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Stating the Simple Solution

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Lister: Why don't we scrape away this mortar here, slide one of these bricks out, then using a rope weaved from strands of this hessian, rig up a kind of a pulley system so that when a guard comes in, using it as a trip wire, gets laid out, and we put Rimmer in the guard's uniform, he leads us out, we steal some swords, and fight our way back to the 'bug!
Kryten: Or we could use the teleporter.
Lister: Or, in a pinch, we could use the teleporter.

There is a problem. A dramatic, elaborate, and dangerous (and sometimes, pretty darn cool) solution is proposed to solve it. It's the Only Way! Then some other jerk points out that a much simpler Mundane Solution exists that would probably be more effective.

Most often, it's a villain (usually of the Diabolical Mastermind or Evil Overlord variety) proposing the complicated scheme, and it is a savvy minion (or occasionally even The Hero himself) questioning their boss's grade-A Bond Villain Stupidity. However, it's not unheard of for clever villains to brag about the fact that they're eschewing elaborate Death Traps and intend to just shoot the hero, making them a No-Nonsense Nemesis. Sometimes, it's a Hyper-Competent Sidekick wondering why the hero is adhering to Honor Before Reason.

There are fanfictions written for this sole purpose.

If nobody states the simple solution until after they've spent the whole story on the Zany Scheme, it's a "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot.

See also Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?, Sherlock Can Read, Actually a Good Idea, Lampshade Hanging, and Impossibly Mundane Explanation. Just Eat Gilligan is built around not having anyone do this. If someone actually does the simple solution, Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs. If the simple solution is well acknowledged as an oversight, expect Didn't Think This Through to be a response. If someone gives an actual reason not to take the simple solution, it's Simple Solution Won't Work.


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  • As part of an ad campaign for the introduction of Netflix to Canada, one commercial features a boy watching a Bar Brawl scene in a Western on TV. At the end of the commercial, when two of the cowboys are duelling hand-to-hand on the second floor, the boy remarks, "They know that they have guns, right?"
  • One Credit Karma ad begins with a group of kids looking over a treasure map, planning a Goonies styled adventure to save their house, when the lead kids' mother turns on the light and says they've refinanced with the advertised service, and they'll be fine. One child responds "Your mom's mean."

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Calvin is worried over Rosalyn coming over to babysit again, and unsure of how to handle it. Hobbes suggests that maybe they could try being good for a change. Calvin incredulously asks him to repeat that. Hobbes just says, "Nothing. Forget it."
    • In another comic, Calvin is plotting out an elaborate plan to hit Susie, who is playing with her doll, with water balloons. Hobbes suggests that they just ambush her while she's sitting, to which Calvin says Hobbes lacks "an executive mind".
  • Inverted in Dick Tracy when Flattop has abducted Tracy and intends to kill him. His henchmen suggest that he allow them to simply slash Tracy's throat because it would be quieter while being just as effective. However, Flattop overrules them because he prefers to shoot his targets. That proves to be a big mistake when Flattop prepares to do that on a count of three. Tracy lunges toward the killer to seize his gun and a wild battle ensues, where Tracy is able to defeat all the crooks at once, even as his comrades in the force are storming the hideout.
  • FoxTrot:
    • One Sunday strip shows Jason plotting out an elaborate Rube Goldberg Device that will light a fake halo over his bed just as Santa Claus is visiting the house, which he thinks will inspire Santa to give him more presents. His mother Andy, looking at the plans, cocks an eyebrow and asks, "Wouldn't it be easier to just actually be good?"; Jason replies "Yeah, right."
    • Another strip has Jason proudly show Peter how he's traced over every line in his comic book with glow-in-the-dark ink, so he can read it past his bedtime. Peter points out, "Couldn't you just hide a flashlight under your covers?"
  • A winter-themed Peanuts Sunday strip from the '60s has Charlie Brown worrying about Snoopy getting cold at night, telling Linus and Lucy he's tried giving him blankets, giving him straw, etc. Linus then suggests that Snoopy try sleeping inside his doghouse instead of on top of it. The others look at him like he's got rocks in his head, leading to Linus admitting in the final panel that "it was sort of a ridiculous suggestion".
  • Happens in this Pearls Before Swine comic, where Pig comes up with an elaborate plan on what to do if he gets separated from his young companion at an amusement park, including discussing what he'll be wearing and where they should meet. The kid promptly pulls out his cell phone and suggests "...or I could just call you."
  • Sherman's Lagoon: This strip has Hawthorne and Sherman asking Kahuna to turn them into a dog and a human respectively so that they can win $1,000 in a dog show. Kahuna's response is "Why not just ask Kahuna for $1,000?"
    Hawthorne: This way seems less complicated.

    Game Shows 
  • On Taskmaster, this often pops up during the on-stage segments where Greg or Alex will point out much simpler way the contestant could have done the challenge. Sometimes they enforce it as well by giving a task to a contestant which is apparently just a Luck-Based Mission, have them come up with ludicrously complicated means of finding the answer (or just guess and hope for the best), and then tell them that the answer was in plain sight and they didn't have to "solve" it at all. The Pendulum Draws The Eye had a task which involved finding which sock, out of fifty, contained a satsuma orange with very limited means of searching them. During the show they were told that the giant number 8 on the side of the caravan, which normally isn't there, referred to which sock contained the orange.
    Greg: I'm a bit irritated. Someone seems to have graffitied on the side of my caravan!
    Alex: That was awkward. So I obviously put the satsuma in the 8th one along and the big eight was there to remind me but I left it up. If any one of them had looked back at any moment, that would have been so annoying!
    James Acaster: I just remembered that I hate this show!

    Myths & Religion 
  • Alexander the Great is said to have encountered the legendary Gordian Knot, along with a prophecy that whoever managed to loosen and untie it would become the ruler of all of Asia. After studying the knot for a bit, he drew his sword and cut the knot in half, and went on to fulfill the prophecy.
  • In the binding of Fenrir of Norse Mythology, Loki asks the other Gods why they don't just kill him while he's bound, especially since it's foretold Fenrir kills Odin come Ragnarok. The other Gods don't kill him because Fenrir was bound in a holy place, which would have become tainted with both the violence and the blood.

  • Hello Internet: In one episode, Grey laments that try as he might, he can't find a collared shirt with the exact attributes he wants. He's gotten so frustrated about this that he has occasionally, but very seriously, considered starting a small factory just to create the shirts he wants. In the next episode's follow-up, Myke mentions that many fans asked why Grey didn't just go to a tailor. Grey admits that this had never occurred to him, partly because he unconsciously thought of tailors as something from a bygone era.
  • In one episode of Mission to Zyxx the crew is burdened with an overly complicated orders during a mission to disrupt Ted Ronka's political campaign.
    C-53: The plan is this. Seesu sent this along and it's spent pretty much our whole trip here printing out. It's very comprehensive.
    AJ: That's a pretty thick binder
    C-53: Yes it's very, very thick. In fact I'm still sort of getting through the-
    AJ: Beat him in the head with the binder. Ok, let's do this.

  • John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme:
    • Skewered in a sketch about two kings suffering from really bad communication problems. A third party, stuck between the two bickering kings and fed up of the whole mess, suggests rather than sending messengers back and forth (thereby messing up the fields where they live) the king just Shoot the Messenger. The messenger tries pointing out the reason this is frowned upon, and then that if it's such a problem the king could just give him the day off, but by the time he says this, the king's already shot him.
    • When King Herod learns about Jesus, he tries ordering the death of every infant under the age of two. His aide tries pointing out the sheer monstrousness and impracticality of such a response, and that if Jesus has just been born he's obviously not going to look like a two year old, and if by some freak of coincidence their target slips the net Judea will be suffering a public relations nightmare. The aide then says if he's that fussed he could send two guards to check the stables for a new born baby, but Herod insists on the infanticide regardless.

  • In Darwin's Soldiers: Scrodinger's Prisoners, Dr. Shelton and a soldier have to get through a room with an angry doctor. The soldier suggests this as an option. Turns out that's pretty much what they do.
  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, a group of students try to leave the school and discover that the front doors and windows are locked. They start to panic, with one of them picking up a guitar to smash one of the windows. Cue one of the students asking why they don't just try the emergency exit, or ask one of the teachers what's up.

  • In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Guildenstern, taking Hamlet's claim that " I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw" literally, and then gets more and more convoluted in his attempt to work out where southerly actually is, until Rosencrantz suggests going and having a look. Guildenstern retorts "Pragmatism?! Is that all you have to offer? You seem to have no conception of where we stand! You're not going to find the answer waiting for you in the bowl of a compass, I can tell you that!" (This is indicative of their dealing with the more philosophical aspects of the play; Guildenstern trying to work things out from first principles, but unable to do so because he has no starting position, and Rosencrantz suggesting things that are more straightforward, but are equally stimmied by the void they find themselves in.)

    Urban Legends 
The problem with urban legends along these lines is that sometimes, the "simple" solution isn't always that simple. But it still makes for some interesting thinking along these lines:
  • One anecdote describes a group of monks arguing over how many teeth are in a horse's mouth. One naive young man suggests finding an actual horse and counting the teeth. The monks shout him down, saying that scientific questions are properly answered not by empirical methods, but by consulting old authorities. The anecdote serves to ridicule the medieval "scholasticist" approach to science. Only problem is that it's unattested before the 20th century, so that may never have been the case at all.
  • When the Americans and Soviets first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens wouldn't work in zero gravity. The urban legend goes that NASA, in solving the problem, spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside-down, underwater, on almost any surface, and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300 degrees Celsius. The Russians, in solving the problem, used a pencil. It kinda went that way, but there was an extra wrinkle — pencils might have worked, but they weren't exactly safe, because there was concern about the effect of graphite dust and debris in zero gravity — so the Americans weren't ignorant of the pencil solution so much as thought it was too risky, and the Soviets weren't so much clever as willing to take the risk. The Americans switched to felt pens, and the Russians switched to grease pencils on plastic tablets. Eventually, a private entrepreneur independently developed the space pen with $1 million of his own funds, and sold them to NASA and Russia for $3 each.
  • A crew transporting a house had difficulties with an overpass that their payload was 3 and a half inches too tall to fit under. They were standing there, scratching their heads, debating how to find an alternate route, when a kid on a bicycle who was doing his morning newspaper route asked what was up, he said, "Why not just let some air out of the tires and then re-inflate them after you've passed under the bridge?" A few minutes later, the crew were on their way again. It's a cool story about how a simple solution can come from an unlikely place — except this particular solution only buys you a little bit of clearance, so it only works if you were really close to making it with inflated tires to begin with. If you spend too long on deflated tires, you can wreck them and be unable to continue even after you cross. It's a solution oversize load routing uses all the time, but in a very intricately planned way.
  • A joke is told about a driver who gets a flat tire just outside the fence of a mental asylum. Nervous about being stopped in such a place, he quickly starts to change the tire, putting the nuts in the hubcap while he wrestles the spare on. He then accidentally kicks the hubcap and the nuts fly out, disappearing into the tall grass beside the road. Suddenly, he hears a voice: an inmate watching him from just inside the fence tells him to take one nut from each of the other three wheels and use those, and that should serve to hold the spare in place long enough for him to get to a garage and replace them. He says, "That's a great idea! What's somebody like you doing in a mental asylum?" The inmate's reply is "I'm in here because I'm crazy, not because I'm stupid."

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: While most of the students are breaking their brains puzzling over how the killer of chapter 1 managed to move around during a blackout and throwing out ever more outlandish solutions, Akane puts forward that the killer had their own light source. This is true- it was the flame from a portable stove.
  • Fate Series:
    • In Fate/stay night's Heaven's Feel scenario, True Assassin points out to his master that the easy and pragmatic thing would probably be to have him kill Shirou and Rin, who are running around like headless chickens desperately trying to find a way to defeat the Shadow that's eating half the town. Said master, who is an utter sadist, replies that it's more fun to do nothing, watch them fail, and have the Shadow kill them. This comes back to bite Zouken in the ass when the Shadow, which is Sakura, kills him and True Assassin.
    • In Week 3 of Fate/EXTRA, you and your Servant figure out that the way to escape Caster's identity-erasing Reality Marble is to remember your name after it's erased. When you ask Rin how to do this, she suggests writing it down.
    • Fate/strange fake: At one point, Gilgamesh suggests to his Master Tine Chelc that rather than waste time searching for and fighting the other Servants, they could win the Holy Grail War if he blows up the entire city with Ea since all the other Servants and Masters should be somewhere within. Tine balks at the suggestion, not wanting to sacrifice the townspeople. Gilgamesh shrugs and says he just wanted to see how she would react.
  • Oddly enough, Arcueid in Tsukihime asks Nero this — technically, she points out he's been messing around too much by making Shiki suffer, which just triggered his Nanaya side — after Nero decides he's going to have fun and slowly eat Shiki instead of killing him outright. After Shiki starts kicking his ass, he realizes maybe it would have been a better idea not to play with his food.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: This is used to solve the Closed Circle mystery of episode 2's First Twilight - how was the killer able to get 6 people inside the chapel when only Maria had the key and Rosa is absolutely sure that the door to the chapel was locked? Simple - Rosa is lying about the chapel being locked. Similar principles solve many of the other Twilights, in fact. Just figure out who is lying.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: In episode 7, when Kaila expresses interest in obtaining a Mechelly, which is a Robot Buddy protector that will follow your orders even if you are evil, Keela points out that she and Kaila know next to nothing about Mechellies, so there is no way Kaila could acquire one. Kaila's response? Just ask someone.
    Kaila: Its a little something called ASKING AROUND! Thats how I found out about you, remember? Just because you are a social hermit doesn't mean I am!
  • The bread and butter of How It Should Have Ended — stating the far simpler and/or funnier way to solve the problem of the story than what the characters in the movie did. Examples include the Jurassic World park containing the Indominus Rex by such simple measures as not putting in a dinosaur-sized exit to the habitat and building a moat inside it (something real-life zoos very often do), Bucky avoiding his conditioning being activated by plugging his ears, and June preventing the whole plot of the film by making sure that the statue in which the Enchantress was trapped is never damaged or broken (like a good archaeologist should). However, it's also sometimes Deconstructed, like in the Inside Out HISHE, in which the simple method leads to Bing-Bong revealing the existence of the Mind World to Riley, causing her to go insane.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Grif seems to frequently do this in response to Sarge's crazy plans.
      Sarge: [paraphrased] I could simulate a third radio using a blowtorch and all this sand to make a refractory lens, thus allowing us to triangulate [Tex's] position!
      Grif: ...Or we could just listen to the coordinates that she's sending us.
    • When the Reds spy on the Blues with the scopes of their sniper rifles, Donut points out that if they can see their enemies, they can shoot them right now. Sarge refuses, saying not killing your enemies up close and personal is not very satisfying.
    • When Agent Washington first visits Blood Gulch, he finds that with most of the teams reassigned, the "war" for the canyon has devolved into an "epic stalemate" between Sarge and Lopez on Red Team, and Sister on Blue Team. Wash points out to Sarge that since he has a 2-1 advantage, he could very easily just attack Sister and finish it. Sarge, of course, refuses to fight a girl.
    • Later on, Tex is laying an utter smackdown on the Reds and Tucker. Tucker - whose armor got colored black after going through a teleporter - is tackled by Tex and she's trying to beat him up. Meanwhile, Simmons has a rocket launcher and he's trying to figure out which black-armored figure to shoot.
      Simmons: (terrified) They look the same! Which one do I shoot?!
      Tucker: (from afar, furious) Ow! Shoot the one who's winning, dumbass!
    • In the "Where There's a Will There's a Wall" mini-series, Lopez points out that Simmons could just use the sniper rifle to shoot the Blue Team instead of using the scope to spy on them. Since no one understands Spanish, his suggestion is ignored.
    • During Singularity, Wash is using Mental Time Travel to figure out where Carolina was in-between the flashback segments of Season 10 and the present day. Unfortunately, he's traveled back to a time period where he was the resident Butt-Monkey and got no respect. As he bemoans his problems to The Triplets, they point out to him that since he can travel to anywhere along his own timeline, he should just travel into the future to when he and Carolina are good friends and he can just ask her then. After a lengthy Stunned Silence, Wash immediately tries that out and gets an answer, causing him to scream in utter rage about how he "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot.
  • The second Strong Bad Email is someone asking Strong Bad that if he hates "Homsar" so much, why doesn't he just kill him? Strong Bad responds that he is utterly right and dumps a "Heavy Lourde" at a newly invented character called Homsar (who did not exist up to this point and had little to no relation to Strong Bad's actual nemesis "Homestar"). Homsar would later prove to be Not Quite Dead and became an ongoing Easter Egg and Ensemble Dark Horse of the series.

    Web Original 
  • Cracked:
    • "The 6 Most Pointlessly Elaborate Movie Murder Plots" offers a simple solution after the end of every such plot. After going through each plot, the alternative the article suggests is a much simpler plan that always ends with "shoot the target in the face." The exception is number 4 (the explosive toy car) could actually be a sneaky way to do it with modern technology.
    • "Was 9/11 an Inside Job?" goes over the Loose Change video and the theory that the attacks of September 11, 2001 were orchestrated by the American government. After going over how ridiculously complicated, intricate, and elaborate such a conspiracy would have to be, along with debunking the authenticity of the claims in Loose Change, the article concludes "No, 9/11 wasn't an inside job; the conspiracy theorists just want to feel like the smartest people in the room."
  • This hobby model builder/painter on Not Always Friendly is surprised to find out a fellow hobbyist is colorblind, and denies it on the basis that a colorblind person would have no way of knowing what color the paints are. The colorblind hobbyist replies that all they have to do is read the color number on the pot.
  • SCP-2305 is an anamalous book entitled "great ideas that are TOTALY USELESS (lulz)", which contains simple solutions to other SCP problems, along with consequences that make them more trouble than they're worth. For example, SCP-2190 is a ghost who wants to break apart her daughter's marriage, and communicates through phone calls. SCP-2305 suggests breaking up the couple and placing the children into foster care; as a result, the ghost would regret this so much that she blows the cover on the Foundation.

    Web Videos 
  • When the The 8-Bit Guy is talking about getting 80 columns on the Commodore 64 he gives four possible methods. The first one involves doing it in software which is slow and eats up a good chunk of the machine's already limited memory, and the second two involve two third-party add-on cartridges that are rare, costly, and support next to no software. The fourth solution, though? Just buy a Commodore 128 which has full Commodore 64 compatibility as well as native 80 columns support.
    8-Bit Guy: The Commodore 128 basically is a Commodore 64 inside. And these are actually more common and cheaper to buy than one of these! (Holds up one of the add-on cartridges)
  • In the Achievement Hunter Let's Play GTA V episode "Lindsay's Heist", the gang attempts to push a port-a-potty into a truck from a high building, a port-a-potty that would be used to carry their "loot" and be picked up by the Cargobob. Ryan Haywood points out the obvious solution - just get the Cargobob and take the port-a-potty with them. There's a brief silence before they tell him to shut up.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd:
    • When reviewing the he talks about its Internet capabilities and explains how it required a wired connection to a modem since this was the days before wifi. So, you could buy the, plug it into your modem, and navigate through it's tiny text-only touch screen, but since you don't own a modem with Internet for no reason and can't leave the house with it anyways...
    • When reviewing the various Hydlide games, to compare the game to literal shit he quotes Harry G. Frankfurt's essay On Bullshit which gives an elaborate theory on why people find feces repulsive to which he gives a much more simple solution to the question:
      On Bullshit: Just as hot air as speech that has been emptied of all informative content, so excrement is matter from which everything nutritive has been removed. Excrement may be regarded as the corpse of nourishment. What remains when the vital elements and food have been exhausted. In this respect, excrement is a representation of death. Perhaps it is for making death so intimate that we find excrement so repulsive.
      Nerd: Or is it perhaps because it stinks?!
    • During his Making Of episode when talking about how he does all the special effects for the Nerd episodes, he states he uses Photoshop to create them and then inserts them with Final Cut Pro on the advice of Dave Willis. Having met Willis in a bar, he asked him for advice on how to do special effects and, rather than getting a grandiose explanation, was simply told "Just do it in Photoshop!"
  • James Rolfe made a video for "Cinemassacre's Top 10 Worst Movie Clichés". Number 1 is labeled "Stupid Villains" and boils down to him demanding "Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?!" It ends with a The Good, the Bad and the Ugly movie clip that subverts and lampshades the trope.
  • When AstralSpiff is harshly critiquing and debunking an obviously fake Speed Run of Poppy Playtime, he takes note of how the player is honestly decent at the game and actually manages to keep up with competitive times until the cheating begins. Spiff points out how, if the guy just made a legitimate speedrun, he'd could easily get top 50 on the leaderboards and would get a lot more views and subscribers than he could ever get with his convoluted scheme to cheat.
  • In Campaign 3 of Critical Role, the group needs to get the name of a dwarf that they're looking for, managing to track his last known location to an inn. While everyone is discussing how to get the name from the tavern's owner — mostly coming up with ideas that are either risky or illegal — Ashton suggests just bribing the tavern owner to tell them the name of the dwarf. Twenty gold and some sly wording later, Ashton has a name.
  • Fire Department Chronicles has several videos doing this for 9-1-1 with everything from giving a saline IV to a woman suffer hyponutremianote  to using airbags to lift a firetruck off Buck rather than trying to lift a sixty thousand pound truck by hand. His most common solutions are using water to cool something off or giving someone a tourniquet to stop bleeding.
  • Dan Avidan of Game Grumps describing how the Endoraptor of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom worked and why he thinks it's utterly ridiculous:
    Dan: I didn't hate it, but it was definitely doofy. So there's a new dinosaur they've created called the Endoraptor, and they've genetically engineered it so it can be used as a weapon. What you do is you take a gun with a laser scope on it and you point the laser at something that you want attacked and you click the trigger and the Endoraptor goes and destroys whatever the laser was pointing at.
    Dan: You may be thinking to yourself: why not just have a gun that shoots bullets?
    Arin: (Bursts out laughing)
    Dan: Which is definitely the main Internet problem with that movie. That would be more effective, really. You've already laser-targeted your thing. That was a big issue people had with it.
    Arin: Yeah, that problem was already solved!
  • Lampshaded in Gun Man Rises starring Gun Man.
  • Karl Jobst:
    • During "The Worst Fake Speedrun on Youtube" he gives a thorough analysis of Badabun's faked speedrun of Super Mario Bros. and highlights all the various people they stole footage from to cobble it together, then questions why they went to this much effort. He points out how there are well over a thousand speedruns of that game, and how they could have made a much more believable video by just using one of those rather than this big edited together Frankenstein's monster of footage from Tool-Assisted Speedruns (which is obviously not human) and world record holders like Kosmic and Darbian (who are so well-known their footage will instantly be recognized).
    • During "These DOOM Cheaters Were Caught Red-Handed" video he goes indepth into just how difficult making a faked Speed Run that won't immediately be recognized actually is, showing how professional Speed Runners are better than Sherlock Holmes at spotting the absolute most minute details — even so much as a single frame out of place, one errant move, one tiny hiccup in the physics, will be enough to out a player who is using slowdown, save-state abuse, splicing, or cheats. He then quips that it would take such a good understanding and so much mastery of a game to make a seamless faked Speed Run... that it's probably easier to just do the Speed Run for real.
  • When Jarvis Johnson is being subjected to Troom Troom's surreal DIY videos in his Troom Troom is Actually The Worst Channel on Youtube video, after seeing numerous nonsensical life hacks to deal with body fatigue when using computers he points out how they could just avoid these weird maladies by sitting properly.
    Troom Troom: Do your legs tend to fall asleep from sitting at a computer for a long time?
    Jarvis: ...No, actually. These people need to learn about ergonomics!
  • When JonTron and Internet Historian did Future, their biggest criticism with Walmart's virtual reality online store evokes this. They bluntly ask who, in their right mind, would want to do shopping in a virtual store with an actual shopping cart and having to find their products that way, all the while being haunted by a virtual reality assistant, when you could just have a simple interface where you find products on a website either by browsing or searching and then select what you'd like to buy. And then point out this system already exists and has for quite some time.
    Jontron: You know what I love about this thing, is it's like, isn't this just but with extra steps?
    Internet Historian: Yeah, and with this annoying lady who's preventing you from like listening to music or whatever in the background!
    Virtual Assistant: And now... ON TO ELECTRONICS!!!
    Internet Historian: Ugh... Instead of just opening a web page, alright here's the thing with the stuff, instead you have to go through this rigmarole of being into the shop, you have to get back to the electronic store, and as you do that every time she does this stupid fucking line "and now onto the fun stuff!" Yeah yeah yeah skip skip skip!
  • Most Khaby Lame videos are presented this way, with a random person on TikTok using an overly complicated, pointless method or contraption to perform simple tasks, followed by Khaby sarcastically doing it the simple way. An example would be a person taping the end of a fork to use it as a makeshift spoon for soup... followed by Khaby simply taking out a spoon to perform the same action.
  • Kitboga is a scambaiter popular on Twitch and YouTube. Episode 2 of Baited - "The Professional," features a standard refund scam in which supposedly too much money is transferred into Kitboga's fake bank and he needs to return it via gift cards. He spends over a half-hour running the scammer in circles, suggesting other, simpler methods by which they could get it sorted out, such as simply transferring the money back to him, or calling his bank. This has become a favored tactic in most of his videos, along with calling their bluff when they drop the facade and begin attempting to blackmail him by threatening to take all his money if he doesn't pay the amount they are requesting: he'll ask why they didn't just do that instead of dicking him around with gift cards if they were able.
  • LegalEagle, during his analysis of Liar Liar, points out a number of times where Fletcher could have gotten around things by being completely honest — that is not by using a half-truth or just refusing to speak. Like when Fletcher wants a continuance because he can't lie, it's explained he could have pointed out that the previous lawyer withdrew just yesterday and he's a brand-new lawyer on the case: this would be a more than valid reason for a continuance, as a lawyer needs ample time to familiarize himself with a case.
  • Linus Tech Tips: In "My monitor just got an UPGRADE," Linus goes through the arduous task of VESA mounting two very heavy 32:9 monitors on top of each other. At the end:
    Linus: Could I have just put a TV on my desk? Yes. But DAMMIT! This is Linus Tech Tips, that's not how we do things around here.
  • When The Nostalgia Critic is watching Jurassic Park, he harshly criticizes the opening scene where the park worker is killed by the velociraptor, noting the glaring Idiot Ball-ness of the scene and how there were dozens of much easier and safer ways to get that thing into the pen.
    Critic: They try to transport one of the highly intelligent raptors via Portal Cube, when, of course, something goes wrong. You know, was there really no other way to get these things into their cages? Brute force doesn't do much compared to common sense. I mean, look at the forklift. They could lift it just a little bit higher, then boom. drop it in. Or tranquilizers. Why not tranquilizers? Couldn't they just knock these things out and then slip them in that way? Or were the raptors too smart for that plan?
  • Screen Rant Pitch Meetings: Comes up often. Usually, the Screenwriter will describe characters doing something elaborate and dramatic but totally nonsensical when there is a much more straightforward solution to the problem that the Producer will point out.
    • A variation of this happens in the Venom Pitch Meeting, only directed at the Screenwriter himself as opposed to the characters in the film. At the beginning of the film, the two Simbiotes land in Malaysia, and Venom is taken back to the lab, and Riot escapes. The Screenwriter then talks about all the legwork he had to do in order to get Eddie Brock into the lab so that he could bond with Venom as well as get Riot into the lab so that it could bond with Drake.note  The screenwriter even says that it will probably be the "least fun" part of the movie but he needed to somehow get everyone into their positions so that the plot could get going in earnest. The Producer points out that he could eliminate the need to do all that legwork by simply having Venom be the one who escapes at the beginning. After admitting that the chance could "Save about 45 minutes of crap and make the whole thing a lot more fun to watch..." the Screenwriter refuses to make the change because he "doesn't want to."
  • "Shark Pool" is a trailer for a fictional movie about a shark in a swimming pool. A guy offers the suggestion of "just don't go in the pool". Unfortunately, he's the Only Sane Man and the rest of the guests are Too Dumb to Live.
  • S&D Tier: Morgan has an affinity for planning high-stakes, overly-complex heists that take months to prepare. Their best friend Alex is the most powerful supervillain in the world and completely unkillable, and would do anything for Morgan. Alex repeatedly emphasizes that they'd be glad to just walk in, kill or otherwise incapacitate anyone who got in the way, take the prize, and bring it to them, and they could easily accomplish this in five minutes or less. Morgan refuses to take them up on it, as that would take all the fun out of it.
  • In the video "Sherlock Holmes Sucks at Deduction", parodying the franchise's common use of Conviction by Counterfactual Clue, Sherlock deduces via his Sherlock Scan that Watson had a smoked tofu sandwich on rye bread with mustard for lunch, because he has small yellow stains on his sleeves, well-made clothes, and a few telltale physical signs of a vitamin B-12 deficiency, associated with vegetarians. This turns out to be completely wrong; he's not a vegetarian, and he had soup for lunch. Another guy in the room points out that he could tell Watson had soup because he smells like soup.
  • The Spoony Experiment:
    • When Original!Spoony shows up intending to take back his show from Clone!Spoony:
      Original Spoony: That's why I started training at a Shaolin monastery... until I realized the lessons would be really expensive, so I just went out and bought this gun!
    • Clone Spoony then reveals he's reviewing Final Fantasy X prompting Original!Spoony to shoot himself and change back into a Black Lantern. Yeah, it's complicated.
  • StacheBros:
    • In "Bowser Junior's Time Out", Bowser Jr.'s plan to get his Barbie Future Dictator of the World set from his father's bedroom was to learn how to dig a hole to China and come back at the other side of the door. Koopa tells him he could've just opened the door since it probably wasn't locked, which is something Junior didn't realize until 3 hours of digging.
    • In "Home Alone", when Wario and Waluigi try to get past a door in Bowser's Castle with a heated doorknob, Waluigi tries sneaking underneath the door since he's so skinny, but Bowser Jr. electrocutes him with an Amp. Afterwards, Wario gets in by simply pushing the door open.
  • On Steam Train when playing Besiege, after attempting to create hilariously and stupidly overly complex contraptions like "The Fuck-O-Matic", only for things to keep going awry and realizing the only times he's beaten levels are when he's gotten lucky and accidentally stumbled into victory, he ultimately has an epiphany and decides to make things much more simple.
    Ross: So, I made a truck with bombs on it and a cannon, but the cannon does jack shit so I thought "why don't I just drive some bombs into the building?" like this HELLO!
    Zone conquered

    Real Life 
  • Penn Jillette has stated that the Greatest E-mail he ever sent from a text-to-impact ratio was when he was one of the few who proofread Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion before publication. He came to a part of the manuscript when Dawkins quoted an American hater of his calling him "a cheese eater!", and Dawkins then spent two-and-a-half pages trying to deconstruct how being a cheese eater could be a bad thing, where cheese was manufactured in America and if there was some correlation with that area and atheism. Penn's immediate realisation and comment?
    Richard! RATS LIKE CHEEESE! / Love, Penn.
  • Harrison Ford is credited with using a variant of "Why don't I just shoot him?" on the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark, as he was suffering from food poisoning and wasn't up for filming a long fight sequence against a swordsman. The resulting moment - Indy pulls out his gun and just shoots the swordsman dead - became a Signature Scene for the Indiana Jones franchise and firmly established Indy as a Combat Pragmatist. It also frustrated the actor playing the swordsman who had spent a lot of time learning the fight choreography only to see his big scene reduced to a 10-second joke.
  • From the set of The Lord of the Rings: "Why don't I just zap them?" "Be-because your batteries are low. You can't get any AA's in the city. You've tried, but... gone to every chemist in the city but none of them have AA batteries."
  • A Non-verbal example of this comes from the writings of Simplicius of Cilica, regarding an Ancient Greek philosophical debate. One of Zeno's Paradoxes states that it's actually impossible to leave a room, since first you have to cross half the distance to the door, then half that distance, then half that distance, etc., getting very close but never actually being able to leave (Greek Mathematics didn't have the concept of zero). While other logicians proposed more intricate responses to the paradox, Diogenes of Sinope (appropriately, one of the founders of Cynic philosophy) simply stood up and walked out of the room. Strictly speaking, not the correct way to refute a Logical Paradox, but it's hard to argue with the result. One interpretation is that the paradox was meant to show that reality is an illusion since one can physically appear to do what is logically impossible.
  • In the lead-up to World War II, a visiting British politician asked Hitler how he thought the English should respond to the situation in India. Hitler's advice: "Shoot Gandhi."
  • The NSA scandal in 2013 has made many Conspiracy Theorists believe that the government can spy on anyone at any time through the Internet. Those who state the simple solution that debunks this - it's rather easy to unplug the computer - are often scorned.
    • Related to this is the manner in which computers that have to really be secure are protected from hackers: not by ridiculously sophisticated protection software, but simply not having the ability to connect to the Internet wirelessly. note 
    • The only data transfer method that can't be remotely hacked is physically taking the hard drive to the location.
    • For added security against hackers using webcams to spy on people, many webcams come with manual shutters or physical switches to disconnect them. And if you don't have those, you can just put a piece of tape over the lens, like former FBI director James Comey admitted to doing. It doesn't matter how good a hacker is if there's something physically blocking their view so that they can't see through the camera.
  • It was once stated that if the moon landing was a hoax, the cover-up would be so enormously complex that, in the end, it would be easier just to land on the moon. Not to mention that while we actually did have the technology to land on the moon in 1969, we didn't yet have the technology to realistically fake it.
  • When The Witcher 2 released, the CEO of CD Projekt Marcin Iwinski was not only impressed that pirates managed to crack it in a mere two hours but was also surprised and confused that they even bothered: he pointed out that, rather than cracking the SecuROM retail version they could have just used the GOG release, which came out at the exact same time and didn't even need to be cracked because it was already DRM-free. This event was actually the reason the studio completely abandoned DRM, as they came to realize hackers fight DRM for a challenge and out of sheer spite rather than to get free stuff, while consumers were simultaneously incentivized to pay for the GOG release because it was DRM-free.
  • A horrific and tear jerking example. Chris Watts murdered his pregnant wife and their two daughters because he admitted to having an affair. In the trial’s closing argument, the defense attorney pointed out that if he was so happy with his lover and wanted a new start, then he should have gotten a divorce instead of murdering his own family in cold blood.

Alternative Title(s): State The Simple Solution


Just Replicate Ranger Guy

Steven traded Pearl's replicator wand for Onion's Ranger Guy, and Onion causes havoc with it. Pearl points out Steven could've just replicated Ranger Guy.

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Main / StatingTheSimpleSolution

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