Forgotten Framing Device YKTTW Discussion

Forgotten Framing Device
A framing device opens the story, but is never referred to again.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-05-09 01:07:58 sponsor: Kellor edited by: notShemp (last reply: 2016-01-20 10:42:31)

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The story in introduced via some kind of Framing Device, but when the story is over, the credits roll and the framing device isn't there to close things.

Related to the Tethercat Principle, as it makes it seem like the framing device is forever stuck telling the story. Compare Schrödinger's Butterfly.


Film - Animated
  • In Disney's Aladdin, the story opens with a merchant telling the viewer the story of the lamp. The movie ends with the Genie shouting "Made you look!" to the audience and the credits roll. The merchant eventually does show up again, however- at the end of the second direct-to-video movie.
  • In Dino Time, the main character breaks the fourth wall when providing narration at the beginning of the movie, but after the third time, about 20 minutes in, he never does it again.
  • Pokémon movies tend to start with narration, but unlike episodes of the show, the narrator doesn't come back at the end.

Film - Live-Action
  • Big Trouble in Little China starts with one of its characters being interrogated by the police. He begins telling his story, which kicks off the action, but there's nothing at the end to explain how the cops got involved or why the character was detained for questioning. This scene came about from Executive Meddling and was not something originally in the script or first cuts of the film, but added later.
  • In The Quest, the film starts with one framing device and ends with a completely different one. In the opening, the older main character reminisciences about the tournament he took part in, and in the ending, the closing of the story is presented literally with a book being closed.
  • In Singin' in the Rain the movie-within-a-movie The Dancing Cavalier is supposed to be a giant Dream Sequence for an ordinary Broadway dancer who got hit with a sandbag backstage. And yet we are explicitly shown the end of the movie as still being inside the world of the dream sequence. Didn't the guy ever wake up?

  • The opening of The Borrowers has a child being told about the Borrowers by another woman, leading into the plot. This is forgotten about at the end of the novel and subsequent releases.
  • William Hope Hodgson's novel The Night Land. The book starts with a 17th century gentleman mourning the death of his beloved in childbirth. He has a vision of a distant future where their souls will be reunited, and sees that world through the eyes of his future incarnation. The end of the novel doesn't mention anything about this.
  • The Worm Oroborus begins with a man from Earth who dreams his way to Mercury, where the bulk of the novel takes place. No sooner does this dream-traveler get a peek at the royal court of Demonland than the author forgets all about him, focusing on the adventures and intrigues of its nobles.
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is narrated in the first person by the protagonist. To start with there are several references to the fact that she's keeping a journal, such as one section ending with her saying that she has to stop writing now because she has a visitor. These fade out about halfway through, and by the end she's narrating events as they happen. (Events which clearly do not involve her stopping to write anything down.)

Live-Action TV
  • The pilot episode of Dads Army started in the 1960s with Captain Mainwaring adressing a Rotary Club dinner and reminiscing about his time in the Home Guard, before flashing back to the story of the founding of the platoon. This was never referred to again in the remainder of the series.
  • Quantum Leap spent its entire run utilizing a Narrating the Present framing device, as if we're seeing Sam Beckett's memoirs acted out. But in the final episode it's revealed that he "never returned home." So how did he narrate all that time?

  • The Taming of the Shrew. Christopher Sly, a drunk, is found passed out on the street by a Lord who decides to play an Elaborate Ruse on Sly, making Sly think he's a Lord who has only been dreaming that he's a drunkard. The Lord's attendants go along with the gag. The majority of Shrew is a play put on for Lord!Sly by a group of players. After a couple of interludes showing Sly's reactions to the play, it's dropped.

Video Games
  • Brutal Legend opens with Jack Black leading the viewer into a record shop and showing him the Brutal Legend record, which turns into game menu. You can beat the game, but you'll never see that record shop again.

Web Video

Western Animation
  • Family Guy: "Viewer Mail #2" starts with Brian and Stewie out of character talking to the camera about the mail they've received, and the first short shown is in response to a letter asking about the origin of the show. The framing device is dropped after that, showing two other unrelated shorts. This is in contrast to "Viewer Mail #1" where Brian & Stewie introduce each short, saying they were based on viewer suggestions.
  • In The Simpsons:
    • The first four Treehouse of Horror episodes utilize a Framing Device, but only the third (The Simpsons throwing a Halloween party) and fourth (Bart hosting a Night Gallery) episodes end without concluding their own frame stories.
    • In season 17, "The Wettest Stories Ever Told", while the Simpsons are waiting for their meals at the Frying Dutchman, a seafood restaurant, Marge, Bart, and Homer each tell a story with a nautical theme. The episode ends at the end of Homer's story and we don't see the Simpsons at the conclusion of the story.
Kind of one and half examples at this point. Any others?
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