One Steve LimitBlessed With SuckExactly What It Says On The TinEvil LaughNo Celebrities Were Harmed
Took A Level In BadassRecycled IN SPACE!Paper Thin DisguiseLove It Or Hate ItTitle Drop
Shown Their WorkAction GirlVerbal TicBeware The Nice OnesBad Ass
Big EaterLoads And Loads Of CharactersBadassThey Changed It Now It SucksBadass Longcoat
Calling Your AttacksSliding Scale Of Idealism Versus CynicismMind ScrewFun With AcronymsWhat Do You Mean, It's Not Awesome?
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Evil Laugh
You know you're in trouble when their laughter begins with 'Nya'. Your Applied Phlebotinum doomsday device has been activated. The MacGuffin is within your grasp. The good guys are locked away in the Death Trap. Your circuitous Evil Plan is three-quarters complete! You know what, screw being the Evil Overlord of the world - you're already a god. There is only one thing left for you to do - but fir ...
No Celebrities Were Harmed
Sometimes, when an animation studio is out of ideas, a cartoon character's entire shtick will be that he or she is a thinly disguised imitation of some celebrity somewhere. The more blatant examples will often have a parody of that celebrity's name. The most common impressions to hear in cartoons are Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone for tough-guy characters, Peter Lorre for creepy char ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Love It Or Hate It
Many shows have broad appeal, and most people who see them generally have a positive or neutral opinion on their value. Others appeal to a niche market and get positive views from their target audiences, while mainstream viewers are merely indifferent. Others are unbelievably awful, but a lucky few of those manage to gain fans who like them because they're so bad. Some, however, manage to achieve ...
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 ...
Shown Their Work
Although many talents in fictional media show they Did Not Do The Research, some actually did. In fact, sometimes they learned so much and worked so hard to learn it that it would hardly seem fitting to just not show it off. The Shown Their Work trope comes in when the creators tweak their stories to show the viewer/reader what they have learned. The trick is to do it so this advances the story in ...
Action Girl
The Action Girl is, essentially, Badassitude molded into a sleek female frame: a female character who is spunky, agile, and can take you down with an array of kicks, punches, or diverse Weapons Of Choice. She is not The Chick, though they overlap more and more frequently, or a Distressed Damsel. She doesn't sit around waiting to be rescued. She doesn't only plan how to rescue herself. She doesn't ...
Verbal Tic
An exceptionally odd Catch Phrase, used to the point it seems more like a bodily emission than speaking. This is often a single nonsense word added at the end of sentences, well past the expected formal variations in speech. Occasionally, it'll be a stretched-out and bizarre play on Japanese grammar. This is rarely, if ever, applied when the series is dubbed into English. Both variants are extreme ...
Beware The Nice Ones
Sometimes, trying to Break The Cutie can have consequences. Sometimes, the nicest person in the story gets pushed to the limit of what they can take and the results... are not pretty. The sweeter, gentler, more polite, and overall nicer a character is, especially if they're female, the worse it will be for the planet when they're subjected to one too many rounds of Break The Cutie, or Dude Wheres ...
Bad Ass
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 ...
Big Eater
You're going to eat all that? A character (who quite often is anything but fat) eats enough for an entire football team, usually devastating the whole table — and perhaps entire restaurants — with their insatiable hunger. Often combined with a speed-eating technique that makes food seem to vanish spontaneously from the plate. A common sight gag with this kind of character in cartoons or anime ...
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 ...
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 ...
They Changed It Now It Sucks
In cases where as long as it's still the same basic story and keeps all the best bits and characters intact, then it doesn't matter too much that Bob's bald, Alice doesn't die, the football game ended with a different score, and they cut the watermelon scene, right? It's a bit of a shame they screwed that bit up, but really, it's not as if the entire work is Ruined FOREVER, right? Wrong! ...or so ...
Badass Longcoat
A Longcoat is the ideal action-hero garment, more practical than a cape but infinitely cooler than a sport coat or no coat. In addition, a Longcoat of any level of 'billowy-ness' makes an ideal cover for producing any number of weapons, tools, supplies and whatnot. Certain styles of Longcoat are deliberately designed to distort the wearer's frame, making their wearer's access to Hammerspace almost ...
Calling Your Attacks
If you can do something more impressive than just throw a punch, your attack(s) must have an equally impressive name. More than that, you have to call it out as you launch the attack. It doesn't matter if it's a martial arts move or a magical spell, if you can't say its name, it just isn't nearly as cool or effective. Also, expect plenty of echoing to come with it, and (if a fighter is feeling par ...
Sliding Scale Of Idealism Versus Cynicism
In a bid to appeal more to adult audiences, Disneyland replaces 'It's a Small World' with 'It's a Cold and Unforgiving Hell' in 2011. What best defeats evil? A bullet between the eyes, or The Power Of Friendship? The answer depends on where the series falls in the Sliding Scale Of Idealism Versus Cynicism (also known as Romanticism Versus Realism). In a heavily idealistic series, Humans Are Good ...
Mind Screw
The Mind Screw is basically a show that relies so heavily on symbolism that the immediate response afterwards is 'What the heck was that?!?!' These shows practically beg for fans to invent their own improbable theories about Epileptic Trees and such. While some fans can make arguments over what the symbolism means, and what everything represents, many mind screws will pad themselves with meaningle ...
Fun With Acronyms
In fictional acronyms, priorities are reversed. It's not so important that the full name be clear, memorable and to the point; it matters much more that the actual acronym spell out a word or phrase, preferably a relevant one. This results in 'backronyms', acronyms created before the names they allegedly stand for. For instance, no writer would have allowed New York's police force to come up with ...
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, ...