|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
Mama's out for a stroll with little junior in his Baby Carriage. Too bad she's wandered in front of a Chase Scene!
This trope describes the phenomenon wherein, if there is a car chase, there will be a woman pushing a baby carriage (aka pram or bassinet). In Real Life, you will never see as many women pushing baby carriages down the street as you will during a car chase in a movie or TV show. Obviously this device works because the idea that a baby was harmed as the result of a chase adds instant Drama. Of course, don't expect the drama to last long. It's usually just a temporary distraction, and both drivers will be able to swerve around said Baby Carriage.
In older comedies, nothing much was thought of having the baby actually get hit, even by the protagonists.
Sometimes subverted by having the protagonist horrified that he can't avoid hitting the carriage -- only to find, as the carriage tumbles over the hood of the car, that the carriage didn't contain a baby at all, just groceries or something equally innocuous (think Speed: "They were only cans!").
- In the anime Ergo Proxy, Vincent Law is attacked by a proxy in a crowded plaza. Raul Creed's wife is killed in the melee and the carriage carrying their adopted son is bumped and begins to roll down a flight of stairs. When we next see the carriage in the aftermath it is lying on its side at the bottom of the stairs with blood pooling out of it.
- The runaway baby carriage example also shows up in the very first episode of the Little Lulu anime. Fortunately, Lulu and Tubby were there to catch it before it could continue rolling away down the sidewalk. The baby's mother then rewards them with a bunch of bananas for their good deed.
- Shows up in Bitter Virgin, where it leads to Daisuke discovering Hinako's scar from her C-section. He even hangs a lampshade on the cliché as he runs towards it.
- The silent film Battleship Potemkin featured a Baby Carriage during the much-homaged "Odessa Steps" sequence. It could be argued the whole trope of is Homages to Battleship Potemkin.
- Probably the definitive Odessa Steps / Baby Carriage scene is the fight in the station in The Untouchables. Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) had to make a Sadistic Choice between dropping the baby carriage down a flight of stairs or shotgunning a mafioso. He dropped the carriage, but fortunately George Stone (Andy Garcia) was on hand to save it. By stopping it with his legs, while still shooting some bad guys. And both mom and baby are okay in the end.
- Also referenced in the latest An American Tail film.
- Also featured as a quick throwaway gag in Woody Allen's Bananas, during the battle scene where the Rebels take over San Marcos.
- The whole Odessa Steps sequence is nicely snuck into Brazil, except with an industrial vacuum cleaner instead of a baby carriage.
- And most recently, Eli Roth used it in Nation's Pride, the film-within-a-film in Inglourious Basterds.
- Next to Potemkin, the best known example is in The French Connection, during the subway chase.
- Done with a twist at the beginning of Ghostbusters 2, as the carriage itself starts the chase scene by moving by itself (due to the wheels coming in contact with the Pink Slime).
- Subverted in Speed where Annie is desperately trying to keep a bus above 50 miles an hour and can't dodge a pram, smashing it to kindling. She is suitably horrified until Keanu Reeves notices that there was no baby in there, only cans and the 'mother' was actually a homeless woman.
- Subverted in the opening scene of The Soldier (1982). A woman with a baby carriage steps out in front of a limousine and is promptly run over. She turns out to be a terrorist (the baby carriage is full of weapons) trying to get the vehicle to stop so it can be ambushed.
- Played straight in The Three Stooges short Grips, Grunts and Groans. While running from some train depot guards, the Stooges knock over a baby carriage -that contains a baby-and use the commotion of two women panicking over the injured infant to hide from their pursuers.
- Subversion: In Batman Forever, the Batmobile is stopped mid-pursuit by an elderly crone pushing a baby stroller. After the vehicle screeches to a halt, the "Old Crone" whips off a shawl to reveal Big Bad Two Face, who then takes a rocket launcher out of the baby carriage.
- This is played with, along with other chase cliches, inthe 1960s Batman film. Trying to ditch an explosive, Batman runs repeatedly into a woman with a baby carriage, a group of nuns and a marching band. After these repeat several times, he looks the camera dead on and says "Somedays, you just can't get rid of a bomb."
- Averted in Anne Fine's All Bones and Lies. The protagonist, Colin, is introduced to a single mother and her baby daughter when a car crashed into her baby carriage throwing the baby through the air. Colin's sister reached up and plucked the baby from the air randomly saving her life. Both the mother and Colin take a long time to get over how nearly the baby died.
- An episode of Power Rangers in Space had a variation: In the episode "Silence is Golden," The Psycho Rangers have Applied Phlebotinum set up to hone in on the sound of the Rangers' voices within Angel Grove. So Cassie is hurrying back to base as silently as possible when she sees a baby carriage about to fall down a flight of concrete stairs. She struggles between protecting herself and warning the mother, but what other choice does she have...? (Besides morphing in public and rushing up to save the kid herself as the Pink Ranger, anyway.)
- In the first season of Charmed, there was an episode where a reporter sent an empty Baby Carriage out in front of an oncoming truck in an attempt to get Prue to use her powers. It kind of worked.
- In the Doctor Who episode "Human Nature," when the Tenth Doctor is in human form to hide from the Monster of the Week and has no idea of his real identity, one of the hints of his Hidden Depths comes when he realizes a piano is about to fall on a baby carriage (two cliches for the price of one!) and sets off a Rube Goldberg-like sequence of events in time to stop it.
- The Torchwood episode "Sleeper" shows a young mother who's really an alien sleeper agent who, upon being activated, walks away to carry out her mission and leaves her baby's pram to roll into the road. We hear the baby crying, followed by squealing brakes and a crash.
- In an early episode of Teen Titans, "Final Exam", this is one of the disasters staged by bad-guys in training Jinx, Gizmo, and Mammoth to lure the Teen Titans into an ambush: "Aren't baby carriages supposed to have babies in them?"
- In an episode of Codename: Kids Next Door (Operation DIAPER) a baby carriage rolls down a flight of stairs during a fight with a group of tooth-stealing babies. Number 3 chases it and catches it at the last moment, only to get punched in the face by the occupant.
- Spoofed in an episode of The Simpsons, where a ghost-like Homer sees a carriage going down and picks up the baby just because he's annoyed with its wails. The baby's mother believes it to be a miracle.
- Another episode features a boat chase in which Wiggum has to avoid a woman jet-skiing with a baby carriage.
- Subversion: The film The Triplets of Belleville spoofs the trope by having the car actually crash into the baby carriage and self-destruct -- thanks to the remarkable heft of the baby.
- My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has Rainbow Dash saving a baby pony in a carriage from going over a cliff in "The Mysterious Mare Do Well".