Created By: Freud on July 26, 2012

Overplay Gloss

Lampshade hanging to conceal difficulty.

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This would be a trope inside of lampshade hanging. The working title is a reference to Erving Goffman's "Relations in Public." The idea is that a character having difficulty with something will act as if they're having a lot of trouble with it so it won't seem like a big deal. For example, a man struggling with a heavy couch will pretend that it's literally crushing him. Like lampshade hanging, this draws attention to the reality and jokes about it. Unlike lampshade hanging, it happens in the story and is centered around a difficult task, not a plot hole. (I know that this explanation sounds weird, but trust me, Goffman wasn't very clear, either.)
Community Feedback Replies: 2
  • July 26, 2012
    That's more comical exaggeration than lampshading.
  • July 26, 2012
    It could be used that way, but the point is that it is not solely comical exaggeration. After all, the goal of comic exaggeration is to draw attention to oneself and to an easy task. The goal of overplay gloss, in contrast, is to make it appear as if one is comically exaggerating an action in an attempt to disguise that it is actually difficult. It could be read as a subversion of comic exaggeration, but I think that it is different enough in motivation to be seen as a separate trope.