Follow TV Tropes


Fridge / Men in Black

Go To

First film

Fridge Brilliance

  • On a meta level, the casting for J and K is perfect; who better to play the anonymous MiB agents than a Mr. Smith and a Mr. Jones?
  • The entrance tests James and the soldiers/sailors/marines/etc. were given had different reasons for being used than those that are apparent:
    • The first one, where they have to fill out a multiple choice exam, is being able to think outside the box and perhaps even a willingness to break assumed rules. The candidates are sitting down on chairs that, while comfortable, provided no place to write down answers. J broke the assumed rule of "do not touch the table" and thought out of the box, grabbing the table and moving it so that he can write without having to twist himself.
      • Not only that, the only way to take the test is to "make a scene". J makes an awful lot of noise dragging the table over to his chair. MIB agents can't be afraid of making a scene. It's literally why they have neuralizers: So they can do whatever is needed, regardless of the mess, then clean it up afterwards.
    • Advertisement:
    • The second one, the shooting range:
      • This test is about accuracy, critical thinking and tolerance. All other candidates shoot indiscriminately at the alien targets, judging them as hostile just from their looks. James didn't do that; he saw what they were doing, which are inoffensive activities, while, when he looks at the little girl, he's able to spot out she's out of place due to what she is carrying (quantum physics books) and the place where she is (in the middle of a ghetto, surrounded by apparently threatening aliens, without looking scared), which are not normal qualities in a little 8-year-old human girl. Not to mention, that, since there are many shapeshifting aliens, any human that behaves out of character is a serious candidate to being an alien.
      • Another possibility, since J seemed confused by the "aliens" setup and fired a single blind shot, is that he didn't mean to hit the little girl, who was simply included as an "innocent" target you weren't supposed to hit. However, he redeemed himself by coming up with a totally spontaneous plausible-sounding lie, an essential skill of an MiB.
      • The best part is, according to Word of God, J was actually correct about her being the dangerous one. So both could easily work.
    • Advertisement:
    • This is capped off by Zed's line after the shooting test: "Gentlemen, congratulations! You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training. And now if you'll just follow me, we have one more test to administer: an eye exam." In this case, a willingness to take things at face-value and do what's expected of them, whereas J is willing to question his assumptions. A nice, subtle little "up yours" from Zed at the soldier-boys.
    • This extends even before the official tests. The question of whether they know why they're being recruited is a way of seeing whether they're even willing to admit when they don't know anything or if they'll simply fumble around trying to look special.
    • It even extends to their attire. J wears a bright red jacket that makes him stand out from the other candidates who are in dull gray uniforms.
    • Advertisement:
    • It's entirely possible that the other 'candidates' weren't candidates at all, but simply part of the show to evaluate James. As a police detective, James has exactly the skill set the MiB are looking for, and has already displayed at least some of the tenacity an MiB agent needs for the job. The whole 'test' was for show; they knew James was their man and just needed to confirm it (by evaluating his ability to assess a situation rapidly, think outside the box, and not be intimidated—useful skills for both a police officer and a Man In Black).
    • The start of the second movie demonstrates why this is all necessary as well, when a gung-ho agent annoys a really large, really dangerous alien, despite being warned multiple times by J not to do so.
      • T is also explicitly stated to be a Marine Corps veteran who joined Mi B to be a hero, exactly what they didn't really want.
  • Tying into the above fridge brilliance - of course Edwards would be the best candidate of the group for MIB. MIB isn't a military organization, they're basically a customs and police service, trained to resolve a situation quietly before combat is necessary. A soldier of any branch (besides someone who's in the military police) is just not suited to that sort of work. By the time the Air Force or Army Rangers (two other groups represented at the job interview) are sent in, the time for a police officer's skillset has long since passed, unless they're someone who went to city police after time in the military (since they'd be retrained).
  • In the first film, as Jay and Kay speak to Beatrice, she offers lemonade to them, but Jay grimaces while drinking it, not-so-subtly spitting it back into the glass. But the lemonade's bad because the Edgar bug ate all the sugar. Or as an alternative odds are there was too much sugar, since Edgar drank more than what the human body was supposed to handle. When someone is traumatized by an experience they can't quite comprehend, they often repeat the same habits they did in during the event as a form of Muscle Memory.
  • Going from killing witnesses in the comics to neuralizing them in the movies doesn't make sense just because of Adaptational Heroism. Eventually someone in the comics would notice all those people disappearing.
  • In the first film, Frank says of the Arquillian galaxy, "Just because something is important doesn't mean it isn't very, very small." The MacGuffin in both subsequent movies, the Light of Zartha and the Arcnet, end up being baubles also about the size of the jewel in which the galaxy is contained.
    • "Size doesn't matter" is a recurring theme in the first film. Heck, the very first scene follows a dragonfly as it buzzes along, until finally it's squished. And then there's the Noisy Cricket, the bouncy ball that caused the 1977 blackout, K defeating the bug by being eaten by it, etc.
  • K mentions he has regular CAT scans, which makes perfect sense since aliens can assume nearly perfect human disguises. MIB agents have to be regularly tested to make sure they're not a doppelganger.

Fridge Horror

  • The neuralyzers:
    • Assuming they can wipe out entire memories, someone's entire personality, life decisions, changes, thoughts, plans could be obliterated and the victim would essentially be a blank slate who could be manipulated by the user. Now imagine if someone less honorable got their hands on the devices. It may be why they're so aggressive with it (and other tech) in the first place in terms of using it (flashie thingie) or keeping it a secret. Allowing anyone not MIB (and limiting how many field agents have one) to even having an inkling of the sort of technological advantage the organization has could be very very very dangerous.
      • Then again, the MIB seem to be able to adjust how much of the memories they want to wipe out. I mean, Laurel Weaver (Linda Fiorentino's character) is implied to be neuralyzed on a semi-regular basis due to her continuously encountering alien corpses in the morgue, yet every time she's neuralyzed, she'll always be back to being a coroner no matter what.
    • You will never remember your experiences in MIB if you live long enough to retire. All those times you had, and all those agents you meet will be like they never happened. Could explain why K and the other older agents are so closed off.
    • The Neuralyzer is straight out of the comic, though there it is more of a general purpose hypnosis beam. It's used for questionings and memory erasure...and by Agent K to brainwash a middle schooler into going on a shooting spree a la Charles Whitman style when he hits 19.
  • Again with the neuralyzers; in the first film, J is worried that the flashy thing will cause brain cancer if used too much. Imagine what could happen if they used it too much on an epileptic person.
    • The third movie makes this worse, since it's implied that chronic or extended exposure to the neuralyzer ("I might have cooked him too long") can result in very severe brain damage. Maybe J wasn't so far off with the "brain cancer" comment...

Fridge Logic


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: