[[quoteright:350:[[VisualPun http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dead-unicorn1.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Don't feel bad -- it never really existed.]]

A DeadHorseTrope, [[UnbuiltTrope except it was never really a trope in the first place]].

This sort of trope becomes well known from being twisted and played with but was never actually in wide use in its straight form. TheButlerDidIt and UltraSuperDeathGoreFestChainsawer3000 are two of the most well-known examples.

Related concepts:

* BeamMeUpScotty, where a commonly quoted statement never existed in that form.
* ShallowParody, where a work is spoofed for qualities that it doesn't actually have or are grossly inflated.
* WindmillPolitical, where a political threat is rallied against which doesn't actually exist.
* NewerThanTheyThink, where the original work(s) are thought of as containing examples of the tropes that were simply later derived from them.

'''A note for adding examples:''' Do not add examples to this index simply because [[AluminumChristmasTrees you have personally never heard of them]]. Younger tropers should be especially careful of adding tropes that date back before their births: tropes such as the white wedding dress signifying virginity or the purported stupidity of Polish-Americans were real tropes at one point. Beware of your own [[SmallReferencePools small reference pool]]. Do not add examples just because they were never TruthInTelevision; they might still have been used seriously as tropes.

Do not confuse for a [[RobotUnicornAttack certain robotic unicorn]]. Or a [[WesternAnimation.AdventureTime Rainicorn]].

Contrast UndeadHorseTrope.

* AliensStealCattle, which is a mashup of the ideas that aliens abduct ''people'' and ''mutilate'' cattle.
* Likewise, AnalProbing is not actually a preoccupation in RealLife UFO abduction communities. Whitley Strieber described a recovered memory of it in his first nonfiction UFO book, ''Communion'', whereupon it took on a life of its own. The idea of the hind-quarters, rather than the reproductive organs (and hence, potential genetic engineering connections in the literature, etc.) is due to the media having one thing on their minds far too much. And some think it's quite intentional, to get people to chuckle at what is actually rather terrifying stuff when you read the real stories: a supposedly advanced alien intelligence, behaving in ways reminiscent of Nazi doctors.
* Zombies [[BrainFood eating brains]]. It was not a part of ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead'' or any of the films that followed on it, until ''Film/ReturnOfTheLivingDead'' -- which was released in '''1985''', nearly two decades after ''Night'', and was a much more comedic and less serious take on the zombie movie genre than its predecessors or most of its followers. Furthermore, it's almost impossible to find a movie where the zombies actually say "Braaaiiiins." This appears to be a conflation of two unrelated aspects of Romero's zombies: they eat human flesh, and the only way to kill them is to destroy their brains.
** The Brains thing was a side effect of the writers of Return overthinking the science a bit-- dead people, they reasoned, by definition can't produce their own new biochemicals and tissues. This justified the flesh-eating, but also meant that they'd need to consume the specific tissues they needed to maintain. They also would go after lungs when their ability to speak was breaking down and spines when theirs were broken and so on, the brains thing was just the one that stuck for whatever reason. In the actual film the justification is that brains somehow dull the pain they feel from decomposing.
* TheButlerDidIt is the most well known example. It does appear in a couple old mystery novels, but is nowhere near as common as people unfamiliar with such novels seem to think. (You ''will'' find a somewhat sizable list of examples on our tropes page but almost all of these come from after the twist had already become falsely known as a cliche and are either [[ParodiedTrope parodying it]], [[PlayingWithATrope playing with it]], or using its notoriety to make it a case of TheUntwist.) The origin of the phrase was not a literal description but rather a summary of a far more common trope: [[TheDogWasTheMastermind Having an unimportant background character end up being the culprit]]. See [[http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2470/in-whodunits-its-the-butler-did-it-who-did-it-first here]] for more info. It might also have gained some lift from that one incident when a man, getting out of a ''TheMouseTrap'' showing (the play is famed for not having its ending be an open secret) and yelling in the street "It was the butler!"... while no butlers are even featured in the play.
* CaptainSpaceDefenderOfEarth is supposedly a parody of the kind of central character who appeared in the old ''ComicStrip/FlashGordon'' and ''ComicStrip/BuckRogers'' serials, but that concept never really existed before the parody itself had become a trope.
* DroitDuSeigneur: It's unclear whether it was ever actually practiced by anybody in RealLife, but ''criticizing'' people for practicing it goes [[OlderThanDirt all the way back to]] ''Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh''.
* FoodPills in science fiction. Creator/WilliamGibson mocked the idea in his story "The Gernsback Continuum," but it appears that food pills have ''always'' been used as satire or mockery, rather than being presented as something people might actually do in the future. In fact, the UrExample seems to be from the Literature/LandOfOz series, where the pills are useful as field rations, but as for replacing regular meals... the one time their inventor tried to enforce that, he was thrown into a lake.[[/index]]
** The 1930 sci-fi musical ''Film/JustImagine'' ''may'' be the source. It was a comedy, but it seemed to take food pills seriously. (The joke comes from the unfrozen protagonist getting used to eating them, not the food pills existing.)
** ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' had one species that used food pills, but this was to show they were out of touch with the pleasurable aspects of life and emotions in general, and the Enterprise crew convinced an alien ''not'' to use them.
** ''Literature/SaveThePearls'' uses food pills completely seriously, but that's probably among the least of that book's problems.[[index]]
* HereThereBeDragons: Not common on early maps: in fact, it's only found on the Lenox Globe (from the 1500s): ''HIC SVNT DRACONES'' is written on the coast of eastern Asia, probably in reference to komodo dragons. Roman and medieval cartographers usually wrote ''HIC SVNT LEONES'' ("Here are lions") on unexplored areas.
* OnceUponATime in the original fairy tales, though many of the Grimms' tales do.
* RealWomenDontWearDresses: True femininity being seen as compromising a girl's character is a very real problem in real life but it hardly ever appears in fiction except when it's being used as AnAesop about how there's nothing wrong with femininity, hence why most of the examples are subversions and inversions.
* The SheetOfGlass is an obstacle that commonly, but never seriously, appears in chase scenes.
* SynchroVox was only ever used seriously in a few animated series during TheFifties and [[TheSixties Sixties]], notably ''ClutchCargo'' and ''Space Angel''. It was immediately [[DiscreditedTrope discredited]] as [[ExaggeratedTrope an extreme form of]] LimitedAnimation, and was used only for comedic effect afterward.
* TinfoilHat: How many actual conspiracy theorists do you know in real life who wear these? Probably the same number of conspiracy theorists in fiction who DON'T wear them.
* UltraSuperDeathGoreFestChainsawer3000: Ultra-violent video games do exist, but anyone who has actually played games like the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' series or other bloody games like the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' series know there is a lot more to them than senseless violence. ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' kind of started the trope, but even it wasn't that violent of a game and the controversy was probably more due to the violence appearing more realistic due to the digitized images of real people being the characters, nor was it anywhere near as over the top as parodies of it were described as. Games like the ''VideoGame/{{Manhunt}}'' series and ''VideoGame/MadWorld'' do sort of fit the stereotype, but they also largely grew out in response to this trope and are parodies of video game violence as well. The only actually released examples of senselessly violent video games played straight is ''VideoGame/TheTexasChainsawMassacre'' game for the UsefulNotes/{{Atari 2600}}, which next to no one bought.
* VampireVords: A parody of Creator/BelaLugosi's accent from his definitive performance of the ClassicalMovieVampire in ''Film/{{Dracula|1931}}'' (1931)...except Lugosi never talked like that. While Lugosi did have a thick accent, he had no problem pronouncing his Ws correctly. And of course, no vampire talks like this unless they're 1) Dracula, or 2) supposed to come from the same Eastern European region.
!!Stories and Genres:

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The concept--even on this very website--that NeonGenesisEvangelion is a deconstruction of the mecha genre. In reality, many of the ideas present in it were being dismantled almost as soon as the genre was in its infancy. The AcePilot with an inferiority complex (Tetsuya of GreatMazinger fame), a strained relationship between father and son (Mazinger again, as well as the original MobileSuitGundam), the AssimilationPlot ending (SpaceRunawayIdeon)... even the Fifth Angel's design comes from another series. LCL-like substances and sexualized suits were featured in the 80s and early 90s with Mazinsaga and HadesProjectZeorymer. Even the limited operating time of the Eva is less a deconstruction and more a reference to various Ultraman shows, of which Anno is a massive fan. The 90s were an extremely experimental time for the mecha genre, with fantasy stories such as Escaflowne, wuxia stories such as GiantRobo, and franchise retools as seen with GGundam. If anything, Evangelion with all of its similar elements was a ''loveletter'' to the old works, NotADeconstruction.
* ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' refers to this in-universe with the series' subtitle, defining it as one or more copycat activities (any activities, presumably) mimicking an original that doesn't exist.

* The so-called cliche of Clark Kent changing to Franchise/{{Superman}} in phone booths comes entirely from TWO straight uses in the ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheatricalCartoons'' of the 1940s. A use of this trope in the comic books of the same period had Superman note how difficult it is to change costume in a phone booth, meaning this was [[UnbuiltTrope deconstructed even when it was new]]. Parodies and homages sprung up soon afterward, but in the comics Superman would more often change costume in a deserted storeroom or alleyway, and in the George Reeves television series he NEVER used a phone booth at all. Later uses of the phone booth costume change outside of parody are all done with [[LampshadeHanging winks, nods, or other acknowledgements of the 'cliche']]. Brian Cronin sets the record straight in his 'Comic Book Legends Revealed' blog [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/07/22/comic-book-legends-revealed-324/ here.]]
** Also worth noting is that in the 1940s, telephone booths were made of wood with no glass panels. Clark Kent would never consider changing in a glass phone booth (which all parodies use) because everybody would be able to see him change.
** ''[[Film/{{Superman}} Superman: the Movie]]'' actually pokes fun at this trope as well. Clark is looking for a place to change, notices a phone kiosk (not a booth as such; only the phone is sheltered from the elements), and gives it a strange look before "changing" thanks to a revolving door. This particular trope is so well known that its inclusion as a gag in the movie was guaranteed to get audiences to laugh.
* The idea of Franchise/{{Batman}} being a grim, brooding CrazyPrepared semi-madman is both an inversion and a subversion of this trope. The Batman of the 40's was a bit of a homicidal maniac, but the Batman we've all come to know and love was more or less a straight-laced BoringInvincibleHero. The Batman that most people remember was the SilverAge version, who often got involved in silly situations, and the Super-Friends version who couldn't be called "grim" "brooding" or "dark at all. It was probably the 1986 graphic novel ''ComicBook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns'' that really brought Batman's darkness to the fore, and since that was one of the stories that inspired Creator/TimBurton's [[Film/{{Batman}} 1989 film]], that's the version that is popularly thought of nowadays.

* The idea of TheIgor comes from conflating Dr. Literature/{{Frankenstein}}'s hunchbacked assistant in the [[Film/{{Frankenstein 1931}} first movie]] (Fritz) and Ygor from the [[Film/SonOfFrankenstein third]] and [[Film/TheGhostOfFrankenstein fourth movies]] -- a non-hunchbacked (though broken-necked, which caused him to carry one shoulder higher) schemer who wanted to reanimate the monster for his own personal gain. Neither of them were in the original book-- although after seeing ''Film/YoungFrankenstein'' one gets the feeling that if Igor didn't exist it would be necessary to invent him.
** In the same way, the idea that Franky is a [[DumbMuscle child-minded]] GentleGiant. He was like this at the beginning of the book, but then he learned how to speak, and began to question his own existence. The movie never got that far, but from that point on, [[LostInImitation everyone imitated the movie]].
* The notion that characters in TheWestern wear hats that are ColorCodedForYourConvenience is taken from children's shows. As a rule, serious Westerns never followed this convention.
* During the heyday of the "quirky indie" style of movie, parodies and jokes about it often included barbs about them always featuring a guy hooking up with a gorgeous girl far out of his league. But while this is [[UglyGuyHotWife a common sitcom trope]], it doesn't describe these movies too well, usually featuring a more down to Earth, cute {{Moe}} type as the female lead with the male usually being the equivalent, a guy who doesn't mean the conventional standards of handsome but few would consider Creator/JimCarrey, Creator/MichaelCera or Paul Dano to be actually unattractive (or Creator/JosephGordonLevitt...) It tends to be more about the social (not socioeconomic) status of the characters. They aren't cool enough.
* [[OurZombiesAreDifferent Pop culture zombie tropes]] have almost nothing to do with the African/Caribbean legends--in these traditions [[VoodooZombie zombies are corpses resurrected by magicians to be slaves]]. These zombies will not attack you (unless, presumably, their masters order them to) and can't "spread" their condition to you. The threat of ''becoming'' a zombie [[AndThenJohnWasAZombie is scary]], but the idea that the zombies themselves hurt people has no basis in folklore. Likely it's a misappropriation of [[OurGhoulsAreCreepier Ghouls]] in legend, undead who would, sure enough, eat people. In fact, at no point in ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead'' is the word "zombie" spoken, but "ghoul" is (the ending credits does list "featured zombies" though). The fans ran with zombies, though, and the term stuck as [[TropeMaker the film spawned an entire genre]].
** Similar to this is '{{Voodoo Doll}}s' which are actually taken from the western folk magic practice of Poppets, using dolls as standins when hexing someone. In RealLife Vodun, the dolls are actually used for healing.
* Many parodies and pastiches of Jason Voorhees, villain of the ''Franchise/FridayThe13th'' films, [[HockeyMaskAndChainsaw show him wielding a chainsaw]], even though his favorite weapon in the movies is just a machete. Indeed, he has ''never'' used a chainsaw for any purpose -- the closest he came was using [[Film/FridayThe13thPartVIITheNewBlood a circular saw once]] (and interestingly, a chainsaw is used ''against'' him in [[Film/FridayThe13thPart2 the second movie]]). Most likely, his attributes are being mixed up, intentionally or otherwise, with those of Leatherface from ''Franchise/TheTexasChainsawMassacre''.
* The popular belief that the word cards for silent movies constantly employed SesquipedalianLoquaciousness. While occasionally words might pop up that aren't commonly used anymore, most silent films were very visually-driven, kept the dialog very simple, and only used word cards to move the plot along.
* All parodies of/homages to FilmNoir have moody jazz scores, but the real classic Noirs from the 1940s had the typical orchestral scores of that period of Hollywood music. It was the late 50s-early 60s TV shows inspired by Film Noir (like ''Peter Gunn'') that used jazz. [[http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=42962&pg=1#.Uz2x7fldWSo This article explains it in detail.]]

[[folder:Adult Films]]
* Some pornographic films advertise that they do not use the missionary position, as everyone is tired of that because it is so common. However, the missionary position is actually avoided for the fairly obvious reason that it's difficult to see the woman's "assets" if the actors are smooshed against each other (for the same reason, reverse cowgirl, rear-entry, and anal are far more popular in porn than in real life). Also, during the missionary position it's easier to see the man than the woman, which is exactly what porn aimed at straight men (which the majority is) wants to avoid. Using it would actually be a subversion.

* {{Fairy Tale}}s and their supposed idealism and inevitable happy endings are commonly mocked and "deconstructed," most people being unaware that the real stories were often violent, cynical and depressing. Something of a CyclicTrope, since the original stories had such a grim tone, before being [[{{Bowdlerise}} bowdlerized]] and [[{{Disneyfication}} Disneyfied]] because ChildrenAreInnocent (which is in itself an example of this trope), causing the stories to end up in an AnimationAgeGhetto, which left them filled with FridgeLogic and other ripe fodder for deconstruction.
** And on the other end of the spectrum, the belief that ''all'' fairytales were "originally" gory grimdark horror stories before their {{Disneyfication}}. Some were gory by modern standards and there's a ''lot'' of ValuesDissonance, but overall it's not as bad as many people make it out to be.
** One of the most egregious examples of a DeadUnicornTrope via Disneyfication is TrueLovesKiss. FairyTales such as ''Literature/SleepingBeauty'', ''Literature/BeautyAndTheBeast'', and ''Literature/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'' did originally involve romance and kissing, but not as their central focus or DeusExMachina. In the Grimms' version of ''Sleeping Beauty'', the title character and her kingdom do awaken after the prince kisses her, but the kiss is not what breaks the spell--they awaken simply because the hundred years of sleep designated by the spell are over that day; the prince just happens to be in the right place at the right time. In the original proto-version of ''Sleeping Beauty'', the princess awakened after the prince "[[DudeShesLikeInAComa made love]]" to her, she gave birth to children, and one of them sucked the poisoned needle out of her thumb. And in the original version of ''Literature/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'', Snow White awoke from her enchanted sleep after the Prince accidentally dropped her coffin, dislodging the chunk of poisoned apple stuck in her throat. There was always kissing in FairyTales, but the power of the kiss has been inflated via Disneyfication and the words "true love" added.
** For some reason, [[KnightInShiningArmor knights in shining armor]] rescuing [[DistressedDamsel distressed damsels]] from [[DragonsPreferPrincesses dragons]] is commonly associated with fairytales, even though this is something that almost ''never'' happens[[note]]It does happen in some very famous myths and legends, like Perseus rescuing Andromeda from the sea monster, the legend of Saint George and the dragon, or a few stories from the [[KingArthur Arthurian cycle]].[[/note]]. In fact, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orlando_Furioso one of the most famous chivalric romances]] has [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradamante a female knight]] who rescues at least one distressed gentleman.
* At one point in the ''Literature/TheToughGuideToFantasyland'' the author comments on a sort of gender-based WackyWaysideTribe plot/setting, in which while boys do one thing, girls get to bond with dragons. The thing is, that while there are books with female DragonRider characters (i.e. ''Literature/DragonridersOfPern''), there doesn't seem to be any series in which that was an exclusively female activity--it's closer to exclusively male in the Pern books[[note]]only the very few gold (queen) dragons bond with females, and at the start of the series even they don't actually ride[[/note]], and the ''Literature/PitDragonChronicles'' likewise features males making that bond, and all of these books were written before the Guide was published. It is worth noting, however, that the author of the ''Tough Guide'' wrote it after reading umpteen Tolkien-esque, Tolkien-length novels as a judge in a contest. She was probably not referring to any published books when she wrote this.
* Many of the entries in RogerEbert's Movie Glossary could qualify as Dead Unicorns. Particularly the idea of being able to hide in a St. Patrick's Day parade at any time of the year. Also, Fruit Cart!

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/MythBusters'' made reference to one when tackling the (busted) myth that steel-toed boots could actually sever toes instead of protecting them. Adam commented about "samurai movies" where the tip of someone's boot would be cut off, except the toes are intact right behind where the tip was severed. This is actually a somewhat common comedy trope, but its appearance in a "samurai movie" is highly dubious at best (what with the characters wearing ''sandals'' and all).
** Mythbusters does this a lot, actually, especially in recent seasons. Since almost all the more well-known myths have been tested over the course of the show's eight seasons, the show has used much more obscure ones to keep things going.
** Since firing their folklorist, the show has been more about finding out what is possible than setting the record straight.
** Speaking of {{Samurai}}, Japanese armor was never made of lacquered wood despite many claims to the contrary--it was usually various types of leather, iron, and eventually steel armor, with plenty of silk cording to tie it together.
*** Or, to put it another way, there was such a thing as wood-crafted ''ceremonial'' armor, but mistaking it for the real thing is akin to thinking that European knights rode into battle in ruffled collars and ring-covered hands.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Not many of the Doctor's companions actually [[BrokenHeel twisted an ankle]], and very few were helpless [[ScreamingWoman screaming women]]. In fact, Susan is the only one that comes to mind, and she did both. And even Susan shared the TARDIS with another female companion, Barbara, a strong-willed teacher who MinoredInAssKicking.
** Mel was introduced as something of a "homage" to the companions of the 1960s's, but came off more like Joahn Nathan Turner's version of a B-Movie Scream Queen. The sole female companion didn't become the norm until the 1970's.
** The line about Daleks being unable to climb stairs was trotted out right up until their return in 2005, even though it was implicitly obvious they could in the 1960s and actually shown on screen in the 1980s. (To be fair, in their first appearance they die if they lose direct contact with their special metal floor, but we see Daleks wandering around comfortably on Earth in their second TV story.)
*** In fact in the Daleks' '''second''' appearance (in the Dalek Book) they were shown flying with transpolar discs.
* Anything related to {{Game Show}}s:
** The [[Series/SesameStreet "Guy Smiley"]] stereotype of game show hosts as always-smiling {{Large Ham}}s who give a "slimy used-car salesman" vibe, crack awful jokes and wear loud, flashy suits. Most of the genre's greats were a bit goofy and loud at times, but even party animals like [[Series/MatchGame Gene Rayburn]] or slicker types like [[Series/TicTacDough Wink Martindale]] or [[Series/LetsMakeADeal Monty Hall]] knew when to put on a serious demeanor. The "Guy Smiley" type host is an extreme Flanderization of the three aforementioned hosts, with a few traits thrown in just for comedy. Prolific host Creator/BillCullen was mellow, unattractive, kindly, self-deprecating, and physically handicapped by polio in other words, about as far from the "Guy Smiley" stereotype as possible. But that image is so ingrained in the American consciousness that it inspires [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My5d7i5SMAE things like this]] ... talk about [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8641McZ0mTk Truth In Television]].
** The deep, melodramatic voice that most "parody" announcers have is almost entirely fabrication. Don Pardo had a deep, dramatic voice, but it was authoritative and exciting without being over-the-top, in addition to sporting an obvious New England accent. (That, and 99% of his game show career was before 1975[[labelnote:*]]The association of Don Pardo with game shows is likely strengthened by parodies on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'', where he's the announcer[[/labelnote]].) In fact, most announcers sound absolutely nothing like that. Some were higher-voiced and commanding (Johnny Olson, Johnny Gilbert); others were much mellower (Gene Wood, Jack Clark, Charlie O'Donnell, John Harlan); and when he was hamming it up, [[ThePriceIsRight Rod Roddy]] was still high and nasal. Burton Richardson ''almost'' played this kind of voice straight for a while.
** Cheap, chintzy sets that look like they were scavenged from a backwater cable access channel's news program. Sure, maybe in the olden days, back when TV was predominantly black and white, the sets weren't much to write home about, but they went all-out a lot earlier than many people think. You know that gigantic tic-tac-toe board on ''Series/TheHollywoodSquares''? That thing first came to be in 1966. The sprawling, three-doors-and-a-turntable set of ''Series/ThePriceIsRight''? 1972. The massive contestant turntable on ''Series/MatchGame''? 1973. That one probably came about due more to the budgets of the sources of the parodies. It's much harder to justify a flashy set when it's only going to be used for [[GameShowAppearance one episode]] of a three-camera sitcom.
** Having the audience [[TitleScream shout the show's name]] in the intro. ''Series/WheelOfFortune'' is the only show that has ever done this (although the 1985 show ''[[BreakTheBank1985 Break the Bank]]'' did it when throwing to commercial), and even then, ''Wheel'''s chant has been the same pre-recorded one on all but a handful of occasions.

* CountryMusic songs being about dogs and/or trucks. While they may be ''mentioned'' in passing, they're virtually never the primary topic.
** Mocked by Music/DavidAllanCoe on "You Never Even Called Me by My Name" in which he addresses the listener:
-->Well a friend of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song, and he told me it was the perfect country and western song.
-->I wrote him back a letter and told him it was not the perfect country and western song because it hadn't said anything at all about "Mama", or trains[[{{Beat}} ...]] or trucks[[{{Beat}} ...]] or prison[[{{Beat}} ...]] or gettin' drunk.
-->Well he sat down and wrote another verse to the song and he sent it to me. After readin' it I realized that my friend had written the perfect country and western song. And I felt obliged to include it on this album; the last verse goes like this here:
-->''Well I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison''
-->''And I went to pick her up in the rain''
-->''But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck''
-->''She got run'd over by a damned ol' train''
** Similarly, there is a widespread view that country songs typically feature a slow, maudlin list of problems (my wife left me, my truck broke down, my dog died - we all know the old joke about what happens when you play a country song backwards.) While there are a few songs in existence that fit this description (e.g. "Things Have Gone to Pieces" and "These Days I Barely Get By", both recorded by Music/GeorgeJones), they are nowhere near as common as supposed. There is a kernel of truth in this stereotype in that country songs often deal with depressing, real-world subjects, but they are almost never structured in this manner.
*** There are, however, quite a few ''blues'' songs that follow that structure. Almost none of them start "I woke up this morning", though.[[note]]A few classic blues songs include some variation on "I woke up this morning" but Music/RobertJohnson's "Walking Blues" is the only one that actually ''opens'' with that line.[[/note]]
** The ''real'' DeadHorseTrope in country music was "cheating songs". By the 1970s you started hearing ''songs'' about cheating songs, and by the 1980s they pretty much disappeared.
** Interestingly, the wave of party-themed "bro-country" songs in TheNewTens seems to have turned "country songs about trucks" into an actual trope, as many such songs take place in a truck bed or on a tailgate, or at least mention it prominently.
* A once commonly joked about aspect of {{Emo}} music before the term hit the mainstream was the supposed tendency of bands to cry on stage, but despite the many jokes about this and some parodies of it there are no reliable reports of any bands actually doing this.
* To the general public, NuMetal means vocals that [[MoodWhiplash switch from singing to screaming]] with occasional [[PissTakeRap rapping]], murky downtuned guitars, funk-influenced slap-style bass playing, throaty pseudo-growls, DJ scratching provided by a turntablist as a band member, varying degrees of electronic manipulation, no guitar solos, and a focus on [[{{Wangst}} painful experiences and personal crises]]. In reality, all the qualities put together to make a "pure" NuMetal band simply do not exist outside of parody.
** "Nu-metal bands never have guitar solos, but some do" (This is actually only true of a handful of bands who just happen to be labeled nu-metal. Many famous nu-metal bands ''do'' feature guitar solos, abiet somewhat short ones. Even LimpBizkit had a couple of brief guitar solos.)
** "All nu-metal bands rap, but some don't" (Korn, most obviously, as well as System of a Down, Disturbed, Trapt, Evanescence etc.)
*** And even Korn made some use of rapping, as on the rap battle with Fred Durst "All in the Family" and guest vocals from Nas and Ice Cube
** "Every nu-metal band [[{{Wangst}} whines about something]], but not all of them" (Deftones)
** "Nu-metal bassists play slap technique, some play other styles, and some rarely, if ever, use the slap technique" (The Gazette)
** "Some nu-metal bands play electronica (Linkin Park) while others have a more industrial-bend" (early Disturbed)
** "Nu-metal vocalists either have a low, scratchy grunt (Slipknot, Soulfly) or a clean-sounding, boyish voice (Lostprophets)"
** "Culturally, nu-metal lives on the gritty aggression of American machismo and yet some bands are influenced by foreign musical styles" (P.O.D., Ill Nino, Sepultura and Soulfly throw in Latino influences, while Dir en grey draw inspiration from traditional Japanese music)
** "All nu-metal bands have turntables (Slipknot, Deftones, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park), except the ones that don't (Korn, Papa Roach, System of a Down, Evanescence)"
** "Nu-metal bands don't actually sound like metal, except when they do (Korn, Slipknot, Sepultura, System of a Down etc.)"

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The stereotype of the typical [[EasternRPG JRPG]] protagonist as being an angsty, spikey-haired teenager swinging [[{{BFS}} a sword with its own zip code]]. The character the stereotype is supposed to be based on, [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Cloud Strife]], doesn't even hit all the points, since Cloud is ''twenty-one'' and, in the actual game, Cloud was far less angsty than many fans seem to believe.
** This perception takes bits of both him and [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII Squall Leonhart]], who isn't spiky-haired nor carries a {{BFS}}, but is much angstier and 17 years old. In any case, main characters that actually fit the complete stereotype are almost non-existent in the entire genre. Even those who come close are few and far in between.
* ''Website/TheGrandListOfConsoleRolePlayingGameCliches'', some of which are worded on way too specific detail (For example, [[GoodMorningCrono the very first one]]). There are some spot-on ones though (Like [[DoomedHomeTown The next one]]).
* From ''VideoGame/YumeNikki'', the [[VomitIndiscretionShot Vomit-Chan]] [[MemeticMutation meme]]. At no point in the game does Madotsuki ever throw up; the piece of fanart that inspired this meme was entirely the invention of a [[{{Gorn}} guro]] artist.