What's going on with this trope? Is it YMMV or not? I can see a bit of objectivity to it in examples like:
Then we have entries which are just complaining, like:
Then there's this:
In light of all this, what are we trying to do here?
A Wizard boyI feel that the "Shallow" is acting here as a complaint attractor.
No, the other one.The trope could use a fair amount of cleaning. I don't think it's YMMV, but when it comes to a flat personality, it may be hard to set a definitely defined definition. It should probably be something like a love interest who's only defined by her love for another, without having a personality that depends on anything but the love interest. So, a tsundere, for instance, would not be an example, even if she had no personality outside being a love interest, since she'd by definition have a conflict in her own feelings. I don't think the Bond girls would count as a general statement like that. They often have some useful skills or other traits that make them less shallow. They're still decently shallow, but so are most characters, especially if they have little screen time. However, as examples, they should be written on a case-per-case basis. Padme wouldn't count either, as her character is more than just that. Just because she had less plot importance in one movie doesn't this trope make. If there's a name that doesn't say Bad Character, it might be an idea to switch to that.
edited 13th Aug '12 10:39:26 AM by AnotherDuck
A Wizard boyMerely A Love Interest is my first thought of here.
I see the Awesomeness.Yeah, seems fairly simple of a trope, main problem is probably going to always be bitching. People like calling characters they don't like flat.
Highly visibleSo we need to clarify that this not about a character who is badly written and also happen to be someone's Love Interest, but about someone who has no characteristic whatsoever besides being a Love Interest.
edited 13th Aug '12 11:11:36 AM by kundoo
But what do you call a "characteristic"? There's cheap tricks that creators like to do to create mock depth. Like the aforementioned Tsundere; s/he's a Love Interest that pretends to hate their crush, but actually loves them. This is popular because it's automatic conflict and makes a character interesting. But being interesting doesn't make a character deep.
It's shallow in the sense that they are pretty much exclusively defined by being a love interest. Remove that aspect of their character and how well they stand up defines whether or not they're a shallow love interest.
Highly visibleA character doesn't need to be deep, just to have any other purpose in the story besides being a Love Interest. If they do then they're not Shallow Love Interest, even if as a character they are rather bland.
edited 13th Aug '12 11:52:45 AM by kundoo
A Wizard boyThat's why I am thinking of Merely A Love Interest.
A character doesn't need to be deep, just to have any other purpose in the story besides being a Love Interest.I call that depth. In any case, we might need a list of criteria. Such as:
edited 13th Aug '12 11:56:42 AM by KingZeal
A Wizard boyA romance in Relation Ship Sue needs to be a bit more focused. Also, Sues generally are a bit more fleshed out that Flat Character.
No, the other one.We can't really differ a token or mock attempt at depth from a legitimate one. Also, someone like Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica might actually fit the trope, but she's not really that bad of a character. I'd say she's deeper than a flat tsundere, but still not defined by anything other than her relation to the main character. She's also somewhat relevant to the plot, which leads to the point of if they're not examples if they have plot relevance outside that... Otherwise I've spotted a few I'd like to delete, but I'll bring them up first:
edited 13th Aug '12 12:30:53 PM by AnotherDuck
A rename would not help. If people are misusing this trope, it isn't because the name misled them. It's because they want to complain about a character and are intentionally stretching the definition of this trope to do it. I'm really skeptical that anyone is seeing the name "shallow love interest" and actually being confused about what it's talking about.
World's Toughest MilkmanWell, there's the obvious potential for confusion between shallow characterization (the creator just gives you a rough sketch without many details) and a shallow character (superficial, jumps to conclusions, doesn't think things through, obsessed with appearances). A shallow character can have a deep characterization; contrariwise, a deep character can have a shallow characterization.
"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
"Shallow" is an inherently negative word, similar to "decay". The trope, by its nature, will always have a problem with complaining, but the fact that the name basically says "this is bad" can't be helping the situation.
No, the other one.I think the Kim Possible example may be misuse for that reason. I'm not too familiar with it, though. I think a rename might help slightly. Better than not renaming, at least.
edited 13th Aug '12 2:43:41 PM by AnotherDuck
Is there anyone confusing this trope for being about love interests who have shallow personalities, as opposed to shallow characteriziation? If there is, then maybe there is reason to rename. But I'd want a check for misuse first. "shallow" is only negative if it's talking about the personality, not the lack of characterization. So, again, if there are people misusing this for being about shallow personalities, you have a point.
edited 13th Aug '12 2:49:42 PM by abk0100
World's Toughest MilkmanSeveral of the examples mentioned in the first post as examples of misuse sound exactly like they're cases of confusion for shallow character, as opposed to shallow characterization. I haven't looked to see how widespread this is, but it seems to dominate the misuse mentioned so far. Yes, that's basically the trope.
edited 13th Aug '12 3:37:43 PM by Xtifr
"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
I always thought it was like Prince Charming in Cinderella. He comes in, sweeps the lady off her feet, but doesn't have much in the way of his own goals.
Not sure I like it - makes me think more Token Romance then anything else.
Undeveloped Love Interest? Satellite Love Interest? ^ Also, that.
edited 14th Aug '12 5:14:02 PM by Arha
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