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It Works Itself

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Just throw away the manual, already.
Sometimes something is supposed to be so intuitive, the work needed from an actual person is minimal. This is rarely the case, but the thought of making something ridiculously easy is appealing.

This usually comes in two forms:

  1. An advertising slogan that touts the supposed intuitiveness of the product. Even accepting it as hyperbole, it's still rarely the case.
  2. Joking about how cliché or awesome an idea is so that a writer or director will supposedly know all they have to do just from that idea.

A Sister Trope to You Can't Miss It.

Examples of Variant 1:


  • Apple is fond of saying "Mac - it just works". For people who have never had any troubles with Windows PCs, this is a reason Apple comes across as insulting and condescending.
    • Or for people who have had troubles with Windows PCs but also with Macs. Of course, we all know the real reason few people have trouble with Macs (other than the fact that few people have Macs).
    • Ads for the new iPad make the claim that "You already know how to use it."
  • In 1976 Canon introduced the AE-1, the first 35mm camera with an embedded micro-computer; the commercial announced that Canon had "unmanned 35mm photography".
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  • Of course, Microsoft aren't above this tactic themselves: One of the most hyped features of Windows 95 was its "Plug and Play" capabilities, autodetecting any and all hardware plugged into a computer's expansion slots and installing the appropriate drivers with no user input required... or at least that was the theory. In practice, the process rapidly became known as "Plug and Pray" and it wouldn't be until the release of Windows XP that it really worked as advertised.
  • The As-Seen-On-TV OneTouch Can Opener! This innovative invention, which is shown to "simply allow one to press the button and walk away, leaving a top that cannot pop a balloon", has some interesting side effects, which include: 1) not turning past halfway through the can, requiring one to spend time rewinding it back to the starting point; 2) not working unless at 100% battery power; and 3) (while indeed leaving a non-sharp top) making the can's edge so razor sharp that one is afraid to scoop anything out of it (also not allowing the food to be re-covered by the top).
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  • Some Tonka commercials criticized other toys (like robots) for basically playing themselves, therefore not needing any human interaction, thus making them not fun. Unlike Tonkas, of course.


Examples of Variant 2:

  • One sarcastic review of Sleeping Dogs Lie said, "I know! Let's write a movie where a guy practices cunnilingus on his cat! It practically writes itself!"
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", Homer gets an idea for a song called "Baby on Board". Pretty much all the lyrics he comes up with are "something something", but he still says "This thing writes itself!" afterwards.
    • In "The Squirt and the Whale", a conversation about Lisa trying to save a beached whale gives Homer an idea for a movie.
      Homer: It's not like it's stuck in the bottom of a well or in a Mexican prison. (gasp) But that would make a great movie! (writes down the title "Cool Hand Fluke")
      Marge: Lisa is very sensitive. If something she loves dies in front of her...
      Homer: That whale's not gonna die! We're busting him out of prison, no matter what you say, Escobar! (beat) God, this thing writes itself.


Video Example(s):


Cool Hand Fluke

Lisa's crusade to save a beached whale gives Homer some inspiration.

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Main / ItWorksItself

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