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Quotes: Strictly Formula
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!

"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

"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."

"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

"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 Star Trek: Voyager

"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"

"Formularisation is compulsory in commercial TV, and has struck STTNG hard. The NCC1701D now has less time than ever to explore strange new worlds - half the season is prebooked for return visits to the Klingons or Cardassians, and guest spots for Barclay, Ma Troi, Q, Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all. Not that I want to see any fewer Romulan Warbirds, Borg motherships etc; I just regret this inevitable loss of novelty in favour of the kind of petty continuity that STTOS tried so hard to avoid."
Justin B. Rye. Star Trek: Mark Two

"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."

"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)"

"I really donít like Will Ferrell. He is the very definition of taking an idea and beating that dead horse till itís a soft red mush on the ground. Yeah, he was funny and fresh on SNL. Anchorman is an incredibly funny movie. But thatís when the charm and hilarity started to fade. Talladega Nights, while still a little funny, was the marked moment where Ferrell jumped the shark as it were. The joke suddenly began to be how many permutations of movies he could make on his screaming man-child formula by simply changing his clothes. We started at screaming man-child as a weatherman, to man-child as a race car driver, to basketball player, to an elf, to a childrenís soccer coach, to finally there were no more clothes and heís just a loud man-child in Step Brothers... However, whereas Ferrell started simply ruining his own ideas he is now ruining other peopleís good ideas in Land of the Lost. Of course, we can make Ferrell a screaming man-child scientist! Brilliant!"
Miles Antwiler on The Land of the Lost

"In the few years immediately before Final Crisis DC had made a lot of mistakes, but theyíd also produced a surprisingly large number of genuinely interesting comics. Slowly but surely, over the next few years, everything interesting in DCís 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 ďNew 52Ē, 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.

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

"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

"It's Kojima's way of saying 'I don't care anymore'. Unlike the charming, intriguing characters of the FOXHOUND unit, or the bizarre drama of the Sons of Liberty unit, these women are one-dimensional ripoffs of much, much better enemies. The Cobra Unit lacked personality as well, but it fit with the themes of carrying an emotion into war and was compensated for with awesome designs. I'm sure their theme was thanks to laziness on Kojima's behalf as well, but the B&B unit takes the cake for being half-assed.
And it should be no surprise that the bosses are uninspired and formulaic, since that's how the whole story is. Rather than introducing a meaningful team of diverse specialists from the corners of the globe, each with their own history and agenda, we're given a squad of utterly dull puppets, blindly carrying out objectives with one emotion, each with forgettable sob-stories told to us by Drebin. The way it's set up, it's like they're trying to make us skip their explanation."

David: Ultraman starts getting pretty sweet on [Lois], including making an absolutely hilarious face mugging for the camera while heís hugging her.
Chris: Tom Welling really does his best work when heís playing a smarmy villainous jerk. Iím starting to get the feeling thatís the only reason why they brought him back for a second episode. Dudeís executive producer of the show, when he has fun doing something, he probably wants it to happen again.
David: Yeah, thereís a total joylessness to when heís actually playing Clark as opposed to when heís playing a dick. Heís just going through the motions. It makes you wonder why heís stuck around on the show for so long, including to the point of getting some degree of creative control.
Chris Sims and David Uzumeri, on Smallville'' ("Kent")

"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...As is typical, she doesn't drive all the way to see her buddy, she drives there for the same reason she drives anywhere, to be aggressive, or, barring that, passive aggressive...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")

"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?"

"This is not chaos," Martin insists. "I don't believe in chaos in songwriting. There is an order to it. It either makes sense or it doesn't. This chord goes into this chord for a chorus. It's two plus two."
Cloud defends a similar position. "We both to this day still feel there is really no 'art' in most music," he asserts. "'Art' isn't in everything. 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"

"The first episode of Pokťmon 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"

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.

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