Follow TV Tropes

Double Inversion

Go To

A trope initially played backwards is then played straight.

This trope has been Nuked
Proposed By:
ginsengaddict on Nov 14th 2017 at 12:15:38 PM
Last Edited By:
ginsengaddict on Nov 18th 2017 at 8:59:02 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

The halfway point between Inverted Trope and Double Subversion.

Like how a trope can be subverted and then be played straight, countering the expectation and then adhering to it, the same can be done for inversions, playing the elements of the trope in reverse and then flipping them to match the trope.

Just as a case study to help explain the concept, consider the character of Suzie Boreton from Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency in the context of the trope From Nobody to Nightmare. At the start of the season, she is introduced as a pitiful person, disrespected by her husband, son and boss, working a job she hates and walking with a limp; in short, a Nobody. After this, she comes into possession of a magic wand and discovers that she can use it to solve most of her problems, she heals her limp, cleans up her house, and... disintegrates the women in a book club she was formerly a part of out of spite... Which at first glance might seem like the trope in question is played completely straight: a previously ineffective and harmless person becomes a force to be reckoned with, but it comes to light that in highschool, Suzie was an Alpha Bitch who made life hell for a lot of people and it wasn't until the accident that gave her an limp that she became a Nobody. So, character starts as Nightmare and becomes Nobody (inversion), then goes from Nobody to Nightmare (double inversion). Make sense?

Feedback: 9 replies

Nov 14th 2017 at 4:34:30 PM

I don't see how this is useful. Is there a problem with people wicking to "Playing With" or something? You could express this concept by saying that this is "Zig Zagged but ultimately played straight." [EDIT: I'm not adding a bomb yet because I realize that this could be useful, but I'm just not seeing it. I also don't see how it's useless, hence no bomb from me (yet).]

Nov 14th 2017 at 5:10:59 PM

I've always thought of zigzagging as a minimum of three different Playing With variations being applied to the given trope. The concept of Double Inversion is a very specific and I suspect fairly common way to play a trope. If it is common, that would make it useful to have this page. I have noticed other instances where it might apply.

Nov 15th 2017 at 6:01:17 AM

So, the idea with this is that the trope is Inverted in the first half of the work, but then Played Straight in the second half? I think people use Zig Zagged for these nowadays. But a lot of people are already confused about the different Playing With variants (just how many tropers confuse Subverted, Averted, Inverted, Downplayed and Defied with each other?), so adding one more variant is only useful if it makes things more clear and not even more confusing.

Nov 16th 2017 at 5:06:42 AM

^ Not many these days. We've gotten pretty good at making the distinctions clear. If we want to get technical, literally ANY variant of trope usage can qualify as Zig Zagged. The zigzagged variant is essentially a "we don't have a more structured way to describe this, so here's a convenient catch-all term" - if the Double Inversion concept is common enough, it merits it's own recognition, apart from the generic "this doesn't go anywhere else" box.

Nov 16th 2017 at 6:40:09 AM

If you're making the "common enough" argument, can you please provide some examples? I cannot imagine this is particularly common enough to merit its own page separate from Zig Zagging Trope if there aren't examples readily available.

Nov 18th 2017 at 4:35:46 PM

^ It's not Double Subversion. That is a trope is initially teased, then countered, then played straight. This is when a trope is played in reverse, then flipped to be played straight.

^^ Sure, I'll get a list together.

Nov 18th 2017 at 8:59:02 PM

This has been discarded, but we were still discussing whether there were examples. Ginsengaddict, if you've found the examples and want to defend this draft, I think it would be fine to restore this draft so long as you include the examples. If there aren't at least a dozen or so examples, it's probably best to let this stay discarded. (Disclaimer: I'm not a mod. I just think it's rude to silently discard a draft when we're still discussing it.)

Top