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    E 
  • An Egg MacGuffin is an egg used as a Plot Device. It may or may not be an actual MacGuffin.
  • Any vaguely terrifying/gigantic/powerful monster will be called an Eldritch Abomination at some point, despite not meeting the qualifiers for being an inexplicable entity that breaks defined in-universe laws.
  • An Enforced Trope is when tropes are forced into a work by an outside source (usually those in charge or Moral Guardians), even if the writer didn't want to include them. When a character sets up a trope on purpose, it falls under an Invoked Trope instead.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse is supposed to refer to when a minor character who does little in the story becomes unexpectedly popular with the fans. It isn't supposed to mean "any character besides the main character who is popular." There have even been cases where the main character or one of the main characters themselves were listed, or even things that arenít even characters at all.
  • Epic Fail is about when a character fails much harder than you would expect, and the work plays it for laughs. Sometimes people seem to think that a work/person/moment/etc. can be an epic fail as an excuse to complain. For that, the appropriate tropes would be invokedSo Bad, It's Horrible, The Scrappy, and invokedDethroning Moment of Suck, respectively.
  • Ethnic Scrappy is for characters who are both ethnic stereotypes and The Scrappy, not just for characters who are ethnic stereotypes.
  • Even Better Sequel is a sequel to a work that was already good, but manages to be better; not just every sequel that just so happens to be better than the last one, good or otherwise. Sequels that are unexpectedly better than actually mediocre predecessors have its own trope as well: Surprisingly Improved Sequel.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Tropers have a tendency to shoehorn this. For the record, the trope only applies when an otherwise-remorseless villain refuses to do something especially evil because they think it's too evil. EEHS has been misused for characters who aren't really evil (where Everyone Has Standards would apply instead), a standard that they only have for pragmatic reasons (Pragmatic Villainy), or a standard that opposes weaksauce villainy (Eviler than Thou, which is the complete inverse of the trope).
  • Even the Girls Want Her and Even the Guys Want Him apply to characters who have both admirers of the same gender and admirers of the opposite gender. If they only have the former, they fall under Only Has Same-Sex Admirers.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped is for jokes about when captions are used but they can't even understand what the characters are saying, but a solid quarter of the examples are just people listing spelling errors in closed-captioning.
  • Silly Simian used to be called "Everything's Better With Monkeys", but was renamed because rather than being used specifically for instances where monkeys are used in a work for comedic effect, it was constantly used to refer to any instance of a monkey in a work.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin is about titles that are humorously specific, and tell you everything you need to know about the plot just by reading it. A lot of people use it for any title that's not a total non sequitur or a substitute for Self-Explanatory.
  • An Excuse Plot is a plot that is clearly there merely as a justification for the gameplay, or other form of flashy, show-offy-ness, to happen. It does not necessarily mean a poorly written, minimalistic, or stupid storyline. Some tropers seem to love to put it as examples to movies and shows they don't like (you're probably looking for Cliché Storm in those cases anyway).
  • An Expy is a very obvious copy of one preceding character whose differences are relatively minor, whether or not the later character eventually develops in a different direction. Merely sharing a few similarities is not enough to make a character an Expy.

    F 
  • Facepalm is when someone literally facepalms. Not something facepalm-worthy, or the entire show is facepalm-worthy.
  • Face Death with Dignity is, as the trope description says, not the same as Better to Die than Be Killed, nor is the latter a subtrope of the former, but rather about being killed with your dignity in tact, such as though taking a few with you or being Defiant to the End. Yet for some reason a good number of characters who go out with the latter are listed as the former.
  • Fair for Its Day is not a synonym for Values Dissonance; it is when a work that doesnít completely agree with later decades contains aspects that were progressive for the time period in which it was made.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death is a death that is rather shocking and/or graphic for a family-friendly work. If it's a Cruel and Unusual Death in something that was never aimed at that demographic to begin with (like an average horror film), it's not an example.
  • Fan Disservice is when a show intentionally does something gross to invoke Squick. It's not the same as a show failing at Fanservice, that's Fetish Retardant. It also gets used for plain old body Squick. And for anything the creators do that the fans don't like. And male nudity, because apparently people attracted to men don't exist. Fan Disservice, in this case, is about people looking unappealing or in situations that would be fanservice but have Squicky context (such as rape); it should not be shoehorned in to complain about the addition/removal of characters, scenes that look different from what they expected, or others. The latter is basically the inverse of Pandering to the Base, which is due to TV Tropes' definition of "Fanservice" having a more narrow meaning than it's often used as.
  • invokedFan Dumb has to do with certain types (see the list on the trope page) of illogical fan behaviors, specifically those that have to do with being overly defensive of the work or their opinions about it (such as in shipping); Hate Dumb is its equivalent for people who bash a particular work. Way too many people have been using it pretty much every time someone defends a work they don't like, or complains about a work they like, even if their comments are reasonable. Please delete any examples of this misuse that you see, as we don't need Flame Wars here.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation gets shoehorned to anything disliked by fans, forgetting the "explanation" part. The disliked thing has to be a reveal about how or why X happened or works/worked. A popular Fanon being Jossed is not this trope unless the work give a specific alternate explanation.
  • Fandom Rivalry is for rivalries between two or more different fandoms. However, it's been used for disagreements within fandoms, often over which installments in the series are good or bad, when those are actually Broken Base or Contested Sequel. Also both or all sides have to take part, meaning one-sided rivalries don't count and cases where one of the works is generally considered bad and has no fandom to speak of also don't count. There also has to be a clear majority that support said rivalry in order for it to actually be such. Vocal Minority examples don't count and instances where it involves half of said fanbases will go into each of the respective Broken Base pages instead.
  • Fanon Discontinuity is supposed to refer to cases when a sequel or episode just screws up our mental image of the plot, so the fandom collectively decides to ignore its existence. Of course, in Pot Holes, it is used as another Take That! against anything you don't particularly like, including entire verses. It requires the work to be (officially) set in the canon, meaning adaptations (unless stated to be canon), Continuity Reboots, and Alternate Continuity works can't qualify. It also has to be discounted for narrative or tonal reasons so works only disliked for unrelated reasons (like gameplay) don't quality. An otherwise disliked work is not this trope if it does something for canon that fans consider Worth It (unless fans pretend it happened in a different way), is brought up a noticeable amount of times in the work, or influenced the work so much that ignoring it is more trouble than it's worth (unless fans also pretend the entire work afterward, save maybe for bit and pieces, didn't happen).
  • Fan Hater is someone who hate the fans of a work. It's not the same as hating the series the fans are attached to, which is invokedHatedom.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple does not mean "liked more than the Official Couple by upwards of fully THREE people and also we have a forum." It means a pairing that, judging by its apparent degree of canon validation, is more popular than it should be. It's also important to note the trope applies to non-canon couples only. An Official Couple that happens to be popular with fans doesn't count as an example. This is also not a way to list a bunch of popular pairings in the fandom, as it's looking for the MOST popular non-canon pairing.
  • Fanservice is an objective trope for content the creator intended to be appealing, most commonly in a sexual context. It's occasionally used to describe content not meant to be appealing, or even content meant to be Fan Disservice, because it happened to fit a troper's fetish. If you really want to talk about how attractive you think a character is even when they are not played for fan service, bring up their attractiveness briefly while discussing the character in a gush entry in the Sugar Wiki. The word has also evolved as another word for the nonsexual trope Pandering to the Base outside of the Wiki, which only adds to the confusion.
  • Fantastic Racism means racism between humans and mythical/fictional creatures, or between said creatures and other fictional creatures. It is not an adjective describing how powerful one's racism is; nor is it about regular old racism involving real world ethnicities in a fantasy setting.
  • Faux Action Girl refers to characters famed as Action Girls in-universe, but in practice the "Action" part is just an Informed Attribute. It's quickly becoming "Any female character who so much as loses one fight, or ever gets captured", even if they curb-stomp everyone the rest of the time.
  • Faux Affably Evil is a villain whose politeness is an act that only serves to enhance their evil, often performed in a deliberately cruel or mocking manner. A villain who pretends not to be a villain at all by acting friendly is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, and a villain who is genuinely polite despite doing blatantly evil things is Affably Evil.
  • Fauxlosophic Narration is for philosophic content that has little to do with the plot of the work in question. It doesn't mean philosophical content in general that you don't like.
  • A Femme Fatale is a woman whom the hero can't resist even though getting involved with her means certain danger, especially if she intentionally uses her beauty to overcome the hero's better judgement. It doesn't mean "sexualized female villain". Likewise, not every Asian villainess is a Dragon Lady, and not every eastern-European villainess is The Baroness or a Sensual Slav.
  • Fiery Redhead is fairly self-explanatory for the most part, but that doesn't stop people from labeling every red-haired character who occasionally gets angry a fiery redhead, even if being hot-tempered is far from their primary characteristic.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief is supposed to be a Three Approach System representing three archetypes, the Fighter who deals with problems physically (usually by combat as the name Fighter implies), the Mage who deals with problems with their special abilities (magic, psionics, gadgets, etc.) and the Thief who deals with problems "indirectly" (stealth, ranged combat, social skills, etc.). Some tropers feel the need of sneaking a trio in even if only two out of the three fill the archetypes niches, using the loosest connection to a specific archetype to put a trio on the trope page (for example, being Book Smart alone does not qualify one for being a Mage or using technology without being "indirect" does not qualify one to be a Thief, though the latter would have the trio qualify for Physical, Mystical, Technological).
  • The Firefly Effect is about viewers being afraid to commit themselves to a show because they are afraid of it being canceled, even if it's popular like Firefly was. Tropers often use it to complain about a show they like being Screwed by the Network.
  • The Five-Man Band used to be a very strictly-defined trope. It was defined as a group composed of exactly five teammates: The Leader, The Lancer, The Big Guy, The Smart Guy, and The Chick (with The Chick needing to be female to count). It was also one of the most misused tropes on the site, with most examples either having more than five members, or not following the exact role setup (most commonly by replacing The Chick with The Heart, a gender-neutral role). The Trope Decay was so bad that it was broadened to conform to the misuse, and is now about how five is the perfect number of members to create a variety of possible dynamics and interactions without having too many possibilities.
    • The Five-Bad Band was created as a villainous counterpart to the Five-Man Band, consisting of the Big Bad, The Dragon, The Brute, the Evil Genius and the Dark Chick. Eventually, it was determined that nearly every example on the entire site (as in, the number of correct examples was in the single digits out of hundreds) was misuse, due to having more or less than five members, at least one member not fitting any of the roles, male villains being labelled the Dark Chick or the villains not actually working together as a team. This led to the trope being cut.
  • Flanderization was originally a fairly specific phenomenon, referring to when a previously complex character would eventually come to be defined by one or two specific quirks. However, over time, it decayed into "character generally became broader/wackier", and from there, it further decayed into "any broad/wacky character", even if they were that way to begin with. At this point, the trope has become so vague that people now say that the trope itself has been Flanderized. On the Flanderization page there was a list of Tropes that have been Flanderized, which almost rivaled the normal examples in length.
  • Flat "What" is exactly what it looks like. Specifically, it's for in-universe reactions along that line. Most potholes to it are by way of a word or phrase that is neither flat nor a "what", because editors assume the trope is about being confused in general and either fail to understand or refuse to accept that their reaction to something isn't necessary for the example to work. On the rare occasion it is actually potholed to the word "what", it tends to be all-caps, italicized and/or bolded, with multiple question marks and/or exclamation points behind it instead of a period, or some combination of the above, tropers apparently forgetting Big "WHAT?!" is also a trope and/or just deciding "Flat" can be safely ignored so long as the "What" is actually present.
  • Foil is often misused for any contesting character, even ones from completely unrelated series. Foils must exist in the same story and be intentionally juxtaposed by the narrative, almost always through them interacting with each other, to emphasize their contrasting traits.
  • Foregone Conclusion is often misused for any obvious or inevitable outcome. It only applies if is foregone due prior continuity or Real Life history stating or limiting the possible outcomes.
  • For Want of a Nail is about a story examining how a seemingly-small change might have major effects on an established timeline. But much like Fridge Horror, it's frequently misused as an excuse to point out something that might have substantially changed a story, even when the work doesn't discuss this alternative scenario in any way.
  • Fountain of Memes is for characters that spawn a lot of memes, but it's often used for works that spawn many memes, or even just one meme that ends up being ridiculously popular.
  • Four Is Death is not simply any time the number four is used in a work. It is meant for instances where that number signifies something bad that is happening or about to happen, usually in reference to an Asian superstition rooted in the words for "four" and "death" being homophones in some Asian languages. The same applies to 13 Is Unlucky and the number thirteen.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble suffered a similar fate as Five-Man Band, though not as bad. It's supposed to be one character per temperament, one temperament per character, and it's supposed to be a group of only four (or five, if there is an eclectic temperament) people. However, instances where there is more than one temperament given per character or a temperament is given to more than one character are not rare. Also, when there is a group of five people, there's a tendency for tropers to use the eclectic temperament for characters who don't actually fit it, just to avoid the above situations.
  • For the Framing the Guilty Party trope, the "guilty" part is vital. It doesn't mean just any Frame-Up. In particular, the "framing yourself" sub-trope is often misused. It's about when the guilty party intentionally frames themselves with the aim of the police noticing the frame-up and discounting them as a suspect, or getting off on Double Jeopardy. An innocent party framing themselves to take the heat for someone else doesn't qualify.
  • It can even apply to namespaces, as it turns out. The "Franchise/" namespace is specifically meant for a series with at least three related articles under different namespaces (e.g., James Bond counts because of the original novels, the film series, a '90s cartoon, and individual pages for various video games, among others). Every now and then, however, someone trying to add namespaces to links in a page that originally did not have them will just attach Franchise to it rather than looking up where it actually goes (series subject to Sequel Displacement seem particularly prone to this, presumably from people recognizing they're not familiar with the earlier parts of the series but overestimating just how extensive it was before they discovered it).
  • Franchise Original Sin is often used by those either defending a work by claiming its flaws and criticisms also existed in prior works, or those criticizing an entire series by claiming the flaws later installments are criticized for have always been there. It requires there be an explanation as to why said flaws were ignored or more tolerable in said prior works or installments.
  • Freudian Excuse is for traumatic experiences in a character's childhood or youth that have a great influence on their adult life. Tropers often latch on to the "excuse" part and misuse it for any unfortunate event that explains character's behavior, such as being raped, losing one's job or family as a fully formed adult.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse requires in-story acknowledgement. The villain having a weak Freudian Excuse that falls flat compared to their laundry list of atrocities or the work not using their predicaments to justify their crimes are not sufficient criteria for this trope unless the work has a scene where a character explicitly rebuts the villain's Freudian Excuse.
  • Fridge Brilliance isn't "My favorite show is awesome and makes no mistakes". All series have plot holes and issues, even if insignificant, and trying to deny it with an "I Can Explain" won't change this. That'll just lead to invokedFan Dumb. A lot of people don't understand the line between Fridge Brilliance and Wild Mass Guessing. Fridge Brilliance is "Oh, X is Y because Z", Wild Mass Guessing is "Why is X Y?"
  • Fridge Horror is when something gets scarier due to retrospect. The same situation, but scarier. Some have just used it for immediate scary implications, which is relatively acceptable as far as square pegs go, but others have used it for imagining an altered version of the plot that's scarier than before. Still others seem to take it to mean, "Imagine the absolute worst, edge-case scenario that could possibly have happened in this setting," and yet others take it as an excuse for "What if" scenarios that clearly did not happen in the work, neither of which fit the bill.
  • Fridge Logic is specifically about a Plot Hole that catches your attention as well as all those nagging questions that have had you scratching your head long after you watched the movie or read the book. But likely it was just a minor thing and it doesn't really destroy your enjoyment of it. The page became a location for Complaining About Shows You Don't Like and a place to vent. Headscratchers was meant to curb the examples, but a decision was made to scrap all the examples and just refer people to Headscratchers.
  • Funny Afro only applies when the hairstyle in question is used for comedy. It is not about every character with an afro, which is People Sit on Chairs.

    G 
  • Gainax Ending is when a work ends on a deliberately incomprehensible note, but often gets confused with Left Hanging and/or Twist Ending.
  • "The Garfunkel" was supposed to be the band member whose presence is really superfluous to the sound of the group. However, a lot of the examples seemed to be "the band member that nobody recognises", even if they have important roles (bassists and drummers especially fall victim to this). This isn't helped by the trope having been named after someone who gets judged as this by popular culture, but who in truth was not (Art's voice was an indispensable part of the Simon & Garfunkel sound). We eventually renamed it to Lesser Star.
  • In some Gender-Blending Tropes, such as Unsettling Gender-Reveal, people will refer to instances of women dressed as men (or anything along those lines) as inversions of the trope, presuming (due to the First Law of Gender Bending) that men dressed as women is the default in such situations, even when the actual trope definition is neutral on the subject.
  • Gender Flip is for when a character is reimagined as the opposite gender. However, some people use it for an Always Female, or Always Male, trope that is applied to the opposite gender (which is covered by Gender-Inverted Trope).
  • A Generic Doomsday Villain is a villain without motivations (or unknown ones), characterization or backstory and is overall just a living plot device so that the hero has a threat to face. It's often misused for one-dimensional villains or villains who act For the Evulz (which is a motivation, though a very simple one). It's also often used for complaining about villains people found lame or boring, even if said villain has clear motivations or characterization.
  • Genre-Killer is supposed to be about a singular work or event that somehow manages to kill an entire genre. Prior to being cleaned-up, multiple works were listed as being a killer of said "genres" rather than just one, and most of the "genres" listed on the page were just works with some kind of gimmick rather than actual genres.
  • For the most part, Genre Savvy is pretty self-explanatory. However, it's widely misused (to the point that the misuse significantly outnumbers the correct use) because some people use it to note any time when a character makes a good decision in general, as opposed to making a good decision based on genre conventions. It's also misused a lot for its sister trope Functional Genre Savvy; Genre Savvy is not simply about characters behaving according to their genre, but about characters learning from other fiction about how to deal with their genre. Finally, don't confuse with Medium Awareness; a Genre Savvy character usually isn't aware that their own world is actually fictional.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff refers to a character (or a work as a whole) who is significantly more popular in a certain part of the world than in his/her country of origin. For some reason, the page gets several entries detailing the opposite phenomenon. Many entries also describe example of things having niche or cult fandoms in other countries while still being clearly less popular than their point of origin.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar is about content in a work which should not have been allowed according to its rating, but made it in anyway due to being hidden in a way that made it easy for the Media Watchdogs to miss. A lot of examples are Accidental Innuendo which were never intentionally attempted to be sneaked past the censors. Others meanwhile boil down to Heh Heh, You Said "X", Parental Bonuses alluding to adult material but not objectionable in and of themselves, people assuming the radar is looking for something it actually "cleared to land" (especially with Disney-made works), or thinking there is a radar to get around for works which lack one. In general, if something happens front-and-center, such as a violent fight scene or a character saying a swear word loud and clear, it's pretty much impossible for the Radar to have missed it, meaning that almost certainly knew the Crap was there but allowed it anyway. Toilet Humor in works aimed at children is one thing that often gets confused as Getting Crap Past The Radar (perhaps due to the implications of literal Crap), despite such jokes being very popular with that age group. Also, many tropers seem to forget that in order for something to qualify as Getting Crap Past The Radar, it has to actually get past the radar. This got so bad that much of the misuse warranted the creation of the YMMV page Demographically Inappropriate Humour.
  • A Giant Space Flea from Nowhere is a boss who comes out of nowhere and is completely irrelevant to the plot. A lot of tropers will call any boss that comes out of nowhere a Space Flea even if they are plot-relevant.
  • Some entries make it seem like every amusing cut is a Gilligan Cut. Gilligan Cut has a very specific definition (character refusing to do something, and then shown doing it anyway) but is somewhat frequently misused on work pages and in potholes for Description Cut (which involves a person describing something and then it being shown to be false/misleading) and Ironic Echo Cut (which involves two people saying almost the same thing back-to-back).
  • A God Am I refers to characters who actually believe themselves to be divine when they are not. Someone who just has a massively inflated ego that dwarfs their actual achievements is Small Name, Big Ego.
  • The Gods Must Be Crazy isn't even a trope, yet it is occasionally used as one. We do have two tropes that are puns based on it, but The Gods Must Be Crazy itself is a movie. You might be thinking of Mad God.
  • Gonk is not just any character that you find ugly, the character must have some kind of exaggerated ugliness which makes him look different from the rest of the cast. Also, it's not another term for Non-Standard Character Design.
  • Good is Not Nice is supposed to be a character who is unquestionably good, yet being unfriendly, impolite, grumpy or edgy-labelled by mannerism. It is frequently used for someone who is simply being a Jerkass or even being amoral at best on the side of the main characters if they fight against the villains. (Which should fall under Jerkass, Token Evil Teammate or Villain Protagonist).
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality is when both sides of the conflict are neither good or bad. Just because a hero has some flaws and the villain has some redeeming qualities doesn't mean the setting is Grey and Gray in terms of morality. Likewise, Black-and-White Morality is not reserved for naive works where the heroes can do no wrong and all villains are motivated by nothing but venality and spite.
  • Guide Dang It! now gets used for any puzzle that's the least bit difficult, not just ones that aren't possible to solve without a strategy guide or walkthrough. A true Guide Dang It situation would be one where you look up the solution and, after doing it, analyzing it, and discovering zero legible in-game hints pointing towards that solution, proceed to exclaim "HOW THE FUCKING HELL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO KNOW TO DO THAT?" If the clues are there and you just missed or misinterpreted them, it's not an example.
  • Guilty Pleasure means liking something yet feeling guilt or embarrassment for liking it, because it's considered outside the mainstream, it's lowbrow, or because the one who likes it is out of the demographic. The definition got twisted to slightly above So Bad, It's Good (when many of the examples on that page are interchangeable), and ultimately to Complaining About Shows You Don't Like but more specific. Almost every example was not an actual example, and people used it as a page to complain about things they thought were So Bad, It's Good, even if what they were complaining about was critically acclaimed or just animated shows and kid's shows in general. It got so bad and opinionated that the page was regulated to in-universe examples.
  • Gut Punch is about a sudden Tone Shift that makes the work significantly Darker and Edgier. The part where it suddenly hits you, "Oh, this is why everybody is talking about how dramatic this work is!" It is not just about any dramatic or shocking moment. And if the work is dark to begin with, then you probably want Mood Whiplash or From Bad to Worse.

    H 
  • Someone with a Hair-Trigger Temper isn't only someone who releases their rage. It's someone who throws a tantrum over minor and irrational situations. If someone gets angry and outraged for good and highly understandable reasons, then this trope doesn't apply to them.
  • A Hand Wave is an explanation that is too flimsy to hold up under scrutiny, not any brief explanation and most definitely not "explanations that don't appeal to you".
  • Harder Than Hard refers to when a game has a hard difficulty followed by at least one difficulty above it (for example, difficulty levels with the labels Normal, Hard, and Very Hard). It does not simply mean a hard mode that's much harder than the normal mode, or an extreme case of a Nintendo Hard game. This same problem plagues Easier Than Easy, which is supposed to be a labeled difficulty mode below "Easy" (for example, starting off with Very Easy or Beginner before the standard Easy, Normal, and Hard), but often gets used to talk about easy modes that are ridiculously easier than the Normal mode but are still simply named "Easy", or simply a game that's really easy.
  • Hard Truth Aesop has often been used to complain about works that teach "wrong" morals due to its old name, "Family-Unfriendly Aesop". It's actually more about unpleasant truths that offend legitimate, accepted wisdom. It also has to be the intended Aesop, so doesn't apply if the work doesn't try to teach An Aesop (Accidental Aesop), is different from the intended Aesop (Alternate Aesop Interpretation), or the Aesop is so unpleasant/immoral it's not supposed to be taken as legit (Spoof Aesop).
  • Hate Sink is a character whose intended purpose is for the audiences to dislike and root against. It's often misused to any character with lots of vile deeds or traits and few to none redeeming traits. Such characters can still be too endearing to be disliked such due to coolness, entertainingness, humor, or being too unrealistically/outlandishly over-the-top to take seriously. A Hate Sink has to avoid, subvert, or downplay any such endearing traits. Their lack of endearing or redeeming traits also has to be intentional, otherwise they're The Scrappy (which can only overlap with Hate Sink if they're disliked by audiences for different reasons than the narrative intends). It also tends to get mixed up with Complete Monster, which is a whole different trope entirely and one that needs In-Universe justifications from the other characters in the story than just the audience.
  • A couple of Heartwarming Moments entries were deleted not because they weren't emotional, but because those were Tear Jerker moments. Heartwarming can make you cry, but crying isn't necessarily heartwarming. The same thing is happening in Tear Jerker.
  • He Really Can Act was meant to be used when an actor who normally isn't taken too seriously ends up putting out a stand out performance. It seems to be in danger of becoming used for any good acting, or when an actor who is taken seriously does a slightly better acting job than they normally do. Inverted in cases where a dramatic actor pulls a stellar comedic performance, which are almost never tagged because tropers expect this to be standard even if those dramatic actors weren't taken seriously before.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen is meant to be used for a Recurring Character who never appears on screen. Some tropers use it to refer to a character who only appears a couple of times.
  • Hero Killer seems to be falling into this, being used as a blanket term for any character that has managed to kill a hero, regardless of how major a role they had. One of the key elements of the Hero Killer is that he is so effective and so dangerous that even the protagonists are terrified of him; someone who appeared for one episode, had a fairly even-sided battle with the protagonists, and managed to take down a hero before being killed in the climax is not a Hero Killer.
  • Heroic Build is about characters who have superpowers and a muscular physique to go with their superpowers. The trope is misused more often than not, with people who only read the trope name and not the description assuming that it means any character who happens to be a good guy and somewhat muscular.
  • A Hidden Elf Village is a village that refuses to participate in external conflicts. It may or may not be populated by elves.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight refers to when a work becomes more amusing due to a later event retroactively changing the context. It's not uncommon for tropers to make extremely flimsy connections that often rely on Fan Myopia, such as a later work having a vaguely similar (and often quite common) plot line. Along with its sister tropes Harsher in Hindsight and Heartwarming in Hindsight, tropers often use the trope to shoehorn connections between works and current events (sometimes forgetting that certain concepts existed at the time the work came out), which became such an issue that all three were given a waiting period. Sometimes, the "hindsight" part is completely ignored, and tropers make connections to events that took place or works that came out before the work in question came out. One particularly bad example of shoehorning involving this trope was Epic Rap Battles of History, where half the page for Hilarious in Hindsight listed examples where a rapper made a reference to someone who later appeared as a rapper on the show, which isn't even a trope.
  • Hijacked by Ganon is specifically about an old and recurring villain who is either behind or takes over the new one. Unfortunately, many people forget the "Ganon" part and just focus on the "Hijacked" part, thinking the trope is about any villain who manages to hijack another one, regardless if they're new or not. If the new villain is behind the old one, that's The Man Behind the Man. If both villains are willingly working together as equals, that's Big Bad Duumvirate, and if their relationship is very rocky and they don't get along with each other, which may lead to an eventual betrayal, that's Teeth-Clenched Teamwork. Finally, if you're looking at a villain who has betrayed any allegiances they have gotten into, that's Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, not this trope. It should also be noted that minions who usurp their Big Bad leaders and take over their schemes is not this trope either. That's either Dragon with an Agenda / Dragon Ascendant (if The Dragon is involved) or The Starscream.
  • Hilarity Ensues was misused constantly to refer to anything that leads to a Funny Moment in a work instead of when a dangerous or illegal action is Played for Laughs. It was eventually turned into a redirect to Played for Laughs.
  • Hope Spot is not "things are gloomy but there's a window of hope", but a subversion of that exact concept: The characters' hopes are dashed when the window gets smashed.
  • "Hot Mom" and "Hot Dad" were supposed to refer to moms and dads who the other characters find attractive. Tropers used them to mean "character I think is hot who happens to be a parent". Both are now no longer tropes but disambiguation pages. Besides, we already have Stacy's Mom for in-universe examples of such.
  • Ho Yay is about homosexual subtext, not "gay moment". At one point, even Brokeback Mountain was stated to have it, which was wrong because the male characters are explicitly attracted to each other. It's also now used for any two guys or girls who are best friends at all. Sometimes even characters that have no relation at all but the editor thinks that it would be hot for those two characters to be together. Shipping Goggles are certainly to blame. This is probably why Homoerotic Subtext was created to cover actual subtext, requiring either Word of God or Lampshade Hanging to qualify and prevent shoehorning.
  • Humanoid Abomination is specifically about an Eldritch Abomination (see above) that has a humanoid form or guise, but is often used to label humanoid monsters of any variety, Eldritch Abomination or not.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters (once "Humans Are Bastards") is supposed to be about how humans are complete jerks and worse compared to other sentient species. Humans being horrible people, in general, does not count as this trope, though Humans Are Bastards was later split off as a separate trope for that purpose. However, this trope still sees misuse for singular or groups of humans (not humanity in general) that are eviler than other species, or humans in general being jerks without any indication of being worse than other species.
  • A Hurting Hero is a troubled protagonist, and not necessarily one who is in constant physical pain.
  • Hype Backlash is supposed to be about works that receive heightened expectations due to heavy praise, yet leave viewers disappointed. Tropers have translated this to Complaining About Shows You Don't Like that happen to be popular. It also isn't for when a highly anticipated work or announcement ends up being disappointing.
  • Hypno Trinket is about any Brainwashing item that looks like an everyday wearable thing (clothing, jewelry, etc.). Anything worn or slapped on the skin, yet looks obviously like a Mind-Control Device, is just that trope but wearable.

    I 
  • This is why I Am Not Making This Up no longer exists on this wiki, what with everyone potholing anything vaguely weird into it. "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer is being misused in the same vein, albeit on a much smaller scale.
  • I Am Not Shazam is when people incorrectly assume a work has a Character Title and call the main character by the title even if they have a completely different name. Tropers often assume the page is about any character who is known by an incorrect name regardless of whether or not the false name is the work title or not.
  • I Am the Noun is when a character refers to themself as the sole representative of a group or abstract concept ("I am the Night", "I am the Law", "I am the State", etc), not when a character refers to their title or function ("I am the King", "I am the guardian" etc.).
  • To qualify as an Ice-Cream Koan, a statement needs to a) sound profound at first, and to b) be actually nonsense, a tautology, or just a joke. Resist the urge to label every mysterious utterance as one of these.
  • Idiot Ball is meant to be used for when a character who is normally intelligent suddenly acts stupid or does something stupid because the plot requires it. It doesn't count if the character is usually portrayed as being stupid to begin with, that character is simply being The Ditz. Nor does it apply if their stupidity stems from established character traits or situations they couldn't be expected to make good decisions.
  • I'm a Humanitarian is about cannibalism among humans and sapient non-humans, not about non-humans eating humans. When monsters or aliens devour humans that's To Serve Man, when they munch on each other it's probably Monstrous Cannibalism.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice is when a character gets impaled on a significantly large object. It's often used for any stabbing by bladed weapons, including small knives and arrows.
  • An Infinity +1 Sword is not merely the strongest weapon in the game. It also has to be one of the hardest to acquire. If it's easy, it fits Infinity -1 Sword.
  • Informed Species is supposed to be about fictional animals who barely resemble the species they're supposed to be, to the point where a regular watcher would have a hard time guessing what animal they are, often even mistaking them for something else. However, it decayed into a list of animals that don't look 100% like the real species, even if they're still identifiable as such.
  • In Name Only is when a derivative work is completely different from the original, despite sharing its title. It is sometimes misused to describe any differences from the source material, or anything that does not resemble what it is named after. The Real Life section had this problem, in addition to complaining and natter, before the page was made No Real Life Examples, Please!
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl has a habit of the name being taken literally, misused as "Ms. Fanservice/Mr. Fanservice, but innocent." The trope is someone who was raised without a nudity taboo and sees going around naked as no big deal even around those who do have the taboo. It is often used as just a conventionally attractive character showing any skin and not being flirty about it, or in some cases fully-clothed characters not being aware of how "attractive" they are, even if what they wear would be perfectly acceptable in their society.
  • An Innocuously Important Episode is an episode that subtly sets events in motion that lead to a big payoff later in such a way that the audience won't realize the importance of the episode until late in the series. But it's often used to describe light-hearted episodes that surprisingly end with a big reveal or a major event, even when said reveal and event has no relation with the rest of the episode. Other times it just gets used as "this episode received a Call-Back or Continuity Nod later on", even if it doesn't really make the episode any more important in the grand scheme of things.
  • Insane Troll Logic is for logic that is incredibly demented to the point where it makes no sense at all. Too many people try to cram flawed logic into the trope as opposed to the nonsensical logic that it is supposed to reflect.
  • invokedInternet Backdraft is about a topic so controversial that merely bringing it up risks igniting a Flame War, even if done innocently by someone who didn't know about the controversy. In practice, it's nearly always used as a list of every single thing that caused a negative knee-jerk reaction in a certain fandom. This led to it being made Flame Bait and all examples purged.
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople) is about using alternative names for real places in Alternate History or Alternate Universe. Examples of renaming a place (especially in Real Life) are subject to Please Select New City Name.
  • "It Just Bugs Me" became something of a repository for complaining and Accentuate the Negative. Sometimes they get purged by the Wiki Magic, sometimes not. Eventually, the problem was so great that the name was changed to Headscratchers.
  • The It Sucks pages are for reactions by the general audience and critics. They are not pages for Complaining About Shows You Don't Like.
  • It Was His Sled is supposed to be for plot twists that were once secrets, but are now known by everybody because of the way they've permeated through popular culture. It's fast descending into "any twist that a particular fandom/market/niche knows about", or worse, "any twist", hence the Example Sectionectomy. A more indirect example/result of misuse is that, when writing about twists that don't really fall under this but are still considered examples by myopic fans, tropers often neglect to use spoiler tags on pages that don't have a "spoilers off" policy (e.g., trope pages where the mere presence of a work on them can indirectly spoil the twist). Because of this, tropers who plan to read/watch/play a certain work without spoiling anything beforehand can be reading a non-"spoilers off" page and inadvertently come across twists devoid of spoiler tags simply because the person who added the example assumed that it was already widely known. Due to this examples now require five years since the twist to prove it become well known to general audiences. Also, this isn't for twists that people see coming from a mile away; that goes under Captain Obvious Reveal.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure is when a game shows you the actual plot-based consequences of your failure beyond just "the main character is dead". Many people use it for Game Over sequences in general.

    J 

    K 
  • A Karma Houdini requires they make it to the end of the story without suffering any form of punishment for their wrongdoings. This requires the story to be over, disqualifying anyone from an ongoing work. This is also not about what's viewed as insufficient or offscreen punishment since that means they were in fact punished. Any characters considered heroic or redeemed (unless for self-serving reasons) are exempt, as they've owned up to karma. It's also sometimes used when Idiot Houdini (where the actions are committed out of stupidity rather than malice) would fit better.
  • Karmic Overkill is not just when a character is punished excessively, but when the narrative treats it as justified and fair, only for audiences to disagree — feeling, even if they agree that the character deserved punishment, it was unfairly excessive. If does not apply if their punishment was supposed to be seen as excessive.
  • Katanas Are Just Better requires to show that a katana wielder is better than other melee and ranged weapons. Just wielding a katana doesn't qualify for this trope.
  • Kick the Dog refers to any gratuitously cruel act used to clearly show the character as evil, including but not limited to literally kicking a dog. People often miss the "gratuitous" part: It's a pointless act of cruelty, not something done in the advancement of a clear goal. It's also becoming increasingly shoehorned for whenever a character does something even slightly mean.
  • Kid-Appeal Character is supposed to be a character in a larger cast specifically designed to appeal to children; it often just gets used for any child character at all (or even just any character who is younger or smaller than the rest of the cast), no matter how they're characterized or marketed, or even if there are adult characters whom kids would like better.
  • Killed Off for Real has been misused for any Character Death, its super-trope. It's only in play when characters can reasonably be assumed to be dead, they can reasonably be expected to return, and they don't return. Applicable to settings where "Killed Off For Fake" (Disney Death or Back from the Dead) is present, it's mutually exclusive with All Deaths Final. Sometimes it also gets misused when a setting has both a real world, and a not-so-real world such as a simulation, and characters are killed in the real world. This still doesn't qualify, because while characters might be expected to come back to life if killed in a simulation, there's no expectation that they'd return when killed in reality.
  • Kill It with Fire: Thanks to Memetic Mutation, this trope is now sometimes used as a Pot Hole for what is technically Brain Bleach. The actual trope is Exactly What It Says on the Tin; things that are associated with the Memetic Mutation version of it are examples of Brain Bleach. Also, examples involving fire-based magic or superpowers belong under Playing with Fire, not this trope.
  • Knight of Cerebus refers to a character who causes or heralds a lasting shift in the tone of the work to darker/more serious. It is often misapplied to any dark/serious villain, even if the tone returns to normal afterward or it's the first/only installment in a work and thus hasn't established a tone to change.


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