Misused: Esoteric Happy Ending

Deadlock Clock: 18th Apr 2014 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [91]
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26 RJSavoy5th Apr 2013 10:46:00 AM from Edinburgh , Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
An Audience Reaction article is not a trope, unless it's intentional on behalf of the writers. And that is difficult to tell. They are on the wiki because they are near enough to tropes.

But on the matter of complaining, there are articles such as Concepts Are Cheap that are inherently critical but examples are allowed because they are narrowly focused and analytical. But so many others just amounted to "the show is soooo bad" or, worse, veiled insults to the fans. Many articles started out with the best of intentions but just became a long list of things someone somewhere didn't like; Adaptation Decay is one (originally it was meant to look at specific parts of the story lost between adaptations).

Quick exercise: use an internet archive to look at Complaining About Shows You Don't Like around 2008. Compare to our current Gushing About Shows You Like. Fans are not just more pleasant than haters, they are often more informative and, oddly enough, less extreme.

So, those who maintain this wiki have bad experiences with complaining. But this page is not at that level. Resume discussion.

edited 5th Apr '13 10:46:18 AM by RJSavoy

I wouldn't consider that a universal truism. Sometimes there are people who bash others who criticize if not dislike something for well-founded reasons. I've found a little bit of this under It's Popular, Now It Sucks!, which is suffering under similar, if different, trope decay.
28 AnotherDuck5th Apr 2013 04:51:31 PM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Nothing when it comes to people is universal. Except maybe that we're all alive. Maybe. Speaking generally, gushing tropes just work better than complaining tropes as far as disrupting the mood of the site goes.

edited 5th Apr '13 4:52:45 PM by AnotherDuck

Check out my fanfiction!
^ We're all alive? There are no dead people?
30 Pig_catapult7th Apr 2013 03:12:19 PM , Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
[up]Annnd point proven. XD
Because underscores break everything: Working link to my Troper page
31 Noaqiyeum7th Apr 2013 03:17:13 PM from the October Country , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The it-thingy

"Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death."

- G. K. Chesterton

Aaaaaaaand back to your regularly-scheduled TRS conversation. :P
Anyone who looks dangerous is dangerous.

Anyone who doesn't look dangerous is dangerous and sneaky.
""an ending that is portrayed as, and intended to be, a happy ending, but is viewed as a downer ending by the audience"

You list Dollhouse and AI:Artificial Intelligence as examples of the "misused" trope here, but I have seen both and could see how they would fit that quoted description.

There WILL be spoilers in the next two paragraphs, just to warn you:

DOLLHOUSE: This one is, okay, I could see how you'd feel there would be room for debate, but still - it's a "possible example" at minimum, I would argue. Firstly, the world is saved - everyone is Reset Button'd back to their original persona and memories (a good chunk of the theme of the show being that it is wrong to try and "change" people, a theme arguably repeated from Whedon's Serenity film), save for the main characters who deliberately stayed underground for a year or so to stay as their modified selves (also clearly meant to be a victory, since they have undergone lots of growth). The series ends with Priya and Anthony back together and happily raising their child (a real rarity in the Whedonverse!); the characters who have survived before that episode all alive... save for Paul. Whose brain is nonetheless backed up on disc - and installed, by her choice, into Echo. The last scene "they" have together is inside her mind, where they remark on the fact that she's finally "let him in" and opened up to him, as it were, by literally putting him in her head with her, finally growing enough to not be afraid of revealing herself. Emotionally, we're invested in these characters, and it's probably the best ending they could possibly hope for at that point. But. What if Paul and Echo turn out to not be as compatible when inside the same brain? Not to mention, the Fridge Horror inherent in Alpha having gone back to his original, unimprinted persona... people who've read the comics (which weren't all written by Whedon, though they were approved after series' end probably by him) know that the only thing keeping Alpha's psychotic impulses in check was having Paul's mind in there to act as a conscience, so what the hell happens when Paul's mind is gone from Alpha's? We have no way of knowing if the emotional changes will still be rooted there - he could just be the same psycho that was in prison for slicing people up, except, you know, not in prison anymore. Plus, society's infrastructures have been pretty much destroyed and nobody's ever going to trust technology again after the way it was abused. So... what? We enter another dark ages? Or what? It's "happy" in the sense that characters we like are alive and even still together, but what of the rest of the world? Which part are we supposed to consider when considering whether it is a "happy" ending or not - the characters who've been developed, or the faceless masses of the post-apocalyptic world? It's a happy ending by Whedon standards, but there's subtextual or Fridge Logic issues that make it still kinda creepy or... less than happy.

As for AI: I don't even know how to explain how blatantly obvious it was that Spielberg (the guy who finished what was originally a Kubrick film) meant it as a happy ending - the music, the soft focus, it all suggests it. But the explanation in the story is that the resurrected mommy is only going to be there for a day... it's a bittersweet ending, but it's filmed and edited to suggest it's less "bitter" than "sweet". In fact, it was the first example that jumped out at me when the trope was explained here - "oh, like AI". Seriously.

I dunno, it is slightly subjective... but isn't that also fine so long as the reasoning is explained?

Perhaps the description just needs to read, "an ending that is portrayed as a happy ending, but is viewed as [or "viewed as having elements elements of"] a downer ending by at least some of the audience"

None of that "intended to be" business because we're not mind-readers, insert "at least some of" to remove the "but I don't think it was a downer!" etc. silliness.

I dunno, it just... it really seems like a separate trope from just bittersweet endings, because you're talking about something that is FRAMED as a happy ending, but has elements that are less than happy if you actually think about it, yeah? To me, a "bittersweet ending" is openly such; it is framed as BOTH a bitter and a happy ending, as something that has elements of both, front and center. This trope sounds very different from that - something where the surface level or the framing of such, make it "happy", even though there are "downer" elements that aren't being focused on.

This trope also sounds sort of like Fridge Horror - but it's not always horror, and it's always an ending; and sort of like Fridge Logic, but always for an ending and for a specific effect on the interpretation of the ending (making it less "happy").

...possibly a rename could fix a lot of this? "Fridge Downer", perhaps?
If a rename is necessary, I like Fridge Downer.
34 Noaqiyeum8th Apr 2013 07:20:21 PM from the October Country , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The it-thingy
Fridge Downer is decent, but the current has the advantage of not being a snowclone, and I don't believe the name is contributing to misuse anyway. Normally if that's the case there's an obvious mismatch between the description and the obvious interpretation of the name, which doesn't seem to be true here.
Anyone who looks dangerous is dangerous.

Anyone who doesn't look dangerous is dangerous and sneaky.
35 RJSavoy9th Apr 2013 12:16:02 PM from Edinburgh , Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
"Fridge Downer" would involve Fridge Logic about the ending. This is supposed to be where the ending as laid out is not what everyone will think good; closer to Values Dissonance.
[up][up][up][up] I have to disagree about AI. While that moment was most certainly tender and "sweet", it seemed to me that it was trying to be a Tear Jerker, not a truly happy moment. And even if it was happy it would be a single happy moment in what was otherwise a complete Downer Ending and the brief happiness would only function to further punctuate the overall tragedy. However; our disagreement shows the need for a trope for endings that is fundamentally subjective in their happiness as even the framing of an ending can be viewed in different ways.

As for Dollhouse: I've actually not watched the ending of it. I added it only because the example blatantly called it a Bittersweet Ending. I can myself vouch for the rest of the endings however (well I haven't read all of H. P. Lovecraft and H. C. Andersen's works, but judging from what I have read and the examples used in the article) with the exception of "Broken Dolls" which I also added based on it's description, which portrayed it as just a Golden Ending that happens to be bittersweet.

I've also noticed that many of the examples are cases where the main character(s) ends up happy, but the ending itself is portrayed as a Downer Ending regardless of, or even (as is the case with The Little Match Girl) because of, the main characters' happiness.

I have to give a [tdown] to "Fridge Downer" for the same reasons that have been mentioned by others: This can not only be a product of Fridge Logic, but also other things like Values Dissonance. And the name of the tropes does not seem to be the source of the misuse. If anything it appears to be a case of a Missing Super Trope.

ANYWAYS: People seem to have gravitated around four ideas of how to solve the misuse:
  • A: Expand the trope to "an ending that can be (or has elements that can be) viewed as darker than it is portrayed" and remove any examples that still do not fit.
  • B: Expand the trope to "an ending that can be (or has elements that can be) viewed in multiple ways when it comes to it's happiness" and explain how this is different from a Bittersweet Ending.
  • C: Expand this trope to correspond with A and make a super-trope that corresponds with B. Move all examples that does not fit here to the new super-trope.
  • D: Just delete the trope.

I think we should decide on one of these before we make either new descriptions or new names, as the formation of both will depend on which of the above we chose. Are everyone OK with me making a crowner with these options?

edited 10th Apr '13 2:11:06 PM by painocus

37 helterskelter10th Apr 2013 04:13:38 PM , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
I'm definitely a fan of C. It's true that ending interpretation occupies a big part of fandoms and audience reaction. But this trope makes the concept of A worthless if we include B with it. Endings being interpreted in many different ways is a pretty common thing, but that's different as it's generally meant to be intentional. A isn't. It will surely need a rename no matter what. Honestly, the nature of the trope does seem to be better understood with a title like Fridge Downer Ending, as I do not think there should be a meaningful distinction between the author's Values Dissonance and "the author clearly didn't think this through", but I understand the grievances with it.

edited 10th Apr '13 4:15:26 PM by helterskelter

38 EditorPallMall10th Apr 2013 04:19:46 PM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
I still say D. This is just different people having different opinions about an ending. Where is the trope?
Keep it breezy!
39 SeptimusHeap10th Apr 2013 04:22:42 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
I favour A. I oppose D. Also, this is an Audience Reaction, not a trope.

I am not clear what the difference is between A and B and thus oppose C due to trope duplication concerns.

edited 10th Apr '13 4:25:17 PM by SeptimusHeap

40 EditorPallMall10th Apr 2013 04:32:11 PM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
If we are not cutting this article, then I will support A as well.
Keep it breezy!
41 SeptimusHeap10th Apr 2013 04:36:44 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
This has 374 inbounds, as a note.
43 Noaqiyeum10th Apr 2013 06:17:20 PM from the October Country , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The it-thingy
A or C.

Either case would require renaming, though. 'Esoteric' does not imply 'someone somewhere thinks this was sad'.

edited 10th Apr '13 6:18:14 PM by Noaqiyeum

Anyone who looks dangerous is dangerous.

Anyone who doesn't look dangerous is dangerous and sneaky.
It can mean difficult to understand, though, which would actually suit a trope that's about different ways of interpreting an ending.
45 Noaqiyeum10th Apr 2013 08:20:53 PM from the October Country , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The it-thingy
That would still prompt a title change, since it stops being about happy endings specifically.
Anyone who looks dangerous is dangerous.

Anyone who doesn't look dangerous is dangerous and sneaky.
"Esoteric" means "for the few, rather than the many". So an Esoteric Happy Ending would be one where Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending.
47 Spark95th May 2013 06:30:20 PM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
A, hands down.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
48 nrjxll5th May 2013 06:39:26 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
The more I look at this, the more I'm confused about what the difference is from Fridge Horror applied specifically to endings. The Dollhouse example being discussed earlier, for instance, is essentially a textbook case of Fridge Horror.

edited 5th May '13 6:40:13 PM by nrjxll

49 AnotherDuck5th May 2013 06:58:46 PM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
+A, -D

edited 5th May '13 6:58:56 PM by AnotherDuck

Check out my fanfiction!
Raven Wilder
[up][up] For an example that's not Fridge Horror, at the end of Angel Beats! the characters all decide to let themselves pass on instead of sticking around in the afterlife. If you share the characters' faith that they'll be reincarnated and find each other again, it's a happy-verging-on-bittersweet-ending. If you don't share that faith and think the characters essentially committed mass suicide and ceased to exist, it's a Downer Ending of the highest caliber.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko

Page Action: Esoteric Happy Ending
2nd Jun '13 2:45:48 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
At issue:

Total posts: 91
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