Created By: Sheora on August 8, 2012 Last Edited By: Sheora on August 14, 2012
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Unlucky Extra

A minor character who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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He's a minor character, sometimes not even receiving a name. But he always shows up in the thick of things. Whether a bank robbery or a terrorist attack, expect this poor guy to be caught in the middle. He may be the Hero of Another Story or eventually become an Ascended Extra, but for right now, he's just that guy that seems to have horrible luck. Other characters may note his repeated appearance at the wrong place at the wrong time. A Running Gag may be associated with him.

Compare to Butt Monkey, for someone who is a more regular part of the cast. A non-reoccurring version of this character is the Innocent Bystander. Heroes should be careful to be nice to this guy. Someday, the dog may bite back.


Examples:

Film
  • Speed's "black guy with a sports car" whose car gets Flashed Badge Hijacked and wrecked by Jack shows up again in Speed 2 where his boat gets hijacked, this time by Alex.
  • National Lampoon's European Vacation had a random English tourist (played by Eric Idle), who was always on the receiving end of any kind of accident inflicted upon him by the Griswolds. In fact, he even reappears again in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure, during the airport scene.
  • The fat guy in Lilo & Stitch. Everytime he runs into Lilo he loses his ice-cream, even have it knocked out of his hands by a spaceship.

Literature
  • In the Agent Pendergast series, Larry Enderby, a small character who works as a technician at the museum ends up in the middle of things in several books. In Book of the Dead, Captain Hayward recognizes him from the previous book and notes that the guy seems to have really bad luck.

Live Action TV
  • In Law & Order: SVU, a lab tech seems to catch all the bad cases, especially those that involve havoc in the labs. This culminates in his murder by another tech.
  • This was Danny Strong's role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer for three years. At first his character didn't even have a name. They just kept bringing him back to be victim of the week.

Webcomics
  • In 8-Bit Theatre there's the "Onion Kid", who is shown early in the series and then gets later cameos, all of which show him witnessing something horrific or undergoing some terrible misfortune that is the direct resort of the so-called heroes' bumbling. For instance he was orphaned and witnessed the brutal murder. Twice. Later subverted when we find out the onion kid is actually Sarda as a child, and the entire plot was his way of screwing with the light warriors for ruining his life.

Western Animation
  • The Dating Guy had the man in the green jacket who is always the victim of gruesome violence.
  • Gargoyles has a few characters like this throughout its run. The blonde woman, Margot, and her husband are often rescued from bad guys by the gargoyles. Another man, who got named Vinnie, was run afoul of various attacks from the gargoyles. He got his revenge in the end, though. With a cream pie bazooka.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the 'Cabbage Merchant" who shows up a few times in the series and has a cameo in the sequel. Basically all of his appearances involve him minding his own business before seeing his produce destroyed and yelling, "Not my cabbages!" in anguish.
  • Hans Moleman of The Simpsons.
  • Jitters in Bonkers. While he was a secondary character in the Raw Toonage shorts, he was Demoted to Extra on the series proper, appearing only to be caught in the crossfire between Bonkers and the Villain of the Week.

Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • August 8, 2012
    Rognik
    • The Dating Guy had the man in the green jacket who is always the victim of gruesome violence.
    • Gargoyles has a few characters like this throughout its run. The blonde woman, Margot, and her husband are often rescued from bad guys by the gargoyles. Another man, who got named Vinnie, was run afoul of various attacks from the gargoyles. He got his revenge in the end, though. With a cream pie bazooka.
  • August 8, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Speed's "black guy with a sports car" whose car gets Flashed Badge Hijacked and wrecked by Jack shows up again in Speed 2 where his boat gets hijacked, this time by Alex.
  • August 9, 2012
    Mega
    Don't forget that kid from 8-bit Theater who saw Black Mage's face.

    And for all the Sponge Bob fans: MY LEG!
  • August 9, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    • In Avatar The Last Airbender, the 'Cabbage Merchant" who shows up a few times in the series and has a cameo in the sequel. Basically all of his appearances involve him minding his own business before seeing his produce destroyed and yelling, "Not my cabbages!" in anguish.

    • In Eight Bit Theatre there's the "Onion Kid", who is shown early in the series and then gets later cameos, all of which show him witnessing something horrific or undergoing some terrible misfortune that is the direct resort of the so-called heroes' bumbling. For instance he was orphaned and witnessed the brutal murder. Twice. Later subverted when we find out the onion kid is actually Sarda as a child, and the entire plot was his way of screwing with the light warriors for ruining his life.
  • August 9, 2012
    Tropio
    Patrick was the first to be controlled by the alien jellyfish. He's not an extra, though.... This happens with Scooter three times, so it mixes with He Killed Kenny Again.
  • August 9, 2012
    morenohijazo
    Hans Moleman in The Simpsons.
  • August 9, 2012
    surgoshan
    • This was Danny Strong's role on Buffy The Vampire Slayer for three years. At first his character didn't even have a name. They just kept bringing him back to be victim of the week.
  • August 9, 2012
    mylatestescape
    How is this different from Red Shirt, or The Main Characters Do Everything?
  • August 9, 2012
    Mega
    What ?The Sponge Bob example fits! The character in question is Fred, a fish who, in any violent scene, will be heard screaming "MY LEG!".
  • August 9, 2012
    TonyG
    ^Ah, but Fred is almost never seen shouting "My leg!", so it's more of a Stock Scream than this.
  • August 9, 2012
    TonyG
    • The fat guy in Lilo And Stitch. Everytime he runs into Lilo he loses his ice-cream, even have it knocked out of his hands by a spaceship.
    • Jitters in Bonkers. While he was a secondary character in the Raw Toonage shorts, he was Demoted To Extra on the series proper, appearing only to be caught in the crossfire between Bonkers and the Villain Of The Week.
  • August 9, 2012
    Rognik
    @mylatestestecsape Red Shirt is when the extra dies, whereas here the character doesn't die but still gets the wrong end of the stick every time. I don't know what your case is about The Main Characters Do Everything, since this is about an extra who is repeatedly the victim of something done to or around them.
  • August 9, 2012
    Sheora
    Okay, my post from last night disappeared. I'm not familiar with the Sponge Bob example, so if you can write it up in context, I'll add it.

    @mylatescape, exactly what Rognik said. A Red Shirt is there to die so the situation can seem serious and deadly without actually hurting the core cast. The Main Characters Do Everything isn't related in any way shape or form. This is just a fringe character who always seems to be caught up in the bad parts of the story. He's akin to a Butt Monkey but he's not a regular part of the cast. He may also have a Running Gag associated with him, as some of the examples have noted.
  • August 9, 2012
    CaveCat
    • National Lampoons European Vacation had a random English tourist (played by Eric Idle), who was always on the receiving end of any kind of accident inflicted upon him by the Griswolds. In fact, he even reappears again in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure, during the airport scene.
  • August 14, 2012
    Sheora
    Bumping so I can finish up to launch. Anyone got anything to add?
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