Top 10 Film/TV Clich├ęs that is overused yet the media won't get up

July 26, 2010

A cliché: expression, idea, or element that gets overuse after being introduce as an original meaning.

Film Reel

            Okay, ever watch a film or TV where there is something that is original that it soon gets picked by others. Sure some called it parody and is loved by those folks, but other times it gets overused it becomes put of the show. Whatever you love it or hate; you can’t get enough clichés and see when is one is about to show up.

10. Censorship via Simpsons’ style 

Call of the Simpsons

            Of course, this cliché was around before The Simpsons, like in the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, but the show made it funny, even before Austin Powers. In this cliché, a body part that is inappropriate, usually a sex organ, get censored by a random item cover-up it up. The item can be a board, left, or just about anything even having their appropriate body part, like a hand, at the right time. In Seeing Double, there’s a shower scene when the real Bradley McIntosh, Rachel Stevens, Hannah Spearritt, Joanne O’Meara, and later Jonathan Lee are in a shower stall, which blocks their parts from the neck down, while the camera won’t go below the shoulder line. That’s another way to censor nudity, the camera wouldn’t even look, forcing viewers to guess what the hell they are wearing or not.

In an episode of the Simpsons, a shrub covers Homer’s privates… no pun intended, in Call of the Simpsons. In Brush of Greatness, Marge covers the privates of a painting of Burns with her hand. When a woman is topless, something covers that. However, very rarely you see the buttocks gets this kind of treatment, mostly due to the fact it’s likely for an older viewers and it’s just for a good laugh, mostly by a dude. One of the funniest usages of this by the Simpsons was in the film version, where Bart skateboards naked on a dare by Homer and only one part of this we do get to see his junk. However, there’re always going to be someone trying to out Bart, keeping guess what is under that cover.

            However, some films that require a nude scene, like those ‘Rated-R’ or ‘NC-17’, rarely use this cliché. However, those meant for a younger viewer, it gets used in a goofy matter… even James Rolfe brings it up in a few of his videos. Whenever there a need for a random naked character but don’t want the part showed, the Simpsons’ Censorship is right there for it.


9. The Backfire of a Secret Talk

Sam Puckett 

            We all know what a secret talk is. It’s where two or more people in a group exchange information they don’t what others to know about. The main problem it’s something within earshot, even when there is some form of a direction by outside noise. However, what’s better than a secret talk… when it backfires after someone hears it somehow. The secret talk is normally to keep another other, usually the villain, but sometimes they get this. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the computer HAL was able to read the lips of the astronauts who were plotting to disconnect him. In i-Carly, Carly Shay makes this mistake twice in two different episodes, both with Mr. Howard in this and he gets her the first time but doesn’t do much, and Ms. Briggs gets the second time. It’s not sure how Briggs did this since most places you’re allowed to record video just as long the audio is muted unless you get permission, and its unlikely Howard and Briggs did. In Die hard 4, John takes to have the secret talk by cover the camera that was looking at him, but the microphone was still working. Another good example was in the film 1984, where Wilson and Julia were having a private meeting when they forget they were being monitored.

            When a secret talk is not a secret anymore, a character must find a way to fight back against the person he or she was talking about. Sometimes, they’re forced to abandon the original plan and come up with a plan that comes in an instant, yet works. It’s kinda interesting for viewers to see what happens when the bad guys didn’t expect what they heard in the talk or even bother.


8. A child being the most mature

 Carly Shay

            This happens mostly in comedies, and its funny is many cases. This is where an adult character like Spencer Shay in i-Carly, Peter Griffin in Family Guy, and even Homer Simpson in the Simpsons act childish, yet Carly, Steward, Lisa and Maggie are among the ones who are the most matured, despite being children. It’s often amusing to see a child talk down an adult better and more maturely than a follow adult. In many shows, most of the conflicts between children are rarely resolved with an adult’s help, and the child must came to the aid of the adults. When you age, you’re supposed to be mature about many situations since the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for decision making, would’ve been completely developed by adulthood. However, on film and TV, it seems that there are a few faults in that area and the kids’ prefrontal seem to be on track.

            In recently years, it has become more common in TV and even adverts, a 2010 advert for Doritos had a child hitting an adult man for taking his chips. In the many Simpsons episode, Maggie Simpson had to save the lives of her family, even taking out the main villain, Russ Cargill, in the film version. It’s also amusing to see a child take on a task and do the job way better than an adult could, which become a cliché many don’t get tired of.


7. The school system being a bully

Kids in America

            Whenever there’s a school system involved, someone within is a bigger bully than a student bully because they have a higher power. There is a sad reality behind this cliché, in the United States, in cases of school bullying reported, less than 15 percent are done by someone in the school system. Two of the well-known examples of this cliché many people who seen this in a film were be Matilda and Kids in America, where the principal is the bully in both films. In some cases, corporal punishment can be abuse, even where it’s illegal. The children ends up suffering due to a code to keep their mouths… in fact, the worst advise yours truly ever gotten when the same thing happened to her in real life was to let it go. Why worst, because that just gives the bullying system powers to abuse their rank.

            There times where a student fights back, in Matilda, the title character has psychokinesis and uses them. However, most times, the student doesn’t have superhuman powers, like the comic book character, Kick-Ass, and most of the time, they don’t them. Why… they have other sources and fellow peers since there more are powerful than a single soldier. In most episodes of i-Carly and the film, Kids in America, a group of students can team up and goes with a plan of action that actual works in the real world. Rarely, does a follower person in the school system helps the students, but it even the playing field in the battle against the ones who abuse their power. In Kids in America, Will Drucker, a teacher, helps the students to protest against Weller, the main villain, running for superintendent. In Matilda, Jenny Honey finally takes a stand against Agatha Trunchbell, the main villain, even revealing a weakness, superstitious. In Declassified, Timothy Sweeny, a science teacher, does most of the dirty work of torturing Ned and his friends for Harvey Crubbs, the vice principal, but soon sides with Ned in season 3 to the point of finally saving him and his friends from Crubbs. In i-Carly, Theodore Franklin often sides with Carly Shay and friends against Howard and Briggs. In the Simpsons, Bart is a bully fighting against Seymour and Edna, who tries to take him down, but other Willie, Otto, and sometimes his dad, Homer, helps. When the students have the system on their side in fighting against the system against the, it always leads a classic cliché.

            However, when a student or another educator does decide to fight back, they always look out for hidden traps, likely a snitch. In Recess, Randall, a student, is the right-hand man for Muriel Finster, a 5th grade teacher, and Peter Prickly, the principal, which annoys the hell out of Theodore Jasper Detweiler, his friends, and others including Robert, aka King Bob. In order to counter-attack, a student would befriend someone in the system like the title character in Matilda did with Jenny, a school teacher. When a character even the playing, the system would have to be taught a lesson of their own if their school is to be the safest if not friendly place to be. The song Karma from Alicia Keys basically sums it up.


6. The Choir being Dramatic


            When a film and TV episode wants to be up the action or a scene, they resort to this. You hear this in many action films, where the scene goes more intense. They either used a classic or make up their own. Sometimes, musicians do this too. What does the A-Teens and first Jackass film have in common besides October 25th, they used a classic song, O Fortuna from Carl Orff, in their intro; The A-Teens did it in 2001 on their show in Germany, and Jackass had in the opening credits. Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell, often called theme from Requiem for a dream, was in other films.

            Some films have their own classical films. In Titanic, from the same director who done the Terminator series and Avatar, had two people in the soundtrack, James Horner and Celine Dion, who was the only one who did vocal. However, when the director wants the scenes to be epic, they get the choir. Sometimes, the choir is in a language that is well-known, like The Hunchback of Notre Dame where Latin was used, and Lords of the Rings had elfish. The show Deadliest Warrior uses this to show a battle between warriors from two different times. Whenever a scene needs to be epic, a choir is on called and ready to do the job. 

5. The Henchman reforms

Anastasia Tremanie

            This is where a helper of a villain turns against the exact villain. Some call it Disney Reform because Disney mostly has this. When the main villain is about to take out the hero, the helper, or henchman they’re called, realizes the error of their ways and turns on the villains. Afterwards, they soon do well for society, yet it’s unclear if they befriend the heroes, in most cases they do. An early example of this is in Christmas Carol, where Ebenezer Scrooge reforms himself after seeing what happens if he doesn’t change.

            Disney often has this cliché, even though Nickelodeon has some cases, like in Declassified, some of the villains save the heroes. In Cinderella series, Anastasia, the younger of the two step-sisters of the title character, joins in the harassment of her until the third film, where she realizes her mother’s cruel motives and helps Cinderella restore the magic to the Fairy Godmother. In the Loin King, the hyenas turn against Scar after they were betrayed by him. The Disney Reform has made it in other places, but a best ally for a hero needing someone to save them.


4. Crying without emotion

 Sexy Cry

            Often called the sexy cry, it where a character sheds a tear but show no emotion what so ever. When you see someone crying, you can’t understand it and mucus gets in the way. However, in this kind, the person shows no emotion and barely cracks their voice when they are crying. All they do is just stare in one way, and just let that tear drop go. Sometimes, they continue a normal meeting with this and not break character. In Star Wars, when Anakin Skywalk becomes evil, he still lets out this type of crying.

            The character who does a sexy cry wouldn’t talk much at all. It’s unclear why… maybe because they’re afraid of something but don’t want to talk about. Sometimes, another character pulls this off to encourage the hero, like in 300 where Leonidas I gets the okay from his wife to knock Theron in the pit. If you look closely, she gives out the sexy cry after what Theron did to her and the people. This best why to describe how this cry is common is best left to the song Eyes without a face.


3. The Last Person you expect

Maggie Simpson

            In crime stories, this is usually the case. Something goes bad the police or heroes on the cases and they take out every suspect until they found the one they didn’t expect. Most of the time, the police don’t even bother questioning the hero, even if he or she killed a bad guy. This cliché always tell us to expect the ones you less suspect.

            When you do finally find the one, it always someone they overlook. In an episode of Declassified, after Loomer and his gang was about to get, Ned and his friends finds out one of the female AV students destroyed outdated school damage, thanks to a loophole. Sometimes, it’s someone in the family, like the 2-part Simpsons episode, who shot Mr. Burns, where Simpson DNA was detected and Homer was about to face a trial until Burns explained it was Maggie who pulled the trigger to keep him from stealing her candy. This cliché always has a place in any decent film where crime is involved.


2. Wordless Expression

Blank Face

            This happens a lot and there many different types of this cliché that goes on. For those who you are asking, this is about where words are rarely to describe what the character seen. Most of the time, the character doesn’t have any words at all to express how he or she is reacting to a situation, and who needs them. The facial expression is enough to describe what the hell did they just seen. There are many types of this cliché.

            There’s the Blank Stare, commonly called Told you so look, because it usually happens when someone the character knows fails to listen to a warning. Sometimes, it’s not much but gets another in trouble in i-Carly episode, ‘i-Have my principals’, where Sam gets busted for her open protest. It’s also used to expression a question the character is unable to ask let alone answer. They just seem to be at a lost for words and can’t seem to find the words that fit.

            This kind of look is also used when the person is thinking about what is going on. A good example of this happened in Seeing Double, where the real Tina Barrett couldn’t believe her eyes when her band mates are showering together while she was waiting while her clone doesn’t have this. Tina couldn’t find anything to say about the situation, what she can do. When this form of a blank happens, the viewers are in a left wondering what the hell is going on.

            Next, there’s the body movement, where one part of the body moves along side the appearance of the facial expression. The head would shake for an answer, mainly a yes or a no. The self-slap to the head can be used to describe “what the’. Theirs is of course the ‘don’t say it’, where a person waves their hand behind a person they don’t want the character speaking to the person to give out something vital.

            Finally, a favor for most, the Laugh, and many characters has their ways of expression something happening in this matter. There’s the evil one when something goes right for the bad guys, and it was even mock in Austin Powers where the question on what do they do next after laughing. Next, the successful laugh, where something goes right for the heroes, like something going as plan. Finally, planning laugh, this is where the person has a plan where they hope a plan go as follow. Some celebrities, Tina Barrett, sometimes laugh like a cartoon character, like Muttley from Wacky Races. The most recent TV episode with that laugh was in Family Guy’s April in Quahog where Brian laughs like that after Peter complains about the vending machine.


1. Bad Time for a meeting


            Okay, here’s the 411 on this overused cliché. It’s near the end of the film, the bad guys has finally got the good guys and girls right where they want them. Just when the heroes were about to be executed, the villains decide it would be the perfect time… to have a meeting. Now, James Rolf complained about, but it seems to be overused by the media because viewers wondering what is going to happen. However, there are two things the heroes could do during this.

             One is escape. Hey while the bad guy is talking you, you might what to find a way to escape. The villain could be distracted, and the character can look for an escape route then take it. There is always a way for the good guys to make an escape when fighting would please them in a no-win situation that can put a villain at an advantage and win. Of course, the viewers don’t want that… fact there was once a rule before rating systems where that was the policy. Bad guy is to be defeated, end of story.

            However, most cases, the good guys will prove once again that evil never wins. One example of this is in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, where the one-armed bad bounty hunter gets Tuco, while taking a bath, not knowing Tuco is armed himself. After the bounty hunter gives a speech, Tuco lets him have it with a few rounds, and giving the advice villains seems to forget, When you have to shoot, shoot! Don’t talk.” The villain seems to fail to realize that if they delay, it gives the heroes a chance to grab any item that can be used as a weapon.

            When a meeting occurs between the villains and heroes, the viewers expect some action to happen. Nevertheless, the viewers get want they want. The hero finds a way to defeat the villain in a matter they seem fit… well, most of the time; there are some exceptions where the viewers could have gotten better endings. In Matilda, Agatha is simply out… you know she’s going to bullying again, even if Jenny is going to take over the school. In i-Carly episodes with Howard and Briggs are just going to happen, even if it is suppose TV series. Anyhow, for those who get a resolution thanks to a delay meeting, there is always going to be a hero who set things right and make the place better, at least until a sequel.