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"Sometimes I think you enjoy breaking these little geniuses."
"There is an art to it, and I'm very, very good at it. But enjoy? Well, maybe. When they put back the pieces afterward, and it makes them better."
Ender's Game on Deconstruction and Reconstruction

"Deconstruction" literally means "to take something apart". When applied to tropes or other aspects of fiction, deconstruction means to take apart a trope so as to better understand its meaning and relevance to us in Real Life. This often means pursuing a trope's inherent contradictions and the difference between how the trope appears in this one work and how it compares to other relevant tropes or ideas both in fiction and Real Life. The simplest and most common method of applying Deconstruction to tropes in fiction among general audiences and fan bases, and the method most relevant to TV Tropes, takes the form of questioning "How would this trope play out with Real Life consequences applied to it?" or "What would cause this trope to appear in Real Life?"

This doesn't mean magic and other fantastic or futuristic elements, or any other tropes must be removed or attacked for failing to match up with their own pretensions of self-consistent reality, of course. While sometimes perceived as an aggressive attack on the meaning or entertainment value of a work or text, deconstruction is not properly about passing judgment (and in fact, the term "deconstruction" was picked over the German term "Dekonstruktion" to suggest careful attention to the detail within a text over violently emptying the work of all meaning). It means that all existing elements of a work are played without the Rule of Cool, Rule of Drama, Rule of Funny, and so on, to see what hidden assumptions the work uses to make its point. Sometimes you will hear this referred to as "played completely straight", and it can be thought of as taking a work more seriously on its own terms than even the work itself does, for the purpose of laying bare hidden meanings in the text.


For example, in Dungeons & Dragons, when a cleric reaches fifth level, he gains the ability to cast create food and water. Normally, the impact this would have on a society (especially a medieval or pseudo-medieval one) is completely ignored. A Deconstruction would explore how a society would react to that ability.

Note that while deconstructions often end up darker, edgier, sadder and more cynical than the normal version, there is no reason they have to be. While the Deconstruction process can reveal things we weren't thinking about for a reason — a major contributing factor in why it tends to be depressing — Deconstructions are free to exist anywhere on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. Expanding on the Dungeons & Dragons example above, a cynical deconstruction would involve the food-creating clerics either being enslaved for their powers or becoming the ruling class in a Dystopia, while an idealistic deconstruction would involve the alleviation of scarcities and hardships based on class. Either one is perfectly valid.


And while it is true that dystopian settings and outcomes carry a far greater amount of conflict and thus make for far better story fodder than positive ones, giving a Deconstruction a cynical outlook just for the sake of there being a plot is not necessary; a story can be absolutely rife with conflict and still have an idealistic worldview overall.note 

Sometimes the best fodder for deconstruction in a story or setting is not its major themes, but the aspects that are discussed the least, if at all. For instance, a work in which gender, sexuality, poverty, race, politics, etc. should have been important but were never dealt with adequately is ripe for a deconstruction.

Also note that Darker and Edgier, Rule of Drama and Cynicism Tropes do not by themselves turn works into Deconstructions, even if it means showing how dark and edgy something can be made. There are plenty of dark, edgy and dramatic tropes that are used without ever exploring the meaning behind them, or their realistic implications. While some of the most acclaimed works in their respective genres are deconstructions, and many deconstructions do utilize dark, cynical and dramatic tropes in the setting, it is the careful use and analysis of them that makes them acclaimed, not because they just have those tropes in them. See Not a Deconstruction.

Reconstruction is when the trope admits its flaws and then gets put back together, usually in a way that strengthens the trope. Think of Deconstruction as taking apart your broken car engine, and Reconstruction as putting it back together so it runs again. Deconstruction and reconstruction can become Cyclic Tropes. A set of conventions is established (the initial "construction" of the genre or ideas that are used in the story), this set of conventions is played straight until some author gets bored or frustrated with the implications the fantasy brings and decides to show us the unworkability of these conventions via a deconstruction of them. Atop the ruins, a more realistic narrative (i.e. one that accepts the criticisms of the earlier deconstruction) is then built via reconstruction, and in the future, this narrative gets deconstructed, etc. Cycles of deconstruction and reconstruction are a major element in how genres and tropes evolve. In philosophy, this evolution is also known as thesis-antithesis-synthesis.

Reminder: Before labeling something as a deconstruction, doublecheck that it's actually realistic.

See also Reality Ensues for when this happens temporarily, usually for humor rather than deconstruction, and Fridge Horror, which is what people often think of deconstruction: revealing how really terrifying and dark something is by thoroughly thinking about it.


Please note: This page has been edited for clarity's sake. Please do not add any more examples. Add them to Genre Deconstruction, Deconstructed Trope, Deconstructed Character Archetype or the appropriate subtrope. Where possible please move examples to these subtrope pages. This page is about deconstruction as a method, and thus should be stripped down to meta-examples.


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    Comic Books 
  • Before there was Deconstruction there was EC Comics and especially Harvey Kurtzman's MAD whose famous parodies of movies often made fun of the obvious conventions and cliched stories. Specific examples include:
    • A movie cowboy (Lance Sterling) and his adventures with a real cowboy (John Smurd). Whereas the handsome Lance defeats the villain after a shootout and fist fight, getting a girl and a hero's celebration, the plain-looking John gets knocked out and beaten up, then kills the villain by taking him by surprise, only to be greeted with a fairly homely woman and lynched for murder.
    • Superduperman, a classic story and influence on Watchmen and Miracleman, is a brutal send-up of several classic Superman tropes - the Two-Person Love Triangle, Loves My Alter Ego and the Let's You and Him Fight of Superduperman and Captain Marbles which causes considerable property damage and ends only because the hero fights dirty.
    • Their parodies of Popeye, Archie and Mickey Mouse were similarly brutal and funny, exposing the nasty subject of Betty and Veronica as a classic adolescent male fantasy.
  • Many of the Marvel superheroes of the early 1960s could be seen as early deconstructions of the superhero genre before their styles and formulas became standard issue genre tropes, long before Alan Moore's Watchmen (see below), by showing that while gaining super powers may have allowed ordinary people to do good, even save the world, it didn't necessarily make their lives better. Though this is more true of the early Marvel stories than later on:
    • Spider-Man in the original stories was seen as a very interesting and original take on the superhero stories in that it featured a working class teenager as a superhero whose powers he initially tried to exploit for monetary gain by using his new found power to get rich, albeit on a small scale and use his power to strike back at his tormentors. The result? His empowerment fantasy goes to his head and he learns a famous lesson in responsibility. He struggles to pay rent and pay his way to college, take care of his ailing Aunt May and, in the Steve Ditko stories, the tensions between his personal life and superhero-work meant that people saw him as cold, aloof and snobbish which also upsets his early dates with his crushes. This aspect was toned down greatly when Steve Ditko left and Peter Parker attracted a circle of friends and incredibly attractive girlfriends.
    • Elsewhere, the X-Men were mutants born with great powers that enabled them to do good when harnessed properly, but they were feared and hated and are generally victims of horrible double standards compared to other superheroes.
    • Bruce Banner turned into the super strong Incredible Hulk thanks to a gamma bomb explosion, endowing him with the strength and stamina to battle threats that even some other super strong heroes may struggle with, but Bruce has little to no control over the Hulk, which often results in a lot of property damage and turning Bruce into a fugitive hunted all over the world by the army.
    • Matt Murdock got enhanced senses after being blinded by radioactive waste, but his whole life has been an uphill battle from his humble beginnings to being a respected lawyer by day to having his personal and professional lives torn apart time and again, and losing some of the women he loved along the way.
    • The Fantastic Four, the first big Marvel hit, was seen and welcomed as a reaction to other superhero stories. Namely the fact that the team dispensed with the secret identity along with masks. They also in the early stories featured highly dysfunctional figures, with Johnny Storm being a real hothead and Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy about his powers and Ben Grimm/The Thing being the first example of a Monster-As-Superhero who was prone to temper tantrums, frustration over his feelings for Sue and his anger at Reed, with their adventures being the only thing keep them together at least in the Jack Kirby era.
  • Frank Miller's 1998 graphic novel 300 and the subsequent film adaptation portrayed the glory and heroism of the warriors of Ancient Sparta at its height in the Battle of Thermopylae. In 2013, Kieron Gillen and Ryan Kelly's rather deliberate deconstruction Three portrayed the horrific conditions of the helot slave class that Spartan society depended on, as well as a much-weakened Sparta for which Thermopylae was a distant memory.
  • The Marvel hero Freedom Ring was meant to be a deconstruction of the way most teen superheroes were handled. His creator, Robert Kirkman, wanted to have a young hero who would struggle to use his abilities and ultimately die early on in his career in order to contrast the ease with which most teenage characters adjust to their powers. Since Freedom Ring was also one of the few gay superheroes Marvel published, this lead to some Unfortunate Implications and an apology from Kirkman.
  • A story from the comics series Animal Man (noted for its Postmodernism) deconstructs Looney Tunes and similar cartoons: in "The Coyote Gospel," a grotesquely anthropomorphic coyote is repeatedly and brutally killed by an Elmer Fudd-style hunter obsessed with his destruction, and continuously reforms/regenerates in a most disturbing manner. Finally, in a scene reminiscent of the classic "Duck Amuck" short, the malevolent animator paints his blood in as he dies for the last time.
  • The Dark Knight Returns actually took Batman out of the permanent bubble of Comic-Book Time and pushed him in a future Gotham that is very much the contemporary 80s America of Ronald Reagan and Bernie Goetz. Batman's vigilante actions become a topic of political and social commentary, his actions an affront to the police and (later) the US Government, and he inevitably operates as an outlaw that brings him in conflict with Superman.
  • Kick-Ass shows us what it would be like if a teenager without super powers ever became a superhero (like Spider-Man). The main character gets beaten to within an inch of his life in every encounter, and things get even worse after he dons the mask; his only super power is that he has a metal plate in his head.
  • Word of God said that the Series Finale for the Tintin comics was the album Tintin in Tibet. The next three albums (The Castafiore Emerald, Flight 714, and Tintin and the Picaros) are deconstructions of the Tintin series in general.
    • The Castafiore Emerald has Hergé trying to keep a plot where not much happens still suspenseful,
    • Flight 714 ridiculizes Tintin's Arch-Enemy, Rastapopoulos,
    • Tintin and the Picaros has Tintin pulling an initial Refusal of the Call because he smells something fishy about the whole affair (he's right, but ends up coming along out of loyalty for his friends anyway), Haddock suddenly unable to enjoy alcohol and Calculus showing some hidden Magnificent Bastard tendencies. At the end of the story, it is made crystal clear that the heroes only helped San Theodoros experience yet another Full-Circle Revolution. Oh, and Tintin wears jeans, instead of his iconic plus-fours.
  • The Great Power of Chninkel deconstructs the hero myth, in particular the Messianic Archetype, and the Unlikely Hero tropes.
  • Grant Morrison apparently tried to deconstruct Cyclops/Scott Summers, the X-Men's fearless leader, following his being possessed by Apocalypse, with his New X-Men run, by trying to show the insecurities and emotional vulnerability behind his stoicism, but all he really succeeded in doing was making him look like a jerk. Joss Whedon ultimately did the Cyclops deconstruction better in his Astonishing X-Men run that followed Morrison.
  • Rick and Morty (Oni)
    • In issue #4 of Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons, Jerry, benefiting from his character's heightened Intelligence and Charisma, explains to Morty that Rick isn't actually "cool", but merely acts "cool". That is; whilst Rick normally can exploit his Mad Scientist skills to achieve ridiculous feats and impress people, that doesn't make him a good person—in fact, he's a downright lousy person who, as Jerry puts it, isn't good about caring for other people.
    • "Painscape" can be considered this to Rick’s status as a Jerk Sue Invincible Hero, as well as a Spiritual Antithesis to the first series:
      • Like in Chapter I, Jerry’s knowledge and skill allows him to rally everyone together and utilize their skills to hold back the invading horde. Unfortunately, this time, this strategy doesn't work; since Rick tends to create overpowered characters, the longer they remain in the Prime Universe, the more the rules of reality change to suit their needs, until they are eventually able to just No-Sell any and every attack from Jerry and the rest of the army, requiring the intervention of an also-overpowered Rick to defeat them.
      • The flashback also shows how Rick, Munchkin that he is, kept creating D&D characters that he soon discarded for not being strong enough for his standards. Him doing so is what causes the entire conflict "Painscape", which is made worse by the fact that the characters he created are, like him, overpowered by anyone else's standards to the point of eventually becoming invincible.

    Fan Works 
  • Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness:
    • What would the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows look like if you think about them in the context of our world? (torture in school, child soldiers, etc.)
    • Most notably, the same Battle of Hogwarts is portrayed as an actual battle, with lots of gorn, as opposed to Rowling's lighter portrayal of the house elves, ghosts, Sybill Trelawney, and Neville throwing stuff at the Death Eaters' heads.
  • Eden (Obsessmuch): Deconstructs the crack pairing of Hermione Granger and Lucius Malfoy, two people who would never, under any circumstances, fall in love or produce a child. Lucius Malfoy is a married pureblood supremacist who loyally follows Voldemort while Hermione Granger is a 17/18 year old muggle born student at Hogwarts who is best friends with Harry Potter and young enough to be his daughter. Their interests, goals, life styles and beliefs constantly clash and their growing attraction to each other not only damages them, but also risks hurting people in their lives and how they'd be seen.
  • Shattered Reflection By Natzo,' a Fire Emblem Awakening'' fic, that shows how the Shepherds would naturally react to learning that their tactician was a demon god that had destroyed the world in an alternate universe. It goes further with a bit of time travel taking the lead character to another version of the world to keep her tragic fate from befalling her sibling.
  • A Brighter Dark By DeathDealer Inc, a Fire Emblem Fates retelling, that alters a few characters (and entire countries') personalities to what they would logically be in that setting and then shows how events would play out in that setting, without the presence and influence of the third kingdom Valla either. Nohr suffers from famine and starvation with Garon's every decision being a Sadistic Choice, such as invading Hoshido out of pure desperation. Hoshido meanwhile is fabulously wealthy, and a fantastic place to live, as long as you're Hoshidan. Combat is also a lot more graphic with Combat Pragmatism and dismemberment being common place.
  • Syngenesophobia deconstructs the Amusing Injuries and Played for Laughs fights that are a mainstay of the humour in The Loud House by showing exactly how much someone can be hurt in a Big Ball of Violence. When nine of his sisters gang up on him during a family dispute, eleven years old Lincoln Loud ends up in the hospital with severe wounds including a broken nose, broken arm, black eyes, fractured ribs and some teeth getting knocked out. And those are just the physical injuries. The rest of the fanfic deals with his recovery (which will take a long time of hospitalization) and with him developping a crippling fear of his siblings. While his sisters do realize how far they went in their moment of anger and deeply regret it, they have to face punishment for what they did and are shunned by their friends when the rumour about them putting their brother in the hospital starts to spread.
    • Some fics actually call to attention to taboo of incest, showing the difficulties, shame, and drama of it. Especially between brother and sister. One such fic is A Crush Case, where Lincoln discovers evidence that one of his sisters has a crush on him and proceeds to sleuth around the house. It's revealed Lisa made a potion which warped Lincoln's older sisters into lusting for him (to the point each one raped him a night). The potion was knocked into a soda thanks to Leni's clumsiness with all of them drinking it. Lincoln is horrified at and angered by that (especially after Lisa showed him a video of Lori violating him), with Lisa herself at least somewhat remorseful from how her experiment turned out. Another fic is The 'Cest Kids where Linc impregnates almost all his sisters (the exception being Lily who lives with the now separated Rita). From the inbred children's (exaggerated) disorders to deformities, the Loud siblings living in squalor thanks to early pregnancies combined with their parents refusing to support them, to personalities like Luna's bringing dysfunction into their adulthood.
  • In Total Drama fanfic Monster Chronicles
    • The story's plot can be seen as a deconstruction of Total Drama All-Stars. Like All Stars, a Knight of Cerebus possesses one of the contestants, and Duncan is the only one to know what danger they are in. However unlike All Stars, this story shows how horrifying this situation can be, as Cedric is a realistic example of a sociopathic criminal; he has no problem killing or mutilating the contestants or even people unrelated to the game simply for fun. And unlike Mal, Cedric does not care for the contest or its prize, and is only in it for his own amusement.
    • Duncan's character is also deconstructed over the course of the story. Like in All-Stars Duncan knew there was someone in the game who was a danger to the other contestants, and although he knew the danger they were all in, Duncan is more concerned with his bad boy rep. However, in this story Duncan's actions are portrayed as dumb and cowardly, and numerous characters call him out on it. Also, Duncan being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold is deconstructed, as in canon he is shown to have a good side and care about his friends, despite being a bully and a thug. Like in All-Stars, he tries rejecting his good side to prove he is still a bad boy. However, he ends up proving himself wrong by showing that despite appearing to be a tough guy, he is really a coward who would rather protect his reputation then do the right thing, and having a good side does't matter since he rejected it by choosing to be a bad person.
  • LXG Tempest Rewrite: Of Lazarus Long and his pro-incest views.
    • He is in a world where people are put off by his holier-than-thou behavior. His incestuous relationship with his mother is met with disgust, and his long-winded defense of such is met with physical silencing.
    • When Lazarus mentors a teenage Jack Nemo, he accuses Jack of holding sexual feelings for his half-sister Greta Mors, and refuses to allow Jack’s studies/work to progress until they act on those (non-existent) feelings. The end result of Jack and Greta doing so is an unhealthy, unnatural relationship.
    • The same type of relationship is shared by their daughters, but they do have genuine romantic love for each other, albeit as being able to trust only each other as a result of life as double agents.
    • In Epilogue 3, after the Star Fems and Captain Harlock settle on Arcadia, they form a simple society based on the views that Long preached. However, they seem to have come to these views naturally.
  • New Tamaran: Of the personal lives of young costumed heroes, and a few other things.
    • The life of a superhero or sidekick is not fitting for a Chaste Hero, as the stresses from hero work only increase the sexual anxiety of youth.
    • Also romance isn't an option until retirement or semi-retirementnote ; until then, everyone is either a Battle Couple or Friends with Benefits.
    • The people of Earth have been looking into deep space for decades, so they're well aware not just of extraterrestrial life but of interstellar conquerors. As a result, Earth's militaries are well-prepared for the event of an alien invasion.
    • After his daughter was crippled, Commissioner Gordon has become much harsher on criminals, to the point of shooting to kill and personally performing executions.
    • Wonder Girl, like her parents, is a soldier, and thus doesn’t have a No Killing rule.
    • After returning to Earth, the surviving Justice League members are so exhausted, physically and mentally, from intergalactic war that they retire from hero work.
    • Likewise, many Titans have to retire or semi-retire to raise their children. Thankfully, new young heroes take their place.
  • Ever wonder why the villains don't use the Pokemon they own on people directly if Pokemon are so powerful, according to the Pokedex? Well, in the fangame Pokémon Reborn, they do, ranging from a few broken ribs to death to getting your soul burned away to nothingness. They even have machines that can amplify the powers of Pokemon, and the first one you find, on a Pokemon that's not even that strong, to boot, has ravaged an entire city area.

    Films — Animation 
  • Near the start of the 2004 film The Incredibles, many superheroes get into legal trouble because of the collateral damage they cause. A deleted scene shows how difficult it would be to hide super powers (specifically, invulnerability). At a barbecue, Mr. Incredible accidentally hits his fingers with a large knife, ruining the knife and leaving him unharmed. To cover up what happened, he begins screaming, douses his hand in ketchup, wraps an apron around his hand, and he and his wife quickly leave the party. Bob then complains in the car about the necessity of wearing bandages on his hand for months, wearing scar makeup, and coming up with a surgery story to explain his still-intact fingers.
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker gives the Joker an opportunity to deconstruct Batman in a flashback where he tortures Robin until he learns all of Batman's secrets:
    "I must admit, it's sadly anti-climatic. Behind all the sturm and Batarangs, you're just a little boy in a playsuit, crying for Mommy and Daddy! It'd be funny if it weren't so pathetic. ... Oh what the heck, I'll laugh anyway!"
    • Joker himself then gets deconstructed to devastating effect by Terry McGinnis, the second Batman, who calls the Joker out for being nothing more than a pathetic idiot who could never overcome his childish fixation with the original Batman and for not even being that funny. Joker does not take this well at all.
    • It also deconstructs the consequences of being a child sidekick; as the torture scene depicts what happens when they are caught as well, the consequences of which are extremely painful.
  • The 2012 straight to DVD animated feature Superman vs. the Elite, based on the story What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way? deconstructs both sides of the no killing vs. pro-killing ideologies that bedevil the more mainstream superheroes as well as their anti-hero counterparts. In the first half we see a deconstruction of Superman's no killing rule by seeing what happens when you aren't willing to get your hands dirty protecting the innocent. In the second half we see a deconstruction of "shoot 'em all and let God sort 'em out" ideology of the Elite (themselves a deconstruction and mock up of 90s anti-heroes) by showing what happens when people become too kill crazy and can no longer differentiate when to kill and when not to.
  • In Coco, Almighty Mom is deconstructed through Imelda. All the Riveras defer to her but the stubbornness, pride and inability to let go of grudges that comes with this trope ends up being Imelda's Fatal Flaw and causes problems for her family and herself. Like unintentionally nearly causing Héctor to undergo the final death or giving her blessing to Miguel under the condition that he never plays music again, leading him to run away.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Orson Welles' Citizen Kane was in many ways an attack on the narrative style of The Golden Age of Hollywood as well as several American types like the Self-Made Man and The American Dream. Namely that the idea of defining life in terms of social success and wealth ultimately makes you value people less and makes you desire to control and buy people around you. Likewise the characters are not entirely one type and single dimension, with the main character being an unpleasant, manipulative Jerkass who never learns his lesson even in his old age and who leaves behind several disappointed friends and broken loved ones and who eventually dies alone. The harshness of the story, the lack of easy conflict resolution and the ultimate sense of the futility of life in the wake of the passage of time was quite a contrast to the sentimental and life-affirming stories in films at the time, good films included.
  • Almost Famous is a deconstruction on the illusion of rock-star life. It seems glamorous at first, but then the fame starts getting to your head and you start doing stupid things that you would never do while in your right mind. Fame leads to an idea of invulnerability and often creates tension between band members (often brought on by record execs to force them to create a big radio hit against the will of the band member's better judgment or creative being all for the sake of profit). It just goes to show that the rock-star life is nothing more than a gilded cage.
  • That Thing You Do! is essentially this, but with a more Beatles-y feel.
  • Four Lions is a deconstruction of the La Résistance genre films. The protagonists, four jihadists, are hopelessly incompetent and amateurish, and their ally Barry is but an Ax-Crazy thug, while the British police and army show ruthless efficiency in eliminating the protagonists. It also deconstructs the tropes that the War on Terror has created relating to the counter-terrorists. The police and army make multiple mix-ups that only cause more death and suffering ( such as capturing and torturing one of the terrorist's pacifist brother, shooting an innocent funrunner, and utterly failing to stop two terrorists from doing their suicide bombing when they were in fact willing to stop), and the terrorists actually manage to do their job better when they accidentally kill Osama Bin Laden. So really, both sides are deconstructed.
  • James Bond:
    • The Pierce Brosnan films featured quite a few reality checks on the series formula, namely the fact that he's openly described as "a relic of the Cold War" by the new M in GoldenEye, and that rather than villains who were fairly conventional and stereotypical in motivations, it instead featured villains like Alec Trevelyan, Elektra King and Renard who were more psychologically motivated and even tragic in their own right. Even the disliked Die Another Day showed what would happen if James Bond actually got captured in enemy territory; like with most spies, he's disavowed by his government, subject to torture and brutal conditions for a year and later released in a Prisoner Exchange for the same bad guy he was pursuing in the first place.
    • The Daniel Craig set of films play out like deconstructions and reconstructions of the Bond character and universe by showing what a lonely, damaged outsider Bond is and has to be in order to do his job. Though in many ways this was already tackled in earlier films like On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Licence to Kill.
  • The 1954 Nicholas Ray western Johnny Guitar was one of the first to definitively upturn many of its genre conventions.
    • The classic (but apocryphal) White Hat = Good and Black Hat = Evil division in Westerns is turned, since the film's villains are the "townsfolk" whipped into a frenzy by Emma Small and they are all dressed in black, while the protagonists and the outlaws are dressed in colorful clothes of different shades. Indeed, it's Small's insistence on seeing her enemies as entirely evil and in cahoots with each other, ignoring the divisions between them, that leads to violence.
    • It also examines the attraction and danger of gun violence. Turkey, the young outlaw of the Dancin' Kid's gang, associates masculinity with being a a fast shooter, whereas Johnny Logan is a Retired Outlaw who is fleeing his outlaw past by trading a weapon for a pistol.
    • Frontier justice is nothing more than brutal Kangaroo Court that leads to the townsfolk and authorities acting like another gang, and in many ways being far worse than the outlaws. Emma Small, the "leader" of the posse, uses the Dancin' Kid and other crimes as an excuse for her personal rivalry with Vienna.
  • Scanners sets up a fairly standard Hero's Journey, as Cameron Vale, blessed with Psychic Powers, is sent by wise old Dr. Paul Ruth to defeat Ruth's former pupil, Darryl Revok, who also has Psychic Powers. Vale befriends a white-haired girl, Kim Obrist, who can help him infiltrate Revok's organization. Not unsurprisingly, it is revealed that both Cameron and Darryl are the two sons of Paul. With us so far? And then Darryl points out what kind of father would abandon his sons like that, and weaponize one against the other, and, indeed, would test a potentially dangerous new drug on his pregnant wife, thus making Cameron and Darryl psychic in the first place. "That was Daddy." Also, the psychic stuff is quite eerie: the scanners suffer severe social and psychological side effects from hearing other people's thoughts (the main character starts the movie homeless, and another scanner murdered his family when he was a child).
  • The 1991 film The Dark Backward contains an animated sequence that deconstructs the Tom and Jerry cartoons: Tom's Captain Ersatz gleefully pursues Jerry's, hatchet in hand, and then cuts him in half with it (guts spill); then Spike's Captain Ersatz appears and blows the cat's brains out with a shotgun. The main character's mother laughs out loudly at this scene.
  • A scene from The Mirror Has Two Faces shows Streisand's character deconstructing "Cinderella", saying that she drove the prince nuts with her obsessive cleaning.
  • Arnie fare Last Action Hero was satirical but not well received by critics or at the box office. However, it deconstructs the action hero genre and then puts it back together while emphasising the distinction between real-life and fantasy and how they inform each other.
  • The 2008 movie JCVD is a deconstruction of Action Genre Hero Guy. What made it special is that the actor, Jean-Claude Van Damme, often plays that character archetype. But not in JCVD.
  • Milla Jovovich in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc plays out the way the true story went until she is captured by the English, at which point it deconstructs the entire mythology surrounding Joan of Arc. In prison, she hallucinates a character (played by Dustin Hoffman) whose only function seems to be to question her calling from God.
  • Saturday Night Fever harshly deconstructs America's hedonistic take on life in The '70s. Sure, there were beautiful clothes, music, and lots of dancing, but there was a dark side to the life led by people like Tony and his friends. For example, Tony, who turns to hedonism as a way to cope with his own life as a low-class Brooklyn guy with a really Dysfunctional Family, has no thought for the future (and the culture as a whole didn't either), and his friends are involved with drugs, drinking, and casual sex which does cause them huge problems.
  • Hanna is a deconstruction of both the Kid Hero trope and the idea of giving a child superhuman abilities. The main character gets hunted down constantly, every person she comes in contact with is threatened with death, and the antagonists are all willing to kill test subjects of a child Super Soldier project.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The subtitle of this movie could just have easily been The Deconstruction of Kirk. Most of the core traits associated with Kirk and what their consequences in Real Life would probably be are examined and pulled apart. The adventurer who faces a problem on a weekly basis, solves it and promptly forgets it ever happened is suddenly brought face to face with one of those problems from a decade and a half before, and discovers the consequences of his thoughtlessness can be measured by the body count. The suave lady-killer with a girl in every port discovers that one of his conquests (and it's implied that it's the only one he ever truly loved) has resulted in a son he either never knew he had, or knew but never spent any real time with, and who hates him. His tendency to play fast and loose with the rules leads to his ship being crippled and a score of dead cadets, all of which could and should have been avoided by simply raising the shields, and his trait of finding novel solutions to intractable problems ends the life of his best friend and trusted right hand. It also shows what happens when you take the dashing, devil-may-care heroic adventurer, let him get old and put him in a desk job: a full-blown mid-life crisis.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind takes a bit of time to deconstruct the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Crazy, fun-loving Clementine and shy Joel really hit it off... at first. But as time goes on, Clementine proves to be too wild and overwhelming to Joel, causing problems in the relationship. And when their memories are erased, they hit it off again. In a broader sense, this can be considered a deconstruction of the whole romance genre. They're great at the Meet Cute and the Falling-in-Love Montage, but things fall apart when they actually try to live with each other.
  • Adam Sandler, famous for his comedic portrayal of characters with anger problems, shows just how unfunny and scary a person with anger problems can be in the movie Punch-Drunk Love.
  • The Social Network is a deconstruction of the myth of the self-made man by showing how many people Mark Zuckerberg screwed over as he became a billionaire.
  • In The Cable Guy, Jim Carrey deconstructs the kind of character he usually plays. In the beginning we're introduced to what at first seems to be the same kind of quirky, eccentric, wacky, Catchphrase spewing character seen in other Jim Carrey films. However, as the plot unfolds, Carrey's character becomes a deranged stalker, and goes from being a funny character to a deeply disturbing one. We learn that this character is a severely mentally unbalanced social outcast, that his "wacky" antics are in fact reckless and dangerous and actually ruin the life of the one person he considers to be his friend, and that his obsession with spewing famous Catch Phrases comes from his unhealthy obsession with TV, to the point that he has a hard time telling the difference between it and reality.
  • Woody Allen's aptly-titled film Deconstructing Harry is both a deconstruction of Allen's own work and the concept of Author Avatar characters and autobiographical fiction in general. It could also be considered a deconstruction of authors literally writing themselves into their own work, both played straight (Harry Block is a pretty obvious autobiographical character) and inverted (in-universe, Harry's characters come to life to interact with and deconstruct him. How's that for a mind-screw?
  • Gary from The World's End can be read as a deconstruction of the typical 'Manchild' characters who populated the other works that Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost were involved in. His hedonistic embracing of alcohol and drugs and his refusal to move on from his teenage pursuits and obsessions is seen as more pathetic than charming. He's also significantly older than most of them were, being an example of what happens to that type of character if he maintains his refusal to grow up when he's almost in his forties. Reconstruction happens at the end, as his childish view on life lets him adapt quite well to a new life as a world-wandering, sword-wielding post-apocalyptic hero.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day provided deconstructions of both the Kid Hero and the Mama Bear as well as militant feminism in the forms of John Connor and his mother, Sarah, from the previous film. John is an alienated, anti-social outsider who doesn't fit in, doesn't get along with his foster parents and has only one friend due to his mother's odd ball way of raising him because she had to prepare him for the end of the world. Sarah, meanwhile, has become violent and emotionally unstable over the years since the end of the first film as she had to step up to the plate, training not just herself but her son, and suffering the heart ache of losing Kyle Reese, the soldier sent back to protect her, whom she fell in love with and who was in fact John's father all along, without either of them knowing it. John is far from a likable protagonist when we first meet him, and Sarah is not exactly pleasant, but this is what happens to a Chosen One and the mother mentor burdened with terrible knowledge. Eventually reconstructed when their preparations allow them to stop Judgement Day.
  • Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy plays out very much like a deconstruction of Batman/Bruce Wayne: the tragedy that started his journey, learning the ropes, confronting evil beyond his understanding, losing the woman he loved who ironically didn't love him back and then spending 8 years morbidly mourning her due to not knowing the truth of her feelings, the physical damage done to his body and the consequences of not taking care of himself during 8 years of exiled depression, etc. Basically: taking apart the romanticism of Batman by showing just how screwed up (though well meaning) a person Bruce Wayne would actually be. Fortunately Nolan's Bruce eventually lets go of his pain and moves on with his life, unlike his comic book and DCAU counterparts - see below in Western Animation.
  • Cloverfield seeks to remind us how terrifying and incomprehensible a real kaiju attack would be to the average citizen and step away from classic "monsters-wrecking-monsters/the army" entertainment, hearkening back to early films in the Kaiju genre like Godzilla (1954) and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Also, the nature of kaiju is deconstructed; instead of being a semi-divine force of nature, Clover is merely a panicked and confused animal — just one that's big enough to crush a building.
  • Man of Steel:
    • The film is a deconstruction of Superman's origin, treating it as humanity's first encounter with extra-terrestrial life. The flashback sequences show how an emotionally fragile child/teen with superpowers needs constant guidance, and even then, there's no guarantee that his adoptive parents know what's best. The absence of Lex Luthor also highlights how an alien who looks human but with god-like abilities isn't just a victim of bad publicity, but genuinely unsettling, which contradicts most depictions of Superman being easily accepted by the masses. The film ultimately points to signs that Superman will be reconstructed in subsequent films (and Zack Snyder even noted that Superman would be more well-adjusted to being a hero in the sequel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), but it used deconstruction as a way to redefine the character for a new audience.
    • Superman's dual identities are also deconstructed as Lois is able to figure out who he really is by following leads, as Clark Kent would be a lot easier to track down in the 21st century. The only reason Superman isn't publicly outed by anyone is either out of gratitude or because he had more than one alias.
  • Cloud Atlas: Of a large number of tropes, maybe even storytelling itself, using Cross Throughs and Acting for Two to demonstrate the presence of the same tropes in six rather different stories.

  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians takes a harsh look at the Kid Hero. Every Half-blood is cursed to live a miserable life. They're all seen as problem kids and trouble makers due to the dyslexia and ADHD caused by their divine blood, so they never fit in among mortals. While living in constant fear of monsters attacking them anytime they're not at camp or another guarded place. They're lucky to reach maturity and its almost unheard of for any of them to settle down and live a happy life outside of camp.
    • Parental Abandonment is brutally taken apart as the struggle of the hero's mortal parent's to raise a child alone is made very clear. Even after reaching Camp Half-blood it can take weeks, months, and sometimes, years before a demi-god's divine parent will take notice and claim them. The driving force behind Luke and his follower's rebellion against the gods is the neglect and seeming abandonment they've suffered. And even though Percy hates Luke out of most of the good guys, he acknowledges that Luke has every right to be angry with the gods.
  • Much of Kurt Vonnegut's work qualifies as this, in particular Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions. The former is a deconstruction of the war novel and specifically the dozens of WWII novels and movies produced by his generation. In the opening chapter (which functions more as an introduction of sorts) Vonnegut relates the story of how he struggled with the book for years before the wife of a close friend gave him the idea of how to go about doing it. Breakfast of Champions, meanwhile, is a deconstruction of both the micro-world (20th century novels focusing on boosterism the eccentricities of small towns and cities in the vein of Sinclair Lewis) and also the oddball science fiction morality play Vonnegut himself seemingly created.
  • Madame Bovary is a fierce deconstruction of romance novels. Madame Bovary reads romance novels all the time, and comes to expect to live her own life that way, except her attitudes and behaviors destroy her life. She's a Stepford Smiler who constantly buys things to try and alleviate her own loneliness (it doesn't work), leaves her husband for another man who she expects will sweep her off her feet (he doesn't), and when she finally commits suicide, she expects arsenic to be a Perfect Poison that lets her die romantically (she spends several days in agonizing pain before she croaks).
  • The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell does a combination of this and Demythtification in regards to the King Arthur legends.
  • Boris Strugatsky's The Powerless of This World is a deconstruction of much of his own and his late brother's earlier works. Perhaps most prominently, "the Sensei", who is a wise old mentor (a fairly typical character for many Strugatsky novels), turns out to have been not only a Trickster Mentor, but also the initiator of The Plan that dictated much of the plot and was aimed at forcing the main character to unlock his full abilities. It succeeded, but not before making the main character a nervous wreck, inducing quite a Bitter Sweet Ending and causing much remorse to the mentor himself. Additionally, the topic of the Progressors is briefly brought up; one of the characters muses that the Sensei might be acting as one on Earth, and that he had, despite some occasional successes, failed miserably.
  • The Thrawn Trilogy was the first major work to continue the story of Star Wars after the events of The Return of the Jedi. It begins by immediately overthrowing all the implied gains from the end of the movie and establishing that this has only been the first big step on a war that will still go on for a long time and demand a lot of further personal sacrifices from the heroes. Luke starting a new Jedi Order and Han and Leia retiring from the Rebellion to be happily married with kids? Not very likely to happen.
  • Hard to Be a God deconstructs medieval chivalry, fantasy settings, the supposed glamour of royalty and nobility, and well-intentioned meddling by developed countries (in this case, civilizations: an idealist Commies IN SPACE! benevolent space-faring nation ideologically similar to Star Trek's Federation). The European 'Middle Ages' overlapped with the last century/centuries of the 'Dark Ages' for a reason: a Crapsack World is a given there.
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Crooked World by Steve Lyons is a deconstruction of Looney Tunes-esque cartoons as the Doctor lands in a cartoon world and begins to influence its inhabitants' behaviors towards naturalism.
  • The Past Doctor Adventures novel The Indestructible Man by Simon Messingham is a deconstruction of all Gerry Anderson's work, asking why Jeff Tracy founded the Thunderbirds, what SHADO personnel would really be like (yes UFO was Darker and Edgier to begin with, but Messingham takes it further), and how the ordinary people of the Supermarionation world might feel about so much money being channeled into Awesome, but Impractical vehicles. Most notably, the Indestructible Man is a Captain Ersatz Captain Scarlet who feels detached from humanity and wishes he was able to die.
  • "A Troll Story" by Nicola Griffith, in which a Viking warrior faces off against a troll. He wins, all right, but the story abruptly takes a deconstructionist turn: he goes insane from the troll's final curse, which renders him able to understand that there's no essential moral difference between the troll's slaughter of Vikings and his own slaughter of innocents in the towns he's raided.
  • Ring For Jeeves could be considered P. G. Wodehouse's deconstruction of his own stories. The usual romantic comedy character-relation tropes are there, but the world they live in is remarkably different. All of Wodehouse's stories take place in a Genteel Interbellum Setting, but Ring For Jeeves explores what would happen if time actually progressed. World War II has happened, Britain is in the throes of social upheaval which separates Jeeves and Bertie (Bertie is sent to a school that teaches the aristocracy how to fend for themselves), poverty and suicide and graphic death are acknowledged, and Jeeves even admits to having "dabbled in" World War I. The book's setting, Rowchester Abbey, is falling apart at the seams and the characters who inhabit it start to feel like a pocket of old-fashioned happiness in a darkening world. In case any doubters still exist about 3/4 through the book, there's Constable Wyvyrn's musings about just how much the world has changed.
  • Greaves, This is Serious, by William Mingin, is another PG Wodehouse deconstruction. Upper-Class Twit Ferdinand Brewster begins to grow dissatisfied with his carefree life of idle frivolities, and begins questioning his valet Greaves to see if they ever do anything... productive. The answer is quite chilling.
  • Goshawk Squadron by Derek Robinson attacks the popular view of World War I air combat which, rather than dueling "Knights of the Air", actually involved under-trained pilots diving out of the sun and machine-gunning their opponent in the back before he had a chance to defend himself.
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court was a deconstruction of the King Arthur mythos, which a lot of Brits took offense to. (It was compared, at one point, to defecating on a national treasure.)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald could be the earliest deconstruction of The American Dream. It shows the rich and happy as people who are empty on the inside and the fight between new rich and old rich lifestyles, particularly with Jay Gatsby.
  • The Second Apocalypse series by R. Scott Bakker was an attempted deconstruction of what Bakker considers the crux of fantasy — a meaningful universe with metaphysical purpose. One of the premises of the series is "What if you had a fantasy world where Old Testament-style morality, with all of its arbitrary taboos and cruelties (like damnation), was as true in the same way that gravity is 9.8 meters per second squared?". Whether he successfully accomplishes this is heavily debated.
  • A Tale of Two Cities. To many, the famous opening line ("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...") seems cliché, but one needs to look at it in the context of The French Revolution. In the years following it, revisionists on both sides relied heavily on propaganda, romanticizing their own side as undeniably good, and demonizing the other side as undeniably bad. A Tale of Two Cities makes the assumption that each side was absolutely right and runs with it, and so both the aristocrats and the revolutionaries have, among their ranks, noble, honorable people fighting for what they believe is right, and sadists who just want some bloodshed.
  • Agnes Nutter from Good Omens is a deconstruction of the Seer. On the one hand, we see that she is always right, but sometimes her predictions are oddly specific (don't buye Betamacks), too ahead of their time (jogging helps people to live longer), centered on her relatives in the future (she predicted for 11/22/1963 that a house in a small English city would break down, but doesn't mention the assassination of John F. Kennedy on the same day - one of her relatives might be in this city at that day, but apparently, none of them wanted to go to Dallas), and she didn't bother to order her predictions or explain them in detail. On the other hand, she uses her power to successfully Write Back to the Future (and also to avoid people responsible for delivering her message to snoop), and since she can predict everything, this includes knowing when Anathema will read a specific prophecy - so it always fits.
  • Count and Countess is perhaps a deconstruction of the vampire romance genre—specifically, why it would just plain suck to fall in love with someone predisposed to bloodlust.
  • Animorphs is one huge deconstruction of Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World, as the five (later six) heroes discover that War Is Hell and how badly it's messed them up. The series focuses on deconstructing tropes about heroes and morality, as the characters begin to do whatever they have to do to win, becoming more and more morally ambiguous and less and less heroic.
    • Kid Hero: It's obvious from the get-go that the kids, having no sort of military knowledge or practical connections whatsoever, are pretty much just making it up as they go and doing the best they can with what they have, and they're closer to Child Soldiers than anything else.
    • The Good Guys Always Win: Not a full deconstruction, as the kids actually do manage to save their home planet, but the fact that they're massively outgunned is a major element in the story, and the kids comment from time to time that only rarely are their missions actually successful. One of the major messages of the series is that, despite idealistic platitudes, victory ultimately goes to those who are ruthless and desperate enough to take the most extreme measures, not to the morally superior.
    • Violence Is the Only Option: Initially, what with this being an invasion and occupation, the kids consider armed resistance to be their only option. But it quickly becomes apparent that Yeerks are Not So Different from the Animorphs themselves, capable of being reasoned and negotiated with, and at times a pacifistic and diplomatic solutions work out.
    • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Hork-Bajir, Taxxons and Yeerks are pretty fucking scary aliens to look at, and the kids initially assume them all to be evil monsters. However, by the end of the series, it's obvious that despite outward differences, the three species actually have much more in common with humankind than is apparent at first glance.
      • Puppeteer Parasite gets it twice over: starting in the early books, the Yeerks are presented as unambiguously evil, and the series plays up how horrifying it would be for a host to be fully-conscious but unable to control themselves, forced to do horrible things to help the invasion. However, around book 18 the author starts to question if any species can be Always Chaotic Evil, and incidentally, what is it like to be a blind, slug-like creature who can never really interact with the world, except by making other beings its slave?
    • Big Good / Proud Warrior Race: While the premise of the series is that the kids are holding out until the Andalites come to Earth to fight off the Yeerk invasion, by halfway through the series it's become clear that the Andalites don't care about Earth or particularly any of the species they are "saving", but instead just want to exterminate the Yeerks, no matter the cost. A major part of the conflict in the last few books is not just fighting the Yeerks' open invasion, but making sure that the Andalites don't decide to quarantine Earth and "cleanse" it of the Yeerk plague.
  • Gone with the Wind can easily be read as a Deconstruction of the then-popular "Moonlight and Magnolias" novel of the Old South and The American Civil War; in a real "Moonlight and Magnolias" book, the focus would be on Melanie and Ashley, with Scarlett and Rhett being their Evil Counterpart couple.
  • Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet books are deconstructive in showing the implications of incredibly powerful magic in a society, versus those who don't have it. The "Andat" as created by the Khaiem cities are literally the embodiment of ideas into humanoid form, such as "Removing-the-part-that-continues" (nicknamed "Seedless"). Seedless, for example, can cause the seeds in cotton blooms to all spontaneously fall out of them or cause all the seeds in an enemy nation's crops to fall out before the appropriate time, or even cause all of their pregnant women to miscarry. This plays out as you would realistically expected, with technological advancement in the Khaiem cities curbed because they have the Andat as a source of wealth and power, and all the Khaiem cities being monarchies because the most important criteria for rule is whether you control the "poet" who controls the Andat. It's contrasted throughout the series with the Galt, a nation without Andat that instead had to rely on technology for power and prosperity, and is more advanced in many ways than the Khaiem - they have steam engines, for example.
  • In J R R Tolkien's own introduction to The Lord of the Rings, he states that if the novel were a real life one, the Free People would have tried to create their own version of Sauron's ring, and that both sides would have held hobbits in contempt!
    • Rather, that's Professor Tolkien's response to the idea that his story is allegorical. He despised allegory as a rule, and did not take kindly to people trying to equate the War of the Ring with World War II. Thus this statement is actually a Take That! at such readers for thinking so highly of themselves as to read themselves into the Fellowship role, whereas Tolkien thought of the Allies in more the Saruman role, particularly after the atomic bombings of Japan.
  • Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes is a morbid deconstruction of famous fairy tales. Goldilocks is eaten by the bears (as they would do in real life), the wolf decides to blow up the third pig's brick house with dynamite, the seven dwarfs steal the magic mirror from the Queen to predict the outcome of horse races,...
  • "My Stepmother, Myself", written by Garrison Keillor for his book of essays "Happy to Be Here", deconstructed the fairy tales Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella. Among other things, Snow White's husband turned out to be a necrophiliac, Hansel was The Load, and after living in a castle where servants did everything for her, Cinderella came to regard her stepmother as her new best friend.
  • The Giver is a deconstruction of utopias and their necessary maintenance. In the slow revelation of the underlying rules The Community is built upon, it becomes apparent that played realistically utopias may become dystopias of their own.
  • George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series heavily deconstructs a ton of tropes: A Child Shall Lead Them is a trope that results in inexperienced teenagers leading nations to war, or having other, more ambitious underlings undermine them at every turn. The Knight in Shining Armor is just a rich man that can afford armor and weapons and more often than not act like thugs. Nobility abuses the law and their power to avoid the consequences of their actions. There are loyal men, honest and brave, but these are far outnumbered by a massive number of scumbags that are simply there for power. And the knightly order that protects the rest of the world from a horrific threat? Millennia after the first appearance of that threat no one believes that they're real anymore, and instead there are only a tenth as many as there should be, and many of them are criminals or men that are there because they have no other choice.
  • Snow Crash is quite a humorous deconstruction of the Cyber Punk genre, and also a Take That! to anarcho-capitalism and American libertarianism. There's no such thing as the USA anymore and the government is basically just the post office and the FBI (everything else has been privatised, including the military); all that's left is just a collection of motley city-states run by various corporations. Pizza delivery is very dangerous work, and not just because your boss will put a bullet in the back of your skull if the pizza arrives cold.
  • The Onion Field by Joseph Wambaugh deconstructs many tropes inherent to the Police Procedural: The crime itself takes up very little of the book, with the rest devoted to buildup and the ensuing trial. There is no mystery as to what happened or who committed the crime, but the case is dragged out over months anyway. One of the defendants is innocent, save as an unwilling accomplice (who made multiple escape attempts from his partner) but he is never portrayed as a good person (and he is actually guilty of many more crimes, though nothing approaching murder). Rather than try to land the fairest sentence for each defendant, the prosecution wants—and gets—the death penalty for both, though both are overturned when California abolishes the death penalty several years later. Instead of eloquent, soulful arguments about why their clients deserve to live, the defense attorneys use underhanded methods that border on badgering both judge and witness. Prosecuting attorneys are driven from their profession in disgust. The star witness, a police officer, is very nearly Driven to Suicide by both PTSD and some fellow officers who blame either him or his deceased partner for not doing enough to prevent their own kidnapping. Closure comes not when the defendants are sent to prison, but when the trial is finally over and everyone involved is able to move on with their lives. Understandable, as the crime in question took place in Real Life.
  • Hogfather deconstructs several Christmas tropes, and in particular heavily critiques both The Little Match Girl and the story of Wenceslas. In the former, Albert explains that the match girl's death serves to make others grateful for what little they have because at least they're not freezing to death in the snow. Death is having none of it and uses Loophole Abuse to bring her back to life before leaving her in the safe hands of the Watch. In the latter, the king is trying to give food to a man who already has a meal and would just have to throw the king's gift away. It's pointed out that the king is only being charitable to make himself feel better and that one night of charity doesn't make up for being a neglectful ruler the rest of the year.
  • Sergey Lukyanenko's The Stars Are Cold Toys deconstructs the idealistic utopia of Strugatsky Brothers' Noon Universe with the Geometer society. On the surface, the world of the Geometers is a perfect utopia of what humanity might one day achieve: Crystal Spires and Togas, advanced technology, post-scarcity (to the point where they can waste resources on making their continents look like geometric shapes, hence the name for their race), everyone happily working towards the common good and enjoying life, the goal towards universal Friendship with other races. Then you dig deeper and find out that kids are taken from their parents at a young age and raised in boarding schools, anyone who starts doubting the wisdom of the Mentors or the philosophy of Friendship is deemed sick and placed in "sanatoriums" (basically, forced labor camps, who maintain those geometrically shaped coastlines), most of the food and drink on the planet is laced with tranquilizers to keep violence and base emotions down. Oh, and their current state of society was achieved after they have wiped out another sentient species on their planet (but they feel really bad about it, honest). And how do they turn non-friends (they don't have a word for "enemy") into friends? They send in agents to regress an alien culture to a more primitive state, then appear as emissaries from the heavens and offer their help to the primitives. As always, they believe that Utopia Justifies the Means.
  • The Guns of the South deconstructs a few tropes.
    • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The racism presented by the Confederates is a product of its time, where they believe that slavery is the only way that whites and blacks can peacefully co-exist. The members of the AWB, meanwhile, are fanatical, reactionary, and virulently racist. Once the Confederate leaders see books from the 21st century, they're absolutely horrified that the AWB lied to them, seeing that they won't be Vindicated by History, and Robert E. Lee pushes even harder for abolition. This, of course, causes the AWB to turn on them and the two sides go to war.
    • This Is My Boomstick: The AWB present many future devices to the Confederates, but until explanations start coming out much of it is accepted as simply an advanced part of their own world; this produces a funny moment early on, for example, when Rhoodie is somewhat disconcerted at Lee's matter-of-fact reaction to seeing an MRE (Lee notes that he's familiar with the Union practice of desiccating vegetables for army use but hadn't been aware that the Federals had extended it to entire meals). It is not until Rhoodie explicitly states that he is from the future that Lee even begins to suspect such an event. Something the time travelers don't anticipate though is the Army's interest in field rations and instant coffee.
    • Giving Radio to the Romans: The AWB come to 1865 equipped with modern guns, mortars, barbed wire, and landmines, as well as modern medical tools such as nitroglycerin pills. During their stay in the past, they also transform the small town of Rivington, North Carolina, into a veritable fortress. Once the AWB and Confederates go to war, their modern technology doesn't stand up to Confederates' superior tactics. After their time machine is destroyed, a few stranded Afrikaners promise to help rebuild 21st century technology for the Confederates, ensuring they will remain the most advanced nation in the world. The plan also has the unintended consequence of the Union and presumably other nations acquiring and replicating the same weapons.
  • Villains by Necessity: This the book's goal in regards to fantasy fiction, turning the most basic idea — good versus evil — on its head. Some readers feel it fails though, since the "villains" are not so bad, with the "heroes" having very nasty sides in some cases.
  • Njal's Saga deconstructs the Rated M for Manly Scandinavian male ideal. The men in the story are quick to resort to Disproportionate Retribution over perceived affronts to each others' manhoods and their feuding leads to a Vicious Cycle of offence, destruction and prolonged bloodshed. For example, at one point a hard-won legal settlement breaks down because a beardless man is offended by a silk garment sent as a gift; it's not even clear if the sender actually intended to slight him. It is made clear throughout that much of the death and destruction in the story could have been avoided if these viking men weren't so pathetically thin-skinned and lacking in self-control. This example is Older Than Print.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Greenleaf is a deconstruction of mega-churches with a bit too much power. The show essentially demonstrates the hypocrisy of a family of God utilizing their wealth that they gain from their patrons for ultimately self serving purposes. Despite the family’s “holiness”, they seem a bit departed from reality and live in the lap of luxury.
    • It could also be a deconstruction of the Big, Screwed-Up Family trope, demonstrating just what the end result of generational abuse and manipulation does to a family. Nearly all of the children harmed, as adults, are either just barely functional, cynical and depressed, emotionally immature, or any combination of the three.
  • Some reality shows, game shows and documentaries deconstruct fiction genres, or fiction tropes, by playing them out in real life. Survivor deconstructs the Robinsonade. Mythbusters deconstructs several tropes by testing their (mostly) scientific accuracy.
  • The final few episodes of the 8th season of 24 end up being a deconstruction of several of the series' own tropes, turning much of the show's formula on its head.
    • Jack's usual employment of the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique ends up providing nothing for him, as despite giving the receiving mook one of the most brutal, gruesome torture sequences in the entire series, the man has been conditioned so well that he refuses to talk and tell Jack what he wants to know, forcing him to look for alternate means to gather information.
    • Jack's entire shtick of ignoring the law and trying to carry out justice deconstructs just how much "good" he truly accomplishes by doing so. Not only does he end up leaving a nasty trail of death and destruction but his endgame involves assassinating the President of Russia, and regardless of his hand on the conspiracy he's still a the president of a foreign superpower. Successfully carrying it out could end up inciting a third world war - meaning Jack would end up making things worse than even the terrorists of the season were trying to.
    • Jack's Cowboy Cop behavior is deconstructed over the course of his rampage, and as his acts get more ruthless and dangerous the show quits painting it in any sort of glorious light, showing that anyone carrying out some sort of vigilante killing spree would have to be pretty unhinged to do so regardless of whether the victims deserved it or not, ultimately barely being any better than those they're going after. This gets made most evident during one scene where we see the aftermath of a roomful of henchman that Jack slaughtered offscreen. It's not portrayed as any sort of awesome moment of Jack laying down a Curbstomp Battle against a bunch of minions; instead shown being as horrifying as it would be in real life.
    • Jack killing those behind the death of his friends and loved ones in revenge gets deconstructed involves murdering the man who ordered the death of Renee Walker, and though he succeeds in killing him the man is also a high-ranking member of the Russian government. This ends up ultimately ruining his life for good, as not only does it leave him a fugitive but it ends up having tragic repercussions come Day 9.
    • Finally, Jack's ability to withstand untold amounts of punishment is deconstructed in the final episode when he's taken hostage by a squad of hitmen. Despite being caught in a car crash, getting shot multiple times, and receiving a nasty stab wound, Jack still attempts to fight his captors off. They overpower him with little to no difficulty, as three trained men in peak condition can easily handle a man who's been so battered he can barely stand, leaving him at their mercy, and it's only through the timely arrival of his friends to call off the hit that he narrowly avoids getting executed.
  • The B plot of Community episode "English as a Second Language" is a deconstruction of Good Will Hunting. Abed pulls a paraphrasing of Ben Affleck's "the best part of my day" speech from Good Will Hunting on Troy, to try to get him to 'use his gift' and become a plumber. The next day, Abed turns to find that Troy is no longer sitting next to him in class... but not because he's inspired and has dropped out, but because Troy has switched seats because he's offended that his best friend would actually think the prospect of him just leaving without a word would be the best part of his day. Turns out, that would actually be a really horrible and offensive thing to say to a friend, no matter how gifted.
    • Abed's main problem is that he doesn't explain WHY he thinks this would be good for Troy, unlike Affleck's character.
  • Continuum deconstructs everything about time travel in season three. In one episode, Liber 8 learned that in their attempts to prevent their future from happening, they ended up helping to create an even worse one! Not only that, the fact that multiple people kept time-travelling to prevent multiple futures from happening left them wondering if anything they did in the present really mattered.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a deconstruction of the Psycho Ex-Girlfriend and Stalker with a Crush tropes: Rebecca Bunch is a highly successful lawyer in New York, but she is also completely miserable, suffering from anxiety, insomnia, and depression. After accidentally running into her old ex-boyfriend Josh Chan, she remembers a time when she was truly happy...and so she decides to quit her job and move out to West Covina, California, where Josh lives. Rebecca has legitimate mental problems, however, and that isn't helped with her throwing away her medication, as well as lying to herself about why she moved to West Covina.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Aliens of London" deconstructs the Doctor's usual MO, in the classic series, of recruiting a young woman as a companion and taking her on adventures. Rose leaves her loved ones without saying goodbye, as usual. The TARDIS lands in the wrong time, as usual. Only this time, it means that Rose has been missing for a year, her ex-boyfriend (the only person who knew she'd left with the Doctor) suspected of murdering her, and her mother left distraught. The Doctor also has to explain to a police officer that his relationship with Rose isn't sexual.
    • "Midnight" deconstructs nearly everything we've come to know about the Tenth Doctor. No one believes him when he says his name is "John Smith". The passengers treat Ten's "normal" eccentricities and mannerisms with scorn and suspicion, so once it becomes clear that the Monster of the Week has possessed one of the passengers, he's immediately suspected as the host. The Doctor is completely unable to identify the monster. It turns literally all of his usual tactics against him, and literally the only reason the monster is foiled is by a last second Deus ex Machina. And we don't even know if the monster is actually dead.
  • Glee was once "Deconstruction: The Show". For example, musicals were deconstructed with most of the musical numbers in the show taking place either as a stage performance or in somebody's imagination, and random "bursting into song" rarely turned out well. However, as the show has gone on, the creators have largely abandoned these rules, and on the contrary, "solve it through singing about it!" has become the show's go-to method for solving problems, no matter how serious. In addition, the show used to pride itself on its mockery of the Very Special Episode and various high school stereotypes; now, the acclaim its received for its pro-LGBT storylines has led it to take being a "message" show more seriously (with varying levels of success).
  • The finale of How I Met Your Mother can easily be viewed as a deconstruction of a HUGE number of tropes, from TV shows to character tropes to audience reactions. It is so biting with how Reality Ensues that it is a main reason why the Grand Finale was so controversial, all along the irony of the episode name "Last Forever." A brief rundown goes as follows:
    • After so much time and effort with building Robin and Barney together and spending a season on a "legendary" wedding, their marriage lasted only three years because of fundamental differences they ignored, Robin's Married to the Job and Barney had abandoned so many of his own interests to be with her that he had nothing to do. There is also significant foreshadowing in retrospect that their relationship will not end well, with them riding off the belief that just because they love each other it will work out. Most weddings tend to be amazing but the success rate remains the same.
    • After they divorce, Barney goes back to his womanizing ways and it is fully depicted as pathetic. His excuse for reverting after so much Character Development is THE SAME excuse after his first relationship with Robin, that if he couldn't make it work with her there was no one else who could make it work. It also runs on the precept that characters can grow but they are still fundamentally the same person, changing that makes them someone else entirely. Him eventually fathering a child is the most logical end point for a man who has had as many sexual partners as he has.
    • After they divorce, Robin's job takes her away from the city for long periods of time and whenever she visits the old gang, all she sees is her ex-husband picking up random skanks and two sets of friends being Happily Married with their own families. Seeing Ted with Tracy, Robin feels that choosing Barney over him was a mistake and missed out on real happiness by rejecting Ted. She spent several years estranged from the group before reconciling during Ted and Tracy's marriage.
    • Marshall passes on a prestigious judgeship offer to give Lily a chance to fulfill her dream of working in the artistic field. He justifies it saying things will work out eventually. They do, but it takes several years and he had to suffer as a corporate lawyer once more before things start going their way. Lily appreciates the sacrifice but regrets being a part of why he is miserable now. Plus she takes Robin leaving the group the hardest, being one of her closest female friends.
    • Ted meets Tracy, the love of his life and the mother of his children. They were absolutely perfect for each other, but their history isn't exactly a fairy tale as their engagement lasted years because of Ted being a stickler for the perfect wedding and Tracy getting pregnant with their daughter Penny around the same time of their first wedding date, with Luke following soon after. Tracy ended up dying from an unspecified illness, leaving this perfect couple only able to be together for 11 years. True love and a happy relationship don't always last forever. The final shot of the series is Ted reconsidering his love for Robin, as despite everything he went through to be happy with Tracy that doesn't mean he doesn't still love Robin in some way.
    • At the end the group just drifts apart. It's a sad reality that many people have encountered in real life and is a harsh truth nobody wants to face, that life is unpredictable, everyone has a different path, and people do grow up and change. Nothing will ever be the same again.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki adds some aspect of Mons to Kamen Rider. Except the monsters have no loyalty to their masters and will eat them, should the contract card be destroyed. The same thing would occur if the monsters aren't well-fed, meaning you must continue fighting to feed your mons, even if you want to quit — and the more mons you have, the harder it is to feed them. Oh, there's another way to get around this; the mons also eat humans. At least one Rider is more than happy to lets his mon eat random people. It also deconstructs the idea of Kamen Riders being phlebotinum rebels, since the Big Bad arranging the Riders to fight always has the upper hand, either by sending his overtly powered Kamen Rider to hunt down the rebels, or in a special movie, rally all the Riders who want to fight to kill the Riders who want to end the war. Given the concept of the show, the former greatly outweigh the latter.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim also deconstructs the Mons genre with its Invess, as it is made clear that the Invess are dangerous monsters and it's very easy to lose control of them. Reality Ensues when it turns out that creatures from another world carry diseases totally unknown to the human immune system, which in turn leads to the protagonists being alienated by the public for their participation in the Invess Game. And this in turn leads to another deconstruction of just what happens when you give teenagers superpowers, as one Rider actually sets Invess on the public after they call him out and a group of teens use them to rob banks because they might as well with all the bad rap going on. A villainous Rider deconstructs the entire premise of Kamen Rider by delivering the following line after killing a monster who was actually a human transformed by the fruit of Helheim.
      I destroyed a monster that was attacking our civilians. [..] I'd say that's pretty heroic.
    • In Shuriken Sentai Ninninger Vs Kamen Rider Drive Spring Vacation Combination Special, The Ninningers defeat giant Roidmudes by using the Otomo-nin. They are promptly arrested and labeled public enemies because of all of the collateral damage done, something that isn't discussed in a Super Sentai series but would be quite a real thing in a Kamen Rider series where the main characters are cops.
  • Mr. Robot is a deconstruction of anti-capitalist anarchist beliefs, the use of terrorist actions to act on those beliefs, and the mindset of anyone who believed Project Mayhem was a good idea. While the first season is about a bunch of plucky weirdo hackers sticking it to The Man by destroying the infrastructure of a major corporation, as the series goes on it shows that the people at the very top did not get to the top by how many fancy buildings they have or how many computers they own, but through the good old-fashioned way of stepping on people until they get what they want, and if the rules of society and the companies they own are taken away, they'll still be on top because they'll be smart enough to back up their power, and will just step on people more directly. Meanwhile everyone under them, their employees, anyone who associates with their employees, random families, the friends and loved ones of the plucky weirdo hackers, they will be the ones who suffer under societal collapse.
  • Once Upon a Time serves largely as a deconstruction of the fairy-tale concept of receiving magical assistance from beings like a Fairy Godmother or a Genie. They can give you a shortcut that saves you from poverty, or give you the power to protect the people you love, but in the end, it always comes with a price.
    • It also deconstructs The Conscience and Morality Pet with Rumbelle. As the seasons went on, Rumple went back and forth between redeeming himself and becoming evil again. Eventually, Belle got fed up with his lies and banished him from town when he tried to kill Hook. In season five, she took him back only to learn that he not only lied to her yet again, but that his past was now endangering both her and their unborn child. When she began to communicate with her son in dreams, he encouraged her to get away from Rumple, an advice that she thoroughly and eagerly followed. Of course, the son was then revealed to be evil himself and was manipulating her in the end, but most of that wouldn't have happened if Belle wasn't finally done with Rumple.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon ended up deconstructing its own source material in increasingly surprising ways as it diverged from the original story, until, by the end, Sailor Moon herself has become the Omnicidal Maniac villain; the senshi's power source, the Silver Crystal, turns out to have really been an Artifact of Doom; and erstwhile villain Queen Beryl is revealed to have actually been trying to save the world (albeit only so she could rule it). The deconstruction arises here as a result of the audience's own genre expectations about the senshi's Power of Friendship and the motivation of the Card Carrying Villains, and how naïve and dangerous it'd actually be for the heroines to make such assumptions.
  • The Sopranos serves largely as a deconstruction of Undying Loyalty in The Mafia. Easily one of the biggest deconstructions. Instead of portraying The Mafia as a synonym of loyalty (like The Godfather), here is the opposite. Very few members are really loyal (it's telling something that Silvio was the single most loyal member of the mob) and most of them are more than willing to betray their partners for vengeance, resentment or greed.
  • Star Trek experienced a successful Deconstruction with Deep Space Nine, and a mildly successful Reconstruction with Voyager.
  • Supernatural spent several seasons deconstructing the relationship between Sam and Dean, to the point where it is depicted as unhealthy and destructive. In the latest season, Dean made a deal with a rogue angel to save Sam, only to learn that he had been tricked and got Kevin killed in the process. Sam stayed angry with Dean for most of the season.
  • The Ten Commandments miniseries shows the many hard choices that Moses had to make in following God: abandoning his family, alienating his adoptive mother, causing his blood brother to do a Face–Heel Turn, killing his most loyal comrade to enforce God's authority.
  • Ultra Series:
    • Ultraman Nexus (and prequel movie Ultraman: The Next) is a deconstruction of the usual Kaiju and Ultra Series shows. It shows what will happen if giant aliens and monsters actually appeared in real life and no, it isn't pleasant. It also explores the realities behind a human suddenly merging with an alien being to become a superhero and not every host takes it well, along with how people would react if they saw a giant humanoid being suddenly appear to battle the monsters. This is why Nexus is considered Darker and Edgier than most Tokusatsu as well as one of the darkest entries in the Ultra Series.
      • The series' themes were re-explored in the Ultraman X episode "Bond -Unite-", which had Xio's Lieutenant Sayuri Tachibana gain the power to become Ultraman Nexus until the end of the episode, anyways. It features her children almost getting killed by the monster Bemular in Canada as well as having Tachibana try to cope with the fact that she suddenly could now transform into a giant superhero at will. The episode's Monster of the Week was even the Nexus monster Bugbuzun.
    • Before it, Ultra Q Dark Fantasy deconstructs its 1966 original (which although a Sci-Fi Horror series, sought to maintain a family-friendly tone the best it could), having many of its elements later used in Ultraman Nexus. Both series were actually part of a project to reboot the franchise for an older audience that went nowhere.
    • Ultraman Leo did it before it was cool, with lots of death and violence. It deconstructed almost every happy trope the Ultra Series had, despite coming right of the back of Ultraman Taro, a Denser and Wackier kids' comedy! Not suprisingly, Ultraman Leo is thought of as the darkest of the Showa era entries in the franchise.
    • Ultraseven X took what Nexus did Up to Eleven and combined it with Ultraseven, a more sci-fi series far more serious and thought-provoking than any Showa Ultra Series. It also deconstructs Spy Fiction genre since the defense team in the series turns out to be Evil All Along, the city population being bizzare, and the Seven X's design is a darker take on both the Ultramen and the professional wrestlers.
  • In a very unusual example, as the vast majority of deconstructions are very cynical in nature, The West Wing (a highly idealistic show) could be seen as a deconstruction of the popular conventions of what constitutes political immorality: the Press Secretary spins information not to cover up the government's guilt, but to protect the jobs of heads of state and militaries from the influence of political whims; politicians make unsavory deals with amoral lobbyists and scheming congressmen not for personal gain, but to rescue legislation that would help out thousands of people; the President's speeches and public appearances are carefully scripted not to make him look good, but to prevent confusion and possible panic from people who don't have Masters' in public policy; etc, etc.
  • The Vampire Diaries deconstructed the whole woman scorned trope in season 5. a witch was cheated on, so she used her powers to a) trap the mistress in stone and use her for b) an anchor to an terrible afterlife that she created for supernatural beings while c) trapping her ex in a tomb for over two thousand years, in the hopes that he will take an immortality cure that will ensure his death and send him to the Other Side. Considering the lengths that she took to get her revenge, and the attacks that she launched on the main characters, it is clear that getting payback on a man can turn someone into a bigger bad guy than he was.
  • Stranger Things deconstructs the Eldritch Abomination with its Big Bad, the Mind Flayer. Yes, the Mind Flayer is an immensely powerful, wholly unique being, but because it's so powerful and thus so used to getting what it wants, it essentially has the mindset of a toddler. It doesn't know how to deal with resistance or setbacks to its plans, only being able to throw a temper tantrum in response. And since it's so unique and self-reliant, it has no idea how to interact with and blend into a social species like humans, to the point where it has to effectively leave its hosts on autopilot most of the time, because when it takes them over directly, it can't act in a way that doesn't immediately clue every human in to what it actually is. Furthermore, since its sheer power makes it used to easy victory, whenever it is significantly harmed, or especially defeated in one of its plans, it will launch into a full blown petty revenge mode from which it will never leave, even when the petty revenge is severely detrimental to its long-term goals. In short, while it is powerful and dangerous, it also showcases all the ways that existing as an Eldritch Abomination would limit a person psychologically.


    Tabletop Games 
  • A lot of John Tynes and/or Greg Stolze works features this. Unknown Armies, for instance, deconstructs the Urban Fantasy setting, the novel A Hunger Like Fire deconstructs the trope of the sensual vampire temptress and the RPGs Godlike and Wild Talents deconstructs superheroes stories set during World War 2 and the Cold War respectively.
  • While much of Warhammer 40,000 is indeed based around Cool vs. Awesome armies fighting in fantastically improbable situations, there's more than a few sources that depict the 40k universe in a deconstructed manner. For example, the short-story "What It's Like." deconstructs the Chaotic Evil Ax-Crazy Chaos Space Marines, generally seen as trigger-happy, moustache-twirling villains OOT, by explaining just how relentless and brutal each Marine has to be to not be stabbed in the back and left to be chewed on by Daemons for eternity, showing just how tragic these villains really are. Other works like "The Last Church" deconstruct the ideals and motives behind The Emperor of Mankind's actions, who is generally thought to be the best, last hope for humanity, and shows just how petty, ignorant, and ultimately egocentric he was.

  • A Streetcar Named Desire did not deconstruct any genre in particular, but it did deconstruct gender roles, physical relationships, and the American system of social classes in a rather harsh way. A common theory is that it was a direct response to Gone with the Wind, subverting the heroine, her marriage, and how she handles it in the face of a failing South.
  • Euripides' Trojan Women and Hecuba portrayed The Trojan War as a human tragedy rather than a sweeping epic tale of martial valor in the Homeric tradition. In general, his tragedies are regarded as more "modern" than those of his predecessors because of their morally ambiguous protagonists, pervasive sense of anxiety and despair, religious skepticism and overall portrayal of mythological subjects and characters as real people.
  • M. Butterfly is a no-holds-barred deconstruction of the "Oriental woman submissive to her white man" trope that Madame Butterfly codified, with a male Chinese spy disguised as a woman deliberately invoking this trope to get a French diplomat to fall in love with him and pointing out that Asian women are generally no more modest or demure than other women in real life.
  • The Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen became famous (and controversal) for not bending over to the standards of drama back then. Instead, he made people take a good hard look at them and asked, "Is this what you really want?" One major example is A Doll's House. The main character, Nora, is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who thinks that her husband will take care of everything in life. However, she realizes that what was between the two wasn't real love. The ending shows her setting out to find who she really is, with "the door slam that has reverberated around the world".
  • Brigadoon shows what happens to the people of the Vanishing Village. The most tragic examples are stuck in a village surrounded by people whom they have no connection to except a low-level mutual loathing, and have to watch their true love marry someone else, and can't go off to do something else or try to get away.

  • The well-known Aesop "Be Careful What You Wish For" operates in this way. Person X makes wish Y. Wish Y is granted to person X. Wish Y then manages to have sufficiently negative unintended consequences on person X's life that wish Y now looks like a ridiculous thing to wish for. Thus, Wish Y is deconstructed.

    Video Games 
  • Spec Ops: The Line deconstructs the modern shooter game and the limited binary "moral choices" of video games in general.
    "Are we really in control of Captain Walker? Or do we merely represent the last vestige of self-awareness in his increasingly damaged mind as he railroads us into committing atrocities, and our distrust and fear of him grows in parallel to that of the men in his command as he weakly tries to rationalize to both them and us until we feel as disconnected from him as the rest of reality and... (sigh) Do you remember when shooters were about killing demons from hell? Those were good days." — Zero Punctuation
  • Despite being considered the Trope Codifier although jingoistic military shooters exist before it, Modern Warfare deconstructs the cavalier cowboy attitude of jingoistic military shooters and movies by showing the catastrophic destruction and death that result from them, and the nationalist propaganda that fuels it.
  • For one of Gamespot's April Fool's Day jokes, they have announced that Capcom has recently announced a new game called Mega Man Deconstructed. See 7:43 of this video.
  • Chrono Cross is one of the earliest and most (in)famous examples, killing off the main cast offscreen between games and condemning everything they accomplished or fought for. The reason given is this: by changing the future for the better in the original Chrono Trigger, the heroes (you) unwittingly murdered billions of people living in that potential timeline. Then the plot gets loopier, with the revelation that the human race is a giant cosmic mistake, the resultant mutation of an alien entity crashing into the planet. The reptites of Chrono Trigger, who were defeated by the main characters and their Neanderthal brethren, were meant to evolve into the superior, enlightened race; unlike the human 'abominations' who are simply incapable of coexisting peacefully with the earth. What did humans do to deserve being saved from annihilation twice over? What right did anyone have to play god like this? However, what makes this example infamous is that many of these questions rely upon Retcon, Cerebus Retcon and Happy Ending Override. For instance, Trigger posited the idea that there was an "Entity" working to save humanity from behind the scenes, while Cross greatly hints that this Entity actually hated humanity and only helped them to stop an even worse Eldritch Abomination.
  • Most of the villainism of No More Heroes's Villain Protagonist comes from what would happen if a stereotypical video game/anime geek retained their combat ability in the real world and lived life like they play games.
  • A lighter example of Deconstruction would belong to SWAT 4, an FPS whose objective is not shooting bad guys. Just plain shooting bad guys like in another FPS, in SWAT 4, does not net you a point. This game expects you to be a police officer, not an FPS character. To earn points (which are needed to advance in harder difficulties), you must deal with the bad guys with non-lethal methods, and arresting them.
  • Pokémon Black and White deconstructs not just many of the implications of a Crapsaccharine World in the series that are hinted at through the Pokédex entries, but also deconstructs the idea that everyone in the world of Pokémon thinks that it's a good idea to send kids and teenagers out into the wild to capture Pokémon, with Bianca's father feeling immensely concerned for her. Another part of it is the idea that no one bats an eyelash at Pokémon battles or no one thinks it's too violent with Team Plasma and N. It also provides a deconstruction of the concept of Moral Guardians in the form of Team Plasma's claims to be concerned for the welfare of Pokémon.
  • Likewise, Pokémon Sun and Moon deconstructs the trainers who do not have what it takes to challenge the regional Pokemon League, even the traditions that were established in Alola before Kukui commits to founding a League of its own. Successful trainers have stronger Pokemon, more items, and more money... but the ones that lack the skill to amount to anything ultimately end up destitute. Nowhere is this better depicted than in Po Town, which Team Skull uses as its hideout... or, rather, they are functionally confined to due to lacking the ability to strike out on their own, as mentioned earlier. Team Skull is littered with failures who could not take the Island Challenges, and Guzma himself failed to become a Trial Captain and ultimately outgrew the acceptance range of 20 years of age, leaving nothing but bitterness in its wake. It also deconstructs what a villain team consists of: whereas other villain teams are self-sustaining or run legitimate business ventures to cover their shady dealings, Team Skull lacks even that, which again is perfectly depicted in Po Town with its lack of electricity, even in its Pokemon Center. When the opportunity for money came along, they leapt at it like a Carvanha to fresh meat... but while the Aether Foundation is swimming in research grant funds, Lusamine proves to be morally bankrupt.
    • The Big Bad Lusamine deconstructs trainers themselves. She claims to love all Pokemon and wants to collect them all, just like the Player Character... while treating them (as well as people) as little more than objects. She ignores that which she does not find appealing and discards what is no longer of use to her. She even keeps cryogenically frozen Pokemon on display, asking how it's any different from the player keeping their unused ones in a box. When a new and unknown Pokemon, the Ultra Beasts, appear, she wants them for herself, just like the player does.
  • Assassin's Creed: Syndicate deconstructs one of the series' usual protagonist backstories: Jack loses his parents at a young age and in his trauma seeks revenge, becoming an Assassin in the progress. However, he becomes a far more realistic example of what happens when you take a extremely traumatized and angry child, tell them that "Nothing is true and everything is permitted", and give them the skills and weapons necessary to kill large amounts of people: he goes completely insane and starts committing serial murders, and takes over the Rooks, making them more corrupt then the Blighters were, and nearly destroys the Brotherhood. Oh, and in case you didn’t get it yet, we’re talking about Jack the Ripper.
  • Phantom Brave viciously deconstructs All of the Other Reindeer. Marona's Chartreuse is, for all intents and purposes, necromancy, and as such it is widely regarded as a dark, unholy power, and people react accordingly to her. This isn't simply general disdain or mocking of her, this is real, genuine fear and hatred. Listen to that woman who scolds her son for wanting to be friends with Marona in the opening chapter. You can feel the pure, unbridled barely contained rage she has at the mere mention of her name.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories deals with a Canon Relationship Sue, while 358/2 Days deconstructs the Copycat Sue. The characters involved are canonically clones of some sort and are considered abominations in-universe. Their Sue-ish traits are actually plot-relevant and tend to be the reason the villains can make use of them.
  • Fire Emblem
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War deconstructs a lot of common character archetypes throughout the series, also deconstructing several interventionist policies and showing just how damaging they can be - all before capping it off with the heroes being incinerated by the Big Bad.
    • Fire Emblem Fates has a few deconstructions to boot, at least one per route:
      • In Birthright, it deconstructs the idea of Black and White Morality. Yes, Nohr is the belligerent and Hoshido is on the defense, but it goes to show what that mentality can do when taken too far. Notably, your eldest adoptive brother commits Suicide by Cop after your adoptive little sister dies, alongside countless of lost lives as a result of abandoning Nohr.
      • In Conquest, it deconstructs the My Country, Right or Wrong and Pacifist Run tropes, showing that the former can lead to some very mentally straining events and the latter, while possible, ultimately proves to be far more trouble than it's worth.
  • The Fable series does this to fantasy and magic. While the first game was more of an affectionate parody of medieval fantasy, the sequel takes this to its logical conclusion: with no real threat facing Albion, the Guild of Heroes became egocentric power bullies, and with the advent of the firearm, the Muggle commonfolk struck back and wiped out the Guild. When the Fable 2 hero comes around, it's only natural that the public would view someone as powerful as you to be worthy of becoming king/queen.
    • Fable 3 also deconstructs the idea of monarchies/nobility by putting you in the role of the second game's protagonist's youngest child. While it's entirely possible to play as a saintly ruler, your tyrannical older brother Logan is what spun the conflict in the first place, and it's possible to play as way more evil than Logan ever was. The deconstruction is that leadership ability is independent from any noble bloodline and is the central theme of the Traitor's Keep DLC, as a coup is planned against you led by someone who questions your family's claim to the throne.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has a bitter deconstruction of Best Friend and True Companions. Instead of showing Undying Loyalty among Childhood Friends, they are traitors and bastards in sheep's clothing (Big Smoke and Ryder) who are more than willing to betray their closest friends (CJ and Sweet).
  • Grand Theft Auto IV is one of its own series. Rather than show a glamorized portrayal of criminal life like the previous games did, it portrays it realistically, with most of the characters being poor, sociopathic, psychotic, greedy, or otherwise unlikable. Even Niko himself is a hypocrite.
  • Grand Theft Auto V deconstructs the tropes surrounding each of the game's three protagonists in relation to the player.
    • Franklin deconstructs the newcomer to a GTA game, someone who is introduced to a world of crime where they can do what they want and get rich while they're at it.
    • Michael deconstructs the protagonist of a GTA player who has beaten the game: he's rich beyond his wildest dreams thanks to his ill-gotten goods and has gotten away with it, but now he's left to wonder what to do with his life.
    • Trevor deconstructs the stereotypical GTA protagonist and player: someone who's interested only in causing as much bedlam and chaos as possible, consequences be damned, and for whom pursuing a particular goal in-game is an afterthought.
  • The Demon Path in Soul Nomad & the World Eaters could be seen as a deconstruction of Stupid Evil choices in video games (where the game's Karma Meter consists of "Help this woman find her lost puppy, or kill her and eat her family,") taken to its ultimate conclusion. Once the protagonist gets the power of an Omnicidal Maniac god of death, they decide to go on a world-wide killing spree for no reason other than it sounds like fun. What follows is a massacre of the entire cast of the game, anyone who isn't lucky enough to be killed immediately being either horribly broken or driven insane and then killed. By the end of the game, the protagonist and the god of death are the only living things left on the planet, at which point the protagonist turns on the god of death and eats him, gaining his powers fully, before turning his/her new-found powers on the gods themselves and finally erasing all of existence, along with him/herself. Alternately, you lose the final battle...And get a 'Good Ending', as all the heroes rejoice in your defeat...You're just another Big Bad, like all the rest in video games.
  • Dragon Age: Origins is a heavy deconstruction of the Standard Fantasy Setting - mages are abhorred by members of The Church because they had once used their powers to try and overtake Heaven itself, there is a much more focused (and darker) look at the bigotry usually glossed over in many stories adhering to the setting, and instead of giving a clear Good vs. Evil conflict, Grey and Gray Morality is a heavy constant. And when it's not that, it's more of a Morality Kitchen Sink.
    • Dragon Age II is way worse in this regard because it deconstructs Western RPGs as a whole. There is no Big Bad to speak of, the main character cares more for his loved ones than saving the world, and the major conflict of the story is between two opposing factions that both have very good reasons for being the way they are towards each other.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition takes a more traditional stance on the Standard Fantasy Setting, and this has actually led to some divisions within the fanbase. The game's deconstructions focus more on the background of said setting, as we find out that the supposedly-glorious Alfheim Age was a clusterfuck of massive proportions, where the gods were actually power-hungry backstabbing maniacs whose actions forced the destruction of the old world, whose legacy was a millennia of the same backstabbing oppression in all major governments of the setting, and the traditional forest elf culture is actually slave protocol.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the "save the world from the world-eating Big Bad dragon Alduin" quest is deconstructed in a conversation with Paarthunax, leader of the Greybeards and a good dragon, possibly the only one in existence. He asks if it isn't foolish to stop the apocalypse if it's being done by someone whose job it is to do exactly that and thereby bring about the next world. Arngeir also poses these questions, but less in-depth. The story is, however, reconstructed later.
  • Red Alert 3: Paradox is a Game Mod building a world around the scarce information of its source material, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 and plays out realistically what would happen if three major super powers go to all-out war, a US President is killed or what consequences it has when physics-defying technology is used large-scale and regularly. It's not nearly as idealistic as the original.
  • This is the entire point of the Tales Series. The modus operandi for each game is to write up the world's biggest Cliché Storm of an RPG setting, and then rip it to shreds by analysing in brutal detail why every single trope in a fantasy story has the potential to be terrifying. The cutesy graphics mean they get away with a lot of stuff that many other, more "mature"-looking RPGs wouldn't be able to.
    • A Recurring Element throughout the series is The Chosen One, and deconstructing the idea by showing how much It Sucks to Be the Chosen One. Symphonia and Abyss show the multitude of ways having the fate of the world on someone's shoulders would do all kinds of damage to their psyche. Legendia says that "saving" the world often means doing some truly horrible things. Xillia shows how single-mindedly focusing on your mission at the expense of all else will have lasting consequences that you can't possibly prepare for. And Graces is all about the things you're going to have to leave behind if you want to do it.
  • Diablo deconstructs Demon Slaying with a butcher's knife; sure, the heroes defeat Eldritch Abominations, but they end up going insane themselves from the trauma and horrors they saw while fighting the things, their action end up going exactly in the direction the Demons wanted, the cities and kingdom they try to save end up mostly slaughtered (Tristram, that the hero was attempting to save in the first opus, ends up destroyed anyway in Diablo II) and Angels, for most, don't give a crap as long as they are not reached.
    • Diablo III: Your character becomes a Physical God, capable of slaying ANYTHING up to and including the combined form of every evil ever. That does NOT mean they can save the world from a planned genocide that has been in the making for millennia by ancient immortals with titanic armies, nor does it stop them from growing bitter and possibly extremist about the Forever War that specifically taxes humanity to the brink.
  • BioShock:
  • Fairies in Touhou can be seen as a deconstruction of Death Is Cheap. They have extremely short lifespans, but resurrect almost instantly when killed. This leaves them all as literally Too Dumb to Live as they often charge headfirst into potentially fatal situations and don't really learn from their mistakes since there's no real consequences. It is implied in supplementary material that their view of life and death might extend to their perception of other beings lives and deaths, too. Which in practice would mean that a fairy cannot see any moral difference between pranking someone by "hiding their food" and "setting them on fire and shoving them down a cliff", 'cuz, hey, the people they kill are just going to resurrect again, right?
  • Most of the Designated Heroes of Len'en comes from what would happen if a stereotypical human were transported to an Adventure-Friendly World and gained New Powers as the Plot Demands. While their antics are Played for Laughs (such as the greedy Kuroji), later games show that their actions are catching up to them and while they save the day, they unknowingly make things worse.
    • Also, the heroes neglecting their duties results in the birth of an Eldritch Abomination, an absent-minded Sealed Evil in a Can destroying the barrier and a hidden revolution, now that the tyrannical former heroine of Mugenri has left in charge a self-centered Teen Genius. Way to go, Tsurubami.
    • The whole series deconstructs the Heroic Comedic Sociopath from Touhou (which Len'en is based off). Many of the playable characters are acknowledged not to be the most virtuous people around, and fighting the villain of the day is often done for purely selfish reasons. While some Touhou games becoming Darker and Edgier (such as Subterranean Animism and Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom), the heroines do not face any consequences for their actions, unlike Len'en's case.
  • One of the core themes of the Drakengard series is according to series creator Taro Yoko are the simple words "Why do you kill?". This in turn often lead to deconstructions of the One-Man Army and Heroism tropes as well as the exploration to why a human being would kill hundreds if not thousands of people. This trait has since become a hallmark of Yoko's style.
  • The Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft can be arguably seen as one for the entire concept of redemption and how it may not work in the real world by showing that often people seek for the evil that wronged them to be brought to justice instead of redeemed. In one of the quest chains the players and Tirion finds a heart that may have belonged to Arthas and kept his humanity. When Arthas taunts them about redeeming him, Tirion rejects redeeming him and destroys the heart, stating that only the Lich King remains—and that is before we learn in patch 3.3 that as it turns out, the good half of Arthas was the only thing holding the Scourge back from destroying Azeroth — thus to what extent was there really nothing left or to what extent was Tirion enraged by how much Arthas started the chain of events that screwed over his life and decided to kill him instead because of that, is debatable. At the end as we kill the Lich King the good Arthas takes back his body long enough to have his humanity restored before his death, and the subsequent quests on heroic difficulty gives the impression that the people once close to him (Uther, Jaina, Muradin) have forgiven him — it turns out that doesn't seem to have sent Arthas to a good afterlife due to the Lich King filling the normal afterlife with Shades that he ordered to torture anyone who entered their territory which of course includes himself....
    • The "Mists of Pandaria" expansion can also be seen as this towards the game itself — throughout the game's eight years of life, players have always been the ones to save the day by defeating monsters and purging demonic corruption from the world. However, Pandaria is about an idealistic continent... where the arrival of the player characters draws lines in the sand that weren't there before and wind up reawakening the threats that had been subdued to allow the utopian civilization to flourish. The first zone involves both factions recruiting the indigenous people to their cause (sometimes unwillingly) and making them fight each other, of course creating a huge mess when the Sha is unleashed. In other words, Pandaria has become corrupted just like a lot of other zones and people have... and you are the catalyst if not the whole cause of this. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!.
  • The first two Fallout games, and Fallout: New Vegas to a lesser extent, deconstruct the Idiot Hero. Go ahead and set your Intelligence stat to 2. You'll have some funny conversations, but you'll also get fewer skill points when levelling up, you're locked out of 90% of quests and most of the NPC's don't reward your efforts and treat you as a joke. Furthermore, an idiot can't make any lasting effect on the wasteland at all: you may have saved your vault/village, but everyone else is still screwed.
    • The whole series deconstructs the idealistic utopian values of The '50s. Within the game itself, it is implied that behind the thin charm of a 1950's Eagleland, America was a jingoistic, genocidal supremacist state that tried to stamp out individual thought, subjected "dissidents" to concentration camps and horrific experiments, and honestly deserved to be nuked off the face of the earth. The deconstruction was that in Real Life The '50s America was not so much a golden age heralded by many conservatives. During that era social and racial values were backwards in comparison to the 21st century domestically and while the US established itself as the democratic counterweight to the Soviet Union it also was responsible for overthrowing many democratically elected governments in support of its own interests. Likewise it claimed to represent freedom of expression yet simultaneously allowed them to be stifiled with the McCarthy witch hunts.
  • The Outer Worlds, Obsidian's newest offering that styles itself as a Spiritual Successor to Fallout above, similarly deconstructs the capitalist utopia of the Gilded Age within a Firefly-esque space setting. The Halcyon colony is One Nation Under Copyright, and the locals profess Undying Loyalty in corporations that reaches almost Cargo Cult levels; they pepper everyday conversation with company slogans and discriminate against each other based on brand loyalties. That's not even getting into some of the truly staggering greed and incompetence at the higher levels.
  • The R-Type series is this with the Shoot 'em Up genre as a whole, starting with Delta and Final. It turns out that the Bydo, the "aliens" you were fighting against, were mankind's own creation, and they had banished the Bydo to another world. The Bydo later returned, assimilating humans in retaliation for being played on with humankind being treated as Gods.
  • Darkest Dungeon plays the typical Dungeon Crawling RPG in a more realistic light; Going down into a dark, desolate dungeon filled with horrifying monsters out to kill you shouldn't be a walk in the park. Each trip down to the dungeons tests your heroes' mental fortitude, with combat and traps around every corner being nerve-wracking. Not to mention the people who'd willingly go down there, many of whom are desperate outlaws, or people already not-right in the head.
  • Undertale is quite a big example of Deconstruction. In fact, it's an entire Deconstruction Game. The deconstructed element is the save/restart game file element in Role Playing Games, and you can see why. Once you complete 1 run, you'll feel the need to complete others. However, once you play the game again for a different ending, things will be very different. The 2 most mysterious characters, Flowey & Sans, will both react the most different after different runs, as they're the observers of the 4th wall. But of course, many other characters (including you) will react differently. However, this causes great distress for Sans since he knows that constantly starting, saving, and stopping will scatter & end his and others lives, then restarting them all over again, thus deconstructing the trope of saving/restarting your game files.
    • Another type of deconstruction occurs with the trope of 100% Completion. Normally in a game, you want to complete every ending available. However, in Undertale, Sans gives a whole speech putting you down which goes as follows: You'll never give up, even if there's no benefit to persevering whatsoever. No matter what, you'll just keep on going. Not out of any desire for good or evil… but just because you think you can. And because you can, you have to. Wow. Way to make the player feel like a bastard, Sans.
    • The game also deconstructs Level Grinding, What Measure Is a Mook? and Video Game Cruelty Potential. Every monster you find in the game is a sentient individual with their own lives, friends and family. LV is explained to be your willingness to kill people rather than your combat experience. So if you play the game with the tagline "The Friendly RPG Where Nobody Has To Die" like a traditional RPG, the game treats you, the player, as a sadistic Omnicidal Maniac. In the ending, the game's version of Satan will appear and call you out and tell you about how they can erase your actions... at the price of your soul. Accepting their offer will permanently taint the game files, and attempting to do a Pacifist Run will result in your character being possessed at the last minute: this is true even if you uninstall the game and try it on another computer. Hey, it's what you get, bastard.
  • EarthBound is a deconstruction of the Kid Hero. The game does not gloss over the kind of emotional and mental strain that going on a great adventure as well as the general responsibility of saving the world would take on a bunch of small children, such as getting homesick and missing their parents. It could also be a deconstruction of the Cosmic Horror Story: the Final Boss, the great evil that the kids are trying to save the world from, is revealed to be an alien child turned into a formless blob of hate and insanity, so winning feels less like a triumph and more like giving a Mercy Kill.
  • God of War: Many heroes in Greek Mythology, such as Oedipus, Achilles, and even Hercules at some points, had a Might Makes Right mentality; their worth as heroes wasn't measured by their moral character, but through their strength and power. Kratos is essentially what these kinds of heroes would be in real life; sociopathic, selfish, blood-hungry, and extremely entitled in their sense of revenge.
  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth: The fourth boss, Shadow Rei/Best Friend, deconstructs the idea of Shadows in general. Shadows are physical manifestations of a person's repressed emotions and desires, and the Investigation Team all gained their Personas by acknowledging and accepting theirs, but Best Friend isn't just teenage desires and confusion — it's death. Accepting your flaws is one thing, but accepting that your life has ended (and in Rei's specific case, also amounted to nothing) is quite another. Like Mitsuo in Persona 4, Rei rejects her shadow even after it's defeated and it just fades away, and Rei after getting her memories back is every bit an emotional wreck as when she first met Chronos.
  • Persona 5 deconstructs them harder. While the Shadows of Persona 4 are, as mentioned above, teenage desires and confusion, Persona 5 shows that Shadows can also become the dark sides of some truly monstrous individuals.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura deconstructs two settings at once: Victorian Steam Punk, and the Standard Fantasy Setting. Just like the Victorian period in real life, working conditions in most factories are hideously unsafe, and it's not uncommon to see workers being shot in the street for protesting against them. Classism and racism is everywhere, and an awful lot of people agree with eugenics - there's a really uncomfortable book in the game that describes how Orcs can be bred out of existence by removing a "malignant gland", and don't get us started on the horror that is the Half-Ogre breeding program, where human women are forcibly impregnated by ogres just so it can provide gnomish bankers with a reliable source of stronger, tougher bodyguards. Elves are not always wiser than other races and usually jerks to everyone else to boot. Good men can wreck the world with the best of intentions while someone who is unquestionably evil can still be right once in a while. Glorious heroes who travelled the world righting wrongs eventually started a war because they disagreed about what was the right and wrong thing to do, and turned on each other.
  • Star Control 2 is partially a deconstruction of sci-fi, specifically Star Trek. There are a number of examples, but the Sentient Milieu is the best: it's essentially a mirror image of the Federation, except that things go horribly wrong. The Ur-Quan play essentially the same role that humans do in the Federation. They evolved much the same way, and were late to become a unified space-faring species due to having spent most of their existence trying to kill one another. Through the kindness of more advanced races, they were permitted to join the Sentient Milieu and over time became its boldest explorers. Then they stumble upon the Dnyarri, and this is where the paths diverge. The entire Milieu is enslaved for millennia, and when an excruciating slave revolt is over the Ur-Quan are split into two camps: those who want to permanently enslave all other sentient life in the universe, and those who want to eradicate it. The question that is asked: would the humans in Star Trek be on the same moral high horse if they had suffered the same existential threat?
  • Yandere Simulator takes the titular trope apart in the most brutal forms imaginable, not only in how far the "protagonist" Yan-chan can go in pursuit of her Senpai but in how hard it would be for a high school student to get away with murder. The creator Yandere-Dev has also stated that Yan-chan's obsession is not love, but the result of a serious psychological disorder.
  • The Komato in Iji are a deconstruction of the Proud Warrior Race, their entire society being predicated on having a mortal enemy to fight. By the end of the game they're convinced, whether truthfully or not, that they've finally exterminated this enemy, but General Tor is convinced that without an outside force to fight against, the Komato will eventually turn on each other.
  • You Are Not The Hero is a deconstruction of the Kleptomaniac Hero. Petula doesn't like the heroes, even BEFORE they break into her home and steal her pendant. And once they do, she follows them wherever they go to get it back.
  • Red Dead Redemption II deconstructs the western outlaw life heavily:
    • Life as an outlaw is neither fun or romantic. The gang constantly move from place to place and live in perpetual fear and paranoia of the outside world and even each other, which is what destroys them in the end.
    • Dutch's Idiot Hero plan to pull one big score and then leave in the chaos is woefully unworkable. There's nothing they can realistically do to secure enough money to provide for twenty-plus people, nevermind get them all out of the country and set up new lives elsewhere. All their attempts do is get them into deeper and deeper shit, and the authorities pull more and more resources and manpower to hunt them down.
    • Most of the gang have talents and skills they could easily put to honest lives if only they weren't trapped in a futile cycle of crime. Javier is a skilled hunter and fisherman and can also play the guitar very well. Mary-Beth is a talented writer and true enough becomes a novelist in the epilogue. And Swanson the alcoholic clergyman moves to New York, kicks his habit and becomes a respected priest.
  • NieR: Automata deconstructs Humanity Is Infectious. If robots were to gain emotions, it's not going to be all positive. There's going to be a whole lot of ugliness as well: hate, racism, jealousy, obsession, fear and existential dread and despair. There's also no clear answer as to what "humanity" is, leading to some sides making up reasons as to why they're clearly the most human.
  • Xenonauts viciously deconstructs the Alien Invasion defense game XCOM: Enemy Unknown created. Aside from tropes that XCOM already deconstructed from the high casualty rate to the brutal nature of alien invasions. Xenonauts adds more to it by making it clear humanity is nothing more than another race waiting to be conquered and enslaved by the Praetors with no special traits, technology like psionics is well behond reach with no means of meaningfully countering it and any technology they salvage and reverse engineered will ultimately be countered. Making it worse is the fact the fight is effectively a Hopeless War, no matter how many ships and aliens they kill, the Praetors can leading this can has too many numbers and the only reason humanity "wins" is because of a stolen device they refuse to activate as the Praetors leading the attack will deploy a genocide option to effortlessly wipe humanity out.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • How It Should Have Ended sometimes actually deconstructs Stating the Simple Solution by showing that the outcomes are not always great. This is best demonstrated with the Inside Out episode where Joy actually utilized how the Forgetters use to send memory back to headquarters. Sure, it eases the problem that Joy and Sadness will encounter in the move and prevents Bing Bong's death. But Joy didn't learn Sadness's purpose and Bing Bong ended up going to Riley's mind, tell her about what happened, and destroyed her psyche. This turns Riley into a Womanchild still living in her parents' house with the emotions unable to control her.
  • Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles takes many first person shooter tropes and twists them. Everything from capture the flag, to why there are two bases in the middle of a box canyon with no strategic value, and Respawn. Interestingly, the new series called Reconstruction is a deconstruction of the parodic nature of The Blood Gulch Chronicles. Caboose is tied up in the brig due to his self destructive tendencies. Grif and Simmons face the firing squad after selling all the ammo to the Blue team. The reason that all the red and blue conflicts were pointless squabbling over an equally pointless flag and base is revealed to be a conspiracy by command. However, since that is a deconstruction of a deconstruction, arguably that makes it a Reconstruction as all the video game tropes are being put back together.
  • RWBY: While Qrow's chronic alcoholism was played for laughs at first, it takes a dark, realistic turn once he learns about Salem's aforementioned Complete Immortality and that the man he dedicated his life to has been lying to him since day one. Suddenly, his "quirky" alcoholism becomes the desperate coping mechanism of a bitter, broken man struggling to come to terms with the fact that his whole life has been a lie. Going even further, Qrow's alcoholism starts to become an outright liability, as it renders him useless against the Apathy Grimm and all but shatters Ruby's previously ironclad faith in him.
  • The Most Popular Girls in School became struck with realism ever since the creators finished making a Deconstructive Parody series called Dr. Havoc's Diary.
    • In Episode 74, Jeannie does one of Cameron's life with a painful "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Cameron is ultimately, someone sad and pathetic who is just getting fucked by teachers and college students without ever actually accomplishing anything meaningful in her life and that is probably stuck in this loop until something can break her out of it, which includes the opportunity given by the competition. After the speech, there seems to be a brief moment where Cameron realizes her life really is awful and that she isn't really enjoying it.
    • In Episode 75, we have one of the fashion industry, as Jeannie Halverstad mentions, is based on creating unrealistic standards of beauty that forces people with low self esteem to buy clothes that they hope will make them look better, even though it won't really help that much.

  • Kick the Football, Chuck. deconstructs Peanuts and its gags and sets them to the tone of Charlie Brown's cancer.
  • The Pixel Art Comic Kid Radd, while largely light in tone, presents a "video game characters living in video-land" scenario where it's a very real problem that many inhabitants are innately armed and know nothing but killing. They know why they were created, and they don't like it. The player character Radd goes from slacker to Determinator because he always had the latter's mindset, but started his days in a game under the player's control, so he had to learn initiative completely from the ground up. Upon being freed, Radd needed instructions to walk independently.
  • 8-Bit Theater is a deconstruction of Japanese RPGs, specifically Final Fantasy. 8-bit theater portrays a JRPG world if the chosen heroes were actually just as evil, if not worse, than the evil they fight.
  • It's Walky! could arguably be seen as a deconstruction of the goofy 1980s cartoons creator David Willis is a fan of (mostly G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and Transformers). Sure it features a unique special forces group, SEMME (who were initially based on GI Joe) with an eccentric line up of operatives, who routinely foil the insane schemes of a Harmless Villain, but the eccentric operatives are soon revealed to be a bunch of dysfunctional screw-ups, and the Villain is in fact a Not-So-Harmless Villain.
  • My Name Is Might Have Been deconstructs Rock Band.
  • VG Cats deconstructs the cartoon violence of Tom and Jerry in this strip, showing the Real Life consequences of Jerry whacking Tom on the head with a mallet, as pictured above. Far from being amusing, it leaves Tom with severe brain damage and Jerry in prison for assault.
  • Misfile deconstructs every Gender Bender trope.
  • Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes takes a good hard look at the Unfortunate Implications of labeling whole races Always Chaotic Evil. It portrays goblins not as monsters but as people who live and love. It shows us that what Player Characters see as just an XP haul isn't so fun when you're the one they're killing to level up.
  • The entire premise behind Darths & Droids is that the Star Wars universe is the result of a group of Tabletop Gamers (including a 7 year old girl) making it up as they go along. It lends a whole new perspective to the storyline of the prequel trilogy. The entire mess on Naboo was the result of the Player Characters epically ruining a delicate, carefully constructed plan by going Off the Rails, and engaging in all the sins of The Real Man, The Munchkin, and The Loonie. Palpatine is actually a good guy overthrowing a corrupt regime, and trying to bring a semblance of stability to the republic. Darth Maul was just a Chaotic Neutral Hired Gun who was only trying to work with the player characters, before they attacked him. To top it all off, some of the most bizarre and unrealistic plot points, such as Naboo being governed by a 14 year old Queen, exist because Jar Jar Binks is being played by a little girl.
  • Strong Female Protagonist deconstructs the superhero genre, and asks what good superheroes can achieve when they're not facing immediate and palpable threats.
  • In Chapter 26 of the Spanish webcomic 5 Elementos, the author show the effects of a civil war in a world habited by lots and lots of people with superpowers.
  • MS Paint Adventures is Andrew Hussie's deconstructive love letter to a multitude of series, genres, concepts and tropes, including deconstruction itself.
  • Dresden Codak deconstructs the presence of insane cleavage on female superheroes in the comic strip Why Cleavage Is Bad For Crime Fighting.
  • In EATATAU!!! (Which is TOTALLY not a Warhammer 40k-based comic) deconstructs cartoon violence as well, when a Ttau teacher asks Skraat (a Kroott) to "attack him" in an exercise about drawing fire.
  • In its darker arcs Roommates deconstructs Medium Awareness. How do you cope with being a fictional being? Your fate is literally written (or filmed, printed, uploaded on the internet etc.), your hopes and dreams are slave to the Theory of Narrative Causality, etc.. There is a reason why it has a support group for the canonically dead, no matter how silly this sounds.
  • The Order of the Stick has a lot of Genre Savvy characters, but Tarquin carries it to the point where he sees the other characters as nothing more than plot devices and tropes. When he kills Nale, his own son one of the reasons he gives is that he has no place in the narrative anymore. Even Tarquin's allies are getting fed up with his meme obsession.
    • Tarquin actually manages to Deconstruct The Good Guys Always Win. When Tarquin's good son Elan points out that heroes always take down evil empires like his, Tarquin notes that for heroes to take them down, they must first exist, generally for decades or longer. Sure, he might get violently killed in the end, but he'll rule for years, and it'll make a great story for future dictators to take inspiration from when Elan himself overthrows him. Elan is so freaked out to hear his beloved tropes twisted this way that he has a full-fledged panic attack. Luckily he figures out a counter-deconstruction to tick his father off: if 'liberating' the empire will cause chaos and corruption anyway, why not ignore it entirely and let it rot itself over time from its Fascist, but Inefficient policies? It's a boring, anticlimactic ending that has about as many casualties as barging in and killing anyone guarding the tyrant, now with reduced inspiration.
  • Slightly Damned
    • The demon's berserk form deconstructs Hulking Out, they grow several times their original size and can even gain new appendages but the transformation puts so much strain on their bodies that if they stay that way for too long they will die of over-exertion. Also, most of them lose their minds in the process, making them liabilities to their former allies.
    • The series also deconstructs a Forever War; the forces of heaven originally went to war with hell to defend Medius but after generations of fighting and dying (and the disappearance of their goddess) they went from all-loving hippies to fascists with strict caste laws and a code of genocide against demonic children. There's also the fact that hundreds of years of war have severely reduced the populations of both sides and now there aren't that many angels or demons left, prompting those in power to secretly forge a desperate alliance and attack a neutral party, Medius itself, for certain "resources".

    Web Original 
  • Smash King has this as a heavy Overarching Theme of the series, such as the main protagonist who is widely renowned as a villain (Bowser) as despite his reputation, he desires something other than a life of villainy. One even more notable example that this trope especially works well on is Link, on how the pressure of being a designated hero can really turn for the worse. With Link it also works as a subtle Take That! to the other machinima cliches, particularly how Link's ALWAYS the hero, ALWAYS saves Zelda, and ALWAYS beats Ganondorf.
  • Aitor Molina vs. gives way too many consequences to most of the cartoony and reviewing tropes.
  •, as mentioned above in Fan Fic, deconstructs the seemingly Utopian Star Trek universe, pointing out holes.
  • Sailor Nothing loves showing just how jarringly, horrifically, nightmarishly different the characters' lives are from Magical Girl anime. Several of them even watch an exaggerated, stereotypical version of such shows; the main character actually watches it to escape her life.
  • Mario: Game Over. A remarkable deconstruction of Super Mario Bros.
  • Furry Fandom works frequently portray a world as furry. I Wish I Was Furry! (NSFW!) shows what would happen if we woke up one day and the world actually was furry. The main character is even a human furry fan, like is typical for transformation stories. A furryized world, as it happens, is dark and brutal.
  • Sonny Gets Mad Scienced is the "humorous" type of deconstruction. It revolves around two central ideas; telling a Mad Scientist story from the perspective of one of the nameless subjects experimented on, and being Genre Savvy doesn't always help.
  • From The Onion: "Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks 2", sends up the idea of video games becoming progressively more realistic by taking it to a logically deconstructive extreme with an "ultra realistic Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3". It mostly involves sitting around and waiting, when you're not going on pointless, tedious missions, suffering from homesickness or getting randomly killed. Single player gameplay clocks in at 17,250 hours.
  • For the superhero scene, there's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. A detailed description of the webseries can be found in its WMG page.
  • In an effort to make Creepypasta less frightening, some internet users have taken to providing reasons why they exist, such as Jeff the Killer being abused by his family, forcing him into homicide, resulting in his murderous tendencies.
  • This video is a deconstruction of Pokémon. Yes, Pokémon. It is mostly played for laughs but there is a disturbing point about half-way through where Pikachu is bleeding as he's strangled by a Bulbasaur. If you've ever been mildly bothered by the cockfighting similarities, you will be really distressed by this video.
    • Then again, you could see the same thing in Pokémon Adventures, where an Arbok gets its head cut off That's right, stuff like that happens in the manga.
  • Dance of the Manwhore and Quest of the Manwhore deconstructs the "manly seducer" character found in a modern dance pop. The video shows that this same kind of character, looked at a little differently, can come across as creepy, even dangerous, and that his superficial lifestyle may be hiding all kinds of personal issues, like drug addiction, and parental abandonment.
  • SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE SPIDER-MAN, SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE NINJA TURTLES and SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE DUCKTALES Deconstruct the characters of the various shows, by showing just how horrific it would be if these characters where actually like the animals they were based on.
  • Accidentally done in WrestleCrap's 2006 Gooker Award winner to its own website. The winner was the "Eddiesploitation", Creator/WWE's exploitation of Eddie Gurerro's death. Not only did RD regret even putting the incident as a nomination, knowing that it would be hard to write up its induction, but he pointed out that the website's tagline was "The Very Worst in Wrestling" and the "Eddiesploitation" was just that.
  • Rumsfeldia: Fear and Loathing in the Decade of Tears, the sequel to the story Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72, deconstructs the narrative of Ronald Reagan being a conservative icon, by having an actual ultra-conservative - in this case, Donald Rumsfeld - being elected into office in the 1980s. The result is neglect of civil rights, excessive nuclear proliferation, complete economic collapse, reduction of civil liberties, and environmental damage.
  • A Funny or Die video by Casey Wilson and Scott Aukerman deconstructed the 1944 Frank Loesser song "Baby It's Cold Outside" in such a way that the situation (Casey wants to go home and Scott wants to have sex with her) is presented as a date rape: he slips a roofie into her drink, they fight, and he ties her to a chair with duct tape. In the end, she knocks him out with a shovel. What's disturbing is that they sing the song without changing any of the words, and everything they do is entirely appopriate to what they're singing about.
  • Reddit's coaxedintoasnafu subreddit deconstructs many of the site's memes and trends.
  • The Candy Hair saga (written by phantomrose96, of "It's Not Gay If He's Dead" fame) tears into Anime Hair and similar fashion-related tropes by depicting a world where people with unnatural hair and eye colors are forced to become protagonists in their own anime adventures. The main characters are a group of background characters who are sick of getting passed over due to their relative plainness and so start dying and styling their hair, among other things. However, they can't keep up this facade for various reasons (the rich rival, for example, is only considered one by the universe because of his dyed platinum blonde hair and fancy suit, and happens to be in trouble with a number of debtors and credit card companies because he's desperately trying to support his lifestyle). The villain is a girl born with pink hair who absolutely loathes the protagonist lifestyle because it cost her so much (including her amnesiac best friend, the saga's protagonist), and is under the belief that, by shaving and re-dying everyone's hair, she's giving them better lives.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time is a deconstruction of fantasy elements applied in a positive way. Characters go through trouble, the world is in danger every day, and very few people have good values.
  • The American Dad! episode "Pulling Double Booty" has a rather humorous exaggeration of Teens Are Monsters trope by having Hayley go on a destructive Unstoppable Rage. However, people react to it by fleeing the mall as if there was a crazed gunman on the loose, there is a considerable amount of property damage and several people end up getting killed. It's gotten to the point where the police gave Stan an ultimatum: one more rampage and she goes to jail forever.
  • The series finale of The Angry Beavers "Bye Bye Beavers" was never filmed because it broke two of Nickelodeon's rules. One being that a show doesn't acknowledge an episode is the last episode, so kids keep watching and hoping for new episodes, and the other rule being a show doesn't break the fourth wall. "Bye Bye Beavers" did both. However, a recording of the actors reading the script exists online. This episode, even only as an audio, is one of the most unique deconstructions ever made. It starts off somewhat normal, with Norbert explaining to Daggett that they're fictional characters in a cartoon, that has just been cancelled. The insanity begins when you hear the voice actors laughing as they're reading their lines, and then having a conversation. Norbert and Daggett are talking to each other about how their lives are just a show, joking about common tropes in cartoons, while each character's voice actors are talking to each other about other shows and their future plans. This doesn't just break the fourth wall, it completely deconstructs the show in a bizarre meta way.
  • Arthur: You would think that a series that is founded on the "Reading Is Cool" Aesop would support programs on the vein of Book Adventure. However, S16's "Buster's Book Battle" points out serious flaws: the program is not guaranteed to have listings on "the classics" or books children actually want to read; the prizes might be lackluster; the participants would try to "game" the system: most importantly, the program would not teach people to read for the fun/utility of reading itself, instead reading just to earn prizes.
  • Batman Beyond: The show illustrates the toll being Batman has taken on Bruce's personal life. Because Bruce's dedication to fighting crime meant virtually forsaking his personal life, by the time he reaches old age he has become a bitter and lonely old man. All of his friends and allies are either dead or resent him so much that they want nothing to do with him, and none of his romantic prospects resulted in anything lasting. Before Terry came along, his only source of companionship was a dog. Bruce's actions may have served a greater good, but this shows that being Batman does come at a price.
    • The Batman Beyond episode "Heroes" presented the Terrific Trio, three scientists empowered by a Freak Lab Accident. Their transformations made it impossible for any of them to live normal lives — worse, it turned out that their conditions were slowly killing them. One or both of these factors drove them insane to the point where Batman had to stop them from destroying the city.
  • In the Bob's Burgers episode, "The Frond Files", a deconstruction of Designated Villain appears when in each of the Belcher kid's written essays, (a Terminator parody, a parody of 80's High School movies and a parody of The Walking Dead note ), Mr. Frond is the villain and he then breaks into tears over how much he thinks the kids hate him.
  • To an extent, Season 3 of Code Lyoko can be considered as a deconstruction of the show's concept of Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World by showing us the long term consequences of a bunch of kids trying to prevent a highly intelligent AI from taking over the world while keeping a normal life. The result? Their grades start dropping due to the time taken from them by XANA's attack, XANA actually outsmarts them and ends the season with Team Rocket Wins, gradually destroying their virtual world in the process, and their attempt to get a new recruit ends up creating a Sixth Ranger Traitor. Even the relationships get deconstructed, as, after two seasons of Unresolved Sexual Tension, Yumi gets sick of it and decides that Ulrich and she are Just Friends.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • Mark Beaks and Waddle are this for Benevolent Boss and laid back culture associated with tech companies. The episode shows that underneath the surface of the cool tech, free swag, and "zany" office features, Beaks and the company are just as cutthroat and unethical as the more old fashioned big corporations that they reject and make fun of and only care about the bottom line.
    • Louie Duck has been known throughout Season 1 as a lazy, greedy, cowardly liar who sometimes puts his own lazy and greedy tendencies ahead of others in spite of the serious implications. The premiere of Season 2 shows him struggling to keep up with the others who have special applicable skills while his special talent is "talking his way out of it" and becomes afraid that will soon not be enough.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • The episode "1 + 1 = Ed" is a deconstruction of how cartoons work, similar to Duck Amuck.
    • The Movie shows some of the characters in a more complex light. For example, Eddy is probably the most flawed character in the series, having an inferiority complex caused by his brother. Overall the movie plays things a bit more realistically than the rest of the series, though the film also puts a lot of emphasis on comedy and the relations between the characters.
    • The climax of The Movie gives us a pretty disturbing deconstruction of Amusing Injuries. First it's deconstructed with the injuries all the kids had, which were horrifying, and rightly so. Second, with Eddy's brother's beatings on Eddy having resulted in his inferiority complex and jerkassery. It wasn't rare for the cul-de-sac kids to pick on the Eds, but they were the same age and had more or less comparable chances. Eddy's brother is definitely older and physically stronger than Eddy. The cruel way he beats him up just because he asked for protection from the enraged neighborhood kids revolts even Sarah and the Kankers. Now we know why Eddy can take so much punishment...
    • The movie in general deconstructs many parts of the series. For example, Eddy's Flanderization into a Jerkass is deconstructed in that both his friends and neighbors are actually reacting to it, while most of time the Eds do something to deserve whatever they got, and even then the kids left them off the hook. Not this time, the kids now actually want to kill them (perhaps literally because of how hellbent they were to find them).
    • It deconstructs the nature of Eddy's scams as well. There was only so much the cul-de-sac kids could take, and only so much the Eds could do before, in Edd's words, they "went too far."
    • It also deconstructs, and reconstructs the With Friends Like These... trope. Because of the poor decisions that Eddy makes in this movie, it makes Edd question his friendship with Eddy. Eddy (and Ed) finally cross the line when they play a Dude, Not Funny! joke by pretending to drown. Edd and Eddy get into a fight and after Edd throws Eddy off of him, he snaps and says that he would rather face the consequences of his actions, than to hang around with a "so-called friend," thus ending his friendship with Eddy. Eddy ends up feeling remorse for his actions and cries. Edd ends up forgiving Eddy and they both reconcile.
    • Eddy's reason for becoming such a jerk is deconstructed as well. At a young age, he was abused severely by his brother, giving him a cynical view in life and believed that being an asshole is the best way to be cool (considering that even Rolf was utterly scared of the guy, that might be understandable).
  • Ever After High lovingly pokes fun at the horrible implications of the fairy tale universe while being very upbeat and cheery about it.
  • Family Guy
    • One episode does a particularly nasty deconstruction of Looney Tunes and its Amusing Injuries, wherein Elmer Fudd is out "hunting wabbits", shoots Bugs Bunny four times in the stomach, snaps his neck amidst cries of pain, and then drags him off leaving behind a trail of blood.
    • In another episode where Peter and friends became The A-Team, the show's "amusing injuries" are discussed as actually life-threatening.
    • The second Christmas Episode deconstructs Santa Claus in a similarly horrific fashion.
    • Meg could be considered a deconstruction of Butt-Monkey-type characters, as she shows how much of a psychological wreck one would probably be in real life.
      • The episode "Seahorse Seashell Party" was a complete deconstruction in Meg's abuse.
    • In "I Take Thee Quagmire" Peter tries to get Quagmire out of a wedding by reminding him of his lustful nature, so Peter brings him the Statue of Liberty's foot. When Quagmire politely refuses, Peter rants about how difficult this stunt really was:
      Peter: Hey, hey. Do you have any idea what I went through to get this? (Angry tone) A lot. A real lot. You think this is just, "oh here comes Peter with the Statue of Liberty’s foot. Oh isn't that just a gas." No. No. The reality, the real reality, of getting this together was staggering. You know, this cost me $437,000. Don't ask me how I got it. I had to call in a whole bunch of favors from people I've never even met. So the very least you can do is just rub up against... (putting his hands up in defeat) I don’t know.
    • Some episodes will deconstruct the cast's Character Derailment with somebody calling them out for it or react negatively.
  • The Flintstones TV special Flintstones on the Rocks deconstructed Fred and Wilma's relationship with each other from the original series. While Fred and Wilma would normally be seen bickering with each other from time to time in the original series, this special showed how their bickering led to them having problems with their marriage, with it going as far as to show Fred and Wilma attending couples therapy at the beginning of the special.
  • Hey Arnold!: Arguably for shows like Arthur and Recess. For in those shows, there is a memorable/colorful cast of characters, all with their own personality quirks. While that is present here in Hey Arnold, the quirks and traits that make the characters more or less memorable, are usually the result of some hidden neurosis, or psychosis. Some characters have even received therapy for said problems; only to regress to their former problematic ways at the story's end.
    • Ironically, this receives the same treatment in "Deconstructing Arnold". Helga starts the episode by calling out on Arnold that he is too much of a Nice Guy that ruins fun for everyone but the problem is that Helga's only good at this because she is a Jerkass and merely uses this method to bully him. What results is a short life without Arnold who IS the only one who kept everything in order and that includes the school. Once he stops helping his friends, they began to suffer from their foolishness. The kids then turn to Helga for help but she lacked the wisdom and any sort of social skills(minus Phoebe) Arnold has causing the problems to grew even worse such as Curly humiliating Rhonda, Sid losing his friendship with Lorenzo and Harold and Stinky injuring Eugene. She even lampshades how much of a terrible person she is. Who are the kids going to hate more? Arnold or the Unwitting Instigator of Doom.
    • "Helga On The Couch" wound up being one for Helga's Hilariously Abusive Childhood. Before, scenes of Helga's home life were used as gags to counterbalance her Jerkass behavior. However, the episode re-contextualized how a life of living with Parental Neglect and being the Unfavorite directly contributed to how she interacts with her peers, especially Arnold.
  • Hey Good Lookin' by Ralph Bakshi (who else) is one big Deconstruction and Take That! against anyone who believes that the 1950s were really just like Grease or Happy Days. The main character is ostensibly as cool as The Fonz but actually a Dirty Coward who can't back up his bragging, the Plucky Comic Relief is actually a racist sociopath, their gang aren't really True Companions despite looking like one, the supposed Big Bad never explictly does anything really bad and the ending's Broken Aesop is intentional about the "romance" between the main character and Rozzie.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures offers an interesting take on the teenage superhero genre in the fact the hero really couldn't care any less about school or fitting in, claiming it's a waste of time and instead stating that his work as a hero is more important. He then proceeds to cheat on his tests and homework in order to pass, since him being a hero gives him the latitude to do so, and high school is meaningless and doesn't matter once you graduate.
  • Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius deconstructs the "no parents would be great" trope by having difficulties pop up the very next day. A girl gets injured, everyone gets chronically lonely, and people get sick from eating nothing but bad food.
  • One element of the episode "Epilogue" from Justice League Unlimited can be taken as a Do Not Do This Cool Thing look at the life of Bruce Wayne, who was so dedicated to being Batman that he ultimately ended up alone and bitter, having alienated all his friends and loved ones.
  • Looney Tunes director Chuck Jones often used deconstruction on his cartoons. The best known example is Duck Amuck: First the scenery changes, forcing Daffy to adapt. Then Daffy himself is erased and redrawn. Then the soundtrack fails, then the film frame, and so on until Daffy is psychologically picked clean. Another example is What's Opera, Doc?, which takes the base elements of a typical Bugs Bunny cartoon and reassembles them as a Wagnerian opera. (Conversely, you could also say that it takes the base elements of Wagnerian opera and reassembles them as a Bugs Bunny cartoon.)
  • Mighty Max: It's not clear if it was intentional, since the toys they were based on were unafraid of being scary and graphic as well, but this cartoon viciously deconstructs nearly every aspect of Saturday morning cartoons:
    • The Kid Hero is not even remotely prepared for being a hero and the only reason he is one is because Skull Master arose sooner than he was supposed to, which meant that Norman couldn't wait for Max to grow up. He also expresses a strong desire to not be the hero, completely averting Jumped at the Call.
    • The He-Man-esque Norman is a Sociopathic Hero who has zero problems with killing villains.
    • The Dumb Blonde is so incompetent that she's The Load and nearly gets herself killed.
    • Never Say "Die", Improbable Infant Survival, and No Endor Holocaust are completely averted, with numerous characters being killed off. The heroes themselves kill off a good number of villains and mooks.
    • The Big Bad is a borderline Eldritch Abomination who is most definitely not a Harmless Villain. In the end, Max isn't even able to defeat him; he has to hit a Reset Button to prevent Skull Master from winning.
    • The Invincible Hero gets this treatment. Max discovers that the villains in the series gradually become more and more dangerous so he had to rely on quick thinking to achieve victory and most of the time he barely survives the adventures he is in. There is also him gradually losing allies during his quest to defeat Skullmaster and he had to resort in pulling an enemy mine scenario just to stand even the slightest chance against him. Even with that he'd never get a true victory against Skullmaster.
    • The series tears apart all aspects of the heroic adventures the Kid Hero usually go on in Saturday Morning Cartoon Shows. For starters the villains are far from incompetent and have no qualms in killing Max. There have been several episodes where Max's only option would be to run for his life than to fight off a Monster of the Week. Then you have Max seeing all kinds of horrors that no normal kid should see.
  • Moral Orel deconstructs The Moral Substitute but presenting a culture where all media is Christian fundamentalist propaganda, and showing just how messed up and disturbing it would be.
    • By the third and final season the show starts deconstructing itself, as the show (for the most part) stops all pretense of being a comedy and starts examining all of its Straw Characters and what made them such deeply dysfunctional people, with some characters either bettering themselves by the end of the series or (in the case of Orel's parents - especially Clay) simply continuing to wallow in their misery and become irredeemable.
  • The first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic's second season, "Lesson Zero", deconstructs the Once an Episode lesson-learning nature of the show. Twilight Sparkle realizes that she hasn't learned a lesson this week, and she only has a day left to write her weekly "friendship report" to Princess Celestia. After futile attempts to find some problem to solve, she ends up cracking under the pressure and creating a Conflict Ball for her to resolve, which quickly escalates beyond her control.
  • "It's Oppo", a student film made by Cal Arts student Tyler Chen, deconstructs Nick Jr., as well as preschool television programs and morally unscrupulous media companies in general. Watch the (NSFW) video here.
  • The episode of The Powerpuff Girls about them moving to "Citysville" deals with what would happen if their brand of heroics was applied to a real life city.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show deconstructs every trope from Golden Age cartoons, especially those having to do with morality and chaos, either by exaggerating them to the point they become disgusting, or by showing just how unpleasant it would be to live through such events. The character of Ren could easily be a deconstruction of Butt-Monkey villain characters like Daffy Duck for example. While many of his schemes and plans seem to be immoral and self centered, they're usually motivated by survival, like in the short "A Yard Too Far", he tries to steal food, only because he's starving. On numerous occasions, Ren either breaks down into tears, or explodes into homicidal anger over the intense suffering he has to endure. Whereas Ren could be seen as a deconstruction of a cartoon bad guy, Stimpy on the other hand could be seen as a deconstruction of good guy characters in general. He often suffers through the same misfortune as Ren, and is unusually upbeat about it, but only because he's not smart enough to understand the trouble he's in, and despite the fact that he seems to have more of a sense of right and wrong than his counterpart, he is still easily manipulated by Ren into immoral activities, because, again he's not smart enough to understand.
  • The Rick and Morty episode "The Rickchurian Mortydate" deconstructed the show. The episode is more or less a systematic attack on Rick and Morty's usual formula of adventures, deliberately making the usual gimmicks anti-climactic by exposing what happens when Rick doesn't have an obvious Eviler Than Thou enemy to offend, and when his own attitude and gimmicks get turned against him:
    • At the start of the episode, Rick irritates the US Government for really no reason, acting like a smartass when he really should keep his mouth shut. This leads to Serial Escalation because the POTUS is not an Arch-Enemy, but a Hero Antagonist who is closer to Sitcom Archnemesis, and Rick's behaviour comes across as Disproportionate Retribution precisely because as Dr. Wong notes, he can't handle mundane everyday life, and pretends he's in an adventure when he isn't.
      • Throughout the series, Rick has killed plenty of people with his inventions with casual indifference. When he has a secret service agent killed by his Touch of Death during the standoff, it sours the situation immediately, a cabinet member chides him for not just knocking him out, and the POTUS angrily calls him out for committing murder in the Oval Office.
    • His constant nihilism and Contemplate Our Navels attitude to the multiverse and expecting his family to share his attitude and get with his program and crazy schemes get turned back, when they decide to restore the status-quo, and when Rick insists about how meaningless and disposable the multiverse is, Beth simply asks why Rick doesn't go find an alternate version of them that shares his attitude, while Summer in response to his usual Straw Nihilist spiel reacts by farting, similar to how Rick usually reacts to other people's serious concerns by snide toilet humor. Rick's crazy adventures could only break apart the family, while at the same time, Rick does depend on the same family for some kind of connection since he can't do without them. This leads to the status-quo coming back.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Of the original 1980s She-Ra: Princess of Power. The show gives characters much more moral ambiguity and overturns tropes from the original series. Adora learns that Etheria was weaponized by her ancestors for evil ends, and that being the "chosen one" isn't necessarily a good thing. Hordak and Catra are three-dimensional villains with complex motivations. Glimmer's efforts at protecting her people have dangerous ramifications for the universe. Several of the characters have moral shades of gray. Stories do not always have happy endings, and friendship does not always fix everything.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The famous episode "Homer's Enemy" is a deconstruction of the general weirdness and insanity of its setting, based around the premise of What if a real-life, normal person had to enter Homer's universe and deal with him? Frank Grimes, a relatively humorless but hard-working man who is still forced to live cheaply despite working almost his entire life, encounters Homer on the job at the nuclear power plant. You can imagine what happens next—the result is funny, but also disturbing and very dark upon further reflection (one of the darkest Simpsons episodes ever made).
      • At one point, Homer is about to drink a beaker of sulfuric acid when Grimes stops him. Grimes reacts exactly as we would expect a normal person to react—he's visibly freaked out, and when Homer blows off the danger with laughter, he shouts "Stop laughing, you imbecile! Do you realize how close you just came to killing yourself?!" while Homer just smiles at him blankly and dumbly, completely unable to understand not only the danger he just put himself in or why Frank is so upset with him. A series of such incidents, and everyone else's indifference to Homer's stupidity ultimately drives Frank Grimes into insanity (and death).
    • The Simpsons Movie deconstructs Homer's Flanderization into a Jerkass by having his friends and family actually react to it, up to and including Marge and the kids leaving him.
  • South Park, as well as deconstructing everything else on the planet, has a fine line in deconstructing itself:
    • In "Kenny Dies", the Running Gag character they had killed over seventy times already gets a terminal disease and slowly expires while Stan and Kyle react with utterly realistic grief and despair. That is further deconstructed in the "Mysterion Trilogy" with Negative Continuity.
    • The episode "You're Getting Old" deals with the consequences of having Randy being over-(re)active combined with the Reset Button. The result is Stan's parents divorcing and Randy moving away from South Park. On a deeper level, Stan starts deconstructing all things around him, finding that everything is ultimately meaningless, or "just crap", as the episode portrays it.
      • Rather notably the episode also deconstructs deconstructions by pointing out how a person completely ignoring the MST3K Mantra or Bellisario's Maxim would be widely viewed as an obnoxious, cynical Jerkass who judges everyone for liking things they don't and spends all their time complaining about pointless stuff. Indeed most of Stan's problems come from the fact that he refuses to consider that other people could like the things he constantly bitches about.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Interspecies Romance and Love at First Sight are given a pretty realistic take. Steven is the son of Greg Universe, a human man, and Rose Quartz, a female-looking sentient crystal with a "body" made of hard light who had already been alive for several thousand years before meeting Greg. Greg met Rose during an unsuccessful rock tour for his one-man band and she was charmed by his earnestness and music, while he was entranced by her beauty. At the start of their relationship, Greg has issues seeing himself as worthy of Rose's attention, while Rose proves him right by caring for him, but less as an equal partner and more in the way a human would show to a trick-performing dog. Pearl confirms she's had several flings with other men, which ended the same way as she refers to Greg as just another of Rose's phases. While Gems can perform a Fusion Dance that connects them into one being in ways a human can never understand, Greg proves he doesn't need it as having a hard, honest talk about how he feels is enough to get her to understand how she was acting and starts her on the path to understanding humans beyond their novelty. Things got much better down the line, but it took a lot of hard work and education on both their parts.
    • It also deconstructs the idea of otherworldly heroes. The Crystal Gems sacrifice a lot to protect Earth, and they have humanity's best interests at heart, but they're also borderline Smug Supers who keep their distance from humans at best, and are Good Is Not Nice types that outright belittle them at worst, while showing very little concern or respect for them or their culture, outside of protecting the planet. In other words, when all is said and done the Crystal Gems are still aliens that have a hard time understanding their charges, though they're trying.
    • Love triangles and unrequited love get thoroughly taken apart. Pearl, the smug, jealous lover who blames Greg for Rose's functional nonexistence in many works would hate him for petty reasons and a toxic person. Not so, as a former member of a Slave Race, she looked up to Rose with fanatical devotion as the first Gem who ever showed her any kindness. She developed an unhealthy obsession with keeping her safe, sacrificing herself constantly and feeling useless without her who defined her existence. When she's gone, Pearl is forced to redefine who she is as a person while going through many painfully accurate breakdowns motivated by her genuine feelings of love. Meanwhile Greg feels he can't do anything to help, while knowing how Pearl feels and believing things can't change. While they eventually start to mend fences, it takes a long time of Character Development on Pearl's part to find common ground and it's acknowledged several times that her grief will never fully go away. Loved ones cannot be simply forgotten about, and even for the winner of a love triangle, it's still a painful process.
    • As the series goes on, Steven's All-Loving Hero and Actual Pacifist status gets deconstructed. The show never says that it's wrong for Steven to try to resolve things peacefully but his methods don't always succeed because many threats can't simply be talked down. They work on certain Gems like Peridot (who was only on Earth for a mission, didn't know about the history of the Crystal Gems and the rebellion, and was lied to by Homeworld her entire life), Lapis (who only wished to go home and be free from the Mirror), and even the Cluster (a mindless mass of suffering Crystal Gem personalities who don’t want to destroy the Earth) because they’re able to see his viewpoints and react well to his kindness. However, against other Gems like Bismuth (willing to violently assert her own beliefs), Jasper (a Child Soldier who has personal grudges against his mother for her actions during the rebellion), and Eyeball Ruby (who also hates Rose for her actions during the war and is a Sociopathic Soldier), none of them are willing to agree with Steven and they outright reject and try to kill him when given the chance (even after he tries to save them) so Steven has to fight back in self-defense in order to save himself. Those situations forced him to learn that pacifism won't always mesh well with the morally-complex world that he lives in and sometimes Violence Is the Only Option. In “Mindful Education” Steven admits that he blames himself for not being able to do anything to help them and finally breaks down after weeks of holding his guilt and trauma in.
  • Tex Avery: He enjoyed deconstructing story clichés and tired conventions in every cartoon he made.
  • Transformers Animated is a deconstruction of the whole Autobot-Decepticon War. Things ain't so black and white as before, in fact the Autobots' leadership is flawed and somewhat corrupt, with one higly racist, incompetent, cowardly jerkass general on it, who only is amongst the High Command because he blames his mistakes on Optimus Prime, whose status as the All-Loving Hero makes him somewhat of a push-over, and its leader is ready to commit dirty tricks to defeat the Decepticons. The Decepticons however, are as much the monsters they were in G1, and though this time Megatron's pragmatic enough to blast Starscream's ass any time he tries to overthrow him. Starscream only survives thanks to the Allspark piece on his head. Without it he would have died right from the start. Then comes season three...
  • In Undergrads, college dorm life is deconstructed to counter its inspiration Animal House; Rocko's fratboy behavior is looked down on heavily by his frat brothers, who view him as a source of grief. Nitz' everyman status really puts only a grade above Gimpy, the resident Hikikomori of the four of them.
  • There can be a very good case made for The Venture Bros. being a deconstruction of Jonny Quest and Doc Savage-style stories. Some say spoof, some say deconstruction, some say both.
  • Young Justice serves as a deconstruction of sidekicks as Child Soldiers, superheroes in the modern world, and is often very cynical about it. So much so that when it tries to do sincere emotion, it comes off as unintentional Narm.
  • Wander over Yonder: Season 2's all about this trope. Everything that the crew stands for and does to achieve it is put to the test when they all come across Lord Dominator, a new foe that has taken over most if not all of Hater's territory... as a direct result of his chasing Wander across the galaxy. A good number of Hater's subordinates don't actually respect him, and it looks like Peepers is on his last wits watching his boss hold off conquering the galaxy. Wander's methods of befriending don't actually work on their new foe, and his distracting tendencies don't actually put Dominator off of their goal, and in the end defeats him easily. He also came really close to actually hating someone for the first time in the series. Sylvia just can't blast her way out of the situation like she usually can because Dominator's army is tougher, more powerful, and easily outnumbers them all. In the end, Dominator is revealed to be an extremely childish woman who appears to be spreading terror all over the galaxy for fun, combining elements of both Hater and Wander together.
    • Craig McCracken himself stated that the Season was trying to examine Wander and Hater's interactions in different ways while still getting their basic plot line (Hater wants to destroy Wander, Wander escapes and lives another day) across.

Alternative Title(s): Deconstructing, Deconstructed, Deconstruct


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