Monday, June 28, 2010

Tropetastic VBS skits

Sorry for the lack of posts this month.  Besides the usual things that keep me busy, most of my evenings these past few weeks have been devoted to practicing for, and then performing in, the skits for my church's Vacation Bible School, The Egypt File.  Of course, being me, I spent a good chunk of time that I wasn't on stage taking note of the various tropes that appeared in each day's skit.
The overall plot takes place in a museum being opened in Egypt by Claire and Percy Sedgwick, a brother and sister from England fulfilling their late grandfather's dream.  Along for the ride are their butler, Albert, and the summer intern, Mackenzie Ross.  When the money box is stolen, the Sedgwicks call on Detective Carson Hughes to investigate, and all signs seem to point to Joe the janitor.

Tropes found in these skits include:
  • An Aesop - Each day's skit has a bit of dialogue (usually delivered by Mackenzie to Claire) that ties in with the lesson presented by the rest of the program.
  • MacGuffin - The stolen money box
  • Screwy Squirrel - Percy is always playing pranks, especially on Albert
  • Sour Supporter - Albert constantly complains about how much he hates Egypt and wants to go back to England, but continues to serve the Sedgwicks faithfully.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen - Claire starts off rather no-nonsense, but thanks to Mackenzie's aesop-spouting and her rediscovered Bible, by the end, she's much nicer.
  • Amateur Sleuth - Mackenzie states that she always seems to end up in places where there are mysteries to be solved, and spends the skits investigating the missing money box.
  • The Stoic - Joe the janitor is a man of few words, and comes off as a little creepy.
  • Parental Abandonment - Claire and Percy's parents died when they were young, in an unexplained accident.
  • Eek, A Mouse! - Percy catches a sand rat that gets loose.  Whenever Claire hears that it's near, she climbs onto a table.
  • Bond, James Bond - Detective Hughes introduces himself in this way.  Percy immediately makes fun of this. ("Nice to meet you, 'Hughes, Carson Hughes.'  My name is Sedgwick, Percy Sedgwick.")
  • Donut Mess With A Cop - Albert offers to get Detective Hughes a donut or pastry since "I know you people like that sort of thing."
  • Mystery Magnet - Mackenzie is implied to be one.  In her own words, "It just seems that wherever I go, there's a crime to be solved, and I just can't resist getting involved!"
  • How Much Did You Hear? - After giving herself a Rousing Speech, Mackenzie turns to find Joe standing nearby.  She asks, "How long have you been there?"  "Long enough," he replies.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous? - Mackenzie (rather amused) assures Albert that having his box of fudge-striped cookies eaten by a "wild animal" (presumably Percy's pet rat) is truly horrible.
  • So What Are You Saying? - Albert uses this twice in the same skit, once while speaking on the intercom to Mackenzie, and then again when calling Detective Hughes.
  • Insistent Terminology - Joe prefers "custodian" to "janitor."
  • Mummy - Percy dresses as one, complete with Zombie Gait, to scare Albert.
  • Crouching Moron Hidden Badass - Scared by the mummy, Albert beats him up (offstage), making Percy later compare him to Chuck Norris.
  • You Never Asked - Albert on his kickboxing skills.
The next few tropes are a little spoilery:
  • The Reveal - the following three tropes:
  • Red Herring - Joe
  • Detective Mole - Carson Hughes turns out to be an artifact smuggler pretending to be a cop in order to search the building for a hidden treasure.
  • Reverse Mole - Along the same lines, Joe reveals himself to actually be an undercover cop named Nick Raines.
  • Spotting The Thread - Mackenzie gives out the clues that lead her to realize Carson Hughes wasn't really a detective: she found his hotel key card, he didn't know where the post office was (instead telling her to have the hotel mail it for her), and a threatening letter she received had the hotel's stamp on the back.
  • Noodle Incident - When asked how she knew Nick wasn't really a janitor, Mackenzie replies that when she saw him using the floor buffer, she figured something was up.  Nick concurs, adding that it was quite amusing.
  • Saving The Orphanage - The Sedgwicks bought the orphanage next door in order to tear it down for parking.  The director, Miss Brown, comes over in a few skits to ask for more time to relocate the orphans, but the demolition crew is on a tight schedule, and the museum really needs the parking.  By the end of the week, Claire has a change of heart, mostly due to Mackenzie paraphrasing James 1:27 ("helping widows and orphans in their distress"), and tears up the demolition contract, making the orphanage The Sedgwick Children's Home instead.  Which kind of brings up the question, what are they going to do about parking, then?

There are more, of course, but those are all I could find and/or think of.  Also, despite the characters' name, no one has a Sedgwick Speech.

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