Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Tropes: The Shoulder Grab

 
Touch is a mightily important sense, and with it comes all sorts of nonverbal communication. Few sensations are as enduring, controversial, or diverse as reaching out and grabbing somebody by their shoulder.

 

The Shoulder Grab - The act of placing one's hand (or both) on the shoulder(s) of another, usually to enhance the mood of a scene, no matter the context of it.

This trope is a suitable way for characters to depart before a serious situation is about to go down (as Will Smith demonstrates). The fun doesn't stop there!

The Shoulder Grab can also be used to gain someone's attention during a moment of panic, usually resulting in a scene of awkward MG physical contact.


Sometimes a character is about to hear news that is too difficult to bear. Interestingly enough, the bearer of this bad news tends to double as the shoulder grabber.


The Shoulder Grab can be used in a many variety of ways, from the serious, comical, or romantic angles. And if the shoulder grab is unwanted by the recipient, it can open a few unexpected doors of tension for any character (perfect for awkward creeper moments).

The most common usage of this trope is to show endearment, to give support, and to let the other character know that everything's gonna be all right.

It is also a popular choice for a man to show affection to another man - if they are not the hugging type ...

Who hasn't used The Shoulder Grab? Did it enhance the mood of your scene? Has this ever happened to you?

I'm David, and let's hunt some orc!

22 comments:

  1. I love your examples. And yeah, who hasn't used a shoulder grab?

    Now I'm ready for a LotR marathon!

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  2. Very funny post! I've certainly used this action in my stories.

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  3. I'm sure I used it at some point. I also like to use the arm around the shoulders.

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  4. Interesting post, David. I hadn't really given the shoulder grab much thought. But I bet I've used it. :)

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  5. I've used it. Adds to the seriousness of the speaker.

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  6. I've definitely used this without realizing it this whole time. Now I just realized sometimes I use it too often . . .

    -Matt

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  7. I've totally used the shoulder grab! And there was nothing else that would've worked quite as well, either. So yay for them!

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  8. very interesting and reminds one to include the touching info when writing :)

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  9. The shoulder grab is so effective when someone like Will Smith has the "guns" to back up the intimidation.

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  10. *shoulder grabs you* David, I've already hunted all the orcs there are!

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    1. You left none for me? That's not fair! :)

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  11. This one I've used. It can open up a lot of potential in a scene.

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  12. I haven't yet but probably have a scene or two to write that it would fit perfectly in. Great post.

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  13. I love the Tuesday Trope meme. I think my most recent use of The Shoulder Grab was a wait-you're-not-leaving-yet-because-we're-not-done-talking type of Shoulder Grab...

    And that is definitely one of my favorite lines in those movies! Never fails to put a grin on my face.

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  14. How do you come up with such fantastic posts? The shoulder grab is very important. Very well said!

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  15. great move to jar or get attention or pass on strength & encouragement! love this move!

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  16. Yep, I've used the shoulder grab just before a kissing scene but...I've never used a threesome shoulder grab like in the LOTR clip! I must fix this somehow... :P

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  17. Love the shoulder grab and have definitely used it! My 5 year old is FINALLY showing an interest in LOTR and I couldn't be more happy!

    Great post, as always, David!!!

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  18. I just wrote a shoulder grab yesterday! Well, not so much a grab as a laying of hands... Great post!

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  19. It's an awesome gesture to use, though I'm pretty sure I haven't done it yet.

    Now I really feel like watching Lord of the Rings.

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  20. I love the shoulder grab in "Hitch" where he twist the guys arm around and says "If you ever touch me again I will break your *@%! off, okay pumpkin?" Hilarious!

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  21. Shoulder grab, nice! I'm going to use that in my writing this week:)

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