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Enforced Trope

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— The "Enforced" box of the image on Playing with a Trope

Keep in mind that since this is behind the scenes, any In-Universe examples must be about a behind-the-scenes thing, such as Breaking the Fourth Wall or dealing with a Show Within a Show.

Tropes that are there because the writer had to include them, due to outside factors (even if the writer would have preferred to leave them out).

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It happens for a number of reasons:

May lead to Writer Revolt in extreme cases, or an attempt Getting Crap Past the Radar.

Yet be careful about assuming these just from looking at the final work. Many things can happen behind the scenes, and only Word of God, or some other reliable source, can truly tell us if this happens or not. In many cases, the writers did want to include these elements.

Compare Invoked Trope (a character in a story tries to make a trope happen), Justified Trope (when a work states a reason for a trope to happen).

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Contrast Subverted Trope, Averted Trope, Defied Trope.


Tropes that are often enforced (at least in the circumstances noted):

  • 555: Fictional phone numbers and addresses need to avoid corresponding to ones in Real Life.
  • Adaptational Modesty is practically mandatory in adaptations that strive to reach a general audience. Even if an actor is comfortable with appearing naked onscreen, extended scenes of full-frontal nudity pretty much guarantee a film an "R" rating, which makes a film much harder to market. Especially mandatory if a character is underage; while putting naked underaged characters in a novel or comic book might fly, it most definitely doesn't in a movie or television series, where (with a few exceptions) they have to be played by real underaged actors.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Tweaking a work's marketing (or, in more extreme circumstances, presentation) to make it more suited for a region's preferences.
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  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating. It's presumed that any work that can be seen without moral qualms by anyone, regardless of age, is not worth seeing by adults ("children will watch anything"). Since this would cut into profits by scaring off parts of the potential audience, it needs to be avoided.
  • Bland-Name Product: Featuring trademarked brands and products in a movie or TV show can lead to legal trouble if it's done without the manufacturer's permission, especially if they don't approve of the manner in which their products are portrayed. Notable examples include the films of Quentin Tarantino (where characters always smoke "Red Apple" cigarettes and eat fast food from "Big Kahuna Burger"), and Kevin Smith (where characters always chew "Chewley's Gum" and eat fast food from "Mooby's").
  • Bowdlerise: The enforcers could be Moral Guardians, government requirements, Values Dissonance for different countries, etc.
  • The Coconut Effect, because Reality Is Unrealistic.
  • Coconut Superpowers, because of budgetary problems during production.
  • Dawson Casting can sometimes be necessary for legal reasons. A very common example is to avoid Union regulations and/or actual laws in regards to youth actors.
  • Flynning :
  • Great Offscreen War: Depicting a full-scale war is incredibly expensive in visual media, so budgetary concerns often necessitate keeping things offscreen (save for one or two important battles), or just setting the story in the aftermath. Notable examples include the Great Time War in Doctor Who, the War of the Five Kings in Game of Thrones, the Roman Civil War in Rome, and the Earth-Romulan War in Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Any work that exists to promote or sell a product (such as a line of toys) will be constrained by product availability, turnover, popularity and gimmicks. Transformers is probably the most successful example.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Legal disclaimers are necessary to stave off litigation.
  • Post-Script Season: If a show is renewed, it'll get written for, but the writers then have to work their way out of the constraints of the original story.
  • Precision F-Strike: In many movies whose producers had to fight for "PG-13" ratings, since the MPAA's rules on profanity mean that a movie arbitrarily receives an "R" rating if it uses the word "fuck" more than once.
  • Product Placement is often the result of Executive Meddling, while some are done with the agreement of the filmmakers. Whatever reason, this trope brings more money to the production, which often covers the costs of filming.
  • Rose Tinted Narrative: When fiction deals with the history of some region, it may sometimes need this to get mainstream success in that region. In worse cases, Rose Tinted Narrative will be required for publication.
    • The Deep South in the first several decades of film got a lot of rose-tinting.
    • Also happens with other works that require the authorization of their subjects—authorized biographies, for instance.
    • Under The Hays Code, priests, ministers, and other religious authorities had to be portrayed respectfully without exception. Fittingly, one of the co-authors of the Code's actual text was a Jesuit Catholic priest—and while he acknowledged that not all "ministers of religion" were worthy of respect, mockery of any one of them would (supposedly) encourage sacrilegious attitudes.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: When a legal dispute renders a true adaptation impossible. Many of the films of George Lucas are famous for this; supposedly, he made the original Star Wars because he couldn't get the rights to Flash Gordon, Raiders of the Lost Ark because he had always wanted to produce a James Bond movie, and Willow because he couldn't get the rights to The Hobbit.
  • Spiritual Successor: When a legal dispute renders a true sequel impossible.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: When a work turns out to be particularly successful, executives often demand two or more followups to cash in on the success of the original, which necessitates writing one story that can be stretched over multiple installments.
    • Other times when a writer gets an idea for a multi-part story, they usually can't get the later installments greenlit unless the first one turns out to be successful, which necessitates writing a first installment that can stand on its own.
  • White Male Lead: Because the entertainment industry feels (rightly or wrongly) that white people won't relate to a minority.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: If a work is designed not be to be planned out in advance, but have the story changes be decided by things like random chance, or letting the audience vote on outcomes.
    • Vinesauce Tomodachi Life leaves many events and outcomes to the Random Number God, any number of plot twists and character traits are established with no real foreshadowing (for the most part). Since Vinny is livestreaming the game and can't save scum his way out of certain events, he ends up being just as surprised as the viewers are by them. Essentially, the series writes itself on the fly.
    • Others using random numbers include Il castello dei destini incrociati and Inglip.

Works that enforced a specific trope:

Film - Live Action

Theatre

  • Secondary Character Title shows up in many plays written around the time of William Shakespeare, specifically those that deal with historical monarchs and rulers. Because of the Elizabethan era's rigid social hierarchy, characters of higher social status had to set themselves apart from the commoners by speaking in verse, and plays always had to be named for the character of the highest social ranking—even if they weren't actually the protagonist. For example:
    • In Julius Caesar, the protagonist is Brutus.
    • In Cymbeline, the protagonist is Cymbeline's daughter Imogen.
    • In Henry IV, the protagonist is the young Prince Hal (who is later the protagonist in Henry V).
    • In Henry VI, Part 1 is really about John Talbot's conflict with Joan of Arc, while the remaining two parts are really about the various nobles vying for power around King Henry VI.
    • Hamlet, though fictional, might have had to follow that convention had Claudius not been clearly a murderer, and thus not a rightful king.

Video Games

  • During development of the original Super Mario Bros., the Trope Namer for The Goomba came about when play testers commented on the Koopas being too tricky to defeat. With what little space was left in the game at that point in development, the designers implemented the square-height enemy with a basic movement pattern and completely vulnerability, so that less-experiences players could have something to overcome before they face off against more difficult enemies.

Alternative Title(s): Enforced

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