Murderboarding Glossary

We were bored, okay? And procrastinating. And we got a couple questions about the Arcana designations in the space of a week, and though we think most of these are self-explanatory, we figure this might enlighten and/or amuse some of you. It certainly amused us to write it. Anthropologizing your own language tics: never not entertaining.

Really, what did you expect?

To be added to as we remember/develop new shorthand, and/or require further amusement.


anvilicious - So blatant in its message as to be like a cartoon anvil falling on our heads. Not necessarily a bad thing, but always a very obvious thing. Generally involves attempting to protect our toes.

Arcana - Index used to give designations to characters, see here. No, we're not going to explain the abbreviations to you, you're all smart people, you can figure it out.

blocking - The arrangement of persons on a stage, and the movements that follow.

brainweasels - More frequently seen on Twitter than in posts, and taken from god knows where in fandom terminology. The nagging self-doubts of imposter syndrome. We call ours Timmy, Ned, and Spanky.

Chekhov's Gun - The Russian playwright Anton Chekhov famously said that if you set a gun on the mantel in the first act, it must go off in the third. Most prominently featured in the s2 Chekhov's Intern arc on Grimm; however, this is a common axiom for most forms of screenwriting. Often seen as we beat our heads against the available data and try to figure out if that's a gun in the writers' pockets or if they're just happy to be here.

cluebat, frying pan - The blunt objects with which we threaten to beat people until they see sense. Frying pans are also used to defeat brainweasels and the hour of the wolf, though cluebats remain people-oriented and not manifestation-of-insecurities oriented. Feel free to ponder just what that says about us.

competence porn - What we show up for. The idea that competence of characters is a point of pride to be displayed to the point of, well, near pornographic lengths, depths, and other measurements as well. Credited to John Rogers primarily around the Leverage era, if we remember right.

data data data - Sometimes followed by the rest of the ACD quote, "I cannot make bricks without clay." Used when we gripe over insufficient data, which is another common phrase that's more self-explanatory. Sometimes followed by "I made it out of clay," which you should be hearing to the Dreidel song. (Yes, we're sometimes very bad Jews. Okay, often.) When we're thrilled about having come up with a theory that fits all the data.

Doylist - Due to or for purposes of the author, rather than the character. A Doylist explanation is, to use the eponymous and originating example, one which pertains to aspects of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Dutch angle - Canted angle, in which the vertical lines of the shot are composed so that they're at an angle to the sides of the frame. Used to depict psychological tension and emphasize that something is wrong or off-balance, often used in extreme form for a Death From Above shot. Originates in German cinema and transliterated as 'Dutch' from 'Deutsch.' Seen with great frequency in s2 Grimm. Used, notably, much less in Haven, probably to maintain the familiar-as-creepy tone they prefer. Used occasionally in Person of Interest, often on Machine's-eye-view shots.

giving away the homeworld - From the s2 Babylon 5 episode "Born to the Purple"; if you've been around here at all you know this was one of our formative shows and that we quote liberally from it. And apply writing principles from its metaplot arcs to shows we analyze. The perpetually-warring Centauri and Narn ambassadors are forced to leave the neutral space station with their aides in charge of negotiations, and both tell their aides "just don't give away the homeworld." Pretty much what it sounds like. Now go (re)watch the damn show so we can make more references.

genius locus - The spirit of a place. Commonly seen in Greco-Roman mythology. See also animist theory. See also an entire essay we're too lazy to write. Most used in Haven posts with reference to what we believe the Teagues Trouble to be.

hour of the wolf - Another B5 quote, this one from the titular episode. Or rather, that's where we first heard it, though it appears it originates with a 1968 Swedish film of the same name. It is "the time between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning. You can't sleep, and all you can see is the troubles and the problems and the ways that your life should've gone but didn't. All you can hear is the sound of your own heart." Sometimes used in reference to characters going through their own hour of the wolf. Sometimes used in verb form, "go to bed and don't stay up wolfing."

indicative but not probative - The curse of our ability to follow patterns to multiple logical conclusions with insufficient fucking data to determine which one is right. Something is likely true, or could be true, but we don't have proof yet. And might never get it. We really hate that last one.

Jesus hitman - and derivations thereof. We can blame blogging Person of Interest for this one, viewers of that show might get it when it shows up in those posts but since viewers of Haven or Grimm may not, we explain it here for you: Jim Caviezel played Jesus. Jim Caviezel also plays a more-or-less ex-hitman on Person of Interest. You do the math.

lampshade - Pointing out a device, trope, or other often-used tactic in fiction. We have bonfires for these. Or a lampshade factory, depending on our levels of irritation. In the general sense, used to prop up that suspension bridge of disbelief. In the sense we use it on the blog, often used semi-interchangeably with anvilicious, though a lesser form thereof. Comes from the Mutant Enemy bullpen, according to TV tropes. (And aren't you glad I didn't link you.)

LEO - Law Enforcement Officer.

recaplysis - Portmanteau of recap and analysis. Our ideas of recap involve a lot more picking apart of the acting, the wording, blocking, and the cinematography for fine details and ability to a) predict where the show is going and b) explicate the themes. Usually more of the former than the latter, but the latter tends to sneak in whether we will or no.

recapalypse - Portmanteau of recap, analysis, and apocalypse. Because sometimes our recaplyses are just that long. (Not sorry.)

that doesn't explain the potato - This one is rarer but also highly obscure. Way back when X-Files was on (yes I realize this dates us) there was an episode called Humbug involving a circus troupe. One of the suspects was a former circus person turned sheriff, and was caught by Mulder and Scully burying a potato. For no readily apparent reason. This dialogue ensued:

Scully: *rambles about serial killers having a fascination with police work*
Mulder: *interrupts* She found out you used to be a dog-faced boy.
Sheriff: Oh, sure. I used to make a good living as a dog-faced boy. Til all my hair fell out on my head.. *etc*
Scully: That doesn't quite explain the potato.
Sheriff: Oh, I have six warts on my hand.
Mulder: ... That still doesn't explain the potato.

Yes, it's that obscure. Currently we use it for plot points or actions which we feel are insufficiently explained by the rest of the episode.

trollface - Once upon a time Kitty caught a cap of Duke touching Nathan's face. She used the trollface to describe it. It has since stuck like glue. Troll glue. Often used as a verb, as in "we are trollfacing so hard right now." Note that while we occasionally make reference to our personal ships on various shows, we often mention places that are shipbait for others. Particularly of note when it's a male/male or female/female scene (more often the former), because none of these shows have shown us anything other than heterosexuality as the default. (Do not ask our opinion on this unless you have hours to kill.)

the jar - In which A keeps her surprised face. Used in a variety of forms. Lately, "that doesn't even merit the jar" is an expression of cynicism that yes, the show went exactly where the narrative would dictate. Often used as in, "I have a jar for that," meaning that normal people who don't watch as closely as we do might be surprised, but we aren't. Tends to carry with it an air of resignation, as in "where's my damn jar."

The Best - Title routinely given to the character who shows extraordinary common sense, willpower, and the willingness to use both.

unsub - Short for UNknown SUBject. LEO jargon, which we picked up due to watching far too much Criminal Minds.

Watsonian - Due to or for purposes of the character. A Watsonian explanation is, to use the eponymous and originating example, one which pertains to aspects of Dr. John Watson.

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