Created By: tkdb on November 19, 2009
Troped

Awesomeness Withdrawal

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I'm gonna go ahead an launch this around 1PM EST on November 19 if nobody has any objections.

So you've just finished a series/book/movie/video game/whatever that was simply amazing. The characters were likeable, the plot was masterfully executed, the work as a whole was just thoroughly enjoyable. So you're sitting there, admiring the skill of those who crafted such a masterpiece, revelling in the powerful emotional responses it evoked within you (yes, even the more negative ones too)...and then it hits you. It's over. That's it. No more clever plot twists, no more suspense, no more drama, no more character development. Whatever it was that made you love the work, it's been used up. Sure, you could just rewatch/reread/replay/rewhatever it, but you know it just won't be quite the same as that wondrous first time through, when you're just getting to know the characters, when you're on the edge of your seat from the suspense of wondering what happens next, when everything is new and unfamiliar and unexpected. You might hope for a sequel, but even assuming one does come there's no guarantee it will be able to recapture the full glory of its predecessor. Suddenly, one of the most enjoyable times of your life has slipped away from the full slendor of present experience into the realm of memory, where all things grow dull and dim over time.

This, my friends, is Awesomeness Withdrawal: when the emotional high that comes with seeing a thoroughly satisfying and well-done work through to its conclusion is marred by the heartbreaking realization that, to some degree, a truly wonderful chapter of your life has ended along with that work. It's a bittersweet feeling that ultimately is a testament just how awesome the work really was. This feeling will often motivate repeated rewatching (or rereading/replaying/rewhatevering) of the work that evoked it, despite the fact that part of what produces this feeling is the belief that it won't ever be quite as good as the first time. Sometimes this belief holds true, sometimes it doesn't. Fans may also seek out similar works to try to alleviate their withdrawal symptoms.

Often induced by works that are So Cool, It's Awesome. This is, of course, a highly Subjective Trope. Please note that this page exists only to define it; take your examples to Gushing About Shows You Like, or the Troper Tales.

((Title suggestions are still welcome.))
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • November 15, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Baldurs Gate II. Even its sequel does not prevent this trope's arrival.
  • November 15, 2009
    Giant Space Chinchilla
    sounds like a sub-trope of Perceived Value perhaps as a title Only One First Impression?
  • November 16, 2009
    Chabal 2
    The back of one of Dave Barry's novels (Tricky Business, I think) has this quote from a critic: "When you're done reading it, you'll find yourself wishing you could go back and read it for the first time again."
  • November 16, 2009
    eX
    Can't you say almost about every kind of fiction?
  • November 16, 2009
    tkdb
    @Giant Space Chinchilla: I don't think Only One First Impression quite captures the whole of what I'm going for with this trope. Though maybe that could be a trope in and of itself, with this one as a subtrope? After all, based solely on the name it would seem like Only One First Impression could also apply to works that you hated the first time through and thus will never truly enjoy, even if you find merit in it on subsequent reexposures.

    @eX: This is indeed intended to be applicable to any and every genre and medium of fiction; hence the "series/book/movie/video game/whatever".
  • November 16, 2009
    Vree
    Haha, I like this one. (So true too - you'll probably end up searching for a "new drug" and devouring everything related to your object of affection for weeks.) But I don't think we need examples for this one. It is largely subjective, and we have enough pages listing works that can evoke this. (Every "Crowning Moment of Something" trope and the whole Sugar Wiki for example.).
  • November 16, 2009
    tkdb
    @Vree: Do you mean that we don't need the page itself, or simply that there shouldn't be examples on the page? Cuz if it's the latter, I agree and said as much in the original draft.
  • November 18, 2009
    Unknown Troper
  • November 18, 2009
    tkdb
    Nothing like this in Meta Concepts either. I think we really do have a new trope here.
  • November 18, 2009
    Superhal
    Hmm. I'm not clear about this. Are you saying:

    a) nothing you watch will ever be as good as the first time you watch it, or b) when you try to watch something again, it isn't as good as you remember.

    If it's A, I don't think it's tropable. If it's not good the second time, that just means it wasn't good the first time either. What makes something good is that you want to watch it again and again. If it's B, maybe the title could be: Not As Good As I Remember.

  • November 18, 2009
    Assistant
    I realise that The Bittersweet Return To Reality is too wordy a title but I'll suggest it anyway.
  • November 19, 2009
    tkdb
    @Superhal: It's not really either of those, but closer to B. It's more of the feeling you get shortly after finishing something where you're in awe of how good it was but at the same time kinda depressed that it's over. It's not that you don't want to watch it again and again; in fact, this effect is often a major driving force in rewatching, since rewatching helps to alleviate the "withdrawal". However, the withdrawal feeling itself is often (at least in part) due to the belief that it won't ever be quite as awe-inspiring as it was the first time through. I went ahead and edited the main entry a bit to try to clear this up.
  • November 19, 2009
    Vree
    I like this title.
  • November 19, 2009
    puritybrown
    There's a passage in The Pilgrim's Regress by C. S. Lewis that describes this feeling. Unfortunately it's too long to quote; the gist of it is that Jack, the Everyman figure, is seeking a beautiful Island, and he has a vision of the Island when a man called Mr Halfways sings him a beautiful poem. He demands that Mr Halfways sing the poem again so that Jack can have the vision again, and he does, but this time the vision is different and not so clear. By the time Mr Halfways sings the poem a third time, the vision's almost gone and Jack is noticing technical aspects of the poem's composition. (Of course, Lewis being Lewis, the whole thing is an allegory of the soul's yearning for God, but we can ignore that for now.)

    The point is not that it's not going to be good the second time. The newness of a work of art is part of the experience you have the first time you encounter it, and that's an experience you can only have once. When your first encounter with a work of art is particularly knock-your-socks-off amazing, getting to the end of it can be disappointing even if it has the best ending ever, because that experience is over and can never be repeated.

    This is why some people slow down their reading pace when they're getting close to the end of a book they're really enjoying, or space out the watching of the last few episodes of a series that's blowing their minds. They want the first time to last as long as possible.
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