"It feels like I only go backwards baby
Every part of me says go ahead
I got my hopes up again, oh no... not again
Feels like we only go backwards darling"
—Tame Impala, "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"
"Stick to the stuff you know
If you wanna be cool
Follow one simple rule
Don't mess with the flow, no no
Stick to the status quo
Stick to the stuff you know
It is better by far
To keep things as they are
Don't mess with the flow, no no
Stick to the status quo"
—High School Musical, "Stick to the Status Quo"
"It's just a matter of knowing the secret of all TV shows; At the end of the episode, everything is always right back to normal."
— Fry, Futurama
Principal Skinner: If this episode has taught us anything, it's that nothing works better than the status quo. Bart, you're promoted back to the fourth grade.
Principal Skinner: And Lisa, you have a choice. You may continue to be challenged in third grade, or return to second grade and be merely a big fish in a little pond.
Lisa: Big fish! Big fish!
Principal Skinner: That's just sad.
— The Simpsons, "Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade"
Judge: And I further decree that everything will be just like it was before all this happened! And no one will ever mention it again... under penalty of torture. [The townspeople cheer.]
— The Simpsons, The Principal and the Pauper
Peter: Yeah, how did you lose your job anyway, Lois?
Lois: Ah, I don't know, Peter. Do you really care? Does anyone really care?
Peter: I guess you're right. The story's over, everything's back to normal 'til next week, so who gives a damn?
Dr. Hartman: Mrs. Griffin, I'm afraid your husband has amnesia.
Lois Griffin: Oh my God! Is it permanent?!
Dr. Hartman: Well, there's no telling for sure. His memory could return in days, weeks, years, or never. (beat) Or weeks.
Stan: Jeff?! I thought you drowned!
—American Dad!: "Season's Beatings"
Homer: Hey Mom, did you know I was blasted into space?
Mona: Yes Homer, it was national news. So... do you still work for N.A.S.A.?
Homer: No, I work at the Nuclear Power Plant.
— The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular
Monk: There's an old saying: don't change anything—ever.
Natalie: That's an old saying?
Monk: I've been saying it for years.
I'm the last living thing on the planet! Uh...I should have this fixed by next week, folks...
— Princess Pi, "Princess Pi vs. Everything"
"Large corporations welcome innovation and individualism in the same way the dinosaurs welcomed large meteors."
ďThose heavily invested in the status quo had difficulty thinking outside of itóand were often tainted by it.Ē
—Daniel Suarez, Influx
"Status quo, you know, is Latin for 'the mess we're in'."
"We protect the status quo, and make steady war on revision and improvement."
"Without deviation, progress is not possible."
—Zen Masters: The Wisdom of Frank Zappa
"I think the character has not progressed since season four. In fact, he may even have regressed a little."
—Robert Beltran on his role in Star Trek: Voyager
"If you take a look at a current Spider-Man comic, youíll find that heís maybe twenty years old, he worries a lot about whats right and whatís wrong, and he has a lot of trouble with his girlfriends.
Do you know what Spider-Man was doing fifteen years ago? Well, he was about nineteen years old, he worried a lot about what was right and what was wrong and he had a lot of trouble with his girlfriends."
"Here's a secret - when I finally okayed the clone saga, I told [co-writer] Danny Fingeroth to build a backdoor into it. I said that I wanted to be able to bring Peter back as the real deal...I believe that both comic book creators and comic book fans are a cowardly and superstitious lot. While the fans claim they want change, they tend to react negatively to it. So do most creators!"
—Editor Tom DeFalco on The Clone Saga
"I am not huge into comic books anymore. It is not that I donít love the characters because I do. It is not that I donít love the adventure; I do. It is because comic culture has this neurotic fear of change. This is something that is shared by both the makers and the buyers. Now I can understand why from both sides. From the comic book company perspective you want to keep things as static as possible to keep the run going as long as possible to sell the most books. After all, if Batman for examples conquers his demons then that would kind of be it. There would be nothing left for his character to do. From the public perspective we kind of dislike things that are different and prefer the safe norm. Much like fast food we know what we are getting and are fine with the same but fulfilling formula.
But there just reaches a point where it all gets ridiculous...evolution is more observable than character changes in comics. It took what: 60 years for Superman to marry Lois Lane? People still go into full blown freak outs at Superman Returnsí sub plot that Superman and Lois had a kid. Spider-Man even made A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL in order to bring the comics back to the status quo. It reaches damn near comedic levels at times. Batman has either reached self parody or is doing its closest modern interpretation of Sisyphus. Instead of being destined to pushing a boulder uphill for all eternity, Batman has to catch the Joker again and again and again to the end of time."
"Because the older characters are the ones that fans remember and relate to, and because they stick with characters much longer, it becomes easier and more profitable to simply go back and tell stories of Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent or Oliver Queen or Peter Parker or ďJames HowlettĒ or Tony Stark that ďupdateĒ their origins, because that gives older fans a shot of nostalgia by using those characters and also by winking at them with references to comics they read when they were growing up. Itís a win-win!
Except itís not. What this does is simply recycle old ideas even more and more, not allowing these characters to grow and change. This has led to dubious editorial decisions, like Peter Parker making a deal with Satan to destroy his marriage. Characters that occasionally changed and struck out on their own (Scott Summers leaving the X-Men after Jean Grey died, for instance) are now locked into their positions, calcified and stagnant. The flip side to this is that new characters get strangled in the crib."
— Greg Burgas, "How Kurt Busiek (unwittingly) ruined Marvel and DC superhero comics!"
"Think of a shared superhero universe as something that generates inertia. At the core of the universe, very little will ever change or even bother with the illusion of change: Superman will always be Big Blue, Batman will always mourn his parents, Wolverine will always have claws and be gruff. As you get further and further away from that core, though, you get more and more freedom to do whatever you want. A good example of this is the Planet Hulk storyline, where the only given was that the Hulk would be alive at the end of it and every other character’s fate was unknown, because they were the fringe of the Marvel Universe."
Jay: The fact that nobody believes in ghosts anymore? That makes no sense. After all the events of the first movie? A giant marshmallow man walked down the city streets, but nobody believes in anything supernatural anymore? Did everybody forget?
Rich: Because proof of the existence of ghosts would change the world too much. You still wanna ground the movie in reality—
Mike: That's the thing, though, Ghostbusters wasn't specifically ghosts; it was more interdimensional beings. Especially the ending: it was, like... an interdimensional god was attacking the Earth. It wasn't dead humans coming back to life, it was more an alien kinda thing. But you're right, it would change society dramatically. And writing that kinda thing into a sequel would be complex.
Jay: But that would make it interesting. I mean, there is a certain science element to these movies, too.
Mike: Ehh, they went and threw it all into the garbage. And listened to the people at the boardroom table who said, "This is the best way to make a buncha money."
Rich: "Look, Jay: You make a plot about slime so you can sell jars of slime to kids. And you can also make a new backpack that they wear that kids'll wanna buy that shoots slime!"
"Mario's been saving Peach for 25 years. That's almost as long as Weird Al has been making albums. And you know what? It took him some time, but Weird Al got married. Mario's still chomping at the bit while Peach offers him a nice cake. Or a vacation to another place where she'll get kidnapped... He has burned to death in hot lava. He has been eaten by giant flying fish. He has fallen to death. Oh, god, has he fallen to death. And each time, he's been resurrected by magic he can't possibly begin to understand with his CUNY Brooklyn associate's degree in plumbing.
Only to be rewarded with a kiss on the cheek."
"The ongoing gag in Mario RPGs, when Bowser is enlisted as an anti-hero, is that he opposes the new villain because he considers kidnapping the princess to be his territory alone. This is a pretty firm indicator that Bowser is just as invested in the status quo as everyone else. His attempts to kidnap the princess seem almost ceremonial. I believe that the very first Super Mario Bros represented the only time when Bowser was genuinely kidnapping the princess to pursue his goals, presumably the attainment of power and influence. And he succeeded. From that point on, he is occasionally seen wearing a crown and being identified as 'King of the Koopas'. He lives in a castle and employs most of the land's monster workforce. Why does he need to keep kidnapping her? He's already a king. I don't see the saccharine lands she rules appealing to his taste for lava and perpetual twilight. It must just be some regular ceremony recreating the original successful revolt, like a friendly game between two rival footballing nations."
"By the time you read this, this yearís Slammy Awards will have come and gone. John Cena will have won Superstar of the Year, a Triple H match will have mysteriously won Match of the Year for a third year in a row, and Michael Cole will have convinced you that he is the most annoying on-air personality in company history."
"John Cena vs. Randy Orton! Or as I like to call it: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRUUUUUGGAAAAAAAHHHH!!!"
"Guys come to the door for dates and Phoebe has to make excuses, one or both of the sisters is disapproving and says to slow things down, and Phoebe must learn to find true love. There, I just nutshelled nearly a decade of television for you."
"This is the dank hell of the neverending adventure. To sustain such a narrative there must always be the suffering of the world in which the adventure is crafted... the story will uphold its degradations just so that its hero can, every week, save a tiny fraction of infinity. There is no ending. There is no release. Nothing ever changes except the iconography. Because change is death, and the show refuses death."
"We've been told that this next episode will change the series forever, and put it on the right track. Take it from a guy that's read a ton of comic books in his time. When they say that, they're trying to sell comic books, and it's only true one time in ten after a few weeks have passed."
Chris: This is supposed to be Supermanís origin story, but itís not. Iím sure thatís what they meant it to be at one time, but as the show dragged on, it changed along the way...they could never actually pull the trigger on anything. So it hits a point where absolutely nothing about it make sense. Clark Kent forms the Justice League, he fights Doomsday, he works at the Daily Planet, he marries Lois Lane, but he never becomes Superman, so the show has to go through these crazy acrobatics to explain how all this is happening. And then it becomes a matter of how much Superman stuff they can cram in, because they realize thatís what everyone wants to see, but the one thing that would make it all make some semblance of sense, they canít, or donít do.
David: And every time he meets any of these people, they always have to end it in a way where it can happen again a few years later with Clark wearing a costume. Like, Doomsdayís buried underground, and he can kill Clark later.
Chris: Exactly! So thereís this entire sense of futility and dishonesty to everything about it.
David: Itís all just an overture. Itís all going to happen over again, in a cooler way, that we wonít get to see.
"It's a star-studded reception: Whoopi Goldberg is back as Guinan! Wil Wheaton is back as Wesley Crusher, with no explanation for why he's back! Last we saw him, he was off to explore new planes of existence with the Traveler, aaaand now he's back in a Starfleet uniform. Worf is also back, also with no explanation — but after three films, that's given. For the record, when we last saw him on Deep Space Nine, he had just been appointed Ambassador to the Klingon Empire. Now he's back to pushing buttons on a console."
Annorax: When I first encountered your vessel, it was badly damaged - barely functioning. What if I told you in a blink of an eye, I can restore her to its former condition?
Chuck: Psst, all we have to do is... let the episode end, and you'll be right as rain next week. Trust me, I know it doesn't make any sense but it always works that way for you.
— SFDebris, "Year of Hell"