Monday, June 25, 2012

There's A Trope For That -- Week Of June 24th

Want to know about a trope I've seen far too many times and have come to truly despise?

Why, I'll tell you: it's Code Silver!!

"Television writers have considerable experience at creating dramatic stories out of the lives of lawyers, surgeons, school teachers, and many other professions whose real-life work is somewhat less dramatic. But occasionally they tire of making lawsuits and surgeries exciting. That's when an armed man bursts into the law office or hospital and takes hostages from the cast. This is similar to Perp and Weapon, but none of the characters are police officers and the violence is completely unexpected in the setting.

Hostage situations like this occur in real life; the trope name comes from the real code used for "combative person with weapon" in many hospitals on America's west coast. Where the trope diverges from reality is in the motivation of the hostage taker and the way the situation is resolved.

The hostage taker usually has a personal grudge against one of the characters and has carefully planned his assault. His aim may be simple revenge, or pursuit of a bizarre goal that ties into the show's setting.

Despite their inexperience, the characters usually manage to negotiate with the hostage taker and resolve the situation with minimal loss of life — it's very rare for anyone other than the gunman to die in these situations, and even he usually survives. 


Why. Does this happen. On EVERY. SHOW. I WATCH? (That link above doesn't even begin to list all the ones I've seen.)

And WHY is it almost always at bank?

Oh, I know, I know... banks are great places to take hostages. There's money there for the takin'. And gold bars and stuff. But really, nobody ever ever ever just goes to the bank to get money on TV. If a character walks into a bank, you know that in about three minutes they are going to be a hostage (or else the robber, I mean, that could happen.)

If it isn't a bank, it's a hospital. The hostage-taker is always either the kid of some old bloke who died, and the kid wants revenge on the doctors OR it's someone whose relative is still alive but who can not afford to pay the exorbitant medical bills. So they will make EVERYONE PAY. MWAHAHA!

And really, I'm sick of it. 

About the only thing worse than a good TV show being interrupted by a "hostage episode"? A hostage episode with Pregnant Hostage.


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