Created By: Paladin852 on April 28, 2011 Last Edited By: AmourMitts on June 7, 2017


When everyday happenings are portrayed as being more complex than they appear.

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(Needs More Examples)

In fiction, the act of taking an everyday (to us) phenomenon, usually one that we have accepted as part of life and don't think about, and giving it a complex meaning. This can be part of a primary plotline or can be entirely peripheral.

Sort of like Applied Fridge Brilliance/Logic.


Doctor Who is full of these.

The Weeping Angels: Those statues everywhere, commonly accepted as mere decoration, are ancient aliens who will eat your time energy when you're not looking.

When, our of the corner of your eye you think you see something moving in a mirror, and you turn and look and it's gone. It's Daughter of Mine watching you.

Almost every time The Doctor needs an alias (usually human) he uses John Smith. This practice eventually spawned its use as a generic name.

Terry Pratchett has a fondness for this as well, though I lack specific references. (I remember instances, but I don't remember which books they were in...)

(Note: This is my first YKTTW, and my second post on this wiki ever. Constructive criticism will be heartily accepted. EDIT: Thanks for the advice so far, hopefully it's a bit easier to understand what I'm getting at now.)
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • April 28, 2011
    You need to flesh out the trope mole. I kinda get the gist of it(taking a mundane situation and blowing it out of proportion as if it were a huge crisis), but I'm not sure what you're aiming for.
  • April 28, 2011
    My advice is to really think about how to best describe what you're thinking about so it's more concrete to the reader. That way other tropers can understand it better. If it's too vague, it's harder to help you.
  • April 28, 2011
    This is a core element of the Farce. Someone hears of something, takes it as far worse than it is, and takes all sorts of drastic action to solve it (or cover it up) causing worse problems as they do so.
  • April 28, 2011
    The saying is "Make a mountain out of a molehill", which, as stated, is making a huge issue out of a minor point.
  • April 28, 2011
    I'm confused. Is this supposed to be treating something minor as Serious Business or making something that should be minor much more important.

    @Premonition45: "Storm in a teacup." is a similar idiom.
  • April 28, 2011
    Lemme try a rewrite...

    A character overreacts to a seemingly harmless or at least not very troubling event, often turning it into the problem the character imagined it being due to the overreaction. A staple of farcical comedy, where characters frequently set off a whole chain of crises by overreacting to percieved threats which aren't there.

    It can also be used seriously, where a character becomes enraged at some percieved slight and proceeds to respond in a manner involving anything up and including declarations of war, causing huge problems. Or someone screwing up slightly and, due to low self esteem, going into a full-blown Heroic BSOD. The character is taking some small insignificant matter and allowing it to dictate the world around them, usually as other more important issues go to hell.

    Can be a Rant Inducing Slight; that is, a slight mis-step made by another or a small problem sends an already stressed character over the edge. See also Serious Business, and Farce, of which this is an important part.

    (EDIT: I may have completely missed the spirit of the trope, so please tell me if I have.)
  • April 28, 2011
    I can't figure out what the trope is, either from the description or the examples which are all X Just X.

    I have a suspicion that the underlying message is something about, a thing that is very minor in real life being taken to its (il)logical extreme in fiction and used to hang a plot on.
  • April 29, 2011
    "The John Smith thing"? I'm a huge Doctor Who fan and have no idea what is being referred to here, especially with regards to mountains and molehills.
  • April 29, 2011
    In Scrubs, at the end of Season 3, JD finds Dr. Cox bound and gagged with duct tape, lying stowed inside a locker in the morgue. He refuses to release Dr. Cox until he admits to being JD's mentor. Enraged, Dr. Cox rips free of his bonds and begins to choke JD, as any harsh mentor would.
  • May 3, 2011
    John Smith being a generic name came long before Doctor Who. The Doctor was invoking it, not making it. (Unless you're referring to some In Universe, Beethoven Was An Alien Spy-type thing that I'm not familiar with.)
  • May 3, 2011
    So it's "Beethoven Was An Alien Spy, but for something ubiquitous"?
  • May 4, 2011
    ^ Ubiquitous and fairly mundane, yes.
  • May 4, 2011
    If I'm understanding this correctly, the Discworld example that occurs to me is from Small Gods: "Water into wine! As if sunlight into wine wasn't just as miraculous, and happened every day!"
  • May 14, 2011
    Milkmen Are Alien Spies? =)
  • May 14, 2011
  • June 6, 2017
    I think I know what this trope is going for, so I'll offer an example:

    • In the book Neverwhere, Richard begins to notice these once he's exposed to the Dark World of London Below. In one instance, he has to take the subway and casually ignores the broadcast warnings to stay clear of the edge of the platform. His companions make it clear that these warnings are there for a reason, as there is a creature that lives under the edge and pulls people onto the tracks. Of course, normal people think it's just general safety advice.
  • June 7, 2017
    I'd recommend changing the name; right now its one letter off from the completely unrelated Extra Ore Dinary trope.
  • June 7, 2017
    This related to Magical Underpinnings Of Reality and Masquerade, yeah?