"The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before."
Some stories and series seem to go out of their way to subvert
as many tropes and deconstruct
as many genres as possible, or at the very least take them home and cuddle them and call them 'George'
. A Deconstructor Fleet
doesn't just use one
topic for parody or deconstruction
. It sinks its meathooks into any trope it can find and folds and spindles it to shreds. When done well, the overall effect is to create something visibly original. Done badly, it may be seen as a generic Hate Fic
, resulting in a small but loyal fanbase loving it and everyone else hating it.
Even people not familiar with TV Tropes
will notice how this show is different from others. Many such shows become Trope Makers
in their own right. Do not confuse this with Deconstruction
, which doesn't invent something new, but criticizes the old. In both cases, however, the ultimate goal of the writers should be to examine a genre or a set of tropes from a new perspective without losing their value as entertainment - not to make the viewer/reader/player feel bad for enjoying straightforward genre fiction. Please remember it's not enough to say that something is a example, it is important to say why
it's an example.
The name is a pun
on the Vogon Constructor Fleet from The Hitchhikers 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
. Compare Better than a Bare Bulb
is a specific sub-trope for examples of Fan Fic
with a Deconstruction
theme or plot. Fan Fic
examples go there.
Some of the dramatic vehicles that make up the Deconstructor Fleet:
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai - The whole frickin' point is basically to deconstruct a genre per episode. And then, halfway through, it shift gears and begins to deconstruct itself.
- Berserk - The epic fantasy deconstruction that makes A Song of Ice and Fire look like Teletubbies.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 and Future Trunks vs Android 17 & 18), Save the Villain (SSJ Goku vs Freiza), Always Someone Better (In 'Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Gods', Bills, the God Of Destruction arrives and easily beats everyone and even during Goku's Super Saiyan God state, canonically the strongest transformation in the series, Bills only needed to use 70% of his power to beat Goku convincingly. And it turns out that his master Whis, and eleven other universes' Gods Of Destructions are stronger than him. So Goku can't become the strongest in the universe, because as long as gods like Beers exist, he never will be.), Did You Just Scam Cthulhu? (Super Buu wiping out all of humanity in only a few minutes when Piccolo was expecting him to take hours to do so and on top of that never even leaving Kami's lookout while doing it), Defeat Means Friendship (Being defeated and sparred by Goku and his friends was a catalyst in Vegeta's Face-Heel Turn in the Buu Arc and his rematch with Goku lead to Majin Buu being resurrected), Sympathy for the Devil (The only reason Goku sparred Vegeta was because he wanted to fight him again), Rousseau Was Right (Majin Buu desperation to not do anything bad as his friend Mr Satan had instructed him so, such as being angry, lead to his anger manifesting and creating Evil Buu who would later absorb Majin Buu and transform into Super Buu and even stronger and eviler version of Buu.)
- Elfen Lied - Ever thought having a cute, amnesiac, completely childish girl with no nudity taboos fall in your lap was a good thing? NOT!!
- 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.
- 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 Freaks (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 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.
- 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.
- Kore wa Zombie desu ka? - Very much not your normal magical girl series.
- 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 GodModeSue 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.
- 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.
- Narutaru - You will never look at Mons the same way again.
- Naruto - Decontructs Idiot Hero (Naruto isn't an idiot, he just act like one because thats the only way he can get a brief moment of attention, and it's a defence 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.
- Might not count due to it being more of a Cosmic Horror Story and Faustian Rebellion after it gets into full swing.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Suzumiya Haruhi - 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! 5Ds is starting to follow in GX's footsteps; the third season's antagonist's plot against Synchros, and the counter provided to our heroes in the form of the Accel Synchro, seems deliberately crafted to deconstruct the debate over whether or not the monsters are Game Breakers, and and the Yu-Gi-Oh! Tenth Anniversary Movie movie delves into how much the Plot Tumor of the game had grown in the anime and manga, by having the villain try to ''travel back in time and use the game to murder its creator, Pegasus J. Crawford, thus preventing the game from being created and, supposedly, prevent The End of the World as We Know It that would've come, if the game stayed in existence.
- 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 bizzare musings on the notion of being the villain of a story.
- 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.
- Astro City deconstructs EVERY SUPERHERO TROPE EVER. It does the Lois Lane, the Mook, the Crisis Crossover, the Anti-hero, the Legacy Character, heck, it deconstructs THE FREAKING JUSTICE SYSTEM. Unique in that it also reconstructs the classic hero as well.
- The Authority, of superteams in general and the JLA in particular.
- Planetary (also of the Wildstorm universe) went even further with the "Ironic Darkly Humorous Tongue-In-Cheek Deconstructive Parody of Superheroes" tone of The Authority by taking the same approach with other genres, including Hong-Kong action films, Japanese Giant Monster films, and 1930s pulp adventure.
- The Boys is a deconstruction of the "Bullpen" mythos that surrounds the superhero comic book industry.
- Captain Atom is a deconstruction of secret identities, origin stories, retcons, rogues' galleries, Steven Ulysses Perhero, even, arguably, The Good Captain, plus who knows how many other Superhero Tropes.
- Cerebus gave us the trope name for a reason.
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen deconstructs the entirety of fiction and its relation to reality.
- Miracleman was one of the earliest Deconstructions of the superhero genre, showing the Fascist undertones of the genre, explored the abuse of power, and showed a particularly Gory and destructive superhero battle that was legitimately shocking at the time. Yet it still manages to explore Captain Marvel mythos in a very witty and Tongue-In-Cheek manner.
- Powers is a major one for at least half the superhero tropes. Taking place through the eyes of two non-powered cops, everything from investigating superhero crimes to tabloid obsession with superheroes to Beware the Superman to what a relationship between a super powered gangster and a mob boss would really be like to how fickle the public can be on things like the Super Registration Act to the stress of keeping a secret identity to immortality are put down on the page without any glamor or glorification.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, at least in the original Eastman and Laird run
- Watchmen is a deconstruction of the comics that preceded it. It was the comic book that brought in the Dark Age of Comics. You have this to blame for all the Darker and Edgier antiheroes to come out of the 80s and 90s.
- Star Wars: Legacy takes the original and Star Wars Expanded Universe, cuts it up into little tiny pieces, shuffles them, and glues it back together into a dark twisted reflection of its former self that's hardly recognisable, and yet somehow still manages to capture everything that made the original movies great.
- See: Grant Morrison's entire oeuvre.
- Animal Man and Doom Patrol both deconstruct massive numbers of superhero tropes, the superhero genre in general, as well as other tropes and genres that don't necessarily fall under superhero comics' purview. Animal Man gets all metafictional with its deconstruction, while Doom Patrol turns more toward Dada (though it doesn't necessarily qualify as Dada Comics, at least not as currently described.)
- Having thoroughly deconstructed superheroes (though he certainly wasn't done; see basically everything he's done for DC Comics in the last decade or so), Morrison wrote The Invisibles to deconstruct, well, everything else.
- Also superheroes again. The titular heroes are set up more like a terrorist cell than a superhero team, but they're also, well, a team made up of a bunch of weirdos and superpowered people.
- Literally, everything. There's probably more deconstruction happening in a couple given pages of The Invisibles than in most entire comic book series. It touches on action movie tropes, science fiction tropes, it blends together references to a plethora of literature and film, and a single trade volume alone features stories about voodoo, Aztec mythology, and an entire issue about the life of a throwaway henchman who gets shot in the first trade. By the end of the series it even gets around to deconstructing itself (at least, that's probably what it gets around to).
- TRON: Ghost in the Machine (follow up to Alternate Continuity Tron 2.0) dishes out some deconstruction with a side order of Mind Screw. The comic opens with Jet Bradley going from a promising game designer to hunkering down in his Honorary Uncle's darkened arcade, virulently technophobic with a nasty case of PTSD from all the digital lives he had to take in the course of the game.
- Oh, that's just the opening scene! It deconsructs the "User as hero" idea when Jet gets put in charge of an army because he absorbs the commander and leads his troops into a bloodbath. The depiction of Alan is "Ron the Death Eater" levels of dark, pulling zero punches about him being a broken, Good Is Not Nice man after the loss of his wife and close friend. It screws with Your Mind Makes It Real all three "Jet" Programs think their version of reality is the "correct" one, and even makes a chilling play with the Brain Uploading / Virtual Ghost aspect of Ma3a.
- Superior Spider-Man deconstructs a lot of assumptions about Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Especially assumptions made by Peter Parker. Epitomises the 'near universally hated' part of this trope.
- The Spider-Man franchise has always dabbled in this, mostly through the contrast between The Cape and a Classical Antihero, but also by considering how superhero tropes would affect someone trying to get through school. It's just gotten more and more pronounced over the years. As one editor summarized it, "Peter Parker's life was [miserable], which every teenager could relate to; once he became Spider-Man, Peter's life got even worse."
- 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.
- 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 full of Genre Savvy people, a smartassed 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 Gravity's 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 Hitchhikers 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 - the Vogons.
- Brandon Sanderson wrote the Mistborn 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.
- George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is the ultimate deconstruction of medieval fantasy, and 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. You'll never look at the Knight in Shining Armor the same way again. A more complete list can be seen here.
- 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 naďve 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 it's 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.
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer 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.
- The Colbert Report is all about deconstructing and satirizing the Strawman Political (mostly right-wing, but he's not averse to throwing darts at the Left), and many other Politics Tropes fall as well.
- Community sinks its teeth into zombies, war-films, westerns, spy films, geek-dom, Doctor Who, video-games, Glee, horror...okay, really, anything that's been put into media.
- Doctor Who has, at various times both deconstructed tropes at 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.
- Farscape and Firefly did pretty well to deconstruct the Space Opera, contributing to the drastic (and fairly sudden) shift in tone of Space Operas that happened around 2002-3. The shift was so sudden that Star Trek: Enterprise dramatically shifted mid-series, the third and fourth seasons having a considerably darker, serious, and what would later be recognized as more modern tone.
- MythBusters is dedicated not only to busting myths and urban legends, but deconstructing tropes.
- Seinfeld, with its observational humor, intersecting plot-lines, non sympathetic protagonists, and the famous Real Time Chinese Restaurant episode kicked off a revolution. Every Sitcom that came afterwards owes something to it (to the point that the original now sadly seems cliche).
- Supernatural has occasional bouts of ruthless deconstructionism.
- The Wire savagely deconstructs Police Procedurals. It's hard to go back to them afterwards.
- It goes beyond that, after deconstructing police procedurals it goes on to deconstruct your perceptions of most of societies important institutions.
- Stargate SG-1 had frequent moments of trope deconstruction. See fan-favorite "Window of Opportunity" for how it deconstructs and lampshades the "Groundhog Day" Loop.
- 24 showed how saving the world is made complicated by politics and personal issues. It also showed just how much something like breaking the laws constantly and fighting terrorists take effect on the people who do it, and how torture just doesn't work when the people being tortured are so devoted to their cause, and how the action disturbs anyone who does it. Of course, so many people see it as the opposite, as glorifying it all when it's plainly inverse.
- Married... with Children, originally to be called 'Not the Cosbys' took on many tropes of family-based sitcoms and turned them on their heads.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 is all about mocking movie cliches.
- Law & Order deconstructs both the Police Procedural and Law Procedural genres.
- Spec Ops: The Line. It sets itself up as a Modern Warfare game, starting with you being part of the search team; but by the second act, has shown its true colors as a deconstruction of more than just modern shooters, but of moral choices systems, But Thou Must, One-Man Army, and ultimately, escapist power-fantasy video games.
John Konrad: You're here because you wanted to feel like something you're not: a hero.
- While it's at it, it reserves some pretty harsh criticism for American interventionist foreign policy.
- The developers stated that people tend to overstate the criticism of American foreign policy in the game. Mostly they wanted to deconstruct the genre.
- Alan Wake is basically the House of Leaves of video games. It takes as many meta tropes as it can, such as Through the Eyes of Madness, All Just a Dream, Dead All Along, and Transfictionality and takes them apart with every plot twist, so that the player is left guessing which is true until the very end of the game, and probably beyond.
- The Bard's Tale takes cheery jabs at fantasy games and RPGs, especially the idea of The Chosen One. It turns out there are multiple "Chosen Ones" - because when you tell a young farm boy he's destined to defeat evil and hand him a crappy sword, he tends to rush into the fray and die instantly.
- BioShock Using Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged as a jumping off point, explores philosophy while deconstructing First Person Shooters, and the tropes common to early 20th Century fiction.
- The Antagonists of Andrew Ryan and Sofia Lamb deconstruct the idea of the Übermensch, showing how such a person would be at best, a Well-Intentioned Extremist, at worst hypocritical and dogmatic. Ryan is also a composite of John Galt (the Hero of Atlas Shrugged), the Industrial Plutocrats of the time, and Ayn Rand herself. whereas Frank Fontaine, the real Big Bad of the first game combines the typical Randian villain, with the embodiment of the criticisms of Objectivism
- ADAM is a deconstruction of both superpowers and Mundane Utility: the frivolous uses of the substance for plastic surgery, sports, and other mundane purposes left people hopelessly addicted, repulsively disfigured by genetic disorders, and irrevocably insane- thus creating the Splicers that function as the main enemies of the game. The only characters in the game who haven't ended up this way are people who didn't splice (Ryan, Lamb, and Tenembaum), spliced in moderation (Atlas, Sinclair, Poole, Langford and Fontaine prior to the final boss battle), or possessed a natural immunity (The Big Sisters, Eleanor, and apparently the protagonists.)
- The twist of the first game deconstructs Mission Control, showing how FPS = But Thou Must in most cases.
- Cannon Fodder, which takes the Military and Warfare Tropes page and systematically tears it to pieces.
- Dragon Age: Origins is a gleeful deconstruction of just about every trope listed on the Standard Fantasy Setting page.
- Dragon Age II is ultimately a deconstruction of Western RPGs as a whole. There is no single Big Bad to pin the central conflict on, nor is there a third option when the time comes to pick a side. Hawke is less interested in saving the world than simply trying to keep their family safe and together, but unfortunately the plot has other ideas.
- Final Fantasy, starting from roughly VI on, has been subtly doing this, poking holes in the concepts of The Chosen One, the characters' dependency on Green Rocks or phlebotinum to solve their problems, cheerful heroes, sullen heroes, Heroic Sacrifices, and so on, all while diving deeply into Genre-Busting waters. Final Fantasy VII is perhaps the most extreme example.
- Even before that, a common interpretation of Final Fantasy V is that it was meant as a long, but loving, series of jabs and comedic deconstructions at common themes, characters, and plot points in the first four games. The GBA port only amplifies this.
- Metal Gear Solid as a whole is known for this. The first one deconstructs the original Metal Gear games as well as the Die Hard on an X formula, Sons of Liberty practically deconstructs the entire concept of video gaming itself (See here for more details), and Snake Eater does it for spy thrillers and Bond movies. Hell, the intro music, Snake Eater, sounds like it came straight out of a Bond film.
- No More Heroes rips into To Be a Master and Gotta Kill Em All plots, showing just what kind of sick, twisted world an equally sick protagonist would actually want to participate in.
- Planescape: Torment takes aspects of the second edition D&D world and drags them out to their logical extremes. The characters and plot are deliberate aversions of cliches found in most typical fantasy games.
- Kreia from Knights of the Old Republic II is a one-woman deconstructor fleet, mercilessly breaking down each and every one of your preconceptions of the Star Wars universe. Uniquely for a series normally painted in black and white, Kreia disapproves of your more altruistic actions for reasons other than Stupid Evil; she will point out that raising others above their station cheapens their successes and causes jealousy in others.
- She also coldy scolds a Dark Side Exile near the end of the game.
Kreia:"To have the Jedi Masters brought low by such a failure, there is no victory in that. You have not heard a thing I have taught, you have never learned to listen."
- Shin Megami Tensei - Long before Narutaru did, they had already deconstructed the sheer horror of a world populated by Mons.
- The biggest appeal of games in the Tales Series is the fact that they glue as many cliches together in the first few hours and then deconstruct them so much that on many occasions sections of the fanbase think that the Big Bad is the real hero. Some specific examples:
- Tales of Phantasia started the trend. While tame now, back in the day the revelation that the main villain was after a completely understandable, totally reasonable goal—which unfortunately could only be achieved through rather amoral means—was a huge twist.
- Tales of Symphonia grew famous for being a Deconstructor Fleet; it savagely tears into the concept of The Chosen One as well as the Idiot Hero; Fantastic Racism, while not necessarily "deconstructed", receives a lot of examination. The concept of a Determinator also gets deconstructed, as it's the Big Bad's primary flaw. A lot of effort is put into examining sacrifices and what it means for a person to be a sacrifice.
- The Chosen One Colette can also be seen as a deconstruction of Purity Sues. She's the daughter of the angel (actually not; everyone just assumed she was, and the angel guiding her just decided to latch onto that to better control her), loved by everyone ( until she decides she wants to live instead of sacrificing herself for the sake of the world, causing all of Sylvarant to turn on her) and is kind and selfless to a fault ( her attempts at hiding the horrible things her Cruxis Crystal is doing to her body for fear of making everyone worry just makes things worse for herself, and makes the party (especially Lloyd) suffer even more when they do find out.)
- Tales of the Abyss so totally shatters the notion of prophecy, and the implications future-telling could have on people, both on a societal and individual level. It examines a lot of Cloning tropes as well.
- Tales of Vesperia takes aim at Protagonist-Centered Morality, especially through the concepts of the Anti-Hero and Vigilante Man. Is a hero who makes decisions without considering the opinions of those whose lives he changes—whether it be ten people or ten million—really a hero?
- Tales of Graces takes aim at the I Will Wait for You trope, showing the realistic consequences of the trope where Cheria waited seven years for Asbel to return. It also takes what can only be described as a Take That to Final Fantasy's Omnicidal Maniacs, by featuring a Big Bad who is a rather blatant Expy of Jenova and Seymour (that is, said villain wants to destroy the world through global warming because it's full of pain and suffering) by showing how utterly pointless the destruction of all living things is, since nobody - not even the instigator of the said apocalypse - can benefit from it.
- Several Flash games such as Achievement Unlocked and This Is The Only Level.
- The premise and plot of Penumbra and Amnesia: The Dark Descent sound like complete Cliche Storms of various horror story tropes, but they actually make mincemeat of them by toying with the player on every occasion and subverting the hell out of every horror trope known to man.
- Thief cheerfully tears apart every stereotypical "thieves' guild"-related trope remembered from Dungeons & Dragons and also likes to play around with the various factions and creatures inhabiting its Low Fantasy setting. Consider, for instance, that a thieves' guild would be made up exclusively of criminals. Criminals do not obey rules. Of course they're all going to be trying to rip off their fellow thieves! There's a reason Garrett works independent.
- Would you believe if someone tell you that (some installments of) Touhou is a Deconstructor Fleet? Let us observe...
- Imperishable Night: Deconstructs Immortality and associated tropes. The immortals have nothing to do, and keep sane by tearing each other to shreds (sometimes literally).
- The fighting game Scarlet Weather Rhapsody also deconstructs Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence this way, as the main villain is a Celestial, whose parents had ascended. She's bored with all the happiness up there, and descends to cause trouble on Earth.
- Phantasmagoria of Flower View (sic): Touhou deconstructs itself. Eiki explicitly tell the other characters that they are so going to Hell if they don't change their atrocious behavior. Eiki is a Judge of The Dead.
- Unidentified Fantastic Object deconstructs itself yet again— Humans Are Bastards and the playable characters are Knight Templar.
- By applying some Fridge Horror to Mystic Square, one way to interpret the plot is to think of it as; "What if Alice actually went to hell?".
- Yggdra Union pretends to be nice, cutesy, and safely within the range of standard medieval fantasy plots for a little while. Then it rips its mask off and awesomefaces whilst tearing many common plot devices—along with the tried-and-true methods of the Turn Based Strategy genre—into tiny little bits as it goes. It's been four years since the franchise was launched, and we're still not a hundred percent sure about who the main character is supposed to be.
- Fire Emblem Tellius does this to Fire Emblem. Setting and Backstory aside, the 9th game (Path of Radiance) pretty much starts off as a Cliché Storm for Fire Emblem games. However, it starts to play with the tropes before the game's over - such as the Nyna/Guinevere figure donning battle armour and joining the fight herself. Radiant Dawn starts off as a deconstruction of the events of Path of Radiance, showing that Begnion is Not So Different in treating their newly acquired country well; and that even Crimea, whose victory in the Mad King War went like a fairy tale for them, was again Not So Different. The country was united during the Mad King War against a common enemy, yet when that was over, things went back to normal with nobles and senators squabbling for power, beginning to doubt whether or not their new queen was truly fit to rule. As put by a Let's Play, Part 2 serves as a very nice deconstruction to the series, showing the realistic consequences of the rightful heir to the throne being kept unknown from the public and emerging to help guide the country during its time of need. Both games also examine the implications of a ruler with a 100% Adoration Rating, specifically what happens when such a ruler is suddenly removed. The moment the people of Begnion had someone to blame for their beloved Empress' death, it ended with the genocide of a race of entirely innocent pacifists.
- Runescape often has a few parodies in its many quests, but special mention goes to ANY quest written by Mod Ash. Love Story, for example, is a quest where the Big Bad is a lady who hates adventurers who go around doing quests. It turns out she's the deranged ex girlfriend of the guy who's helping you with the quest. A recent quest by Mod Ash has you creating a Cliché Storm quest for a spoiled rich kid, because his dad thinks it will build character. Phillipe rolls his eyes the whole time. This particular quest turns into a Reconstruction at one point: to create final enemies for Phillipe, you disguise some cave wolf pups as dragons. As he easily kills them, the mother attacks, and Phillipe gets a chance to really earn some self respect. Then it turns out the lady who had helped train you back when you started the game had planted the wolf there for that very purpose, saying that you would have saved Phillipe if it got too out of hand.
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks light-heartedly pokes fun at a lot of the series' standards; for example, early in the game Zelda refuses to accompany you into a dungeon on the grounds that leaving the dangerous work to the heroes is "family tradition."
- The Stanley Parable is a deconstruction of several videogame tropes, but it also gets in meaningful analysis of the nature of choice and freedom itself.
- MadWorld. While the game itself encourages and makes a mechanic of killing people in horrific and creative ways, this is all under the pretense that you're being filmed for a TV show for the rich and corrupt. Actual cutscenes that move the story are much darker and usually revolve around the cast talking about just how horrible the events of the Death Watch games actually are. You could even see the end of the game as Jack's killing of Leo as the writer killing the player for enjoy such a perverse game.
- It may be more of a deconstruction unit than fleet, but Anarchy Reigns does deconstruct a few tropes, not as many as MadWorld. It deconstructs Lawful Neutral / lawful by Nikolai, one of the more "lawful" people in the game, a horrid Knight Templar who believes that anything that isn't his view of "law" has to go. You have Anti-Hero, where as Jack is simply doing his job, but his past as a killer and his anger at his adopted daughter's death nearly drive him him to the murder of the person he's trying to track down until he is forcibly prevented from committing said murder at the last second. Then Leo, who disobeys his orders and attacks Nikolai before his true colors are shown, also gets in on that a bit. The backstory plays with a few tropes in a more negative light, showing characters who are acting for the greater good, but don't necessarily come off as doing the right thing until the very end of the game. Again, not as many as before, but it does put some focus on a few.
- Undertale is a gigantic Deconstruction of RPGs in general, as well as Moral Choice systems, and the game really, really lets you know it. Anyone who approaches it with the same sort of mentality of your average RPG will result in the game utterly berating you for your actions, calling you a monster, especially if you kill the final boss in the demo conventionally. Most people will do a second run / a save reload after they see what they have done, and try to put right what they did wrong. The game knows you did this, and will mock you accordingly, talking about your use of save points to rewrite reality. Even if you take the completely pacifist approach, the demo ends with a certain character asking you how long you will keep up the much-trickier act of peacefulness, wondering when your frustration will overcome you.
- Higurashi: When They Cry - Slice of Life, One dark secret (caused by a Hate Plague) and everything will get worse, far worse. There is one Downer Ending that is caused if you ignore the dark secrets to get life back to normal.
- Umineko: When They Cry deconstructs the mystery genre in general and the fantasy genre, since it's implied later in the series that the magical beings aren't actually real, as well as tropes like Incorruptible Pure Pureness, The Power of Love and Hostile Show Takeover. The character Erika Furudo is a walking deconstruction of Great Detective, Genre Savvy and Self-Insert Fic all at once. It's also a deconstruction of Higurashi to an extent, since it subverts many tropes that its predecessor played straight. Generally, just take a sip every time you read the word "subverted" on the trope page.
- Fate/stay night can be described as one huge deconstruction of The Cape and The Paladin style characters and the many stories and typical tropes associated with them. The first route, while playing much of it fairly straight, points out the insane sacrifices of their own happiness and the insane limits that such characters have to constantly push themselves to if they aspire to follow their "Nothing but Everybody Lives is acceptable"-policy. The second route points out these issues even more while adding the futility of it all, but also gives reasons for why one would still wish to follow such a path, while the third route illustrates why one might want to give up following such a lifestyle and try to find personal happiness instead.
- As an explicit design goal, Katawa Shoujo deconstructs essentially everything and still manages to be an unbeat tale about true love. Goal achieved.
- Skin Horse: a deconstruction of everything from mad science to social work and 70's Blaxploitation movies.
- The Order of the Stick plays mercilessly with both Dungeons and Dragons tropes, and storytelling tropes in general. Most notably, it's hung enough lampshades to decorate a lightbulb factory. Including hanging a lampshade on hanging lampshades.
- For a few more examples, it has Zig Zagged with several parts of the Character Alignment trope. The Lawful Stupid character isn't stupid in any conventional sense, and actually is good (at least, until she goes crazy), and yet, she's an antagonist. The Lawful Evil Overlord is definitely evil, and yet seems like he'll be helpful overall to the protagonists. The Always Chaotic Evil goblins have a perfectly good reason built into the fabric of the universe to be evil... but there's no question that they are evil. Finally, it also deconstructs typical player behavior/campaign focus with a Chaotic Evil party member, who says early on "I figured we'd just wander around, kill some sentient creatures because they had green skin and fangs and we don't, and then take their stuff."
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Far Side's evil twin. It has probably destroyed everything you know and love at some point.
- Schlock Mercenary
- MS Paint Adventures is Andrew Hussie's deconstructive love letter to a multitude of series, genres and tropes, including itself. Homestuck in particular seems to be principally founded as a deconstruction of the standard "kids go on an adventure in another world" plot prevalent in pretty much every medium ever, with parts of it deconstructing, among many other things, various Time Travel Tropes with a heavy emphasis on You Can't Fight Fate - the constant stresses of trying to keep in time with the Stable Time Loops, on pain of piles of his own corpse piling up, quickly gets to the normally-unflappable Dave -, and of the standard Mary Sue tropes - how Vriska tries to present herself, in contrast to her true nature. Also, sometimes Hussie himself seems to be aiming to deconstruct the audience-creator relationship.
- Ilivais X tears at a lot of things, but centrally the boundaries between love and lust, the concept of the Humongous Mecha itself (most namely the 80s Super Robot Genre), the inherent glorification of yuri relationships, and many other common anime tropes. The result can be fundamentally summed up as "RahXephon with the power of fuck"
- Vatsy And Bruno
- Metafictionized Phlebotinum Poisoning
- There Will Be Brawl Deconstructs Nintendo characters, Pastiches a number of classic movies, and Parodies the concept of Darker and Edgier.
- 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.
- Spacebattles exists seemingly to promote deconstructions in all Fan Fic.
- Diamond In The Rough deconstructs all tropes of Self-Insert Fics of Touhou (and by extension, all Self-Insert Fics), with everything going From Bad to Worse in an horrifying pace.
- Freemans Mind deconstructs the first-person shooter genre, particularly Silent Protagonist, Determinator, and One-Man Army by showing the inner thoughts of someone with these characteristics: a Properly Paranoid Sociopath undergoing gradual Sanity Slippage.
- Occupy Richie Rich deconstructs almost every trope and concept used in the Richie Rich series.
- Most modern American animated sitcoms will tend to ruthlessly deconstruct everything it touches. Examples of these kinds of shows includes:
- Any cartoon Steven Spielberg produced:
- Dave the Barbarian, while going back to Toon Disney's roots.
- Invader Zim, takes apart so many Sci Fi and Horror tropes it's difficult to know where to begin.
- The Venture Bros., perhaps more so than any other example on this page. It has to be - it is a parody of shows with goody-goody adventuring teens and infallible superheroes For example, Jonny Quest, the series' main parody, depicts him as a paranoid drug addict as a direct response to being a boy adventurer and hauled off to dangerous countries and nearly killed countless times. The Scooby-Doo gang are overexaggerated, with Shaggy being a useless, psychotic hippy, Daphne genuinely, completely useless, Velma as real life Straw Feminist Valerie Solanas, and Fred as a dumb, useless jock. The Million Dollar Man is depicted as a slave to his job, as his government pay is very low, compared to his debt.
- While the first two seasons are shown to bring the bulldozers and wrecking balls to the Johnny Quest boy and Bob Morane adventuring tropes, season three moving forward shows real effort reconstructing the characters into better, less dysfunctional people. Unless it's funnier of course.
- The Boondocks combines sitcom trope deconstruction with racial and social trope deconstruction.
- Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated deconstructs just about every one of the franchise's most iconic tropes.
- Along the same lines as the Scooby-Doo example above is Transformers Prime, which takes a grittier spin on the Transformers series. It goes out of it's way to remind you that these aren't just a bunch of goofy robots with no minds, they're actual, sentient living beings and their in a constant brutal war with each other. Each generic robot you see get shot, is a living being who probably had a family and life of their own.
- Beast Wars was a similar case, though only because they didn't have the budget. However, deaths were mostly permanent, and the Maximals were neither dumb nor generic goody two-shoes. Also, the Predacons occasionally won.
- Archer goes through cold-war spy tropes like adamantium claws through butter.
- AdventureTime , with its awkward continuity and harsh undertones, tends to deconstruct not only the classic, Status Quois 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.
...and all of the examples from Trapped in TV Land
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