Dreamlurker's List of Plot Conveniences

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Title: Dreamlurker's List of Plot Conveniences
Creator: Dreamlurker
Date(s): late 1990s
Medium: online
Fandom: X-Files
Topic:
External Links: The X-Files commentary and analysis: plot conveniences, Archived version
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Dreamlurker's List of Plot Conveniences is an essay by Dreamlurker.

It is one of many essays at The Cave's X-Files Commentary Archives.

The Plot Conveniences

  • THE MUTUAL ADMIRATION SOCIETY
  • IF IT'S INCOMPREHENSIBLE, IT MUST BE PROFOUND or THE PONDEROUS TRUTH
  • STORM TROOPER SYNDROME
  • HYPERINTELLIGENT ANIMALS
  • ROBOT CHARACTERS
  • SCAPEGOAT PHENOMENON/PEOPLE
  • TECHNOBABBLE AS AN ART FORM or USE ENOUGH WORDS AND IT'LL SOUND FINE
  • REVISIONIST HISTORY or THE SHIFTING PLOT PREMISE
  • TEMPORARY MEMORY LOSS
  • TEMPORARY STUPIDITY
  • SEX FOR DISTRACTION'S SAKE
  • NUDITY FOR DISTRACTION'S SAKE
  • OTHER MAN/WOMAN or THE DISAPPEARING/REAPPEARING OBSTACLE
  • VIOLENCE AND/OR DESTRUCTION FOR DISTRACTION'S SAKE
  • MIRACLE FADE" or IF YOU DIDN'T SEE IT, IT DIDN'T HAPPEN
  • DEATH OF A CHARACTER
  • PSYCHIC LAW ENFORCEMENT
  • THE HIDDEN FACT
  • SPONTANEOUS RECHARACTERIZATION
  • JUST A DREAM! or IT DIDN'T REALLY HAPPEN
  • PLOT-IN-A-BOX or THE PREDICTABLE CRISIS

Excerpts

EXPLANATION - WHAT IS A PLOT CONVENIENCE? A plot convenience, or PC, is any cheap, cliché trick which TV writers use because a) they wish to boost ratings, b) they don't think we'll notice, and/or c) they're running out of ideas and they still have x-amount of time to fill. In other words, they've written themselves into a corner, and need there to be a door behind them so they can leave.

Now, it has been said that there are only so many stories to be told, and they all have been told in innumerable forms over the centuries. It is the manner in which they are told that makes the difference. If you don't find yourself thinking that you've seen or read this before, then it's a good story. If, on the other hand, you can see the ending coming a mile away, it's not. Plot conveniences are standard plot elements, which are utilized with little to no originality. If you saw it coming half an hour before, it's a plot convenience. If you can say the lines with the characters, and it's your first time watching the show, it's a plot convenience. If the music, the dialogue, the camera angles and such all tell you that you should be on the edge of your seat for a scene, and you're leaning back, rolling your eyes and grumbling derisively, it's a plot convenience. In short: if you notice it, it's a plot convenience.

Due to a fairly minor demand, I felt compelled to complete the listing of plot conveniences I alluded to in my recent rending of One Son. I tried to keep it fairly generic, as The X-Files isn't the only show to employ them. I'm not even saying that they all have appeared in that show… at least, not yet. Here goes… [see post]