main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Quotes: Strictly Formula
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Traditional American proverb

Quotes from works

Ass: OH NO! Look who it is!
Musty: It's Team Rockhead, of course! They show up EVERY episode!
Ass: Yes, but they usually show up six minutes into the show! This time, they didn't show up until six minutes and twenty seconds!
Messy (entering): Ha! Never underestimate the element of surprise!

"The first episode of Pokémon that aired on network TV was episode #42, "The Problem with Paras." There are over 700 Pokemon episodes in existence now, so you might not remember this particular one. 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"

"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

Mega Man: Hey, is it noon, yet?
Dr. Light: Just about.
Mega Man: (groans, turns on TV set)
Dr. Wily: WAH HA HA HA!! I have created—!
Mega Man: Eight Master Robots and you plan to take over the world. Sigh... can we just get this over with? My balls hurt.
Egoraptor, Awesome Man

Quotes on works

Andy Warhol: Everybody looks alike and acts alike, and we’re getting more and more that way. I think everybody should be a machine. I think everybody should like everybody.
Q: Is that what Pop Art is all about?
Warhol: Yes. It’s liking things.
Q:: And liking things is like being a machine?
Warhol: Yes, because you do the same thing every time. You do it over and over again.
Art News, 1963 interview

"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 and 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."

"I know general average folks appreciate cartooning talent because I witness it all the time. Almost everyone. But when I got in the business I found out that the business itself didn't appreciate the people who are the reason the business has a market at all. Cartoonists were at the bottom of the totem pole. Executives confer with "writers" and gave them the sole upfront credit for each cartoon. Now when I think of writers, I think of people who have something original to say and the gift of verbal communication to pass on their unique points of view to the public (i.e. Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ted Geisel). Novelists, maybe some old time poets, journalists, people who have a burning desire inside to share their thoughts about subjects of which they have personal knowledge - like Ted Geisel, have a great imagination and unique communicative skills. There is a another kind of writer though who has no particular point of view, no knowledge of the subjects he writes about, no imagination and no love for cartoons - and not the least amount of skill or talent for communicating anything fresh or interesting. These are "writers-for-hire" a kind of wimpy mercenary who will write anything for money on demand. This is what we had in the cartoon business in the 80s. A "writer-for-hire" would write a superhero story one day, then a Smurfs the next day and follow it up with a "Muppet-Babies". never- ever would they be caught dead talking to the artists about what they would like to draw or what they thought would be funny."

"With the Casper series, you never knew what picture you were working on, because they were all exactly the same... I think the problem lay in the attitude of the management. The bosses would go to screenings with a list of all the gags in a film on a clipboard. They'd put a check after each gag that got a laugh and use it in the next picture. If a gag got a laugh in three pictures in a row, it became a standard and they'd use it in every picture after that. They had a real nuts-and-bolts approach to making films."
Lee Mishkin, a Famous Studios animator summing up the Casper the Friendly Ghost shorts in a nutshell.

"[I]t bears repeating that this stunt was driven solely by Marvel's sales and marketing boys. They wanted it, they pushed for it, and they even wanted to make it twice as long as it ended up being. They were so impressed with the success of the "Age of Apocalypse" event done with the X-Men books that they thought it could easily be replicated with the Spider-Man line. The biggest difference between the two stunts was that "Age of Apocalypse" was a well planned, conceptually strong, story-driven project that was generated by the X-Men editorial staff and writers. The Scarlet Spider stunt, on the other hand, was something that the Spider-Man editors and writers were pressured into doing, and was agreed to with absolutely no story concept or overall theme in place. Once it was agreed to, the Spider-Man team had to scramble desperately to throw something—ANYTHING—together in a very short amount of time, which could be marketed and promoted and hyped... and the fact that the deadlines were horrendous didn't exactly help matters."
Editor/Writer Glenn Greenberg on The Clone Saga

"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"

"Voyager won’t accept itself. It won’t believe it’s really in this situation in this area of the galaxy and that these are really the prospects in front of them. They just won’t embrace it. They fight against it. There have been more episodes that have taken place on Earth, or alternate Earth, or past Earth than I think the original series did in its whole run, and the original series was set over in the Alpha Quadrant. Kirk and company never went to present day 23rd century Earth, their contemporaneous Earth, ever. Gene wouldn’t do it. Voyager is on the other side of the galaxy, and they have already run into some alien race recreating Starfleet Academy. They’ve run into Ferengi, the Romulans. It doesn’t feel like they are that far away from home. It just doesn’t feel like they are in that much trouble out there. At its heart, Voyager secretly wishes it was Next Generation...‘Just let us be normal Star Trek.’"

"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 Voyager experience

"New Quadrant, same old cliches."
SFDebris on Star Trek: Voyager, "Heroes and Demons"

"To prepare for this recap, I (along with my family) watched a few Voyager episodes from different seasons. And even in the early season one episodes, there seemed to already be a pattern in place in terms of plot. Namely: there's some problem that threatens the ship at the beginning of the episode. The problem may be external, or something caused by the crew of Voyager itself. A healthy amount of time is spent with various permutations of technobabble phrases, until eventually the right combination is spoken."
The Agony Booth, "The Fight"

"We should talk at some point about the infamous Open Air segment in which a trio of fans, including future series writer Chris Chibnall, gang up on Pip and Jane Baker and complain that their work was cliched and unintelligible. Much of the focus these days goes on Chris Chibnall, who looks like the geeky teenager he is, and the supposed irony of him going after Pip and Jane Baker given his own scripts... But let's look instead at the Bakers, who are, I think, far more disturbingly revealing.

They make two arguments that seem on the surface to be contradictory. On the one hand they insist that they don't want to patronize the audience and want to leave things for them to figure out. On the other, when Chibnall complains that the story was cliched monsters and corridors stuff, Jane Baker rather icily notes that she thought
Doctor Who fans liked traditional stuff. There's something really unsettling about this. It's difficult to see how feeding Doctor Who fans a steady diet of generic and traditional adventures could be called challenging. Indeed, 'here's the same thing you've been enjoying for decades done with no changes' seems the very definition of patronizing television... They're writing for children and, worse, doing the thing that no good children's entertainment ever does — talking down to them."

"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. The characters, although humanized by the scripts (and obviously by the performances), simultaneously operate outside the realm of reality due to this stylization of the visuals and editing...for a show like Adam-12 where not only its format but its very construction, both visually and aurally, are so rigidly formalized, it's eventually going to become difficult to maintain viewer interest over the years unless something new is added."
Paul Mavis on Adam-12

"Lana goes ALL THE WAY from Metropolis to Smallville just to burst in on Lex. She doesn't try calling, because, well, I guess that wouldn't be dramatic enough...She charges in. 'I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR ANY MORE OF YOUR LIES, LEX!'

Lex, actual line, says, 'This is the part where I say, 'What are you talking about?'.'

They poke fun at how bad and formulaic their own scene is. That's pretty pathetic."
Neal Bailey on Smallville ("Splinter")

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

"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)"

"We could all go back and forth about whether Wonder Woman needed a redesign or not but what she didn't need is the butchering that occurred to her character. I understand the desire to make Wonder Woman a more interesting and appealing hero. For someone so famous, very few people actually care about Wonder Woman enough to read her comic — or for that matter watch her animated movie, a shame because that movie kicked major ass. Anyway, to make the Amazon Princess a more marketable character, they decided to kill off her people and turn her into a vigilante, street fighting hero. That's right, folks. To make Wonder Woman more unique, they essentially gave her Superman's origin and Batman's MO. To solidify her place on the Big Three, they made her MORE LIKE THE OTHER TWO. It's an infinite loop of insanity so dizzying that thinking about it for too long induces fits of vomiting and the urge to just lie down and go to sleep forever."

"In the few years immediately before Final Crisis DC had made a lot of mistakes, but they’d also produced a surprisingly large number of genuinely interesting comics. Slowly but surely, over the next few years, everything interesting in DC’s line has been weeded out and replaced with identical dull tortured heroes doing nothing. Final Crisis seems to have been the point at which DC editorial decided that experimentation and creator-driven stories were a bad idea, and at which they started to put together the plan for “New 52”, the production line of editorially-driven crossover fodder that today masquerades as a comic line. It seems to have been the point at which they decided that their audience really weren't readers, but purely consumers."
Andrew Hickey on Final Crisis.

"When Silent Hill wanted you to run around the level it kidnapped your daughter and posted bloody riddles which left you staring at a broken piano for a full minute, and enraptured by every second. Resident Evil says, 'You need a [BLUE]emblem' and waits for you to piss off and find it. They connected a random number generator to a dictionary instead of hiring a designer. They didn't even say 'you need a crowbar, maybe check the garage' because that level of object recognition gets tiring when you install 50 fetch quests instead of a plot."

"Final Fantasy VIII isn't really a step forward for the series, but not a step backwards, either. It's a hop to the side... This is the new face of Final Fantasy. From now on, expect the norm to be Japanese teen-idol heroes, millions' worth of eye-popping special effects, epic Hollywood storylines, and a general sense of substance being overidden by style and high-end fluff. Success can sometimes be the worst thing to happen to a creative outfit."

"In one of the behind the scenes featurettes, the developers flat out admit that they think up the spectacular set pieces first and then come up with the plot around them, and by Christ does it show, because these games are getting as formulaic as a Scooby-Doo episode. Who wants to bet the lost treasure at the end will turn out to have been deliberately lost because there's some negative effect surrounding it that the bad guys want to weaponize? And that Drake will pull off the main villain's face and it'll turn out to be Old Man Withers!"
Zero Punctuation on Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

"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?"

Calvin: Have you ever noticed that superheroes usually only do the same thing each time they appear? All they ever do is stop some power-mad supervillain from taking over the world! They need to do something different. I mean, it must get boring.
"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!"

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy