Conversational Troping
aka: Conversed Trope

"This is like one of those sitcoms where somebody says something that's misconstrued and the snooty next door neighbor got the wrong package delivered after his in-laws come to visit, somebody has two dates at one night and they have to paint white lines on the middle of the room, but this isn't a sitcom, Perry the Platypus, this is real life."
Doofenshmirtz, Phineas and Ferb

The characters are talking about tropes. They're not talking about tropes from their own series, so it's not Lampshade Hanging. They're not talking about tropes in a way that goes "hey, we're aware that we're fictional", so it's not Meta Fiction. They're not actively involving the viewer, so it's not Post Modernism. They're not tearing down the tropes, so it's not Deconstruction.

They're just talking, in a Seinfeldian Conversation kind of way, about conventions found in media in general. Pointing them out, going "Huh, that's interesting", idly coming up with possible reasons for them. Starting to sound real familiar, right?

Often used as a Shout-Out, in a similar vein as an Affectionate Parody — or not. Sometimes it's subtle Lampshade Hanging, describing tropes that occur later in the work, or earlier, but not talking about those events. Either that, or the writers/characters just found some time to kill.

Compare Discussed Trope, I Always Wanted to Say That.


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    Anime and Manga 


    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hot Fuzz has the lead pair discussing various cop movie tropes, with Butterman feeling that he's missed out and Angel denying that they exist in Real Life. Of course, all of them are gloriously invoked by the end.
  • In Clerks., the main characters discuss a lot of pop culture. For example:
    Randal Graves: Which did you like better? Jedi or Empire Strikes Back?
    Dante Hicks: Empire.
    Randal: Blasphemy.
    Dante: Empire had the better ending. I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader's his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that's what life is, a series of down endings. All Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets.
    • Other movies in the View Askewniverse also tend to feature this, if only a little.
    • The beginning of the double-Affectionate Parody, Trooper Clerks: The Animated One-Shot (which, of course, was a two-parter):
    Trooper Randal: Which did you like better: Mallrats or Chasing Amy?
    Trooper Dante: Chasin' Amy.
    Randal: Blasphemy!
    Dante: Chasing Amy had the better story! Guy likes girl... girl likes girls... girl has sex with guy, then dumps guy for more girls — it ends on a dark note. That's what life is: A series of dark notes. All Mallrats had was a bunch of... sex jokes.
  • The Scream movie series is more or less a protracted discussion of horror movie tropes, with object lessons in each.
  • Breaking Away: "You know how, in cartoons, when somebody gets hit in the head with a frying pan, and their head looks like the frying pan, with the handle and everything; then they go boing, and their head goes back to normal? Wouldn't that be great?"
  • Swingers features a scene where the leads are sitting around a table discussing the films of Martin Scorsese and the inherent difficulty of filming in a casino as well as their love of the one take restaurant entry shot in Goodfellas. They later emulate this shot when when entering a club and one of the first parts of the film is shot in a casino.
  • Galaxy Quest is practically made of this.
  • Unbreakable:
    • Elijah talks about the Lantern Jaw of Justice and other stylistic traits and conventions.
    • At the end, David and Elijah's mother talk about Villain Tropes at Elijah's art gallery. She says that Elijah believes there are two main types of villains. There's the soldier villain, who fights the hero with his hands, but there's also the brilliant and evil Arch-Enemy, the really dangerous one, who fights the hero with his mind. Elijah is revealed to be the latter.
  • In the opening scene of Swordfish, Gabriel is discussing Ending Tropes with Stanley and Agent Roberts. He compares the hostage situation he is leading with the one in Dog Day Afternoon, and argues that it would be more realistic if the hostage takers in that movie would have been much more cruel, killing multiple hostages from the start, and getting away with the money. Stanley and Roberts argue that audiences will expect a Happy Ending, and that the bad guy can't win to force home An Aesop that crime doesn't pay. Of course, they're trying to invoke it because they don't want Gabriel to do just that to his hostages. It's all foreshadowing to this film's ending, in which Gabriel does get the money and wins.
  • The film "Love and Other Disasters" is frequently punctuated by the cast discussing romance tropes, without noticing how they might apply to their present situations.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Valentine discusses various tropes of Tuxedo and Martini Spy Fiction with various characters over the course of the film, showing how he is a Dangerously Genre Savvy Meta Guy on top of being a Diabolical Mastermind.
  • Gladiator: Before Maximus fights Commodus in the arena, Commodus talks about how Maximus's epic life story can honestly be called the stuff of legend. He considers just killing Maximus to be anticlimatic, so the only fitting conclusion to the story would be a final showdown in the great arena between the two, although Commodus obviously considers himself the hero in this story.

  • Northanger Abbey.
  • Almost every fantasy novel ever written has a protagonist who, when cold and wet and hungry and exhausted, will reflect on how his favourite stories never said anything about the heroes having to put up with this.
    • Which begs the question, what stories did he read?
    • Same with mystery stories, the protagonist being kidnapped and transported by vehicle, and reflecting that counting the number of turns the car takes is harder than in detective novels.
  • It's possible to do this without Lampshade Hanging and still accidentally discuss your own story. In a thriller novel entitled Beauty, the love interest talks about how all the fish in her fish tank were chosen because they reminded her of characters in a book, then adds that she originally planned to use fish for Lolita and Humbert Humbert but changed her mind. The hero goes into an aside about how Lolita is his favorite book, because of its skillful use of an Unreliable Narrator who seems nice at first but is in fact evil. Said "hero" is a plastic surgeon trying to sculpt the perfect face, so you can guess where this is going.
  • One of The Dresden Files novels has a discussion of which member of the Fellowship everyone is. Harry objects to not being assigned Gandalf, until it is explained that Sam is the real hero of the story. And there's a throwaway line about a certain person being Boromir—said person later betraying the group.
    • When Harry sends a young man to Father Forthill for some food, a shower, and new clothes, Forthill casually asks the man to get any Pedophile Priest jokes out of the way early on.
  • When It Happens To You has a short discussion of Rock Star Parking in Kojak.
  • Happens quite a bit in Discworld. For example, Glenda in Unseen Academicals talks (albeit to herself) about how preposterous and formulaic her romance novels are.
  • In Reaper's Gale, book seven of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, Udinass at one point launches into a lengthy rant about Dungeon Crawling, deconstructing the whole thing in great detail. It comes out of nowhere, disappears into nowhere, and borders on Anvilicious, as he seems to be trying to rile up Fear Sengar and his perceived obsession with being on a noble quest - except the two tropes are far from being the same thing and Udinaas had much more subtle Lampshade Hanging moments earlier in the book.

    Live Action Television 
  • On Scrubs, the characters discuss when characters are driving away in a car, but their conversation doesn't get quieter. Of course, they're in a car, driving away, and they stay loud and clear.
  • Stargate SG-1
  • In one scene from Dead Like Me, George, the viewpoint character for the series, informs her fellows of the roles they play in the ensemble cast. Later in the episode, the oldest and wisest of the troupe casually "breaks trope", much to George's surprise.
  • Boone and Locke discuss Red Shirts in the Lost episode "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues".
    • In "Some Like It Hoth", Hurley presents his thoughts on Star Wars: "Ewoks suck, dude". This is far from the only Star Wars discussion in the series.
  • Warehouse 13 also discusses Red Shirts. When Myka feels that Artie's secrecy about their current mission could prove life-threatening for them.
    Myka: He thinks we're...
    Pete: Redshirts?
    Myka (nodding sadly): Yeah.
    Pete: First of all, we're not redshirts. And second of all... It's so cool that you knew what I meant!
    • Also this dialog in Season 3 Episode 3
    New Agent Jinx (after missing during Tesla Target practice): "Firing a Ray Gun isn't as easy as it looks in the movies."
    Pete: "Hey, No. It is very hard to fire ray guns in the movies. How many times have you seen a Storm Trooper hit what he's firing at? Not once.
    • Pete also admonishes himself for missing an obvious video game trope (even using the term "trope") when he and Claudia are trapped in a virtual reality world.
  • Heroes has this happen with, of course, Hiro, the series' Ascended Fanboy. He even goes so far as to point out to his Side Kick Ando where in the story he is at certain crucial moments. Hiro firmly believes himself to be the most Genre Savvy guy around, he just doesn't quite realise he's not actually living in the genre he's an expert on. It's more than a little adorable.
  • 30 Rock: "How come there ain't no Puerto Ricans on Star Trek?! They got every race and life-form in the galaxy, except for Puerto Ricans! What's up with that?!"
  • The Big Bang Theory does this a lot with Science Fiction tropes.
  • Since comic book evil (and other things) exist in the world of The Middleman a lot of conversations revolve around tropes and how their in-universe equivalents deviate from them.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer does this a bit in general, but when the Trio become the villains in season six, their conversations almost solely consist of this.
  • In one episode of Eureka, Vincent and Fargo are fairly Genre Savvy while watching a "reality show" that is actually a live feed from a biosphere experiment at Global Dynamics. Unfortunately, the Genre Savvy doesn't apply to their own crazy town.
  • Friends has little side-jokes about this sometimes. In one episode, Chandler discusses Half Dressed Cartoon Animals with Phoebe.
  • Everyone on Community, especially Abed.
  • About 25% of the total runtime of Freaks and Geeks consists of either the "freaks" group discussing music or the "geeks" talking comedy or sci-fi.
  • NCIS:
    Tony: Ah, let me guess... You're that person in horror movie that decides that since all your friends are dead, you really need to go check out the demonic, breathing noise down in the basement.
    Kate: Well, it beats being the girl who twists her ankle and gets everybody else killed.
  • Occurs in Series H "History" on QI with Stephen, Alan, David Mitchell, Sandi Toksvig, and Rob Brydon digitally edited into a photo of a combat squad. David (whose face was in a somewhat goofy expression) mused that he would be killed off early, while Sandi supposed she would be the woman brought along just to work the radio, but gets forced into flying a plane. Stephen would be the hero from the First World War, Rob gets off right before the end (just when you think he'll make it), and Alan survives the whole thing.
  • After Tuvok and Paris escape from the Show Within a Show holodeck program Insurrection Alpha in Star Trek: Voyager following Seska's evil alterations of it, they and the rest of the senior staff chat about the program in the mess hall, including Captain Janeway's use of Deus ex Machina to rescue them.
  • In You're The Worst, Jimmy (a novelist) has a bunch of comments on Ferris Bueller's Day Off:
    Jimmy: Edgar, I think I know a little something about Campbellian storytelling. Ferris is the hero. Jennifer Grey is the foil. Principal Rooney is the fool. Sloane is the sidekick. Cameron's the villain.

    Video Games 
  • Characters in Trinity Universe are fond of this. Especially the prinnies and Etna.
    • That's a carry over and logical extension of things from Etna's original series, Disgaea. Characters in those games love to lampshade gameplay mechanics and poke fun at expected tropes (Like the ability to save before a boss fight). They also discuss their own levels and character titles so it's hard to tell at times if it's just them breaking the fourth wall or this is normal topics of conversation for people in their situations (Etna's drop to level one from 1000 due to a summoning gone bad for example is a plot point in the second game and her entire motivation for being a playable character). Also the Episode previews, which is nothing but parodies and playing with tropes (despite the next episodes rarely ever matching them) originate here.
  • Sweet Fuse At Your Side is a visual novel set entirely in a theme park in which all of the attractions are based on video games, in which the seven main characters are obligated to participate in "games" that have been made from the attractions. As a result, there's a lot of discussion about video game tropes, especially in scenes featuring Meoshi, a video game otaku.
  • In Dangan Ronpa, Monokuma occasionally comments how much he enjoys using tropes and playing with the narrative structure (which is justified, since he means the narrative of the Immoral Reality Show), and in one translation he actually name drops a particular trope he enjoys. Sacrificial Lamb.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • TV Tropes has a forum.
  • The Trope of the Week series Echo Chamber does this rather often, which is to be expected in a series about tropes.
  • TV Tropes have a podcast On the Tropes. Every week one trope is discussed extensively and the hosts talk about their favourite examples.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged has a pair of mooks discuss the Wilhelm Scream. While trying to imitate it, they fail until Vegeta kills them, which makes them do it for real.
  • In episode 21 of Princess Tutu Abridged, this is the only way Autor speaks, leading Fakir to the conclusion that he's crazy. He's really crazy.
  • Team Kimba in the Whateley Universe is a group of mutants with superpowers who go to a Superhero School and live in a world with superheroes and supervillains. Plus they're Genre Savvy. Naturally they do this, sometimes in the middle of a superhero fight. In the battle against superpowered ninjas during Parents' Day, Generator (half-Japanese) tropes all over her battle with a Japanese ninja who is a gravity Warper.
  • In Q&A #1 of The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, Adele mentions she's learning about opera Tosca and that everybody dies at the end, Kill 'em All style. Then she sings an aria. She's brilliant if bit weirdly over-educated. She likes showing off her knowledge.
  • The Let's Play group Spoiler Warning once discussed the Shiny New Australia trope during the climax of Mass Effect 2.

    Western Animation 
  • In Steven Universe, When discussing the ending of The Spirit Morph Saga in "Open Book" Connie talks about how she thought the book series was, in her own words, "subverting these witch tropes", and was really self aware, only for none of that to seemingly matter in the end.
  • Family Guy often makes use of it for the sake of Take Thats or Non Sequitur humor. So far, they've managed to touch on everything from classic literature to "What's the deal with Superman throwing that cellophane 'S'?"
  • In The Venture Bros., this is pretty much the basis of the characters 21 and 24. They're also very Genre Savvy.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Michaelangelo does this all the time. In "Night of Sh'okanabo", he lists a bunch of horror movies tropes, marking him as a "scholar" of film (the only kind of scholar he is). He also discussed horror tropes in season 1's three-parter "Notes from the Underground".
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Doofenshmirtz rambles about the Jackass Genie in "The Lake Nose Monster".
    • Happens fairly often, especially when Doofenshmirtz is explaining his plans or motivations for said plans.
  • Every installment of the Ben10 series following the original series does every few episodes.

Alternative Title(s): Conversed Trope, Conversed