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Mar 4th 2019 at 12:06:19 PM •••

So this trope is a form of justification?

May 22nd 2013 at 5:12:26 AM •••

Am I the only one that sees a lot of these "examples" as just people complaining about plots they don't like?

Mar 11th 2013 at 7:38:58 PM •••

STANDARD FANNON HANDWAVES: These are catch all handwave excuses that can be used in many different stories adn genres:

A Wizard Did it, already discussed on the tropes page, however for it to be a plausible handwave, saving suspension of disbelief, wizards MUST be an established part of the genre.

Temporal Cold War - If time travel has been entered into the cannon then any minor continuity gaffs are in fact NOT continuity gaffs, they are fall out from a temporal incursion that has stabilized into standard continuity.

Even aliens have ethnicities - The aliens were introduced in the firsdt incarnation of the show, and have now later appeared in the modern version (not a re-envisioning) and they look different. A cynic would say this is because make up budgets and character creating have changed over the years, suspension of disbelief tells us the truth. Just as humans have slightly varied gene-pools among it's population resulting in humans with slight variations in skin tone, eye color, and other morphological features,so why can't aliens. It's not different make up, it's another ethnic group from the species. If it is a change in an individual character from one generation of the show to another then perhaps it is a case of maturation, just as humans look different when they age, perhaps other races spontaneously sprout or loos headridges, eye stalkes, cranial lumps, etc, as they age.

Infiltrator - did a character do something completely out of character, or better yet screw up some piece of knowledge, such as continuity gaff or really bad delivery of a line, it wasn't them! They were replaced by a shape shifting infiltrator that succesfully completed it's mission without blowing it's cover and moved on with out ever being caught...just being more genre savvy than the actual characters in the show, we the audience noticed something fishy.

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Mar 11th 2013 at 7:42:28 PM •••

Failed prototype - Did the ship, vehicle, base or some other technology use some capability it has never displayed before or since? Did the writers make a mistake? No, of course not. The ship, vehicle or thing was testing new prototype modifications that episode. Though the modifications worked that time the long term maintenance cost combined with residual damage, etc, the modification was removed.

Mar 11th 2013 at 7:54:58 PM •••

The Character was lying - Continuity gaff? No, the character was just lying before when they had said they were an only child, or has listed the 17th contradictory fact about their upbrining. Why are they lying and no one busting them out on it? Well, being more genre savvy than the people who live in TV land we the audience noticed the lie but they did not.

Does Not Translate - As we all know a univesal translator is in constant effect across the dimensional boundary of the 4th Wall. Meanwhile within universe there may be some sort of omnitranslational element, or perhaps just everyone in the interstellar culture is able to understand multiple languages even when they can't speak them. However sometimes, even with th euniversal translator, a character spoiuts out an alien phrase that neither the other characters with omni-translation nor we the audience understand. Sometimes while speaking perfectly articulated and grammatically correct english they will get minor phrases comically wrong. Well, there are things that even the in-universe, and even the mightier 4th wall Omni-Translation Matrix, cannot translate. So sometimes they have to explain the definition of the word, or we the audience hear their misunderstanding of what the phrase means.

Mar 11th 2013 at 8:21:12 PM •••

They re-modeled in-between seasons - Wait, last season didn't that door lead to a kitchen, and now if leads to the garage? Oh, right, they re-modeled while we the audience were gone in between seasons.

Dec 24th 2011 at 12:17:48 AM •••

In the novels of Robert Rankin, of which there are over 30, all riddled with in-jokes, one of the longest-running gags is that any miraculous technological device beyond the comprehension of the characters (and the author) is always said to operate by "the transperambulation of pseudocosmic antimatter".

A more recent example is the Chevalier Effect. This is named after the Maurice Chevalier song "I Remember It Well", in which two people remember things completely differently. Applying this logic to absolutely everything, it follows that all historical records are totally unreliable. This is used as a hand-wave for the inclusion in books supposedly set at some specific time in the past of anything from casual one-liners about modern events to appearances by real-life historical characters who are much older or younger than they should be. In "The Brightonomicon", the first book in which the Chevalier Effect features, one chapter takes place in a goth club, despite the whole novel being set in 1965.

Dec 20th 2011 at 4:57:36 AM •••

Pulled this from the Real Life section because it was pretty clear the person writing the example meant "cerebrum" and just used the wrong word. (Also fixed the example as long as I was there.)

  • The cerebellum is NOT the frontal lobe. The cerebellum is, in fact, on the opposite side of the skull, and is involved in motor control. Most modern theories agree that the role of the prefrontal cortex (which is in the frontal lobe) is to make decisions, not to come up with justifications for decisions already made in another mysterious part of the brain. Whoever told you that knows nothing about neurology or psychology.

Jun 16th 2011 at 11:44:35 AM •••

Since Beowulf apparently isn't an example (see below), I'm removing the following until someone possibly comes up with an example from a similar kind of thing that is.

  • Monomyth-style adventures such as Beowulf sometimes seem to have a Big Bad who could conceivably be defeated more easily by some combination of protagonists other than The Hero, but for no given reason, the others hold back so that the hero can do it.
    • Fairly well-justified in Beowulf, though. Grendel can't be taken down by any of the Half-Danes, which is why they need Beowulf to show up and kill it for them. It's explained that Grendel has been made invulnerable to weapons, and only Beowulf has the pure strength needed to kill him. For Grendel's mother, it doesn't seem like any of the Danes have the stamina needed to swim for the better part of the day to the bottom of the lake or the strength to wield the giant's sword. As for the dragon, Beowulf is the king, and it's mentioned he just tells everyone to stay back.

Jun 22nd 2010 at 7:54:23 AM •••


  • In the play After Juliet, a relatively modern sequel to Romeo and Juliet, Rosaline is revealed to have been madly in love with Romeo from the very beginning of the first play, despite her constant rejection of him. How does this make any sense at all? Because she was trying to show him that she would not be easily won, which of course necessitated ignoring his every action and treating him as if he were absolutely worthless. Obviously. (This Troper actually burst out laughing in the part of the play when this was revealed, thinking that it was meant to be a joke; then she realized that it wasn't. In fact, the whole play struck her as So Bad, It's Good, while frequently dipping into So Bad Its Horrible territory—though, to be fair, a lot of that was probably due to the poor acting that went above and beyond the realm of Narm.)

Isn't the idea of someone playing hard to get quite established? I mean sure playing hard to get is a stupid social structure but it's not really unrealistic and this instance it doesn't seem like a Hand Wave.

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