Created By: DBAce9Aura on July 22, 2011 Last Edited By: DBAce9Aura on March 5, 2016

Normal Doesn't Exist

In reality, there is only weirdness

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A general belief that everybody and their grandparents is, to some extent, a complete weirdo and has pretty offbeat tastes and personalities and nobody can actually be considered normal. For characters that more or less invoke this trope, the concept of normality of any kind is like pressing their Berserk Button and getting them to deliver An Aesop on why there's no such thing as being normal. Usually invoked by a Vocal Minority for getting ridiculed by the majority simply for not abiding to their ideals of living.

Compare I Just Want to Be Normal for when the character tries to abide to social normality. Contrast Your Normal Is Our Taboo. Dysfunction Junction is a subtrope where the "weirdness" is problematic.

Note: Add only In-Universe examples. Real Life ones can go in the Troper Tales section.

Examples

  • Inverted in Discworld, in which everyone is declared to be in some way normal; the undead are merely "differently alive" and the weird are merely "differently normal," and such.
  • Ten Years After, "I'd Love To Change the World":
    Everywhere is freaks and hairys
    Dykes and fairies
    Tell me where is sanity?
  • Barenaked Ladies, "War On Drugs"
    Won't it be dull when we rid ourselves
    Of all these demons haunting us?
    To keep us company
    Won't it be odd to be happy like we
    Always thought we're supposed to feel?
    But never seem to be?
  • Non-Prophets, "The Cure"
    You're not the traveling type? Then hide your baggage better
    Before you die a normal death and write the average letter
    About your internal furnace
    And how life's a sexually transmitted disease that you contracted from her kiss
    When a boy writes off the world, it's done with sloppy misspelled words
    If a girl writes off the world it's done in cursive
  • This Subnormality strip is all about that.
  • In The Breakfast Club: "What's bizarre? We're all pretty bizarre."
  • Donna Troy's advice to new Titans in DC Nation : "Normal is a dryer setting."

Anime and Manga
  • "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" pretty much defines this trope. Everyone there is pretty much bizarre, though perhaps Haruhi probably outshines everyone else at this.
  • "One Piece" might fall under this, since the pirates have almost every kind of ability imaginable and do all kinds of crazy things.

Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • July 22, 2011
    Aielyn
    I'd call this Truth In Television, except I'm not sure that it has really appeared in any work. That is... is this really a trope, or just commentary on Real Life?

    Or perhaps, are you trying to refer to works where everyone is weird in one way or another?
  • July 22, 2011
    DBAce9Aura
    You know what, why don't we just limit examples to In Universe only and have Real Life examples go in a Troper Tales tab.
  • July 22, 2011
    Aielyn
    I think you missed the point of what I was asking. Does this actually happen in any works? Is there a single In Universe example?

    Part of the problem is how unclear your description is. What is the actual trope about? A character having the opinion that everybody is weird? Everybody actually being weird? Something else?
  • July 22, 2011
    Shnakepup
    Maybe it's an Aesop? A certain character despairs, thinking that they're a weirdo, and then another character says "There's no such thing as normal" and proceeds to explain their own weird habits/faults, and possibly other people's. A valuable lesson is learned...

    I don't know of any examples, but it seems general enough to be a thing. I imagine this has shown up in children's shows before, especially ones centered around school (where characters would likely be concerned about appearing "normal"). It's probably even shown up in more adult-centric media, but in a darker manner: "Everybody's twisted in some way, even the seemingly normal ones"
  • July 22, 2011
    KamenZero
    Or maybe everything is weird such as in Bobobo? Cause.. you know.. everything is frickin' weird in that manga/anime.
  • July 22, 2011
    c0ry
    Inverted in Discworld, in which everyone is declared to be in some way normal; the undead are merely "differently alive" and the weird are merely "differently normal," and such.
  • July 22, 2011
    Shnakepup
    I'd shorten the title to just "No Such Thing As Normal". You don't really need the "There Is..." part.
  • July 22, 2011
    Fanra
    Music:

    • Ten Years After, "I'd Love To Change the World":
      Everywhere is freaks and hairys
      Dykes and fairies
      Tell me where is sanity?
  • July 23, 2011
    Shnakepup
    Two more music examples (just came to me):
    • Barenaked Ladies, "War On Drugs"
      Won't it be dull when we rid ourselves
      Of all these demons haunting us?
      To keep us company
      Won't it be odd to be happy like we
      Always thought we're supposed to feel?
      But never seem to be?

    • Non-Prophets, "The Cure"
      You're not the traveling type? Then hide your baggage better
      Before you die a normal death and write the average letter
      About your internal furnace
      And how life's a sexually transmitted disease that you contracted from her kiss
      When a boy writes off the world, it's done with sloppy misspelled words
      If a girl writes off the world it's done in cursive

    (These might not strictly fit - both these songs a kind of deconstruction of what "normal" is and should feel like)

  • July 28, 2011
    donald
  • August 3, 2011
    NetMonster
    Dysfunction Junction is a subtrope where the "weirdness" is problematic.
  • August 5, 2011
    madelinemary
    In The Breakfast Club: "What's bizarre? We're all pretty bizarre."
  • August 5, 2011
    OmarKarindu
    The Morrissey song "The Youngest Was the Best Loved" has a children's choir singing "There is no such thing in life as normal" in the refrain.
  • August 5, 2011
    hevendor717
    Actually, "There is" may suit the trope name better if we are talking about the discussion/delcaration/believing of this opinion or concept. Because it sounds more like a statement of such rather than a description of a fictional universe where everything is strange.
  • August 5, 2011
    Allronix
    Donna Troy's advice to new Titans in DC Nation : "Normal is a dryer setting."
  • August 6, 2011
    Acebrock
    Dragon Age II, maybe? I'm not sure if everyone's abnormal, but at one point Hawke laments his/her appeal to strange people:
    Why can't I ever meet anyone normal?

    Edit: Also, I can't recall anyone you can interact with being anything near normal, except, maybe Aveline. And her miserable ttempt to court Donnic makes me wonder even that.
  • August 10, 2011
    spideydude
    Not sure if this counts, but in Sydney White, Sydney's roommates constantly think they are too dorky to fit in with all the "normal" people on campus. In the movie's climax, Sydney delivers a speech at the student body president debate to prove (with affirmation from the crowd) that everyone is a dork in their own way and no one is truly normal.
  • August 10, 2011
    tropelia
    The graphic novel series "Kat and Mouse" had an example that I think went like this: Kat: Well, we didn't have a school thief, or mysterious hot art teachers, but we had our share of weirdness. We had cow tipping. Mouse: Maybe nowhere is normal. Kat: Normal is just something you read about in books.

    This probably isn't an exact quote
  • August 12, 2011
    MorganWick
    Normal Doesnt Exist is probably the best title (or the best I can think of) to avoid confusion with the likes of Planet Eris.
  • August 12, 2011
    hevendor717
    I know this may be better for Troper Tales- but seriously, utterly justified in Real Life if you have done cultural studies. There isn't anyone on this Earth who doesn't have weird, unsettling ways of thinking and acting when observed by someone from the right far-off culture.
  • August 15, 2011
    DaibhidC
    @c0ry: Inverted on Discworld ... except for characters who declare themselves to be "sane" (Sane Alex, Jeremy Clockson), when it's made very clear that there's nothing more abnormal than someone who insists on their normality.
  • November 27, 2011
    Ekuran
    Bumping.
  • November 27, 2011
    X2X
    Compare/contrast Cant Stay Normal.
  • November 27, 2011
    TonyG
    In the Muppet Babies episode "The Weirdo Zone", the other babies try to understand Gonzo better by finding what's weird about themselves.
  • January 28, 2012
    StevenT
    Dil Pickles in All Grown Up.
  • January 28, 2012
    Duncan
    I think the Discworld example is a parody of Political Correctness Gone Mad; there is still prejudice against the differently weird, those terms are used to be polite.
  • January 28, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Real Life:
    • Traditionally, NASA does not use the word "normal" in official publications. Instead "nominal" (using the alternate definition "being according to plan") is used. This is because calling any aspect of space travel "normal" in the 1960's seemed a bit of a stretch.
  • January 28, 2012
    Rognik
    I don't know if the Haruhi Suzumiya one is a real example. After all, Kyon, the narrator and Audience Surrogate, is about as normal as normal gets. Only thing that makes him special is knowing all these people and getting tangled up in it. It seems more like a Cast Of Snowflakes.
  • January 28, 2012
    AP
    A good quote for the page.

    "We will be back to normal once we find out what is normal anyway." - Trillian, Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy
  • March 5, 2016
    DAN004
    So this is about a statement in a work, right?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=r3igobzvab10fzegzmdglmf8