Main Shaggy Dog Story Discussion

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06:52:40 AM Apr 30th 2014
Would this count as a Shaggy Dog Story, and if so, where would it go?

"There once was a duck Who could not quack So one day the duck went for a walk and fell off a cliff and died. The End"
07:25:37 AM Apr 30th 2014
No, it's just a Downer Ending. The duck isn't setting out to accomplish anything, so there's not really anything to be rendered moot.
01:16:44 PM Oct 9th 2013
Pikmin? No. First, the point of the first game is to get away from Earth and back to Hocotate. Olimar not only achieved that, he also gave the Pikmin a drive to fight and survive instead o suffering as prey to everything else with legs and/or a mouth on the planet. That the ship he worked so hard to rebuild was trashed in the second game shouldn't contribute to the shagginess, since the second game would never happen if he didn't go back to Hocotate anyway.

Second, even so Olimar getting back to Hocotate was crucial to the overarching plot of Pikmin 1 and 2, since without Olimar the company would be bankrupt and later worse(in the —hands— claws of the loan sharks). Olimar coming back with the piece junk is the only solution to the inevitable problem of the debt.

In short, it lacks the pointlessness of a Shaggy Dog Story.
11:19:08 AM Apr 24th 2013
edited by
I think Metal Gear Solid 2 should be added under Video Game examples. I wanted to place it there myself but I thought it would be better to consult here and talk about it first before it was just slapped on there.

First I would like to say that I love MGS 2. One of my favorites in the series, chief reason being the story and character development, but looking at it with the "Shaggy Dog Story" definition...

That game definitely qualifies. MGS 2's plot in the long run, for the protagonist, was a complete waste of time. For the bad guys, it was a total success, but for our hero it was nothing short than a long winded anti climactic conclusion to an ultimately pointless mission. The entire mission was a set up by The Patriot AI, more so than any other MGS game because this time The Patriots had direct interventions and speaking to him directly instead of working through a proxy. The setting itself, the special forces unit Dead Cell that served as antagonists, scenarios, and even the main lead's love interest were all a massive facade for the purpose of recreating the events of the first game; so they can collect battle data, determine if they can manipulate belief, and train someone on par with Solid Snake. In the words of the AI itself, "The exercise was a resounding success."

The main heroes (including Solid Snake, who at one point seemed to outsmart The Patriots by stealing a disk which revealed their identity) gained and won next to nothing. They had immense personal losses. Raiden felt extremely violated and used by the missions end, with his mind unraveling around everything he thought he believed and knew. Otacon loses his sister, who is killed after they barely make up for 10 years of absence, and Solid Snake fails to stop Liquid Ocelot.

Just when the player things Snake got the upper hand with that optic disc, it turns out in the "After Credits" scene that the Patriots had already been dead for 100 years. And in MGS 4 it turns out that all the data in that disk was "a load of crap."

So, does MGS 2 make the cut to go on the page? This is just my case for it, this is not what I want to put on the page. The entry would be much more brief and concise.
01:55:28 PM Jun 4th 2012
Since proper shaggy-dog jokes are awfully long, might we want to make the Jokes folder a subpage? Then if people want to add more jokes they're less likely to break the page.
11:35:10 PM Mar 31st 2012
I always thought the original shaggy dog story went like this: A man lost his dog, put up a lost-dog sign and offered a reward. A guy brings a found dog to his door and he says "This is not my dog, he is shaggy." The same guy comes back with another dog, a shaggy one, and is told "Wrong dog, my dog is shaggier." The guy comes back again and again with shaggier dogs, and is told again and again "No, my dog is shaggier than that." Finally the guy brings him the most extremely thick-furred dog ever, and the man with the lost dog say "No, not THAT shaggy!"

If this is not really a shaggy dog story trope, it must be an example of a different trope. Over The Top, maybe?
07:13:21 AM Apr 19th 2012
I don't know if it's the original, but that's definitely a shaggy dog joke. It's got an anti-punchline that's the hallmark of the style.
03:35:17 PM Jul 25th 2011
City of Glass is a prime example of this. —>

The whole plot is being set up, it makes it appear, our main character is being thrown into what appears to be a detective case, and after going through several hundreds of pages, with our main character snooping around, trying to help his client, it turns out that his client simply left the city, and is nowhere to be found.
09:55:56 AM Jan 14th 2011
I have the feeling The Lovely Bones would qualify, but it's been too long since I read it and I haven't seen the movie, so I'd rather not add an entry. What I remember is that it's about a girl who gets horribly killed (in the book, it's a combination of rape, torture and finally painful murder) who comes back as a ghost to observe her family. Her family searches for her body and some hint as to who killed her, eventually coming to suspect their neighbor (who is, in fact, the guilty party). Her father and sister spend the majority of the book unsuccessfully trying to find proof of the man's guilt, nearly getting themselves killed, ruining their family's name, _finally_ find evidence that the man is guilty — and he skips town and is never caught. Then he falls off a cliff and dies, as an afterthought. They never find the girl's body, and eventually she stops paying any attention to them anyway. The one argument to the book's pointlessness is that everyone develops various relationships, so they at least have something to show for their efforts.

Another pair of quasi-qualifiers would be Piers Anthony's books "Mute" and the entire "Mode" series. Both of them have nearly the exact same ending: "Well, despite all our efforts, the evil emperor has established absolute dominion over all universes, but the point is moot because I can finally confess my love for my companion!"
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