Playing With: American Dream

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    Type 1 - The Positive View 
Basic Trope: The Self-Made Man who has exercised his right to achieve success and wealth.
  • Straight: Bob worked his way through college, and through hard work and perseverance, worked his way up through the company he started working for in college. He lives in a Big Fancy House in Suburbia with his lovely wife Alice (who can stay home to take care of the house and kids because Bob is able to support the household financially by himself), his three well-behaved children, and their dog.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed: Bob is better off than he was, but he's a car salesman living in a small condo with Alice, who still works in an office. Their son Charlie is trying to go to Troperville State University to save them money.
  • Justified: Hard work allows someone to develop a career, and that means a job that pays well enough to support a family.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Bob has a job that he likes, although he is by no means wealthy. Alice works outside the home to help with the high cost of day-to-day living, rather than relying on Bob to support her. They live in a house that's neither big nor fancy, but it does its job, and they live in a slightly more urban area. The kids are reasonably well-behaved, and bring home decent grades, but they will likely require hefty student loans to go to college. In other words, he lives an average life.
    • Alternatively, Bob lives in a Big Fancy House with a beautiful Trophy Wife and everything, but his wealth came from something like winning the lottery or being born into Old Money, not through effort on Bob's part.
  • Double Subverted:
    • One day, Bob gets a promotion at work, and with that comes more money. He and his family move to a bigger and better house in a more affluent area.
    • Bob may have gotten his initial wealth via the lottery or Old Money, but he was conscious of the limitations of his good fortune and so used it to build a successful business. Had he simply lived off it, he would have been broke by now.
  • Parodied: The Peter Principle (Bob has a great family and a great career despite being highly incompetent).
  • Zig Zagged: ???
  • Averted: Hard Work Hardly Works.
  • Enforced: "This ideology makes for a perfect sitcom family."
  • Lampshaded: "Work hard, son, and one day all this could be yours."
  • Invoked: Bob starts working for the sake of having money, and soon finds that he really likes what he does...and he chooses his girlfriend carefully (because he is looking to settle down).
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: Bob is The Slacker, with the desire to live the good life, but no ambition.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
  • Played For Drama: The second version (which deconstructs the first)

    Type 2 - The Negative View 
Basic Trope: Success and wealth are unobtainable in modern society.
  • Straight: Bob landed a job after college, but it wasn't the job he always wanted, and it's kind of a dead-end job with a Bad Boss. He earns enough to afford his family a decent house, but they struggle to keep up with the high cost of living and have little left over for luxuries. He and Alice are always fighting, and his kids are disrespectful and get poor grades.
  • Exaggerated: Bob does indeed have a high-paying, high-profile career, but his personal life is in shambles, because he has to spend so much time working to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. So his son fell in with a bad crowd and is in trouble with the law, his teenage daughter is pregnant, and his Rich Bitch wife is cheating on him with the poolboy while he's at work, when she's not blowing all Bob's money on designer clothes and jewelry. The town he lives in could best be described as Stepford Suburbia.
  • Downplayed: ???
  • Justified: Sometimes (particularly during tough economic times) hard work alone isn't enough. Or working so hard to build and maintain a successful career destroys one's personal life (or vice versa).
  • Inverted: (See part 1...)
  • Subverted: Bob is a Loser Protagonist living in a very rough neighborhood, working his ass off just to afford a small house or apartment. Alice is working hard too, but she wishes she married a man with more money. All in all, though, Alice and Bob are Happily Married, and the kids aren't perfect, but they manage to stay out of trouble.
  • Double Subverted: But then Bob gets a promotion, and he and Alice start spending less time together as he is required to work longer hours (and that takes a toll on their relationship, leading to a messy divorce).
  • Parodied: The Dysfunctional Family.
  • Zig Zagged: ???
  • Averted: ???
  • Enforced: "Let's make our work Darker and Edgier."
  • Lampshaded: "Alice and I used to be Yuppies. Now we're SITCOMs: Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage."
  • Invoked: Bob makes some bad choices regarding career, choice of mate, etc.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: Bob goes back to school, divorces his nagging and unfaithful wife, finds something he likes to do, and rebuilds a better life for himself following a MidLife Crisis.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
  • Played For Laughs: Dom Com, Work Com

Work hard and make the right choices in life, and you can go back to the American Dream page!