Created By: JesseMB27 on January 26, 2014 Last Edited By: JesseMB27 on January 29, 2014
Nuked

Generic Cool Guy

Characters created on the gimmick of being laidback, but no unique person. or guiding philosophy

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
"Line up the current Sam Fischer, Nathan Drake, guy from watchdogs [Aiden Pearce] ...every COD character and you see there is no difference in their appearences. All mid 20's dudes with brown/black hair stubble and a generic cool guy voice. Why are game developers afraid to let their main characters be characters anymore?"

"As a character Dante was such a generic 'cool guy badass', that he never had any real personality or character development."

okcomputer of N4G forums.

These are characters that are made to appeal to audiences (charming, easy-going, and attractive) and have little to no personality or guiding philosophy beyond that. This trope was something unique and new when it was implemented back in the day to create characters who were neither angsty nor paragons of virtue, but today have been copied and imitated repeatedly.

Traits of Generic Cool Guys

While this is not a bad trope in and of itself, but when done poorly can make a character as being a less than three dimensional one.

See also Escapist Character and Action Genre Hero Guy of which this trope overlaps with (The former of which this is somewhat of an outgrowth of and is like the later, albeit are generally are pretty boy versions minus a compelling and interesting personality.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comics

Film

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • Dean Winchester was this for the most part in the earlier seasons of Supernatural but after going several dilemmas, including being killed and going to hell after previously making a deal to save his brother's life, subverts this.
    • In the Season 5 episode, The Real Ghostbusters, The Winchesters encounter Cosplayers who dress as them at a convention for the Supernatural novel series based on the Winchesters (It Makes Sense in Context). Dean is especially not amused as being seen as simply a Generic Cool Guy whose suffering is for their entertainment.
Video Games

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • January 26, 2014
    captainpat
    You lost me at Spike from Cowboy Bebop. Also, the example section is just a bunch of zero context examples with characters that could not be anymore different. I don't think you have a trope here.
  • January 26, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    certainly a trope. typically a Flat Character The Rival in old cartoons (like that other guy in Disney Beauty And The Beast). but i think we already have this. but too busy to look into this at the moment.
  • January 27, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
    This comes off as a complaining trope that can be easily misused.
  • January 27, 2014
    Larkmarn
    Oh my god this is such a complain-y mess. And the description isn't very good. Maybe there's a trope here, but there's not a lot to salvage. I'm finding very little that isn't directly covered by Action Genre Hero Guy (and the word salad comparison of the two in the description doesn't help).
  • January 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Does Johnny Bravo or Shrek's Prince Charming make the OP's trope clearer?
  • January 27, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
    No, because the two of them have little in common.
  • January 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ they're both what the laconic is about. Cool, Pretty Boy / Hunk, Flat Character (i.e. the previous characteristics pretty much define them and nothing else).

    Solid Snake is a good example of a subversion. yeah he's cool, Hunk, but the games make it a point to flesh him out with backstory and substance, embodied in his quote, "The real me is no match for The Legend".

    though yeah, can see the problem now, the description should be less of a Take That.
  • January 27, 2014
    Bisected8
    This appears to just be "'Badass' characters I don't like"....
  • January 27, 2014
    captainpat
    I do not know how anyone can define any of the characters listed as Flat Characters. Especially since a lot of these are protagonists.
  • January 27, 2014
    JesseMB27
    I'd hope some people wouldn't mind if I responded to get things straight. First of all, I am in no way saying that the characters mentioned here are inherently bad characters and for that matter, I like some of these characters (namely Spike Spiegel, Dean Winchester, Classic Dante, Terry Bogard, and K'). But this is trend in more recent works of fiction that I, both as an artist and a socially-centrist conservative (along the lines of statesman such as Zell Miller and Macon Mayor Ronnie Thompson believe needs to be called on because of the Suits reluctance to create characters who are willing to confront people to think about the state of the Human condition (e.g. such as Harry Callahan, Huey Freeman, and those from the works of William Shakespeare, Neon Genesis Evangelion). In contrast, many of the creators of these Generic Cool Guys refuse to make them like the Byronic Heroes of the past because of this modern mentality of "oh, no we can't offend neither Evangelicals nor non-Christians," or "don't dare say anything about Marriage Equality or issues regarding the use of firearms (a la "Deadly Force" from Gargoyles)." Even if don't agree with them (e.g. V from V for Vendetta arguments for Anarchism or Phil Robertson'snote  comments regarding homosexuality) but I will defend their right to hold their views.
  • January 27, 2014
    Larkmarn
    So... Action Genre Hero Guy, but with pretentiousness and poor grammar. Got it.
  • January 27, 2014
    Quag15
    I see lots of examples of the "cool/easy-going, but [insert combined, inverted, subverted, parodied]" variety.

    And I don't think anyone in the audience really simpathised with Gaston. In-universe, yes, a lot of people liked him. For us, the audience, it's a very different case (despite some Draco In Leather Pants treatment he received).
  • January 27, 2014
    TonyG
    The Simpsons deconstructed this with Poochie, a character added to The Itchy And Scratchy Show in an attempt to make it hipper and more relevant. He became The Scrappy instead, universally hated by the fans, so much that he was Put On A Bus (which then crashed for good measure), And There Was Much Rejoicing. In-story, the episode also had a young teenager character inexplicably staying with the Simpsons, who then left just as suddenly.
  • January 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    @captainpat

    http://timvandevall.com/flat-vs-round-characters/

    I guess the OP means Static Character instead.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=1dudms2kmh7ykclpcssihkbm&trope=DiscardedYKTTW