: Ah, Stan, Kyle, Kenny. You're just in time! Stan
: Oh No. Cartman
: Oh Yes! I am just about to flashback to the days of our founding fathers! Kyle
: Cartman, you're supposed to be studying! What the hell is all this!?! Cartman
: I have programmed TiVo to record over 50 hours of The History Channel. When TiVo is full, both TiVo and I will both be dropped into the water, combining our electro-whatever fields and sending me back into a flashback of history!
The writer invokes a narrative trope
by having a character consciously set it up.
Compare Exploited Trope
(not making the trope
happen, just taking advantage of one happening). Contrast Defied Trope
, Discussed Trope
TECHNICAL NOTE: On the wiki typing the word "invoked" anywhere within an example turns off the automatic YMMV flagging (the red bullet point) for that example.
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Anime & Manga
- In YuYu Hakusho's Dark Tournament arc, Kuwabara deliberately invokes Yusuke's Unstoppable Rage by allowing Toguro to kill him, or so he thinks — Toguro doesn't actually kill him, but letting Yusuke think he had has the same effect. Since Toguro wanted to fight Yusuke at max power, he probably counts as invoking it too.
- The Locked Room Mystery trope is invoked in the Suzumiya Haruhi episode "Remote Island Syndrome" by Koizumi, who wanted to keep Haruhi occupied.
- In an episode of Tenchi Muyo!, Ryoko and Ayeka engineer Crash into Hello-type meetings in order to get closer to Tenchi... even though they've known him for months.
- Thus clarifying something very important. Sasami is an evil, evil woman.
- Every few episodes of Keroro Gunsou, Momoka will try to stage a Rescue Romance in order to get closer to Fuyuki. For one reason or another, it never seems to work.
- For the most part, this is because she's trying to be rescued by Fuyuki.
- In Dragon Ball Z, Gotenks attempts to invoke Heroic Second Wind by "letting" himself get beat so he can have a last-minute comeback and inevitable victory, with a... predicable result. In short, all his friends get killed one by one, and later the villain blows up the planet.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!! has Kotaro invoking Idiot Hero, claiming that Negi would be a better fighter if he acted more like an idiot. It actually makes some sense, as Negi's greatest weakness is that he tends to overthink everything.
- Kagura from Azumanga Daioh has Sakaki invoke her Running Gag of cats biting her in order to meet a wild mountain cat on a school trip. Partially subverted when the cat comes and doesn't bite her.
- Ayano's father tries to invoke Bodyguard Crush to pair her up with the immensely powerful Kazuma in Kaze no Stigma. Unfortunately for him and his wallet, Kazuma is even more Genre Savvy and cheerfully milks him for all he's worth. Likely double subverted as it turns out he does care about her a great deal more than he usually lets on. Even more unfortunately, we'll never get to learn how it all turns out.
- Kamina of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann fame absolutely refused to combine mechas with Simon until he performed a Transformation Sequence with him, even while in the middle of combat.
- In Gundam Seed Destiny, Meyrin Hawke helps Athrun escape from soldiers searching for him by invoking Distracted by the Sexy via Modesty Towel. Two invoked tropes for the price of one! Extra points: she wasn't actually naked underneath the towel, she just got her hair wet and then wrapped the towel around her clothes to make it look like she'd just gotten out of the shower.
- Code Geass. It's simple enough. If you beg someone, anyone, to save your defenceless, Token Mini-Moe Empress, then there's a good chance that your Large Ham, sort-of-enemy will pull out a shiny new mecha and do so.
- In Sailor Moon, Rei attempts a Crash into Hello in order to meet Mamoru. It doesn't go as planned but still works.
- In Sangatsu No Lion, Nikaidou specifically asks Shimada to turn his shogi match against Rei into a Curb-Stomp Battle in an effort to have Rei develop as a player.
- To Love-Ru does this for harem comedy. Momo knows that the First Girl Wins and if Rito is forced to choose one girl out of his harem it probably isn't going to be her. Her solution, naturally, is to make sure Rito doesn't need to choose only one girl.
- In Dungeon Zenith, the keepers of the dungeon create a rumor about a kidnapped princess. But they unwillingly use the name of an existing princess. Then she walks to the dungeon with her secret lover, to make her father believe he saved her.
- Attempted in Good Omens, where Anathema Device, after trying all other methods to find her book, dramatically pretends to give up, flop down, and let her gaze casually fall on a patch of dirt.
- The Theory of Narrative Causality is a measurable law on Discworld, so there are many invocation of tropes throughout, some more successful than others.
- In Guards! Guards!!, the main characters invoke the Million to One Chance during a critical arrow shot - they deliberately make it harder to aim (using blindfolds and standing on one leg), in order to get the odds of a direct hit down to exactly a million to one. They don't succeed, mind, but when the dragon blows up the building they're standing on, the narration continues, "Fortunately, the odds of anyone surviving the ensuing explosion were exactly a million to one."
- Quite a lot of this happens in the same book, in fact. When the Big Bad (or The Dragon to a dragon, depending how you look at it) calls guards to arrest Captain Vimes, the guards are reluctant to try to arrest him as he is clearly unarmed and outnumbered.
- Later in the series, Vetinari orders Vimes to hand in his badge, specifically to invoke Turn In Your Badge and the inevitable determined solving of the crime afterward. Subverted in that Vetinari realizes too late that he's triggered a Heroic BSOD in Vimes instead.
- The GURPS Discworld Role Playing Game actually has rules for this: A spell that lets you twist narrative tropes, as well as a caution that just because you set yourself up as the Hero Who Saves the Town From the Evil Troll doesn't mean you're not actually One of the Dozen Hapless Characters Who Get Killed by the Troll Before the Hero Shows Up or, if the story is being told from a troll perspective, The Human That Gets Smooshed by the Troll. "Troll stories aren't very subtle."
- Tom Sawyer runs his life this way. It helps that Mark Twain runs Tom Sawyer's life this way. Of course, Tom probably knows that.
- On the other hand, when Huckleberry Finn attempts the same, it ends in disaster.
- The villain in The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross casts a reality-warping spell which forces his life into the structure of a James Bond movie, with him as the villain. He plans on stopping the spell after he captures the person playing the Bond role; that way, the pawn goes from being a super-suave man of action to a simple civil servant out of his depth, and it'll be too late for anyone else to step in. He thinks it's the hero—it turns out that the hero is actually the Bond girl, and his girlfriend is Bond.
- Several characters in Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series deliberately invoke tropes when it will help them or harm their enemies. They have force due to the presence of an ambient, powerful magic in the land called the Tradition, which causes events to follow the fairytale they most resemble.
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: When Gilbert Markham hears a rumor that Helen has been widowed and is getting remarried, he instantly packs up and leaves town, walking the final six miles when he can't find any transportation, intending to burst into the Church and interrupt the ceremony if he has to.
- The Cineverse trilogy by Craig Shaw Gardner is a giant exercise of invoking a trope, with lots of little lampshades hanging within it. The main characters (particularly the Guardian of the Multiverse and the Multiversal Conqueror) are Genre Savvy and therefore frequently talk about how best to exploit the current world's laws.
- In John Dies at the End, John and Dave try to lure out a ghost by splitting up, with John taking a shower and Dave taking a nap, while loudly announcing their plan and their fervent hope that they will not be attacked by a ghost under these circumstances.
- The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump begins with the narrator receiving a call from his boss in the middle of the night (and the boss blaming time zones). It ends with the narrator deliberately calling the boss at the same hour.
- In The Enchanted Forest Chronicles Princess Alianora's parents invited an evil fairy to her christening in hopes that she'd curse her, presumably with the intended result that she be rescued by a handsome prince. Instead the fairy, possibly thrilled by the novelty of being invited, had a wonderful time and went home without cursing anyone.
Live Action TV
- In Hornblower episode "The Examination for Lieutenant" (also known as "The Fire Ships"), Captain Pellew invokes Tactful Translation. Upon learning that the Spanish intend to break their alliance with the British, Pellew is too flustered to formulate a reply, and simply tells Hornblower (acting as a translator/interpretor, speaking French with the Spaniard) to tell the Spanish officer the sort of thing Pellew would say, leaving Hornblower to figure out an appropriate reply on the spot while Pellew grits his teeth. The Spanish guy ends up impressed, never realizing that Pellew was seething.
- Cathy has tried, at least once, to invoke You Were Trying Too Hard, declaring that she was not looking for a boyfriend, and therefore a suitable one should pop up any minute now. It didn't work.
- The Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama The Doomwood Curse is based entirely around this: Some space nanites are making a fictional book true, and through careful manipulation of the tropes the Doctor is able to reverse the effect: The only way to get the solution to the carrier (a highwayman) in time is to make it a valuable item that "Must get there before sunrise!".
- Changeling: The Lost features the art of Talecrafting, wherein you can manipulate the nature of fate by noticing how the tropes of a story are going to play out (e.g., two attempts have failed, so you can invoke Third Time's The Charm). On the other hand, it comes with a story-appropriate penalty (such as All That Glitters) unless you do really well. Oh, and they link to this website in the book.
- In the d20 Modern Sourcebook Cyberscape, you can get an implant called Organ Remapping. "Organ remapping is an extensive set of minor cybernetic devices that relocate a recipientís internal organs and add safety valves, cutoffs, back-ups, and alternatives to many of the more critical and fragile organic systems." So any character can invoke Organ Dodge.
- Same game, different trope: Combat Clairvoyance. Psionic characters can use a power called Combat Claivoyance, and any character in a campaign with Cyberscape can use Kata Calculators/Computers, which are chips implanted into the brain comparing the battle to millions of battle sequences stored, and calculating the most probable next move from the opponent, giving advance warning to the user.
- In Knights of the Old Republic, it is ambiguous if Jolee Bindo is acting like a Grumpy Old Man because it is expected of someone his age and he finds humor in fulfilling the sterotype or if he actually is a Grumpy Old Man but Genre Savvy about it (or some of both). Check out his Wookieepedia quote pages and judge for yourself.
- Desann, Big Bad of Jedi Outcast, invokes Shooting Superman and then (this is the part he hasn't really thought through) It's Personal as part of a Batman Gambit to manipulate Kyle Katarn. Kyle has given up his Jedi abilities and connection to the Force deliberately, but Desann makes him really wish he had them by forcing him to fight him, a powerful Dark Jedi, with normal weapons — and inevitably lose, failing to save his girlfriend. This leads to Kyle returning to the Valley of the Jedi to reconnect with the Force for purposes of revenge, showing Desann the way there.
- The Pokťmon move Grass Knot invokes Broken Heel. It uses grass to trip the opponent. The amount of damage depends on the opponent's weight.
- From Portal 2's co-op campaign:
GLaDOS: This is the Computer Intelligence Training and Enrichment Center Human Test Subject Research Center or SinTech. But why don't we all just agree to call it the hub
- Mass Effect has the quarian-geth war. It officially started when the geth, a mechanical Slave Race created by the quarians, began to Grow Beyond Their Programming, but they were peaceful and just pondered the nature of their existence ("Do these units have a soul?"). The quarians, who happened upon a rare case of Genre Savvy for a civilisation in this situation and saw where this was going, decided to shut their errant children down. However, some amongst the quarian populace protested. When the protesters were targeted with arrests and eventually violence by police, the geth retaliated. Violently. In the quarians' attempt to defy the Robot War trope, they accidentally ended up invoking it. Oops.
- Elan in The Order of the Stick is fond of these, often pointing out that they're obligatory. For example, in On the Origin of PCs, when Roy is recruiting members for an adventuring party, Elan gets Roy to sit in a corner, looking mysterious, to invoke You All Meet in an Inn. All the Order of the Stick characters are reasonably Genre (and Rule, for that matter) Savvy, but Elan's a bard and seems to feel that invoking tropes is part of his job.
- The Sluggy Freelance crew is fond of this. The most notable occasion is during the Bug Squisher Quest: when they find the book of GŁd, Torg makes ZoŽ wait until he could exclaim that nothing could save them now, noting that saying that made sure that something would in fact save them.
- It doesn't work. However, when Torg explains what he was doing, ZoŽ responds "You mean like [when someone says] 'It can't get any worse?'" This time, it works.
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Frans Rayner quite flagrantly invokes the Conservation of Ninjutsu trope to try to defeat the titular ninja. He prepares an army of clones made from the doctor, so they'll all attack him at once. The doctor responds by switching sides so he can invoke some other tropes to gain the upper hand. " Dammit, Frans. You don't have to be a lone wolf any more! That attitude will get you killed!"
- In Blip, when the subject of a nasty falling-out between K and Mary comes up, Liz announces that "It's intervention time! "Rashomon"-Style!" Hester recounts the tail end of the argument, as that was the only part she saw, then Liz gives a deliberately exaggerated version of what she saw, prompting Mary to set the record straight for both of them. Of course, forcing Mary to examine these memories in detail was Liz's goal in the first place.
- In Finders Keepers, Cailyn proposes Let's Split Up, Gang. Cardinal points out that would be tempting fate. Cailyn replies that they're trying to find Fate.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, Kat very loudly and deliberately tempts fate, aiming to get kidnapped as the first step in a Batman Gambit: "Oh boy! I sure hope nothing happens to me now that I'm here all alone!" It works, partly: She does get kidnapped, but not by the hunky Mr Eglamore like she was hoping.
- In A Loonatic's Tale, Jasper Zinc is a genius, there's no denying that. And he's fully aware that he's a genius. But he hasn't got a particularly high opinion of anyone else's intellect, so he deliberately avoids contractions and uses unnecessarily large words in order to make sure that the lowest common denominator is also aware that he's a genius.
- MSF High: Examples include Runners, girls who run through the school with eyes closed and bookbags unzipped, looking for a cute guy who they will crash into, and subsquently date. One of them would be...
- In The Angry Video Game Nerd "Porn Games" episode, the Nerd attempts to use his tendency to get ambushed by the characters he discusses in his game reviews to his advantage while reviewing the game Gigolo.
Angry Video Game Nerd: You know, that's really weird. Could you imagine if you're just sittin' around, minding your own business, when all of a sudden, some naked chick breaks in and starts humpin' the crap outta you? (looks at door, excited... nothing happens, he shakes his head) You know, that's really not fair. I get Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, and Spider-Man... Bugs Bunny... but no naked chick. (shakes his head) Fuck this shit.
- The TV Tropes webseries Echo Chamber is fond of invoking tropes.
- The Tick, due to his "Drama Power", will often let villains kick his butt, so that his heroic comeback will be more powerful.
- In The Simpsons, after Apu and Manjula have difficulty conceiving, Homer helps out by having them simulate a drunken teenage one-night-stand.
- South Park: Cartman attempts to invoke a flashback to colonial times so he doesn't have to learn about the Constitutional Convention by reading. This being South Park, after a couple of false starts it eventually works.
- 101 Dalmatians: Pongo and Perdita catch each other's eyes before their human owners do, so they use Dog Walks You to arrange a Meet Cute.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "A Dog and Pony Show": Rarity invokes Pity the Kidnapper when she is captured by Diamond Dogs in order to make them willing to let her leave with all the jewels they made her find.
- Speaking of the ponies, Pinkie Pie invokes Spit Take after Princess Celestia reveals that Twilight is a princess in "Magical Mystery Cure".
- Archer has the titular secret agent going off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge when he finds out the chemo drugs he's supposed to be receiving are just Zima and sugar pills. As a pop culture-obsessed secret agent, however, he has his colleague film the whole thing and includes many, many references to things like Man on Fire and Magnum, P.I..
Lana: Is that really necessary?
Archer: Of course it is, Lana, it's a rampage!
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Clock King" invoked by the eponymous villain wants to get revenge on Mayor Hill for an Advice Backfire, so he wants to make Hill Gotham' Butt Monkey. Clock King mess with downton Gothamís traffic lights precisely when Mayor Hill is on his way to his reelection fundraising. Later he will produce Hill's Malevolent Mugshot with Mustache Vandalism and the legend "Time for a change". Everyone in the street laughs And There Was Much Rejoicing.
Angry driver: There's the foul-up. Mayor Over-the-Hill. Nothing works right in this city no more.