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Basic Trope: A misunderstanding happens during First Contact that usually leads to conflict and, in the worst case scenario, war.

  • Straight: Alice (a human woman) is making first contact with Zahzogg (a man who belongs to an unknown alien species). Zahzogg shakes his fist at Alice because, on his planet, that's considered a sign of respect. Unfortunately, Alice has a Hair-Trigger Temper and when she thinks Zahzogg insulted her, she lashes out at him. This causes Alice to develop Fantastic Racism against Zahzogg's species and Zahzogg to believe all humans are unpredictable and moody, which creates tension between both species.
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  • Exaggerated: Zahzogg's people are Nigh Invulnerable and it's considered a sign of respect shooting one with an arrow. Zahzogg does this to Alice, landing her in hospital, and when she gets better, she develops a hatred and fear for all alien species, which leads to conflicts between humans and several alien species.
  • Downplayed: Alice ends up believing that Zahzogg himself is a nasty piece of work and Zahzogg ends up believing that Alice herself is an unpredictable, moody human but neither creates a bias against the other's whole species.
  • Justified: Neither Alice nor Zahzogg was able to research the other species' culture, and there's a Language Barrier, and Alice's temper hinders her logical abilities, and from Zahzogg's point of view, he gave somebody a sign of respect but she lashed out at him.
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  • Inverted: Zahzogg landed his starship on Alice's prize garden and Alice, due to her aforementioned temper, shakes her fist at him. Seeing as on Zahzogg's planet that's a sign of respect, he thinks humans are a polite people, which unintentionally leads to the two species getting along fine.
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted:
  • Parodied:
  • Zigzagged: Zahzogg doesn't understand why Alice is so unpredictable, but it doesn't make him biased about humans, it just makes him all the more curious about us. As for Alice, she just thinks Zahzogg himself is rude, but not his whole species. Additionally, there are members of both species that all have different opinions about the other species, ranging from positive to neutral to negative.
  • Averted:
    • No aliens appear.
    • Aliens appear, but they don't make first contact with humans.
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    • They do make first contact with humans, but there are no misunderstandings.
  • Enforced: The writers wanted a conflict between aliens and humans but didn't want to use the Aliens Are Bastards trope or the Humans Are the Real Monsters trope as they think both of them are too biased.
  • Lampshaded: Bob invents a Universal Translator so they can understand each other, and when things get cleared up, Alice says, "Oh, whoops."
  • Invoked:
  • Exploited:
  • Defied: Alice and/or Zahzogg decides not to jump to conclusions as with an alien species, all bets are off.
  • Discussed: "But what if I offend him and he thinks all humans are rude?!"
  • Conversed: "I guess Alice forgot to write a First Contact Plan".
  • Implied: It's never shown what happened during first contact, but both species seem to have had a bad first experience with the other based on what they say and do.
  • Deconstructed:
  • Reconstructed:
  • Played for Laughs:
  • Played for Drama: It leads to a war, which creates lots of the darkness that comes with wars.

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