Ooo, my very first Guess That Trope! Go ahead, try!
Given the usage numbers (which I personally think come from fans of the Trope Namer), I assume that my preferred course of action (rename) has slim chance of surviving. However, I think it's vastly uncontroversial that at the very least this needs some sort of redirects, so we aren't depending so heavily on foreknowledge to even find this trope.
Seriously, though, did anyone guess that this trope meant "Other things being equal, any given character is probably doing what he was last seen doing. Especially if you hope he isn't."? How the heck can this name possibly work, especially without redirects?
I'm confused by the meaning of this trope. About half the examples are characters being forced to do something, and we know that they'll do it forever. The other half are where the camera cuts away from the character, so we assume they kept doing what they were doing. What is it?
There is no "forced" to it.
I guess you could call it the Theory Of Narrative Inertia, where characters are assumed to be performing the last action they were seen doing, unless we are informed otherwise.
This is only a real issue if the last thing we see them doing is something we're really interested in, or something horrible is happening to them. Thats what bothers people about the Teathecat comic.
From reading through the examples, there appear to be both a trope and an audience reaction. The trope is that when the story comes back to a character after a long time has passed, they're still doing the same thing they were doing when we left them.
The Audience Reaction is when the audience assumes that trope happened.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
-Philip K. Dick
I don't really think they are that different though.
And strictly speaking, its not a trope, its an integral part of telling a multi-line story.
The Audience Reaction is the actually interesting part, at least, thats how I see it.
"Tethercat Principle" -tropes gets 161 google hits.
I always find it odd when a term gets significantly less google hits than it has inbounds here. Nevertheless, it is pretty obviously not an established term on the 'net at large.
Is a rename necessary? (I don't think so; it has decent redirects and nobody's shown any misuse.)
Should it be objective?
Some of the examples are Fridge Logic-style where we assume this is happening because it isn't contradicted.
Some of the examples come back Brick Joke-style and show that it actually is happening.
Are both of these correct? Should just one of them be correct? Do we need to split?
I would be in favor of soft-splitting the examples page, formally classifying examples of the latter category as In-Universe (so it can go on the main page for works where it appears), and leaving the former category in the Audience Reaction bin along with its Fridge Logic roots.
(1) it doesn't seem healthy judged by its wicks; on the other hand it does seem healthy judged by its inbounds. Confusing, no?
(2) by the definition in its first lines, this is about the Fridge Logic where you don't see a character doing something else, and so assume he is still doing whatever you last saw. I don't see how this is anything other than objective.
That also means the Brick Joke examples don't belong here - they belong on Brick Joke.
And has anyone done this? I assume not.
(I also assume that the current name isn't a preexisting phrase, that it's something someone here made up. I don't like it, but I doubt I'll get enough others to see it my way, so I'm probably not even gonna try.)
I think some cross wicking and redirects are in order, but based on the inbounds I get the impression that this is one of the tropes where people run across it and say "That's a cool name and concept, I think I'll share it with all my friends".
Alternative Titles: Tethercat Principle No End In Sight
6th May '12 11:31:09 AM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the title will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative titles.