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Genre Deconstruction / Live-Action TV

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  • Dead Like Me is a more realistic take on Urban Fantasy. The reapers perform an important but unrewarding and unprofitable service so they either get jobs or live rough to get by. Decades of being responsible for people's deaths takes an emotional toll on reapers and they cope in various and not necessarily healthy ways.
  • My So-Called Life is essentially a deconstruction of teen comedies, although the creators never declared it as such. Tropes like Playing Cyrano and A Simple Plan are played seriously, showing how unpleasant they would be in real life. And the parents, instead of being cartoonishly clueless, are clueless in a more realistic, and more painful, way.
  • Good luck watching another crime drama, even a relatively realistic one, after watching anything written and produced by David Simon, particularly Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire.
  • Similarly, good luck watching another Anti-Hero show after watching Breaking Bad. The show essentially tears apart the whole notion of "good guys do the wrong thing to achieve the right goal." All characters who do the wrong thing, regardless of their intentions, they pay. The main character, Villain Protagonist who manufactures meth to provide for his wife and children, ends up getting disowned by them. His lawyer, Amoral Attorney who covers up his crime and connects him to the criminal underworld, ends up having to change identity and live in exile. His brother-in-law DEA, Cowboy Cop who tries to bring him down without calling for backup, ends up getting himself and his partner killed by his criminal associates. Walt's begrudging partner, Hitman with a Heart who puts up with his schemes to pay for his granddaughter's future, ends up getting murdered after their feud gets too hot. Basically, the show's message is this: you Can't Get Away with Nuthin' if you're Breaking Bad. Whatever your ends, if your means ain't legal, it's just going to be All for Nothing.
    • It also deconstructs this by showing through Walt just what kind of person would keep doing the wrong thing for the "right" reasons. The longer the show 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.
  • The Gruen Transfer analyzes and deconstructs advertising.
  • The "Ad Road Test" segment in The Chaser's War On Everything took situations in ads to see how they would work in the real world.
  • Though telenovelas are rarely prone to deconstruct the genre, a Colombian one named "La mujer en el espejo" ("Woman in the mirror") deconstructed the hell out of the archetypal plot of "Former Pollyanna is betrayed by her love interest and gets into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge via becoming fashionable and ruthless". According to this one, the only real way one no one could recognize you is having a Deal with the Devil to literally transform into another woman. Pity that you now are So Beautiful, It's a Curse; your family obviously doesn't recognize you (which is very inconvenient when you're trying to advise and protect them from the villains), mirrors show your real appearance, who becomes your detached conscience and berates all your bad decisions, including the aforementioned deal; and your love interest liked you much better the way you were.
  • Firefly's primary raison d'etre is to deconstruct the Space Opera genre. For example, the series opens with an epic battle in which The Alliance soundly defeats the Independent Worlds; The Captain's epic romance never even gets off the ground due to the personality clashes between him and his love interest, and the Raygun Gothic setting is rendered completely moot by the fact that the protagonists are too broke to afford any of the cool technology, and most of that stuff is unreliable anyway. And our heroes survive in this world by stealing, running away and generally being combat pragmatists. The Cool Starship they live in is constantly breaking down, and needs proper maintenance which they cannot afford. One of the early defining moments of the series was when they're about to let a captured enemy go and he gives them a "The Last Thing You Ever See" speech. So they kick him into a jet intake. It also deconstructs the Action Girl, Waif-Fu, and Super Soldier concepts with River, showing just how utterly and completely insane, emotionally-damaged, and traumatized a girl with those capabilities would be.
    Whedon: I wanted to play with that classic notion of the frontier: not the people who made history, but the people history stepped on – the people for whom every act is the creation of civilization
  • Farscape was similar in deconstructing classic elements of the Space Opera. The Ragtag Bunch of Misfits are a bunch of escaped prisoners, disgraced soldiers, or other such outcasts who are constantly on the verge of killing each other due to their own selfishness and differences in personality. It takes an entire season for them to become remotely close to True Companions. Crichton, the most classically heroic of the crew whose plans are usually Indy Ploys and places helping people above pragmatism, has this attitude hurt him as much as it helps him and eventually gets him captured and tortured by the villains, causing massive Sanity Slippage and leaving him far more paranoid and ruthless. Crais, the first Big Bad of the show who spends most of the first season in a Stern Chase with Crichton for accidentally killing his brother, winds up being thrown out of command of his own ship for wasting resources and joins up with the heroes simply for survival, not out of any moral reasons. The two rebels from an oppressive, evil race are, in the former’s case, lonely and misses living with her race, as their customs are the only thing she is familiar with, and the latter is an amoral thief only slightly better than the rest of her race. The Living Ship has its own opinions, and is obsessed with preventing the crew from leaving it or endangering its baby. Scorpius, despite being utterly ruthless and having a Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, is still reasonable and keeps his crew loyal not with fear but by treating them with respect. Even then, he learns that his Chronic Backstabbing Disorder makes it impossible for anyone else to trust him. Other Space Opera tropes are also brutally deconstructed or subverted.
  • Malcolm in the Middle could be said to be a deconstruction of all the classic family Sitcom tropes. Instead of being cute and innocent, the kids are evil little troublemakers. Instead of being a stern authority figure the father is a spineless coward. Instead of being a kind loving Matriarch, the mother is strict, arbitrary, unreasonable, and has a volcanic temper. Instead of living in a nice, pristine, two-story suburban house, they live in a small, trashed-out home (though it does look nice when it's clean). The parents have actual financial trouble, struggling to take care of three to four children while the dad works a dinky office job and the mom, instead of staying at home like most sitcom moms, works in a grocery store. Oh, and of course the lack of a Laugh Track. Malcolm was only following in the footsteps of The Simpsons and Married... with Children, making this more a case of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny, as Malcolm definitely took it further.
  • A dark deconstruction of a typical Dom Com can be found in Titus in which it shows how a dysfunctional family can be messed up in the real world. It also plays around with several other tropes. For example; Titus' and friends' antics lead to bad publicity for their garage, leading to their biggest client demanding his money back, leading to the garage in financial trouble, leading to him drinking to drive Erin away, and so on. In most sitcoms, the guys would just make idiots of themselves publicly, learn A Lesson, then it would be forgotten by the next episode.
  • The new Battlestar Galactica massively deconstructed the old one, by showing how it "really" would look like if the last people were fleeing from a genocide. By proxy, the show also deconstructed "light" sci-fi like Star Wars.
    • Arguments have been made that the show is much less of a deconstruction, than it is simply a Darker and Edgier re-imagining; since it fails to address many of the problems of the original. This may be reinforced by the fact that the Cylons have been changed from an irreconcilable alien other, to an Anvilicious screed about mankind being destroyed by their own sins; interspersed with plenty of Fanservice (two words: "dungeon ship"). Further reinforced by the fact that most of the major characters devote epic amounts of time to their personal dysfunctionalities; and seem to be only tangentially concerned with the fact that their entire race has been almost completely wiped out.
    • It also does away with the Snap Back that fans of Star Trek are familiar with. In Trek, the ship could get shot up with no ill effects next episode. With Galactica, especially following the Battle of New Caprica, you see what effect an epic space battle would have on a ship with no access to a station for repairs.
    • The show also deconstructs the Ace pilot with a heart of gold, Starbuck, and shows us just how messed up such a person would really be.
    • It could also be argued that BSG deconstructs Star Trek: Voyager, given Ronald D. Moore's criticism of that series in his famous interview.
  • Bodies is basically a deconstruction of hospital dramas.
  • The Sopranos takes Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster! and all its consequences and plays them for drama.
  • Many people believe that Glee is a deconstruction of traditional musicals. Unlike other musicals, in Glee most of the musical numbers take place either during a performance or in the character's imaginations, and sometimes both. When a character does try singing their feelings in real life to help their problems, it doesn't work out so well. Other people see Glee as a deconstruction of High School Musical. Whereas High School Musical, being a Disney Channel program for young children, doesn't show many real life high school problems, Glee deals with teen sex, teen pregnancy, homosexuality, homophobia, and drug use. This, however, is unintentional, as the creator of the show, Ryan Murphy, has stated that he's never seen High School Musical.
    • It's for these reasons that Glee is sometimes called "the most depressing show on television, presented as the happiest show on television."
    • Glee has largely abandoned its "deconstructing the musical" roots as the seasons have worn on, enthusiastically embracing the idea of bursting into song as a cure for all life's problems.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon ends up deconstructing its own source material in increasingly surprising ways as it diverges from the original story, until, by the end, Sailor Moon herself has become the Omnicidal Maniac villain; the senshi's power source, the Silver Crystal, turns out to have really been an Artifact of Doom; and erstwhile villain Queen Beryl is revealed to have actually been trying to save the world, albeit only so she could rule it. The deconstruction arises here as a result of the audience's own genre expectations about the senshi's Power of Friendship and the motivation of the Card Carrying Villains, and how naive and dangerous it'd actually be for the heroines to make such assumptions.
  • Star Trek experienced a successful Deconstruction with Deep Space Nine, a successful Reconstruction with Voyager, a Deconstruction with Enterprise, and Reconstruction with the 2009 film.
    • Specifically, Deep Space Nine is legendary for taking away from its protagonists all the "cushions" of The Original Series and The Next Generation that come with "The starship and crew encounter people, interact with them, have a conflict, resolve it by causing some kind of change in said people - and then warp off to have another adventure". Specifically, by securing the protagonists in a fixed location (a space station, as opposed to a ship), they now have to deal with the consequences of whatever changes they have a part in creating - and eventually the consequences of those consequences. Unlike in the previous two shows, Sisko and company are forced to live with what their actions bring about - and find themselves having to weigh their options accordingly.
      • In the two-part episode "The Maquis", Sisko himself deconstructs the Rousseau Was Right attitudes that had become commonplace in Starfleet - and Star Trek as a whole - by the time of the "Next-Gen" era, with his "It's easy to be a saint in Paradise" speech. As the show writers often noted, this speech, more than anything else, determined the direction for the rest of the show.
  • Shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Bones tend to insinuate that every murderer, regardless of the circumstances, can at least put up a convincing front for the detectives and will cover up their crimes with increasingly elaborate countermeasures. In Motive, not so much. The killers are generally normal people killing someone they know, either in the heat of the moment or for deeply personal reasons. Unless they're sociopaths (and sometimes even when they are) the murders seriously freak them out and they become prone to Blatant Lies, suspicious behaviors and foolish mistakes that the detectives easily solve to pin them for the murders once they start suspecting them. As for forensic countermeasures? Either because of time constraints, unexpected circumstances or their own trauma, they only manage to utilize basic measures to cover up their crimes, and they tend to fall apart on basic scrutiny.
  • The Ten Commandments miniseries shows the many hard choices (abandoning his family, alienating his adoptive mother, causing his blood brother to do a Face–Heel Turn, killing his most loyal comrade to enforce God's authority) Moses had to make in following God.
    • Of course, loyalty to God and His cause above all else (sometimes including apparent good sense) is one of the major themes of The Bible from the very beginning.
  • In a very unique example, as the vast majority of deconstructions are very cynical in nature, The West Wing (a highly idealistic show) could be seen as a deconstruction of the popular conventions of what constitutes political immorality: the Press Secretary spins information not to cover up the government's guilt, but to protect the jobs of heads of state and militaries from the influence of political whims; politicians make unsavory deals with amoral lobbyists and scheming congressmen not for personal gain, but to rescue legislation that would help out thousands of people; the President's speeches and public appearances are carefully scripted not to make him look good, but to prevent confusion and possible panic from people who don't have Masters' in public policy; etc, etc.
  • 24 deconstructed the entire spy thriller genre - even its first season is a far cry from the "torture is everything" mantra in the later seasons. A government agent, who wants nothing more than to spend some downtime reconciling with his wife, gets press-ganged into investigating a potential assassination plot. All of Jack Bauer's co-workers are either revealed as moles or are heavily set up to be one. Jack is willing to defend Los Angeles, no matter how difficult the people (friend and foe alike) around him make it. Everyone that Jack works with either gets killed as a result of his leadership, or hate his guts because he sold them out prior to the events of the series. Jack goes through the entire season looking increasingly haggard and tired, and nods off in the morning while trying to find his family. Jack's wife goes through a Humiliation Conga (including getting kidnapped, being raped, having to flee a safehouse with her daughter and ending up with amnesia) that all amounts to nothing when she gets gutshot by her husband's co-worker and dies after revealing to Jack that she was pregnant. The best thing Jack achieves throughout the series are hollow victories - he's never any better off; even at the end of the series, he has to flee the U.S. after being branded a fugitive.
  • Law & Order deconstructs both cop shows and courtroom dramas. It doesn't end when the suspect is caught. It's just the beginning of a long litigation process and there's no guarantee the suspect will be found guilty or even that the right person is prosecuted.
  • Though on the surface it looks like business as usual, Power Rangers RPM deconstructs much of its franchise. We see exactly the kind of threat the villain can present (99% of the world has been nuked), the Plucky Comic Relief is not an Instant Expert upon becoming a Ranger (and is just competent enough to avoid being The Load), the Teen Genius designing all the gear got her skills from being in a secret think tank for most of her life and has No Social Skills as a result, and there is immense pressure to keep the Mid Season Upgrades coming lest the villain get ahead. Things that don't get deconstructed tend to be lampshaded and made fun of; gratuitous Stuff Blowing Up was questioned once, and the aforementioned Teen Genius regularly gets offended when the Ranger suits are referred to as "spandex".
  • Næturvaktin is a fairly standard Work Com Cringe Comedy centring around Georg, a Control Freak Pointy-Haired Boss with awful politics. The sequel Dagvaktin is about just how awful and non-wacky it would be to have to work with someone like that in real life, and how genuinely messed-up they would have to be to become that kind of person in the first place. Several episodes of Dagvaktin are straight-up drama with no jokes at all, dealing realistically with the spiral of bullying, abuse, child abuse and murder which Georg ends up perpetrating.
  • The Deconstruction entry at the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan presents a case about the movie being the Genre Deconstruction of Star Trek: The Original Series, and the Emotional Torque entry, in that same page, argues that this Genre Deconstruction saved the franchise.
  • Some reality shows, game shows and documentaries deconstruct classical fiction genres by playing them out in Real Life; more or less.
  • Kamen Rider has a deconstruction (Ryuki) and a deconstruction of the deconstruction and its legacy (Gaim):
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki was the first time (ignoring the mostly forgotten Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue) Kamen Rider actually took a massively different direction. In the past, Riders (and there are generally few) were either straight heroes or anti heroes who would ultimately fight for the greater good, the villains were Card Carrying Villains part of a bigger organization, and the monsters were created by the villains and never played a substantial role. Ryuki changes all that; it has a total of 13 Riders, with only two of them unambiguously good, with all the Riders being forced to fight each other or be killed by their Contract Monster, which is nothing more than a special Monster of the Week. The Big Bad works on his own and is revealed at the very end to be a tragic anti villain who only wants to protect his sister. And as for the eleven Riders who aren't straightforward heroes, while one is the classic Kamen Rider anti hero, the others vary from Well Intentioned Extremists to irredeemable sociopaths, with one of them being the codifier for evil Riders. The franchise picked up with these changes and added some more to later series, culminating in a deconstruction of Ryuki itself in Gaim.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim was the deconstructor for Ryuki and the following Heisei era shows. In addition to what Ryuki offered, the Heisei era also contains elements such as villains in a human disguise, Riders having a duty to fight for justice and always prevailing over evil Riders, who generally don't earn that many victories after their debut, and being Merchandise-Driven. Gaim increases the importance of the evil Riders, corrupts some of the more decent Riders, and generally paints the evil ones in a much more threatening light. But the real blow comes when the abuse of Lockseeds, which were made to be the Merchandise-Driven aspect of the show, causes disease to break out among civilians. Even worse, the monsters aren't disguising themselves as humans; instead, the monsters' home is turning humans into the mindless monsters, one of whom was the very first Monster of the Week and another being a depowered Rider. When the latter is killed, the Rider who did so gloated about how it was for justice, as it is a Rider's job, and knocked the protagonist out.
  • Seinfeld deconstructed the Sitcom, breaking with many conventions of the genre. Self-described as a series about nothing; neither a Dom Com, Kid Com nor a Work Com; which means no marriage, suburban family home with The Couch, kids, workplace, or any other typical pre-Seinfeld sitcom settings. The title character exists in Real Life, and there is barely any continuous plot. Some Sitcom conventions remain, such as the Laugh Track. As many other sitcoms have followed the concept, Seinfeld became the Trope Namer of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny.
  • Burn Notice is a subtle but fairly effective Deconstruction of Spy Fiction and Action Movie cliches. A common situation in Michael Westen's narration is describing a popular Action-Movie solution to a problem, and then promptly explaining why it doesn't actually work. Escape through the air ducts? Nope. They're too small, they aren't designed to support that kind of weight and they're full of dangerous and nasty things like engines, dust, and vermin. Blowing up a gas tank with a well-placed pistol shot? Nope. Fuel tanks are designed to not be easy to blow up, and a gunshot won't create a big enough spark on its own to ignite anything. Send an attractive woman to distract the guards? Nope. The guards will probably want an attractive woman to hang around, which will make extraction problematic. It's better to send someone loud and obnoxious who the guards will actively want to get rid of, and thus will actually be distracting. And of course, being a spy is nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds: it's a lonely life full of regrets and moral compromises, where using people as tools and making reluctant alliances with the ethically challenged is just an everyday affair. Loyalty and friendship only extend as far as the end of the current mission, and True Companions are the exception rather than the rule. Michael tries to comfort himself with the idea that he's serving a greater good, but that often doesn't work, and by the end of the show it's not clear if there even is such a thing as a "greater good". And on top of all of that, there's a massive amount of sheer boredom in the business. As he mentions in the very first episode:
    Michael Westen: Being a spy is a lot like going to the dentist. You spend a lot of time waiting in small rooms, reading outdated magazines...and every so often someone tries to kill you.
  • Both Sherlock and Elementary deconstruct certain aspects of Holmes. In both versions, he's an irritating berk who's only barely tolerated by the police because he's so good. In both, he has a drug problem, but while it's an occasional plot point in the former, in the latter he's a recovering addict, which is a major theme in the series. And remember how Irene Adler is often portrayed as the only woman Holmes ever loved? In the latter, she's killed, and her loss sends him into a deep depression, eventually landing him in rehab. In the former, Holmes is such an unbelievably good detective that Moriarty tries to destroy his reputation by making it look like his brilliance was faked. Elementary's Holmes is often...oddly dressed, and forgets to shave, or sleep, when he's involved in a case. He's also regularly shown studying the wide array of things he knows, and frequently stays up all night doing esoteric research which would be too impractical for the cops, if they even thought of doing it.
  • Ascension (Miniseries) takes a sledgehammer and a blowtorch to the "Ever Forward" idealistic progressivism of the 1960's Space Race. Set aboard a Generation Ship halfway through its century-long journey to Proxima Centauri, it shows the psychological consequences of living in a tin can in the middle of empty space. The first generation of crew may have been Bold Explorers, but their children are bitter and cynical, fully aware that they are living a life not of their own choosing, and they don't even have the comfort of knowing that they will eventually see a new world (that's what their children will do). Some adults never truly grow out of this, with The Captain expressing bitterness that he won't be remembered, and that people will only care about the captain that left and the captain that landed. All the negatives about mid-1960's society - sexism, classism, and authoritarianism - are on display aboard the ship along with the positives, and have been grossly magnified. The "stewardesses" are basically high-class prostitutes (as well as a spy ring for the paranoid elites). The limited space and the constant maintenance required means that opportunities for job advancement or career change are extremely rare, and society is rigidly stratified to the point of a caste system, which is about to boil over into a full-on revolution. Birth rates are carefully controlled due to limited resources. Marriages are chosen purely for genetic compatibility, not for love. No one is particularly happy, and everyone is psychologically messed up to one degree or another. And of course, with The Reveal, it turns out it's all a lie. They never left Earth and this is all a simulation for a completely different, slightly nefarious purpose. Everyone was lied to about their mission and the intentions of their superiors, and they've been living in an illusion.
  • As with the original book trilogy, The Magicians deconstructs the concept of the Wizarding School by taking it seriously. Magic in this world is a natural force like any other, bound by immutable laws and limitations, and students need to learn what those are, or else they're just a danger to themselves and others. Wizard-ing is not easy, even for naturally-gifted students, and our heroes frequently screw up spells badly due to lack of experience or overconfidence. Instructors are hard on their students because they need to be; learning to use magic properly and safely is essential, and futzing around with things like cosmetic magic or complex spells can get people hurt, killed or worse. Hedge Witches, self-taught rogue practitioners, usually end up addicted to the power high and treat magic more like a drug or a status symbol, and often get themselves and those around them into serious trouble. And the "sorting" process for students also contains a psychological component: it's not enough to be able to do magic; you need to be able to handle it mentally.
  • Stranger Things: Season 1 plays the '80s horror/kid adventure genre tropes straight. Season 2, on the other hand, shows what happens after those movies end.
    • Turns out, putting kids through situations straight from the Cthulhu Mythos leaves behind a bit of post-traumatic stress disorder.
    • Just because you get through one inhabitant of the Eldritch Location Dark World, that doesn't mean you've gotten them all.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a heavy deconstruction of Rom Com movies. The protagonist is a plucky young woman, living a successful but depressing life in New York, who drops everything to move across the country when she encounters her Nice Guy ex-boyfriend. Over and over she chooses to act based on how the protagonist in a romantic comedy would (with a dash of Disney princess movies and musicals as well), going to any length necessary to win Josh over regardless of his seeming lack of interest or current girlfriend. But by the end of season one, she realises that actually, even if she genuinely loves Josh and his girlfriend is an Alpha Bitch, said girlfriend genuinely loves him too, and a lot of Rebecca's actions have been more Stalker with a Crush than 'quirky'. It doesn't end after season one, either, the show also deconstructing the Love Triangle (neither guy is really good for her, and she's definitely not good for them), the revenge plot, and Belligerent Sexual Tension. And Rebecca in't the only one - while Josh genuinely is a Nice Guy, he's also an indecisive Manchild; Greg is the Dogged Nice Guy, but he's also an alcoholic prone to making very bad choices himself; Paula is the helpful sidekick, but she has her own life she's putting on hold to help Rebecca and a lot of her 'help' is anything but; even Nathaniel when he shows up makes it clear that a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with a Freudian Excuse is still very much a jerk. Overall, the message is clear: finding true love will not solve all of your problems in life, and certainly can't solve life-long mental health and behavioural issues. If anything, diving headfirst into seeking out love to escape depression can itself be extremely unhealthy and damaging.
  • The Boys (2019)
    • Of superheroes, or at least their near-celebrity status within the general public and pop culture. In general, they are real jerkasses who are more like selfish celebrities than superheroes with more concern toward money or their images than anything else. Frequently they will get away with even reckless homicide given the hero worship they receive-others are even secretly murderers. Others are just hypocritical or creeps. Regardless, they mostly get away with all of it due to their powers, superheroes' prestige, and good publicity. They have an entire corporation that manages them, with corporate sponsorship, licensed products, and publicists smoothing over their images. Given what they can get away with, some people really hate them, up to the point of a homicidal campaign.
    • Also, a deconstruction of gruff anti-heroes, as the show demonstrates just how badly being a lone wolf suffer-no-fools type would screw you over. Not only do the Boys end up fugitives from the Government and the Seven, but each of their lives have been damaged in a particular way. Frenchie is alienated from his business partners and suffered huge losses in profits and material. Mother's Milk destroys the reconciliation with his wife he strove so hard for and now may never see his daughter again. Even Hughie, though more confident, had to put his dad in protective custody, has no job, no home and will likely face an even more pissed off A-Train in the future. Special mention goes to Butcher whose constant manipulations and single-minded quest to kill Homelander alienates all his remaining friends and allies, gets him marked as a wanted criminal, and results in several deaths. Furthermore, his final confrontation with Homelander leads to All for Nothing (see above). Only The Female/Kimiko has any improvement in the quality of life, but only so far as being a fugitive is better than being a slave test subject.
    • Of supervillains. It is simply much more profitable and personally rewarding to let the crowd adore you as a superhero than to become the recurring punching bag of one, which leads to several heroes having no business being a hero and this problem exacerbating itself when proper heroes like Queen Maeve and Starlight become disillusioned.
  • The first season of The Good Place is one for hackneyed misunderstanding-based sitcoms. Michael (who has the same name as the show's own creator) is forcing together a chosen few people specifically so they'll constantly get on each other's nerves, all for the amusement of himself and other demons, and occasionally directly stepping in to provide situations that will make them even more uncomfortable. After all, one of the first rules of comedy is that the characters don't find any of it funny.
  • The Umbrella Academy Of superheroes, most prominently of the "Big, Screwed-Up Family superhero group" or the "mentor training a group of kids to become heroes" flavors. Hargreeves is a blatant manipulator who sees his family members largely as extensions of his will, justifying their Training from Hell as a means of preparing them to "save the world." The kids, as a result, grow up so maladjusted and distant from each other that their dysfunctional familial relationship ends up enabling the apocalypse rather than preventing it.
  • Avataro Sentai Donbrothers: Super Sentai generally deals with unconditionally moral heroes full of Team Spirit (led by The Ace) coming together to defeat unambiguously evil villainous organizations. Fights are generally bombastic and varyingly low-stakes, with wacky hijinks (usually centered around one specific topic per episode) all throughout. If Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger is an Affectionate Parody, then Donbrothers is what happens when said parody takes the realistic route. The Red and Sixth Rangers of this season are both weird loners whose amazing ability and urge to fit in come at the cost of an inability to properly connect with others while the rest of the teamnote  (who have to slowly learn to fight throughout the story instead of knowing how from the start) struggle with various issues in their real lives alongside various episode shenanigans that often lend themselves to an uphill climb to form a cohesive unit. The antagonists meanwhile are well-meaning-if out-of-touch Unscrupulous Heroes reminiscent of The Punisher in their vigilantism (and inability to connect with humans) in contrast to the puppy-kickers extraordinaire of Sentai past - full of Villainous Virtues and only opposed to the heroes via the dubious methods they use to deal with the Monster of the Week (which they also oppose instead of lead). Despite the realistic take on Sentai tropes, Donbrothers remains optimistic at its core; demonstrating that even flawed, imperfect people that frequently err can be just as interesting, strong and relatable as the Gang of Hats the genre tends to favor.