Main Villainous Breakdown Discussion

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12:29:59 PM Jun 13th 2017
edited by Luigifan
This trope is distinct enough from its closest cousins (Freak Out! and Oh, Crap!) that a section for real life examples could actually be viable... if it gets handled very, very carefully. (As in, we might need to make it accessible only to the mods.) As such, I put together a "strong disclaimer" to potentially replace the noreallife tag, but I don't want to just slap it on throw a perfectly serviceable guideline out the window without running it by the community first. Here's what I came up with, based on another page's affirmation that "Real Life lacks a narrative to pass judgment":

<p>This is Truth in Television in the sense that people whose dreams and ambitions have been utterly crushed will in all likelihood take it quite poorly. However, Real Life does not have clear-cut heroes and villains — well, maybe it's clear-cut to you, but chances are there's somebody out there who vehemently disagrees with your take on who's good and who's bad. It's all a matter of perspective. So if you have something that you think is a real-life example of a villainous breakdown... don't put it here. Really. We do not want to host a Flame War. Consider puttting your example under Freak Out! (a trope for utter mental breakdowns in general) or Oh, Crap! (a trope for when somebody realizes that they're about to have a bad time). If you really insist on your Real Life example going here, don't just slap it on. Take it to the discussion page. If we can reach a consensus that 90% of the global population would likely agree that your breakdown subject deserves the label of "villain" (and we mean fairly and objectively agree based on that person's deeds and comments on those deeds, not "agree because they're a homosexual/ethnic minority/religious minority/member of some other maligned group"), go ahead. Otherwise, we strongly recommend that you keep your opinions to yourself.</p>

Again, I'm only suggesting that we potentially allow this because Villainous Breakdown is a distinct stand-alone trope, rather than simply being "Villain goes Oh, Crap!". To quote the page, "the difference lies in that Oh, Crap! moments involve a single moment where the character finds that they are screwed, while Villainous Breakdowns have them see it coming from miles away." So unless we can come up with a trope that's essentially "like Villainous Breakdown, except it doesn't have to happen to a bad guy", this could be useful. The question is if we as a community are comfortable with allowing Real Life examples, even under tight regulation, to a trope that has pretty good reason to have that tag. If not, then let's not put this on the page.
12:46:52 PM Jun 13th 2017
Except this trope still requires the villain to be... a villain. So it would never get approval.
06:17:47 PM Jan 23rd 2016
Does Sailor John have one in Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure when he throws dynamite at Thomas?
01:37:44 AM Jul 11th 2012
edited by Craver357
Why does this trope becomes No Real Life Examples, Please!? Why would it be wrong to say that bad people in real life lose their cool and all that?
04:09:27 PM Apr 4th 2013
Because classifying real people as villains leads to flame wars.
12:45:46 PM Jun 13th 2017
edited by Luigifan
Yes. This trope is certainly Truth in Television in the sense that it would take remarkable strength of will to not have a breakdown if you're on the losing end of some sort of high-stakes conflict. Having one's dreams, ambitions, and desires be brutally denied is bound to be tough on one's psyche. So it's not surprising that bad guys and good guys alike would react poorly to facing utter defeat (and a high likelihood of getting some rough treatment from their victorious enemy). It's just that, at least in fiction, this situation is far more commonly faced by villains, and villains being, by definition, those who seek to get ahead at the expense of others and/or are willing to cause harm to others if it means they get what they want, will react to defeat much differently than a hero (who by definition is selfless and seeks to defend the innocent) would. Hence the trope being Villainous Breakdown and not something more general like "Look What They've Done To My Dream".

And, yes, the whole "could lead to flame wars" thing is right on the money. Unlike a fictional story, which can clearly indicate which characters are good and which characters are bad, in Real Life, who's "good" and who's "bad" is very much a matter of individual perspective. Also, real people don't neatly fit into the labels of "hero" or "villain", and to the extent that a real person can be considered a villain, well, them being a Card-Carrying Villain is highly unlikely. In general, a person is not going to make other people's lives hell just for its own sake. A person committing immoral acts is likely either desperate, trying to do something they think will help people even though it might hurt someone else, or not even aware that they're doing something wrong. Sometimes they aren't even trying to do something that could be considered bad — keep Hanlon's Razor in mind. And, yes, it is true that some people are just assholes, but it's far too easy to fall into the trap of calling someone an "asshole" and not giving it any more thought, when there could in fact have been a good (or at least excusable, or just sympathizable) reason for their bad behavior. No, seriously, there's a psychological thing about people tending to ascribe their own actions largely to their circumstances and other people's actions largely to their character, when in fact everyone's actions are driven both by circumstances and by character. I just can't recall the name of that principle. But this is getting to be a Wall of Text, so I'll cut myself off here.

The point I'm trying to make is, people in Real Life are complex. And morality is also complex... very, very complex. Many brilliant people have dedicated their entire lives to trying to comprehend the subject of morality. So, you can't really neatly fit the label of "hero" or "villain" on a Real Life person like you can on a fictional character. You're welcome to form your own opinions, but other people can and will disagree with you. Look at Donal Trump — a whole lot of people consider him the savior of America come to make our nation "great again", and a whole lot of others think he's the worst guy to walk the planet since Adolf Hitler. And then there's a huge bunch of people who are somewhere in between. This is all a matter of perspective. And when you try putting a Real Life example on this page... well, look at the name again. It's "Villainous Breakdown". Putting a Real Life example here is implicitly calling the subject of that example a villain. And that is pretty much a red flag for everyone who doesn't agree with that call to vehemently complain about it. We really don't want to have to deal with Edit Wars and Flame Wars and crap like that. If you think you have a real life example, take it here first. We will most likely tell you that your example doesn't really belong on account of it being far too debatable as to whether or not the subject is actually a villain. There are people who most of the planet would likely agree counts as a villain. I want to say Kim-Jong Il (the ruler of North Korea) is such a person — the way he treats his subjects is just freaking barbaric and cruel. But I'm probably going to have a whole bunch of people from Communist nations (China and North Korea itself come to mind) howling for my blood for saying that vehemently proclaiming that I am completely wrong. And I very well might be. Which brings me back to my point — bring it here first. If we think there's even a tiny chance that there's gonna be a flame war over your example, sorry, but we just can't have it.
10:15:39 PM Aug 7th 2011
i think we could add troper tales to this ? i remember a pissing of a troll once.
08:01:05 PM Apr 14th 2011
The borg Queen, maybe fits this in Endgame, i mean she falls to the floor and sarts saying that if she kills janeway now then future janeway won't exist and none of this whoud happen, and it's even highlighted by her literaly falling apart...
07:56:35 PM Feb 3rd 2011
Does anyone else think we could use a better page pic? I found another that might work better.
08:12:07 PM Feb 3rd 2011
Nah, I like the current page image. That one's a tad too small and unclear. 'Sides, there's this.
05:22:40 AM Dec 17th 2010
edited by Barano
In case anyone cares, Harry's example (Gun Grave) is a bit more complicated. Even though Brandon was unable to shoot him, Harry knew Brandon was unfailingly loyal to Millennion and Big Daddy. Since Harry was just about to betray them, and Brandon just pointed a gun at him, he felt he couldn't trust Brandon anymore and had to kill him, too.
11:28:51 AM Apr 16th 2010
Removed the page picture for being Just a Face and a Caption, and two of the page quotes since only one of them was really helping.
10:54:56 PM Apr 29th 2010
Eh, you don't need to know the media in question (I didn't for a long time) to see that the person in the pic is mentally on edge. I think it communicates the trope pretty well, even without the caption.
12:01:27 PM Apr 30th 2010
Actually, that's a pretty good point. I think that picture does show she's breaking down, so I concede that it's not Just a Face and a Caption.

I hate to apparently backpedal like this, but that wasn't the main reason I deleted it. Rather, I deleted it because the image is a spoiler. You can see how I initially reacted to it here.

...But if you disagree with me that it's enough of a spoiler to be removed as page image, feel free to put it back again.
10:41:21 AM Jul 22nd 2010
edited by stickmeister0
I vote we put something up from Ace Attorney, one of the obvious villians breakdowns like Frank Sahwit's, so it's not spoilerous. The breakdowns in that game are particularly famous and well done.
11:31:03 AM Jul 22nd 2010
Got any links to screencaps?
09:28:23 PM Aug 1st 2010
edited by stickmeister0
Here's Richard Wellington's official art of his breakdown, he's the villain of the 1st case in the second game and is outright stated as the murderer in the beginning. I used the last one in the top row. ...But I couldn't think of a clever caption, so feel free to think of a better one.

Also, the page image before mine from Death Note is worse and more spoilerous. Careful with that.
08:34:14 PM Aug 3rd 2010
Part of the problem with the images thus far is that all hey show is the "on edge" state, when the trope in question is about a progression of a character from calm and controlled to insane. I think a better image would be one that shows said progression. A good example of this would be the current images either on Took a Level in Badass or Berserk Button.
02:01:58 PM Mar 17th 2010
edited by Caswin
I'm still confused about The Dark Knight. I'm hesitant to remove it due to the replies it has built up, but The Joker promised from the beginning that he would destroy both ferries at midnight — that was the whole reason the passengers almost went through with it. It certainly seemed to catch him by surprise, but I still don't see where the thing about "turning over the chess board and punching the other player" comes from.
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