TV Tropes

“He’s bluffing! No creature would willingly make an idiot out of itself!”
“You’ve obviously never been in love!”
–“Futurama”, “Parasites Lost”

This post is from the “notebook”.

This is one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite shows. Fry becomes infected with parasites after recklessly eating a truck stop egg sandwich. He discovers they’re there when a pipe goes through his stomach and the worms immediately patch the enormous hole. They then start to work toning his muscles, improving his neurological function (Fry’s a moron), and generally cleaning up the place.

This makes him palatable to the object of his affections, Leela, who attempts to keep him from getting rid of the worms, finally ending with his own efforts to rid himself of the worms and undo what they’ve done, in order to find out whether Leela loves him for himself or for his, um, worms. That leads to the priceless bit of dialog above. (Being a sci-fi show allows Futurama to pose some interesting and unlikely questions.)

End Notebook Section

I can’t remember why I started this post, except that I was probably watching this Futurama episode and it made me think of this great site called “TV Tropes”. That link actually goes to an entry called “Love Makes You Dumb”, and it’s part of a bunch of “Love” entries, like “Love Makes You Crazy” and “Love Makes You Evil”.

TV Tropes is a great site because it lists all these common themes used in television shows–but many can be scene throughout movies and literature as well. Things like “Actually I Am Him” and “Someday This Will Come In Handy” make you realize how often you’ve seen something.

The site’s a little animé heavy with the examples, I guess because those are the people who contribute most. So it’s geekier than geeky. (I mean, it makes me feel like a square sometimes, so you know it’s gotta be extreme.) Still, a whole lot of fun to dig around and go, “Yeah! I know exactly what you’re talking about!” (There’s probably a trope for that, too, but I don’t know what it is.)

Enjoy digging around.

“What’s to-day, my fine fellow?”

Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs.

“I don’t know what day of the month it is,” said Scrooge. “I don’t know how long I’ve been among the Spirits. I don’t know anything. I’m quite a baby. Never mind. I don’t care. I’d rather be a baby. Hallo! Whoop! Hallo here!”

He was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever heard. Clash, clang, hammer; ding, dong, bell! Bell, dong, ding; hammer, clang, clash! Oh, glorious, glorious!

Running to the window, he opened it, and put out his head. No fog, no mist; clear, bright, jovial, stirring, cold; cold, piping for the blood to dance to; Golden sunlight; Heavenly sky; sweet fresh air; merry bells. Oh, glorious. Glorious!

“What’s to-day?” cried Scrooge, calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look about him.

“Eh?” returned the boy, with all his might of wonder.

“What’s to-day, my fine fellow?” said Scrooge.

“To-day?” replied the boy. “Why, Christmas Day.”

Time Flies

It looks like I haven’t posted all week, but I realize now that’s because I started the post-apoco top 10 on Monday and posted it on Wednesday, but blogger kept the Monday date.

I was playing with that format a bit, too. It’s a fair amount of work. The pictures all link to Amazon, yet Amazon itself does not host the images. Those are actually on my server. I could’ve uploaded them to blogger, but blogger wanted to change the size. And I looked at uploading them to an image hosting site, but I didn’t see an image hosting site that would let me upload all 12 images at once.

So I just copied them to my local server. One day, the pictures may be gone, but they’ll still link to Amazon.

I was thinking of doing a “top 10 Old Dark House” movie list. This was a genre that had its heyday in the 19th century and devolved into camp in the early 20th century. This PBS site has Poe’s Usher as the first ODH, but I think you can trace the genre back to the Gothic novels of Walpole (like Castle of Otranto) and Mrs. Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho. (The beauty of 18th and 19th century literature is that you can read it for free online.)

As the link notes, Mary Robert Rinehart’s wildly popular play “The Bat”–the real life inspiration for The Batman, as well as Bruce Wayne’s inspiration for the Batman costume–was probably the beginning of the end for the ODH. The tropes used so permeated society–books, movies and tons of old radio shows–that they became mundane and impossible to fear. It became easier to play it for laughs than play it straight–and worry about getting the laughs anyway.

As a result, the otherwise effective The Cat and the Canary is ruined by Bob Hope’s quipping. (Or saved by it, depending on your point of view.)

The ODH persists, though it has mutated somewhat. Ed Wood’s Bride of the Monster is a late attempt at playing the ODH straight. William Castle’s House on Haunted Hill and Thirteen Ghosts are reasonably straight attempts. There’s nothing straight about Rocky Horror Picture Show, but the ODH influence is strong there.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. More later on.

Grendel!

I don’t really have a post here. I’ve just always thought that if they made a musical out of “Beowulf”, it would be called:

GRENDEL!

…with the exclamation point, natch.

Grendel!
He’s an evil with an appetite for blood!
An appetite like no other!
But even though he’s a monster,
He’s still good to his mother!
Grendel!