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Always A Live Transmission (Needs More Examples)

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TV transmissions are never recordings, they are always live.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
ElBuenCuate on Jan 2nd 2019 at 4:44:53 PM
Last Edited By:
ElBuenCuate on Mar 18th 2019 at 5:17:10 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Needs a Better Name

I made a second draft for examples of shows filmed with no retakes in case anyone want to see it.


In fiction land, it doesn't matter if you are watching a series, a movie, a commercial, or even a cartoon, they are always live, therefore they can always be interrupted in universe, or the actor will always slip in a horrible way, with no chance of a second take. Is specially ridiculous when is implied that they are doing the exact same thing with each take, yet it's always live.

Very likely that the show will be ruined in some way, or for one of the actors to do something that angers a higher up, but no one is able to stop it, since everybody is seeing it at that moment.

Is important to point that this trope is not "a show that happens to be live" or "a show that happens to be interrupted". This is for a show that is being transmitted live when it would actually make more sense for it to be recorded. Doesn't apply for transmissions that are expected to be live, like news or sports. Is specially ridiculous if done with commercials.

Very prone to be a Coincidental Broadcast, and depending on the series, algo for The Television Talks Back.


Examples

    open/close all folders 
    Anime and Manga 
  • Lelouch from Code Geass exploits this trope at least twice for his schemes, duping his marks (Mao in the first season, and Schneizel in the second) into thinking they are communicating with him live via a TV screen, whereas in reality, he prerecorded his lines (correctly predicting what they would say) and uses this distraction to sneak up on them within range of his Geass.
  • There's a scene in Dragon Ball Z where Cell invades a television studio to announce his Cell Games. In the manga he just barges into the news room which could be justified as a live broadcast, but in the anime he walks through the front door and flies up to the top of the building, crashing through each floor on the way. And the Z Fighters are able to track him by channel hopping, implying EVERY show that studio broadcasts is live.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!: In the episode "Cartoon Buffoon", Dedede gets a bunch of the residents of Cappy Town to work for him to make a cartoon. On the day the cartoon premiers, he and the crew have the animation broadcast and the voice work done and recorded live on television. This also applies to the cartoon that Dedede has his own soldiers make for him at the end of the episode after the first cartoon bombs, since his minions are actually drawing and inking in real time while feeding the projector.

    Comic Books 
  • In Uncle Scrooge story "The Lentils of Babylon", the Beagle Boys interrupt a live commercial.

    Film - Animated 
  • In Cats Don't Dance we have Woolie, an elephant that is the mascot of Mammoth Studios, they use him as their Vanity Plate (parodying MGM). Instead of filming him doing his stunt and playing it for all their movies, Woolie has to do the act for every new movie of the studio.
  • Toy Story 2. At the end, when the villain has lost the toys he was set to sell for millions, we see him in a commercial where he breaks into tears in the middle of it.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Dirty Work features a commercial for a car dealership which is broadcast live. Mitch and Sam interrupt the ad by revealing that the cars are all "loaded with dead hookers!" (actually, Sam and Mitch hired a bunch of prostitutes to play dead), then use the stolen spotlight to advertise their own revenge-for-hire business. And the commercial actually earns them a bunch of new customers.
  • Space Jam. Michael Jordan's kids are watching Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner, when out of nowhere Porky comes in to say everyone is needed immediately and everybody leaves the scene. The kids are left with only an empty background to see.

    Literature 
  • In the Thursday Next series, all literary characters are actually Animated Actors, and they reenact their scenes every time someone reads or rereads their book. So outside influences (or the characters' own off-page lives) can make even published stories play differently from one reading to the next. For example, in the The Eyre Affair, Thursday pursues the villain Acheron Hades into the pages of Jane Eyre, and the resulting chaos permanently changes the ending... to the one we're familiar with.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Brady Bunch,
    • In one episode, Cindy won a spot on a college bowl-type quiz show for elementary school kids. Sure enough, the show was broadcast live, and Cindy froze up when the red camera light came on. And the light was on continuously for duration of the show; no breaks for commercials or anything.
    • Subverted the episode "Getting Davy Jones", Jan is desperately trying to meet The Monkees' lead singer while he's in town. When Davy is being interviewed on a local TV program, they race down to the TV studio to catch him before the show is over. When they get there, the station page can't figure out why a teen girl wants to meet the head of the Dept. of Sanitation so much! That's who was being interviewed that day; shows were taped (exactly) 24 hours in advance.
  • In Head of the Class, Mr. Moore takes an acting gig playing an Insane Proprietor in a series of late night commercials, all of which air live.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: From season 11 onward, the show is broadcast via Kinga Forrester's proprietary liquid video technology, which is great at streaming video but terrible for recording. So instead of recording the show's opening theme, Kinga forces Jonah and the rest of the cast to reenact it, every episode. This hasn't resulted in the opening song going off-script (yet), but every Cold Open ends with Jonah getting rudely pulled away from whatever he's doing so he can start the reenactment.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Homestar Runner universe, the inner fourth wall is flimsy enough that even a cartoon can somehow be a live broadcast. The episode "best thing" features the cartoon Limozeen: But They're In Space!, which gets canceled in the middle of broadcasting the pilot episode. The cartoon characters have just enough time to react to their impending cancellation.
    Teeg Dougland: I'm afraid I've got some bad news, boys. Our pilot episode has been canceled.
    Larry, Gary, Perry, and Mary: What?
    Gary: Oh well. I guess I won't be needing this anymore. [He throws his guitar offscreen.]

    Western Animation 
  • In Rugrats' espisode "The Word of the Day", Angelica overhears a kids' show host saying a "fun phrase" (Miss Carol, the host, isn't very fond of kids) so Angelica decides to say that phrase during the show. When it goes live everyone hears Angelica saying the word, and the exasperated Miss Carol follows through, ruining her career. It might be justified since they were holding a contest, but seem unlikely that a little kids show might go live.
  • South Park
    • One episode has the new Terrance and Philip show being shown live when Kyle and his group, Millenials against Canada, takes over the studio. It's notable in that the show is backed by Netflix who dont do live shows.
    • The dilemma of "With Apologies To Jesse Jackson" is pivoted when Randy says the n-word on Wheel of Fortune, causing a nationwide scandal. The characters are sure to note the show was broadcast live, which isn't the case for its real life counterpart.

Indexes: Metafiction Demanded This Index, Comedy Tropes,

Feedback: 29 replies

Jan 3rd 2019 at 1:11:54 AM

  • Capitalized the title so the proposal can be launched properly.
  • Examples section
    • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
    • Added media section folders as per Media Categories.
    • Put media sections in alphabetical order.
    • Corrected spelling (immediatly).
    • Broke up an overly long sentence.
    • Corrected punctuation (added commas).
    • Made some small changes (adding and changing words) to improve the English.

Jan 3rd 2019 at 5:35:37 AM

There's an old draft for something like this, All Television Is Live. It hasn't updated in over four years.

Jan 3rd 2019 at 6:08:36 PM

^ Would you say it is better to try to revive that, or continue here?

Jan 3rd 2019 at 6:18:36 PM

  • Reconstructed in The Simpsons episode, "A Star Is Burns", Burns makes a film celebrating, expectedly, himself. In one scene he falls off his horse and is dragged aimlessly on set. According to Burns, they did actually do twenty re-takes of the scene. That was still the best one.

Jan 3rd 2019 at 6:42:09 PM

Also from The Simpsons, the episode "Rosebud" has Mr. Burns interrupt all television programming (including shows like The Soul Mass Transit System and Bumblebee Man's sitcom) until Homer returns his stuffed bear, Bobo.

Jan 3rd 2019 at 7:55:25 PM

^^^

Merging wouldn't hurt. Since this was just started, you can close this one and take over the old one. Start by implementing what you have here. ;)

Jan 3rd 2019 at 8:12:18 PM

On the other hand I see no problem with moving the examples to this draft instead. Either way, we only need one.

Jan 7th 2019 at 2:17:46 AM

  • Lelouch from Code Geass exploits this trope at least twice for his schemes, duping his marks (Mao in the first season, and Schneizel in the second) into thinking they are communicating with him live via a TV screen, whereas in reality, he prerecorded his lines (correctly predicting what they would say) and uses this distraction to sneak up on them within range of his Geass.

Jan 4th 2019 at 4:00:42 PM

An episode of South Park has the new Terrance and Philip show being shown live when Kyle and his group, Millenials against Canada, takes over the studio. Its notable in that the show is backed by Netflix who dont do live shows.

Jan 4th 2019 at 3:43:36 PM

Also from South Park:

  • The dilemma of "With Apologies To Jesse Jackson" is pivoted when Randy says the n-word on Wheel of Fortune, causing a nationwide scandal. The characters are sure to note the show was broadcast live, which isn't the case for its real life counterpart.

Jan 4th 2019 at 4:44:09 PM

There's a scene in Dragon Ball Z where Cell invades a television studio to announce his Cell Games. In the manga he just barges into the news room which could be justified as a live broadcast, but in the anime he walks through the front door and flies up to the top of the building, crashing through each floor on the way. And the Z Fighters are able to track him by channel hopping, implying EVERY show that studio broadcasts is live.

Jan 5th 2019 at 9:42:47 PM

For the Code Geass one, I wonder if the better pothole for "predicting what they would say" is The Tape Knew You Would Say That.

  • Subverted in Twenty Four, Jack Bauer is in a desperate scramble to find the latest Terrorist Without A Cause group before they can execute Omar Hassan, a foreign leader trying to broker a peace treaty. Only when Jack's team finds him do they realize the broadcast was never live, and Hassan's throat was slit long before they arrived.

Jan 6th 2019 at 3:03:23 AM

Comic Book example:

Jan 6th 2019 at 11:02:46 AM

Please add a foldercontrol.

Jan 7th 2019 at 2:18:16 AM

@sgamer82: Thanks, I've updated my example write-up.

Jan 12th 2019 at 5:35:23 PM

Subverted in a different Brady Bunch episode. In Getting Davy Jones, Jan is desperately trying to meet The Monkees' lead singer while he's in town. When Davy is being interviewed on a local TV program, they race down to the TV studio to catch him before the show is over. When they get there, the station page can't figure out why a teen girl wants to meet the head of the Dept. of Sanitation so much! That's who was being interviewed that day; shows were taped (exactly!) 24 hours in advance.

Jan 13th 2019 at 6:57:23 AM

I think we need to separate out "live when it makes no sense" from "no retakes, no editors, all the mistakes".

Jan 13th 2019 at 11:30:32 AM

^ You think that would be better? Might work, but at least the only full example of "no retakes" would be the Simpsons one, and maybe Futurama, which is not outright stated.

Jan 15th 2019 at 7:16:01 AM

Thirty Rock: In one episode Jack is having relationship troubles as it turns out he is the spitting image of an actor who plays the Generalissimo, the villain of a telenovel that his girlfriend's grandmother loves causing her to dislike him. As the network executive, Jack simply tries to have the character killed off. But the show is apparently live, allowing the actor, who refuses to lose his job, to go off script and make his character become immortal.

Jan 14th 2019 at 6:48:18 AM

I'm pretty sure the Futurama example is explicitly "no retakes" rather than a live broadcast. When Bender starts going off-script, the director wants to reshoot it properly—but the other actor, Calculon, is a prima donna who insists that he never does second takes. So that's how Bender's improv winds up in the final show.

Jan 14th 2019 at 10:42:05 AM

^ Alright, thanks for adding more information there.

Anyone thinks that "unnecessary live broadcast" should be different than "no retakes"?

Jan 18th 2019 at 8:38:37 PM

EDITED to add some more examples:

Film:

  • Dirty Work features a commercial for a car dealership which is broadcast live. Mitch and Sam interrupt the ad by revealing that the cars are all "loaded with dead hookers!" (actually, Sam and Mitch hired a bunch of prostitutes to play dead), then use the stolen spotlight to advertise their own revenge-for-hire business. And the commercial actually earns them a bunch of new customers.

Live Action TV:

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: From season 11 onward, the show is broadcast via Kinga Forrester's proprietary liquid video technology, which is great at streaming video but terrible for recording. So instead of recording the show's opening theme, Kinga forces Jonah and the rest of the cast to reenact it, every episode. This hasn't resulted in the opening song going off-script (yet), but every Cold Open ends with Jonah getting rudely pulled away from whatever he's doing so he can start the reenactment.

Web Animation:

  • In the Homestar Runner universe, the inner fourth wall is flimsy enough that even a cartoon can somehow be a live broadcast. The episode "best thing" features the cartoon Limozeen: But They're In Space!, which gets canceled in the middle of broadcasting the pilot episode. The cartoon characters have just enough time to react to their impending cancellation.
    Teeg Dougland: I'm afraid I've got some bad news, boys. Our pilot episode has been canceled.
    Larry, Gary, Perry, and Mary: What?
    Gary: Oh well. I guess I won't be needing this anymore. [He throws his guitar offscreen.]

Jan 23rd 2019 at 6:39:58 AM

Literature:

  • In the Thursday Next series, all literary characters are actually Animated Actors, and they reenact their scenes every time someone reads or rereads their book. So outside influences (or the characters' own off-page lives) can make even published stories play differently from one reading to the next. For example, in the The Eyre Affair, Thursday pursues the villain Acheron Hades into the pages of Jane Eyre, and the resulting chaos permanently changes the ending... to the one we're familiar with.

Jan 25th 2019 at 7:08:28 PM

I remember one episode of The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius where Jimmy gets his own show which he tries to focus on science, but then it gets hijacked by Cindy and Libby...it ends in disaster. I don't know how likely is that a regular public school would have a live show, so I want to ask if that could count as an example.

Jan 26th 2019 at 4:42:48 PM

  • Kirby Right Back At Ya: In the episode "Cartoon Buffoon", Dedede gets a bunch of the residents of Cappy Town to work for him to make a cartoon. On the day the cartoon premiers, he and the crew have the animation broadcast and the voice work done and recorded live on television. This also applies to the cartoon that Dedede has his own soldiers make for him at the end of the episode after the first cartoon bombs.

Jan 27th 2019 at 12:13:34 AM

Video Game example:

  • Final Fantasy VIII: It's a plot point that because of unidentified atmospheric interference (actually it's from Adel's prison satellite, but you don't know that yet) that over the air broadcasting is next to impossible. The Galbadian Army actually invades another country just for their radio tower, which allows them to make the first such broadcast in years: a live address by the Galbadian president...which goes to hell when Seifer takes him hostage.

Feb 7th 2019 at 1:47:54 PM

Vive la Reception?

Real Life: Played straight in the case of Christine Chubbuck's suicide on live TV. Once she became an hero, the camera reportedly pulled slowly back for a good few minutes, because the news crew were trying to figure out whether or not Christine was pulling some sort of sick joke. Why? Because it was the 70s; the news station didn't think that their reporters would kill themselves live on air.

Mar 18th 2019 at 8:32:20 AM

Live-Action TV

  • Brutally subverted in Season 8 of Twenty Four. After President Omar Hassan has been kidnapped by terrorists wanting to send a political message, Jack Bauer and the CTU are able to find where the transmission is being broadcast from and storm the building, just as the terrorists are about to kill President Hassan. Until it turns out they recorded the footage and broadcast it after the fact.

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