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Tropers / Chris Lang

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Chris Lang has been visiting TV tropes since late 2008, and is pleased to finally have names for all those things he's Seen A Million Times in various works of fiction.

Chris is responsible for many of the Interactive Fiction entries to various trope pages, having been a fan of the classic Infocom games and a player of many of the more recent text-based adventures produced by the online Interactive Fiction community.


Tropes Chris likes when they're done right:

  • Action Girl: But only if they're genuine Action Girls. Faux Action Girls need not apply.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Even minor characters deserve their day in the spotlight. See also Lower-Deck Episode.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Even if it isn't a Sequel Hook, it's a nice way to end a story saying that life will go on for the characters whether we're there to see it or not.
  • Badass Damsel: If a Damsel in Distress gets kidnapped too many times (Princess Peach Syndrome, I call it), chances are sooner or later they're not going to take it lying down.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Yes, they come out of nowhere, have little or nothing to do with the story, are WAY over the top and don't make a lot of sense even in context, and there's little or no mention of them again in the work they appear. But despite all that (or maybe because of it), they're fun!
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  • Character Development: The more logical and reasonable a character's growth and change is, the better I like it.
  • Dance Party Ending: What can I say? They're fun.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: I'm with Linkara on this one. If you MUST kill off a character, especially one who's been important, don't have them go out like a Redshirt or have them Stuffed in the Fridge. Have them go out fighting the good fight, in a scene that's all about them in the spotlight. And if it's a minor character, they deserve to have A Death in the Limelight.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In good stories, the characters don't just have everything handed to them. Making them go through lots of struggle and turmoil on the way makes the ending all the more satisfying.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: It's nice to see that some characters have lines they won't cross. It makes things more interesting, and gives characters much needed depth. Not every villain is a Complete Monster, nor should they be.
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  • Mood Whiplash: The good kind of Mood Whiplash, the kind that makes you appreciate both light and funny, and dark and tragic even more.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Rule of Cool, mostly.
  • Painting the Medium: It can enhance the experience somewhat.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: It's nice that some people have principles.
  • Villain Song: They're fun.
  • Xenafication: When it's done right, it can be awesome.

On the other side, there are tropes I despise. These are my Pet Peeve Tropes, which I will certainly take pains to avoid playing straight in works of fiction I might create. These are tropes that I feel should be subverted, defied, or just averted whenever possible:

  • Broken Aesop: A story's moral should reflect what actually happens in a story.
  • Character Derailment: If you're going to have me believe this is the same character I've been reading about in prior installments, don't make them act contrary to their previous characterization just to advance the story.
  • Chickification aka Damselisation aka Dumbass In Distress Disorder: I don't mind when a female character legitimately gets in a situation where she's in over her head. But when she's portrayed as a tough Action Girl type who can kick serious ass and is a force to be reckoned with, only to act like a helpless Damsel in Distress later on who needs the male characters to save her, I get really, really annoyed.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: I'm old fashioned. I like having someone to root for in my works of fiction.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Even worse than Deus ex Machina is when an Ass Pull ruins characters' happiness.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Yes, maybe some writers are trying to make a point about how random and senseless death can be in real life (though with most examples listed on that page, this would be giving the writers a huge benefit of a doubt). But in fiction, we expect that if a character is to be Killed Off for Real, they need a good last moment that fits their character, and not some awkward, anticlimatic, or mean-spirited dismissive death. This goes for heroes, villains, and supporting characters.
  • Executive Meddling: This trope has come to mean bad decisions by clueless executives that negatively affect a work, and I certainly hate it when it makes a work that could have been good into something mediocre or bad.
    • Screwed by the Network: Can be summed up by a clueless network executive thinking "I don't get this show. Better make sure this show gets cancelled so I don't take the fall if it fails." And I HATE when this happens.
  • Faux Action Girl: As I stated above, I prefer real, genuine honest to goodness Action Girls, not posers whose action (if any) is all off-screen Informed Ability.
  • Idiot Plot: Can pretty much only be justified if the characters really are that stupid. The more contrived the stupidity, the more I hate it.
  • Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast: Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it. We're all a lot nicer to each other if we just don't believe in stupid gender stereotypes and treat each other as human beings.
  • Motive Decay: Characters, including but not limited to villains, shouldn't suddenly have no reason for what they're doing.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Waaay too much of a downer for me. This is the stuff that makes many Downer Endings seem not so much of a downer by comparison.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Action Girls should NOT be easily stripped of their action just because a guy grabbed her on the arm. Unless the girl in question is a robot, and the arm is where the action on/off switch is located.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Don't get me started on the whole 'groupthink is good, thinking for yourself is bad' thing. Granted, the complainer shouldn't always be right, either, but when this trope is played straight, it's very, very disturbing.
  • Many of the tropes in The War on Straw index.
  • True Art Is Angsty: This is a fallacy that has resulted in a number of really bad works of fiction.
  • Viewers Are Morons: I hate it when producers treat the viewers like idiots.
  • Voices Are Mental: Really, really annoying when people actually treat it like the voices have somehow swapped. I have never liked this trope, and consider it a subtrope of Viewers Are Morons.
  • Voodoo Shark: The more nonsensical and stupid the explanation for a Plot Hole is, the more I don't like it. Unless it's comedy and the nonsensical explanation is Played for Laughs.
  • Women in Refrigerators: Granted, a character being Stuffed in the Fridge just to piss off the protagonist is something that's pretty tired regardless of gender, but when a whole bunch of female characters end up this way, it pisses off just about anyone who'd rather see women as actual characters in the stories and not just plot devices.
  • Yo Yo Plotpoint: Writers shouldn't unresolve plot points that were already satisfactorily resolved unless their story is set in a different continuity then the story where the points were resolved.
  • Most of the 'You Fail' tropes. I know these days they're politely called 'Artistic License', but in many cases the creators shouldn't be allowed to hide behind the 'artistic license' excuse.

Anyway, that's my feelings on those tropes.


Example of: