What's Happening

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

discussion brought in from YKTTW which lead to Forgotten Trope as a trial entry:
Dark Sasami: Okay, here's something we really need.

I pick a random trope. Let's say We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future. I have an example of a video game that did not use this trope: Xenosaga II.

In Xenosaga II, there is video of the heroes attacking Galaxy Federation ships in an act of treason. This has clearly been Photoshopped, because you were there and it was evil space aliens from another dimension who did it. In order to clear your name, you must obtain an ultra super heavy duty magically encrypted copy of the original video, which will prove that it hasn't been tampered with.

Now, at this point, a lot of people would put this in as an example of a subversion of the trope. But it isn't. It's not a subversion at all—it's just a piece of fiction that went near the trope's territory but didn't get sucked into it. There's no nod to the trope's existence, there's no playing off it; it's just decent science fiction.

So what we need is a word that means "This isn't a subversion, but this show avoided the cliche." Someone says "What else can go wrong?" and nothing happens and nobody makes a big deal of nothing happening. A game of poker takes place and the guy with a pair of threes loses to the guy with a pair of kings while talking about something else. You get the idea.

We need a name for this, so we can quit erroneously calling them "subversions."

Gus: The Stair Not There. I shall wrestle all to the mat in defense of this title.

LTR All I can come up with is "Ignored Trope" If it's not subverted.

Gus: < wrestles LTR to the mat. > This is so about putting in an expectation that a trope is coming, then not having it there.

Dark Sasami: Well, not exactly. If you deliberately set up the expectation that the trope is coming, then that IS a subversion. That's playing off the trope. What I'm talking about is when the trope is ignored completely and transparently. It's only a missing stair scenario if you're like us—we've learned to see the tropes coming. If we see someone sit on the back of a couch in a slapstick comedy we know we can shout "He's going over!" and we'll be right. But if you're writing and you just happen to be going in the same direction as a trope and don't quite go there, people like us get psyched out and think you've subverted it when in fact you've just been creative and did something new—which is what you're supposed to be doing to begin with.

LTR *getting off mat* well, it's not like there has to be any such category. I mean, how can it be a trope if it doesn't happen? Right? I mean, if the guy never falls off the back of the couch, and nobody points out "you're lucky you didn't fall off it" then any exsistance of the trope is purely speculation on the viewer's part.

Gus: Huh. It may seem that we are getting way off into subtleties, here, to the point that there is no "there" there, but now that I have clearer image of where it is going, I may stop wrastlin'. DS is talking about an author being somehow not aware of the trope. Huh, again. Ignored Trope doesn't carry it (sorry, LTR), because the writer is not aware of the thing.

Let me semi-kick it here: Averted Trope.

Morgan Wick: I think I'd be likely to use terms like "exception" and "avoided" in situations like these. Perhaps this is an Avoided Trope

discussion moved in from Forgotten Trope Discussion, where the entry was developed prior to being named Averted Trope:
Ununnilium: This isn't quite what the YKTTW discussion was going for, IMHO. You can have that kind of trope without forgetting about it - just don't use it.

Gus: Okay. I'm willing to admit I'm lost. This seems to be about a trope that was overlooked. Straighten me out.

Ununnilium: How's that?

Gus: How's what? Do not frack with my mind, Ununnilium. I have mighty board powers, and am easily frightened. ;-) // later: The main entry is collecting too many "or"s. I have no sense of what is meant.

Ununnilium: I added an extra sentence, but seems pretty straightforward to me. Could Dark Sasami or someone come by and give us a sense of what's meant?

Gus: I am not trying to be obtuse. When I parse back through the yets and ors of the main entry, I come up empty.

Dark Sasami: Ok, this wasn't meant to be so difficult. Let me dredge up a few examples.

  • From Hollywood Healing: "Law & Order early in its run subverted this, with Det. Logan visiting his partner Det. Cerreta in the hospital as he recovered from being shot several episodes prior, in even further subversion, Cerreta tells him he'll be retiring to a desk job instead of returning."

    So Law & Order didn't use the Reset Button on injuries at the end of an episode. That's not a subversion.

  • From Where Did They Get Lasers: "One interesting subversion, Batman: The Animated Series had bad guys attack the hero almost always with firearms, most notably Thompson submachineguns."

    So...because the writers decided not to give everyone lasers, that's a subversion of the trope where there are lasers? No, not even remotely.

  • Your Mind Makes It Real is full of "subversions" in which death in-game is dealt with differently than "if you die in-game, you die." If the show plays on the audience's expectation that death in-game is death, then yes, that's a subversion (the Batman one might be one, for example). But just handling it differently is not the same as subverting it.

Someone suggested Avoided Trope, which wouldn't be bad. Deflected Trope, perhaps. Or Exception That Proves The Trope.

Ununnilium: Yeah, I think Avoided Trope would be best. That way, we can say "Avoided in..." instead of "Subverted in..."

Morgan Wick: (whistles to himself innocently)

Dark Sasami: Okay, I've been putting this off because I just sort of don't like "avoided" much. I'm going to go with Averted Trope. If'n you don't like it you can change it back.

Curious Borg : The trope is not necessarily forgotten or averted. Who knows what was on the writer's mind's? There are many possible reasons why the usual trope didn't appear, as the text of the article points out.

How about Trope Alternative ? As Dark Sasami pointed out, just handling a situation differently is not the same as subverting it. A trope alternative shows a different way of handling that situation.

Continuing discussion of Averted Trope. Please make new comments at the bottom.
Janitor: I think some note should be taken in the entry that sensitivity to a trope being side-stepped is something that mainly Tropers are subject to, and/or that the avoidance is being recorded as being notably an example of how to break new ground.

Dark Sasami: The reason I went with "averted" is to personify the trope phenomenon a little bit. When you're writing, especially if you're lazy, you will feel a trope pulling at you, like passing too near a black hole. If you're not careful, it will suck you in. This is why Terry Pratchett writes about narrative causality. Things happen because they happened before.

In most cases, unless it really is a forgotten trope as Gus described it, it takes work just to keep the trope out of your writing. You have to create something new instead in order to avert it.

Morgan Wick: Reversed the order of the phases of the article's creation to make it read in something more like chronological order.

As I understand it, is the difference between aversion/exception and subversion simply that subversion is aversion with Lampshade Hanging?

Ununnilium: With a subversion, you're thinking about the trope, you're expecting the audience to be thinking about the trope, and thus you depart from the trope in a way that's meant to call attention to it. With an Averted Trope, you just don't use the trope.

Seth: We need further clarification as to when this is used, ive just been looking over an entry where someone listed every single fantasy trope not used in the series under averted. I removed the section because the article was really cluttered and it was non standard but thinking about it, it is correct usage of the Averted Trope label. We should put up a list of guidelines as to when to use this because it does lend itself to listing every trope in the catalogue that isn't used as averted and new editors who read this page might get carried away and start listing everything.

Gus: I took a stab at it. I cut:
  • Sometimes, the writer just plain forgot. Other times, they were actively ignoring it. Yet other examples come from before the trope was codified, or from a culture that doesn't use it. Whatever the cause, the trope just doesn't apply here.

I have to confess, though, the distinction between just plain writing and just plain avoiding a cliche seems a little indistinct to me.

Ununnilium: you cut the part that explained it? >>;

I know what you mean, though. I'm trying to figure out the difference between "aversion" and "exception". I thought it was there when we were discussing this entry, but now I'm not sure...

Morgan Wick: An aversion is when we, as tropers, think we see a trope coming, and then it doesn't. It's when it comes across as a subversion because we're so conditioned to it. It's subversions caused by TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life.

By contrast, exceptions that aren't subversions only come into play as Fridge Logic. We don't think about it as it's happening.

Ununnilium: Oooh. Well-done, Morgan. But that means that the difference is entirely subjective. `.`

Paul A: The way I understand it is that an aversion, like a subversion, is a deliberate twist on the trope. A subversion is when we see the trope coming, and the opposite happens; an aversion is when we see the trope coming, and nothing happens. Something like that.
Schol-R-LEA: Ignore my recently-reverted edits. I had gotten lost in the wiki somehow and wasn't paying attention to what page I was editing.
Zeke: This has been bugging me for a while... "aversion" doesn't mean avoidance, it means distaste. The root word is "averse", not "avert". Is this something the veteran tropers are aware of and have decided to, er, avert? I can understand if so; the parallel with "subversion" is useful.

Scientivore: Aversion has an obsolete meaning of "a turning away," apparently in the same sense as "averting your eyes," so they might have a common ancestor somewhere. I do see your point; at the same time, I'm not sure that I'd want to say "an averting" instead of "an aversion." It feels awkward.

I actually came to this page to suggest that we change:
Most aversions are not worth mentioning as examples on a trope page, unless the trope is so dominant that its failure to appear makes you sit up and take notice.
Aversions are not worth mentioning as examples on a trope page.
I expect that the exceptions are so rare that we could simply list them here, and it would greatly clarify the issue for every other case.

Fly: Cutting "Probably because it's too realistic a scenario." from the description of the third bug sequence, because it lessens the impact of what the example is trying to show and implies that Averting a trope is somehow 'better.
OODavo: Isn't the Subverted Trope example about the Incredibly Obvious Bug actually a Lampshade Hanging?