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Decon-Recon Switch

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"With no power comes no responsibility. Except that's not true."

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.)


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.


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.


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


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In a meta example, Studio Gainax. They started with GunBuster, went to Neon Genesis Evangelion, then went to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
    • Even before TTGL the studio started the era of reconstruction with DieBuster, a direct sequel to Gunbuster that went back to the idealistic roots of the super robot genre.
    • Gurren Lagann does this itself, with the first eight episodes playing out like an Affectionate Parody of the Super Robot Genre tropes. It does not take itself seriously until Kamina dies, when it deals with the emotional side of the show in a more serious way, while simultaneously celebrating the tropes it mocked in the first place. One can see the history of the genre this way: The first arc is based on 80s Super Robot anime, when the genre was played straight. The second arc is based on the 90s, when it became popular to deconstruct the Super Robot Genre and Real Robot shows were in fashion. The final arc is based on 00s mecha anime, when Super Robot shows got a resurgence in popularity.
    • It is subtle in Neon Genesis Evangelion, but it is there as well—oh boy is it deconstructed, but the Reconstruction is presented in full postmodernism. Shinji gets over his breakdown, Rei stands up to Gendo, and Asuka finds enough worth to return to life after Instrumentality.
  • Similarly to the Gurren Lagann example above (fitting, since many of the same people created both), Kill la Kill starts off as a clear Affectionate Parody of both hot-blooded shonen and magical girl anime, hanging lampshades on all of the well-worn tropes and generally maintaining its sense of humor above all else. Then Nui reveals that she killed Ryuko's father and starts screwing her over in every conceivable way, and the story becomes more fast-paced and serious, bringing back all of the tropes it lightly mocked and clearly showing why these stories are so beloved.
  • One-Punch Man may be a Deconstructor Fleet of superhero tropes, but as it goes on many of them get played straight again.
    • The main character is an Invincible Hero whose lack of challenges leaves him completely disillusioned with life. On top of that, his literally unbelievable feats of strength lead the general public to decry him as a fraud. Nonetheless he still keeps on being a hero, because it is what he wants to do, public opinion be damned, and the people who know him personally respect him a great deal for it.
    • The Hero Association is a send-up of superhero organisations; the higher-ups are affluent morons, many heroes are more interested in their rankings than doing anything heroic (to the point of forming cliques and bullying lower-ranked members), the S-class heroes are dysfunctional at best, and the C-List Fodder is not only severely outclassed by any actual threat, they also have to meet weekly quotas or they lose their membership. And yet it is also a powerful force for good: when a threat that can defeat even S-class heroes emerges, several heroes from across the board rise up to fight it. They stand absolutely no chance, yet by keeping the Monster of the Week occupied they buy enough time for Saitama to arrive and kill it before anybody dies. As Saitama puts it:
      "If the heroes run and hide, who will stay and fight?"
  • After the first episode of Attack on Titan, it looks like it will be your standard Monster of the Week Shōnen anime about a group of friends beating up monsters. But then it deconstructed heavily when about 50% of named characters started dropping like flies, there is little to no hope for victory, and everyone gives into the despair that they are inevitably going to be Eaten Alive. Then Eren turns into a Titan and starts beating the tar out of the other Titans, and suddenly it is much less hopeless, and the audience is given reason to root for humanity again.
  • Dai-Guard is another Humongous Mecha example; it starts out as a deconstruction of the genre heavy on the Reality Ensues, but then builds back up everything it tore down better than ever. Early in the series, for example, the heroes construct the ever-popular drill arm to deal with an enemy, only to find out that the drill's enormous torque makes it almost impossible to control. But rather than switch to another weapon that is Boring, but Practical, they put their heads together and come up with a giant pile driver arm that works even better than the drill while maintaining the Rule of Cool. It gets taken further later in the series; when the pile driver arm is out of commission, the heroes break out the drill arm again. Only this time it works flawlessly because their extensive piloting experience allows them to compensate for the torque.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Uses that Hegelian dialectic above to explain alchemy (it is mentioned that alchemy has three parts when referring to Scar's tattoo (which stops at the 2nd stage): identification, deconstruction, reconstruction). It does this to the plot too, identifying the basic idea of Equivalent Exchange (to which it is the Trope Namer), deconstructing it (The Gate cheated, taking all of Alphonse and taking an arm and a leg from Edward, to give a false revival), and reconstructing it (the real exchange is something different, and comes both from Edward's choice, and Winry's comment to Edward at the end). Both have Equivalent Exchange disputed in rapid succession with providing a better solution, in addition to the gradual deconstruction and reconstruction process provided by the story.
  • 20th Century Boys goes nuts on every nuance it can find in the Saving the World plot. The badass is brought down to the same level as the Action Survivor cast. The Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever is torn apart so brutally it is commented on in-universe. The only reason the Big Bad exists is because he is a Psychopathic Manchild who actually believes in this, and he is much smarter than the typical comic book villain who grabs the Idiot Ball at the perfect time. At the same time, it is a Reconstruction in that, no matter how many tropes it subverts, the characters are still Saving the World.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico does the same thing with its Affectionate Parody of Real Robot shows.
    • Nadesico also delves into the Super Robot side of things as well. Many of the moral actions and choices made in the series do not have clear cut results or justifications, and many of the events are contrasted against the Super Robot Show Within a Show Gekiganger. Plus, the only pilot on Nadesico that fits the Super Robot archetype gets shot and killed early in the series, rather than getting the heroic death in battle he was hoping for.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi briefly deconstructs the concept of "side characters", showing the kinds of inferiority complexes that can result from people realizing their status. It later reconstructs it by pointing out that even if a person is not in the limelight all the time, their actions can still have a profound effect on the "main characters".
  • Pokémon:
    • Much of the Indigo saga, and especially the first episode, deconstruct the Pokemon journey, showing all the dangers that a less than brilliant 10-year-old kid would get himself into traveling the world unsupervised. Ash nearly gets himself killed on the very first day, and his immaturity and ego blinds him to how he's barely managing his way through the region. However, it's reconstructed through the many friendships that help guide him along the way, proving that while the Pokemon world can be dangerous and even heartbreaking, one can still survive and better themselves in the future.
    • The Diamond and Pearl saga spends a heavy section of its run deconstructing The Power of Friendship through Ash's rivalry with Paul. Ash finds himself unable to invoke Underdogs Always Win against a competent opponent obsessed with strength, and his empathy toward his Pokemon frequently serves as his downfall, as he is unable to admit when they just can't win. But after Paul hands him his worst loss ever at Lake Acuity, it finally begins to be reconstructed; Ash swallows his pride and admits that Paul has a point about his training philosophy, and works to find a balance between the two extremes. He learns how to use his bonds to enhance his strategy, not become his strategy, and it pays off when he finally defeats Paul in the Sinnoh League.
    • Similar to the games, Guzma from the Sun and Moon series deconstructs Always Second Best, becoming a bitter Dirty Coward who preys on weak Trainers and runs away from anyone he might lose to. The members of Team Skull are bounded together by failure, misfits and outcasts too weak to make it on their own. It's reconstructed as his League battle with Ash teaches him to truly face his battles head-on, regardless of the result, and to reflect upon his shortcomings while also recognizing his accomplishments. Not only that, but he realizes Team Skull has given a home and a sense of family to people who were convinced they were losers. He ultimately decides not to disband the team like he did in the games, convinced by his followers that being rougher around the edges doesn't make him a bad leader.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Specifically, this series deconstructs the "Power of the Heart" often used in Magical Girl anime. The show does this by drawing attention to the fact that when the characters get to Make a Wish in exchange for assuming the duty of magical girls, these wishes usually have an underlying motive, and their purpose is never as pure and noble as many shows often assume it would be (these are young girls after all). Tragedy ensues not because these wishes had a selfish motive, however: rather, because they were simply badly thought out and the characters were unable to accept their outcome. While initially it seems like An Aesop about the futility of a Deal with the Devil, the ending, however, reconstructs the wish as an embodiment of hope by demonstrating that a wish made for all the right reasons, that benefits many people including the one who made it, essentially becomes the most powerful force to ever exist. It rewrites the laws of reality and recreates the world without the hopeless fate Magical Girls had been previously forced into, even if it, too, comes with a caveat. There is also a decon-recon of the Set Right What Once Went Wrong plot; Homura has tried and failed to find a good ending so many times that it has moved her from the most naive member of the team to a cold-blooded killer, and the repeated failures are gradually eroding her will. However, the sheer karmic buildup this creates is what allows Madoka to win in the end.
  • Tiger & Bunny first appears to be a Superhero Deconstruction where superhero work has been incredibly commercialized, heroes are in it for the fame and money, the interests of corporate sponsors rule, and ideals of saving people for its own sake has all but disappeared... Until it is clear that, for all the glitz, most of the superheroes are still goodhearted, effective individuals doing what they do because it is right rather than because they get paid for it.
  • Most Macross series will do this for the popular anime tropes of their day.
    • The original Super Dimension Fortress Macross deconstructed the whole "one ship against the world" setup popularized by Space Battleship Yamato showing that an enemy fleet would have to be holding back (as the Zentradi fleet was) for this to work while eventually showing what happens when they do stop holding back. But then they do show how the power of love and understanding can still win the day by giving the lone ship powerful allies.
    • Macross 7 shows how annoying a typical Hot-Blooded mecha anime hero can be. Then demonstrates how that hot blooded determination can win the day when Basara continues to sing even faced against overwhelming odds, which wins the day.
    • Macross Frontier deconstructed the Idol Singer aspect by showing how they are mostly "fabricated pop idols" with no substance beyond that, and how they can be discarded at any moment. But then, Sheryl refuses to be discarded and manages to regain her status—and ultimately assists in punishing the agent who tried to discard her, thus truly becoming an Idol Singer.
  • Bakuman。 has a possible in-universe case with Classroom of Truth. At first glance, it is a Deconstructor Fleet story that deconstructs shonen values such as hard work, friendship and so forth, by having the characters trapped in a classroom, only concerned about their own survival, and being forced to admit their selfishness or die. However, Takagi points out that the selfish characters were the first to die, and proposes that it is a roundabout way of suggesting that people must work together.
  • Digimon Tamers does work to deconstruct many of the tropes in the previous two Digimon series, such as showing the brutality of owning a Kaiju as a pet and sending ten year olds to save the world, and yet it still revels in The Power of Friendship, Hot-Blooded characters, and most of the antagonists have several shades of gray to them.
  • Cardfight!! Vanguard's first season does this in relationship to supernatural card game anime. Psy Qualia allows you to talk to your units, basically letting you draw whatever card you want and see how the game will play out. This is not the first power in this sort of anime that allows you to manipulate the outcome. However, it is shown as bad, not only because it gets you Drunk on the Dark Side, but because at that point, you are not really playing the game anymore. But ultimately, Aichi still thinks of it as The Power of Friendship in relation to his cards, and uses it to defeat Ren, who has the same power but thinks of his units as more disposable.
  • Space Patrol Luluco's main character arc was Luluco's schoolgirl crush on her stoic teammate, Nova. As the show nears its end, it turns out that Nova is actually an Empty Shell working for the Big Bad, who literally steals her feelings on the grounds that a Naïve Everygirl's Love at First Sight is actually the most worthless thing in the universe. After dying of a broken heart, Luluco realizes that Nova's lack of emotions means that his actions cannot really constitute a betrayal, and that her love for him is precious no matter what; this not only brings her back to life, it induces a Care-Bear Stare that gives Nova emotions and allows him to return her love.
  • Kaiju Girls: The early episodes are a deconstruction of the Magical Girl Warrior genre. The public is fully aware of them and GIRLS is an organization founded to help them. The Soulrizer is such a mundane (but expensive) device that it is possible to buy a replacement should they break it. Since the world is at peace, seniors in GIRLS have to play Professional Wrestling instead of beating up villains, and newbies get boring tasks like handing out flyers. The reconstruction kicks-in with a berserk kaiju girl, and episode 8 reveals the antagonist organization, Shadows.
  • Medaka Box readily flip-flops between being a standard Shonen Jump fighting series and a deconstruction of the same. Initially Medaka is portrayed as a practically perfect All-Loving Hero, but then it's shown despite having seemingly limitless abilities, she has a very hard time relating to or even understanding other people, and that having no purpose in life beyond "help everyone I meet" is dangerously unhealthy. By the end of the series, her kindness towards others has earned her the love of everyone in the school, and those limitless abilities let her save the Earth after her evil uncle tried to drop the Moon on it.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V started as a deconstruction of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, from pulling the characters into interdimensional war and showing the consequences of such to averting Duels Decide Everything, The Power of Friendship, and the Warrior Therapist tropes. Then it began to show that these tropes could still work, having Yuya bring smiles to everyone by dueling and causing a multitude of Heel Face Turns, including the Big Bad.
  • Wake Up, Girls! show isn't afraid to explore the shady side of the Idol Singer industry and the difficulties idols face, but then shows that pursuing one's dreams is ultimately worthwhile despite that.
  • Re:Zero is one of the typical NEET protagonist found in Trapped in Another World type stories. Showing first what would happen if a NEET from our world actually wound up trapped in a strange world filled with powerful people and gained a special power, then later showing what it would realistically take for that person to become a hero in this scenario. Because Subaru is weak and unskilled he gets killed very early on and comes back to life only because of his special power (which doesn't lend itself to combat). After going through several cycles of this he starts exhibiting signs of PTSD from all the trauma. In addition, his lack of social skills ends up causing serious problems for himself and Emilia later in the story, prompting a self-inflicted "The Reason You Suck" Speech where he acknowledges all of his failings and how powerless and useless he is. He gradually becomes a hero in his own right by learning from his mistakes, relying on his wits, using the information he gains through each cycle to his advantage, and relying on people that are stronger than him to make it out of battles alive.
  • My Hero Academia, being a shonen manga, deconstructs many standard tropes in the genre, to the point of having its own page of deconstructed tropes. However, it ultimately is a celebration of the shonen genre, ultimately reconstructing said tropes (or at least some of them) with a more nuanced take.
  • Zombie Land Saga takes numerous potshots at the Japanese idol industry, but it still celebrates its more positive aspects:
    • The premise is clearly a satire of the idol industry, with its long work hours, repetitive content, mental and physical stress, and a lifestyle very difficult to adapt into. This translates into the main characters being zombies, which is about as on-the-nose as anyone can get with metaphors. That being said, the anime also shows that the idol industry can be a place of genuine fulfillment for everyone involved, as long as everyone—from the fans, to the producers, to the idols themselves—remains respectful of one another.
    • The anime has pointed things to say about the idol industry's concern with having its stars maintain a public image of "purity", firstly by having its idols be corpses, which are about as impure as you can get, then by forcing them to hide the truth about themselves lest they risk alienation. However, it also allows the anime to make a stand for inclusion with Yugiri and Lily, neither of whom would normally be accepted as idols by the industry—the former having been a High-Class Call Girl, the latter a transgender girl—but who are valued bandmates to the other members of Franchouchou, and whom Kotaro recruited anyways despite their background.
    • Episode 8 shows how the entertainment industry can wreck a performer's life, overstressing them and ruining their relationships, but also how it can be a source of support for them and a way to find catharsis.
  • The Fullbringer arc of Bleach does this to The Power of Friendship. The Dragon Tsukishima uses his Mind Rape powers to turn all of Ichigo's friends and family against him, all while Ichigo has only just started getting some amount of power to protect them. After being helped by Ginjo most of the arc, Ginjo backstaps him and steals his powers, leaving Ichigo powerless against the two as he no longer can protect his friends and they are being used as tools by the antagonists to torment him further. Having always fought to protect people, Ichigo is almost driven to despair by the two, and almost loses hope when he thinks his own father had stabbed him as well. The reconstruction comes from when it turns out the person who stabbed him was Rukia, who restores Ichigo's Soul Reaper powers and arrives with help from Soul Society to save Ichigo and his friends. Essentially the villains weaponized Ichigo's friendships and drove him near to despair, while Rukia and Soul Society showed that the bonds and changes Ichigo had made leading up to this moment still mattered by helping him out.

    Comic Books 
  • Kingdom Come deconstructs The Dark Age of Comic Books and at the same time reconstructs the Silver Age. In the ending, though, both the Silver Age and Dark Age heroes realize they're fatally flawed in their world views, take off their masks, and rejoin normal human society.
  • DC Rebirth is aiming in the same direction. As one critic stated in an essay: "Geoff Johns is drawing a straight line from Watchmen to The New 52. He’s saying that the deconstructionist comic books of the 80s - great books, seminal classics - have so poisoned the well that they have negatively impacted what came after. It’s the ultimate piece of comic criticism (and one I think a lot of old-timers, who were alive and energized when Watchmen first hit stores, would agree with) and it’s in the form of a comic. Yes, Geoff Johns says, DC is too dark and unhappy today. And what’s more, it’s a direct result of chasing the dragon of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns and getting ever diminished returns."
  • Invincible picks apart tons of superhero tropes, depicts a world of Black-and-Gray Morality, is willing to feature graphic violence to emphasize that heroes aren't holding back, subverts many classic superhero origins and motifs, and rather viciously deconstructs the idea of teenage superheroes. And yet in the end it reconstructs the genre — no matter how many tropes it subverts or deconstructs, the heroes are still heroes protecting the world from evil and many times their idealism and courage ultimately wins out over the cruel and cynical villains.
  • Fantastic 1234 by Grant Morrison appears to be deconstructing the Fantastic Four by showing them to be the maladjusted, dysfunctional people they would be in real life. Then, it's revealed that this is all a ploy by Doctor Doom to destroy them through a form of superscience mind control and their normal personalities are who they would be in real life - and it ends up reconstructing the Four and deconstructing Doctor Doom himself, revealing him to be little more than a petty, self-obsessed, self-deluding, and unbearably pompous monomaniac who isn't nearly on Reed Richards's level of intelligence and, through devoting his time to a pointless feud driven only because he can't accept his own failings, has pretty much wasted his entire life. And he also appears to be going bald.
  • Grant Morrison's New X-Men was a solid deconstruction of the X-Men mythos, detailing some of the harsher aspects of how an oppressed minority of superhumans might operate in the real world, and introducing a slew of adult themes like genocide, drug abuse, marital infidelity, and the confusion of adolescence, leading to a climax that, while still featuring the good X-Men fighting the evil Magneto, was shadowed with brutality and shades of gray. Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, a direct sequel to New X-Men, continued many of the themes and plot arcs started by the former series, but it also featured the team reinstating their classic spandex costumes and reforming into a good old-fashioned superhero team, showing the world that there's still a place for bold superheroics amidst the chaos and ambiguity of modern life.
  • The first few issues of Kick-Ass deconstruct the notion of the Badass Normal, by showing just what would happen if a kid were to dress up in a silly costume and go around looking for crime to fight. Then it picks it up again by having Dave help bring down a crime syndicate and officially do something special with his life. The next two volumes then follow the movie's lead in its treatment of superheroes. The superhero fad Dave inspires eventually morphs into a subculture of altruistic social work and neighborhood watches. A few of the heroes are competent and well-trained, and the rest gain experience fighting thugs and watching each other's backs, and superheroes as a whole become more competent and better fighters than a Mafia-funded private army. In the end, the superheroes garner tremendous public support, and are acknowledged without irony as superheroes but face antagonism and harassment from the police, who do have the authority and capability to take them down.
  • Star Wars: Legacy started off as a Deconstructor Fleet for Star Wars Legends. The lead Skywalker was an amoral drug-addicted bounty hunter, the Galactic Alliance was on the ropes again, the Sith numbered in the thousands, the Jedi were fleeing across the Galaxy, and Sith rule seemed certain for decades. But then Cade Skywalker experiences some Character Development, and the Alliance and the true Empire join forces and emerge victorious, giving Legacy one of the most positive and idealistic conclusions in the recent SWEU.
  • In a meta example, the superhero genre as a whole has done this to a certain extent. The Dark Age of Comic Books deconstructed a lot of the tropes that had built up over the decades of superhero comics. The Modern Age of Comic Books works to reconstruct the superhero genre in light of this deconstruction. There are several matters of debate in this, including whether or not it's actually working or if this age is simply a Genre Throwback to the Gold and Silver Ages.
  • Seen in Spider-Man: Reign when Spider-Man foregoes the Darker and Edgier black costume in favor of the classic red and blues, all while singing a familiar tune.
  • Irredeemable is a deconstruction that asks "What if Superman went bad for real? That is until the very last page where the Plutonian's essence has been scattered to the corners of the multiverse...and some of it ends up in our world and inspires the creation of Superman.
  • Secret Empire deconstructs Marvel's love for Darker and Edgier and Let's You and Him Fight by making Steve Rogers a super villain whom everyone loves as he uses HYDRA to take over the United States, forcing the usual heroes to resort to more and more darker actions and being called out for it and when things reach their darkest, the heroes realized they messed up and begin reconstructing the idea of Lighter and Softer by rejecting the ideals that got them there in the first place and Steve becomes the comic book super villain he should be in these stories.
  • Superior which was written by Mark Millar seemed like a deconstruction of what would happen if a kid got super powers and of what it would be like in real life if someone actually had the Physical God level strength Superman had. The world is also shown to be cynical with people acting as self-centered and selfish as they would in real life. Then issue #3 happens and suddenly the child with the powers, Chris, saves a falling space station, keeps it from pancaking New York and starts saving lives all around the country like stopping a train from hitting an ambulance, stopping a nuclear meltdown, and rescuing a damaged submarine. While people are skeptical at first, they quickly find themselves inspired by the superhero brought to life. Chris even manages to clear out Afghanistan without a single fatality while saving hundreds of innocents. While the realistic tone is still in the comic and the people shown are not to be perfect, Chris is genuinely heroic and the people are ultimately grateful for everything he does. To make the Decon Recon Switch even clearer, it turns out his powers were part of a Deal with the Devil without him knowing and the good guy still wins in the end because the Devil in question didn't realise by making Chris a supremely powerful superhero beyond even age and death (being effectively indestructible) he claimed a soul he couldn't collect and is promptly dragged off to hell when the date for the soul comes due. Chris loses his powers but learns he doesn't need them and the world, while thinking Superior is dead, mourns hims as a hero and everyone is inspired to be better. The end has a touching dedication to Christopher Reeve and Richard Donner and that the whole book was a love letter to the lighthearted movie that made everyone believe a man could fly.
  • Ms. Marvel's origin story deconstructs and reconstructs the Ascended Fanboy trope and the character's own status as an Affirmative Action Legacy. Our heroine, Kamala Khan, is a daughter of Muslim Pakistani immigrants. She's regularly ostracized for her faith and heritage and fantasized about being "less complicated" so her peers will accept her. She finds escape in her passion for superheroes, especially Captain Marvel. Then when she unexpectedly gets shape-shifting powers and turns into a younger Captain Marvel, she finds that being someone else only complicates matters further. It's exhausting to force herself to be a different person, and she finds her Healing Factor only works when she's in her own form. Kamala only comes into her own and saves the day when she realizes that her friend's best hope is for her to be the best version of herself, not a watered-down version of another hero.
  • The Ultimates: The series starts off as a deconstruction of the Avengers operating in the 21st Century, how, as a team of assassins and scientists, they would naturally be in the employ of a government organization while also exaggerating some personality traits to emphasize how none of the members are actually Knight in Shining Armor superheroes. Then comes Ultimates 2, where the team discovers the disastrous consequences of being a government-sanctioned team of superhumans and decide to become independent from SHIELD. From then on, the Ultimates become independent superheroes...until Ultimatum left them in shambles, and the heroes went back to working for SHIELD in New Ultimates.

  • The Pony POV Series is a good example. It takes various aspects of the series, deconstructs them, and then reconstructs them. The best example is the basic premise of Reharmonized Ponies; that the World-Healing Wave that accompanied Discord's defeat didn't heal the mental damage he caused...but friendship can still heal it. It also took the idea that Fluttershy's Discorded self was a split personality Discord created with the character of Fluttercruel, Fluttershy's Child By Mind Rape by Discord who at first tries to take over, but eventually is reconditioned by Fluttershy's parenting and becomes the mane cast's Sixth Ranger.
  • Sonic X: Dark Chaos rewrites the third season of Sonic X into a hellish Cosmic Horror Story. It deconstructs both the origin of the Chaos Eemeralds (created by the devil himself) and the characters. Sonic's whole self-image as an Invincible Hero and The Ace is quickly shattered and the characters - especially the younger ones like Cream - are visibly affected by the horrors around them. However, the heroes know that they can't give up, so they keep going regardless. The rewrite makes the switch even more blatant, emphasizing The Power of Friendship and hope even in the face of cosmic terror.
  • The Captain America: The Winter Soldier fanfic Out of the Dead Land deconstructs the common Fix Fic set-up of Bucky naturally regaining his memories and old personality over time by sticking close to Steve and learning about his past from him: here, Bucky seemingly becoming more like his old self is only a facade constructed from others' stories and no matter how much he replays the stories Steve tells him in his head, he can't truly remember them as his own and reverts back to the empty Winter Soldier when the truth comes out. The reconstruction comes when it's shown that he nevertheless really is the Bucky Steve knows at his core who doesn't need his memories to instinctively do the right thing or come to love Steve even when he believes himself to be only an empty shell, and he's able to gradually regain his sense of identity and Earn His Happy Ending with Steve even without the bulk of his memories.
  • Angel of the Bat reads like a recon-decon-recon. The first half is mostly hopeful and optimistic in its presentation of religion and belief, particularly in regards to Catholicism. Corrupted religions are very much presented as "the bad guys" but the faiths of the main characters is pure and good. In the next fourth this gets turned on its head, leading to main character Cassie's Crisis of Faith and scenes bordering on Religious Horror. The last fourth reconstructs the first half. After the aforementioned scenes of Religious Horror and a healthy dose of Gayngst nearly destroy Cassandra's faith, she is left to make the decision by herself if her religious life is still worth living. She finds even if she doesn't agree with all the institutions of her faith, it is still important enough for her to hold onto, and that her faith in God is more important than anything else.
  • The Gungrave fanfic Retribution deconstructs and reconstructs Pay Evil unto Evil. It starts with Brandon being none too pleased about his Loan Shark friend being beaten to death by some angry civilians who were once their clients in a riot. Although he has been suggested to let Millennion sweepers do the job, he insists on finding and killing the leader of the riot by himself. However, the leader of the riot, Leonard, turns out to be a father to a little girl. Brandon finds it difficult to carry on his duty because he himself is a Parental Substitute to Mika; he knows that killing Leonard will cause a Parental Abandonment to his daughter and is a horrible deed. He decides to kill Leonard anyway, because it is what is right according to his (and likely Millennion loan sharks') modus operandi: clients who can't pay up will have their belongings stolen to pay off their debts and clients who fight back will be beaten up, meaning that clients who murder a Loan Shark deserve death. However, Brandon feels terrible for murdering Leonard in front of his daughter and witnessing his daughter bawling her eyes out as she hugs Leonard's corpse (worsened by the fact that Brandon sees the girl and Leonard's corpse as Mika and his own corpse). Later, thanks to Mika for indirectly reminding him that he will not go anywhere far if he keeps wallowing in his guilt for doing that (his Despair Event Horizon begins to keep him from being a good Parental Substitute to Mika because he loses his mood to have fun with Mika and puts his residual leg at the risk of being further amputated because he forgets to retire his prosthesis at night), he decides to let go of his grief and uphold the Pay Evil unto Evil philosophy, because it's the right thing to do if he favors his family.
  • A User's Guide to the Apocalypse, a roleplaying sourcebook for the Replay Value Universe Homestuck AU, starts by making a Cosmic Horror Story out of being trapped in a video game that will stop at nothing to make you adhere to your story role. Then the book goes on to explain how people manage to live in this Crapsack World anyway - by making social connections and finding a Purpose In Life. Where it ultimately ends up on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism is... ambiguous.
  • Dear Diary, a Nuzlocke retelling of Pokémon Black and White:
    • It underscores how insincere The Power of Friendship is when one of the "friends" is forcing the other to join them, fight and take risks while the former gets the luxury and glory, but then shows how amazing it can be when it's a reciprocal relationship, as shown by the genuinely happy and healthy relationships between Pokémon and trainer in Icirrus city where the trainers are willing to take risks as well, and Lillil's dramatic defeat of Goliath, which she could never have done without The Power of Friendship.
    • It also deconstructs the concept of a Pokémon adventure. Being a Nuzlocke, it shows how the risks of a battling journey, no matter how tough the Pokémon are, will extend beyond just fainting, but the world is dangerous outside of an adventure and, for those who actually choose it rather than being forced, it can be a beautiful experience to face that danger for a purpose rather than just to survive.
  • Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race: The fic as a whole serves as this to the original Mega Man cartoon. We see how destructive and costly the fighting is, the emotional toil that all parties go through and the effects it has on society and the world. But as time goes on, the heroes and villains learn from their experiences and continue to be who they were meant to be while the world adepts and comes to accept the inclusion of robots.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail deconstructs a lot of elements of the Pokemon Journeys plot and set up, along with elements of Infinity Train. However a few of what the story tears up is put back together in later parts. Part 2 for example takes Ash: Ash's status as a All-Loving Hero in part 1 was seen as constricting to Chloe who saw him easily befriend her best for, whose status as a All-Loving Hero with his friendliness, To Be a Master The Ace status, and etc had come off as constricting to Chloe originally whose interest were drastically different from his own, but by part 2 she is much more appreciative of his honesty, kindness, and good intentions means he is the first she is able to forgive for their mistakes and is able to approach him on her own terms while his kindness means he is open to accepting her intent where someone else might have no interest after everything that had happened in the story.

    Films — Animated 
  • Disney has also been doing this with the Prince Charming trope:
    • 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.
    • Enchanted: Edward, the prince Giselle originally seems destined to be with, is a bumbling ditz who turns out to not be Giselle's true love after all. However, he's still a genuinely decent man who doesn't hesitate to step aside to let Giselle be kissed by her true love, and does get to be a bonafide Prince Charming for another woman.
    • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy does this for Batman. Batman now operates using modern-day technology in more realistic cities and has to adjust his gear and techniques as such, but ultimately still turns out to be his usual awesome crime fighting self. It deconstructs some of the more negative aspects of Batman's character - the public backlash, the immense physical toll it takes on Bruce Wayne's body, the escalating superhero-supervillain arms race, and the fact that Batman is fighting for justice in a system that may be beyond saving. The reconstruction comes from the fact that in each movie, Bruce, or even the people of Gotham itself, proves the villains wrong by standing up to the threat and firmly showing why Gotham and its people can be changed, and the trilogy ends with Batman retired by necessity, but Gotham at peace.
  • According to one interpretation, Adaptation deconstructs movie cliches in the first half, then reconstructs them in the second. The Hero Charlie Kaufman, while undergoing hard-core writer's block and trying to adapt an unadaptable book, spends the first half of the movie decrying a bunch of cliches (such as the Polar Opposite Twins) and insists he doesn't wants to add them to the film because he thinks they are unrealistic, and the second half then goes on to demonstrate that at least some of those cliches are a Necessary Weasel for a reason (such as the fact that Charlie's Polar Opposite Twin Donald is actually a Helpful Hallucination or writer guru Robert McKee unleashes a hard-core "The Reason You Suck" Speech on Charlie while highlighting how Reality Is Unrealistic (another interpretation is that it just deconstructs these cliches in the first half and spoofs them in the second half, without any attempt at reconstruction).
    Charlie Kaufman: Sir, what if the writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens? Where people don't change, they don't have any epiphanies, they struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. More a reflection of the real world.
    Robert McKee: The real world?
    Charlie Kaufman: Yes, sir.
    Robert McKee: The real fucking world. First of all, you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis you'll bore your audience to tears. Secondly, nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There's genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save somebody else. Every fucking day someone somewhere takes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ's sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry, somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can't find that stuff in life, then you my friend don't know crap about life! And why the FUCK are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie!? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it!
    Charlie Kaufman: ...Okay, thanks.
  • Tim Burton's 1988 hit film Beetlejuice at first appeared to deconstruct the monster movie by showing that the "monsters" could be pretty decent folk, the corollary of course being that Humans Are Bastards. But the movie ultimately affirms that not only are humans redeemable if they're just scared straight, but supernatural creatures can still be complete assholes.
  • In the Kamen Rider crossover film of OOO and W movie Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider OOO & W Featuring Skull: Movie Wars CORE, Akiko thinks that the people who became Kamen Riders ruined their own personal lives including the happiness of their loved ones, however during the climax of the film as the Big Bad received all the memories of every Kamen Rider thinking himself as the rider, W and OOO reject his belief because even though the riders give up their own personal lives, they will always protect everyone, even their beloved ones .
  • Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon deconstructs the slasher genre for most of the first hour of the movie, then reconstructs it in the end. The first half is a pseudo-documentary that shows how Vernon is just a regular human man who takes great lengths to be Crazy-Prepared for a single night of bloody rampaging... and then the second half has the documentary team who was recording him find out the hard way that they are his chosen victims and the aforementioned preparedness makes Vernon as nearly-unstoppable and unavoidable as a slasher is expected to be and all the knowledge that it's just smoke and mirrors doesn't really helps tone down the fact that there's a maniac killer out to get you.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier deconstructs The Cape superhero archetype by showing that Steve Rogers' ideals don't quite fit in the modern, pragmatic world. He wonders if his morals and values mean anything in modern society or even the old days and his refusal to change them results in finding himself useless. The reconstruction kicks in when Steve retrieves his old WWII uniform from the Smithsonian and finds hope in the allies that believe in him (i.e. Natasha and Sam). His Rousing Speech to SHIELD agents influences them to stop Project Insight. Finally, Steve's belief in the good in people results in Bucky going against his Winter Soldier programming and saving him from drowning in the Potomac River.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming has one for teenage superheroes. Although the failings of Peter Parker's mentors certainly played a role in it as well, almost everything bad that happens in this movie can be traced back to one well-meaning but inexperienced superhero meddling in affairs way out of his league. Peter almost gets himself, his classmates and hundreds of bystanders killed several times: For example, he almost drowns while fighting the Vulture—after causing untold amounts of damage on his way to catch his goons, puts the Washington Monument and everyone inside in danger by leaving a dangerous piece of alien technology with his friend and causes the Ferry incident by acting before the proper authorities get a chance to. It's only due to the repeated interventions of actual heroes that he survives. However, by the end of the film he's able to prove his worth by stopping the Vulture from making off with the Avengers' tech without any help (even using his original Beta Outfit to get the job done) and the adults realize he does have what it takes to be one of the Avengers. Peter declines because he realizes that the regular people need a superhero too and he can fill out that niche while the other heroes can't.
  • Enchanted does this to princess and Disney fairytale tropes. For instance, princesses usually have cute and cuddly animal friends, right? In New York City, the only animals around are pests: rats and cockroaches etc. They still become good and helpful princess animal friends.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind deconstructs the standard Romantic Comedy by detailing the break-up of a relationship... and in doing so shows why the Odd Couple got together in the first place. They end up back together by the end of the film.
  • Galaxy Quest spends the first half of the film showing the actors from the initial Galaxy Quest TV show to be a bunch of jaded washouts with little to their name other than adoring fans. They're then given control of an actual spaceship by some misguided aliens who've mistaken them for heroes who will save them from evil Rubber-Forehead Aliens... and nearly get themselves and everyone else killed. Only once they finally realise their situation in the final act and start applying all of the old tropes from their TV show do they start kicking ass whilst simultaneously showing why people fell in love with shows like Star Trek in the first place.
  • Godzilla (2014) initially plays off as a darker twist of the kaiju genre, showing horrific real-life consequences of giant monster attacks. We see the main character tragically lose his father when the Male MUTO escapes. Later we see Godzilla cause a massive tsunami in Hawaii which drowns thousands of terrified civilians, and later the main character's wife, a nurse, is seen tending to a crowded hospital filled with hundreds of wounded patients. Then comes the grand finale, where Godzilla battles the MUTO pair, and it's right back to the good old goofy-yet-awesome monster fights that we know and love.
    • It also initially deconstructs the Gentle Giant trope. Godzilla is relatively benign compared to other incarnations. However, his massive size still makes him a danger to people such as when he first arrives in Hawaii and accidentally causes a massive tsunami simply by getting out of the water. It's later reconstructed when he learns to take his time around the tiny creatures he lives with and goes out of his way to create as little damage as possible. And in the end, the world celebrates Godzilla's victory over the MUTOs.
  • Hot Fuzz: The first half of the movie points out that most cop movie cliches are unrealistic and silly and true police work is boring bouts of surveillance and building up trust in the community. The second half of the movie plays every single one of those cliches straight, by way of a destructive gun battle against the Milkman Conspiracy that is the town's dark secret, because they're incredibly awesome... except for the fact that such an encounter leads to a having to deal with a literal mountain of paperwork, but you can't have it all.
  • Kick-Ass, at least the film version, used this trope. The first half of the movie was spent hammering in the message that being a superhero in the real world is equivalent to buying a one way ticket to getting your ass kicked. However, the second half with the showdown with the Big Bad takes on a much lighter tone, showing that hey, maybe you'll get your ass kicked, but at least you'll be pretty damn awesome while trying to do justice. And, by the end of the movie, more competent people have been inspired by Kick-Ass's feats of Badassery.
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang did this to the mystery genre by both showing the realistic consequences of an Amateur Sleuth acting like he's a Hardboiled Detective when the bad guys have no patience for games, but at the same time structuring the plot to mirror that of the old Mystery Fiction books the characters themselves keep referencing.
  • Snow White: A Tale of Terror deconstructs the original fairytale by making the new stepmother start out as quite warm and friendly to the young girl. But the girl resents her new stepmother for taking her father's attention and she grows up into a rather bratty teenager, still shying away from any attempt at making friends the stepmother makes. After the stepmother suffers a miscarriage, she then gets pushed over the edge and the fairytale plays out normally.
  • A Russian film, If This Happens To You, starts as a deconstruction of Kid Hero subgenre of Occupiers Out of Our Country. Three children are transported in time towards World War II and, despite best efforts, do not seem to accomplish anything against the German occupation forces. But later on, they do manage to liberate a couple of prisoners and assist the Soviet counterattack.
  • Hancock starts out as a deconstruction. What if Superman didn't know who or what he is, why he can live forever and finally got fed up of people repeatedly ostracising him, becoming a drunken asshole as a result? The second half of the film then acts as a reconstruction, with Hancock attempting to become a genuine costumed superhero under the tuition of Ray, a grateful PR agent who's life he'd previously saved, while exploring his true origins.
  • James Bond:
    • GoldenEye, the first Bond movie to be made after the Cold War, does a lot in deconstructing James Bond, with many characters going on about how much the world has changed and how he doesn't fit so well into it anymore. Then, we're back to nifty gadgets, Bond One Liners and a car chase with a tank.
    • Skyfall does something similar. It asks us - if we don't have enemies out in the open anymore in the form of countries wearing symbols, does society still need secret agents operating in the shadows? Cue a bad guy who operates in the shadows and is brought down not via high tech, but by holing up and making a last stand armed with shotguns. The answer seems to be, "Yes, you damn well need people like James Bond." The film also deconstructs/reconstructs some of the iconic James Bond symbols: Q makes fun of the idea of exploding pens and M has some choice commentary about the classic Aston-Martin. Then the car gets its Moment of Awesome by demonstrating that machine gun headlights can be more than a gimmick.
    • Likewise, its sequel Spectre even questions whether Attack Drones and Big Brother Is Watching can do the job of spies like 007, and whether the data that's being gathered by C's Joint Intelligence/"Nine Eyes" Program might actually end up in the wrong hands. Spectre does prove that yes, Bond is still relevant in an era of digital surveillance and drones, while also critiquing the Joint Intelligence/"Nine Eyes" program's flaws, especially if backdoor access is handed over to a Nebulous Evil Organisation like SPECTRE, who can then blackmail countries into doing their bidding even if they don't like it.
  • Demolition Man does this to the Cowboy Cop. LAPD cop John Spartan is so bold and reckless in stopping criminals that his superiors hate him (bestowing upon him the titular nickname). As he finally takes down psychotic criminal Simon Phoenix in such a destructive manner that led to the deaths of dozens of hostages, he gets a life sentence in prison alongside Phoenix. Decades later, Phoenix is released into a violence-free society where police officers are so by-the-book that they are absolutely unable to think for themselves, and Phoenix easily outclasses them. The police decide to release Spartan to stop Phoenix, accepting that a less by-the-book, more intuitive policeman would do better in bringing down an Ax-Crazy criminal like Phoenix. Spartan, however, is uncomfortable with how cops like Lenina Huxley are enthralled by his cavalier behavior and eventually does acknowledge that the world of impossibly low crime that created such inept cops is far more peaceful than his own time, which produced a Cowboy Cop like him.
  • Man of Steel: Clark's alien powers initially alienate him from the rest of the world, but he still becomes Superman, champion of Earth. Before he even puts on the suit he already uses his powers to help people.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: The movie starts out with Captain Kirk getting utterly reamed by Admiral Pike for his Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! methods and demoted to first officer. By the time the movie is over, he's back in command of the Enterprise and those same methods led to the villains' plots being foiled.
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction applies this to Optimus Prime's Ideal Hero status. The first three movies portray Optimus as having faith in humanity's potential for good but Age of Extinction sees the Autobots being betrayed and hunted down by the humans they swore to protect. Needless to say, Optimus is heartbroken by this betrayal and considers leaving Earth permanently. It is only after Cade reasons with him that Optimus regains his idealism.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service. Of the Tuxedo and Martini Spy Fiction of early James Bond films. It begins by deconstructing it, including the sheer amount of trauma that comes with becoming such an operative even in the training stages and having a truly cunning villain who refuses to abide by Death Trap creation and other Bond Villain Stupidity, but comes back to a Reconstruction when the team of Merlin, Roxy, and Eggsy work together and use the tactics of many of this type to fight back anyway.
  • The Star Wars series as a whole does this to The Chosen One. In the prequel trilogy, Anakin Skywalker is told at a young age that he is the chosen one with great powers. But eventually, he becomes completely arrogant, and he loses his friends and lover in his attempts to assert that power, eventually falling to the Dark Side of the Force and becoming Darth Vader. In the original trilogy, his son Luke is told about his potential at a later age when he's more emotionally mature, and thus avoids falling to the Dark Side, even getting Anakin/Vader to the Light Side once again.
    • The sequel trilogy, especially Episode VIII, does it too, regarding some aspects of the Jedi religion. More than any other installment in the series so far, it stresses the fact that the Jedi Order was a wordly institution led by fallible sentient beings, and was indirectly responsible for its own destruction, in part because of an overemphasis on practical aspects of Force mastery (lifting up rocks, etc...). Though, as long as people use the dark side of the Force, there is a need to use the light side to oppose them. Oh, and lifting up rocks can be useful, too.
    • Firmly driven home with the last few images of Luke in The Last Jedi: Luke becomes one with the Force while looking at a double sunset, linking the beginning and ending of his journey together and, by reminding us where he started, that for all his failings, he truly was the greatest Jedi of all time. The first words we see in the movie are "THE FIRST ORDER REIGNS", and the image that ends the movie is a Force-sensitive child holding a broom like a kid playing with a toy lightsaber, looking up at the stars and dreaming of something better. Like all of us when we watch the movies.
    • Rogue One deconstructs the image of the Rebellion by giving us a Rebel Alliance that is desperate, outgunned, can't agree on what to do and is willing to kill innocent people to further its own goals. Some factions of the Rebellion, like Saw Gerrera's partisans, are dangerously close to jihadist terrorism, and most people in the galaxy, like Jyn Erso, care only about keeping their heads down and not attracting Imperial attention. The effort that the first half puts into reminding us how impossible the odds are for our heroes ultimately makes it that much more inspiring when they fight back against their orders and successfully steal the Death Star plans at the cost of all their lives. Showing how much blood, sweat, and human life went into retrieving those plans makes the ultimate inevitable victory that much more meaningful. By the end of the film, the transition from cynical realism to heroic idealism is complete, and the Rogue One crew passes the baton up to A New Hope by ending with the plans being delivered to the living symbol of Rebellion heroism, Princess Leia.
      • Rogue One also specifically takes apart before rebuilding the concept of belief in the Force as a religion with the characters of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus. With their temple destroyed and their church outlawed, Baze has become an embittered cynic with no faith in the Force, and while Chirrut remains pious, even his best friend thinks he's delusional and misguided. Yet throughout the film, Chirrut's trust in the Force remains unshakeable and drives him to perform some incredibly badass feats of strength and skill. In the final battle, Chirrut literally walks unharmed through a hail of gunfire possibly through the power of the Force while chanting his Survival Mantra, and Baze's faith has been restored to such a degree that he repeats the mantra as Chirrut lies dying in his arms, before pulling an epic Last Stand of his own.
  • Spy: The film first acts a deconstruction of James Bond films and the idea of a fully capable secret agent. We see from the outset that the primary reason why Bond-like agents are one man armies is because they have hardworking desk agents who not only monitor their every action, scope the surrounding areas for Mooks, and tell the agent when to duck mid-fight, they also can call for a freaking drone strike to help an agent get out of a sticky situation. This is reconstructed later in the film when Susan goes out into the field and we learn that she always had the chops to be a top agent, getting the top marks at the academy and literally decimating the field test. Fine knew this and persuaded her to be his assistant rather than a field agent so she wouldn't be the best spy in the game, leaving room for himself to take that title. However, this ultimately backfires; Susan's 10 years as an analyst has provided her with the tech skills and knowledge of targets to make her a one man "two-man team," combining brains and brawn, and thus making her a Bond-level super spy.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. deconstructs the Bond-esque spy thriller by turning the two leads into antiheroes. The suave sophistication of Solo is balanced by the fact that he's a greedy Boxed Crook who is only doing this work because he has to. The action-oriented Kurykin is a brooding, emotionally damaged ball of rage. However, they eventually manage to put aside their grievances toward each other and participate in a straight spy action-adventure.
  • Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven deconstructs The Gunslinger tropes and Eastwood's career as those types of characters. Eastwood's Will Munny admits that as a gunslinger he was a drunken, damaged monster who survived his many shootouts mostly through luck. An author looking for dime-novel biographies of Wild West gunslingers is perpetually disappointed to find that all of the frontier legends he investigates are lies or gross embellishments. However, Munny's quest for vengeance, both to avenge the prostitutes and his slain friend, ultimately plays out like a classic western.
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan is one for The Muppet Movie. In both films, the Muppets come to the big city expecting to become stars. Only this time, they find out it's not so simple as just showing up and asking, especially for a bunch of nobodies fresh out of college. Instead of giving them a contract, producer after producer rejects them, thinking It Will Never Catch On, until the Muppets run out of money and end up taking less-than-stellar jobs. Afterwards, the movie shows that even though it's not easy, you can still make your dreams come true if you keep trying and find the right opening. The Empire State Building scene is basically Kermit's resolve to find the second half of this trope.
  • The big hook of Scream (1996) was that its characters knew all the tropes and cliches of slasher movies, and tried to avoid making silly mistakes that got people like them killed in such movies. The thing was, the same was true of the killer, who was far craftier than the usual masked maniacs of the genre and knew how to subvert the subversions of the people he was trying to kill. (The film's tagline was even "someone has taken their love of scary movies one step too far.") This is best illustrated by a scene where the Final Girl Sidney snarks about Too Dumb to Live slasher victims who run upstairs when they should be running out the front door... only to find herself forced to run upstairs no more than five minutes later because she had locked the front door and couldn't get it open in time to escape from Ghostface.
  • The Last Exorcism does this to Demonic Possession movies. Not only does it avert Christianity Is Catholic by having the exorcist Cotton Marcus be an evangelical minister, it also portrays him as a charlatan who has grown disillusioned with the faith, recognizing that the "possessed" people he is treating are suffering from mental illness that, due to their religious upbringing, manifests as a belief that they are possessed by demons. His main goal in the film isn't to drive a demon from Nell, but to convince her family that what she needs is a psychiatrist once he realizes what's really up with her. That said, while the possession is psychosomatic, so is the exorcism, and Marcus recognizes that it can help people overcome their belief that they are possessed. And as it turns out, Nell really was possessed — and what's more, a Satanic cult had been misleading Marcus the whole time as to what was really going on. The Bolivian Army Ending sees Marcus recover his faith for one last battle with the forces of Satan.

  • 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 of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 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 Can't 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.
  • The Rules of Supervillainy 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.

    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 (2006) and Ashes to Ashes (2008) 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 use lethal force with impunity, plant evidence, take bribes as "perks" and display a shocking disregard for suspects' rights, but also reconstructs them by showing that all of this is 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.

  • "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 althoug 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.".

  • The Ballad of Edgardo deconstructs the common RPG fantasy plot of "superpowered heroes teaming up to protect the land from the forces of darkness" by showing that the "heroes" in question have become little more than power-mad bullies who abuse their abilities to rule the land like tyrants and crush anyone who opposes him. The narrator's attempt at playing a Bare-Fisted Monk Stock Shōnen Hero gets him laughed out of the tavern and then promptly pounded into the dirt by the worst of their number. 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 

  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • The Tales Series is quite good about this. They'll massively deconstruct a concept in the first half of their games, then put it back together in the second half.
    • Tales of Symphonia deconstructs the idea of The Chosen One and Fantastic Racism by showing just what both would do to a person's psyche. The former brings about all kinds of Heroic Self-Deprecation and pressure to succeed, with the latter showing that mercilessly blaming a group of people for everything is only going to breed hatred that benefits no one. They're both reconstructed by having The Unchosen One save the day instead, doing so by espousing the belief that everyone has the right to live, and showing that racism towards the same group of people who made your life miserable doesn't justify it.
    • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World deconstructs the Manic Pixie Dream Girl with Marta. Emil, the object of Marta's affection, finds her constant attention and praise annoying. Not only does the journey she takes Emil on not improve his life, it actively makes it worse, and none of Marta's attempts to gain his attraction work. Emil and Ratatosk eventually both give her a "The Reason You Suck" Speech on this, with Emil telling her he's not a badass Knight in Shining Armor like she wants him to be, and Ratatosk telling her that she's nothing more than an annoying brat who keeps making everything harder than it has to be. The reconstruction comes in when Marta goes from having a petty schoolgirl crush on Emil's Superpowered Evil Side to legitimately falling in love with the real Emil.
    • Tales of Legendia does it to Big Brother Instinct and Like Brother and Sister. Toying with someone's feelings, especially if it's because you can't let go of the past, will only make that person hate you and act extremely irrationally, as shown with what happens when Senel rejects Shirley's Anguished Declaration of Love. Reconstructed in that Shirley's Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum is still portrayed as her going way too far, and in the end, Senel proves that he does deeply care about Shirley, even if it isn't romantically.
    • Tales of the Abyss does this to Cloning Blues. The deconstruction comes in by showing just what knowing you're a replica of someone else would do to someone's psyche and thought process, complete with Break the Haughty and massive Heroic Self-Deprecation. It reconstructs the concept by having the replica forge their own identity, and tell off their original who's still looking down on them for it. Exemplified by a speech before the boss battle between them with this: "I don't even have a past to lose, but I've still decided that I'm me! It doesn't matter what you think! Here I am!" To which the original concedes the point.
    • Tales of Graces deconstructs Took a Level in Badass. The game shows that just because a character got stronger, it doesn't make them a better person. After a Time Skip, the party members all become much stronger physically, but most of them haven't developed emotionally, resulting in a lot of animosity and bitterness over what happened during the time skip, or their Dark and Troubled Pasts. It reconstructs the concept by having the party talk a few things out, with main character Asbel coming to see that it's his actions, not his strength, that make him a badass.
    • Tales of Berseria deconstructs the Byronic Hero. Main character Velvet Crowe is driven by vengeance and presented as a brooding Anti-Hero, but it also shows that her desire to get revenge doesn't justify a lot of the awful things she does by showing the logical, long-term consequences of her actions. Velvet's emotions frequently get the better of her, resulting in her being driven by her hatred and bitterness, and she comes to be known as "the Lord of Calamity", with the world justifiably thinking she's a monster. It reconstructs the concept by showing that Velvet's emotions are still valid, she can be changed to see how she's hurting people and made to deal with it in a better way, and that surpressing one's emotions and feelings isn't any better. In the end, Velvet concludes that she doesn't need to justify the way she feels to anyone but herself, but she's also not going to just let the world rot when a real threat shows up.
  • The Video Game/Earthbound trilogy has cases of this.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword did this to Zelda similarly to Black and White. The game was designed around overhauling its basic gameplay breaking out of the classic Zelda structure of Overworld-Dungeon-Overworld-Dungeon into a more Metroid-esque experience, while still honoring and improving series traditions and conventions. The massive amount of references to previous entries and the meta jokes help.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War establishes the tropes it will be using in the first half of the game, then deconstructs them in a Wham Episode at the mid-way point. However, in the second half of the game, the same tropes are played, and the reconstruction becomes reliant on what was accomplished before the deconstruction occurred, allowing the deconstruction to be overcome. The Decon Recon Switch is, in fact, a gameplay mechanic.
    • The Blue Lions route of Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a Decon-Recon Switch of the standard Fire Emblem plot of "The Wise Prince rallies an army, recaptures his homeland and defeats The Empire". The prince in this case, Dimitri, turns out to be hiding deep-seated personal trauma behind his "princely" facade, and he ends up suffering Sanity Slippage and becoming even more of a Blood Knight than the likes of Hector, Ephraim and Ike. He fights The Empire and the "evil emperor" not to end the war, but to satisfy a personal vendetta. The "evil emperor" isn't an Unwitting Pawn or brainwashed by an evil god, just someone who wants to create a better world at any cost. He outright refuses the typical FE story beat of liberating his homeland, preferring to focus only on crushing the Empire, and his unhinged behaviour alienates even the most cynical of his former allies. The Recon-shift comes after Chapter 17, where Dimitri has a Heel Realization and becomes The Atoner, letting go of his hatred and fighting to save his homeland and end the war like a more conventional Fire Emblem Lord.
  • Persona 4, which considers the serious psychoses various archetypal characters would have using shadow archetypes, only for said characters to turn around in order to embrace and try to overcome their issues.
  • The 1994 Squaresoft RPG Live A Live does this with one of its eight stories. The Medieval Story appears to be the most basic RPG of the bunch, with a Chosen One story so cliche it borders on parody. But right at the end, everything goes horribly wrong. The old hero Hash dies of the plague, Oersted's best friend Straybow dies, Oersted himself is tricked into killing the king, his mentor Uranus dies in prison, Straybow is revealed to still be alive, as well as behind everything that happened to him, and to top it all off, Princess Alicia commits suicide due to her love for Straybow, not Oersted. The nominally-silent Oersted, now pushed beyond the Despair Event Horizon, declares himself as the Demon King Odio, with the goal of destroying all of humanity throughtout time and space and is revealed to have incarnated himself as the final bosses of each of the seven pervious stories. The final story however reconstructs many of the genre's tropes as all the protagonists of the past seven stories are brought together to not only defeat Odio in battle, but to prove his omnicidal misanthropy wrong.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV is a deconstruction of the Grand Theft Auto series as a whole. The main character, Niko Bellic, is a European immigrant who comes to America and sees the dark side of living the dream, thus being forced into criminal life to survive. The graphics and gameplay are more realistic than its predecessors, the people you do jobs for are portrayed as Too Dumb to Live Smug Snakes, and the story ends with Niko not much better off than how he started. The first expansion, The Lost and Damned, is the same, showing the main character Johnny Klebitz's struggle to keep The Lost MC together in the face of incompetent leadership and pressure from other gangs. He fails, and the game ends with The Lost breaking up for good. The second expansion, The Ballad of Gay Tony, reconstructs the series by bringing back features from the 3D Era GTA games, reminding us why we played these games in the first place while still keeping the game realistic, and having a far happier ending for the protagonist and his boss.
  • Grand Theft Auto V starts off similarly to its predecessor, albeit in a Lighter and Softer way. It deconstructs various aspects of the typical GTA Player Character. Michael is a criminal who "won" the game and became rich, but is bored and miserable in his retirement. Franklin and Lamar are Gangbangers who take whatever illegal work they can get to limited success. And Trevor is effectively the typical GTA player personified; a Psychopathic Man Child who revels in violence and chaos. It further hammers in why Being Evil Sucks by making all but a handful of missions actually give you money. However, by the end of the game, it reconstructs most of what people enjoy about the game, with the characters earning their happy endings despite it all and rewarding them with more money than was ever possible in previous games. And Grand Theft Auto Online takes it even further by playing all of the series' tropes straight.
  • The Metal Gear series, despite its heavy themes and satirical nature, is often a franchise that celebrates the best of humanity, video games, and storytelling in general.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep does this to the normal story formula of the series where the hero leaves to explore the Disney worlds to stop an evil threat, before fighting the Big Bad at the end. The decon comes from both Terra and Ven, who both follow the plot like normal and get stronger as the game goes on, but wind up making mistakes as a result of being the Unwitting Pawn to the games Big Bad Master Xehanort. By the end, Terra becomes Xehanort's new vessel, and Ven's heart is shattered when his Evil Twin / Enemy Without Vanitas tries to possess him. The recon comes in with Aqua, who follows after the two to protect them, and becomes a Spanner in the Works for the Big Bad, ultimately stopping his latest plans by helping fight off her possessed friends.
    • The series is well-known for its love of The Power of Friendship and an unironic use of a Wide-Eyed Idealist as a main character. In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, however, the villains depend on both to lure the main character deeper and deeper into a dream without end, with the goal of taking over his heart and body. They are defeated once again, though, by The Power of Friendship, because friends are there for one another, and there's no way in Hell that Riku will let some sadistic monsters take over his best friend.
    • On a much smaller scale, this also plays out over the course of a single conversation between Xigbar and Sora late in the game. Xigbar points out that if Sora's power comes from his friends then he doesn't have any of his own, obviously trying to send Sora into a Heroic BSoD... which utterly fails, as Sora retorts without any hesitation that that makes him part of something bigger than himself and he's totally cool with that. This is followed by a shot of the entire cast assembled behind Sora, ready to kick ass and take names. Xigbar is completely floored by Sora being okay with it.
    • The trope comes up once again in Kingdom Hearts III, where Xigbar retorts that Sora attributes too much of his strength to his friends. During the first visit to the Keyblade Graveyard, he's proven right: when all of his friends are consumed by a Heartless swarm, Sora breaks down hard, sobbing that since all of his strength came from his friends, he's worthless on his own. That being said, the story immediately and quite effectively manages to bring things full-circle back by having Sora, through the connections he's forged for so long and deeply, quickly bounce back from his breakdown in order to rescue his friends from what seemed to be certain death, before returning back in time with everyone in order to make things right. This Reconstruction shines the most in the Final Battle where even though Master Xehanort succeeds in obtaining the χ-blade, the key to Kingdom Hearts itself, he still gets overpowered by the strength of the bonds of Sora, Donald, and Goofy.
  • The Mass Effect series is all over the place, deconstructing some classic science fiction tropes and then reconstructing them, a good example being the asari. Initially set up as apparently the typical hot alien space babes, the series deconstructs the trope by showing that they're anything but simply sex-obsessed alien stereotypes, and then, once the player has probably forgotten that initial view of them, has asari characters complaining about too many of their people wasting their lives whoring it up all over the galaxy as well as providing a reason why the asari seem obsessed with sex outside the species, thus explaining why there's a legitimate reason for the stereotype. Even the asari character in the second game who complained about too many of her fellow asari being obsessed with sex has no problem in the third game mentioning what a fantastic rack her former asari lover had.
    • A conversation with Aria T'Loak regarding her history at Omega demonstrates the Decon-Recon Switch: her asari subordinates, skilled mercenaries and warriors, ingratiated themselves with the other mercenaries they were working with by providing sexual services, all to gain the information and access necessary for Aria to seize control. In essence, Aria weaponized the asari stereotype.
    • The Krogan are your stereotypical Proud Warrior Race Guys. However, Mass Effect shows how such a race would function in an actual galactic civilization. Because they once threatened to conquer the galaxy, the rest of the galaxy teamed up against them and hit them with a Sterility Plague that reduced their natural explosive birth rate drastically. They could still hold a stable population if they stayed home and helped rebuild, but instead they've become a race of Death Seekers, hiring themselves out as mercenaries and dooming their race to slow extinction. However, provided you play your cards right, your Krogan teammate in the first game is inspired by Shepard to return to his home planet and assumes leadership by fighting his way to the top, essentially becoming the leader of his entire race by the time you meet up with him again in the second, and using his position, he's slowly restoring both the "Proud" part of the trope, but also the "Race" part, especially if you cure the Sterility Plague in the third game.
  • 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.
  • The World Ends with You has Shiki, who starts out as a loud, energetic Genki Girl with a positive outlook and attempts to help Neku open up without much success. However, Shiki was incredibly jealous of her outgoing, talented best friend Eri, copying her appearance and bubbly personality after she lost her real appearance as her entry fee. Thankfully, her Character Development allows her to come to terms with her issues and learn to appreciate her true self, and it's this acknowledgement of her real self that gets Neku to open up in turn.
  • 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.
  • Ikaruga is THIS trope's take on a typical scrolling Shoot 'em Up, deconstructing the entire gameplay by removing unnecessary elements such as powerups and complex weapons, and requiring good skills and tactics to progress the game. It also starts off with dysfunctional protagonists with hard backgrounds taking on the Eldritch Abomination to stop the indefinitely destructive loops once and for all. However, it also reconstructs what a typical shooter should be, like simple weapons system that's reminiscent of classic arcade shooters, and a well-deserved (but still emotional) happy ending in which even if the protagonists sacrificed themselves in successfully stopping the destructive fates of the world, they Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence and humanity is spared and flourishes after all.
  • The Splinter Cell series deconstructs and reconstructs America Saves the Day and The War on Terror. While the villains in the 2002 Splinter Cell are Georgian and Chinese except a leak at the CIA, Pandora Tomorrow, Chaos Theory and Double Agent contain increasingly more Americans as enemies of world peace. In Conviction (2010), the fifth title, the vice-president and the NSA are corrupt. Sam has gone rogue, and needs to save his own country from itself. In the sixth title, Blacklist (2013), Sam is back with the NSA, fighting Middle Eastern terrorists.
  • 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.
  • Undertale is a massive Deconstruction of the Determinator trope. It all starts with the fact that the player's determination is what allows them to SAVE their game. Determination is an actual physical force that allows things to come back to life. Most monsters have no capacity for this and their bodies will melt into abominations if it's forced into them. Flowey and the First Child could also SAVE, and have abused this previously to kill everyone — and a genocidal player will almost certainly have to do the same. Flowey also manipulates the player's Determination towards winning the game to get the power that he wants, and abuses his regained ability to SAVE throughout his boss fight. In the "true pacifist" route, it's ultimately the player's Determination to SAVE everyone (including Flowey) that allows them to survive all obstacles and achieve a happy ending.
  • Final Fantasy VII deconstructs a lot of the tropes of JRPGs of the time, introducing a Dysfunction Junction of plucky revolutionaries that were considered terrorists in the setting and knew it, and a hilariously over-the-top lead character who was roleplaying a hero himself and whose quest to roam the world getting stronger was portrayed as an actual mental illness. However, once this plot is revolved, the story goes into a more traditional Final Fantasy mould for the ending, even contriving a way to have Cloud save a bunch of big crystals despite the Crystals being long gone from the series by that point.
  • Ever since Fallout, the Fallout series has slowly deconstructed (on a meta level, at least) the tragedy of the Great War by showcasing it through Black Comedy and displaying that the Pre-War United States had transitioned into a jingoistic, sociopathic, and Orwellian state that practically deserved a nuclear war. However, starting with Fallout 3 and continuing through both New Vegas and Fallout 4, the games have generally reconstructed the Great War as an actual tragedy. Of course, this isn't meant to imply that all of the games have their Black Comedy moments and the first few Fallout games didn't portray the War with actual tragedy. Still, 3, New Vegas, and 4 devote noticeable amounts of effort into showing the misery the Great War caused, and how just because the world probably did need to begin again, the deaths of billions wasn't something good - like the Keller family holotapes in 3 and the "Sorry, My Darling" holotape from Broken Steel, the failure of the Sierra Madre in Dead Money and the tale of Randall Clark from Honest Hearts. This is further cemented in 4 with the Pre-War Sanctuary Hills sequence, which shows how the main player characters were Happily Married and living a idyllic life with their son Shaun before the Great War destroyed everything.
    • Fallout 3 and by extension, Fallout 4, does this to Giant Mecha. Liberty Prime was costlier and consumes much more energy and resource than merely an army of Powered Armor soldiers that it misses the Anchorage campaign as Liberty Prime was intended to be deployed. Later however, Brotherhood of Steel discovers it, and completed it underground for years before Enclave starts amassing its troops. Despite being destroyed near the end of Brotherhood's Capital Wasteland campaign, it was managed to be rebuilt in 4 with an even more effective power source.
  • Witch's Wish goes over the drawbacks of using magic quite a bit, including how using it makes people's lives easier to the point where people no longer wish to work, as well as general greed and selfishness seemingly arising from the convenience magic provides and the resulting classism, with several characters trying to get rid of magic entirely. However, thanks to Vicky's helpfulness the characters eventually realize that magic itself is not to blame, can be used for many good things and is instrumental in saving the town, and it's really humanity's selfishness and greed they need to moderate, not magic.
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate deconstructs and reconstructs its premise in a single quest. The quest's client includes a message about how excessive monster hunting has caused wyvern populations to dwindle. The objective, as given by the client, is to deliver Wyvern Eggs, in order to help build the population back up, thus allowing hunting to exist without dramatically disrupting ecosystems.
  • How intentional that was is debatable, but the Warcraft game series, from III onwards, serves as this towards the idea of Always Chaotic Evil races. Warcraft III was one of the first games to portray fantasy's favourite Mooks, orcs and undead, as protagonists: the orcs were revealed to have once been a fairly good-hearted race corrupted by outside forces, while some undead called the Forsaken managed to break free from necromantic control and rediscover their past selves. World of Warcraft, too, continued that characterisation at first. But then came expansions like Warlords of Draenor and Battle for Azeroth, which portrayed these two races as main antagonists. Turns our that yes, the orcs were pretty violent even before their coruption, and yes, undeath leaves even the free-willed Forsaken bitter and hateful. The player reception of these changes was pretty... skeptical to say the least.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a decon-recon of the Eastern RPG genre. The Hero, Ichiban Kasuga, is a big Dragon Quest fanboy, and imagines the brawls he gets into as JRPG-style battles, his enemies taking on various tropes related to JRPG enemies, and the odd jobs he and his friends get from job placement services as akin to a Job System. The combination of Kasuga's overactive imagination and the uniqueness of the Yakuza setting, along with some ideas borrowed from previous games, presents a fresh take on the JRPG genre. It also decon-recons the heroes' Thou Shalt Not Kill mentality: while previous games Hand Waveed otherwise fatal-looking finishing blows as Non Fatal KOs, the medium of Kasuga's imagination allows the game to present him and his party as laying into enemies with weapons that can maim or kill, such as katana, blowtorches, sledgehammers, and even a goddamn Kill Sat, while easily justifying his enemies getting off with bumps, scrapes, and wounded pride.
  • Celeste zigzags on whether or not Madeline's stubborn determination to do something completely absurd is a good thing. In the main game it's set towards climbing Mt. Celeste, which even causes a physical manifestation of her fear and insecurity (called Badeline) to appear and start sabotaging her in an attempt to get her to see reason and stop this nonsense, but ultimately the journey leads to her personal betterment. In Chapter 9, however, Madeline's goal of somehow bringing the recently deceased Granny back to life by chasing her bird through an astral dreamscape is clearly unhealthy and self-destructive, and Badeline is actually the voice of reason this time. Ultimately, it comes down to what Madeline is stubbornly trying to accomplish, and that quality of her's can be a double-edged sword.

  • 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 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.
    • A similar process, but taken several steps further occurs in the finale, this time with Thou Shalt Not Kill. Aang refuses to kill Ozai despite the guy's Big Bad status but leaving him alive means he can continue his Evil Plan: Aang takes a third option by removing Ozai's bending and placing the reformed Zuko on his throne. This way Aang can neutralize the threat without killing anyone (other than the crew of his airship, but they don't count).
  • 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 And 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:
      • Yoda and Ahsoka look back and note that the Jedi had become corrupt in the waning years of the Republic, as shown in the Prequels.
      • 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 repeateldy 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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