Playing With / Broken Ace

Basic Trope: The Ace turns out to have big problems.
  • Straight: Derek is a popular, handsome, charming fellow... But behind that winning smile hides a guy whose greatest fear is failing and losing the reputation he's strived so hard to achieve.
  • Exaggerated: Derek's the absolutely perfect guy — but only because his parents beat into him the idea that the very second he makes even the slightest mistake, the whole world will scorn him and turn their backs in an instant.
  • Downplayed: Derek is attractive, well-liked, and multi-talented, but turns out to actually feel quite nervous in social situations and sometimes dislikes the recognition he receives.
  • Justified: Derek has a psychological compulsion to be the best at everything to the point of self-destruction.
  • Inverted:
    • Derek's a dim underachiever, but is the happiest and most innocent character in the show.
    • Derek is Brilliant, but Lazy.
    • Derek is an Almighty Janitor. That is, he is completely unremarkable and nobody really cares about him, but Derek is more competent than he lets on.
  • Subverted: Derek has big problems and fears, but he pushes his problems aside while he focus more on being The Ace, believing that as long as he tries his best, nothing is impossible and like any other human being, no one's perfect.
  • Double Subverted: ...yet his focus on putting his problems aside merely adds to the growing mental stress, hastening the collapse.
  • Parodied: Derek is really great at everything because of his many psychological problems: all of his myriad obsessions and quirks and sociopathic tendencies counteract and mix with each other in such as way that he effectively becomes The Ace.
  • Zig Zagged:
  • Averted:
    • Derek isn't presented as an Ace, or is completely mentally balanced.
    • Derek is talented enough to be The Ace, but ultimately his flaws keep him from becoming one; he averts the Broken Ace because his brokenness is inverse to how much of an Ace he is.
  • Enforced: "Well, Derek needs to have a flaw; otherwise how is Jason going to win his girl from him at the end?" "I know! Let's make him secretly a nutcase!"
  • Lampshaded: "Wow, Derek is so great at everything!" "Yea, he'll drive himself to a breakdown at that pace."
  • Invoked: Derek's parents intentionally mind-screw him while driving him to become The Ace so he'll be a "Well Done, Son!" Guy.
  • Exploited: During a competition one of Derek's opponents taunts him about his flaws so he'll slip.
  • Defied: As part of his training to become The Ace, Derek was provided with the best psychoanalysts and therapists money could buy.
  • Discussed: "In the end, any Ace is really just compensating for his own inadequacies."
  • Conversed: "Wow, the movie's hero's great! He can do anything!" "Just wait: he'll break down from the stress at any moment."
  • Deconstructed: As it turns out, Derek is a fully capable and effective Hero in his own right, but due to the pressures of society's expectations of larger-than-life supermen — not to mention their assumptions that he must have some hidden inadequacies, since everybody does — he's over-thinking and overworking himself in the quest to become The Ace. Had he just striven for Heroism without trying to live up to the "role" society presented him, he could have excelled.
  • Reconstructed: Derek knows that his constant need to be the best and live up to high expectations will destroy him, but he pushes forward because his problems are bigger than him and You Can't Fight Fate.
  • Played For Laughs: Derek's breaking point is finding a single loose thread on one of his expensive suits.
  • Played For Drama: Thanks to all the pressure to be perfect, Derek's sanity hangs by a thread, and those around him keep unknowingly mashing on his secret Berserk Buttons...

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