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Playing With: Obstructive Bureaucrat
Basic Trope: A bureaucrat who hinders the protagonists with paperwork.
  • Straight: Alice is working for an alien hunting agency. When she needs a weapon, she has to fill out a form and give it to quartermaster Bob first.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Even though there is currently an Eldritch Abomination rampaging in the headquarters, Bob insists that Alice fills out a weapon requisition form before she takes a gun and shoots it.
    • Paperwork is required for every activity and use of resources. Bob stops Alice outside the restroom to ask if she's got the proper papers.
  • Downplayed: Bob knows better than to stop Alice during an emergency, but still insists she fill out the proper paperwork afterwards.
  • Justified:
    • The organization is very big and its supply of weapons is severely limited. The bureaucracy has to make sure that agents only carry weapons when they have a good reason to do so.
    • People have been stealing/not returning supplies, so they need to keep careful track of where everything is.
    • The reason Bob is so strict about the kind of pencil Alice uses is because the agency computer can't read the form unless it's filled out in #2 Yellow pencil lead.
  • Inverted: Bob is frequently bending the rules and uses his influence to make Alice' job easier.
  • Subverted: When Alice explains that she doesn't have time for filling out forms right now, Bob cooperates and gives her a weapon without the paperwork.
  • Double Subverted: But then Bob complains to Alice' boss that Alice took a weapon without permission and demands that she is punished.
  • Parodied:
    • Bob puts his big red DENIED stamp on Alice' weapon requisition form with an Evil Laugh.
    • Bob is actually helpful most of the time, but Alice is furious when he asks for her quick signature on a form.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob will sometimes be pretty lenient and at other times very nitpicking about following proper procedures.
  • Averted: The organization avoids wasting the time of their agents with unnecessary paperwork and tries their best to provide them with everything they request without asking questions.
  • Enforced: Due to a restricted special effect budget the writers have to find a way to make the characters use their flashy equipment less often. So they introduce an obstructive bureaucrat who stops them from using it.
  • Lampshaded: Alice complains that Bob's obstructive bureaucracy is a bigger danger for the organization than all the Scary Dogmatic Aliens who try to destroy it. Nobody listens to her.
  • Invoked:
    • Bob is hired when the organization notices that it needs more stringent management to deal with Alice' abuse of resources.
    • Eager to do his part in taking down the villain's organization, Bob the bureaucrat infiltrates it and makes the villains' lives hell with his obstructiveness.
    "I'll put them through so much red tape, they'll come out looking like Deadpool."
  • Exploited: After the villain broke out of prison he takes his time, because he knows that it will take days before Alice gets the authorization from Bob to pursue him.
  • Defied: Alice quits the organization and works for it as an independent contractor to avoid Bob's bureaucracy.
  • Discussed: While the organization grows bigger and bigger, Alice fears that she will soon be unable to do her job because of the red tape involved.
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob has obsessive compulsive disorder. It causes him severe emotional pain when something isn't in order.
    • The oppressive government requires paperwork for everything to help keep citizens under control.
  • Reconstructed: Bob's obsession is the only thing which holds the extremely disorganized organization together.

To get back to Obstructive Bureaucrat please fill out forms 65B, 65C and 176D-4 and let your superior officer sign them.

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