Big Damn HeroesRefuge In AudacityMad ScientistBody HorrorThrow It In
Breaking The Fourth WallPainting The Fourth WallSay My NameSmug SnakeCatch Phrase
Nice HatFun With AcronymsNever Trust A TrailerCalling Your AttacksSpell My Name With An S
Large HamAnyone Can DieEldritch AbominationNo Celebrities Were HarmedDie For Our Ship
Lampshade HangingOne Winged AngelHeroic BSODBig Lipped Alligator MomentThe Smurfette Principle
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 ...
Refuge In Audacity
Characters can get away with outrageous acts by making them overblown to the point of absurdity. Toning them down to realistic levels would be more offensive. This is because, for works and characters both, pushing things past a certain level automatically knocks things into Genre Blindness. If it's genre convention, then it's okay. But if it's toned down to moderation, then the audience will th ...
Mad Scientist
They're scientists, they're somewhat scatterbrained, and they are frequently working for the bad guys, often building implausible gadgetry or slightly ridiculous superweapons. They tend to wear lab coats, have wild hair, and speak with put-on Central European accents (based on the many scientists who fled Central Europe from the Nazis and the Soviets). Sometimes they will talk like Peter Lorre, or ...
Body Horror
Someone is about to turn into a monster. Or they have something inside them that is definitely not supposed to be there. Or they wake up to find that they are missing some bits. Or they learn, too late, that they are a character in an MPreg fanfiction... Welcome to the lovely land of Body Horror. Simply put, this is any form of Horror that is based primarily on the body visibly mutating and de ...
Throw It In
The preservation of ad libs, improvisations, and the occasional accident or mistimed what-have-you for dramatic or comic effect, sometimes at the cost of continuity. These are often some of the most memorable scenes, for better or for worse, due to their spontaneity. Differs slightly from attaching Hilarious Outtakes to the ends of shows. Related to No Fourth Wall. See also Rule Of Funny, Rule Of ...
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 ...
Painting The Fourth Wall
Any author, sooner or later, has to acknowledge the limitations of the medium in which the story is being told. Some, however, are known to use the media creatively. Essentially, Painting The Fourth Wall refers to using metafictional devices, such as fonts and text position in a book or UI changes in a video game, to indirectly convey a particular story-related message by deliberately breaking the ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Never Trust A Trailer
If Covers Always Lie, trailers can, too. Sometimes Tonight Someone Dies or hyping The Reveal might not be enough. And with the Internet an open window these days for writers and directors to viewers' likes, dislikes, hopes, predictions, and Shipping loyalties, it's easy to know exactly how to bait fans into watching the next episode. Be careful not to believe everything you see, though, because as ...
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 ...
Spell My Name With An S
This trope describes characters whose names are almost never spelled consistently, usually because of transliteration issues. This tends to happen in Anime and Japanese video games that haven't been officially translated into English, although it also crops up in other languages that don't use the Latin alphabet. Situations include anything from drama between vowel additions to unique-cipher dropp ...
Large Ham
Ridiculously larger-than-life character, often a mentor to one of the regulars. Typically played by a guest star with an Internet Movie Database listing longer than the rest of the cast put together. Full of energy, joie de vivre and nothing but line readings and dramatic gestures that can shake a scene to pieces. Often a key redeeming element in shows that are So Bad Its Good. The first line from ...
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 ...
Eldritch Abomination
How to describe these unclean mockeries of natural law? There are no words that can encompass such foulness, not in English or any other human tongue. They are other, alien beyond comprehension, their very existence an affront to all rationality. I could speak of ichor-dripping tentacles and yonic voids, painfully dissonant cries and colours of no earthly hue, but those are mere superficialities. ...
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 ...
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 ...
Lampshade Hanging
Lampshade Hanging is the writers' trick of dealing with any element of the story that threatens the audience's Willing Suspension Of Disbelief—whether a very implausible plot development, or a particularly egregious use of a trope—by calling attention to it... and then moving on. The reason for this counter-intuitive strategy is two-fold. First, it assures the audience that the author is aware ...
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 ...
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 ...
Big Lipped Alligator Moment
Sometimes in a work or film, the writers will try to inject a sense of spontaneity into their work by giving the viewer a scene that seems a little out-of-place, but at least still generally ties into the plot of their work without breaking the flow. Some writers forget to tie it to the work entirely, creating a moment of the Ultimate Nonsequitur. From this, a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment is forme ...
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 ...