Deconstructed Character Archetype

"I think if there's a truly seductive quality about Clementine, it's that her personality promises to take you out of the mundane. It's like, you secure yourself with this amazing, burning meteorite to carry you to another world, a world where things are exciting. But, what you quickly learn is that it's really an elaborate ruse."
Joel from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, commenting on the illusory Manic Pixie Dream Girl quality of his ex-girlfriend

Deconstructing a trope involves taking an existing trope, playing it straight and examining the likely/realistic consequences or implications of that trope that tend to be ignored by straight examples of it. This trope does the same thing, but for fictional character archetypes.

One way to do this is to take a familiar character type and place the character in a realistic setting, and then explore what happens as a result of the character being Wrong Genre Savvy. Another is to explore likely facets of the character's personality or background that straight examples of the trope tend to overlook. This can also be done as part of a Genre Deconstruction, if certain character archetypes are closely associated with a particular genre (what would Westerns be without the archetypical Cowboy?). A particularly interesting (and decidedly meta) way to do this is by taking an actor known only for playing certain kinds of roles and casting them in a role which deconstructs that character type. Note, however, that an actor deconstructing their established persona or character type is not automatically an example of this trope, unless their persona is a recognizable character archetype in its own right.

As a rule of thumb, examples of this trope should be deconstructions of character archetypes which already have their own trope pages (The Hero, The Lancer, Anti-Villain etc.), unless the character archetype is no longer in current use (Discredited Trope, Forgotten Trope etc.).

A subtrope of both Deconstruction and Deconstructed Trope (insofar as character archetypes are tropes in their own right). Compare Wrong Genre Savvy and Playing with Character Type. See also Deconstruction.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Light Yagami of Death Note is one for the Shōnen hero archetype: a young, justice-loving Chaste Hero (a narcissistic Knight Templar with delusions of godhood) who discovers magical powers (a notebook that can be used to instantly murder anybody) and gains a Spirit Buddy (an amoral embodiment of death), makes a Worthy Opponent rival (a detective trying to apprehend him for his crimes) and picks up a persistent Genki Girl love interest (a vapid pop idol who's fanatically obsessed with him and, despite barely knowing him, is instantly willing to kill for, die for and marry him).
  • Dragon Ball:
    • From the Android Saga onwards, Goku becomes one for The Ace and the Hope Bringer. Because he is so good and so powerful his friends and family tend to depend on him too much to solve the current problem and they don't put their trust readily in anyone else but him. They become noticeably deflated and pessimistic when he isn't around, and Gohan firmly believes that he can never surpass his father, despite Goku showing him otherwise. Goku's death in Trunks' timeline is one of the many reasons why things got so bad and Bulma invents the Time Machine mostly to save him, firmly believing that he can do something to stop the androids. Vegeta eventually gets so sick of being overshadowed by Goku that he sells his soul for power and unleashes Majin Buu upon the world. Goku himself has realized that his loved ones are far too dependent on him; he knows that one day, he will be dead for good, and if his loved ones don't stop relying on him so much, then no one will be able to counter the next big threat to Earth. Which is why Goku regularly searches for successors.
    • Goku later deconstructs his nature as a Challenge Seeker in the Universe Survival Saga of Dragon Ball Super. His eagerness for a good fight so utterly blinds him to the consequences of Zen'O's tournament (losers get their universe destroyed) that fighters from other universes assume he must be evil and uncaring. Goku himself doesn't help this assumption since he is more focused on all the strong people he'll get to fight than the ramifications of the tournament.
    • The end of the Kid Buu fight deconstructs Humble Hero. Because Goku always saves the world from the shadows no one, outside of a few, know of his deeds. So when Goku begs the world for energy to power the Spirit Bomb that will kill Majin Buu, only the people who intimately know him listened; everyone else blows him off just as they did Vegeta. It takes Mr. Satan, the resident Fake Ultimate Hero, to yell at the people of Earth to get them to cooperate since Mr. Satan, not Goku, is known as the world's savior.
    • Vegeta deconstructs The Rival and The Proud Elite. Because he was born and raised to believe he was always the best and is the Saiyan Prince, he loses it when Goku surpasses him, especially since Goku is a lower-class soldier and, in his view, should be a nobody. It causes him to develop a severe Inferiority Superiority Complex, leading him to constantly try to prove himself by fighting strong opponents, which leads to Androids 16, 17, and 18 being awakened and Cell reaching his Perfect form. It comes to a head in the Buu Saga where his obsession with surpassing Goku becomes so great that he deliberately lets himself fall under Babidi's dark magic and ends up causing the resurrection of Majin Buu, leading to the deaths of nearly everyone on Earth and the destruction of several other planets before Buu's rampage is stopped. It's only by accepting that Goku is simply better than him that Vegeta finally begins to recover and find some level of peace and happiness.
    • Frieza deconstructs Smug Super, Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy, and World's Strongest Man. He was born as powerful as he is, allowing him to become the most powerful being in the universe without even trying. As a result, he never bothered to hone his power through training, firmly convinced that he outclasses everyone else and always will. When Super Saiyan Goku comes along and he's forced to go all out for the first time in his life, this bites him in the ass; since he never bothered to train, Frieza can't control his full power, has no endurance for a prolonged fight with someone his equal, and when simply crushing his enemies with his raw power proves ineffective, he has no response aside from simply blowing up the planet he's standing on since he can survive in a vacuum.
    • Frieza is also a deconstruction for Determinator. While his will to live and continue fighting is certainly impressive, his defeats are always brought about because he doesn't Know When to Fold 'Em.
    • Babidi shows why being a Bad Boss who is prone to You Have Outlived Your Usefulness is a detriment in the long run. He ruthlessly kills Spopovich and Yamu when they exceeded his expectations and allowed Buu to eat his loyal Dragon Dabura, despite his warnings that Buu would turn on him and begs him to reseal him. When Buu did turn against him, he had no one left to protect him.
  • Eren Yeagar of Attack on Titan has all the usual tropes of a Shonen action protagonist. Full of uncontrollable emotions? Check. Clueless idiot who has no sense of strategy? Check. Fights using only will power? Check. However, all these tropes are portrayed realistically with several negative consequences. While determination is necessary for combat, blindly attacking enemies head-on is a great way to ruin any clever plans that would minimize casualties. If anything, Eren himself can be blamed for causing needless deaths and hurting his team.
  • Alucard from Hellsing is this for the Invincible Hero archetype. He's an immortal Sociopathic Hero able to survive near-total bodily destruction and few if any situations ever credibly threaten him. At first, it appears that the Major's plan simply involves starting a war with London. However, it's eventually revealed that there's ALOT more to it than that. The point of his plan is to get Alucard down to a form where he's vulnerable enough to finally die. Starting a war and taking London down are pretty much just bonuses.
  • Half of Neon Genesis Evangelion's characters are first presented as classic anime stereotypes of the Humongous Mecha genre, but as the series progresses they are revealed to be extremely messed-up individuals whose behavior is an endless source of troubles. Most of the series involves exploring just what sort of mental issues such characters would develop.
  • School Days begins like a typical Harem Anime, with the average looking protagonist, suddenly gaining the attention of many cute girls at his high school. However, unlike other shows that play it for laughs, this show gives the viewer a realistic example of what can happen when a boy suddenly starts getting with different girls and the psychological damage that it can cause. The protagonist seeing the girls as nothing but sex objects. To the girls that really care about the protagonist getting mentally damaged by his behavior. So much so that one could be forced to commit murder.
  • School Rumble deconstructs different high school romance character archetypes.
    • Harima is the delinquent hero whose life is changed when he falls in love with Tenma. It's only then does he realize how pointless his life has been so he decides to be a manga artist.
    • Tenma hides her loneliness by being the Genki Girl.
    • Yakumo seems like a Yamato Nadeshiko but really she's an Extreme Doormat.
    • Eri's Tsundere qualities alienate people.
    • Nara is a Ridiculously Average Guy who expects to get an Unwanted Harem, but never does.
  • Ueno in Koe no Katachi shows the painful results of being a Tsundere. She likes Ishida but her Can't Spit It Out tendencies confuse him and her abrasive attitude only pushes him away. Her failure to properly talk to him leaves her frustrated and angry which she channels by lashing out at the world and bullying Nishimiya - which only pushes Ishida further away.
  • One-Punch Man has the hero Saitama who is so strong that he can defeat all his opponents with just one punch. However, this causes him to be bored and depressed as he feels there are no challenges for him and what he really desires is someone who can give him a good fight.
  • A rather sad version of Genki Girl is shown in School-Live!. Yuki is so cheerful and optimistic that her mind outright refuses to see how gloomy and depressing the situation is, to the point of hallucinating that the rest of the students are fine and there is no Zombie Apocalypse. Her cute, eccentric personality caused her to be bullied prior to the apocalypse. Her Nice Hat in particular was considered weird by others.
  • Umino from Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai is a quirky, rich New Transfer Student who refers to people by their full name, insists she is really a mermaid, and has several odd qualities such as saying noises out loud and tells the protagonist that she hates her as a term of endearment. Instead of these traits making her cute and popular she ends up ostracized and bullied for being weird. It's also implied her behavior is due to her highly abused upbringing. Umino speaks in metaphors about being a mermaid who will die if she doesn't make a friend by the next major storm.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket is a deconstruction of boys growing up playing soldier toys and being obsessed with war.
  • The first generation of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE presents itself as a deconstruction of a warrior messiah, and the psychological toll war can bring to a Kid Hero.
  • Daily Life with Monster Girl is a decidedly lighthearted Deconstruction of the Cute Monster Girl. Rather than taking the fantastic creatures at face value, the manga takes the time to delve into the complexities of their anatomy and how they would interact with the world around them. For example, Mero the mermaid must avoid chlorinated water, since trying to breathe in it is akin to inhaling bleach fumes and will make her sick. Spiders have been shown to get drunk off of caffeine, and Rachnera the arachne is no exception. Manako is a cyclops, and her depth perception is poor. Normally, Hilarity Ensues whenever moments like these pop up, but there have been a few tense moments, like when Miia the Lamia (snake girl) nearly drowns in a pool: because she's cold-blooded, the cold water saps her strength.
  • Much of the appeal and possibly the entire point of Code Geass lies with presenting, on one hand, Kururugi Suzaku as an effective deconstruction of Lawful Good characters such as Amuro Ray in Mobile Suit Gundam, and on another, Lelouch as a deconstruction of a stereotypical Diabolical Mastermind antagonist. Lelouch could be considered a mild deconstruction of the Magnificent Bastard trope. Yes, his intelligence and ability to pull a mean game of Xanatos Speed Chess make him a great tactician, but one thing people tend to forget is the number of his plans that ended up going horrendously wrong thanks to circumstances out of his control or he couldn't possibly see coming, often resulting in his friends and loved ones getting killed as a result. No matter how much of a Magnificent Bastard you may be, if you try to pull off a Gambit Roulette, then nine times out of ten, you will end up failing at it.
  • Elfen Lied deconstructs not only the Magical Girlfriend, but the Harem, kawaii innocence and optimism, the Tsundere, and the Big Bad with the insanely complex plan (here, it's more full of holes than normal). The Clumsy Girl, in the series' opener (both versions) is quite literally deconstructed.
  • Toradora! deconstructs the Tsundere, Token Mini-Moe, and Minor Living Alone with Taiga Aisaka. Her short temper and mood swings stem from insecurity over her small body and flat chest, a serious lack of social skills, and issues with a broken family. Her relationship with them is so bad that she couldn't even stay with any of them them. However, her parents failed to teach her any basic domestic skills. Before she meets Ryuuji, she's living in a filthy apartment and surviving on convenience store food, only able to barely get by because of her father's monthly cash deposits.
  • My Hero Academia uses All Might to pick apart the implications of having a superhero who's The Cape and the Big Good, in several different ways:
    • First off, All Might himself is actively putting on the facade specifically for the sake of giving people someone to look up to. He genuinely is a good person, but the pressure of having to uphold that image repeatedly causes him to doubt whether he really is as much of a hero as he makes himself out to be.
    • All Might essentially is the ideal hero... but this means that he may have set the bar for superheroism a bit too high. On the hero side, it means that other heroes end up with inferiority complexes and/or serious envy when they can't measure up. On the villain side, a number of villains do respect him, but think every other hero who doesn't stack up to All Might is obviously a false hero who must be eliminated. And then there's the fact that being the Big Good makes him a target for the villains who want to destroy the hero establishment.
    • When All Might retires after using up the last of his powers, it creates a minor crisis as there's nobody else capable of serving as the series' Big Good. Turns out staking everything on one ideal hero is a bit of a problem if said hero can't keep being a hero for whatever reason.
  • Shaman King has a deconstruction of Purity Sue in Iron Maiden Jeanne. She is very pretty, cheerful, humble, soft-spoken, immensely skilled as a Shaman, willingly and happily subjects herself to horrible and constant torture in the belief that her suffering will make others suffer less (there is a reason she is called "Iron Maiden"), seems to make the world a brighter place just by smiling, and is immensely kind to Lyserg Diethel when he becomes the Naďve Newcomer of her group. Oh, and she's a ruthless Knight Templar who brutally tortures to death anyone who opposes her, yet doesn't do it out of pure malice but because she truly believes that's what she has to do. At least she seems sad about it...
    • Shaman King also deconstructs Villain Sue with Hao. The guy's clearly powerful enough to be one, he has a Freudian Excuse several characters acknowledge, he's related to one of the heroes, and killing him just means he'll be back stronger for the next Shaman Fight. It seems completely impossible for any of the good guys to stop Hao from becoming God and destroying the world. Yoh's solution? Realizing that for all his power, Hao is still a lonely and miserable person under his calm, Affably Evil facade. Rather than trying to defeat Hao with strength, Yoh and his friends reach out to him once Hao has attained the title of Shaman King to try and appeal to Hao's better nature. When every character in the series follows suit, Hao is completely caught off-guard and loses his resolve to destroy humanity, admitting defeat calmly and letting everyone go back to their lives. The epilogue indicates that the heroes do see where Hao was coming from when he was rejecting their worldview, but fortunately Hao mellowed out.
  • Karina/Blue Rose from Tiger & Bunny deconstructs Ms. Fanservice. She's marketed as a mix of Faux Action Girl (she does have decent ice powers, but her fanservicy outfit puts serious hampers on her fighting and she doesn't have hand-to-hand training) and Romanticized Abuser (people think she's a hot dominatrix, but she's as much a tsundere)... and she hates it, due to how far her public image is from her real personality. Not to mention she doesn't even have much of a choice: her sponsors are the ones who choose the skimpy outfit, to start.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! deconstructs the Idiot Hero: the main character's father, Nagi Springfield, is pretty much the World's Strongest Man, capable of defeating even the strongest opponents without breaking a sweat, and his usual reaction to any kind of enemy is to simply charge head-on and beat it into submission. Which normally works for him, since he's so incredibly strong. However, he seems to be unable to think his way out of a situation, and he finds himself out of his playing field when faced with a problem that can't be solved by simply hitting it hard enough - for example, the impending destruction of the Magical World.
  • Monster Rancher deconstructs Aloof Big Brother in the form of Tiger and his younger brother Gray Wolf. Tiger wanted to toughen his brother up so often acted strict and harsh towards him. However, this treatment fed Gray Wolf's inferiority complex and insecurities and Moo magnified it to full blown Green-Eyed Monster proportions to the point Gray Wolf wanted to defeat and kill Tiger, much to Tiger's horror.
  • In Noragami, Yato is a Shameless Self-Promoter but his desperation for clients is a result of his innate fear of disappearing. He has few believers and a very unstable existence. He knows there is a very low chance of reincarnating like other gods if he were to die. Also, advertising himself as a delivery god is Yato's way of breaking free from his "father" and his own past of killing others.
  • Berserk:
    • Griffith is a deconstruction of the Rags to Riches hero, the Determinator, and the Knight in Shining Armor. His extreme devotion to fulfilling his dream has resulted in him committing things like kidnapping, assassination, prostitution, manipulation, and a Deal with the Devil. Following your dreams comes at a very real cost, and that cost can involve the lives of others.
    • Guts embodies quite a lot of Shōnen characteristics seen in many well-known characters in manga and anime. But what separates him from those characters is just how thorough an examination the story gives on those traits. His refusal to give up no matter the cost has more or less put his body through so much physical torture that the only thing keeping him from dying is dumb luck or sheer willpower. His extreme devotion to his loved ones severely outweighs any concern for other people. His love of fighting is [[taken to its logical conclusion. And finally, his Dark and Troubled Past, while having molded him into one of the most proficient warriors in-universe, has granted him WAY more baggage than he can emotionally handle.
  • anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day smashed the concept of a Purity Sue to pieces. Menma is ridiculously pure and innocent because she died as a young child and thus got mentally and emotionally stuck as a little girl forever. It's also brutally shown how much pressure that kind of character would have on others. Tsuruko and Anaru both remembered Menma fondly but are also jealous and resentful that she left an insanely high unattainable standard when Menma died. Jintan and Yukiatsu are emotionally screwed up due to still loving Menma well after her death with Jintan being unable to function in social situations and Yukiatsu cultivating an unhealthy obsession with her.
  • In Karin, Kenta's young and beautiful mother Fumio's attractiveness resulted in the majority of her bosses sexually harassing her and her co-workers hating and isolating her. The combination of repeatedly losing her job and trying to pay the bills caused her to become so stressed that she was becoming a wreck.
  • YuYu Hakusho deconstructs '90s Anti-Hero in regards to Younger Toguro. Ridiculously muscled and possessing tremendous power? Check. Cold, aloof son of a bitch with little care for others? Check. No inhibition to destroying anyone he is ordered to kill and/or needs to be killed to fulfill his goals. Check. Though the "Hero" part? He is a Fallen Hero who made his Deal with the Devil with the intention of using his newfound eternal youth to avoid being powerless to stop massacres like the one that cost his students their lives. However, he gradually became more jaded in his outlook and lost faith in his mission upon realizing he had become no different than any of the demons he fought, being that his wish for eternal youth was based more out of his selfish desire to never grow old than it was out of any utilitarian goal he had used as an excuse.
  • Pokémon of all things deconstructed the To Be a Master trope with XY character Alain. His total focus on becoming the strongest causes him to neglect the people important in his life and be an Unwitting Pawn for Team Flare. He believes that beating every strong trainer would make him stronger yet finds himself helpless when actual danger arrives. He stops enjoying his wins and never considers what to do after he became the strongest, his reasons behind it constantly changing to justify his path. And despite always winning battles, Alain finds himself feeling inferior to Ash Ketchum, who encompasses the happiness and wisdom that he never got under Lysandre's guidance.

    Comic Books 
  • The very essence of The Punisher is deconstructed thoroughly throughout the course of The Punisher MAX — especially so in the second half. Frank may be a living death-machine with over 2,000 kills to his name, but the series goes to great lengths to detail how toxic and harmful living a life of constant conflict for thirty years straight is for anybody. By the last few issues, Frank's a broken old man suffering from delirium and chronic bodily pains, and his life ends in an unceremonious bloodbath interspersed with scenes depicting Frank remembering his happy life with his family. Not in any way is Frank's horrible lifestyle treated as something awesome or comic-worthy — we're not reading about some brooding Anti-Hero who makes the hard decisions when no one else can, we're reading about a psychopathic Blood Knight fighting and suffering and bleeding until he dies as he lived: fighting petty, pathetic criminals tooth-and-nail.
  • Watchmen. The comic book as a whole is a deconstruction of various Super Hero archetypes and tropes. Alan Moore wrote the characters of Rorschach and the Comedian as sociopathic jerks, deconstructing the Batman-style Anti-Hero. Ironically enough, he ended up popularizing it instead, which led to the rise of the '90s Anti-Hero.
  • Cyclops is the fearless Rebel Leader who's been trained his whole life to fight for mutantkind. If you read that as 'fanatical Child Soldier terrorist,' congratulations! You now understand his character arc.

    Fan Fics 
  • Uxie in Poké Wars deconstructs The Spock, by showing how much of a sociopath someone who acted purely on logic with no regard for emotion would be. See also Straw Vulcan.
  • Jessie, James and Meowth in Symbiosis deconstruct Token Good Teammates. The reason Jessie and James can get away with their behavior is because they are too dangerous for the organization to control. They are extremely deluded because they were brainwashed into insanity to believe that Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad and unwittingly assist in several tragedies and atrocities. Meowth turns out to not support Team Rocket at all and goes along with it because he doesn't know how to get them out.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Prince of Egypt deconstructed Red Oni, Blue Oni through Moses and Rameses, respectively, by showing the qualities associated with them evolving in positive and negative ways as they mature.
  • Brave deconstructs the Rebellious Princess. Merida is one such princess who has no time for her mother's lessons and only wishes to spend her days doing riding and archery. She also decides to Screw Destiny and reject an Arranged Marriage...only to nearly start a war with the families of the princes she rejected. And the war is prevented by Merida using the lessons her mother taught her in the first place.
  • Elsa from Frozen is a deconstruction of the Emotionless Girl. Her whole life she's been taught to suppress her emotions and "conceal, don't feel" in order to prevent her powers from getting the best of her. Eventually she boils over and suffers Power Incontinence - nearly destroying the kingdom. Only when she embraces her emotions does she truly learn to control her powers - and is now much happier.
  • Mulan's father is a Handicapped Badass and Retired Badass who remains skilled with the sword but old age, his injured leg and implied heart problems make him incapable of fighting like he used to for more than a minute.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sergeant Gunnery Hartman, despite being perhaps the most famous Drill Sergeant Nasty in cinematic history, is actually the trope gone wrong. His non-stop insults and abuses wear down the psyche of Private Pyle, whose signs of mental instability go unnoticed by the sergeant. When Pyle finally snaps and waves around a rifle, Hartman continues to shout at him instead of calling on other officers to detain him. Pyle promptly shoots him before killing himself.
  • In a Lonely Place deconstructs not only the typical Film Noir protagonists, but also the majority of roles played by Humphrey Bogart, and shows how awful being that kind of person would be: Dixon Steele, a character who in any other film in the genre would likely be a Knight in Shining Armor style hero, is instead portrayed as The Friend Nobody Likes with an Ambiguous Disorder.
  • As part of Unforgiven's Genre Deconstruction of Westerns as a whole, William Munny is a deconstruction of Clint Eastwood's earlier Western character(s), namely those from the Dollars Trilogy. The film examines in detail the viciousness and amorality of the archetypical Western outlaw, and finds the elderly Munny filled with guilt and self-loathing at the monstrous things in his past.
  • Many films have taken issue with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype:
    • For the first half of He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not, the protagonist appears to be a typically sweet, hopelessly romantic Manic Pixie Dream Girl, only for the film to reveal that she is in fact a violent, insane Yandere, whose innocent romantic spirit is symptomatic of her complete and utter detachment from reality.
    • Annie Hall. The title character is a cheerful Bohemian, who turns out to be a spoiled, unfocused, pseudo-intellectual, neurotic child in an adult's body; a horribly broken person. Which gives her something in common with Woody Allen's character, who is likewise horribly broken, just in somewhat different ways.
    • Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is this type of character, though the relationship plays out more realistically. She even references the "you complete me" line, to her distaste, from Jerry Maguire. She also warns him about this to a certain degree, saying that Joel shouldn't expect her to "save" him, and that she's "just a fucked-up girl looking for her own peace of mind." Joel learns the hard way that MPDG-ness often also means high maintenance. He sums up Clementine and the film's deconstruction of it during his tape recording for Lacuna:
      "I think if there's a truly seductive quality about Clementine, it's that her personality promises to take you out of the mundane. It's like, you secure yourself with this amazing, burning meteorite to carry you to another world, a world where things are exciting. But, what you quickly learn is that it's really an elaborate ruse."
    • Deconstructed in the 1969 film The Sterile Cuckoo, one of Liza Minelli's early films. Pookie fulfills all of the requirements of a MPDG, including breaking the lead character out of his shell. But towards the end of the film is revealed she is much more damaged and vulnerable than anyone has expected. She completely breaks out of the traditional mold at the ending, where she and her boyfriend break up, and she is literally Put on a Bus.
    • In Ruby Sparks, all of Calvin's written/dreamt interactions with Ruby play out like she is a conventional Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Once she's real, their relationship becomes a Deconstruction.
    • Marla Singer in Fight Club could perhaps best be described as what happens when the Manic Pixie Dream Girl grows up. Marla is dirty, living in poverty, and clearly suffering some form of mental illness, and gets into a fairly unhealthy relationship with Tyler. Marla actually infuriates the narrator because she simply doesn't care about anything.
      • After The Reveal, Tyler/The Narrator is really this to Marla.
    • Summer Finn in (500) Days of Summer is seen as an MPDG by the protagonist Tom, who puts her on a pedestal as his ideal girlfriend, but his image of her soon clashes with the fact that she's an actual human being. Specifically, she's not interested in anything serious, and she eventually leaves Tom for another man.
    • Sunset Boulevard: Norma Desmond takes a lot of the symptoms to their logical conclusion, with the twist that the protagonist isn't interested. From the start it's clear that she doesn't have both oars in the water as she's living in a decayed Big Fancy House, deluding herself that she'll make a comeback with a terrible, Glurge-filled screenplay of Salome. She quickly bonds with the narrator, agrees to his commission him (to her disadvantage) and quickly throws his life into chaos, leading him to Character Development. But not in a good way.
    • The Korean version of My Sassy Girl shows that the titular girl's "quirky traits" tend to have harmful consequences and she definitely has issues and motivations unrelated to Gyeon-Soo and he later finds out she has been using him as a substitute for her dead boyfriend. Instead, he is the one who recognizes she is damaged and gains a strong desire to fix her.
    • The 1968 film I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! has Nancy, a hippie that teaches protagonist Harold Fine to enjoy life and having all types of humorous romantic situations (which culminate with him becoming a Runaway Groom). The deconstruction is that, now that Harold is around Nancy for longer than a few (dope-filled) hours at a time, he is able to clearly see that she is a very shallow person and the hippie lifestyle is nothing more than a stoner hand-to-mouth existence that tries to sound spiritual. In the end he chooses to abandon Nancy and refuses to go back to his old life, finding them both empty.
    • Rantasmo has argued for May being a deconstruction of the archetype, in a manner not unlike (500) Days of Summer, albeit as a horror movie told from the Dream Girl's point of view. Adam and Polly are only attracted to May for her 'quirky' qualities that flatter their egos, but eventually, it stops being charming and May goes from quirky to just plain weird, causing them to leave her once they realize that they don't like some of the layers to her personality that come with her quirkiness... at which point, she goes from weird to outright terrifying. May's oddball nature is likewise a product of her inability to form real and lasting connections with others due to a lifetime of bullying, with the only 'person' she cares about being her doll Susie, itself a literally perfect, idealized image of femininity that she keeps in a glass box — ironically Not So Different from how Adam and Polly fetishize her surface elements and ignore everything else about her.
  • Punch-Drunk Love deconstructs the Psychopathic Manchild. Adam Sandler's character is, like always, antisocial, emotionally immature, and prone to uncontrollable fits of anger. Instead of that being a source of comedy, it leads to awkward, embarrassing situations, and the character leads a lonely, depressing life. Roger Ebert discussed this in his review of the film.
  • The Breakfast Club takes a very good look at what many of the "stock" characters of teen movies (especially those of The '80s) would be like if they existed in real life, and what their real motivations would be like. Most American teen movies since have used elements of this film's deconstruction wholesale for their own characterization, to the point where, in many cases, what had once been deconstruction is now old hat.
    • Andy, the Jerk Jock, only behaves that way in order to fit in with the rest of the team and to impress his father, who raised him on stories of how he acted like that back when he was in school. He wishes that, one day, he'd get injured so that he wouldn't have to wrestle again, and thus never have to worry about living up to Dad's expectations.
    • Claire, the Alpha Bitch, is a Type A Stepford Smiler who feels that her life is empty, and that her parents only use her as a tool in their endless arguments. And she's hardly the "queen bee" - in fact, it's peer pressure that essentially molded her into the snobbish bitch that she is, and she feels miserably forced into it.
    • Brian, the Nerd, hates how his parents have destroyed his social life by pushing him so hard to succeed, and is so obsessed with his grades that he tried to kill himself (or worse) after getting an F in shop class. His attitude is also little better than that of the "popular" kids that he hates, as shown when he talks about how he took shop class because he thought it was an easy A that only "losers" like Bender took (as opposed to his advanced math classes).
    • Bender, the juvenile delinquent, is like that not because he's a bad person per se, but as a result of his tough, working-class upbringing and his abusive father, both of which have taught him that violence is an acceptable solution to problems. His badass image is also easily disarmed by Andy, even though he's armed with a knife.
    • Allison, the crazy loner, intentionally acts crazy and theatrically in order to get attention, something her parents don't give her. She doesn't bother to hide her blatant thefts and eccentricities, and her withdrawn persona is actually just a ploy to get people to give her more attention.
    • Mr. Vernon, the teacher, is scared that these kids are the next generation. Carl the janitor points out neither of them were any different when they were young.
  • Scream, as a satirical post-modern take on the Slasher Movie genre, has its fair share of this.
    • Over the course of the series, Sidney Prescott evolves from a straight Final Girl into a deconstruction of such. Even in the first film, she snaps at reporters trying to exploit her trauma (there's a quick scene of a shameless tabloid journalist, played by Linda Blair, asking her "how does it feel to be almost brutally murdered?"), she snarks at the stupid mistakes that Slasher Movie victims often make (though to be fair, this is a series where everybody does that), and she breaks the "virgins don't die" rule by having sex - with the killer! - and still surviving. In the second film, her life has grown to be defined by her status as the survivor of a massacre, and while this has brought her fame, fortune, and movie deals, it also means that she is constantly having to look over her shoulder for the next wannabe Ghostface. And then she has to repeat the entire experience, watching her friends getting slaughtered all over again by the pissed-off mother of the last killer, looking for payback against Sidney for killing her son.

      By the third film, she's living in a self-imposed isolation bordering on Crazy Survivalist levels, working from home under a fake name. She suffers recurring nightmares about Ghostface killing her, and when she visits the set of Stab 3, a recreation of her old home in Woodsboro, she has a mental breakdown as her memories of the first movie come flooding back. The passage of time and the settling of her family drama (and, presumably, years of therapy) mean that she's gotten better by the fourth film, where she's written a bestselling autobiography about her life and having the inner strength to move on from the nightmares she's experienced. She even returns to Woodsboro as part of the healing process... only to run into another Ghostface, who turns out to be her own cousin, Jill. Jealous of Sidney's fame, Jill launches into a killing spree and tries to frame Trevor for it so that she can come out of it looking like a final girl, with all the same media attention that this had previously earned her cousin. For a real Final Girl, the horror wouldn't end when the credits roll - she'd have to live with the experience forever, and may God help her if she's cast in the sequels. No matter what she does, no matter how much time passes, poor Sidney Prescott will always be haunted by the most traumatic moment of her life.
    • Scream 3 deconstructs the archetypal "Serial Killer with a Freudian Excuse" villain seen in numerous horror movies with Roman Bridger. At the climax, the killer unmasks and launches into a Motive Rant detailing his Freudian Excuse for wanting to kill his half-sister Sidney. He grew up hating her and their mother Maureen because he felt that Maureen loved Sidney more and essentially abandoned him, viewing him as an unwelcome reminder of her old life, and that the fame Sidney got after the massacre should've been his. An infuriated Sidney responds to this rant with a blistering Shut Up, Hannibal! speech calling the killer a selfish brat who can't take any personal responsibility, and is only killing people for pleasure and trying to rationalize it after the fact. Tellingly, Sidney's speech causes a Villainous Breakdown in the killer, who yells at Sidney to stop talking before flying off the handle and attacking her.
  • Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a deconstruction of the Action Mom trope. While very badass, it's out of necessity, as she's Properly Paranoid about robot assassins coming from the future to hunt her and her child. She is thus constantly training to keep herself in peak ability, as one mistake at the wrong time could cost her life. Additionally, her knowledge of her son John Connor as The Chosen One has deteriorated their relationship, as she's spent more time training him for his future military career than she has to care and comforting him. By the time they meet again in his pre-teens, he's uncertain whether she actually loves him or just wants him to live long enough to defeat the machines.
  • The movie Heat is such a treatment of the Gentleman Thief stock character. Neil MacCauley has the charm and all the connections, but he's painfully lonely, and won't get close to anyone for fear that the cops will be right around the corner. The one major job he's involved in goes terribly awry, and results in over half of his team being killed by the cops. MacCauley gets more violent as the film progresses, culminating in his revenge overriding his need to escape. He ends up proving his own adage right when he flees (and leaves his girlfriend) after he sees Vincent Hanna pursuing him, and winds up dead at the end of the film.
  • Inception is a deconstruction of the Determinator. The eponymous act involves placing a single, simple idea deep into an unwitting subject's subconscious - that they will never be rid of. This single idea will define them for the rest of their lives, and both the primary protagonist and antagonist demonstrate how it can backfire. Spectacularly.
  • The Social Network takes the Self-Made Man archetype that is idealized in American culture and puts it through the wringer. In a few short years, the main character goes from a nerdy nobody at Harvard who can't keep his girlfriend to the world's youngest billionaire with his creation, and gets everything that he could possibly want... but it's also heavily implied that a lot of people got ruined or otherwise screwed over in the process, that he possibly stole the idea for his website in order to get to that point, that his flawed personality traits are precisely what allowed him to rise to the top, and that, even with all his material wealth, he's no happier than he was before. And he still doesn't get his girlfriend back. This is hardly the first time that such themes have been explored - indeed, it's not even the first time that the film's screenwriter has done this.
  • The Hero (Cameron Vale) of the first Scanners movie deconstructs The Chosen One: he's the only "Scanner" with the power to stop Daryl Revok, he's an absolute psychic badass ...and he is completely devoid of personality beyond his mission to stop Revok, which he has been raised to do by an (unknown to him) Evil Mentor.
  • Star Wars:
    • Anakin Skywalker's arc as The Chosen One in the prequel trilogy deconstructs Luke's arc in the original trilogy. Like Luke, Anakin is told at a young age that he has great powers, but eventually, he becomes extremely arrogant and distrusting of everybody around him, and he loses his friends and loved ones in his attempts to assert that power. Makes sense, since in-universe, Luke is in many ways Anakin done right. He even ultimately helps get Anakin back on track.
    • Afterwards Anakin Skywalker's own trope the Darth Vader Clone got deconstructed in The Force Awakens with someone who deliberately tried to be this: Kylo Ren. Ren only tries to copy Vader's superficial appearance and penchant for the Dark Side while lacking Vader's strength, maturity and discipline, which are largely responsible for making Vader such an admirable villain, he ultimately ends up as an inferior knockoff of the Dark Lord and feels insecure about it. For added irony while no clone, he is Anakin's grandson and Luke's nephew.
  • The Irish film My Name Is Emily deconstructs Cloud Cuckoo Lander. The titular character Emily Egan is one such girl. Except she's odd because her mother was tragically killed in a car crash, her father steadily broke under the strain and ended up in a mental hospital, and she's spent ages going in and out of different foster homes. Her quirkiness is off putting to everyone around her and is a mark of her utter detachment from reality.
  • The Last Seduction: Bridget is the Femme Fatale, running off with her husband's drug money before seducing a guy to kill him for her. As the title implies, it takes the trope a lot further than other noir films, showing such a character would in fact need to be The Sociopath, and her mark an easily manipulable idiot.
  • High School Musical: Troy Bolton is one of the Big Man on Campus. The films show how much pressure everyone puts on him to be "the basketball guy" and the stress that results from it. Everyone berates for having an interest in singing because that's not what guys like him are supposed to do. Part of his attraction to Gabriella is that she allows him to be who is is rather than what everyone expects him to be.
  • Stop Loss deconstructs A Father to His Men by showing what happens when the man in question goes AWOL, and his troops have to fend for themselves because they're so used to depending on him. What's more is that it's shown the Father To His Men can still have problems of his own - such as PTSD and guilt over the numerous people he's killed.
  • Vertigo deconstructs The Lost Lenore. Scottie is so broken up over Madeleine's death that when he meets a woman who looks like her, he ends up forcing her to dress and do her hair like her. It's highlighted how disturbing such a thing is, and Judy begs Scottie to accept her as she is rather than his fantasy.
  • Scooby-Doo begins with deconstructing everyone's archetype which leads to their break up.
    • Fred is a deconstruction of The Leader. In this position he is given all the credit for stopping the ghost even though his part was no bigger than the rest of Mystery Inc. This leads him to come off as a pompous Jerkass to his friends.
    • Velma is a deconstruction of Smart Girl. While her genius does help solve the mystery, she's given no credit whatsoever for her part. Also she's more aware of the casts' flaws and delivers it through Brutal Honesty, none of which is appreciated.
    • Daphne deconstructs Damsel in Distress. Her constantly getting captured gets her viewed as The Load by the gang and she's really sensitive about people bringing up her frequent kidnappings. After the breakup, she takes self defense classes so she can rescue herself if needed.
    • Shaggy and Scooby deconstruct Odd Friendship. Shaggy and Scooby both try their best to keep the gang together, but due to their lack of common ground with the gang, the attempt to keep them together fails. And they spend the next 2 years their life unfulfilled.
  • Logan deconstructs Child Soldier\Living Weapon with Laura Howlett: Laura is pretty much what you'd actually get if you tried to train a child into an emotionless killing machine. When introduced she's virtually feral, responds violently when she feels threatened, and all but panics at the sound of a passing locomotive. Laura also shows extensive signs of stunted emotional development, evidenced by many behaviors, such as punching every button on an elevator, ordinarily associated with a child much younger than her age. And while she's certainly a highly-skilled and frighteningly efficient killer, she's still just an eleven year-old girl fighting grown men twice or more her size; Laura can be subdued by sheer weight of numbers, and when an opponent does land a solid hit on her (Such as X-24 throwing her against a wall) she goes down hard.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 deconstructs The Chosen One with Peter Quill. His father Ego talks big about how Meredith Quill was his one true love and as his son Peter has a grand destiny ahead of him but Ego fathered thousands if not more children to try and have one with Celestial powers, simply murdering the rest when they didn't. The love he felt for Meredith scared him so much he decided to put a tumor in her brain to kill her, and beyond that she's later shown to just be one of Ego's many paramours. Peter only survived, grew into the man he is today, and saved Xandar in the first film because Yondu decided not to take him to Ego and his probably death at Ego's hands and instead adopted him and raised him as a Ravager, keeping him away from his "destiny." When Ego does reveal Peter's part in his grand plan Peter doesn't even have a choice to make as Ego initially hypnotizes him and when that fails, just forcibly uses Peter as a battery. Peter discovering how to use his powers doesn't let him defeat Ego all on his own, just stall him while his teammates plant a bomb. Defeating Ego also strips Quill of the powers his connection to Ego gave him, rendering him an utterly normal human being, something he is totally fine with after all Ego put him through.

  • A Hero of Our Time deconstructs Byronic Hero in Pechorin: a brooding, selfish outcast from high society who inadvertently brings ruin to everyone he meets, especially the women who fall in love with his romantic persona.
  • Discworld has a few of these, since Sir Terry Pratchett's brand of humour is largely based on taking something seriously that was not intended to stand up to it.
    • Cohen the Barbarian is something of a deconstruction of a Barbarian Hero; Sir Terry wondered what happened when Conan got old, and realised he'd have to keep doing it, even if his back was going and he'd lost all his teeth.
    • Moist von Lipwig, when he first appears in Going Postal is a deconstruction of a Lovable Rogue, who requires quite a lot of Character Development to actually become lovable; he's initially a callous user who sees people as things (the ultimate Discworld crime).
  • An early Deconstruction of Knight in Shining Armor exists in Don Quixote, in which the eponymous character attempts to take up the role in an age when chivalry has been abandoned. Hilarity Ensues.
  • "The Story of the Good Little Boy" by Mark Twain is a short story that deconstructs the "Good Little Sunday School Boy That Teaches Lessons" archetype that was popular at the time by making the protagonist try to fit the mold of the Sunday School characters, but ends up being ridiculously Wrong Genre Savvy about it all. The boys that went sailing on Sunday instead of going to church didn't drown for their wickedness, but he nearly does trying to stop them. The dog he saves attacks him. In the end he gets blown up into multiple pieces and isn't even able to deliver a Bible passage before dying or make any kind of lasting impact. His obsession with good works and Holier Than Thou attitude isn't just ineffective but literally gets him killed.
  • Ender's Game is a deconstruction of the Kid Hero and Boring Invincible Hero. By the time the book ends Ender abandons Earth forever, has killed all but one of a decidedly non-hostile species that accidentally antagonized humanity before they realized we were sentient, doesn't hook up with his love interest (because, you know, he doesn't get one) and had his ass handed to him psychologically. Oh, and he accidently killed two fellow students but was never told about it, but he's smart enough to suspect it and feel guilty.
  • Dan Abnett also deconstructed The Smart Guy in his Warhammer 40,000: Eisenhorn trilogy. Eisenhorn's savant, Ueber Aemos, is the walking databank he is because of a "meme-virus" he acquired that gives him a compulsion to keep gathering knowledge, culminating in memorising the entirety of the Malus Codicum and summoning a daemon in an attempt to protect Eisenhorn.
  • Joe Golem And The Drowning City has Simon Church, a deconstruction of the Gentleman Adventurer. He's cunning, sharp-witted and cultured, but it's made abundantly clear that is all a facade to hide the massive emotional trauma he carries from slowly watching all his partners, family and friends amidst his adventures. Essentially Church's a Gentleman Adventurer whose adventuring days left the gentleman as a empty, suicidal emotional husk.
  • Dune deconstructs many hero tropes within the first book starting with Paul Atreides as an example of what happens when the Chosen One comes about too early and plays up the Messianic Archetype card (largely through Becoming the Mask) to achieve his goals for revenge. That being a Chosen One also gifts him with an ability that completely destroys his life through clairvoyance. The rest of the characters in the story are often used to pick apart the very characteristics that would be necessary for a person to embody the tropes, and just how self-destructive they can be.
  • Harry Potter deconstructs Relationship Sue with Cho Chang. She's introduced as Harry's ideal match - she's pretty, popular, kind and loves the same things he does. When Harry actually tries to date her...he finds out they're incompatible and they don't work out. The lesson here is that a relationship can't be based on someone being the metaphorical perfect match - especially if neither party hasn't got a clue how to actually make a romance work.
  • Stormfur from Warrior Cats is a deconstruction of Mighty Whitey. He's a cat from the main group in the series who gets discovered by the Tribe of Rushing Water, a group with strange customs, and finds out that he's The Chosen One destined to save them, and even gets to data a native she-cat, and eventually chooses to stay with the tribe. Plus he gets to train the tribe cats in his fighting skills to later save them from some rogues who they're utterly helpless against without him. But not only is he not really The Chosen One, but his strategy only ends up failing and leading to the deaths of many tribe cats rather than saving the tribe like he believed it would, and once he finally gets to come back and make up for everything by saving them for real he and the other cats realize that, however they want to defend the tribe, they don't want to force their culture on them or constantly be their rescuers.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents is deconstructed in Pride and Prejudice. Mrs Bennet's unsubtle attempts to match-make her daughters are mortifying to her two oldest daughters and she frequently encouraged the same embarrassing behavior in her younger daughters. Mr Bennet is just as guilty as he would openly mock and ridicule his wife and younger daughters. The consequences of their behaviour in public is a huge part of the reason why Mr Darcy persuaded Mr Bingley not to marry Jane. After all, what respectable Regency bachelor would want those kind of people as their in-laws?
  • The character of Felix (who appears on two different novels by John Steakley, "Armor" and "Vampires" (which are set on different worlds)) deconstructs two types of Invincible Hero: "Vampires" demolishes The Gunslinger by providing Felix with Improbable Aiming Skills and making him incapable of missing a shot (the "deconstruction" is that the ability to never miss a shot makes him unable to shoot non-fatally—if there is a Hostage Situation, for example, he will always Shoot the Hostage (and kill them) in order to get a clean shot at the hostage-taker, and he cannot ever "shoot to wound"—it's Boom, Headshot or nothing.), while "Armor" makes him a One-Man Army and Powered Armor killing machine (the deconstruction is that his mind becomes so badly screwed up by how much War Is Hell that he eventually creates a Split Personality called "The Machine" that has as its first priority surviving at any cost (including tossing fellow soldiers to the wolves), to not mention that the bean-counters cannot believe that he was capable of surviving so many confrontations (when entire battalions did not) and thus the bureaucracy treats him as Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder). Both versions of Felix are understandably horrified by the brutality that these abilities (and the circumstances in which they come handy) had forced him to do.

    Live Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • This article makes a case for Grant Ward of deconstructing the type of Anti-Hero Ward is, by showing the the pain of his past life does not justify him taking it out on others and making it clear that everything is not about him.
    • Since the end of season two, his character arc deconstructs Stuffed in the Fridge after Agent 33's death. Given that he manipulated her into becoming his loyal aide and lover, his revenge for her is really more about him feeling self righteous about going after his former teamates who he betrayed in the first place.
  • Game of Thrones: Like several honorable classic heroes, Ned Stark refuses to make moral compromises and tries to save everybody. This ends up backfiring, chiefly warning Cersei to save her children. Not only does this lead to his own death, but leads to the crowning of a deranged psychopath, the very child he was trying to save.
  • The Cowboy Cop is deconstructed with Jimmy McNulty of The Wire, who, despite being an excellent detective, allows his free-wheeling ways to cause much destruction to both his personal life and performs numerous, possibly career-damaging moves on his way towards cracking any given case.
    • Herc and Carver show how their gung-ho, headcracking style of busting street corner hustlers is actually not very useful police work. Over the course of the show, Carver matures into a more competent policeman who becomes a part of his community and uses more intelligent tactics to disrupt the drug trade. Herc, not so much.
  • Despite The Glades being about a Cowboy Cop, the first episode showed somewhat realistic consequences to having an officer who tramples all over the rules and gets away with it because of his skill and talent. Specifically, his partner feels overshadowed by him, and complained about it to his wife so much it eventually destroyed their marriage. When she tried to leave him, he killed her. She's the Victim of the Week.
  • Dead Like Me deconstructed Cool Old Lady in the form of Grandma Phyl who spent so many years doing "cool" stuff in foreign places that she neglected her own daughter which caused Joy to grow up anal and overly self-reliant.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Dennis is one of the Only Sane Man, namely by showing what kind of person they'd have to be to hang around a group of insane assholes. While Dennis is the one who is most adjusted socially, it's because he's a manipulative, sociopathic Narcissist who uses his friends to make himself look better to other people and as pawns for his own amusement, tricks women into having sex with him by being charming, and acts as The Face to get the gang's schemes rolling.
  • Pretty Little Liars: Alison is the deconstruction of the Alpha Bitch, to the point where her behavior gained her and her friends the disdain of 90% of the town, and she has multiple enemies in the A-team that want her dead. Her own friends have gotten fed up with her antics and are now against her. Heck, her own mom saw someone hit her over the head with a rock, and bury her alive to cover for that person! Talk about being disliked.
    • She also ended up being a deconstruction of Poisonous Friend, as the actions of the Liars towards stemmed from years of bottled-up resentment due to her actions.
  • The Originals, Game of Thrones, Graceland and Arrow all deconstruct The Unfettered. The actions that Klaus, Stannis, Briggs and Oliver take in order to defeat the villains result in the loss of several key allies.
    • In particular, Briggs' Manipulative Bastard tendencies, as well as being a Control Freak, resulted in him taking down the Big Bad of season three through Mike, but it also ended with him being a Broken Pedestal for Mike and Johnny. Stannis's sacrifice of his daughter cost him his army. Oliver and Klaus both became The Mole, but their actions drove away both Diggle and Elijah.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Emma is the Agent Scully, but her skepticism is borne of lack of trust due to past abandonment issues.
    • Henry aspires to be a Kid Hero but his need to live a more exciting life causes him to needlessly risk his life.
    • Regina is a "Well Done, Son!" Guy who is never able to free herself of wanting to please her mother Cora. She blames Snow White for the death of her first love even though it was Cora who killed him.
  • 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.
  • The Community episode "Studies in Modern Movement" deconstructs the Loony Friends part of the Loony Friends Improve Your Personality trope. After the strait-laced Annie agrees to move in with the eccentric Troy and Abed, she tries to go along with their zany antics and off-the-wall kookiness, but gradually gets more and more frustrated with their eccentricity and the selfishness, obliviousness, and annoying behaviour it leads to. The point is clearly made that while the Loony Friends may seem cool, wacky and fun in small doses and from a distance (such as the twenty-odd minutes you spend watching them on television), if you had to spend any meaningful amount of time up-close and personal with them they'd quickly become insufferably selfish and annoying if they weren't willing to tone things down a bit.
    • Jeff Winger deconstructs this from the other side. Yes, the Loony Friends gradually help improve his personality... but only because it turns out that for all his pretensions towards normality and his condescending attitude towards them, he's actually way more messed up than they are.
    • Pierce Hawthorne can be considered a deconstruction of the "wacky old person" character. His insensitivity makes him seem like a Jerkass, his Fair for Its Day outlook gets him ostracized, and his attempts to fit in turn him into an unlikeable Attention Whore.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim does this with its characters. For example, the main protagonist, Kouta, just received a belt that allows him to transform. But since he knows nothing about the beings threatening their world, he just uses it to play in street games for money. What's more, since he just received his powers, he's absolutely terrible at fighting, meaning someone more skilled than him can easily kill him. And when he survives, he isn't determined to get stronger and beat the guy who nearly killed him, he's traumatized and nearly stops fighting altogether.
    • Kaito is a deconstruction of the "Cool Jerk" archetype. Even though he has the charisma to attract and befriend many people, his resentment and cold personality drive away anyone who could be his friend. Also, while most Secondary Riders slowly warm up to the protagonist and later become straight-up heroes, Kaito's held on to his beliefs for a long time and ,simply put, is not ready to give them up anytime soon.
    • Micchy is the secondary rider who's young, wants to help his friends, and has a crush on his friend, Mai. All of these traits are portrayed as negative: the fact that he's young means that he can be easily corrupted; his loyalty to his friends means that he'll commit horrendous acts for them; his crush on Mai is at first portrayed as positive, but as time goes on, his loyalty to Mai borders on Yandere, causing him to snap when she gets mad at him, blaming Kouta for his problems and eventually culminating in him almost killing Kouta out of rage.
  • Z Nation shows what happens when someone like Murphy is forced to be The Chosen One: to say he doesn't handle it well is an understatement, seeing as how he keeps screwing over everyone trying to protect him, indirectly got several people killed, caused another apocalypse, and turned Cassandra into a feral zombie hybrid only for her to die at the hands of Ten-K.
  • Power Rangers Jungle Fury deconstructs the Rookie Red Ranger, a trope the franchise spawned, with Casey. Unlike Theo and Lily, he wasn't chosen for being an experienced student but because of his latent talent and how he stood up to Jarrod. As the least experienced in combat and in his weapon, he's looked down on by Theo while Lily treats him like a little brother. It bothers him enough that he gets extra training from RJ. Although he's made leader to make him less wary, he gets upset when RJ becomes a Ranger, feeling that his position is challenged. Theo and Lily outright reject his belief that Jarrod can be redeemed, forcing him to go one his own and prove them wrong. In the end, he ends up losing his lack of confidence in himself and plays the trope straight.
  • Julius Caesar in Rome deconstructs The Chosen One. He validates his extralegal actions by getting approval from the gods. He gains this by bribing the head pontiff. This, among many actions, upsets Lucius Vorenus who believes in the sanctity of Roman institutions.
  • Barney from How I Met Your Mother deconstructs Sensei for Scoundrels in that he turn only learned his ways because he has no reliable father figure to teach him right from wrong. His refusal to commit came from his brother James, his greed and materialism came from Benson the guy who stole his girl and his hedonism came from his mother's lover who ironically is his birth father.

  • Poets of the Fall's video for Obsession Song "Carnival of Rust" has its singer Zoltar, a fortunetelling automaton with tatty clothes, peeling paint and tell-tale black-accented white makeup, as a deconstructed Pierrot. While genuinely tragic, pining after the woman in the gas mask who visits the Carnival, he's rendered foreboding and sinister because the lyrics make clear his idea of love is deeply dysfunctional and self-interested, since he thinks it will fix his life/free him from the Carnival. Though his desperation is sincere, there's a reason his demanding chorus is signaled by a Scare Chord.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • Space Marines' Primarchs deconstruct Magnetic Hero. They were the mightiest and most charismatic men in history, natural leaders and born conquerors who came to dominate the worlds they were scattered to before taking their place leading the Emperor's armies. But they also had some serious issues resulting from this unusual upbringing and the Emperor's Parental Abandonment, and the same Undying Loyalty they inspired in their legions meant that when half of the Primarchs turned traitor, they were able to take the majority of their forces with them.
    • The Grey Knights deconstruct The Paladin. Their sole role is fighting daemon corruption so that usually means killing an entire population for being too close to said corruption. It is also said not one Grey Knight had fallen to Chaos. It's because they are brainwashed so they can't make that choice.
    • Night Haunter deconstructed Terror Hero. He believed fear was the greatest tool that would bring peace to his world and so carried out killing sprees in a global scale hoping it would Scare 'em Straight. Years later, he comes back to see his planet had reverted back to its evil ways since he and his legion weren't there to terrify anyone, while the things he did to instil that fear slowly twisted him into a worse monster than the ones he fought. Rather than admit his methods were wrong, he blew his planet up. Additionally, his Legion have spent so long relying on fear that they're subpar in a straight-up fight; anyone who's not terrified, such as their Arch-Enemy faction with a literal rule called And They Shall Know No Fear, is going to have an edge against the Night Lords.
    • The Emperor deconstructs the Pro-Human Transhuman and God-Emperor all at once. While he's on humanity's side, his inhuman level of power and ridiculously long lifespan mean that he doesn't have much ability to actually relate to individual humans (or even human-derived demigods like the Primarchs) or understand what motivates them, while causing his ego to inflate spectacularly. This meant that his all-important campaign largely ended up in the hands of people whose goals had little or nothing to do with conquering the galaxy for another's benefit, contending against forces they were generally not permitted to know even existed, with all information that might actually help fight them suppressed. This, in turn, led to the corruption of half of the Primarchs to Chaos, the largest civil war to ever strike the Imperium, and the end of not only the Emperor's grand dream but also his time of being able to walk around or take direct actions.

  • Lady Macbeth deconstructed Behind Every Great Man. She corrupted her husband and helped make him king but she's only human and the guilt of being responsible for the lives lost for the sake of their ambition drives her to madness and death. Without her guidance, her husband soon followed her to the grave.

    Video Games 
  • God of War: Kratos is a deconstruction of the classical Greek hero and Spartan archetypes: a person who is defined by using his physical strength to do whatever he wants, seeks revenge for any affront, has a "Might Makes Right" morality and has divine parentage is less likely to be a paragon and more likely to be a violent psychopath hellbent on killing his enemies - at the expense of the whole universe.
  • Metal Gear
    • The series as a whole deconstructs the most basic Archetype in Hollywood: the badass Action Hero who blows bad guys to hell and gets the girl. Rather than being a hardcore larger than life hero, Solid Snake ends up becoming a traumatized mess of a man in response to the hell he's put through throughout his adventures. And, while several women do show some interest in him, the closest he comes to being in any sort of long-term relationship is with Otacon.
    • Big Boss, who Solid Snake is a clone of, takes the deconstruction even further. While we initially meet Snake as a seasoned soldier, Big Boss's first mission turns him from being a Wide-Eyed Idealist with Patriotic Fervor into a Shell-Shocked Veteran who felt that he became an Unwitting Pawn to the government when the mission's true nature was revealed to him - a petty political affair carried out to kill an innocent soldier (who served as his mentor) and ensure that the United States made off with a fortune. As such, he left the United States to start his own private military company that became involved with increasingly morally-questionable operations, which eventually led to him being branded as a terrorist in spite of the fact that his actions successfully prevented nuclear war. After his base of operations was destroyed for the first time, he became a shell of a man that decided to embrace his role as a war criminal as long as it meant he could create a Heaven for soldiers like himself - which, of course, would come at the cost of making the rest of the world a living Hell for everyone else. Interestingly enough, this would retroactively make Solid Snake a Reconstruction of this archetype: while he's still an emotional wreck, he serves as a Knight in Sour Armor that still chooses to fight with the government because he believes that it's the right thing to do, even if Being Good Sucks, instead of pursuing his own selfish and ultimately self-destructive goals like Big Boss.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Cecil in Final Fantasy IV is a deconstruction of the hero of 80s JRPGs like Dragon Warrior, who would go out, steal things from distant kingdoms and kill dragons because a king asked him to. Cecil starts the game miserable about his chosen career path but unable to bring himself to quit; later, the Mist Dragon he is sent to slay turns out to be connected to the life force of a young mother who dies as a result, leaving her daughter an orphan. He eventually decides to quit his job, and most of the game is his attempts to undo as much as he can of his damage.
    • Cloud in Final Fantasy VII is:
      • A riff off the classic RPG image of the young man with the sword who heads out from the city to save the world by killing the bad guy. In his case, his reason for wanting to travel the world is a weird compulsion, spurred on by hallucinations, that is eventually revealed as being a form of mind control. Like Final Fantasy characters before him, Terra and Kain, he's able to be mind-controlled due to something in his blood, but his mental breakdown is more realistic in comparison, leaving him in a wheelchair and dribbling.
      • A riff off the stoic, experienced badass Mercenary '90s Anti-Hero who acts like a Jerkass because he's so deep. Cloud is ridiculously strong, charismatic and good-looking, a veteran who's been through unspeakable horrors that give him mental problems, and performs stylish feats of badassery like riding around on motorbikes and doing unnecessary backflips to get off things. But his continual insistence that he doesn't care about anything but the job, while striking poses and flipping his hair, only fools a couple of characters. Mostly, it's seen by the other characters as strange, annoying behaviour, and he's constantly put in ridiculous situations that reveal it as the adolescent posturing that it is. (The game was made during the mid-90s, at a time when it was fashionable for real-world twenty-somethings to act disaffected.) When Cloud becomes a bodyguard to Aeris and starts obsessing about saving her, it's obvious Aeris doesn't need his protection, and she's only going with it because she's attracted to Cloud and it gives her the excuse to follow him around and flirt with him. Eventually, Cloud's attempts to ignore his mental problems while denying his true self causes him to have a mental breakdown, and it's revealed that the whole personality is based on self-delusion. Once Cloud becomes comfortable with the fact that he doesn't have to be a cocky action hero and allows his real personality out, he turns out to be pretty dorky and likeable.
    • Final Fantasy VIII deconstructs the Kid Hero by overt comparison to Child Soldiers. Your party of heroic 16 and 17 year-olds is just as mentally damaged and scarred as child soldiers tend to be in real life, not helped by using Phlebotinum which erases their memories, thus taking time to deconstruct the Amnesiac Hero as well.
    • Lightning of the Final Fantasy XIII games deconstructs the "strong female character" trope. When her and Serah's parents died, she tried to make herself "strong" so that she could care for herself and her sister, creating her "Lightning" persona by shedding the parts of herself she viewed as "weak". This ends up alienating Serah from her, causing strife between her and the other party members, and influences Hope to fester his desire for revenge against Snow. She realizes along the way how her "tough" persona has only caused her problems. After Serah dies in Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII sees her as once again distant and cold, not due to Bhunivelze's influence but her own desire to seal away her "weaknesses", which also causes the creation of Lumina. She defrosts over the course of the game, and ultimately is saved from her intended Heroic Sacrifice by simply calling for help.
  • Persona 4 possesses several deconstructions:
    • Yosuke Hanamura deconstructs Stepford Smiler and/or Sad Clown, as his Shadow calls him on the fact he's basically just bored and aimless and so he's throwing himself into anything that seems interesting for the hell of having something to do.
    • Chie Satonaka deconstructs Tomboy, as it's made clear from encountering her Shadow that she is quite uncomfortable with her lack of femininity. She also mildly deconstructs Big Eater, as she mentions that her ravenous appetite is one of the things she finds unfeminine about herself and is thusly ashamed of.
    • Yukiko Amagi deconstructs Yamato Nadeshiko, as it's noted she feels powerless and weak, as well as not truly wanting to accept her expected inheritance.
    • Rise Kujikawa deconstructs Idol Singer and Kawaiiko, having originally gone into the music business because of a love of singing and a desire to make friends, only to grow fearful of the idea that people only see her for her idol persona.
    • Kanji Tatsumi deconstructs Real Men Wear Pink and Bruiser with a Soft Center. As a child, Kanji was ostracized for his sewing hobby, love of cute things and Ambiguously Gay nature and had very few friends. This led to him adotping a "tough guy" persona and getting into many fights to come off as more "manly", in an attempt to both be accepted and appease his late father... which only further isolated him as now everyone in school was terrified of him. He also developed major sexuality issues, with his Shadow (representing his innermost insecurities and repressed thoughts) manifesting as an over-the-top Camp Gay. In the end, Kanji undergoes Character Development and realises that being a "real man" doesn't mean being strong, it means accepting himself for who he is, but it certainly doesn't come easily.
    • Naoto Shirogane deconstructs Kid Detective. While she herself is brilliant, none of the police take her seriously due to her age, and she turns out to have major issues over this. Her Shadow taunts her over how mature she tries to act to get past the "young detective" bit - it's worth noting that her Shadow flip-flops between overly mature dialog and crying like a baby. She eventually has to accept that she's not an adult yet and shouldn't try to grow up too fast.
  • The Deconstructor Fleet that is Spec Ops: The Line does this over and over.
    • Big Bad: Colonel John Konrad took over the city of Dubai after it was ravaged by sandstorms, instituting a harsh military government and committing many atrocities to maintain order. However, Konrad is actually a Posthumous Character and Captain Walker has been imagining that Konrad is behind all of the city's woes even though he is actually the one destroying Dubai. Walker needed the idea of a Big Bad to justify his actions, even if said Big Bad was a complete farce.
    • Destructive Savior: Driven by his need to save the survivors of Dubai, Walker battles the Damned 33rd whenever he can without a thought to the long-term consequences. He eventually ends up destroying the radio tower, a good part of the city of Dubai, and all of the reserves of water, thus leaving him unable to save anyone.
    • Determinator: Captain Walker is initially part of a small recon team sent to investigate what happened in Dubai, find survivors, and then pull back to contact his superiors, but once he sees the madness that has engulfed the ruined city, he becomes set on getting involved and putting things right. Yet Walker never actually makes anything better - quite the opposite, in fact - and each new Tragic Mistake he makes only hardens his resolve to finish this self-imposed mission and justify what he was "forced" to do to complete it. By the end of the game he's crossed the Moral Event Horizon and doomed everyone in Dubai to a slow, horrible death, all because Walker couldn't turn back from what he decided he had to do.
    • Freudian Trio: Adams and Lugo actually trade the positions of id and superego over the course of the game; Adams is serious and stern but wants to save the refugees of Dubai, and Lugo is cheerful and joking but puts the mission above all else. As a result, they frequently disagree and butt heads. Walker is supposed to be the ego, the one who resolves their differences and balances their viewpoints out, and thus they follow him no matter how bad things get. His lost cause leads them both to their doom.
    • Giant Mook: The Heavy Troopers are all over seven feet tall, carry light machine guns, and are ludicroyusly durable. However, their large sizes and imposing weapons make them easy targets for the player, and they are frequently forced to call for cover fire.
    • Hero Antagonist: The ultimate goal of the Damned 33rd is to maintain order in Dubai and protect the refugees, but Walker refuses to accept their better qualities and instead focuses on the atrocities they were driven to commit so he can continue to see them as the "antagonist."
    • Heroic Wannabe: Walker wants to be a hero and help Dubai above all else, so he defies his orders to leave the city and continues fighting the 33rd. His constant failure to do good in the hellhole that is Dubai just fuels his Determinator tendencies to the detriment of everyone else.
    • Jerkass: Radioman constantly taunts the Delta Squad over the airwaves and grates on their nerves with his obnoxious jokes. By the time he makes fun of the victims of the white phosphorous accident, Lugo declares that he will kill him and makes good on that promise.
    • The Leader: Walker has tight control over his Delta comrades and maintains their trust throughout the course of the story. If they had questioned his logic at any point or relieved him of duty when they had the chance, they might have survived the events of the game and Dubai might've been saved.
    • Token Good Teammate: Lugo is perhaps the most consistently moral member of the Delta Squad, shown best when he tries to stop Walker and Adams from using white phosphorous on a group o the 33rd. Even so, he is only one man and his comrades overrule him. As a result, forty-seven innocent refugees are needlessly killed.
    • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Walker is consistently motivated by his desire to be a hero and help Dubai, but his increasingly destructive actions negate any opportunity to save the refugees, and his intentions prevent him from acknowledging what he's done and leaving Dubai.
  • Grand Theft Auto V deconstructs the mindset of GTA characters with its three protagonists.
    • Franklin represents a new GTA protagonist, one who is trying to improve his lot in life. In Franklin's case, he works to achieve this by leaving behind the gang-banger culture he grew up in and rolling with professional criminals, first a morally bankrupt used car dealer, and then the bank robber Michael who earns him far bigger scores than he used to.
    • Michael represents the GTA protagonist who "won". He has it made and can comfortably retire, but has found life after crime to be boring and wants desperately to get back in "the game".
    • Trevor is representative of the GTA protagonist who eschews story missions in favor of doing whatever he likes: Video Game Cruelty Potential incarnate. At the same time, though, he never really accomplishes anything: his best-laid plans fail spectacularly, and the only real successes he sees are when he teams up with Michael and Franklin. Personality-wise, he's also an utterly repulsive human being, living in a dirty trailer in the desert and destroying the lives of everybody around him with his antisocial behavior.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Kid Hero is deconstructed through Zelda and Link in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. While Zelda was clever and knowledgeable, her plan to protect Hyrule turned out to be Awesome, but Impractical and unintentionally ended up helping the villain because she didn't know as much as she thought she did. While the nine year old Link managed an impressive kill count, Ganondorf painfully establishes that Link is still not strong enough in a Final Boss Preview. The kids thought they could be heroes and save the day (perfectly understandable kid behavior) but they did not have the maturity or understanding to be heroes yet and the consequences were severe. Zelda acknowledges this after the time skip and it is perhaps why the Master Sword waited for Link to grow up first before letting him wield it.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker deconstructed The Chosen One in the backstory. Hyrule was inspired by the legend of the Hero of Time and relied heavily on a hero to spontaneously appear in their time of need to save them. But when Ganon returned without a Link to oppose him, the people of Hyrule are unable to defend themselves and the gods flooded the land to stop Ganon from taking over. The Link in this story has no connection or relation to the older heroes and must earn his status as a hero through his own initiative.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild also takes apart The Chosen One and the struggles one would have to face to live up to the expectations. Both Zelda and Link face immense pressures from family and civilians to protect the kingdom from destruction due to a prophecy, dedicating their entire lives to this single cause and when they failed and Hyrule is in ruins, they suffered resentment from some of the surviving races even a hundred years later.
      • Link felt it was necessary to hide all emotion, constantly maintaining a cold and stoic front, to cope with the huge amount of responsibility they were given and prevent themselves from cracking under the pressure. They even refused to speak too much, out of fear of saying anything unbecoming of The Chosen One. Due to this burden, they felt very alone.
      • Zelda was severely admonished by their family for their inability to summon her divine power to seal Ganon without any guidance from anyone to learn how to do so, leading to frustration, self-loathing and self-doubt. Their family constantly dismisses any interest in other activities, other than focusing on awakening their power, fracturing the relationship between them. When Calamity Ganon returned and Zelda was unable to use her powers, her father and the other Champions were killed and the entire kingdom was destroyed, they blamed themselves for being a failure despite doing everything they could.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon
    • The villains, Team Skull, deconstruct Kid Hero. They are made up of teenagers who have failed the Island Challenge. This gives them severe self-esteem issues and means many of them have become homeless because they are ashamed to return home; they are forced to turn to crime precisely because they can not return to society.
    • Lusamine deconstructs a typical Pokémon protagonist. She wants to acquire all Pokémon, much like how a protagonist of Pokémon may capture all Pokémon for the Pokedex. When a new, unidentified Pokémon appears, she becomes obsessed with having it. When the heroes call her cruel for treating her Pokémon like exhibits or trophies after seeing her collection of cryogenically frozen Pokémon, she counters that the heroes have likely caught a bunch of Pokémon solely for the sake of having them and have ignored said Pokémon since.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa and Super Danganronpa 2 deconstruct quite a few character archetypes.
    • Of the Wholesome Crossdresser with Chihiro Fujisaki. He disguises himself as a girl in order to avoid being called girly or being a target of bullying due to his pliant, shy and sweet personality. He does not identify himself as female, but the amount of persecution he suffered for being not a manly guy made him seek to end this by denying his own gender, even though this is not something he likes or is comfortable with.
    • The second game's Player Character Hajime Hinata deconstructs I Just Want to Be Special and Took a Level in Badass. He was originally an Ordinary High-School Student who admired Hope's Peak Academy more than anyone and was willing to do anything to attend, even if it meant being part of the Reserve Department. Even then, he was so insecure about his lack of a talent that he underwent a surgical procedure designed to grant him every talent. However, this required excising all of his senses, thoughts, emotions, hobbies, and memories that interfered with acquiring these talents. This transformed Hajime into the utterly apathetic and sociopathic genius Izuru Kamukura.
    • Nagito Komaeda deconstructs Born Lucky and Born Unlucky. He's been plagued by a cycle of good and bad luck ever since he was born, with good event followed by bad event followed by good event. While this allowed him to win several lotteries and earned him a place in the academy, it also came with heavy costs, such as the deaths of his parents and two terminal illnesses. He's become a Death Seeker who's absolutely obsessed with hope, going so far as to incite conflict believing that the hope that arises from it will be even stronger.
    • Mikan Tsumiki is both a parody and deconstruction of the Reluctant Fanservice Girl, as well as Hates Being Alone. Many of the compromising positions she ends up in are comically exaggerated, with many characters pointing out how odd it is. With a long history of bullying and abuse, Mikan has come to believe that publicly degrading and humiliating herself, as uncomfortable and damaging to her already low self-esteem it is, is the only way she can get attention. The one thing she fears more than being abused is being ignored.
  • Katawa Shoujo deconstructs some common archetypes of eroge heroines.
    • Hanako Ikezawa deconstructs the Fragile Flower and Shrinking Violet tropes. The reason she's so anxious around people is because of the many scars she received from a house fire that also killed her parents when she was only eight. The bullying and isolation she endured at her old school only made things worse. She's painfully aware of how she is and hates when other people coddle her and treat like a child, thinking they only do it to make themselves feel better. Doing this too much leads to her Downer Ending, where she completely explodes and tells Hisao she hates him.
    • Emi Ibarazaki deconstructs the Plucky Girl. Even after losing both her legs, she remains a perpetually cheerful, energetic girl. However, the one thing she hasn't managed to recover from was the loss of her father. She knows it's normal to lose relationships with people, and it's best to be strong and move on. However, at the same time, the same stubbornness that enables her to deal with her issues prevents Emi from growing close to anyone because she is afraid that the pain of loss will prevent her from moving onto the future. This prevents anyone from helping her when she actually needs it.
    • Rin Tezuka deconstructs the Cloudcuckoolander. Her eccentric behavior isn't portrayed as funny or cute, but instead it makes it difficult for anyone to communicate with her, much less relate with her. She really just wants to be understood like any other person but can't express herself properly.
    • Shizune Hakamachi deconstucts the Spirited Competitor. She's stern, assertive, takes her position as Student Council President very seriously, and likes to turn everything into a competition. And it's that very mentality that drove the other members of the council away, leaving Misha as her Only Friend.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Main character Ruby Rose deconstructs the Grade Skipper trope. Her combat prowess meant that she was accepted into Beacon Academy two years early, and schoolmaster Professor Ozpin has such faith in her potential that he eventually selects her to lead team RWBY. She still spends the first few episodes a panicky, nervous wreck, a fifteen-year-old girl stuck in a school full of young adults with only her big sister for a friend. Ruby also catches a lot of flak from teammate Weiss Schnee for her immaturity and academic failings, though this lessens after Weiss sees Ruby in action.
    • Yang in turn deconstructs the Hot-Blooded, Boisterous Bruiser sort of fighter. Her Semblance gives her a Critical Status Buff the more damage she takes, and often gets her literally Burning with Anger. This makes her great in brawls and come-from-behind victories, but we also see the downside of this fighting style when she can't land any hits and her temper becomes a liability. Most critically, the fact that Yang has a tendency to become The Berserker makes her an easy victim of a Frame-Up accusing her of kneecapping a defeated duel opponent. And when she sees Blake being attacked by Adam, she loses it and charges right in despite it being an obvious trap. This ends up costing her an arm. All of this means that Ruby, two years Yang's junior, thinks it's a good thing they're on the same team, since Ruby can "keep her in line."
    • Jaune deconstructs the Plucky Comic Relief type of character that's typical for action-adventure style shows. It's clear almost from the start that he's leagues behind everyone else in the cast when it comes to knowing how to fight, or even knowledge of basic principles such as Aura. So how'd he get into a combat school on the level of Beacon? He cheated his way in using fake transcripts. He's also well aware that everyone sees him as the "lovable idiot" and has a severe inferiority complex as a result - the whole reason he came to Beacon in the first place was to learn the skills to make him a hero people can look up to, instead of remaining a failure who's looked down upon or pitied. Furthermore, as the series progresses, his status as Butt Monkey noticeable decreases to the point it completely disappears by the end of Volume 3.
    • Pyrrha, Jaune's partner and polar opposite, is The Ace from an academy known for stellar combat skills, and successful enough to do cereal endorsements. She's beautiful and extremely popular, and despite her status as a global celebrity remains sweet and humble. She's also terribly lonely, since nobody ever tries to get to know her because they all assume she's way out of their league. She falls for Jaune because he's the only guy at Beacon clueless enough to treat her like a friend instead of some warrior paragon.
    • Professor Ozpin deconstructs the Dumbledore-esque, "weird but wise headmaster bending the rules for the protagonists" sort of school leader. He's secretive and mysterious, and not only let Ruby Rose into his school early, but he also let her team go on a mission normally closed to first-year students on the logic that they'd try to go that way even if forbidden. Team RWBY proceeds to get in over their heads, barely survives against enemies that outclass them, and accelerates the bad guys' plans. Meanwhile Ozpin's own allies are forced to act behind his back to defuse the crisis because he never explained the rationale for his actions, while his superiors revoke some of his authority and make it clear that they'll be discussing his career options in the near future.
    • Ruby and Yang's early comments about their father Taiyang paint him as an Overprotective Dad deeply concerned with his daughters' safety. Then later we learn learn that Taiyang is a single parent - Yang's mother Raven walked out on both of them for unexplained reasons, and a few years later Ruby's mother Summer went MIA on a mission and is presumed dead. Losing both his first and second loves caused Taiyang to "shut down" for a time, and then to make matters worse a very young Yang took an even younger Ruby out into the wilderness in search of Raven, which would have ended with them torn to pieces by Grimm were it not for the timely arrival of their uncle Qrow. Or in other words, Ruby and Yang are all Taiyang has left, so of course he'd be protective of them. This sort of trauma could also explain his Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies, like the time he sent a dog through the mail.

  • xkcd deconstructs the "friendzoned" Dogged Nice Guy character in the strip "Friends," portraying the "nice guy" in question as an emotionally manipulative creep hoping to ingratiate himself into a relationship with the object of his affection by undermining her self-confidence and exploiting her loneliness. And in the end, the character doesn't get the girl precisely because the woman in question realizes how unpleasant he is.
  • The Order of the Stick has Belkar Bitterleaf, who deconstructs Token Evil Teammate. The rest of the team explicitly do not like him and only keep him around for his ranger skills...many of which are not as good as they should be due to his focus on murder and mayhem over viability. His antics often bite them in the asses due to his main skill being Attack! Attack! Attack! and his short temper and lack of problem with killing get him saddled with a curse. He's finally forced to change or die, at which point he starts faking character development in order to remain relevant in the story and not get ditched by his teammates. Later still, his strained relationship with Roy means Roy won't believe him about the vamparized Durkon not being the same as their friend and people assume his trying to kill the vampire is just him being an asshole as always, instead of trying to stop a bad guy.
    • General Tarquin is a deconstruction of Genre Savvy. Someone so able to see "the way things go" and understand the narrative nature of a world is likely to get full of themselves for their understanding and get an inflated ego, which leads to the potential for diving into Wrong Genre Savvy if things don't go their way. Tellingly, he's not even the real leader of his team, but they let him think that since feeding his ego keeps him around to be useful for his Genre Savvy moments and his teammates treat him with much less respect than one would expect a Magnificent Bastard to receive. In addition he is an utter sociopath due to merely seeing other people as characters in a story, and disposable characters at that since he assumes the next person who fills a similar role is pretty much the same thing as their being there.
    • Minister Malack deconstructs Friendly Enemy. He does not see why he and Durkon cannot remain friends despite what he views to be perfectly fine compromises, which Durkon (a Lawful Good Cleric) sees as unacceptable terms due to Evil Cannot Comprehend Good. Eventually he relents that they are at an impasse, and attacks Durkon fully, though with some remorse, and kills and vamparizes him.
    • An arc of Haley's is a deconstruction of The Unintelligible. Haley's inability to communicate properly with her team is a genuine hindrance, and almost leads to a situation where a bad guy frames her and she can't defend herself since no one understands what she's saying. The disability is easily taken advantage of in general.
    • Varsuuvius gets hit with a deconstruction of Aloof Ally when V's inability to work with V's teammates for help leads to V making a very bad Deal with the Devil in an effort to go it alone. V's usually reticent nature means that V's team don't even know something's wrong after V returns until V owns up to it, despite the readers clearly seeing V crippled with guilt for most of an arc. In addition, it gives Varsuuvius a very strained relationship with V's familiar, Blackwing the raven.
    • Tsukiko deconstructs Thinks Like a Romance Novel. While initially her power is enough to get by on Team Evil, her fundamental misunderstanding of what the Undead really are in their universe means she is defeated by a simple clerical spell taking control of her wights from her which she protests to her death as she honestly thinks they have enough free will to resist their new commands thanks toThePowerOfLove which they do not. She also sees herself as Xykon's Love Interest and thus more important than Redcloak, which also leads to her downfall.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation is full of examples of this. The particular character type that seems to get deconstructed the most is the Mary Sue and other closely related tropes. SCP-239 had to be put permanently into a coma because of problems her unconscious alteration of reality caused. SCP-76-2, an over powered Blood Knight was sealed away because the Foundation could not provide him with enough enemies to kill to keep him satisfied. SCP-056, a shape shifter who turns into a better version of anything that looks at him is an Insufferable Genius that everybody hates. 532-D an extremely destructive Reality Warper who could only keep his powers under control while happy ended up abusing this fact to force women to have sex with him, and was killed by Dr Clef. Several other Mary Sues were also killed because they were too dangerous to keep around and not interesting enough to justify keeping them alive For Science!. One of the few Mary Sues who didn't get officially deconstructed is SCP-343 who refuses to do anything helpful but is otherwise cooperative enough to be classified as Safe. The Author Avatars responsible for killing the Mary Sues have also been deconstructed in several tales, partly because they started to become too Mary Sue like themselves. All other characters with Mary Sue traits that are not deconstructions are either Parody Sues, or have some other trait that cancels out their Mary Sue Traits, or otherwise are well written well enough to not be accused of being one.
    • There is also a collection of tales called the lolfoundation canon. It is an alternate reality where several staff of the Foundation gained reality warping powers but now see the world Through the Eyes of Madness. From their own perspective, they are all Mary Sues and everything is awesome and funny and nothing really bad ever happens, but in reality they are unable to perceive any consequences of their actions and those people who can properly perceive reality see them as Mad Gods. When Dr Clef realized what was really going on, but was unable to do anything about it, being a Mary Sue became And I Must Scream for him.
  • Cracked deconstructs Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The Dark Secret Behind Quirky Romantic Comedies shows the implications of the trope if taken to a logical conclusion.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is fond of deconstructing common cartoon character archetypes:
    • Twilight Sparkle resembles a common Smart Girl protagonist, but her intellect and no-nonsense behaviour are exaggerated to the point of being a Super OCD perfectionist prone to mental breakdowns over the smallest slight, meaning she is just as often reliant on her friends' support as being the Only Sane Man to arguments.
    • Rainbow Dash, at first, is the typical blustery tomboy show-off stock for girl's shows. In several episodes though, she's shown to be crippled by fear of failure when stress gets to her, isn't as confident as she projects, and is embarassed for liking nerdy and/or girly things because of her image. A major factor in her Character Development over the seasons is her getting over these problems and mellowing out as a result.
    • Pinkie Pie deconstructs the Plucky Comic Relief by often taking her comedy to genuinely obnoxious and even hurtful levels, and because she is intensely emotionally dependent on people liking her, especially her friends. Any comedian will tell you how dangerously addictive making others laugh can be.
    • The episode "Too Many Pinkie Pies" also deconstructs Pinkie's Fun Personified Genki Girl nature. In order to have more time for fun with her friends, she clones herself. Unfortunately the clones are Flanderised versions of her, with none of her tact or compassion for her friends. The army of clones have no other goal than mindless fun and end up causing havoc and destruction. It shows that a one-dimensional Genki Girl or Fun Personified character would be horrible to deal with in real life, if they don't have the good sense and compassion to counter balance some of their wackier traits.
    • Discord deconstructs the Token Evil Teammate. Though he was a former villain who underwent a Heel–Face Turn, he only went so far as becoming a Wild Card and never actually became good. He was friends with only one of the Mane Six, the others still didn't like him or he them, and he preferred to Troll and annoy them instead of actually helping them when they sought him out in a crisis. In the Season 4 finale, with Discord trusted to capture the new villain Tirek, Tirek instead manipulates him into helping him take over Equestria. Celestia even lampshades they trusted Discord too much and overestimated what The Power of Friendship meant to him. The trope then gets reconstructed as Discord is hit with multiple My God, What Have I Done? moments as Tirek goes on a rampage, and ultimately realizes he does value friendship with the ponies, and makes a heartfelt apology to them.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • It deconstructs Purity Sue with Olga Pataki, Helga's sister. In order to keep your "pretty, intelligent, sweet, absolutely beloved young girl" image, you're likely to end up as a perfectionist, weepy, perpetually smily, dangerously out-of-reality mess who will break down to melodramatic levels the very moment something doesn't seem to fit in such a bubble of perfection, while being almost completely unable to connect with people far more "flawed" than yourself.
    • It also gives us Helga Pataki herself as a deconstruction of the Tsundere trope. She's got a relationship with Arnold that looks on the surface like the typical foundations of a Slap-Slap-Kiss romance, but as we delve a bit farther into her family life we see that, along with her traumatized Purity Sue sister, she has an abusive Jerkass dad and a Lady Drunk mother, neither of which can provide much support in her daily life - if she's lucky. Looking at the show with slightly more jaded eyes, her volatile relationship with Arnold and her few friends become an increasingly obvious cry for help and an awkwardness with dealing with people nonviolently.
  • The Teen Titans Very Special Episode "Troq" deconstructs the Noble Bigot with Val-Yor. He is genuinely heroic, badass, and friendly with the Titans, except he's horribly racist to Starfire, something the other Titans demand he apologize for once they find out. One would think Starfire saving him and the day would turn him around, it turns out racism is not that easily overcome. All it did was make him think Starfire was "one of the good ones", causing the Titans to lose any remaining respect for him. Val-Yor showed that no amount of nobleness would make bigotry acceptable.
  • Many of the characters in The Simpsons started life as deconstructions of sitcom character archetypes. Homer Simpson, the quick-to-anger Bumbling Dad protagonist, is portrayed as an abusive drunk, his Closer to Earth wife Marge is often just one step away from a divorce, his Bad Boss Mr. Burns is a morally bankrupt industrialist who gets away with being such a jerkass because he owns half the town, his unemployed comedy sidekick Barney is a shiftless drunk, his Bratty Half-Pint troublemaker son Bart is a delinquent who's failing his classes, his busybody neighbor Ned Flanders is a Christian fundamentalist who's always butting in because he's trying to "save" him, etc. Given the show's length, many of these deconstructions have become archetypes in their own right.
  • Samurai Jack: Aku is a deconstruction on what it means to be Made of Evil and a Card-Carrying Villain. As part of a malevolent monster that just wanted to destroy the universe, Aku has relatively simple desires, and is very well-known as a back-stabber. This has shown to actually hurt his chances at killing Jack in the long run, as he simply can't stop being evil. One time he actually did try living up to his end of the bargain, and even then, he subconsciously back-stabbed the one he was dealing with, thus showing the folly of being only evil.
  • Steven Universe: The titular character deconstructs the All-Loving Hero. Steven is a kind kid who tries to befriend everyone he meets. However, as the series goes on, his caring philosophy often clashes against the morally complex world around him. Characters like Bismuth and Jasper who show a sympathetic side outright reject and even try to kill him when he extends an arm to them. Eyeball, was simply a bad person and trying to reason with her gave her an opportunity to almost murder him. Navy in "Room for Ruby" exploited his Defeat Means Friendship beliefs in order to steal the Roaming Eye. Episodes like "Mindful Education" and "Storm in the Room" show that his inability to help them weigh heavily on Steven's psyche as his caring worldview has let him down when confronted with these dilemmas. However, even with all of those setbacks the show never says that Steven's wrong to have these beliefs, as characters like Lapis, Peridot, and even the monstrous Cluster were all stopped by him showing them kindness. So long story short, Steven's optimism and willingness to see the best in everyone is one of his best virtues, but it doesn't make him infallible and people are completely willing to take advantage of this when given the chance.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Professor Mystery from 'Lost in Danville' merrily takes apart the 'mysterious villain' archetype. He repeatedly insists that 'mystery is his allure' and refuses to disclose information regarding his plans, devices or backstory. Instead of making him intriguing, this attitude makes him look pathetic. Doofenschmirtz cannot take him seriously or feel threatened by his 'true-purpose-shrouded-in-mystery-inator' since he has no idea what he's trying to do, and his relationship with his Arch-Enemy has suffered the equivalent of a communication breakdown that causes Peter the Panda to cheat on him by thwarting Doofenschmirtz.