Overused Plot Devices

Two plot devices (usually found in movies) that are getting really tiresome to me:

1. He came back! You all know how the typical romantic comedy works: everything seems to be working out when she discovers The Secret about him . He tries to explain that Things Aren’t What They Seem, but she spurns his advances, not trusting him any longer. But…lo and behold: he comes up with a Grand Romantic Gesture that wins her back at exactly the same time the Whole Truth About the Secret is revealed to her. (The only way to make this worse is for there to be pressure on him to make his Grand Romantic Gesture quickly – “Oh my gosh! Don’t get on the plane to Europe! You’ll never know how much he loves you!!!”)

2. The Speech from the Heart. This one may be even worse. The main character, facing a moral dilemma by chance happens to be giving a speech that has been carefully scripted on paper. But…at the very last moment, as he gazes over the audience, he comes to his Dramatic Realization. He then decides to put down the paper and Speak From the Heart, telling The Truth about his shortcomings and What is Really Important in Life.

There’s two of mine. What plot devices make you throw up in your mouth a little?


3 Responses to Overused Plot Devices

  1. The mole inside CTU. Okay, that’s pretty much series-specific. But still …

  2. Stephen says:

    “Bad” parent repents. Father (or occasionally Mother) punishes Child for disobedience, typically lying. Child, not to be deterred (because he/she is just so much like Father), disobeys Father to an even greater extent, but in so doing, Saves the Day. Upon seeing the outcome, the Father realizes that he was “too hard on” the child to begin with. Father repents and presumably will not punish child in the future.

  3. Jeremiah says:

    That’s a great one Stephen! Whatever happened to the stories where the mother or father makes the difficult decisions for their family and the kids don’t understand so they give the parent(s) grief. In the end the kid grows up and learns that Mom and/or Dad where actually incredibly wise and selfless people just doing the best with what they had… or better yet, the parents are decent enough that the kid loves and trusts them enough through the tough time… oh yeah, we prefer reality TV and those kind of people don’t exist anymore do they? You’ve got to hand it to Holywood and their great lessons in parenting.

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