Weirdness Coupon

Jamie: Did you get any looks driving a truck full of pig corpses around?
Adam: A few people did slow down and stare; then they looked in the cabin, and went "Oh. It's just Mythbusters."
Mythbusters, obviously

If somebody or something is really weird or fantastical, they're allowed to do things that "normal" people would never say or do. After all, they're either inimitable, or are in a situation nobody would want to emulate. The opposite can also hold true: when a coupon holder acts normal, those around him or her may react with shock and horror, or assume something is wrong. A cousin to Elephant in the Living Room and Bunny-Ears Lawyer.

Contrast Have You Tried Not Being a Monster? Refuge in Audacity is a closely related trope that involves someone behaving so far outside of accepted norms that everyone else is too stunned to stop them, but this trope tends to be recurring with a character to the point that everyone is just used to their antics while Refuge in Audacity is usually a one-time action.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comics
  • Most of the works of Alan Moore qualify.
  • Similarly, Grant Morrison.
  • Jughead Jones in the Archie Comics gets a lot of freedom in this regard; anytime his oddness is called into question it's usually answered with something along the lines of "that's Jughead, he doesn't count".

Live-Action Television
  • In The Addams Family, Gomez and Morticia are implied to have an active and kinky sex life — absolutely unheard of in TV at the time — but it's accepted because they're so odd. (Also, it's obviously not shown.)
    • Somewhat related, the first couples to avert Sleeping Single in the early days of television had some type of Weirdness Coupon that made it not "count." Fred and Wilma Flintstone were animated, Samantha Stephens was a witch, Herman and Lily Munster weren't really considered human. Apart from Ur Example Mary Kay and Johnny, all the way back in 1947, who snuck in before the rules were made, and are sadly forgotten due to no episodes of the show surviving, the first real, human, coupon-free couple sharing a bed on television were Mike and Carol Brady.
  • It was repeatedly commented by the producers of Mystery Science Theater 3000 that if they had a joke that some might find to be in poor taste, they always had one of the robots make it. Because people were more willing to accept that sort of thing from a puppet.
  • As shown in the page quote, the Mythbusters can get away with a wide variety of bizarre requests and actions by virtue of their reputation at this point. It's a far cry from when they started out — the group originally had to jury-rig a rocket together due to the difficulty of obtaining one legitimately.
    • Hilariously, when they first attempted to obtain a JATO rocket, the Air Force sent not one, but two letters of denial. The MythBusters interpreted this as a literal "No. Just... No" Reaction—the second letter was just to reinforce just how denied their request was.
  • Dr. House is given a lot of leeway in doing bizarre, irritating, and often illegal things by the staff at PPH. One of many, many instances of this included his shooting a corpse in the hospital's morgue. A horrified technician hears the gunshot and runs to find House with a pistol standing over the body. House's explaination:
    House: He's dead. I shot him.
    • Nothing more is made of the incident.
    • Cuddy also realizes this, as per his Bunny-Ears Lawyer status, and delivered the following quote:
    Cuddy: "When I hired you, I knew you were insane. I will continue to try and stop you from doing insane things, but once they're done, trying to convince an insane person not to do insane things is, in itself, insane. So when I hired you, I also set aside fifty thousand a year for legal expenses. So far, you've come in under budget."
    • Also, when one of House's fellows wants to talk to her, she calmly cuts her off, saying "Sexual harassment claims go through HR, stress-related leaves through workman's comp., and any accusations of criminal activities go directly to the Princeton Plainsboro police department."
  • Attempted by Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation after he brings a live pig to a barbecue that he plans to slaughter and cook and a Park Ranger tells him he can't. Usually this winds up working for him, but in this particular case it fails.
    Ron: Not to worry, I have a permit.
    [Hands Ranger a piece of paper]
    Ranger: This just says "I can do what I want."
  • In the All Stars season of RuPaul's Drag Race Nina Flowers is the only one who doesn't react to Tammie Brown taking a question about what underwear her partner wears by deciding the best way to figure that out is to "smell the flowers" and sniff at her partner for a few seconds, since Nina had been on their original season with Tammie and was just used to her odd behavior.

Music
  • Many critics would probably write off of Montreal's lyrics as misogynistic if they were more conventional in music style or presentation, especially on the albums Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (answer: "You are not the destroyer" / "Du er ikke densom ødelegger, fitta") and Icons, Abstract Thee, written when the primary lyricist was having problems with his wife... but they're so creatively misogynistic...

Tabletop Games
  • Dragonlance features a race of mischievous kleptomaniacs called Kender, who can rarely resist swiping small (usually valueless) objects from people. Needless to say, generations of gamers have used this as an excuse to steal from their party members. The willingness of other players to put up with this Coupon varies greatly, and has caused Kender to be The Scrappy among many groups.
  • VampireTheMasquerade has the Malkavians, a clan of vampires where every one of them is insane. Some players use this as an excuse to say or do the most bizarre things in character. Such as worship a fire hydrant, or argue that the universe is resting on the back of a dog. A surprisingly large number of players tolerate this, if only because a well played Malkavian can cause major damage to their enemies, either in combat or in the political arena.

Video Games
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, the Mad Oracle Malkavian player characters can get away with behaviour (using potentially insulting nicknames, suggesting you might know about things worth killing to keep hidden) which... granted, you're already being sent to get killed, but this ought to be hastening the process considerably.
  • Like the CLAMP example above, the Metal Gear Solid series has a Ho Yay coupon that its fanbase either completely embraces and revels in or at the very least complacently tolerates.

Webcomics
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, the titular Doctor is apparently licensed by the city of Cumberland to deal with all the weird supernatural occurrences, such as giant rampaging Paul Bunyans, dinosaur-riding banditos, tricky lobster-men, and zombie ninjas.
    • As revealed in "There's a Raptor in My Office", the law has been bent to accommodate the Doc—his actions are frequently less than legal, but if he can get back to his office and declare "Base", then all charges against him are dropped.

Web Original
  • Noob: The wake of the first Wham Episode put a spotlight on the Weirdness Coupon the protagonists give each other. At the time, Omega Zell isn't aware of what happened and would be completely freaking out if he was. He runs into Arthéon and can tell something is on his mind, while Arthéon is surprised at his blissfulness. The following conversation happens:
    Omega Zell: What's up? Has Sparadrap been acting up again?
    Arthéon: No...
    Omega Zell: Has Gaea looted the guild funds?
    Arthéon: If only she had!
    Omega Zell: Has Judge Dead banned you again?
    Arthéon: It's worse than that!
    Omega Zell: What then? You're scaring me, Arthéon...

Western Animation
  • Kim Possible: she, or her sidekick, are often hit by weird ray-guns, or grabbed by Clingy MacGuffins, or affected by magic amulets or whatever, and have to deal with the wacky consequences to their home lives, but no-one seems to think this behaviour out of the ordinary - for her. And that's not even mentioning their frequent bunking off school to go and save the world.
  • An exploited example occurs in Justice League Unlimited, when the Question discovers an alternate universe where Superman kills Lex Luthor leading to a coup where the Justice Lords rule the world. The Question, in response to what he thinks is a probable future, attempts to kill Lex first, because as he is a well known loon, the Justice League will be able to diplomatically calm things down afterward.
    • Likewise in a later part of the same Arc, Batman gets away with not turning himself in with the rest of the big 7 by playing on his Loner image.
  • Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. In a show where weather-controlling pegasi and magical unicorns are the norm, she regularly does things even more outrageous as long as it's funny. Examples include popping out of locations she could not possibly fit inside of, arriving at a destination ahead of characters flying at MACH 3, and fighting the show's closing iris to argue with the audience.
    • In-universe, too - It's common for Pinkie to do something inexplicable and the other ponies just write it off as Pinkie Pie being Pinkie Pie, in about that many words.
    • Works against her in "Swarm of the Century", when Pinkie's attempts to get the others to help her get the means to deal with the problem of the week are dismissed as her just being Pinkie Pie.
    • The best demonstration of this may be from the episode "Party of One." While trying to figure out what her friends are doing behind her back, she dresses up as a haystack... wearing Groucho Marx glasses. In a world where Groucho Marx never existed. Rainbow Dash not only immediately recognizes and casually greets her, but her freak-out right after is completely unrelated to how Pinkie is dressed.
    • When Twilight showed up to help Pinkie babysit in Baby Cakes, Pinkie answered the door wearing two diapers (one was on her head; she had just achieved Epic Fail trying to change the twins). This passed entirely without comment from Twilight.
    • Pinkie has an almost literal coupon: the show's creators work under the regulation of trying to minimize the normal gags in cartoons; they pop up from others but rather infrequently. When one script/storyboard for an early episode has Pinkie doing something outlandish (the specific incident wasn't addressed), the response was basically "Okay, but only Pinkie". Then they realized the potential for hysterics of having exactly one pony act toonish could be, if only for the juxtaposition.
  • Exploited by Starfire in an episode of Teen Titans. She invents a holiday from her home planet to cover up the half-eaten curtains from the mutant larvae she was hiding, and earns nothing more than a dismissive comment from Raven due to her previous Fish out of Water antics.
  • Similar to the The Addams Family above, Helga Pataki of Hey Arnold! fame gets away with some pretty risque stuff for what's nominally a kid's show, but depicting tortured adolescent female sexuality just doesn't have the same impact coming from a hilarious cartoon character who kind of looks like a billy goat.
  • For similar reasons, Tina Belcher from Bob's Burgers was actually changed from a boy in early production into a girl because the creators realized that what came off as disturbing coming from a male character simply became funny when said by a female one.

Real Life
  • "Manny being Manny.": Ex-Boston Red Sox, ex-Los Angeles Dodgers, ex-Chicago White Sox, ex-Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Manny Ramirez was a great hitter but had a tendency to be really flaky and tended to get away with a lot more because of his talent. It's (almost) always written off as "Just Manny being Manny". Though eventually he would run out of Weirdness Coupons and be dumped by whatever team he was with. It was only after he was signed to be a player/coach with the Iowa Cubs of the Pacific Coast League (with zero chance of being promoted back to the major leagues) in 2014 that his antics stopped.
  • The role of The Jester, or "fool", in olden times was closely tied to this trope. A fool could pretty much say anything he wanted, however offensive, because he was "just a fool". Either he was a professional fool—in which case he had been granted permission to act the way he did for comedic purposes—or he was a "natural" fool, a guy who was eccentric or mentally ill, in which case he "couldn't help" the way he acted and had to be excused. As a result, the fool often served as the Deadpan Snarker and/or Only Sane Man, who had free permission to say whatever he liked...and in a lot of cases, it was what everyone else was thinking, but didn't have the guts to say themselves. The Weirdness Coupons only extended as far as the tolerance level of the Fool's master—if a fool went too far, the punishment was, at the very least, a whipping.
  • Due to the somewhat random nature of youthwork games, you can buy a surprising selection of props from a local supermarket and if the cashier looks at you strangely just reply 'I'm a youthwork leader'.