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Infant Immortality – TV Tropes

Posted: May 20, 2015 at 6:43 am

Skinner: If either of us falls in, we're doomed! Bart: Kids don't die! It seems to be the cardinal rule in shows that thrive on violence: you are not allowed to kill babies or young children. Or dogs, unless it is a heart-breaking moment that symbolizes the end of innocence. No matter how bad the Big Bad is, he will always stop short of killing a baby. Even natural disasters will avoid killing infants and dogs. Something about a baby or puppy makes you stop, think twice, and show a last flicker of compassion. Those who don't have that last drop of humanity in them will generally be stopped some other way. Outside of Crime and Punishment Series (where all the death occurs off-screen) and shows where the cynicism is meant to be a selling point, this trope is almost always in place for babies. Dogs are less lucky: a villain can kill a dog only if it's meant to prove that he's a really horrible person. Doesn't matter if he's gunned down 20 people in cold blood, only a monster would kill your dog (but dogs seem to do better against natural disasters, since those can't actually be evil). Of course, this only protects against killing babies in person; destroying a city in a fiery conflagration and killing the no doubt tens or hundreds of thousands of babies therein is A-OK, because A Million Is a Statistic and the audience won't see them. Whether or not this extends to pregnant women is a toss-up; fetuses have more relative protection than dogs, but less than already-born infants. Except in series where Status Quo Is God, because then the Convenient Miscarriage will rear its ugly head. The upper age limit for Infant Immortality varies. Only infants are truly immune from death, but small children enjoy substantially more protection than teenagers or adults. However, when teenagers are included below the upper age limit, it is frequently a case of Only Fatal to Adults, and is frequently an After the End setting. The trope extends to just about anyone conventionally considered inherently "innocent," and can therefore sometimes reach out to cover the mentally handicapped. Note that, if the baby undergoes a Plot-Relevant Age-Up, they're not protected by this trope anymore - even if it's done in a way which leaves them still "really" an infant. In animation, can lead to the Badly Battered Babysitter plot. In video games, Hide Your Children. In fantasy, it frequently results in Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!. In After the End, post-apocalyptic shows expect there to never be any bodies of children onscreen despite many adult corpses. The sight of a dead child affects people deeply and is used very carefully by any director worth their chops. Note that this does not apply in the aptly-named Black Comedy. Inverted grotesquely by Undead Child and, in a more literal way, by Would Hurt a Child. Also, seems not to apply to the Enfant Terrible, who dies horribly in all manner of works. Cats are fairly indestructible too. Compare Only Fatal to Adults, when something by definition does not hurt children, in-universe. Expect spoilers, especially in the aversions and partial aversions sections below. Examples:

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Granny: "They hate babies! Quick, nobody dress like a baby!"

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Infant Immortality - TV Tropes

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith