Created By: pcw2727 on March 31, 2012 Last Edited By: pcw2727 on April 2, 2012

Aliens invented Velcro

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Trope
A subtrope of E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi

In the greater trope the typical devices which are claimed to be alien technology are ones which greatly influence science and engineering such as lasers, computers, and micro waves. However one innovation finds its way into the trope with almost equal frequency.

For some reason velcro is a device so mind boggling that only aliens could have come up with it.

Interestingly enough most instances ignore the fact that velcro was invented before their in-universe date for first contact with aliens (Velcro was invented in 1941, most cases of ET Gave Us Wifi happen after the Roswell crash in 1947).

Examples:

Live Action Television

Steven Spielbergs Taken Velcro is the first alien technology the people at Area 51 manage to adequately understand.

Star Trek: Enterprise has an episode in which it is revealed that velcro was given to humans by a ship wreck vulcan in the 1960s.

Sliders episode "The Return of Maggie Beckett" showcased a parallel world where The Greys gave Earth new technologies and allowed for significant advances. Rembrandt says he always believed this was the case for his own world and cites several technologies, including Velcro. (Both this and the Enterprise episode listed above were written by the same guy: Chris Black.)

Film

Men in Black lists velcro as an alien technology patented to fund the MIB

Western Animation

The episode "Oops, I Did It Again" from The Powerpuff Girls gives us the following exchange, complete with visuals as each subject gets mentioned:
Blossom: Oh, Professor, lots of inventions were discovered by accident. Like electricity.
Bubbles: And the telephone. Buttercup: And let's not forget Velcro! Oh, wait -- aliens gave us that.
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • March 31, 2012
    fulltimeD
    The Same But More Specific. I don't think we need this. It's covered by ET Gave Us Wi Fi.
  • March 31, 2012
    pcw2727
    But this particular one comes up a lot. The Same But More Specific is supposed to be for preventing a subtrope from forming out of every insignificant variation which I don't think will happen. Sure MIB also mentions lipo suction but I can't think of a single other example of aliens inventing lipo suction. Other common technologies like computers, lasers and microwaves wouldn't be worthy of a sub trope because they tend to make more sense and they have common technological elements.

    When it comes to the common "aliens invented technology" examples, velcro certainly seems to stand out as unique.
  • March 31, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Yeah, this is distinct enough to make a Sub Trope.
  • April 1, 2012
    fulltimeD
    A subtrope only for velcro? Or for other "mundane" technologies, too. I mean, could this be broad enough to cover a situation where aliens gave us shoelaces or something else like that?
  • April 1, 2012
    pcw2727
    I think velcro has an unusually significant place in the trope unlike other mundane rubbish.

  • April 1, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Alright, you've convinced me it's something of a Running Gag among Speculative Fiction writers. Hope there are more examples than just those three though.
  • April 1, 2012
    pcw2727
    I'm sure there are, those are just some of the more famous ones. I imagine it gets thrown in a lot whenever ET Gave Us Wi Fi is used.
  • April 1, 2012
    DmM
    I think this deserves to be a subtrope
  • April 1, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Well, there will be a lot of overlap, then. More than most subtropes.
  • April 1, 2012
    NESBoy
    The episode "Oops, I Did It Again" from The Powerpuff Girls gives us the following exchange, complete with visuals as each subject gets mentioned:
    Blossom: Oh, Professor, lots of inventions were discovered by accident. Like electricity. Bubbles: And the telephone. Buttercup: And let's not forget Velcro! Oh, wait -- aliens gave us that.
  • April 1, 2012
    SingingRain
  • April 1, 2012
    pcw2727
  • April 1, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    I think a more distinct name is needed so it doesn't look like a redirect to ET Gave Us Wi Fi.

    Velcro Was Made By Aliens?
  • April 1, 2012
    elwoz
    I'm not sure this is worth more than a call-out in the ET Gave Us Wi Fi description, and perhaps also a redirect.
  • April 2, 2012
    pcw2727
    I dunno, like I said no other substance that's had so little effect on human society has gotten so much use in the ET Gave Us Wi Fi trope
  • April 2, 2012
    fulltimeD
    @elwoz: agreed.

    @pcw2727: Who are you to judge velcro as having "so little effect on human society"? Simple technologies usually have huge effects on society. Shoelaces. Buttons. Glue. I could go on... Velcro is extremely widespread. It's not like saying Aliens invented Aluminum Christmas Trees.
  • April 2, 2012
    pcw2727
    Ok, which do you think has had a greater impact on society, velcro, or computers? Like I've said again and again there is a huge difference between aliens inventing computers, lasers and microwaves, and aliens inventing velcro, buttons and liposuction. And of the latter only velcro has been used repeatedly.
  • April 2, 2012
    fulltimeD
    I stand by my earlier comments and my agreement with elwoz. It's a running gang frequently invoked when ET Gave Us Wi Fi is present. The example with the Vulcans is one of the very rare instances in which Velcro was the only thing introduced by the aliens.
  • April 2, 2012
    sixsixeight
    Velcro from beyond the stars?
  • April 2, 2012
    pcw2727
    We've got two examples where it's coupled with more useful technologies, two where its not, and one where I can't say for sure because I didn't watch the whole mini series.

    Either way the fact that it's often tacked on for laughs is easy justification for it to be a trope, and it's almost always velcro, I've never heard of an example when they through in a minor technology that wasn't velcro.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=v319m27fm8x1gj3toya5ernf&trope=DiscardedYKTTW