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Unexpected Reactions to This Index

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Sometimes, viewers just don't do what you expect them to do. You try to show drama, and people just laugh. You try to give fans what they want, and they complain further. This is a list of all the tropes about the effects of, or causes of, the unexpected.

Note that sometimes, the reaction is intended.

See also It Sucks, Scrappy Index, and What Do You Mean, It's Not an Index?.


Viewers read a moral you didn't intend. Viewers get distracting and dirty mental images.
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Viewers are scared. The audience thinks a Real Life reference is something you just made up. Foreign countries or cultures strongly dislike your work. Your work permanently colors the franchise. Your work's merits are ignored because people only watch it for the pool party scene. You get new fans because of the one song that sounds nothing like the rest of your music. One of your minor characters is so popular that s/he becomes a major character.
A minor villain gets a bigger role through popularity. Viewers mock your Aesop because you undermined it yourself. Your fans turn on each other.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Your fans either hate or love one character, even when you didn't design the character to be hated OR loved.
Viewers mock your Aesop because it's something everyone should already know. Viewers mock your Aesop because of the clumsy presentation. Viewers suspect that the only people who genuinely like the character are the creators. Viewers hate the character for being useless and only being trouble to others. The players have no interest in finishing the game. That horrible thing you warned people not to do looks really freaking awesome! The villain is just too sexy/cool/sad to be truly evil. Your audience is offended at something you put forth as amusing. "I don't care what happens to these people," i.e. the audience isn't emotionally invested in the characters. "It's still not over?"
  • Arc Fatigue: "Can we get to the next storyline already?"
A minor character attracts major audience attention. You, the creator, are the only one who thinks the ending's happy. Viewers hate the character for being an ethnic stereotype. Viewers aren't emotionally invested because the character never wins. Ever. Viewers reject your Aesop because it contradicts their ethics.
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Viewers become emotionally invested in a romance you're not writing (probably in lieu of the one you are). Viewers mock your Aesop because it has no real world application (e.g. "Never stop time to save your love interest.") Disinterest or disgust at something meant to arouse. Beating the game much faster than intended or utterly destroying Player Versus Player balance. A villain with no backstory to flesh out his character. Foreign countries or cultures really like your work. Your actors realise the movie's bad and make the most of it. Lack of amusement at something meant to be funny. A character introduced in the sequel becomes one of the most prominent parts of a franchise A song introduced in a later work becomes iconic of the franchise it originated from The viewers realize that your Happy Ending isn't happy because everyone's going to die. You said something innocuous and somehow touched off a flamewar. Viewers aren't emotionally invested because the character never loses. Ever. Will someone beat this guy already? Affection and/or admiration for a Jerk Ass character. The moment — usually perceived in hindsight — when a work begins to decline in quality and/or alienate most of its fanbase. "Hey, don't get mad, I was kidding when I said that extremely offensive thing!" A villain does something villainous, but it doesn't pack the right punch because the audience thinks the target deserved it. The audience fails to respond to a dramatic or emotional moment because they aren't fooled. Viewers mock your Aesop because it was unclear just what you were going for. The audience finds the character too perfect to be real. The work that you poured your heart and soul into gets tepid if not nasty reviews, while the work you threw together in five minutes makes you famous and successful. A cultural group embraces a caricature of themselves. Misdirected audience sympathy. A moment meant to be serious or tragic made the audience laugh instead. Viewers are sickened. You did it once, but they've never let you forget it. Viewers groan or laugh at a moment intended to scare them. You've introduced Doppelgangers, and now dramatic scenes have no impact because there's a built-in Reset Button. Your work has a fanbase, possibly a very large one, outside of the target audience. Everyone outside a very limited demographic hates the character. You intended it as an obvious parody, yet some people took it seriously. Conversely, you meant every word of it, and get annoyed when people praise it as a witty satire of your own position. A work which features a real-life product affects consumer demand for that product (usually by increasing it).
  • Pet Fad Starter: A work which features a certain type of animal creates demand for that animal as a pet, which is often (though not always) bad for the owner or the animal.
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The new actor or substitute gets hate simply because he isn't the old one. People find your villains more heroic or likable than your heroes You have creative control over your favorite show, but the audience hates your self-indulgent characters and plotlines. Viewers hate the character. Players are infuriated when you wanted them to feel intrigued or challenged. Viewers have decided two characters are sexually attracted to each other, and nothing you do can change their minds. The lone female character becomes popular and receives more exposure than the males. Viewers love (getting together and mocking) your show. Viewers enjoy your show for its flaws, not its merits. Viewers don't find your show to be notable for its merits or its flaws. Note that despite the trope name it is anything but okay for a show to be labeled as such. Viewers are disgusted. Viewers mock your Aesop because the consequences are ridiculous (e.g. Don't drink and drive because you might hit and kill a time-traveling Thomas Edison). Oh, Crap! This intentionally terrible, horrible show is a hit. Fridge Logic turns the author's victory in The War on Straw to a standoff or defeat. Viewers are angry instead of moved. Controller shot-put. Controller skeet shooting. Viewers are disappointed that a character did not get as much focus as they thought she deserved. Viewers who followed your show to its conclusion are disappointed with the payoff. An actor gives a more-dramatic-than-needed performance. Viewers are offended. Sympathy for a character that was supposed to be unsympathetic. No sympathy for a character that was supposed to be sympathetic. Changing the work to satisfy fan complaints leads to more complaining (possibly even from the same fans who complained before). A character who is unpopular in-universe is beloved by the fanbase. A character's abuse of an Accidental Pervert seems excessive and/or jarring. Your work's straightforward ending surprises viewers who expected a Twist Ending. Your work offends viewers outside the culture in which it was written, or after a major shift in general attitudes within a culture. Carries Unfortunate Implications no matter which way you mistake it. Fans treat the death of a fictional character as if a real person had died. People take your villains less seriously than you wanted them to. Assuming a work is for more mature audiences. Assuming a work is all about analyzing it. Assuming a work is family friendly. Assuming a show is intended for young girls because it's cute and sparkly. Assuming a work has political overtones. The audiences wishes a character were cooler. You have to stop interacting with your fanbase because they treat you like crap. The viewership isn't invested in the Official Couple's reunion, thinking that at least one of them was probably better off single. Hate for the actual people behind a wrestler. The viewers know that when something good happens to a character, it's not gonna last.


Alternative Title(s): Unexpected Reactions

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