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Inversion Flanderization

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Flanderized to their exact opposite

This trope has been Nuked
Proposed By:
bulmabriefs144 on Nov 5th 2018 at 6:01:42 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Essentially, a character has been Flanderized to the point where most people understand the character to be the exact opposite of what he represents.

For example, Robin Hood is often flanderized as a sort of "steals from the rich and gives to the poor" (sort of a socialist hero, or something). But the actual legend portrays him as a yeoman (small landowner) who was largely protesting big government tax collectors and gave it back to people who earned it.

Or turning Gandhi into a gun-control advocate or some kind of hippie, just because he happened to believe in nonviolent resistance. Actually, Gandhi saw firsthand how disarming the Indians made them an easy colony to rule.

Without getting into too much Real Life stuff, this trope is about simplifying the idea of a character to such a point where sullen Bob is suddenly singing showtunes, and Alice who hates squirrels and thus encounters them all the time (to show how afraid of them she is) somehow becoming being around squirrels because she loves them so much. Related to Alternative Character Interpretation, where the audience views a character as something different from the commonly agreed upon version. See also Darker and Edgier, Lighter and Softer, and Depending on the Writer. Contrast Character Development, where a character changes not because of a misinterpretation of their character but as a result of the plot.

Feedback: 12 replies

Nov 6th 2018 at 5:44:50 PM

Live-Action Television

  • Night Court: Bull was originally portrayed as a scary-looking and serious character, which was appropriate for someone whose job was a courthouse bailiff. As time went on, his character became one of the goofiest and most childlike on the show (probably second only to Harry).

Nov 6th 2018 at 5:45:16 PM

Comic Books

  • Batman was originally a grim, dark figure of the night, who was not above even killing his foes in order for justice to be served. The introduction of Robin early on really softened the character, and by the Silver Age, Batman was so light-hearted that he was even having adventures with space aliens (the introduction of the Comics Code in the 1950s didnít help matters). This culminated in the camp 1960s Batman 1966 series, where the character was far from the dark portrayal he began with, and led to him (and the comics industry as a whole) being stereotyped as just for kids. Beginning in the 1970s, writers tried to bring Batman back to his roots as a grim loner, a trend which continues today, and the camp portrayal of the 1960s (while still beloved) is rarely depicted.

Nov 6th 2018 at 2:14:13 PM

The Batman one isn't quite true, he spent about 18 months, total, as a vigilante in the mold of The Shadow before the bat-themed detective with a moral code against guns and killing became the norm. If anything it is the grimdark version which is the flanderised version.

Nov 6th 2018 at 2:54:13 PM

  • In the pilot episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle was The Loner and generally the lucid, cynical leader among the wackier five other ponies. The Only Sane Man role continued for most of the first season, though her Super OCD Adorkable qualities started to emerge, and by Season Two onwards she is cemented as The Finicky One with Large Ham level neuroses about pleasing everyone.
  • In Daffy Duck's earliest appearances in the original Looney Tunes shorts, he was a cheerfully nutty Screwy Squirrel that even his adveraries' most vicious retaliations could not restrain. Through the years, Daffy gained a more lucid and ambitious side, and more jokes were played at his expense rather than his victims, and by the end of the fifties, Daffy was a curmudgeonly egomaniacal Butt Monkey. "Robin Hood Daffy" is almost a total inversion of his initial dynamic with Porky, with Porky the carefree heckler to a frustrated and outclassed Daffy. While later works go in and out with interpretations, the later Flanderized Daffy is usually the favoured one.

Nov 7th 2018 at 12:45:17 PM

The 1982 biopic of Gandhi portrayed Nehru as a devotee of Gandhi who always agreed with him, when in reality Nehru split from Gandhi on many issues; for example, he was willing to support the Allied cause in WWII, and unlike Gandhi he wanted independent India to industrialize.

Nov 7th 2018 at 2:38:26 PM

  • Fate Grand Order: The character Antonio Salieri was based on the misconceptions that he killed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in real life, when in fact the two were at least good friends. He himself doesn't feel "real" because he's born out of a misconception and not the historical truth of the person.

Nov 8th 2018 at 11:09:26 PM

Going to have to do a lot of work to make sure this doesn't turn into an overlap with Became Their Own Antithesis.

Nov 8th 2018 at 11:35:19 PM

^ That's a subtrope of Character Development. This one happens more inexplicably.

Nov 9th 2018 at 1:23:09 AM

There might be something to the idea, but it is not related to Flanderization. That trope is about a nuanced character with a large number of unique traits becoming more exaggerated and whittled down to a handful of broad traits. Thus the inverse or reverse would be a broadly defined character getting more nuanced traits added over time (which is more or less synonymous with Character Development anyway).

As is, though, it's not much different than Characterization Marches On.

Nov 10th 2018 at 8:20:52 AM

Yeah, I know Flanderization is a whittling down of a character. This trope is basically about the taking certain traits of the character so out of context in the process of whittling that one misses the key core of the character. The reason that I chose Robin Hood was this guy is kinda like the conservative who works hard (let's use Scrooge Mcduck as an example since everyone knows how he is) and has extra money, and spends it on charities he values, suddenly held up as a liberal paragon. Something different between having enough wealth and giving to charity or defending people's rights against taxation, and redistributing wealth (usually through government intervention).

I agree that it needs a rewrite though. I kinda tend to make things worse by broadening stuff out or too specific, so ummm Up For Grabs I guess.

Nov 10th 2018 at 8:39:44 AM

Batman is kinda Depending On The Writer since they did a reboot of him that was Darkier And Edgier, but for years had also been doing alot of goofier television shows of him. In general, it's difficult to place his real personality because of this. I came in around the time of Batman The Animated Series and I kinda got the sense that Batman was kinda a very neutral Knight In Sour Armor, occasionally with more fun side (like the time he watches It's a Wonder Life for a Christmas episode, but winds up having to watch it taped) but not too campy or too dark. Because both Flanderizations of him have him too upbeat or downbeat, it's safe to say neither feels very on point. Having read the original Batman series, where he actually uses guns to kill people, I have to say this doesn't feel very accurate, but some of the other stuff does as long as it's toned down.

In any case, if we don't get some kinda clarification where this trope works better, yeah.

Nov 10th 2018 at 9:19:33 AM

  • Civilization famously turned Gandhi into a nuke-happy warlord due to a game bug (his civilization starts at the lowest possible aggressiveness, but one research the lowers this trait caused it to loop back to the highest possible value). Later games have kept this bug for him because of the intrinsic humor of Gandhi threatening to nuke people into oblivion, though some instead make him an actual pacifist who can't control his warmongering generals.
  • Warhammer 40 K: While Kharn the Betrayer is a murderous psychopath who lives only to kill in the Blood God's name (to the point where he always hits in combat- the enemy or his own side), fanon has for some reason seen fit to turn him into a Psychopathic Manchild who turns on his allies not because they aren't bloodthirsty enough (the event that earned him the Betrayer nickname in canon) but because it's fun: planting meltabombs on his side's transports, making carnage angels after a slaughter, stealing a commissar's hat so he can officially shoot his own men, etc.