"They really are all the same, aren't they?" she said to the three-eyed teddy bear. "You know it's going to be Mary the Maid, or someone like her, and there's going to be two men and she will end up with the nice one, and there has to be misunderstandings, and they never do anything more than kiss and it's absolutely guaranteed that, for example, an exciting civil war or an invasion by trolls or even a scene with any cooking in it is not going to happen. The best you can expect is a thunderstorm."
Mandy Baxter: I want to see how that ends. Kristin Baxter: One dance mom yells at the other dance mom, and then they both get yelled at by that big teacher. Mandy Baxter: How do you know that? Kristin Baxter: Because it's every episode.
"Some crime show. You don't know any of the characters, but you still pay attention to the plot. Abortion doctor murdered. The Christian fanatic is too obvious a suspect. Maybe it's the doctor's wife. Maybe it's his brother; they were professional rivals, and the deceased just won an award. (What does an abortionist win an award for, anyway?) The cop's partner wants him to do something about his anger issues. Isn't that always the way?''
Bowser: I figured now would be a perfect time to put my latest plan into action! Lakitu: Hold onto your seats, Smash fans. It looks like King Bowser is planning to kidnap the princess again! Bowser: Hey! Cloud boy! How did you know about my plan?! Now spill! Who told you about it?
The first episode of Pokémon that aired on network TV was episode #42, "The Problem with Paras." There are over 700 Pokemon episodes in existence now, so you might not remember this particular one. It's the one where they go somewhere and meet a Pokèmon with a problem, and the gang tries to solve that problem, and Team Rocket tries to mess it up. It's that one.
Quirky underdog meets a hot attractive babe But some unfunny bullies try to stop my goofy ways My quirky sidekick and/or grandma help me on my path While using an annoying voice and jokes about my ass Come on, guys, you liked it the first eighteen times Surely you'll like it fifty-six more
The stories had, to the British eyes at any rate, a monotonous similarity about them that went something as follows: two men, one a policeman, one a criminal, come into conflict. They have lots of very badly-choreographed fights. There is a song. Then another fight. Another song. Halfway through, a villain strangles the policeman's saintly mother. Then it's revealed that the criminal and the cop are really brothers separated at birth by the machinations of the evil villain. There is a song. Then there is more fighting of a kind which would make the average playground pretend martial arts game look highly polished. Then another song. The brothers fall in love with two sisters. The sisters are kidnapped. There is a song. They are rescued. The villain is beaten to a pulp. There is a song.
—Paul Hoffman on Bollywood, The Golden Age Of Censorship
— Stuart Millard, Smoke & Mirrors and Steven Seagal
"The plot, in a general sense, involves a villain trying to get a hold of an alien artifact that will give him control of the universe. You may remember this plot from every single fucking plot these goddamn Marvel movies have ever had!"
Jay: The Marine 1: U.S. Marine John Triton returns home, his very attractive (citation needed) wife Kate is kidnapped, and he busts some heads to rescue her. The Marine 2: U.S. Marine Joe Linwood returns to his hotel room, his very attractive (citation needed) wife Robin is kidnapped, and he busts some heads to rescue her. V1: I can see where this is going.
It tells exactly where to put everything. It shows definitely just what must happen in each successive thousand words. No yarn of mine written to the formula has yet failed to sell. The business of building stories seems not much different from the business of building anything else.
In some ways, there is a certain inflexibility about my scheme for writing Black Widower stories. There is always the banquet and the general conversation; then the grilling and the presentation of the mystery; then the discussion and solution.
"I don't read the scripts any more very often because I know what's going to happen. It's all been done before. It's a variation on a variation on a variation, so consequently when I show up on the set I know my lines just long enough to say them and forget them immediately. So if we need one or two takes more than I'd planned for I'm in trouble, and the other actors know this and they're like, 'Say the lines perfectly or they'll make us do it again!' But what can I say? If you're not inspired to learn the lines, it doesn't matter. Because you can't tell from the final product... I'm sure there's some guy in a factory in Detroit whose sees a little nick on the bolt and goes, 'Shall we start the car all over again?' It's the same thing. It's a factory."
"The reason that we ended up doing so many rehashes of episodes was there was a point where Brannon — whether he was tired, or it was just the pressure of trying to get the show done — was not really willing to hear a variety of ideas. He would hone in on a story. Somebody would pitch a story, and then all of a sudden were breaking a story thats very similar to a Deep Space Nine or a Voyager...because — quite rightly — theyd had success doing the characters the way theyd been doing them, and really getting into real conflict with our characters was not something Rick and Brannon were interested in."
But if there's one good thing I can say about Voyager, it's that it reached such a predictable level of sameness, that it became like comfort food television. Just like ordering a Big Mac, you always knew what you would see when you opened that box. Unfortunately, this is only good for certain situations, like when you have an hour to kill and don't want to think too hard.
I find the rigid visual schematic and the close-cropped A-B-C framing and editing of Adam-12 to be beautifully spare and clean, matched by the almost kabuki-like scripting that turns the most mundane actions into stylized rituals, repeated over and over again until they achieve mythic, iconic status. When Malloy and Reed drop down into their new, more powerful 1973 AMC Matador, solidly chunking those doors closed, and begin to roll down the mean streets of L.A.―over and over again, episode after episode, with little variation―the effect eventually becomes hypnotic.
On the one hand they insist that they don't want to patronize the audience and want to leave things for them to figure out. On the other, when Chibnall complains that the story was cliched monsters and corridors stuff, Jane Baker rather icily notes that she thought Doctor Who fans liked traditional stuff. There's something really unsettling about this. It's difficult to see how feeding Doctor Who fans a steady diet of generic and traditional adventures could be called challenging. Indeed, 'here's the same thing you've been enjoying for decades done with no changes' seems the very definition of patronizing television.
Wow, listen to David Duchovny in the first scene Mulder and Scully share. After his riveting turn in "Max" he sounds bored already, fully aware of the functional episode that is about to play out...He cant wait to get away from this case and into something more interesting. At the end of the episode, Scully is so jaded by the tedious events that have taken place that she can't even bring herself to argue with Mulder over the idea of time travel. Shes almost like "sure, time travel, whatever you like...can we go now?"
"People like to think everything is art. Arranging flowers, writing poems, making a latte—these are just actions, not art. Plugging in an electric guitar, playing four chords, adding bass and drums, and singing words in key is no more 'art' than a guy opening his tool box, putting on a 9/16 socket, replacing a belt, and getting the lawn mower running again."
Yahtzee: Turns out a big chunk of this "online-multiplayer"-focused game is a single-player campaign. Oh, Nintendo, you poor sod! Someone suggested making an online shooter and was smart enough not to stand on the trapdoor to the piranha tank, so you had to reach a compromise, but you just couldn't fight the old instincts! Nintendo exec: *cries aloud as his hand refuses to shake the dev's*
"What's this game about then? You play as Link and you have to rescue the Princess Zelda? Wow, across the meadows of fresh ideas, you stride like a colossus, don't you? Oh, but it's very innovatively evoking A Link to the Past on the SNES, the same way I 'very innovatively' crawled up my mum's vagina and stuck my thumb in me mouth... Oh! A Boomerang and a Hookshot!? SLOW DOWN, STANLEY KUBRICK! Zelda? More like Smellda! Fart. I Smellda fart."
"In one of the behind-the-scenes featurettes, the developers flat out admit that they think up the spectacular set pieces first and then come up with the plot around them, and by Christ, does it show, because these games are getting as formulaic as a Scooby-Doo episode. Who wants to bet the lost treasure at the end will turn out to have been deliberately lost because there's some negative effect surrounding it that the bad guys want to weaponize? And that Drake will pull off the main villain's face and it'll turn out to be Old Man Withers!"
"Tom & Jerry is about as uninspired a cartoon series as was ever created. It's pure generic cartoon thinking of the time. What is a cartoon? Uh... it's where a cat chases a mouse and there is lots of hurt and noise and mayhem. It's hard to be more basic than that, so Bill and Joe didn't fix something that wasn't broken for 15 or 16 years."
Most features follow the basic structure and trappings of Snow White and have turned it into a blind formula. The original Grimm's fairy tale of Snow White has about 4 pages of story (about 10 minutes worth of screen time). The movie added about 50 minutes of filler: animals cleaning plates with their rear ends, comedy relief, romance between two lifeless people...
The TV producers' pedagogical theory is that young kids really like repetition, because theyre more comfortable watching a show if they know exactly what to expect. And thats a really convenient pedagogical theory to have, if you dont want to spend a lot of money on writers.
One of the most popular '90s shows was Batman: The Animated Series. In this show, our caped crusader Batman would confront a villain/minor life event of the week, scowl at it, use something on his utility belt, learn a valuable life lesson and then he would share a private joke with his faithful butler before the credits rolled. It was all very tidy, and there was no argument that this was how the world worked. Children everywhere aspired to be Batman, and to one day share private jokes with butlers of their own.