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Discredited Trope
Socrates: Ya know, Calvin, that line has been used so many times now, it's not even mildly threatening anymore.

Tropes Are Tools, but some have aged better than others.

Over the course of time, a trope may be overused, misused, opposed, made obsolete, subverted on many notable occasions, or just end up being widely disliked. Eventually, a trope may reach the point where it becomes one which nobody should dare use seriously and only belongs in parody, satire, homage or pastiche. Often, if one of these is used straight, people will assume it's a Red Herring.

In some cases, a trope may be discredited due to changes in our knowledge of history or science. Use of the trope in fiction may change to reflect this. See the Time Marches On index.

Notes:
  1. Just because a trope is discredited does not necessarily mean it is not Truth in Television, or that it's necessarily a Forgotten Trope.
  2. This is not bad writing because the writing itself is bad, but because the writer doesn't know its audience. After all, Tropes Are Not Bad.
  3. Just because a trope is not Truth in Television does not mean it is discredited.

Omnipresent Tropes are immune to being discredited, mostly because those tropes are too natural to the medium of storytelling to ever be considered tired cliches. Undead Horse Trope describes tropes that have been subverted and parodied dozens of times, but aren't quite discredited.

See also:
  • Dead Horse Trope, where subversions or parodies outnumber straight use in recent works.
  • Forgotten Trope, which describes tropes that aren't used in recent works at all; they may have been considered Discredited Tropes years ago, or just fell from use for other reasons.

Compare Discredited Meme.


Examples and Tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    General 

    Comics 
  • Alliterative Name: A trope popularized by Stan Lee so that he could remember all these characters he co-created. It's been taken to the point of parody.
  • Nineties Anti-Hero: Except in Video Games, a medium where it seems to work better than comic books.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Time was when every other superhero had a cape. These days, capes are considered to be impractical, and even dangerous (see the fate of Dollar Bill in Watchmen or Edna Mode's speech about cape-related mishaps in The Incredibles). You'll still see capes on plenty of DC heroes such as the Superman family and the Bat family, but mostly because of the Grandfather Clause. Aside from Doctor Strange and the supervillains Magneto and Dr. Doom, Marvel has very few characters who wear capes.

    Film 

    Literature 
  • Said Bookism: In these days, it's often considered redundant.
  • Prolonged Prologue: Often seen in fantasy novels. They give a lot of backstory on a world that the reader hasn't read enough of to care about yet. Most publishers say Show, Don't Tell and let the reader learn about the world through the eyes of the characters.

    Live Action Television 

    Music 
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: It's become such a cliche, especially during the second half of the twentieth century, that it's now almost impossible to play it completely straight anymore.
  • The idea of Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll seems to have more-or-less fallen by the wayside. This is probably due mostly to the vast number of drug-related deaths and rehab stints among various rock musicians in the 60's, 70's and 80's (Jimi Hendrix, Nikki Sixx, Ozzy Osbourne, etc.). However, other factors include the extensive anti-drug campaigning of the 80's, the AIDS scare mostly rendering the concept of "Free Love" obsolete, and the Grunge movement of the early-90's shifting the focus of rock away from glorified sex and drug use. Granted, sex and drugs still exist in the music business. But most of the musicians who engage in such activities are far more secretive and openly ambivalent towards them than before.

    New Media 
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Despite still lingering today, companies have ultimately realized that the war against piracy is a lost cause, and have taken incentive to work around it instead. More recently they have been pushing a new bill (s.978, Protect IP, SOPA) to put an end to piracy forever, although all attempts so far have failed. Although in the United Kingdom, the Digital Economy Bill may keep this as not quite a discredited trope, as it seems that public opinion is against the bill, despite politicians' attempts at copyright law changes. Values Dissonance, indeed.
  • Screamers have received two major blows over the Internet's history. Initially, when flash movies and games were still the norm, there were no clear distinctions between screamers and legitimate pages, creating a minefield for fearful site goers; this meant less traffic for sites like FunnyJunk and WinterWorld. Later, with the advent of video over flash files, viewers were able to scroll to the end of the video to see if any suspicions were confirmed, removing all suspense and defeating the purpose of screamers. They have since been replaced by the trap video, which puts the scare at the beginning of the video, and aims not to make individuals jump, but to cause outrage within specific audiences. Furthermore, they've also been overshadowed by Rickrolls as the Internet's prank of choice.
  • There Are No Girls on the Internet: The online population has reflected real-world gender distributions since 2001 or so.

    Theatre 
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Modern musicals, at least in theatre, are specifically not supposed to play this one straight anymore, though there's still a chance a song of this nature may end up as a Breakaway Pop Hit

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Idea Bulb: An overused visual cliche that's more often known for its parodies than straight examples.
  • "I Want" Song: This became discredited for a while after Disney and its competitors milked the Broadway musical cartoon formula for all it was worth — the makers of Toy Story even intentionally avoided this, in order to distinguish it from those films. That said, there's enough nostalgia left for it now to allow it to return in recent films like The Princess and the Frog, but it's nowhere near as prevalent as it was in the past.
  • Rotoscoping: Derided as a lazy, poor substitute for actual animation by both animators and critics (thanks in part to another trope it inevitably invokes), it is almost never used in modern hand-drawn animation, let alone without irony. It's more modern equivalent, Motion Capture, is still used in CGI, but often to equal derision.

Defied TropeTrope TropesDiscussed Trope
Box TropesPages Needing ImagesForensic Phlebotinum
DiscontinuityYMMV/Home PageDry Docked Ship
DiscontinuityYMMVDry Docked Ship

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