Created By: Westrim on September 15, 2010 Last Edited By: Westrim on March 7, 2012
Nuked

Twist for the Characters, Not the Audience

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The phenomenon of people being disgruntled that they already knew the major twist(s) of a piece of media before viewing it, not considering that the twist wasn’t intended for the audience, but the characters.

Basically, just because it doesn't happen until part or most of the way in doesn't mean that it's a bad thing to know. In fact, it can be a good thing to know that the idyllic village will be blown apart so you don't drag your 5 year old into the theater (though that doesn't stop some people...) It's important to have the basic plot outlined so potential audiences know it's the kind of movie they want to see and avoid Trailers Always Lie.

Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • September 18, 2010
    mysticgohan
    • Magical Project S The reveal that Pixy Misa is Misao was a shock to all the main characters even causing a Heroic BSOD to the protagonist.tough the audience was aware since the first episode.
  • September 18, 2010
    Arutema
    • The audience was aware that Boomer was a Cylon the entire first season of Battlestar Galactica (200x). Sharon and the rest of the human characters didn't find out until the season finale.
  • September 19, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    If anyone is watching The Sixth Sense for the first time, today, they'll be like "Yeah. I knew that he was. Obviously."
  • September 19, 2010
    Unknown Troper
  • September 19, 2010
    OmarKarindu
  • September 19, 2010
    Stratadrake
    ^ No, those are audience reaction tropes and this is something in-universe.
  • April 15, 2011
    Micah
    Foregone Conclusion is closely related, though it's not quite the same thing. Reverse Whodunnit is a specific subtrope.
  • April 15, 2011
    Ryusui
  • April 15, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Yeah, that is what came to mind for me as well @ Ryusui

    If there are distinctions, it is up to Westrim to say what they are.
  • April 15, 2011
    Westrim
    ^ and ^^ and ^^^^^^: Or for you to reason it out, having fully read what's already been written, and perhaps more fully define if you think it's unclear. I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to write the entire intro myself. If you want to add something, there's the pencil icon. We're working on this together, aren't we?

    Anyway, Dramatic Irony is within the story; as it progresses, we end up learning more than the protagonist does because we see more than they do (as I'm sure you know). This trope/ administrivia is for information we know before we even sit down with our popcorn or cup of tea to watch/read the story. It's in the trailer. It's on the back cover/ slipcover. It's in the review. The name of the movie is Zombie Massacre even though the first half plays like Pollyanna.

    For a moderately recognizable example, we are expected to know that Tom Hanks will escape the island in Castaway. It's not a spoiler to know that; it's not supposed to be, even though we don't see it happen until the very end. That was never intended to be a suspenseful part of the plot.

    Like I've written, I'm not sure that this is an actual trope, but more of an administrative note to make when unspoilering something(Bob died? I'm shocked. That totally wasn't in the trailer for this horror movie) or removing the complaint about a spoiler.

    But next time, please read the entry, don't skim it and find the trope closest to it so you can dismiss it with a single Wikiword. At least you put in some thought neo, though you still missed the distinction that would have made its differences from Dramatic Irony evident: "they already knew the major twist(s) of a piece of media before viewing it". Sorry I buried it in the second sentence.
  • April 15, 2011
    randomsurfer
  • April 23, 2011
    Westrim
    The keyword is internal. This is external, through advertising or word of mouth, not narrative finagling that shows us multiple points of view so we have more of the puzzle than any character.
  • April 26, 2011
    Topazan
    • Lampshaded on an episode of Stargate SG 1. The characters were discussing a show based on their adventures, specifically the subject of twists, when Jack O'Neill unexpectedly shows up after a long absence from the show. One character posits that no one would expect that, while another speculates that it would probably be spoiled by the commercials. It was; the return of Richard Dean Anderson was heavily advertised before that episode aired.
  • May 20, 2011
    Westrim
    I'm going to just regard this as an exampleless administrative note, to be used in edit notes or discussions. Does anyone have anything to add before I launch it?
  • May 20, 2011
    Hadashi
    The absolute bloody worst thing about this is the characters almost always need about ten or more minuites of shameless exposition before they finally get the point.

    <Facepalm>
  • May 21, 2011
    Stratadrake
    @Westrim: How does this compare to All There Is To Know About The Crying Game?
  • May 21, 2011
    Westrim
    ATITKATCG may seem similar since it is about spoilers known before seeing the work, but this is for spoilers that people believe that they shouldn't have known, but in fact were intended to- they aren't spoilers at all.

  • May 21, 2011
    MorganWick
    "...though you still missed the distinction that would have made its differences from Dramatic Irony evident: "they already knew the major twist(s) of a piece of media before viewing it". Sorry I buried it in the second sentence."

    More like you buried it in the middle of the very long second sentence (arguably, a single word in the middle of it!). Let's not get snippy, here.

    In any case, I think you're trying too hard to make this a more unclear case than it is.

    If the audience knows the twist because in story the twist was revealed before the characters learned of it, that's a viable trope with no gray area or audience reaction aspect to it at all.

    If, on the other hand, the audience knows the twist because advertising and promotional material gave it away... then we're getting into that fuzzy realm of "intent", with all that that implies, since we can't be sure the right hand really knew what the left was doing unless we get Word Of God. In that case, I'm not sure even an Administrivia entry would work, as the most it could say would be "you know, it COULD have been intentional...".

    Without knowing details, I would say the Castaway example in your first response post raises another issue, similar to the one that led to the creation of Averted Trope: spoilers we can see coming because of our existing knowledge of the genre or the tropes used in the work. If the studio didn't do anything to give away the spoiler, you can't be sure they intended to proof it against TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life. That way lies someone trying to explain away the (actual, intended) twist of the story being spoiled in promotional material by claiming it wasn't really intended to be the twist of the story, we were supposed to know it all along, and before long all you've accomplished is turning the Trailers Always Spoil page into a natter magnet.
  • May 21, 2011
    Westrim
    Very long? It's a line and a half. It seems to me a reasonable expectation that people read a four line explanation thoroughly before dismissing it, or at least read it twice.

    As to your two ifs, this is not the first one. That already exists as Internal Reveal.

    The second one is what I'm talking about, and I'll acknowledge that it's subjective, although not as much so as you indicate, and won't be applied as often as you seem to believe. I am aware that advertising frequently really does show things that are meant to be hidden, but there are also many cases in the wiki of people complaining about prerequisites to their even consuming the media being spoilered. We probably wouldn't read Anne Frank's diary in school if she didn't later die in the camps. Or Twilight if Edward wasn't a vampire, something that at this moment there is an entry on TAS complaining about.

    TAS is already a natter magnet, full of "but wait, we were meant to know that"'s, including at the aforementioned Twilight entry. This just codifies that response and backing to not natter and go ahead and delete the offending entry.

  • May 22, 2011
    MorganWick
    Is this a problem with tropes other than Trailers Always Spoil? If not, I'm not sure it deserves much more than a note on the page - maybe something using the Twilight case as an example, as it seems to be the best example mentioned thus far (and avoids conflating the issue with It Was His Sled like other examples I could come up with).

    On the other hand, we could have a page for Background Knowledge - things most people will know about the work going in, just from basic descriptions of the plot or browsing TV Tropes. Most people don't start consuming a piece of media without knowing anything whatsoever about it. That could be a useful audience-reaction trope, and then we could make a separate note on Trailers Always Spoil not to object to the spoiling of Background Knowledge. I don't know whether to suggest a new description or start a brand new YKTTW, though.
  • June 4, 2011
    Westrim
    I remember when I first created this that I had other tropes in mind, but I can't seem of think of them. You're suggestion seems to be a good one- I'll keep it with this for a couple days, but if their isn't significant progress I'll make a new YKKTW.
  • June 5, 2011
    originalhobbit
  • July 13, 2011
    Hadashi
    No, this is when the spoiler comes from the poster or trailer, not other people, and certainly not through cultural osmosis.
  • July 13, 2011
    TheThirdSet
    Half of Homestuck? (as if it needs more tropes)
  • July 13, 2011
    Aielyn
    Best to make the trope name shorter - you don't need to specify in the trope name that it's not a twist for the audience, for one thing, as that's a subtle detail to be mentioned in the description. And before you do it, no, Twist For The Characters still sounds clunky.
  • July 13, 2011
    randomsurfer
    I still think this is Internal Reveal.
    The Reveal occurs when the writers reveal a secret to the audience. Sometimes, however, the audience already knows. The dramatic tension comes from the fact that one or more characters in the story don't know, and that when they find out, the audience knows that the ramifications will be huge.
    Example: In Marvel Civil War when Spider Man held a press conference and unmasked, we the audience already knew that it was Peter Parker, but the denizens of the Marvel universe didn't know that, including Parker's employer J. Jonah Jamison who has campaigning against Spider Man for years.
  • August 29, 2011
    Westrim
    But the writers aren't making the reveal to you before in the story, advertising and the people around you are. Having had a couple months away from this, I'm now heavily leaning towards making this Administrivia, though the name needs a change to better fit that.
  • August 29, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Related to The Untwist. But I agree that this is Internal Reveal but with a much worse name.
  • March 7, 2012
    Cider
    No, we already have Dramatic Irony don't we? We don't need another page that's the same thing used for Complaining About Complaining.
  • March 7, 2012
    Westrim
    I don't intend for it to be used to complain. It should just be an edit reason if ever mentioned, and otherwise just a bit of policy regarding spoilers and an explanation of why trailers 'spoil' the plot.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=h8fs5d5wgmljc07iejv5es36&trope=DiscardedYKTTW