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Silly Straggler

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Every crowd has a sole member lagging behind it.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Stratadrake on Mar 25th 2013 at 8:02:06 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

Do We Have This One?


Any time you have a group of individuals acting together, there will often be just one individual out of the crowd who who trips it up. For example, in a crowd of people running from one location to another, one member will invariably trip and fall behind, or otherwise lag behind in general.

Why? Because it's funny. It's unexpected (Genre Savviness aside).

Loosely related to Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking.


Film - live action

  • In Jumanji, the massive animal stampede includes an exhausted rhinoceros trying to keep up as it follows behind the rest.

Film - animated

  • In Pixar's Brave, when the three brothers are running downstairs in the castle, one of them trips. The director's commentary notes that the animators added it solely because it's funny.

Video Games

  • Orochi's in-game debut in Okami involves his eight heads rising up and turning in unison to face the player ... then the Thunder-elemental head (on the far side from the others) wakes up late and looks around wildly, wondering what's going on.
  • In Paper Mario, one member of the Shy Squad is repeatedly seen tripping and falling behind the crowd, then scrambling to catch up to the rest.

Feedback: 14 replies

Mar 25th 2013 at 11:10:38 PM

^ I don't agree, or at the very least, it deserves a split. This trope isn't about the last item of something being smaller, or even different than all the rest, except for being slower.

I can't come up with any examples at the moment, but I'm sure I've seen it a lot.

Mar 26th 2013 at 4:54:33 AM

Machete: after the massive breakthrough of weaponized cars and bikes, the last one through is a hand-pushed icecream cart.

Mar 26th 2013 at 8:01:24 AM

Agree with Wacky: The Runt At The End is (often) done for drama. This is merely for Rule Of Funny, and IMHO the in-page examples very much do not sync up.

Mar 26th 2013 at 8:44:09 AM

So The Runt At The End is when the last in a series of people is different and is usually Played For Drama, while Silly Straggler is when the last in a series (of people or creatures) is The Klutz of the group. Sounds like a Sub Trope if not outright But More Specific.

Mar 26th 2013 at 9:47:17 AM

Wacky Meets Practical: Well, The Runt At The End can be played for comedy too, not just for drama.

Mar 26th 2013 at 11:04:19 AM

^ Why are you addressing me? I didn't say anything about drama or comedy, that was Strata. Tropes Are Flexible, so if the only difference between the two tropes was rather or not they were played for drama or played for laughs, I wouldn't be supporting a split.

The Runt At The End is about having a group of something, and the last item observed is smaller or otherwise visually different than the rest.

Silly Straggler is about having a crowd of people running, and one of them is always at the end of the group trying to catch up with the others, often played for laugh. It could be smaller, or visually different than the rest, but not necessarily.

Mar 26th 2013 at 3:13:38 PM

On a sidenote, I think The Runt At The End may need some cleanup of its own.

Mar 26th 2013 at 3:34:27 PM

So The Runt At The End is when the last in a series of people is visibly different (i.e. smaller), while Silly Straggler is when the last in a series of people is The Klutz? I don't think it's The Same But More Specific anymore, but the description should probably say something about the former trope's relationship with the latter.

Mar 30th 2013 at 8:47:06 PM

Jun 13th 2018 at 2:31:40 PM

I'd say this could be used for any "flurry plus one" situation, doesn't have to be people or creatures, or even for Rule Of Funny.

For example: - The movie Seems Like Old Times had a pack of dogs of various sizes from Saint Bernard to Chihuahua. At one point the entire pack comes barreling through the scene, followed moments later by the Chihuahua, which circles around confusedly then runs to follow them. - The anime Gunsmith Cats, at one point the girls and the ATF agent are holed up in an office when the bad guys all start firing machine guns at the door, when they stop one extra shot is fired. Cracks me up every time. - A similar gunfire situation on the movie Commando to the one in Gunsmith Cats, but it's a plant shed with just Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Jun 13th 2018 at 11:41:34 PM

Film - Live Action

  • Patton. In one scene, a group of Bedouins pack up and leave an area quickly. At the end of the scene, a lamb appears and runs after the retreating group.

Jun 15th 2018 at 2:26:27 AM

Running gag in The Cartoon History Of The Universe, in which every barbarian horde always has one guy lagging behind.

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