Needs Help: Alas Poor Villain

Total posts: [44]
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1 SeptimusHeap3rd Jun 2012 02:45:25 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Spun off from this thread. There has been the contention that this article doesn't really need to be subjective, resulting in an Edit War on the YMMV page and the temporary suspension of one of the edit warrers.

Specifically, only one line in the description (As odd as it may seem, if you want the audience to feel sorry for a villain, a good death scene is probably the way to go.) suggests that it is YMMV and the examples were claimed not to be subjective, but it was mentioned in the thread that to make this truly objective (and not redundant to Symphatetic POV) we need a TRS thread.

Feedback, please?

Example namespace migration completed from A to C, G and from V to Z.

edited 16th Jan '13 9:40:59 AM by SeptimusHeap

I would argue that that line doesn't imply YMMV at all. Just cuz part of the description uses the word "audience" doesn't mean it's an Audience Reaction. Pet the Dog says "Show the nasty old crank petting a dog, and you show the audience, aw shucks, he's all right after all." Laconic.The Worf Effect says "Beating up a guy we already know is powerful in order to show the audience how powerful you are." Etc.

There's nothing inherently subjective about "The villain is portrayed as sympathetic for the last moments of their life". And that's what the trope is right nownote —we don't even need to rework or redefine it at all, and the vast majority of examples already fit the objective version. Just remove the banner (maybe tweak the description if anyone thinks it's confusing or ambiguous) and poof.

edited 3rd Jun '12 3:10:12 AM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
Yeah, I don't think this one is subjective at all. It doesn't matter at all whether the audience actually buys your villain's tragic death scene, just that the author tried. Sometimes it fails horribly and people are kind of appalled the author even tried, but that doesn't mean the Alas, Poor Villain moment isn't there.
I too see nothing in the description or definition that merits a YMMV tag.
Seeking for Light
After having read over all the arguments, re-reading the description several times, and thinking about it, I agree with those above me. It really isn't subjective.

Though we may need to put a note on the page (possibly commented out) that examples should focus on what actually happened in the story, not how the audience reacted.
6 TheInferno3rd Jun 2012 10:23:53 AM from probably on Earth
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Yeah, I can live with that, I think, given Troacctid's points in the previous thread. I would say make the "it's not subjective" note part of the description though, not commented out.
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7 Ironeye3rd Jun 2012 04:21:17 PM from SoCal , Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
If we want to make this a proper objective trope, the description should be rewritten to focus more on how the death scene can be used to build sympathy.
I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me.
8 ccoa17th Jul 2012 09:26:36 AM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
There seems to be general agreement to make this not YMMV. Does anyone else agree that the description needs tweaking, too?

edited 17th Jul '12 9:26:44 AM by ccoa

Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
It could use some tweaking, yeah.
I think the real problem is that the name is a snowclone of Alas, Poor Scrappy, which definitely is an Audience Reaction, and not just because The Scrappy is.
I'd say that this is definitely not subjective, yeah.

This trope is (or should be) when the writers are clearly trying to make a villain sympathetic in death. It's something that's present in the work. People might sometimes argue about it (by saying eg. the writer didn't manage to make them sympathetic, or disagreeing over what the writer was going for), but I think that's true of almost any trope, and more often than not it's going to be pretty clear — when you get a sudden explanation of the villain's Freudian Excuse right before their death, or a shot of their wife or children, or a detailed flashback to their backstory, it's not really subjective to say that this trope is in play.

It might be worth splitting off an audience reaction version of this trope, but overall I think this trope (as a thing that happens) is more about when writers try to evoke a specific reaction, rather than the reaction itself. A writer trying to evoke a reaction isn't subjective (no more than Scary Black Man is rendered subjective just because some people might not find him scary or might argue over whether the writer really intended to make them scary.)

I don't think "viewers suddenly find a villain sympathetic because he died, without anything in the show trying to make you feel that way" (the subjective thing that could be spun off from this) is a very common thing at all, so I'm not sure it needs a trope.

(Whereas, say, Alas, Poor Scrappy is subjective because it relates to an audience reaction that isn't part of the work itself.)

edited 5th Aug '12 2:06:57 AM by Aquillion

Should we get a crowner for making this non YMMV?
13 SeptimusHeap10th Aug 2012 01:51:58 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
I think we need to rewrite the description and the examples mostly.
14 nrjxll15th Aug 2012 08:25:35 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I agree, this is not YMMV.

(Also, bump).
Yes, this isn't YMMV. It's about the author making the villain's death tragic. Whether the author does so effectively, in the opinion of some viewers, isn't the matter at hand.
16 Xtifr30th Aug 2012 12:55:27 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
The supertrope (Cry for the Devil) isn't YMMV. I see no particular reason why this should be. On the other this really distinct enough from the supertrope to justify making it a separate trope? It starts to get confusing when you throw in various other related tropes, like Sympathy for the Devil (which is about character reactions).
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
Alas, Poor Villain is when the Cry for the Devil comes in a death scene.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
18 Xtifr31st Aug 2012 06:44:22 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
[up]Which seems kind of like The Same, but More Specific.
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
Nah, it carries some unique connotations because of the dramatic impact inherent in the final revelation. It drastically changes the tone of the villain's death—which would normally be a moment of triumph.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
20 Xtifr1st Sep 2012 01:31:42 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
Ok, fair enough. Then lets just go with the not-YMMV option.
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
21 nrjxll30th Oct 2012 10:54:37 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
22 BestOf3rd Nov 2012 09:33:18 PM from Finland , Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
Crowner hooked. Start voting.
Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
14-0 in favor. Pretty clear, but give it a little bit longer.
Perhaps a merging is in order with Cry for the Devil?
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I think I'm against it for the reasons noted above.

Single Proposition: Alas Poor Villain
3rd Nov '12 9:29:38 PM
Vote up for yes, down for no.
At issue:
It has been argued that the trope is not about viewer sympathy but rather the sendoff that the author gives the villain. This would move it from Audience Reaction to an objective trope if true.

Total posts: 44
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