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 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. Read Not a Deconstruction to further your understanding of these tropes.

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

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Berserk portrays a High Fantasy world where kingdoms are constantly at war and things like demons, magic and gods are real. The results are horrifying.
  • Bokurano - Just because a cosmic entity grants children gigantic mecha to pilot doesn't mean they'll necessarily use those mechs for the sake of good.
  • Detective Conan upon closer inspection deconstructs all sorts of genres through the backstories of the people involved in the cases. It ranges from whodunit murder mysteries to convuluted soap operas or even romantic comedies. One case about a ripped up baseball penant seems like something out of a sports underdog story.
  • Chihiro Kagachi And The Bogeymen is a parody of both Japanese and American culture in its entirety, and it frequently deconstructs many genres of fiction within filler episodes.
  • Code Geass shows what happens when characters from a high school anime with their angst, idealism and silly crushes get involved in a Mobile Suit Gundam setting.
  • Darker Than Black - Does its best to play with as many superpower tropes as it can, and often deconstructs them. For starters: Required Secondary Powers is either often exploited, or forgotten about, resulting in the deaths of many characters.
  • Digimon Tamers is another Mons deconstruction. Remember the first two seasons? They're all fake, nothing more than a kids TV show and merchandise franchise. This Is Reality. The show explores how much damage real Mons could potentially cause to a cityscape, the consequences of endlessly trying to make your mon stronger (both for the mon and the Tamer), and the psychological problems that could result from being too attached to your mon.
  • Excel Saga - Technically it is a satire mocking the Japanese recession, but every little thing, no matter how mundane or boring, is depicted as totally awesome. The anime meanwhile, parodies a different movie or television genre each episode.
  • Fate/Zero, following the example of its predecessor, deconstructs heroism tropes, this time especially the concept of the I Did What I Had to Do The Needs of the Many-style Anti-Hero and the Well-Intentioned Extremist, as well as some interesting and bizarre musings on the notion of being the villain of a story.
  • FLCL, but Played for Laughs and Mind Screws.
  • Gantz - The author himself said that he laid out to subvert as many tropes as possible with the series. One might argue the prime example here is First-Person Shooter, as in being inside a First-Person Shooter would be horrible.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler subverts, averts, deconstructs, and stealth parodies Harem Genre tropes as much as possible.
  • It's not that Hunter × Hunter doesn't stand on its own as a shonen fighting manga, but especially once you get into the ant arc it becomes hard to ignore that Togashi wants to deconstruct shonen manga, its villains, and the Idiot Hero.
    • Specifically, the Idiot Hero and his frequent form of Cloud Cuckoolander instinctive ethics. Gon verges on Blue and Orange Morality sometimes, but it's just the kind of thing Incorruptible Pure Pureness frequently invokes, carried just far enough to be slightly creepy.
    • Gon Freecs (said hero) is designed in tribute to Son Goku in several ways; there is a reason Gon catches a giant fish as his first act.
      • And then of course he recently sacrificed his life to turn into a huge muscle-guy with endless hair in order to destroy Nefelpitou for destroying the mentor Gon wasn't strong enough or old enough to was horrifying as hell, but a little bit funny, too. Because look, it's grown-up Goku Up to Eleven.
      • The situation with Pitou that he's avenging is also a deconstruction of the way a villain's threat level and a hero's growth are often shown by giving them a Curb-Stomp Battle the hero barely walks away from, and then turning the tables the next time. Because just surviving doesn't mean there aren't consequences for weakness. (Not that Togashi hasn't used the trope. Although at least once with Sensui it was slightly subverted by the death thing.) It's also a deconstruction of how the typical revenge arc plays out. Normally the audience is rooting for the hero to get back at the person who wronged them in an epic showdown, but Neferpitou is utterly helpless and Gon beats him in such a relentlessly savage manner that you not only feel sorry for the murderous villain, but also deeply disturbed by the protagonist's obsession with vengeance and the lengths he goes to in order to achieve it. Gon's wrath is absolutely terrifying to behold and his desire to avenge Kite pushes him well beyond his mental and physical limit. He has so much pent up rage towards Pitou that it makes him more than a little unhinged during the latter half of the arc.
    • Five-Man Band dynamics also played straight and deconstructed. Interesting because Gon, Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio map onto the team from Togashi's first big series.
    • Kuroro Lucifer is weird. Hisoka does not belong in children's comics. And Meruem is an attempt to be psychologically realistic about a cosmic-level entity born full-grown to devour humans and conquer the world.
  • Heaven's Lost Property mostly pokes fun at many harem tropes and tropes such as Messianic Archetype. One standout case however is Chaos who is walking deconstruction of What Is This Thing You Call Love?, and unlike the rest it is not played for laughs. She shows what happens when you try to teach someone love who literally doesn't have any understanding of the concept and stuff such as Love Hurts are taken frighteningly literally.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor - Space Opera, completely Played for Laughs.
  • Key the Metal Idol - One of the first truly brilliant Anime Mind Screws, it also sinks its teeth into numerous works and tropes of fiction, including Pinocchio/ Become a Real Boy, Mini-Mecha, Real Mecha, Super Mecha, Eccentric Mentor, Idol Singer, and Magical Girl, in addition to subverting and deconstructing Emotionless Girl and Robot Girl.
  • Kokoro Connect disassembles every aspect of Slice of Life high-school romance it can think of, "Freaky Friday" Flip and similar Magical Realism tropes, and even the very concept of entertaining the audience.
  • Haruka Kotoura of Kotoura-san could have been a classic Moe protagonist and is one deep down. The problem is that her Telepathy cannot be turned off so she's unable to distinguish between speech and thought. In her backstory, she grew up in a society where Tatemae is a commonplace concept. It did not end well forF her at all. As a result, many of her major character tropes are either Deconstructed, Played for Drama, or they are simply cynical in nature.
  • Is This a Zombie? is very much not your normal magical girl series.
  • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force take some Reality Ensues. Since the antagonists are adults and choose their own path, this series deconstructs some concepts of entire Nanoha franchise, especially the mainstay Defeat Means Friendship. As usual, the heroes always use the usual friendly approach to the villains, but the villains use the advantage to get away with things, leading to more stubbornness and aggression for the villains or even running away. In an example of Tropes Are Not Good, these changes were almost universally hated by the fandom, resulting in the series being put on indefinite hiatus and relegated to Fanon Discontinuity.
  • Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi - The whole frickin' point is basically to deconstruct a genre per episode. And then, halfway through, it shift gears and begins to deconstruct itself.
  • Medaka Box has pretty much become this. Taking shonen tropes (especially those found in Shonen Jump) to Up to Eleven while also showing issues that come with the characters having such off the wall powers, and even deconstructs the concepts of the God-Mode Sue and Invincible Hero.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam deconstructs the then-prevailing Mecha trend of overpowered Super Robots, thus creating the Real Robot genre.
    • Mobile Suit Victory Gundam deconstructs the rest of the franchise's Universal Century side, given that it was produced during Tomino's emotional lowest point against Sunrise's endless Executive Meddling. It tells everything buried deep in Tomino's mind about the commercial reality in the anime industries.
    • The Universal Century in general is itself a deconstruction of the sort of ideas, tropes and lofty aspirations that inspire the likes of Star Trek, which is further highlighted by works like Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. If there are strange new worlds to see, expect them to have a lot of the same problems we deal with on Earth. And expect humanity to bring its conflicts, bloodshed and hubris to the stars.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 deconstructs the rest of the Gundam franchise. It even has the voice actor of the original hero play the Big Bad.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE - Deconstructs the minds set of the Kid Hero of the first generation, does he believe in achieving peace to both sides. Nope, he considers the Vagan as irredeemable monsters no matter what, and he holds this belief throughout his life, and not even his son and grandson can change his mind on that. At least not until the last minute.
  • Narutaru - You will never look at Mons the same way again.
  • Naruto - Deconstructs Idiot Hero (Naruto isn't an idiot, he just act like one because that's the only way he can get a brief moment of attention, and it's a defense mechanism against his depression), Messianic Archetype (Nagato via what happens when the universe goes out of its way to treat said archtype like crap), Cosmic Plaything (out of four examples, all but Naruto have snapped somehow as a result and even then Naruto barely avoided snapping), All Girls Want Bad Boys (Sasuke), No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (Kakashi suffered some major trauma as a result of what happened to his father), and revenge tropes in general (especially Sasuke).
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion - Originally conceived as a deconstruction of the robot side of the Super Robot genre, the second half of the series (and the movies) become a psychological evaluation of the so-called "Hotshot Pilot", showing how fucked up they can be as far as wallowing in angst (a side effect of the show's creator going into therapy around the time the show began production). The show's original finale itself takes several swipes at the show's fanbase, in particular targeting those who only cared about which girl Shinji would end up with.
  • Ouran High School Host Club - Joyfully mocks the reverse-harem shoujo genre it often falls straight into.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica - While being selfish in most Magical Girl shows makes you the villain or the Alpha Bitch, using your wish to help others might lead to them to question everything, unknowingly take your help and forget you, or cause their suffering to build over multiple timelines. And you get to have all the fun of watching it happen and knowing you caused it.
    • The show calls attention to the fact that these untrained, unprepared youths are liable to actually die in their fights with the Witches, as well as the psychological damage it entails.
    • Rebellion, the series' sequel, also attacks its fair share of tropes. Most prominently, how disturbing would it actually be to love only one person, to the exclusion of all other relationships? Rebellion also features the portrayal of the characters in a more standard magical girl setting, with one of them realizing that it's not what their setting is actually like.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena - "Love is a battlefield" as a literal concept is common in Magical Girl, but most tend to forget that love, and especially young love, is inextricably linked with sexuality (and explorations thereof) and uncertain and non-absolute infatuations, often unrequited or with those with whom such a pairing would be socially unacceptable. And that's not even getting into RGU's regular savaging of traditional gender roles.
  • Rosario + Vampire - No, seriously. In recent years Ikeda has taken it upon himself to ask what sort of background the girls in an Unwanted Harem might have come from, and to highlight the impact of being the Romantic Runner-Up in such a relationship. It also shows how dangerous it is to be The Team Normal and the possible adverse physical and psychological effects of an Emergency Transformation. Not to mention Kahlua shows just how messed up being a Punch Clock Villain can make you.
  • Rurouni Kenshin - Deconstructs many aspects of the Wandering Samurai note  found in the Jidai Geki genre.
  • Saikano: So your shy, timid girlfriend turned out to have actually been a secret government human superweapon all along? Expect suffering, my friend. Lots and lots and lots of it.
  • School Days, like the game it was based on, takes the harem solution in lots of dating series to an honest-to-god realistic ending.
  • School Rumble deconstructs 2 genres by putting a Shonen hero in a Shojo setting.
  • Shiki to vampire fiction. Starts out as a regular undead invade village, heroic vampire hunter fights them off. By the end, we're all left wondering who the real monsters are.
  • Star Driver thrives on this. A great deal of the generic anime tropes used throughout the anime are Turned Up to Eleven and played with massively to the point they feel totally new.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross - See its entry under Deconstruction for details.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya - What do you mean "we should stay in one genre?" If we did that, Kyon wouldn't get to snark at them!
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann eats this trope, among others, for breakfast. At the very least, it played the trope straight by deconstructing the Giant Robot genre. Some hypotheses suggest that the first arc is based on 70s giant robot anime (roaming around having episodic Monster of the Week adventures), the second is the 80s (moving toward a Big Bad and beating his subordinates along the way), the third arc transitions into the 90s (a much more cynical setting that looks very similar to something else by the same studio), and the final arc is intended to invert this trope by reconstruct everything into something new. Along the way, it examines how the Hot-Blooded type was treated in each of those. Among other things.
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle - Deconstructs ITSELF, its second half deconstructing its first half.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX - Especially the original series' heroes' use of Defeat Means Friendship (which the Big Bad's Cult uses in Season 2). And just look at what happens to its typical Idiot Hero-Invincible Hero protagonist in season 3.
    • It doesn't just deconstruct tropes, it also deconstructs aspects of the game itself; Judai's duel with Kagurazuka takes a stab at showing the flaws in the Possession Equals Mastery theory of netdecking, and a central theme in the anime is over which side of the “Stop Having Fun” Guys debate is right.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V takes the deconstruction even further, to cite certain (but certainly not all) examples:
    • In the first episode, Yuya's pendant spontaneously creates Pendulum Monsters and uses them to win. However, the audience calls him a cheater for having fake cards or at the very least cards nobody else has, and an early plot point is people either trying to steal Yuya's new cards or trying to develop their own Pendulum Monsters.
    • Yuya's missing dad causes him very major issues in contrast to past protagonists.
    • The fact that the heroes are essentially Child Soldiers is not sugar-coated in any way, and the series explores the mental damage that would result from being in their situation, namely through Sora, Kurosaki, Yuto and the Obelisk force. Especially Reira, who was already utterly broken by his upbringing in a war-torn country.
    • The Super-Powered Evil Side demonstrated by Yuya and his alternate dimension counterparts is very much portrayed as horrific.
    • The Solid Vision is used by the villains, who are, aside from being from a parallel world, normal people, to turn Duel Monsters into weapons of war. Episode 34 demonstrates this by having Revolution Falcon do a bombing run and raze the entire field. Instead of having all humans be either 100% redeemable and/or heavily manipulated by an Eldritch Abomination, Humans Are the Real Monsters.
    • The Synchro Dimension arc is chock-full of Deconstuctions of 5Ds For one, the class divide still exists, and not only is it much more brutal, but the Zero Reverse isn't present to justify it. Instead, the people of the city have a culture and belief system that supports the insanity and even encourages the poor to mock people who fail to bring themselves up. Also, Security is very much a No-Nonsense Nemesis, utilizing decks full of monsters with Goyo Guardian's effect and not ceasing pursuit if they lose, making the duel a mostly a formality.
    • The Duels Decide Everything trope, core to the Yugioh franchise, also gets deconstructed. Namely, after the Lancers managed to get away when they attempted to duel them the first time, the next time they attempt to catch them, they don't make any attempts to duel them, instead detaining them through force and sheer numbers alone. Furthermore, when the Lancers are breaking out of prison, they don't bother with duels and instead have their monsters physically restrain their opponents.
    • Yuya's All-Loving Hero attitude only has any effect when his opponents are genuinely well-meaning, and it gets easily smashed when he can't handle the stress he's under.
    • The Jerk with a Heart of Gold trope is deconstructed through Jack. Though this version is genuinely well-meaning, a lot of people think he's a sellout because he never shows the public his true goals and motivations. His attempts to encourage a young duelist to become better by giving Sam a card that has deep personal significance make Sam think the gift is an insult, as he doesn't know about the emotional value and the card itself is pretty weak (unless your deck uses specific archetypes, some of which do not exist in Sam's dimension).
    • Reira deconstructs the Tagalong Kid trope, since when first faced with combat he's terrified and runs away.
    • The Shonen trope of building a team of teenage fighters and throwing them into combat is deconstructed through the Lancers, who aren't trained to work together and have different goals and motivations, meaning they quickly fall apart and interfere in each other's activities.
    • Defeat Means Friendship, a common staple of the Yugioh franchise, is either exploited by antagonists, or painfully averted or subverted in all but three of the protagonists' duels. These three duels all provide a solid reason why the trope is played straight, and said reason has more to do with the opponent's pre-existing personality and experiences than it does with Yuya himself; making Yuya less of a Warrior Therapist and more like the catalyst his opponents needed to set off their own Character Development.

    Comic Books 
  • Transformers Last Stand Of The Wreckers absolutely tears apart the Transformers series and the various tropes associated with it and kids series like it. In particular it rips Black and White Morality, Ascended Fanboy, Never Say "Die", Affably Evil, Anti-Hero, War Is Glorious, and Thou Shall Not Kill up from the roots to show how horrifying many clichés of the Saturday morning cartoon would be in real life.
    • It also uses extremely graphic violence to show how horrific war between Transformers would be, not to mention subvert the common trick of using robots to sneak Family-Unfriendly Violence past censors. Robots getting smashed up isn't so harmless and kid friendly when said robots are living sentient beings who express terror and pain with gut-wrenching detail.
  • 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, Über deconstructs the common superhero comic depiction of abstract "courage", "will", or "righteousness" as outweighing Super Weight. Go up against a Super Soldier who outclasses you, and you will be rapidly smeared across the landscape.

    Fan Fic 

    Film - Animated 
  • 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.
  • The Incredibles is a deconstruction of both superhero tropes (for example, much of the story being kicked off and motivated by a severe lapsing of Hero Insurance), and mid 20th century family sitcom tropes.
  • 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.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • 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. The Serial Killer Villain Protagonist is much closer to a Real Life one than either of those characters, not being some Affably Evil supergenius villain who at least manages to look cool, but an unintelligent thug whose utter psychopathy and heinous deeds is chilling to watch.
  • 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-existent. 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.
  • 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?
  • The Dark Knight Saga is a Deconstruction of Batman. Bruce Wayne's vigilantism inspires copycats who do more harm than good, and while it leads to a decline in common crime and the power of organized crime families, it also sets the stage for the emergence of a scarier, crazier breed of criminal. The attempts to honor Harvey Dent's memory and usher in a peace in his name only lead to more draconian laws and suspensions of civil liberties in the name of justice. And, of course, we see just how emotionally and physically damaging being Batman is for Bruce, and just how unhealthy the desire to be a superhero really is.

  • House of Leaves is a literal Deconstruction of the horror genre, in that it is based on the postmodernist philosophy of Deconstructionism. Arguably, it is a deconstruction of literature itself, and with Only Revolutions it's a bit less arguable.
  • Nabokov's Pale Fire deconstructs and mocks literary criticism, cantos poetry, Soviet spy stories, and the narrative structure itself.
  • Voltaire's Candide, a vicious satire of the Tastes Like Diabetes optimism that was so popular at the time.
    • Terry Southern's Candy is a deconstruction of Candide. It's more obvious in the novel than the film.
  • The Canterbury Tales is a meticulous parody of things such as morality plays and chivalric lessons. It is also older than Don Quixote.
    • Especially Chaucer's first story, where he can't decide which stereotypical villain to use—a giant or a Saracen—so he makes the bad guy a giant Saracen.
  • Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear's A Companion to Wolves does this to the Animal Companion genre with their Manly Gay wolf bondmates.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld. It starts out as a fairly straightforward parody of heroic fantasy and evolves into something more complex, subtle, and deconstructive that takes precise aim at nearly everything.
  • The Dresden Files, which has an entire cast of Genre Savvy people, a smartass narrator, and a general love of all things tropey.
  • Frank Herbert's Dune, which took John Carter of Mars and Lensman and imagined what it would be like if the settings of said space operas (a) obeyed real physical laws, (b) were populated by grown-ups, and (c), were based on/influenced by non-western societies.
    • As he put it "I am showing you the superhero syndrome and your own participation in it."
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh had been The Hero in stories for at least one thousand years before the Epic. The Epic revises those stories and adds new material to make him into The Caligula – and then for good measure it makes the gods (especially Ishtar/Inanna) into Jerkass Gods. The ancient Babylonians were masters of postmodernism. Postmodernism and flaying.
  • Anything by Thomas Pynchon, with Gravitys Rainbow being probably the most famous example.
  • Great Expectations, deconstructing all its author's work up to that point
  • Gullivers Travels was a satire on... well, everything. From the then-current craze for published accounts of fabulous discoveries in the South Seas (to the point where almost any outlandish or impossible tale of discovery would be avidly devoured), to trends in science, philosophy and politics.
  • Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and its original radio version, TV, video game and movie adaptations, as well. Of course, there's also a literal Deconstructor Fleet—yhe Vogons.
  • Brandon Sanderson wrote Mistborn: The Original Trilogy as a deconstruction of a number of prominent high fantasy tropes. Word of God indicates that Sanderson was aiming at deconstructing the Evil Overlord, Chosen One prophecies, and The Hero in particular, but there are countless other examples as well.
  • The Princess Bride—Along with its theatrical adaptation, this story is possibly one of the most well-known deconstructions of classic fantasy tropes.
  • The Reynard Cycle is a deconstruction of the Loveable Rogue trope. By the end of the third novel, the rascally Reynard has morphed into a full blown Big Bad. And he did it all for love.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Owing to being mostly inspired by historical fiction, the series is a deconstruction of most of medieval fantasy, and shows what a world is like when a bunch of heavily armed and ambitious assholes with a lifetime of privilege can go about doing whatever they want. A more complete list can be seen here. Examples include:
    • The first book in particular has an honorable, law-abiding nobleman and his proper, ladylike daughter who just can't wait to marry the prince and begin popping out kids as the naïve newcomers at the Deadly Decadent Court. The first one gets a totally undeserved Humiliation Conga where he is forced to confess a treason he didn't really commit, then stripped of his lands and titles, then beheaded with his own sword and has his head put on a pike; while the princess basically gets the ultimate Break the Cutie narrative, ending up as a hostage kept to hold her vengeful family at bay.
    • Tyrion's status as a (filthy rich) human with dwarfism seems a clear jab at the ubiquitous Tolkienian dwarves in the Epic Fantasy genre, even though Martin had already experimented with a similar character in previous books. Even his use of an axe in combat is explained because of his physical limitations making him unable to swing a sword properly. When Tyrion is deprived of his wealth and noble status, he gets much Angst from a Crapsack World that only sees him as a circus freak.
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall realistically and painfully deconstructs All Girls Want Bad Boys and related tropes that feature prominently in works such as Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, written by the author's sisters.
  • Don Quixote not only deconstructs the Chivalric Romance genre, but applies Genre Deconstruction to the next genres: Romance Novel, (May-December Romance, Fille Fatale), the Arcadia, Secret Test of Character, Sweet Polly Oliver, Gentleman Thief literature, the Deadpan Snarker, (and all kind of snarkers). It also has UnbuiltTropes like Straw Fan, Lord Error-Prone, Mad Dreamer, Cut Lex Luthor a Check and Book Burning… and given its status as the first modern novel, it’s full of Postmodernism.
  • Wuthering Heights is a huge deconstruction of the "guy comes back to wreak vengeance on everyone who oppressed him" genre, but most people only remember its romance aspect.
  • William Thackeray specializes in deconstructing and satirizing English society.
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn deconstructs, parodies and exposes everything people of the time thought they knew about Antebellum America.
  • Animorphs deconstructs the Kid Hero trope. The Animorphs are a group of kids who Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World, and are facing an enemy who are a dedicated invading army, and in order to fight them, they have to forgo their classes in order to focus on saving the world. Along the way they make some morally questionable choices, and do stuff out of sheer desperation against overwhelming odds. By the end of the books the heroes all suffer from PTSD with their school and social life wrecked.
  • The "Vows and Honor" novels from the Heralds of Valdemar setting by Mercedes Lackey is a deliberate inversion of the classic sword-and-sorcery tropes, and even inversions of some of the more common aversions. The titular duo are indeed a pairing of a barbarian warrior and an aristocratic mage—except that they're both women. Who then, in defiance of the Ho Yay, are respectively celibate due to religious vows and looking for a husband. And the barbarian is actually more well-read on academic topics than the mage. And she's also richer than the mage (she's the heir of all the assets of her vanished tribe, which puts her well up on the mostly-disowned noblewoman from the impoverished family). And while there is a powerful and mystic sword it belongs to the sorceress, not the warrior. And the powerful and exotic intelligent familiar bonded to the warrior, not the sorceress (specifically on the grounds that 'You've already got that sword to look out for you, and she doesn't have anything.') And the barbarian's favorite hobby is babysitting. And while the traditional quest object for a sword-and-sorcery duo is glory, both heroines are actually running away from the one bard actually interested in glorifying their adventures in immortal prose — because he keeps spreading the (false!) impression that they're happy to work for free, when they're actually trying to save up enough cash for a retirement fund. Which by itself is not a usual goal for sword-and-sorcery protagonists. And the list goes on and on.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien does this in "Farmer Giles of Ham", where he gleefully skewers all the When Knighthood Was In Flower, glamorized mediaeval-romantic concepts and folklore, his co-workers on the Oxford English Dictionary and his own career.

    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 consummated.
  • 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, geekdom, 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 "Doomsday", 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 fiancé 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.
      • Clara's portrayal shows the effects of the power that comes from being the Doctor's Morality Pet - it alternatively horrifies her ("Kill The Moon") or corrupts her ("Flatline"). Sometimes traveling with the Doctor is even treated as an addiction, especially in "Last Christmas".
  • 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. That said, their method of testing is usually to assume the myth/trope is true and to work from that end, which is why there are quite a few that end up as "plausible" or even "confirmed"—the "busted" ones are the ones they couldn't get to work.
  • 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. It rips apart the ideas of perfect heroes, perfect angels, always chaotic evil demons, pretty little headshots, and sometimes, with great aplomb, slashfick, fandoms, and internet trolls. Meta doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • 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.
    • One of the reasons that Omar Little is such a popular character is that he's essentially a living deconstruction of every Action Hero trope that you've ever seen, yet still manages to be memorably Badass in his own way.
      • Instead of being an invincible One-Man Army, he comes out on top because he meticulously plans his every move, and he knows how to exploit fear and intimidation as well as any gangster.
      • While he is a walking paragon of classic masculinity, he's Manly Gay, but defiantly refuses to stay in the closet (despite living in the virulently homophobic inner-city of Baltimore).
      • Instead of being an idealistic crusader, he's a cynical, nihilistic thug who rips off drug dealers for the simple thrill of it, and he receives several well-deserved What the Hell, Hero? speeches from the police, who point out that his violent actions harm the city just as much as the drug war does.
      • Though he tries to wage a one-man war on Baltimore's gangs as a Vigilante Man, his efforts often frustrate the efforts of police officers to stop criminals the old-fashioned way (as seen in Season 1, when he murders Stinkum to avenge his lover Brandon, preventing the police from using Stinkum as a link to Avon).
      • He tries to pull off a classic Roaring Rampage of Revenge exactly twice in the run of the show. Though the first one is successful, the second one ends with him being unceremoniously gunned down by a child, showing that he's just as mortal as everyone else involved in "the game".
      • For all his badassery, he never rises about the level of a minor supporting character—which is notable, since he'd probably be the protagonist in 90% of action thrillers taking place in urban America. The series is quite up-front about that fact that he's just one cog in the social machine that keeps the drug trade afloat, and that few of his actions truly matter in the grand scheme of things.
  • 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.
  • 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 dreams 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. The utopian Federation has no effective mechanism for addressing political dissent (how could anyone not be happy in a utopia?); nearly everyone is content, and the ones that aren't are seen as eccentrics at best, and at worst are demonized even more than the Federation's actual enemies. Starfleet, the Lawful Good defenders of freedom and enlightenment, got that reputation largely through military superiority, and the introduction of Section 31, the "dirty tricks" department of Starfleet, brought to light the behind-the-scenes moral compromises the organization has to make in order to maintain that superiority. When faced with an enemy that they were unable to defeat through straightforward tactics, Starfleet turned to potential war crimes disturbingly fast. The Proud Warrior Race trope was also Deconstructed with the corruption and civil war that plagued the Klingon Empire toward the end: a society based around combat and martial prowess turned to be little 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. Ironically, the one Klingon character who best embodied the ideals the Klingons were supposed to live up to wasn't even raised as one.
    • DS9 goes even further than that, showing in great detail how the so called idealistic Utopia of the United Federation of Planets can maintain itself, going into the clockwork, the ins and outs of how Starfleet really works, everything that's usually glanced over. Perpetual war machine describes it nicely.
  • Kamen Rider Ryuki deconstructs many common Henshin Hero tropes, the idea of Competitive Balance in a fighting tournament and how easy it is to get around through dirty fighting and that the fight itself is rigged with the host owning a near unstoppable Game Breaker he can replace if it dies, Mons, which will turn and eat the Rider if not fed, and the commonly used Phlebotinum Rebel in the Kamen Rider franchise because the Big Bad made sure that any attempt to oppose him is doomed to fail.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim deconstructs many tropes. Even ones that don't necessarily belong to the Henshin Hero genre.
    • The first arc deconstructs the Mon genre. The Inves, basically the Mons in this series, aren't automatically loyal to their owner, pose a real threat to anyone nearby should they go berserk and carry The Virus which turns everyone bitten or scratched by them into one of them
    • Kamen Rider Sigurd manages to deconstruct the standard 'Righteous hero defeating Evil Monster' trope with one line, after killing a crazed Hase, who was turned into an Inves, in cold blood, while clearly enjoying it.
    Sigurd: I just exterminated a monster that attacked people. This is what people call 'justice'.
    • The second and third episode slightly deconstructs the fact that heroes can't be corrupted by their power. After Kouta receives his Rider powers, he starts using them for almost every trivial chore he encounters on his part-time jobs. Hilarity Ensues. In the third episode, it is revealed he used his powers to win money at the Inves Games, causing his sister to call him out on that he is wasting his time with games instead of helping society through jobs.
    • The series also deconstructs the Big Bad trope, in that what first appeared to be the Big Bad, is one of the most moral and well-intentioned characters in the whole show, only rivaled by The Hero himself.
  • Both Teen Wolf and Pretty Little Liars deconstruct other teen shows. Basically, having too drama in your life for a teenager can be distracting, and lead to personal lives being screwed up. Also, lying to people all the time can do major damage to relationships and reputation. In the former show's case, Stiles and Scott struggle in school from having to rush out and deal with the danger surrounding their things. In the latter's case, the girls not only struggle with school, but dealing with an unknown stalker and their crazy friend Alison had led to them breaking down and succumbing to mental illness, drugs, and alcohol.

    Video Games 
  • Spec Ops: The Line. It sets itself up as a Modern Warfare clone, starting with you being part of the search team, but starting in the second act, it shows 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, though the developers argue that people tend to overstate this aspect. Mostly, they wanted to deconstruct the military shooter genre.
  • Nier is pretty much the Japanese version of Spec Ops: The Line in terms of the way it brutally deconstructs the very concept of heroism. Especially New Game+ - its not for nothing that the game is widely considered to be one of the most depressing games ever made.
  • 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 the first two games, Andrew Ryan and Sofia Lamb, deconstruct the idea of the Übermensch, showing how such a person would be, at best, a Well-Intentioned Extremist, and at worst hypocritical and dogmatic. Ryan is himself a composite of John Galt (the hero of Atlas Shrugged), the industrial plutocrats of the time, and Ayn Rand herself. At the same time, Frank Fontaine, the real Big Bad of the first game, takes the archetypal Randian villain — a man who leeches off of others to get ahead and in turn supports those who leech off of others — and turns him around into the embodiment of the criticisms of Objectivism. He's out purely for his own rational self-interest, and if that means destroying the life's work of the man who tried to destroy his, all the better.
    • 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, meanwhile, 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.
    • Final Fantasy XIII's entire plot and world seems to be a deconstruction of Final Fantasy itself, particularly how much it would suck to be taken out of your life and given a quest and magical abilities by powerful entities. Indeed, the characters themselves seem to be deconstructions of typical FF characters. For instance, the sullen loner isn't depressed, just quiet, ditches people who become burdensome and shirks leadership. The charismatic and headstrong leader has no idea what he's doing and gets people killed with his idealism. The cheerful ditzy girl is really just hiding how suicidally depressed she is, and so on.
  • 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 continues the tradition of subverting earlier games in the series by twisting the Nurture Over Nature Aesop of the previous game into a sinister Ancient Conspiracy that reshapes people's whole personalities through social engineering. Really puts a dark spin on Naomi's "people can choose how they live" speech, no?
    • Snake Eater does it for spy thrillers and Bond movies. Hell, the theme music, Snake Eater, sounds like it came straight out of a Bond film.
    • The Phantom Pain directly deconstructs the entire "modern warfare" video game genre (with plenty of jabs at Call of Duty in the process).
  • 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.
    • "Cliches found in most typical fantasy games" are mostly irrelevant in this case, since for Planescape this is almost normal. AD&D-2 PS sourcebooks has crazier stuff.
    • Though it also deconstructs other video game tropes, like the entire concept of death and mortality in video games (your character is immortal, and outside of a select few exceptions you cannot die. The whole point of the game is to find out why this is), the common Amnesiac Hero trope, and the use of violence in most RPGs as the only option (other than one or two mandatory fight scenes, you can talk your way out of any situation including the Final Boss. In fact, Talking The Final Boss To Death is far more satisfying than just beating the hell out of him.) There's even an optional dungeon created by the Lawful Neutral-incarnate Modrons that's the bare essence of RPG dungeon crawling, complete with enemies that explicitly attack you for no good reason. The game also scoffs at the Stupid Evil dog-kicking other games with a Karma Meter frequently make you do to enforce your evilness (wanton murder in particular will only get you a visit from the Lady of Pain, which you absolutely do not want.) If you want to be evil in this game, you have to do some truly sickening things that any sane person would immediately regret.
  • Kreia from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords 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 while also being the Trope Maker.
  • 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. Also, while neither are explicitly the good guys or the bad guys, The Kingdom is more warlike and causes a lot more trouble than The Empire does, and has much more blood on its hands in the backstory.
    • 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 destruction of all living things is, since nobody - not even the instigator of the said apocalypse - can benefit from it.
    • Tales of Xillia 2 takes aim at the Expendable Alternate Universe trope. At first it seems pretty standard, with the player righting what went wrong and restoring the real universe. Then an alternate version of Milla, the previous game's heroine, is accidentally brought to the prime dimension. The entire point of her character arc is that she is just as real as the Milla the player and the rest of the returning cast knows from Tales of Xillia, something even the original cast has varying degrees of difficulty with. In the end, she sacrifices herself or is sacrificed to bring back the Prime Milla. While the rest of the cast is celebrating Prime Milla's return, Elle is heartbroken over Alternate Milla's death and lashes out, because from her perspective, Alternate Milla was the real one and Prime Milla is the fake. All of this is used to set up The Reveal, that Elle herself is from an alternate dimension, and ends up resigned to dying so her "real" self can be born later.
  • 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."
    • And yet later on she takes on a much more active role than in every other game of the series to date.
  • 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 enjoying 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.
    • The full-game also delves into the concept of The Determinator, presenting the player with a character so filled with raw determination that they can come back from the dead via save points, and eventually just get right back up where they stand if killed. It also shows how utterly terrifying someone with overwhelming determination and little else can be, especially when combined with a complete lack of compassion and love (i.e. a player murdering everyone and everything in the game, just to see what happens.) It also shows the consequences of seeking 100% Completion in a game that's as meta as Undertale is. Either you get the True Pacifist ending and everyone lives happily ever after, only for the player to cruelly reset everything to start killing everything that moves for the Genocide ending (even the Big Bad calls you out for doing the exact same thing he was doing by jumping in to constantly deny you your happy ending,) or they murder everyone first, and then reset everything to go for the True Pacifist ending...only to realize that, by achieving the Genocide ending, they gave the First Child everything they wanted, including the player's soul, irreparably tainting the entire game and ensuring that the player will never be able to save everyone, because the First Child will kill them all every time the game ends.
  • 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.
  • The storyline of the DonPachi series as a deconstruction of many typical shoot-em-up plots.
    • DonPachi How do we create a One-Man Army capable of destroying ememy fleets? Make our recruits destroy our own fleets.
    • Daifukkatsu could also be this for the whole concept of a Fanservice Robot Girl.
    • SaiDaiOuJou: Robot Girls? Let's try to make them out of the population of an entire city and see what happens! Meanwhile, the Pilot himself is a deconstruction of the Excuse Plot and a Take That, Audience!—not caring about the damage he causes so long as he carries out his orders.
  • Darkest Dungeon demonstrates the sheer, psychosis-inducing stress and terror that regular shmucks fresh off of the carriage would feel going down into nightmarish ruins for the sake of glory and treasure. Just because you go in with a full party doesn't mean they'll come back out in sound body or mind. Or that you'll finish it with a clear conscience.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. deconstructs dozens of common FPS tropes. Remember those other FPSes where you had limitless supplies of ammo which took up no room in your magic bottomless bag? No. Remember those games where the people not shooting you spoke the same language as you? Nyet. Remember those games where there'd be some guy who would helpfully fill you in on the boss's weak point before you fought him? Nein. Remember those games where you didn't have to eat, where being injured was just a reason to be slightly more cautious, and you could heal by simply walking away and waiting for a bit? Non. Remember those games where you could take thousands of bullets without a sweat? Nope. This is what the end of the world really looks like, and this game wants you dead.

    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. The series also interestingly deconstructs the "hot-blooded shonen hero". Battler seems to fit the trope at first, but is often shown throughout the first 4 Episodes as incompetent, insensitive, hypocritical, and constantly Dramatically Missing the Point, precisely because he is too focused on denying the Witch out of some vague sense of justice. And every time human characters have a sudden magical Power-Up or Heroic Second Wind, you can expect them to die pathetically a minute after. 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.
  • The Zero Escape games, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Virtue's Last Reward both mess with the very idea of who you're actually playing as in different ways, and are carefully planned to account for what the players' expectations regarding the plot will most likely be. The second game also does a similar thing Danganronpa does as mentioned directly above, particularly with certain characters who the player will expect to subvert themselves as per characters in the first game. They don't.

    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 CerealThe 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.
  • [adult swim], as explained by Bob Chipman in this video, are major contributors to this trope. Pretty much every one of their shows is a Deconstructive Parody of some genre, subculture, or other element of pop culture, with all of its tropes taken completely seriously and to their logical conclusion.
  • The Venture Bros., more so than any other [adult swim] show and perhaps more than any other example on this page. It has to be — it's a parody of shows with goody-goody adventuring teens and infallible superheroes. For example, one of the main characters, a parody of Jonny Quest, is depicted 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 — Shaggy is a useless, psychotic hippie who may or may not be hallucinating Scooby's voice telling him to do evil things, Fred is a dumb, thuggish jock who kidnapped Daphne and keeps her locked up, Daphne is genuinely, completely useless, and Velma is a man-hating, militant feminist lesbian. 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 Jonny 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 they are 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.
  • Adventure Time, 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.
  • Young Justice 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.