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Playing With / Stating the Simple Solution

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Basic Trope: A person lampshades the impracticality of a plan that is more "in-universe" appropriate and suggests a much more simple, practical solution. The suggestion is usually denied or given an equally outrageous explanation.

  • Straight: The Evil Overlord is gloating over his Evil Plan and describing the Death Trap he plans for the captured Hero. His second-in-command suggests they just pull a gun and shoot him. The villain refuses, often vehemently.
  • Exaggerated:
    • The villain kills the mook for suggesting that he kill the hero.
    • The villain has an elaborate Death Trap that would probably take a few hours, if not days, to kill The Hero. A Mook points out that he has a loaded gun in his hand and could easily kill him then and there. The villain throws the Mook out a window.
    • The Mook doesn't even tries to state the solution, instead going for his gun to shoot the hero right then and there, in front of the villain. The villain kills the Mook and sighs out a "They Don't Make Them Like They Used To".
    • Alternatively, the above thing happens but the Mook succeeds. The villain stands there gawking before either mourning the hero's death, calling the Mook a fool and explaining how much he screwed everybody over, killing the Mook in a rage, or whining about how he had such a nice death trap and monologue ready.
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  • Downplayed: The mook clearly wants to ask 'why not just shoot the hero', but then decides not to bother. "Couldn't you just... ah, forget it."
  • Justified:
    • The minion missed the part in the ad for evil minions that said 'Contractual Genre Blindness a requirement'.
    • Guns are expensive.
    • From the villain's perspective, the minion is missing the point; the idea isn't to kill the hero, it's to make him suffer.
    • The villain, but not the minion, is aware that the hero is Immune to Bullets; the long death trap is designed to render him vulnerable, and then kill him.
    • The villain wants the hero to escape the death trap, as, unbeknownst to the hero, the villain has planted a tracking device on them which will lead the villain right back to the rebel base.
    • Contractual Genre Blindness is enforced as "rules of engagement". Just shooting the hero would mean full-on, scorched-earth war, and the villain wishes to keep breathing.
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    • The villain is a Creature of Habit or has Super OCD. Shooting someone is just not the way he does things and he may even undergo a complete mental breakdown if he cannot perform his "ritual".
    • The villain could just shoot the hero, but the death trap is much more entertaining.
  • Inverted: The villain wants to shoot the hero. The minion reminds him this is against genre conventions and the villain relents.
  • Subverted: The villain, upon hearing his minion's suggestion, realizes that he's right and does shoot the hero.
  • Double Subverted:
    • ...In the foot. Turns out the suggestion gave the villain the brilliant idea that making the hero a cripple before putting him into a slow, painful and exotic death is much funnier.
    • Hears the mook's suggestion and buys a gun, but finds out that bullets are expensive.
    • The villain's bad aim means that the bullet just wings the hero in the shoulder instead and pisses him off more than usual. While running for the hills, the villain and the mook continue to argue about whether or not practicing aiming with the gun or just asking someone to do the deed is a good idea for next time.
  • Parodied: The villain describes in elaborate detail why he's not supposed to kill heroes. You mean they aren't supposed to escape and try to stop him again?
  • Zig Zagged:
    • The villain, upon hearing his minion's suggestion, says that the minion is right, pulls out a gun, and points it at the hero. He then marches the hero into a deathtrap, and says that it still wouldn't be as fun. However, at the end of the deathtrap, the villain is waiting with a gun...
    • The villan realizes the Mook is right. He finds a gun and while practicing for the big moment, realizes he's a lousy shot. And goes with the plan anyway.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced: The writers need the hero to stick around, so of course the villains can't just finish him off. On the other side, they don't want his Bond Villain Stupidity to go unnoticed either, so they lampshade it via this trope.
  • Lampshaded: This trope by definition is a lampshading of Bond Villain Stupidity. "You never just shoot the heroes when you have the chance. You know they always escape!"
  • Invoked:
    • The villain is looking for a new Number Two who exhibits some common sense, guts and initiative, and decides that someone who asks this question has potential for the job. Thus, he intentionally sets up a situation like this to see if any of his minions react appropriately.
  • Implied: While the villain is doing his No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine routine, we get Sergio Leone-style close-ups of the chief minion giving the hero the evil eye and his body twitching in annoyance, especially his gun hand.
  • Exploited:
  • Defied:
    • "...And in case any of you smartasses want to question my plans and suggest I 'just shoot him', I'd just like to remind you beforehand that there's space in my Death Trap for two".
    • The minion doesn't bother asking the Big Bad, and shoots the hero himself.
    • Shoot the Dangerous Minion.
    • Minion orientation includes an extensive lecture on various known facts of the heroes, villains, and the code of conduct that drives both sides and essentially (and rather bluntly) says "no, we can't 'just shoot them'. If you need to review this orientation again so you'll finally understand why, please say so right now, otherwise get that idea out of your mind and keep it there."
    • "I Don't Pay You to Think "simple solutions", you fucking idiot, I pay you to follow my orders; and my orders are that you put that man inside of my Death Trap, NOW!!!"
    • No-Nonsense Nemesis — there is no need to state a simple solution if the Big Bad is already applying it, right?
    • The first thing The Hero boasts about is the fact he's Immune to Bullets. Cue The Dragon deflating because he wanted to just shoot him and the Big Bad saying "ok... good thing I was gonna toss you into a lava pit, anyway."
    • Evulz points at Bob his smart-aleck/"smart" minion and yells to his other goons: "I am going to make a standing order to all of you: if you ever see this guy try to ruin my fun, I want you to shoot him immediately!"
    • Evulz the Evil Overlord shoots Bob in some not-instantly-lethal-but-incredibly-painful spot and says: "You are asking me to not inflict this kind of pain unto my enemies, right? To just make it quick and spare them? This is nothing next to the tortures I have devised! And next time you try to insult me with your "clever" ideas, I WILL MAKE YOU ENDURE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!!!"
  • Discussed: "So, um... Does anybody want to point out to him that this 'overdramatic Death Trap' shtick never ever works?"
  • Conversed: Two characters watch a cartoon where the villain puts the hero into a deathtrap, and one asks the other why the bad guy never just shoots them in that sort of situation. Extra fourth wall points if the one doing the asking is the in-universe villain, who does the exact same thing when he gets the opportunity.
  • Deconstructed:
    • Due to high turnover rate of minions (i.e. they get killed) who naysay the villain on his GenreBlindness, the minions eventually lose all desire to take initiative or be helpful and stay far, far away from the villain when not explicitly ordered to. The villain ends up losing a lot of battles because his minions are too afraid to attempt to correct his Genre Blindness and is eventually killed during a one-on-one gloating session with a (seemingly) captured hero because nobody else was around.
    • The villain kills the one suggesting a good (and simple) solution for handling the hero and promptly loses support because of this. His superiors view him as incompetent and bigger threat to their organization than the hero. Meanwhile, his minions realize that they are working for someone either psychotic or just plan stupid and promptly leave.
    • The "simple solution" is... not. Whichever the reason, it doomed everybody on the evil side. And the last to go is the minion that goes Laughing Mad when he ponders that just shooting the hero is the reason he's about to get pummeled to death by Karma. As in the million-pound gorilla used to enforce the villains' code, which is named "Karma".
  • Reconstructed: The masterless minions go on to work for a villain with better employee relations, whom they feel safer questioning. If pressed, the villain limits himself to explaining that he has worked very hard to reach the point at which he can kill the hero, and he's not going to have it over in a mundane and unsatisfying brief way when a longer, more ego-boosting, and more sadistic fashion can be dreamt up.
  • Played For Laughs: The discussion between the villain and the minion of Contractual Genre Blindness versus No-Nonsense Nemesis and which one is supposed to be more "fun" lasts several days with both sides increasingly exasperated.
  • Played For Drama: Expect those who say "Just Shoot Him" to be the Knight of Cerebus. Even the people In-Universe are concerned when he makes the statement.
  • Played For Horror: The guy who states the solution is the Ax-Crazy Psycho for Hire that has a pretty awful reason to do it: whoever they want to kill is not considered worth jack in whatever scheme they are hatching. What is worse, being casually blown away because it's "simpler" or being casually blown away because the killer is just that bored?

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