Follow TV Tropes

Following

Deconstructed Character Archetype / Live-Action TV

Go To

  • Tony Soprano, the Villain Protagonist of The Sopranos, deconstructs The Don. Tony is not a ridiculously powerful kingpin with high resources like most Mafia bosses in fiction. Sure, he has resources, but these resources are limited. This makes sense, since the show is set in modern times, where RICO law causes Tony's nightmares. Besides, his crime family shows that the mafia today is at a downfall from informants, the government, hostility from other families, and drugs. All these attributes make Tony Soprano one of the most realistic representations of an American mob boss in the modern-day.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Like several honorable classic heroes, Ned Stark refuses to make moral compromises and tries to save everybody. This ends up backfiring, chiefly warning Cersei to save her children. Not only does this lead to his own death, but leads to the crowning of a deranged psychopath, the very child he was trying to save.
    • Advertisement:
    • Cersei Lannister deconstructs the typical fairytale wicked queen, highlighting what it would actually take for such a woman to gain power in a medieval society that does not regard women with much respect. She also demonstrates how petty and destructive the kind of woman who'd be obsessed with being the Fairest of Them All would be, not just to her targets but to herself and everyone around her.
    • Her brother Jaime is a deconstruction of The Oathbreaker. He's derogatorily known and addressed as "Kingslayer" by everyone in-universe due to the fact he stabbed King Aerys in the back towards the end of Robert's Rebellion, despite being a knight of the Kingsguard sworn to protect the king. Jaime harbors deep resentment over this, primarily because the only reason he did it was because Aerys, who was known as "The Mad King" for his insanity, was plotting to set the entire capital ablaze in a Murder-Suicide that would've killed thousands of innocent citizens. The constant verbal abuse for what should be seen as an act of heroism is what has caused him to become so bitter and lacking in empathy towards others.
      Jaime: So many vows. They make you swear and swear. Defend the king. Obey the king. Obey your father. Defend the innocent. Protect the weak. But what if your father despises the king? What if the king massacres the innocent? It's too much. No matter what, you're forsaking one vow or the other.
    • Advertisement:
    • Gregor "The Mountain That Rides" Clegane's brother Sandor "The Hound" points out that Gregor's very existence belies the image of knights as defenders of the weak and helpless; they're just particularly successful killers. Sandor learned the hard way when he was a boy that having "Ser" before your name doesn't make one any less of a psychopath.
  • The Wire:
    • The Cowboy Cop is deconstructed with Jimmy McNulty, who, despite being an excellent detective, allows his free-wheeling ways to cause much destruction to both his personal life and performs numerous, possibly career-damaging moves on his way towards cracking any given case. Rather depressingly, he also continuously gets himself in hot water with Da Chief (Rawls and the like) by not being a typical gung-ho cowboy cop arresting petty drug dealers, but through building cases against immunized high-level drug traffickers, which leads to embarassment for his superiors as it makes them look ineffectual. He ultimately ends up faking evidence to get the resources he wants, which costs him his job and almost winds up getting him in front of a grand jury.
    • Herc and Carver show how their gung-ho, headcracking style of busting street corner hustlers is actually not very useful police work. Over the course of the show, Carver matures into a more competent policeman who becomes a part of his community and uses more intelligent tactics to disrupt the drug trade. Herc, not so much. He ends up getting fired after pissing off the wrong people and instead becomes the bodyguard of an Amoral Attorney.
  • Despite The Glades being about a Cowboy Cop, the first episode showed somewhat realistic consequences to having an officer who tramples all over the rules and gets away with it because of his skill and talent. Specifically, his partner feels overshadowed by him, and complained about it to his wife so much it eventually destroyed their marriage. When she tried to leave him, he killed her. She's the Victim of the Week.
  • Dead Like Me deconstructed Cool Old Lady in the form of Grandma Phyl who spent so many years doing "cool" stuff in foreign places that she neglected her own daughter which caused Joy to grow up anal and overly self-reliant.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Dennis is one of the Only Sane Man, namely by showing what kind of person they'd have to be to hang around a group of insane assholes. While Dennis is the one who is most adjusted socially, it's because he's a manipulative, sociopathic Narcissist who uses his friends to make himself look better to other people and as pawns for his own amusement, tricks women into having sex with him by being charming, and acts as The Face to get the gang's schemes rolling.
  • Pretty Little Liars:
    • Alison provides a perfect deconstruction of the Alpha Bitch and The Friend Nobody Likes. Her behavior gained her and the Liars the disdain of 90% of the town, and she has multiple enemies in the A-team that want her dead. By season 5, the Liars themselves wonder why they ever put up with her, and do everything they can to get her arrested when they suspect her of murder. In fact, Alison is so hated that when she was hit in the head with a rock and presumed dead, her own mother buried her to cover for her attacker!
    • She also ended up being a deconstruction of Poisonous Friend, as the actions of the Liars towards stemmed from years of bottled-up resentment due to her actions.
  • The Originals, Game of Thrones, Graceland and Arrow all deconstruct The Unfettered. The actions that Klaus, Stannis, Briggs and Oliver take in order to defeat the villains result in the loss of several key allies. In particular, Briggs' Manipulative Bastard tendencies, as well as being a Control Freak, resulted in him taking down the Big Bad of season three through Mike, but it also ended with him being a Broken Pedestal for Mike and Johnny. Stannis's sacrifice of his daughter cost him his army. Oliver and Klaus both became The Mole, but their actions drove away both Diggle and Elijah.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Emma is the Agent Scully, but her skepticism is borne of lack of trust due to past abandonment issues.
    • Henry aspires to be a Kid Hero but his need to live a more exciting life causes him to needlessly risk his life.
    • Regina is a "Well Done, Son!" Guy who is never able to free herself of wanting to please her mother Cora. She blames Snow White for the death of her first love even though it was Cora who killed him.
  • Stargate Atlantis deconstructs the Space People trope with the introduction of the "Travelers." As cool as it sounds to be a people that lives their entire lives on ships in interstellar space, by the time of the show it's proven to be a cultural dead end. Without access to planetary resources they're unable to build new ships. The ships they do have are aging clunkers kept running with scavenged parts, and none of them are replaceable. Their population growth has to be strictly controlled because they only have so much living space. They keep to themselves so much that most other civilizations aren't even aware of their existence, or else consider them untrustworthy scavengers who'll do anything to survive. They are slow to form alliances or expose themselves to situations that could lead to open conflicts, because they have so much to lose. Many have simply abandoned the Traveler lifestyle and integrated themselves into terrestrial societies.
  • The Firefly episode "Trash" is a notable deconstruction of The Vamp (in the person of "YoSaffBridge"), showing how depressing and dehumanizing it can really be to be one, and how psychologically messed up someone would have to be to want to be one. Saff has completely mastered the art of seduction, but at the cost of any chance of ever having a meaningful relationship with another human being. After years of getting ahead through lying and manipulation, she's left a trail of abandoned identities behind her - to the point that even she barely knows who she is anymore - and a long line of men that she abandoned soon after marrying them for profit. At the end of the episode, Mal outright dismantles her whole M.O. in a well-timed "The Reason You Suck" Speech, where he points out that people like him will always trump people like her - because unlike her, he has a devoted crew of True Companions that will always have his back. In a pinch, well-earned loyalty always trumps cheap manipulation.
  • Two of a Kind deconstructed Papa Wolf in one episode. Ashley has a crush on her tutor but discovers he has a girlfriend and is heartbroken. When Kevin finds out, he fires the tutor thinking it would help. Instead Ashley yells at him for meddling in her private business and Carrie points out how Kevin assumed he would be helping rather than actually asking Ashley about her feelings. Kevin eventually admits it was more out of a desire to come across as a hero - and hires the tutor back.
  • The first 2 seasons of Downton Abbey deconstructed The Dutiful Son (or daughter, in this case) with Lady Mary, who was brought up believing family honor is everything even above personal happiness. She eventually falls in love with Matthew but her mother's pregnancy and possibility of finally having a male heir causes her break things off because Matthew would be title-less. When Cora loses the baby, Mary again tries to be with Matthew but he loses trust in her and believes her to be a Gold Digger. In season 2, Mary becomes engaged to Sir Richard who could provide for her even if everyone hates him. She breaks it off eventually and her father finally recognizes his fault in making Mary sacrifice love for honor. He tells her she can marry whoever she wants because a little scandal is worth it as long as his daughter is happy.
  • Community:
    • The episode "Studies in Modern Movement" deconstructs the "Loony Friends" part of the Loony Friends Improve Your Personality trope. After the strait-laced Annie agrees to move in with the eccentric Troy and Abed, she tries to go along with their zany antics and off-the-wall kookiness, but gradually gets more and more frustrated with their eccentricity and the selfishness, obliviousness, and annoying behaviour it leads to. The point is clearly made that while the Loony Friends may seem cool, wacky and fun in small doses and from a distance (such as the twenty-odd minutes you spend watching them on television), if you had to spend any meaningful amount of time up-close and personal with them they'd quickly become insufferably selfish and annoying if they weren't willing to tone things down a bit.
    • Jeff Winger deconstructs this from the other side. Yes, the Loony Friends gradually help improve his personality... but only because it turns out that for all his pretensions towards normality and his condescending attitude towards them, he's actually way more messed up than they are. He also desconstructs the "whacky lawyer who wins all his cases through courtroom antics" type by showing that a person who can win any argument and acts like the rules don't apply to him would probably be very hard to put up with in everyday life.
    • Pierce Hawthorne can be considered a deconstruction of the "wacky old person" character. His insensitivity makes him seem like a Jerkass, his Fair for Its Day outlook gets him ostracized, and his attempts to fit in turn him into an unlikeable Attention Whore. He can also be seen as a deconstruction of typical sitcom Butt-Monkey characters like Jerry, Scully, and Zoidberg; usually the oldest character in the group, lots of self-esteem issues, considered out of touch and uncool, and almost always the butt of everyone else's jokes to the point of being a Chew Toy. Pierce shows how this sort of treatment can eventually foster serious resentment from whoever's on the receiving end until things get ugly. Pierce lashes out at the group in increasingly mean-spirited, disturbing ways, in large part because of this treatment (he even says as much). Not that he doesn't bring it on himself most of the time, but he isn't really antagonistic until the group's treatment of him gets worse.
    • Shirley is essentially the sensible wife out of a wholesome family sitcom who's forced to interact with people who are neither her children nor her Manchild husband and who thus don't regard her as inherently more moral than them.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim does this with its characters.
    • The main protagonist, Kouta, just received a belt that allows him to transform. But since he knows nothing about the beings threatening their world, he just uses it to play in street games for money. What's more, since he just received his powers, he's absolutely terrible at fighting, meaning someone more skilled than him can easily kill him. And when he survives, he isn't determined to get stronger and beat the guy who nearly killed him, he's traumatized and nearly stops fighting altogether.
    • Kaito is a deconstruction of the "Cool Jerk" archetype. Even though he has the charisma to attract and befriend many people, his resentment and cold personality drive away anyone who could be his friend. Also, while most Secondary Riders slowly warm up to the protagonist and later become straight-up heroes, Kaito's held on to his beliefs for a long time and, simply put, is not ready to give them up anytime soon.
    • Micchy is the secondary rider who's young, wants to help his friends, and has a crush on his friend, Mai. All of these traits are portrayed as negative: the fact that he's young means that he can be easily corrupted; his loyalty to his friends means that he'll commit horrendous acts for them; his crush on Mai is at first portrayed as positive, but as time goes on, his loyalty to Mai borders on Yandere, causing him to snap when she gets mad at him, blaming Kouta for his problems and eventually culminating in him almost killing Kouta out of rage.
    • Mai in the later episodes is the deconstruction of the Living Macguffin. The trope is taken to its logical conclusion, outright saying that Mai's become the Kamen Rider equivalent to Eve. Meanwhile, the reactions from both of Kouta's rivals are either desiring Mai as a prize to be won rather than a person or being so devastated that she's become nothing more than an object now that he doesn't bother fighting for her. Only Kouta has no minding towards Mai's status as a Macguffin.
  • In Kamen Rider Double, Kirihiko is the Henpecked Husband to his wife Saeko and usually does his best to please her. But failure after failure gets her frustrated and disappointed with him. It cumulates to the point where she domestically abuses him before killing him in cold blood.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid has one of its main villains Parado, a video game character brought into the real world who acts like any other player would in a video game. This manifests as him being a borderline sociopath who picks fights whenever he finds it fun, only calls fairness when it makes things less boring for him while he's often okay with beating up anyone who gets in his way when they're often leagues below his power, and having an unhealthy obsession with the main protagonist because he thinks of him as a fun Final Boss. Not only this, but his logic is less reliant on allegiance than it is with winning or losing, often willing to kill those he views as "losers", including his own kind. It's only when his "lives" are in danger that he begins to worry, losing his composure and going into a panic.
  • Z Nation shows what happens when someone like Murphy is forced to be The Chosen One: to say he doesn't handle it well is an understatement, seeing as how he keeps screwing over everyone trying to protect him, indirectly got several people killed, caused another apocalypse, and turned Cassandra into a feral zombie hybrid only for her to die at the hands of Ten-K.
  • Power Rangers Jungle Fury deconstructs the Rookie Red Ranger, a trope the franchise spawned, with Casey. Unlike Theo and Lily, he wasn't chosen for being an experienced student but because of his latent talent and how he stood up to Jarrod. As the least experienced in combat and in his weapon, he's looked down on by Theo while Lily treats him like a little brother. It bothers him enough that he gets extra training from RJ. Although he's made leader to make him less wary, he gets upset when RJ becomes a Ranger, feeling that his position is challenged. Theo and Lily outright reject his belief that Jarrod can be redeemed, forcing him to go one his own and prove them wrong. In the end, he ends up losing his lack of confidence in himself and plays the trope straight.
  • Julius Caesar in Rome deconstructs The Chosen One. He validates his extralegal actions by getting approval from the gods. He gains this by bribing the head pontiff. This, among many actions, upsets Lucius Vorenus who believes in the sanctity of Roman institutions.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Barney deconstructs Sensei for Scoundrels in that he only learned his ways because he has no reliable father figure to teach him right from wrong. His refusal to commit came from his brother James, his greed and materialism came from Benson the guy who stole his girl and his hedonism came from his mother's lover who ironically is his birth father. Further still, James has moved on and become a married man (at least for a while anyway. Barney was initially upset though cheered up at the idea of unclehood) while his birth father cleaned up his act and became a family man too. Barney shows some resentment at the family life he has since he was not there for him as a dad.
    • Amicable Exes is taken apart through Robin and both Ted and Barney.
      • Ted and Robin decided to break up amicably because both wanted different things and didn't want to force the other to compromise. But they eventually realize they are too amicable with each other and thus cannot maintain any lasting romantic relationships because in the back of their minds, they have a faint (but false) hope that they will get back together and unconsciously wouldn't fully commit to new relationships.
      • While they remained friends, Robin later reveals she was hurt by Barney's numerous "conquests" after their breakup, making her feel she was just another number to him. And similar with Ted, Barney has moments where he still pines after Robin. This ends up costing him when in a moment of weakness, he and Robin slept together and subsequently, both cheated on their respective partners.
    • While it's undeniable the gang are True Companions, the show is pointing out how dysfunctional they are because they constantly meddle in each other's affairs, as well as the fact that Robin had dated two of them at different times. Others have pointed out to Ted that because he is in such a tight-knit group of friends, it's near impossible for him to find someone to enter that bubble and many of his relationships fail because of it.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend deconstructs (what else?) the Psycho Ex-Girlfriend trope. Our protagonist and title character, Rebecca Bunch, latches onto her ex-boyfriend Josh Chan because she's deeply unhappy with her life and wishes to return to the days when they were happy together. Add in a borderline-abusive childhood, some improperly-managed mental health issues, and a friend who thinks she's in a romcom, and you've got a recipe for disaster. To her credit, Rebecca does occasionally have flashes of self-awareness where she realizes how screwed up her actions are, but they never last for long.
  • Steve Harrington from Stranger Things. Ever sat through an 80s film and yelled at the chick-magnet Jerk Jock for being a stereotypical Card-Carrying Villain for no good reason beyond "we need a jerk character in this spot for you to hate"? Well, here we have one who refreshingly wises up to, and actively faces down, his Poisonous Friend and slight Inferiority Superiority Complex problems before he becomes a punchable cardboard cut-out destined for Wall Street. He about-faces and goes quite a long way towards mending busted fences like a human being with a semi-functional social intelligence quotient should. And, also gives us a pretty good reason why Nancy saw anything in him beyond his looks in the first place by doing so, to boot. And in season two he keeps the pace up and becomes a affirmative Nice Guy and forms a bond with Dustin of all people.
  • In Flashpoint, anytime an untrained bystander attempted to do something heroic or resolve the situation, it either makes things worse or disrupt Team One's efforts to deescalate the situation, such as in the episode "Grounded" where Parker would have been able to talk down the hostage takers peacefully if a passenger hadn't tried to be a hero.
  • Walter White, the Villain Protagonist of Breaking Bad, deconstructs Justified Criminal. The plot is kicked off when Walt is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, with the best-case scenario being he only has two years left to live. His jobs as a high-school chemistry teacher and a car washer hardly makes enough money for his family to live on, let alone pay for his cancer treatments. As a result, he decides to team up with his former student Jesse Pinkman and use his chemistry skills to cook meth to earn cash for his cancer treatments, and to leave money for his family to live on. His actions have far-reaching consequences that he couldn't even begin to imagine, as he ends up getting several people including at least two innocent kids and his own brother-in-law killed. As the series goes on, the more clear it becomes that Walt enjoys the thrill and challenge of doing the wrong thing, and he's not using the meth cooking to provide for his family, he's using his family to keep having a reason to do it. Walt himself finally admits to both himself and Skyler in “Felina” that he got into the meth trade because he liked the power and prestige he had as a drug kingpin, he felt so alive, and he was good at what he was creating. The first sign that his pride, not the cancer diagnosis, is the main source of his actions shows up in "Gray Matter"; Gretchen and Elliot Schwarz, his former collegues, learn about his cancer via Skyler and offer him a well-paying job at their company with good health insurance. Walt rejects it even though taking the job would have instantly solved all of his financial problems without any illegal baggage. While Walt does manage to get a hefty inheritance gathered for his wife and children, they completely disown him during "Ozymandias" (to the point where his son Walt Jr. legally changed his first name to “Flynn” and Skyler reverts to using her maiden name) so even if the police didn't confiscate his remaining drug cash if he sent it to them, they want nothing to do with it. In order to prevent his actions being All for Nothing, Walt has to coerce the Schawarz's into setting up a trust fund Flynn will recieve on his 18th birthday with the remaining drug money, in order to make it look like the money came from a philanthropist couple's act of charity. The series ends with Walt dying from a bullet wound in a meth lab after he killed off Uncle Jack's Neo-Nazi gang as revenge for killing his brother-in-law and so they'd no longer be a threat to his remaining family members, seconds before the police show up. Long story short, Walt suceeded in getting that nest egg for his family, but he destroyed or at least partially ruined the lives of everybody around him in the process and his crimes are going to forever haunt the family that survived the series.
  • The 30 Rock episode "Reunion" deconstructs the Deadpan Snarker/Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold. Liz considered herself as such during high school, having few friends and having to cope with harassment by the Alpha Bitch and her posse by making witty remarks. At her reunion, she discovers that her constant put downs had actually caused everyone to see her as The Bully and hate her. Her so called friends were acquaintances who hung around her due to proximity and the supposed Alpha Bitch was actually a nice person who tried to reach out and befriend her (her friendliness was actually why she was so popular in the first place). She even had to go therapy to cope with the abuse Liz inflicted on her.
    • Liz in general deconstructs the Murphy Brown, feminist character that uses sarcastic wit as a weapon against those she considers unrighteous. As it is, she is "It's All About Me" unleaded and the fact she's a woman just thinks it justifies her bitchiness and penchant for Disproportionate Retribution, and her "sarcastic wit" as mentioned above is less funny and more genuinely hurting.
  • In The Crown (2016), Phillip's initial and only role is to be the Hot Consort to Queen Elizabeth, after having given up his career, his home, his name and his self-worth. He had no other duties besides looking presentable next to his wife and is stopped at every turn from contributing anything that he could call his own. All of this results in him feeling inferior to his wife and causing tension in their relationship, frequently partying and getting drunk with his friends because he is bored out of his mind.
  • Black Mirror deconstructs Asshole Victim in several of its episodes, particularly in "White Bear", "Shut Up and Dance", "Hated by the Nation", "White Christmas", and "USS Callister". The jerks have done things that make them unsympathetic, such as being a rude person overall, being mean to somebody who is lower than them on the social totem pole, or cheating on their spouses. In some instances, they willingly committed legitimately horrible and inexcusable acts (such as murdering an innocent kid, or possessing and masturbating to child pornography). However, the events that the assholes are forced to go through are so utterly horrific that any sense of schadenfreude is drained right out from the viewers. Meanwhile, their tormentors (those that have designated those characters assholes) are very clearly little better than those they attack and humiliate, especially because they often use pretensions of vigilante justice to justify who they choose as the victims of their own horrible actions. Long story short, those episodes force viewers to question their perceptions on revenge, vigilantism, and punishment, and they force viewers to wonder if the asshole victims truly deserve what happens to them despite what they've done.
  • Castle deconstructs Manic Pixie Dream Girl through Castle's first ex-wife and Alexis's mother. Her first appearance demonstrates that despite her cheerful and bright personality, Meredith is very flighty, impulsive, irresponsible and even more immature than Castle. Castle describes their relationship like having a deep fried Twinkie, in that "once in a while is a treat, all the time will kill you."
  • Criminal Minds frequently deconstructed Vigilante Man with several of it's unsubs. While the level of deconstruction varies, what remains constant is that vigilantes are ultimately killing to make themselves feel better, not much different from the show's typical Serial Killer. Furthermore, there is always innocent collateral damage to their rampages, either because of Misplaced Retribution, an incorrect assumption about someone's guilt, or simply someone getting in their way. The very first vigilante the team dealt with was ultimately a schizophrenic who thought killing his victims would make the voices go away, and it's entirely up in the air whether or not his victims were truly guilty. Regardless of how the general public feels about them or how deserving the victims are, the BAU cannot ignore or condone their actions, and have to treat them as they would any other murderer.
  • Supernatural deconstructs Hunter of Monsters, placing a heavy emphasis on how much that life sucks: hunters typically make money by hustling pool and poker and credit card fraud, often end up with criminal records, generally end up emotionally traumatized to some degree due to the things they've seen and experienced, and when they die, which they probably will sooner rather than later, there's a good chance no one will know how to dispose of their body properly (if it's even recoverable) but other hunters.
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019):
    • Sir Reginald Hargreeves deconstructs the Sink-or-Swim Mentor and Abusive Parent. Not only do his abusive training tactics fail to register with his adoptive children, but they end up making the Academy so maladjusted in their interactions with each other and society that they fail to stop The End of the World as We Know It twice. In fact, his abuse of his children, especially towards Vanya, is what causes the Apocalypse he was trying to prevent with them in the first place.
    • Luther was chosen as The Leader of the Umbrella Academy by Sir Hargreeves, and he desperately wants to prove he's capable of being Number One. Unfortunately, he was so isolated from much of the world for most of his life that he lacks the social skills to properly lead. He can't read a room to save his life, easily gets flummoxed during confrontations, lacks the confidence to maintain morale, and quickly falls apart when under significant amounts of pressure. He also can't seem to recognize that none of his siblings even want to be led, let alone by him, and his inability to realize this is his Fatal Flaw. He often cites him being Number One as proof of his leadership status, even though their number designations weren't ranks, and were assigned to them arbitrarily when Reginald bought them from their birth parents. His decision to lock Vanya up in a cage because he decides she's too dangerous to even exist causes Vanya to snap and catalyzes the apocalypse.
    • Klaus deconstructs I See Dead People; seeing ghosts nobody else can, especially with Sir Hargreeves locking him in up a mausoleum for hours as part of his training, has traumatized him to the point where he's become an Addled Addict, as the effects of alcohol and drugs are the only way he can suppress his powers and not see ghosts.
    • Vanya deconstructs The Team Normal and The Runt at the End. For her entire life, Vanya had to deal with being the only "ordinary" child in a family of superheroes. She received the lowest number in the family ranking system, was ostracized by her siblings, was deliberately left out of the family portrait, and overall was regarded as something of a nuisance. Because of this, she ended up having severe self-esteem issues and a strong desire to be special like her siblings, which enables her to be taken advantage by people like Harold Jenkins who feign affection towards her to get what they want. Things get worse when it turns out Vanya did have Psychoactive Powers all along, which Sir Hargreeves and Pogo brainwashed her into forgetting about them when she was young using an unknowing Allison and fed her with antidepressants in order to suppress them because Hargreeves insisted that she couldn't control her powers normally. Her discovering all this, combined with Luther's poor decision to lock her up, results in her lashing out towards her family and she becomes the Apocalypse Maiden.
    • Pogo deconstructs Accomplice by Inaction. While he didn't approve of what Sir Hargreeves was doing to his adoptive children, his belief that he owes complete loyalty to Hargreeves for uplifting him kept him from interfering with the abusive treatment. This includes helping with Vanya's imprisonment, brainwashing and suppression, sending Luther to the moon for four years on a Snipe Hunt to help him find purpose in life after his Ape Man transmutation, and helping Hargreeves with his suicide in an attempt to reunite the Umbrella academy. Not only does his complicity in Hargreeves' abuse cause the siblings to lose all trust in Pogo, it becomes the main reason why Vanya murders him at the end of the first season.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide tends to deconstruct every high-school stereotype in the book.
    • Cookie is your typical Black and Nerdy Gadgeteer Genius, right? Not exactly. During the show we see that despite Cookie’s intelligence, he is barely able to function in the real world. He always tries to think up the most outlandish ways to succeed in school and always backfires. Eventually, he realizes that in order to get by, he needs to start thinking rationally and give up the high-tech solutions.
    • The typical mean kids on campus, Alpha Bitch Missy and Bully Loomer. They just seem like your typical jerks at first, but as the series progresses, they get to grow. By Season 3, Missy has lost a lot of her popularity and most people at Polk recognize she’s just a jerk and nothing more. Nowadays, she’s mostly crushing on Ned and trying desperately to remain relevant. Short story: mean girls on campus are rarely ever popular in real life. As for Loomer, he and his gang spent the start of the series pulling pranks on Ned and Cookie. At first it seemed to be For the Evulz, but as the series goes on it’s clear he’s just a troubled kid willing to take out his frustration on everyone else.
    • Most of the mean teachers on the show may seem stereotypical at first, but as we grow with them, we realize they aren’t that bad and genuinely care about their students. Even V.P. Crubbs, who by season 3 seems to be the only staff member at Polk who appears to prioritize self-interest, mentions that all he wants is to keep the school from running like a madhouse. During the finale special, we see Mr. Sweeney tell Ned that although he did terribly in his science classes, he was still one of his favorite students because he always took school seriously and put in every ounce of effort to help both himself and other students do their best.
  • Better Call Saul:
    • Of the typical Amoral Attorney or Hitman with a Heart. The show establishes that for a person like Jimmy or Mike, the process of becoming a sleazy ambulance chaser or a professional hitman is long and full of painful leaps and sacrifices.
    • It also deconstructs Cain and Abel. Jimmy McGill (the future "Saul Goodman") and his older brother Chuck McGill are two brothers who alternate between showing genuine concern for each other and attempting to sabotage each other. Because Jimmy is the protagonist, initially it seems like Chuck is supposed to be the "bad brother" and The Resenter, but over the course of the series it becomes clear that both McGills are quite prone to petty jealousy, underhanded schemes, and their criticisms of each other are not unfounded. In the end, it's Chuck who dies in a house fire that he himself started, with the implication that his last fight with his brother caused a relapse of Chuck's mental illness.
  • In The Mandalorian, it deconstructs the Bounty Hunter lifestyle, which is often shown as a glamorous, high-risk/high reward job full of danger and excitement that was popularized by Boba Fett. However as seen in the show, when the Mandalorian meets with Greef to collect his bounty, the reward is barely enough to pay for fuel and the vast majority of the bounties are all petty criminals and bail jumpers. There are high paying bounties but as one inexperienced hunter finds out, there is a good reason even experienced hunters don't take those since the chances of winding up dead far exceeds the pay. In general, bounty hunting is an extremely dangerous and morally grey job straddling the line between corrupt cops or assassins-for-hire, with people being attracted to this job are either unafraid of hunting others for money, desperate deadbeats willing to do anything for cash, or a mix of both.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report