No Celebrities Were HarmedHeterosexual Life PartnersBreaking The Fourth WallMoral Event HorizonExactly What It Says On The Tin
Red Oni Blue OniOne Winged AngelParanoia FuelKarma HoudiniGuilty Pleasures
Die For Our ShipTitle DropBig Damn HeroesBlessed With SuckMythology Gag
Love It Or Hate ItThe DragonGroin AttackChekhov's GunFollow The Leader
Bad Ass NormalBadass LongcoatBreak The CutieOne Scene WonderToo Dumb To Live
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 ...
Heterosexual Life Partners
Two extremely close friends or partners, both the same gender, who spend an 'excessive' amount of time together on and off the job. So excessive that they might as well be a couple. Note that there is no official evidence whatsoever that they're romantically linked, but they might suffer withdrawals from not being around each other. There might even be a 'break-up' episode. If they are life-long f ...
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 ...
Moral Event Horizon
The Moral Event Horizon is the point of no return. Once a character crosses it of their own free will, they cease to be cool or admirable. It is a single act which, while not necessarily objectively worse than anything else the villain has previously committed, affects the audience and the story on a far deeper level. Whether the person has truly become irredeemable may be a question that can neve ...
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 ...
Red Oni Blue Oni
Oni is a Japanese word which roughly translates as 'demon' or 'ogre', and represents a creature from Japanese mythology. The original oni were large, brutish creatures, often illustrated wielding large metallic clubs. Those that weren't in hell tormenting sinners roamed the remote, mountainous areas of Japan, where they often carried people off to be eaten, only to be defeated by valiant heroes or ...
One Winged Angel
Classic Big Bads have the tendency, when push comes to shove, to turn into big honking monsters. A mad scientist in a fit of urgency might down his own mutagen, or a cyborg turns his body into a living bomb, or a mild-mannered enemy reveals her terrifying true form. Bets are good they'll become way more bloated, ugly, or plain disfigured. Sometimes this is more subtle, and the character will look ...
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 ...
Karma Houdini
He's kicked the hero's dog, abducted his family and held them hostage, abused the most sympathetic of his Woobie minions, killed off the series' most popular Ensemble Darkhorse and invented a Kill Sat that uses babies as its primary fuel, not to mention jaywalking in front of a bus full of nuns. He's done just about every conceivable thing that would make an audience boo, hiss and hate him with th ...
Guilty Pleasures
These are the deep-fried Snickers bars of the TV world. Not even a little bit good for you. Not everybody likes them. In fact, they are so bad they may not even be popular. Still, they have some audience. Not that anyone necessarily wants to admit they're in it, especially if they're outside the target demographic. The guilty pleasure lies one level above So Bad Its Good in that, despite contrived ...
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 ...
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 ...
Big Damn Heroes
The poor Damsel In Distress is looking her fate dead in the face, and is resigned to it, because she knows that Nothing Can Save Us Now... and then, boom! Here come the heroes. 'Sorry I'm Late!' Big Damn Heroes is the heroic swoop to save the day just in the nick of time. Generally this is because the heroes had to fight through a swarm of baddies, or had to figure out just where their friends ar ...
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 ...
Mythology Gag
A Mythology Gag is a sort of Meta-Continuity Nod, wherein some facet of a show's mythology or past production history (which is not actually considered Canon in the context of the show) is made. Often seen in Revivals or Series Franchises, when an element from the previous version of the show (or from the previous show in the Series Franchise) is referenced or seen in some way. This is usually don ...
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 ...
The Dragon
No, *I* am your trope picture!. In classic Fairy Tales and folklore, the hero must often slay a dragon, or other semi-intelligent monster, before he can confront the intelligent (but weaker) master villain. The Dragon is the Big Bad's top enforcer, and is correspondingly dangerous in combat. Some Dragons are ferocious fighters who leave the heavy thinking to the boss. Others are smart, detail-orie ...
Groin Attack
For reasons science may never uncover, seeing a guy get struck in the testicles is just funny. It's Banana Peel funny. Yes, it is; don't argue. Whether the object doing the striking is an errant piece of sports equipment or a deliberately placed foot, the end result is going to be grown man doubled over and trembling with pain. Bonus points if he then hobbles away and says something in a high-pitc ...
Chekhov's Gun
Chekhov's Gun is the literary technique whereby an element is introduced early in the story whose significance does not become clear until later on. For example, a character may find a mysterious necklace that turns out to be the power source to the Doomsday Device, but at the time of finding the object it does not seem to be important. Although many people consider the phrase 'Chekhov's gun' to b ...
Follow The Leader
For a town that prides itself on being the place where dreams are made, there doesn't seem to be much original thought in Hollywood; rather, the focus tends to be on imitation rather than innovation, of re-creating success instead of creating it. Specifically, whenever any one movie, television show, etc. enjoys considerable success, expect every studio executive, producer, director and writer in ...
Bad Ass Normal
In a world with supernatural dealings or superpowers, this character is the one who is able to keep being useful through intellect, martial arts abilities, general ruthlessness, or just being Crazy Prepared. They notably have none of the fantastic enhancements, magic or special powers that others do. It might even be a sore point for them, but that just makes us encourage them more. Female version ...
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 ...
Break The Cutie
A series introduces a character as sweet and lovable, more comic relief than anything, who likes nothing more than to pet little puppies. They make you adore them, root for them and love them. Then they proceed to slowly break them in front of your very eyes. They destroy everything important to them, kill everyone they love and make them suffer from horrible accidents, diseases and acts of violen ...
One Scene Wonder
A character that has limited screen time, and usually not much in the way of plot relevance, but is still one of the most memorable things in the movie. They may even be given top billing, or at least an 'And Starring' credit, along with the more obvious stars. This is not the same principle as Ensemble Darkhorse, because the character is often played by an established actor, nor is it the same as ...
Too Dumb To Live
The character who drives the plot by doing things that no sane human being would do. Walking down the alley alone to tell her friend about the Serial Killer. Telling her best friend not to tell anybody, but she has a crush on somebody. Walking through the streets of Sunnydale after dark. Being Lana Lang. Splitting the party. Being curious. Searching the hero's room in such a manner that no one cou ...