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Misused: Expy
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Misused: Expy get usage counts

 1 Mag Bas, Thu, 21st Jun '12 5:19:43 AM from In my house
Quoting Golden Alex in the discussion page to the Video Games subpage: "there are WAY too many examples where people add expies because they look similar, or have similar backstorys, etc. Basically, they have one part of the expy description, but all other aspects are completely differant. Can something be done about this?"

 2 Septimus Heap, Thu, 21st Jun '12 6:49:29 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
A Wizard boy
Previous thread:[1]

It's basically being misused as "character that shares something with another character", right? A wick or example check would help.

Just checking a bit of it, on the Expy.Video Games page.

There's a ton of natter and Word Cruft (Metroid/Halo, GTA IV, Super Robot Wars, Nasu Verse).

There's a lot of basic game mechanic tropes and plot device characters that are labelled expy, such as different unit capabilities (Plants Vs Zombies/Mini Robot Wars, Pokemon, Advance Wars, probably lots of fighting games), main AFGNCAAP characters and variants (Fallout games, System Shock), Damsel Princesses (Nintendo), simple mechanics (Bowser/Crocomire).

And that's not going into "this character sort of resembles this older character" examples, which to my knowledge is more widespread in the anime section.

It should be said that there are also a lot of legitimate examples, and lots of, "Bob is an expy of Alice" with no further elaboration.

But essentially, the definition seems to be, "someone saw a slight similiarity somewhere".

edited 21st Jun '12 7:35:04 AM by Feather7603

The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
Can something be done about this?
Well yes, the obvious thing is you can delete those examples, because they're not examples. You don't need permission or consensus for that.

Unfortunately this is one of those ones where you need to be familiar with the work to be able to tell whether it's an example, which makes a large-scale cleanup effort difficult/impractical.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
Oh, I see it's back here in TRS.

Just make the trope it's original definition "similar characters from the same author/production team" and either clean the other examples or make a Legal Character Copy trope for them. Or my old suggestion just make it a Super Trope with Trope For Similar Characters With Same Author, Legal Character Copy/Characters Similar To Characters In Different Series, Captain Ersatz, Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Counterpart Comparison, Distaff Counterpart.

This might need to go to Special Efforts.

edited 16th Jul '12 9:54:01 PM by MegaJ

 
 6 ccoa, Wed, 18th Jul '12 7:52:46 AM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
[up]At over 7000 wicks, I'm doubtful that anything that drastic is practical.
Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
World's Toughest Milkman
Furthermore, trying to enforce an obsolete definition of the term, when it's clear that not just tropers, but the world, has adopted a broader definition seems silly.

eta: We don't own the language—not even the portions of it that are fanspeak. The best we can do is try to keep up.

[down]Indeed—I wasn't sure if it originated here or elsewhere—but originating a word and owning a word are two different things, and we don't seem to own this one any more. (I'm pretty sure you realize this, but I wanted to clarify the point for anyone else reading this.)

edited 18th Jul '12 2:18:20 PM by Xtifr

"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
 8 ccoa, Wed, 18th Jul '12 1:49:31 PM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
We coined the term Expy, actually, but it's gotten huge - googling "expy character" brings back 1.3 million hits. I don't think we can put this particularly genie back in the bottle.

When it first came to the TRS (actually, it wasn't even the TRS yet), it was defined as "similar character from the same author." But even then it had several thousand wicks that were using it to mean "this character is similar to that character."

Furthermore, there is no real difference between Bob copying his own previous character because he/the fans liked that character and Alice copying Bob's character because she/the fans liked that character.

There is some misuse for No Celebrities Were Harmed, Captain Ersatz, or Fantasy Counterpart Culture that should be possible to clean up without being familiar with the wicks, but with 7330 wicks, it's a pretty damn big effort.

edited 18th Jul '12 1:50:04 PM by ccoa

Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
Does the off-wiki usage of this mean anything that it would be useful for this page to mean? Because if it's just taking off the misuse, we may have a bit of a problem.

 10 ccoa, Fri, 20th Jul '12 6:08:06 PM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
I looked through the first couple pages of results, they were all using it to mean our current definition.
Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
But isn't the new definition insanely broad to allow the misuse to happen? I know that it would take a lot of effort, which is why I suggested Special Efforts.
 
 12 ccoa, Mon, 23rd Jul '12 1:53:03 PM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
The definition doesn't cause the misuse. The same misuse was present before it was broadened.
Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
Does anyone fill that the term expy is often abused on here? It seems like any character that has vague similarities to another character is labeled an expy.

Example

Bob is an expy of Charles because Bob is a vampire who grew up in the South, just like Charles.
 
are bob and charlie characters on True Blood?

Nerds Are Sexy.. sometimes
I removed some bad examples from the Western Animation subpages because it's usually my strong point, but I wasn't able to do much. I did manage to trim down a laughable wall of text about Disney, claiming that things such as a plot element in Toy Story 3 were expies.

This trope is really out of hand. If it gets any worse, we'll have to resort to items confirmed by Word of God. In the meantime, though, we could try a big bolded warning like some tropes have.

I wonder if the page image is part of the problem. I don't watch Mac Farlane's stuff, but I understand the formula is more reused than the individual characters. Either way, the image is primarily about a reused dynamic and I found tons of examples about similar dynamics.

edited 24th Aug '12 12:43:37 PM by StopMentioningYourself

This has got to be like the 5,000th time I forgot my email or password...
 16 RJ Savoy, Sat, 25th Aug '12 1:45:41 PM from Edinburgh Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Reymmă
[up] Part of the problem is that often it is not so much the characters themselves but a similar dynamic or contrasting role between them that is intentionally copied over. Much of people's character (fictional or not) is made most obvious to the world in how they interact with others. So what matters is how characters are relative to each other. A genuine pattern, but one that is harder to pin down.

I think we can make some norms as to what qualifies. We might oblige contributors to point to real personality similarities and not just appearance/role in the story/method of fighting? (It would excludes works with only very sketchy personalities, but I don't think that's a loss.)

I'll have a go at trimming the Animé/Manga section. There's still paragraphs about something with its own page and one example that appears twice.
94. Grandmaster of Shark
Expies are intentional. They are characters that are based on other characters, to the point were it is notable. So any time it's just a coincidental similarity or really obscure, you can pretty much delete it.

[up][up][up][up]It is abused, but no one wants to fix it.
 
Since Expy is big and it has lots of wicks... What about we make a Not An Expy page? And we stick a bold warning in Expy that "Expy is not just a vague similarity, if you have doubts wheter a character fits or not, check Not An Expy". Then we clean it up.

Edit: Having such a page would also help clean the misuse. I'm not entirely sure what is not an example, so I can't help cleaning it up. But Not An Expy would serve as a handy guide.

edited 29th Aug '12 12:34:57 AM by Nasst

In a quest to erase natter from the face of earth.
I would hope that clarifying the description should suffice. If you need an entirely separate page to pin down what the trope is, especially when the supposed main page is already just the description and list of subpages, something tells me your trope is too fuzzy to be a trope.

The Captain Ersatz page that says expies are simialr to another but obviously not intended to be them. Is this accurate?
 
 22 ccoa, Fri, 31st Aug '12 8:20:34 AM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
Yes. An Expy is when you take some traits of a previous character that you liked or the audience like, and make a new character incorporating those traits.

Captain Ersatz is when it's obviously supposed to be that character, but with enough of the serial numbers filed off that you won't be sued.

A Captain Ersatz is always obvious and usually used for parodies. Expies can be more subtle.

For example, if I wanted to make a Superman parody, I might use a character named Amazingman, with the colors of the costume inverted, an A instead of an S, essentially the same backstory, and all of Supe's powers. That would be a Captain Ersatz.

On the other hand, if you make a vigilante whose parents were murdered as a child who has superpowers and doesn't bother with a secret identity, he is probably an Batman Expy, but not a Captain Ersatz because it is clearly supposed to be a new character.

edited 31st Aug '12 8:21:19 AM by ccoa

Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
A lot of examples on both pages seem to have them confused.
 
 24 Mag Bas, Fri, 31st Aug '12 12:44:20 PM from In my house
Out of note, the current description in the first paragraph in Expy is "an Expy is a character from one series who is unambiguously and deliberately based on a character in another, older series. A few minor traits — such as age and name — may change, but there's no doubt that they are almost one and the same."

 25 Cider, Fri, 2nd Nov '12 2:40:41 AM from Not New York Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
The Final ECW Champion
If this was put up in reference to that edit war regarding Grima Wormtongue and Izuka know that the latter totally is an expy. The game is less than one word away from flat out admitting it. The different author changes nothing.

edited 2nd Nov '12 2:42:26 AM by Cider

Modified Ura-nage, Torture Rack
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