This is a {{trope}} that goes through a circular pattern of change, eventually returning to its original form after several iterations.

Like this: "[[BigFun Fat Guys Are Jolly]]" gets subverted over time to "Fat Guys Are Kinda Sad And Pitiful". After a while at that value, the audience is expecting [[TheWoobie "sympathetic"]] Fat Guys, so it gets subverted to "[[FatBastard Fat Guys Are Mean And Greedy]]". Once expectations are out there for evil Fat Guys, it gets subverted back to "Fat Guys Are Jolly".

Most cycles are bipolar, though, oscillating back and forth between two opposites that mutually subvert (or invert) each other.

See also FleetingDemographicRule, PopularityPolynomial. Compare and contrast with UndeadHorseTrope, EvolvingTrope.

Remember, Administrivia/ExamplesAreNotRecent.
!!Some {{trope}}s that are cyclic:
* ThreeDMovie: Started out as "the next big thing", then thrown aside and treated with disdain. Now, it's "the next big thing". This has already happened twice before (first in the [[TheFifties 1950s]] and then again in the [[TheEighties 1980s]]), as each time the TechnologyMarchesOn it's revived, gets a couple of years in the spotlight, and then everybody decides it's still not worth the trouble. It seems to have repeated again, with 3D technology becoming less frequent in movies (though the fact that very popular and non-gimmicky movies like ''{{Film/Avatar}}'' and ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'' have used it and drawn in more ticket sales as a result means that the trend probably won't disappear ''entirely'').
* Similar things have happened with 3D in gaming (Virtual Boy, [=3DS=], Oculus Rift), and the 3D trend has spread to TV, although 3D channels have mostly disappeared and "the next big thing" appears to be ultra-high definition.
* ActionGirl: Status/appeal cycles between AmazonChaser and NoGuyWantsAnAmazon.
* AmericanDream: Cycles between optimistic and pessimistic depending on the economy and general state of the union. [[ValuesDissonance It also changes dramatically along with the middle-class aspirations of different eras]]: a modern suburban couple might well dismiss a 1950s suburban home as "too poor."
* TheAllegedCar: Depending on the decade, economy/electric cars are either seen as the sign of a thoughtful, world-conscious protagonist or a slick street racing enthusiast, or effeminate crap made by Evil Foreigners out to destroy America, and worshipped by cash-strapped nerds. For larger cars, the driver will either be a nail-biting {{Badass}} or a thoughtless conservative who hates the enviroment almost as much as they hate themselves.
* BasementDweller: In good economic times, it means the guy is a slacker and a loser. In bad economic times, it's certainly not viewed favorably, but it's cast in a light that makes it more society's fault that he can't get a job / house / whatever.
* The BoyBand goes through a pretty regular boom/bust cycle of being the single hottest thing in music to dormant and/or outright hated to popular when the next generation pokes its head up to see if it's safe to come out. Usually the early part of the decade will have obscenely popular boy bands which will bust during the middle. For example, in the New Tens, Music/OneDirection picked up the baton Music/{{NSYNC}} and the Music/BackstreetBoys carried during the early 2000s, who themselves were treading the ground that the Music/NewKidsOnTheBlock had covered during the early Nineties, and it's possible to trace it back farther through New Edition, and even back to the Jackson 5.
* CowboyCop: Fluctuates between protagonist and antagonist depending on how much "traditional" cops are respected.
* DarkerAndEdgier and LighterAndSofter: In a market saturated by one mood, a work taking the opposite view stands out and does well, sparking [[FollowTheLeader a host of imitators]] that push the pendulum in the other direction.
* {{Deconstruction}} Deconstructing a genre, then [[{{Reconstruction}} deconstructing the deconstruction]]. The latter then sets the new baseline, which may itself be deconstructed again...
* TheFairFolk, as well as probably most cases of OurMonstersAreDifferent
* Female sexuality: Since the dawn of time, humans have been cycling though the ideas that AllWomenAreLustful and AllWomenArePrudes.
* HairColors: HairOfGoldHeartOfGold to DumbBlonde to BlondesAreEvil and back again, with brunette always being the {{Foil}} for wherever blonde is today, and [[color:red:red]] hair being a more HotBlooded version of brunette.
* {{Hipster}}: Recurring definition with every generation rejecting the previous batch.
* IdealHero[=/=]AntiHero: The two fashions tend to usurp each other in turn across various media, though the dividing line can change as values march on. If the Ideal Hero dominates, writers will introduce antiheroes as a reaction to that until it's impossible to take the Ideal Hero seriously, and then the antiheroes will become a cliche of their own and we'll see a {{Reconstruction}} of the Ideal Hero. For example, TheModernAgeOfComicBooks has generally reclaimed a lot of the idealism of [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks the Silver Age]] as a reaction to [[TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks the Dark Age]].
* {{Joisey}}: The stereotypical [[WretchedHive view of New Jersey]] was never completely true or an exaggeration, as pretty much anybody who is actually from or has actually been to New Jersey will tell you. This trope was used with less and less frequency, until [[Series/JerseyShore something horrific]] happened, causing the trope to rise from the dead.
* KnightInShiningArmor: This one's been cycling for a long, long time. It started with straight usage in the ChivalricRomance genre, then was parodied to death by ''Literature/DonQuixote'' and successors, then returned to favor with {{Disney}} and other creators, and has since been [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructed]] and bashed so hard that [[DiscreditedTrope it's difficult to find straight examples]], particularly as a lead character.
* LoveInterests: Cycles between ProperLady and WellExcuseMePrincess and every degree in between; characters are ColourCodedCharacters, as they cycle respectively between [[HairOfGoldHeartOfGold blonde]] and [[HeroesWantRedHeads red-haired]] or brunette.
* MorallyBankruptBanker: Popular during banking crises and economic downturns.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: Vampires [[SlidingScaleOfVampireFriendliness cycle between]] [[TheSoulless soulless]] [[HorrorHunger predatory]] [[ImAHumanitarian monsters]] and [[{{Wangst}} angst-filled]] [[LoveInterest romantic]] [[TheWoobie woobies]]. Goes hand in hand with LooksLikeOrlok. [[Literature/VarneyTheVampire First they did]], [[Literature/{{Dracula}} then they didn't]], [[Film/{{Nosferatu}} then they did again]], then they switched [[Film/{{Dracula 1931}} back]] and [[Literature/SalemsLot forth]] [[Film/InterviewWithTheVampire a]] [[Series/TrueBlood few]] [[Literature/{{Twilight}} more]] [[VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow times,]]. ''Who knows'' what they will look like next.
* PatrioticFervor: Cycles according to world events.
* RavenHairIvorySkin: In [[OlderThanSteam older times]], pale skin was a sign of wealth and therefore highly attractive: most working-class people worked outside for long periods, developing tans, while affluent noble-types stayed indoors, staying fair-skinned. Then, as beach culture became more popular, pale was out and made way for the DarkSkinnedBlond during the 60's, 70's, 80's and part of the 90's. But then the increasing awareness of skin cancer made tanning less popular - and the bottled "fake tans" that came out as a result looked, well, fake and made people who used them seem oblivious and trashy. Combine that with the rise in the Goth subculture and its embrace of the '50s pin-up girl image, and pale and dark-haired was until recently back in fashion. Since mid to late 2013, we seem to be back to tan and bleached.
* RealWomenHaveCurves: The attitude that a woman is more "realistic" if she's heavier than the norm. Thanks to shifting ideals about body type, this one keeps coming and going.
* SeldomSeenSpecies: Some species are more seldom seen in the media of some cultures and in some time periods and than others.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Interestingly, this tends to parallel the political and economic climate of the society generating the works that feature the {{trope}}. Also related to whatever seems rare and different from the norm, e.g., when any given superhero has an 90% chance of being a troubled, brooding NinetiesAntiHero, [[TheCape Capes]] start becoming fascinating to the point of being edgy until they become dirt common then, it switches back, and vice versa.
* SmokingIsCool: In the 1920s, when most Americans wouldn't even ''drink'', smoking a cigarette was thought to be rebellious - even countercultural - both by those who engaged in it and those who disapproved of it. As a result, it became "cool" to smoke [[CoolPeopleRebelAgainstAuthority precisely because it offended so many people]]. A generation later, in the 1940s, [[EverybodySmokes smoking had become so commonplace]] that it was hard to believe it had ever been frowned upon - but [[TheManIsStickingItToTheMan the mass media still insisted on smoking being cool]]. Then, a generation after ''that'', in the 1960s, it was confirmed that tobacco use led to lung cancer, so smoking became socially unacceptable again. Finally, in the 1990s, smoking ''cigars'' enjoyed a revival of popularity among young hipsters, perhaps as a thumb to the eye of PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad. Since then, smoking in general has gradually regained popularity in media devoted to adults, as a way to indicate that a character is rebellious or carefree - although it's still viewed with suspicion and disdain in the larger society.
* SpyFiction: The world's current political system determines whether or not TuxedoAndMartini ''Film/JamesBond''-ish films or Stale Beer {{Post Nine Eleven Terrorism Movie}}s get respect from the audience.
* TokenMinority: into TokenWhite
* TheVamp: Cycles between [[BlondesAreEvil blonde]] and brunette.
* SuperRobotGenre: The entire genre goes through cycles of {{deconstruction}} and {{reconstruction}}. To give a very simplified version, starting with the TropeMaker: ''Anime/MazingerZ'' --{{deconstruction}}--> ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' --{{reconstruction}}--> ''Anime/GunBuster'' --{{deconstruction}}--> ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' --{{reconstruction}}--> ''Anime/GaoGaiGar''
* SwordAndSandal: Hollywood's on-off relationship with them.
* UnfortunateIngredients: In the '80s and '90s, sugar was the greatest evil. (American soft-drink companies were actually ahead of the game, having switched from cane sugar to corn syrup in the late '70s.) Now, many ads tout the presence of "real sugar" in their goods because nobody trusts artificial sweeteners or high-fructose corn syrup (both are made up of glucose, i.e. blood sugar, and fructose, i.e. fruit sugar, instead, but while sucrose, i.e. table sugar is 50% glucose 50% fructose, corn syrup varies. Typically, the [[ HFCS in soft drinks is HFCS 42]], or 42% fructose, while many other foods use HFCS 55 (55% fructose, which makes it sweeter). HFCS 42 and 55 comprise most of the HFCS on the market, but some products use HFCS 90. Of course, too much sugar of ''any'' stripe is a problem.
* WesternTerrorists: The ethnicity of terrorists cycles according to world events and frequency of use.
* RomanticismVersusEnlightenment: The mother of all {{Cyclic Trope}}s -- at least, according to some. It is said that there are two trends in culture, coming in waves and supplanting one another: the orderly Apollinian, and chaotic Dionysian. Apollinian Enlightenment is followed by Dionysian Romanticism, which is followed by Apollinian Positivism or Realism... and so on.
* Comics' art style; early NewspaperComics were a unique selling point (hence "features"), and appeared only on Sundays with large full-panel color. The addition of daily B&W comics along with an ever-shrinking panel size meant that the luxuriant canvas enjoyed by the first generation of modern comics artists would only again be available in the [[WebComics internet era]]. This led to fanciful detail being first jettisoned in favor of a pared-down SliceOfLife style and then to the rediscovery of fanciful detail. Compare the art styles of [[ Winsor McCay]], [[ early Charles Schulz]], and [[ Zack Morrison]], and remember that while Schulz' style was in keeping with midcentury modernist trends in design, architecture and "serious" art, he was very much making a virtue of necessity.
* CantArgueWithElves / ScrewYouElves: As discussed in the [[Headscratchers/ScrewYouElves Headscratchers]] section for the latter, both tropes cycle with each other. For example: many fantasy stories (Literature/TheLordOfTheRings) use the CantArgueWithElves trope, human audiences get bored of being continually condescended by arrogant magical races, so ScrewYouElves becomes popular (VideoGame/{{Overlord}}, VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim). Many fantasy stories use the ScrewYouElves trope, and humans appear too arrogant and foolhardy, so CantArgueWithElves becomes popular again (Film/{{Avatar}}). Eventually, we'll likely end up with a kind of {{reconstruction}} where fantasy elves combine a mixture of traits according to [[AuthorAppeal how the author feels about elves]] (TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}}).