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

Discussion on the difference between an exception to a trope and a subversion of a trope:

To me, "subverting" a trope is when the writers either deliberately parody the trope; or begin with a standand trope setup, in order to create the expectation in the audience of the standard trope payoff, only to give a payoff which is diametrically opposed to the standard. I don't see that any of these examples are parodying or playing off of the standard trope. — Devil's Advocate

There's an excellent example in Angel. Weird things are happening around a house, and you are set up to believe that the family has an abusive father. Naturally, this being Angel you know that there is going to be a twist, and so when the child turns out to be possessed by a demon it isn't that much of a surprise. Later on in the episode we discover that the demon hadn't been responsible for what had happened - the child did it all on his own. The moral of the story? Some kids are just evil

See: Subverted Trope

Red Shoe: I'm wondering if maybe we're not being too liberal in our use of "Subversion" (I know I'm guilty of it too). A lot of these tropes involve the laws of TV being radically different from the laws of real life. Is it really a subversion if things behave realistically instead of in the cliched way?

Also, I'm not convinced that it's really fair to say that subverting tropes should be the goal of every screenwriter. A lot of these tropes are here because they have to be: we use time compression because the show would be interminably slow if we didn't. Things are more exciting on TV because if they weren't, we might as well watch real life. If the Imperial Storm Troopers had good aim, the heroes would all be dead after the third scene. Some tropes ought to be subverted, but others can't be subverted without becoming a parody.

Gus: On the over use of "subversion"... I just did searches on 'subverted' and 'subverting' and hit about 110 entries, so I'd have to agree that these are words we use a little more than we should. The Subverted Trope entry does reveal a bias toward a particular method of leveraging a trope to give a story texture. It certainly isn't the only way.

Huh. I like that sentence so much, I'm going to add it to the entry. ;-)

Idle Dandy: I think a lot of times we (including me) use "subverted" when we mean "parodied."

Ununnilium: Indeed.
Fast Eddie: pulled out ...
A subversion of a trope, when used often enough, can develop into a whole new trope. For an example, see Finishing Move versus Sword over Head.
... as the cited tropes don't seem to support the thesis, and the life cycle of a trope is handled fairly well elsewhere.

Fast Eddie, some more: Pulled out ...
When the trope itself becomes intrusive, distracting the viewer rather than serving as shorthand, it has become a cliché. Bad screenwriter. No biscuit!
... as being off-point, however true it might be. I'll try to find a home for it in Trope.


Ellen Hayes: Red Shoe wrote: "Is it really a subversion if things behave realistically instead of in the cliched way?" Well, yes. The whole point of "tropes" is that things do NOT act like they do in the real world, they act like they do in Television-Land. When they DON'T, it's a subversion. People expect them to act in real life like they do in Television-Land. When it DOES happen that way in real life, we tropers specifically call that Truth in Television (because it's worth noting as an exception to the usual rule that "Real Life is not television"). Example: people really die or really get permanently paralyzed every year, because in television, almost all crashed cars BLOW UP; so they feel they must frantically escape (or pull someone else out of the crash), no matter the cost. In real life, most auto accidents do not catch fire.
Fly: I don't see the relevance of the Yu Gi Oh Abridged Series quote
Inkblot: "Bear in mind that, just as Tropes Are Not Bad, subversions are not automatically good, or witty, or clever, or original." I don't get it. Subverting a trope means that the author is aware of tropes and the audience's expectations and knows how to take advantage of it. How is that not clever? Maybe we should add an example of a subversion that isn't done well.
macroscopic:
"Every trope page has 'subverted in...' somewhere on it. Please, apply the Wiki Magic!"
Is it really nesessary that every trope subversion on the site be listed here? It seems this is common enough to warrant use on every page.
Should this page even have examples on it?