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Outgrow The Trope

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When after a show or a comic book or other work has been using a specific trope multiple times, its use of the trope peters out and the writers quit applying it. They may even lampshade it a few times before they learn that it's rather annoying they keep using it.

May be the result of the show Growing the Beard, but if it's to the detriment of the work it may be a case of Jumping the Shark, which in most cases means a show abandoned what helped make it good in the first place and replaced it with something worse, resulting in Seasonal Rot. Compare to Early-Installment Weirdness, in which a newcoming series is trying to find its niche, and see Grandfather Clause and The Artifact, in which an element of the series which was important at one point no longer has such importance but cannot be dropped because it's so deeply engrained in the mythology.

See also Overused Running Gag, which may push an author to "outgrow" it as well. Compare and contrast Yo Yo Plot Point.




  • Many DC Comics had quite a bit of Americanitis and America Saves the Day-esque plots. This ended after the comics became much more sophisticated and the Cold War was no longer a factor.
  • The Sandman (1989) from straightish DCU-based Horror Tropes, to everything in the kitchen-sink-genre Mythopoeia starting with The Sound of Her Wings and rapidly moving along into Genre-Busting after that.
  • In Rubric-à-Brac, there was a very common running gag about Isaac Newton getting hit on the head by a falling apple (or anything that could fall). After a period of time the running gag nearly dissapeared and any rare return of Isaac Newton would be lamp-shaded.
  • Less of an example of outgrowing a trope and more of perfecting upon it: Superman's Clark Kenting elements have drastically improved, starting in the 1970s within the comics and movies. The actual Clark Kenting page delves more into this, but in recent times the Paper-Thin Disguise Supes dons as Clark is actually justified.

Live-Action Television

  • Star Trek: The Original Series used Multinational Team in order to present a unified international unit working together for the benefit of all humanity, something that was a pipe dream in the Cold War 1960s. As the Cold War wound down and the idea had more acceptance, later series barely touched on the ethnicities or homelands of the human members of the crew.
  • Many early episodes of Charmed had the sisters solve their daily demonic dilemma with a quick reference check to their Great Big Book of Everything Magical. In later seasons this died down as their experience with magic grew and by the final season they hardly relied on the book at all.
  • Cougar Town lost the "I Am Not an Old Maid" trope on which it was based pretty quickly in the first season, instead Growing the Beard by focusing on the True Companions and the Unresolved Sexual Tension between the lead and her neighbor; the Artifact Title was lampshaded several times in the opening credits. UST also was resolved at the end of season 1.
  • Supernatural started as a straight Monster of the Week show, but in seasons four and five moved toward longer, more serious story arcs. Though Word of God says that this was, at least partly, intentional. This also occurred in similar series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
  • Canada's Worst Driver and Take That!. The show used to have a lot of people nominated out of spite, but now that it's known that the show really tries to help the bad drivers than be just a Point-and-Laugh Show, this has become less common.
  • iCarly's Overused Running Gags of Spencer's projects bursting into flames and Gibby taking off his shirt have been increasingly lessened in the last two seasons. Gibby is even asked in-universe by iCarly fans to take off his shirt, but tells them "I do that less now."
  • Early Doctor Who stories would often start with a section of the Doctor and his companions wandering about, wondering where they have landed and trying to piece it together from all the weird things there, usually followed by a sequence in which they are regarded with suspicion or captured by people in authority there and the Doctor has to blag them into accepting that he knows what he's talking about. In one of the few examples of directly linear trope shift over the course of the series, these sections were gradually shortened and shortened as audiences became more comfortable with the basic premise of the series and as the stories themselves had more of the Padding stripped, eventually being omitted altogether by the time of the new series (which used gadgets like the psychic paper to help the Doctor quickly establish trust).


  • Our Miss Brooks:
    • A staple of early radio episodes was Mrs. Davis' Cordon Bleaugh cookery, resulting in everything from blubber burgers to pine needles being placed in front of Miss Brooks at breakfasttime. In later radio episodes and on television, Mrs. Davis sticks to conventional cookery . . . for the most part.
    • An early running gag on the radio is how Miss Brooks' car is always in the shop. Half the time it's because she's an unspeakably horrible driver. Again, by the time the series went to television, Miss Brooks is able to criticise Walter Denton's driving without any hypocrisy.

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