Welcome to the subwiki for Playing with a Trope.
What is 'Playing With' a trope? Showing what the trope would look like under the usual transformations. The usual transformations are listed in detail on the Playing with a Trope page. They are things like Subverted, Inverted, Enforced, Exaggerated, and so on.
In this subwiki, examples are generic, rather than specific to any given show or series. For example, for The Power of Love trope:
Valid: "Double Subverted: Alice's love for Bob fails to prevent his death, but as she's led away in despair, she is rescued by a reincarnated Bob."
Not Valid: "Double Subverted: In The Princess Bride Buttercup's True Love for Westley fails to interrupt the ceremony, but Westley shows up soon afterward and the marriage is denied on a technicality."
Here are some sort-of rules for playing with tropes:
- Please make sure you've studied and memorized the trope definition and are 100% sure that it is what you think it is. Nothing ruins a Playing With page faster than shoehorning Square Peg, Round Trope examples into places the basic trope doesn't support.
- When creating a Playing With page for a trope, link to the trope being played with, but not the transformation you are working on. We don't need a zillion links to "Subverted Trope", or the other Trope Tropes.
- Go ahead and list as many transformations as you can. If you can't think up a good example, go ahead and leave an entry blank. Wiki Magic will bring examples. Please don't insert a placeholder like (???) or (needs example)
- If the Subversion, Inversion (etc.) of a trope is distinct enough to constitute a trope in its own right, just naming and linking to the separate page is fine.
- A template is conveniently provided at Playing With Wiki Template (raw source). Using it will make the pages consistently formatted.
- Start by creating your new page by going to the URL https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/PlayingWith/your trope name here and pressing "edit page".
- If you are unfamiliar with the various transformations, this page gives a nice short description of the standard expanded set, as does the Playing with a Trope page.
- If you still have issues, don't be afraid from asking on this forum thread.
Recommendations & Common Misunderstandings
- The "Basic Trope" entry provided in the template above should only be a simple one sentence description of the trope. No excessive cleverness needed. Save the cleverness for the actual entries. (In many cases, the Laconic Wiki entry can be used directly for the purpose.)
- If the characters in your examples have names, be sure to use the same character(s) in all examples on the same page. If the page consistently refers to the hypothetical characters as "Alice and Bob", but one example calls them "Charles and Della" (for example), people will be confused.
- Don't bother playing with it if it's Not a Trope.
- Make sure you know what each transformation means and don't get them confused with each other. Having one example be "See (something else)." is right out.
- "Conversed" does not mean "Discussed" or "a reply to Discussed" — conversed means talking about a trope in another work, and discussed means having a character explicitly discuss the trope in Genre Savvy way in a situation in which it would normally appear.
- "Exaggerated" vs. "Parodied": It is possible for "Parodied" to overlap with "Exaggerated", but they are not the same.
- "Parodied" is when the trope or parts of the trope are directly mocked or spoofed for explicit humour value. (Parody examples on "Playing With" pages should not be exaggerations.)
- "Exaggerated" is an extreme or over-the-top manifestation of the trope, but may still be played straight or taken entirely seriously. (It helps get the point across if your exaggerated examples are serious.)
- "Discussed" vs. "Lampshaded": A Discussed Trope is when the characters talk about a trope which might apply to their situation. A Lampshade Hanging is specifically when the trope occurs, but is made less jarring to the audience's Willing Suspension of Disbelief by having characters point it out. Ideally, your Discussed examples should not also be Lampshades - i.e. the trope itself should not be used in them. Remember: Discussed Trope + Played Straight = Lampshade Hanging.
- "Invoked" vs. "Exploited": An Exploited Trope is when a Genre Savvy character can predict that the trope will be in effect, or knows that a trope is already in effect, and adjusts their behavior accordingly. An Invoked Trope is when the character is even more pro-active and attempts to cause the trope to occur.
- "Averted" vs. "Subverted": An Aversion is Not a Subversion. Tropes are Averted when they are completely absent from the work. Subversions occur only when the audience is made to believe in advance that a trope will happen, but then it doesn't actually happen at all. In short, a Subversion is when a trope is Bait-And-Switched. If there is a situation where the trope could occur, but it doesn't, that's not automatically a Subversion. It's simply an Aversion unless the writer directly implies that the trope is about to occur.
- "Averted" vs. "Downplayed": Keep in mind to avoid confusion, a trope is Averted when it doesn't occur at all in the work. For a trope to be Downplayed means it does occur, but to less of an extent than usual, regardless of the setup.
- "Averted" vs. "Defied": An Averted Trope, as noted above, is one that the writer simply fails to include. A Defied Trope occurs when a Genre Savvy character goes out of their way to ensure the trope's absence. The reverse assumption is also possible: "Defied" means the trope is prevented by the characters, not the writers or executives. In other works, it's the inversion of Invoked, not Enforced. If something in Real Life (e.g. Executive Meddling) prevents the writer from using the trope, or if the writer intentionally excludes a trope that they could use, it's still simply Averted.
- "Averted" vs. "Inverted": When a trope is "X happens", the Inverted trope is not "X doesn't happen". That's an Aversion. An Inversion is where something very much like X happens, but with one or more key aspects flipped to the opposite. In other words, an Inversion means the trope is used the other way around.
- "Inverted" vs. "Exaggerated": For character tropes where the basic trope is "Alice is/does X", you might be tempted to list "every character except Alice is/does X" as an Inversion. This is incorrect; an example such as this would constitute an Exaggeration rather than an Inversion, as the trope is used on more than one character.
- "Justified" vs. "Enforced": A Justified Trope is specifically defined as In-Universe. That means the writers made a logical In-Universe reason for the trope to occur in the setting, not that meta-reasons make it a good choice to make it happen. (If it's a realistic trope, the Justification can be as simple as "Truth in Television".) If the writers have to use a trope because of Executive Meddling, censorship, requirements of the genre, or other external expectations or obligations, this is an Enforced Trope. Remember that Tropes Are Not Bad, and a Justification isn't necessarily good.
- "Justified" vs. "Invoked": These two overlap with each other, but are different. As noted above, "Justified" means that there is an In-Universe reason for the trope. "Invoked" specifically means that a Genre Savvy character attempts to cause the trope to occur.
- "Invoked" vs. "Implied": These two are commonly confused due to their similar name, but have nothing to do with each other. "Invoked" is when someone causes a trope to occur, while "Implied" is when it looks like a trope has happened.
- "Played for Laughs" vs. "Parodied": Played for Laughs is when a trope is Played Straight in a comedic context, while a Parodied Trope means the trope is twisted or mocked in order to make it funny.
- "Double Subverted" vs. "Untwisted": A Double Subversion is when the trope is Subverted, and then the first Subversion is also Subverted so the trope occurs after all. The Un-Twist is when a Subversion is expected but does not occur, and as such it is not a Double Subversion, but rather a Null Subversion.
- "Deconstructed" vs. "Played for Drama": A Deconstruction does not necessarily mean that the trope is darker or more dramatic than usual. Played for Drama just means that the trope is used in a serious or dramatic way. A Deconstruction takes the trope apart and uses it in a more realistic way, showing the consequences that it would have in Real Life (even a Deconstructed Trope can be Played for Laughs; see Deconstructive Parody.). In short, Deconstructed basically means "Played for Realism". However, it is common for them to overlap, as most tropes would have negative consequences.
- "Deconstructed" vs. "Reconstructed": A Deconstruction avoids the unrealistic parts of the trope, but the writer makes no effort to closely resemble the original trope. A Reconstruction takes a Deconstruction and "reassembles" the trope into something that resembles the original trope, but is still realistic. There cannot be a Reconstruction without a Deconstruction.
- "Deconstructed/Reconstructed" vs. "Defied": Some "Deconstructions" listed on Playing With pages involve the characters preventing the trope from occurring. This is incorrect; when a trope is prevented by one or more characters, it's a Defied Trope. "Defied" is also easily confused with "Reconstructed", as a Reconstruction often involves the characters Defying the effects of the Deconstruction.
- "Untwisted" means that the audience expects the trope to be Subverted, not Averted. Don't list "Untwists" in which the trope is just "thrown in" or revealed some time after the character it applies to is introduced; those are Zig Zaggings.
- While we are on the topic of lesser-known transformations, "Unparodied" means that a Parodied Trope is Subverted into a straight use, or otherwise used seriously. Any trope can theoretically be Unparodied, though not every Parody can be.
- "Zig Zagged" covers miscellaneous or multiple variations, such as a trope that is Subverted three or more times, or both Parodied and Exploited. Ideally, the example on a Playing With page should be a Mind Screw or a multiple Subversion. If you can't describe your example as anything other than "Played With" or "Miscellaneous", it's Zig Zagged (assuming you're an experienced troper; if you're not, please check the Playing with a Trope page).
- Adding the "Played for Drama" and/or "Played for Laughs" points and then just writing "This trope almost always is" (or a variation of that) does not count as a valid entry! If you cannot think of an especially dramatic/comedic way to use the trope, just omit that point. It will be added in a future edit.
- Not all ways to play with a trope are applicable to all tropes.
- Only tropes which are Always Male or Always Female can be Gender Inverted. If you list "trope X happens to Bob" where most examples use Alice (or vice versa), this is only a valid Gender Flip if the trope is gender-specific.
- Tropes that are beyond the control of the characters cannot be Invoked or Defied.
- Tropes about the style of a work cannot be Played For Laughs/Drama, though some can be Parodied or Deconstructed/Reconstructed.
- A trope cannot be Exploited if there is no way for any character, good or evil, to benefit from it.
- Tropes that are completely realistic when Played Straight cannot be Deconstructed or Reconstructed.
- Tropes with no opposite cannot be Inverted. For example, She's a Man in Japan covers any Gender Flip of any character in any translation of a work.
- The following are not worth noting on Playing With pages.
- Three or more Zig Zagged examples on one page (Some tropes have more than one possible Exaggeration, Downplaying, Inversion, Subversion, Aversion, etc.; however, all tropes have many possible Zig Zaggings, so you should only list one or two.)
- "Square Peg, Round Trope" examples (They have their own page; only the genuine trope and variants thereof should be listed on Playing With pages.)
- "Invoked/Defied in vain" (Invoked/Defied examples should end in success. If a character attempts to Invoke a trope but fails, this is a Subversion.)
- "Flanderized" Flanderization is itself a trope. If a trope is gradually played up from Straight to Exaggerated, it falls under Zig Zagged.)
- "Darker and Edgier" or "Lighter and Softer" (These are ways of playing with franchises, not tropes; tropes do not have a canonical emotional tone.)
A list of all the Playing With articles is just a click away.