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Deconstructor Fleet

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"The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before."

Some stories and series seem to go out of their way to deconstruct as many genres as possible, or at the very least take them home and cuddle them and call them "George". A Deconstructor Fleet doesn't just use one topic for parody or deconstruction. It sinks its meathooks into any trope it can find and folds and spindles it to shreds. When done well, the overall effect is to create something visibly original. Done badly, it may be seen as a generic Hate Fic, resulting in a small but loyal fanbase loving it and everyone else hating it.

Even people not familiar with TV Tropes will notice how this show is different from others. Many such shows become Trope Makers in their own right. Do not confuse this with Deconstruction, which doesn't invent something new, but criticizes the old. In both cases, however, the ultimate goal of the writers should be to examine a genre or a set of tropes from a new perspective without losing their value as entertainment—not to make the viewer/reader/player feel bad for enjoying straightforward genre fiction. Please remember it's not enough to say that something is an example; it is important to say why it's an example.

The name is a pun on the Vogon Constructor Fleet from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Especially appropriate because the Vogon Constructor Fleet doesn't construct anything—its job is to facilitate hyperspace express routes by blowing up planets that happen to be in the way.

See also Genre-Busting and Postmodernism. Compare Better than a Bare Bulb.

Deconstruction Fic is a specific sub-trope for examples of Fan Fic with a Deconstruction theme or plot. Fan Fic examples go there. Read Not a Deconstruction to further your understanding of these tropes.

Some of the dramatic vehicles that make up the Deconstructor Fleet:

By media:


Other vehicles include the following:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • The Authority, of superteams in general and the JLA in particular.
  • Crossed: Oh boy, where do we even begin... Lots of tropes are deconstructed,
    • Pretend We're Dead: The method of fooling the Crossed by painting a red cross on an uninfected humans' face sounds good on paper... Except, as Oliver from Quisling states, his group had been utilizing such strategy with extreme caution. Not only do they avoid standing in the Crossed's field of view for too long (because the Crossed would inevitably figure the trick out), but getting the uninfected blood from dead corpses is pretty risky too because most of these bodies would be infected. It would only be made harder if the corpse is headless or otherwise maimed beyond recognition. Similarly, The Fatal Englishman opens with Harry's crew rescuing Father Dennis and children he swore to protect, who tried the aforementioned trick with paint. Of course, Crossed did not buy it. Furthermore, Harry himself states that he had never ever seen the face paint trick working during the past five years.
    • Celebrity Survivor: In Wish You Were Here when Shaky reveals his past as the writer when he meets the Gamekeeper the first time, the latter just bursts out laughing and says that having such talent is no longer useful. In his own words, "no one left to be impressed".
    • Kansas City Shuffle: When Shaky attemps to sabotage the lottery in the first Wish You Were Here volume, he has Tabitha organise a drawing contest as a distraction before trying to sneak to the chest with names of the Cava residents chosen for the sortie. Unfortunately, having a person organize such contests without much preparations will raise suspicions, and thus Shaky gets confronted by Rab, who realized that something was wrong. As result, Shaky gets a black eye and has to change the approach.
    Rab: Tabitha just decides tae draw us, eh? Ootae the blue? While youse go caperin' off?. Gimme some credit, lad. I'm no' stupid, y'wee fuck!
    • Honor Before Reason: Related to the above, Shaky gets assigned to the sortie team by Rab who was blackmailed into doing so and kept it a secret. But by the time Shaky returns with his crew, he finds out to his dismay that Rab told others what really happened back then. Did you really expect that Rab would forget the whole incident so easily?
    • America Saves the Day: While the Drift Fleet (which consists of mostly American personnel) is a very large and organized group, it lacks experience in fighting Crossed and is pretty vulnerable in general, a weakness that Rab points out. This is exactly what leads to its downfall at the end of Volume 3.
    • Open Heart Dentistry: In the last Badlands arc the closest thing to a doctor the bunker survivors have is Karen the dermatologist, so when she has to perform appendectomy on a man, she fails to save his life exactly because she is Not That Kind of Doctor and thus unfamiliar with surgery.
  • Planetary (also of the Wildstorm universe) went even further with the "Ironic Darkly Humorous Tongue-In-Cheek Deconstructive Parody of Superheroes" tone of The Authority by taking the same approach with other genres, including Hong-Kong action films, Japanese Giant Monster films, and 1930s pulp adventure.
  • The Boys is a deconstruction of the "Bullpen" mythos that surrounds the superhero comic book industry.
  • Captain Atom is a deconstruction of secret identities, origin stories, retcons, rogues' galleries, Steven Ulysses Perhero, even, arguably, The Good Captain, plus who knows how many other Superhero Tropes.
  • Cerebus the Aardvark gave us the trope name for a reason.
  • Miracleman is one of the earliest deconstructions of the superhero genre, showing the Fascist undertones of the genre, exploring the abuse of power, and showing a particularly gory and destructive superhero battle that was legitimately shocking at the time. Yet it still manages to explore Captain Marvel mythos in a very witty and tongue-in-cheek manner.
  • Kingdom Come:
    • '90s Anti-Hero: What happens when a bunch of “superheroes” with a darker and grittier attitude to crime than Batman starts targeting villains. They of course, over ten years wipe out a significant amount of super villains. But what happens when there is no one to fight? They fight each other and everyone nearby feels the full effect of their battles.
    • The Cape: Superman is easily one of the greatest superheroes if not the greatest. He’s a pedestal-mounted archetype of the superhero age, and many people look up to him. So what he happens when a great figure many look up for guidance just leaves? Who do people seeking advice or needing help go to? When the public support went to the anti-heroes everyone looked to Magog, but his actions helped little and ushered a dark age.
    • Utopia Justifies the Means: Killing dozens of villains for peace may have eliminated a good chunk of crime, but that does not mean the crime is gone for good. Also after years of He Who Fights Monsters battles, the “heroes” are no longer fighting villains but fighting each other. Sometimes out of dislike, most of them out of boredom and everyone suffers in the long run.
    • Ideal Hero: On the other end of the spectrum, having a set of uncompromisingly moral superheroes may look good in paper, but the very inflexibility of their moral compasses lead to a constant tug of war between good and evil, which in turn made people look up to "heroes" that would have less qualms to end things once and for all. This is most noticeable with Superman, who elected to exile himself from the world as public opinion swung in favour of Magog after he killed the Joker instead of confronting him and the possibility that his ideals might have limits.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen deconstructs the entirety of fiction and its relation to reality.
  • Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt (2019) deconstructs a bunch of superhero tropes, such as Captain Patriotic (in the form of Supreme Justice, who is a nationalistic, violent thug) or the '90s Anti-Hero (in the form of The Test, a deranged short-lived oddball with guns instead of hands), as well as elements from Watchmen (see below). All this is while it's on its way to deconstructing deconstruction, by showing how repetitive, unimaginative, and plain mean-spirited it can get: if you're deconstructing something without making a point, repeating old cliches instead of finding new innovations, or just out of spite, are you actually deconstructing it?
  • Powers is a major one for at least half the superhero tropes. Taking place through the eyes of two non-powered cops, everything from investigating superhero crimes to tabloid obsession with superheroes to Beware the Superman to what a relationship between a super powered gangster and a mob boss would really be like to how fickle the public can be on things like the Super Registration Act to the stress of keeping a secret identity to immortality are put down on the page without any glamor or glorification.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, at least in the original Eastman and Laird run.
  • Star Wars: Legacy takes the original and Star Wars Legends, cuts it up into little tiny pieces, shuffles them, and glues it back together into a dark twisted reflection of its former self that's hardly recognisable, and yet somehow still manages to capture everything that made the original movies great.
  • The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers absolutely tears apart the Transformers series and the various tropes associated with it and kids series like it. In particular, it rips Black-and-White Morality, Ascended Fanboy, Never Say "Die", Affably Evil, Anti-Hero, War Is Glorious, and Thou Shall Not Kill up from the roots to show how horrifying many clichés of the Saturday morning cartoon would be in real life. It also uses extremely graphic violence to show how horrific war between Transformers would be, not to mention subvert the common trick of using robots to sneak Family-Unfriendly Violence past censors. Robots getting smashed up isn't so harmless and kid friendly when said robots are living sentient beings who express terror and pain with gut-wrenching detail.
  • TRON: Ghost in the Machine (follow up to Alternate Continuity Tron 2.0) dishes out some deconstruction with a side order of Mind Screw. The comic opens with Jet Bradley going from a promising game designer to hunkering down in his Honorary Uncle's darkened arcade, virulently technophobic with a nasty case of PTSD from all the digital lives he had to take in the course of the game.
    • Oh, that's just the opening scene! It deconsructs the "User as hero" idea when Jet gets put in charge of an army because he absorbs the commander and leads his troops into a bloodbath. The depiction of Alan is "Ron the Death Eater" levels of dark, pulling zero punches about him being a broken, Good is Not Nice man after the loss of his wife and close friend. It screws with Your Mind Makes It Real all three "Jet" Programs think their version of reality is the "correct" one, and even makes a chilling play with the Brain Uploading / Virtual Ghost aspect of Ma3a.
  • Superior Spider-Man deconstructs a lot of assumptions about Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Especially assumptions made by Peter Parker. Epitomises the 'near universally hated' part of this trope.
    • The Spider-Man franchise has always dabbled in this, mostly through the contrast between The Cape and a Classical Antihero, but also by considering how superhero tropes would affect someone trying to get through school. It's just gotten more and more pronounced over the years. As one editor summarized it, "Peter Parker's life was [miserable], which every teenager could relate to; once he became Spider-Man, Peter's life got even worse."
  • As well as Stupid Jetpack Hitler, Über deconstructs the common superhero comic depiction of abstract "courage", "will", or "righteousness" as outweighing Super Weight. Go up against a Super-Soldier who outclasses you, and you will be rapidly smeared across the landscape.
  • Secret Empire effectively tears apart The Cape, Big Good, Legacy Character, Teeth-Clenched Teamwork and Let's You and Him Fight. Many of Marvel's recent events — AXIS, Secret Wars (2015) and Civil War II — have essentially been nothing but heroes fighting heroes because someone stepped on their precious ideology and when the event ends, someone's nursing a bruised ego and the other thinks they're morally superior and everyone's fuming at each other. When they turn to someone for advice, they turn to Captain America. However, since Sam Wilson is Captain America alongside Steve Rogers, Sam finds himself overwhelmed and looked down on because he's "not my Captain America". Thus, when Sam Wilson pulls a Rage Quit and everyone gets Steve Rogers back full time, Steve's actually The Mole for HYDRA and he succeeds in taking over the United States, imprisoning many superpowered characters or keeping them out of the fight and leaving the fight to save the day to a bunch of B-Listers who are prone to wanting to strangle everyone.
  • Watchmen is a deconstruction of the comics that preceded it. It examines the implications of superheroes existing in a real setting — specifically, what just one person with superpowers might mean for the world, and what it really takes to be a masked vigilante with no powers capable of making a difference. It was one of the comic books that brought in The Dark Age of Comic Books. It also uses superheroes as a vehicle to deconstruct American culture and Cold War international politics.

    Fan Works 
  • If there is a trope from any stories in The Conversion Bureau sub-genre that has pissed you off and/or confused you, The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum and its various canon side-stories have probably skewered through it. Newfoals as defined by Chatoyance? They're played up as perpetually smiling Extreme Doormats. The xenocidal tendencies of the TCB ponies being played as a good thing? Here, they're portrayed almost like Nazis. The global effects of Equestria appearing in the ocean? Not actually present in the story, but given a long, incredibly Troperiffic monologue about the scientific impossibilities, faithfully reproduced on the fanfic's page and the No Endor Holocaust page. Why are the Equestrians, including Celestia, so misanthropic? They've been corrupted by an Artifact of Doom that seeks to enslave every living being under its maker's will, and is targeting the humans first because one single human defeated said creator in the distant past. How would the presence of the Barrier affect food production and standards of living in the world due to the massive displacement of refugees? Most cities on earth, or at least Rio de Janeiro, turn into Wretched Hives where food has become so hard to come by that some have resorted to eating newfoals. How was a successful version of the potion created? That's difficult to explain without ruining the Wham Episode, but it's really, really messed up.
    • The side story, Calm Before the Storm, does not shy away from showing just how Equestria would really be ill-equipped to support a massive influx of new residents. To put it simply, there are severe food shortages, no adequate infrastructure to support the newfoals coming in, the economy is in shambles, and the prolonged war has slowly unraveled the fabric of society, so much so that only terror, propaganda and the slave exploitation of newfoals are the only things keeping the Solar Empire afloat, and even that is failing.
  • Child of the Storm was, apparently, written with this intention in mind, after the author saw one Super!Harry/Lord!Harry/God!Harry story, in which Harry and other characters become characters In Name Only, too many. note 
    • Instead, it takes a look at how all those happenings and tropes, indeed, that much power, would actually affect the canon Harry, a fame averse, emotionally repressed trouble magnet with something of a temper. On the upside, he gets a bit more assertive and self-confident, and more open. On the downside, he's got a lot of repressed rage to work through, an intimate understanding of cruelty to those who are different via the Dursleys and after several Trauma Conga Lines, outright PTSD. This leads to a proclivity for Revenge that has more than one person worried he could snap and turn into the next Magneto (or worse) if he doesn't have a Morality Chain or two.
    • It also averts the trope that a good guy armed with righteous anger etc. can beat a bad guy who is more skilled and/or more powerful. Any character who loses their head in a fight and stops fighting smart promptly gets their dislocated ass handed to them and learns a harsh lesson: will does not beat skill.
    • The second installment, Ghosts of the Past, completely tears apart the Kid Hero concept by showcasing just how heavy a burden Harry's life has become. The neverending threats that continue to target him just because he's the son of Thor and a host of the Phoenix and the mental trauma he endures from his previous adventures starts taking a serious toll on his psyche. This also deconstructs There Are No Therapists - namely, Harry's stability rapidly improves after he starts getting therapy.
      • Even after Harry's psyche is patched up, there are palpable psychological scars, and a distinct lack of previous innocence. This is also noted as having happened to Carol, and both of them recognise it. Accordingly, it's why Harry opts to keep Ron and Hermione at arms length when it comes to his adventures, something which damages their relationship, and when they do try to get involved it nearly goes horribly wrong, requiring a Big Damn Heroes moment from Wanda, who furiously points out what could have happened to them as children (powerful, capable children, but still children who are way out of their depth). When Ron brings up Harry, she tartly points out a) Harry's had his own Trauma Conga Line, b) he's exceedingly well-trained and a Person of Mass Destruction who can more than look after himself. It's also why Harry keeps his distance from Clark once he works out that he exists, pointing out to Jean-Paul what sort of things he'd be exposing Clark to - and when the two do meet, it's because Harry's hand has been forced by Doctor Strange, and it's because Harry-class trouble (well... sort of) has found him anyway.
      • In passing, in relation to Harry and Carol's UST, the characters discuss and dismiss the idea of using a romantic relationship and thereby The Power of Love (which the fic otherwise treats fairly seriously) as a tool to keep someone traumatised stable, on the grounds that (though they don't use the exact terms) it's a textbook example of codependency and deeply unhealthy. They do eventually get together, but only after both of them have come to terms with many of their issues.
    • It also paints a clear picture on just how far the Avengers would go to defeat an enemy and some of the methods they'd resort to aren't on the moral side of the scale. It also deconstructs their habit of not really obeying any authority but their own, and their occasional habit of acting unilaterally against their enemies, perceived or otherwise: that fear is the trigger of the Death Eater-HYDRA alliance in Book 1, which places the world (briefly) under the heel of an Evil Overlord and nearly destroys the universe. Doctor Doom, of all people, comments on it in the sequel, and the narration and the characters around him admit, reluctantly, that he has a point.
  • Spirited Away deconstructs not only a big portion of Harry Potter, but also themes found in other Harry Potter/Danny Phantom crossovers.
  • The fic Zulu Squad no Tsukaima is a Deconstructor Fleet for anime crossovers, and crossover fics in general. Appropriate, since it's a crossover with Spec Ops: The Line.
    • Specifically it shows how characters from a non-anime world would react to all the cliches and tropes associated with anime or manga.
    • Later in the story it deconstructs battles where modern or futuristic soldiers fight a technologically inferior army and win the day with little to no casualties.
  • This fanfic The Attempted Confrontation analyzes an pokes fun at pretty much everything in Les Misérables from plot holes from the musical (Javert doing nothing but hunting Valjean then failing to recognize him as Mayor Madeline, Javert calling Valjean "24601" even after he would have gotten a new prison number like 9340 or something, etc.), and character flaws of Javert and Valjean that started from the book itself (Valjean blaming himself for things he wasn't directly at fault for, Javert's Lawful Stupidity, etc), and turns the whole thing into an epic Snark-to-Snark Combat.
  • This seems to be the mission of No Chance for Fate. For one it is a deconstruction of the Fuku Fic, which at the time of creation had degenerated badly. However, it also takes apart the source material of both series. The sheer list of deconstructions is way too long. Interestingly, the story still is very enjoyable to read and the characters actually come out of it stronger.
  • For Love of Magic deconstructs a lot of Fandom Specific Plots for Harry Potter. Someone writing fictional tales about Harry's childhood? A kind woman who wrote them on a fit of whimsy, later published them at a friend's urging, and upon being confronted by Harry's barrister, agrees to pay Harry far more than he'd expected. Harry's abandoned by the Dursleys? His frequent tantrums and resulting accidental magic drove them to their wits end so they dropped him off at an orphanage. Dumbledore never checking up on Harry? It honestly never occurred to him that family would ever not love family. Dumbledore never got Sirius a trial? He was extremely overworked and naive enough to believe Crouch's insistence that Sirius had confessed. Molly encouraging Ginny to marry Harry? She was simply encouraging her daughter's crush and when Harry turns out to be a typical teenage boy instead of The Paragon Ginny thought he was, Molly advises Ginny to give up on him. Snape hates Harry for who his father is? After knowing the boy a bit better, Snape decide Harry is more like Lily and treats him the same as every other student.
    • Even Voldemort making his horcruxes important items held in locations connected to him is deconstructed. Voldemort doesn't use a random rock that he throws into the ocean because both the item and it's location have to have significance to the horcrux owner or their soul won't bond to it.
  • The Rise of Darth Vulcan exists to deconstruct not just the "character from real world in a villain costume gets mistaken for a bad guy and later gets super power to become a true villain" plot bunny that some Hate Fic writers have done, but also pays attention every perceived and actual political and social flaw in Equestrian society as it's presented in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and the Fanon perceptions many fans and fic writers have of it. Special attention is put on the potential negative repercussions that simply ignoring such flaws can have in the long and short run once forced into the open. The Equestrian characters' own flaws and mistakes are also forced into the light to be dealt with, for good and ill, and when the characters are the Equestrian Princesses, their mistakes aren't simply forgiven and forgotten as in the show and have long reaching consequences. However, this has been done a little too well, leading to a large portion of the fic's fanbase ending up supporting the villain totally, much to the author's shock.
  • A Brighter Dark retells the story of Fire Emblem Fates while taking a massive sledgehammer to quite a few characters' personalities (Corrin and Garon's especially) and rebuilds them how they naturally would be in the universe constructed by the original creators. It then takes everything and everyone in the original universe and takes them to their logical extremes, tearing apart the Black-and-White Morality very thoroughly. If that wasn't enough it goes further on to methodically line up the methods in which fantasy heroes would typically deal with their problems, and gives them a big reminder about why people don't typically try them in real life.
  • Shinobi The RPG deconstructs not only the Peggy Sue, Sudden Game Interface, and Self-Insert genres of Fanfic; but also Naruto. Daisuke's Level Grinding is viewed as him being a Blood Knight by his peers and colleagues, and his abilities are viewed as a unique bloodline that others desire to use for their own ends. His knowledge of future events has others eye him with suspicion. He chose Charisma as his Dump Stat, which causes him to be alienated by many people and causes him to make bad judgement calls. When he finally gets "Almost Perfect" all of this and much more hits him hard.
  • Fall of Starfleet, Rebirth of Friendship deconstructs practically everything about the much despised My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic, just to list a few examples: The actions of the supposed "heroes" of Starfleet are treated as horrific as they actually are, Calling Your Attacks just gives the enemy a chance to counterattack, a rebellion is planned to overthrow the racist tyrant Grand Ruler, The Monster of the Week method of attack is replaced with sending battalions to cities while cutting off said cities' defenses.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail deconstructs the usual tropes of "child goes through Character Development via Pokémon" in the Pokémon canon by exploring Chloe's character being always pressured by everyone to like Pokémon and get a job relating to them solely because of her father's job has caused her to not try anything new, Goh's Goal in Life to find Mew has caused him to not notice Chloe's insecurities, Ash being an All-Loving Hero is instead portrayed as him being an intrusion that took Goh and Professor Cerise's attention away from her and that because of Chloe's lack of screentime in the anime, no one knows anything about her.
    • It's usually shown that children who leave home is because they are off to become Trainers. Goh tells off Chloe's classmates that it's not usually the case. Chloe could've been kidnapped (which she technically was by the Infinity Train) or is injured and that no one can save her because they have no idea where she went.
    • The fic starts like a Betrayal Fic but with the notable effect that no character involved is a caricature of themselves. No one tried to murder anyone. As a result the issues are not so black and white (a lot of Chloe's issues came from Poor Communication Kills on her end as much as the others), no one started the story with an intent to hurt anyone (actions that did not come from a lack of communications come from misunderstandings) and the ramifications for Ash, Goh, and her father are far-reaching and far from pure karma. Heck the three end up dealing with characters who act like betrayal fic characters and are absolutely horrified and disgusted by them.
    • Just why does a magical train take people in anyway?. The train denizens need to get their souls from somewhere and if someone dies while trying to overcome their problems....

    Films — Animation 
  • The Incredibles is a deconstruction of both superhero tropes (for example, much of the story is kicked off and motivated by a severe lapsing of Hero Insurance), and mid-20th-century family sitcom tropes.
  • Shrek is about an ogre who becomes a reluctant Knight in Shining Armor. The structure is that of a typical save-the-princess fairy tale, but with comedy and dramatic reversal added.
  • The LEGO Batman Movie takes apart several of Batman mythos:
    • The Joker sees that he and Batman have the traditional Arch-Enemy relationship but because Batman doesn't connect with anyone emotionally, all he sees is that the Joker is another villain to fight.
    • Batman is so consumed by his vigilante lifestyle that he has no personal life outside of being Batman. Even when lounging in his mansion, he wears the cowl and has no friends or family outside of Alfred. When the Joker and the rest of the villains surrender themselves to the police, Batman resorts to drastic measures just to try and make himself feel useful.
    • Batman refuses help from anyone and chooses not to have any friends because he is terrified of reliving the pain of losing his parents again.
  • The parent movie of the above film, The LEGO Movie, deconstructs the concepts of The Chosen One and The Hero's Journey. Emmett Brickowksi, a normal average joe who is a Yes-Man and tries so hard to fit in that no-one notices him, is told that he is a hero in a prophecy. He wholeheartedly believes this and tries so hard to achieve it but in the end, he's told the prophecy is fake. But as it turns out he is the Special the prophecy foretold. And so is everyone else. They just have to believe they are special.
  • Spider-Man: Spider-Verse
    • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: This film attacks some of the core of the Spider-Man story. Spider-Man suffers the loss of multiple loved ones, particularly father figures. He's unluck in love, leaving him alone. Suffering brings growth and heroism is its own reward, etc. And this is enforced by an authoritarian regime full of Dark and Troubled Past and The Ends Justify The Means (editors). Spider-Man in his many incarnations and spin-offs have trodden this ground so heavily that some fans are yawning and hoping for something new. Miles is fighting canon, and it remains to be seen if the next film will do any Reconstruction.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Cabin in the Woods does this not just to American horror movies (especially the slasher genre), but to horror movie fandom and the film industry as a whole, especially with the You Bastard! note that it ends on.
  • The John Candy film Delirious deconstructs soap opera plots, and essentially every element of storytelling.
  • The Nicole Holofcener film, Enough Said, heavily deconstructs most romantic comedies and "chick flicks". It ultimately ruins any Romantic Comedy that contains The Unfair Sex.
  • Funny Games: A Slasher film with killers who know they're in a film and break the fourth wall to accuse the audience of wanting innocents to suffer for their amusement. The killers are continually disappointed when the family does the more common sense action rather than ratcheting up the tension, and the real violence is only heard, not seen. Ultimately, the killers are the audience. They even change the outcome after the family fights back... with a remote control.
  • Galaxy Quest. The entire plot can be summed up in the question "what if the cast of a Star Trek-like show got mistaken for the characters they played by an alien race with no concept of lies or fiction and was drafted into leading said race to victory in a war against evil genocidal aliens?"
  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Go ahead, try to root for Hannibal Lecter or Dexter Morgan after seeing this film. The Serial Killer Villain Protagonist is much closer to a Real Life one than either of those characters, not being some Affably Evil supergenius villain who at least manages to look cool, but an unintelligent thug whose utter psychopathy and heinous deeds are chilling to watch.
  • A History of Violence deconstructs a whole slew of Action Movie cliches. The things the Retired Badass did in his previous life, and the things he is still capable of when pushed, are genuinely scary, making the distinction between Retired Badass and Retired Monster virtually non-existent. Our hero is a brutal and efficient killer, morally superior to the villains only because the people he kills are worse. Being publicly hailed as a hero does not improve the hero's life; in fact it attracts unwanted attention from even scarier people. The kid who stands up to the school bully by sinking to his level gets kicked out of school and in trouble with the law. And Love may have once redeemed, but it can't overcome the darker secrets that are brought to light.
  • Hot Fuzz is this for Buddy Cop movies, and shows the mountains of paperwork the characters would have to go through by the end of the film.
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a Black Comedy which averts, subverts, inverts, defies, parodies, and eventually deconstructs more tropes than it plays straight— and it does it marvelously.
  • Last Action Hero attempts to deconstruct action movies and the characters found within. It falls short, but the effort is there.
  • Natural Born Killers deconstructs the relationship between violence, media sensationalism, the audience's narrative expectations, and a handful of media formats, such as the wacky sitcom style used for Mallory's background, complete with a Laugh Track while her father molests her and various people are messily murdered.
  • Pleasantville deconstructs '50s idealism and its portrayal in media.
  • Woody Allen's The Purple Rose Of Cairo, Deconstructing Harry, Mighty Aphrodite (complete with Greek chorus).
  • Scream (1996) works entirely by having genre-savvy characters pointing out what ought to happen next, and how to avoid it.
  • The entire Spaghetti Western subgenre is one massive Deconstructor Fleet of its supergenre, The Western. The protagonists often shot first - and last - and were only the "good guys" insofar as they were less sadistic than the villains.
    • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly deconstructs not only the morality of Westerns, but the dramatic structure they're built on, stripping it down to the bare minimum.
    • Unforgiven is also a massive deconstruction of the Western genre; Clint Eastwood's deconstruction of his own work, in fact. Eastwood spent most of his career, post-Rawhide, deconstructing the Western, before moving on to more genres as his career progressed.
    • Blazing Saddles also deconstructs the Western, but for comedy. The whole goal of the movie was to highlight how artificial and out-of-date the entire genre was, mostly by taking tropes about "the common clay of the new West" and showing what they'd actually be like. Finally, the movie ends by shattering its fourth wall to bits, the characters spending the entire final act either on a sound stage or in a movie theater.
  • Seven Psychopaths, being about writing a screenplay, frequently discusses and lampshades movie tropes. For example, during a scene where Hans has a gun pointed at him:
    Paulo: Put your hands up!
    Hans: No.
    Paulo: What?
    Hans: I said no.
    Paulo: Why not?
    Hans: Because I don't want to.
    Paulo: (Beat) ... but I've got a gun.
    Hans: I don't care.
    Paulo: It doesn't make any sense!
    Hans: (laughs) Too bad.
  • 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's never known 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.
    Bones: Dammit, Jim. Other men have birthdays. Why are we treating yours like a funeral?
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy is a Deconstruction of Batman. Bruce Wayne's vigilantism inspires copycats who do more harm than good, and while it leads to a decline in common crime and the power of organized crime families, it also sets the stage for the emergence of a scarier, crazier breed of criminal. The attempts to honor Harvey Dent's memory and usher in a peace in his name only lead to more draconian laws and suspensions of civil liberties in the name of justice. And, of course, we see just how emotionally and physically damaging being Batman is for Bruce, and just how unhealthy the desire to be a superhero really is.
  • The Batman (2022) doubles down on this in regards to Dark Knight above, taking place in a similarly more grounded universe and ultimately serves as a Decon-Recon Switch for his character.
    • Batman's Terror Hero aspect causes him a lot of problems in this film. First, while Bruce's dedication to being a vigilante is admirable, the way he goes about it is not healthy. This is par for the course for most Batman works, but here, Bruce has none of the suave sophistication and healthiness he has in other adaptations- he's haggard, scarred, and looks on the brink of death near constantly. Second, Bruce really is just one man. While people are terrified of the Batman, Bruce has to work night and day to keep the legend of Batman alive, and people are beginning to realize his limitations. Lastly, the movie pokes holes in the idea that only Bruce would desire a way to fix Gotham's crime problems. In reality, the Riddler has also realized the city is corrupt and is working on cleaning up crime in his own way. As a matter of fact, he actually believes that himself and the Batman are on the same side and is confused and hurt when Batman calls him a psychopath. In the end, Nashton ends up doing the exact same thing as Bruce, with the only difference being that Nashton kills people. Both were betrayed by the city, both are lashing out in violence, both use public appearances and extreme violence to cultivate a legend of fear, and both are willing to push themselves to the brink to achieve vengeance. By the end of the film, Bruce decides to focus less on terrorizing criminals and more on lifting up Gotham's downtrodden, realizing that he's going down the same dark road as Nashton.
    • Previous Batman works have the villains express their insanity in traditional, troperrific ways. The Joker is a walking example of Insane Equals Violent, while other villains like Two-Face or Scarecrow have exaggerated mental illnesses (i.e Dissociative Identity Disorder and sadistic personality disorder) as their "gimmicks". In this film, those who suffer from mental illnesses are treated a lot more realistically. In particular, the Riddler's traditional narcissism transforms him into a vigilante. Instead of lording over others with his intelligence and making comical schemes, Nashton becomes completely obsessed with his war on crime to the point of being unable to understand or care about the damage he's causing. The Riddler only ends up losing because his ego causes him to be unable to see the obvious connections between Bruce and the Batman, too convinced in Bruce's supposed arrogance.
    • Other Batman works paint Bruce as someone rising up to stop the cities' descent into criminality, but here he's painted more like a symptom of it- yet another wounded boy lashing out at the people who wronged him. This makes Bruce a lot more pathetic and unlikable compared to other interpretations of the character, as his war on crime is called out several times as being selfish. His character arc has Bruce realizing that he needs to be truly different in order to make a difference in Gotham, and thus commits to becoming a Hope Bringer instead of someone who wants to hurt others. This is especially strong since the film ends with Riddler's plan going off and reducing Gotham City to a flooded wasteland, so beating down crime instead of helping people in their Darkest Hour would be a truly horrible thing to do.
    • The film also takes the "Batman is Bruce Wayne's true self" interpretation to its logical conclusion. Being Batman has consumed Bruce's life to the point that there's no distinction between Bruce Wayne and Batman at all: Bruce is Batman both in and out of costume, so much so that he retains his Batman mannerisms when presenting as Bruce Wayne. We later see that Bruce is actively neglecting his civilian life and family legacy in favor of his vigilante activities, viewing The Batman as his family's true legacy. This neglect has extended to his family's finances too, as the lack of oversight on his part is what allowed the Renewal fund to be looted by mobsters and corrupt officials after his father's death.
  • Hardcore Henry gives the First-Person Shooter genre of video games this treatment by showing just what kinds of gambits would have to be going on behind the scenes to produce a typical FPS protagonist and those who they interact with, as well as just how they manage to rack up such high body counts.
  • James Bond:
    • The Pierce Brosnan set of films show a few reality checks on the Bond franchise, namely the fact that he's openly described as "a relic of the Cold War" by the new M in GoldenEye, and rather than having 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.
    • The Daniel Craig films show what a lonely and broken man Bond is and has to be in order to do his job. In Skyfall and Spectre, they even start to question whether field agents are still relevant in an era dominated by technology, cyber-espionage and drones.
      • Of all the Bond films, No Time to Die is the most brutal demolition of all the beloved James Bond tropes since the days of Sean Connery.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu:
    • In general, Pokemon can be terrifying, not just in appearance but because of what they can do. From Greninja chasing Tim and Pikachu down hurling Water Shurikens to Cubone angrily attacking Tim with his boomerang to Charizard being a dragon, it's clear not all Pokemon are cute and cuddly. Even Aipom can turn vicious when dosed on R.
    • Psyduck's situation of having headaches powerful enough to explode and kill everyone drives the point home that Psychic types are capable of terrible things and if a Pokemon can't control its power, it can accidentally hurt or kill others.
    • A Charizard vs. Pikachu fight is something most players wouldn't think twice about. But in reality, it's a little yellow mouse versus a six-foot-tall fire-breathing dragon — Detective Pikachu can't summon his electrical attacks to fight back and cowers in fear.
    • Detective Pikachu is frustrated and lonely that Pokémon Speak doesn't let him communicate with humans properly.
    • Tim's father was absent most of Tim's life, being more involved with his work and Pokémon, and this affected Tim greatly and his more jaded outlook towards Pokémon, something that the games rarely explored where the protagonists' fathers are rarely present.
    • Most people aren't professional Pokémon trainers. For society to work, 99% of the Pokémon world's populace has normal jobs, like police officer, insurance clerk, or journalism intern.

  • Carry On: The series is framed as something of a Slash Fic of a series that doesn't exist, and because of this unusual format, it manages to mess around with tropes of YA Fantasy freely. The Chosen One has to go through a lot of issues and PTSD from being brought into a magical war as a child, his Designated Love Interest doesn't feel good in a relationship with him because she feels like a prize to be won, his obsession with his rival turns into Belligerent Sexual Tension, and so on.
  • House of Leaves is a literal Deconstruction of the horror genre, in that it is based on the postmodernist philosophy of Deconstructionism. Arguably, it is a deconstruction of literature itself, and with Only Revolutions it's a bit less arguable.
  • Nabokov's Pale Fire deconstructs and mocks literary criticism, cantos poetry, Soviet spy stories, and the narrative structure itself.
  • Voltaire's Candide, a vicious satire of the optimism that was so popular at the time.
    • Terry Southern's Candy is a deconstruction of Candide. It's more obvious in the novel than the film.
  • The Canterbury Tales is a meticulous parody of things such as morality plays and chivalric lessons. It is also older than Don Quixote.
    • Especially Chaucer's first story, where he can't decide which stereotypical villain to use—a giant or a Saracen—so he makes the bad guy a giant Saracen.
  • Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear's A Companion to Wolves does this to the Animal Companion genre with their Manly Gay wolf bondmates.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld. It starts out as a fairly straightforward parody of heroic fantasy and evolves into something more complex, subtle, and deconstructive that takes precise aim at nearly everything.
  • Frank Herbert's Dune, which took John Carter of Mars and Lensman and imagined what it would be like if the settings of said space operas (a) obeyed real physical laws, (b) were populated by grown-ups, and (c), were based on/influenced by non-western societies.
    • As he put it "I am showing you the superhero syndrome and your own participation in it."
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh had been The Hero in stories for at least one thousand years before the Epic. The Epic revises those stories and adds new material to make him into The Caligula – and then for good measure it makes the gods (especially Ishtar/Inanna) into Jerkass Gods. The ancient Babylonians were masters of postmodernism. Postmodernism and flaying.
  • Anything by Thomas Pynchon, with Gravity's Rainbow being probably the most famous example.
  • Great Expectations, deconstructing all its author's work up to that point
  • Gulliver's Travels was a satire on... well, everything. From the then-current craze for published accounts of fabulous discoveries in the South Seas (to the point where almost any outlandish or impossible tale of discovery would be avidly devoured), to trends in science, philosophy and politics.
  • Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and its original radio version, TV, video game and movie adaptations, as well. Of course, there's also a literal Deconstructor Fleet—the Vogons.
  • Brandon Sanderson wrote Mistborn: The Original Trilogy as a deconstruction of a number of prominent high fantasy tropes. Word of God indicates that Sanderson was aiming at deconstructing the Evil Overlord, Chosen One prophecies, and The Hero in particular, but there are countless other examples as well.
  • The Princess Bride—Along with its theatrical adaptation, this story is possibly one of the most well-known deconstructions of classic fantasy tropes.
  • The Reynard Cycle is a deconstruction of the Lovable Rogue trope. By the end of the third novel, the rascally Reynard has morphed into a full blown Big Bad. And he did it all for love.
  • It's Just A Scratch takes this and runs with it. The ace wizard? She suffers severe psychological trauma from the pressure of needing to stay at the top. The wizard who uses magic as a crutch? Well, his use of magic has rendered him completely unable to cope when he loses use of it and his mental state goes south fast. The human investigator? He ultimately isn’t able to change much and most of his actions do nothing to change the outcome. Even the secondary characters are hit with this. That vaguely racist old woman who’s a veteran of the Department? Yeah, the little hints she drops are hints towards her true nature, which is a whole lot worse than it seems.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Owing to being mostly inspired by historical fiction, the series is a deconstruction of most of medieval fantasy, and shows what a world is like when those fantasy rules are applied to a bunch of heavily armed and ambitious assholes with a lifetime of privilege who can go about doing whatever they want. A more complete list can be seen here and here. Examples include:
    • The first book in particular has an honorable, law-abiding nobleman and his proper, ladylike daughter who just can't wait to marry the prince and begin popping out kids as the naive newcomers at the Decadent Court. The first one gets a totally undeserved Humiliation Conga where he is forced to confess a treason he didn't really commit, then stripped of his lands and titles, then beheaded with his own sword and has his head put on a pike; while the princess basically gets the ultimate Break the Cutie narrative, ending up as a hostage kept to hold her vengeful family at bay.
    • Tyrion's status as a (filthy rich) human with dwarfism seems a clear jab at the ubiquitous Tolkienian dwarves in the Epic Fantasy genre, even though Martin had already experimented with a similar character in previous books. Even his use of an axe in combat is explained because of his physical limitations making him unable to swing a sword properly. When Tyrion is deprived of his wealth and noble status, he gets much Angst from a Crapsack World that only sees him as a circus freak.
    • Another important life lesson for any form of fantasy can be summed up as "no amount of magic will save you from increasingly poor fiscal policy, as even having a dragon housed in the treasury would hurt far less than annoying the largest financial institution in the wider geopolitical region does". Yes, boys and girls: dragons and their appetites are scary, but a liquidity problem, unattended bubbles or a supply crunch does greater overall damage than even a tactically well-deployed posse of the things.
    • Ditto the "large-scale slave revolts and liberations in record time will equal a global economic slump that will trigger famine, war, pestilence and death: on-the-job learners with good intentions should only apply with great caution and a lot of thought" lesson. Indy Ploy + Slave Liberation = Not Quite the Right Thing.
  • Harry Potter: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix deconstructs the notion of a Kid Hero fighting against a much older Evil Overlord by showing that adults would be much better equipped to fight a large scale war, or at least think they are more competent and shut the kid out. Because of his youth, Harry has trouble dealing with the traumas of war, resulting in a Heroic BSoD that harms his efficacy as a fighter, leading him to lash out in anger and make rash decisions. Subverted as the whole point of the book was a prophecy proclaiming Harry to be The Chosen One destined to stand against Voldemort. This makes Dumbledore, who knew this all along, realize that he was wrong to shut Harry out of the business of fighting Voldemort as it deprives him of the necessary preparation for his eventual encounter. Order additionally deconstructs teen romance. The Harry/Cho pairing has been built up over the previous two books, with Cho giving Harry his first kiss in this book. Unfortunately, due to Harry's inexperience, Cho's over-sensitivity, and the self-involvement of both of them, the relationship falls apart after only one date (an outcome that is Truth in Television in many cases). Of course, given their circumstances, both Harry and Cho have better reasons to be self-involved than most teenagers.
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall realistically and painfully deconstructs All Girls Want Bad Boys and related tropes that feature prominently in works such as Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, written by the author's sisters.
  • Don Quixote not only deconstructs the Chivalric Romance genre, but applies Genre Deconstruction to the next genres: Romance Novel, (May–December Romance, Fille Fatale), the Arcadia, Secret Test of Character, Sweet Polly Oliver, Gentleman Thief literature, the Deadpan Snarker, (and all kind of snarkers). It also has UnbuiltTropes like Straw Fan, Lord Error-Prone, Mad Dreamer, Cut Lex Luthor a Check and Book Burning… and given its status as the first modern novel, it’s full of Postmodernism.
  • Wuthering Heights is a huge deconstruction of the "guy comes back to wreak vengeance on everyone who oppressed him" genre, but most people only remember its romance aspect.
  • Vanity Fair: William Thackeray specializes in deconstructing and satirizing English society.
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn deconstructs, parodies and exposes everything people of the time thought they knew about Antebellum America.
  • Animorphs deconstructs the Kid Hero trope. The Animorphs are a group of kids who Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World, and are facing an enemy who are a dedicated invading army, and in order to fight them, they have to forgo their classes in order to focus on saving the world. Along the way they make some morally questionable choices, and do stuff out of sheer desperation against overwhelming odds. By the end of the books the heroes all suffer from PTSD with their school and social life wrecked.
  • The "Vows and Honor" novels from the Heralds of Valdemar setting by Mercedes Lackey is a deliberate inversion of the classic sword-and-sorcery tropes, and even inversions of some of the more common aversions. The titular duo are indeed a pairing of a barbarian warrior and an aristocratic mage—except that they're both women. Who then, in defiance of the Ho Yay, are respectively celibate due to religious vows and looking for a husband. And the barbarian is actually more well-read on academic topics than the mage. And she's also richer than the mage (she's the heir of all the assets of her vanished tribe, which puts her well up on the mostly-disowned noblewoman from the impoverished family). And while there is a powerful and mystic sword it belongs to the sorceress, not the warrior. And the powerful and exotic intelligent familiar bonded to the warrior, not the sorceress (specifically on the grounds that 'You've already got that sword to look out for you, and she doesn't have anything.') And the barbarian's favorite hobby is babysitting. And while the traditional quest object for a sword-and-sorcery duo is glory, both heroines are actually running away from the one bard actually interested in glorifying their adventures in immortal prose — because he keeps spreading the (false!) impression that they're happy to work for free, when they're actually trying to save up enough cash for a retirement fund. Which by itself is not a usual goal for sword-and-sorcery protagonists. And the list goes on and on.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien does this in "Farmer Giles of Ham", where he gleefully skewers all the When Knighthood Was In Flower, glamorized mediaeval-romantic concepts and folklore, his co-workers on the Oxford English Dictionary and his own career.
  • The Postman is openly admitted by the author as a massive take down on the entire post-apocalypse genre, which was at its peak of popularity back then. Most of it is achieved by simple Perspective Flip and telling the story from the perspective of people that are usually saved by some cliché, One-Man Army-style Anti-Hero and making it a point to show just how horrible life without modern civilization can get. And that usual hero archetype is most represented by the bad guys here, with a lot of the ideas underlying it deconstructed. The protagonist himself isn't some badass loner to is strengthened by living in the wild, but a milquetoast man who hates struggling in the wild and wishes to join a community that has rebuilt itself. His heroism does not come from winning battles, but by (inadvertantly) inspiring others to think beyond merely survival and rebuild civilization.
  • Worm deconstructs almost the entire superhero genre, especially the idea of Black-and-White Morality in what originally seems to be a generic fight between superheroes and supervillains. The reality is that, while a good percentage of supervillains are jerks, most of them aren't actually evil. Likewise, the heroes often aren't as good as the world sees them. The main character, a girl who wants to be a superhero, is quickly disillusioned with the heroes and decides that she'd rather have villains watching her back, at least partly because they were just nicer to her than the heroes she met, and decides that being seen as a villain herself is an easy price to pay for actually doing the right thing.
    • It also deconstructs Traumatic Superpower Awakening by examining what it's like to live in a world where that is the only way people have superpowers. Superpowers only awaken from trauma bad enough to leave people with major, long-term emotional scars, like PTSD, a loss of ability to feel emotion, or being unable to relate to other humans, and it's later explicitly confirmed that the powers themselves are deliberately made to constantly remind and press on that trauma.
    • Personality Powers are heavily deconstructed by looking at what it actually means for someone to have the type of personality that is reflected in less standard powers. The character with dog-focused powers can no longer relate to humans, as her mind has been rewired with dog social structures, the Flying Brick with Emotion Bomb powers that cause everyone to love or fear her is one of the most arrogant people in the setting, the bug controller main character becomes increasingly good at commanding others at the cost of seeing the world as tools to be used, and a woman who was a Child Soldier has the power of an always on-hand Situational Sword and stuck on permanent high alert completely unable to dream, and unable to sleep without significant effort.
    • Worm was actually written as a deconstruction of the genre by playing it straight. It sets up a classic superhero setting filled with tropes and cliches, such as secret identities, heroes and cops never using lethal force on villains, who escape from the Cardboard Prison, Gadgeteer Geniuses being the only ones to use their technology rather than spreading them far and wide for the greater good or personal profit, and then showing what kind of setting would be required for that to be the way things are. Secret identities are only allowed to be a thing due to a combination of laws written that make it illegal to out a government Hero and a shaky, not-always-followed truce between heroes and villains alike to not go after each other when not in costume. This is because while they can consider their family and civilian life safe, villains are prepared to hold back, and when that is taken away from them they have nothing left to lose and fights escalate beyond control, thanks to all parahumans being somewhat mentally unstable, and the Hero teams are aware that this is a fight they would lose in the long run due to how badly they are outnumbered. However, since heroes can call in teams from other cities, villains would always lose in the short-term, and no villain gang wants to be the first to break the truce. Heroes and cops refrain from killing villains (and let them break out of Cardboard Prison) because they need them alive to fight against a greater, mutual threat: Endbringers. The Gadgeteer Genius heroes have their power give them knowledge of how to build frighteningly advanced technology, but little knowledge of how to explain or sometimes even understand it, and often in the least effective/efficient manner, which is the reason why no mundane scientists are able to replicate Tinkertech.
  • Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi is one of the wuxia/xianxia genre as a whole. Lan Wangji puts it best in a few words when he gently reminds the junior cultivators, "We are all human." He's mainly referring to how everyone is bound to get exhausted sooner or later, regardless of their cultivation power (They were all human. How could a human be tireless? How could they stand forever?). However, it can also refer to how cultivators are still susceptible to Grey-and-Gray Morality.
  • Wayward Children deconstructs the Isekai genre and associated tropes like Summon Everyman Hero, with the entire first book, Every Heart a Doorway, being about kids who went to other worlds on portal fantasy adventures dealing with the trauma of coming back — to parents who can't understand them or their experiences, to bodies that they outgrew (Kade gets a double whammy on that one, because not only does he end up in a younger body, it means that he needs to go through the wrong puberty twice), to a world that just doesn't follow the rules they've gotten used to, and/or to a world without the people they've come to love. For a lot of them, after being trapped in another world, now they feel trapped in this one.
  • The Long Price Quartet is one for heroic fantasy. The first novel starts with The Hero succeeding in his refusal to join the elite order of magic-users who hold the fate of the world in their hands, and ends with him helping the villains win because it's necessary for the greater good. People frequently embark on desperate plans that are the last best hope to avert catastrophe only to fail dismally, making the catastrophe worse in the process. Wise old teachers turn out to be petty and driven by bitterness over how their lives have turned out. The feisty princess who dares to defy her gender-defined role does so by means of fratricide. The list goes on.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The whole point of Adam Ruins Everything is to brutally tear apart whatever the subject of the episode is.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The show blends genres with considerable aplomb, lampshades and plays with all the tropes it can get its grubby little hands on, and put a modernized twist on various stories and myths, not to mention deconstructing The Chosen One.
    • In Season 6, the blond girl doesn't die, even after having sex — she instead turns out to an Action Girl and proceeds to kick vampire butt.
    • Season 6 deconstructs what the show is about. The focus is on the Scoobies' foray into the real world and not the whole saving the world plot and being heroes. Only the bad guys care about that.
    • Season 6 also deconstructs the Dating Catwoman trope by showing just how dysfunctional such a relationship would be if it were ever consummated.
  • The Colbert Report is all about deconstructing and satirizing the Strawman Political (mostly right-wing, but he's not averse to throwing darts at the Left), and many other Politics Tropes fall as well.
  • Community sinks its teeth into zombies, war-films, westerns, spy films, geekdom, Doctor Who, video-games, Glee, horror...okay, really, anything that's been put into media.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend wrecks every romcom trope and then some. Rebecca thinks she's the heroine of a romantic comedy and falls in love thinking it'll make her life better, but all her rom-com actions blow up in her face and/or have unintended realistic consequences. It also becomes increasingly apparent that her dedication to the idea of Josh is just a side-effect of serious mental issues.
  • Doctor Who has, at various times both deconstructed tropes with wild abandon and later, as a side-effect of Running the Asylum, deconstructed itself and its Fandom.
    • The banally entitled, late '70s story "The Robots of Death" explored the real effects of living in a society with robots as a work force. Wouldn't, for example, Uncanny Valley rear its head?
    • A few years later, writer (later briefly script editor) Douglas Adams had "The Pirate Planet", which explicitly gave the villain some actually specific purpose for his villainy rather than putting it down to some vague "powerlust" or the like.
    • In "The Horns of Nimon", the Doctor's formerly Genre Blind companion notes through word play that the head guys have a "power complex".
    • The new series episode "Midnight" is especially notable. The entire purpose of the episode, except to scare people half to death, is a deconstruction of how people would really react to a weirdo genius knows-too-much alien stranger in a crisis. It...doesn't go well, shall we say.
    • "The Waters of Mars" essentially deconstructs the Doctor himself and the mythology that the series has built around him. It involves the Doctor holding back death, defying the laws of time and space to save innocent lives and rewrite the history books and generally acting up to titles like the 'Lonely God' that the series has often thrown around about him, doing things similar to what he's done before and which would under other circumstances be presented as a Moment of Awesome... except here, the people who would normally amazed, dazzled and charmed by him are freaked out by what he's done and who he is, and his very actions are presented as wrong and indicative of his growing arrogance, indifference and alarming tendencies towards Syndrome.
    • Made even more bone-chilling when paired with the revelation of The Forgotten Doctor. The Tenth Doctor was willing to cast aside the mantle of "The Doctor" and become "Time Lord Victorious", and would have if not for Adelaide's suicide. Whatever that man did, he is either what the Tenth would have become if he remained "Time Lord Victorious"... or far, far worse. It was and wasn't. That "lost" incarnation, The War Doctor, was the one who destroyed Gallifrey.
    • "The Waters of Mars" and "Hell Bent" between them explain exactly why the Doctor needs a companion as a Morality Pet. If he does not have one for long enough he becomes just as bad as the villains he faces.
    • Several stories have shown that sometimes the Doctor's arrival does not make everything better and that sometimes it actually gets FAR worse. They are "The Ark", "The Face of Evil", "Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways" and "The Woman Who Lived".
    • "A Good Man Goes To War" deconstructs the Doctor's tendency to be The Dreaded to his enemies. It also causes the episodes villains to become so scared that they will do anything to get an advantage. It gets even worse in "The Time of the Doctor" which reveals that they were trying to prevent a second Time War and the Doctor's reputation honestly made them think he would restart it.
    • Part of what distinguishes the new series from the classic series is the former's serious examination of the Doctor's relationships with his Companions, thriving on showing the dark side that the classic series rarely delved into.
      • Rose's portrayal shows what can happen when a Companion becomes so attached to the Doctor that she no longer knows how to function in "normal" life. When she's forcibly separated from the Doctor in "Doomsday", it absolutely devastates her, to the point that she considers herself dead, and believes that her post-Doctor life is meaningless.
      • Sarah Jane's portrayal depicts what happens to a Companion after departing from the TARDIS. In the thirty or so years since, she hasn't been able to reintegrate into normal human society, developed abandonment issues, and spent her free time looking for trouble in order to feel closer to the old days. However, she is reconstructed almost immediately, given closure by the Tenth Doctor and allowed to become a hero in her own right.
      • Martha's portrayal examines the dark side of the Companion's Replacement Goldfish aspect — since, of course, every Companion will always be replaced by a new one as long as the show keeps running. She eventually leaves the Doctor of her own free will because she's tired of living in the shadow of the Doctor's previous Companion, Rose, and feels like she's just a substitute for her.
      • Donna's portrayal shows, once again, the dark side of obsession with the Doctor. After just one brief meeting with the Doctor in "The Runaway Bride", her "normal" life feels completely empty, and she wastes an entire year just waiting to see him again, immediately abandoning her family without a second thought when she runs into him.
      • Amy's portrayal shows the detrimental effects that life with the Doctor can have on mundane human relationships. When she finally becomes a Companion after obsessing over the Doctor since childhood, she very nearly abandons her fiancé to travel with him. Later episodes even introduce a brief Ship Tease, where we're given good reason to believe that the Doctor is the real father of her child. He's not, but Amy ends up losing her baby because of her adventures with the Doctor.
      • Clara's portrayal shows the effects of the power that comes from being the Doctor's Morality Pet — it alternatively horrifies her ("Kill The Moon") or corrupts her ("Flatline"). Sometimes traveling with the Doctor is even treated as an addiction, especially in "Last Christmas". Clara also shows the negatives of becoming more like the Doctor; you begin to lose your humanity and become far more reckless until you endanger your own life. It also makes you a bad Morality Pet, which the Doctor definably needs.
      • Yaz's arc in Revolution of the Daleks deconstructs a companion being on The Slow Path, like Amy before her. Yaz and the fam haven't seen the Doctor since they left Gallifrey, and Ryan and Graham presume her gone. Yaz however, doesn't lose hope. When the Doctor returns from her decades long prison stint, she reacts with her usual flippancy. However, Yaz freaks out and berates the Doctor for not addressing her absence seriously. Yaz seriously believes she was never going to see the Doctor again, leaving their relationship moot. Yasmin's growing attraction to the Doctor is also deconstructed. Thirteen is a very secretive Doctor compared to her predecessors, and she refuses to confide in Yaz, which upsets her greatly. Thirteen hiding her past becomes detrimental to their relationship because Yaz feels she never explains things.
  • Farscape and Firefly did pretty well to deconstruct the Space Opera, contributing to the drastic (and fairly sudden) shift in tone of Space Operas that happened around 2002-3. The shift was so sudden that Star Trek: Enterprise dramatically shifted mid-series, the third and fourth seasons having a considerably darker, serious, and what would later be recognized as more modern tone.
  • Game of Thrones does this for every fantasy trope you can imagine. Good Old Ways? The show repeatedly shows off the flaws of the feudal system. Trial by Combat? It's not about who's right or who's more skilled, it's about who can fight dirtier — as evidenced by the tough knight Bronn throwing his dueling opponent to his death and snarking at the indignant Lysa Arryn when she calls him out. Face Death with Dignity? Burning to death is an extremely painful way to go, and both people who went that way cracked their composure very quickly.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 features movies that embody just about every trope ever thought of, which the riffers relentlessly mock.
  • MythBusters is dedicated not only to busting myths and urban legends, but deconstructing tropes. That said, their method of testing is usually to assume the myth/trope is true and to work from that end, which is why there are quite a few that end up as "plausible" or even "confirmed"—the "busted" ones are the ones they couldn't get to work.
  • Seinfeld, with its observational humor, intersecting plot-lines, non sympathetic protagonists, and the famous Real Time Chinese Restaurant episode kicked off a revolution. Every Sitcom that came afterwards owes something to it (to the point that the original now sadly seems clichéd).
  • Supernatural has occasional bouts of ruthless deconstructionism. It rips apart the ideas of perfect heroes, perfect angels, always chaotic evil demons, pretty little headshots, and sometimes, with great aplomb, slashfic, fandoms, and internet trolls. Meta doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • The Wire savagely deconstructs Police Procedurals. It's hard to go back to them afterwards.
    • It goes beyond that — after deconstructing police procedurals, it goes on to deconstruct your perceptions of most of society's important institutions.
    • One of the reasons that Omar Little is such a popular character is that he's essentially a living deconstruction of every Action Hero trope that you've ever seen, yet still manages to be memorably badass in his own way.
      • Instead of being an invincible One-Man Army, he comes out on top because he meticulously plans his every move, and he knows how to exploit fear and intimidation as well as any gangster.
      • While he is a walking paragon of classic masculinity, he's Manly Gay, but defiantly refuses to stay in the closet (despite living in the virulently homophobic inner-city of Baltimore).
      • Instead of being an idealistic crusader, he's a cynical, nihilistic thug who rips off drug dealers for the simple thrill of it, and he receives several well-deserved What the Hell, Hero? speeches from the police, who point out that his violent actions harm the city just as much as the drug war does.
      • Though he tries to wage a one-man war on Baltimore's gangs as a Vigilante Man, his efforts often frustrate the efforts of police officers to stop criminals the old-fashioned way (as seen in Season 1, when he murders Stinkum to avenge his lover Brandon, preventing the police from using Stinkum as a link to Avon).
      • He tries to pull off a classic Roaring Rampage of Revenge exactly twice in the run of the show. Though the first one is successful, the second one ends with him being unceremoniously gunned down by a child, showing that he's just as mortal as everyone else involved in "the game".
      • For all his badassery, he never rises about the level of a minor supporting character—which is notable, since he'd probably be the protagonist in 90% of action thrillers taking place in urban America. The series is quite up-front about that fact that he's just one cog in the social machine that keeps the drug trade afloat, and that few of his actions truly matter in the grand scheme of things.
  • Stargate SG-1 had frequent moments of trope deconstruction. See fan-favorite "Window of Opportunity" for how it deconstructs and lampshades the "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • 24 showed how saving the world is made complicated by politics and personal issues. It also showed just how much something like breaking the laws constantly and fighting terrorists take effect on the people who do it, and how torture just doesn't work when the people being tortured are so devoted to their cause, and how the action disturbs anyone who does it.
  • The Korean dreams First Wives Club deconstructs many Family Tropes as well as Love Tropes and Romance Arcs.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine gradually became one big Deconstruction of Star Trek itself as it went on, bringing to the forefront all the implied-but-never-addressed problems with Gene Roddenberry's universe.
    • The utopian Federation has no effective mechanism for addressing political dissent, how could anyone not be happy in a utopia? Nearly everyone is content, and the ones that aren't are seen as eccentrics or dangerous rebels that threaten the security of the Federation and be hammered back into line. One character remarks that the Federation's goal is just like that of the arch enemy Borg Collective, the difference being that the Federation doesn't invade or attack you, as their goal is to make your species ask to be assimilated by them.
      • Starfleet, the Lawful Good defenders of freedom and enlightenment, got that reputation largely through military superiority, and the introduction of Section 31, the "dirty tricks" department of Starfleet, brought to light the behind-the-scenes moral compromises the organisation has unintentionally made in order to maintain that superiority. Multiple characters face situations that their "Starfleet Officer" morality should force them to take a particular moral path, only to violently swerve away from that path for a more effective, ruthless one. And be happy about it.
      • When faced with an enemy that they were unable to defeat through straightforward tactics, Starfleet turned to war crimes and biological warfare disturbingly fast.
    • The Proud Warrior Race trope was also Deconstructed with the corruption and civil war that plagued the Klingon Empire toward the end: a society based around combat and martial prowess turned to be little more than a society of violent, glory-obsessed thugs who give plenty of lip service to honor and loyalty but will quickly turn on each other to gain an advantage. Ironically, the one Klingon character who best embodied the ideals the Klingons were supposed to live up to wasn't even raised as one.
  • Kamen Rider Ryuki deconstructs many common Henshin Hero tropes, the idea of Competitive Balance in a fighting tournament and how easy it is to get around through dirty fighting and that the fight itself is rigged with the host owning a near unstoppable Game-Breaker he can replace if it dies, Mons, which will turn and eat the Rider if not fed, and the commonly used Phlebotinum Rebel in the Kamen Rider franchise because the Big Bad made sure that any attempt to oppose him is doomed to fail.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim deconstructs many tropes. Even ones that don't necessarily belong to the Henshin Hero genre.
    • The first arc deconstructs the Mon genre. The Inves, basically the Mons in this series, aren't automatically loyal to their owner, pose a real threat to anyone nearby should they go berserk and carry The Virus which turns everyone bitten or scratched by them into one of them
    • Kamen Rider Sigurd manages to deconstruct the standard 'Righteous hero defeating Evil Monster' trope with one single line, after killing a crazed Hase, who was turned into an Inves, in cold blood, while clearly enjoying it.
      Sigurd: I just exterminated a monster that attacked people. This is what people call 'justice'.
    • The second and third episode slightly deconstructs the fact that heroes can't be corrupted by their power. After Kouta receives his Rider powers, he starts using them for almost every trivial chore he encounters on his part-time jobs. Hilarity Ensues. In the third episode, it is revealed he used his powers to win money at the Inves Games, causing his sister to call him out on that he is wasting his time with games instead of helping society through jobs.
    • The series also deconstructs the Big Bad trope, in that what first appeared to be the Big Bad, is one of the most moral and well-intentioned characters in the whole show, only rivaled by The Hero himself.
  • Both Teen Wolf and Pretty Little Liars deconstruct other teen shows. Basically, having too much drama in your life for a teenager can be distracting, and lead to personal lives being screwed up. Also, lying to people all the time can do major damage to relationships and reputation. In the former show's case, Stiles and Scott struggle in school from having to rush out and deal with the danger surrounding their things, whatever that means. In the latter's case, the girls not only struggle with school, but dealing with an unknown stalker and their crazy friend Alison had led to them breaking down and succumbing to mental illness, drugs, and alcohol.
  • The Player takes every single element of Action/Adventure Series series and puts them through the grinder.
    • The Central Theme is a deconstruction of Vigilante Man series like The Executioner or The Destroyer; the The Player's backers actually have authority over the system any other vigilante would see himself as superior to, and Alex would much rather work within the system as he has personal experience of what working outside the law will do to his psyche. However, his resources are under the control of an Ancient Conspiracy of absurdly rich sociopaths who can't be considered civic-minded by any definition of the term — they're only supporting him to watch him kill people/blow stuff up and roughly half the funding comes from fat cats who hope he'll either fail or die. Mr. Johnson agrees that it would be much better if the technology the Player uses to "fight crime" was part of legitimate law enforcement, but the Gamblers wouldn't find that to be as much fun, and they're the Powers That Be and things would be a lot worse if the Game didn't exist for the Gamblers' amusement. He's able to do so many things because Police Are Useless, but only because they're forcibly Locked Out of the Loop by the House.
    • The gambling themes; the odds that Alex will successfully prevent a given crime are judged as absurdly low, but just about every form of institutionalized gambling ultimately has similar odds of failure.
    • The whole idea of a Oddly Small Organization that pulls a We Help the Helpless routine gets broken down. It's small but effective because it doesn't focus on helping those in need, but only on the crimes that the Pit Boss thinks will amuse the Gamblers. It manages to avoid detection from the authorities not by guile or plot holes, but through blackmail and intimidation. It's well-funded, but also seems to run through personnel rapidly. Alex is only the latest of a long line of quickly dead Players.
    • The idea of Stuffed in the Fridge as a motivation for action heroes. Ginny dies early in the pilot, sending Alex into becoming The Unfettered again. Even when he joins the House, he's still running on anger and a self-destructive pattern. When it's revealed that Ginny's not dead, he gets way more motivated and starts putting his Guile Hero nature to work. Much of the drama and story spins out of the fact that Ginny didn't die like Alex thought.
    • The Ancient Conspiracy. The Game isn't some goal-oriented scheme by visionaries or Knight Templar, but just something a bunch of bored rich sociopaths do because Evil Is Petty. Rather than being all powerful and foreseeing things, the Gamblers are powerful, but can't control every action. Case in point: Their early Bets spiraled out of control into World War One and necessitating the creation of the House. And since the Gamblers are in multiple generations, different views on the Game exist, even in families (as Zeing and his uncle demonstrate). The Council has control, but still doesn't have unlimited power. Why? Even the Gamblers still have lives outside of the Game; Zeing has his Triad shipping business, Lettis his judicial job. And they can't just go ordering people around outside of their jurisdiction. The entire reason the Ancient Conspiracy seems to even still exist at this point is because of money, and because the Game is so narrowly focused that it doesn't consume the Gamblers' lives or have a larger goal.
  • The reality series Canada's Worst Driver is this trope on wheels. Literally. The series tackles all the excuses and reasons for bad driving shows how dangerous it really is to be a dangerous driver.
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019): The series deconstructs numerous tropes associated with the comic/superhero genre, such as the Super Family Team actually being a dysfunctional group of adopted siblings who were all forced into the role and resent it either openly or secretly, the Mentor Archetype and Team Dad being a distant and aloof figure whose cryptic lessons, motivational lies, and Sink or Swim Mentor attitude really did more harm than good, abilities such as Compelling Voice (Allison uses it for selfish ends and creates chaos in her personal life because of it), I See Dead People (Klaus is traumatized by his visions and uses drugs to cope), and Psychoactive Powers (Vanya was sedated and made to forget her powers as she was too emotionally unpredictable and dangerous as a little girl), going back into the past to Set Right What Once Went Wrong (Five ends up screwing over several chances to avoid the apocalypse altogether through his own Time Travel interference) and characters becoming a supervillain because of a Freudian Excuse (both Jenkins and Vanya, while having experienced bad childhoods, are portrayed as flawed people whose unhealthy obsession with their past causes them to take it out on innocent people). Because of all the Umbrella Academy's issues and misunderstandings, they even fail to Save the World, although they plan on trying again.

  • Taylor Swift's Midnights deconstructs the public persona and imagery she used several times in her past music.
    • Her 1989 and Lover persona is about her finding friendship and loves. This album brutally revealed that many of the relationships she made during that time are Fair-Weather Friend and uncaring people who still left her isolated and alone. ("You're On Your Own, Kid", "Dear Reader", "Bejeweled", "Question...?", "Sweet Nothing")
      • Furthermore, one of the theme in 1989 is finding her self-confidence and image. This album reveals the downside of finding said self-confidence: Her lack of self-reflection and lingering insecurity that made her exhausting to be around ("Anti-Hero", "The Great War", "Bejeweled")
      • "Afterglow" from Lover referencing a nonspecific arguments between Taylor and her boyfriend that is her fault but she doesn't understand why. "The Great War" acts as unofficial sequel to the song and gave us the reason: It is because of her paranoia and defense mechanism due to traumas from past romantic relationships.
    • "Maroon" deconstruct the red imagery she frequently used during Red by showing that the red love she sang about (most likely from the same person) has darkened into a maroon color - signaling the end of the relationship due to lack of communication but still left her with unresolved issues.
    • "Would've, Could've, Should've" show the relationship she sang from Speak Now (especially "Dear John"), when she was nineteen, was extremely predatory and left her with permanent anger, regret and shame.
      • The song also deconstructs her Girl Next Door religious image for her first two albums, showing her fractured relationship with God due to the predatory man and her naivety that led to her current trauma.
    • "Midnight Rain" deconstruct the rain and sun romantic imageries she used on her past albums: instead of these imagery used to set the mood or show how in love she is, they are used in this song to show how incompatible she and her ex was because "He was sunshine and I was midnight (rain)" and list out all the reasons why. The song chorus is also sung by a distorted deeper voice, implying that he agrees with her too.
      • The song is about her pre-fame love life - a topic she hasn't touched on since Fearless. This song showed that her pursuit of fame and "that pain" has led to her breakup with a perfectly nice hometown boy who just wants to marry her and led an ordinary life. This breakup ultimately led him to move on and forget about her but cause her insomnia about what could have been.
    • Her hometown was used in her first four albums as a source of romance and a symbol of safety and comfort. Here it is revealed to be filled with Hypocrite, judgmental pretenders, and Small Town Boredom, and become a direct or indirect source of conflicts in several songs in the album ("You're On Your Own, Kid", "Midnight Rain", "Mastermind", "Would've, Could've, Should've").
    • On a more positive Deconstruction, reputation has Taylor obsessed with bringing bad Karma to her enemies. "Karma" instead has her focus on good Karma in her life instead.
    • Her 2010 album Speak Now has "Dear John" - a scathing deconstruction of John Mayers's discography - her ex-boyfriend at the time, up until 2010 with many reference to his past lyrics as well as a guitar riff similar to his works, showing exactly who he really is from the perspective of the girlfriends he complained about.

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi: When They CrySlice of Life, One dark secret (caused by a Hate Plague) and everything will get worse, far worse. There is one Downer Ending that is caused if you ignore the dark secrets to get life back to normal.
  • Umineko: When They Cry deconstructs the mystery genre in general and the fantasy genre, since it's implied later in the series that the magical beings aren't actually real, as well as tropes like Incorruptible Pure Pureness, The Power of Love and Hostile Show Takeover. The character Erika Furudo is a walking deconstruction of Great Detective, Genre Savvy and Self-Insert Fic all at once. It's also a deconstruction of Higurashi to an extent, since it subverts many tropes that its predecessor played straight. The series also interestingly deconstructs the "hot-blooded shonen hero". Battler seems to fit the trope at first, but is often shown throughout the first 4 Episodes as incompetent, insensitive, hypocritical, and constantly Dramatically Missing the Point, precisely because he is too focused on denying the Witch out of some vague sense of justice. And every time human characters have a sudden magical Power-Up or Heroic Second Wind, you can expect them to die pathetically a minute after. Generally, just take a sip every time you read the word "subverted" on the trope page.
  • Fate/stay night can be described as one huge deconstruction of The Cape and The Paladin style characters and the many stories and typical tropes associated with them. The first route, while playing much of it fairly straight, points out the insane sacrifices of their own happiness and the insane limits that such characters have to constantly push themselves to if they aspire to follow their "Nothing but Everybody Lives is acceptable"-policy. The second route points out these issues even more while adding the futility of it all, but also gives reasons for why one would still wish to follow such a path, while the third route illustrates why one might want to give up following such a lifestyle and try to find personal happiness instead.
  • The writers of Katawa Shoujo openly set out to deconstruct or just avert a lot of the worst aspects of Japan's romance games. The most obvious being Hanako's route, taking aim at how many such games have the player save a helpless girl and take on her burdens with the expectation that this will be rewarded with sex. The sex scenes themselves are played for realism and some discomfort. Still romantic, but not in the expected way.
  • The Zero Escape games mess with the very idea of who you're actually playing as in different ways, and are carefully planned to account for what the players' expectations regarding the plot will most likely be. In the second game, the player will expect certain characters to subvert themselves as per characters in the first game. They don't.
  • School Days is an infamous deconstruction of the typical Harem genre game and shows what would realistically happen if a typical highschool student decided to bang several girls for no reason, other than to get his rocks off and have some fun. The results are very, very, bad.
  • Wingman DX deconstructs many tropes pertaining to the visual novel and dating simulator genres, as well as some narrative tropes associated with romantic comedies. For example, the game permits the player to name their character, but most of the Wings reject the name and call you by the name Balyssa anyway. Other routes punish players for expecting to be able to fix characters' personal problems just by being persistent enough.

    Web Animation 

  • Skin Horse: A deconstruction of everything from mad science to social work and '70s Blaxploitation movies.
  • The Order of the Stick plays mercilessly with both Dungeons & Dragons tropes, and storytelling tropes in general. Most notably, it's hung enough lampshades to decorate a lightbulb factory. Including hanging a lampshade on hanging lampshades. For a few more examples, it has Zig-Zagged with several parts of the Character Alignment trope. The Lawful Stupid character isn't stupid in any conventional sense, and actually is good (at least, until she goes crazy), and yet, she's an antagonist. The Lawful Evil Overlord is definitely evil, and yet seems like he'll be helpful overall to the protagonists. The Always Chaotic Evil goblins have a perfectly good reason built into the fabric of the universe to be evil... but there's no question that they are evil. Finally, it also deconstructs typical player behavior/campaign focus with a Chaotic Evil party member, who says early on "I figured we'd just wander around, kill some sentient creatures because they had green skin and fangs and we don't, and then take their stuff."
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast CerealThe Far Side's evil twin. It has probably destroyed everything you know and love at some point.
  • The Parking Lot Is Full doesn't even bother trying to be funny, instead flooding the reader with Fridge Horror.
  • MS Paint Adventures is Andrew Hussie's deconstructive love letter to a multitude of series, genres and tropes, including itself. Homestuck in particular seems to be principally founded as a deconstruction of the standard "kids go on an adventure in another world" plot prevalent in pretty much every medium ever, with parts of it deconstructing, among many other things, various Time Travel Tropes with a heavy emphasis on You Can't Fight Fate—the constant stresses of trying to keep in time with the Stable Time Loops, on pain of piles of his own corpse piling up, quickly gets to the normally-unflappable Dave—and of the standard Mary Sue Tropes—how Vriska tries to present herself, in contrast to her true nature. Also, sometimes Hussie himself seems to be aiming to deconstruct the audience-creator relationship.
  • Guilded Age: A level-headed berserker, a thuggish "crusader," an elven scientist, a dwarven shaman/archer, and an elf mistaken for the chosen one go on adventurers in a setting that paints a harsh and almost historical light on Fantastic Racism.
  • Oglaf's absurd humor is a mixture of Sex Comedy and taking apart fantasy tropes, and its roots as outright pornography means it's free to go as far as it needs to for jokes combining the two that most others would only talk around or imply.
  • Apricot Cookie(s)! tears up the Magical Girl genre by taking tropes normally reserved for main characters and applying them to everyone except the main characters.

    Web Original 
  • Tails of Fame deconstructs every concept related to a Villain Protagonist, Be Yourself, and I Just Want to Be Special. Instead of being a typical underdog story about a character who wants to get famous in the city, what you have is a villain who quickly decides to turn to a life of crime so he can get famous. And at no point does the story even try to justify his actions or make him (or the other two villainous characters) sympathetic.
  • Thousand-Week Reich decontructs most of the aspects of Alternate-History Nazi Victory. With the United Kingdom signing an armistice with Nazi Germany after the failed evacuation of Dunkirk, it allowed the Nazis to narrowly defeat France and the Soviet Union. This leads to the the United States to never declares war on Germany, only in Imperial Japan. The Nazi regime turns out to be a Fascist, but Inefficient struggle to control territory while spreading the Generalplan Ost across Europe. After Hitler's death, his successor led the Reich until he was overthrown in a civil war supported by USA. Outside of Germany, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom united in the Atlantic Union, starting a decade-long Cold War with the Third Reich; Chiang Kai-Shek and the Republic of China still lead the continental China, due to the failure of the Communist Party for the lack of Soviet support.
  • The Whateley Universe starts as a deconstruction of the classic superhero comic books, but delves everywhere else when given a chance. The story Give 'Em The Ole Razzle Dazzle is a deconstruction of various genres stretching from the 1930's pulp heroes to the start of the 1980s (when the narrator 'retired' and moved into Business).
  • exists seemingly to promote deconstructions in all Fan Fic.
  • Occupy Richie Rich deconstructs almost every trope and concept used in the Richie Rich series.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • [adult swim], as explained in this video, are major contributors to this trope. Pretty much every one of their shows is a Deconstructive Parody of some genre, subculture, or other element of pop culture, with all of its tropes taken completely seriously and to their logical conclusion.
  • The Venture Bros., more so than any other [adult swim] show and perhaps more than any other example on this page. It has to be — it's a parody of shows with goody-goody adventuring teens and infallible superheroes. For example, one of the main characters, a parody of Jonny Quest, is depicted as a paranoid drug addict as a direct response to being a boy adventurer and hauled off to dangerous countries and nearly killed countless times. The Scooby-Doo gang are overexaggerated and their characters combined with well-known real killers — Shaggy is a useless, psychotic hippie who may or may not be hallucinating Scooby's voice telling him to do evil things, Fred is a dumb, thuggish jock who kidnapped Daphne and keeps her locked up, Daphne is genuinely, completely useless, and Velma is a man-hating, militant feminist lesbian. The Six Million Dollar Man is depicted as a slave to his job, as his government pay is very low, compared to his debt.
    • While the first two seasons are shown to bring the bulldozers and wrecking balls to the Jonny Quest boy and Bob Morane adventuring tropes, season three moving forward shows real effort reconstructing the characters into better, less dysfunctional people. Unless it's funnier, of course.
  • Arcane seems to delight in taking many elements that are core aspects of the characters, lore, and even gameplay of League Of Legends and show them with gritty realism:
    • A key point in Jinx's popularity is her Mad Bomber personality. She's a funny and exciting character who merely annoys everyone around her. Except here, her violence is more realistic, and it suddenly becomes horrifying. She's dangerous, unpredictable, can't be trusted by her own associates, and her enemies are absolutely terrified of her. And her funny madness? Not so funny when we see it from her perspective.
    • Vi's "punch first and ask questions while punching" attitude is a key aspect of her character, but the show isn't kind to her methods. While not totally ineffective, her impulsive and reckless personality is depicted as a Fatal Flaw that constantly creates problems for her and leads to many things she could have avoided if she had just kept her cool.
    • Combining these two aspects is the relationship between both sisters. Before Arcane straight up confirmed it, it was only vaguely implied that Vi and Jinx were sisters, but then...where does that leave their relationship? Jinx causing trouble and Vi punching her into submission is the basis of said relationship. It was fine in the beginning because they were rivals and didn't really know each other, but since the show works with the idea that they are sisters, it paints their interactions in a far more tragic light. Indeed it is this very aspect of how they interact rearing its ugly head in the worst possible moment that tears the sisters apart and creates Jinx.
    • Piltover and Zaun's relationship has always been at the center of the lore for characters in both cities, but Arcane is allowed to show the horrible way Piltover treats the soon-to-be Zaun in far more graphic detail, showing exactly the kind of Grey-and-Gray Morality that lies at the center of their conflict. This also means that noble characters from Piltover (such as Jayce or Caitlyn) are left reeling when they see the atrocious conditions that the Undercity has to live with and dealing with such inequality become one of the main focuses of their stories.
    • Sadly this also leads to one of the more realistic, and heartbreaking, cases of Status Quo Is God. Just because some of the protagonists suddenly want to deal with a centuries-old problem doesn't mean that they can do much. At the end of the series the city council decides to vote for peace with the Undercity and Silco is dead... but it's too little too late, thanks in large part to Jinx, and in part to the fact that their abuse has made Zaun eager for war.
    • Finally, there's the violence itself. Violence is at the core of League of Legends; it is, after all, a game about killing your competition, but the fights there are both comical and awesome. Not so in Arcane, which is a good deal Bloodier and Gorier. Nearly every fight here is played relatively realistically, and people get seriously hurt. Whenever the series starts getting too into the fights, something will inevitably make it stop to show the bloody consequences of their actions. Just ask Jayce, Ekko, Jinx and Vi.
  • The Boondocks combines sitcom trope deconstruction with racial and social trope deconstruction.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated deconstructs just about every one of the franchise's most iconic tropes.
    • Rather than continue running through the Scooby-Dooby Doors after awhile Shaggy and Scoob decide to hide in one place. Around this same time the monster gets fed up and decides to light the place on fire.
    • Shaggy's friendship with Scooby is so strong that he rejects Velma's romantic advances out of fear their relationship would drive a wedge between him and Scooby.
    • Fred's knack for trap building is rooted in a subconcious desire to keep others from running away from him, like he believes his own mother and father did.
    • The entire franchise deconstructs horror situations, with its main element being that most monsters are frauds, masked petty criminals, outsmarted by a team which actually knows what they are doing. As a result, when an actual monster shows up, it manages to be more intimidating.
  • Along the same lines as the Scooby-Doo example above is Transformers: Prime, which takes a grittier spin on the Transformers series. It goes out of it's way to remind you that these aren't just a bunch of goofy robots with no minds, they're actual, sentient living beings and they are in a constant brutal war with each other. Each generic robot you see get shot, is a living being who probably had a family and life of their own.
    • Beast Wars was a similar case, though only because they didn't have the budget. However, deaths were mostly permanent, and the Maximals were neither dumb nor generic goody two-shoes. Also, the Predacons occasionally won.
  • Archer goes through cold-war spy tropes like adamantium claws through butter.
  • Adventure Time, with its awkward continuity and harsh undertones, tends to deconstruct not only the classic, Status Quo Is God trope by showing the consequences of decisions, but also of the hero's journey.
    • Finn the Human is flawed and emotionally complex for a kid, and endures severe forms of guilt and helplessness as the series progresses. Whereas most cartoon shows express a child-hero as emotionally invulnerable and better by the next show (given s/he has endured some form of emotional trauma), Adventure Time gives us a more realistic portrait of what happens to a child who quite frequently has the pressure of saving another person's life or even the world for that matter.
    • Princess Bubblegum starts off as a classic Damsel in Distress, but is slowly revealed to perform questionable deeds, mostly involving her shady experiments. Her attitude towards Finn, while benevolent, leans toward demeaning and borderline ungrateful. By delving deeper into her character, we find out that the love interest is not always perfect, and that the hero doesn't always get the girl.
    • Ice King is a major deconstruction of antagonists. Initially, he is supposed to be a run-of-the-mill bad guy. As his layers unfold, however, the show brings to light an antagonist's own inner conflicts, past experiences, and even brings up the question of evil vs crazy, in which the "bad guy" is not necessarily "bad," but... well, screwed up.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball skewers pretty much every cartoon and sitcom trope it comes across. However, it tends to do this less through subverting them or applying logic to them, but by taking tropes that normally tend to be taken for granted (such as Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, Not Allowed to Grow Up, Status Quo Is God and Snap Back) and having characters acknowledge and question them, leading to a lot of Fridge Horror. ("The Void", "The Kids", "The Job", and "The Finale")
  • Hercules: The Animated Series: Befitting an expansive series on Hercules' goal to become a true hero and join the Gods on Mount Olympus, the series shows many examples of heroic figures that end up being deconstructed thoroughly.
    • Jason from Jason and the Argonauts deconstructs the concept of a Heroic Vow and Determinator tendencies, since, after decades of searching, Jason has become so delusional and focused on finding the Golden Fleece much of his own crew has abandoned him and the only ones that remain stayed because of long-term contracts and openly despise him. Even when he finds the Fleece it ends up not being as spectacular as he thought and his journey to find it was the only thing that kept him from caving into depression all those years.
    • Orion the Barbarian Hero ends up thoroughly deconstructing the "no-regrets" Destructive Savior archetype, in that his pursuit to stop some renegade monsters ends up irresponsibly trashing every city state he goes to, leaving many homeless and hating him much to Orion's confusion.
    • Achilles ends up deconstructing the Showy Invincible Hero archetype by showing how pathetically vain such a figure would be despite their heroics and how selfishly non-heroic and a complete laughingstock such a figure is when it turns out they're not so invincible.
    • Hercules himself ends up deconstructing the concept of a hero being a Hunter of Monsters, when he meets a friendly Gorgon Monster Girl named Medusa and wrote her off as a freak despite her being nothing but kind to Hercules and his friends. Icarus, a social outcast himself, angrily calls Herc out on this and firmly establishes the Aesop that a person's character, monster or mortal, decides their worth.
  • Young Justice (2010) is a harsh deconstruction of the Kid Hero and shows the psychological effects of what could happen when one or more is in a never ending battle with a group of villains who isn't afraid to kill the heroes or those they care about. That and fighting super-villains isn't all fun and games. Also the concept of good guys vs bad guys gradually becomes unclear as the heroes themselves would face situations where they have to do what they have to do to to defeat The Light.
  • Bojack Horseman doesn't just take all of the Sitcom tropes, including the ones involving Status Quo Is God almost all of recent animated series love to run with, it goes completely overboard and crushes every single conception popularized by the media, essentially pointing out how Real Life is not like fiction makes it out to be. Often overlapping with Deconstructive Parody, one of its main propositions is what every single staple of a TV show would be if they were willing to dig a little deeper:
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power takes great pain to deconstruct character archetypes:
    • Adora deconstructs The Chosen One and Chronic Hero Syndrome. Sure, being She-Ra gives her nice Combo Platter Powers and makes her what amounts to a demigoddess, but it also plays into her already existing issues from an abusive childhood to make her one hell of a Martyr Without a Cause. By season 5, she's asked what she wants for herself, and the only thing she can think of is "what's best for Etheria". When she tries to perform a Heroic Sacrifice, it's framed as an unambiguously bad thing, and the final lesson she has to learn from her Spirit Advisor is that the world does not rest on her shoulders, and she deserves to have what she wants too.
    • Glimmer deconstructs You Are in Command Now. After queen Angella dies at the end of season 3, Glimmer becomes the sole commander of the Princess Alliance. Unfortunately, being in command does not magically give her the experience or wisdom needed for such a decision, not to mention the manner in which she was promoted being intensely traumatizing on its own. Throughout season 4, she becomes more and more brutal in her decision, culminating in her ignoring her best friends' advice and ordering them to let her do something momentously stupid.
    • Shadow Weaver deconstructs the Heel–Face Turn. Throughout seasons 3, 4 and 5, she goes through every point on the redemption list; She leaves the bad guys and joins the good guys, becomes a Mentor Archetype to one of the heroes, provides them with knowledge and powers that they need to save the day, and ultimately performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Catra and Adora, her surrogate daughters. The thing is, however, that without actual character development, these acts mean nothing; By the time she makes her sacrifice, she's still the exact same cruel, manipulative and power-hungry woman she was at the beginning, and one gets the feeling that she intentionally went through this arc to get a redemption without actually caring about putting in the effort of actually being redeemed.
    • Catra deconstructs the Arch-Enemy. Throughout the show, her villainy is focused solely on spiting Adora, either trying to hurt her or proving that she is better of without her. This is proven to be a very unhealthy attitude that brings her nothing but pain, to the point where she repeatedly gives up chances at success or happiness for the chance at getting back at Adora. By the end of season 4, this has left her at her lowest possible point, completely miserable and happy to let Glimmer kill her.
    • Hordak deconstructs the Big Bad. Sure, he's trying to conquer Etheria, but for what purpose? He seems much happier being an Emperor Scientist than actually leading his Horde. The happiest we ever see him is when working with Entrapta, who's just as For Science!-inclined as he is. It's eventually revealed that he's doing it all for the approval of Greater-Scope Villain Horde Prime, his creator and "Big brother". Thing is, Horde Prime is a selfish monster who wants all the universe to consist of a Hive Mind of his clones, with him at the top. Nothing Hordak does will ever please Prime, because Hordak's "failure" was existing with independence in the first place.
  • Sonic Boom has started to show signs of this in its second season — parodying movies like Armageddon (1998), the look-after-a-baby subplot, teen musicals and more.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: A great deal of the show's humor would not make sense to you if you were not an enormous fan of the franchise with knowledge of every single series. Jokes are made at the expense of TOS, TNG, DS9, and VOY. Many of these require knowledge of specific episodes' plots and the holes thereof.
  • Family Guy: The whole Santa Claus mythos takes quite a beating in episode "Road to the North Pole". With no magic aiding Brian, Stewie, or Santa; Santa is sick and dying, and conditions at the North Pole are completely atrocious due to the world's growing population and growing demand for gifts. Santa's workshop has become a toxin-spewing factory, the elves are overworked, mutated, and inbred, and the reindeer have devolved into bloodthirsty monsters that devour the elves after they wander out to die.
    • After Santa's health takes a turn for the worse, Brian Griffin and Stewie Griffin agree to deliver presents for him, and this episode takes the typical "Santa slides down the chimney to leave presents for families" trope and kicks in its teeth, turning it into what it really is: a home invasion, in this case mixed with an assault (and possibly even a murder or two) just to keep the witnesses from ratting them out to the police.
      1. When they land the sleigh at their first house, they accidentally fly through a tree in the process and the reindeer get stuck in it.
      2. They then go down the chimney but forget to bring the presents with them. Fortunately, the sleigh slides off the roof and lands in the yard.
      3. When they go outside to retrieve the presents, they forget to unlock the front door, locking themselves out and forcing Brian to break a window to get back inside.
      4. They're soon found by the man living there, who heard them break the window and nearly calls the police before Stewie knocks him out with a baseball bat, getting blood everywhere in the process. They then hide him in a closet and Brian ties him up while Stewie makes it look like a burglary.
      5. The man's daughter then wakes up and comes downstairs for some water. They try to get her to go back to bed, but then the man's wife comes down looking for him, and he falls out of the closet. This forces Stewie to knock her out too when she tries to run.
      6. They then tie the daughter up with her unconscious parents and start cleaning up all the blood, which, added to the time they've already blown so far, takes them an hour and a half.
      7. When Brian goes to check on the boy who's getting the baseball bat and discovers the family only has one bedroom, Stewie asks the daughter if she has a brother. When she responds no, it suddenly dawns on Stewie that they're in the wrong house. Stewie then hears the cops coming since they tripped a silent alarm at some point, likely when Brian broke the window.
      8. Brian and Stewie are forced to leave, and to add insult to injury, the reindeer are all eating each other at this point. If it hadn't been for Stewie modifying Santa's sleigh to fly on its own, they would have been arrested.
      • End result: Two people are in the hospital (hopefully, if the dad didn't die from his injuries), a little girl will require years of therapy and probably hate Christmas for the rest of her life, nobody gets any presents, and Christmas is ruined. Stewie even points out just how impossible delivering presents to the entire world in one night actually is.
        Brian: We're just leaving like this? What about not wanting to ruin Christmas?
        Stewie: It's already ruined! This was ONE! HOUSE! We've been here for an hour and a half! An hour and a— First of all, we're not even Santa anymore. This has been a home invasion. But an HOUR AND A HALF, Brian! It's gonna be light in six hours, and we have to deliver to the whole rest of the world! There's TWO apartment buildings on this block alone!
        Brian: No wonder Santa lost his mind! This is ridiculous! We can't do this!
        Stewie: NOBODY CAN! IT'S INHUMAN!