Quotes: Strictly Formula

    open/close all folders 

    Film — Live-Action 

The reason that we ended up doing so many rehashes of episodes was there was a point where Brannon [Braga] — whether he was tired, or it was just the pressure of trying to get the show done — was not really willing to hear a variety of ideas.
David A. Goodman, Star Trek: Enterprise: Uncharted Territory


"They really are all the same, aren't they?" she said to the three-eyed teddy bear. "You know it's going to be Mary the Maid, or someone like her, and there's going to be two men and she will end up with the nice one, and there has to be misunderstandings, and they never do anything more than kiss and it's absolutely guaranteed that, for example, an exciting civil war or an invasion by trolls or even a scene with any cooking in it is not going to happen. The best you can expect is a thunderstorm.
Glenda Sugarbean, Unseen Academicals

    Live-Action TV 

Mandy Baxter: I want to see how that ends.
Kristin Baxter: One dance mom yells at the other dance mom, and then they both get yelled at by that big teacher.
Mandy Baxter: How do you know that?
Kristin Baxter: Because it's every episode.


It's the one where they go somewhere and meet a Pokemon with a problem, and the gang tries to solve that problem, and Team Rocket tries to mess it up. It's that one.
Platypus Comix, "First Kids WB airing of Pokemon"

    Web Animation 

Yahtzee: Turns out a big chunk of this "online-multiplayer"-focused game is a single-player campaign. Oh, Nintendo, you poor sod! Someone suggested making an online shooter and was smart enough not to stand on the trapdoor to the piranha tank, so you had to reach a compromise, but you just couldn't fight the old instincts!
Nintendo exec: *cries aloud as his hand refuses to shake the dev's*

    Web Original 

I find the rigid visual schematic and the close-cropped A-B-C framing and editing of Adam-12 to be beautifully spare and clean, matched by the almost kabuki-like scripting that turns the most mundane actions into stylized rituals, repeated over and over again until they achieve mythic, iconic status. When Malloy and Reed drop down into their new, more powerful 1973 AMC Matador, solidly chunking those doors closed, and begin to roll down the mean streets of L.A.―over and over again, episode after episode, with little variation―the effect eventually becomes hypnotic.
Paul Mavis on Adam-12

One of the most popular 90s shows was Batman: The Animated Series. In this show, our caped crusader Batman would confront a villain/minor life event of the week, scowl at it, use something on his utility belt, learn a valuable life lesson and then he would share a private joke with his faithful butler before the credits rolled. It was all very tidy, and there was no argument that this was how the world worked. Children everywhere aspired to be Batman, and to one day share private jokes with butlers of their own.

But if there's one good thing I can say about Voyager, it's that it reached such a predictable level of sameness, that it became like comfort food television. Just like ordering a Big Mac, you always knew what you would see when you opened that box.

Of course in earlier films there are tonnes of examples of villains not killing Bond when offered the chance, or constructing ridiculous secret lairs, or putting Bond in elaborate deathtraps. However, this is the first time that it felt like these things were being done strictly to adhere to a formula. There’s no reason for Mr. Big to have a top-secret underground cave-system headquarters, but other Bond villains do, so why not? There’s no obligation on him to keep a shark tank in that headquarters, but there has to be a deathtrap, right? In fact, if I’m not mistaken, it was this movie which inspired the “unnecessarily slow dipping mechanism” from Austin Powers.

A 'reimagining' courtesy of Tim Burton (read: take original material, make it darker yet somehow simultaneously goofier, insert Danny Elfman soundtrack, sit back, make millions)

"Recycling is just as good as creating. Better, really, because then you don’t have bitches like this Alan Moore character with some personal connection to the work muddying up the issue."

Some crime show. You don't know any of the characters, but you still pay attention to the plot. Abortion doctor murdered. The Christian fanatic is too obvious a suspect. Maybe it's the doctor's wife. Maybe it's his brother; they were professional rivals, and the deceased just won an award. What does an abortionist win an award for, anyway? The cop's partner wants him to do something about his anger issues. Isn't that always the way?

    Web Video 

Jay: The Marine 1: U.S. Marine John Triton returns home, his very attractive citation needed wife Kate is kidnapped, and he busts some heads to rescue her. The Marine 2: U.S. Marine Joe Linwood returns to his hotel room, his very attractive citation needed wife Robin is kidnapped, and he busts some heads to rescue her.
V1: I can see where this is going.
OSW Review on The Marine 3: Homefront

All The Little Mermaid did was put that godforsaken Disney musical 90s formula in place.

Tell me if you recognise any of these:
Quirky underdog meets a hot attractive babe
But some unfunny bullies try to stop my goofy ways
My quirky sidekick and/or grandma help me on my path
While using an annyoing voice and jokes about my ass

Come on guys, you liked it the first eighteen times, surely you'll like it fifty-six more.
The Nostalgia Critic, The Adam Sandler Song

"The plot, in a general sense, involves a villain trying to get a hold of an alien artifact that will give him control of the universe. You may remember this plot from every single fucking plot these goddamn Marvel-movies have ever had!"

    Real Life 

Tarzan is always knocked on the head and taken captive; he always escapes; there is always a beautiful princess or high priestess who loves him and assists him; there is always a loyal friend who fights beside him, very much in the Queenpeg tradition... But no matter how difficult the adventure, Tarzan, clad only in a loincloth with no weapon save a knife (the style is comforting to imitate), wins against all odds and returns to his shadowy wife.
Gore Vidal, "Tarzan Revisited"

Tom & Jerry is about as uninspired a cartoon series as was ever created. It's pure generic cartoon thinking of the time. What is a cartoon? Uh... it's where a cat chases a mouse and there is lots of hurt and noise and mayhem. It's hard to be more basic than that, so Bill and Joe didn't fix something that wasn't broken for 15 or 16 years. For that whole period they didn't even try to create new characters.

We both to this day still feel there is really no 'art' in most music...People like to think everything is art. Arranging flowers, writing poems, making a latte—these are just actions, not art. Plugging in an electric guitar, playing four chords, adding bass and drums, and singing words in key is no more 'art' than a guy opening his tool box, putting on a 9/16 socket, replacing a belt, and getting the lawn mower running again.
Matt Johnson interviewing Starflyer 59, Bandoppler, "The Cool War"

I don't read the scripts any more very often because I know what's going to happen. It's all been done before. It's a variation on a variation on a variation, so consequently when I show up on the set I know my lines just long enough to say them and forget them immediately. So if we need one or two takes more than I'd planned for I'm in trouble, and the other actors know this and they're like, 'Say the lines perfectly or they'll make us do it again!' But what can I say? If you're not inspired to learn the lines, it doesn't matter. Because you can't tell from the final product... I'm sure there's some guy in a factory in Detroit whose sees a little nick on the bolt and goes, 'Shall we start the car all over again?' It's the same thing. It's a factory.
Robert Beltran on his Star Trek: Voyager experience