Top 11 Dumbasses in Distress
April 27, 2011
NC: Hello, I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don’t have to.
Scene from Dudley Do-Right starts playing
NC (vo): We’re all familiar with the term ‘damsel in distress,’ the helpless female who always has to get rescued by the male and in return, turns herself into the reward. It’s a cliché as old as time itself.
Clips of various movie scenes with men and women in peril
NC (vo): But, in recent years, it’s gone through sort of an equal rights movement. We’ve discovered that even males have to be rescued once in a while and that truly, stupidity knows no gender.
NC: But goddammit, do they have to be so obnoxious?
NC (vo): The cliché is bad enough, but when the character clearly shows that he or she can take care of themselves, it just pisses you off when you’re the one who has to save them in the end. Or on top of that, if they’re just annoying as hell to begin with. Now, I’m not talking about ALL repeat hostages. For example, April O’Neal got captured all the time, but she was also funny, clever, and had a very likeable personality. Indiana Jones’ father got captured a lot, but again, he was a lot of fun to have an adventure with.
NC: These are the people you want to smack in the face every time they get into trouble. They’re the obnoxious little pawns whose only purpose is to be rescued, to the point where you just want to say, “You know what? Let the train hit ‘em.”
NC: And I’m here to count down the top 11 of them here today. Why top 11? Because I like to go one step beyond. So, sit back and enjoy the top 11 dumbasses in distress.
Dramatic piano music plays against a b&w clip of a woman tied to a railroad track. That will serve as the countdown's interlude.
NC (vo): Number 11 – Mary Jane Watson.
Scenes from the Spider-Man movies
NC (vo): Now, I’m mainly going on the movies for this, though I did hear she got kidnapped a lot in the comics and the cartoon. Yeah, she’s nice and all, but it’s pretty clear she’s just there to be the person Peter saves. I mean, let’s do a quick count of how many times Peter saves her.
Mary Jane slips in the lunchroom and Peter catches her – 1
Peter grabs her just as she’s about to hit the pavement – 2
Peter pulls robbers away from her – 3<
Peter dives and catches her in midair – 4
Peter catches her to keep her from falling into a fiery pit – 5
Peter catches the cab she’s in with his Spidey webs – 6
NC (vo): SIX times! That’s six times in THREE movies! Some would say one is enough, but SIX?! Hell, one time was actually in a lunchroom. A fucking LUNCHROOM, are you kidding me? She can’t even eat without somebody having to save her?! We honest-to-God have to protect her from her own food? Put traffic cones around that apple juice, that shit is lethal! How about the fact that the reason that Peter stays away from her is because he’s afraid that if the enemies find out who he is, they’ll kidnap her? Well, she found out in the second film and she was already in peril FIVE TIMES before that point. Hell, after she got together with him, she was only kidnapped once. So I guess in a way, that’s sort of an improvement. The only film where she sort of starts to become a three-dimensional character is in the third one, but even then, ironically, people say there’s a little TOO much of her. And that most of the time, it was just her bawling out Peter, anyway. Oh, don’t worry, though; she’ll be hanging out of a building in a few seconds. I love Kirsten Dunst, but, man, Mary Jane is a Mary Pain.
Mary Jane: Some dream, huh?
(Interlude to the next entry)
NC (vo): Number 10 – Kayley from Quest for Camelot.
Footage from "Quest for Camelot" featuring Kayley plays while "I Must Stand Alone" Plays
NC (vo): Okay, this chick wants to be a knight at a time where women weren’t allowed to be knights. Well, good for her for going against the norm and wanting to be strong. But the only problem is SHE ISN’T STRONG! And I don’t mean physically; I mean in ANY sense. All she ever says is how she’s going to be the world’s greatest knight, and yet every other second, she always has to be rescued by a blind man. A freakin’ blind man.
Scene of said blind man – Garrett – beating up two of Kayley’s pursuers
NC (vo): Well, maybe you could say she’s just starting out, and she only got better as time went on. But, no, she gets captured again and has to be saved this time by a chicken. A FREAKIN’ CHICKEN!
Bladebeak: Bladebeak, at your service! (cuts Kayley’s bonds)
NC (vo): Lady, if you’re put in situations where a blind man and a CHICKEN can do better than you, maybe knighthood shouldn’t be your first option.
Kayley: Well, I see no reason why I can’t come along.
NC (vo): I can think of only one time where she saved the blind guy, but that’s it. Every other time, it’s just her getting captured and yet still boasting about how she’s going to be the world’s greatest knight. Young lady, you DEFINITELY need a career change.
Kayley: I want to save Camelot!
Interlude to the next entry
NC (vo) Number 9 – Willie and Short Round from The Temple of Doom.
(Footage from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom featuring Willie and Short Round plays)
NC (vo): Say what you will about the other Indiana Jones movies, but they had some kickass leading ladies. Marion: awesome, Dr. Schneider: awesome, that…Russian dominatrix…
NC: (looks around awkwardly) …weird, but still awesome!
NC (vo): And then you got Willie, that pain in the ass who never shut the fuck up.
Willie: We’re not sinking, we’re crashing! (Shrieks)
NC (vo): She contributes nothing, constantly has to be saved, and all she does is bitch and moan throughout the entire film.
Willie: Wait a sec, Indy!!! I can't go to Pankot, I'm a singer! Oh, I need to call my agent!
NC (vo): Oh, that’s a lady I’d want to fight for.
Willie accidentally picks up a bat and screams hysterically. Indiana Jones looks up and then back at Short Round
Indiana Jones: Biggest trouble with her is the noise.
NC (vo): She’s so annoying that Indy would rather make out with naked statues. Hey, at least they’re quiet.
Willie: Hey, I’m right here.
NC (vo): But hey, she’s not the only one who’s a pain in Kali’s balls. Short Round is also an obnoxious little fortune cookie.
Short Round: Okey-dokey, Dr. Jones. Hold onto your potatoes!
NC (vo): I don’t know if it’s mean to say or not, but his accent drives me nuts! Actually, I take it back – it’s not the accent, it’s the fact that he screams every line with that accent.
Short Round: You said to stay against the wall! / It wasn't me, it's her! / Wake up, Indy, wake up!
NC (vo): God, SHUT UP!!!
Short Round: Come on, let’s go, let’s go!
NC (vo): I could watch that scene where he gets smacked like a bajillion times.
Indiana Jones smacks Short Round and he falls to the ground
NC: (golfclapping, whispering) Joy!
Same clip as above plays over and over and over
NC (vo): I also love that scene where he breaks through the bridge.
Short Round falls through bridge.
NC: Fall! Fall! Fall! Fall!
Short Round: Help! (is pulled back onto the bridge by Willie; they both look down at the river of crocodiles) Not very funny.
NC (vo): To his credit, he does help Indiana Jones out once in a while, and I guess it is pretty cool that he can drive a freaking car. But most of the time, he’s just being rescued from the bad guys and screaming all the way.
More Short Round screaming
NC (vo): Indy, if you honestly think these two are worth dying for, they ain’t. Trust me when I say your Willie is not worth saving when she acts like... (Picture of Indiana Jones, then focuses down on the crotch) ...well, YOUR willie.
Short Round: He's no nuts. He’s crazy!
Interlude to the next entry
NC (vo): Number 8 – Robin.
(Footage from various "Batman" media featuring Robin are shown)
NC (vo): Just about every variation of this character has him as the whining little decoy. I mean, just look at what he’s wearing. Batman is dressed in black so he can blend into the shadows. He wears the mask so he can strike fear into the heart of his enemies. Robin just looks like a bullseye. He just seems to just scream, ‘Hit me!’ Everybody knows it and everybody makes fun of it, even Tiny Toons.
Plucky Duck: Someone I can count on, someone who can wear a bright red uniform and draw all the fire. (Hampton, who is dressed like Robin, except with a bullseye on the chest, stiffens in shock.) Uh, uh, attention. So what do you say, Decoy Caped Hostage?
Hampton: I take it there’s little point in discussing retirement benefits?
NC (vo): He was pretty annoying in the animated series, too. He just seemed like that dweeb that was going to try to represent the younger hip crowd.
Robin: No problemo, Batman.
NC (vo): Yeah, remember how many times you said THAT growing up?
Robin: Don’t look at me, I flunked Greek mythology, remember?
NC (vo): Surprisingly, the character was a little more badass when they switched him to the younger kid. But even then, he had his fair share of hostage situations, too. Actually, Robin was one of the few things that the movie "Batman Forever" did okay. They did make us feel the pain he was going through and, shockingly, even managed to turn that bullfighter cape into a pretty cool costume. It’s the only time Robin actually sort of looked classy. But even in that movie, by the end, he had to be rescued one, two, THREE times in the entire third act. And, of course, do we even need to discuss Batman & Robin? Yeah, how’d his dialogue go again?
NC (as Robin from his Batman & Robin review): Nyeh eh nyeh whine whine...
NC (vo): (normal) Well, he may be the world’s most famous sidekick, but he’s also one instance that makes you want to say, "Maybe I should let him drop."
Robin: Holy migraine!
Interlude to the next entry
NC (vo): Number 7 – Inspector Gadget.
Poster for Disney’s Inspector Gadget appears.
NC (vo): Yeah, let’s ignore that piece of dick movie and just focus on the cartoon. (Footage from the TV show plays) Inspector Gadget really pisses me off because he has all the power in the freakin’ world. He’s like RoboCop times ten; he has every gadget for every problem. And what always ends up happening? HIS DAMN TEN-YEAR-OLD NIECE ALWAYS HAVE TO SAVE HIM!
Penny: I think I know what they’re up to.
NC (vo): Good God, why didn’t they just give HER all the cool little gadgets? I mean, true, she has that book and that watch, but couldn’t they just put all that stuff in an INTELLIGENT person?
NC: In fact, how cool would it be if Penny got ALL those gadgets?
A Photoshopped picture of Penny all suited up with all kinds of epic gadgets is shown, combined with “The Black Rider” from Lord of the Rings.
NC: Pretty fucking sweet.
NC (vo): As much as Penny always had to rescue her uncle, it was sort of a strange circle of abductions they had going on. When Inspector Gadget gets in trouble, Penny has to save him. When Penny gets in trouble, Brain has to save her. But when Brain gets in trouble, Corporal Cape Man has to save him, but if Corporal Cape Man gets in trouble...
NC: Well, the fucking world blows up.
NC (vo): Bottom line: just don’t rely on THIS idiot. He’s a fucking lemming. I guess he made the show fun for kids, but man, someone seriously needs to give this inspector a clue.
Inspector Gadget: You can count on me, chief. I’m always on duty.
Interlude to the next entry
NC (vo): Number 6 – Lois Lane.
(Footage and images from various media featuring the Lois Lane character are shown)
NC (vo): Well, you know you can’t have a dumbass in distress [list] without mentioning HER. A lot of this depends on what version you go to, though. If you go to the older comics, she’s just a dimwit who needs rescuing. Black and white show, dimwit. Old cartoon, dimwit. By the time the movies hit, though, she was a little bit more developed and grew much more attitude. The same thing can be said for the animated series, where they turned her into a much more cynical and enjoyable character. But you could make the argument that this only made her worse. In the old days, it was just common for women to just be the reward for the man and, therefore, be underdeveloped. But with the movie and the cartoon, they developed her as a tough, no-nonsense person. She would do anything to get the story and was determined to put her all into it. So, really, her being kidnapped all the time doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I guess the idea is that she’s way in over her head, but they established that she can be really smart, and a smart person wouldn’t constantly need someone to save her. She could probably take care of herself. By doing this, she becomes less of a character and more of an annoyance. You just want to say, ‘Dude, don’t go in there, you KNOW what’s gonna happen. Take the hint!’ This also makes her maybe a little bit too reliable on Superman. For someone so smart and independent, she sure is willing to just throw herself for him, isn’t she? They even poke fun of how many times Superman rescues her.
Lex Luthor (Movie version): You just hold onto that little lady, and he’ll be along.
Mook (Cartoon TV series version): Miss…?
Lois (Cartoon TV series version): Lane.
Mook (Cartoon TV series version): Lane? Lois Lane? The one Superman always saves?
Lois (Cartoon TV series version): ‘Fraid so.
Lois smirks as Superman shakes the plane and the mook stumbles around in fear.
NC (vo): At least with April [O'Neil], you sort of knew she was greedy and probably deserved what was coming to her. On top of that, she served as the heroes’ means to interact with the human world. Lois’ job just seemed to be to get caught. And then report on it. I admire later versions for trying to make her more three-dimensional, but MAYBE that just makes her stupider.
Lois (Cartoon TV series version): I hate to say, I’ve gotten used to it.
NC (vo): Number 5 – Jubilee
Footage from the X-Men TV series featuring Jubilee is shown
NC (vo): She’s very similar to Robin in that she was supposed to represent the younger crowd who watched the story, and for a while, she did. In the first few episodes, she actually does have a few good lines.
A gas canister opens up around Jubilee
Cyclops: Get down!
Jubilee: (drowsily) I don’t have…a whole lot…of choice. Faints in his arms.
NC (vo): I mean, sure she got caught a lot, but she was starting out, too. But by the time the first season went by, not only was she getting caught a lot, she was a WHINER.
Jubilee: Are you blind? Is this gonna take long? What is your problem? He’s on OUR side!
NC (vo): With Robin, you sort of knew was dead on arrival; you know he’s never going to connect with the younger crowd dressed like that. And plus, a grown man hanging out with a little kid…kinda creepy. But Jubilee, despite also having a weird wardrobe, had a better chance of connecting because she was part of a group. And on top of that, it was a group of rebels, which every kid loves and relates to. So that’s why it really sucks that she became such a third wheel. We wanted to feel like that kid was a part of a team, but she mostly just complained until somebody would come along and save her, and we didn’t want that representing us. We wanted to fight right alongside them, not be saved all the time. I don’t recall her being too much better in the comics, but at least she did have a few more kickass scenes. The show, however, her power’s about as effective as...
Bastian (from The Neverending Story II): A spray can!
NC (vo): What else can you say but...
Jubilee: Does a mall babe eat chili fries?
NC (vo): …that.
Interlude to the next entry
NC (vo): Number 4 – Scrappy-Doo.
Footage from the Scooby-Doo TV series featuring Scrappy-Doo is shown
NC (vo): Oh, my God, I hate this little turd! This was Scooby-Doo’s…I don’t know, nephew, cousin, weekend son, I have no idea, but he was annoying as hell. He would always act tough and rush into situations thinking he could save the day, but, of course, he’s the size of an 8-ball. So physical violence is probably not going to help you here.
Scrappy-Doo: Let me at ‘em! Let me at ‘em!
NC (vo): Naturally, Shaggy and Scooby had to go in and rescue him every time he’d throw himself into peril. Yeah, you’re making THESE guys look brave!
Scrappy-Doo: Come on, Uncle Scooby! Ta ta ta ta tata!
NC (vo): His voice was annoying, the character was annoying, the fact that he never shuts UP was annoying, GOD, he was annoying! Oh, and did I forget to mention his annoying catchphrase?
Scrappy-Doo: Ta ta ta ta tata! Puppy Power!
NC: Oh, God, first the Pound Puppies movie, now this?
NC (vo): When are you going to learn that a catchphrase isn't going to catch on?
Scrappy-Doo: Scrappy Dappy Doo!
NC (vo): If I ever see a dog like him crossing the street, I'm stepping on the gas, because the sooner I can eradicate this little bitch from being anybody else's problem, the better!
Scrappy-Doo: I'm Scrappy-Doo!
Nostalgia Critic laughs sarcastically and then grabs a gun and begins firing erratically at the screen.
Interlude to the next entry
NC (vo): Number 3 – Jar Jar Binks
Footage from "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" featuring Jar Jar Binks is shown
NC (vo): As if I even need to go into much detail. He cemented himself as one of the most annoying characters in all of cinema. But on top of that, he always has to have his ass saved as well. Even when they first meet him, they have to rescue him from something. That's a good introduction.
Jar Jar Binks: You saved me again!
Obi-Wan Kenobi: What's this?
Qui-Gon Jinn: A local.
NC (vo): I think the most I've ever seen him do in these movies is lead them to where the underwater city is. That's it. Everything else is either getting himself in trouble or getting other people in trouble. And then somehow, this guy gets a position of government. Well, I guess that makes sense: saying nothing but garbage, being terrified of people, and yet never listening to what they have to say.
NC: Yep, that adds up.
NC (vo): And I'll guess I'll point out what everyone else has as well: if Jar Jar was never put in power, then the Emperor never would have made his clone army, and EVERYTHING wouldn't have gone to shit.
NC: So, yeah. (Hits desk.) Everything that goes wrong in the following movies, you can TOTALLY blame on Jar Jar.
Clip from "A New Hope" of Princess Leia's ship being attacked is shown with the words, "Because of Jar Jar!" underneath.
NC (vo): What else do I even need to say about him? His voice sucks, the character sucks, he can’t take care of himself, and he doomed all the galaxy. FUCK him!
Jar Jar Binks: I speak!
Qui-Gon Jinn: The ability to speak does not make you intelligent.
Interlude to the next entry
NC (vo): Number 2 – Princess Peach
Footage from the Mario Bros. video games and images featuring Princess Peach are shown
NC (vo): I could punch this broad in the face! Really, I could. How many times has this whore been kidnapped? Haven’t they upped the security yet so that it doesn’t happen anymore? And every time it DOES happen, she just keeps her pretty little smile. (Mocking) Tee-hee-hee-hee! (Normal voice) FUCK you, bitch. I’m risking my life for you for the twentieth fucking time, and don’t you dare insult me by saying you’re going to bake me a cake. No, you give me a position of power, you fucking bimbo. I know more about this kingdom than you do – you see, I’ve been through it, like, a million times. You can’t even stay around long enough to remember what it’s called.
NC: (Points to himself) I’m running the show now, Peach. (Grabs a gun and points it at the screen) I’m running the show!
NC (vo): I don’t know, I think it’s just the attitude, the fact that she has no problem that you have to save her all the time. It just never seems to faze her, she never seems to feel bad. In fact, listen to this note that they have in the Mario Brothers Wii game.
Note appears on screen, Nostalgia Critic reads it:
NC (vo): (reads) "Dear Mario, Because of my most recent kidnapping..." "stops reading" RECENT KIDNAPPING? What is this, just another day at the store for you? It doesn’t even faze you anymore. You go out there and risk your life, whore! It ain’t easy! The other thing that annoys me is just that she never DOES anything. * She just smiles and gets caught. That’s it. Oh, wait, there was Mario 2 where she could frigging fly in the air, that was really cool. But guess what? THAT WAS A DREAM! It never happened! So that literally means she has contributed nothing to the Mario games. Okay, you got Smash Brothers and Mario Party and so forth, but come on. They’re just go-carting and playing games. Hell, she uses a frying pan as a weapon. A frying pan and her BUTT! These are what women in the 40's used as weapons, are you fucking serious?
- Actually, Super Mario RPG has Peach using her magic to put Koopas to sleep (Sleepy Time) and send fire raining down on enemies (Psych Bomb).
NC: Next, you’ll be telling me her main weapon in the game is crying!
Clip of Princess Peach in the game doing exactly that. NC stares in horror at the screen.
NC: I hate you.
NC (vo): Ugh, Princess Peach. If you still want to save her after all this, you’ll have plenty of opportunities.
NC: Now, I know what you’re thinking. How can I possibly top Princess Peach, one of the most famous damsels in distress of all time? Well, believe it or not, there is actually one worse. Who can it possibly be? Let’s take a look.
Interlude to the next and final entry
NC (vo): And the absolute biggest dumbass in distress is…Bella, from Twilight.
Footage from the Twilight movies featuring Bella Swan is shown with Yiruma's "River Flows in You" playing in the background
NC (vo): This has to be the most selfish, male-dependent, uncaring, manipulative, self-centered, pretentious, idiotic, whining little bitch bag you will ever see in your entire life!
NC: And, honestly, it wouldn't be too bad of a character, it'd be very, very interesting...IF IT WAS INTENTIONAL!
NC (vo): But it's not. Bella is supposed to represent the everyday teenage girl. If that's the case, then the story got really mixed up about who the bloodsucking monster is. She thinks she's tortured, even though, really, she has no problems. She gets a crush on a boy and decides she wants to marry him, even though she's not even out of high school yet. She wants to be turned into a vampire, which everyone has said is throwing her life away. But, of course, at the enlightening age of 17, she already knows EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTS. Aren't you GLAD you followed through with every bright idea you had at 17? Aren't you GLAD you totally committed to something that you knew you could never make a mistake on that age?
NC: Oh, yeah, 17. Nobody EVER fucks up at that age!
NC (vo): The boyfriend tries to leave her so that he can save her, but she constantly keeps throwing herself off cliffs and putting herself in danger just so he can notice her. Good fucking God. (Bella jumps off cliff.) That’s right, girls; if your boyfriend leaves you, do exactly this. I assure you it won’t backfire in the least.
NC: Sure, you might be DEAD, but that’ll teach him!
NC (vo): She then gets another boy involved who actually seems supportive and attentive, but she dumps him because the other guy looks at her weird, and by God, how can she turn down a guy with no personality that just looks at her weird? Again, one of those brilliant choices you make at 17. So now a whole war is going on, all because of her, and everyone is going out of their way to try and protect her, and she’s simply like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool.’ Oh, wait, she does try to say once that she’s not worth it, but that only lasts a few seconds. She then realizes that she IS worth it and is totally on board with having muscle boys carry her around everywhere. And just as her boyfriend finally agrees to marry her – imagine, a boy being pressured into marriage – she dicks around with the other guy yet again. Oh, my God, I mean, OH...MY...GOD. I have never seen a character more needy and more insecure. She’s such a dumbass in distress, that it’s actually kind of scary. She is a scary character. In another dimension, maybe she could have been a great Shakespeare villain; this really complex, developed, psychotic mind. But as the common, everyday, relatable girl that we’re all supposed to identify with? She is, and always shall be, the biggest dumbass in distress.
NC: I’m the Nostalgia Critic, and… (looks off screen) Pray for these boys, people.
Pictures of Edward and Jacob show up on either side of him
NC: (whispers) Pray for them. (He bites his finger and gets up to leave)
Channel Awesome Tagline--Scrappy Doo: Puppy Power!
- Fun Fact: As of the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom review, The Nostalgia Critic switched Willie and Short Round (specifically Willie) from the #9 spot with Jubilee at #5. "Yeah, Jubilee’s fashion sense was much weirder, but you know what? She fucking tried!"
- Edward was pressuring Bella into marrying him. This was addressed in Top 11 Nostalgia Critic F*** Ups Part 3.