"She's a wiccan! She's a nun! Can two sisters share an apartment? Find out in
Which is Witch?!"
Also known as One's A Plot
Many TV shows are based around a High Concept
— a simple, intriguing premise that can be explained in one or two sentences — a "hook" which attracts the interest of everyone from producers to advertisers to viewers. One very common way to get a build a high concept is to take two characters who are very different from each other, quirky, or somehow odd, and then team them up to accomplish some objective. In 'the Biz' this is called a "Wunza plot". Put in its simplest form, a Wunza Plot is "One's a [X]; one's a [Y]. Together they [Objective Z]" note
Oddly, even the most bizarre premises can end up rather mundane in execution, with the strange characters — despite initial weirdness — ending up in fairly stock show formats like workplace comedies/dramas, quirky sitcom family hijinks, or, yes, fighting crime
as private detectives or freelance do-gooders.
Animation obviously has great potential for silliness, especially if it's an Animated Adaptation
of a live-action show.
A silly premise isn't always fatal, and the mention of a series below is not necessarily a criticism. With the right casting and writing, some shows which sound totally ridiculous have been hugely successful and even critically acclaimed.
See also In a World
. Compare and contrast with Odd Couple
. A necessary ingredient of They Fight Crime
. Not to be confused with Kudzu Plot
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Anime and Manga
- The premise of Dirty Pair in which the impulsive tomboyish Kei is paired up with the more cerebral and mannered Yuri. Of course it's all right since They Fight Crime...
- Saint Young Men: Buddha and Jesus share and apartment in Japan. They do ordinary day-to-day stuff.
- Tiger & Bunny. A down-on-his-luck, goofy single father and an icy-cold pretty-boy upstart are paired together as a corporate-sponsored superhero duo. They Fight Crime.
- Referenced in The Sandman: Matthew (a servant of Morpheus who happens to be a raven who used to be a man) describes his brief adventure with the Corinthian (a serial killer with fanged mouths in place of eyes) as being "like a bad TV show." Borders on a Lampshade Hanging, except that unlike most of these examples, the weird team-up was only a small part of a much larger story.
- Angel and the Ape ('60s comic book with revivals in the '80s and '00s): She's a gorgeous super-sleuth who speaks thirteen languages and knows karate. He's a comic book artist who happens to be a talking gorilla. They Fight Crime!
- Sam & Max: One's a dog. The other's a hyperkinetic lagomorph. They Fight Crime
- G.I. Robot., he's a robot. His buddy's a hard bitten G.I. They fight dinosaurs and Japanese giant robots until the robot is sent into space with military werewolves, vampires, etc. and the comic's creator. Bob Kanigher, man..
- Duplicity: On its movie poster - "She's ex-Cia. He's ex-MI-5, together they are stealing a fortune." She is Julia Roberts, he is Clive Owen.
- Parodied in Network: "These are those four outlines submitted by Universal for an hour series. You needn't bother to read them; I'll tell them to you. The first one is set at a large Eastern law school, presumably Harvard. The series is irresistibly entitled "The New Lawyers." The running characters are a crusty-but-benign ex-Supreme Court justice, presumably Oliver Wendell Holmes by way of Dr. Zorba; there's a beautiful girl graduate student; and the local district attorney who is brilliant and sometimes cuts corners. The second one is called "The Amazon Squad." The running characters include a crusty-but-benign police lieutenant who's always getting heat from the commissioner; a hard-nosed, hard-drinking detective who thinks women belong in the kitchen; and the brilliant and beautiful young girl cop who's fighting the feminist battle on the force. Up next is another one of those investigative reporter shows. A crusty-but-benign managing editor who's always gett..."
- Steel Justice: Twenty Minutes into the Future a cop loses his son to a car bomb and the boy is reincarnated as a toy robot dragon. That can shapeshift into a giant robot dragon and help his dad bring his killers to justice. Apparently the purpose was as an extended advert for the toy dragon in question. Perhaps the best bit is that this truly outlandish premise is paired with one of the blandest, most generic titles imaginable.
- The Rush Hour trilogy. According to Roger Ebert, "Wunza legendary detective from Hong Kong, and wunza Los Angeles cop. And wunza Chinese guy, and wunza black guy. And wunza martial arts expert and wunza wisecracking showboat. Neither wunza original casting idea, but together, they make an entertaining team."
Live Action TV