Idiot plot

Not a tale told by an idiot, but a tale told of idiots:

“…an idiot plot is ‘a plot which is kept in motion solely by virtue of the fact that everybody involved is an idiot’ and where the story would otherwise be over if this were not the case.” — seen at Idiot Plot

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2 Replies to “Idiot plot”

  1. I’ve heard this called ‘idiot ball’ – where, whenever the plot starts to slam to a halt, a character gets passed the ‘idiot ball’ and does something remarkably stupid to keep things moving. Perhaps this comes from I Love Lucy, where the entire plot was almost always contingent on Lucy behaving like an idiot – works, kinda (I’m not a fan) for a 1/2 hour sitcom, not so much anywhere else.

    The example that always springs to mind is The Company of Women, a book by Mary Gordon I was unfortunate enough to have read many years ago, before I could say why I hated it – the book would have been over inside of 50 pages if the protagonist had done even one smart thing.

    1. TV Tropes (notorious time sink) has pages for both idiot ball and idiot plot

      It looks like there may be several plot abuses like Idiot Ball and the Idiot Plot. There’s one where everything would work out if every single character wasn’t lying about something: Lost would have been over in two weeks. And 24 (which we’ve been watching on DVD) would have been 8 if people could have managed not to follow the bad guys’ orders. “Don’t scream; get in the car!” When anyone says that, scream, and don’t get in the car; it’s only going to get worse.

      I never read The Company of Women, but I do enjoy Lucy, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. It seems to me the physical comedy covers a multitude of sins.

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