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Deconstructed Trope: Live-Action TV
  • This article makes a case for Grant Ward of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. deconstructing the type of Anti-Hero Ward is.
  • It might have been unintentional, but Rick's character arc in Degrassi The Next Generation was an effective Deconstruction of Villain and Badass Decay. Rick starts out in the third season as a ruthless, controlling sadist. With each appearance, he gets stupider and weaker — and much more dangerous. In his last appearance, he is on the losing end of Eviler Than Thou, and still manages to cause far more trouble in the process than the villain who outplays him.
    • One would also consider Rick a deconstruction of The Atoner, as he becomes a better person in season four, but the fact that his past actions were so horrible, none of the characters are willing to forgive him so easily, and he becomes the school pariah when the unlikely duo of Paige and Emma converse Paige's popularity and Emma's campaigning skills to pretty much make everybody who isn't Toby hate Rick. As a result, Rick ends up gaining most of the audience's sympathy, and when he guns down the school, nobody even blames him for it.
    • The character Riley is a deconstruction of the gym bunny gay trope. Although, its usually played for laughs on other TV shows, its implied that Riley's masculinity and steroid use are attempts to compensate for his sexuality.
    • Paige's rape is a deconstruction of Rape Portrayed as Redemption. Paige is not only raped, but years later when she brings her rapist to trial, she doesn't win the trial case and Dean suffers absolutely no consequences. As a result, Paige begins to act out and even steals Spinner's car and crashes it into Dean's as revenge before realizing something most girls should: it was a terrible experience, but it shouldn't consume one's life. She then confesses to everything and completely throws this ugly chapter out of her life, but becomes a better person because of it.
    • The belief that all people need to be comforted until fully healed is deconstructed at its fullest after Cam's suicide through Eli and Clare. Having discovered Cam's dead body, Eli was clearly distraught and afraid, but such a thing is normal. Clare knows that she must be there for Eli, and attempts to help him as much as possible with his grieving. The thing is, every time they meet up, she brings up Cam's suicide, constantly reminding Eli of the event and keeping him from moving on. As a result, he begins to distance himself from her and experiments with MDMA, until ending their relationship for the second time.
  • The new Battlestar Galactica deconstructed the maverick/rogue trope with Starbuck. Ron Moore played the trope straight, even admitting using it slightly unrealistically by having Starbuck be as good a sharpshooter out of the cockpit as in the cockpit too. Yet they showed exactly how messed up and driven by demons that person would have to be to be that good and yet that much of a loose cannon. And of course, the consequences in military and personal terms for those actions as well.
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles makes it a point to show just how badly a teenager would be affected Because Destiny Says So and being forced to constantly move around the country, with the only people he can trust being his mother and a very scary Robot Girl.
    • The whole "robot learning to act human" plot portrayed as adorable in the movies is seen as frightening and unnatural in the series.
    • John Connor himself is a Deconstruction of the Future Badass, in that he's always known he's going to become one. The series pulls no punches with putting him through the traumas and harsh life lessons that would turn somebody into one. He's also frequently seen asking characters from the future (who are often disappointed and frustrated that he's still just a kid) what his future self would do in a given situation.
    • "Self-Made Man" asks wouldn't it be great if Cameron was your friend. In the end, she drove away the only friend she had but that's okay he has a replacement whom she can exploit.
  • Supernatural is partially based on this, taking tropes related to monsters from myth and legend (of the week)and deconstructing the hell out of them. Call it 75% establishing a unique universe and 25% this trope.
    • Around Season Two, they started deconstructing A Man Is Not a Virgin with Dean. Sure, he's Mr Yo-Yo Boxers but it's compulsive, his own brother believes that he's a whore with no standards and he's on his way to getting a slightly nasty reputation.
    • It also began examining just how incredibly screwed up a person would have to be to lead the lifestyle hunters do. Although it never sacrifices its premise of being a fun show about two guys with a cool car hunting monsters, it gets very serious and thus very dark on these occasions.
    • Supernatural deconstructed Heroic Sacrifices with Dean's "Deal With The Devil" storyline. He knows it was selfish and only did it because he should have stayed dead, feels like he's fucked up so much that he deserves eternal torture, he can't be without his brother and because John told him to look after Sam at all costs. For his part, Sam thinks it was self-righteous, hypocritical, suicidal and extremely selfish. As for the others — Bobby finally realizes how broken Dean was and how much he hates himself, both the Crossroad Demons call it needy and Azazel knows it was self-destructive, pathetic and self-loathing. So Heroic Sacrifices? Not so noble after all — more like selfish, pathetic, destructive and so very suicidal.
    • One episode deconstructs the idea of standing up to a bully. As a kid, Sam beat up a bully named Dirk and saddled him with an unflattering nickname, "The Jerk". This ruins Dirk's reputation and his life spiraled out of control as he grew up until he died of a drug overdose. It's only years later that Sam found out Dirk was also oppressed in school for being poor and stupid.
    • "Wishful Thinking" deconstructs a Satellite Love Interest in an example of a guy who made the wish that his high school crush would love him over anything else. At first, he is happy with this new situation but eventually, he becomes disheartened by the fact she literally has no other personality other than pleasing and loving him, even resorting to murder for him to maintain their "love".
  • The British Superhero comedy-drama, Misfits, is a deconstruction of the Superhero franchise. Getting powers that reflects one's personality isn't always a good thing. The main characters are all foul mouthed, drug taking delinquents, and yet THEY'RE the good guys. It's the girl who spreads the knowledge of virtue, the probation workers who keep the kids in line, the church pastor, and the woman in a coma who are the evil ones. And when you think about it, that actually makes a lot of sense. Out of all the five original main characters, only one of them ever came up with the idea of using their powers to help people, and it's The Quiet One who's usually picked on. That's rare. To this day, none of the characters have become intentional super heroes. Superpowers in this show are also not what one would expect. The girl who you think would get super strength instead gets the power to read minds, the guy who you think would have either the best or worst power gets the power of immortality, which of course, only works for him and otherwise isn't truly useful. Not to mention the fact that some of these supers include a girl who can make people automatically want to have sex with her through skin contact (and can never turn this ability off), a girl who can give cheating or distrustful men ST Ds, a man who can turn into a woman, and an trans woman who can take male genitallia. You don't get stuff like this on the Justice League.
  • Foyle's War deconstructs the myth of wartime Britain being a place where everyone pulled together to make a stand and fight the common foe; in the early years especially, there's an awful lot of defeatism, cynicism and would-be collaboration afoot, and there's more than a few people who are willing to cynically exploit the confusion, desperation and uncertainty produced by the war to venally line their own pockets. Furthermore, the British government is willing to do whatever it takes and make deals with whomever they need to win the war, resulting in an awful lot of Karma Houdinis in DCS Foyle's investigations.
  • Jasmine in Angel could be considered a deconstructed Mary Sue; she's beautiful, her mother is in a coma, and from her first appearance, she completely steals the spotlight from the main cast, who are instantly trying to help her accomplish her goals, while constantly talking about how wonderful she is. (Because they're Brainwashed!)
    • Angel also deconstructs The Big Guy. Charles Gunn resents being thought of as little more than "the muscle," and so make a (basically literal) Deal with the Devil to gain intricate knowledge of the law, human and demon alike. To maintain this new skill, Gunn makes a second deal that ends up killing someone he loved. He doesn't even realize that his upgrade has actually made him The Big Guy version of a lawyer.
  • Season 6 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Dead Things", consciously deconstructs the trope of Mind Control by following it through to its unsettling conclusions. Led by Warren, the geeky Trio use a device to hypnotize Warren's ex-girlfriend into doing their bidding, even having her dressed up in a French maid's outfit. Jonathan and Andrew even giggle childishly about how cool the situation is ... until Warren takes his ex into another room and orders her to give him oral sex. She comes out of the trance, is utterly squicked by what the Trio are doing and points out that it's rape. She is then killed by Warren in her attempt to escape the basement, and the Trio are sobered out of ever using their Mind Control device again.
    • Buffy's whole arc that season can be considered a deconstruction of Back from the Dead, and why it can be a bad idea. She was so miserable that season because of the contrast between heaven and earth, her life doesn't seem to matter without death, and the world pretty much completely overwhelmed her. How crappy her life was that year doesn't help either.
    • The same season also deconstructs the Foe Yay relationship by showing what would happen if a heroine and villain surrendered to their attraction to each other, with the combat-as-sex metaphor becoming rough sex devoid of any tenderness, and their mutual Values Dissonance culminating in Spike's Attempted Rape of Buffy.
    • And, of course, Buffy deconstructed the Mary Sue even more blatantly than the Angel example above in "Superstar," in which Jonathan, having cast a spell on himself, becomes one not only overshadowing Buffy as one of the Scoobies but apparently the entire world, retconning himself into a famous basketball player (despite being shorter than Buffy), the star of The Matrix, and a strategic genius to whom even the most classified of military operations defer.
    • Buffy's status as The Chosen One increasingly made her emotionally distant towards her family and friends.
  • The League of Gentlemen has deconstructed both the Fag Hag and the equating of gay people with vampires. One of the League members is gay.
  • The characters Han Won Soo and Mo Ji Ran from the Korean Drama First Wives Club deconstructs the typical portrayal of the Victorious Childhood Friend. In order to be together, the childhood sweethearts cheated on their respective marital partners, with Ji Ran abandoning her family, and Won Soo beating up his wife when she doesn't want to sign their divorce papers.
  • In Flashpoint, Parker and his team generally try to avoid Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?, even when they get a clear shot of the hostage taker. Because they want to ensure that casualties are miminal to none, which includes the life of the hostage-taker, only using lethal force as a last resort. Not to mention the show deconstructs the general idea that all hostage-takers are crazy, unbalanced criminals. The viewers get a chance to see what lead to the events, which are often because of misunderstandings or an emotional crisis. More than once, the hostage-takers never intended for things to spiral out of their control, which causes them to panic and things get messy, both for them and for the team.
  • How I Met Your Mother deconstructs Runaway Bride and how badly it affected Ted, who was trying to make everyone happy and especially the bride. He was left with serious emotional baggage that affected future relationships, which is not helped at all when that story is depicted in the fictional movie The Wedding Bride that plays him as a more traditional jerk who doesn't deserve the girl he is marrying.
    Ted: [regarding the film] I mean, the guy's life was shattered in a very public humiliation. What a hoot! It may be years before he can look certain family members in the eye again. He may be so emotionally traumatized, he never fully loves or trusts anyone ever again. It was hysterical!
    • Also the show appears to be deconstructing True Companions. While it's undeniable that the gang care for each other and would go to extreme lengths to help each other, it is pointed out how dyfunctional the group is because they are meddling too much into each other's affairs.
      • In the seventh season, Victoria (Ted's first season girlfriend whom he reunites with) points out that because they are such a close knit group of friends, with Ted in the center, it has become near impossible for Ted to find someone who can enter that bubble. This is further shown as Amicable Exes is deconstructed through the relationship of Ted and Barney with Robin after they had broke up on good terms. Ted's relationships fail because he is still thinking things might work out with Robin in the future. Likewise with Barney, this cost him greatly when he slept with Robin while dating Nora.
  • Cold Case deconstructed:
    • In with the In Crowd - A girl was murdered after finding out her friend had been gang raped as part of her initiation into the cheerleader squad. The friend helped cover up the crime because she wanted to be popular.
    • Save Our Students - A teacher is killed by another teacher who's basically a jaded, older version of her, when she tries to get him to confess to drug use to save the future of the student he forced to carry for him. The student in question feels so responsible for her death that he descends into the life of crime he would've had without her intervention, despite his obvious talent as a writer.
    • Rescue Romance - The one about a girl and her friend who got into a car accident and the fireman who saved her and eventually married. He married her out of guilt because his carelessness during the rescue was what crippled her. The friend who was blamed for the accident found out so he had to die.
    • Nostalgia Filter: Up to Eleven, most of the time. Those happy, halcyon days of The Fifties, The Sixties, The Seventies...and so forth? It was a Crapsack World of homophobia, racism, domestic violence, sexism, well-meaning, but awful ideas, child abuse...all of it just as bad as now, but no one spoke about it.
  • Earth: Final Conflict gives us a rare deconstruction of Energy Beings: the energy-based taelons burn the energy they're made of simply by existing. It turns out that they are, for all intents and purposes, an evolutionary dead-end; they can't naturally reproduce, nor do they have the knowledge to synthesize the energy they're built on, so while an individual taelon with a full life-span would live for a thousand years, they've been dying out and are down to their last generation as the total reserves of core energy dwindle to nothing.
  • Torchwood did this with the idea of an Alien Invasion in the special Children of Earth. Instead of fighting the aliens back with BFGs and More Dakka, Earth's leaders instead decided to heed the aliens' commands and almost ended up doing potentially very naughty things.
  • Mitchell from Being Human is a deconstruction of the Friendly Neighbourhood Vampire. Blood as an addiction isn't a new metaphor, but consider how difficult it is for real people with real addiction to go a lifetime without falling off the wagon. For Mitchell, losing control means killing people, lots of people, and because he's immortal, it's inevitable that he'll fall off eventually. It happens at the end of series 2 and when his friends find out, they can't forgive Mitchell, even though he's genuinely remorseful.
  • Kamala from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Perfect Mate" is a deconstruction of the Relationship Sue. As the title says, she is bred to be the perfect mate with whoever she's with, having no real desires or passions of her own.
  • The Big Bang Theory arguably deconstructs Child Prodigy by using it as Sheldon Cooper's backstory. On one hand, Sheldon went off to college at 11, became an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, went to Germany at age 15 as a visiting professor, and got his first Ph.D (he has two at present) at age 16. On the other, we meet him not as a child/teen but as an adult... and not only his early successes have fueled his large ego (making him quite insufferable to those around him), but at age 30-something he still has the emotional capacity of a kid due to his abnormal childhood, and his vast intelligence greatly alienated him from his own family with the exception of his mother.
    • It also subtly picks apart the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and Dogged Nice Guy with Leonard's relationship with Penny. When they get together they are very happy, but the reality was that with Leonard having to convince her to date him there was a significant inequality between them. Leonard even commented that "It's understandable we are in different places, I've been in this relationship two years longer than you." They eventually broke up because she didn't know if she could reciprocate the strong feelings he had for her, but quickly realized that she not only helped build his confidence to be more successful in the dating pool but that from dating Leonard she couldn't go back to dating the dumb guys she did before.
  • Charmed deconstructs Phoebe's Serial Romeo lifestyle by showing how the endless stream of failed relationships, both human and magical, leaves her emotionally fragile and terrified of love. She even resorts to using her premonitions to see if the relationship will go anywhere on the first date and is punished by the Elders. However they eventually delve into reconstruction when Phoebe considers getting a sperm donor and realises that she doesn't just want a baby, she really does want to be in love and a cupid gets sent to help her overcome her problems.
    • The episode "All Hell Breaks Loose" arguably deconstructs Prue's God-Mode Sue characteristics that were part of the show. Every decision Prue made in the episode resulted in something bad happening when for the past three seasons she had never faced any serious consequences of her reckless behavior. Twice she forced Piper to recklessly go out in public and use their powers against a demon, ending up getting caught on live TV both times and exposed. Leo calls her out on her carelessness when she tries to reason it as saving an innocent. Next she uses her powers on a woman who comes into their house without stopping to think. Said woman is actually quite mad and ends up shooting Piper. Prue then goes mad and uses her powers on innocent people, albeit clearing them out of the way so she could drive Piper to the hospital but she definitely goes too far by sweeping everyone in the street away. A SWAT team is called in to kill her. And finally at the end of the episode she carelessly takes a hit from a demon, pushing an innocent out of the way when she could have used her powers and this is what kills her for good. The next few episodes have the others talking about how she recklessly risked her life without considering the consequences.
  • Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess deconstructs Wide-Eyed Idealist since her unbending morals and naivete cause her to commit rash though well intentioned actions.
    • "A Day in the Life" deconstructed Improbable Weapon User since Xena used the frying pan to fight off bad guys, they have no way to cook their food. She also used their knife the week before so Gabrielle is forced to use the chakram to slice fish which Xena did not like.
    • In their use of Callisto, the show deconstructed But for Me, It Was Tuesday. Back in her warlord days, Xena led a raid on a village that involved an accidental fire that killed women and children. Though she felt regret, it didn't exactly keep her up at night. Years later, Callisto turns up, swearing vengeance for the deaths of her parents and sister in that raid, and confronting Xena with the fact that her past crimes have created a psychopath. It's not until this point that Xena realizes the full consequences of her actions and the fact that she's unknowingly created her worst enemy, a woman who doesn't want anything in life but to make Xena suffer. Xena's "Tuesday" ends up costing her dearly, both with her Guilt Complex and in all the chaos that Callisto causes.
    • The season 4 episode "A Good Day" deconstructed Training the Peaceful Villagers.
  • Tosh.0 deconstructed Too Soon in a blink it or miss it moment. During a video breakdown Tosh makes a joke that a guy falling two feet off a roof "Flailed like Saddam at the end of a noose." The audience is shocked by this joke until Tosh responds by saying. "Seriously? It's Too Soon for Saddam jokes...Do you guys miss Saddam?"
  • iCarly deconstructed Epic Fail in the episodes iChristmas and iGot A Hot Room. Spencer has an innate ability to cause things he creates or even touches to catch on fire. Normally they burst into flames and Spencer puts the fire out, like he did to a drum kit and a reception desk bell. In iChristmas he destroys all of their Christmas presents with his metal tree, and in iGot A Hot Room his lamp made of gummy bears causes Carly's room to be completely gutted by fire.
    • "iKiss" deconstructs Felony Misdemeanor, in which everyone in whole school makes fun of Freddie for not having had a First Kiss after Sam reveals it on the show. These incidents end up emotionally breaking Freddie so much that he cuts of all social contact, and Carly blasts Sam for the trouble she caused, stating that it all can't be done away with a simple apology.
  • New Girl arguably deconstructs the Purity Sue trope. The main character, Jess, is sweet, kind-hearted, innocent and relentlessly optimistic, always trying to see the best in people regardless of circumstances. As a result, she is soul-crushingly naive, incapable of anger or self-assertion, extremely emotionally fragile, overly judgmental, is often taken advantage of by others (Her boyfriend cheated on her in the first episode), gets no respect from her friends or the children she teaches, her friends love her but are very aware that she needs to be constantly handled with kid gloves, and people often find her help more irritating than anything else. There are quite a few instances where other characters point out how unsettling her attitude is for a grown woman and her friends have called her out on being judgemental.
    • It also deconstructed the Tomboy and Girly Girl dynamic when Jess couldn't get along with Nick's lawyer girlfriend from season 1.
      • Jess' speech in the same episode deconstructs the Real Women Never Wear Dresses trope, responding to said girlfriend's mocking by saying that she is no less of a strong woman because of her girly behaviour and interests.
  • The British mini-series Dis Connected deconstructs The Casanova and Really Gets Around; the character of Ben fancies himself a lady-killer, but all the female characters of substance find him repulsive (resulting in a Gender Flipped version of My Girl Is Not a Slut considering they label him "a little slut" and "a man-whore"), and he only manages to get lucky with unintelligent and/or slutty girls (deemed as such by their peers).
  • In response to Mitt Romney's claim that every business owner built their businesses themselves, Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report deconstructed the idea of the Self-Made Man, first by firing all of his staff, then shutting down all the cameras and doing the show on his iPhone, lit by a desk lamp, and doing the word on a dry-erase board. The segment ends with him choking on the dry-erase marker's cap.
    Colbert: The only accomplishments I value are ones I create entirely by myself. Thatís why Iím not that crazy about my children.
  • The Following deconstructs the idea of a Religion of Evil with Joe Carroll's cult of serial killers, showing it to be a self-defeating venture. An organzation composed almost entirely of murderous sociopaths couldn't possibly hold itself together, as sooner or later the collective dysfunctions of its individual members will cause the whole thing to fall apart. Forget about finding some kind of common purpose; these people can barely get through a day without almost killing each other. The only thing holding them together at all is the sheer force of Joe Carroll's personality, and since he's also a murderous sociopath with his own agenda that doesn't always jibe with what his followers want, that only goes so far.
  • Kamen Rider Wizard deconstructs the old classic Kamen Rider trope of having good monsters. For a while, the Kamen Rider Franchise had quite the number of monsters who become good guys, or at least be neutral with varying degrees of good, particularly in the Heisei era, where the monsters in most cases were either human once or took the guise of a human. Kamen Rider Wizard went both ways with that, as Phantoms were human, but were just essentially an inner demon ripping apart and taking control of their human host, called Gates. However, the show wags at the audience with the idea that not all Phantoms are evil, much like the previous shows. However, every time they did, they point out just how absurd that is when the Phantom's personality almost counterbalances the Gate's personality, as the Phantom uses the memories and feelings of their Gate and uses it to their advantage. In two cases, the Phantom managed to convince their victim that there's good in them... only to kick them to the ground and dash any hopes of that. There is a case where a Phantom believes he's still human... And he is, but only because he was so evil to begin with that he pretty much became a Phantom as opposed to having a Phantom rip him apart. It's reconstructed with Haruto's Phantom, Dragon. Even if Dragon is a petty dick who only wants Haruto to fall to despair, he's somewhat surprised when Haruto begs him to lend some power and that he gives him hope. Eventually, he warms up to Haruto and when he gets killed, revives as a being of pure hope, ready to give Haruto all the hope he can muster.
    • Kamen Rider Kuuga deconstructs the Final Battle for the series. It wasn't some glorious final fight where the Kamen Rider makes one final speech, uses a spectacular weapon and defeats the great evil for good despite overwhelming odds. It was a no holds barred fist fight that Daguva wants out of Kuuga to see that he becomes exactly like him. The fact that Kuuga would become the new avatar of destruction and make humanity just like his people. Yusuke did not derive any enjoyment from the fight or the hope that Daguva's death will end everything, instead he cried throughout the entire fight.
  • Jonathan Creek has an episode that deconstructs the Connect the Deaths trope. Three women have been murdered, and the police are at a loss to explain how or why. However, Carla twigs to the fact that the women were called Heather, Rose and Iris, and goes on her crime show to share this news with the viewing public, telling them that the killer is symbolically "deflowering women". As it turns out, the first two deaths were done by a psychotic woman that had no discernable motive, and the third was by a police officer who used the first murders to cover up his own crime. That the women had floral names was a complete coincidence, and as Jonathan says at the wrap-up, the fact that Carla shared her bogus theory only resulted in mass panic among women named after a flower (including a woman called Coral, at least until Jonathan assures her that coral is actually an animal).
  • Stargate Atlantis deconstructs the Space People trope with the introduction of the "Travelers." As cool as it sounds to be a people that lives their entire lives on ships in interstellar space, by the time of the show it's proven to be a cultural dead end. Without access to planetary resources they're unable to build new ships. The ships they do have are aging clunkers kept running with scavenged parts, and none of them are replaceable. Their population growth has to be strictly controlled because they only have so much living space. They keep to themselves so much that most other civilizations aren't even aware of their existence, or else consider them untrustworthy scavengers who'll do anything to survive. They are slow to form alliances or expose themselves to situations that could lead to open conflicts, because they have so much to lose. Many have simply abandoned the Traveler lifestyle and integrated themselves into terrestrial societies.
  • The Firefly episode "Trash" is a notable deconstruction of The Vamp (in the person of "YoSaffBridge"), showing how depressing and dehumanizing it can really be to be one, and how psychologically messed up someone would have to be to want to be one. Saff has completely mastered the art of seduction, but at the cost of any chance of ever having a meaningful relationship with another human being. After years of getting ahead through lying and manipulation, she's left a trail of abandoned identities behind her—to the point that even she barely knows who she is anymore—and a long line of men that she abandoned soon after marrying them for profit. At the end of the episode, Mal outright dismantles her whole M.O. in a well-timed "The Reason You Suck" Speech, where he points out that people like him will always trump people like her—because unlike her, he has a devoted crew of True Companions that will always have his back. In a pinch, well-earned loyalty always trumps cheap manipulation.
  • Two of a Kind deconstructed Papa Wolf in one episode. Ashley has a crush on her tutor but discovers he has a girlfriend and is heartbroken. When Kevin finds out, he fires the tutor thinking it would help. Instead Ashley yells at him for meddling in her private business and Carrie points out how Kevin assumed he would be helping rather than actually asking Ashley about her feelings. Kevin eventually admits it was more out of a desire to come across as a hero - and hires the tutor back.
  • The first 2 seasons of Downton Abbey deconstructed The Dutiful Son (or daughter, in this case) with Lady Mary, who was brought up believing family honor is everything even above personal happiness. She eventually falls in love with Matthew but her mother's pregnancy and possibility of finally having a male heir causes her break things off because Matthew would be title-less. When Cora loses the baby, Mary again tries to be with Matthew but he loses trust in her and believes her to be a Gold Digger. In season 2, Mary becomes engaged to Sir Richard who could provide for her even if everyone hates him. She breaks it off eventually and her father finally recognizes his fault in making Mary sacrifice love for honor. He tells her she can marry whoever she wants because a little scandal is worth it as long as his daughter is happy.
  • Several in Community.
    • Loony Friends Improve Your Personality is taken apart in Studies In Modern Movement where (relatively) strait-laced Annie angrily calls out Troy and Abed that she is always the one who adapts to their silly antics and it isn't fair that they never meet halfway and adapt to her.
    • Manic Pixie Dream Girl and Cloud Cuckoolanders Minder is deconstructed in Contemporary Impressionists. Troy had been actively avoiding playing that role for Abed because he doesn't want to ruin Abed's fun and points out that Abed makes things more magical and fun for the rest of them. But by the end of the episode, it's seen how exhausting and irresponsible Abed can be and it puts a strain on Troy's friendship with him.
    • Britta's thing for weirdos and jerks is a result of a lot of self-esteem issues and self-loathing on her part from childhood experiences, leading her to throw herself into those disastrous relationships as a subconscious way of validating her self-worth. Likewise, Annie's crush on Jeff is pointed out to be unhealthy due her issues of loneliness and being a bit of a Control Freak who finds the idea of a man completely changing his identity for her appealing.
    • Annie's entire routine in Regional Holiday Music as a Brainless Beauty was this. She was dressed in a short-skirted outfit and began her song in a cutesy-dumb attitude, unlike her normally intelligent and straight-A personality. As the song continues, she dissolves into increasingly childish behavior to the point she was flopping on the ground spewing baby talk. Even Jeff (who she was trying to seduce) is incredibly turned off by this.
    • Season 5 deconstructs Sucky School by showing how difficult everyone's lives after graduating from Greendale became due to having such an institution like Greendale. Jeff's Crusading Lawyer plans left him broke, Britta became a bartender at a sleazy bar, Abed retreated into programming as an escape, Troy is only counting on Abed's friendship to keep him going, Annie is stuck in a dead-end job and Shirley's lack of experience of running her own business led her to use up all her money and her husband taking the kids and leaving.
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