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Disposable Intern
An intern is used as a disposable cannon fodder.
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(permanent link) added: 2014-07-18 09:39:38 sponsor: Paycheckgurl (last reply: 2014-07-28 15:02:32)

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"Do you even know the mortality rate of you internship program?! "
- Intern Maureen, Welcome to Night Vale

The Intern is the lowest of the low in the company's command. In fiction land they're often not utilized for much besides getting the boss coffee and are often abused because of their lowly status. Sometimes that abuse is Up to Eleven. And thus they become A Disposable Intern.

When the company needs to test the latest in unstable Rope Bridge technology and there's a choice between sending out a main character or the intern we just met, more often than not the intern is going to bite it. There's No OSHA Compliance after all, and if a nameless intern dies who cares, at least the danger is now known and a main character didn't have to die to show it. Interns are replaceable; main characters, who are more specialist and higher in the ranks, aren't. Don't worry, this horrible negligence will more often than not be Played for Laughs as a different Disposable Intern will sometimes be seen and killed regularly, often to the point of a Running Gag.

Compare Cannon Fodder, New Meat, Red Shirt Reporter, Bad Boss, and C-List Fodder. A Subtrope of Red Shirt.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Fanfic 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In a classic Dilbert strip, the Pointy-Haired Boss is seen carrying a corpse to a skip. He turns to camera (Fourth Wall?) and says "I love hiring these temporary workers! No benefits, no union, no contract, and you can just toss 'em in the dumpster when you're done!"

    Live Action 
  • Played straight and parodied on X-Play. During numerous skits/reviews, the hosts and staff would abuse, torment, and subject the "interns" to various punishments and horrors for the sake of comedy. Some of these "interns" weren't actually interns at all, though, and were actually other staff and producers of the show portraying a character.
  • The Late Show with David Letterman: In one episode a man who had invented a new super-powered pogo stick is demonstrating it outside the theater. Dave has the man pogo stick over a row of interns, since even if he does accidentally hurt one it won't matter. note 

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • In Welcome to Night Vale it's a Running Gag that the interns are sent out to investigate things that are unnatural even by Night Vale's standards and won't live past an episode. The only exceptions are Intern Dana (or her double) who spends her time reporting back from in Night Vale's worst Eldritch Abomination invested locations or flicking in and out of existence with no escape in sight until being elected mayor, Intern Maureen who spent a good deal of time blinking in and out of existence like Dana and main character Cecil himself when he was a teen. Who even then, was implied to have died and been brought back somehow. It's worth noting the official Welcome To Night Vale intern shirts are red.
  • Occasionally crops up in Acquisitions Incorporated, such as when Omin the CEO tries to magically convert their current intern into gold on accounts that they can always hire more.
  • Dinosaur Office has Terry eat the Intern, a young parasaurolophus, every time he appears.

    Western Animation 
  • On Total Drama Island the interns are sent to test the poor quality challenges for safety. They are usually severely injured or die horribly in the process, but the challenge will get a seal of safety anyway. Interestingly, most of the intern designs are based on the prototype designs of the main cast or they're designs based on contest winners.
  • On Archer ISIS interns in Krieger's lab are typically used as test subjects and die horribly as a result.
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