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Quotes / Complexity Addiction

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     Comic Books 

Robin: You dressed up as bats, just to rob a mall? Isn't that kind of...elaborate?
Fred: Not compared to some of the crimes we've solved!
Robin: Mm. Or some of our cases, now that I think of it.
Scooby-Doo! Team-Up, "Man Bat and Robbin'"

"Be careful, Maladi, that you do not scheme for scheming's sake. Do not become so enamored of your plotting that you lose sight of your goal."
Darth Krayt, Star Wars: Legacy #13: Ready to Die

     Fan Works 

"At the time B.O.R.G. was recruiting beautiful women to seduce high-ranking generals so they could be blackmailed into dropping satellite A-bombs on the San Andreas Fault, thereby creating an earthquake which would inundate Silicone Valley. Realizing this plan was completely ridiculous, I enacted a more efficient strategy to eliminate the competition by selling quality products at lower prices than our rivals."

“All I want to know is what this setup is all about,” said Supergirl. “If we’re going to be the main course for this vampire or whatever you’re going to be hosting, just call me curious.”
“Call you dead,” said the guy with the bucket, and drew a .38.
Vladislav slapped his hand, then slapped his face. “How many times do I got to tell you? How many times? How many?”
“No more, boss, no more,” pleaded the vamp. “I understand. I understand. I swear on my father’s coffin.”
The fangfather buried his hands in his underling’s turtleneck. “I don’t really have time for this aggravation, Lester. You got me?”
“Gotcha, boss.”
“I said we don’t shoot the women, and we don’t shoot the women. We need them for later. Got that?”

He kicked out angrily at Superman, dislodging him, and damned himself for not killing him during the month and days he had him helpless, damned himself for trying to eke the last bit of power from his body for its usefulness.


    Film — Animated 

"Ah, how shall I do it? Oh, I know. I’ll turn him into a flea, a harmless, little flea, and then I’ll put that flea in a box, and then I’ll put that box inside of another box, and then I’ll mail that box to myself, and when it arrives … I’ll smash it with a hammer! It’s brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, I tell you! Genius, I say! …Or, to save on postage, I’ll just poison him with this."

    Film — Live-action 

Dr. Evil: Scott, I want you to meet daddy's nemesis, Austin Powers.
Scott: What? Are you feeding him? Why don't you just kill him?
Dr. Evil: I have an even better idea: I'm going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.

"Why do you have to make things so fucking complicated?!"


"I’ve yet to encounter a situation that couldn’t be improved by a copious amount of lies and body doubles.”
Dread Emperor Traitorous, A Practical Guide To Evil

Halek had known Victor long enough to understand how his devious mind worked. Victor was one of those who liked convoluted things for the sake of convolution. He liked to plot and scheme just for the sake of it.
Gotrek & Felix: Beastslayer

Thirty two minutes to draw out blueprints for the pendulums and work out the sequence needed for best effect. Three hundred to three hundred and forty minutes of time to set it up. He could estimate costs north of eleven thousand dollars, not counting salaries. None of the materials were particularly expensive in and of themselves, and he had any number of businesses in his pocket where he could acquire those materials at a significant discount.
Accord designs a death trap, Worm

    Live-action TV 

Instead of being an alive person pretending to be a dead person pretending to be an alive person, why not just be an alive person?

Darien: All right, so why don’t you just knock me out with a… Stun gun? Baseball bat? You know, what is it with all these complex plots? I mean, what, is it a Swiss thing? Is that what it is?
Arnaud: You know I can’t just walk up to you and knock you out with a baseball bat. There are… variables.
Darien: Don’t defend it. Please.
Arnaud: You could turn invisible, for one—
Darien: Will you just admit it?
Arnaud:—Admit what?
Darien: You’re ridiculous. You are! I mean, you join the Q-Gland design team just so you can steal the design. You make me think Kevin’s alive so, what, I can lead you to some files. Hey, buddy, you could’ve found them on your own with a little research. Then you give me the flu so I could wind up in some hospital room and you can take the gland out of me? Douche, Rube Goldberg’s got nothing on you, pal.
The Invisible Man, Diseased

So when you're sat with all these fresh ingredients on your doorstep, and the climate they've got, the simpler it is, the better it's gonna be. Unfortunately, they've got more complicated, and tried to be clever, and completely lost the fucking plot.
Gordon Ramsay, on La Parra de Burriana, Kitchen Nightmares

Then how did I break into the bank, to the tower, to the prison? Daylight robbery! All it takes is a few willing participants! I knew you'd fall for it. That's your weakness, you always want everything to be clever.
Moriarty, Sherlock


The Jackal strikes me as the sort of overachiever who, assigned to kill a mosquito, would purchase contraband insecticides from Iraq and bring them to the United States by hot air balloon, distilling his drinking water from clouds and shooting birds for food.



Mike: It seems a bit convoluted. It's like they're trying to fill most of the movie with a nonsensical plot to have a movie where a Predator fights Aliens. "It's the Aztec calender!" "Uh, sure, okay."
Rich: Do they really need people? Why can't they just go out into the jungle, capture a few bears, throw 'em into the temple? Then they get to fight alien-bears.

    Video Games 

"Why can't we have a normal, straightforward killing once in a while in this country?"
—Ema Skye, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (lampshading the frequent usage of this trope in Ace Attorney)


This is exactly the needless complexity you've come to expect from your sylladex!
The Narrator after John Egbert deliberately makes his inventory system impractical, Homestuck

Nale: I just need to devise some scheme, some elaborate machination, by which I could unearth more information concerning this gate...
(Gilligan Cut)
Roy: Can you tell us more about the gates?
Shojo: Sure.
Nale: Huh.

Agatha: I have to get to the bottom of this hole—
Dr. Mittelmind: Nothing simpler!
Agatha: —and survive.
Dr. Mittelmind: Ah. Tricky.
Professor Diaz: I will strap a directional explosive to your chest, then detonate it just before you land!
Professor Mezzasalma: Bah! I have a secret procedure of my own devising that will (probably) give you the properties of the noble spider! Then you can simply leap to the bottom!
Dr. Mittelmind: No, no, my lady, my hydrophilic attractor could (theoretically) be modified to fill the Castle with water! When it subsides, it will gracefully lower you to the bottom!
Moloch: Why don't we just move this winch? There should be enough cable, and it looks strong enough that we could lower everybody on a platform.
[turns around and notices he's become the subject of several disapproving glares]
Moloch: ...and then, at the bottom, it could unfold into a... a giant caterpillar or... something...
Dr. Mittelmind: No, no. You've already taken all the joy out of it.

Gil: I can't even get in the same room with Agatha without—
Higgs: So write her a letter.
Gil: Whut?
Higgs: I've seen this over and over! Damfool Sparks who thing they've got to send a full-scale army of giant, singing rosebushes or it isn't romantic enough! Don't make everything so complicated! Here. Paper. Pen. Sit. Now. Write. Use the pen. On the paper. Tell her what you want to say.
Gil: (Beat) I could build a machine that would project a simulacrum of myself that could explain-
Higgs: Why I smacked you?
Gil: Or... I could... just write...

Red Mage: I know how we can free Fighter from his armoire-y prison! Behold! I will simply transfer all of my stat points into my INT rating, invent, and master, quantum mechanics, and then construct a device that will redescribe the armoire's weight on a quantum level so we can move it off Fighter! The experience gained from such a well thought out plan would be astronomical! It's almost too easy.
Black Mage: I would like to interject some constructive criticism in regards to this alleged plan of yours, RM.
Red Mage: By all means.
Black Mage: First, and I mean this in all sincerity, you are an idiot. This plan, much like all your other ones, is unnecessarily complex unto impossibility. In conclusion, your intellect is lacking and your personal hygiene is poor.

"Ridiculous machinations to accomplish nonsense easily done otherwise through ordinary means— how like a young Spark. You are extremely amusing."
Queen Albia, Girl Genius, 11 Sept. 2020

    Web Original 

You're just waiting for the point where the Master and the Daleks will betray one another and see who will try it first. My money was on the Master so imagine my surprise when it turns out to be the Daleks. As ever, he has a back up plan up his sleeve. He must literally spend years thinking up his harebrained schemes and then figuring out all the ways they could be brought down and exit strategies. He cannot have that much faith in himself.
Joe Ford on Big Finish Doctor Who, Dark Eyes 4: Master of Daleks

You want to sneak bombs onto a cruise ship. Do you:

A: Put them in your luggage
B: Strap them to your body
C: Put the detonators in the heads of the seventeen irons in your set of golf clubs, make the balls the bombs and have a member of the crew bring them on board for you

Again, obviously it's C. Nobody would think a set of golf clubs with seventeen irons was silly, especially irons that had LED displays on them.
Chris Parry on Speed 2: Cruise Control

Rather than dragging Wolverine's paralyzed ass back to his lab for immediate healing-factor theft, Yashida decides to let Wolverine go and fakes his own death for no conceivable reason. Yashida even goes to the trouble of staging a huge public funeral for himself...There was literally no need for any of this other bullshit. This movie should've been the equivalent of Wolverine waking up in a bathtub full of ice without his kidney.

Arcade doesn't murder people. He puts them in Murdercade. It's a deadly but outrageously unexplainable high-tech fun fair that has yet to kill a single participant in the history of Marvel Comics.

Anyway, this spurts Kaine into going into the courtroom and confessing himself to, uh, killing a bunch of people because Peter Parker took a picture of him committing murder, so see, he hated him so much he had his fingerprints and DNA altered to match his and then killed a bunch more people. Of course! What’s sad is that events in the Marvel Universe had gotten so stupid in general at this point that there was really no way for a reasonable judge to deny the story.

You just have to love the fact that Superman doesn’t even give a problem a second thought before his mind goes right to, 'I know! I’ll do an elaborate ruse!' He’s gone the ruse route for so long he doesn’t know how to solve problems any other way, not even giving it a few more seconds’ thought to determine if the problem actually exists in the first place!
Brian Cronin, Comics Should Be Good

Lex Luthor: Listen to this. We're gonna make me a suit!
Emil Hamilton: Great! With like, rockets and guns?
Lex: No! No no no! It's gonna be a suit... that isn't a suit. It's just my SKIN! But I'm in a suit! I'll be invulnerable!
Emil: Wouldn't that be an aura?
Lex: No! It's a SKIN SUIT! Don't you get it?
Emil: Like Buffalo Bill? Would you ___ me Buffalo Bill?
Lex: No! Like, a super-suit! And get this, there's a kicker!
Emil: Do tell, Mr. Luth-er.
Lex: It ABSORBS Kryptonite!
Emil: ...Why would you want your suit to radiate Kryptonite?
Emil: It's because that kid who thinks he has a secret that everyone knows has superpowers, you want to whack him, don't you.
Emil: Okay. Well, all due respect Lex (and awesome vocal device, I must say), why don't you just, you know, lure him somewhere and then just put the f______g rock on his chest and shoot him in the face?
— Neal Bailey on Smallville ("Requiem")

GeneralIronicus: (as Snake) I forgot to mention — my a limbo master! That's how they decided primary elections in the future of Metal Gear.
Chip Cheezum: Aside from expositioning.
Ironicus: If it was all exposition, then we would have President Ocelot by now.
Chip: Every time there's, like, a State of the Union address, it'd just be him going (in Ocelot voice) "I tricked all of you, America! I tricked you into thinking that I tricked you! And then I tricked you again! Bet you didn't see that one coming!"
Ironicus (as Ocelot): Even I don't know how many times you've been tricked!
Chip (as Ocelot): I got a Trick-Diary!
Ironicus (as Ocelot): I tricked myself into tricking me to trick you, to trick me to trick the Patriots!
Chip (as Ocelot): I can't do anything without tricking! I can't even ask for pepper without tricking them into giving me the pepper!
Chip and Ironicus discussing Revolver Ocelot becoming President

Give (John) Cena credit, though. He had access to a giant trough of solid waste secretly suspended above the ring, but he had patience enough to wait until the end of a three-hour Raw to pull the trigger (not that there are actual guns that fire poop, so excuse the metaphor), even letting the heels cut a ten-minute long promo on him. Now that’s discipline! If I had the same power of crap, I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes into the program without using it.

(crossed out) 5. Attack with your turn 1 flyer buffed by infinite Rallies.
Too easy.
5. Draw your deck.
(crossed out) 6. Cast a card that wins the game.
What is this, "good combos 4 boring people"?
6, 7, 8. Play Altar for black mana, play Wishclaw Talisman and give it to your opponent, play Cavalier of Dawn to force your opponent to have a creature.
Now we're talking.

This is the episode in which the Doctor deduces the Cybermen's plans, a deduction never contradicted in the story, and they are rubbish. Their goal: To take control of the Wheel and use it as a base from which to launch the invasion of Earth. Fair enough. Step 1: Make a star go nova. 2. Smuggle yourself aboard a deserted ship full of bernalium and coast near the station (while sitting in big eggs for NO REASON WHATSOEVER). 3. Send over some Cybermats so they can eat all the bernalium on the Wheel. 4. Without bernalium, they can't fire their weapons, so if they didn't already destroy the derelict ship before the Cybermats could do their job, allow the Wheel crew to investigate and find bernalium aboard it. 5. Mind control the crew members and smuggle yourself aboard the Wheel. 6. Let the crew fix the laser and protect the station from the nova-created meteor storm. 7. Take control of the air supply and suffocate the crew. 8. Say to yourself how clever, clever, clever you are. There are a hundred ways this could have gone wrong even before the TARDIS landed aboard the Silver Carrier. Even Step 7 is overly convoluted. The Cybermen can kill you with one zap of their chest unit, or take control of your brain, or probably choke you out manually with their great strength. Once they get aboard the Wheel, why not just do that? The nova thing is complete overkill as well, and a complete contrast to the invasion force consisting of two whole Cybermen. Sometimes in episodic television, a plan will seem convoluted in retrospect yet seem to stand up on an episode-by-episode basis. But all unfurled in one go by the Doctor, as it is here, it really seems to work of a crackpot.
Siskoid's Blog of Geekery, on Doctor Who: The Wheel in Space, Episode 5

    Web Video 

Klingon revenge is a dish best served convoluted.
SFDebris, on Arne Darvin/Barry Waddle's plan to travel back in time and kill Captain Kirk with an explosive tribble, in "Trials and Tribble-ations"

Two young star-crossed lovers should go on this romantic getaway, when love is forbidden and leads to the Dark Side? Oh wait—I guess Palpatine was the guy that initially suggested the idea, so he might've been usin' a trick of them or somethin'. Y'know, his grand plan was to cloud all their judgement and trick them into letting Anakin go with her because he knew Anakin was gonna fall in love, get Padme pregnant, then have premonitions of future pregnancy complications leading to her death so that Palpatine could tell Anakin to use the Dark Side to save her so Anakin could become Darth Vader and help Palpatine rule the empire. You'd think that if this guy could think that far into the future, he'd just pick the Lotto numbers. ...But wait, if that were the case—! ..ah, fuck it.

This is the most, like THE most, out-of-the-way, absurd solution to a problem that has an easy solution. Like, "Oh no, my coffee's cold! Why don't I blow up a country, instead of just heating it in the microwave?"
Pat, while playing through the infamous "electric fence" level in Ride to Hell: Retribution


    Western Animation 

Ah, my ridiculously circuitous plan is one-quarter complete!
Robot Devil, Futurama

Megabyte: Hexadecimal, you know the plan.
Hexadecimal: Which one? There seem to be several.
ReBoot, "Web World Wars"

President?! Do you know how much power I'd have to give up to be President? That's right, conspiracy buff. I spent $75 million on a fake Presidential campaign, all just to tick Superman off.
Lex Luthor, Justice League Unlimited

Sure, you could kill me with your gun... but are you willing to try something much more elaborate and unnecessary?
Steve, American Dad! ("With Friends Like Steve's")

Okay, let's get Operation Too-Complicated-To-Actually-Work underway.
Shego, Kim Possible, "Ron-Millionaire"

Anyway, once I recovered from the shock I did what I always do: solve a simple problem by inventing a complicated and menacing machine.
Heinz Doofenshmirtz, Phineas and Ferb

Glomgold: Our scheme to destroy Beaks begins with a billionaires' convention on a yacht. We'll tell him we're going, but then we won't show! First slam!
Scrooge: Seems unnecessary, especially the part about the yacht.
Glomgold: Emotionally devastated, Beaks will seek solace and drown his sorrows at the buffet.
Scrooge: A yacht and a buffet for one person? I'm not paying for that.
Glomgold: Fine. We'll use my yacht. Now, distracted by delicious shrimp, Beaks won't realize he's being sailed into an active volcano, where it'll get so hot he'll jump into the yacht's pool, which, unbeknownst to him, will be filled with sharks!
Scrooge: Where did the sharks come from?
Glomgold: I've got a great shark guy. Beaks will be so terrified of the sharks, he'll forget he's in a volcano and jump blindly into the lava! All while we watch from a bridge above.
Scrooge: Wait, wait, I thought we wanted to boot him out of our club, not kill him! Although you have tried to kill me countless times, which usually ends up being more annoying than deadly.
Glomgold: That's right, I'm a genius. Now, pay attention, 'cause this where it gets complicated.
DuckTales (2017), "The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks!"

    Real life 

Any damned fool can make something complex. It takes a genius to make something simple.
Albert Einstein, also attributed to Pete Seeger

The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.
Carl von Clauswitz, On War

So, to get this straight, Zack's scheming the election so he can go to D.C., and Slater's scheming Zack through his scheming of Belding... I didn't remember the show as a constant stream of double bluffs and cons on cons, more akin to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy than a light-hearted highschool romp.
Stuart Millard on Saved by the Bell ("The Election"), So Excited, So Scared


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