An element is included in a work, just because the element makes the story better in some way simply for having it, similar to adding spices and seasonings to food.
These elements don't drive the plot or have a narrative purpose, and aren't genre staples. They can add to characterization or World Building, but mostly the point of them is that having these elements is so much better than not having these elements.
Even if these elements have some importance to the story, it's similar to a MacGuffin in that the form needn't be any of the elements, but it's still better to have them.
- A Save the Princess plot could have anyone as the Damsel in Distress, but often it's an actual princess, just because of this trope.
- The all-powerful crystal that the villain wants needn't be in the form of a jewel, but it looks prettier than an all-powerful pine cone.
- We can see fighter planes attack the bad guys, but it's just a bit more exciting to have a Fighter-Launching Sequence first.
- Weapons can be cool on their own, but it's even cooler to have them be made of fire, lasers, or some other elements, no matter how impossible.
Of course these elements can seem overused, especially if some feel the overall story is weak, but these elements can enrich a good story just with their inclusion.
Now that's not to say such tropes can't have any effect on the story. In fact many of these can also convey a Meaningful Appearance.
Contrast People Sit on Chairs (when there isn't even this much of a reason for an element to be a trope).
A Super-Trope to:
- Babies Make Everything Better — Life with babies is so much better than life without babies.
- Deep-Fried Whatever — Deep fried food is so much better than food that isn't deep fried.
- Department of Redundancy Department — Explaining something with repetition is funnier than explaining something the normal way.
- Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai — Moai statues automatically make a setting cooler and more exotic.
- Everything's Better with Plushies — Plushies are always cute, right?
- Everything's Better with Princesses — What's a good fantasy setting without a princess or two?
- Everything's Better with Rainbows — Rainbows make any setting more colorful.
- Everything's Better with Samurai — Samurai are so much cooler than without samurai.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles — Audiences like things that sparkle, shine, and shimmer.
- Everything's Better with Spinning — Things that spin or roll or swirl are cool...provided you don't make yourself dizzy in the process.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies — Zombies in works not about them are so much cooler than without zombies.
- Everything's Louder with Bagpipes — Bagpipes are loud, even if you know how to play them properly.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry — Jewelry is so much more glamorous than without jewelry.
- Fighter-Launching Sequence — If you want to show off a dogfight, sometimes it's just that much more awesome watching the fighter jets take off first.
- Fluffy Fashion Feathers — Garments with feathers are both fluffy and fashionable.
- Frickin' Laser Beams — Laser weapons always add a bit more punch to a shootout.
- Funny Spoon — "Spoon" is an Inherently Funny Word, so it just goes to show that spoons in fiction are inherently funny objects.
- Gem-Encrusted — Dressing a character in a gem-covered outfit is an easy way to show off how filthy rich they are.
- Goggles Do Nothing — Goggles look cool, so who cares if they don't actually protect your eyes?
- Gold Makes Everything Shiny — Gold is so much prettier and shinier than most other precious metals.
- Gratuitous Disco Sequence — Disco may have died in the '80s, but the sparkling balls, quirky dance moves and gaudy outfits are still easily recognizable.
- Gratuitous Nazis — Nazi villains are so much more evil than villains that aren't Nazis.
- Gratuitous Ninja — Ninjas, like their samurai counterparts, make anything more badass just with their mere existence.
- Gratuitous Special Effects — because flying cars are cooler than regular cars, and glowing flying cars trump both.
- Incendiary Exponent — Things are more dangerous when they're on fire.
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons! — Dragons are awesome, even if they don't have anything to do with the story.
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha! — Because we all dig giant robots.
- Just for the Heli of It — Throwing in helicopters is so much cooler than not throwing them in.
- Lava Adds Awesome — Something with lava or magma is so much cooler than something without.
- Prepositional Phrase Equals Coolness — Titles with prepositions are so much cooler than titles without prepositions.
- Pretty in Mink — Clothing with fur is so much more glamorous than without fur.
- Pun — Puns are so much better than without puns.
- Rent-a-Zilla — It's got nothing to do with giant monsters, but we threw one in anyway.
- Ruins for Ruins' Sake — These old, crumbling structures don't have any history; they just provide atmosphere.
- Slime, Snails, and Mutant Tails — Sometimes, "creepy, slimy and gross" can also be cool.
- Stab the Sky — A character holding a sword over their head makes them look more heroic.
- Strawberry Shorthand — Strawberries as symbolism.
- Stuff Blowing Up — Explosions are so much better than not having explosions.
- Too Many Belts — You can never have clothing with too many belts.
- Troperiffic — Shows or works that use plenty of tropes unashamedly.
- Watch It Stoned — Characters think watching a show when high is so much better than watching it sober.
- "X" Makes Anything Cool — Adding the letter "X" to a proper noun makes it sound more cool/mysterious.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz — Why simply settle for calling something "cool" when you can make something "Totally Kool"? Add X's, K's, and Z's for maximum koolness faktor.
- Zipperiffic — Zippers are somehow cooler, even on clothing articles that don't normally carry them.
These animals are so much better than without these animals. Or, depending on the animal, much worse (adds danger and suspense).
- Bears Are Bad News — Add terror to your narrative with powerful bears!
- Bunnies for Cuteness — You just can't keep your eyes off that little bunny.
- Clucking Funny — Can't go wrong with chickens.
- Cute Kitten — Kittens are crazy cute to complain.
- Dolphins, Dolphins Everywhere — These creatures make everything a splash.
- Electric Jellyfish — All jellyfish in your narrative go "zap-zap" 'cause why not?
- Everything's Better with Cows — Who can resist a cow?
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs — Dinosaurs are way cooler than without dinosaurs.
- Everything's Better with Llamas — Even llamas that get their groove on.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys — Look at the monkey! Look at the silly monkey!
- Everything's Better with Penguins — Way cooler with penguins than without.
- Kangaroos Represent Australia — G'day, mate!
- Panda-ing to the Audience — Yeah, panda-monium!
- Precious Puppy — Puppies are too neat to resist.
- Threatening Shark — Sharks for adding some real teeth to your (normally) aquatic adventure!
- Tentacled Terror — because you don't question the awesomeness of anything with Combat Tentacles.
Other languages can be better.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French — Parler en français est tellement plus sexy que de ne pas le faire.
- Gratuitous English — Having English is better than having no English.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language — These are better than any native language alone.
- Gratuitous French — Le français, c'est bien mieux que pas de français.
- Gratuitous German — Mit Deutsch ist alles besser als mit keinen Deutsch.
- Gratuitous Italian — Tutto con l'italiano è meglio di tutto senza italiana.
- Gratuitous Greek — Τα πάντα με την ελληνική είναι καλύτερη από ό, τι χωρίς ελληνικά.
- Gratuitous Japanese — 日本とのすべてが日本語なしすべてよりも優れています。
- Gratuitous Latin — Omnia cum Latina est melius quam omnia sine Latine.
- Gratuitous Russian — Все с русским лучше, чем все без русского языка.
- Gratuitous Spanish — Todo con español es mejor que todo sin español.
- Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut — Adding random ümläüts to thë vowels of your band's name lets you show off how mëtäl it is.
- Yiddish as a Second Language — .אלץ מיט ייִדיש איז בעסער ווי אַלץ אָן ייִדיש (Read it right to left)
General Mentions of Elements Enhancing a Story
- In Cinema Snob Reviews Frozen (a fan comic where The Cinema Snob reviews Frozen) Snob says that Pierre Kirby (from the Godfrey Ho Ninja Movies) can make any fight scene better.
- Berserk Abridged noted that a soundtrack by Yoko Kanno can make even the weakest anime seem awesome.