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Surprisingly Realistic Outcome

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Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Try to dodge bullets, and you'll end up like me.

Huh? Wait! What? Did that just happen? I mean… that is how it would happen in Real Life, but…

A Surprisingly Realistic Outcome happens when a work subverts narrative conventions by deriving an outcome from realistic principles, temporarily removing otherwise fictional logic. We can often anticipate results based on the story's narrative pattern; this trope subverts those expectations by momentarily employing more realism than its norm.

This trope isn't merely a Plot Twist. To minimize stress on editors, make sure your example is Surprising, Realistic, and an Outcome:


A Surprisingly Realistic Outcome differs from Deconstruction in several ways:

  • Expectations: Once we've identified a work as a deconstruction, we should be able to anticipate how it handles certain tropes, differing from how this trope must be surprising. While a deconstruction will sometimes lead with a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome, the consequences down the line won't surprise us anymore.
  • Timing: Because a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome is a subversion and is often jarring, it's supposed to be a momentary trope. Deconstructions typically weave themselves into the fabric of a story, creating something lasting for at least a significant portion of the work.
  • Realism: A Surprisingly Realistic Outcome subverts expectations by refusing to have things work how one would expect from fiction, meaning it excludes all Applied Phlebotinum. A deconstruction discusses or plays with assumptions underpinning a trope or theme. Deconstructions don't necessarily involve objective realism, as they can include examining a Logical Weakness or a subversion of Required Secondary Powers. While we can deconstruct the workings of Applied Phlebotinum, we can't make it realistic.

Video game examples overlap with Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay. Anti-Climax might run in parallel but doesn't require realism. Fridge Logic is when the realistic outcome exists only in the audience's mind. Extraordinary World, Ordinary Problems is about mundane problems still existing in fictional settings. An Unbuilt Trope deals with situations where the Expected Unrealistic Outcome didn't exist at the time and veers more towards Deconstruction.

To avoid redundancy since this trope is entirely about outcomes based on Real Life, No Real Life Examples, Please!note 

Example subpages


Nigel Cannot Fly Anymore

At the end of the first film, Nigel was flung into a plane's rotors, shredding his wing feathers. While it was treated as Amusing Injuries at the time, the sequel reveals that this has caused Nigel to permanently lose the ability to fly.

How well does it match the trope?

3.71 (7 votes)

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Main / SurprisinglyRealisticOutcome

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