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"Hey! Think I'll check out the basement!" I was posting over on the Getting To Know You Thread, and thinking about bad horror movies and TV shows. Normally, when I talk about "bad," I mean "so bad it's good," but I was thinking about Fear The Walking Dead, a show where I watched the entire first season and half the second before finally giving up in disgust. What IS it about this show? Why did it irritate me so much? After considerable discussion with people I know, I decided it was because the protagonists are idiots. Notably, they make a variety of EXTREMELY questionable decisions. *Travis goes to check out the abandoned church after his stepson sees a zombie there. Travis finds no zombie, but he finds considerable gore and a corpse. He tells no one and doesn't call the cops, despite the fact that the zombie apocalypse hasn't begun yet. Hah? *The family becomes aware that a creepy man is wandering around in the side yard. They all go out to see him, leaving the sliding door wide open. They can't find him, and reenter the house, to find him munching on a dog in the living room? Hah? I WAS gonna keep listing bullet points, but... nah. But I can think of any number of shows and movies in which SOMEONE apparently thinks they're building suspense, when in fact all they're doing is making their audience go "WHAT? How could they do THAT? What kind of idiot, in this situation, would do THAT?" In the movie Cabin In The Woods, an excellent deconstruction of horror movies that works both as a horror movie and a PARODY of horror movies, they actually explain this: our protagonists make odd decisions that don't make sense because they're under the effects of drugs and subliminals, administered remotely by the science team observing and influencing them. Why ELSE would someone go into a daaaark vampire infested basement without bothering with a flashlight or light switch, much LESS a gallon of garlic aftershave and a fully automatic crucifix launcher? TV Tropes has a word for it: the Idiot Ball, a plot device that requires a character or characters to behave in a brainless way because the plot requires it; the jock HAS to go in that vampire infested basement without turning on any lights and die horribly screaming, despite the fact that he seemed bright enough earlier in the movie... because he's carrying the Idiot Ball. In honor of Halloween, I invite any and all to record their thoughts about those brave redshirts who not only get offed by the killer or the monster, but do so in the dumbest possible way. Takers?