Follow TV Tropes


Refuge in Audacity

Go To

"Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it's unbelievable."
Matilda Wormwood, Matilda

Usually, when characters do something illegal or socially unacceptable, they'll try to be discreet about it: keep their misdeeds small and subtle enough that either no one knows what they've done, or no one cares. Sometimes a character does the exact opposite — take their misdeeds so far over-the-top that there's no way they can't be noticed — and they still get away with it.

The key is to be so audacious in how you violate the rules (whether they be laws or a moral/ethical code) that no one can believe you did it. If someone tells the police how you tried to stab them with a knife, you'll be arrested. However, if they tell the police how you tried to throw them into a tank full of hammerhead sharks, razor blades, sulfuric acid and banana peels, there's good odds the police will just laugh them off and not bother investigating. Alternatively, suppose you’re in a food court and start picking food off people's plates; they'll take their food back and tell you to leave them alone. However, if you dash through the food court with a wheelbarrow, tossing everyone's food into it, yelling, "Quickly! All your food in here! No Time to Explain!", they might be so flabbergasted by what's happening that they can't bring themselves to stop you. Or say you are The Conspiracy and want your nefarious activities to go unnoticed by the public — simply make your diabolical experiments and Evil Plans so utterly insane that the brave hero who tries to expose you will be ignored and called a loon by the general public.

Basically, people have a Weirdness Censor when it comes to human behavior; since most people follow the rules (or pretend to), someone who breaks the rules with such flagrant abandon is so unusual that people have a hard time accepting that they exist, and will try to rationalize what's happening by assuming that the violator has some sort of exceptional reason for breaking protocol; otherwise, they wouldn't even dare to be so open about it, right?

In other words, this is not Getting Crap Past the Radar. This is crashing the crap through the front doors and out the back doors of the radar installation in an armored model of the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, painted as a penis, with sunglasses-wearing flaming skull decals on every flat surface and a Hieronymus Bosch reproduction on the door, hood-mounted machine guns blazing, Motörhead blasting on the jury-rigged PA system, the tires leaving tracks painting sex and violence on the floor and walls, and one arm hanging out of the window making a rude hand gesture. note 

This is usually a good source of comedy, since it inverts how we normally expect people to behave. Characters who pull it off successfully usually come off as awesome. Characters who try this and fail often get a brutal This Is Reality moment, which can make for good Cringe Comedy instead. This is the heart and soul of the Big Lie Technique: Telling such a massively colossal lie that people refuse to believe one would actually lie about such a thing and accept it as fact instead.

This trope can overlap with Actually Pretty Funny if those affected by the crazy stunt are more impressed than angered by the audacity of the culprit. Compare Sarcastic Confession, which works on a smaller scale. Also compare Crosses the Line Twice, since they're both tropes that exaggerate offensive things, often to comedic effect. The Bavarian Fire Drill is also related to this: it works because no one thinks to question the (false) authoritory of the ones pulling it, and may be unwilling to believe or admit that they were conned afterwards. May be used to maintain the Masquerade. Setting up a Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand situation and Appeal to Audacity are subtropes. Weirdness Coupon is related and tends to be applied to characters who do things like this so regularly that everyone just accepts it after a while. Compare So Bad, It's Good.

Has nothing to do with using this program when you don't have the money for ProTools or Soundbooth.

Trope named by Roman Senator and Historian Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus c.  56 – c.  120 AD note  Making the recognition of this Older Than Feudalism.

In-Universe Examples Only:


Jensen bluffs his way in & out

Jensen effortlessly commandeers an elevator for himself to don a disguise, and with a little help, bluffs his way out again.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / RefugeInAudacity

Media sources: