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Deconstructor Fleet
"The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before."

Some stories and series seem to go out of their way to subvert as many tropes and deconstruct as many genres as possible, or at the very least take them home and cuddle them and call them 'George'. A Deconstructor Fleet doesn't just use one topic for parody or deconstruction. It sinks its meathooks into any trope it can find and folds and spindles it to shreds. When done well, the overall effect is to create something visibly original. Done badly, it may be seen as a generic Hate Fic, resulting in a small but loyal fanbase loving it and everyone else hating it.

Even people not familiar with TV Tropes will notice how this show is different from others. Many such shows become Trope Makers in their own right. Do not confuse this with Deconstruction, which doesn't invent something new, but criticizes the old. In both cases, however, the ultimate goal of the writers should be to examine a genre or a set of tropes from a new perspective without losing their value as entertainment - not to make the viewer/reader/player feel bad for enjoying straightforward genre fiction. Please remember it's not enough to say that something is a example, it is important to say why it's an example.

The name is a pun on the Vogon Constructor Fleet from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Especially appropriate because the Vogon Constructor Fleet doesn't construct anything - its job is to facilitate hyperspace express routes by blowing up planets that happen to be in the way.

See also Genre-Busting and Postmodernism. Compare Better than a Bare Bulb.

Deconstruction Fic is a specific sub-trope for examples of Fan Fic with a Deconstruction theme or plot. Fan Fic examples go there.


Some of the dramatic vehicles that make up the Deconstructor Fleet:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City deconstructs EVERY SUPERHERO TROPE EVER. It does the Lois Lane, the Mook, the Crisis Crossover, the Anti-hero, the Legacy Character, heck, it deconstructs THE FREAKING JUSTICE SYSTEM. Unique in that it also reconstructs the classic hero as well.
  • The Authority, of superteams in general and the JLA in particular.
  • Planetary (also of the Wildstorm universe) went even further with the "Ironic Darkly Humorous Tongue-In-Cheek Deconstructive Parody of Superheroes" tone of The Authority by taking the same approach with other genres, including Hong-Kong action films, Japanese Giant Monster films, and 1930s pulp adventure.
  • The Boys is a deconstruction of the "Bullpen" mythos that surrounds the superhero comic book industry.
  • Captain Atom is a deconstruction of secret identities, origin stories, retcons, rogues' galleries, Steven Ulysses Perhero, even, arguably, The Good Captain, plus who knows how many other Superhero Tropes.
  • Cerebus gave us the trope name for a reason.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen deconstructs the entirety of fiction and its relation to reality.
  • Miracleman was one of the earliest Deconstructions of the superhero genre, showing the Fascist undertones of the genre, explored the abuse of power, and showed a particularly Gory and destructive superhero battle that was legitimately shocking at the time. Yet it still manages to explore Captain Marvel mythos in a very witty and Tongue-In-Cheek manner.
  • Powers is a major one for at least half the superhero tropes. Taking place through the eyes of two non-powered cops, everything from investigating superhero crimes to tabloid obsession with superheroes to Beware the Superman to what a relationship between a super powered gangster and a mob boss would really be like to how fickle the public can be on things like the Super Registration Act to the stress of keeping a secret identity to immortality are put down on the page without any glamor or glorification.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, at least in the original Eastman and Laird run
  • Watchmen is a deconstruction of the comics that preceded it. It was the comic book that brought in the Dark Age of Comics. You have this to blame for all the Darker and Edgier antiheroes to come out of the 80s and 90s.
  • Star Wars: Legacy takes the original and Star Wars Expanded Universe, cuts it up into little tiny pieces, shuffles them, and glues it back together into a dark twisted reflection of its former self that's hardly recognisable, and yet somehow still manages to capture everything that made the original movies great.
  • See: Grant Morrison's entire oeuvre.
    • Animal Man and Doom Patrol both deconstruct massive numbers of superhero tropes, the superhero genre in general, as well as other tropes and genres that don't necessarily fall under superhero comics' purview. Animal Man gets all metafictional with its deconstruction, while Doom Patrol turns more toward Dada (though it doesn't necessarily qualify as Dada Comics, at least not as currently described.)
    • Having thoroughly deconstructed superheroes (though he certainly wasn't done; see basically everything he's done for DC Comics in the last decade or so), Morrison wrote The Invisibles to deconstruct, well, everything else.
      • Also superheroes again. The titular heroes are set up more like a terrorist cell than a superhero team, but they're also, well, a team made up of a bunch of weirdos and superpowered people.
    • Literally, everything. There's probably more deconstruction happening in a couple given pages of The Invisibles than in most entire comic book series. It touches on action movie tropes, science fiction tropes, it blends together references to a plethora of literature and film, and a single trade volume alone features stories about voodoo, Aztec mythology, and an entire issue about the life of a throwaway henchman who gets shot in the first trade. By the end of the series it even gets around to deconstructing itself (at least, that's probably what it gets around to).
  • TRON: Ghost in the Machine (follow up to Alternate Continuity Tron 2.0) dishes out some deconstruction with a side order of Mind Screw. The comic opens with Jet Bradley going from a promising game designer to hunkering down in his Honorary Uncle's darkened arcade, virulently technophobic with a nasty case of PTSD from all the digital lives he had to take in the course of the game.
    • Oh, that's just the opening scene! It deconsructs the "User as hero" idea when Jet gets put in charge of an army because he absorbs the commander and leads his troops into a bloodbath. The depiction of Alan is "Ron the Death Eater" levels of dark, pulling zero punches about him being a broken, Good Is Not Nice man after the loss of his wife and close friend. It screws with Your Mind Makes It Real all three "Jet" Programs think their version of reality is the "correct" one, and even makes a chilling play with the Brain Uploading / Virtual Ghost aspect of Ma3a.
  • Superior Spider-Man deconstructs a lot of assumptions about Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Especially assumptions made by Peter Parker. Epitomises the 'near universally hated' part of this trope.
    • The Spider-Man franchise has always dabbled in this, mostly through the contrast between The Cape and a Classical Antihero, but also by considering how superhero tropes would affect someone trying to get through school. It's just gotten more and more pronounced over the years. As one editor summarized it, "Peter Parker's life was [miserable], which every teenager could relate to; once he became Spider-Man, Peter's life got even worse."
  • As well as Stupid Jetpack Hitler, Uber deconstructs the common superhero comic depiction of abstract "courage", "will", or "righteousness" as outweighing Super Weight. Go up against a Flying Brick if you aren't one, and you will be rapidly smeared across the landscape.

    Fan Fic 
  • If there is a trope of The Conversion Bureau that has pissed you off and/or confused you, The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum and its various canon side-stories have probably skewered through it. Newfoals as defined by Chatoyance? They're played up as near-lobotomized zombies. The genocidal tendencies of the Conversion Bureau ponies being played as a good thing? In Spectrum, they're portrayed almost like Nazis. The global effects of Equestria appearing in the ocean? Not actually present in the story, but given a long, incredibly Troperiffic monologue about the scientific impossibilities, faithfully reproduced on the fanfic's page and the No Endor Holocaust page. Why are the Equestrians, including Celestia, so misanthropic? They've been corrupted by the Bag of Tirek. How would the presence of the Barrier affect food production and standards of living in the world? Most cities on earth, or at least Rio de Janeiro, turn into Wretched Hives where people even resort to eating newfoals. How was a successful version of the potion created? That's difficult to explain without ruining the Wham Episode, but it's really, really messed up.
  • Spirited Away deconstructs not only a big portion of Harry Potter, but also themes found in other Harry Potter/Danny Phantom crossovers.

    Film 
  • Airplane!- Good luck ever taking a Disaster Movie seriously again. The ironic thing is that the film itself is a remake of an obscure, existing disaster film (1957's Zero Hour!), which was played completely straight and was rewritten to make it a comedy.
  • Blazing Saddles is not only a parody of the Western movie, but a satire on racism and whitewashing.
  • The Cabin in the Woods. On horror movies, especially not with the You Bastard note that it ends on.
  • The John Candy film Delirious deconstructs soap opera plots, and essentially every element of storytelling.
  • Funny Games: A Slasher film with Dangerously Genre Savvy killers who know they're in a film and break the fourth wall to accuse the audience of wanting innocents to suffer for their amusement. The killers are continually disappointed when the family does the more common sense action rather than ratcheting up the tension, and the real violence is only heard, not seen. Ultimately, the killers are the audience. They even change the outcome after the family fights back... with a remote control.
  • Galaxy Quest The entire plot can be summed up in the question "what if the cast of a Star Trek like show got mistaken for the characters they played by an alien race with no concept of lies or fiction and was drafted into leading said race to victory in a war against evil genocidal aliens?
  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Go ahead, try to root for Hannibal Lecter or Dexter after seeing this film.
  • A History of Violence Deconstructs a whole slew of Action Movie cliches. The things the Retired Badass did in his previous life, and the things he is still capable of when pushed, are genuinely scary, making the distinction between Retired Badass and Retired Monster virtually non-exsistent. Our hero is a brutal and efficient killer, morally superior to the villains only because the people he kills are worse. Being publicly hailed as a hero does not improve the hero's life; in fact it attracts unwanted attention from even scarier people. The kid who stands up to the school bully by sinking to his level gets kicked out of school and in trouble with the law. And Love may have once redeemed, but it can't overcome the darker secrets that are brought to light.
  • Hot Fuzz is this for Buddy Cop movies, and shows the mountains of paperwork the characters would have to go through by the end of the film.
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a Black Comedy which averts, subverts, inverts, defies, parodies, and eventually deconstructs more tropes than it plays straight— and it does it marvelously.
  • Last Action Hero attempts to deconstruct action movies and the characters found within. It falls short, but the effort is there.
  • Natural Born Killers deconstructs the relationship between violence, the media and sensationalism, the audience's narrative expectations, and a handful of media formats, such as the wacky sitcom style used for Mallory's background, complete with a Laugh Track while her father molests her and various people are messily murdered.
  • Pleasantville deconstructs 50s idealism and portrayal in media.
  • Woody Allen's The Purple Rose Of Cairo, Deconstructing Harry, Mighty Aphrodite (complete with Greek chorus.)
  • Scream (1996) works entirely by having genre-savvy characters pointing out what ought to happen next, and how to avoid it.
  • Shrek is about an ogre who becomes a reluctant Knight in Shining Armor. The structure is that of a typical save-the-princess fairy tale, but with comedy and dramatic reversal added.
  • The entire Spaghetti Western subgenre is one massive Deconstructor Fleet of its supergenre, The Western. The protagonists often shot first - and last - and were only the "good guys" insofar as they were less sadistic than the villains. See also the following entry.
    • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly deconstructs not only the morality of Westerns, but the dramatic structure they're built on, stripping it down to the bare minimum.
  • Unforgiven is also a massive deconstruction of the Western genre; Clint Eastwood's deconstruction of his own work, in fact. Eastwood spent most of his career, post-Rawhide, deconstructing the Western, before moving on to more genres as his career progressed.
  • Seven Psychopaths, being about writing a screenplay, frequently discusses and lampshades movie tropes. For example, during a scene where Hans has a gun pointed at him:
    Paulo: Put your hands up!
    Hans: No.
    Paulo: What?
    Hans: I said no.
    Paulo: Why not?
    Hans: Because I don't want to.
    Paulo: (beat) ...but I've got a gun.
    Hans: I don't care.
    Paulo: It doesn't make any sense!
    Hans: (laughs) Too bad.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: The subtitle of this movie could just have easily been The Deconstruction Of Kirk. Most of the core traits associated with Kirk and what their consequences in Real Life would probably be are examined and pulled apart. The adventurer who faces a problem on a weekly basis, solves it and promptly forgets it ever happened is suddenly brought face to face with one of those problems from a decade and a half before, and discovers the consequences of his thoughtlessness can be measured by the body count. The suave lady-killer with a girl in every port discovers that one of his conquests (and it's implied that it's the only one he ever truly loved) has resulted in a son he's never known and who hates him. His tendency to play fast and loose with the rules leads to his ship being crippled and a score of dead cadets, all of which could and should have been avoided by simply raising the shields, and his trait of finding novel solutions to intractable problems ends the life of his best friend and trusted right hand. It also shows what happens when you take the dashing, devil-may-care heroic adventurer, let him get old and put him in a desk job: a full-blown mid-life crisis.
    Bones: Dammit, Jim. Other men have birthdays. Why are we treating yours like a funeral?

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The show blends genres with considerable aplomb, lampshades and plays with all the tropes it can get its grubby little hands on, and put a modernized twist on various stories and myths, not to mention deconstructing The Chosen One.
    • In Season 6, the blond girl doesn't die, even after having sex — she instead turns out to be Genre Savvy and an Action Girl and proceeds to kick vampire butt.
    • Season 6 deconstructs what the show is about. The focus is on the Scoobies' foray into the real world and not the whole saving the world plot and being heroes. Only the bad guys care about that.
    • Season 6 also deconstructs the Foe Yay trope by showing just how dysfunctional such a relationship would be if it were ever consumated.
  • The Colbert Report is all about deconstructing and satirizing the Strawman Political (mostly right-wing, but he's not averse to throwing darts at the Left), and many other Politics Tropes fall as well.
  • Community sinks its teeth into zombies, war-films, westerns, spy films, geek-dom, Doctor Who, video-games, Glee, horror... okay, really, anything that's been put into media.
  • Doctor Who has, at various times both deconstructed tropes with wild abandon and later, as a side-effect of Running the Asylum, deconstructed itself and its Fandom. The banally-entitled late '70s story "The Robots of Death" explored the real effects of living in a society with robots as a work force. Wouldn't, for example, Uncanny Valley rear its head? A few years later, writer (later briefly script editor) Douglas Adams had "The Pirate Planet", which explicitly gave the villain some actually specific purpose for his villainy rather than putting it down to some vague "powerlust" or the like. In "The Horns of Nimon", the Doctor's formerly Genre Blind companion notes through word play that the head guys have a "power complex".
    • The new series episode "Midnight" is especially notable. The entire purpose of the episode, except to scare people half to death, is a deconstruction of how people would really react to a weirdo genius knows-too-much alien stranger in a crisis. It... doesn't go well, shall we say.
    • "The Waters Of Mars" essentially deconstructs the Doctor himself and the mythology that the series has built around him. It involves the Doctor holding back death, defying the laws of time and space to save innocent lives and rewrite the history books and generally acting up to titles like the 'Lonely God' that the series has often thrown around about him, doing things similar to what he's done before and which would under other circumstances be presented as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome... except here, the people who would normally amazed, dazzled and charmed by him are freaked out by what he's done and who he is, and his very actions are presented as wrong and indicative of his growing arrogance, indifference and alarming tendencies towards A God Am I Syndrome.
    • Made even more bone-chilling when paired with the revelation of The Forgotten Doctor. The Tenth Doctor was willing to cast aside the mantle of "The Doctor" and become "Time Lord Victorious", and would have if not for Adelaide's suicide. Whatever that man did, he is either what the Tenth would have become if he remained "Time Lord Victorious"...Or far, far worse. It was and wasn't. That "lost" incarnation, The War Doctor, was the one who destroyed Gallifrey
    • Part of what distinguishes the new series from the classic series is the former's serious examination of the Doctor's relationships with his Companions, thriving on showing the dark side that the classic series rarely delved into.
      • Rose's portrayal shows what can happen when a Companion becomes so attached to the Doctor that she no longer knows how to function in "normal" life. When she's forcibly separated from the Doctor in "Doomday", it absolutely devastates her, to the point that she considers herself dead, and believes that her post-Doctor life is meaningless.
      • Sarah Jane's portrayal depicts what happens to a Companion after departing from the TARDIS. In the thirty or so years since, she hasn't been able to reintegrate into normal human society, developed abandonment issues, and spent her free time looking for trouble in order to feel closer to the old days. However, she is reconstructed almost immediately, given closure by the Tenth Doctor and allowed to become a hero in her own right.
      • Martha's portrayal examines the dark side of the Companion's Replacement Goldfish aspect—since, of course, every Companion will always be replaced by a new one due to the show's Long Runner status. She eventually leaves the Doctor of her own free will because she's tired of living in the shadow of the Doctor's previous Companion, Rose, and feels like she's just a substitute for her.
      • Donna's portrayal shows, once again, the dark side of obsession with the Doctor. After just one brief meeting with the Doctor in "The Runaway Bride", her "normal" life feels completely empty, and she wastes an entire year just waiting to see him again, immediately abandoning her family without a second thought when she runs into him.
      • Amy's portrayal shows the detrimental effects that life with the Doctor can have on mundane human relationships. When she finally becomes a Companion after obsessing over the Doctor since childhood, she very nearly abandons her fiance to travel with him. Later episodes even introduce a brief Ship Tease, where we're given good reason to believe that the Doctor is the real father of her child. He's not, but Amy ends up losing her baby because of her adventures with the Doctor.
  • Farscape and Firefly did pretty well to deconstruct the Space Opera, contributing to the drastic (and fairly sudden) shift in tone of Space Operas that happened around 2002-3. The shift was so sudden that Star Trek: Enterprise dramatically shifted mid-series, the third and fourth seasons having a considerably darker, serious, and what would later be recognized as more modern tone.
  • MythBusters is dedicated not only to busting myths and urban legends, but deconstructing tropes.
  • Seinfeld, with its observational humor, intersecting plot-lines, non sympathetic protagonists, and the famous Real Time Chinese Restaurant episode kicked off a revolution. Every Sitcom that came afterwards owes something to it (to the point that the original now sadly seems cliche).
  • Supernatural has occasional bouts of ruthless deconstructionism.
  • The Wire savagely deconstructs Police Procedurals. It's hard to go back to them afterwards.
    • It goes beyond that, after deconstructing police procedurals it goes on to deconstruct your perceptions of most of societies important institutions.
  • Stargate SG-1 had frequent moments of trope deconstruction. See fan-favorite "Window of Opportunity" for how it deconstructs and lampshades the "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • 24 showed how saving the world is made complicated by politics and personal issues. It also showed just how much something like breaking the laws constantly and fighting terrorists take effect on the people who do it, and how torture just doesn't work when the people being tortured are so devoted to their cause, and how the action disturbs anyone who does it. Of course, so many people see it as the opposite, as glorifying it all when it's plainly inverse.
  • Married... with Children, originally to be called 'Not the Cosbys' took on many tropes of family-based sitcoms and turned them on their heads.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 is all about mocking movie cliches.
  • Law & Order deconstructs both the Police Procedural and Law Procedural genres.
  • The Korean Drama First Wives Club deconstructs many Family Tropes as well as Love Tropes and Romance Arcs.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine gradually became one big Deconstruction of Star Trek itself as it went on, bringing to the forefront all the implied-but-never-addressed problems with Gene Roddenberry's Mary Suetopia. Starfleet's reputation as the Lawful Good defenders of freedom and enlightenment was revealed to be nothing but good publicity: like any real-life military organization they know they can't always play by the rules and expect to win, and some of the things they do to ensure the survival of the Federation are at complete odds with the Federation's own high ideals. The Proud Warrior Race that are the Klingons were revealed to be nothing more than a society of violent, glory-obsessed thugs who give plenty of lip service to honor and loyalty but will quickly turn on each other to gain an advantage, and ironically the most honorable Klingon wasn't even raised as one.

    Video Games 
  • Spec Ops: The Line. It sets itself up as a Modern Warfare game, starting with you being part of the search team; but by the second act, has shown its true colors as a deconstruction of more than just modern shooters, but of moral choices systems, But Thou Must, One-Man Army, and ultimately, escapist power-fantasy video games.
    John Konrad: You're here because you wanted to feel like something you're not: a hero.
    • While it's at it, it reserves some pretty harsh criticism for American interventionist foreign policy.
    • The developers stated that people tend to overstate the criticism of American foreign policy in the game. Mostly they wanted to deconstruct the genre.
  • Alan Wake is basically the House of Leaves of video games. It takes as many meta tropes as it can, such as Through the Eyes of Madness, All Just a Dream, Dead All Along, and Transfictionality and takes them apart with every plot twist, so that the player is left guessing which is true until the very end of the game, and probably beyond.
  • The Bard's Tale takes cheery jabs at fantasy games and RPGs, especially the idea of The Chosen One. It turns out there are multiple "Chosen Ones" - because when you tell a young farm boy he's destined to defeat evil and hand him a crappy sword, he tends to rush into the fray and die instantly.
  • BioShock Using Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged as a jumping off point, explores philosophy while deconstructing First Person Shooters, and the tropes common to early 20th Century fiction.
    • The Antagonists of Andrew Ryan and Sofia Lamb deconstruct the idea of the Übermensch, showing how such a person would be at best, a Well-Intentioned Extremist, at worst hypocritical and dogmatic. Ryan is also a composite of John Galt (the Hero of Atlas Shrugged), the Industrial Plutocrats of the time, and Ayn Rand herself. Whereas Frank Fontaine, the real Big Bad of the first game combines the typical Randian villain, with the embodiment of the criticisms of Objectivism.
    • ADAM is a deconstruction of both superpowers and Mundane Utility: the frivolous uses of the substance for plastic surgery, sports, and other mundane purposes left people hopelessly addicted, repulsively disfigured by genetic disorders, and irrevocably insane- thus creating the Splicers that function as the main enemies of the game. The only characters in the game who haven't ended up this way are people who didn't splice (Ryan, Lamb, and Tenembaum), spliced in moderation (Atlas, Sinclair, Poole, Langford and Fontaine prior to the final boss battle), or possessed a natural immunity (The Big Sisters, Eleanor, and apparently the protagonists.)
      • Or they died.
    • The twist of the first game deconstructs Mission Control, showing how FPS = But Thou Must in most cases.
  • Cannon Fodder, which takes the Military and Warfare Tropes page and systematically tears it to pieces.
  • Dragon Age: Origins is a gleeful deconstruction of just about every trope listed on the Standard Fantasy Setting page.
    • Dragon Age II is ultimately a deconstruction of Western RPGs as a whole. There is no single Big Bad to pin the central conflict on, nor is there a third option when the time comes to pick a side. In fact the conflict is sparked by the instigator specifically eliminating all chance of a third option. Hawke is less interested in saving the world than simply trying to keep their family safe and together, but unfortunately the plot has other ideas.
  • Final Fantasy, starting from roughly VI on, has been subtly doing this, poking holes in the concepts of The Chosen One, the characters' dependency on Green Rocks or phlebotinum to solve their problems, cheerful heroes, sullen heroes, Heroic Sacrifices, and so on, all while diving deeply into Genre-Busting waters. Final Fantasy VII is perhaps the most extreme example.
    • Even before that, a common interpretation of Final Fantasy V is that it was meant as a long, but loving, series of jabs and comedic deconstructions at common themes, characters, and plot points in the first four games. The GBA port only amplifies this.
  • Metal Gear Solid as a whole is known for this. The first one deconstructs the original Metal Gear games as well as the Die Hard on an X formula, Sons of Liberty practically deconstructs the entire concept of video gaming itself (See here for more details), and Snake Eater does it for spy thrillers and Bond movies. Hell, the intro music, Snake Eater, sounds like it came straight out of a Bond film.
  • No More Heroes rips into To Be a Master and Gotta Kill Em All plots, showing just what kind of sick, twisted world an equally sick protagonist would actually want to participate in.
  • Planescape: Torment takes aspects of the second edition D&D world and drags them out to their logical extremes. The characters and plot are deliberate aversions of cliches found in most typical fantasy games.
  • Kreia from Knights of the Old Republic II is a one-woman deconstructor fleet, mercilessly breaking down each and every one of your preconceptions of the Star Wars universe. Uniquely for a series normally painted in black and white, Kreia disapproves of your more altruistic actions for reasons other than Stupid Evil; she will point out that raising others above their station cheapens their successes and causes jealousy in others.
    • She also coldy scolds a Dark Side Exile near the end of the game.
    Kreia:"To have the Jedi Masters brought low by such a failure, there is no victory in that. You have not heard a thing I have taught, you have never learned to listen."
  • Shin Megami Tensei - Long before Narutaru did, they had already deconstructed the sheer horror of a world populated by Mons.
  • The biggest appeal of games in the Tales Series is the fact that they glue as many cliches together in the first few hours and then deconstruct them so much that on many occasions sections of the fanbase think that the Big Bad is the real hero. Some specific examples:
    • Tales of Phantasia started the trend. While tame now, back in the day the revelation that the main villain was after a completely understandable, totally reasonable goal—which unfortunately could only be achieved through rather amoral means—was a huge twist.
    • Tales of Symphonia grew famous for being a Deconstructor Fleet; it savagely tears into the concept of The Chosen One as well as the Idiot Hero; Fantastic Racism, while not necessarily "deconstructed", receives a lot of examination. The concept of a Determinator also gets deconstructed, as it's the Big Bad's primary flaw. A lot of effort is put into examining sacrifices and what it means for a person to be a sacrifice.
      • The Chosen One Colette can also be seen as a deconstruction of Purity Sues. She's the daughter of the angel (actually not; everyone just assumed she was, and the angel guiding her just decided to latch onto that to better control her), loved by everyone (until she decides she wants to live instead of sacrificing herself for the sake of the world, causing all of Sylvarant to turn on her) and is kind and selfless to a fault (her attempts at hiding the horrible things her Cruxis Crystal is doing to her body for fear of making everyone worry just makes things worse for herself, and makes the party (especially Lloyd) suffer even more when they do find out.)
    • Tales of the Abyss so totally shatters the notion of prophecy, and the implications future-telling could have on people, both on a societal and individual level. It examines a lot of Cloning tropes as well.
    • Tales of Vesperia takes aim at Protagonist-Centered Morality, especially through the concepts of the Anti-Hero and Vigilante Man. Is a hero who makes decisions without considering the opinions of those whose lives he changes—whether it be ten people or ten million—really a hero?
    • Tales of Graces takes aim at the I Will Wait for You trope, showing the realistic consequences of the trope where Cheria waited seven years for Asbel to return. It also takes what can only be described as a Take That to Final Fantasy's Omnicidal Maniacs, by featuring a Big Bad who is a rather blatant Expy of Jenova and Seymour (that is, said villain wants to destroy the world through global warming because it's full of pain and suffering) by showing how utterly pointless the destruction of all living things is, since nobody - not even the instigator of the said apocalypse - can benefit from it.
  • Several Flash games such as Achievement Unlocked and This Is The Only Level.
  • The premise and plot of Penumbra and Amnesia: The Dark Descent sound like complete Cliche Storms of various horror story tropes, but they actually make mincemeat of them by toying with the player on every occasion and subverting the hell out of every horror trope known to man.
  • Thief cheerfully tears apart every stereotypical "thieves' guild"-related trope remembered from Dungeons & Dragons and also likes to play around with the various factions and creatures inhabiting its Low Fantasy setting. Consider, for instance, that a thieves' guild would be made up exclusively of criminals. Criminals do not obey rules. Of course they're all going to be trying to rip off their fellow thieves! There's a reason Garrett works independent.
  • Would you believe if someone tell you that (some installments of) Touhou is a Deconstructor Fleet? Let us observe...
    • Imperishable Night: Deconstructs Immortality and associated tropes. The immortals have nothing to do, and keep sane by tearing each other to shreds (sometimes literally).
      • The fighting game Scarlet Weather Rhapsody also deconstructs Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence this way, as the main villain is a Celestial, whose parents had ascended. She's bored with all the happiness up there, and descends to cause trouble on Earth.
    • Phantasmagoria of Flower View (sic): Touhou deconstructs itself. Eiki explicitly tell the other characters that they are so going to Hell if they don't change their atrocious behavior. Eiki is a Judge of The Dead.
    • Unidentified Fantastic Object deconstructs itself yet againHumans Are Bastards and the playable characters are Knight Templar.
    • By applying some Fridge Horror to Mystic Square, one way to interpret the plot is to think of it as; "What if Alice actually went to hell?".
  • Yggdra Union pretends to be nice, cutesy, and safely within the range of standard medieval fantasy plots for a little while. Then it rips its mask off and awesomefaces whilst tearing many common plot devices—along with the tried-and-true methods of the Turn-Based Strategy genre—into tiny little bits as it goes. It's been four years since the franchise was launched, and we're still not a hundred percent sure about who the main character is supposed to be.
  • Fire Emblem Tellius does this to Fire Emblem. Setting and Backstory aside, the 9th game (Path of Radiance) pretty much starts off as a Cliché Storm for Fire Emblem games. However, it starts to play with the tropes before the game's over - such as the Nyna/Guinevere figure donning battle armour and joining the fight herself. Radiant Dawn starts off as a deconstruction of the events of Path of Radiance, showing that Begnion is Not So Different in treating their newly acquired country well; and that even Crimea, whose victory in the Mad King War went like a fairy tale for them, was again Not So Different. The country was united during the Mad King War against a common enemy, yet when that was over, things went back to normal with nobles and senators squabbling for power, beginning to doubt whether or not their new queen was truly fit to rule. As put by a Let's Play, Part 2 serves as a very nice deconstruction to the series, showing the realistic consequences of the rightful heir to the throne being kept unknown from the public and emerging to help guide the country during its time of need. Both games also examine the implications of a ruler with a 100% Adoration Rating, specifically what happens when such a ruler is suddenly removed. The moment the people of Begnion had someone to blame for their beloved Empress' death, it ended with the genocide of a race of entirely innocent pacifists.
  • Runescape often has a few parodies in its many quests, but special mention goes to ANY quest written by Mod Ash. Love Story, for example, is a quest where the Big Bad is a lady who hates adventurers who go around doing quests. It turns out she's the deranged ex girlfriend of the guy who's helping you with the quest. A recent quest by Mod Ash has you creating a Cliché Storm quest for a spoiled rich kid, because his dad thinks it will build character. Phillipe rolls his eyes the whole time. This particular quest turns into a Reconstruction at one point: to create final enemies for Phillipe, you disguise some cave wolf pups as dragons. As he easily kills them, the mother attacks, and Phillipe gets a chance to really earn some self respect. Then it turns out the lady who had helped train you back when you started the game had planted the wolf there for that very purpose, saying that you would have saved Phillipe if it got too out of hand.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks light-heartedly pokes fun at a lot of the series' standards; for example, early in the game Zelda refuses to accompany you into a dungeon on the grounds that leaving the dangerous work to the heroes is "family tradition."
  • The Stanley Parable is a deconstruction of several videogame tropes, but it also gets in meaningful analysis of the nature of choice and freedom itself.
  • MadWorld. While the game itself encourages and makes a mechanic of killing people in horrific and creative ways, this is all under the pretense that you're being filmed for a TV show for the rich and corrupt. Actual cutscenes that move the story are much darker and usually revolve around the cast talking about just how horrible the events of the Death Watch games actually are. You could even see the end of the game as Jack's killing of Leo as the writer killing the player for enjoy such a perverse game.
    • It may be more of a deconstruction unit than fleet, but Anarchy Reigns does deconstruct a few tropes, not as many as MadWorld. It deconstructs Lawful Neutral / lawful by Nikolai, one of the more "lawful" people in the game, a horrid Knight Templar who believes that anything that isn't his view of "law" has to go. You have Anti-Hero, where as Jack is simply doing his job, but his past as a killer and his anger at his adopted daughter's death nearly drive him him to the murder of the person he's trying to track down until he is forcibly prevented from committing said murder at the last second. Then Leo, who disobeys his orders and attacks Nikolai before his true colors are shown, also gets in on that a bit. The backstory plays with a few tropes in a more negative light, showing characters who are acting for the greater good, but don't necessarily come off as doing the right thing until the very end of the game. Again, not as many as before, but it does put some focus on a few.
  • Undertale is a gigantic Deconstruction of RPGs in general, as well as Moral Choice systems, and the game really, really lets you know it. Anyone who approaches it with the same sort of mentality of your average RPG will result in the game utterly berating you for your actions, calling you a monster, especially if you kill the final boss in the demo conventionally. Most people will do a second run / a save reload after they see what they have done, and try to put right what they did wrong. The game knows you did this, and will mock you accordingly, talking about your use of save points to rewrite reality. Even if you take the completely pacifist approach, the demo ends with a certain character asking you how long you will keep up the much-trickier act of peacefulness, wondering when your frustration will overcome you.
  • Last Scenario could practically be considered a western Tales game (including the turning of the entire story on it's head at the halfway point.) The Chosen One isn't chosen at all, other than in the sense that the villains found him to be easy to manipulate because of his overly-idealistic nature. The great hero from ancient times who saved the world from demons is all propaganda; in reality, the demons were a race of elf-like people the hero was supposed to exterminate, but ended up siding with. There's a evil kingdom and a good empire (at least, once the corrupt elements are cleaned out,) and battles against both are done with a combination of political intrigue and massive military operations instead of just a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits taking care of everything (though they're still at the forefront of most of the battles.)
  • Antichamber goes far out of its way to defy common sense and never behaves like you would expect. That is, until you get used to all the bizarre twists and it decides to throw a perfectly normal puzzle in front of you. Unless it isn't.

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry - Slice of Life, One dark secret (caused by a Hate Plague) and everything will get worse, far worse. There is one Downer Ending that is caused if you ignore the dark secrets to get life back to normal.
  • Umineko: When They Cry deconstructs the mystery genre in general and the fantasy genre, since it's implied later in the series that the magical beings aren't actually real, as well as tropes like Incorruptible Pure Pureness, The Power of Love and Hostile Show Takeover. The character Erika Furudo is a walking deconstruction of Great Detective, Genre Savvy and Self-Insert Fic all at once. It's also a deconstruction of Higurashi to an extent, since it subverts many tropes that its predecessor played straight. Generally, just take a sip every time you read the word "subverted" on the trope page.
  • Fate/stay night can be described as one huge deconstruction of The Cape and The Paladin style characters and the many stories and typical tropes associated with them. The first route, while playing much of it fairly straight, points out the insane sacrifices of their own happiness and the insane limits that such characters have to constantly push themselves to if they aspire to follow their "Nothing but Everybody Lives is acceptable"-policy. The second route points out these issues even more while adding the futility of it all, but also gives reasons for why one would still wish to follow such a path, while the third route illustrates why one might want to give up following such a lifestyle and try to find personal happiness instead.
  • As an explicit design goal, Katawa Shoujo deconstructs essentially everything and still manages to be an unbeat tale about true love. Goal achieved.
  • Think you're Genre Savvy with Danganronpa? Super Dangan Ronpa 2's has similarities with the first game's plots and characters, just to surprise you more when it subverts them.

    Web Comics 
  • Skin Horse: a deconstruction of everything from mad science to social work and 70's Blaxploitation movies.
  • The Order of the Stick plays mercilessly with both Dungeons and Dragons tropes, and storytelling tropes in general. Most notably, it's hung enough lampshades to decorate a lightbulb factory. Including hanging a lampshade on hanging lampshades.
    • For a few more examples, it has Zig Zagged with several parts of the Character Alignment trope. The Lawful Stupid character isn't stupid in any conventional sense, and actually is good (at least, until she goes crazy), and yet, she's an antagonist. The Lawful Evil Overlord is definitely evil, and yet seems like he'll be helpful overall to the protagonists. The Always Chaotic Evil goblins have a perfectly good reason built into the fabric of the universe to be evil... but there's no question that they are evil. Finally, it also deconstructs typical player behavior/campaign focus with a Chaotic Evil party member, who says early on "I figured we'd just wander around, kill some sentient creatures because they had green skin and fangs and we don't, and then take their stuff."
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Far Side's evil twin. It has probably destroyed everything you know and love at some point.
  • Schlock Mercenary
  • MS Paint Adventures is Andrew Hussie's deconstructive love letter to a multitude of series, genres and tropes, including itself. Homestuck in particular seems to be principally founded as a deconstruction of the standard "kids go on an adventure in another world" plot prevalent in pretty much every medium ever, with parts of it deconstructing, among many other things, various Time Travel Tropes with a heavy emphasis on You Can't Fight Fate - the constant stresses of trying to keep in time with the Stable Time Loops, on pain of piles of his own corpse piling up, quickly gets to the normally-unflappable Dave -, and of the standard Mary Sue tropes - how Vriska tries to present herself, in contrast to her true nature. Also, sometimes Hussie himself seems to be aiming to deconstruct the audience-creator relationship.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Most modern American animated sitcoms will tend to ruthlessly deconstruct everything it touches. Examples of these kinds of shows includes:
  • Any cartoon Steven Spielberg produced:
  • Dave the Barbarian, while going back to Toon Disney's roots.
  • Invader Zim, takes apart so many Sci-Fi and Horror tropes it's difficult to know where to begin.
  • The Venture Bros., perhaps more so than any other example on this page. It has to be - it is a parody of shows with goody-goody adventuring teens and infallible superheroes. For example, Jonny Quest, the series' main parody, depicts him as a paranoid drug addict as a direct response to being a boy adventurer and hauled off to dangerous countries and nearly killed countless times. The Scooby-Doo gang are overexaggerated, with Shaggy being a useless, psychotic hippy, Daphne genuinely, completely useless, Velma as real life Straw Feminist Valerie Solanas, and Fred as a dumb, useless jock. The Million Dollar Man is depicted as a slave to his job, as his government pay is very low, compared to his debt.
    • While the first two seasons are shown to bring the bulldozers and wrecking balls to the Johnny Quest boy and Bob Morane adventuring tropes, season three moving forward shows real effort reconstructing the characters into better, less dysfunctional people. Unless it's funnier of course.
  • The Boondocks combines sitcom trope deconstruction with racial and social trope deconstruction.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated deconstructs just about every one of the franchise's most iconic tropes.
  • Along the same lines as the Scooby-Doo example above is Transformers Prime, which takes a grittier spin on the Transformers series. It goes out of it's way to remind you that these aren't just a bunch of goofy robots with no minds, they're actual, sentient living beings and their in a constant brutal war with each other. Each generic robot you see get shot, is a living being who probably had a family and life of their own.
    • Beast Wars was a similar case, though only because they didn't have the budget. However, deaths were mostly permanent, and the Maximals were neither dumb nor generic goody two-shoes. Also, the Predacons occasionally won.
  • Archer goes through cold-war spy tropes like adamantium claws through butter.
  • AdventureTime, with its awkward continuity and harsh undertones, tends to deconstruct not only the classic, Status Quo Is God trope by showing the consequences of decisions, but also of the hero's journey.
    • Finn is flawed and emotionally complex for a kid, and endures severe forms of guilt and helplessness as the series progresses. Whereas most cartoon shows express a child-hero as emotionally invulnerable and better by the next show (given s/he has endured some form of emotional trauma), Adventure Time gives us a more realistic portrait of what happens to a child who quite frequently has the pressure of saving another human's life or even the world for that matter.
    • Princess Bubblegum starts off as a classic Damsel in Distress, but is slowly revealed to perform questionable deeds, mostly involving her shady experiments. Her attitude towards Finn, while benevolent, leans toward demeaning and borderline ungrateful. By delving deeper into her character, we find out that the love interest is not always perfect, and that the hero doesn't always get the girl.
    • Ice King is a major deconstruction of antagonists. Initially, he is supposed to be a run-of-the-mill bad guy. As his layers unfold, however, the show brings to light an antagonist's own inner conflicts, past experiences, and even brings up the question of evil vs crazy, in which the "bad guy" is not necessarily "bad," but... well, screwed up.
  • YoungJustice is a harsh deconstruction of the Kid Hero and shows the psychological effects of what could happen when one or more is in a never ending battle with a group of villains who isn't afraid to kill the heroes or those they care about. That and fighting super-villains isn't all fun and games. Also the concept of good guys vs bad guys gradually becomes unclear as the heroes themselves would face situations where they have to do what they have to do to to defeat The Light.
  • Frozen is one big deconstruction of classic fairy tale Tropes, including some of Disney's own. One of the heroines believes in Love at First Sight. She promptly falls prey to an opportunistic borderline-sociopath who only cares about the political power a marriage with her will get him, and is more than willing to toss her aside once she outlives her usefulness. The mysterious magic-wielding monsters are more incompetent than malicious, with the best of intentions but not really thinking things through. The dark sorceress who lives alone in the wild and creates monsters to keep others away doesn't have full control over her own power and lives by herself because she doesn't want to hurt anyone. And while the Power of Love saves the day in the end, it's not Romantic Love, but the familial love between two sisters.

    Real Life 

... and all of the examples from Trapped in TV Land.
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