Created By: DragonQuestZ on April 11, 2011 Last Edited By: DragonQuestZ on October 20, 2012
Nuked

Revisionist Popularity

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Page Type:
Trope
A work comes out and either flops or is a massive hit. But a Vocal Minority has the opposite opinion. They love the flop or hate the hit. And the don't stop expressing this counter opinion, especially to people that enter their Fandom. Then eventually this counter opinion comes to be accepted as the real history.

The flop is presented as a massive mainstream hit, that was just put down by those who didn't understand. The hit is presented as a bomb that caused a massive backlash.

Now any decent look at the facts available at the time show that this isn't the case, but this image can strongly persist. Furthermore, if those working in the medium of said flop/hit believe this image as well, they can make other works fit what the vocal minority preferred, even though it's still against what the mainstream likes. This can lead to some trouble down the line.

Not sure if this should have examples, but this is an audience reaction I've noted, so it falls under the audience reaction tropes (and thus would be on the YMMV pages for any work).
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • April 11, 2011
    StarryEyed
    Well, it's going to need some examples, if only to clarify what exactly this is about.

  • April 11, 2011
    Sceptre
    Politics.
  • April 11, 2011
    Sackett
    I don't understand the description
  • April 11, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ No, more like how Citizen Kane was barely a hit, and is still not really mainstream, but movie buffs keep holding it up as the greatest film ever.

    Or to contrast, how Zelda II was a hit when it came out, but later on, gamers that thought They Changed It Now It Sucks made it seem like a huge flop.

    ^ I'll work on it.
  • April 11, 2011
    X2X
    So this is like a Bizarro-Land Vindicated By History then?
  • April 12, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ More like they make you think it never needed vindicating if it didn't do well, or they making you think it was never vindicated at all if it did well.
  • April 12, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Fixed the description. Hopefully it's more clear.
  • April 12, 2011
    spikebrennan
    Isn't this The Browncoat Effect? (re Firefly/Serenity fandom?)
  • April 12, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Firefly did well on DVD, showing there is a fandom. But if some claim it was something like a Neilson hit, would be this trope.

    Plus I wouldn't go for a name that people outside the fandom would think of other things about the show.
  • April 12, 2011
    EternalSeptember
    Note, that "flop" and "success" can be subjective. On a basic level, most people would define a flop as something that didn't bring back it's production costs, but on a franchise-level, some people call a sequel a flop for selling less than the previous release, solely on the basis that it signs the franchse's decline on the long term, while other fans play it down and insist on calling it a success because it still produced some money.

    How about repurposing this page to something like Popularity Disagreement (crappy name I know), making it write about the fact that some fansoms can't agree about the seemingly objective fact of whether or not a work was a finantial success, but leave behind the statements that "Lol, obviously this group is right, and the other ones are the revisionists" ?

  • April 12, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    That would be a sister audience reaction trope. Plus I probably shouldn't have written "flop" for those reasons. I'll still have to tweak the description then.
  • April 13, 2011
    EternalSeptember
    So, if it won't be about both interpretation of flops, which one will it be about? Financial failure vs. success, or popularity increase vs. decrease?
  • April 13, 2011
    Cidolfas
    Also need to be careful not to confuse critical success/failure with audience success/failure - the Citizen Kane example doesn't work because even if it didn't do well at the box office, it is critically considered one of the greatest movies.
  • April 13, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    It does work, because those people insist the film was always a critical success, and that wasn't the case. Furthermore, some people think the film was a financial hit because of all the gushing.
  • April 13, 2011
    Sackett
    Is this really worth a trope page?

    It's more of a page about the historical popularity of various works. Like how Its A Wonderful Life was not a success when first released. (Don't we already have Vindicated By Cable or something?)

    Except this is going to be a big mess of arguments of what is and is not a success. Which fandoms have created a false impression of always being a success or failure. And of course the debate between those "in the know" and the perception of the general public.

    For example, many people today might be surprised to know the Uncle Toms Cabin is the second best selling book in English. (The best seller is the Bible).

    In all it seems like an enormous amount of pain and work, requiring constant policing to weed out incorrect examples and arguments over what is and is not an example. And what if a work is popular and then unpopular, and then becomes popular again? And for what?

    I'm not sure what benefit such a page is for except to record a bit of triva that changes as different works become less or more popular.

    Wouldn't it make more sense just to note this popular/unpopular attribute on the work page?
  • April 13, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Well I did ask in the OP if this even should have examples or just describe the phenomenon.
  • April 13, 2011
    TwinBird
    I don't think I've ever seen this. Even the example you're giving of Citizen Kane - who acts like it was Star Wars? Everyone who's into old films has seen it, and its perceived quality has nothing to do with its popularity. Or Zelda II - everyone knows it must have had at least modest success, or as the second game, it would have killed the franchise. Who pretends otherwise?

    And "the flop is presented as a massive mainstream hit, that was just put down by those who didn't understand" - that doesn't even make sense. "Those who didn't understand" can't bring down a mainstream hit, and everyone knows this. "Those who didn't understand" are the people who bring down cult hits.

    If there are no specific examples, you'll have an ill-defined "trope" that's nothing but a nebulous mismatch of Fan Myopia and Vindicated By History/Deader Than Disco. If there are specific examples, it'll just turn into a lot of veiled whining about perceived Fan Dumb.
  • April 13, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    "who acts like it was Star Wars?"

    Um, where did I claim anyone claimed it was that popular? I just mean I've seen some people certain that the film was a hit when it came out just because it's gushed about so much today.

    ""Those who didn't understand" can't bring down a mainstream hit, and everyone knows this."

    I didn't claim they magically made it not a mainstream hit. I mean they make people years later think it wasn't a hit. I've seen people act like Zelda 2 and Super Mario Bros 2 were flops when they came out, just because people bash them so much today.
  • October 20, 2012
    Telcontar
    We do not need another fan reaction item, especially one insulting the fans. Every popular work also has people who hate it and vice versa. Discarding.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=blj2bwtw8jlom40bq2vu564c&trope=DiscardedYKTTW