Reverse Aesop
Tropeworthy?

(permanent link) added: 2013-03-11 18:20:18 sponsor: BradyLady (last reply: 2013-03-29 23:12:18)

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I went to Lost and Found, and they suggested I come here. I wondered what form of Broken Aesop it was, and none of them seemed to fit.

Situation, an older but dumber character teaches a "lesson" to a younger but wiser character. It is exactly the wrong message to send. The older, dumber character is blind to that fact, the younger, smarter character may or may not realize it, but it is glaringly obvious to the audience. The Aesop clearly communicated is, "This character is an idiot. Don't be like him."

Examples: My original Live Action TV citation, "Reba." Van wants to shave his head to fit in with his football teammates who have already done so. Wife Cheyenne doesn't want him to. Trying to reason her out of her objections, he goes on and on about fitting in and being part of the group. Jake picks up from this, "So, it's OK to do something just because everybody else is doing it?" Van scoffs in a "no kidding, Captian Obvious" manner, and answers, "Yeah. If you want to be cool." This is what Van wants Jake to learn, but clearly the audience is meant to see Van's Aesop for how stupid it is.

The Roald Dahl book "Matilda" is all about this kind of interaction. Matilda's parents and principal consistently promote wrong behavior while punishing virtue, and the audience is expected to recognize this. Nobody actually thinks that the authority figures Matilda answers to are giving her healthy life lessons.

The "A Fish Out of Water" episode of Family Guy. I seriously doubt most mothers would encourage a teenage daughter to flash her breasts at an adoring crowd. Also from Family Guy, the "Brian Sings and Swings" episode. Sarah offers friendship to a friendless Meg, for which the teacher scolds her. "Don't you know Meg is awful?" The audience is expected to know that any teacher would actually praise that gesture, rather than object.
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