This is a {{trope}} that goes through a circular pattern of change, eventually returning to its original form after several iterations.

Like this: "[[BigFun Fat Guys Are Jolly]]" gets subverted over time to "Fat Guys Are Kinda Sad And Pitiful". After a while at that value, the audience is expecting [[TheWoobie "sympathetic"]] Fat Guys, so it gets subverted to "[[FatBastard Fat Guys Are Mean And Greedy]]". Once expectations are out there for evil Fat Guys, it gets subverted back to "Fat Guys Are Jolly".

Most cycles are bipolar, though, oscillating back and forth between two opposites that mutually subvert (or invert) each other.

See also FleetingDemographicRule, PopularityPolynomial. Compare and contrast with UndeadHorseTrope, EvolvingTrope.

Remember, Administrivia/ExamplesAreNotRecent. People might be reading this in the year 5070, so keep them in mind.
!!Some {{trope}}s that are cyclic:
* ActionGirl: Status/appeal cycles between AmazonChaser and NoGuyWantsAnAmazon.
* UsefulNotes/TheAmericanDream: Cycles between optimistic and pessimistic depending on the economy and general state of the union, as well as the [[DependingOnTheWriter racial and/or socioeconomic background of the writer]]. [[ValuesDissonance It also changes dramatically along with the middle-class aspirations of different eras]]: a modern suburban couple might well dismiss a 1950s suburban home as [[PotteryBarnPoor "too poor."]]
* TheAllegedCar: Depending on the decade, economy/electric cars are either seen as the sign of a thoughtful, world-conscious protagonist or a slick street racing enthusiast, or effeminate crap made by Evil Foreigners out to destroy America, and worshipped by cash-strapped nerds. For larger cars, the driver will either be a nail-biting badass or a thoughtless conservative who hates the enviroment almost as much as they hate themselves.
* BasementDweller: In good economic times, it means the guy is a slacker and a loser. In bad economic times, it's certainly not viewed favorably, but it's cast in a light that makes it more society's fault that he can't get a job / house / whatever.
* The BoyBand goes through a pretty regular boom/bust cycle of being the single hottest thing in music to dormant and/or outright hated to popular when the next generation pokes its head up to see if it's safe to come out. Usually the early part of the decade will have obscenely popular boy bands which will bust during the middle. For example, in the New Tens, Music/OneDirection picked up the baton Music/{{NSYNC}} and the Music/BackstreetBoys carried during the early 2000s, who themselves were treading the ground that the Music/NewKidsOnTheBlock had covered during the early Nineties, and it's possible to trace it back farther through New Edition, and even back to the Jackson 5.
* CantArgueWithElves / ScrewYouElves: As discussed in the [[Headscratchers/ScrewYouElves Headscratchers]] section for the latter, both tropes cycle with each other. For example: many fantasy stories (''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'') use the CantArgueWithElves trope, human audiences get bored of being continually condescended by arrogant magical races, so ScrewYouElves becomes popular (''VideoGame/{{Overlord}}''). Many fantasy stories use the ScrewYouElves trope, and humans appear too arrogant and foolhardy, so CantArgueWithElves becomes popular again (''Film/{{Avatar}}''). Eventually, we'll likely end up with a kind of {{reconstruction}} where fantasy elves combine a mixture of traits according to [[AuthorAppeal how the author feels about elves]] (''TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}}'').
* Communists: The portrayal of communists cycles between DirtyCommunists, ChummyCommies, or something in between such as WellIntentionedExtremist. Prior to TheGreatPoliticsMessUp, the deciding factor seems to have been how good the West's relations with the Soviet Union were at that moment. Since 1991, it's been a mixed bag for fictional commies. On the one hand, the failure of the Soviet bloc means that communists will be regarded, at best, as foolishly believing in a system which doesn't work. On the other, the end of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar means that there is much less reason to have communist villains in the first place.
* CowboyCop: Fluctuates between protagonist and antagonist depending on how much "traditional" cops are respected.
* DarkerAndEdgier and LighterAndSofter: In a market saturated by one mood, a work taking the opposite view stands out and does well, sparking [[FollowTheLeader a host of imitators]] that push the pendulum in the other direction.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Deconstructing a genre, then [[{{Reconstruction}} deconstructing the deconstruction]]. The latter then sets the new baseline, which may itself be deconstructed again...
* TheFairFolk, as well as probably most cases of OurMonstersAreDifferent.
* Female sexuality: Since the dawn of time, humans have been cycling though the ideas that AllWomenAreLustful and AllWomenArePrudes.
* HairColors: HairOfGoldHeartOfGold to DumbBlonde and back again, with brunette always being the {{Foil}} for wherever blonde is today, and red hair being a more HotBlooded version of brunette.
* {{Hipster}}: Recurring definition with every generation rejecting the previous batch.
* IdealHero[=/=]AntiHero: The two fashions tend to usurp each other in turn across various media, though the dividing line can change as values march on. If the Ideal Hero dominates, writers will introduce antiheroes as a reaction to that until it's impossible to take the Ideal Hero seriously, and then the antiheroes will become a cliche of their own and we'll see a {{Reconstruction}} of the Ideal Hero. For example, UsefulNotes/TheModernAgeOfComicBooks has generally reclaimed a lot of the idealism of [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks the Silver Age]] as a reaction to [[UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks the Dark Age]].
* {{Joisey}}: The stereotypical [[WretchedHive view of New Jersey]] was never completely true or an exaggeration, as pretty much anybody who is actually from or has actually been to New Jersey will tell you. This trope was used with less and less frequency, until [[Series/JerseyShore something horrific]] happened, causing the trope to rise from the dead.
* KnightInShiningArmor: This one's been cycling for a long, long time. It started with straight usage in the ChivalricRomance genre, then was parodied to death by ''Literature/DonQuixote'' and successors, then returned to favor with Creator/{{Disney}} and other creators, and has since been [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructed]] and bashed so hard that [[DiscreditedTrope it's difficult to find straight examples]], particularly as a lead character.
* LoveInterests: Cycles between ProperLady and WellExcuseMePrincess and every degree in between; characters are ColourCodedCharacters, as they cycle respectively between [[HairOfGoldHeartOfGold blonde]] and [[HeroesWantRedHeads red-haired]] or brunette.
* Male beauty standards change according to the zeitgeist of the era. It had been [[TheDandy dandy]] in the 1920s and 1930s; hard-boiled and strong in 1940s; [[TheAllAmericanBoy sporty]] and [[StandardFiftiesFather fatherly]] in the 1950s and early 1960s; suave and intellectual in the rest of the 1960s; {{Hunk}} in the 1970s and 80s; Metrosexual in TheNineties and the TurnOfTheMillennium, and {{Adorkable}} in TheNewTens.
* TheMisophonic: Characters under this condition may attempt to overcome their hatred to their specific sounds, and then [[YankTheDogsChain revert]].
* MonochromeCasting: All-white or all-black casts were the norm in popular media until the end of segregation in the 1960s, when racially-integrated ensembles became common, especially throughout the 1970s. However, by the 1980s the pendulum swung back towards this trope, becomming prevalent until the very late 1990s when multicultural casts became the cool thing to do in Hollywood during the 2000s. The 2010s however have pretty much preferred to return to the trope.
* MorallyBankruptBanker: Popular during banking crises and economic downturns.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: Vampires [[SlidingScaleOfVampireFriendliness cycle between]] [[TheSoulless soulless]] [[HorrorHunger predatory]] [[ImAHumanitarian monsters]] and [[{{Wangst}} angst-filled]] [[LoveInterest romantic]] [[TheWoobie woobies]]. Goes hand in hand with LooksLikeOrlok. [[Literature/VarneyTheVampire First they did]], [[Literature/{{Dracula}} then they didn't]], [[Film/{{Nosferatu}} then they did again]], then they switched [[Film/{{Dracula 1931}} back]] and [[Literature/SalemsLot forth]] [[Film/InterviewWithTheVampire a]] [[Series/TrueBlood few]] [[Literature/{{Twilight}} more]] [[VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow times,]]. ''Who knows'' what they will look like next.
* PatrioticFervor: Cycles according to world events.
* RavenHairIvorySkin: In [[OlderThanSteam older times]], pale skin was a sign of wealth and therefore highly attractive: most working-class people worked outside for long periods, developing tans, while affluent noble-types stayed indoors, staying fair-skinned. Then, as beach culture became more popular, pale was out and made way for the DarkSkinnedBlond during the 60's, 70's, and later the 90's and the '00s. But then the increasing awareness of skin cancer made tanning less popular - and the bottled "fake tans" that came out as a result looked, well, fake and made people who used them seem oblivious and trashy. Combine that with the rise in the Goth subculture and its embrace of the '50s pin-up girl image, and pale and dark-haired came back in fashion although lighter is favored in the 2010s.
* RealIsBrown: In the FirstPersonShooter genre, there seems to be a constant cycle between grim and gritty realistic-looking tactical military shooters, and colorful cartoonish ones, which swings back and forth based on whichever the last big successful release was... eg. from cartoonish games early on when that was all the hardware could handle, to realistic ones as they became possible, to cartoonish ones following ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', to realistic ones following the success of the later ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'' entries, back towards a more cartoonish look following the success of ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Splatoon}}''.
* RealWomenHaveCurves: The attitude that a woman is more "realistic" if she's heavier than the norm. Thanks to shifting ideals about body type (along with some people claiming that it encourages obesity), this one keeps coming and going.
* RomanticismVersusEnlightenment: The mother of all {{Cyclic Trope}}s -- at least, according to some. It is said that there are two trends in culture, coming in waves and supplanting one another: the orderly Apollonian, and chaotic Dionysian. Apollonian Enlightenment is followed by Dionysian Romanticism, which is followed by Apollonian Positivism or Realism... and so on.
* SeldomSeenSpecies: Some species are more seldom seen in the media of some cultures and in some time periods than others.
* SexIsCool: First appeared in the 1970s at the peak of the "sexual revolution" to be annihilated by the following decade. Open sexuality returned with a bang in the 90s and 00s, but an overuse of the trope has led to another bust during the 2010s.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Interestingly, this tends to parallel the political and economic climate of the society generating the works that feature the {{trope}}. Also related to whatever seems rare and different from the norm, e.g., when any given superhero has an 90% chance of being a troubled, brooding NinetiesAntiHero, [[TheCape Capes]] start becoming fascinating to the point of being edgy until they become dirt common then, it switches back, and vice versa.
* SmokingIsCool: In the 1920s, when most Americans wouldn't even ''drink'', smoking a cigarette was thought to be rebellious - even countercultural - both by those who engaged in it and those who disapproved of it. As a result, it became "cool" to smoke [[CoolPeopleRebelAgainstAuthority precisely because it offended so many people]]. A generation later, in the 1940s, [[EverybodySmokes smoking had become so commonplace]] that it was hard to believe it had ever been frowned upon - but [[TheManIsStickingItToTheMan the mass media still insisted on smoking being cool]]. Then, a generation after ''that'', in the 1960s, it was confirmed that tobacco use led to lung cancer, so smoking became socially unacceptable again. In the 1980s cigarettes became regarded as classy once again. And while this trend lost favor in the 1990s, smoking ''cigars'' enjoyed a revival of popularity among young hipsters, perhaps as a thumb to the eye of PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad. Since then, smoking in general has gradually regained popularity in media devoted to adults, as a way to indicate that a character is rebellious or carefree - although it's still viewed with suspicion and disdain in the larger society, although the emergence of smokeless tobacco and the like has made smoking somewhat more acceptable.
* SpaceOpera: The SciFi genre cycles between favoring tongue in cheek seriocomic space adventures or more cerebral, serious, thought provoking stories. It really depends on which one the public tires of at the time. Serious science fiction of the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' style with social commentary and realistic science was popular until ''Franchise/StarWars'' came along. After the conclusion of that trilogy (along with its imitators), more introspective scifi became popular again, especially with ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. Now SFX action romps are popular again now that technology has caught up. It is observed that whenever ''Star Trek'' style sci-fi is in vogue, it invariably goes unnoticed by the mainstream but neverthless enjoys a cult following among serious SF fans.
* SpyFiction: The world's current political system determines whether or not TuxedoAndMartini ''Film/JamesBond''-ish films or Stale Beer {{Post Nine Eleven Terrorism Movie}}s get respect from the audience.
* StrawmanPolitical and StrawFeminist: While Strawmen Political has always been a part of the landscape of fiction, trends in what they represent will vary with the times depending on the social climate of whenever the work was made. The Straw Feminist is a specific case of this, with women's issues taking the forefront during certain decades but not others, causing there to be more Straw Feminists in the media of its time. In the United States, for instance, they popped up during the suffragist and temperance movements in the 30's and 40's, again during the Civil Rights Era of the 60's and 70's, and again in TheNewTens in conjunction to the decade's "alt-right" anti-feminism.
* SuperRobotGenre: The entire genre goes through cycles of {{deconstruction}} and {{reconstruction}}. To give a very simplified version, starting with the TropeMaker: ''Anime/MazingerZ'' --{{deconstruction}}--> ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' --{{reconstruction}}--> ''Anime/GunBuster'' --{{deconstruction}}--> ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' --{{reconstruction}}--> ''Anime/GaoGaiGar''
* SwordAndSandal: Hollywood's on-off relationship with them.
* TokenMinority: into TokenWhite
* UnfortunateIngredients: In the '80s and '90s, sugar was the greatest evil. (American soft-drink companies were actually ahead of the game, having switched from cane sugar to corn syrup in the late '70s.) Now, many ads tout the presence of "real sugar" in their goods because nobody trusts artificial sweeteners or high-fructose corn syrup (both are made up of glucose, i.e. blood sugar, and fructose, i.e. fruit sugar, instead, but while sucrose, i.e. table sugar is 50% glucose 50% fructose, corn syrup varies. Typically, the [[ HFCS in soft drinks is HFCS 42]], or 42% fructose, while many other foods use HFCS 55 (55% fructose, which makes it sweeter). HFCS 42 and 55 comprise most of the HFCS on the market, but some products use HFCS 90. Of course, too much sugar of ''any'' stripe is a problem.
* TheVamp: Cycles between blonde and brunette.
* WesternTerrorists: The ethnicity of terrorists cycles according to world events and frequency of use.
* Comics' art style; early NewspaperComics were a unique selling point (hence "features"), and appeared only on Sundays with large full-panel color. The addition of daily B&W comics along with an ever-shrinking panel size meant that the luxuriant canvas enjoyed by the first generation of modern comics artists would only again be available in the [[WebComics internet era]]. This led to fanciful detail being first jettisoned in favor of a pared-down SliceOfLife style and then to the rediscovery of fanciful detail. Compare the art styles of [[ Winsor McCay]], [[ early Charles Schulz]], and [[ Zack Morrison]], and remember that while Schulz' style was in keeping with midcentury modernist trends in design, architecture and "serious" art, he was very much making a virtue of necessity.