Playing Against TypeCatchphraseButt MonkeyKill Em AllUnusual Euphemism
Blessed With SuckNice HatBroken BaseArson Murder And JaywalkingExactly What It Says On The Tin
Dawson CastingScenery PornDie For Our ShipOne Steve LimitSmug Snake
Took A Level In BadassKick The DogBreaking The Fourth WallParanoia FuelCreepy Child
Berserk ButtonJerk AssBig BadBittersweet EndingSay My Name
Playing Against Type
The hiring of an actor to play a certain part which differs fundamentally from roles the actor is famous for or has played in the past. For instance, an actress who is known for playing kindly old grandma types suddenly cast as a scheming murderess. This is generally done when an actor wants to 'stretch his/her wings' or 'try something different.' Often, it can be very useful in The Reveal. Comed ...
Catchphrase
An expression used by a character in numerous episodes of a show. Merely uttering this phrase in the office will key others in to the character you're referring to. For a line to be a Catch Phrase, it should be always the same, and not just catchy. Two like-minded characters can form a Catch Phrase Spouting Duo, creating an entire lexicon of catch phrases with astonishing efficiency. In The Name O ...
Butt Monkey
The character who is always the butt of the demeaning joke or the 'put him through hell' plotline. Nothing ever goes right for this character, he's constantly abused by pretty much everyone he knows, even his so-called friends, and if something bad is going to happen to someone, chances are, it's going to be him. Long story short, it sucks to be the Butt Monkey. The Butt Monkey generally doesn't d ...
Kill Em All
When Anyone Can Die becomes 'Everyone Will Die.' Many series are noteworthy for the extremely high body count among the main cast that they rack up in their last few episodes. In some cases, all of the heroes make a Heroic Sacrifice, or otherwise find themselves wearing the Red Shirt. Occasionally, the protagonists simply fail to prevent The End Of The World As We Know It, resulting in a Downer En ...
Unusual Euphemism
The characters are talking about an embarrassing issue by using a euphemism that the scriptwriters just made up. Many Science Fiction shows make up such curse words so as not to offend Standards and Practices, probably because these expressions can pass as Future Slang. Can sometimes even be the result of censorship: see the film examples. Contrast Unusual Dysphemism. Compare to Never Say Die, For ...
Blessed With Suck
Blessed With Suck is one of those tropes that comes in a few distinct flavors. Generally, this is a blessing to a character that seems to cause nothing but trouble: In some cases, this is literal. By far, the most common variation is that the writers have seen fit to give you a special power that is, to be frank, stupid or useless. In other, more extreme cases, your power is actually too dange ...
Nice Hat
Clearly not a hat to be trifled with. To show that you mean business, it's important to have style. Enter: the nice hat. It may actually have utility — even conveying special powers — but more often than not it just looks cool, or even sexy. A discerning hero/villain just can't be seen without their Nice Hat! Harming the nice hat may be akin to kicking the dog, with disastrous results. Fedoras ...
Broken Base
Broken Base is basically a civil war among fans of a particular series. It involves infighting over whether or not the series is still good after a certain change. The loyalists believe it's as good as ever - maybe even better - and constantly hold up its merits. The dissenters feel betrayed by declining quality, and attack the series at every opportunity. They'll also be annoyed by the other fan ...
Arson Murder And Jaywalking
When listing off three or more things, apparently the rule is not to finish strong. For example, if Alice is listing off X number of reasons not to date Bob, item X-1 will be something major, like 'he's a philanderer' or something in that vein, whereas item X will be something slight such as 'he leaves the toilet seat up.' If a comedy, the final one is often treated as if it really were the worst ...
Exactly What It Says On The Tin
A title should tell you what a movie, show, or episode of a show is about. Sometimes, though, the premise or plot of the story is all right there in the title. That's when you can say that the story is Exactly What It Says On The Tin. Thus, this trope. The names of action shows designed for children tend to have this as a distinguishing feature, as do most pornographic films, but it certainly does ...
Dawson Casting
High school students in television look nothing like high school students in real life, for one good reason: they're played by actors who are upwards of 10-15 years older. This dates back to the earliest days of Hollywood, if not further, making it Older Than Television. There are many reasons for this. One is that the vast majority of professional actors are twenty and up anyway, so if you hold a ...
Scenery Porn
Scenery Porn is the emphasis on luscious backgrounds with great detail, lovely lighting or both. It means that the makers put in extra effort for something that might not have direct influence on the plot. Of course, there are extra points to be earned when the scenery actually enhances the plot in some sort of symbolic fashion. Scenery Porn also occurs in live-action movies, when extra effort is ...
Die For Our Ship
Sometimes, a character is hated because he's annoying. Or because he came in after the show Jumped The Shark. Or because she's a raging Mary Sue and gets too much attention. The list goes on. More often, though, when Shipping comes into play, the character is hated for existing at all. Hate shrines. Death Fics. Fics where the formerly sweet and loyal character cheats on the heroine with her two be ...
One Steve Limit
In nearly all TV shows, webcomics, etc. no two characters share the same first name. Simple as that. Sometimes this rule goes further - two characters will not share similar-sounding names. (If there's a Laura, there will not be a Linda.) There are good reasons for this, of course. It is generally considered unwise to have your viewer/reader keep wondering, 'Okay, which Steve is this?' In additi ...
Smug Snake
The Smug Snake is a type of character (usually cast as a villain) who tends to treat friends and enemies alike with equal disdain. They almost constantly speak in a sarcastic tone and punctuate most of their sentences with a smirk. More often than not, they will aspire to be a formidable and awe-inspiring adversary, but tend to fail in the face and/or servitude of more cunning villains. Others tha ...
Took A Level In Badass
So you're flipping channels looking for something to watch and you come across a battle scene in a familiar show. One character in particular is making a very good showing, doing at least as much as the main character to save the day. But who is this mysterious Badass Longcoat? Did you miss the episode where they were introduced? Why the nagging feeling of familiarity? And then it hits — you kno ...
Kick The Dog
Cobra Commander shows how it's done. Kicking the Dog is the fodder of anything resembling a modern-day Morality Play. A character performs an act so casual and immoral that you know that they are scum, incompatible with the moral rules of the series that they're in. This is the audience's cue that it's 'okay' for the character to meet their end, whether they actually get their just desserts or not ...
Breaking The Fourth Wall
Hey! How're you doing out there? It sure is nice to be the Breaking The Fourth Wall page on TV Tropes. Sure, I don't get as much attention as some of the other pages, but I try my hardest. Anyways, the status quo in a work of fiction is that the characters are unaware of their fictional nature and of their audience. This is the Fourth Wall. Right now, this wall would be the screen you're looking a ...
Paranoia Fuel
When things that should be harmless, or on the children's side, turn nasty, stripping away all sense of safety. THEY CAN SEE YOU. THEY KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE! How can a child sleep easy in their bed, when they've seen how toys can come alive when all is dark and wreak unspeakable vengeance? What trust can they have that anyone will protect them, when they've just seen some cheerful kid's programme w ...
Creepy Child
They look sweet, innocent, even angelic, but there's something not quite right about them. They're too calm, too knowing. They aren't really children any longer, not at heart. Children should be innocent, in need of adult protection. By inverting this, the trope arouses deep-rooted fears. The Creepy Child might not be physically dangerous, but their profound unnaturalness is just as chilling. Cree ...
Berserk Button
So you're dealing with a character who seems perfectly normal. He's friendly, sociable, and well-adjusted, saving stray kittens and helping old ladies cross the street on the way to his day job of working at a soup kitchen. But then you make a mistake. You happen to mention in passing what you think is a fairly innocuous observation, maybe pointing out that the character could stand to lose a litt ...
Jerk Ass
A Jerkass is a character who is so offensively obnoxious that it is unbelievable anyone would willingly interact with him; let's face it, much of the character's charm is a sort of schadenfreude. What makes him or her entertaining is the fact that you don't have to deal with them yourself in real life. Usually, the Rule Of Funny enables the people around the person to be able to live under the sam ...
Big Bad
It's good to be king. A Big Bad is a jeopardy, usually a character with evil designs (though it may also be a situation, such as a comet heading towards the Earth), that is behind all of the other bad happenings. The Big Bad can have effect across a number of episodes, and even an entire season. Note that Big Bad is not a catch-all trope for the biggest and ugliest villain of any given story. The ...
Bittersweet Ending
Victory, at last! The Big Bad has been vanquished, the day has been saved, the damsels in distress and innocent bystanders have been rescued and the heroes are ready to reap their reward, kiss their Love Interests and walk away toward the setting sun. Victory, really? Then why does no one feel like cheering? Why is the atmosphere so heavy with melancholy? Why do you find yourself counting your los ...
Say My Name
No matter what range of emotion you're feeling towards another character, the best way to express it is to say their name—preferably in either a hoarse whisper or scenery-chomping cry. Even if no one's around to hear you, just thinking about that character is enough of a prompt. It's all but required if you're in the midst of rescuing your friend/Love Interest currently facing imminent doom, you ...