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Quotes / Red Shirt

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    Anime and Manga 

I often think about how people like us always tend to be weak foils to stars like you in fiction. Whenever the supernatural protagonist appeared, we'd always be lying in a puddle of blood, just to emphasize the strength of the opponent. That's fine. It just goes to show how powerful people think we are. It's staged, so there's not much we can do.
Kinnosuke Kuzuhara, Durarara!!

    Comic Books 

Ironfist: It was never gonna be Perceptor, was it? Or Springer or Impactor or Kup, if they were here. No, it was always going to be one of us — the second stringers.
Pyro: Yeah, just because we're not famous — not Ark-worthy — one of us has to bite the bullet...


    Fan Fiction 

A hatch in the belly of the spaceship slid open and Harry hurtled out, screaming the battle cry of the Old Federation. "Death to the redshirts!"

As Hyuuga went, Ko was not remarkable in any way. He was of average height, average build, average skill, and average looks. If you were to chart all the verious aspects of the Hyuuga clan members and draw up a theoretical median for each of their different traits, the overall result would probably look a lot like Ko.

Basically, he was just one step up from nameless fodder. He had about as much chance as a Star Trek redshirt, and roughly equivalent chances of surviving any serious shit. If so much as a gentle breeze wafted through the Hyuuga estate, Ko would be one of the first casualties.

One shirt means you're dead meat
And another means you're bald.
And the phasers that they give you
Don't do any good at all
Try calling Scotty
When the Horta scalds

And if you go chasing Romulans
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a toupee-wearing captain
Has given you the short straw
Call Scotty
Before we get mauled

When men at their consoles
Try and tell you where to go
And you've drunk the water on Scalos
And your friends are moving slow
Don't bother calling Scotty
He won't even know

When logic, and emotion
Are warring in Spock's head
And the engineers are talking technobabble
And the captain's off his meds
Remember what the surgeon said,
"Jim, he's dead."
"Jim, he's dead."

Redshirt Rabbit (with apologies to Jefferson Airplane)

    Film - Live-Action 

Guy: I'm not even supposed to be here. I'm just Crewman Number Six. I'm expendable. I'm the guy in the episode who dies to prove how serious the situation is! I've gotta get outta here!
Guy: Are we doing episode 81?
Jason: [very irritated] It's just a rough plan Guy, what difference does it make if it's episode 81 or not?!
Guy: Because I died... ON EPISODE 81!!!!
Gwen: Let's go before one of those things kills Guy!

"When did you transfer into Science out of Security?"
"I didn't. I just started taking blue uniforms from the laundry."
"Trust me, kid. The red shirts will get you killed every time."

Kirk: Go put on a red shirt.
Chekov: ("Oh, Crap!" face) Aye, Keptin...


Under no circumstances are you to jeopardize your life or your ship. The life of your companion, however, is absolutely and thoroughly expendable.

Wreath: But look on the bright side. Nobody died.
Valkyrie: (frowning) Lots of people died.
Wreath: But nobody you like.

Run, minor character, run! Not that it'll do you any good!
Carmen watching a monster movie, Spy Kids books

    Live-Action TV 

Dalek Sec: Which of you is least important?
Rose: What's that supposed to mean?
Sec: Which of you is least important?
Rose: Nah, we don't work like that. None of us.
Sec: Designate the least important!
Doctor Who, "Doomsday"

Boone: You ever watch Star Trek?
Locke: Not really.
Boone: The crew guys that would go down to the planet with the main guys — the captain and the guy with the pointy ears? They always wore red shirts and they always got killed.
Locke: Yeah?
Boone: Yeah.
Locke: Sounds like a piss-poor captain.

Felger: You are not going to die, Coombs.
Coombs: Oh, come on, Felger! We might as well be wearing red shirts!
Stargate SG-1, "The Other Guys"


Please don't beam me down with Kirk, McCoy and Spock
'Cause if you do, I know that I'll be dead by 1 o'clock
Maybe I'll be vaporized or crushed beneath some granite
Bones will look at Jim and say "I'm just a doctor, dammit."

I'm an extra - on Star Trek
It's my break - on TV
The fourth man in the landing crew
It's the last you'll see of me
M.O.D., "He's Dead Jim"

I was killed by Gary Mitchell with his psychic powers
I was eaten by a salt vampire
I was pushed over a cliff by an enormous, ugly android
I was killed by a creature called a Gorn
The bridge crew is invincible
But I'm not impervious
To the deadly creatures we meet out there
No-Win Scenario, "Red Shirt's Lament"

You'll be expendable
You will wear red and be expendable
For getting dead, you are dependable
In fact you are the perfect guy
If shields are down or we blow a warp core
It's almost guaranteed you're gonna fry!
am I

I've been a Starfleet brat since the day I was born,
But I never should have put on this uniform
I could've been a doctor or helmsman, see
But I ended up here in Security.
Warp 11, "I Always Knew I Would Die Alone"


    Stand-Up Comedy 

And you always knew, if any of the main cast beamed down, they were all coming back. But if there was a new bloke beaming down with them... you got really worried about the new bloke. Especially if he was wearing a red jumper...
Eddie Izzard, Unrepeatable - one of the most Troperiffic stand-up shows in history.

    Tabletop Games 

Working for the Field Projects Division is messy business. It isn't pleasant, and it's very easy to get dead. Hence, the conspiracy requires quite a lot of cannon fodder - it may seem cliché, but not everybody is expected to return, and Cheiron prepares for that inevitability by stocking its FPD cells with a high volume of expendable agents.


Master Computer: I see the Federation has issued new uniforms.
Ensign Newbie: Star Command says it's my lucky red shirt!
Computer: I see they've also given you brown pants to go with that red shirt.
Ensign: Huh?
Computer: Just gratuitous foreshadowing...
Alien Adventure by John Freda

    Video Games 

Future zombies look good in red shirts. Future fact #23: Nothing bad happens to red shirts.
— Future Zombies' almanac description, Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time

    Web Original 

Um... Kirk? Not to bother you with trivial details or anything, but do you remember those two Redshirts still on Troyaikman? You know, the ones you tried to beam up when you didn't know the ship had left orbit? Just out of curiosity, any plans to go back for them anytime soon? No? Oh well. I guess it's all in a day's work when you're a Redshirt.
The Agony Booth, "And the Children Shall Lead..."

Moral of the Week: Starfleet is a dangerous place to work.

Everyone makes it to cover but the redshirt. Ouch. I mean, death by replicated shooty ball thing. What a way to go.
Recap of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Civil Defense"

Hapless soldiers from the sky,
Beaming down to quickly die.
Men who know their life's crappy
Those fighting men in the red jersey.

Kirk, and Spock, McCoy and him.
Bones will soon say, "He's dead Jim."
His quick demise we all foresee
For he's the one in the red jersey.

Not black. Not white. No race assumed.
here's just one hue to seal his doom.
And even when he's a she,
She's just as dead in a red jersey.

We all know it's too late.
Beaming down, we sealed our fate.
For Kirk and Spock, they too did see
They both did die in a red jersey.

Aliens take over facility. Marines get sent in to take care of it in the same way that bits of bread get sent into ponds to take care of the ducks.
Yahtzee Croshaw, Zero Punctuation

They wouldn't characterize this many NPCs if they weren't gonna pick them off like After Eight mints.
Yahtzee Croshaw, Zero Punctuation

An Imperial Stormtrooper fired at a Redshirt. He missed, and the Redshirt died anyway.
— Old internet joke

The city guard is here! Not here to help though. Mostly they exist to get beat up by the good guys by rushing in and attacking them one at a time. And that's if they're lucky. The less lucky guards get eaten by the dragon or killed and zombiefied by the lich in order to establish how dangerous the bad guy is. And clearly the bad guy is very dangerous because he killed a bunch of guards who I established as weak and incompetent in the early chapters. Very scary. The guards' only real job is jobbing, but they suck at that too apparently.
Could I make the guards a competent faction in their own right and force both heroes and villains to contend with them, turning a throwaway batch of characters into a Wild Card faction? Of course. But I am not going to waste my time with that when I have Power Fantasy to indulge in.
Terrible Writing Advice on why combining this trope with The Worf Effect is a bad idea in his "Fantasy Characters" episode.


    Western Animation 

Kirk: All right, men, this is a dangerous mission. And it's likely one of us will be killed. The landing party will consist of myself, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Ensign Ricky.
Ensign Ricky: Aw, crap.

Wade: Just make sure you're not wearing—
Kim: A red shirt?

    Real Life 

"It was felt at the time that the death of a crewmember would require time to show Archer and the crew dealing with the loss, and there wasn’t time for such a scene. Personally, I always liked how Kirk shrugged off casualty reports like they were yesterday’s sports scores."
— Writer Mike Sussman on Star Trek: Enterprise, "Strange New World"


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