01:16:35 AM Jul 12th 2011
I've noticed something interesting about the concept of the 'underdog' in fiction. They're the group the audience is expected to root for. Typically, they come out on top and beat seemingly impossible odds against groups that had previously been shown to be superior. Now, here's where a paradox I'm proposing exists kicks in. Due to the saturation of this concept, if there's a plucky group of misfits we expect them to win. By its basic definition, the underdog isn't expected to win. Because we, the audience, expect them to win, they no longer qualify as underdogs. The argument could be made that they still count in-universe, but the entire point is to make the audience feel they're beating the odds, isn't it? It's no longer surprising to see them win because it's what we've been conditioned to expect. Here's part two of my odd little thought: Because we expect the group the piece of media has designated as the underdogs to win, it would only be a true underdog victory if the opposing group won. Villain victories are few and far between, and typically don't result in a permanent win. Based on this, a Villain winning IS beating the odds, no matter what the universe says. The audience almost never expects the Decepticons to beat the Autobots and take over the world, Cobra to beat G.I. Joe, The Empire to crush The Rebellion, etc. We could sit here listing examples all day. So fellow tropers, what are your thoughts on my theory?
03:32:37 PM Mar 23rd 2010
The Tampa Bay Rays considered a severe underdog? The Phillies considered a powerhouse? Really? I think whoever wrote that is EITHER ignorant in matters pertaining to baseball or a Mets fan. Most EVERYONE that World Series favored the Rays to win, especially since they were the American League team, and the AL is more highly regarded now. And coming in, the Phillies were HARDLY a powerhouse: this was only their sixth playoff appearance IN THEIR HISTORY! I really suggest this be removed, because it's not a good example AT ALL.