Playing With: The Millstone
Basic Trope: A character that not only doesn't contribute anything useful to the team, but is also an active liability.
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- Straight: Alice is ostensibly part of the Five-Man Band, but always ends up having to be rescued from the Monster of the Week or the Big Bad.
- Exaggerated: Alice always ends up unwittingly leading the team into direct conflict with the villain(s).
- Alice is a Damsel Errant or Manic Pixie Dream Girl
- Alice doesn't actively screw up her teammates' plans, but since she's too weak to defend herself against most enemies, she's been kidnapped a few times. Although she makes some useful contributions, it's never anything that couldn't have been done better by someone else.
- Alice is only there because she is Bob's little sister, or girlfriend, or some such that he wanted to take with him.
- Alice just hasn't had A Day in the Limelight or a chance to shine yet.
- Alice is Obfuscating Stupidity.
- Alice is some sort of Living Macguffin
- Alice is not only the least powerful major character, but also a borderline average human.
- Inverted: Alice is the smartest and strongest character on the team, and always ends up taking care of and rescuing all the others.
- Alice ends up saving Bob's life.
- The other characters decide to abandon Alice to whatever fate has befallen her.
- Alice always means well and always tries to help.
- Double Subverted:
- Only once; most of the time, Bob ends up rescuing her.
- Because they feel that she is a liability or has outlived her usefulness.
- But she always ends up making things worse.
- Parodied: Alice is the whiniest whiner that ever whined.
- Zig Zagged: ???
- Alice is not part of the team.
- Alice never needs rescuing.
- Lampshaded: "Why do we even bother bringing her?"
- Invoked: Alice lets her Na´ve Everygirl tendencies or some other weakness get the better of her.
- Defied: Alice goes through Training from Hell, or at least Took a Level in Badass, and takes cues from the other characters (verbal and nonverbal) instead of just Leeroy Jenkinsing.
- Discussed: ???
- Conversed: ???
- Deconstructed: Obviously, teamwork breaks down if the Five-Man Band (or the Five-Bad Band, for that matter) always has to pull one of its members out of the mess they've just swan-dived headfirst into.
- The Five-Man Band hones their skills and their patience through continually rescuing Alice, rather like how carrying around a millstone would cause someone to become stronger. They decide to keep her around for this reason.
- Alice actually does have something useful to contribute when the opportunity presents itself.
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