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Playing With / Absurd Phobia

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Basic Trope: A character has an extremely unusual fear that's Played for Laughs.

  • Straight: John is afraid of sandwiches, tricycles, teddy bears, ducks, and microwave ovens.
  • Exaggerated:
    • John is afraid of pink tablecloths with white polka dots, bacon-wrapped eggs, and books with an even number of pages.
    • John has pantophobia, a literal fear of everything... as well as phobophobia, fear of phobias.
  • Downplayed: John is afraid of being near balloons, but only because he's startled by their noises when they pop.
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  • Justified: John has had traumatic experiences with all of these things. Or John has PTSD, which often causes a fear of things that are incidental to the trauma.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: John claims to have all these fears, but it's revealed he lied in order to get out of performing some task.
  • Double Subverted: ...but then he actually does gain those fears after some traumatic experience.
  • Parodied: John is afraid of tricycle-riding ducks wearing teddy bear masks who eat sandwiches cooked on microwave ovens. John's therapist comments that this particular phobia is relatively common.
  • Zig Zagged: John is shown to be deadly afraid of sandwiches... even though a previous scene showed him having no issues eating a sandwich (and then he is shown eating a sandwich again at the end of episode, as if his phobia never existed). John is a very complicated fellow.
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  • Averted: John is afraid of spiders and heights.
  • Enforced: It's an episode that's about the main cast facing their worst fears, so it's only natural for one of them to have a weird fear to confront thanks to Rule of Funny.
  • Lampshaded: "John, you're the only person I know who's actually afraid of that stuff."
  • Invoked: John's neighbor Diane traumatizes John daily with harmless stuff like sandwiches as part of an experiment to see if people can indeed develop unusual phobias through enough mental trauma.
  • Exploited: John's neighbor Diane keeps him out of her house by placing them all around her house.
  • Defied:
    • John receives some therapy to help him conquer these fears.
    • John receives said therapy to prevent said fears in the first place.
    • John's fears are pointedly not treated as "funny" by the rest of the cast.
  • Implied: John is shown visibly nervous when near sandwiches, but it's never stated why.
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  • Discussed: "It's a slapstick comedy and John is a straight-up Space Marine. Obviously they needed to make sure he's Not So Above It All."
  • Conversed: "Have you noticed how these kinds of characters always have those weird fears? I mean, who actually has them?!"
  • Deconstructed: John has all these fears...that are given a Cerebus Retcon as he had a traumatic childhood that caused said phobias.
  • Reconstructed: His friends still laugh at them though as a source of Black Comedy.
  • Played For Laughs: This trope usually is applied for this reason, especially the exaggerated version.
  • Played For Drama:
  • Played For Horror:

Back to... AAAGH! A trope! Don't let it eat me!

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