Unclear Description: C List Fodder

Deadlock Clock: 15th Sep 2012 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [43]
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1 nrjxll18th Jun 2012 02:21:17 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
As I mentioned in a Trope Talk thread, I'm finding myself very confused on what works can have C-List Fodder. The definition claims that it's for works set in a Shared Universe - primarily meaning superhero comics, but also including things like the Star Wars Expanded Universe and the like. However, most of the usage around the wiki I've seen seems to consider it a superhero trope without regard to shared universes, and we have a number of examples on the page that are simply superhero works without any sign of being a Shared Universe. There's also some fairly unambiguous misuse that's from neither superhero nor Shared Universe works.

The description seems vague, and the laconic is useless in this regard, so I'm bringing the question here: what can and cannot feature C-List Fodder?
2 Ghilz18th Jun 2012 02:38:38 PM from The Moon, Or Canada , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Fight it Out!
Essentially any work/universe that has a huge amount of recurring minor characters who aren't regulars (therefore there every episode).
3 nrjxll18th Jun 2012 07:12:24 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I'd like a second opinion on that.
I think it is Red Shirt But More Specific. That's fine. That seems like a thing: imports are expendable, or something.

Although that's going by the description; the examples are all over the place.

edited 18th Jun '12 7:35:26 PM by rodneyAnonymous

Becky: Who are you? The Mysterious Stranger: An angel.
Huck: What's your name? The Mysterious Stranger: Satan.
5 nrjxll18th Jun 2012 07:22:51 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I think the concept I'm assuming it to be is tropable, just severely decayed.

What Ghilz is describing sounds largely indistinguishable from Mauve Shirt.

edited 18th Jun '12 7:23:15 PM by nrjxll

I would think that C-list fodder are character who were tried as leads, didn't catch on, but are still around in the universe somewhere. This includes lots of minor super heroes (Ragman, Milestone characters other than Static) and people who were heavily featured in one unpopular Star Wars novel or a particular author's work.
Pika is the bombchu!
It isn't "Red Shirt but more specific." A Red Shirt is a person who has no identity and only exists to be killed or injured. C-List Fodder victims have identities and is killed or injured for a specific emotional response.

In Star Trek when the Red Shirt is killed all we are supposed to think is "that creature/alien/disease is dangerous."

In comics when the C List Fodder is killed we are supposed to assign a higher level of menace to the killer. We're supposed to think "this guy is a real problem, he killed Captain Fodder!"

When Red Shirts are killed, we focus on the villain. When C List Fodder, we focus on the victim.
mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really.
8 nrjxll19th Jun 2012 04:41:28 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
My personal understanding is that it is a trope, but not so much a character trope as a plot trope - essentially, that the characters killed in a Crisis Crossover will always be relatively minor ones in the context of the entire shared universe, never major stars.
9 CobraPrime19th Jun 2012 04:48:40 PM from Canada , Relationship Status: Robosexual
Sharknado Warning
I think it is Red Shirt But More Specific. That's fine. That seems like a thing: imports are expendable, or something.

What Ghilz is describing sounds largely indistinguishable from Mauve Shirt.

I'd address these two points: A Red Shirt, by his very nature, is not reconizable. He's a mook, a dude we don't know, whose importance is to die to show how bad things are, but with whom the audience has no link.

A Mauve Shirt is a former Red Shirt / Extra that has achieved a recurring status. The Audience knows who he is, and is expected to care. But he may not be destined to die however. Unlike Red Shirt and C-List Fodder, Mauve Shirt does not require that character to die/be injured/threatened. He's just someone who isn't a main character, started as an extra, but now is familiar to the audience and recognizable to them. If the Mauve Shirt does die or suffer some bad fate, then he does become C-List Fodder, but not until this happens to him.

C-List Fodder is someone who dies and is recognizable to the audience, but of almost no importance in the story/verse. He CAN be a Mauve Shirt, but as Mauve Shirts don't die, not all Mauve Shirts are C-List Fodder. C-List Fodders can also be former main or recurring characters who were once far more important than any Mauve Shirt, but have since fallen to barely important roles. The main difference between a Red Shirt and C-List fodder is that the fodder is someone your expected to recognize and care about, but whose role is so minor it won't affect things or alter the status quo too much.

edited 19th Jun '12 4:55:13 PM by CobraPrime

10 nrjxll19th Jun 2012 05:03:40 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
[up]By Ghilz's definition, not all Mauve Shirts are victims of C-List Fodder, but all victims of C-List Fodder are Mauve Shirts.

Again, though, I think this attempt to broaden the trope to one-work-universes is basically missing the point.
[up]No, because minor recurring characters did not necessarily start as red shirts.
13 SeptimusHeap20th Jun 2012 12:21:48 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
[up]Laconics aren't usually good sources of information. Use the actual descriptions, please.
14 nrjxll20th Jun 2012 02:03:09 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
[up][up][up]I don't think Mauve Shirt necessarily requires promotion from Red Shirt - they can look the same in their first appearance, but it's not really an Ascended Extra style trope.

[up]The laconic on this one is particularly bad, in my opinion - I was planning on bringing that up at some point.
I think C-List Fodder and Mauve Shirt are kind of similar but coming from opposite directions, and neither one is "the same but more" of Red Shirt.

C-Listers are characters who were brought in as a lead or a guest spot and never got the traction necessary to make it big, so they just faded into the background. They're technically around, but not important. So the authors feel free to murder them — they're known characters with names and all, but not important to the overall story of the universe. The audience reaction should be "Oh, hey, yeah, I remember that guy from — OH GOD THEY KILLED HIM!"

By constrast, a Mauve Shirt was created for the purpose of filling in the background. They were never meant to be important, and may have been created just so they could die to show how strong Monster #26 is. But someway or other they managed to become interesting to the audience and, against expectations, achieved some kind of popularity. They may be slated to die anyway (the impact all the stronger for being slightly more foreground) but they have a distinct identity.

And both of those are distinct from Red Shirts, who are just faceless, nameless non-characters who mean nothing to the audience and exist only to be slaughtered.

I think this is supported by the descriptions of the tropes.

So, for example, in the Avengers movie, there's the regular SHIELD agents, which are red shirts (nobody cares if they die), and then there's the Mauve Shirt Coulson, who is in all respects just a regular agent except we know him a little better. Or in Venture Brothers, you have #21 and #24 (who are much more than basic henchmen, but they still wear the suit, follow the Monarch, have numbers for names, and so on).

Compare that to, say, the Scarlet Spider or Stilt-Man, who were intended to be major characters and just didn't work out.

edited 20th Jun '12 2:58:50 PM by Escher

16 nrjxll27th Jun 2012 05:28:43 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
So, what are we doing here?

([up]This, again, more or less matches my understanding of the trope).
I didn't say "the same but more", it was "the same but more specific", which is sometimes its own trope. Like Mauve Shirt, which I wasn't aware of. (But I am wrong, they are different.)

edited 28th Jun '12 1:07:15 AM by rodneyAnonymous

Becky: Who are you? The Mysterious Stranger: An angel.
Huck: What's your name? The Mysterious Stranger: Satan.
So, anyone have an opinion on making the description more broad? So that it's just "universes with lots of characters" instead of Shared Universes?
19 nrjxll3rd Jul 2012 03:36:31 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
It's rare that the sort of characters that become C-List Fodder appear outside superhero Shared Universes, because of the nature of the beast.

This version seems to make it explicitly a superhero-specific trope. "Big-time comic books" appears to have been changed to "Shared Universes" sometime in 2008; even before the change was made, there were a number of examples that were neither from comic books nor shared universes, like Battlestar Galactica or Sluggy Freelance.

Those examples seem to be using this as "whenever someone dies, it's always the relatively minor characters", which is neither Red Shirt (since these are actual characters), Mauve Shirt (which is sort of the opposite, Red Shirts becoming actual characters), or specific to superheroes or shared universes. I could see the case, though, that it's The Same, but More Specific of Red Shirt.
21 nrjxll6th Jul 2012 08:25:55 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I definitely am of the opinion we should limit this to Shared Universes; there's not a lot of distinction between the trope that some people are using it for and various others like Red Shirt.
I think it could easily be distinct from Red Shirt even if we include non-shared-universe examples.

The description would be something like "When there's a big event in a universe with Loads and Loads of Characters, the writers will raise the stakes by killing off characters that are relatively well-known, but not very important to the universe."
23 Xtifr7th Jul 2012 03:15:36 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
I agree, Loads and Loads of Characters seems like the key, not Shared Universe.
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
24 nrjxll7th Jul 2012 06:42:10 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I think that's completely abandoning the original trope here in favor of Trope Decay. It might be a worthy trope in its own right (and is currently found tangled up with things like Tonight, Someone Dies), but I do think the specific shared universe version should not be broadened.
25 Xtifr7th Jul 2012 06:57:07 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
Actually, the original trope had nothing to do with shared universes. The oldest version I can find, here, is quite revealing.
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.

Total posts: 43
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