Unclear Description: Wham Episode

Deadlock Clock: 13th Oct 2012 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [44]
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So there's some discussion on Homestuck as to whether it's become overused to describe every single twist and turn in the story, and I was thinking about it, and I decided to look at the description of the trope, and I realized that I was nowhere near as clear on this trope's meaning as I was thinking.

Is this:
  • Any episode that is particularly shocking
  • Any episode that pulls a twist
  • Any episode that shakes up the status quo so that Nothing Is the Same Anymore

The description can be read as any of the three. If it's the first, it should probably be YMMV (that it doesn't appear to be really surprised me considering what most people on the Homestuck page seem to be considering it to be). If it's the last (and that seems to be what I'm inching towards, especially since the page says it can't be negated by later revelations like All Just a Dream), the problem on the Homestuck page is far worse than I and possibly anyone could have imagined.

edited 27th Jun '12 4:18:32 AM by MorganWick

Dragon Writer
Technically, the first definition would be "an episode that the audience finds particularly shocking" to be YMMV. If it's clear that the creators meant it to be surprising/shocking, that's not YMMV but is generally because of #2 or #3.

edited 27th Jun '12 8:00:22 AM by Stratadrake

Maybe just clarify that a WHAM episode has to be a change from the standard episode. Something like Homestuck or Lost has twists and turns so often that it's difficult to have a wham, because we come to expect twists every ten minutes. You might be able to identify particularly major twists, but I think the effect is rather lost in a convoluted series.

In other words, to paraphrase The Incredibles, if every episode is a wham, none of them are.

edited 27th Jun '12 8:54:16 AM by Escher

A Wham Episode is all three. "This is the episode meant to radically alter the status quo, and in doing so send a major shock through the viewership."
A Wham Episode is all three. "This is the episode meant to radically alter the status quo, and in doing so send a major shock through the viewership."

Well, yeah, I meant the three to be largely a matter of degree.

Homestuck is odd because it has semi-lengthy periods of relative stability that every so often get turned on their head by some new development. I didn't watch Lost, but my impression, both from what I think you're getting at and from outside descriptions, is that it basically had a game-changing twist every episode. Furthermore, the entire point was that we didn't know anything, that we were "lost", so to speak; with Homestuck, it's more like every time we think we do know everything, Hussie pulls the rug out from under us.
6 nrjxll29th Jun 2012 01:40:10 AM , Relationship Status: Not war
By that definition (and description of the works in question, neither of which I am personally familiar with), I would say that Homestuck can have Wham Episodes, but Lost cannot.

edited 29th Jun '12 1:40:37 AM by nrjxll

7 Shaoken29th Jun 2012 01:47:21 AM , Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
With examples like Lost, because it had so many twists only the really big and epic ones counted as WHAM Episodes; ie the conclusion of Season 3 comes to mind.
Yeah, I can't imagine any series could ever have enough examples to deserve its own page. Definitely not Lost.

And could someone just cut that Real Life page, no discussion needed?
9 Serocco29th Jun 2012 11:54:41 AM from Miami, Florida , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
[up]Nope. We'll only decide that once we pick a description for Wham Episode.

Though, if you ask me, we've removed Real Life from too many tropes as it is.

edited 29th Jun '12 12:02:07 PM by Serocco

In RWBY, every girl is Best Girl.
I agree, but I'm indifferent about this one. This trope doesn't really apply to real life. What's the point in listing every shocking event in history?
11 nrjxll29th Jun 2012 04:02:25 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I don't believe it's possible for this trope to apply to real life, since it doesn't break down into "episodes" of any sort.
12 Serocco29th Jun 2012 07:03:43 PM from Miami, Florida , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
[up] Manga/comics/literature don't have "episodes", though. tongue

[up][up] Well, isn't that the point of a Wham Episode?

edited 29th Jun '12 8:50:59 PM by Serocco

In RWBY, every girl is Best Girl.
13 nrjxll29th Jun 2012 08:00:36 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
[up]That's why I put "episode" in quotation marks. They may not have episodes in the TV sense, but all break down into discrete sub-units - comics have issues, literature has chapters (or whole books in longer cases) - in a way real life doesn't. The trope isn't Wham Day or Wham Week, after all.
Which brings up another interesting point. Is this just a list of major twists, specifying the episode in which occurs, or is it a list of episodes that change each show? For example, if the final 10 seconds of an episode introduce a major twist (not a The Ending Changes Everything twist, just a plot twist), should that count?
15 Serocco29th Jun 2012 08:50:44 PM from Miami, Florida , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
Babylon 5 coined the term. Were there any full-length plot twists or ten-second plot twists in those? I know everybody remembers "A Minbari not born of Minbari", but that's more of a Wham Line.
In RWBY, every girl is Best Girl.
16 nrjxll29th Jun 2012 08:56:33 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
[up]Based on that, I'm definitely leaning towards this being "episodes" that radically changed things, not just individual plot twists.

I'm not sure what the exact difference between those would be, though.
17 Serocco29th Jun 2012 09:03:02 PM from Miami, Florida , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
[up] I think it's "episode with a twist." That's the very basic description. It can be a chapter, a level, a single scene or a single minute in a day.
In RWBY, every girl is Best Girl.
that's too basic, you're leaving out half the trope.
19 nrjxll30th Jun 2012 02:04:29 AM , Relationship Status: Not war
For the record, I've brought the proposal to cut real life examples to the Special Efforts thread on the topic, although I didn't add it to the crowner given that we don't know what the definition is yet.
Changing the definition to "radically changing things" would make the trope a duplicate of Nothing Is the Same Anymore.
I don't know why we're trying to change the definition in the first place - what's wrong with the current one?
22 nrjxll30th Jun 2012 03:53:28 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
We're not trying to change the definition, exactly - the problem is that nobody is entirely sure what the definition is.
@Rou a series can have enough of these for their own page if they are a Long Runner - some shows are over 500 episodes- if only 20 of those are whams, it is too overwhelming to list with everything else.
Can we turn this into an index? There seem to be a lot of things that can change a series, like the addition or subtraction of characters, unexpected romance, or change in characterization.

edited 1st Jul '12 12:47:24 PM by reub2000

...Honestly, I was just looking for the description to be tidied up a little... maybe Cryptic Mirror has a point about TRS being too quick to change everything...

For the record, the description used to look like this.

edited 30th Jun '12 11:50:40 PM by MorganWick

Total posts: 44
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