"Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens."
This is a trope regarding morality and idealism. For when heavily structured order in which very little is meant to occur is defined as 'good' and set in opposition to the 'evil' of chaos, see Order Versus Chaos
You're looking for a motivation for your nihilistic
villain to take action in order to get the plot moving, but he is so deep in his nihilism that the only motivation one can come up with is that he did it because it would be fun
. However, now another side of the character has been revealed. If evil is fun to them then that must mean that he believes... this trope!
This trope is Exactly What It Says on the Tin
. Either in the view of a character, or in the reality of the situation in-universe, Good Is Boring and Evil is... not. However there is still the question of why one would come to that conclusion, so let's explore that idea together!
Observe this meta-example:
Now observe what occurs in-universe:
|The character is simply good, boring and... not much else. They either exist to be a moral compass to the other characters, be a foil to a villain or anti-hero, show that boring might not be so bad after all, or perhaps to be a plot device and cause the villain to overgeneralize this trope. |
From the villain's perspective, they might simply desire thrills that they get most easily from evil acts, resulting in the belief that since evil is far more interesting (because it is), then Good Is Boring by extension. They do not have to be correct in this belief, and the belief can be held by non-villains.
This trope is a sister trope to Evil Is Cool
, particularly when The Villain Makes the Plot
because it's usually the villain stirring things up. Likewise, it is invoked in settings with A Hell of a Time
- since if Good is Boring and Evil is Interesting, then the interesting plots happen where all the bad guys are dumped.
Links all too frequently to the Writer on Board
trying to tell us something about mainstream religion, culture, or ethics. Even worse when paired with a Straw Man Political
. When this trope refers to a problem with the writing and conflict itself, it is the polar opposite problem of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy
. (Which is also quite a problem.)
Compare and contrast Boring but Practical
(which this trope can also be paired with). Contrast Evil Is Cool
and Good Feels Good
. Can result from a Boring Invincible Hero
and is a common complaint regarding Purity Sue
. Tangentially related to Victory Is Boring
, which can occur with both good and evil characters. One possible reason why All Girls Want Bad Boys
In fact a classic definition of the difference between reality and fiction is (paraphrased): In real life, good people are interesting and bad people are boring. In fiction, it is the other way around.
Please add examples!
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Anime and Manga
- In Naruto Orochimaru believes this. He uses a twisted logic to convince himself that if a windmill (the world) isn't turning (is peaceful) then it's just plain dull. Naturally, he believes things will be interesting if he destroys the leaf village. It's revealed that this wasn't his only motive, since he wanted revenge on the Third Hokage.
- Tintin: Tintin is the least interesting of all the characters. His adventures are exciting, but he is so good and incorruptible that it's no surprise that Haddock is far more memorable.
- Spirou And Fantasio: Spirou has pretty much the same problem Tintin has: he is nice, brave and polite. All the comedy comes from his sidekick Fantasio.
- Suske en Wiske: Suske is basically incorruptible, while Wiske at least can be jealous, hysterical and/or too curious for her own good.
- Tom Poes: Tom Poes is generally nice and incorruptible. Almost to the point that he's completely overshadowed by all the other characters.
- Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber: Piet Pienter is especially bland compared to the impulsive, agressive coward Bert Bibber.
- Blake and Mortimer: Both Blake and Mortimer are incorruptible detectives with strong ethics.
- Jommeke: Jommeke's niceness is so bland that he is the least colorful of all characters.
- Lucky Luke: Luke's only vice used to be smoking, until he quit the habit. Apart from that he is brave, nice and the greatest shooter in the West. Completely boring in other words....
Films — Live-Action
- Check any biographical film. Half of them are about thieves, murderers, serial killers, gangsters, dictators, corrupt politicians or delinquents. Even with people who aren't notorious criminals there is still a tendency to make movies about people who were violent, adulterous, suffered from alcohol or drug addiction, occasionally dishonest or suffered from troubling mental disorders that made them difficult to cope with. Even films about people depicted as heroes are more interesting when they show the darker or more morally questionable side of the people. For instance, in Patton general Patton is definitely portrayed as a patriotic hero. Though the movie doesn't shy away from showing his flaws too. He is depicted as an egomaniac, hits a soldier with shell shock and even gets in trouble in the final years of his life for voicing opinions that are rather close to the Nazis and Fascists . Similarly, The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers shows Peter Sellers as a comedic genius, but also portrays him as unfaithful to his wife, vain, more focused on his work than his family and generally cold and unempathic towards his children.
- Used in Hackers, when the villain describes the moral philosophy that allows him to frame a bunch of teenagers for his crimes:
"There is no right or wrong. There's only fun and boring. A twenty year prison sentence sounds a trifle dull to me."
- The Matrix, Version 1.0, as told by Agent Smith:
Agent Smith: Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost.
- It's notable that he's not saying exactly why the first Matrix was a disaster, and in the second movie, the Architect strongly hints that it's more along the lines of Order Is Boring.
Live Action TV
- In TNA, Raven taunts Lauren about her moral superiority to everyone around her, saying he knows it must make her miserable. Somewhat subverted in that Raven himself is always miserable.
- In the Crapsack World of Warhammer Fantasy, the forces of Order are closest to traditional "good," but they all seem deadset against having or allowing any sort of fun or joy. The Dwarves are dour, inflexible, and obsessed with their grudges and the Human Empire is oppressive, corrupt, and engage in paranoid witchburning sessions (albeit often with actual witches.) The Dark Elves and human servants of Chaos, however, often get to enjoy themselves (unless they end up on the wrong side of a sacrificial knife) and do what they want. The Greenskins truly live for nothing but but war, so essentially all of life is a game to them. Which makes it terribly ironic for the Dwarves to take Greenskin transgressions so personally.
- The Grey armies, the Wood Elves, Tomb Kings and Lizardmen are a mix. Wood Elves get to enjoy themselves but are insanely protective of their woods and are more like a force of nature. Tomb Kings do what they want (being undead kings) but want to stay on Settra's good side. Lizardmen are all born and bred soldiers and priests, so they're like orcs, only not as funny.
- Chaos (or at least Archaon) wants to "save the world from stagnation and order." Of course, when it comes to saying that, you know it means something like killing everybody and turning the world into an insane playground of Chaotic Evil embodied, so at that point you may notice it wouldn't be an improvement after all.
- The true cheaters ending of Catherine. And then Vincent became an incubus.
- The plot of Scarlet Weather Rhapsody can be summarized as "Celestial gets bored, attempts to destroy world for fun."
- Textbook case in Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires. Two of the ending sequences require you to become an evil Emperor and a good Emperor, respectively. The former involves having a license to print money (and also raking in literally dozens of items), mercilessly executing everyone who annoys you, and acquiring a super-cheap means of completely refilling your ranks, all at the cost of a few token peasant uprisings and an occasional extra flood or earthquake. The latter involves taking over almost the entire empire, then doing nothing but spend enormous sums of gold and deplete your army for about six years, all for a bunch of feeble peasant militias that you won't even get to use.
- The Legend Of Zelda C Di Games - Faces of Evil
Link: "Gee, it sure is BORING around here!"
- In Ocarina of Time, the soldier inside the house full of pots wishes Hyrule was more chaotic, as standing all day in a peaceful place bores him.
- Mentioned by Kefka of Final Fantasy VI:
"This little hamlet has too much boring and not enough burning! Torch everything!"
- Cucumber Quest: Sir Carrot is an example of a character representing this. His sole reason for becoming a Knight was to serve his king. He doesn't care much for fighting or being cool, but rather the things he enjoyed most about being a Knight were "rescuing stray pets", an "massaging his king's feet". That he's being completely serious about it is Played for Laughs.
- Averted in The Order of the Stick during Roy's time in the Lawful Good heaven. (Being based on DnD, there are a couple of heavens to go round.) Heaven there is a decidedly fun place, one where playing blocks with your little brother can last for days and still be awesome. Furthermore, there's a Debate Hall Where You're Always Right, a Dungeon Full Of Monsters Just Difficult Enough to Challenge You, and a Tavern of Infinite One Night Stands, of all things, though heaven discourages its use by only allowing you to take them to your parents' house.
- Before you bring up the "it'll get boring eventually" argument, remember that since nothing changes and you don't have physical needs to distract you, you can't actually tell how long you've been there. (A fact that Roy learns the hard way.)
- Besides, when Roy questions why Heaven has such things, it's explained that yes, it will get boring after several decades or centuries... which frees you from earthly distractions and attachments as you resume climbing the mountain to attain higher levels of enlightenment (and presumably higher levels of satisfaction than anything the flesh can offer).
- Technically, playing blocks with your little brother wouldn't automatically be awesome. Roy was just that happy to see his little brother who died around the age of four, which is why he was young enough that playing blocks still held much appeal in Heaven.
- Also, Durkon, being the stereotypical Lawful Good beer-loving tree-fearing dwarf cleric of the Order, has a reputation of being this trope in parts of the fandom.
- In Sinfest, Baby Blue assures Fuschia that being good is really boring -- and accuses her of thinking of converting. Fuschia denies it.
- In Sins, good, as personified by The Virtues, isn't just boring, but stupid and unpleasant as well. No wonder all the hosts think Evil Is Cool.
- Of course, the Virtues want the Sins to die so that the universe will be destroyed by the imbalance of Good over Evil, on the off chance it will be remade without evil. If it gets remade at all.
- And Labor is willing to kill an innocent girl on sight, made worse by the fact she lost her soul no matter how innocent she was (her sole crime was picking up the Sins' Soul Jar).
- The Dimension of Lame from Sluggy Freelance epitomizes this. At first, it seems like a great place where everyone's kind and even the sewers smell like flowers. Except there's no alcohol, all swearing is censored, the only TV channels are PBS and Disney, and everyone seems to subsist entirely off rice cakes and spring water. Torg high-tails it out of there pretty quick.
- Kinda like that old saying about Hawaii: Nice place for a vacation, but you wouldn't want to live there.
- On his second visit, Torg notes that the people of the dimension aren't necessarily "good" so much as "pure"; in the sense that they are incapable of doing anything to prevent or even resist evil for fear of becoming less pure.
- In Warp Zone Project, the protagonist has just entered the world of super-heroes and super-villains, choosing the side of good. His mentor's arch-enemy tries to get him to become his pupil whenever they run into each other, his main if not only argument being that he's going to get bored fast otherwise.
- Moral Orel, but this is more due to most of the characters in the show believing this while being major hypocrites
- This is the reason why classic cartoons whose premises revolve around a chase devote much more screen time to the villanous predator; you don't see as many scenes with Jerry, the Road Runner, or Tweety as with their respective nemesis. The exceptions usually occur when it's the heroes' turn to be a Not So Above It All instigator.
- Similarly The Dreamstone focuses largely on the villains more than the heroes, due to the Land Of Dreams being depicted as a near utopian Sugar Bowl where conflicts or even basic problems are rare without Zordrak and the Urpneys causing trouble.
- In Futurama, Leela mentions that this trope is why Heaven is boring; there's no sleaze. Seconds later, a mass orgy is called.
- One of the "Censored Eleven" Looney Tunes, Clean Pastures (1937), starts out with Heaven ("Pair-O-Dice"— oh yes, there are reasons this is on the Censored Eleven list) losing ground to "Hades, Inc." and its Harlem jazz clubs, until Gabriel gets him some swingin' angels of his own (modeled on performers like Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and Fats Waller)— and then Good is so not Boring that Satan himself tries to get back in!
- In The Simpsons episode "Viva Ned Flanders", Springfielders are amazed at Ned's longevity and youthfulness at age 60 until he reveals how much he's deprived himself in order to attain it.
Ned: I resist all the major urges.
Sideshow Mel: All of them?
Marge: You mean you've never splurged and say, eaten an entire birthday cake and blamed it on the dog?
Edna Krabappel: You've never licked maple syrup off your lover's stomach?
(Agnes Skinner glares at Seymour)
Bart: (halfway outside, holding a crowbar) You've never snuck out of church to break into cars?
Ned: No, no, and double no! I haven't done any of those things, folks. You name it, I haven't done it!
Homer: Jeez, Flanders, you're sixty, and you've never lived a day in you life!
Carl: Yeah, even the boy in the bubble had a deck of cards.