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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.
Case Closed upon closer inspection deconstructs all sorts of genres through the backstories of the people involved in the cases. It rangers 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.
Digimon Tamers is another Mons deconstruction. Remember the first twoseasons? 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.
Dragon Ball fits here by way of Unbuilt Trope. Some of the tropes Dragon Ball helped popularize are either subverted, averted or just flat out deconstructed.
Big Damn Heroes: Gohan vs Super Buu, Future Trunks vs Android 17 & 18; both fights seem promising but end in spectacular failure.
Save the Villain: SSJ Goku to Frieza; after being given enough energy to survive, Frieza lashes out once more, and Goku delivers the coup de grace instead of a third chance.
Sympathy for the Devil: Goku often holds back or spares his defeated enemies, specifically hoping he can fight them again.
Rousseau Was Right: Majin Buu expels his anger in the form of Evil Buu, which then defeats and consumes the original, becoming even more evil in the process.
Villain Ball: Cell goes through extreme measures, such as beating Gohan and his family and friends to near-death, to draw out the great hidden strength from Gohan that Goku had cryptically talked about for the sake of having a challenge.
Half-Human Hybrid: While being biologically compatible enough to sire children with Chichi is good news for Goku, it also means he's compatible enough to be affected by illnesses that affect humans, like the heart virus that almost killed him in the normal timeline, and did in Future Trunks' timeline. And needless to say, when he did die in that timeline the whole world went straight to hell.
Marty Stu: For Future Trunks, being very young, very handsome, a master swordsman, a Super Saiyan and coming from the future brings no enjoyment or satisfaction whatsoever and is not all its cracked up to be.
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.
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.
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.
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 save...it 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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Watchmen is a deconstruction of the comics that preceded it. It examines the implications of superheroes existing in a real setting — specifically, what just one person with superpowers might mean for the world, and what it really takes to be a masked vigilante with no powers capable of making a difference. It was one of the comic book that brought in the Dark Age of Comics.
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.
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 Super Soldier who outclasses you, and you will be rapidly smeared across the landscape.
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 perpetually smiling zombies living smack-dab in the Uncanny Valley. The xenocidal tendencies of the TCB 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, incrediblyTroperiffic 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 an Artifact of Doom that seeks to enslave every living being under its maker's will. How would the presence of the Barrier affect food production and standards of living in the world due to the massive displacement of refugees? Most cities on earth, or at least Rio de Janeiro, turn into Wretched Hives where food has become so hard to come by that some have resorted 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.
The side story, Calm Before the Storm, does not shy away from showing just how Equestria would really be ill-equipped to support a massive influx of new residents, topped off with a heaping dose of Reality Ensues. To put it simply, there are severe food shortages, no adequate infrastructure to support the newfoals coming in, the economy is in shambles, and the prolonged war has slowly unraveled the fabric of society, so much so that only terror, propaganda and the slave exploitation of newfoals are the only things keeping the Solar Empire afloat, and even that is failing.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 a walking paragon of classic masculinity, he's Straight 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.
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.
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 marital 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 Evildog-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.
Persona 4 deconstructs common personality archetypes in fiction and the difficulty that occurs from trying to live up to them.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 EvilOverlord 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."
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.
The Whateley Universe starts as a deconstruction of the classic superhero comic books, but delves everywhere else when given a chance.
Of particular note, the story Give 'Em The Ole Razzle Dazzle is a deconstruction of various genres stretching from the 1930's pulp heroes to the start of the 1980s (when the narrator 'retired' and moved into Business).
PoGonYuTo was basically intended to be a deconstruction of nearly all anime cliches.
Atop the Fourth Wall deconstructs a Cosmic Horror Story of all things with "The Entity" storyline. A later storyline deconstructs the idea of the character host and various personality traits that are accepted in comedy because they're Played for Laughs, but demonstrates that when not done so, a person like that is horrifying, and even the idea of Serious Business with the villainous Holokara being willing to outright commit murder to put a stop to the things he doesn't want in the Comic Book industry.
Most modern American animated sitcoms will tend to ruthlessly deconstruct everything it touches. Examples of these kinds of shows includes:
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 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.
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.