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Playing With / Mother Nature, Father Science

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Basic Trope: Men are better at science, logic and reason than women but are arrogant, inconsiderate, selfish, uncreative and hardhearted. Women are more spiritual, compassionate, empathetic and intuitive than men, as well as more in tune with nature, but they're overemotional and lack rationality, pragmatism, decisiveness and self-discipline.

  • Straight: Archibald, a brilliant philosopher and scientist, is cold, condescending, and prone to Measuring the Marigolds. He meets Flora, a gentle and kind horticulturist, who doesn't understand much about science and finds it hard to make decisions because she's often overwhelmed by her emotions.
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  • Exaggerated: Archibald won a Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking scientific achievements, but he made his discoveries by performing horrific experiments on human test subjects, and he's perfectly fine with that fact, dismissing human suffering as "trivial" and "irrelevant" collateral damage. Flora is a kind and selfless charity worker who runs a no-kill animal shelter, but as she's cowardly, terrible at handling the budget, only wants to save cute animals, and bursts into tears any time she has to make a decision, her efforts to do good in the world don't really accomplish much.
  • Downplayed: Archibald is a surgeon and Flora is a historian. They generally rely on logic and intuition respectively, but their fields require use of both to at least some extent.
  • Justified:
    • Archie was raised by strict parents who encouraged him to excel in school but were dismissive of his emotional needs. Flora grew up in a family that was very close and loving, but rather anti-intellectual.
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  • Inverted: Archibald is a physicist with great emotional intelligence, an office full of plants, and a paternal relationship to his grad students. Flora is a cold, perfectionist wedding-cake baker who got into it for the money and hates children.
  • Gender-Flipped: Archibald is a gentle and kind gardener who just can't deal with his emotions. Flora is a cold and heartless physicist who can figure out just about anything in her field of expertise.
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted: It turns out Archie's more of a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk — he tells himself he's going to make the world a better place, but what he really cares about is the glory. Flora really does care deeply about others and only became cynical because her high ideals are so often disappointed.
  • Parodied: Sex-change operations come with a free TV Genius computer-brain transplant (for female-to-male operation) or Love Freak heart transplant (for male-to-female changes).
  • Zig Zagged: They're both complex human beings and their interactions reveal a lot about each other. Archie has random bouts of consideration, selflessness, and appreciation of beauty, while Flora occasionally manages to calm down and solve a problem with truly brilliant reasoning. Archie eventually confides in her that he's well aware his dismissal of "emotional" reasoning is a defence mechanism for his own discomfort in that realm, and Flora that she sometimes deliberately acts out when she feels that she's not being taken seriously, even though it tends to be counterproductive.
  • Averted:
    • Archie and Flora are people with no special inclination towards science and neither is especially over-emotional.
    • Alternatively, they are both good at science and work in the same discipline, in addition to being good and compassionate people. The story also explores the idea of the supposed "conflict" between nature and science, and concludes that the conflict is an imaginary one, since science is, in fact, the study of nature.
  • Enforced: "We want a scientist toy to sell to the boys and a dolly with lots of nice outfits to sell to the girls. WHADDYA MEAN, "DOES IT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY ROUND"?!?
  • Lampshaded: "Well, of course Archie is brilliant but a selfish asshole, and of course Flora is a sweet girl but impossible to reason with when she gets hysterical. He's a man and she's a woman, after all."
  • Invoked: Archibald and Flora's respective parents specifically raised him to be interested in science and her to be interested in nature, reasoning that they'd have better career prospects if they didn't try to swim against the current.
  • Exploited: Archie plays the rational genius and Flora the emotional mother-figure because they each believe they'll get more respect from their peers by fitting those roles.
  • Defied: Childhood friends Archie and Flora make a pact that they don't care if boys are supposed to be better at science and girls are supposed to be better at emotional stuff — Archie's going to become a kindergarten teacher, and Flora will be a great inventor.
  • Discussed: "Don't you find it strange that it's still considered socially unacceptable for a woman to act rationally and for a man to care about other people?"
  • Conversed: "Alice is most probably The Heart while Bob is The Spock in this duo. That's how TV likes to portray boys and girls."
  • Deconstructed: We're shown how Archie, growing up, was taught to ruthlessly repress his emotions and value only hard logic because that's what a Real Man does, gradually becoming cunning, cold, and heartless. Flora, meanwhile, was told that she shouldn't bother studying science or math because girls aren't good at that stuff, and learned that since no one respected her thoughts, the only way to get people to listen to her was to become hysterical. As a result, both of them end up as bitter, miserable and thoroughly unlikeable adults.
  • Reconstructed: Archie is brilliant, but sometimes loses sight of emotional issues in his zeal for logic. Flora is empathetic and kind, but often finds it hard to take action or think things through calmly because she's so easily overwhelmed by her emotions. Archie worries that they're walking clichés, but Flora reassures him nobody's perfect and that they are who they are, and there's nothing inherently wrong with either of their personalities as long as they keep an eye on their flaws.
  • Played For Laughs: Archibald is a Comedic Sociopath Mad Scientist. Flora is The Ditz, a Love Freak, and prone to comically extreme overreactions to minor incidents. Both are planning to take over the world.
  • Played For Drama: Archibald and Flora are now pushing 70 and both look back on their lives. Archibald might have achieved a lot career-wise and won a Nobel prize for his work but he has no family and no actual friend because nobody enjoys his company, not even the nurses who take care of his waning health who avoid talking to him unless necessary. Flora doesn't score much better, the Crazy Cat Lady that she is now, as menopause really took its toll on her mental health and she can no longer interact with other people without flying into hysterics.

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