Aliens Steal Cattle, which is a mashup of the ideas that aliens abduct people and mutilate cattle.
Likewise, Anal Probing is not actually a preoccupation in Real Life UFO abduction communities. Whitley Strieber described a recovered memory of it in his first nonfiction UFO book, Communion, whereupon it took on a life of is own. The idea of the hind-quarters, rather than the reproductive organs (and hence, potential genetic engineering connections in the literature, etc.) is due to the media having one thing on their minds far too much. And some think it's quite intentional, to get people to chuckle at what is actually rather terrifying stuff when you read the real stories: a supposedly advanced alien intelligence, behaving in ways reminiscent of Nazi doctors.
Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: If you look through the example list, you'll find most of the examples are followed by either "appropriate, but ugly" or "I much prefer [insert random word like "cheeseburger"]".
Zombies eating brains. It was not a part of Night of the Living Dead or any of the films that followed on it, until Return of the Living Dead — which was released in 1985, nearly two decades after Night, and was a much more comedic and less serious take on the zombie movie genre than its predecessors or most of its followers. Furthermore, it's almost impossible to find a movie where the zombies actually say "Braaaiiiins." This appears to be a conflation of two unrelated aspects of Romero's zombies: they eat human flesh, and the only way to kill them is to destroy their brains.
The Butler Did It is the most well known example. It does appear in a couple old mystery novels, but is nowhere near as common as people unfamiliar with such novels seem to think. (You will find a somewhat sizeable list of examples on our tropes page but almost all of these come from after the twist had already become falsely known as a cliche and are either parodying it, playing with it, or using its notoriety to make it a case of The Untwist.) The origin of the phrase was not a literal description but rather a summary of a far more common trope: Having an unimportant background character end up being the culprit. See here for more info. It might also have gained some lift from that one incident when a man, getting out of a The Mouse Trap showing (the play is famed for not having its ending be a Public Secret) and yelling in the street "It was the butler!"... while no butlers are even featured in the play.
Cardboard Boxes, Fruit Carts, and the Sheet of Glass are obstacles that commonly, but never seriously, appear in chase scenes. Probably true with sheets of glass, but boxes and especially fruit stands appear in many action movie car chases in movies of the 70s and 80s.
Mr Pappodopolus is quite used to having his fruit cart smashed, and despite his gesticulations and curses, he always manages to get out of the way in time. - Giancarlo Cairella
Dastardly Whiplash: Not a parody of stock silent film villains. The only silent film work that contains a character similar at all is the serial The Perils of Pauline, and in it the character is quite different from any later parodies. As Dudley Do Right was a parody of Pauline in many ways, this led to the misconception that such a character was very common throughout all silent films.
These characters did not start out as parodies of a movie trope, but of an older stage trope, from the 10-20-30 melodramas. Since it's been about a century now since that type of stage melodrama was popular, the only reason most modern audiences are familiar with the genre and this sort of character at all is because of the countless parodies produced since then.
Food Pills in science fiction. William Gibson mocked the idea in his story "The Gernsback Continuum," but it appears that food pills have always been used as satire or mockery, rather than being presented as something people might actually do in the future.
The 1930 sci-fi musical Just Imaginemay be the source. It was a comedy, but it seemed to take food pills seriously. (The joke comes from the unfrozen protagonist getting used to eating them, not the food pills existing.)
Star Trek: The Original Series had one species that used food pills, but this was to show they were out of touch with the pleasurable aspects of life and emotions in general, and the Enterprise crew convinced an alien not to use them.
One of the oldest examples is actually in the Land of Oz series. There they are useful as field rations, but as for replacing regular meals... the one time their inventor tried to do that, he was thrown into a lake.
Here There Be Dragons: Not common on early maps: in fact, it's only found on the Lenox Globe (from the 1500s): HIC SVNT DRACONES is written on the coast of eastern Asia, probably in reference to komodo dragons. Roman and medieval cartographers usually wrote HIC SVNT LEONES ("Here are lions") on unexplored areas.
Once Upon a Time in the original fairy tales, though many of the Grimms' tales do, though.
Real Women Don't Wear Dresses - true femininity being seen as compromising a girl's character is a very real problem in real life but it hardly ever appears in fiction except when it's being used as An Aesop about how there's nothing wrong with femininity, hence why most of the examples are subversions and inversions.
Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: Ultra-violent video games do exist, but anyone who has actually played games like the Grand Theft Auto series or other bloody games like the Fallout series know there is a lot more to them than senseless violence. Mortal Kombat kind of started the trope, but even it wasn't that violent of a game and the controversy was probably more due to the violence appearing more realistic due to the digitized images of real people being the characters, nor was it anywhere near as over the top as parodies of it were described as. Games like the Manhunt series and MadWorld do sort of fit the stereotype, but they also largely grew out in response to this trope and are parodies of video game violence as well. The only real example of a senselessly violent video game played straight is a cancelled PS1 game called Thrill Kill, which was cancelled exactly as the publisher felt it would wreck their reputation in releasing such a game. Which says it all really. Thrill Kill had plenty of tongue-in-cheek, a mythology, etc.
Vampire Vords: A parody of Bela Lugosi's accent from his definitive performance of the Classical Movie Vampire in Dracula (1931)...except Lugosi never talked like that. While Lugosi did have a thick accent, he had no problem pronouncing his ws correctly. And of course, no vampire talks like this unless they're 1) Dracula, or 2) supposed to come from the same Eastern European region.
Stories and Genres:
Fairy Tales and their supposed idealism and inevitable happy endings are commonly mocked and "deconstructed," most people being unaware that the real stories were often violent, cynical and depressing. Something of a Cyclic Trope, since the original stories had such a grim tone, before being bowdlerized and Disneyfied because Children Are Innocent (which is in itself an example of this trope), causing the stories to end up in an Animation Age Ghetto, which left them filled with Fridge Logic and other ripe fodder for deconstruction.
And on the other end of the spectrum, the belief that all fairytales were "originally" gory grimdark horror stories before their Disneyfication. Some were gory by modern standards and there's a lot of Values Dissonance, but overall it's not as bad as many people make it out to be.
One of the most egregious examples of a Dead Unicorn Trope via Disneyfication is True Love's Kiss. Fairy Tales such as Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs did originally involve romance and kissing, but not as their central focus or Deus ex Machina. In the Grimms' version of Sleeping Beauty, the title character and her kingdom do awaken after the prince kisses her, but the kiss is not what breaks the spell—they awaken simply because the hundred years of sleep designated by the spell are over that day; the prince just happens to be in the right place at the right time. In the original proto-version of Sleeping Beauty, the princess awakened after the prince "made love" to her, she gave birth to children, and one of them sucked the poisoned needle out of her thumb. There was always kissing in Fairy Tales, but the power of the kiss has been inflated via Disneyfication and the words true loved added.
For some reason, knights in shining armor rescuing distressed damsels from dragons is commonly associated with fairytales, even though this is something that almost never happensnote It does happen in some very famous myths and legends, like Perseus rescuing Andromeda from the sea monster or the legend of Saint George and the dragon.. In fact, one of the most famous classical legends has a female knight who rescues at least one distressed gentleman.
Many people believe that Indiana Jones-type adventurers were ubiquitous in film serials. But if you actually watch those old film serials, you'll find very few characters or situations reminiscent of Indiana Jones, since George Lucas based those films mainly on feature-length adventure films of the '30s and '40s, not serials.
MythBusters made reference to one when tackling the (busted) myth that steel-toed boots could actually sever toes instead of protecting them. Adam commented about "samurai movies" where the tip of someone's boot would be cut off, except the toes are intact right behind where the tip was severed. This is actually a somewhat common comedy trope, but its appearance in a "samurai movie" is highly dubious at best (what with the characters wearing sandals and all).
Mythbusters does this a lot, actually, especially in recent seasons. Since almost all the more well-known myths have been tested over the course of the show's eight seasons, the show has used much more obscure ones to keep things going.
Since firing their folklorist, the show has been more about finding out what is possible than setting the record straight.
Speaking of Samurai, Japanese armor was never made of lacquered wood despite many claims to the contrary—it was usually various types of leather, iron, and eventually steel armor, with plenty of silk cording to tie it together.
At one point in the The Tough Guide To Fantasyland the author comments on a sort of gender-based Wacky Wayside Tribe plot/setting, in which while boys do one thing, girls get to bond with dragons. The thing is, that while there are books with female Dragon Rider characters (i.e. Dragonriders of Pern), there doesn't seem to be any series in which that was an exclusively female activity- it's closer to exclusively male in the Pern books, and the Pit Dragon Chronicles likewise features males making that bond, and all of these books were written before the Guide was published. It is worth noting, however, that the author of the Tough Guide wrote it after reading umpteen Tolkien-esque, Tolkien-length novels as a judge in a contest. She was probably not referring to any published books when she wrote this.
Susan is the only one that comes to mind. But she did both. A lot.
The line about Daleks being unable to climb stairs was trotted out right up until their return in 2005, even though it was implicitly obvious they could in the 1960s and actually shown on screen in the 1980s.
The idea of The Igor comes from conflating Dr. Frankenstein's hunchbacked assistant in the first movie, Fritz, and Ygor from the third and fourth movies — a non-hunchbacked (though broken-necked, which caused him to carry one shoulder higher) schemer who wanted to reanimate the monster for his own personal gain. Neither of them were in the original book.
Although after seeing Young Frankenstein one gets the feeling that if Igor didn't exist it would be necessary to invent him.
In the same way, the idea that Franky is a child-mindedGentle Giant. He was like this at the beginning of the books, but then he learned how to speak, and began to question his own existence. The movie never got that far, but from that point on, everyone imitated the movie.
Country Music songs being about dogs and/or trucks. While they may be mentioned in passing, they're virtually never the primary topic.
Mocked by David Allan Coe on "You Never Even Called Me by My Name" in which he addresses the listener:
Well a friend of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song, and he told me it was the perfect country and western song.
I wrote him back a letter and told him it was not the perfect country and western song because it hadn't said anything at all about "Mama", or trains... or trucks... or prison... or gettin' drunk.
Well he sat down and wrote another verse to the song and he sent it to me. After readin' it I realized that my friend had written the perfect country and western song. And I felt obliged to include it on this album; the last verse goes like this here:
Well I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison
And I went to pick her up in the rain
But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
She got run'd over by a damned ol' train
Similarly, there is a widespread view that country songs typically feature a slow, maudlin list of problems (my wife left me, my truck broke down, my dog died - we all know the old joke about what happens when you play a country song backwards.) While there are a few songs in existence that fit this description (e.g. "Things Have Gone to Pieces" and "These Days I Barely Get By", both recorded by George Jones), they are nowhere near as common as supposed. There is a kernel of truth in this stereotype in that country songs often deal with depressing, real-world subjects, but they are almost never structured in this manner.
There are, however, quite a few blues songs that follow that structure. Almost none of them start "I woke up this morning", though.
Every other editorial on the Millennial generation makes some reference to everybody under 30 having an entitlement complex borne of loads and loads of fake trophies they got for just showing up as children, and cackle in glee that the recession finally "showed them" for the first time in their lives that everyone can't be a winner. One graduation speech went viral, with the author basically patting himself on the back for "deconstructing" the idea of getting something for nothing. Of course, the closet full of "Participation" trophies trope is news to any REAL twentysomethings who were in competitive sports and academic activities, watched their high school class rank like a hawk, and were fully aware that tuition inflation and other changes have actually forced them to work HARDER than previous generations for the same things. Tumblr had some fun with this
The "Guy Smiley" stereotype of game show hosts as always-smiling Large Hams who give a "slimy used-car salesman" vibe, crack awful jokes and wear loud, flashy suits. Most of the genre's greats were a bit goofy and loud at times, but even party animals like Gene Rayburn or slicker types like Wink Martindale or Monty Hall knew when to put on a serious demeanor. The "Guy Smiley" type host is an extreme Flanderization of the three aforementioned hosts, with a few traits thrown in just for comedy. Prolific host Bill Cullen was mellow, unattractive, kindly and self-deprecating, and physically handicapped by polio. In other words, he was about as far from the "Guy Smiley" stereotype as possible.
The deep, melodramatic voice that most "parody" announcers have is almost entirely fabrication. Don Pardo had a deep, dramatic voice, but it was authoritative and exciting without being over-the-top. (That, and 99% of his game show career was before 1975.) In fact, most announcers sound absolutely nothing like that. Some were higher-voiced and commanding (Johnny Olson, Johnny Gilbert); others were much mellower (Gene Wood, Jack Clark, Charlie O'Donnell, John Harlan); and when he was hamming it up, Rod Roddy was still high and nasal. Burton Richardson almost played this kind of voice straight for a while, but toned it down in time.
Cheap, chintzy sets that look like they were scavenged from a backwater cable access channel's news program. Sure, maybe in the olden days, back when TV was predominantly black and white, the sets weren't much to write home about, but they went all-out a lot earlier than many people think. You know that gigantic tic-tac-toe board on The Hollywood Squares? That thing first came to be in 1966. The sprawling, three-doors-and-a-turntable set of The Price Is Right? 1972. The massive contestant turntable on Match Game? 1973.
Some pornographic films advertise that they do not use the missionary position, as everyone is tired of that because it is so common. However, the missionary position is actually avoided for the fairly obvious reason that it's difficult to see the woman's "assets" if the actors are smooshed against each other (for the same reason, reverse cowgirl, rear-entry, and anal are far more popular in porn than in real life). Also, during the missionary position it's easier to see the man than the woman, which is exactly what porn aimed at straight men (which the majority is) wants to avoid. Using it would actually be a subversion.
The stereotype of the typical JRPG protagonist as being an angsty, spikey-haired teenager swinging a sword with its own zip code. The character the stereotype is based on, Cloud Strife, doesn't even hit all the points, since Cloud is twenty-one.
They may be taking bits of both him and Squall Leonhart, who isn't spiky-haired, but is much angstier and 17.
One of the most common is saying every RPG is set exclusively in pseudo-medieval Europe (or a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Europe). While it's indeed a "default" setting for JRPGs, there were already plenty of exceptions in the NES era, like Destiny of an Emperor, MOTHER, the obscure Lagrange Point or, for a non-NES example, Phantasy Star. In fact, the most popular JRPG series ever is Pokémon, which is about as un-medieval as it gets.
A once commonly joked about aspect of Emo music before the term hit the mainstream was the supposed tendency of bands to cry on stage, but despite the many jokes about this and some parodies of it there are no reliable reports of of any bands actually doing this.
During the heyday of the "quirky indie" style of movie, parodies and jokes about it often included barbs about them always featuring a guy hooking up with a gorgeous girl far out of his league. But while this is a common sitcom trope, it doesn't describe these movies too well, usually featuring a more down to Earth, cute Moe type as the female lead with the male usually being the equivalent, a guy who doesn't mean the conventional standards of handsome but few would consider Jim Carrey, Michael Cera or Paul Dano to be actually unattractive (or Joseph Gordon-Levitt...)
It tends to be more about the social (not socioeconomic) status of the characters. They aren't cool enough.
The so-called cliche of Clark Kent changing to Superman in phone booths comes entirely from TWO straight uses in the Superman Theatrical Cartoons of the 1940s. A use of this trope in the comic books of the same period had Superman note how difficult it is to change costume in a phone booth, meaning this was deconstructed even when it was new. Parodies and homages sprung up soon afterward, but in the comics Superman would more often change costume in a deserted storeroom or alleyway, and in the George Reeves television series he NEVER used a phone booth at all. Later uses of the phone booth costume change outside of parody are all done with winks, nods, or other acknowledgements of the 'cliche'. Brian Cronin sets the record straight in his 'Comic Book Legends Revealed' blog here.
Also worth noting is that in the 1940s, telephone booths were made of wood with no glass panels. Clark Kent would never consider changing in a glass phone booth (which all parodies use) because everybody would be able to see him change.
Pop culture zombie tropes have almost nothing to do with the African/Caribbean legends—in these traditions zombies are corpses resurrected by magicians to be slaves. These zombies will not attack you (unless their masters happen to order them to, I guess) and can't "spread" their condition to you. The threat of becoming a zombie is scary, but the idea that the zombies themselves hurt people is all Hollywood. Likely it's a misappropriation of Ghouls in legend, undead who would, sure enough, eat people.
WORD OF GOD states that the ZOMBIES of NOTLD were Ghouls, not zombies, but the fans ran with zombies, and it stuck
Similar to this is 'Voodoo dolls' which are actually taken from the western folk magic practice of Poppets, using dolls as standins when hexing someone.
Satanism in rock and metal music is an odd example that might qualify as a Undead Unicorn Trope, or at least did at one point. Black Sabbath was the first band notable for Satanic imagery in their music, but the members were actually using it to represent evil and what was wrong, not promoting it (which failed to get across to Moral Guardians.) Some bands like Coven and Venom that later did this did so in a joking manner specifically just to provoke Moral Guardians and obviously did not really worship (or even believe in) Satan. However the Black Metal scene of the late 80s / early 90s in Norway did in fact feature a few theistic Satanists and serious promotion of it. That was still the minority though (in fact, even other black metal bands complained about how they were being lumped in with the minority of Satanists) and most bands doing it were still just looking for shock value. Today it's unlikely to either see it played completely straight or even just played for shock value, any band using Satanic imagery will do so only jokingly as a means to mock previous bands using it, not to irritate Moral Guardians as it is no longer taken seriously. Though modern bands whose members are in fact theistic Satanists do pop up from time to time. It would nevertheless be fair to say that the popularity of Satanism in rock and metal music has been (and is) grossly overstated.
After R. Kelly wrote a "hip-hopera", Disney started parodying it in SEVERAL shows, before any other "serious" examples had surfaced.
The popular belief that the word cards for silent movies constantly employed Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. While occasionally words might pop up that aren't commonly used anymore, most silent films were very visually-driven, kept the dialog very simple, and only used word cards to move the plot along.
The idea that all minor characters from the Star Wars films have extensive roles in the Star Wars Expanded Universe is fairly popular on this very wiki. Every minor character has an action figure, because money, and therefore they have names, a species that can be used again later, and usually bios, but it rarely goes far beyond that. There are three books - Tales From The Mos Eisely Cantina, Tales of the Bounty Hunters, and Tales From Jabbas Palace - which are composed of short stories each focusing on some minor character from any of those settings, true. But most of these characters, though lucky enough for a short story, don't have roles beyond that. The prequel trilogy has a handful of background Jedi for which this is played more straight, with some getting prominent roles, but most of them remain in the background.
Oh, that Jean Grey, constantly dying and coming back to life! Actually, no she is not. First, there was a single notable case of her coming back after her poignant (apparent) death at the end of The Dark Phoenix Saga. At that point, it was not uncommon for comic book characters to seemingly die, only to be revealed alive and well soon afterwards. Perhaps it was at the end of the same issue, perhaps it took a few months. However, Jean Grey's death stuck for years, and for that time it was possibly the biggest example of Killed Off for Real in comics. When she was brought back, it was revealed that it was not Jean Grey herself who had committed those atrocities and died, but that the Phoenix Force had taken on Jean's appearance and memories while placing herself in a restorative coma. The point is, Jean Grey did not have a habit of dying and returning to life, at least any more than comic book characters on average. Then, Grant Morrison took the concept and ran with it to the extremes (as he tends to do), killing Jean twice during his three-year run of New X-Men, and made the interpretation that coming back to life is a part of her powers. In the process he inadvertently(?) turned it into a running joke amongst comic book fans. Ironically, after Jean Grey's death near the end of Morrison's run she has remained dead longer than she did after Dark Phoenix Saga.
There were times before The Dark Phoenix Saga that Jean was believed to be dead and came back, but that was when other characters though she was dead. The readers were clearly informed that she was alive. Oh, and the time she became Phoenix in the first place, which hardly counts since she was put in a No One Could Survive That scenario and emerged from it alive in the same issue. The X-Men character who actually had a habit of "dying" and then coming back was Magneto.
People often mock the Call of Duty multiplayer for being filled with 12-year old children screaming high-pitched obscenities over their microphones. However, in any given match, you're far more likely to enter games in which nobody uses voicechat, even if they do have microphones.
Halo is mocked for the same thing, though considering the series is primarily meant for consoles where voice chat is the only chat, it's more understandable.
From Yume Nikki, the Vomit-Chanmeme. At no point in the game does Madotsuki ever throw up; the piece of fanart that inspired this meme was entirely the invention of a guro artist.
The ideal WWE Divas being a statuesque, blonde haired, big boobed, skinny, white, All-American supermodel is something people tend to associate with Trish Stratus given that she was the Diva in her day. However Trish only fit the blonde and big-boobed qualifications given that she was only 5"5' and of a chunkier frame when she first debuted. Trish was a fitness model rather than a glamour model so she lacked the willowy frame. She was also of Greek descent and Canadian to boot. Other Divas such as Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson and Debra fit the profile but none were the stars that Trish was. The Diva image comes from Sable rather than Trish. Even these days fans always complain about the blonde beauties in WWE when brunette Divas tend to outnumber them.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex refers to this in-universe with the series' subtitle, defining it as one or more copycat activities (any activities, presumably) mimicking an original that doesn't exist.