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Playing With: Imaginary Friend
Basic Trope: A character, often a child, has a friend that is not entirely real.
  • Straight: Charlie, the 8 year old boy, made up Daniel, a 3 foot tall blue turtle to play with.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Charlie makes up imaginary friends every day.
    • Charlie, a 25-years old grown man, made up Kana, a beautiful woman to "play" with.
  • Downplayed: ???
  • Justified:
    • Charlie has a very active imagination and is in need of some companionship.
    • Charlie is mentally ill.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Everyone believes that Charlie's new friend, Daniel, is just make believe. Until they meet him.
  • Double Subverted: But it turns out that he was make believe until Daniel's mind made him real.
  • Parodied: Dan is Charlie's imaginary character that gets into all sorts of wacky hijinks and regularly plays pranks on the other characters. The much more innocent Charlie is caught up in the mess, often getting in trouble for what Dan does. It will probably be played ambiguously, so that Dan may seem more substantial than he apparently is or that Charlie is much more mischievous than thought at first.
  • Zig Zagged:
    • Charlie makes up Daniel as an imaginary friend, but believes him to be real. Everyone tells him that Daniel is imaginary, until they meet him. But it turns out that he was a product of Charlie's mind, and Charlie realizes that he had just imagined that his friends met Dan since they had apparently never met this individual. Later, Charlie's friends allude to all the good times they had with Dan. Or did they?
    • It's left ambiguous.
  • Averted: Nobody has any non-real friends.
  • Enforced: "Let's give our young character an imaginary friend so that he can share his thoughts and feelings with him, and besides, everyone can relate with having an imaginary friend at one time."
  • Lampshaded: "For the last time, Charlie, Daniel isn't real."
  • Invoked: Charlie creates Daniel to cope with some emotional trauma.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: Charlie decides that the best way to deal with his problems is to keep himself grounded in reality and make real human connections with people, and thus refuses to create any imaginary friend.
  • Discussed: "Charlie's in one of those phases where he has an imaginary friend. We hope he grows out of it soon."
  • Conversed: "Kids in these shows have incredibly active imaginations."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Charlie has made Dan as a friend as a mean of escapism and an archetypal projection of his desires, as he is growing up as an outcast, abused or unloved.
    • Charlie is diagnosed as mentally ill, and Dan is or is thought to be not just an imaginary friend, but a serious delusion.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Charlie using Dan as a coping device actually worked, so he ends up alright in the end because of Dan.
    • Charlie is adopted, literally or figuratively, by a caring individual that takes good care of him. Dan is now seen as just an imaginary friend since Charlie is doing better.

Back to Imaginary Friend

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