Anti HeroDowner EndingDid You Just Punch Out CthulhuLethal ChefAffably Evil
The Smurfette PrincipleBadassTalking To HimselfImprobable Weapon UserRecycled IN SPACE!
Title DropPaper Thin DisguiseKick The DogShirtless SceneLeitmotif
Heroic BSODBlessed With SuckOne Steve LimitAnyone Can DieWhat Do You Mean, It's Not Awesome?
Catch PhraseLoads And Loads Of CharactersCloudcuckoolanderSay My NamePower Perversion Potential
Anti Hero
The questionable shade of gray between good and evil, an anti hero is a rather dark, edgy character who has the opposite of most of the traditional attributes of a hero. He or she may be bewildered, ineffectual, deluded, or merely pathetic. More often an antihero is just an amoral misfit. Lives f-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-r from the ideal end of the Sliding Scale Of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Other common at ...
Downer Ending
1. A finale to a movie, a TV series, a video game, or some other form of media that ends things on a low note, or in some other way that isn't quite happy. These tend to be rare, as there is overwhelming pressure to tie loose ends up in a 'happy' way. Sometimes done as a way to assure that the show, once canceled, cannot be revived later (similar to the Grand Finale), but sometimes leaves the sho ...
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu
So, along comes the Eldritch Abomination: incomprehensible, insanity-inducing gods; alien beings that don't even notice humanity, let alone care; technological beings whose thoughts encompass the universe. You know the type. Eternal, infinite, impossible to even understand, let alone oppose... And then along come a couple of plucky heroes, who didn't get told that the Abomination is impossible to ...
Lethal Chef
Her cooking is not just bad, it's inedible, and sometimes actually poisonous. Or it might have bizarre magical side-effects. Or explode. Or it comes to life and either attacks or tries to run away. Animals will stare at it and back away. The character — usually female — may well love to cook, but she's never actually bothered to learn, or she's learned from aliens, or her taste buds are wir ...
Affably Evil
Most of the time, when there is a villain, they're going to have a personality or manner that underscores how evil they are. They may kick puppies for giggles, be particularly insensitive, even during sex, or might just be too unknowable to be anything but evil. And then, there are villains who are Affably Evil. There is absolutely nothing separating them from being normal, polite people except fo ...
The Smurfette Principle
For any series not aimed at females, odds are high that only one female will be in the regular cast. The Smurfette Principle is the tendency for works of fiction to have only one female amongst an ensemble of male characters. (This female is the Token Girl.) Unless a show is purposefully aimed at a female viewing audience, the main characters will tend to be disproportionately male. This, even th ...
Badass
The Rule Of Cool personified. A character who gets away with outright insane stunts (defusing a bomb with their teeth, conning a mob boss, getting into a firefight with the entire US army, etc.) that would never work in real life. A Bad Ass is a fantasy figure who the audience roots for precisely because they break the Willing Suspension Of Disbelief - or, between Refuge In Audacity and Rule Of Co ...
Talking To Himself
Professional voice actors pride themselves on range. So, hiring a few good VAs means you can take care of many, many characters with a small cast (especially if one or two actors are a Man Of A Thousand Voices). Oftentimes, this results in funny situations, like two characters played by the same person having intense conversations and heated arguments with each other. The talent is in making sure ...
Improbable Weapon User
Windmill blades. Yes, windmill blades. The high probability your wackiest party member, like the Team Pet, will use some sort of bizarre and, well, improbable 'weapon' - that is, in the sense of an object you could conceivably hit something with. And some of these 'weapons' don't even go that far. This usually seems to just be a way to give that character some sort of upgradeable item to explain o ...
Recycled IN SPACE!
I'm afraid I've got some bad news, boys. You're in space!' Stories are often recycled from other shows, with the setting changed with just enough of a gimmick to make it look different. The characters will have the same character types, sometimes even the same voice actors. Sometimes these will be direct spinoffs, with the same characters with one major time or setting change. Later varieties inc ...
Title Drop
If a line of dialogue is the title of the episode, movie, or book, it obviously must have some great significance. If it sounds completely random, that just means the true meaning of the title has yet to be revealed. So when a character is heard using the title in dialogue, the audience sits up and takes notice, because the scriptwriter has just planted a neon sign that flashes THIS CONVERSATION I ...
Paper Thin Disguise
The opposite of Latex Perfection, and often a special case of Wig Dress Accent. A character that the other characters should recognize (or at least recognize as not belonging) dons a disguise. This disguise is so completely transparent that the audience wants to shout 'For the love of God, it's HIM!' The reason may be that they want the audience to know before the character does (a sort of Rever ...
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 ...
Shirtless Scene
The most common form of female — and gay male-oriented — fanservice. A hunky male (real or animated) goes shirtless or wears a revealing top that shows off his biceps. Saves the crew a fortune in wardrobe (or ink) for the Estrogen Brigade Bait. A less fleshy version of this is giving the male a button-up shirt with the top buttons undone, totally unbuttoned or the rest of them available for un ...
Leitmotif
A leitmotif is a piece of music used repeatedly to represent a character, theme or action. This is a well-established technique used in almost every medium that involves music and story. The leitmotif technique was invented (or at least perfected) by opera composer Richard Wagner in the second half of the 1800s. In his operas, not only would every character have his/her own motif, but also objec ...
Heroic BSOD
Heroic Blue Screen of Death: An earth-shattering revelation or horrible event affects the hero or someone he cares deeply about, leaving him flummoxed or shocked to the point of mentally shutting down for a while. Alternatively, if this occurs during a fight with one of the Big Bad's minions, the hero may have a violent outburst, with the ensuing catastrophe killing Evil Minions and knocking his c ...
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 ...
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 ...
Anyone Can Die
A rarer trope used by serious shows to prove that they can retain suspense because any main character (including the hero) can die at any time in the show. Note that while this has to often be Killed Off For Real for the trope to have the desired effect, the writers will try to cheat and bring back the guy later (see Not Quite Dead, Disney Death, and Battle Royale With Cheese). Still, even if all ...
What Do You Mean, It's Not Awesome?
So you have yourself a situation that might be important, but it just isn't awesome enough. There's something missing. What could it be...? I know! Let's throw in some gripping orchestral music, lighting changes, different camera angles, something! Don't write like a man, write like an Evil Overlord! Exaggerate your expressions and gestures, speak with excessive intonation, and if all else fails, ...
Catch Phrase
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 ...
Loads And Loads Of Characters
Also known as the Character Clusterfuck, a show that has so many regulars that you can't fit them all into one episode. Therefore, one week some characters will appear, another some different people. You'll rarely get the same combination twice. This is especially common in Long Runners, as characters tend to accumulate over time. Similarly, some video games involve collecting as many distinct, un ...
Cloudcuckoolander
A character with their head in the clouds. They aren't quite stupid, and they aren't quite insane, but they lapse into non sequitur a lot and are strangely oblivious to things that everyone else takes for granted, such as whether it is okay to turn their suitemate's room into a landfill and board it up. They are still, somehow, able to function day to day. See the Quotes Wiki for more extensive ex ...
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 ...
Power Perversion Potential
In every fandom, one finds a particularly pervasive trend that makes it harder to deny that Freud Was Right: if a character has some kind of gimmick, then chances are that some portion of the fans will have dreamed up an indecent application for that gimmick. Quite often, it comes in the shape of questions about the character's free time. Yes, he uses his superpowers to save lives while on duty. B ...