23rd Oct: It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
Playing with a Trope. Or some here think that most tropes are rigid, unless "Sliding Scale" is in the name. But it's not really true at all (also the reason we have The Same but More). Even in the most narrowly defined Sub Tropes, there is plenty of room for variation, even when playing straight. And there can even be degrees of how the trope is applied, which is certainly the reason we don't allow The Same but More. Two of the most common variations for a trope are the scale, and the importance in the story. But there are quite a few other ways to allow for trope variations. The only actual thing rigid about tropes is the cutoff between one trope and another, or at least that is what we are striving for. Even when it involves Super Tropes and Sub Tropes, or if there is overlap with another trope, those tropes are still separate. So the next time you think a trope is separate from another trope, make sure the line is clear. If it's not, you didn't make a mistake, other than underestimate how flexible tropes are. Compare Playing with a Trope. Contrast Square Peg Round Trope.
To best illustrate this concept, examples should be straight uses, with only some playing with them