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Playing With / That Poor Plant

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Basic Trope: The effect something has on living beings is demonstrated by its effect on a plant.

  • Straight:
    • Mad Scientist Doctor Phylophobe demonstrates his new supertoxin by dropping a small amount on the leaf of a nearby pot plant, causing it to shrivel up and die on the spot.
    • Dr. Hazel Roseflower demonstrates her health-boosting nanobots by introducing them to a blotchy, pest-eaten plant, which instantly begins repairing its damage and visibly growing larger, as dead caterpillars drop to the soil around it.
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  • Exaggerated: Phylophobe drips his toxin on a blade of grass in an arboretum—a black wave spreads across the ground as every plant in a 100-yard radius dies off.
  • Downplayed: Nothing happens, at first. Then the Doctor produces One I Prepared Earlier, which is blackened and wilted.
  • Justified: The scientist is developing an Agent Orange-esque fast-acting herbicide. Killing plants is precisely what it's designed to do.
  • Inverted: "Is the herbicide ready, doctor? We must drive out the Treetop Town-dwellers!" "It seems to be vorking beyond my vildest predictions! It efen effects animal life - observe ze effect on zis hamster..."
    • Doctor Phylophobe tests a substance for safety on a plant and notices the plant seems unaffected. He touches the substance itself and drops dead instantly.
  • Subverted:
    • The toxin does nothing, and the scientist angrily declares his return to the drawing board.
    • Doctor Phylophobe looks at the nearby potted plant meaningfully... and then puts the toxin into another cup.
  • Double Subverted:
    • ...Then a fly lands on the plant, and dissolves.
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    • The other cup is reduced to a purple splotch. Carefully, Doctor Phylophobe picks up some of this goo in an eyedropper, and uses THAT on the plant.
  • Parodied: The Board of Evil Financiers crowd around the plant on the desk with bated breath as the scientist drips a purple liquid on its leaves. He looks up, puzzled. "Oh, zis? No, zis is just to get rid of ze aphids. I asked you here to see my Death Ray..."
  • Zig Zagged: Phylophobe tests his concoctions on whatever's nearby, including potted plants.... but also including unpotted plants, small animals, large animals, nearby heroes, distant heroes, other minions, his own minions, and himself.
  • Averted: Phylophobe starts to go into the gory details of his extensive Animal Testing experiments, but his boss queasily announces that he'll take his word for its efficacy.
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  • Enforced: We need a visual demonstration of the effects, but we're not going to show Animal Testing on a Saturday morning cartoon...
  • Lampshaded: "What do I care what it does to a frickin' rosebush? Does it work on people?"
  • Invoked: Phylophobe's boss has potted plants in his room specifically for the doctor's benefit.
  • Exploited: Bob sabotages Phylophobe's efforts at funding by replacing the actual plant with a plastic one.
  • Defied: "You really think I'm going to test this stuff on a plant? We're trying to kill people, not shrubbery."
  • Discussed: "Plants make excellent test subjects. They don't scream much, for one."
  • Conversed: "I used to wonder why they always tested poison on a plant if it's meant to kill people, but then I remembered how most herbicides would still kill YOU if they are drunk."
  • Deconstructed: The toxin kills the plant instantly... but only gives humans a rash, because its effectiveness was based on how deadly to plants it was.
  • Reconstructed:
    • After some further testing, it kills everything.
    • Defoliation is a useful weapon in it's own right... particularly on enemy crops.

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