An unbuilt trope is a work that ''seems'' like a {{deconstruction}} but is ''actually'' the {{Trope Maker|s}} itself.

Picture the following scenario:

->''Boy, {{replacement goldfish}} is kind of a weird idea isn't it? Replacing someone you loved like that always struck you as kind of odd. The kind of person who would do that must not be a paragon of mental stability.''

->''One day you decide to read [[Manga/AstroBoy an old comic]]. In it, a scientist's son dies and he becomes obsessed with making him anew, a perfect version that can never be beaten, at that! He's a madman! What's this... how can he [[KickTheDog yell at the little boy for not growing up]]? Did... he just [[MoralEventHorizon sell his son into slavery]]!? [[GoshDangItToHeck Mother of Pearl!]] You've never seen someone really examine the morality of replacement goldfish like that!''

->''So you buy the full stack of volumes and look at the production date. 1952? 1952! It [[TropeMakers pre-dates]] every replacement goldfish you've ever seen. How can someone turn this vision into that?''

Because the work was the trope maker, it could freely explore the ramifications of the trope before it [[TropeCodifier solidified]] (or in some cases, congealed) into its current form. It seems like a deconstruction, but at the time there was no trope to deconstruct; there was just an interesting idea to explore. It wasn't expected to conform to a certain pattern because the pattern had not yet been established. The trope could have taken on its current form for many reasons: the imitators could have been part of the MisaimedFandom of the work they drew inspiration from; they may have consciously decided that the original was unsatisfying and thus needed to be LighterAndSofter or DarkerAndEdgier; later appearances of the trope may have [[TropeDecay decayed]] (or been {{Flanderiz|ation}}ed) compared to the original, defining appearance; they may simply have decided to take what they wanted from the story, and calling the original their inspiration caused people to assume the original was similar plotwise; or the imitators may not have had the talent required to depict the trope with the same depth that the original author did. After all, frequently a genius invents the trope and works it out with skill, and the [[LostInImitation hacks come after]], only able to [[TheyCopiedItSoItSucks vaguely copy it]] or [[ViewersAreMorons intentionally simplify it to make it easier to work with.]]

It can also go the other way around: the original is bland and unappealing (even ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' was considered such when it first came out), and the later authors are the ones that constructed the mythos and the popular cliches. Alternatively, the deconstructed or {{parod|y}}ic form of the trope, rather than the original, became more popular and accepted over the long run.

Remember that this trope is not to gush about "the original" and how the rest of the works "don't get" the genius. [[EdutainmentShow Only about the source of the conventions in a certain genre]]. Just because a work came early doesn't make it better or more genuine, in the same way that sketches are not better than the final work. If a work simply is an example of a trope that's more commonly associated with a later, more well known work, you may be looking for OlderThanTheyThink or UrExample.

The reverse of SeinfeldIsUnfunny and DeadUnicornTrope. See InkStainAdaptation and LostInImitation for the process of how an idea can gradually lose nuance with new incarnations. Sister trope of EarlyInstallmentWeirdness. Related to FunnyAneurysmMoment, HilariousInHindsight, and HarsherInHindsight, if it predicts a problem that won't be relevant until well after it's first shown.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The above example is from ''Manga/AstroBoy''. Thanks to his sophisticated storytelling, a lot of Creator/OsamuTezuka's work is like this. It's difficult to convince people that ''Manga/{{Pluto}}'' isn't so much a {{darker and edgier}} version of the tale, so much as a mere {{perspective flip}}.
* Imagine just how messed up life would be for an ordinary person in a world where all the real power is wielded by a relatively small number of people, and that power is not financial or political, but militaristic. Democratic government is essentially meaningless since no union of ordinary people can stand against the might of a lone {{badass}}. Because everyone knows that violence is the force that drives the wheel of civilization, fights occur constantly, and everyone with a bit of ability wants to claw their way as high up the badass scale as possible, whether for the sake of protecting innocents or enforcing their own will on others. The only genuinely powerful people who have any interest in being in charge are usually megalomaniacs and/or sociopaths. Governments tend to be either tyrannies, or farcical constructs whose laws can only be adequately be enforced by sympathetic vigilantes and a few KnightTemplar civil servants who butt heads with them at every opportunity. Countries are constantly in flux between the two as {{evil overlord}}s are dethroned by good guys, replaced with ineffectual governments, and conquered again by new bad guys. The series... ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar''. One of the first shonen fighting series.
* ''Manga/GalaxyExpress999'' in its various incarnations is a very pessimistic account of prospects for TheSingularity, despite coming out in 1978, nearly a decade before Vinge introduced the term.
* Creator/GoNagai:
** ''Anime/MazingerZ'' built off the concepts in ''Anime/{{Gigantor}}'' to [[TropeMakers create]] the SuperRobotGenre. However, the series also featured multiple deconstructions of Super Robot tropes, such as the main character [[InferredHolocaust nearly destroying a town]] [[FallingIntoTheCockpit while learning to pilot]] his HumongousMecha, or [[BattleCouple the couple of heroes]] being downright ineffective due to [[BelligerentSexualTension their frequent fights]]. A later episode even has [[WhamEpisode the villains take over a Japanese village]], at which point they [[KillEmAll systematically slaughter any civilians they consider "useless"]] and then use women in the village as {{Human Shield}}s for their latest weapon. Not to mention what nearly kills Kouji in an early episode: not wearing a helmet of all things and subsequently hitting his head in the cockpit, back when heroes loved to show their face in combat.
** ''Anime/GreatMazinger'' introduced the HotBlooded AcePilot archetype with Tetsuya, who turned out to lack a sense of self worth and constantly feared being replaced due to a massive inferiority complex, which causes him to [[WouldHitAGirl abuse his adopted sister]] and later results in the death of [[spoiler:his adoptive father]].
** ''Manga/ViolenceJack'' started AfterTheEnd manga in Japan. It devoted its entire first chapter to showing in ''loving detail'' a NightmareFuel, {{Gorn}} filled account of TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. Things go FromBadToWorse after that, with a VillainProtagonist who fights and kills out of mere curiosity or boredom. Compared to that later series such as ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' are LighterAndSofter.
** ''Manga/CuteyHoney'' established several of the elements of a MagicalGirlWarrior, including a naked transformation sequence, several different gadgets to use in fight, an InTheNameOfTheMoon speech, female MonsterOfTheWeek and more, however she is not magical as she is a gynoid (or possibly, a cyborg) she also fights alone instead of having a team and her decision to fight is personal instead of her being a chosen one.
* ''Manga/SkullMan'' has all the trappings of a NinetiesAntiHero, complete with killing numerous people just for the hell of it. And yet it also does a good job of pointing out the protagonist is [[KnightTemplar murdering relatively innocent people]] and by his own standards, he'd have to kill every person in Japan to accomplish his goals. It also originated in [[OlderThanTheyThink 1970]].
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'':
** Rei Ayanami was the creator of the ReiAyanamiExpy. She also happens to be deconstruction of the archetype, [[spoiler:as she is a CameBackWrong under-aged clone of main character's mother and is inhabited by the soul of an EldritchAbomination that goes on to [[ApocalypseMaiden destroy the world]]]]. She's a significant victim of a MisaimedFandom, as she was intended to fall directly into the UncannyValley, and to coming ''[[WhenSheSmiles this close]]'' to climbing out of that valley only to plummet back down into the depths, even creepier than she was before. However, since the initial uncanny valley was fueled primarily by her [[WalkingSpoiler enigmatic nature]], the fan's interest was piqued. Even after TheMovie ended the series and made Rei ''suddenly not so cute anymore'', she remained, and to some degree, still remains the queen of waifus -- a symbol of the {{Otaku}}'s disinterest in real women. Rei is also thought to be a prototype of modern {{Moe}}... and she is also a deconstruction of it for much the same reasons.
** Gendo helped popularize the ManipulativeBastard... and is portrayed as a deeply screwed up man who has only become ruthless because of the loss of his wife. In the [[StealthPun end]], [[spoiler:he gets effortlessly OutGambitted by Rei, who steals the role he had planned for himself and gives it to Shinji instead]]. Most other examples do not ever really get distracted much in their plans and if they are main characters, they get portrayed positively, often absurdly so. The idea that a ManipulativeBastard could actually be taken care of in an unexpected way is usually unheard of.
* ''Anime/SailorMoon'', and the MagicalGirlWarrior genre inspired by it, is cited as being at the extreme idealistic end of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism, favoring ThePowerOfFriendship over a bullet between the eyes as a way to defeat evil. [[LostInImitation But in the original [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]], the Sailor Senshi rarely attempted to redeem villains and had no problem with killing them.]] This concept got revived with [[AntiHero Sailors Uranus and Neptune]] in their anime debut.
** From a modern perspective, the anime appears almost stupidly idealistic and rather silly. While that's not entirely inaccurate (particularly in the later seasons), the show was very aware of just how silly it was, and in many episodes it looks more like an AffectionateParody of the genre than a TropeCodifier. Usagi didn't start out as a perfect warrior of Love and Justice, she was a whiny, self-absorbed ditz who would often as not cry and run away when faced with a fight. Even after CharacterDevelopment ensued, her InTheNameOfTheMoon speeches, extreme idealism, [[TransformationSequence impractical transformation sequences]], and [[ClarkKenting terribly silly and unnecessary attempts at keeping her identity secret]] were repeatedly and ruthlessly {{lampshaded}}. However, because ''Sailor Moon'' became the TropeCodifier, many of these things have since become genre conventions and are played completely straight in later works.
** On the other end of the spectrum, the genre contains many deconstructions mocking the more [[FollowTheLeader lighthearted anime that followed after it's success.]] Although not outright GrimDark by any means, the series puts Usagi through the ringer in order to defeat the true BigBad; Costing the lives of friends and family alike. Things get better, but it's made very clear AsLongAsThereIsEvil, the conflict will never be over.
* ''Manga/SaintSeiya'' popularized the RescueArc as well as the convention of [[YouShallNotPass having a sequence of enemies impeding the heroes]], but it also deviates heavily from later versions of it. The Gold Saints were above the level of strength Seiya and company could bring to the table and frequently the battles had to be determined by outside forces intervening.
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'':
** The Super Saiyan form helped start the concept of people with a SuperMode, but is shown in a very nuanced light; while it's not exactly a SuperpoweredEvilSide, it often takes a toll on the sanity or morality of its user, and when it's first attained, it's not clear whether or not it's a good thing.
** The {{Trope Namer|s}} and [[TropeCodifier Codifier]] for PowerLevels, according to WordOfGod, was a concept meant to illustrate how inaccurate and frivolous it would be to try and numerically quantify someone's fighting ability. Numerous times the villains end up losing because they miscalculate the ability of their opponents by their power levels alone, not accounting for skill or tactics.
** Many shonen works inspired by ''Franchise/DragonBall'' feature BloodKnight heroes who enjoys fighting challenging tough opponents. However, Goku and especially Vegeta are responsible for [[NiceJobBreakingItHero exaggerating many of the problems in the series]] because of their love of fighting. Vegeta often would let villains like Cell and Frieza power up all for the sake of an exciting and challenging battle, although in the case of Frieza Vegeta truly believe he wouldn't become that much stronger. The villains then proceed to cause rampant destruction and suffering on others and could've easily been stopped in their weaker forms. During the Cell Saga, Vegeta lets Cell absorb the androids to so he can fight Cell's superior perfect form. Later Goku heals Cell so he can fight the unprepared Gohan on equal grounds.
* ''Manga/BarefootGen'' shows how brutal society in Japan could be after the bombings; after ''Anime/GraveOfTheFireflies'', [[FromBadToWorse it gets worse off from here]].
* In a similar way to Gendo, ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' popularized the idea of overpowered {{Reality Warper}}s. The series also spends a lot of time demonstrating how ridiculously dangerous Haruhi's powers would be: she nearly destroys the universe several times, without even knowing she's capable of doing so. Her self-serving powers have also caused her to become an unbelievably self-centered {{jerkass}}, and it takes her a long time to begin growing out of it.
* After the MerchandiseDriven anime, several spinoffs, and a number of less-memorable [[FollowTheLeader wannabes]], it's easy to forget that the original ''YuGiOh'' was one of the darkest manga this side of ''Manga/DeathNote''. The early chapters are about a lonely, bullied geek taking revenge on his tormentors through deadly games involving torture, disfigurement, and MindRape. Even after Yugi [[LighterAndSofter mellows out a bit]] and the focus shifts to card games, the story is full of gruesome and sometimes horrific imagery. And then there are the villains: Kaiba and Marik both had [[AbusiveParents abusive fathers]], and in Marik's case it was so severe he developed a SplitPersonality. Pegasus is driven by a desperate and obsessive need to see his lost love again. Dark Bakura is the spirit of a man who had survived the genocide of his village and was consumed by the desire for revenge. Lesser villains are often weirdos and loners with haunting pasts who [[BunnyEarsLawyer take their gimmicks way too far]]. Almost universally, they are obsessed with this card game and the power it gives them, and have a penchant for [[DeathTrap Death Traps]], cruelty, and [[KickTheDog twisting the knife]]. For all the series gets criticized for [[{{Anvilicious}} harping on the value of friendship]], there's a disturbing implication that Yugi's TrueCompanions are literally the only thing that keep him from [[HeWhoFightsMonsters becoming as bad as or worse than]] the people he's fighting against. And in the ending, Yami Yugi the master card gamer [[spoiler:accepts RedemptionEqualsDeath, crossing over into the land of the dead so that his "good half" can move on to a normal life.]] Far from being a celebration of tabletop gaming, the story is about how [[YouBastard obsessing over a hobby to escape your problems turns you into a nasty, miserable, misanthropic person]].
** Its OddlyNamedSequel, ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', takes this line of thought to its logical conclusion through the [[HeroicBSOD trials]] of [[TheHero Judai]]. While there is nothing bold or challenging about saying that hobbies in RealLife should not be treated as though [[SeriousBusiness the fate of the universe depended on them]], this series advances the thesis that one would be better off not treating one's hobbies that way ''even if it were true'' - or rather, especially if it were true.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' is one of the most famous examples of {{Mon}}s anime. But earlier seasons, especially ''first episode'' deconstructs the whole Pokemon experience.
** Ash Ketchum in the early seasons is an example of what happens when you let an inexperienced and [[IdiotHero ignorant]] child into such a world. In the first episode, his incompetence ''at best'' gets him laughed at, and at worst, nearly get him and Pikachu killed. Criminal organizations, like Team Rocket, weren't [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain bumbling nuisances]] but were very real threats to him. His initial gym victories were not won by skill, but because he did the gym leaders favors. Hell, two of his most powerful Pokemon (Pikachu and Charizard) were very disobedient because they didn't respect such as hapless kid. [[{{Reconstruction}} Sure, Ash eventually became a decent trainer through his loyalty, tenacity, courage, and love]] [[EarnYourHappyEnding but it took a while to get there]].
** Other early episodes deal with other problems with a Pokemon world, like abandonment, disobedience, crime, and the origins of Mewtwo which is a [[TearJerker tragic]] and [[NightmareFuel frightening example]] of the [[PlayingWithSyringes experimentation that can exist]].
** Mewtwo's portrayal in [[Anime/PokemonTheFirstMovie the first movie]], in particular, can come across as a pretty sharp indictment of many aspects of {{Mons}} series. The treatment of a highly intelligent and powerful creature as a subservient entity and a means to an end (like in the games, where Mewtwo is a BonusBoss and a PurposelyOverpowered fighter) by humans is what turns Mewtwo into a villain, well before the source material would question if the concept of Pokemon training was ethically right in ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' 12 years later. [[spoiler: And while Ash's sacrifice destroyed his vendetta, he still felt lost and alone in the world]].
** [[Anime/{{Pokemon 2000}} Some]] [[Anime/PokemonHeroes later]] [[Anime/PokemonZoroarkMasterOfIllusions movies]] also tackled the subject of OlympusMons. Greedy humans who tried to capture and exploit the power of Legendary Pokemon for their own selfish desires [[TheProblemWithFightingDeath wound up dooming a city or even the entire world]] due to the Pokemon's CosmicKeystone powers that the setting depends on. During the fallout and efforts to save the day, the movie's guest stars didn't just follow the heroes; they fought, and sometimes [[HeroicSacrifice even died in action]]. It wasn't until ''VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl'' that the games took on the consequences of capturing what boils down to a PhysicalGod.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comics]]
* UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks, at times, was significantly darker than UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks and more mature than UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks:
** Most of this is because comics were only just escaping the influence of pulp fiction. The Golden Age also straddled the same time period as the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII second World War]]. When your countrymen are killing and dying on foreign shores to protect life and liberty, it makes sense that your comic book heroes would kill and die too. This can be overstated, though, particularly with regard to the most famous superhero characters. For instance, as [[Podcast/WarRocketAjax professional Batmanologist Chris Sims]] has noted, "Sure, Franchise/{{Batman}} might’ve fought vampires and carried a gun for like three issues, but by the end of that first year, it was all cat-wrestling and trips to Storybook Land."
** If you read the very first Batman/Joker story, it almost looks like someone decided to actually combine the violence and murder of [[Creator/FrankMiller Frank Miller's]] ''Comicbook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns'' with the campiness of [[Series/{{Batman}} the Adam West version]]. (This was also before Bob Kane decided NOT to have the Joker be one of the villains that spew terrible puns) It has simplistic art and bad dialogue, but people actually die laughing with huge unnatural smiles on their faces. It also has the Joker painting his face with flesh-colored makeup, which many have thought was created for the 1989 TimBurton film (and in the comic, the makeup is ''not'' a PaperThinDisguise, but actually works). Furthermore, in this first story the Joker never smiles, bringing to mind the dour Joker of Miller's ''ComicBook/AllStarBatmanAndRobinTheBoyWonder''.
** The Human Bomb stories going back to 1941 always had a fair amount of Wangst in them. Everything he touched exploded, and the stories like something from Marvel from the seventies often explored how that would affect his psyche. Some of the time. Some of the time they played it as a joke.
** If you tell someone there's a comic book where the Human Torch is burning someone's arm to the bone on the cover, they'll probably think "what have comics come to these days?" or "man, they'd do anything to be edgy in [[UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks the 90s]]." What they probably wouldn't think is "it's amazing what they put on comic book covers before there were rules about what you could put on comic book covers." Unless they've seen [[http://www.editions-deesse.com/imagesL/HumanTorch12.jpg the issue in question]].
** Golden Age Franchise/{{Superman}} stories surprisingly have more in common with modern Superman than their Silver Age counterparts, in that Superman was portrayed more as a defender of the common man than the super powered lawman he later evolved into, and stories often had political and social themes to them. In general, many characters treated Supes as a thorn in the side of the establishment, just as one might expect they would in RealLife.
* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'':
** To a modern reader, Rorschach feels like a deconstruction of the NinetiesAntiHero, when he was largely the inspiration for many DarkerAndEdgier heroes, whose creators [[MisaimedFandom missed the point]]. Creator/AlanMoore is notoriously bitter that so many people consider a hero someone he tried to make as deplorable as possible.
** This is even more true with Watchmen's other anti-hero, The Comedian. He has all the mannerisms and attitudes of later "badass" [[SuperheroPackingHeat gun using]] characters like Comicbook/{{Cable}} and ComicBook/ThePunisher, who became increasingly popular in the decades right after ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'' was published. He's also a rapist, a war criminal, and an all around asshole.
* ''ComicBook/MarshalLaw'', while deconstructing traditional superheroes, managed to deconstruct the [[NinetiesAntiHero '90s anti-hero]] in ''[[TheEighties the '80s]]'': [[spoiler:At one point Marshal Law accuses the Public Spirit, a Superman [[CaptainErsatz analog]], of inspiring an entire generation of heroes to go to war in the Zone, in what can only be described as "Super-Nam". The Public Spirit turns this around by telling Law that Law's own vigilante actions have also inspired people, except in a more horrific manner. We then find that Law, the 90s anti-hero, inspired the main villain to take up his actions in the first place, thus completing the cycle]]. The reader is left to conclude that Law ''and'' the Spirit are both extremely messed up people. Additionally, Kevin O'Neill's artwork for the series was intended as a parody of Creator/JackKirby-influenced superhero comic art. Creator/RobLiefeld and his imitators would later produce something very similar with serious intent.
* Marvel's ''ComicBook/SecretWars'' (preceding ''Crisis'' itself) was the start of the CrisisCrossover... and for the most part it never crossed over into the ''characters' books''. You'd just get a few panels of the character disappearing for the crossover and reappearing.
* ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} was the {{Trope Namer|s}} for WolverineClaws, but unlike a lot of other examples of the trope, stories with him have actually addressed that having claws come out of his hands ''HURTS''; in fact some stories with him depicted blood coming out of his hands whenever he uses his claws and a period where he didn't have his HealingFactor addressed that without it he had to constantly bandage his hands whenever he used his claws without his HealingFactor to repair them. While also considered one of the {{Trope Codifier}}s for the HealingFactor power, having it had drawbacks like meaning anesthesia can't be used on him.
* Creator/JackKirby's ''Comicbook/{{OMAC}}'' seemed to utterly defy classification when it hit the stands in 1974, and didn't make it to nine issues. The series has since established a cult following, who have placed it firmly into the {{Cyberpunk}} genre: ten years before ''Literature/{{Neuromancer}}'', you had a hero who gained his powers from an AI satellite, put in place to hold off nuclear exchanges and nullify attempts at corporate espionage. Long before ''Film/BladeRunner'' and ''Anime/GhostInTheShell'' popularized the concept, OMAC was showing sympathy to RidiculouslyHumanRobots and discussing ideas like memory and identity in a world where a person's memories can be removed or rewritten. The cover of the first issue, showing a weird anti-erotic robot woman in a box with her face where her crotch should be, could be seen as a condemnation of the excesses of Internet porn, decades before there was porn on the Internet. [[http://toobusythinkingboutcomics.blogspot.com/2011/10/omac-2011-versus-omac-1974-smiths_09.html One blogger]] even pointed out that it actually analyzed cyberpunk themes more than the 2011 reboot.
* Comicbook/{{Azrael}} from ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' was one of the first examples, and probably the most famous, of the AntiHeroSubstitute, taking over from Bruce Wayne when Wayne was temporarily paralyzed. He's depicted as a violent, mentally unstable sociopath and egotist who's doing more harm than good with his brutal and militaristic methods of crime fighting. By the end of the arc he's become the BigBad whom the original Batman must put down before his extremism destroys Gotham. WordOfGod confirms that the entire arc was preplanned to demonstrate to over-excited [[UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks Dark Age]] fanboys that a totally ruthless and brutal Batman was a bad idea. The fact that we have a full trope page for AntiHeroSubstitute should tell you about how well the message went over.
* Marvel's [[ComicBook/TheTransformers Transformers comics]] preceded all other Transformers fiction, but also went a hefty way to deconstructing the premise and clichés that the cartoon would thoughtlessly use. Characters could be KilledOffForReal at any time if their toys weren't in stock, sometimes [[TheBadGuyWins the Decepticons won battles]], the Autobots often won at heavy costs, there were shown to be [[GreyAndGrayMorality evil Autobots and good Decepticons]], the ineffectual Megatron gets taken out by issue 25 and replaced by the legitimately dangerous Shockwave, the Matrix of Leadership is depicted as an [[BlueAndOrangeMorality unknowable]] force that can be both good and evil, and the human sidekicks often meet tragic fates including being killed off.
* Despite [[ComicBook/TheFantasticFour Mr. Fantastic]] being the trope namer for ReedRichardsIsUseless, canon states that he actually ''does'' patent a lot of his gadgets; he just doesn't sell the insanely dangerous ones like interdimensional transporters. It's also been shown that a chunk of his money comes from other companies ''paying'' him to not release stuff expressly because the devices would drive them into bankruptcy through competition they couldn't hope to match.
* [[ComicBook/{{Vampirella}} Vampirella]] sometimes get the credit of being the first "Bad Girl", decades before the genre. Only that she often was a DamselInDistress, a thing no Bad Girl wants to be caught with alive...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:FanFic]]
* ''FanFic/ATrekkiesTale'' for its original MarySue character, the eponymous Mary Sue. If anything, she lacked CommonMarySueTraits and was a ParodySue in a SelfInsertFic, despite being the {{Trope Namer|s}}. Makes sense given that this trope is OlderThanTheyThink.
* Innortal's original Loops in ''FanFic/TheInfiniteLoops'' can be seen as this. The loops is about characters getting [[GroundhogDayLoop stuck in a time loop]], and the wacky shenanigans that ensue in attempt to keep themselves sane. Despite the fact that the loops reset everything though, most loopers make a conscious effort to uphold a moral code, as well as make sure they don't go ''too'' far in their shenanigans. Innortal's original loopers? Not so much... Their 'stir craziness' that results in 'wacky shenanigans' often results in them resorting to some rather morally ambiguous actions to keep themselves sane, and they often treat non-loopers more as playthings than actual people because of the loops making them immortal, and them resetting back to how they originally were when the loop does. Since nothing's permanent, the loopers didn't have to worry about any major punishment for their actions, resulting in the original seven devolving into more BlueAndOrangeMorality as time goes on, because there's literally nothing stopping them from doing anything they want. ''A lot'' of the original sevens actions to keep themselves sane are viewed upon as terrible by the readers and future loop writers at large, and the original seven come off as major {{Jerkass}}ess, a far cry from loopers that later joined in when the community formed.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* Creator/CharlieChaplin was the first major movie star to direct his own films, as well as one of the first to produce them with some degree of independence from the Hollywood studio system. Which is all the more impressive because Chaplin was one of the first movie stars ''ever''.
* ''Film/{{Metropolis}}'' is one of the first science fiction movies ever, set in a futuristic city dominated by technology. And what's it about? How cool all the machines are? How awesome that robot is? No. It's about unionized labour and class division.
* Along with Creator/CecilBDeMille, Creator/DWGriffith was one of the first of the big-shot Hollywood film directors. He shaped nearly every aesthetic aspect of the American motion picture as we understand it today. And yet as early as the mid-1910s, Griffith was already experimenting with editing styles which would not catch on with filmmakers in his own country for nearly half a century, and to a great extent are still not common today. His “art-house” masterpiece, ''Film/{{Intolerance}}'', showcased a rapid-fire montage style that defied conventional Hollywood editing techniques - techniques that, by and large, ''Griffith himself'' had invented.
* 1939's ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' popularized, if not introduced, the visual effect of portraying mundane life in monochrome or bland lighting and using lush color to present the more exciting and wonderful world of freedom and adventure. However, most later films and commercials that use the technique don't center the plot around a protagonist who specifically desires to return to her relatively uneventful and colorless life in the end.
* The use of {{Alucard}} as a SdrawkcabAlias first arose in ''Son of Dracula'' in 1943, the middle of the monster movie craze. Every single character figures it out almost immediately.
* The Fifties AlienInvasion craze began with ''Film/ItCameFromOuterSpace''. (''Film/TheWarOfTheWorlds'' came first, but was an adaptation of a 1897 novel.) Thing is, the "invasion" in the film is nothing of the sort. The aliens are neither conquerors nor infiltrators, but stranded travelers trying to repair their ship. While they do take hostages, they're more then willing to release them in exchange for a promise of safety. The vigilante mob led by the local sheriff turns out to be a much more serious problem. The film was a reaction to the xenophobia that dominated the American consciousness during the early 1950's; portraying the outsiders as being [[NotSoDifferent as scared of us as we were of them]] was a fairly bold statement for its time. But as the UsefulNotes/ColdWar worsened, the genre's priorities shifted to milking the RedScare for all it was worth.
* Although the [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever giant monster movie]] genre has come to be synonymous with gleefully watching the invincible monsters tear apart the puny human cities, some of the earlier ones had a far more "realistic" and nuanced view of this. In ''Film/TheBeastFromTwentyThousandFathoms'', half of the movie consists of the hero, labeled as a delusional foreigner, trying to [[YouHaveToBelieveMe convince the American authorities that the rhedosaurus really exists at all]]. And when it shows up, it's ''not'' ImmuneToBullets, but – being a recently-resurrected dinosaur – [[NoBiochemicalBarriers carries all manner of hideous diseases we've never seen]]. ''Film/TheAmazingColossalMan'', one of the earliest (if not ''the'' earliest), is about the giant's slow SanitySlippage as the mental and physical strain of his transformation takes it's toll, complete with a DownerEnding.
* If you primarily know of Creator/JohnWayne's work through PopCultureOsmosis, watching his 1962 film ''Film/TheManWhoShotLibertyValance'' can be a bit jarring. While not Wayne's first movie as a leading man (that was ''Film/{{The Big Trail}}''), it's largely responsible for solidifying American pop culture's image of him: it was the first movie to cast him as a LoveableRogue cowboy in [[IconicOutfit a ten-gallon hat and a neckerchief]] who [[KnightInSourArmor defends the weak while snarking cynically]], and it spawned his iconic CatchPhrase [[MemeticMutation "Pilgrim"]], among other things. It's also a vicious GenreDeconstruction of Westerns that's ultimately about [[EndOfAnAge the death of the Old West]], and it ends with Wayne's character [[spoiler: dying alone and unremembered after succumbing to his alcoholism, while another man [[DidNotGetTheGirl marries his only love]] and [[StealingTheCredit takes the credit]] for his final heroic deed]].
* Part of ''Film/{{Alien}}'''s enduring success was how many tropes it either inverted or highlighted in a unique way before they became popular in media.
** While it didn't [[TropeCodifier codify]] the FinalGirl trope (''Film/{{Halloween|1978}}'' and ''Film/TheTexasChainSawMassacre1974'' had done so in the five years prior to its release), most final protagonists were set up with some degree of focus and major development. In stark contrast, Ripley was played by Creator/SigourneyWeaver, who (at that time) was the least-known member of the cast, had a handful of film cameos to her credit and is OutOfFocus for a third of the film. ''No one'' expected that the cast would be killed off in descending order based on their star power (Creator/JohnHurt and Creator/HarryDeanStanton were the biggest stars in the cast at the time), and which still hasn't been replicated in films that feature a DeadStarWalking.
** Whereas most modern films have a self-destruct that is triggered by entering commands into a computer or flipping a switch, ''Alien'''s self-destruct sequence is played as realistically and procedurally as it can in a science-fiction film. The procedure requires Ripley to read the directions before she initiates the process, which entails slowly pulling out rods and inserting them in four reactors. The process takes a solid minute to initiate, and has a FailsafeFailure that causes Ripley to just miss the window of opportunity when she tries to reverse it after encountering the xenomorph. Likewise, the ExactTimeToFailure tells Ripley how much time she has before the failsafes are rendered inoperable, in stark contrast to any film that has a countdown. The self-destruction also results in the ship going up in several pieces, rather than the "single explosion" that has been seen in most modern films. Notably, when this same sequence was repeated verbatim in ''VideoGame/AlienIsolation'', some players found it to be too drawn-out and slow given the action taking place on-screen at the time.
* ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' is credited with kick-starting the gritty, grizzled SpaceMarine trope that's permeated science fiction and popular culture for decades afterwards. A group of hardened veteran soldiers ([[OneManArmy or just one]]) mow down hordes of mooks/aliens/monsters with their advanced weaponry, saving civilisation while spouting [[BadassBoast boasts]], [[BondOneLiner one liners]], and [[DeadpanSnarker snark]] left and right. It's easy to forget then that the Colonial Marines in ''Aliens'' are portrayed as arrogant, trigger-happy jarheads who, despite their overwhelming confidence, had never faced anything even remotely like the xenomorphs, and suffered for it. They collapsed into panic and disarray the moment they made actual contact, they got slaughtered because they had no idea what they were up against, and their incompetence resulted in the entire facility being blown to pieces by accident. It's not a display of badassery so much as it is a sci-fi version of [[UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar 'Nam]]. Furthermore, the only marine who survived the ordeal was the one who followed the orders of Ellen Ripley, who is not only a civilian but also a woman and the main character, something rare even today in similar genres. The final confrontation is between two {{Mama Bear}}s, Ripley and the alien queen, completely counter to the hyper-masculine narratives permeating the versions that followed.
** The film also subverted the PunchClockHero trope long before it became commonplace in television and film. When Ripley is court-martialed and drummed out for destroying the Nostromo in the previous film, she simply picks up work at Gateway Station's docks and doesn't make any waves for a fair stretch of time. Even when Burke and Gorman come to recruit her for the mission, she [[RefusalOfTheCall refuses]] on the grounds that it's not in her job description and the mission sounds uneventful. It takes another {{bad dream|s}} to convince her to go, and even then, she acts largely as a civilian advisor (who doesn't like the soldiers she's traveling with) until two-thirds of the way through the film.
* Many early [[{{Euroshlock}} Italian]] {{Exploitation Film}}s tried to paint themselves as "True Art", rather than just shocking for the sake of shocking. Indeed many sub-genres of Exploitation have their origins in Italian "art films", only to be copied by other lesser film makers who just didn't care. Ever hear of ''Film/SaloOrThe120DaysOfSodom''? While being one of the most disgusting, shocking, and offensive movies ever made, it's not pointlessly so, but rather a satire on Italian Fascism. Anyone going into ''Film/CannibalHolocaust'' will expect disturbing and {{gorn}}y. But a thought provoking commentary on Imperialism?
* ''Film/{{Gojira}}'':
** The originator of the ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' franchise is nothing like the {{kaiju}} genre it spawned. Godzilla is a clear metaphor for the horrors of nuclear weaponry, with the nuclear bombing of Japan was fewer than 10 years past at the time. Godzilla is an evil abomination of nature, and his rampage is not treated as gleeful a spectacle of destruction, the film including extended scenes of [[ChildrenAreInnocent little kids]] painfully dying of radiation burns and other horrors.
** Both the {{Trope Maker|s}} and the {{Trope Namer|s}} for the GodzillaThreshold, it went much farther in examining the moral and psychological implications of such an idea than many works that came after it. In addition to examining the political ramifications of the Oxygen Destroyer used to kill Godzilla, its inventor, [[ReluctantMadScientist Dr. Daisuke Serizawa]], is depicted as a tragic, self-loathing figure who genuinely hates the fact that his only great creation is a horrific weapon of war, as he's also [[ShellShockedVeteran a battle-scarred veteran]] who witnessed the worst of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII as a young man. Serizawa's hatred of his Oxygen Destroyer is so great that it destroys his relationship with his intended bride, Emiko, and he's so devoted to protecting the world from his creation that he only agrees to use it against Godzilla after destroying his notes, ultimately committing a HeroicSuicide in the final scene so that the secret of the Oxygen Destroyer dies with him.
* And similarly, ''Film/{{Them}}'' came out in 1954, when the [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever giant monster movie]] was still new, and the first half of the movie is clearly... a PoliceProcedural (just with really bizarre clues), until we finally see what 'they' actually are. ''Them!'' itself was extremely influential. A number of its successors imitate the police procedural structure... even when, in terms of the plot, there's ''actually no mystery'' as to what's going on.
** Also, similar to ''The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms'', the giant ants are easily killed by conventional weapons. There's just so many that it's impractical unless they're trapped in a closed location like a nest or a sewer.
* Part of the reason why ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'' is a holiday classic is that it's one of the first – and ''very'' few – films to tackle the subject of holiday depression, doing it long before cynical takes on Christmas became common in pop culture. And unlike so many of those later films, this one [[PlayedForDrama does]] ''[[PlayedForDrama not]]'' [[PlayedForDrama play the depression for comedy]], although there are some welcome moments of comic relief here and there.
* Several works explored the ramifications and possibilities of the RealityShow, years before ''Series/BigBrother'' and ''Series/{{Survivor}}'', the {{Trope Codifier}}s for reality television, were a speck in anyone's eyes:
** ''Film/TheTrumanShow''. While shows that we would now call "reality TV" (''Series/{{COPS}}'', ''Series/TheRealWorld'') did exist at the time, they were done in a far more documentary-style manner than the types of shows retroactively skewered by ''Truman''. A line from the film ("We're tired of actors giving us fake emotions, pretending what to feel") hits harder than ever now. More importantly, even through Truman is "real", in that [[LockedOutOfTheLoop he's the]] ''[[LockedOutOfTheLoop only]]'' [[LockedOutOfTheLoop person who doesn't know what's going on]], the show itself is ultimately unreal [[RailRoading since the producers predetermine]] ''[[RailRoading everything]]''.
** ''Film/EDtv'' [[DuelingMovies did the same thing around the same time]], only it did it in a more realistic fashion. Truman was unaware he's on TV. Ed was one of many applicants for the job, [[CelebrityIsOverrated and ends up finding out that being a reality TV star isn't all it's cracked up to be]].
** RobertSheckley's 1958 short story "The Prize of Peril" predates all of the above. It's about a man who goes on a TV show in which he must evade people out to kill him for a week in order to win a large cash prize.
** Albert Brooks' 1978 {{Mockumentary}} ''Film/RealLife'' also skewered many RealityShow tropes.
** Another early example (1981) is [[Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow the definitive cult icon's]] less successful younger sibling ''Film/ShockTreatment'', which was eerily prescient of reality television's cults of personality, lewd consumerism, and destructive effects on the talent long before Reality TV actually existed.
** ''Film/TheYearOfTheSexOlympics'' satirized the kind of world that would produce reality TV, and the way producers would manipulate their "reality" shows for shock value. In 1968.
** ''Film/{{Network}}'', aside from anticipating the bastardization of network news (see below), also had a subplot where one of the executives joined forces with a Symbionese Liberation Army-esque group to produce a reality show, ''The Mao Tse-tung Hour'', covering their antics. The leaders of this group initially see this as a means to show off their ideals, but they wind up selling out to the very corporate machine they sought to destroy, their ideology becoming hollow as the leaders [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuqvlMxfGA4 argue with the executives]] over distribution costs, overhead, and subsidiary rights.
** ''Literature/TheRunningMan'': [[AdaptationDisplacement Better known for its 80s action flick version]], this Creator/StephenKing novel starred a man who had to evade murderers in order to a get money, similar to prize of peril. The man only signs up because he is desperately poor. And in the darkest form of ExecutiveMeddling, the game show executives [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem bend the rules]] for their own gain.
* The CowboyCop trope has been deconstructed multiple times before it was ever played straight later on without a hint of irony primarily in the action movies of the 1980s and 1990s.
** ''Film/{{Bullitt}}'' was actually the first Cowboy Cop movie, but seen today, it looks like a deconstruction of the genre: the cop (Steve [=McQueen=]) ignores his superiors and dismisses the quite reasonable demands of a slimy politician (Robert Vaughan) out of distrust, but accidentally kills all the witnesses and ruins any chances of finding the real mob bosses. [[spoiler:The film ends with him staring into a mirror, realizing just how badly he's screwed up.]]
** ''Film/DirtyHarry'' also qualifies as an unbuilt trope. Harry's methods aren't actually shown all that positively. His JackBauerInterrogationTechnique on the Scorpio Killer is [[GoryDiscretionShot downright horrific]] and ends up doing no good. And in the end [[spoiler:he throws away his badge after disregarding orders and endangering innocents.]]
** ''Film/TheFrenchConnection'' did something similar. Popeye Doyle is ''Series/TheShield'''s Vic Mackey before Vic Mackey – goes against the books, quick to jump the leash, and at least a little bigoted. And what happens when he goes in guns blazing in the final DarkenedBuildingShootout? [[spoiler:He kills a police contact, providing enough chaos for the kingpin to get away, and a WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue explains that he ended up getting transferred out of Narcotics for the clusterfuck]].
** ''Where the Sidewalk Ends'', from 1950, predates them all. The protagonist is a true CowboyCop, rampaging all over the city in his pursuit of justice – or he would be, if he didn't have to spend so much time dealing with the consequences of his actions.
* ''[[Film/BlowUp Blow-Up]]'' contains the Unbuilt Trope version of the EnhanceButton. It's based on the realistic version of the trope: a photographer in a dark room. Unlike most other versions of the EnhanceButton, enhancing the image is a time-consuming process, and [[spoiler:the final result is so grainy that the photo might not show what it seems to show.]] Ultimately, it's like [[GainaxEnding two mimes playing tennis.]]
* ''Film/HaroldAndMaude'': Harold is a Defrosting EmoTeen before there was Music/{{emo}}.
* That paragon of [[TheEighties 1980s]] [[RatedMForManly action flicks]], ''Film/ConanTheBarbarian1982'' is an introspective, dialogue-light opera exploring [[StrawNihilist Nietszchean ideas]] about [[{{Conflict}} Man versus Society]].
* ''Film/SaturdayNightFever'' portrays disco lifestyle in a manner that is decidedly unsentimental and depressing enough to be labeled as a grim {{deconstruction}}. A [[FollowTheLeader slew of imitators]] that followed were unapologetically feel-good [[{{Escapism}} escapist fantasies]] – which SNF isn't.
* ''They Call Me [=MISTER=] Tibbs'', a sequel to ''Film/InTheHeatOfTheNight'', predated ''Film/{{Shaft}}'' by some years and was a more conventional crime drama than later [[{{Blaxploitation}} street-crime-seen-through-the-eyes-of-a-black-protagonist productions]]. ''Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song'' came out shortly after ''Tibbs'' and added, among other things, the fast-paced action scenes with funk music backgrounds that later became really popular through ''{{Shaft}}''.
* Despite its influence on the modern day slasher film genre and kickstarting the career of Creator/WesCraven, the original ''Film/TheLastHouseOnTheLeft'' really bears no similarity to modern day slasher films at all. There is no shocking out of nowhere "[[JumpScare jump scenes]]" or tension that has become a trademark of the genre, the killings are slow, obvious and fairly realistic and shocking in that manner. The SoundtrackDissonance is quite obvious and fairly odd, as is the comedic bits sprinkled throughout. Furthermore all the killers including the gang and parents are both seen as normal people, not [[ImplacableMan almost supernatural and indestructible beings]]. By today's standards it'd almost be seen as a dark comedy instead of a horror film.
* Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann from ''Film/FullMetalJacket'' is the TropeCodifier for DrillSergeantNasty, but his methods lead to one of the recruits snapping [[spoiler:and killing him, then committing suicide.]]
* How many [[SequelDisplacement people]] remember that ''Film/FirstBlood'' was a downbeat film about a ShellShockedVeteran fleeing the law, rather than Rambo mowing down dozens of DirtyCommies while shirtless?
* ''Film/DrunkenMaster'', the first film of the "Jackie Chan learns Kung Fu" series. In it, Jackie's character was very good at fighting to begin with (he bests his teachers), and was actually sent to the TrainingFromHell as punishment, though ultimately he ended up becoming much better at Kung Fu than before. But in many subsequent films, Jackie plays an absolute novice with no previous fighting skills who suddenly becomes the best fighter in a very short time, much less time than in that first movie.
* ''Film/AnimalHouse'' actually does a lot in deconstructing WackyFratboyHijinks, as it's pointed out how the wild and destructive Deltas do things that ''no'' sane college administration would allow; things that would get real college students arrested. Though the Deltas ''do'' ultimately get their revenge on [[DeanBitterman the Dean]] and [[SlobsVersusSnobs the snobbish Omegas]] by the end, it's a PyrrhicVictory –- in spite of it all, they're expelled from the college, and it's heavily implied that at least some of them end up drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam. As [[DeanBitterman Dean Wormer]] perfectly puts it, "[[VillainHasAPoint Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.]]"
* The ''Film/DeathWish'' saga pioneered the urban VigilanteMan concept, but it also showed how dangerous it would be.
* Viewed today, Creator/MichaelBay's ''Film/TheRock'' can come off as a {{deconstruction}} of the mindless action and gung ho American patriotism that Bay's films are frequently criticized for—even though it was the second movie of his career, and his first military thriller. For one thing, the main antagonists are [[WesternTerrorists American terrorists]] [[WellIntentionedExtremist fighting for an unusually sympathetic cause]], with the {{Corrupt Bureaucrat}}s that motivated them presented as the true villains. For another, the movie spends almost as much time [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped condemning America's treatment of veterans]] and presenting a damning view of government secret-keeping as it does on action. Furthermore, the heroes aren't military types - once a Navy SEAL team is slaughtered, it's up to what the general in charge describes as "a 70-year-old convict and a lab rat" to save the day.
* ''Film/TheSiege'' is a movie that looks at how [[PostNineElevenTerrorismMovie a major terrorist attack in New York]] would disrupt life greatly... [[HarsherInHindsight three years before]] [[TheWarOnTerror September 11, 2001]].
* ''Film/StarshipTroopers'':
** [[http://www.cracked.com/article_19259_6-mind-blowing-ways-starship-troopers-predicted-future.html This]] Website/{{Cracked}} article makes an interesting case that, viewed today without context, the film could easily be mistaken for a satire on the War on Terror. A militaristic right wing government, complacent in its own superiority, suffers a devastating disaster that destroys a major population center. They blame a race of far off aliens on an isolated desert planet that couldn't possibly be responsible, and go to war, egged on by media saturated with propaganda. They quickly get bogged down in a quagmire. After capturing the leader, and torturing it horribly, they declare victory. Except it was made in 1997.
** The film inadvertently breathed new life into the SpaceMarine trope when people didn't catch that it was a StealthParody of [[Literature/StarshipTroopers the original novel]]. The "hardened badass" marines are actually unquestioning drones who are poorly trained and get slaughtered by the thousands because of their incompetent strategies and leadership. The [[BugWar buglike monsters]] they're mowing down are strongly implied to be a formerly innocent and peaceful race who are defending their homes from the xenophobic humans, who are using them as a scapegoat for their personal woes.
* ''Film/FunnyGames'' plays like a GenreDeconstruction of the [[{{Gorn}} torture porn]] genre that was popular in the mid-[[TurnOfTheMillennium 2000s]]... except that it was made in 1997, as a testimony against any violent media. In fact, the popularity of the genre during this period may have been what prompted its ShotForShotRemake in 2007.
* ''Film/GetCarter'' feels at times like a brutal deconstruction of the Brit gangster flick that emerged in the late 90's due to directors like Creator/GuyRitchie and Matthew Vaughan. The villains are shown as ruthless and incredibly sleazy, the killings are done in a very matter-of-fact manner with little blood and no dramatic tricks, it's set in bleak Newcastle rather than London, there is a complete absence of any pop soundtrack or any form of music and the lead character is cold-hearted and utterly ruthless, not shown as any better than the men he kills. Were it made today, it would almost certainly be a ''GenreDeconstruction''. Yet it was made in 1971, long before British Gangster films became big.
* Creator/AkiraKurosawa's ''Film/{{Rashomon}}'' actually deconstructs many aspects of [[RashomonStyle the oft-imitated plot structure]] [[TropeNamers that it lends its name to]]. Instead of using its famous "Three contradictory flashbacks" format as a simple plot gimmick, it's a deeply philosophical character study that uses the format as a vehicle for discussing human beings' inherent inability to tell the truth, examining the moral implications of this idea in full. At one point, one character even concludes that almost all of mankind's evils arise from their attempts to avoid confronting the truth by lying to themselves. By the end, the story has ceased to be about a murder trial at all, and become the story of said character's struggle to regain his faith in humanity. Notably, the traditional "Fourth true flashback" is also strongly hinted to be another lie. [[spoiler:We're initially led to believe that the Woodcutter (a neutral witness to the murder) is the only one telling the truth...until it turns out that he also left out several details to cover up the fact that he was the one who stole the murder weapon]].
* ''Film/TheBlairWitchProject'' was the TropeCodifier for the [[FoundFootageFilms found-footage genre]], but when compared to the many slick, big-budget imitators that followed, it feels like a deconstruction. For one thing, Heather's insistence upon filming everything even when logic suggests she put the camera down for once, a staple of found-footage horror movies, is suggested by Josh to be her way of coping with the fact that she's lost in the woods — the screen on the camcorder all makes it feel less real. This also causes a rift between her and the rest of the group, with Mike and Josh telling her several times to turn the camera off, and even [[RageBreakingPoint attacking her over it]]. Furthermore, the film's [[NoBudget tiny budget]] and rambling improv style mean that the camera catches as many mundane events as it does exciting action beats -- exactly what you'd expect to find on a camcorder that's been lost in the woods.
* ''Film/{{Network}}'', a 1976 satire of television news, has been described as one of the most chilling movies ever made due to its deconstruction of a lot of the tropes present in TwentyFourHourNewsNetworks – nearly two decades before such networks were an omnipresent force in news reporting. Howard Beale, for one, predates most examples of the PompousPoliticalPundit, both real and fictional. It's also shown that his [[LargeHam "mad as hell" attitude]] comes not from political extremism or another nefarious purpose, but is the result of him literally going mad as a result of working in television for too long. The network, meanwhile, is happy to feed his insanity in the name of the ratings that his unhinged rants produce, using it as an excuse to dissolve the news department and place it under the control of its entertainment division.[[note]]In former times, network news divisions were independent and generally operated at a loss. In the early 1980s, the Cronkite type newsrooms were abolished, since, like in ''Network'', corporate owners had decided that network news must make a profit.[[/note]] As noted above, it also takes aim at RealityTV, long before it ever became a phenomenon.
* Likewise with ''Film/CannibalHolocaust'' in 1980, which was arguably [[UrExample the first found-footage horror film]] ever made. It's also the first found-footage film to be as much about ''how'' the footage was found as the actual content of it (predating ''Film/{{Sinister}}'' by over thirty years), with the main story concerning an anthropologist and a TV network recovering the missing film crew's surviving reels, examining them, and debating whether to show them on television. We see that the film crew had staged horrific abuses against the native peoples for the purpose of capturing violence on film and exploiting stereotypes of Amazon tribes, the fact that they had cameras at all being a major contributing factor in their uncivilized actions. [[spoiler:After watching it, the network executives are so disgusted that they refuse to air the footage, instead choosing to destroy it.]]
* ''Film/TheBourneIdentity'' is celebrated for revolutionizing the spy thriller flicks. However, the first film itself is not about spying; Bourne is an assassin, and a rogue one at that. Instead of taking down terrorists or criminals, Bourne is only interested in his survival, the primary BigBad in the movie works for the U.S. government, and he himself is not killed by Bourne, but by a backstabbing partner of his. Likewise, the film goes to great lengths to not only subvert most conventions of the genre, but show (contrary to every spy flick made before or afterwards) just how terrifying someone with such a set of skills can be, even to the main character himself. The people who seem to be the most terrified are the average government workers themselves, who can only sit and watch in horror as one man effortlessly dismantles most of their operations and assets on his own. The main character is incredibly disturbed that he can analyze places and people so efficiently, and can't comprehend basic concepts like just ''asking'' someone for a pair of keys. One of the assassins is a university professor who moonlights as a silent, stalking assassin, who expresses remorse upon his plight when fatally wounded. It's the complete antithesis of the following films, which fall into much straighter spy thriller tropes.
* After reading books and watching shows like ''Literature/TheClique'', ''Series/PrettyLittleLiars'', and ''Literature/GossipGirl'', one might be inclined to view ''Film/MeanGirls'' as a response to such stories, intended to deconstruct their catty heroines and antagonists by portraying the damage that such soapy high school backstabbing does to young people in real life. Nope – it was made in 2004, and in fact a case could be made that its success directly inspired the aforementioned books/shows and their imitators (including, ironically, [[{{Sequelitis}} its own sequel]]).
* George A. Romero's ''Film/LivingDeadSeries'':
** ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968'' never used the word "zombie", and also broke some of the major zombie "rules"; its zombies can not only run, but are intelligent enough to open car doors (or at least, know to reach for the handle) and use melee weapons. Furthermore, it showed the main characters wiped out by their own incompetence while the world outside quickly figured out what was going on and was systematically wiping out the last of the zombies by morning. Both sequel series retcon this in different ways, but as a standalone film it's completely clear that the disaster is over. Later films either always treat zombie uprisings as an apocalyptic event, or joke about how stupid that is (like ''Film/ShaunOfTheDead'').
** ''Film/DawnOfTheDead1978'' implied that the only reasons why someone would actually want a ZombieApocalypse or some other doomsday disaster to happen are because they hold a grudge against some part of society, [[DareToBeBadass fantasize about being a badass]], want to [[AnarchyIsChaos run wild]], or some mixture of such – all the way back in 1978, three decades before ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' [[http://www.cracked.com/article/136_5-reasons-you-secretly-want-zombie-apocalypse/ said the same thing]]. To demonstrate this, the film has a racist cop who uses the zombie outbreak as an excuse to shoot minorities and immigrants without consequence, rednecks who treat zombie killing as an excuse to get drunk and party, and lastly, the biker gang that loots the mall. Also (especially in the extended versions of the film), the zombie apocalypse comes with a lot of ennui -- the protagonists slowly develop cabin fever as they're boarded up inside the mall trying to survive, with increasingly little to do to let off steam once the novelty of having a mall all to themselves wears off.
* ''Film/WarGames'': Every hacking-related trope from the past 30+ years owes its existence to this film, right down to the first cinematic reference to the term "firewall". Yet the hacker boy who saved the world nearly precipitated its destruction in the first place. (Way to save on major characters.) It doesn't help that much of what gave ''War Games'' its punch [[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp is fading from collective memory]]. Having a plucky young hacker almost precipitate WorldWarIII was an allegory on how nonsensical the UsefulNotes/ColdWar was to the average person.
* While ''Film/{{Airport}}'' is regarded by many as the TropeCodifier of the DisasterMovie (especially aviation-themed entries in the genre), many of its conventions were used some fifteen years earlier in the 1954 Creator/JohnWayne film (he starred and co-produced) ''The High and the Mighty'' (based on the novel of the same name by Ernest K. Gann) about the struggle of an airliner's crew to get its plane and passengers to a safe landing after an engine fails midway through a flight from Honolulu to San Francisco. Some may see it as being a deconstruction of the genre, considering [[spoiler:that nobody dies or is even injured, and that the plane, in the end, lands safely at the San Francisco airport]].
* ''Film/DieHard'' actually does a lot in deconstructing the RightManInTheWrongPlace and ActionSurvivor tropes. It was itself something of a deconstruction of the HollywoodActionHero popular in TheEighties by showing what it would be like for an actual BadassNormal (with great emphasis on the "Normal") police officer trapped in such a situation, though many of [[DieHardOnAnX its imitators]] and even some of its later sequels largely ignored this. John [=McClane=] witnesses a bunch of terrorists take his wife and her co-workers hostage, immediately recognises he's out of his elements and tries to call for help, [[CassandraTruth but they don't really believe him]]. He's undoubtedly a {{badass}}, and wins in the end, but a night of battling terrorists with bare feet and no armor leaves him badly roughed up. By the end, he's seriously injured and grateful that it's finally over.
* InspirationallyDisadvantaged is also unbuilt, as many early examples use it to mock and[=/=]or criticize society unlike later examples that would be the basis of [[OscarBait award-winning tales of inspiration]].
** ''Film/BeingThere'' is remembered as the 1979 smash hit about a mentally-challenged gardener who ends up earning the favor of the US President with his profound wisdom. The truth is Chance lacks any profound wisdom, introspection, or intelligence ''because'' of mental illness, his few social cues he has from watching television. Chance only gets as far as he does because his soft-spoken ways make him ''seem'' like a man of great insight. The film is more a satire of how society's perceptions of an individual end up mattering more than the individual itself.
** ''Film/TheElephantMan'': It more or less comes across as a sad {{Deconstruction}} of the concept. Yes Merrick is a very cultured individual underneath his deformities. Yes, he is getting better treatment than he got at the sideshow. However, it is pointed out that holding him up as a symbol is not that different from putting him a [[CircusOfFear sideshow]] because as Mothershead said "He's just getting stared at again". Not to mention that his deformities end up killing him in the end.
* Watching the original ''Film/FridayThe13th1980'' today, it can be strange to note just how unlike many other '80s {{slasher movie}}s it actually is.
** The ''Franchise/FridayThe13th'' series is widely seen as a TropeCodifier for the DeathBySex trope in the slasher genre, but the original film actually had a surprisingly nuanced (and [[JustifiedTrope justified]]) take on it. The killer, Pamela Voorhees, specifically targeted lustful teenagers because her son Jason drowned in Crystal Lake after his camp counselors snuck off to have sex when they were supposed to be watching him. Even in later movies, where Jason became the BreakoutVillain, it was heavily implied that Jason targeted lustful teenagers partly to uphold his mother's legacy, and partly because he was essentially [[PsychopathicManchild a traumatized child who never got to grow up]], and sex was so far beyond his comprehension that it ''terrified'' him. When later slashers from outside the ''Friday'' series took the more surface-level elements of this trope, they were often accused of misogyny and ReactionaryFantasy. It's ironic that most of them were inspired by a film about a mother on a bloody RoaringRampageOfRevenge.
** Speaking of Pamela Voorhees, she was almost an inversion of many of the tropes of the slasher villains who followed in her wake. For one thing, she was a middle-aged woman, which is still a rarity in the genre. Furthermore, many '80s slashers wore masks but otherwise had their identities known for much of the film. Not only did Pamela not wear a mask or otherwise try to conceal her identity, but while we get several MurdererPOV shots, the killer's identity is a mystery for most of the film, a setup that wouldn't really become popular in slasher films until the '90s when ''Film/{{Scream|1996}}'' popularized it. While [[Franchise/{{Halloween}} Michael Myers]] had a profound influence on many later slasher villains, including Pamela's son Jason, Pamela herself did not, to the point where "who was the killer in the original ''Friday the 13th''?" became a common trick question (as seen in the aforementioned ''Scream'').
* ''Franchise/TheMatrix'' was the TropeCodifier for BulletTime, though many forget that Neo didn't completely dodge all of the bullets fired at him, getting grazed badly enough for the Agent to almost corner him for the kill.
* Several films explored [[AxesAtSchool violence in public schools]] years before UsefulNotes/{{Columbine}} and other school shootings brought the issue into public consciousness .
** The 1989 film ''Literature/{{Heathers}}'' [[BlackComedy satirically]] explores AxesAtSchool, with two high school students plotting to kill the {{Alpha Bitch}}es and the {{Jerk Jock}}s. However, the perpetrator of this plot, J.D., isn't a rebel fighting an unjust system, but rather, a [[AxCrazy complete maniac]] who [[TragicMonster can't relate to people]] because of [[FreudianExcuse an awful childhood]]. His accomplice Veronica is a disgruntled member of the elite GirlPosse who is also very miserable, and finds herself becoming a monster just like him. It also shows that murdering classmates is not okay no matter how obnoxious they are -- J.D. and Veronica's victims all had families that loved them, and those victims become martyrs for the cause of ending bullying and teen suicide (their deaths having been [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident faked to look like they killed themselves]]). This predated UsefulNotes/{{Columbine}}, and all the discussions on teen violence and bullying that followed, by precisely ten years -- discussions that are still being had today.
** ''Film/OverTheEdge'', the setting was a [[{{Suburbia}} suburban]] town full of delinquents who drank, did drugs, committed vandalism, and in the climax, attacked the school with enormous weapons. Because their parents were more [[ParentsAsPeople interested in their professional careers]] then their children, because their community leaders were more interested in attracting business instead of entertainment venues to keep their kids occupied, and a the police force [[KnightTemplar was more interested in maintaining order than dealing with the social problems of the children]]. This movie was released in 1979.
** ''Literature/{{Carrie}}'', both the original 1974 novel and its 1976 film version showed how brutal teenage bullying could get, and how hard it can be for bullying victims to deal with it, as [[AdultsAreUseless many teachers don't think anything about it]], and [[TheFundamentalist her fundamentalist]] [[EvilMatriarch mother]] also abuses her. It was telling that the 2013 film version [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped had to put greater emphasis on the wrongness of bullying]] than before.
* ''Film/TheProducers'': The film is a TropeNamer for SpringtimeForHitler, but it also shows the consequences of Bialystock and Bloom making a an unexpectedly successful play: having oversold shares in the production of the play, they now have obligations they can't pay back, and face charges of fraud. [[spoiler: And once their attempt to blow up the theater falls apart, their impassioned plea in court in ignored and they are found "Incredibly guilty" by the judge]].
* The ScrewballComedy is this to the RomanticComedy. Furthermore, characters like {{Katherine Hepburn}}'s in ''Film/BringingUpBaby'' are this for the ManicPixieDreamGirl; she's less the ''reward'' to the stuffy, [[GiveGeeksAChance nerdy male lead]] and more his ''crucible.'' The humor comes from just how much [[CringeComedy havoc she can wreck on his life.]]
* ''ThisIsSpinalTap'' is the TropeMaker for the {{Mockumentary}}. However, it is ''not'' a straight parody of the {{Rockumentary}} shot at the band's GloryDays; instead it's a deconstructed Rockumentary where the characters are [[JadedWashout Jaded Washouts]]. Also, it was PlayedForLaughs while later mockumentaries might be more serious.
* ''Film/MissionImpossible'': The famous MissionImpossibleCableDrop scene was the result of the heroes with their high tech gear breaking into a high tech vault nearly getting screwed because there was a rat in the vents, which made Krieger, the guy holding Ethan Hunt's rappelling rope, sneeze. At the end of the scene, they're nearly done in by simply dropping something (Krieger's knife).
* ScrewedInTallinn, originally ''Torsk på Tallinn'', is a Swedish mockumentary of 1999 which indulges in all the awkward aspects of the MailOrderBride phenomenon, while it was still rather uncommon in Sweden; both in RealLife and in popular culture.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fairy tales]]
* Many old {{Fairy Tale}}s are subject to {{Grimmification}}, being deconstructed into DarkerAndEdgier stories. However, many of the tales that Creator/TheBrothersGrimm recorded were never meant to be kid-friendly. Some were horror stories, written by and for adults, or cautionary tales meant to [[ScareEmStraight scare children straight]]: For example, early versions of "Literature/LittleRedRidingHood" had the wolf kill the grandmother, trick Red into drinking her blood and eating her flesh, and, ultimately, eat Red. And what English readers got is actually toned down from the German; several stories were omitted in their entirety for the early English editions because they were considered too offensive, and others were changed to be more palatable.
* The fairy tale "Literature/LittleRedRidingHood" is probably '''the''' archetypal "Stranger Danger" story. However it features elements that nowadays seem like not only a deconstruction, but a particularly angry one at that. The attack happens not outside, but in a house belonging to the girl's grandmother, a place where one would think she'd be safe, and the Big, Bad Wolf preys on her by assuming the grandmother's identity. Furthermore, the attacker gaining entry into said house is not the sole responsibility of the girl. Had it been written today, "Little Red Riding Hood" would've been seen as a stinging critique of the idea of "Stranger Danger", a reminder that most child predators are relatives of the children they prey on.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/TheIliad'' is the first war story and one of the founding works of Western Literature. However it can be surprisingly modern in its depiction of war and the characters. It is clearly shown most of the men are sick of war, the overall commander is a selfish character who misjudges his men and almost ruins his cause with his own inabilities and arrogance. The best fighter is an unruly Anti-Hero at best, and his insubordination and inability to work with his commander makes him the TropeNamer for AchillesInHisTent, leading to the men almost getting defeated. Meanwhile Hector, though often portrayed as the most moral figure in a CrapsackWorld, has a self-destructive sense of war and has quite an unpleasant side, wanting to despoil Patroculus' corpse. The story also makes it clear that war will bring about the destruction of many innocent people.
* Going [[OlderThanPrint way, way, back]], in ''The Battle of Maldon" – one of the oldest surviving works of English literature – a earl under the Anglo-Saxon King Aethelred assembles a RagtagBunchOfMisfits to repel some tough, well-trained Viking raiders. Both the hero and his men get slaughtered horribly, partially due to an act of {{Pride}} from the hero. What's worse is that before the battle, the Viking chief offered to leave peacefully in exchange for a tribute of silver. The hero refuses angrily, calling the offer "shameful". After the battle, King Aethelred pays the tribute. [[ShootTheShaggyDog The hero accomplished nothing except getting his men killed.]]
* Dante's ''[[Literature/TheDivineComedy Inferno]]'', despite being the {{Trope Namer|s}} of FireAndBrimstoneHell, and [[WordOfDante the source of many of the beliefs thereof]], actually depicts the lowest and worst level of hell as covered in ''Ice''. Further, {{Satan}}, far from being the Ruler of Hell, (the closest thing to a ruler is King Minos) is actually in Solitary Confinement (except for three humans whose faces he's chewing) and, far from being the omniscient EvilCounterpart of God, he's so stupid (or possibly mind-controlled) that he can't figure out that his attempts to escape the ice, by flapping his wings, is [[SelfInflictedHell exactly what's making it so cold]].
* If you read a cynical poem about the agonizing, unglamorous experience of having to paint pictures on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for hours at a time, you would probably (naturally) assume that it was a [[DeconstructiveParody deconstructive satire]] on society's rosy view of the artistic genius of the Renaissance, which Michelangelo's paint-job on the Sistine Chapel is considered the classic example of. Well, there ''is'' such a poem. And you'd be right to think that... except it was [[http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/poem/2010/01/labor_pains.html written by Michelangelo himself]] when he was actually in the process of painting the Sistine Chapel. Yes, it's just as hilariously self-deprecating as it sounds.
-->''My stomach's squashed under my chin, my beard's''\\
''pointing at heaven, my brain's crushed in a casket,''\\
''my breast twists like a harpy's. My brush,''\\
''above me all the time, dribbles paint''\\
''so my face makes a fine floor for droppings!''\\
''My haunches are grinding into my guts,''\\
''my poor ass strains to work as a counterweight,'' \\
''every gesture I make is blind and aimless.''
* Long before {{Yaoi Fangirl}}s penned their stories about [[MisterSeahorse men bearing children]], ''Literature/JourneyToTheWest'' had Sanzang and one of his disciples accidentally drink from a magical river which causes whoever drinks from it to become pregnant. The pregnancy itself is described as horrifying and painful for both of them, and is immediately aborted.
* A lot of early European novels like ''Literature/TristramShandy'' and ''Literature/DonQuixote'' seem to be deconstructions of the form, with the author intervening, characters reading earlier parts of the story, etc, and yet they can't be deconstructing the novel because ''Don Quixote'' is often considered the first modern novel, and ''Tristram Shandy'' is an early English novel. With its metanarrative, its extensive use of references, the narrative's exploration of the processes of memory and writing, and the manipulation of excerpts from other works of literature in order to give them new meanings, some critics suggest that ''Tristam Shandy'' – along with the later ''Literature/MobyDick'' – is this to the postmodern novel, long before the term postmodern was even coined.
* ''Literature/DonQuixote'':
** Sancho Panza is not a villain, but he is the first example of exploring CutLexLuthorACheck, someone who realizes that he can get rich if he works for himself and not TheHero: He follows Don Quixote [[StandardHeroReward under the promise of a governorship in the future]], but when he hears Don Quixote's claims about having the recipe of the Balsam of Fierabras, a HealingPotion from a ChivalricRomance [[BackFromTheDead that could revive a man cut in half]], Sancho analyzes how to get rich with that: He quits the promise and only wants the recipe, planning to be rich selling it to sick and wounded people. He even asks Don Quixote how much it would cost to make it. Once sure that it’s profitable, Sancho helps Don Quixote prepare the potion. The potion seems to help heal Don Quixote, [[ButtMonkey but makes Sancho very sick]], [[CrowningMomentOfFunny so he concludes it only works with Knights, and Don Quixote is the only Knight left, making it not profitable]].
** The first part of the novel established firmly Quixote's character as a LordErrorProne, but MisaimedFandom considered him the UrExample of a MadDreamer. In the second part, Cervantes decides to explore all the ramifications of a MadDreamer: It shows us a lot of people – Nobles, bandits, soldiers – holding Don Quixote in higher esteem within the work for his imagination and vivacity, organizing a MassiveMultiplayerScam that convinces Literature/DonQuixote he really is an KnightErrant… [[ComeToGawk because they want to mock him]]. The OnlySaneMan calls DonQuixote [[RealityWarper a fool for making all the others be as mad as he]]. Only when the novel finishes, Literature/DonQuixote realizes that, even when he lived the life of a KnightErrant exactly as the ChivalricRomance books said, he didn’t do any good to anyone. So those books were lies. The FanDisillusionment is so great, he [[DeathByDespair dies]]. The really disturbing part is that the novel claims a FamilyUnfriendlyAesop because this is the best scenario for a MadDreamer: He could never be as famous or lovable sane than he is as insane:
-->''"O señor," said Don Antonio, "may God forgive you the wrong you have done the whole world in trying to bring the most amusing madman in it back to his senses. Do you not see, señor, that the gain by Don Quixote's sanity can never equal the enjoyment his crazes give? But my belief is that all the señor bachelor's pains will be of no avail to bring a man so hopelessly cracked to his senses again; [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop and if it were not uncharitable, I would say may Don Quixote never be cured, for by his recovery we lose not only his own drolleries, but his squire Sancho Panza's too, any one of which is enough to turn melancholy itself into merriment]].''
** The novel explores the BookBurning trope in a far more comedic way than you'll find in a post-World War II environment, with an emphasis more on the {{Moral Guardian|s}} aspect of the trope, since all the censorship in Cervantes' day was by the Spanish Inquisition; indeed, the anonymously-written ''Lazarillo de Tormes'', the first picaresque novel and a ''major'' target for the Inquisition, was either a huge influence on Cervantes or else something he himself wrote, so he would have known how frustrating it could be to have your books burned. In chapter IV of the first part, Don Quixote’s niece and OldRetainer asked the MoralGuardians' permission to do the BookBurning in a desperate attempt to cure him. The MoralGuardians are the most educated people in the village (a curate and a barber); they never wanted to impose their ideas and are doing this as a favor to the family, so they don’t care much for this BookBurning, and end up stealing a few volumes they think are actually pretty good. In Chapter XXXII, the curate jokingly threatens to burn two of the four books an innkeeper has: two of them are NonFictionLiterature about awesome RealLife soldiers, and the other two ChivalricRomance books heavy on RuleOfCool. [[MoralGuardian The curate]] wants to burn the latter, and the [[FanDumb innkeeper the former]].
* ''Literature/GulliversTravels'' is one of the oldest examples of adventure fiction, and is often seen as a classic of that genre. However, it was never meant as such. It was in fact a rather heavy-handed satire of European society of the time. It wasn't until Victorian times (the golden age of adventure fiction) that a MisaimedFandom lumped it together with newer works. Similarly, another early "Adventure novel", ''Literature/TheSwissFamilyRobinson'', was meant to be "educational", designed to teach boys Naturalism, Christian Values, and the Philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Doesn't very much evoke the treehouse-building, zebra-riding, and pirate-fighting of the Disney adaptation, does it?
** The third story about Laputa contains the UrExample of some science-related tropes, such as ForScience or ScienceIsBad. As said, it was however social satire rather than an adventure story; an early example of [[AsimovsThreeKindsOfScienceFiction the third kind of science fiction]].
* The original novel of ''Literature/TheThreeMusketeers'' is a lot like ''Literature/ThePrisonerOfZenda'' in that while it's a major influence on the {{swashbuckler}} genre, it's much more cynical than the films it inspired (including most of its own adaptations). D'Artagnan is something of an anti-hero: he has several love affairs and is not above [[BedTrick tricking Milady into sleeping with him]] while she thinks she's sleeping with her lover. Unlike the malevolent EvilChancellor of adaptations, Richelieu is an AntiVillain who has France's welfare in mind. Ultimately, D'Artagnan ends up ''working for him'' and becomes good friends with Rochefort, Richelieu's [[TheDragon Dragon]], after [[DefeatMeansFriendship besting him in several duels]]. The later books tended to deconstruct it further, with all of their antics in the first book biting them in the ass repeatedly in the later ones, and the most chivalric of the four suffering the most for his Royalist and traditional stances.
* Another famous example from literature: ''Literature/TheSorrowsOfYoungWerther'' seems like a Deconstruction of the {{Romantic|ism}} protagonist, whose intense sensitivity and emotional instability lead him to [[spoiler:commit suicide]] due to an unfortunate LoveTriangle. The novel had been created before the Romantic movement even started.
** The artistic archetype of Romanticism seems unreachable for Werther as well, since he's too lazy and untalented to be a genius.
** Werther's [[PurpleProse long pretentious]] [[EmoKid rants]] about art, emotion, and life only reveal an eventually Narcissist character.
** The EmpathicEnvironment trope seems like a Deconstruction as well: Wahlheim is ''flooded'' as the DownerEnding approaches.
** Even [[EpistolaryNovel the form]] gets its share: an "editor" steps in at the end, proclaiming that Werther's thoughts became [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} too disordered and insane]] to be published. And of course because [[spoiler:Werther can hardly report about his own suicide]].
* In the earliest {{vampire}} folklore, vampires are most definitely ''not'' tall, elegant, [[VampiresAreSexGods sexy]] [[VampiresAreRich aristocrats]]. Instead, they're short, ugly, smelly peasants—which you might realistically expect of animalistic human predators forced to live at the the fringes of society and prey on other humans for sustenance. ''Film/{{Nosferatu}}'', one of the first vampire films in history, even uses elements of this early vampire lore in its portrayal of Count Orlok: a [[LooksLikeOrlok tall, ugly, probably smelly, aristocrat]]. Realistically speaking, living as an outcast subsisting on human blood is ''not'' glamorous.
** ''Literature/{{Dracula}}'' (which [[TropeCodifier codified]] so many of the characteristics of modern vampires) had Drac [[DaywalkingVampire running around in the daylight]] [[note]] The whole "vampires die in sunlight" thing occurred when the director of Nosferatu couldn't figure out how to kill Orlock, so he finally just decided to have him burst into flames when the sun came up – every vampire in fiction's been vulnerable ever since.[[/note]] and being killed by a couple of knives. He was also described as hairy (even hairy palms!), moustached, and rather brutish-looking, rather than the suave aristocrat he's been commonly depicted as [[Film/{{Dracula 1931}} after]] Creator/BelaLugosi; he ''could'' pull off a more handsome body, but it required magic to shapeshift and he rarely bothered. His breath stank of rotting corpse, too. Also, Renfield isn't quite TheRenfield: although more-or-less controlled by Dracula, he's not willingly so, and even tries to kill him.
** The villain of the very first vampire novel, aptly-named ''Literature/TheVampyre'' by John Polidori, did not have fangs. He did [[TakeThat bear an uncanny and insulting resemblance]] to [[LordByron Polidori's boss]], though. It wasn't until ''Literature/VarneyTheVampire'' that fangs showed up, but that was a weird book, too: it ends with Varney [[DrivenToSuicide killing himself]] at the [[DisneyVillainDeath crater of Vesuvius]]. Varney was also the first morally-ambiguous and conflicted vampire, before ''Series/DarkShadows'', ''Literature/TheVampireChronicles'' and ''Series/{{Angel}}'' came along.
** Prior to ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'''s {{vegetarian vampire}}s. ''Literature/TheVampireChronicles'' skewered the concept of a "vegetarian" vampire in the first book, ''Literature/InterviewWithAVampire'', with its protagonist Louis. Although he tried to retain his humanity and survive on the blood of animals, his efforts were in vain and his creator scolds him for his hypocrisy of loathing the downsides of being a vampire while enjoying its benefits. In general, Louis is regarded with mild contempt by most vampires for trying to remain human to begin with and is generally considered the weakest of Lestat's children.
** ''Literature/{{Carmilla}}'' is the {{Trope Maker|s}} for LesbianVampire, but it's not sexploitation. Instead, it's written more as a standard "vampire victim" story, just with the victim and the aggressor of the same gender. It's not really a Romance either, although Carmilla can be interpreted sympathetically.
* If your only exposure to Yiddish-Jewish culture is ''Theatre/FiddlerOnTheRoof,'' reading Mendele the Book Peddler, the first Yiddish novelist, is a shocker. His work is about how poverty and anti-Semitism have brutalized Jews, turning them into sadistic bigots – and how their faith in being "chosen people" is a sick joke. In his short story "The Calf," a happy young boy is essentially [[BreakTheCutie brainwashed and tortured]] by his teachers into regarding fun as sinful. His work reads like an angry {{Deconstruction}} of ''Fiddler on the Roof''. But the Shalom Aleichem stories that ''Fiddler on the Roof'' is based on were actually a LighterAndSofter reaction to Mendele, and were about finding dignity and meaning even in a cruel world. As Tevye puts it:
-->Trying to scratch out a pleasant tune without breaking his neck.
* If the ''Literature/DrMabuse'' books were published today, they'd look like a deconstruction of BondVillainStupidity: the title character has several inherently self-destructive tendencies that always ruin everything for him, his plan isn't to TakeOverTheWorld but to bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt and then rule the ashes, and even his name is a pun on the French "m'abuse" – "I abuse myself." These books were written long before ''Literature/JamesBond'' got started, and it's been argued that Mabuse was the direct forerunner to Blofeld, but with the latter's plot devices an integral part of his character.
* ''Literature/{{Frankenstein}}'' was one of the first major "monster stories". But going back and reading it now, after growing up exposed to generic FrankensteinsMonster stereotypes where it wanders around aimlessly, groans, and kills people, one may be a bit surprised to find an urbane [[TheWoobie woobie]] of a monster who is in many ways more sympathetic than his creator, quotes liberally from literature, [[LightningBruiser is strong, agile]], and quite dexterous, and also carries firearms for self-protection. The only things that make him appear inhuman are his height and [[UncannyValley his eyes]], and it's decidedly ambiguous whether Frankenstein's true crime was [[ThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow creating the monster]] or a form of ParentalAbandonment. Also, there's no [[TheIgor Igor]] or peasants waving TorchesAndPitchforks while running up to the castle — or for that matter (with occasional exceptions) any public knowledge of the thing at any point. And there is no castle; the monster is created in an upper-floor laboratory of a university.
* Creator/JaneAusten wrote ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice'' at a time when women found men like TheStoic Mr. Darcy completely ''unattractive''. Today, of course, [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys this only augments his attraction]] right off the bat rather than detracting from it.
** Creator/JaneAusten's ''Literature/{{Emma}}'': Emma Woodhouse is an example for SpoiledSweet. Emma is a young woman of landed gentry in the position to behave like a RichBitch. She is spoiled by her doting father and her loving governess, but she also has a happy disposition, loves her family and friends, and treats servants and people of lower social standings really well. She is charitable to the poor, but doesn't have romantic ideas about them. She lacks the naivety and cheerfulness associated with the archetype. She befriends a young orphan Harriet for whom she intends to find a suitable match. However, Emma is prone to attitude: she doesn't consider a young farmer who is in love with Harriet good enough and she actively separates the couple, though with goood intentions and her heart tells her she's not being fair. Quite realistically, she cannot be sweet to everyone: she doesn't like Jane Fairfax and really dislikes the insufferable Mrs Elton, but tries to be polite to them. She finds some of her neighbours tiresome, but treats them with compassion and respect. She rarely slips and is rude or unkind, but whenever that happens, she repents deeply.
* The original TheArtfulDodger in Dickens' ''Literature/OliverTwist'' generally fits the LoveableRogue characterization of later adaptations/trope examples, but is still presented as TheCorrupter to Oliver, and ends the book being tried for a theft, and his amusing bluster and insistence on being a victim of society does nothing to impress the judge, and he is sentenced to transportation to Australia. In fact, "subverting" this along with the related trope of SatisfiedStreetRat, the narrator indicates that all of the children in Fagin's gang, except for Charley Bates, went to bad ends.
** The book is also a TropeNamer for TheFagin. While initially portrayed as a worldly old man, it's clear Fagin's charm is only [[BitchInSheepsClothing skin deep]]. He is portrayed as a [[{{Greed}} greedy]], [[ItsAllAboutMe selfish]], [[DirtyCoward cowardly]], and [[WouldHurtAChild abusive]] man and ends up getting others injured and killed. By the end of the story, he's been sentenced to hang for his crimes, and is [[BreakTheHaughty reduced to a self-pitying loser]]. Completely different from the LighterAndSofter Fagin from the 1968 film, as well as the other portrayals of this trope.
* Creator/RobertLouisStevenson:
** The GenrePopularizer for pirate fiction would have to be ''Literature/TreasureIsland''. But the pirates in the book are actually the villains, not the loveable swashbuckling {{lovable rogue}}s, or the [[ThePiratesWhoDontDoAnything care free lay-abouts]] seen in later works. Also, not a single act of piracy actually occurs in the book: the actual crime committed is mutiny, with the piracy itself in the backstory.
** ''Literature/TheStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde'' is the originator of split personalities, but is more sophisticated than many modern versions. Jekyll is fully aware of what he does as Hyde and takes the potion willingly. Towards the end the novel becomes a character study on why he does this and what it says about his own morals. He tries to use the split as an excuse for what he does as Hyde, but the account makes clear that he is evading responsibility.
* "Literature/CaseyAtTheBat" is likely the {{Trope Maker|s}} for DownToTheLastPlay... except mighty Casey struck out rather than drive in the winning run.
* Creator/HGWells:
** Most of the [[RequiredSecondaryPowers limitations]] on invisibility were already predicted in ''Literature/TheInvisibleMan''. The eponymous character even complains that the power is good for little other than assassination, as going undetected long enough to, say, eavesdrop on an important conversation was nearly impossible.
** ''Literature/TheIslandOfDoctorMoreau'' in modern times looks like a particularly brutal Deconstruction of PettingZooPeople and {{Uplifted Animal}}s. The "humanoid animals" were created in a lab via painful and unethical experiments, and have to be subject to [[MoreThanMindControl brutal mental and physical torture]] (to the point where their society fears their MadScientist creator as a GodOfEvil) to prevent them from regressing to their animalistic instincts... which ultimately proves futile, as the creations slowly revert anyway. Dr Moreau himself is also an example for the AGodAmI archetype, since he only puts on a GodGuise as a desperate attempt to prevent his creations from killing him, and in the end he is ''not'' killed by his rebelling creations as a modern reader would expect, but dies anticlimactically when one of his experiments goes awry. Rather than break the masquerade to allow the creations to live in peace, the main character lies to maintain their fear of Moreau [[DirtyCoward in order to save his own skin.]] On a deeper level, he was actually intended as an outright grotesque parody of a creator God, as at the time of writing the book H.G Wells believed GodIsEvil to be TruthInTelevision.
** WeWillUseManualLaborInTheFuture is subverted in ''Literature/TheSleeperAwakes'' by Creator/HGWells, ''before'' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fordism Fordism]] was invented and assembly-line mass production took off. The future society contains a large slave class, and the narrator is initially led to believe that the slaves are like the slaves of his day – labourers. It's only later on that he realises that almost all production has been industrialised, and the slaves are just machine operators. Unlike the laborers of his day, they have pale skin and almost no muscle.
** ''Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds'':
*** One of the first stories of a war between humans and aliens, rather than the exciting battles, heroics, and scientific ingenuity of ''Film/IndependenceDay'', ''Series/DoctorWho'' etc., features human beings as panicking, weak, or mean, entirely unable to defeat their invaders, who are eventually [[spoiler:felled by earthly microbes]]. It's more about how badly human beings deal with the collapse of civilization, rather than focusing on the fight with the Martians.
*** Unlike all the later ScaryDogmaticAliens (such as the Nazi aliens in the Orson Welles radio version, the Communist aliens in the '50s movie, or the Bin Laden aliens in the 2005 movie version), the aliens in the book represent the exact cultural values of the society they are invading, being an allegory for imperialism. Invaders come from far away with vastly superior technology rendering [[ResistanceIsFutile resistance futile]]. In actual history, it was not local resistance that kept European colonies out of Africa until the late 19th century, but disease, hence the ultimate fate of the invaders. ''Worlds'' was an attempt to put Europeans in the shoes of Africans (or any other peoples oppressed by imperialism). The part where a soldier talks about what will happen in an invaded world takes some ideas from this, where he talks of resistance groups and some people [[TheQuisling collaborating]] with the aliens.
*** Partially because of war paranoia and also due to the limitations of visual media, future aliens as evil outsiders would usually appear [[HumanAliens human]]. Only in later years did the StarfishAliens become a trope in popular science fiction again. However, perhaps because he codified the AlienInvasion genre (a subgenre of the "[[DayOfTheJackboot invasion story]]"), Wells was free to provide an early example of the truly alien. In the context of a century of RubberForeheadAliens, it manages to come off as {{Deconstruction}}, with scientific explanations about the aliens, such as they have trouble moving on Earth due to the higher gravity, and trouble breathing from the atmosphere.
*** One could see [[Creator/KurdLasswitz Kurd Laßwitz]]' ''Auf zwei Planeten'' ("On Two Planets") as a subversion or a counter-statement to the alien invasion genre Wells initiated if not for the fact that it was published a year before ''The War of the Worlds''. Laßwitz' Martians (who also do not hold on to the IdiotBall with the limpet-like perseverance of Wells') are human-like and socially advanced, so the way their military confrontations with the states of Earth turns out is more reminiscent of that of a former colony becoming independent and then entering a friendly relationship with its former colonial power. (Ironically, the Royal Navy is even more summarily wiped out in ''Auf zwei Planeten'' as Laßwitz' Martians don't use inefficient walkers, but airships which the British warships can't harm.)
** TheTimeMachine is the TropeCodifier for TimeTravel. The novel is however focused on social issues, instead of typical TimeTravelTropes.
* JulesVerne invented many tropes of ScienceFiction, but he handled them in a remarkably [[MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness more realistic]] way than many later works that he inspired. Among AsimovsThreeKindsOfScienceFiction many belong to the third kind, exploring the technical and social implications of technology, often concluding that RealityEnsues, ScienceIsBad, and LuddWasRight. Today we remember Verne, together with HGWells, as the grandfather of Golden Age science fiction and later SteamPunk, which more often make a straight ''celebration'' of technology.
** ''JourneyToTheCenterOfTheEarth'' is probably the first work of fiction [[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs that features live dinosaurs]]. Even though these monsters are the most startling things the protagonists have seen, they are only [[OneSceneWonder seen briefly]], and do not interact with the main characters at all.
** ''FromTheEarthToTheMoon'' is the UrExample of many TropesInSpace, still surprisingly realistic. BatmanCanBreatheInSpace was unbuilt, as Verne addressed the dependence on oxygen.
** ''Literature/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea'' (published in 1869) unbuilds numerous tropes. Most generally, it is the first SubmarinePirates story; however, captain Nemo certainly has a deeper cause than pirates.
*** The book has probably the UrExample of AlmostOutOfOxygen. Oxygen is not a problem, due to the ''Nautilus'' having plenty of electricity and water around, but without caustic potash to bind the carbon dioxide the heroes are screwed anyway.
*** Also, as the probable UrExample of AtlantisIsBoring, the ruins of Atlantis itself are not much to see; the rest of the underwater voyage is however adventurous.
*** Before the ConspiracyTheorist trope was established, the story has it PlayedForLaughs when Ned Land believes that the ship's crew are cannibals.
*** A probable UrExample of FromMyOwnPersonalGarden... though the "garden" is ''the ocean''.
*** Captain Nemo is an Unbuilt Trope of the {{Ubermensch}}: A WickedCultured WellIntentionedExtremist who claims to be AboveGoodAndEvil because he has done with society and is practically above any law of the civilized nations thanks to the power of [[CoolShip his submarine, the Nautilus.]] … however, he is a {{Deconstruction}} of the trope, because the contradiction between his unlimited power (that lets him cross the MoralEventHorizon) and his compassionate nature causes him a VillainousBreakdown. This dialogue between him and Professor Aronnax lampshades it 14 years before ''Also Sprach Zarathustra'':
-->''"I have hesitated some time," continued the commander; "nothing obliged me to show you hospitality. If I chose to separate myself from you, I should have no interest in seeing you again; I could place you upon the deck of this vessel which has served you as a refuge, I could sink beneath the waters, and forget that you had ever existed. Would not that be my right?"''
-->''"It might be the right of a savage," I answered, "but not that of a civilized man."''
-->''"Professor," replied the commander, quickly, "I am not what you call a civilized man! I have done with society entirely, for reasons which I alone have the right of appreciating. I do not, therefore, obey its laws, and I desire you never to allude to them before me again!"''
-->''This was said plainly. A flash of anger and disdain kindled in the eyes of the Unknown, and I had a glimpse of a terrible past in the life of this man. Not only had he put himself beyond the pale of human laws, but he had made himself independent of them, free in the strictest acceptation of the word, quite beyond their reach! Who then would dare to pursue him at the bottom of the sea, when, on its surface, he defied all attempts made against him? What vessel could resist the shock of his submarine monitor? What cuirass, however thick, could withstand the blows of his spur? No man could demand from him an account of his actions; God, if he believed in one – his conscience, if he had one – were the sole judges to whom he was answerable.''
** Phileas Fogg from ''Literature/AroundTheWorldInEightyDays'', published in 1872, is the {{Trope Maker|s}} for the ClockKing, but also explores all the ramifications about that trope: He is a rare case of the protagonist being a MysteriousStranger, the readers never know any of his BackStory, and only in the very last chapters do they know if he was one of the {{Villains}} or not. In the last chapters the reader realizes that Fogg’s extreme reserve was not an EvilBrit case, but only a severe case of BritishStuffiness. Unlike all his imitators, Fogg is very good at XanatosSpeedChess and the IndyPloy, because that’s the only way he can win TheBet. Fogg’s plan didn’t work, but it didn’t work ''in his favor'': the Universe rewards him, granting him almost an extra day. And the one obsessed with his clock was not him, but his employee, Jean Passepartout.
*** The best-known scenes from many motion-picture adaptations of the book, was the protagonists riding a balloon. The book however brings up the idea of riding a balloon, disregarding it as being too risky. Very few balloon rides were mentioned in literature before; Verne's first novel, ''Five Weeks in a Balloon'', was the first example.
** ''TheBegumsMillions'' deconstructs AllGermansAreNazis and WeaponsOfMassDestruction several decades before Nazis and WMD:s came into existence in RealLife.
** ''RoburTheConqueror'' deconstructs ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld before it was a trope. The protagonists use lighter-than-air vessels, which was a RealLife technology during Verne's days. Robur however shows that his secret heavier-than-air-vessel is superior.
** ''The Purchase of the North Pole'' is the first known example of the EvilPlan. The villain wants to eliminate the world's axis tilt but he ''fails'' since RealityEnsues.
** ''TheCastleInTransylvania'' (1893) unbuilt the ScoobyDooHoax eight years before ''Literature/TheHoundOfTheBaskervilles''.
** In ''Facing the Flag'', Roch is the UrExample of TheWormGuy. While he is kidnapped, he does however retain control over his WeaponOfMassDestruction, and it is his patriotism that makes him destroy his creation.
** ''Master of the World'' contains the UrExample of the TransformingMecha. It is not however invincible, having an AchillesHeel.
** ''InvasionOfTheSea'', Verne's last book, is a very early {{Terraform}} story. However, the project ends up GoneHorriblyRight through an earthquake, which creates a larger inland sea than the engineers could imagine.
** ''ParisInTheTwentiethCentury'', written in 1863 but not published until 1994, predicts tropes such as the MegaCorp and the NewAgeRetroHippie long before they happened in RealLife.
* ''Literature/SherlockHolmes'':
** What if somebody told you about a mystery novel where a brilliant Victorian detective spends seven chapters relentlessly hunting down a murderer who, instead of being a hardened criminal or an evil genius, turns out to be a completely sympathetic vigilante who was just trying to avenge his wife [[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished (but dies for his efforts anyway)]], and where [[AssholeVictim the murder victims themselves are the closest things in the story to actual "villains"]]? Sounds like a {{deconstruction}} of the BlackAndWhiteMorality of old-fashioned "superhero detective" stories, right? Nope. That's the plot of ''A Study in Scarlet'' — the 1887 novel that first introduced the world to Sherlock Holmes.
** ''Literature/TheHoundOfTheBaskervilles'' also gives us an early example of the ScoobyDooHoax (TheCastleInTransylvania by JulesVerne is the UrExample) in a gritty mystery where the perpetrator is a hardened criminal who actually ''kills'' people, and specifically uses the charade because he knows that it's less likely to be investigated by the police than a string of more conventional murders. This was all written about 68 years before ''Scooby-Doo'' ever saw the light of day, but it shows how horrifying the archetypal "fake haunting" plot would be if it actually happened.
** Many of the original short stories look like a deconstruction, when in fact they're unbuilt tropes. It isn't AlwaysMurder, much of the time EverybodyLives. Sometimes, no actual crime was even committed (which is {{lampshade|Hanging}}d by Watson). Sometimes, even when a crime is committed, Holmes will [[LetOffByTheDetective let the criminal go]] if he takes pity on them, believes they have [[ScareEmStraight learned their lesson]] and [[GoAndSinNoMore will commit no more crimes]], and/or concludes that [[TreacheryCoverUp the scandal would do unacceptable damage to innocent bystanders]]. Sometimes, even if the crime is a murder, if Holmes decides the murder victim was enough of an AssholeVictim, he'll let the killer go free.
** Sherlock Holmes is the {{Trope Namer|s}} for SherlockScan (maybe [[Creator/EdgarAllanPoe Dupin]] was the UrExample) but the trope is deconstructed in ''The Sign of Four'', when Holmes deduces that Watson's brother was a scoundrel by studying his pocket watch. This is Watson's BerserkButton, and he accuses Holmes of knowing the sad story of his brother's destiny beforehand, and of using PhonyPsychic techniques to claim he deduced it from a simple watch. In a rare moment of humility, Holmes recognizes that he is a InsufferableGenius, and that he has hurt his friend's feelings by doing the SherlockScan ForScience without thinking into the consequences.
* ''The Murders in the Rue Morgue'' by Creator/EdgarAllanPoe is probably the first detective novel ever written. However, Dupin does not rely entirely on a logical SherlockScan, and the imagination of the detective plays a key role in the story. Also, the culprit comes from nowhere, subverting both Foreshadowing in general and the elements of a FairPlayWhodunnit.
* ''Trent's Last Case'' by E C Bentley is generally credited with starting the inter-war FairPlayWhodunnit boom. However, the GreatDetective in it gets the solution of the murder completely wrong.
* Creator/LordDunsany had a taste for cruelly ironic endings for his AdventurerArchaeologist protagonists (see "The Hoard of the Gibbelins" for example), which seems like a subversion of the good fortune common to your average BarbarianHero appearing in HeroicFantasy stories. However, Dunsany [[OlderThanTheyThink predated]] [[Creator/RobertEHoward Howard]], [[Creator/FritzLeiber Leiber]], etc. who were inspired by Dunsany. "The Sword of Welleran", "Carcassone" and "In the Land of Time" as well, though "The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth" has a happier ending. ''Literature/TheKingOfElflandsDaughter'' is a bit more ambiguous.
* ''Literature/AConnecticutYankeeInKingArthursCourt'' invented the GivingRadioToTheRomans trope while pointing out all the problems it would realistically cause. While all of its adaptations and later users of the trope are comical and fairly idealistic, the original is pretty dark. There's humor about MedievalMorons, but there's also realistic depictions of a CorruptChurch and a generally dysfunctional society. Moreover, instead of being a hero, like in the adaptations, the protagonist becomes a warlord through his technological savvy, and gets corrupted by power.
* Literature/{{Flatland}} is probably the first novel that introduces the concept of AlienGeometries. However, to the flatlanders, it is the ''RealLife'' three-dimensional world that is unfathomable.
* ''Literature/ThePrisonerOfZenda'' falls into this in respect to the "{{Swashbuckler}} genre". The antagonist usurper to the throne isn't a CardCarryingVillain with ZeroPercentApprovalRating, instead he's more of an AntiVillain who [[VillainWithGoodPublicity is liked by the populace]], and for good reason, as the legitimate ruler is a drunken boor who doesn't care about the average citizen. Nor does his [[TheDragon Dragon]] have this characterization, instead being an AffablyEvil[=/=]FauxAffablyEvil type who is a DracoInLeatherPants ''in-universe''. Also notable is that the book has a BittersweetEnding which becomes a DownerEnding in the sequel which is in keeping with {{Ruritania}} being presented realistically, rather than as a [[TheThemeParkVersion story-book country]]. The book was meant as a satire, partly of Austria and Russia's even then outdated method of ruling through absolute monarchy, partly of the politically unstable Balkan countries.
* ''Literature/ThePictureOfDorianGray'' is one of the very first uses of the term PrinceCharming, about Dorian. Modern fairy tale parodies, reacting to the FlatCharacter of the stock Prince Charming, will tend to portray him as stupid (see ''Film/{{Enchanted}}'') or will have the character be PrinceCharmless and act like a selfish cad (see ''Franchise/{{Shrek}}'', ''Film/ThePrincessBride'', ''ComicBook/{{Fables}}'', ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods'', etc.) Both of these subversions are used in Wilde's novel, but in a much darker way. When introduced, Dorian seems like the benevolent FlatCharacter version, but it's taken further since he's a BlankSlate or even an EmptyShell, which explains why when he goes bad, he goes ''really bad'', since his shallowness is at LackOfEmpathy levels. Dorian would come across as a very dark take on/deconstruction of PrinceCharmless, were he not the first example of it.
* Creator/HPLovecraft wrote a few reconstructions of his own Franchise/CthulhuMythos mainstays, namely ''The Case of Charles Dexter Ward'' where it turns out some cosmic entities actually like humans, and ''The Shunned House'' and ''The Call of Cthulhu'' in which mankind's own grit and will to live (however temporarily) actually leads to us ''winning!''
* ''Literature/{{Gladiator}}'' features an invulnerable and super-strong protagonist who is unable to end a war, clean up Washington, or even make a living off his talents, his college football career ending prematurely when he kills another player. It reads as a deconstruction of the Franchise/{{Superman}} myth, but it's the book that inspired much of the early Superman comics. Hugo Danner's attempts to find a MundaneUtility to his [[NighInvulnerability Invulnerability]] and SuperStrength were the things that doomed his life. It deconstructs TheseLookLikeJobsForTheSuperman: BullyHunter as a child, a ScholarshipStudent at college, a SuperSoldier at war, manual laborer and AdventurerArchaeologist were not ways to CutLexLuthorACheck.
* ''Literature/TheGreatGatsby'' is arguably the TropeCodifier for the SelfMadeMan and the AmericanDream. It is however a tragedy, and Gatsby turns out to be a cheat, who is destroyed by the chase for Daisy.
* Vera Claythorne of Creator/AgathaChristie's ''Literature/AndThenThereWereNone'' is seemingly the originator of the FinalGirl trope – in a work in which a SerialKiller preys on victims, she has the personality of TheIngenue, and is the last one standing. However, Vera plays out as a very skewed take on the trope – beneath her innocent persona, Vera is actually mentally unbalanced, and is guilty of a very evil act – in fact, the reason she is designated as final is because the killer perceived her as (one of) the most evil of the bunch – in contrast with all later versions in which the FinalGirl is the most innocent. [[spoiler:The reason she survives is because the killer wanted to punish the most guilty by letting them live longer and suffer the mental trauma, and Vera kills the last remaining character then hangs herself.]]
* ''Literature/HoratioHornblower'': Even in what's arguably the flagship of the WoodenShipsAndIronMen genre, Hornblower is a brilliant captain, and a frequently self-doubting man who has difficulty remembering or believing that people actually ''like'' him.
* Readers of Creator/RobertEHoward's original ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'' stories may be struck by how different the character – an intelligent, often cheerful, polyglot who wears heavy armor into battle – is from the BarbarianHero archetype he inspired.
* Creator/EdmondHamilton's short story "He That Hath Wings" is one of the first stories to feature mutants, written in 1938. The protagonist is a WingedHumanoid. He never uses his power to help people or to hurt them, he has his wings amputated once his fiancee demands it, [[spoiler:and once they grow back, he flies himself to death]].
* ''Franchise/TolkiensLegendarium'':
** ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' bears this relation to HighFantasy, with its quasi-pacifistic overtones, BittersweetEnding, and {{inverted|Trope}} PlotCoupon. The heroes do ''not'' stick together to the end, and their victory did not preserve the doomed GoldenAge but merely warded off [[CrapsackWorld total conquest by evil]]. Also, the plucky hero, while exhibiting enormous fortitude, nevertheless ''fails'' in his mission; it was Gollum's unlucky slip which destroyed the Ring. And when some of the heroes return home they find it has been taken over by one of the villains and they have to overthrow him.
** In the earlier, children's book ''Literature/TheHobbit'', the dwarves' plan for the quest is shown as very flawed and they turn out to be helpless against the dragon, who is killed by someone else entirely; when this happens, the humans, elves, and dwarves all immediately turn on each other to fight over the dragon's hoard and possibly peace between them only happened due to the [[EnemyMine Goblins]] attacking. The hero betrays his companions (stealing the most precious gem of the hoard) in a (fruitless) attempt to buy peace. And finally Thorin is killed in battle by the Goblins. Bilbo doesn't come off much better himself, finding it more convenient to take only a small portion of his treasure back after using the rest of his share to buy peace, and it is even pointed out he loses his reputation from the adventure.
** The trend of GrimDark fantasy is somewhat motivated by HypeBacklash against Tolkien. However, Tolkien had been creating GrimDark fantasy (''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', ''Literature/TheChildrenOfHurin'') long, ''long'' before [[Literature/ChroniclesOfThomasCovenant Stephen Donaldson]] and Creator/GeorgeRRMartin.
*** ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'': Violent, morally ambiguous antiheroes? Check. Black and Grey (though still a little bit of white) morality? Check. Hypocritical, brutal, imperialist elves who'd give ''[[Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire the Lannisters]]'' nightmares? Check. Sexual themes like incest? Check. Dead kids? Check. Downer Ending? Oh boy, yes. In fact, the first story Tolkien wrote for the Legendarium, the Fall of Gondolin, is a very bleak story about a city of Elves getting destroyed by the forces of evil.
*** ''Literature/TheChildrenOfHurin'': Let's see, it's an epic DarkFantasy novel featuring an incestuous AntiHero, the fate of a family over the course of an epic struggle, a morally ambiguous dwarf, loads and loads of Black and Grey Morality, a sinister supernatural force encroaching from the north and a serious downer ending. And it's got nothing to do with George R.R. Martin.
** Nowadays, the trend of fantasy worlds having little to no actual wizards seems like deconstruction, but in ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' there are ''no'' actual human mages, and Elves, while definitely being magical, do not use magic for direct attacks (such as fireballs). Gandalf is the only one we see using "direct magic" onstage, and (though few people outside the fandom know this) he's actually not a human sorcerer—he's a ''Maia'', [[OurAngelsAreDifferent a being roughly akin to an angel or maybe a minor god]] in Tolkien's universe, who only appears human. George Martin even pointed this out, that in Tolkien's work magic is more about knowledge then casting spells.
** While Tolkien is largely the inspiration for the modern conception of elves, many uses of them would count as subversions today. That's especially true of the Noldor of Nargothrond, a group of elves living in a large secluded cave city obsessed with craftsmanship and smithing. The "one with nature" stereotype, in particular, is only seen in a small group that is mostly insignificant within his greater mythos.
** MedievalEuropeanFantasy works inspired by Tolkien tend to resemble TheHighMiddleAges more than anything else; people who make fiction that deliberately avoids this particular aesthetic often paint it specifically as trying not to create "Tolkienesque" settings. Tolkien's fantasy, however, is more directly inspired by TheLowMiddleAges, particularly pre-Norman Conquest Anglo-Saxon culture (the most notable exceptions being the Shire, which is essentially a compact version of early modern England; and Gondor, which has architecture and weaponry reminiscent of either TheRomanEmpire or TheHighMiddleAges).
** Though most people consider the Orcs to be the TropeCodifier — if not the {{Trope Maker|s}} — for the AlwaysChaoticEvil trope, it should be noted that Tolkien [[WordOfGod went on record]] saying that he didn't consider the Orc race to be uniformly evil; because of his strong Catholic upbringing, he expressly rejected the idea of an entire race being beyond salvation, and said that he would have taken the time to include sympathetic Orcs if he'd been able to fit them into the narrative. In Literature/TheSilmarillion he writes the Orcs began when Melkor imprisoned and corrupted elves, and that far from enjoying evil "the Orcs loathed the Master whom they served in fear". They're also rather different from later portrayals of orcs in that they're neither near-mindless animalistic savages nor NobleDemon {{Proud Warrior Race Guy}}s; Tolkien orcs have roughly human-level intelligence and are more skilled with torture and machines (particularly weapons) than they are in direct combat.
** The Orcs' homeland—the basis for [[{{Mordor}} another rather famous trope]]—can also be considered a {{deconstruction}} of the classic "Realm of Evil". While it ''is'' a pretty grim place, with plenty of dark skies and exploding volcanoes to go around, Tolkien actually took time to point out that a place like Mordor would have to include huge tracts of exceptionally fertile farmland in order to support a huge military juggernaut; [[ShownTheirWork this is actually borne out by reality]], as volcanic soil generally does make very good land for planting crops.
** Despite the stereotype of an EvilOverlord being evil for the sake of it, in [[Literature/TheHistoryOfMiddleEarth Morgoth's Ring]] Tolkien goes into a lot of detail on the actual motives of the two Dark Lords, [[GodOfEvil Morgoth]] and [[DragonAscendant Sauron]]. Morgoth is shown as essentially nihilistic and his apparent eventual plan was to destroy everything basically out of spite. Sauron, meanwhile, became evil out of a desire to bring order to the world, and after Morgoth's defeat his motives seemed to be restoring Middle-Earth after the war.
** The Elf Fëanor contains many qualities of a traditional fantasy hero, being a King's oldest son, handsome, charismatic and an excellent warrior. However he comes across as a deconstruction of TheAce, as he is incredibly arrogant and hot-headed. His rallying the Noldor to war against Morgoth also deconstructs TheCharmer, as it leads to the Noldor killing other Elves so they can get to Middle-Earth. Fëanor is also set up as a major character for the First Age, however his hot-blooded nature means he dies shortly after reaching Middle-Earth when he attacks Angband ahead of his main army and is fatally wounded by the Balrogs.
* Creator/JorgeLuisBorges' "Literature/TheLibraryOfBabel" is this for the GreatBigLibraryOfEverything trope. The library contains not only every book ever written, but every book it is ''possible'' to write, the overwhelming majority of which are complete gibberish.
* ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' is perhaps the {{Trope Maker|s}} for the surveillance state. However it is pointed out not everybody is watched, only the middle-class, who the upper class considers the biggest threat. A political tract in the book claims that predictably the middle-class will try using the lower class for a revolt, then become the new upper class. Also the hero [[spoiler: does not overthrow the regime, he and his lover end up beaten into submission and "loving" Big Brother.]]
** The book also deals with a lot of aspects of totalitarianism that other later dystopian works fail to address. For example, it's mentioned that to become a member of the ruling class, a citizen does, in fact, have to pass a set of civil exams. Just being evil/cruel/power-hungry isn't enough. Also, while the ruling class do have a pleasant life compared to the rest of the populace, they do not at all live like kings. They burn so much resources maintaining their absolute stranglehold on the population that their own standard of living would be considered poor by today's standards.
* Creator/IsaacAsimov was a pioneer of science fiction; constructing and deconstructing several tropes.
** He created the [[ThreeLawsCompliant Three Laws of Robotics]], which have been imitated by many other science fiction writers. However, Asimov's Robot stories were mostly dedicated to the Laws' inadequacies. This was largely in response to the opinion that robots would be inherently [[AIIsACrapshoot dangerous and unpredictable]], but Asimov believed that robots, like all technology, are merely tools, and any danger they might pose would be the result of misuse or abuse by humans. He deconstructed his own laws in many ways, but also {{reconstruct|ion}}ed them as well. For example: [[LoopholeAbuse manipulation of the laws to subvert their intent]]; exploring how adjusting the laws in an apparently benign way could have [[GoneHorriblyWrong disastrous consequences]] if viewed from an extremely literal perspective (like, say, that of [[LiteralMinded a robot]]); the problem with interpreting what it means to "cause harm", especially in ways more subtle than robots (and even humans) can understand; and how a sufficiently intelligent robot could avert the sometimes LawfulStupid aspect of the laws by applying them less literally where appropriate (the basis for the ZerothLawRebellion trope).
** The ''{{Foundation}}'' series codified TheFederation, though called "the Empire". The main plot describes the inherent ''weakness'' of the interstellar democracy, and its decay into a corrupted entity, similar to the [[TheEmpire Empire]] trope.
* ''Literature/JamesBond'':
** The original novel of ''Literature/DrNo'' prominently features Doctor No's [[SupervillainLair incredibly elaborate, cozy island lair]], which was later immortalized in the film adaptation and set the standard for larger-than-life evil lairs everywhere. However, it also goes into detail about the time, money and resources that would go into constructing such a thing – Dr. No first appears in person as Bond wonders just ''how'' he managed to [[ElaborateUndergroundBase build a window facing out into the ocean into the wall]], and how much such an operation would cost. Bond is also well aware of how strange, surreal, and (given that he isn't expected to leave alive) morbid his [[NoMrBondIExpectYouToDine welcome]] is. The whole thing exists to serve Dr. No's special brand of megalomania. The movie included the impressive lair, but cut out the details of its construction and the kind of mind that led to its creation, making it seem a good deal less extraordinary.
** Imagine if someone set out to write a DarkerAndEdgier version of the tuxedoed playboy spy that everyone knows today. It might involve Bond being utterly outclassed by the BigBad, have him fail to notice that the girl of the week is actually working with him, and might end up with him totally disillusioned about his job and the demands of real politics. The basis of the very first Bond novel ''Literature/CasinoRoyale'' then.
** Consequently, the movie adaptation of ''Film/CasinoRoyale2006'' seems like a deconstruction of the previous Bond films (and was even hyped as such, at a time when it was perceived that the Bond franchise was wearing thin), particularly the Moore era, when it's in fact being faithful to the source material, although there's definitely a certain mockery of the campier moments in Bond's history.
** Fleming's writing of Bond in general feels like a deconstruction of the adventurous and badass ladies man that film Bond is. In the books, Bond is depicted as a stone-cold and ruthless assassin with a hinted-at lust for violence whose womanizing comes across more like the behavior of a sexual predator than TheCasanova.
* ''Literature/IAmLegend'' was the inspiration for many of the classic zombie stories, including ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968''. [[spoiler:It also has the inhuman hordes being depicted as sentient, and the lone survivor is ''their'' version of a boogeyman. The ethical questions concerning his attempts to survive in this new world are a primary theme of the end of the novel.]]
* ''Literature/TheManInTheHighCastle'':
** Considered a hallmark of classic AlternateHistory, though it wasn't the first, the book manages to deconstruct the genre by having the title character write his own alternate history in which the Allies won World War II, but in a different way than in real life. The ending is a MindScrew which seems to hint that the characters realize that neither that fictional history nor their own is real.
** Probably the first serious "[[GodwinsLawOfTimeTravel The Nazis win]]" AlternateHistory, it seems to deconstruct several clichés associated with the genre nowadays. Rather than being a venerated father figure for the Reich, Hitler is in a lunatic asylum and none of the current Nazi leadership can bring themselves to admit that they have built a world based on the ideas of a man even they now think is mad. We spend much more time looking at the Japanese-ruled part of the US than the Nazi-ruled part. One character talks about how the Nazis' policies appeal to some white working-class Americans, making blue-collar jobs more celebrated in culture and socially acceptable (reflecting how they built their support in Germany in RealLife) rather than the usual modern NaziNobleman stereotype.
* ''Literature/{{Misery}}''. Both the book and the film seem to be a ''rather'' disturbing {{deconstruction}} of the StrawFan trope. Keep in mind that the book was written in 1987 and the film debuted in 1990, well before the full extent of FanDumb would be exposed on the Internet.
* ''Literature/{{Lolita}}'' was the {{Trope Namer|s}} for {{Lolicon}} -- the Japanese loanword is short for "Lolita Complex" -- but if you read it carefully, you'll realize that it's a {{Deconstruction}} of that very trope by showing how Humbert Humbert's flowery prose and profession of his love for Lolita doesn't change the fact that he's a pedophile who took advantage of a pre-adolescent girl and destroyed her childhood. The novel also implies that if Humbert could see Dolores Haze objectively, he would see just another normal, banal suburban girl who is neither poetically pure nor some sexually precocious nymph.
* ''Literature/TheMoviegoer'' has a series of insightful and utter deconstructive extrapolations about the flaws of [[TheSixties 60's]] counter culture but the book was published in 1961, well ahead of the popular outbreak of what he was describing.
* ''Film/TheGodfather'', the novel that inspired probably the most influential of Mafia movie series, has one of the central tropes of mafia fiction, NothingPersonal, taken apart by none other than Michael Corleone himself:
-->''"Tom, don't let anybody kid you. It's all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it's personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don. My old man. The Godfather. If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. He took my going into the Marines personal. That's what makes him great. The Great Don. He takes everything personal. Like God. He knows every feather that falls from the tail of a sparrow or however the hell it goes? Right? And you know something? Accidents don't happen to people who take accidents as a personal insult."''
* ''Literature/CreaturesOfLightAndDarkness'' by Creator/RogerZelazny has a novelty martial art – known as "Temporal Fugue" – practised by godlike superhumans, which involves practitioners projecting themselves through space and time to a place behind their enemies, striking right before their foes strike. If both practitioners use Temporal Fugue at the same time, it results in an infinite cascade of recursion and duplication, which strains the time-space continuum. At first, this would seem like a deconstruction of NoIAmBehindYou, but ''Creatures of Light and Darkness'' was written in ''1969, long before anime dealing with the subject first started to boom''.
* ''Literature/AClockworkOrange'' is one of the earlier works to feature HeelFaceBrainwashing, which is often played as a more humane way to resolve things with a bad guy than simply killing him or imprisoning him, especially as he will probably learn that GoodFeelsGood and turn for real. The book, however, goes straight into the FridgeHorror of the idea when it's used on Alex and ultimately condemns it as a horrific and terrible crime against humanity, as what it's essentially done is remove Alex's free will, making him less than human. Alex also doesn't learn anything about GoodFeelsGood while under its influence: he's beaten and terrorized by his past victims, unable to defend himself, and ends up attempting suicide to escape the horror his life has become. And at the end, after the brainwashing procedure has been reversed, he just decides to become a good person anyway, having grown up a bit.
* [[Franchise/NoonUniverse The Noon Universe]] predates many of the famous ''Star Trek''-esque utopian future stories as well as a lot of space operas, but it also brutally deconstructs its own ideas. The future while [[CrapsaccharineWorld outwardly nice]] is hitting a decay, the eccentric scientists are turning towards dangerous experiments out of boredom, the government is increasingly paranoid, ThePrecursors are manipulative asses, FirstContact almost always ends in tragedy, and the Flash Gordon-style protagonists tend to do more harm than good. TheFederation isn't destroyed by its own ideals, but WordOfGod says the only reason it didn't happen is because [[AuthorExistenceFailure one of the writers died]].
* ''Literature/{{Dune}}'' went in-depth examining the full social and religious implications of the RobotWar ''long'' before it became the archetypal plot that it is today – and it did it without ever showing the war itself. Instead, the story takes place millennia after the war, in a universe where its aftermath led to a religious crusade against artificial intelligence... and gave rise to oppressive aristocratic governments and subcultures of power-crazed {{Ubermensch}}en who manipulate the human race with mystical powers. Not to mention the struggle to control the substance that fuels said mystical powers, which ends up controlling the universe's economy and touching off centuries of ever more destructive wars. It's an entire SpaceOpera setting built around drug-dealing. Though the RobotWar merely forms the background of the story, its results imply that in RealLife, even victory in such a conflict could turn out to be disastrous for humanity.
* To a modern reader, ''Literature/TuckEverlasting'' reads like a LighterAndSofter rebuke to ''Twilight'' and other books like it: Girl meets immortal boy, girl falls for boy, boy's family adores girl, girl must decide whether or not she wants to live forever with boy. Only in this case, the method of becoming immortal is much gentler than what we see in modern WhoWantsToLiveForever books (drinking from a spring as opposed to being bitten by a vampire), the family's love for the girl is justified [[spoiler:because, being immortal, the Tucks have become weary of living and are overjoyed to have a "natural, growing child" nearby]], and the reason for the family's Masquerade is justified as well. Most surprising of all, [[spoiler:Winnie decides not to drink the water, instead living out a natural life and dying some 70 years later. This is portrayed as a wise decision on Winnie's part.]] ''Tuck Everlasting'' was published in 1975.
* ''The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd'' was a reply to Christopher Marlowe's ''The Passionate Shepherd to His Love''. Reading it today, it comes across as a sharp indictment of commercialism. The nymph is unimpressed that the shepherd thinks that love can be traded for material goods that can break down over time. It was in fact written in ''1596'' by Sir Walter Raleigh, centuries before Black Friday and Wal-Mart.
* ''Literature/TheBourneIdentity'' further unbuilds ''Film/TheBourneSeries'' franchise. In the novel, Jason Bourne is not an assassin. He only takes credits for assassinations.

* While hardly the first steampunk novel, ''Literature/TheDifferenceEngine'' is a surprisingly early dystopian take on the genre. Many of the flaws of Victorian society – socio-economic tensions, poor understanding of medicine, police surveillance, pollution, British imperialism – are all exacerbated by London getting its hands on advanced technology way too early to be trusted with it.
* Though it arrived years later, ''Literature/TheDiamondAge'' is also a striking example. All the archetypical steampunk technology is there, but Neal Stephenson doesn't waste a single opportunity to highlight the shortcomings and ValuesDissonance of (neo-)Victorian society: Hackworth is a genius but socially bound to remain working-class; his wife [[spoiler:divorces him per Victorian custom after he is kidnapped and raped by the Drummers]]; Nell is alienated by the rigidness and impracticality of her boarding school, and on and on.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* By the time RealityTV shows became popular, ''Series/{{COPS}}'' had already established itself as a {{Long Runner|s}}. In addition, while most reality TV shows play up reactions, have slick editing and large production costs, ''COPS'' has NoBudget, and while the show is edited, it's entirely unscripted and unplanned. The cameramen are often police officers themselves, and there have been times that the cops on-screen not only acknowledge the cameramen - something most reality shows tend to avoid - but a few instances where the cameraman puts the camera down to help with an arrest.
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'':
** Imagine an episode where a man searches a deserted creepy town looking for any signs of life or civilization, but continues to find [[NothingIsScarier nothing]], just signs that someone was there at one point but unable to find anyone who still is, with the implication that he may be the last man on Earth. Only for it to be revealed that it all had a fairly mundane and actually somewhat plausible explanation, the man hallucinated the whole thing while in an isolation booth as part of an Air Force experiment. Is this a later episode trying to subvert the show's standard format? No, it's the [[ThePilot pilot episode]].
** "Five Characters in Search of an Exit", with its famously chilling TwistEnding, would be a {{deconstruction}} of [[spoiler:''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'']] if it hadn't come out three decades before it. [[spoiler:The old question, "What happens to sentient toys when they're abandoned by their owner?" isn't just an unsettling bit of FridgeHorror—it's the entire premise. Five dolls, who aren't aware that they're dolls, wake up in a Salvation Army bin with no way of knowing where they are or how they got there, and the entire episode follows them slowly going insane as they futilely try to escape.]]
** The episode "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You" is an absolutely vicious take on the UnnecessaryMakeover trope as a teenage girl who doesn't fit the conventional definition of beauty is repeatedly encouraged to get a surgical procedure to enhance her appearance and make her like everyone else. She repeatedly refuses and cites the importance of knowledge and character over appearance only to be kidnapped and forced into it. The episode's ending with her as an exact copy of her friend and having lost any trace of her original personality is chilling. And it was made in 1963. It's less a Deconstruction and more of a prophecy about the onset of innumerable plastic surgery shows where women are encouraged to cut apart their bodies to be considered acceptable.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** The whole concept of the Prime Directive has been reversed over the years. In ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', the idea made a great deal more sense: Starfleet could not interfere with internal politics of pre-warp civilizations, but exceptions could sometimes be tolerated when another warp-capable civilization like the Klingons had already interfered, and the idea of not saving innocent people from a natural disaster would have been unheard of. In later series, Starfleet regularly allows natural disasters to wipe out whole civilizations, but has no problem meddling in internal politics.
** The famous ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "Lower Decks" is both the {{Trope Maker|s}} and the {{Trope Namer|s}} for the LowerDeckEpisode, but it's also a [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruction]] of the {{Redshirt}} trope that's devoted to showing the audience the true perils of life as a low-ranking Starfleet crewman. The episode's four viewpoint characters spend their days constantly fighting for the main characters' respect and assisting on dangerous missions that they're kept in the dark about, and the episode even ends with the death of one of them, using the moment to show that every death on the ''Enterprise'' is a tragedy for the ship's captain.
** The TOS episode "Mirror, Mirror" helped to popularize the MirrorUniverse trope, but showed that the universes weren't really that different as the later Mirror Universe episodes on ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' and ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' would show them to be. Even though his mirror counterpart had a BeardOfEvil, Spock was, as the show put it, "A man of honor in both universes", [[AntiVillain and not strictly evil in the mirror universe]] despite clearly being on the side of the angels in the primary reality. Also, the Aliens of the Week, the Halkans, were {{Actual Pacifist}}s in both the 'real' universe and in the Mirror Universe.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** A commonly remarked-upon part of the show's premise is that it's about an old, sinister, extremely powerful man who goes travelling extra-legally with [[NaiveEverygirl naive]], [[ParentService sexy]] young women and holds total power over whether they come with him, get abandoned or die – and that this is played for WishFulfillment rather than as a really creepy variant of the DirtyOldMan. However, in the ''very first episode'', it's clear that the reason Ian and Barbara are scared for Susan's safety is because they think her mysterious grandfather, the Doctor, is keeping her locked up in a police box in a junkyard, and refusing to let her see the outside world. Even after they are taken into the TARDIS, they believe that her grandfather has brainwashed her into believing they are aliens in order to keep her distressed and dependent on him, and Barbara attempts to explain to her that it is a game that he is playing with her.
** There's an ongoing [[NeverLiveItDown joke]] that Daleks cannot take over the universe because their impractical design means that they can't climb stairs, even though the Daleks everyone remembers can fly. Nevertheless, the very first Dalek serial, "The Daleks", deals with this restriction seriously – not only can they not climb stairs (which is irrelevant, as they use exclusively lifts to get around their city) they die if they ever lose contact with the floor, relying on electricity channelled through metal floors to power them. The TARDIS crew kill a Dalek by blinding it and forcing it to roll over a coat, cutting off the connection and its life support system, and later the Doctor kills every Dalek in the city by shorting out the power. This story also dealt with Daleks being rather sad, pathetic beings, and even features the main cast making fun of the Daleks' [[EvilSoundsRaspy monotone, distorted voices]], with Susan laughing out loud when she first hears a Dalek attempt to say her name. It also deconstructs the way that the Doctor's inquisitive nature leads him and his companions into danger: The Doctor wants to explore a city on another planet but his companions refuse. He sabotages the TARDIS, forcing them to search the city. They are captured, as usual, but almost die from radiation poisoning as the meter wasn't checked.
** The ''third'' First Doctor story, "The Edge of Destruction", is an absurdly dark look at how miserable and paranoid it would be to be unworldly humans living aboard a SapientShip that travels semi-autonomously across time and space with a mysterious alien at the helm – by this point, Ian and Barbara's hatred of the Doctor is enough that both think the other may have tried to murder him (and they did not choose to be his companions either, instead being kidnapped by him), the Doctor hates Ian and Barbara for being human interlopers who may be trying to steal or hurt his ship, and Susan, while appearing to be TheIngenue, is just as [[BlueAndOrangeMorality inscrutable and alien]] as her grandfather and [[TheOphelia has a violent mental breakdown, babbling about creatures living inside her, and attacking Ian with a pair of surgical scissors]]. During all of this, they are dealing with a NegativeSpaceWedgie, the effects of which are so unlike anything that they have seen before that they constantly wonder if this is actually a malevolent force or something the TARDIS, which [[StarfishAlien has a mind of its own impossible to understand outside of its species]], is doing for their sake. Another aspect is that the TARDIS being unreliable is usually portrayed comically. However this serial shows how dangerous it could really be if the TARDIS went wrong, here a spring coming loose on the console nearly destroys the ship by throwing it back in time to the creation of a galaxy.
** In "The Aztecs", the '''third''' historical story, Barbara tries and fails to save Aztec civilisation by ending human sacrifice. The ending is at best bittersweet, with the High Priest of Sacrifice [[TheBadGuyWins ending up in control]] and the only consolation is that the High Priest of Art leaves society to meditate on his faith.
** The first time we see a human space empire is in "The Sensorites", where the humans coming to the Sense-Sphere is treated as a bad thing, as a previous mission is hiding on the planet and poisoning the inhabitants in an attempt to steal their minerals. The Sensorites themselves are portrayed sympathetically, trying to protect themselves while the main villain is the scheming City Administrator. The story could also be seen as a slight Deconstructive Parody of DittoAliens, as the Sensorites can only recognise each other by their clothes, enabling the villain to take the place of one simply by killing them and stealing their clothes. Even so he avoids getting close to anybody who knew this Sensorite well and points out his disguise only works on those who saw the Sensorite at a distance or in passing.
** "The Rescue" is a deconstruction of the show's whole modus operandi. The TARDIS team land on a planet where a young woman, Vicki, in a crashed spaceship is waiting to be saved by a rescue vessel, while also being kept prisoner by an alien named Coquillion who has killed the rest of the crew. Barbara murders the young woman's pet monster, assuming it was trying to eat her, and the Doctor talks to the other survivor of the crash about dealing with Coquillion, after which he points out that they have nothing to gain from doing that, as the rescue ship is already coming. This culminates in Vicki telling them all that they have no right to go around landing on other people's planets assuming they know exactly what to do when they aren't living there and have no real idea what's going on or if their attempts to fix it are just making everything worse, that she hates them, and that they should all just leave. It is all fixed in the end, but only because the Doctor had already lived on the planet for a while prior to the story, listens to Vicki's point of view while still questioning things she's too entrenched in her own ways to question herself, and because the natives of the planet eventually take matters into their own hands and deal with Coquillion. Furthermore, Coquillion [[spoiler: isn't an alien at all, he ''is'' the other survivor who invented a phony alien plot to cover up his murder of the rest of the crew.]]
** "Mission to the Unknown" and its sequel "The Daleks Master Plan" seem like a DarkerAndEdgier version of the sort of genre ''Star Trek'' popularised. Marc Cory of the Space Security Service finds out about the Dalek plan to invade the Solar System but is trapped on the planet, he records a message and is able to warn Earth in a HeroicSacrifice... no he gets killed just before he can send the message. Bret Vyon comes across as a bit of a jerk from his determination to his mission, for the first time a companion of the Doctor dies, TWICE! Bret is killed by another agent, his sister Sara Kingdom is killed with the Daleks in a potentially SenselessSacrifice. The main villain, along with the Daleks, is [[PresidentEvil Guardian of the Solar System]] and TheQuisling Mavic Chen and the Head of the SSS is also a Quisling. The story ends without a feeling of triumph, Steven reminding the Doctor of those who died and the Doctor saying "What a waste... What a terrible waste." These stories both aired in 1965 (though Master Plan ran to 1966), before ''Star Trek'' premièred.
** Steven Moffat's run of the new series is often praised for deconstructing the Doctor's legend and personality, and the relationship between the Doctor and his companions. The show's first attempts at doing this were actually in Season 3, which had two stories ("The Massacre" and "The Savages") which examined these themes. "The Massacre" features a situation in which the companion sees [[IdenticalStranger someone who appears to be the Doctor in disguise]] arranging a FinalSolution, assumes that the Doctor must be planning something, ends up unable to save any of the victims due to his misguided attempts to help with whatever the Doctor must be planning, and the real Doctor refuses to save anyone under his belief that history cannot be changed (leading to a WhatTheHellHero moment and Steven [[ScrewThisImOutOfHere even attempting to quit]]). "The Savages" is the first time the Doctor finds a planet that not only knows who he is but venerates him – a culture that drains life energy from an underclass to power the machines they use to watch his adventures.
** The Doctor is usually portrayed as an InsufferableGenius which is often played as a cute, charming quirk, especially in the new series. In Classic Who, the First Doctor was shown to be almost unbearable because of this – as he mellowed out, he would occasionally lapse back into this manner of thinking, and then have a short scene afterwards where he would apologise for being rude, admitting he has NoSocialSkills. The Second Doctor averted the trope entirely, but when it was revived for the Third Liz Shaw's reason given for quitting being the Doctor's TheWatson is because she can't stand his massive ego any more, feeling he only uses her as a prop to make him look clever. It's not really until Tom Baker shows up that this part of his nature is played as just {{adorkable}}, because his natural presence was likeable enough he could say the most horrible things and make them sound harmless.
** The stereotypical depiction of the Companion is someone pretty, with long hair, in a short skirt, who is well meaning but very stupid, has ShipTease with the Doctor that never goes anywhere, constantly talks about how clever the Doctor is, and gets into trouble and [[SecurityCling clings onto people a lot]]. This is an exact description of Second Doctor companion Jamie, who is male.
** Victoria's main trait is being the ScreamingWoman, but rather than being TheLoad, her capacity for screaming is a useful tactic on several occasions (most memorably, it is [[MakeMeWannaShout weaponised]] to murder the MonsterOfTheWeek in "Fury From the Deep" and to stun a man pointing a gun at her in "Tomb of the Cybermen", among others). Her screaming is also approached realistically as she admits that she's terrified all the time travelling with the Doctor, and leaves the TARDIS for a more peaceful life. (Although it would have been a bit more realistic for her to have done so one episode earlier.)
** The Pertwee era is sometimes criticised for portraying the idea of the Doctor working with the military in a positive light, even though he's against most of their methods of accomplishing anything and it seems rather against his anti-authoritarian morality. The Pertwee era started out portraying this situation very uneasily, with the Doctor openly thinking of the Brigadier as an idiot and even trying to steal from him and lie to him to go around behind his back (and only being forced into working with him due to his TARDIS not working). In the second story of this era, the Brigadier commits a genocide, with the Doctor looking down on the explosion and calling it 'murder'.
* The standard hero of a ParanormalInvestigation show is a [[TroubledButCute brooding]] [[MrFanservice fanservicing]] {{badass}} motivated by [[ForGreatJustice justice]] or {{Revenge}}. The UrExample of this type of show, ''Series/KolchakTheNightStalker'', has its title character be a bumbling, middle aged tabloid reporter with questionable taste in fashion, is [[ChasteHero uninterested in romance]], usually defeats the MonsterOfTheWeek by sheer dumb luck, and is largely in it for the fame and fortune that exposing the supernatural would bring him.
* Even the StandardFiftiesFather is unbuilt. People forget that in the very earliest sitcoms from the late 1940s and early '50s, the father was often ''not'' smart or competent; the sitcom ''Life of Riley'' established the caricature of the BumblingDad for television. (And for that matter, the idea of the wife and/or mother being TheDitz instead of a perfect mom did not begin with [[Series/AllInTheFamily Edith Bunker]] or [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Marge Simpson]].) Our idea of the Standard Fifties Father more or less owes its existence to Robert Young, who, in the mid-1950s, agreed to star in ''Series/FatherKnowsBest'' only on the condition that his character would be portrayed as competent.
* ''Series/IDreamOfJeannie'' and ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' are the most well known {{Fantastic Comed|y}}ies of the 1960s, and are often held up as [[ReactionaryFantasy Reactionary Fantasies]]. The reality is they these shows were ''very'' much not. Darrin and Tony were not controlling husbands, but normal guys wanting to live normal lives and by their own merits. Samantha also wanted a normal life, and Jeannie only served Tony because she was the first person she had seen in centuries, after having been in a bottle. The show also explores the consequences of having a supernatural female partner.
** Darrin had to endure harassment from Samantha's relatives, who wanted [[FantasticRacism nothing to do with mortals]].
** Tony doesn't profit from Jeannie, because it would mean he would have property he can't report to the government. Jeannie's behavior has also brought him unwanted attention from his superiors, harassment from supernatural forces like the [[JackassGenie Blue Djinn]] and [[TheVamp Jeannie's twin sister]], and he's had to deal with less-scrupulous people who wanted to profit Jeannie, including his own best friend.
* The ''{{Series/Farscape}}'' episode that named HumanityIsSuperior is a subversion/deconstruction of the very trope it titled. Crichton is only "superior" in the sense that his incredibly poor eyesight allows him to avoid being killed instantly by the MonsterOfTheWeek. His ranting about how awesome humans are just ends up making him look like an even bigger idiot and the rest of Moya's crew just roll their eyes at him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Miscellaneous]]
* The Trollface.jpg has been used countless times across the Web to illustrate the act of, well, {{troll}}ing. Yet, [[http://i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/001/072/Trollface.png the comic that it originated in]] was a demonstration of how trolls want to believe that they're driving people incoherent with rage, while the troll is actually being met with slightly annoyed indifference. It also suggests that most "trolls" are just people expressing their own moronic opinions, and then [[ParodyRetcon retroactively claiming they were trolling]] after other people criticize their opinions. And the phrase most associated with Trollface.jpg ("Problem, officer?") originally [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3SXBirhH7s had nothing to do with trolling]] (and the troll face was actually referred to as the person's "cool face").
* Many people who read Adam Smith's ''The Wealth of Nations'', the book that codified free trade and capitalist economics, are often surprised to see Smith's belief that the invisible hand of the market was not applicable in all situations (such as provision of health care and education), his endorsement of unions (then illegal) as a means of preventing workers from competing against each other and thus driving down wages, and his criticism of acting purely on self-interest. Read today, ''The Wealth of Nations'' seems less like the Creator/AynRand-style endorsement of laissez-faire capitalism that its reputation suggests, and more a critique of such (if not by an out-and-out Marxist, then certainly a left-leaning progressive or an old-school Tory).
** Economic theories principal ideas are explored first in literature before being codified: Wealth of the nations (published at 1776) codifies [[CripplingOverspecialization Division of Labour]], [[MundaneUtility RealPrice]], [[ConspicuousConsumption Nominal Price]], [[WorthlessYellowRocks coinage]] were first explored at Literature/RobinsonCrusoe, published at 1709. The idea of every human activity (including art) being [[OnlyInItForTheMoney dependent on its economic value]] was first exposed by Literature/LePereGoriot, published at 1819, before The Communist Manifesto (published at 1848) was published by Creator/KarlMarx
* The first well-recognized discussion of TheSingularity (called the Omega Point) came to be in the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic priest, and it was more like "achieving a complete union with {{God}}" rather than "[[AGodAmI becoming God]]".
* TheSpartanWay, when an army uses a [[TrainingFromHell horrifically brutal training regime]], sometimes recruiting from young teens, to create the ultimate BadassArmy. When the actual city of Sparta tried this some 2500 years ago, they were tactically inflexible to the point of being outright crippled. The army existed mostly to scare the SlaveRace into complacency, so they couldn't operate very far from home. Since their system only produced [[ElitesAreMoreGlamorous elites]], it took forever to replace losses, which in turn meant they ended up having a rather small army made up almost entirely of heavy infantry. An enemy army with a detachment of hit-and-run skirmishers -- or worse, cavalry -- could run circles around the Spartans, and if the Spartans lost more than a few hundred they would have to consider surrendering ''the entire war''. To top it all off, with a ProudWarriorRaceGuy mentality they didn't see any reason to adapt and evolve their fighting style; this came back to bite them in the ass in the Battle of Sphacteria (425 BCE), where Athens had the entire Spartan playbook on file and could just walk all over the precious Spartan hoplites. As a result Spartans were rarely on the offensive, and if they were it was to raid more slaves. And this is not even getting into Persian accounts, which described Sparta as thoroughly corrupt and easily bribed for allegiance.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Bill Haley. Look at that [[DawsonCasting thirtysomething]] clown, with his dweeby bow tie and stupid curled cowlick, trying to convince us he’s cool. [[PretenderDiss What a poser]]...Wait, you say he ''invented'' modern pop music?
* Music/FranzLiszt's ''Totentanz'' with its [[CulturedBadass dissonant usage]] of the ''Dies Irae'' theme, making it sound like actual post-Stravinsky Modern Classical, when it's "only" Liszt's [[DarkerAndEdgier progressive style]] coupled with Romantic Irony.
* Music/TomLehrer's "TheMasochismTango" did this for the ObligatoryBondageSong.
* The entire "heavy metal" style of rock music is an Unbuilt Trope for purely semantic reasons. Throughout TheSeventies and TheEighties, groups that we rightly think of as heavy metal today (Music/BlackSabbath, etc.) were disdained as "not music" or even outright ignored by the music media. (A notable exception was Music/JudasPriest, who – at least for a time – successfully bridged the divide between "serious" metal and pop-metal.) Until TheNineties, what heavy metal ''really'' meant to most people was the "wailing guitar" music of groups like Music/LedZeppelin, Music/{{ACDC}}, Music/VanHalen, or Music/BonJovi. Good luck finding any of those groups in the "metal" section of your record store today.
** Led Zeppelin are also a good example because whilst they were very influential on metal, it's often glossed over in favor of Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden's influence. It should be noted that Robert Plant and John Bonham were actually very good friends with the members of Black Sabbath, and often exchanged ideas, and the two bands saw themselves as peers. As an example, the influence of "Communication Breakdown" on "Paranoid" should give a clue.
** Also, at the time, many groups (including Black Sabbath) didn't define the music they were making as "heavy metal", but "heavy rock", "hard rock", or other similar terms.
** Black Sabbath were subjected to a ''lot'' of MisaimedFandom and Misaimed {{Hatedom}} from supporters and detractors alike, who assumed that they were a "Satan-worshipping" band. In truth, Ozzy and the gang considered themselves a "hippie" band, and they experimented with other styles of music besides "death rock." They were also Roman Catholics, and their music contained many Christian themes. For example, the TitleTrack from their SelfTitledAlbum features an image of Satan inspired by a nightmare of Butler's, a depiction that is very clearly evil with Ozzy screaming out to God for help. The track "After Forever" from their third album also has a [[NotChristianRock very clear Christian message]]. Their inclusion and portrayal of the occult could be seen as a deconstruction of Satanic symbolism in later metal.
** Today, most people tend to think of metal as a genre focusing on aggression and speed. While this is true for the most part, this was not the kind of music Black Sabbath played. In fact, they relied on slow tempos to create an atmosphere of fear, despair, and magic, and it can be said their music became less and less extreme with the years in that regard. The style their early albums spawned is known as DoomMetal today, which many people (falsely) assume is a reaction to more aggressive forms of metal.
** Then there's a sub-example with Music/{{Venom}}, the coiners of the phrase "BlackMetal". Musically, the only thing their first albums have in common with modern black metal is poor recording quality. Unlike later black metal bands, they were absolutely not serious about what they sang, and occult/satanic songs were alongside one or two silly songs about sex or music itself. The band are in fact very similar to Motorhead, but their satanic elements made people think of them as more metal.
* ''Killing Machine'', the first Judas Priest album to generate a hit single or two (and generally considered the first metal album to receive mainstream media attention), was released in 1979 and therefore sounds a great deal like a 1970s record. The intro to the very first track, "Delivering the Goods", suggests that Priest deliberately mashed together the hard "funk" rock of the early-to-mid-'70s with the speed and thrash metal of the '80s and beyond - and, in fact, that's almost exactly what they did.
* Music/{{KISS}} have long been perceived as a silly subversion of the HeavyMetal genre, specifically in their performance of music that is [[ScaryMusicianHarmlessMusic usually nowhere near as grotesque as their appearance would suggest]]. In fact, along with Music/AliceCooper, they ''created'' the metal stereotypes, and thus were free to tweak them as much as they wished. In fact, early Kiss were unsure of what ''their own sound'' should be; ironically, their earliest albums hardly sound like they are by Kiss at all: their debut album from early 1974 sounds more like a RollingStones record, particularly on the tracks “Firehouse” and “Cold Gin.” Their second album, ''Hotter Than Hell'', is radically experimental and innovative, with songs that [[ValuesResonance seem to predict the future]], anticipating thrash and death metal (“Parasite”) and the “grunge” alternative style of [[TheNineties Nineties]] groups like PearlJam (“Goin’ Blind”, “Got to Choose”). Not until their third album (''Dressed to Kill'') would Kiss really begin to promote their trademark high-energy “power-pop” style; and not until their fourth album (''Destroyer'') would they embrace it fully (and even that album had the soft ballad "Beth" on it).
* The band that in 1978 released the self-titled ''Van Halen'' is definitely not the caricature that typified the later HairMetal bands with which Music/VanHalen is often identified. Eddie’s guitar solos on this album, while impressive, are not as gonzo as the ones later heard from copycat groups like QuietRiot (or, for that matter, as the ones on later Van Halen records); their emphasis is on artistry, rather than shock value or cheesiness. Van Halen also deconstruct the “party-animal” image of the later groups: while the tone of the first album is ''generally'' lighthearted, there are also some brooding, relatively low-key songs such as “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love.”
* Listen to any PunkRock band from the mid-seventies. They sound almost nothing like what we think of as punk music, and barely have anything in common with each other musically. At the time, PunkRock was just music played by punks. Some particularly pedantic critics even define the rockabilly of the 1950s and the "garage rock" of the 1960s as "punk," which sounds pretty misleading until you remember that those styles of music indeed directly influenced punk (and, less directly, metal).
** For more specific examples, compare Music/TheRamones (almost like a deconstruction of the '90s pop punk bands) and Richard Hell and the Voidoids (chaos with a loose basis in rockabilly, aka psychobilly 10 years before it happened).
** The fact that a lot of the original punk rock sound harkens back to eras earlier than the 1970s (from Phil Spector's "wall of sound" to '50s rockabilly) is that punk rock sought to rebel against the rock music conventions of the time. This was the era of big arena rock bands and prog rock bands that had overly elaborate orchestration (though punk rock pioneer Johnny Rotten was a big fan of some prog rock bands). Additionally, the most notable proto-punk band, The Stooges, played fast little rock & roll numbers with great enthusiasm and was an antidote to the hippie rock that was in the mainstream in the very early 1970s (another such band was the Velvet Underground, who was the original "indie" rock band). So those people who bitch about the original punk rock bands not sounding like an obnoxious California punk-style band are missing the point about punk rock as an idea (especially since punk rock started in New York).
* The Dictators were a part of punk rock from the very beginning, getting started even before Music/TheRamones did. But to many present-day listeners hearing their most famous song, the aptly-titled “Faster and Louder”, for the first time, the Dictators sound not so much punk as they do ''metal'' - specifically, a poppier take on speed/thrash metal (if it had existed in the late 1970s).
* The earliest [[NewWaveMusic New Wave]] bands of the late 1970s (The Cars, Talking Heads) did not really sound like the [[TheEighties Eighties]] “synthpop” groups with which they have come to be associated, or sounded like them only occasionally. This was because their genre was just getting started; in fact, it could be said that [[ResetButton American pop music in general was getting started all over again, what with punk having reinvented the wheel]]. In the beginning, New Wave simply meant “hard rock done in a smooth style”, which did not necessarily indicate synthesizers. While most of the New Wave groups did eventually adopt the stereotypically ’80s “space-age” synthesizer flourishes they became known for, that was not quite the brand of music they created.
* If you’re under the age of 40, you’ll be forgiven for looking at ''Parallel Lines''-era Deborah Harry (of {{Blondie}} fame) and thinking [[TotallyRadical “aging Baby Boomer trying to co-opt the younger generation’s music.”]] The “aging Baby Boomer” part was true enough (Harry was already in her thirties when the group hit it big, a little too old to be a pop sensation), but Blondie had been a part of the punk/new wave scene from its very earliest New York days, and in fact all those younger female pop stars ({{Music/Madonna}}, etc.) ended up imitating Harry rather than the other way around.
* It goes without saying that early Music/{{Emo}} has nothing in common with bands labeled it under the mainstream definition of the term. However it doesn't sound much either like later "classic" Music/{{Emo}} bands or their successors today. TropeMakers Rites of Spring were really just a punk band with more personal and introspective lyrics and a bit more melody to their music, something that is hardly uncommon in modern day [[PunkRock punk]].
* Similarly, bands considered "screamo" before the term existed don't sound much like modern day screamo bands and weren't much different than HardcorePunk of the time, just a bit screamier and more chaotic.
* More than three decades later, the Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" sounds very silly, like [[TotallyRadical a passive-aggressive mockery of rap music being performed by "uncool" adults]]. It is in fact the TropeMaker both for the rap genre and for the hip-hop lifestyle in general.
* Time Zone was a supergroup consisting of Afrika Bambaataa and [[Music/SexPistols John]] [[Music/PublicImageLtd Lydon]]. In 1984, they ended up inventing [[Music/RapMetal Rap Metal]] with their protest song "World Destruction," predating Music/FaithNoMore's early albums, Music/RunDMC and {{Aerosmith}}'s "Walk This Way," {{Anthrax}} and Music/PublicEnemy's "Bring the Noise," as well as Music/RageAgainstTheMachine.
* A lot of the stylistic influences and {{Trope Codifier}}s for GlamRap did a lot to deconstruct and play with the tropes their music would later be known for. In many cases, these rappers did not flinch from portraying the "ghetto fabulous" lifestyle as incredibly negative and destructive:
** Music/TheNotoriousBIG definitely helped lay the seeds for the mid-90s to 2000s dominance of GlamRap with his album ''ReadyToDie'', and songs like "Big Poppa" and "Juicy" could lay claim to being some of the first major GlamRap songs. The same album also portrayed Biggie's "ashy to classy" drug dealer character as incredibly paranoid("Everyday Struggle"), driven by grinding poverty("Things Done Changed") and outright guilt-ridden and suicidal(''When I die, fuck it, I'm gonna go to hell/cause I'm a piece of shit, it ain't hard to fuckin' tell'' from "Suicidal Thoughts").
** Likewise, Biggie's prodigy Music/{{JayZ}} definitely demonstrated this on his debut album ''Reasonable Doubt'', which portrays his [[AManOfWealthAndTaste man of wealth and taste]] in a much more LonelyAtTheTop way, with an immense price paid by both himself("Regrets") and others("Dead Presidents II", "D'Evils"). Even the song on that album that most strongly sounds like GlamRap, "Ain't No Nigga", plays with a lot of the player tropes, making it highly ambiguous as to whether Jay-Z or Foxy Brown(who provides the female point of view) is the real player in the relationship.
** Even Dr. Dre and Music/SnoopDogg, who largely embraced these tropes in their early records, get in on it. Dr. Dre's "Lil' Ghetto Boy" ends with KarmicRetribution when Snoop Dogg's character is in jail and Dre's character gets shot in a robbery gone bad. Snoop would go further in each direction - on ''Doggystyle'', the same record that gave us "Gin & Juice", Snoop portrays many GlamRap tropes as the product of a literal DealWithTheDevil on "Murder Was The Case".
** In 1991, JustD became the first mainstream group to rap in Swedish. Their self-ironic style with a vocabulary more experimental than most later projects, deconstructed Swedish hip hop while it hardly existed as a genre.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology and Religion]]
* In ''Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh'', the divine god-king is a tyrannical rapist; Enkidu, though remembered, is never avenged; and Gilgamesh's quest ends in stupidity-induced failure. Although, it's ''really'' unclear how much of this is ValuesDissonance – the rape thing might (or might not) have simply been a demonstration of how strong and cool Gilgamesh was, to audiences of the time.
** Gilgamesh attempted to AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence in the later half of his epic. Interestingly, he ''failed'' - the first of an indeterminate number of tests he had to pass in order to accomplish this was to go for an entire week without sleep, which he was unable to do.
* ''Literature/TheShahnameh'': The core character of Shahnameh is regarded as a hero; however, he suffers from moral ambiguity and mostly struggles to solve his own problems rather than the problems of his people, which is supposed to be his main duty.
* ''Literature/TheBible'' might, as many other ancient stories, seem {{Troperiffic}} when read today. Still, because of its age, length and significance, it might have made more tropes than any other work.
** Picture if you will a being that exists outside of space and time that can make and unmake the universe at will just with its voice, who sometimes sends messengers into the mortal world to manipulate mortals into performing seemingly insignificant actions as small parts of a ''very'' long-term plan that is inscrutable to all beings except itself, that has the power not only to destroy said people's bodies but also to lock their souls into an eternal state of AndIMustScream for failing to follow said plan, and that is so incomprehensible to human beings that the mere sight of its true form would kill them instantly and even a small fraction of its power is able to induce visceral terror in even its most loyal of servants. No, it's not some Lovecraftian EldritchAbomination; that's {{God}} Himself. And He's not out to destroy or mutate the reality He created with His sheer might; [[GodIsGood He's the benevolent guardian of humanity]] who sends a manifestation of Himself ({{Jesus}}) to show them the light, and protect them from a lesser-but-actually-evil entity ({{Satan}}).
** The Old Testament as a whole (with a few exceptions) is this. Your society believes that it worships the supreme god, and that as long as it does so it will be completely prosperous; then a foreign superpower comes in and conquers your city and destroys the building where your god lives and sends your people away from their land where they have to compromise their cultural identity to survive. Then a bunch of you start writing about a god and a world that are a lot more complicated than "do good and get rewarded."
** The Serpent is the TropeMaker of the SmugSnake. While later interpretations feature the trope as a BigBadWannabe, the Serpent is described as an independent BigBad. The Serpent is punished by being forced to walk on its belly; implying that the snake was not very snake-like, or maybe not a literal snake in the first place; its appearance can also be read as a JustSoStory. The Serpent might also be the UrExample of a TalkingAnimal (and the only Biblical example besides Balaam); it is however banished from God, just because a talking animal disrupted His creation.
** KillEmAll: Protest about divine massacres in the Old Testament is as old as the Old Testament itself. When God tells Abraham that he intends to destroy Sodom and Gommorah, Abraham begs him to not kill the innocent with the wicked. He first gets God to agree that finding forty righteous men would be enough to spare the cities, then gradually haggles down the number until God settles on finding at least ten. The Book of Exodus also has Moses beg God to not wipe out Israel as punishment for the golden calf incident, saying it would alienate anyone else who hears about it from wanting to follow the Lord.
** Sodom and Gomorrah are early examples of the ViceCity. They get literally deconstructed by God, however.
** The Bible contains some of the oldest examples of TheHerosJourney. They do celebrate the courage of protagonists such as Noah, Moses and David; however as the stories show that they are subjects of God and His will no less than any other person, deconstructing their heroism in a context ''where people actually believed that God was almighty''. Many heroes have a FatalFlaw, and AnyoneCanDie.
*** Noah seems to be the UrExample. While the archetypical hero is young when he gets the CallToAdventure, Noah is ''six hundred years old'' when the action begins. He does complete the quest and gets permission to live HappilyEverAfter; though when he returns to dry land, he ends up in an embarrassing scene, drunk and naked.
*** Moses gets a CallToAdventure and goes through a lengthy quest; The return is however not a return to his native Egypt, but to ThePromisedLand which the Jews had left centuries ago.
** Talking about Moses; the Exodus is the UrExample and TropeCodifier of ThePromisedLand. Moses however dies before the arrival, and the Hebrews need to fight wars to displace the indigenous population, {{foreshadowing}} the later RealLife history of the Holy Land, as well as many other colonial "promised land" campaigns. And the Hebrews hardly lived HappilyEverAfter.
** Mosaic law: ''ThouShaltNotKill'' has been a maxim for many non-violence movements, as well as an argument against capital punishment. However, it is a misquote; it was actually ''"Thou shalt not murder"''. The Torah actually justifies death penalty for many crimes.
** The phrase ''An eye for an eye'' (Exodus 21:23) is usually interpreted as quite the opposite of ThouShaltNotKill. In modern times, this perceived contradictions makes some people disregard Mosaic law as DoubleSpeak. Another interpretation of ''An eye for an eye'' is divine justification to PayEvilUntoEvil and DisproportionateRetribution; making {{Revenge}} a common theme for later stories of fiction and RealLife events. The Torah does however prohibit revenge in passages such as Leviticus 19:18, and instead enforces trial and regulated punishment. The ''eye for an eye'' principle was further deconstructed by Jesus, who told people to TurnTheOtherCheek.
** The TropeNamer of the UriahGambit is in the Second Book of Samuel, where King David sends Uriah to die on the battlefield. However, in the ''first'' book of Samuel, it was the young David who was sent on suicide missions by king Saul... and ''succeeding''.
** The story of Samson can be retroactively seen as a deconstruction of the MessianicArchetype. He knew he was TheChosenOne and abused his special status and he was overconfident with his powers leading to him getting betrayed by Delilah. In the end he pushed those pillars down and killed the Philistines out of revenge because he had nothing left to live for. For the irony-challenged, however, Samson is purely a {{Badass}} folk hero who gets a GreatWayToGo.
** Delilah is often thought of as an originator of TheVamp, HoneyTrap and FemmeFatale tropes, but her relationship with Samson didn't begin in deceit; the Philistines approached her when they were already together. In films, though, she is typically depicted as being ''sent'' to seduce Samson, as already having some personal fixation on him, or even as offering her services to the Philistines herself instead of the other way around. Also, the Biblical text never says whether or not her love for Samson was genuine.
** The story of Balaam is a deconstruction of the StubbornMule, as well as an example of TruthInTelevision. Balaam was hired to curse the Israelites, but was held back by his mule, who refused to cooperate. When the mule was granted to speak, she revealed that she was protecting him from the invisible angel in front of them, who would have killed Balaam had the mule cooperated. The fact that the stubbornness exhibited by donkeys and mules is really an act of self-preservation is largely overlooked in future media.
** "[[Literature/BookOfJonah Jonah and the Whale]]." "In the belly of a whale" is often used to refer to a period in a story where the protagonist is caught in a situation with no hope. However, in the story of Jonah the whale is actually not a punishment but God's way of saving Jonah from drowning. It also represented him giving Jonah a second chance by taking him back to land. Note, though, that the Bible itself compares being in the whale as a trial, when Christ compares the three days in the whale with his upcoming three days dead before resurrection.
*** There is also what would now seem a deconstruction of the idea of prophecy. The prophesy of Nineveh's destruction is true, but seeing the people's repentance God ''changes his mind''. He doesn't cancel the judgement entirely, but he postpones it to come to pass for a future generation. When Jonah complains about this God spends the last chapter of the book calling him a bloodthirsty idiot.
** [[OurAngelsAreDifferent The designs of the various kinds of angels]] are amazing. Take the seraphim: They have six wings; two covering their face, two covering their feet, and two to fly. The cherubim, no connection to the cute baby angels you might know, have "four faces and four wings, with straight feet with a sole like the sole of a calf's foot, and "hands of a man" under their wings. Each had four faces: "The face of a man, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle." If you saw that in a manga, movie, comic book or something else like that, it'd be praised for its innovativeness.
** The Massacre of the Innocents created the NiceJobBreakingItHerod trope. However, Herod himself dies while Jesus is still a child (The Bible provides no exact dates; according to modern scholarship, Jesus was born in 7 BC, while Herod died in 4 BC, at the age of 70) so he would never confront the grown-up Jesus anyway.
*** The BookOfExodus has a probable UrExample this trope, with an ironic twist. Pharaoh wants to kill the Hebrew boys. Ironically, his daughter ends up ''adopting'' a Hebrew boy, who ''really'' defeats the next Pharaoh.
** The Gospel of Mark can be considered to be this in comparison to the other gospels of the New Testament, at least according to [[http://www.crosscurrents.org/mark.htm this essay]]. Of all four gospels, it is by far the most ambiguous concerning the nature of Jesus' feats, identity and resurrection, and it contains no references to his birth or childhood. It's also the oldest of the four gospels.
** Jesus's parable of the Rich Man of Lazarus is an ancient JacobMarleyWarning. The rich man tormented in Hell requests Abraham (a stand-in for God) to send Lazarus to warn his living family. Abraham ''refuses'' to send any message to the living, since those who didn't follow the prophets, would not pay heed even if a man came BackFromTheDead. This parable [[{{Foreshadowing}} foreshadows]] Christ's later returns from the dead, to propagate his message.
** TheAntichrist is a concept introduced by TheBible; namely by the Epistles of John (not to be confused with the gospel of John). However, they do not describe Antichrist as a human or superhuman being, but as the RealLife collective of Christianity's opponents. In post-Apostolic theology, as well as modern popular culture, Antichrist has been equated by the Beast and {{Satan}}.
** The BookOfRevelation has inspired TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt and most apocalyptic stories. However, the book of Revelation has a HappyEnding, in contrast to [[CrapsackWorld most of the imitators]].
*** The Dragon: Though Greco-Roman mythology already had dragons, the Biblical Dragon was the TropeCodifier for [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragons in European folklore]]. However, this creature is not TheDragon figuratively, but instead the BigBad.
* Myth/ClassicalMythology:
** The original Greek myths must seem like [[DarkerAndEdgier "grim 'n' gritty" reboots]] of romantic legends to college students who read them after encountering the "cleaned-up" versions as children. Zeus, for one, is no benevolent deity but [[JerkassGods a very self-centered and even sadistic god]]; Heracles, meanwhile, is a hot-tempered idiot and barely a hero at all.
** Any attempt at making Hades seem a sympathetic or tragic character as opposed to [[EveryoneHatesHades the mythological equivalent of Satan in Greek lore]] might seem like an attempt to re-think a traditional character or push a SympathyForTheDevil theology. However, in original myths, Hades is often portrayed as a neutral and sometimes even ''benevolent'' side-character who only lashes out against "heroes" when they break the rules or betray him.
* See SadlyMythtaken for more.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:ProfessionalWrestling]]
* Suppose you saw a heel wrestler who wasn't all that muscular and put bobby pins in his bleached-blond hair and entered the arena to a neoclassical music score ''and'' had Chanel perfume sprayed all over his body before the match so it would disinfect any germs his opponent got on him. Wow, a SissyVillain in wrestling! Sounds like a subversion of the big, macho, ugly WrestlingMonster, right? Well, it's [[Wrestling/GeorgeWagner Gorgeous George]] - the very first gimmick wrestler to become nationally popular, back in the late 1940s.
* The poetry-spouting "Superstar" Billy Graham defied the DumbMuscle stereotype as early as 1977, despite being one of the first major bodybuilders in wrestling. Suddenly Wrestling/TripleH's "blue-blood" gimmick from the mid-'90s doesn't seem so weird, does it?
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* ''Radio/ImSorryIHaventAClue'' comes across a DeconstructiveParody of the comedy PanelGame format, with ([[TakeOurWordForIt implicitly]]) cheap production values, a [[AnythingThatMoves voraceously sexual]] LovelyAssistant who never shows up, a panel lineup that's barely changed since 1972, players who don't even [[ThePointsMeanNothing get points]], games that range from HurricaneOfPuns to excuses to force the panelists to sing (with one regular guest being genuinely tone-deaf) to pure {{Calvinball}}, impenetrable {{Running Gag}}s and a host who loathes everyone and everything on the show and spends most of his/her time subjecting it all to the most withering snark imaginable. It even bills itself as 'the antidote to panel games'. It was actually one of the first comedy panel games to get big in the UK. Its original parodic target were the contemporary ''serious'' panel shows, and the original joke was that it used the format as a space for doing silly and rude things rather than witty and erudite ones. Nowadays, the panel show format is almost exclusively a comedy genre and the serious games have either got DenserAndWackier (''Radio/JustAMinute'') or just disappeared, changing the central joke to be a swipe at the format itself.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:StandUpComedy]]
* Steve Harvey, a pioneer of the WhiteDudeBlackDude routine, went to great lengths to show how the Black Dude was just as messed up and irrational as his white counterpart, as his antics were likely to have him end up in far worse shape than if he wasn't so focused on the 'Black' way of doing things.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/SpaceHulk'', the 1989 board game spinoff of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', takes the time to deconstruct the RuleOfCool that would later come to define the series. The huge bulky [[PoweredArmor Terminator Armor suits]] were originally designed for servicing plasma reactors, not military boarding actions, which you can imagine is a problem when the marines are trying to navigate claustrophobic service tunnels. The suits look awesome, sure, but that isn't doing squat against the Genestealers. What's more, the armor [[ArmorIsUseless doesn't even work]], and the Genestealers can tear right through it. It wasn't until later editions that a justification was thought up: most space hulks are filled with radiation far more lethal than the Genestealers, so the Terminator Armor is seen as a necessary handicap on the occasion it's used at all.
* One of the earliest D&D settings, created by Gygax himself, is ''TabletopGame/Greyhawk'' - a setting which spotlighted a lot of military conflicts and citystate-based realpolitik (think the Renaissance) in its background. One of its adventures, The City of Skulls, is kicked off when the good-aligned king recruits adventurers to go on a politically motivated rescue mission (the pregenerated PCs even have political ambitions and personal grudges as their motivations for accepting the mission).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater/Opera]]
* ''Theatre/DonGiovanni'' has an example of PlayingCyrano that predates ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'' by a century. The example is pretty complicated, but what it boils down to is that Giovanni acts as PlayingCyrano to his servant, Leporello, and Donna Elvira. The only reason he does this, though, is so that he can get Elvira out of the way; he wants to seduce her chambermaid. What's more, Leporello doesn't even ''want'' Elvira; Giovanni is ''forcing'' him to seduce her. Might be worth noting that Rostand, the author of ''Cyrano'', wrote a FanSequel to Moliere's ''Don Juan'' which has substantially the same plot. While this work was written several decades after ''Cyrano'', it could have been in his mind when writing ''Cyrano''.
** Also, the trope PlayingCyrano is LostInImitation: always ASimplePlan that inevitably crashes because WhoWouldBeStupidEnough to fall for it? The TropeCodifier is the only work that really explores that question: At the play, this ruse works DespiteThePlan for more than a decade, setting Cyrano and Roxanne to a sad, unfulfilled life. This is because Cyrano [[InternalizedCategorism is so ugly she cannot conceive Roxane could love him]], Roxanne is a [[FanDumb Monomaniacal fan]] of beauty that cannot think the fair Christian could be the BrainlessBeauty, and Christian, literally the OnlySaneMan in this LoveTriangle, [[TheHeroDies dies before he can save his best friends from their own hypocrisy]].
* Creator/GeorgeBernardShaw's ''Theatre/{{Pygmalion}}'' is the {{Trope Maker|s}} for the PygmalionPlot, but its view of Eliza's transformation is more cynical, and, [[LostInImitation unlike in the adaptations]], she has no final reconciliation with Henry Higgins. Although Shaw remained as the writer for both the play and film versions, the 'happy' ending in the film is a case of ExecutiveMeddling.
* Karel Čapek's classic drama ''Theatre/{{RUR}}'' [[TropeNamers single-handedly coined the term "robot"]] and [[TropeMakers invented]] a lot of robot-related tropes in science fiction. The catch? If you've actually read the play, you know the robots are more like vat-grown {{Artificial Human}}s, not machines. The idea of robots being non-organic only appeared in some of the early stage productions of the play, and for some reason, [[LostInImitation the image stuck, even though it contradicted the original text]]. It also hit a lot of other robot tropes before they were tropes. Sapient beings created by assembly line? Check. Commentary on the dangers of science run amok? Check. Robots analogous to slaves? Check. Inevitable robot rebellion leading to the extinction of the human race? Probably the original [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters Robot Apocalypse]] plot.
* There is a play in which the rich, eccentric protagonist brings the plot to a screeching halt to address the real-life competition between the theater in which his show is playing, and the theater across the street. Beyond that, the play is suffused from beginning to end with theatrical metaphors, and one of the most famous sequences includes the characters onstage watching a play even as the audience is watching them. A radical new experiment in metatheater, playing now at your favorite off-Broadway location, and critiquing the excess of artificiality in contemporary theater? No – it's ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'', and [[TheZerothLawOfTropeExamples it's been around a while]].
** Hamlet himself is one of the first instances of an AntiHero. An Anti-Hero who ends up getting dozens of people killed out of petty revenge, most of whom had absolutely nothing to do with the conspiracy he's taking revenge against. Indeed, Hamlet comes off as LethallyStupid at times. Not to mention he's so obsessed with his vengeance that he ends up abusing/neglecting his girlfriend to the point of driving her over the DespairEventHorizon and into suicide.
* A story where the BastardBastard is portrayed as sympathetic, justifying his evil by saying how society perceives him as evil and he is being treated as TheUnfavorite? Sounds like a new idea? It was done in ''Theatre/KingLear''.
* ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' is often cited by the general public as one of the greatest love stories of all time, and is the TropeCodifier of StarCrossedLovers and LoveAtFirstSight. What most people forget is that it ends with both Romeo and Juliet ''dead'' over a stupid, melodramatic mistake. A lot of innocent people also end up dead or traumatized because of their reckless behavior, including members of their own families. The two come off as a pair of hormone-addled teenage drama queens who act as if they're meant to be together forever, and they start acting this way after they've known each other for a grand total of five minutes. It also implies that the feud intensified their feelings by making them ForbiddenFruit, and that the kind of circumstances that lead to StarCrossedLovers tend to lead to things sucking for ''everyone''. The Prince of Verona is ''completely fed up'' with the Montagues and Capulets, and he's the one who gets the actual last word of the play.
* ''Theatre/TheTempest''
** One notable scene between Gonzalo, Antonio and Sebastian is essentially a cynical deconstruction of Anarchism...written more than two centuries before it was a recognized philosophical system. While awed by the beauty of Prospero's island, Gonzalo waxes lyrical about the perfect self-governing utopia that he would build if he were allowed to stay there forever, before Antonio (the villain) points out that [[JerkassHasAPoint one can't force a whole population to conform to a "perfect" system unless one is willing to impose it on them by force]]--which contradicts the notion of a world with no authority figures.
-->'''Gonzalo:''' In the commonwealth I would by contraries execute all things; for no kind of traffic would I admit; no name of magistrate; letters should not be known; riches, poverty, and use of service, none; contract, succession, bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none; no use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil; no occupation; all men idle, all; and women too, but innocent and pure; no sovereignty--\\
'''Sebastian:''' Yet he would be king on it...\\
'''Antonio:''' [[FullCircleRevolution The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning!]]
** With his reverence for nature, Gonzalo's aforementioned utopian speech almost sounds like something out of Creator/HenryDavidThoreau...but it's delivered by a drunken AbsentMindedProfessor who's unaware that [[DramaticIrony his "utopian" island is actually home to a temperamental sorcerer whose rules it with an iron fist]]. And said speech comes in a play where ''the very first words spoken onstage'' are a dialogue about how humankind will always be vulnerable to nature's fury, delivered by a crew of frazzled sailors as they weather a storm.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The first ''VideoGame/ClockTower'' on the [=SNES=] is credited as being the first SurvivalHorror game that made a lot of tropes for the genre, but it also gave the player even less to work with than most games under that label do. Jennifer is an ordinary girl who is way in over her head, and has no way to fight back against the horrors she encounters. The controls are also intentionally awkward and clunky to emphasize how little experience Jennifer has with combat, and the most you can do to escape a threat is to run and hide. The few times Jennifer actually does neutralize a threat, it's either due to sheer dumb luck, or because someone else already figured out how to do it. Finally, no matter what you do, it's impossible to save everyone, with almost all the characters being DoomedByCanon.
* {{Mons}} started with Creator/{{Atlus}}' apocalyptic ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' RPG series, 10 years before the {{trope codifier}} ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' even existed. In this case, your character and others recruit the services of demons, angels and gods. However, cosmic power in the hands of [[HumansAreFlawed imperfect humans]] just ends up causing [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt social collapse, mass murder and nuclear war]]. Furthermore, the battles aren't about a sports league, a criminal syndicate, or even DuelsDecideEverything, but a struggle for survival and power in a [[CrapsackWorld ruined world]], and the explicit goal of most games is the power to [[EndOfTheWorldSpecial decide the fate of the world]].
* Those used to the later games in the series would be surprised to learn that Team Rocket in the original ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' games were a ruthless, fairly competent Mafia-like organization that are all but stated to have ''killed'' multiple Pokemon. It wasn't until later games that the series started going the TheFamilyForTheWholeFamily route it's now famous for (and Team Rocket's later portrayal might also have been due to [[CanonImmigrant influence from the anime]]). ''Anime/PokemonOrigins'' comes off as heavily DarkerAndEdgier to those used to the newer games, but it's actually a fairly faithful adaptation of ''VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue''.
* {{Utsuge}} started with the 1999 visual novel ''{{Kanon}}''. However, though the game puts you in a standard plotline of AllLovingHero trying to fix a group [[BrokenBird troubled girls]], nearly every route reveals that ''[[AwfulTruth you were the original cause of the girl in question's problems]]''.
* Cloud wasn't [[TropeMakers the first]] stereotypical spiky-haired angsty JRPG hero, but he is most certainly [[TropeCodifier the first one people think of]]. However, viewed backwards, Cloud in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' is a deconstruction of that exact stereotype, in that while his serious issues are treated sympathetically, you are supposed to dislike him for his [[{{Wangst}} selfishness]] and shortsightedness, and his masculinity is constantly challenged by having him succeed in humiliating ways. His angst is frequently played for BlackComedy as well as for drama, and even his AnimeHair is criticized by the game. His quest to take down Sephiroth is alarmingly one-sided, to the point of a StalkerWithACrush-style obsession that even the other characters find disturbing. On top of all this, he's [[spoiler:not even ''supposed'' to be TheHero; that guy (Zack) got killed, and now his sidekick (Cloud) is trying to take his place. He's [[ThisLoserIsYou literally role playing a hero to escape from his own terrible self-esteem and inability to talk to girls]]]].
** Cloud Strife is frequently viewed as the TropeCodifier of the angsty pretty-boy JRPG hero, but his dialogue is a lot less angsty in his game than many remember. If anything, [[MsFanservice Tifa]] or [[BigBad Sephiroth]] wear their neuroses on their sleeves much more openly than the protagonist.
** Similarly, Cloud is credited with kicking off the tendency for JRPG leads to be amnesiac and/or {{phlebotinum rebel}}s, but he actually reads like a deconstruction of how those tropes usually go down. His memories are screwed up, but when the truth comes out, rather than turning out to be some sort of plot-relevant badass, he was a {{mook}} before the plot went down. He got experimented on, but rather than nifty powers, he got insanity and the ability to be mind-controlled by the BigBad.
* The KarmaMeter as it's understood today almost always gives players a choice to play as a VillainProtagonist, allowing or even encouraging players to KickTheDog and do things ForTheEvulz willy-nilly without any real drawbacks, and as such they've often been perceived as overly shallow. However, ''VideoGame/UltimaIV'', the first game to use a Karma Meter, used it to explore the consequences of the player's actions and the nature of right and wrong. VideoGameCrueltyPunishment is ubiquitous, the game cannot be completed unless you max out all your virtues, the game's plot revolves around the journey to become a true hero, and the whole thing was plotted out as an experiment to see if a video game could encourage good moral values in players.
* How about an RPG where the characters are unchosen anonymous schlubs (of any race, class, or gender), where AnyoneCanDie and ''any'' death (even outside of combat) can risk a FinalDeath? And you do not have to fight [[EverythingTryingToKillYou every encounter you run into]], as there are actually good monsters that do not mind your company? Where you may luck into some of the best equipment early, and some of said equipment (including the InfinityPlusOneSword) can break at any time? And there are no [[UselessUsefulSpell useless spells]] in the game? And the FinalBoss does not have thousands of HP but is really a SquishyWizard not much stronger than (and as vulnerable as) an individual member of your party? (His minions may be trouble, though.) This game is ''VideoGame/{{Wizardry}}'', one of the first [=RPGs=] ever written.
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'', released in 1999, featured an [[RelationshipValues influence mechanic]] long before [[Franchise/DragonAge more]] [[Franchise/MassEffect mainstream]] role-playing games picked up on it. It also portrays such a mechanic as deeply screwed up, the result of a protagonist who bears a cursed seal, the Mark of Torment, which [[MagneticHero draws other tormented souls to him]]... and that's when he hasn't spent a lifetime [[ManipulativeBastard manipulating them]] into following him.
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords'' features a similar deconstruction of MagneticHero and RelationshipValues, both of which predate better-known examples (the game was released in 2004).
* Some of the original cast of ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter'', the first 3D fighting game, already broke the mold when the game was released. The resident Jeet Kun Do fighter, Jacky, was ''not'' a BruceLeeClone, but a blond American. The main character, Akira, a Japanese man in a Karate gi, did not practice karate or even another Japanese martial art, but a specific style of Chinese kung fu, Baji. On top of that, despite being the main character, he is by far the most difficult to play effectively, and is often a MidBoss in the arcade modes.
* ''[[VideoGame/PennAndTellersSmokeAndMirrors Desert Bus]]'' viciously picks apart and deconstructs both the idea trying to make video games realistic and of [[DeconstructionGame taking video games so seriously]] long before either became trends; it predates games like ''Spec Ops: The Line''. It points out how ignoring both AcceptableBreaksFromReality and the NecessaryWeasel just makes a boring and miserable game that the player probably won't waste their time on it.
** The idea of making video games realistic and taking video games so seriously actually had a reconstruction that is even older than the above described deconstruction in the form of the ''Flight Simulator'' genre (which includes games such as ''Microsoft Flight Simulator''), which shows that AcceptableBreaksFromReality and the NecessaryWeasel can be ignored easily if one manages to replicate an engaging real-life process. In this case it is the fact that there are plenty of factors that you have to take into account during the flight of the plane (weather conditions, altitude etc.) in order to use several buttons that all result in different effects as well as the fact that there needs to be near-perfect control of the plane during the different phases that the plane goes through (landing being a prime example of that) that make for an engaging experience.
* ''VideoGame/SuperMario64'' was the TropeMaker for the FreeRotatingCamera, but also had the {{Justification}} of it being an InUniverseCamera controlled by a Lakitu member of a news crew reporting on Mario's adventure. They were as as much a character in the game as anyone else, serving as the narrater proving exposition on your progress through it. Rare now is the game where third-person perspective is anything more then a gameplay mechanic lacking InUniverse explanation.
** Relatedly, ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' bought CameraLockOn to the mainstream, InUniverse, this was accomplished through [[ExpositionFairy Navi]]. [[InterfaceScrew She was unable to help you when the]] FinalBoss was actively repelling her, and despite her [[StopHelpingMe annoyance]], her departure at games end was such a TearJerker that [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask the sequel]] was kicked off by Link trying to find and reunite with her. Navi and her successor Tatl were their games main character after Link, being talkative {{Foil}}s to his SilentProtagonist. Good luck finding a game since where the control scheme double as {{Deuteragonist}}s who's loss emotionally effects the protagonist.
* In the ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' series, AmericansHateTingle because he's an obnoxious greedy ManChild. This hatred stems primarily from his role in ''Wind Waker''; he was hated a lot less in his debut game ''Majora's Mask'' because A) his obnoxious greedy ManChild behavior fits with the game's running theme of SurrealHorror, and B) Tingle's own father criticizes Tingle for being an obnoxious greedy ManChild.
* The FirstPersonShooter genre has plenty of AcceptableBreaksFromReality, such as BottomlessMagazines, RegeneratingHealth, RespawnOnTheSpot and an automatic LevelMapDisplay, regardless of setting. Imagine an FPS game made to deconstruct the genre; it would have a more realistic, historical setting without superpowers or superweapons. [[CountingBullets Ammo would probably be limited]], and the player character would be nearly as [[GlassCannon easily killed]] as in RealLife, with the possibility of GameOver. In other words '''just like''' ''Videogame/Wolfenstein3D'', released in 1992, which is the TropeCodifier for the FirstPersonShooter genre, and the first mainstream title.
** Its more popular successor ''Videogame/{{Doom}}'' is also this trope, perhaps moreso. People who know old-school FPS only by reputation come in expecting balls-to-the-wall action, hoards of enemies, and LudicrousGibs. And while the game has its fair share of that, the overall experience is far more tactical. Ammo and health packs are limited, and your marine can't take much damage either. On the "Ultra-Violence" difficulty (hard mode; considered "proper" by fans and canon by the devs) you're constantly scrounging for supplies[[note]]except for shotgun shells, which are everywhere[[/note]], and it's very important to know which weapon is best in each situation. You need to take advantage of easy kills through sniping and [[SetAMookToKillAMook infighting]], and sometimes just running for it is the best strategy. When you do get in to a pitched battle, it's only half thrilling setpiece -- the other half is a harrowing ordeal that ends with you barely alive and low on ammo. Secret areas and pickups can often feel mandatory to find, and instead of being in out-of-the-way dead-ends or little easter eggs they're mostly hidden inside [[SpotTheThread false walls]], many times [[MonsterCloset with monsters]]. In many ways the game seems more like ''SystemShock'' than its own imitators.
** ''DukeNukem3D'' is remembered mainly for its crass humor, not so much for its creative level design and environments offering a then-unparalleled level of interactivity. It was one of the first FPS games to feel like it was taking place in a real place, rather than a set of rooms and corridors strung together for the player's benefit. And while Duke may be a repulsive character by today's standards, it's worth noting that he was the first FPS protagonist to have any characterization AT ALL.
* ''Videogame/SimCity'' is arguably the TropeCodifier for ConstructionAndManagementGames. However, much of the lasting appeal of the classic 1989 title, as well as the sequels, comes from the disaster scenarios, and the ability [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential to unleash disasters upon a thriving city]]. Most later titles in the genre (at least not city-builders) play the concept straight, and neither have disasters, nor the humor of ''SimCity''. ''VideoGame/SimCity'' is, literally and figuratively, a GenreDeconstruction made by the first widespread game of the genre.
* The ''Videogame/{{Civilization}}'' series got the ball rolling on the FourX genre: Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate. It's that last one that's unbuilt. No matter how fun it might be, going to war in any of the Civ games is ''incredibly'' costly, and will almost certainly set back any of your other goals the longer you're in one. Going into war unprepared can even cause your empire to fall apart from bankruptcy or civil unrest, and that's assuming you ''[[PyrrhicVictory win]]''.
* ''Videogame/RailroadTycoon'', released in 1990, is the first TycoonGame by name, and among the first successful business simulation games for the PC platform. While many ''Tycoon''-titled games, as well as the SpiritualSuccessor ''Sid Meier's Railroads!'' are intended for a young audience, with cartoonish graphics, and a simplified economic model, the ''Railroad Tycoon'' series has a real-world setting with an elaborate economic system, and gave an early example of a WideOpenSandbox.
* The ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'' ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'' sub-series has a reputation for being the trilogy that started the wave of Modern Military Shooters that acted as little more than jingoistic terrorist murder simulators, with heavy AmericaSavesTheDay overtones. It's often forgotten that the first game in the trilogy was actually a '''subversion''' of these sorts of games. America does not in fact, kill the main terrorist, and all their actions in the Middle Eastern area of the campaign ends in complete nuclear destruction. Not to mention that the game heavily implies that the Middle Eastern nation was a U.S. puppet state rich in oil, all of their missions are named after anti-war movies (with a tank being called "War Pig", after an anti-war song), and in the end, it's not the U.S., but the British SAS that manage to defeat the main bad guys. In addition, the game has the player complicit in many morally questionable actions (such as murdering enemies in their sleep and picking them off silently in an AC-130), and overall paints them in a rather dubious light. To the opposing side, the West seems like little more than imperialistic bullies who can only be brought down by nuclear weapons. Quite a far cry from the overly patriotic and nationalistic tone that the later Modern Warfare games have.
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[[folder:WebOriginal]]
* ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'' [[TropeCodifier codified]] many of the tropes for {{Sprite Comic}}s, but reading it now makes it read like a big deconstruction of the very tropes it so codified. The AuthorAvatar constantly gets abused, kidnapped or exploited for his control, and having him gone throws everything into chaos. The massive amounts of stupidity displayed by the cast makes them all but useless when [[KnightOfCerebus a real threat shows up]]. The same characters' obsession with [[TrademarkFavoriteFood ice cream]] also leads them to making things worse when they would rather eat ice cream than stop Dr. Wily. Having NoFourthWall means the characters constantly complain about being in a comic at all, insulting both the comic creator and its readership. Finally, [[spoiler:the entire comic turns out to be a ShaggyDogStory when it's revealed that Bob and George's mom set the whole comic up as a gigantic GambitRoulette so that George would be willing to kill Bob if it came to that, both to scare Bob into not being such a {{Jerkass}}, and to [[ARealManIsAKiller toughen up George]]]]. The ending of the comic is also intentionally unsatisfying, [[spoiler:with the characters all deciding to [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere forget the whole thing]] and go to Acapulco]].
* ''WebVideo/MarbleHornets'':
** Many of the problems stem from how the protagonist lacks discretion and publicly broadcasts all his findings, actions, and plans online in a way that anyone and everyone can see what he's up to, including his (potential) enemies and allies. It would be considered a {{Deconstruction}} of the various web series in Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos it wasn't the progenitor of them and is largely [[FollowTheLeader what the rest all follow]].
** With the use of the AxCrazy masked people stalking the protagonists and Totheark sending confusing and vaguely threatening video messages, it became popular in other web series to give the Slender Man proxies who acted in a similar manner. However, in ''Marble Hornets'', [[spoiler:it turns out the crazy masked people are not necessarily working for the Operator, whereas those whom take the closest thing to its proxies are more lucid.]]
** The tendency for people in Slender Man stories to film everything is called out by another character when it's pointed out in-universe that the protagonist has no plan beyond "film everything and see what happens." Not only does this not really give them any answers, it ruins the lives of everyone around him over his insistence on doing it. Given what happens to the characters throughout the story, [[StrawmanHasAPoint it's pretty hard to argue with that.]]
* The LeeroyJenkins trope is derived from the ''WebVideo/LeeroyJenkinsVideo'', which has gone memetic as a descriptor of players/characters who attack impulsively without thinking. However, while the eponymous individual does display that behavior in the original video, the video also shows his teammates as fitting the opposite extreme and being overly cautious and methodical in their planning. Further, the TotalPartyKill which results is in part because they stuck to their original plan despite changed circumstances. The plan itself is also ''completely insane'', and involves intentionally sabotaging themselves at every point (pulling all the enemies at once and disabling their own casters by misusing an ability are highlights). Even though the plans was doomed to fail from the very start, LeeroyJenkins as a trope is still synonymous with wrecking plans by being reckless.
* ''{{Webcomic/Whomp}}'': [[http://www.whompcomic.com/2011/08/01/the-smartest-klingon/ The comic]] that named the trope KlingonScientistsGetNoRespect has him getting overpowered at the end, despite the trope usually being playing so the people are forced to realize [[AnAesop that they should respect all their society's jobs]], because they're all essential.
* ''Webcomic/NuzlockeComics'' invented and popularized a certain SelfImposedChallenge for ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' players, along with the tradition of writing a webcomic about their Trainer OC's adventure. Ruby, the writer for the original, ''lost'' his first challenge to Steven Stone, his Fire Red version challenge ended in a PyrrhicVictory over Mewtwo, and his White version storyline has N actively murdering Ruby's Pokemon to [[WhatTheHellHero blame it on him and his challenge]].
* A lot of the fictional reviewers that arose on the Internet were inspired by WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic and WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd. They tend to not notice that both reviewers are also massive deconstructions of the CausticCritic trope. The Nerd is stuck in the past (the one time he reviewed a newer generation game, he was utterly bamboozled by it) and has major anger issues, while the Critic is a bitter jerk who's become a Caustic Critic largely because of his incredibly screwed up childhood which was plagued with parental abuse. Both are the ButtMonkey of their own show.
* ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation'', meanwhile, is probably the TropeCodifier for caustic criticism on the Internet, especially in the video game community. But its causticness is almost always [[AccentuateTheNegative amped up to an absurd degree]]--even while implying that he actually liked the game in question--and Yahtzee frequently diverges into ranting about his own fans or [[SelfDeprecation himself]], or rambling incoherently. The character comes off as more of an eloquent loon than a critical genius.
* Most people know Ventrilo Harassment videos for uptight gamers getting irrationally upset over soundboards early on while later installments feature all but one person having a good time (or in a few rare cases, everyone's having a good time). However, the first one (with Duke Nukem soudclips) actually only Peggy gets upset, the others initially find it amusing.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'':
** Despite being the trope namer for ScoobyDoobyDoors, nearly every time that any iteration of ''Scooby-Doo'' used this gag, it deconstructed it or poked fun at it. The most common ways it did so were having the characters bump into the villain who was supposed to be chasing them, or having some other character [[OneSceneWonder pop out of nowhere]], with the Scooby Gang wondering who they were.
** The original show has several episodes that subvert, play with, or deconstruct the ScoobyDooHoax and other such clichés associated with the show. For example, one episode has the [[BeneathSuspicion creepy Old Man Jenkins-type character]] not only turn out to be innocent of the hauntings, but aid the Gang in catching the villain by calling the police when he feared for their safety. Another has the Gang investigating a house with two ghosts; in the end, it turns out that the ghosts were two separate people not associated with each other, both using the same trick but completely unaware of the other's presence. Whereas one of said men was a typical crook, the other turned out to simply be a friendly man who was trying to keep thieves and vandals off his property until he could recover the fortune his grandfather left behind. "The Ghost of Mr Hyde" also played with the convenient clue-finding formula, where the real culprit plants obvious clues to frame a maid.
* Despite often being labeled as [[TastesLikeDiabetes "cute and harmless"]], some of the classic movies from the Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon had several dark elements, such as FamilyUnfriendlyViolence, and nightmarish sequences. The first few movies of the canon, such as ''Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'', ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}'', and ''Disney/{{Bambi}}'' had pretty dark atmospheres and were more focused on drama than on comedy, being considerably more serious than most of the animated movies that came later. The ''Night on Bald Mountain'' segment from ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'' was exactly the ''opposite'' of what could be normally expected from a Disney film, being darker and edgier than most of the animations produced in the same time. It even went so far as to unashamedly display female frontal nudity, something that not even the PG rated Disney films of the last few years would ever consider doing.
* Disney's ''WesternAnimation/SillySymphonies'' cartoons, which popularized the "cute animals in cute situations" trope that launched a thousand imitators in the 1930s, actually play out like a deconstruction of those types of shorts: characters end up in bizarre locations, there's a fair amount of fast-paced slapstick, there are fourth wall jokes that point out the ridiculousness of the situation... really, any of the shorts that aren't like this are usually experimental cartoons that are PlayedForDrama, like ''Disney/TheOldMill''. Like any FollowTheLeader scenario, the imitators copied only the base aesthetics of the shorts, [[LostInImitation and not the reasons why they were so popular in the first place]]. By the time the 1940s rolled around, and ''Silly Symphonies'' parodies became popular, all they were really doing was parodying the tropes that the imitators themselves used, and not necessarily the tropes of the series itself.
* ''Franchise/MyLittlePony'' was just a [[TastesLikeDiabetes sugar bowl of cutesy ponies]] until Creator/LaurenFaust got her hands on the franchise and created ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', right? Try the original WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTVSpecials, where the ponies had to be brave and resourceful to deal with a monster centaur who transformed captured ponies into winged beasts to bring eternal night using the dark rainbow, and later a monstrous cat junkie who wanted to turn them into slaves to make her FantasticDrug.
* Watching ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode, "Bart Gets an F", can be a bit of a shock for casual viewers that know Bart Simpson as a carefree hooligan with an authority problem. In that episode, Bart's poor academic performance almost leads him into an emotional breakdown when he's faced with the prospect of repeating the fourth grade, and it's suggested that his troublemaking ways are a façade that helps him cope with his massive insecurity (an idea that was further explored in many later episodes). The most shocking part? It was only the first episode of the show's second season, and it came out ''long'' before Bart's name became synonymous with "lovable troublemaker" in popular culture. (Of course, Bart's angst in this episode comes not so much from within himself as it does from the society around him; if his parents and teachers are disappointed in him, he ''will'' start to care.)
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