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Downplayed: A serious lawsuit has a silly detail people remember. Like "Bob Badboss sexually harassed me, said I was a bad worker just because I'm from Tropestan, and stole my lunch!" (Note: This is one of the ways "frivolous lawsuit" Urban Legends get started in real life; if the complaint contains anything silly or out of the ordinary, that might be exaggerated into the basis of the suit when it's just one detail.)
Alice really did suffer burns from having the soup spilled on her, and evidence suggests it was no accident.
Alice sues the waiter or restaurant over something more serious, such as not informing customers that "X contains peanuts," resulting in a serious allergic reaction.
Alice rewards the waitress with the Nobel Peace Prize for not spilling the soup on her.
Subverted: Alice threatens to sue, but ends up not doing so.
Double Subverted: Until the clumsy waiter spills soup on Bob, then she sues.
Parodied: Alice sues someone because she broke her fingernail on their property. But what's even more absurd, is that she manages to win the suit!
Zig Zagged: Alice's friends tell her they think filing a lawsuit is a bit excessive. Alice angrily dismisses them, but privately she thinks they may have a point. She hems and haws over the issue, and finally makes a decision, but the camera fades to black before the audience can find out what that was.
Alice does not sue.
The restaurant tries to appease Alice by offering to pay for her dry-cleaning bill, or giving her a meal on the house next time she visits.
Lampshaded: "You're suing him because he spilled soup on you? Isn't that a bit extreme?"
Invoked: "Don't you know how to do your job?! I'll sue you and this restaurant for this!"
Defied: Alice decides it's not worth suing over something so silly. She just gets cleaned up and goes about her business.
Alice sues the waiter, but her suit is laughed out of court and only makes her look loony.
Alice sues the waiter and wins, but being infamous for having filed the suit makes it difficult for her to find a job or a partner later in life. No restaurant would sell her any more food for fear of being sued.
Alice was seriously injured and her lawsuit has merit, but is played up in the press as a frivolous lawsuit, and she is humiliated.
Reconstructed: Alice is not the first person to have soup spilled on them. She launches a class-action suit with other disgruntled patrons. The exact charge is "spilled soup" but it's under a more serious umbrella like "customer safety".
Played For Laughs:
Alice yelps as the soup that spilled on her was hot...
Then she leaps up and knocks aside a waiter who was carrying a cake with a priceless heritage wedding ring in it...
Then it was later eaten by a movie star's pet chihuahua that promptly got sick because dogs shouldn't eat chocolate....
Then somehow this all ends with enough lawsuits to keep 100 lawyers working for the rest of their careers.