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Playing With / Mysterious Past

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Basic Trope: A character's past is hinted at but never fully revealed.

  • Straight: Alice only occasionally mentions her past, mostly referring to Noodle Incidents.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Alice's past is not only mysterious, but also internally inconsistent as the writers retcon it in every episode.
    • Alice never mentions anything about her past, not even cryptic Noodle Incident-related stories.
  • Downplayed: Some aspects of Alice's past are known, but she never mentions what her family was like.
  • Justified:
    • Alice doesn't want to talk about her past.
    • No one cares to ask Alice about her past.
    • Alice has to keep her past a secret for some reason.
  • Inverted:
    • Alice's past is described in great detail.
    • In a setting involving predictions about the future, Alice's future is mysterious.
  • Subverted: Alice tells Bob about her past.
  • Double Subverted: ...But not the other characters and/or the audience.
  • Parodied:
    • Alice has been famous for several decades, but all biographies of her start with several chapters' worth of blank pages — the content only covers the last few years of her life.
    • Her backstory is (implied to be) shown or told, but is always bleeped out, censored, or cut off by liberal use of Sound Effect Bleeps, Hard Cuts, and even Killed Mid-Sentence.
  • Zig-Zagged: Alice starts with one Secret Keeper to whom she relates her full history, but only reveals whatever happens to be necessary at the time to whomever else she meets. She tries to give the others only isolated facts and hopes they don't meet and connect all the facts to the same person.
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  • Averted: Nothing about Alice's past is mysterious.
  • Enforced: "We need Alice to be a dark and shady character. Whatever you do, don't give details about Alice's past."
  • Lampshaded: "Alice sure is shady. I wonder if she has a Dark and Troubled Past?"
  • Invoked: Alice decides to keep her past a secret.
  • Exploited: Alice becomes The Spook: having no history for her enemies to draw upon, she can operate as secretively as possible.
  • Defied: Alice tells everyone about her past.
  • Discussed: "Another mysterious friend, eh? Bob, you attract them like magnets."
  • Conversed: "Another mysterious character, huh? It's like there's one in every show."
  • Played for Drama: Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Implied: Every member of Bob's team tells the others about their personal history when they all meet, except Alice.

Back to Mysterious Past.

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