Emotional Torque


(permanent link) added: 2008-06-18 10:50:41 sponsor: KJMackley (last reply: 2008-06-22 15:42:38)

Add Tag:
I have pondered on this for a while. While it seems like a simple enough concept, when thinking about all that it implies it makes me feel like I am contemplating quantum physics while all I can express is Buffy Speak. If I am right, then this trope is about as meta as it comes.

A fundamental part of storytelling is about getting a reaction from the audience. A laugh, a tear, a desire to change or maybe a desire to kill the storyteller. There is nothing more saddening then a story that gets an uncaring reaction. When I watched the Avatar Finale Trailer, it sent chills down my spine when I saw Aang and Zuko firebending next to each other. Why did I get such an emotional response? I think that it is because from the very first episode Aang was told that he would have to master firebending last, and after three seasons this is happening.

It is a feeling that is hard to describe, it isn't quite like joy or happiness, neither is there an emotion called "epic." I think the best way to describe your favorite moments is satisfaction. The Avatar moment is supremely satisfying because it is so long in coming.

A story should influence and affect us. When I was three, I scared my Mom by placing a butcher knife down the back of my shirt only so I could pull it back out and exclaim "I have the power!" Since I am on TV Tropes so much (more time then I really have to spend) this has remained a part of my personality, and probably most of the people here can say the same thing. A lot of the tropes that I've started on YKTTW have been an attempt to catelogue those tropes that give us such an emotional response. "World of Cardboard" Speech and It Has Been an Honor are moments that should excite us and and make us glad that we've been a part of the show/movie/book.

This is also a fundamental part of Fridge Logic and the Willing Suspension of Disbelief. We should be so caught up in the moment of what is happening that we don't think about the illogical, the unhistorical or the faulty science. There is also a point where the story and characters have to do the needed actions to establish themselves and their use. The Butt Monkey has to get beaten up, the villain has to do something villainous, etc. If there is a war going on and no one gets hurt, no blood gets spilled, and there isn't even a smudge of dirt on them, then it is rendered ineffective. It's like a Jerk Ass that doesn't do one mean thing.

For another example of the above, I've noticed in a lot of Disney and Nickelodeon shows that when two kids hug (especially of opposite gender) they rarely come very close to each other at all. They bend at the waist and if anything besides their arms touch each other, it will only be their shoulders. It's probably the Media Watchdogs that prevent a chest-to-chest hug (though I do have a friend that reserves those types of hugs only for her husband and absolute closest friends) but the point is it looks awkward on screen and you know it. To show a close friendship or romantic relationship you need to be willing to do what is necessary to convey it.

A lot of tropes are built upon this idea...

...but some exist solely because of it.

This probably seems a little long-winded, but I do think it would be a good page for discussion.

replies: 9

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy