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Playing With / Punch-Clock Hero

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Basic Trope: A hero does what they do because of being told.

  • Straight: Bob works for Heroes "R" Us, but he will never take the initiative of saving the world without orders.
  • Exaggerated: Bob works for Heroes "R" Us, but you can rob a bank in front of him, it's not his job to stop this.
  • Downplayed: Bob's primary motivation for going out of his way to fight crime is his paycheck from Heroes "R" Us, but if crime is happening right in front of him he'll stand up to it regardless.
  • Justified:
    • If Bob showed initiative, the results would be worse than letting the evil alone.
    • Independent heroism is not allowed in Bob's world.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Bob works for Heroes "R" Us, but the chief gives him no orders when the Big Bad rears his ugly head. He decides to unleash himself anyway to save lives.
  • Double Subverted: After he beats the Big Bad, the chief punishes him for acting without orders.
  • Parodied: "Eh, Bob, Heroes "R" Us is a serious company! Yes, you will save the world from Doctor Villain, but first you must submit your Saving the World Plan to us and have it approved by all executive directors!"
  • Zig-Zagged: Bob decides to act "off the clock" to stop some bad guys but, as it turns out, he gets overtime so he still ends up being paid for his service.
  • Averted: Bob is a Volunteer Superhero who cooperates with a non-profit superheroing agency.
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  • Enforced: The production insist that heroes must be a kind of super-police force, no vigilante putting themselves above the laws.
  • Lampshaded: "I'm not that good, I'm Only in It for the Money."
  • Invoked: Bob is uneducated and unskilled but has superpowers. Heroes "R" Us is the only job he can find.
  • Exploited:
    • Doctor Villain waits til after the working day ends to commit his crimes, and Bob isn't allowed to do a thing about it.
    • "How much do you think Bob is willing to be paid to throw away his morals?"
  • Defied: Bob quits Heroes "R" Us in disgust after he is told to not stop crimes while not on assignment.
  • Discussed: Bob is a typical superhero, but he discusses the possibility of being a superhero as a full-time job with his Side Kick.
  • Conversed: A couple of comic fans discuss the morality of Bob's character.
  • Deconstructed: Bob is introduced as an apathetic hero but he has seen so much horrors on his job that he suffers from both Heroic Fatigue and Samaritan Syndrome, giving him a mindset that favors Safety in Indifference.
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  • Reconstructed: Bob's apathy and greed still helps a lot of people, and his psychological state is improved by the grateful populace.
  • Implied: After saving the world, Bob mumbles something about his paycheck.
  • Played for Laughs: Bob works in a cubicle in an office, and talks about saving the world like any white-collar job.
  • Played for Drama: The story is about Bob's inner conflict over whether to uphold the Heroes "R" Us model or that of The Cape.
  • Played for Horror: Bob lets a little girl get killed in front of him because her family couldn't pay him enough.

Quittin' time, boys! We only had to save the world once today, let's go back to Punch-Clock Hero.

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