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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Okay, so "schmuck bait" is the term for teasing the audience with something that is not really ever going to happen. Uh-oh, what if Rachel moves to Paris and never comes back to Ross? Uh oh, what if a sniper blows Jack Bauer's head off?

I've also seen it used in a different way in a Buffy script: Giles works a flashlight, poking about in the mist-shrouded, schmuck baity cemetery.. Here, we're expecting something is going to leap out and attack him. But nothing does.

Is there a term for when the informed audience is sure something is going to happen, and you toy with their expectations? For example, I'm at the point in my romantic comedy when the heroine is kissing her ex-boyfriend at a party. The audience knows that this would be the worst possible moment for the adorable guy she just met to bump into her, therefore that is what is going to happen.

Naturally I have to punish those smart-ass know-it-alls for getting ahead of me. What I'm going to do is toy with the audience, giving Kiki lots of opportunities to ruin her chances with adorable Art by being seen with dreary Zell. And then have her busted after all, but not how we expected her to be busted.

What do you call that? Maven bait? Kolboynik bait? Wisenheimer bait? Ganzer knocker bait?


It's a rug pull.
Having the audience's expectations pulled right out from underneath them...

By Blogger Bill Cunningham, at 4:17 PM  

The old phrase "red herring" comes to mind as well.

By Blogger Grubber, at 4:56 PM  

A red herring is a misleading clue. A rug pull is a sudden surprising. I'm talking about tormenting the audience with its own expectations...

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 5:03 PM  

tormenting the audience with its own expectations.

Oh, you mean "a professional writing career?"

I vote for "smarty pantsing"

By Blogger DMc, at 8:53 PM  

or maybe a "wisenhammer"

By Blogger Dave, at 10:58 PM  

Hiding the presents (as in, not putting Xmas presents under the tree where the kids expect them)?

Xmas in July? Blizzard in August?

By Blogger odo coileus, at 8:12 PM  

Parking the car in the swimming pool?
(You know, as opposed to the garage.)

By Blogger odo coileus, at 5:44 PM  

I reckon it's a shoe trick.

From waiting for the other shoe to drop.

By Blogger Piers, at 8:42 AM  

Shoe trick! I love it.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:01 AM  

it should be called surprise bait.

By Blogger I am not Star Jones, at 4:52 AM  

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