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"From Meathead comes a satire of all those sappy swashbuckling medieval love stories, that happens to be the best sappy swashbuckling medieval love story ever made: The Princess Bride."

Some works deconstruct a trope, whereas others reconstruct them. Some do both at the same time. This trope applies to works in which a trope or genre is deconstructed and later reconstructed. This can take place over a short period of time, where there is an immediate reconstruction of a deconstructed trope, or it can be long and drawn out, where a trope is initially deconstructed, and then reconstructed later on. (Rarely is it done the other way around.)

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This trope can be an author's way of adding new complexity to the genre they're working in. For example, take the Princess Classic. A work employing this trope would take a Princess Classic, and say, "Guys, it wouldn't really work this way, but here's how it would work out." Using the examples from the Deconstruction and Reconstruction pages, in a work applying this trope to the Princess Classic, the Princess' monarchy might initially find itself in dire straits, with an oppressive leader, but by the end of the story a constitutional monarchy has been put into place.

A Trapped in TV Land plot might start with characters engaged in Conversational Troping about the silly things that happen in the Show Within a Show, only to do the exact same things when they find themselves a part of the show's world.

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Lightly based on Hegelian dialectic—the thesis (the trope), the antithesis (the deconstruction), and the synthesis (reconstruction and a changed trope).

May be paired with Cerebus Rollercoaster and is subject to the same pitfalls and dangers. When done well, it can send a powerful message that the optimistic conventions of the genre were not in vain after all, as they overcome the initial cynical deconstruction. When handled poorly, it can give the impression that the writers wanted to draw in an audience with a dark and edgy deconstruction, but copped out later when they realized that this would make a conventional happy ending difficult.

See also Indecisive Parody, Halfway Plot Switch, Cerebus Rollercoaster and Satire and Switch. On a smaller scale, compare Double Subversion. Has nothing to do with decontamination or reconnaissance.

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You should expect a lot of SPOILERS in the examples below, since they often detail the swerves a work makes over its run.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: Aladdin believes that he needs to become a prince to have any chance at winning Princess Jasmine's heart, but Jasmine had already fallen in love with his "street rat" self and becomes interested in him only when he drops the "haughty rich prince" act and behaves more like the poor but gold-hearted man he really is. He gets a second chance to wish to be a prince after Jafar strips him of his prince form but makes the selfless choice to free the Genie instead, which convinces the Sultan that he's worthy enough to marry Jasmine in spite of not being an actual prince.
  • The Princess and the Frog: Naveen's luxurious life as a prince caused him to become a spoiled, arrogant womanizer which led to his parents cutting him off from their money. He's also a Horrible Judge of Character, having been surrounded all his life by flatterers and flunkies. When he assumes that Tiana is a true princess just because of how she's dressed, he thinks he's found an easy out of his curse, and this multiplies their problems. The reconstruction comes when his growing feelings for Tiana cause him to become less self-absorbed and be willing to renounce his goals to help her achieve her dreams and their Fourth Date Marriage allows them to invoke True Love's Kiss much more successfully the second time around.
    • The Princess And The Frog also has elements of this for Disney movies, though in a different way than the above. While Disney Princesses have a reputation for waiting around for whatever they want, Tiana is a borderline workaholic; Naveen, meanwhile, is a spoiled lothario, and their attempt at forcing True Love's Kiss only makes everything worse. By the end, however, they're in love, get married and everything works out like in your average Disney fairy tale.
    • Doctor Facilier is a deconstruction of the Magical Negro. He offers to use his magic to seemingly improve the lives of others with nothing to gain from it, but upon closer inspection it becomes clear that he's manipulating his customers for his own ultimate gain. Mama Odie is a reconstruction with a twist. She could use her magic to fix everything, but she wants the protagonists to earn their happy endings.
  • Brave deconstructs the Rebellious Princess, as Merida's reckless wildness gets her and her family in trouble, and she realizes how important the queen's influence is, even in a patriarchal society. But her mother acknowledges that Merida's wishes are important too, and being open about her objections ends up provoking real change, as the other nobles agree that the Arranged Marriage isn't fair to any of the children involved.
  • The Incredibles deconstructs the superhero genre for the first half of the movie, with massive public backlash against superheroes, the heroes pretending to be normal and hating it, etc. But the villain, it turns out, is a superhero fanboy gone maniac, and his passion for all of the classic superhero tropes still drives his Evil Plan. His plan was easily put together for a superhero, and only a superhero, to stop it - and the good guys had the advantages of teamwork and experience over him. So, it's reconstructed.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie can be seen as this for the show it's based on, specifically for Spongebob and Patrick's characters. Mr. Krabs passes SpongeBob up for a promotion, since he feels like SpongeBob is too much of a Manchild to handle the responsibility, which leads to SpongeBob and Patrick spending most of the film trying to prove themselves as more than just kids by acting like real men (complete with fake seaweed mustaches). There are certain points in the movie where other characters, and even Spongebob and Patrick themselves, wonder if they're competent enough to save the day or if they're just a pair of dumb kids in over their heads, but in the end their zany, childlike nature is what ultimately allows them to stop Plankton and save Mr. Krabs (and Bikini Bottom as a whole).
  • Likewise, The Simpsons Movie's first half is a deconstruction of Homer's character: his antics wind up dooming the town, the family are forced to flee Springfield for their lives, and ultimately, Marge takes the kids and leaves him, intending it to be permanent. That finally gets through to him, and he spends the rest of the movie trying to fix everything that he's destroyed.

    Literature 
  • Rene Descartes begins his Discourse on the Method by proving, via a priori logic, that it is impossible to be absolutely certain that anything exists or is true. He then takes a single principle, the fact that he himself must exist in some form if he is capable of recognizing it, and then uses this to build up the argument that everything else in the world also exists. Parts of his argument for the latter conclusion, such as the existence of God being a necessary consequence of being able to imagine God, are now often considered to be flawed, but it's a remarkable feat regardless. If this sounds familiar, his argument is usually summed up "I think, therefore I am."
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Glory Road takes the Fifties-era pulp adventure novel, breaks it down by pointing out all the absurdities inherent to the formula, and then rebuilds it as a Science Fiction adventure with precisely the same trappings, save that the magic is super-science, the Damsel in Distress is an Action Girl who happens to be the Empress of Fifty Universes, and The Hero is a ne'er-do-well who just happens to have had his life manipulated behind the scenes to turn him into precisely the kind of person needed to save the day. And then once he gets the Standard Hero Reward, he discovers that it's not all it's cracked up to be.
  • Many works of Diana Wynne Jones come under this trope:
    • One example is The Merlin Conspiracy, which shows a child from our world travel to a fantasy world. He's a horrible spoiled arsehole, who thinks the people of the other world are less important, but he's also really well developed, so we get to see how he justifies it, and how he's genuinely trying to be a better, less selfish person. The magical world is so well-detailed that it feels just as realistic as the world we know, and, despite involving children as the main characters, when Adults Are Useless, it's justified by the plot.
    • Also Dark Lord of Derkholm, which starts out with a fantasy world that seems to just work as a theme park for visitors to expose them to fantasy tropes; ultimately, it's clear that the world really is suffering horrifically under a genuine (if unconventional) dark lord.
  • William Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 deconstructs the Romantic Hyperbole prevalent among the poets of his day by describing at great length about how his mistress's eyes are not as bright as the sun, her skin not as white as snow, her cheeks not like roses, etc,... and then concludes that he'd still swear to the heavens that she's just as beautiful and rare as any woman overly idealized as a perfect goddess by other poets.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin has a ten year old who wants to fight evil and demonstrates why such a character would be nothing but a Tagalong Kid interfering with the grown up's work. Then it shows that Heroic Spirit has no age-limit and this kid can still contribute to the team effort and save the day alongside them.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire likes doing this. Quentyn Martell's story serves to deconstruct The Hero's Journey as Quentyn goes through all the beats while not actually being the hero, whereas Jon Snow is an actual Chosen One where some initial subversion of the trope leads to Character Development that allows him to make the right choices later on.
    • This is made somewhat explicit in the first book as Jon's role as The Chosen One becomes more apparent to the readers. Although he is somewhat skilled in the use of a sword, Commander Mormont prepares him to be a leader instead of a fighter, and effectively tells him that one person swinging a sword will make no difference in the grand scheme of things. "Your brother is in the field with all the power of the north behind him. Any one of his lords bannermen commands more swords than you'll find in all the Night's Watch. Why do you imagine that they need your help? Are you such a mighty warrior, or do you carry a grumkin in your pocket to magic up your sword?" From that point forward, Jon Snow starts focusing more on thinking his way through situations.
    • Another example in the same series is about knighthood and the ideals of chivalry. Characters like Gregor Clegane are knights yet utter monsters, leading to Sandor Clegane's disgust and disillusionment with the profession. At the same time Brienne of Tarth, who can never be knighted due to her gender, strives and works continuously to live up to knightly ideals regardless, and is one of the most noble characters in the series.
  • The novel Passage does this for the Near-Death Experience, explaining it in entirely scientific and materialistic terms, then the main character dies and the final chapters suggest a legitimate passage into an afterlife.
  • The first two books in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy are a Deconstructive Parody of Doctor Who-style science fiction - the kind with eccentric Human Aliens travelling time and space with human companions - mostly achieved by showing the setting as a World Gone Mad, making the two Doctor-analogue characters an ineffectual everyman (Ford) and an abrasively selfish Attention Whore (Zaphod), and having most of the characters just stumble around the universe getting accidentally both in and out of trouble. But in the third book, Life, the Universe and Everything, they do actually save the galaxy from a gang of Scary Dogmatic Aliens using their own eccentricities and wit (much like the Doctor would), and the locations the characters visit are notably more wonderful, alien and mysterious than the deliberately unglamorous locations from the first two books (even Lost World Magrathea being described as a BBC Quarry-like location). This is in part due to it being adapted from a rejected Doctor Who script by Adams.
  • Simona Ahrnstedt:
    • Despite how all her first three novels are about the upper classes and their extravagant parties and their beautiful clothes, Simona loves to deconstruct the idea that material wealth and money will automatically make you happy. Beatrice in "Överenskommelser", Illiana in "Betvingade" and Gabriel in "De skandalösa" all grew up in rich but very abusive households. Seth in "Överenskommelser" and Markus in "Betvingade" have become rich through their own efforts, but that also means that many people will look down on them as irritating upstarts. The story will always end on a happy note though, as the protagonists can move on and become happily married. And yeah, of course they will still be rich!
    • Lily Tremaine in "Överenskommelser" is a reconstruction of the Gold Digger. She was stupid enough to turn down Seth's proposal and ends up in an abusive marriage with a British lord, but she can later find happiness with a new man.
    • Seth himself becomes a reconstruction of Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. He has been searching for love so badly, that he eventually gets an wrongful reputation as a Casanova, but he can find true love when he and Beatrice finally work things out in the end.
    • Beatrice and Seth are a reconstruction of Cannot Spit It Out and Wrong Assumption. They have misunderstood each other completely over and over (she believed that he was a Casanova, he believed that she's a Gold Digger), and it has awful consequences especially for her. But they can work things out eventually and have a Happy Ending.
    • Seth also serves as a reconstruction of the Nouveau Riche. Many people think that he's an irritating upstart, who spends an insane amount of money on women, and the Old Money generally despise him. And it does not help that he can be unnecessarily mean and proud. But it soon becomes clear to the reader, that there is more depth to him than that, and in the end, he becomes happily married to Beatrice.
    • As a whole, "Överenskommelser" is pretty much a Genre Deconstruction of the Romance Novel. Many of the old clichés are there, but we get good reasons as to why these clichés would happen. Why exactly is it so hard for Beatrice and Seth to admit their feelings for each other? Well, Beatrice is too afraid to tell Seth the truth about her awful situation because of her Evil Uncle has threatened her and her friends. And as for Seth, he is too afraid to take chances because Lily Tremaine dumped him and broke his heart in the past. And we also have Beatrice's uncle and cousin, who will do anything to destroy their happiness. So it becomes very hard for them to untangle all the misunderstandings. And we also see the consequences of this, when Beatrice in particular has to suffer from it. But there is a Reconstruction in the end, when Beatrice and Seth can work things out and have a Happy Ending.
  • Much of the Discworld novels run on this. For instance, having stereotypical fantasy wizards running around using powerful magic would be incredibly destabilizing for everything ranging from politics to the fabric of reality. Thus, the Unseen University is not so much about teaching people with the potential how to cast powerful spells as it is for keeping people from doing exactly that. This is achieved half by teaching what you should not mess with, half by the institution providing wizards with cushy upkeep and jobs so they don't feel the need to go out and mess things up. However, when magical threats come around, the wizards often do help a great deal in defeating them - not by casting awesome spells but because they know how these things work.
    • The City Watch series began partly as a deconstruction of the Film Noir genre- where the gritty Anti-Hero detective isn't suave and mysterious, with a handsomely checkered past, but just a miserable, washed up alcoholic. Then, over the course of the novels, Vimes eventually manages to overcome many of his faults and become a powerful, happily married Hardboiled Detective.
  • Space Academy Dropouts: The book seems to be treating an enlightened Federation and collection of races working together for mutual advantage would never work. Instead, it becomes clear that it mostly does but plenty of people are suspicious of it or want to destroy it for their own ends.
  • The Supervillainy Saga is a book starring a somewhat offbeat fellow, Gary Karkofsky, who finds a magic cloak and decides to become a supervillain. The book Deconstructs the '90s Anti-Hero and The Dark Age of Comic Books by having Gary disgusted by heroes who kill and overly psychopathic villains. It also serves as a Decon-Recon Switch because Gary, himself, is a well-written '90s Anti-Hero. The book, notably, treats Lighter and Softer superheroes significantly more sympathetically than most examples of the Capepunk genre.
  • Darth Bane does this with regard to the concept of the Jedi versus the Sith and the nature of the Dark Side. The first book shows just how corrupt and neglectful the Republic can be, with Bane's troubles all occurring because of the Republic and Jedi's war with the Sith. As Bane moves up among the Sith, he adopts a policy of Pragmatic Villainy. His apprentice Zannah largely follows this policy. But by the end of the second book we see once and for all, as Zannah is increasingly corrupted, that the Sith are indeed just as evil as the Jedi claim.
  • Alien in a Small Town is this for the Interspecies Romance trope. The Jan are completely nonhumanoid. Any notion of sexual relations would be gross and absurd, but the two characters are none the less soulmates.
  • Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero starts with Scooby Gang expies 13 years after their last case and pretty heavily messed up (alcoholic, on the run from the law, and in Arkham County Mental Hospital respectively). Once they return to their old town to reopen their last case and are confronted with real monsters the novel flips around to show that whatever life threw at them they're still brave, intelligent, and good hearted people who are more than capable of fighting off Lovecraftian Horrors. The book seems determined to take what Scooby-Doo looks like through a nostalgia filter and turn it into a reality.
  • Mistborn does this to the Hope Bringer. Kelsier is a charismatic thief trying to raise a rebellion against the tyrannical Lord Ruler, which he manages by capitalizing on his (admittedly deserved) reputation as a powerful Mistborn, master thief, and the only person to escape the Pits of Hathsin. He wins over the rebel army by playing off of their lack of knowledge of Allomancy, even the Rebel Leader Yeden, who barely trusts him at first. Yeden believes in him so much that halfway through the book, he tries to take a local garrison that swiftly crushes the small, untrained army. After the Lord Ruler kills Kelsier, his backup plan is revealed: if he couldn't kill the Lord Ruler, he would martyr himself, spurring everyone who looked up to him to rebellion. By fostering his reputation, rumors of his name and cause spread all across the empire, giving the rebel cause an army of tens of thousands. He even faked his own resurrection using another trick. Long after his death, the religion he founded gives the downtrodden Skaa hope in a Crapsack World.
  • Pretty Little Liars deconstructs True Companions showing that without the one who brought them together, four very different girls drift apart due to having little in common. It’s reconstructed when bad things start happening to them, the only ones who believe them and they can rely on are each other.
  • The Berenstain Bears: Learn About Strangers is this with Too Smart for Strangers. Papa's lecture to Sister makes her think the world is full of dangerous strangers out to get her and Mama realizes this. Later, Mama tells Sister that what Papa said was true but because it was better to be safe than paranoid.
  • Fight Club does this with Be Yourself. Tyler Durden's central argument is that this trope, far from liberating people, does little more than turn them into atomized pawns of consumer capitalism with no place to turn to for support when things get rough, and the titular Fight Clubbing is meant to recreate a sense of brotherhood among men in a society where that ideal is rapidly fraying. As the story goes on, however, Tyler's own philosophy is deconstructed even more harshly. Many would recognize the depressed and lonely men who get seduced by Project Mayhem as easy fodder for a cult, and that is exactly what they find themselves in, a totalitarian movement that scrubs away their individuality, compels them to throw out their material possessions and live in poverty in the name of The Spartan Way, and ultimately leads to terrorist violence and the deaths of some of their members. The Narrator's own triumph, such as it is, comes from rebelling against Tyler and trying to become his own man.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow does this for the Green Arrow mythos, and the superhero genre in general (specifically The Cowl). The classic Green Arrow story involves a billionaire playboy being washed up on an island, learning archery to survive, stopping criminals, and deciding to become a crime-fighter when he returns to civilization for the fun. The series adds some Realism and Darker and Edgier. Oliver's little 'island vacation' in the comics becomes a five year Trauma Conga Line at the end of which he virtually loses his humanity and identity and is transformed into a killing machine. His motivation to become a vigilante is not excitement, but an almost obsessive desire to fulfill his father's dying wish and eventually stop what is essentially attempted genocide. Rather than getting a cool Code Name like 'Green Arrow', he was called 'the Hood', and was hunted by the police as a murderer. Starting with the second season however, Oliver undergoes Character Development and becomes more of a classic 'hero', with a no killing rule, and a more altruistic desire to simply fight crime, for justice and not for vengeance. Also, he now goes by the Superhero Code Name 'Arrow', and begins to acquire all the trappings he had in the comics, such as a Kid Sidekick (actually a young adult) and Trick Arrows. By the fourth season, he ditches The Cowl entirely in favor of The Cape and officially adopts the "Green Arrow" alias.
  • The Doctor Who revival series does this to the Doctor, showing how he can be just as much a menace as the things that he fights against and how he puts the people around him, especially his companions, in danger due to his enemies. However, it also reminds us that at the end of the day, he's still the Doctor, and the world is better with him than without. This is also shown with the Doctor's first encounter with Torchwood, when the organization, originally created to fight any and all alien threats (including the Doctor), welcomes him like a celebrity. Sure, he's in Torchwood custody, but they'll treat him nicely as long as he behaves. They know his track record more than most people.
  • Game of Thrones has a theme of deconstructing of Heroic Fantasy, with things not turning out "like they do in the stories" being a running theme. Good characters get killed as a result of their principled actions, and villains triumph because of their ruthlessness. However, as the series goes on, the plot becomes more traditional, with the political intrigue between morally grey factions transitioning into epic heroes rising to meet an Obviously Evil threat.
  • If a Kamen Rider show indulges in deconstruction, it's a good bet that it's going to be a reconstruction by the end:
    • Kamen Rider Gaim, written by the infamous "Urobutcher", starts out as a comedic, lighthearted Kamen Rider series that soon turns into a dark deconstruction of the franchise as a whole, showing how many of your typical Kamen Rider tropes could never work in real life. However, things gradually turn the series into a reconstruction of all the tropes it previously deconstructed; the All-Loving Hero that was once seen as a naïve idiot shows that holding on even in darkness can ultimately pay off in the end; the immature and selfish riders who couldn't give a damn before eventually mature and decide to genuinely do good in the world; the young hero who fights for his friends that was easily manipulated into becoming evil is able to see the error of his ways and is forgiven because he was really just a stupid kid who didn't know better; everything culminating in the message that the world can be grim, but not everything is lost or hopeless.
    • Kamen Rider Build deconstructs the idea of the Nebulous Evil Organisation common to the franchise and the Monster of the Week story structure associated with it during its first act. By the end of the first quarter, the villainous Faust and their Smash monsters have turned out to be a wholly manufactured crisis, the heroes have been actively helping the real Big Bad by fighting them, and concerns about monsters of the week and shadowy organizations evaporate in the face of a Japanese civil war, a greedy war profiteer, and an alien menace scheming to obliterate all life on Earth. By the show's last quarter, though, all of the show's more realistic villains have fallen apart one by one, ruined by their own shortsighted greed, and the alien has decided humanity is just too entertaining to kill like he'd originally meant to. Instead he elects to start playing with them and running experiments on human test subjects, wanting to see how far he can go with turning humans into both metaphorical and literal monsters. The result ends up looking an awful lot like Faust.
  • Les Revenants started as a deconstruction of the Zombie Apocalypse genre from the point of view of "zombies" (actually normal people just back from the dead) themselves and their family's reaction to that resurrection. But by the end of the first season, the heroes' flesh starts to rot, and we meet a zombie horde in the hood and they're apparently hostile to the living...just like in a normal zombie movie.
  • Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes deconstruct Seventies and Eighties British cop shows by showing that the police in those shows were brutal, prejudiced and often mildly corrupt Cowboy Cops who used lethal force with impunity, planted evidence, took bribes as "perks" and displayed a shocking disregard for suspects' rights, but also reconstructs them by showing that all of this was done to keep the bad guys off the streets and protect the innocent. The near-constant Crowning Moments of Awesome help too.
  • Star Trek:
    • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Tacking Into The Wind" deconstructs and reconstructs the Klingon Empire within one episode. Ezri Dax points out to Worf that time and again, the Klingon Empire has never lived up to Worf's expectation. The ethos of honor and tradition has always been more an ideal than a reality. Yet Worf still believes in those codes, and uses them to challenge his corrupt leader to single combat, kills him during the fight, and installs the more honorable General Martok in his place.
    • Done similarly in Star Trek: Enterprise "Judgement" and with the Proud Warrior Race Guy trope in general. In "Judgment", as Archer is put on trial, his defense attorney mournfully admits Klingon society tends to believe that being a warrior is the only way to achieve honor. This not only leaves a gap in other fields such as doctors, scientists and lawyers but they only care about honor as much as they can boast about who they killed (strong or weak, it doesn't matter) at the bar. The attorney suggests the culture needs a revolution every so often to stabilize it so that they can find honor in ways other than killing.
      • Another episode of Enterprise examines the Vulcans and a society of logic minded individuals. This ended up being an Author's Saving Throw as many were upset over their arrogant and aggressive portrayal in comparison to other series. Essentially the original teachings of Surak (their equivalent to Jesus or Mohammed) was lost and what they remembered was interpreted and reinterpreted to where no one agreed on what they meant. Thus a logical society really all depends on how you interpret what "logic" means. (T'Pol: You find this funny? Archer: I find it familiar). After finding the original writings the Vulcans has a renaissance that encouraged neutrality rather than enforcement.
  • The "Legends are Forever" episode of Tales of the Gold Monkey deconstructs the Adventurer Archaeologist in the character of Gandy Dancer; he's always on the search for a legendary treasure or location that he never finds, has all but abandoned his daughter, and gets himself killed in search of King Solomon's treasure. Then it turns out the Watusi tribe he was helping really did have the treasure all along.

    Music 
  • "Fuck You" by Cee Lo Green rips into the polite nature of the traditional R&B break-up song by telling us in no uncertain terms exactly what the narrator is thinking. The radio-friendly version "Forget You" bowdlerises the deconstruction, turning it into a straight Genre Throwback.
  • "New Year's Day" by Taylor Swift shows the aftermath of the euphoric and wild romantic moments, like morning after a New Year's Eve kiss, since those moments can't last forever... but also shows that if you're with the right person, it's worth it. As Taylor herself put it in an interview, the song is a romantic ballad not about the person you kiss at midnight, but about the person who sticks around to help you clean up the house and gives you an Advil for your headache.
  • "Space Cowboy" by Kacey Musgraves is written from the perspective of the girlfriend who let her own lover go using the imagery of the old Western with The Drifter cowboys riding off to the sunset. Said imagery is portrayed in a bittersweet manner: On one hand, the relationship between them is over and they likely will never see each other again... but both of them no longer love each other and are moving on with their lives.
  • The Megas spent most of Get Equipped and History Repeating: Blue taking the Mega Man franchise apart with a crowbar. Mega Man becomes a Shell-Shocked Veteran who knows War Is Hell but is the only one who can fight it; Proto Man is consumed with rage; Dr Light is obsessed with vengeance against Wily. History Repeating: Red is the switch: Mega Man comes to terms with his mission, restores hope to both Dr Light and Proto Man, and chooses what he will be - a true hero, rather than a living weapon.
  • "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses does this to Christmas songs. The opening lines are "Bah, humbug." as the narrator explains that although Christmas is usually something they look forward to, they're skipping it this year due to personal troubles. But while shopping for groceries, they encounter somebody that's also thinking about skipping Christmas, and her amusing interactions make them want to celebrate Christmas after all, and the song ends with "Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, couldn't miss this one this year.".
  • Eminem:
    • "Lose Yourself" starts out as a deconstruction of the Rags to Riches story and the Pep-Talk Song. In the first verse, a rather sensitive young rapper puking up spaghetti with stage fright overcomes his humiliation to carry on writing songs in the hope of getting big, and in the second verse, his hard work has made him a big star on endless, miserable tours, destroying his personal life, mental health, and relationship with his family and community, before he ages out of being cool and attractive while hip-hop continues without him ("but the beat goes on"). But in the final verse, narrated in first person, we go back in time to the rapper before his fame, struggling with his humiliating poverty ("these goddamn food stamps won't buy diapers"), and admitting to his mother that continuing to live like this is far more horrific than anything fame could do to him.
    • The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is a deconstruction of Eminem's shock-rap persona and the concept of making a sequel to his most acclaimed album. In the first song on the album, Eminem is murdered by a Loony Fan because of Eminem's use of homophobic slurs in his music. As Eminem dies, a cruel demonic voice (possibly the true form of Slim Shady, as heard on other records) judges him for how he hated bullies but became them through his cruel lyrics; battered women in his songs while obsessively sheltering his daughters; and his inability to acknowledge his fading relevance. However, in the coda of the song, Shady grants him another chance, sending Eminem back to the ending of The Marshall Mathers LP to pick up where he left off... at which point, Slim kills himself. Much of the rest of the album is about Slim/Eminem overcoming the personal issues that he'd been so angry about on The Marshall Mathers LP, being genuinely sorry about the people he hurt, but the album closer still ends with a confirmation that Slim and Eminem were only ever the same person, and that rage, hatred and provocation is still needed to shake things up and help other struggling, angry people understand themselves.

    Roleplay 
  • The Ballad of Edgardo deconstructs the common RPG fantasy plot of "superpowered heroes teaming up to protect the land from the forces of darkness", as the narrator discovers to his horror that the entire player base consists of turbo-edgelords playing brooding anti-heroes whose smugness and Jerkassery is off the charts, with the most powerful among them ruling over a portion of the land like a tyrant and crushing anyone who opposes him, and the rest of them seeing absolutely no problem with this and borderline worshipping the guy. The narrator's attempt at playing a Bare-Fisted Monk Stock Shōnen Hero gets him laughed out of the tavern for his "low-brow" character and then promptly pounded into the dirt twice over, first by another character at his same level and then by the aforementioned tyrant (who is so strong his level is an infinity symbol). Then an act of kindness from one of the only other compassionate players on the forum saves Edgardo's life, and when he gratefully joins up with the guy in question, they discover that Edgardo's supposedly useless stats combined with a perfectly-arranged location perk turns out to be the single strongest attack in the entire forum, which Edgardo and his sidekick use to gloriously take revenge on the smug creeps who abused them.

    Stage Magic 
  • This is typical for 'explanatory' magic acts - the magician explains how the basic trick works, then repeats the trick in such a way that the explanation just given is absolutely useless.
    • Penn & Teller applied this to the classic magician trick of sawing a woman in half. They did the regular trick and then explained how it worked, revealing how the woman was actually inside the hollow table, not in the block. However, while they were explaining, they use misdirection to replace the woman with a mannequin, which they "accidentally" saw in half, complete with fake blood and gore. The sudden unexpected twist makes for a very strong impact.
    • They also did a subversion of the trope. Teller explained the Red Ball trick, and how to manipulate the ball with a string. However, when he does the trick you never see the string, so you start looking for another way to manipulate the ball. The subversion is that there isn't one. Teller is simply so good he can do the trick and keep the string out of sight at the same time.
    • There is an interview with Penn and Teller where they explain how their entire act is a Decon-Recon Switch. They always make sure the audience knows they're just pulling tricks, that it's all fakery and sleight of hand and that there is no magical element to it; yet their goal is to still always fool the audience and make them wonder how the hell the trick could have been done. Teller refers to it as the unwilling suspension of disbelief.
    • Paul Daniels had a routine where he'd do the classic teleportation from one box to the other trick, then had the staging turned around so the audience was seeing the trick from the back. They'd witness the assistant entering the first box and then using hidden doors climb out of one box and cross to the other. The Reveal, of course, was at the end of the trick the assistant did not appear out of the second box but another assistant did, while the first, who had been the one apparently moving between boxes, appeared at the back of the auditorium behind the audience.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theater 
  • The Book of Mormon initially shows how silly and non-sensical religion comes across as, demonstrated as the Mormon missionaries constantly fail to convert any of the native Ugandans; the natives find it absolutely worthless and unable to help their dire situation, constantly cursing God's name to cheer them up. Ultimately however, the play then reveals that while the scriptures and stories of religion can indeed come across as fanciful and stupid, its ultimate purpose - to help others in need, bring them together, and guide one's morals - can indeed make a positive difference in people's lives.

    Visual Novels 
  • Cinders is a retelling of "Cinderella" in a cynical setting with a heroine who's outgrown fairytales a long time ago and can become even more heartless and tyrannical than her Wicked Stepmother, to the point of poisoning her to take over her estate, if she chooses to do so. On the other hand, however, she can choose instead to reach out to her stepmother and stepsisters who are depicted as flawed and redeemable human beings, and a genuinely fairytale-like ending with the Prince is fully achievable if she demonstrates the willpower and intelligence required to take control of her own fate.
  • Inverted with Doki Doki Literature Club! It starts out as a pastiche of a typical unimaginative Romance Game, but at the same time, the characters get enough surprising development for it to be a reconstruction — but then comes the Genre Shift after which it does a lot of weird things, some of them deconstructive.
  • The Unlimited Blade Works route of Fate/stay night takes a long hard look at the very idea of an Ideal Hero. Shirou is forced to confront the hypocrisies of the idea of trying to save everyone at the cost of your life. It points out how unsettling and mentally unhealthy it is for a person to be able to do that, as well as the fact that no matter who you are, you cannot save everyone. Shirou is revealed to be an Empty Shell that wanted to be a hero as he desired to be as happy as Kiritsugu was when he was rescued and Archer, Future alternative timeline Shirou, having became a The Needs of the Many Anti-Hero to keep saving people, only to be killed by the very people he worked to save as no one trusted him due to him not wanting anything in return. With the added bonus of him giving up his afterlife for power causing him to be an assassin for all of time. But then Shirou realizes that while being a hero is hell, that the very ideal is beautiful enough that it is worth all the pain in the world and resolves to again be a hero.
  • Katawa Shoujo gives us Hanako's route, which deconstructed not the extremely common VN heroine archetypes of the Shrinking Violet and the Broken Bird. Hanako—who, ironically, is too much of a Shrinking Violet to say so out loud—turns out to hate being constantly treated by everyone like a broken thing, and the way she is constantly coddled and protected by them, the narration (via the protagonist's monologue) even going so far as to hand the reader a rather non-subtle "The Reason You Suck" Speech by suggesting that the real reason Hisao (and by extension, the reader) was so fascinated with Hanako was a desire to escape the emptiness and confusion of his own life by latching onto the only person around more obviously pathetic than himself and showering them with shallow affection. Then, the good ending of the route completely turns the bleak and depressing premise on its head by showing that even if that's true, by being willing to accept one's own faults and share them with a loved one's, and treating them as equals rather than something to be protected or served, it is possible to not only have a satisfying and happy relationship with a person who appears to be "broken", but for everyone involved to emerge from it as better people.

    Webcomics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, the first major paladin character, Miko, was a deconstruction of the paladin class and in particular the Lawful Stupid "detect-and-smite" style of playing a paladin. After she died in the fall of Azure City (which her actions helped cause), the remaining paladins – Hinjo, Lien, O-Chul, and Thanh – have in various ways served as good examples of what a well-played paladin can bring to a D&D party.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • DuckTales (2017): "Whatever Happened to... Donald Duck?!" plays with Donald's infamous Hair-Trigger Temper. It turns out to stem from a massive persecution complex due to his bad luck and impenetrable speech impediment, and it's gotten so bad he's had to go to anger management classes about it. Fortunately, his therapist helped him find an outlet for his anger: protecting Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The premiere episode uses a cynical, snarky introvert as its protagonist in order to demonstrate how frustrating an experience it would be for such a person to be stuck in a cartoon for little girls, and how dangerous the fantasy setting that allows this Sugar Bowl to exist would be - especially when its half-insane inhabitants are too carefree to pay the imminent threat any attention. The following episode makes a point of demonstrating that, for all its quirks and annoyances, there's ultimately a lot to be said for the optimistic camaraderie that the concept underlying My Little Pony represents. Twilight comes to wholeheartedly embrace her new friends, defeats and redeems the Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds via The Power of Friendship, and the series moves forward from there.
    • The two-parter that kicks off the second season follows a similar pattern. In Part 1, Discord demonstrates that the foundations of friendship (which formed the basis for the reconstruction of Season 1's second episode) are fundamentally flawed and thus fallible. Part 2 accepts this fact, but leaves no question that friendship remains well worth the struggles that go into it.
    • The season three finale tackles a question fans had been asking for years: if a pony's cutie mark determines what they'll do for the rest of their life, what happens if a pony gets one they don't want? Twilight casts a spell that accidentally switches her friends' cutie marks around, as well as giving them false memories of always having had their new ones. The result is that they're all miserable, but determined to stick with their new jobs Because Destiny Says So. But then it turns out that if need be, a pony can Screw Destiny and go after whatever else they want to do, replacing their cutie mark in the process.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated does this to the Scooby-Doo franchise as a whole, examining what makes a bunch of kids go out and meddle with supernatural mysteries and how it could reasonably work, as well as showing just how disturbing and dangerous such an activity would truly get. It also does this to the Non-Human Sidekick trope as well, as evidenced by how Shaggy and Velma's relationship is affected by the presence of someone not human, but about as intelligent and with similarly strong feelings. In addition to that, the mysteries start out not being supernatural in origin at all, all having logical explanations... until that's no longer true. The protagonists even get in trouble with the law or their parents. for their investigating and meddling. But later on, things start to really go downhill, and it ultimately is up to the Scooby gang to save the day.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the "forgiveness" Aesop present in many other works undergoes this process. In "The Southern Raiders," there's no way in hell that Katara's going to forgive the man who killed her mother in cold blood, especially when he's not even repenting, but she will forgive Zuko, who has thoroughly reformed himself.
  • The Legend of Korra: Korra is a decon-recon of the Action Hero. The villains are more morally grey and represent legitimate social issues that can't be resolved through ass-kicking, with Korra's attempts to do so being reckless to a fault or causing collateral damage that's more liable to hurt the heroes and aid the villains. But then the villains descent into clear-cut evildoing and need an ass-kicking to stop, enabling said social issues to be resolved properly. Korra's wins ultimately come at increasingly high costs that leave her physically and emotionally crippled by the end of Season 3, where the continued existence of problems despite her efforts and others able to take care of things while she recovers make her think her being an Action Hero is unneeded. This causes Korra, who's defined her self-worth by being such, to go into a Heroic BSoD that last three years and two-thirds of the final season, recovering once she reconstructs her worth. The continued existence of problems mean such an Action Hero will always be needed, with all her hardships making her, and redefining herself as, a diplomat who's able to resolve conflict without the costs of fighting but still able to fight if need be.
  • South Park:
    • The episode "My Future Self 'n Me" both deconstructs and reconstructs Drugs Are Bad. It deconstructs it by having the parents go to absurd and dishonest lengths to scare their kids off drugs, but ends with a very heartfelt and sincere reason why kids shouldn't take drugs.
    • In the episode "Cartman Finds Love", they parody Token Minority Couple when a new black girl is introduced and Cartman manipulates the only black kid in school into dating her. Though they broke up briefly because they both thought the other only liked them because they were black. But in the end they get back together, aware that people will assume they're dating because they're expected to. The episode also makes a point of establishing that the two are dating because they genuinely like and have feelings for each other, and that's all that should really matter.
    • "All About Mormons" tackles the religion by having a Mormon family move to town and befriend the Marsh family. The family tells the story of Joseph Smith and the founding of the religion, which the show portrays as nonsensical and takes the stance that Joseph Smith clearly made it all up just to make money. Stan lashes out on the family once he hears the whole story and says you shouldn't believe in a religion without any proof. However, the next day, Gary tells him that even if Smith did make everything up, the religion stills promotes good values such as being nice to others and helping the poor and that his family is happy, loving, and functional thanks to their faith.
  • Moral Orel spent its first two-and-a-half seasons as one of the most scathingly vicious and depressing takedowns of organized religion in modern-media history- but ended its run by allowing just a tiny crack of light into that oppressive darkness, showing that while the entire town of Moralton may be astoundingly screwed up, religion is only an excuse for the citizens to justify their own actions, and not the reason why they're so depraved - i.e., the problem comes not from the existence of religion or people's faith in God, but from their willfully misinterpreting the lessons of the Bible to push their own agendas. Despite everything that happens to him, Orel being the only truly devout person in Moralton and its only really noble person is emphatically not a coincidence, and the strength of his faith above all else is what ultimately allows him to find his happy ending.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • The show continues this from The Clone Wars regarding the philosophies of the Force:
      • Who Ezra and Kanan choose to become will determine their future and their role in the Galaxy.
    • Continuing from the above, Ezra is constantly exposed to new ways of thinking from different mentors and enemies, which is not helped by his growing natural affinity with the Force, and also being impressionable and curious:
      • Kanan (who never formally finished his own training) had to learn via duels with the Inquisitors; his biggest concern is preserving his humanity while managing to find another way around to survive) attempts to constantly control and protect Ezra from the Dark Side due to his own insecurities, while Maul and the Presence (the former being raw to emotion like Ezra and the latter being a revered official Sith Lord) encourage him to go in the opposite direction, by doing whatever it takes to get the job done faster and pragmatically, no matter how scrupulous and to use his negative emotions as his strength.
      • Among the others are Ahsoka, who, while does not seems to be heavily involved in Ezra's training, serves as a personal example to Ezra as a non-Jedi who is still strong in both morality and skill; and Rex, who though isn't a Force-user, teaches Ezra on ruthlessness without going off the deep end.
    • "Rise of the Old Masters" does this with There Is No Try. Kanan says this to Ezra during his training, who asks him how you can do something without trying. Kanan admits that he never understood it either and is just parroting Master Yoda. At the end of the episode, Kanan figures out what it means - if you simply try to do something, you'll have far less chance of succeeding than if you focus on doing it.
    • Of the Kid Hero trope (and likely of Anakin as well):
    • Briefly discussed in "A Princess on Lothal". The crew tries to come up with ways to retrieve the ships, until each one is shut down, and they are brought to silence, discouraged with the plan. Leia brings life and hope back to the discussion with this piece of encouragement:
      Leia: I know you need those ships, so don't tell me why we can't get them; tell me how we will.
  • Bojack Horseman spent three seasons tearing apart many, many sitcom tropes, and showing how believing them will make a person lonely and miserable. By Season 4, Bojack, by putting in the effort, actually begins to get the happiness he craved.
  • The episode "Love Is a Many Strangled Thing" from The Simpsons does this to the Running Gag of Homer strangling Bart. The show recognizes how abusive this behavior is, and when Homer goes into therapy after embarrassing Bart, he casually brings his stranglings up to the therapist (voiced by Special Guest Paul Rudd), and he ends up going through extensive roleplaying sessions in order to break him out of the habit. However, as a result, Bart's sociopathic behavior gets worse than ever, and after unsuccessfully trying multiple times to get Bart to show compassion towards Homer, the therapist ultimately freaks out and ends up strangling Bart himself.
  • Transformers: Animated: Optimus Prime's Dark and Troubled Past, which still affects him to this day, shows what happens if a young hero is too lenient, naive, and innocent for his own good. Displaying too much of those good qualities to people who just don't deserve them means that Optimus leaves himself open to jerks like Sentinel who find a way to take advantage of him and end up ruining his life while they run scot-free. Despite this, Optimus continues to be a good person, and learns on his own how to become the hero everyone was expecting him to be in spite of the odds and losses.
  • Darkwing Duck: The title character became a superhero because he wanted fame and glory. His entire hero career he remained a glory hound who refused to team up with other heroes unless there was no other choice because he didn't want to share the spotlight and who didn't seem nearly as skilled as he thought he was. On the other hand he was repeatedly put through hell and kept going and when he got serious because someone was in actual danger he quickly and efficiently dealt with the threat.
  • The Venture Bros.: The first 2-3 seasons dismantle every trope possible surrounding boy adventurers, superheroes, and action/adventure cartoons. After that, the show slowly puts them back together, transforming these silly genres into spectacles of badassery.

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