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Overused Plots in Movies and TV

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by D'Snowth, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    You know 'em and love 'em... age-old plots that get used over and over and over and voer and erov and vero and rove and oerv and eorv and veor and ovre and orev and over again to the point that no matter what the situation or what the characters or even what the franchise is that pretty much you're not even interested because you know what the outcome is going to be.

    If you ask me, the top of this list belongs to the "Save the neighborhood" plot. You know it goes - a big conglomeration run by a greedy, power-hungry egomaniac decides he wants to tear down a seemingly happy establishment or neighborhood so he can put up a mall or a factory or something along those lines, and the characters from the neighborhood ban together and go on an adventure to save the neighborhood, which they do at the last minute.

    Another is where you've got a main character who doesn't fit in, nobody likes him, people would rather ignore him, but then someone reaches out to him, accepts him into the norm of everyone else's life, something bad happens and it's fault so he runs away then everyone realizes how special he is and goes in search to bring him back.

    Reminds me of an old theory I have that pretty soon, there will be no new TV shows, movies, stories, etc, because they all will have already been done before.
  2. ZeppoAndFriends

    ZeppoAndFriends Well-Known Member

    *Tosses out Muppet movie script with similar plot*

    Well, back to the drawing board! :sympathy:
    Dominicboo1 likes this.
  3. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    One plot that is used in almost all tv series at one stage or another is where one character has a character flaw (Example, Wembly's wembling or Piglet being a coward in Winnie the Pooh) and all the other characters tell them that they should change it. So, the character goes to all the trouble of changing themselves to please the others. But now...NOW the other characters miss the old version of the main character and just get cross and make them change back.

    It happens all the time, and it really annoys me because the other characters are just so selfish about it!
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    As any 1980's cartoon watcher can tell you, the words "Incredible Shrinking...." come to mind. Everybody did it in the 80's.... everybody did it in the 70's. Some people did it far into the 90's.
  5. ZeppoAndFriends

    ZeppoAndFriends Well-Known Member

    *Throws out script entitled "The Incredible Shrinking Muppet"*

    I need to stop following up on every idea that pops into my head. :o
    newsmanfan likes this.
  6. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    YES! YES! YES! ! !

    If not "Incredible Shrinking" then at least also "Attack of the 50 Foot" as well.
  7. ZeppoAndFriends

    ZeppoAndFriends Well-Known Member

    You know one TV sitcom plot line that really gets on my nerves? :mad:

    The one where someone is invited to stay as a guest and NEVER leaves, all the while getting more demanding and obnoxious as the episode progresses, until they are finally kicked out and all is right with the world.

    I HATE those, I've seen them on at least six of seven shows and, despite the howling laugh track or studio audience, it never makes me laugh. It just makes me want to smack the guy upside the head with my tennis racket!
    Vincent Liu and Dominicboo1 like this.
  8. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    That or the "evil twin" concept.

    Depending on the show and the characters, like on Bewitched with Samantha's "evil" twin cousin Serena, but then there's a case like on I Dream of Jeannie where Jeannie not only has an evil twin sister named Jeannie, but an evil twin mother named Jeannie as well... that's pushing it a little.

    Then there's occasions where there's a random episode where a guest character is added to the plot played by the same actor as one of the stars to cause trouble everyone's getting them mixed up and suddenly "Whoa! They look exactly alike! So who's the real one?"
    Dominicboo1 likes this.
  9. Gelfling Girl

    Gelfling Girl Active Member

    Not really quite the same, but sometimes there would be times when a guest star would be on a show, and they would just use that to get people to watch and just lag on the script writing. :p
  10. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Yup.

    Either that, or if the ratings start slumping, they'll have a girl-on-girl make out session to bring the numbers back up, lol.
  11. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Hmmm ... plots that involve "humans R teh evillzzz". I mean, I am not the type of person who thinks that people should believe we're super special and are always right, but do we always have to hear how miserable of a life form we are? What motivation is there to do better with the world if, no matter what, we'll always be seen as ignorant clods or evil monsters?

    The "atheist/agnostic has to accept the supernatural" nonsense. Have you noticed in movies like Stigmata, Dogma, etc, that the hero/heroine has to be someone who didn't believe? If you're going to go ahead and do a plot about the supernatural, why not use people who really believe it? Or do you risk a plot like Labyrinth, where the girl thought she had all the answers and found out that "nothing was as it seemed"? I take it that would be soul-shattering? I'm theistic but it just grates on my nerves to see one group get picked on all the time.
  12. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I see it from the opposite point of view, but I digress.
  13. WhiteRabbit

    WhiteRabbit Well-Known Member

    I think the one theme/episode that most shows/movies use all the time is where they give the chick (who's usually too nerdy or too tomboyish) a makeover and she starts acting all different and vain because of it. Then towards the end, she realizes she was better the way she was before. Mean Girls, several episodes of Lizzie McGuire, and the sleepover episode with Helga in Hey Arnold comes to mind. XP
  14. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    I get it's supposed to be life-affirming. However, it comes off to me like the "white savior" motif in movies, where the non-white group has to be saved with the Caucasian. Imagine those "white teacher in the ghetto school" movies. Wouldn't it make a better point for someone from their hood to get them back in line? To me, these types of movies teach people that they are inherently wrong and must assimilate with a particular race or group in order to succeed, which is absolute bull.
    newsmanfan likes this.
  15. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Yeah okay, I see where you're coming from when you put it that way, and I agree.
  16. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I think that is already the title of a Muppet Babies episode (I know, "who besides us would know?").

    Interestingly, in all my years of aspiring to be a script/screenwriter and having many different ideas for television shows, episodes, and movies... Very few of the ideas mentioned in this thread have popped into my head for plots. I have often thought of plotlines in which one person sees/knows something but everybody else doesn't believe what's being told.

    Oddly enough, while I've never really thought of any "evil twin" ideas for any movies or TV episodes, I do often jokingly tell people that I met their "evil twin", stating that their evil twins names rhyme with the name of whatever the person I'm talking to at the time.

    One idea that's been done on quite a few shows, and I don't know if it's really overused, is the concept of somebody saving somebody elses life, and that person being so greatful that he/she offers to be the other person's slave, only for the hero to get annoyed with it pretty quickly (one exception is an episode of Rugrats, where Angelica saves Chuckie's life but then tells him that he has to be her slave for the rest of his life).
  17. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Best example for that for me is The Andy Griffith Show where Andy "saves" Gomer.

    Another way that can go down is in the event of Recess where Vince "saves" Mikey's life, and Mikey in return wants to be exactly like Vince, from immitating his every move, to dressing and talking like him, etc.
  18. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Active Member

    Those were the titles of two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episodes "The Incredible Shrinking Turtles" and "Attack of the 50 Foot Irma". I believe both episodes were from season 3.

    One plot I get tired of seeing is "I like this person and I think this person likes me, but I guess we'll just be friends because no one wants to make a move". And wouldn't you know it, something goes wrong for one of the characters, like an accident or deciding to move, and other other person finally admits his/her feelings for that person and then they decide to start a relationship after months and months of flirting.

    That kind of overused plot drives me crazy because the writers are just teasing the audience. It also makes the actors mad when the writers toy that plotline idea around because the actors want to know if their characters are going to be together or not and don't want that kind of storytelling to drag anymore.
  19. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter New Member

    One overused plot is the "minister wasn't liscenced, so we're not really married" plot, or some variation of it.

    I own two television shows on DVD that used it (Dick Van Dyke Show and Dinosaurs) and I know Jetsons did it. There were many other sitcoms that used it.
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    And I swear there was one called "funny, We Shrunk Michelangelo". But Incredible Shrinking Turtles WAS from season 2.

    The worst part is that it was overused and overdone to begin with, and THEN "Honey, I shrunk the Kids" came out. And as we all know, cartoons of the 80's liked to steal movie plots. Quite a lot of rolling boulders in 80's cartoons because of Indiana Jones... though Ducktales had the right to do it... Indiana Jones stole it from Scrooge McDuck comics, if you can believe that...


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