Created By: Hadashi on June 20, 2012 Last Edited By: Hadashi on July 19, 2012

Stapled On Plot Resolution

Everyone will get a happy ending, even if it makes no sense and contradicts the plot.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
This is, essentially, an intentional (or semi-intentional) Plot Hole right at the end of a work that is intended to give everyone a happy ending or plot resolution....dispute common sense and absolutely everything else that happened previously.

This is where the main character's elderly mentor joins in the post-victory celebrations despite being very-defiantly Killed Off for Real earlier in the film (and we don't mean as a ghost either). Or when a character who should have no idea at all that the main character just got a happy Fairytale Ending seems to sense it happening with their magic Plot Convenience radar and starts celebrating.

This is, in short, a blatantly obvious plot-hole resolution that makes no bloody sense in context.

Compare: A Wizard Did It. See also Esoteric Happy Ending.


Examples:

Computer & Video Games
  • Alan Wake, Actually a key plot point due to the world running on the Theory of Narrative Causality, the story must be consistent to its own internal logic. Thomas Zane tried to write a happy ending to his story that was out of place with the rest of the narrative, and the results were... unpleasant.

Film
  • Lost in Space so how the hell did the little green monkey thing they found on the spider-infested ship come to be on the rebooted launch ship right at the end? And why the hell is nobody surprised it's there when none of them have met it yet?
  • The Time Machine in the modern remake, the main character's friend appears to sense the happy ending millions of years in the future, smiles, and throws his bowler hat up in the air.
  • Wayne's World parodies this by having multiple endings...basically, the first ending is really bad, so the characters literally say "oh this sucks, lets do something happier". They then run through variations until they get to the "super happy" ending (which then becomes canonical).

Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • June 20, 2012
    ccoa
    Isn't this just Plot Hole, but at the end of the work? With extra complaining?
  • June 20, 2012
    Shnakepup
    And a Plot Hole at the end of a work is already a trope, under What Happened To The Mouse
  • June 20, 2012
    surgoshan
    It sounds like this is the inverse of What Happened To The Mouse. More like The Mouse Came Back.
  • June 21, 2012
    Arivne
    This appears to be two different tropes rolled into one.

    The first paragraph in the description appears to be Deus Ex Machina without even an attempt at an explanation as to how it occurs.

    The second paragraph - about someone realizing that a happy ending has occurred when there's no apparent way they could do so - is not the same, and as far as I know we don't have a trope for it.
  • June 22, 2012
    Hadashi
    0k, I should explain this more: This is a seemingly deliberate plot-hole that just flies out of nowhere at the end of a film or episode to give everyone a happy ending.

    In order for a work to contain this trope the logistics of the ending must be absolutely contrary to the rest of the film. For example, in Lost In Space, the director would have been perfectly aware that they hadn't found the little green monkey thing right at the beginning, yet when they go back in time to the beginning not only does everyone seem to know what's going on, but the little green monkey just climbs up and sits on the girl's shoulder like it had been on their ship all along. It's kind-of a Big Lipped Alligator Moment.

    Then we have the other example, the new version of The Time Machine. Right at the end of this film the main character's best friend back in his own time seems to sense that the plot has resolved and throws his bowler hat up in the air outside the inventor's window.

    So it's not really a Plot Hole as much as it is psychic plot-convenience powers plus a good dose of A Wizard Did It.

  • June 22, 2012
    Generality
    Yes, the description needs work. Your first example is madly incredulous. Also, as this is an Ending Trope, you can tack on a generic spoiler warning to avoid having every example be whited out.

    See also Esoteric Happy Ending.
  • June 22, 2012
    nitrokitty
    • Actually a key plot point in Alan Wake. Due to the world running on the Theory Of Narrative Causality, the story must be consistent to its own internal logic. Thomas Zane tried to write a happy ending to his story that was out of place with the rest of the narrative, and the results were... unpleasant.
  • June 22, 2012
    Omeganian
    Waynes World as a parody?
  • June 22, 2012
    Hadashi
    Can you tell me how Waynes World might parody this as I haven't seen it.
  • June 22, 2012
    Shnakepup
    The film breaks the fourth wall and has multiple endings...basically, the first ending is really bad, so the characters literally say "oh this sucks, lets do something happier". They then run through variations until they get to the "super happy" ending (which then becomes canonical).
  • June 23, 2012
    randomsurfer
    The ending of the most recent film of I Am Legend contradicts the setup throughout the movie of the Horde being sentient, and just makes the Vampire Zombies Chaotic Evil. Ergo it's just fine if Neville kills them all and lives to fight another day. Originally it was going to follow the book more closely, but it didn't test well.
  • July 18, 2012
    Hadashi
    I'm not so sure that I Am Legend qualifies.
  • July 18, 2012
    captainpat
    What's the difference between this and Deus Ex Machina?
  • July 19, 2012
    Shnakepup
    Because Deus Ex Machina doesn't necessarily have to leave plot holes. Also, Deus Ex Machina can happen at any point in the story...it doesn't have to be at the end, it could be during the climax, or even before that. This particular trope seems to be explicity for endings.

    Maybe it's a subtrope of Deus Ex Machina?
  • July 19, 2012
    Hadashi
    It may be a subtrope, but Deus Ex Machina is generally specific to someone writing themselves into a corner and so having to basically rescue the characters themselves (in the original context it, literally, meant the intervention of a divine being). What I am getting at is that the ending itself would, in most cases, have been perfectly fine.

    In Stapled On Plot Resolution the specific plot threads may already have been resolved, but not in a way that was a 'perfect' happy ending - i.e. with everyone alive and victorious. For example, in Lost In Space, they reboot the whole film with new knowledge that enables them to avoid their prior mistakes (via time-travel). That isn't the tacked on bit, however, that part comes when the monkey climbs up the girl's shoulder and she acts like they had it all along.

    Essentially, this is the purest example I can find. They wanted a resolution for the monkey, but at that point they had never met it, so, suddenly, we have this falsely happy scene where everyone is together (so much so that you may start to wonder if the time portal didn't kill him and he is actually in the afterlife).

    It is this sudden happy ending where everyone is alive and has a resolution that I am talking about - see the Time Machine entry for more details.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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