • June 22, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^ My description implies nothing about how often it is subverted and how often it is played straight; nor does it need to. How would we prove that kind of thing anyway?
  • June 22, 2011
    Hadashi
    • Several other Narnia books included free-standing doors

    • Terry Pratchett's Last Continent had a free-standing window.
  • June 22, 2011
    Rolf
    You missed my example above.
  • June 22, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^^There's no NEED to yell.

    Right now, your description doesn't mention anything about subversions at all. The exact frequency isn't important, but it is important to mention that it's commonly subverted and how it happens. Just look at the examples, very few of them are just a free-standing door frame, most of them actually do lead somewhere.

    I was basically reiterating the point that henke37 made, so it's not just me that thinks this.
  • June 22, 2011
    Rolf
    Yell? His sentence is properly structured , other than one word that he wanted to be a key word.
  • June 22, 2011
    jaytee
    ^I've never known yelling to have anything to do with sentence structure. All-caps, however, is commonly interpreted as yelling when it comes to internet-based conversation. For emphasis, we have italics and boldface.
  • June 22, 2011
    randomsurfer
    re Phantom Tollbooth: I'd classify it under Literature - it happens in the book, and since it happens in the book it happens in the movie too.
  • June 23, 2011
    neoYTPism
    "and since it happens in the book it happens in the movie too" - randomsurfer

    Not necessarily. That said, I classified it under both for now.

    As for the subversion, I mentioned that sometimes it can have practical value for reasons that make sense in context. How would you suggest I put it?
  • June 23, 2011
    Rolf
    Jaytee, thats exactly my point. It's not all caps. Just one word was. Well its not now.
  • June 23, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    • There are millions of such doors in Monsters Inc. Depending on whether or not they're "on", they may or may not lead somewhere.
  • June 23, 2011
    Rolf
    You missed my Contact example above.
  • June 23, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^^^^I don't get what you're saying. Granted that in films of books in general, sometimes things happen in the book but not in the movie or vice versa; in the case of The Phantom Tollbooth it happens both in the book and the film, and the reason it happens in the film is because it happens in the book.

    It's a major Plot Point - not using it would be like the first Harry Potter movie not using the scene where he gets the letter. Conversely, I don't think "Harry gets the letter telling him he's going to Hogwarts" should be listed under Film, because it's from the book. (Not that that's this trope - just using it as an example.)

    PS. I'm not talking about the film that allegedly is coming out in 2013, I'm talking about the film that already came out in 1970.
  • June 24, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Yeah well, I don't know the story to Phantom Tollbooth, so excuse me for not knowing how crucial this arbitrary door was to the story being considered intact. o.o
  • June 25, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Yeah, it's not like I already explained it once, or that it's in the title or anything...
  • July 3, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Your explanation still does not necessarily imply that it had to apply to both versions. Ever think your Fan Myopia might be making it seem more obvious than it really is?
  • July 3, 2011
    randomsurfer
    " it happens in the book, and since it happens in the book it happens in the movie too." How does that not say "it applies to both versions?" Fine, whatever, if you'll only accept those Exact Words then I'll use them: it applies to both versions.
  • July 3, 2011
    neoYTPism
    THAT is not the explanation I was referring to. I was referring to your FIRST explanation.

    You: The Phantom Tollbooth manifests as a toy tollbooth in Milo's room. Being bored and having nothing else to do, Milo gets in his toy car and drives through, only to find himself in a Land Of Adventure.
    Me (in the main working page): Unclassified example.
    You: I'd classify it under Literature - it happens in the book, and since it happens in the book it happens in the movie too.
    Me: Not necessarily. That said, I classified it under both for now.
    You: It's a major Plot Point - not using it would be like the first Harry Potter movie not using the scene where he gets the letter.
    Me: Yeah well, I don't know the story to Phantom Tollbooth, so excuse me for not knowing how crucial this arbitrary door was to the story being considered intact.
    You: Yeah, it's not like I already explained it once, or that it's in the title or anything...
    Me: Your explanation still does not necessarily imply that it had to apply to both versions. Ever think your Fan Myopia might be making it seem more obvious than it really is?

    Look, sorry if this comes across as hostile, but this really needs to be pointed out. Yes, you already explained that it applies to both, and I acknowledged this by saying I would put it in both. However, you expecting me to assume it applies to both versions is what I was questioning.
  • July 4, 2011
    NetMonster
    In Kings Quest II, there are three locked doors in the middle of nowhere, one right behind the other. Justified because they're magical, and once you unlock all three, you can walk through to another world.
  • July 5, 2011
    Confusion567
    • Also in Soul Eater, when Professor Stein is going insane, he sees a door on a bridge which leads to... sanity? Madness? It's not clear. Remember, he's insane.
    • In Fullmetal Alchemist, the Gate is this, and it's literally in the middle of nowhere (an endless, featureless white field plus a giant door).

    ^Not to add fuel to the book/movie comparison, can anyone who's read the Soul Eater manga confirm whether that scene was in it? It was in the anime, but the anime and manga for that one are explicitly different.
  • July 5, 2011
    spideydude
    Professional Wrestling
    • Lampshaded by the Acolyte Protection Agency (APA). When people came to their "office" backstage requesting protection, they would insist the person walk through the door, despite the fact that the office only had a door and no walls.
  • July 5, 2011
    IronLion
    Kingdom Of Loathing has The Inexplicable Door which leads to The 8-Bit Realm, parodying the trend in videogames of the 8-bit era to connect levels or areas with a door which is not attached to any building.

    In fact, I YKTTW'd the videogame version of this trope as Inexplicable Door a long time ago, but a search turns up no results.

  • July 5, 2011
    Meeble
  • July 22, 2011
    benjamminsam
  • July 22, 2011
    LarryD
    • Rosario To Vampire - The school headmaster has one, it leads to a dimension in which the most uncontrollable monsters are kept, so they don't blow the Masquerade or attack the students. Tsukune trains there in the second year.
  • July 22, 2011
    KamenZero
    Often in many comedy shows and cartoons, when someone's house is blown up, the door is often the only thing left standing. It may or may not fall over when the character realizes the house has exploded.
  • July 22, 2011
    TonyG
    In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Naughty Nautical Neighbors", Squidward's house explodes from bubbles caused by SpongeBob and Patrick drinking too much soda. The explosion occurs just as Squidward is at the door, and when he opens it we see that it is the only thing standing. After kicking SpongeBob and Patrick out, he closes the door behind him... and it falls on top of him.
  • July 22, 2011
    smashingmelons
    The doors in The Hub that lead to various parts of the dreamworld in Yume Nikki.
  • July 22, 2011
    regresal
    Doraemon has one
  • August 17, 2011
    Octagon8
  • September 23, 2011
    Yozzy
    Literature
    • Ravenor had one of these when Ravenor went to consult the oracular house. It was a gateway through time and space to show places and events in answer to questions, apparently the answers were dependent on interpretation as well.

    Live Action Television
    • The Acolytes Protection Agency (A.P.A.) had one of these as the entrance to their "office".
  • September 23, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ I am curious as to how that would work; have a pic?
  • September 25, 2011
    surgoshan
    • The Waygates of the Wheel Of Time. They can be grown anywhere and, once you're inside, it's recommended you don't go behind one. That would be a Bad Thing.
  • December 18, 2011
    Octagon8
    bump
  • December 18, 2011
    fulltimeD

    Live Action TV:

    • In an episode of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? several of these appear on the main character's parents' property as part of an attempt at first contact by aliens. They lead to the interior of a spaceship of some sort.

    • One also features in an episode of Farscape where Crichton is stuck inside a virtual reality simulation.
  • December 18, 2011
    182crazyking
    Just a note - this should link to Alien Geometries
  • December 18, 2011
    Loquacia
    • Kingdom Hearts has one or two, often in the dream-like sequences at the start of most of the games.
    • Spiro: Gateway to Glimmer has free-standing arches that work as portals to other levels.
    • There're quite a few in Nu-Who 6:10, when Amy is trapped in a hospice of sorts with the doors being portals to leisure activities.
  • December 18, 2011
    Earnest
    See also Portal Door, when the door leads somewhere nonadjacent.
  • December 18, 2011
    AFP
    • The Buffy The Vampire Slayer Musical Episode Once More With Feeling had such a door appear and open, to revealed the charred corpse of someone who sang too much and was consumed by his emotions. Mind you, even on a show where magic is relatively commonplace, this was full-on Rule Of Musicals.
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