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Complaining: Flanderization
Deadlock Clock: 25th Jul '14 11:59 PM
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Complaining: Flanderization get usage counts

 1 Ghilz, Fri, 2nd May '14 10:26:46 PM from The Moon. Or Canada. Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Fight It Out!
I've not posted here in a while, but I've been reading the example subpages in Flanderization and I felt I had to open a thread on this. It's really bad. Really really bad. And I get it's one of those big tropes that's amongst the most linked on the wiki, but it's really really really bad.

Now, assuming I am reading things right, Flanderization has a straight forward definition: "The act of taking a single (often minor) action or trait of a character within a work and exaggerating it more and more over time until it completely consumes the character."

Simple. Clear. In pactice, it's become, on its very own examples subpages, a place for "Any character Development I don't like" or "Any change in a character's personality" - No doubt this is not helped by the fact the trope has something of a negative connotation. Tropes Are Not Bad, but seems a lot of people feel this one is. It's also a giant mess of natter and lack of proper Example Indentation

Some examples, taken from the page itself or its subpages:
Since Cleveland got his own show, he's stopped being quiet and boring period, and is now just loud and stupid (to fit in the role of leading male the way Peter and Stan Smith have before him).

So, the character's gone from a personality to a completely different, opposite personality. That's not one of his trait taking over the character, that's just straight up altering him into something fondamentally different.

Fandom example: The Phony Guy is nicknamed "Holden Caulfield"; as a Flanderization of the actual Holden Caulfield

What that's got to do with the Trope I can't even imagine.

The entire DCAU could count. With the aforementioned Batman: The Animated Series, it starts off as a more representative portrayal of the original comics, but beginning with Superman: The Animated Series, is later flanderized gradually into a Deconstruction of previous portrayals (including said original comics).

I was under the impression this was a character trope. Can an entire continuity made up of several series be flanderized?

In Transformers: Beast Wars, Silverbolt began as an idealistic, over-the-top Paladin-type who followed chivalry and loyalty to often comedic extremes. His relationship with Blackarachnia nearly took over his character by the third season, though it was written with some level of competency. More egregious is Blackarachnia's overnight transformation from Dark Action Girl who, oh, had a boyfriend into a romantic who would stop at nothing, including disloyalty and downright foolishness to get her lover back in Beast Machines. For that matter everybody in Beast Machines underwent some Flanderization as compared to Beast Wars.

Again, we are talking completely different personalities (Dark Action Girl to Hopeless Romantic)

But before anyone thinks it's limited to the Western Animation subpage, let me go to some of the other subpages.

Angela in the Eddie Murphy movie Boomerang originally started out as really laid back, and in one scene where she finds out where Marcus cheated on her, she tells him to "Stay the fuck out of her life!"; later on in the movie her cursing habits are Amped Up To Eleven whereas, before that scene, she was relatively mellow.

Can a character undergo flanderization within the single one movie they appear in? That seems unlikely.

The whole of Command & Conquer: Red Alert has undergone this. While some people complained that Red Alert 3 was ridiculously over the top compared to the previous games, it had already drifted dramatically starting with Red Alert 2. Red Alert had time travel, an Action Girl, and some over-the-top technology and characters, but it was about as serious as the Tiberium Series. Red Alert 2 expanded on this with much more over the top stuff (Giant mind controlled squid?) and pulpish units and scenarios. But the developers of Red Alert 3 focused much more on the cheesy elements.

Again here we have a character trope applied to an entire work. (Really more of an example of Denser and Wackier.

Civilization has Gandhi. In the original game, due to a quirk in the AI system, Gandhi isn't always the peaceful ruler that he's famous for being in real life. In particular, fans got a kick out of and made a meme out of Gandhi threatening them with nuclear weapons. In Civ 5, he's specifically programmed to use nukes more than any other AI is programmed to use or do anything.

I severely question the validity of this example.

In general, many "flashbacks" to a specific time period will do this with whichever time period they are depicting. For example, if it's a flashback to The Eighties, expect every male character to be wearing A Flock Of Seagulls haircutsnote and all the women to be dressed like Madonna, along with constant references to things like Rubik's Cubes and floppy disks. On the other hand, don't expect any references to subtler but perhaps more significant period-related themes like the AIDS scare or nostalgia for The Sixties. It's worth mentioning that this also often happens in movies, video games and cartoons. But it's most prevalent in live action television.

Applied to entire time periods now. Which are several tropes of their own.


Anyway, I can keep going (I haven't even gone in the natter or some examples with so many sub bullets covering so many personality changes for one character I'm hardly convinced we are dealing with flanderization and not actual character development), and I suppose I could do a wick count, but honestly, just take some time and read the examples on the page itself and its own subpages. They speak more loudly than any wick count ever could.

If you want a bad one to see the mess for yourself, Flanderization.Western Animation is probably the worst of the subpages.

edited 2nd May '14 10:34:49 PM by Ghilz

 2 Fighteer, Tue, 6th May '14 7:22:09 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Ouch. That looks.... bad.
Ironically, the pursuit of the definition of happiness does not appear to be a happiness-maximizing behavior.
I think the definition is really quite solid but clean up is going to be a pain. To try and condense what is already said, Flanderization is the act of character having one or two quirks that started off low-key with more "realistic" levels but gradually consumed the character to where that is all they are known for. The misuse is basically:
  • Character gains and loses quirks as the series progresses, which is basically Characterization Marches On, earlier behavior actively AT ODDS with the modern character. It has little to do with earlier quirks.
  • Character acquires a new quirk as a Running Gag that was mild or non-existent in earlier episodes, yet still doesn't really qualify as dominating the character. It ignores the "dominating" aspect.
  • Behavior changes that can be or actually IS explained via Character Development, such as gradually becoming more familiar with technology and being called on for tech support. Flanderization implies arbitrary character changes and not deliberate, story-based, changes.
  • Mistaking numerical value for ratio. When a series starts off, a character has only displayed that quirk so many times. Get a few more seasons under its belt and of course that quirks will show up many more times, but it is still at the same ratio as earlier seasons. The intention behind the trope is more about Once an Episode, not Once a Season.

 4 Fighteer, Tue, 6th May '14 11:27:05 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
I wonder if the trope is savable, given that it relies almost entirely on fan interpretation. The name doesn't help; who in the world still associates Ned Flanders with this trope?

It might be more evocative if retitled to something like Known Only For Their Quirk.
Ironically, the pursuit of the definition of happiness does not appear to be a happiness-maximizing behavior.
1. I thought it was about the characters behavior changing in the story, not about how the fans saw them? Like, if Bob complains in season 1 that he can't get a date, but by season 4 he spends all of his time desperately hitting on the women in the show and shouting that hes unloved.

2. Does fanfiction even count? cause thats more of misunderstanding someones character than the character actually changing, unless they start out reasonable and become more OOC as time goes by

I will help clean up also if wanted

[up][up]I do: but I don't like The Simpsons, so I wouldn't know if it got reversed in his case. I assume he probably got more character depth, but his early quirks still dominate his character.

Part of the Bad Writing associated with this is if a flanderized character is also a flat character.

edited 6th May '14 11:34:15 AM by crazysamaritan

Still new. Still learning. Asking questions and making mistakes.
 7 Septimus Heap, Tue, 6th May '14 11:39:17 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
A Wizard boy
This trope has 100000+ inbounds, so a rename is out of question.

This was the trope that brought me here. /irrelevant

^^ also i think that flanderization could also be described as "normal person becomes a flat character" right? or at least the negative versions.

edited 6th May '14 11:46:59 AM by PistolsAtDawn

I think the main problem is something evident with a lot of "general observation" tropes rather than tropes with a simple, solitary example, it requires a really educated fan to catch on to the changes in a character (I've heard studies show the average fan of a series only watches half of the episodes, but that was before Netflix and other online streaming sites really exploded). If you watch two distinct episodes of a show three years apart and a minor quirk in the earlier episode is more prominent in the later episode, you might be inclined to assume Flanderization, even if that was the first time in 6 months that quirk manifested itself.

 10 Fighteer, Tue, 6th May '14 11:52:58 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
So, renaming is off the table. Instead, we're stuck with a popular, memetic definition of the concept which attracts a lot of complaining, partly because people form snap impressions of shows and characters and partly because they don't bother to learn the real definition.

With that much outside attention, maintaining a clean, misuse-free trope will be a full-time project.

edited 6th May '14 11:53:53 AM by Fighteer

Ironically, the pursuit of the definition of happiness does not appear to be a happiness-maximizing behavior.
 11 Ghilz, Tue, 6th May '14 7:14:59 PM from The Moon. Or Canada. Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Fight It Out!
Does fanfiction even count? cause thats more of misunderstanding someones character than the character actually changing, unless they start out reasonable and become more OOC as time goes by

I would be inclined to say it does. For one, I don't think it's that different than Flanderization across adaptation (Say, Watson being an intelligent partner of Sherlock Holmes in the book who sometimes just needed things explained by his genius partner, being flanderized into someone that needs everything explained to him). And a lot of bad fanfics take a single character's trait and make it that one character's entire personality.

Actually reading what I wrote, does that even count? Does Flanderization only occur within a single continuity or if flanderization across adaptation possible?

edited 6th May '14 7:22:06 PM by Ghilz

 12 Fighteer, Tue, 6th May '14 7:19:13 PM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
I can't imagine that Flanderization could reasonably be said to occur with derivative works like fanfic, at least.
Ironically, the pursuit of the definition of happiness does not appear to be a happiness-maximizing behavior.
 13 Ghilz, Tue, 6th May '14 7:22:16 PM from The Moon. Or Canada. Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Fight It Out!
  • Character gains and loses quirks as the series progresses, which is basically Characterization Marches On, earlier behavior actively AT ODDS with the modern character. It has little to do with earlier quirks.
Character acquires a new quirk as a Running Gag that was mild or non-existent in earlier episodes, yet still doesn't really qualify as dominating the character. It ignores the "dominating" aspect.
  • Behavior changes that can be or actually IS explained via Character Development, such as gradually becoming more familiar with technology and being called on for tech support. Flanderization implies arbitrary character changes and not deliberate, story-based, changes.
  • Mistaking numerical value for ratio. When a series starts off, a character has only displayed that quirk so many times. Get a few more seasons under its belt and of course that quirks will show up many more times, but it is still at the same ratio as earlier seasons. The intention behind the trope is more about Once an Episode, not Once a Season.

Having gone through all the subpages, I don't quite agree with your list of misuse Frankly, it's not even that complex or subtle:

  • Character's personality changes. At all. Often has nothing to with the minor quirk expanding. Many of them deal with stuff that was suddenly introduced - Character now hates water coz we are doing a story arc about that. Or character's personality does a 180. Often seems plain old character development just in a direction whoever wrote the example didn't like.
  • Applying Flanderization to something that's not a character. A show. A series. A medium. A time period.
  • One example explains how a character was flanderized, then 12 sub-bullets explain how he's been flanderized in different ways at the same time. Probably your "Once a Season" scenario.

I'm not saying the examples of misuse you describe don't happen, they are IMHO, far less blatant.

edited 6th May '14 7:25:37 PM by Ghilz

^ I think we are on the same page, I just used different wording to describe the same thing. Your "Non-Character Flanderization" addition is also spot on. It's examples that might superficially appear to be what the trope is about, but instead is just an outlet to complain about change or minor variations on the character between installments. This goes back to my earlier comment about sweeping generalizations based on faulty observations, trying to simplify five seasons of characterization leads to a lot of vague commentary.

Characters can become wackier without being subject to Flanderization. I don't know about you guys, but if someone is written with 12 distinct quirks that manifest at different times that is actually a fairly Dynamic Character.

edited 6th May '14 9:16:47 PM by KJMackley

1. Adaptaion Flanderization?

2. Does it count if a trait which was originally subtle becomes more prominent and exaggerated, even if it doesn't actually overwhelm the characters previous characterization? Actually thinking about it, that's the way i see this used most often, more than "single trait overwhelms the entire character", the apparently correct definition

For example, in One Piece, Zoro originally has No Sense of Direction, and cannot navigate the boat, but can walk around town and get back on his own. In later issues he literally gets lost in straight hallways and cannot walk two meters in a crowd without ending up lost.

"Easily lost" is never Zoros primary trait and all of his other traits are still there, so I think according to the actual definition this wouldnt count, but it seems like this is the most common type of example

EDIT: actualy, the page image also shows that definition: the guy in the picture beomcomes more exagerrated but all of his traits become more exaggerated rather than a single trait overtaking his character. That might be part of why it misused so much b/c its a long unwieldy definition and a lot of people probably just look at the picture and think "yea thats probably right"

edited 7th May '14 7:19:46 AM by PistolsAtDawn

Ecce Homo Superior
@4: I think this is definitely a trope. It just suffers from a lot of misuse.

edited 7th May '14 4:24:41 AM by DoktorvonEurotrash

(it's David Bowie)
The Fanfic examples sound closer to Alternative Character Interpretation.

Ecce Homo Superior
Re fanfic: bad examples aside, I think flanderization is possible in fanfiction just like in any other type of adaptation (either because of bad writing, or as exaggeration for comedy purposes).
(it's David Bowie)
 19 Fighteer, Wed, 7th May '14 10:27:50 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
It has to happen within that fiction's continuity, though. "Character in [derivative work] is simplified from [parent work]" is not this trope, unless said derivative is within the canon of the parent.

edited 7th May '14 10:29:31 AM by Fighteer

Ironically, the pursuit of the definition of happiness does not appear to be a happiness-maximizing behavior.
Character Exaggeration (admittedly a broad name) is basically the trope you are thinking of, Flanderization across adaptations/remakes/derivative works.

^^ Yeah that is more like Fanon.

edited 7th May '14 10:35:01 AM by rexpensive

 
Ecce Homo Superior
[up][up]Ah, fair enough.
(it's David Bowie)
We shoud add something like that to the description: "Fanfiction and derivative works dont count unless the character starts out like normal and becomes more exagerated over time: for characters who are subtle in Canon but exaggerated in an adaptation or fan work, see Character Exaggeration or Alternative Character Interpretation"

edited 7th May '14 12:45:44 PM by PistolsAtDawn

Do I have permission to go in and remove/change examples?

Isn't there a difference between one-writer works, having a solid and consistent vision (potentially even over the course of decades of realworld time), as characterized in particular by novels, contra multi-writer works, having a muddled and inconsistent vision (potentially even from one episode to the next), as characterized in particulra by TV shows?

I'm thinking that Flanderization, as described, is likely to be most prevalent in multi-writer works, as opposed to clear-vision works.

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