Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Alice and Bob

Go To

Basic Trope: Two hypothetical characters used to exemplify things.

  • Straight: Two hypothetical characters have names starting with "A" and "B", respectively; usually Alice and Bob. A third character starting with "C", such as Charles or Claire, may also be present.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Every pair of hypothetical characters in the work are named Alice and Bob, whether they are friends, lovers, siblings, neighbors, or even enemies.
    • Advertisement:
    • The names Alice, Bob, Charles, Diane, Emily, Fred, and Gary are used in an example that calls for seven characters.
  • Downplayed:
    • A single hypothetical character is named Alice, Adam, or another name starting with "A".
    • Alice and Bob are example characters used only once in the work.
  • Justified: This is a common naming convention.
  • Inverted:
    • Starting from the other end of the alphabet, the characters are named Zachary and Yolanda.
    • The characters in the work are named alphabetically, while the hypothetical characters they talk about are not.
  • Gender-Inverted:
    • Two hypothetical men are named Alan and Bob.
    • Two hypothetical women are named Alice and Brittany.
    • Two hypothetical characters named Alex and Belle.
  • Subverted: Someone talks about Alice and Bob in a hypothetical situation, but it turns out that they are real people who were never seen until now.
  • Advertisement:
  • Double Subverted: Oh, wait, no they're not. That was a lie. Or maybe a mistake.
  • Parodied: Several actual couples and other duos named Alice and Bob are shown.
  • Zig Zagged: The hypothetical characters are named Alice and Robert, who can also be called by the nickname "Bob". Both "Robert" and "Bob" are used interchangeably, sometimes even in the same example.
  • Averted:
    • Hypothetical characters are not named with an alphabetical theme.
    • No hypothetical situations are brought up.
  • Enforced: "Don't bother coming up with names for the characters in the Show Within a Show. Just call them Alice and Bob. You know, A and B."
  • Lampshaded: "Let's say Alice and Bob hate each other..." "I thought you said Alice and Bob were best friends."
  • Invoked: "I'm tired of coming up with names for fictional characters I'm never going to mention again. Let's just use Alice and Bob or something."
  • Advertisement:
  • Exploited: Alice and Bob are real persons spying in a field where "Alice and Bob" are used for hypothetical situations. (Alice and Bob might be code names.) Attempts to describe Alice and Bob's activities are defeated by being thought as hypothetical.note 
  • Defied: "Alice and Bob are the names everyone else uses. Let's do something completely different."
  • Discussed: The trope page itself, and the Useful Notes.
  • Conversed: "They keep talking about Alice and Bob. Are Alice and Bob real people, or are they just example characters?"
  • Implied: Not applicable. (This trope can only be mentioned.)
  • Plotted A Good Waste: The writer visits this website, sees all the examples of characters named Alice and Bob, and uses the names.
  • Deconstructed: The characters get confused because Alice and Bob are never the same two people. One day they're a Happily Married couple, the next day they are Platonic Life-Partners, and so on.
  • Reconstructed: A different pair of "A and B" names are used with each situation: Alice and Bob, Adam and Bertha, Aaron and Brenda, Addie and Bill, etc.
  • Played For Laughs: Alice is a man and Bob is a woman.
  • Played For Drama: Alice and Bob are hypothetical murder victims.

Back to Alice and Bob.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: