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Web Animation / Overly Sarcastic Productions

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This isn't even an eighth of the people they've talked about.

Red: Hi, I'm Red.
Blue: And I'm Blue.
Red: And we make videos about boring nerd books.
Blue: And history.
Red: Don't worry, we make it fun.
Blue: That way you actually remember it.
— An apt summarization of the channel and its owners.

Red likes books and tropes. Blue likes history and philosophy. Neither of them are overly sarcastic.

Started in late 2012 with a summary of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, this YouTube channel wants you to learn one thing and one thing only: learning isn't scary.

There are two people currently involved with the channel: Red, a passionate lover of books, and Blue, a lover of history. Together, they aim to not only educate viewers on the plots of classic novels and the summary of important points in history, but also inform you why you should care about such seemingly trivial matters in your everyday life. The series itself uses that of Limited animation, in which they're animatics throughout the series.

Check out the channel here.

By popular demand, they also launched the Overly Sarcastic Podcast in late October 2020, and release new episodes roughly every fortnight. It mostly consists of Red and Blue discussing past and future episodes on the channel, current events and media, and so on, with occasional commentary from Indigo, and a Q&A section answering questions from the fans. It can be found here.

Red also writes a webcomic; Aurora (2019), which can be read here. There is alt-text on each page, which it's better to know from the start than to discover several months or years in.

Red and her friend Indigo are also a part of the weekly Actual Play Podcast Rolling With Difficulty, which can be found here. Red also plays Laira in Heart of Elynthi.

Overly Sarcastic Productions uses the following tropes:

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  • Abusive Parents: In the Greek myths, Hera literally throws away an infant Hephaestus, and her relationship with her other son isn't the best either.
    Ares: My mother was the most selfish woman I ever met! She never gave me anything!
  • The Ace: Aeneas is seen as an Expy of Odysseus, only without the severe flaws.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Featuring the Trope Namer in a sulky blanket burrito in his tent.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • In Miscellaneous Myths: Loki's Wager, Red draws Brok and Sindri as way more attractive than what was written in the Nordic texts. She justifies this decision by explaining how Dwarves and Dark Elves were considered the same species, so by that logic, they should be the same size as a human. She also explains how Ivaldi, the forefather of the dwarves, had a beautiful daughter, Idunn, who became the Aesir goddess of youth. Combining these ideas, she depicts Brok and Sindri as muscular, bearded men who are bigger than Loki.
      Hot dwarves may very well be canon and you can't stop me
    • Though drawn as an older, bald-headed man with a large beard, Hephaestus lacks the severe deformities he's traditionally known for. He is, however, shown using either a crutch and leg braces or a wheelchair, referencing another common depiction of him as physically disabled.
    • Grendel’s Mother, who is not well described in the source material and as a result is typically depicted as monstrous and ugly. In Classics Summarized: Beowulf Red draws her as a Giant Woman who is more of an Unkempt Beauty.
  • Adaptational Badass: Discussed in Red's video about Bellerophon, Red explains that being a demigod wasn't as impressive as you were led to believe. As a demigod, your powers weren't as great and powerful as your parent's. As the son of Poseidon, Bellerophon had innate abilities with equestrianism. Heracles only gained his infamous strength after he was brought to Hera and she breastfed him, only to realize who he was after he bit her.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Discussed in the video about King Arthur. Modern versions of the story tend to vilify either Arthur or Lancelot, depending on which side of the affair they support: Arthur is either a scorned husband whose royal duty demands he execute his beloved wife, or a bore who's too busy ruling to spend time with Guinevere. Lancelot is either a breath of fresh air who lifts Guinevere out of her unhappy marriage, or an asshole who slept with his best friend's wife. Guinevere's role in the matter is rarely considered as important.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Discussed in Red's video about Don Quixote. In several adaptations, Don Quixote is depicted as a misunderstood dreamer with a heart of gold, whose odd dreams are admirable and noble. In the book however, Don Quixote is delusional, violent and volatile, whose dreams have no basis in reality and are dysfunctional from minute one. Red attributes this change to censorship since Don Quixote can be misinterpreted as a mockery of mental illness, when it's actually about how reality can be just as engaging and interesting as the fiction he emulates.
    • Downplayed in the Oresteia video. Aegisthus, Clytemnestra's accomplice and co-conspirator, pretty much tags along in her wake and Orestes is said to kill him "just because."
    • In the Iliad video, Diomedes is visibly horrified when Odysseus kills the man they captured during the stealth mission; in the original, he was the one to do the deed. They then proceed to steal King Rhesus's horses and chariot without mentioning that they also killed the sleeping Rhesus and his men in the process.
    • The title character of "Hippolytus" is a nice asexual boy who expresses no misogynistic sentiments - he just isn't into women - and doesn't threaten to tell his father that Phaedra made a pass at him; she makes her False Rape Accusation and commits suicide apparently out of spite.
    • Discussed regarding Dr. Jekyll. In most modern tellings of Jekyll and Hyde, Dr. Jekyll had good intentions with his chemical experiments about the nature of man and became a victim of the evil Hyde Split Personality. In the original tale, Mr. Hyde was a chemically created disguise Dr. Jekyll used to explore his own darker impulses without consequences to his public identity.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Achilles was bi in the original Iliad but anytime he is depicted here, he's pretty firmly homosexual with many a joke about his lack of interest in women/anyone besides Patroclus. It was actually pretty common for Greek heroes to sleep with men, though Achilles is easily the most known perhaps because he was a rare example of the most prominent love interest being a same-sex relationship. Briseis is described as his "lady-toy" and his "girlfriend" in the original Iliad video, and he seems sad to see her go (though he refuses to take her back in exchange for fighting again), but the gayness is played up in other videos, i.e. his horror at the prospect of getting married and his lack of interest in the beautiful women condemned to the Second Circle of Hell with him. The Trojan War video even pokes fun at this, with Briseis even wondering why she was there as Achilles and Patroclus swoon over each other.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Red points out that in the original Frankenstein, the monster was quite attractive with only his eyes looking wrong.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Discussed in Red's Miscellaneous Myths video on Io, where she explains that the Roman poet Ovid is notorious for this due to his anti-authoritarian writing (caused by Augustus exiling him), causing certain Greek deities to act significantly more immorally, with Athena being the most prominent example despite such behavior being out of step with the source material. Athena punishing Medusa for being raped by Poseidon in her temple in particular was entirely invented by Ovid (prior to the The Metamorphoses being published, Medusa was a gorgon from birth till death and neither Athena nor Poseidon were involved), and Ovid also does the same for Athena's motives for turning Arachne into a spider (selfishness and jealousy rather than the fact that Arachne's tapestry was incredibly offensive to Athena).
    • Discussed again in the Myths video on Loki. Red suspects that in the Prose Edda Snorri specifically wrote the Aesir to be unsympathetic and the architects of their own doom. This would make their destruction in Ragnarok a good thing, as it made way for a better world - as in the Norse religion being supplanted by Christianity.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Red explains that Marvel misrepresented Mjolnir, which was far more dangerous than how Marvel depicted it. As Marvel depicted Mjolnir as a weapon that can be only wielded by Thor or by anyone of his calibre and it will become immovably heavy if someone unworthy tries to wield it. In the actual Norse Mythology, however, only Thor, or anyone of his calibre, could wield Mjolnir without disintegrating from its sheer power.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: When Blue describes the individuals in "Bolgia 4":
    Blue: There are no depths to which these depraved deadbeats won't dive!
    Red: [in the background] Woo! Alliteration!
  • Aesop Amnesia: Lancelot, having been deemed unworthy to approach the Holy Grail due to his affair with Guinevere, resolves to give up his sinful ways, "a resolution which lasts 'til about the next time he sees Guinevere."
  • Affably Evil:
    • Several creatures in Hell. The Minotaur, the Centaurs, and the Biblical Giant particularly stand out.
    • Aside from the whole "eating brains" thing, Zahak is a remarkably personable guy whose main flaw is being easily influenced. He worries that he might be a bad king, so he requests the people's feedback (they, of course, are too terrified to say anything negative), and when Kaveh demands that his sole remaining son be spared from braining, Zahak gladly agrees with his only price being Kavah sign a statement saying he's not a bad king.
  • Age Lift: Chryses, an elderly priest of Apollo in the Iliad, is illustrated as a relatively young man.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: The Trope Namer gets brought up when summarizing Heracles's Twelve Labors. One of Heracles's labors was obtaining the girdle of Hippolyta, which he accomplished quite easily. Unfortunately, Hera decided that it was too easy, and sabotaged him by spreading a rumor among the Amazons that Heracles was planning to kidnap Hippolyta.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Tamamizu, the kitsune who spent years pining for a young woman until the woman married the Emperor himself. Notably, Tamamizu didn't actually pursue a relationship with the woman, being happy with their friendship and certain that the woman would be happier if she married someone like the Emperor rather than a fox spirit.
  • All of Them: In Blue's "History Re-Summarized: The Roman Empire" video, during the 3rd century squabbles between the various "barracks emperors", rival forces from beyond Rome's frontier quickly moved to take advantage:
    Blue: Which frontier, you may ask? Good question! ALL of them!
  • Almost Dead Guy: Lampshaded when Red talks about The Dunwich Horror, as Old Whateley provides a full-blown Exposition Dump while on his deathbed.
  • Always a Bigger Fish:
    • One of the themes in the Epic of Mwindo. Mwindo spends the first two thirds of the epic murdering his way through any challenge by virtue of being awesome, but he eventually oversteps when he impulsively kills the dragon Kirimu, blood brother of the lightning god Nkuba. Nkuba doesn't kill Mwindo, but he does decide to teach him a lesson that this trope is in effect by taking him up to heaven to meet the gods, all of which are vastly more powerful. The gods do impart on him some life lessons, but Mwindo also gets to feel first hand how it is to meet someone more powerful. Namely Kentse, the Sun.
    • Sun Wukong discovers this when he tries to outwit Buddha.
    • Cited in Red's video on Atlantis, when she comments that Blue's thalassophobia is so severe that he can't even watch Aquaman on a big screen.
      Red: Tell him to go see it. It's got Julie Andrews as a Kaiju.
      Blue: The deeper you go, the more nightmares there are! There's always a bigger fish!
  • Always Someone Better: One of the morals of the story of Mwindo: it doesn't matter how awesome you are, there will always be someone more awesome than you.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Red covers a Lenape myth that says the crow was originally rainbow-colored, but turned black because its feathers got burned while it was bringing fire to Earth. note 
  • Ambiguous Ending: The Jorogumo story ends this way. Did the spider demon eat the lumberjack, or did they become a couple?
  • An Aesop: The Epic of Mwindo wraps up with four of these:
    • Babies aren't to blame for the circumstances of their birth. No matter the race, disability or gender, they should be accepted nonetheless.
    • It's good to be a hero, but not to be reckless. Mwindo got into big trouble when he decided to kill a dragon with no thought of the consequences.
    • Help each other. Mwindo didn't really need it, but the help from his kin was still very useful.
    • There's Always a Bigger Fish. No matter how awesome Mwindo was, the gods were still stronger.
      • Parodied in the video about the Minotaur, where Red sums up the moral of the story as follows:
      Red: Probably, uh... keep your promises, be true to your responsibilities, and... oh yeah! Stop boning animals! Jeez, guys...
  • Analogy Backfire: When Phaedra starts coming on to her stepson Hippolytus, she claims to be inspired by the story of Oedipus... in which the Parental Incest is accidental, and once they find out the queen commits suicide and her son blinds himself.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Downplayed in the ending of "Perseus." Perseus accidentally kills his filicidal grandfather with a discus. The video then cuts right back to the Happily Ever After shot that was just interrupted, with everyone completely unaffected.
  • Angrish: Menelaus is like this all the time.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Red gives Atalanta a bear motif due to her history with bears.
    • Anansi is depicted as a human with a spider motif, often with spider features.
    • Io is given a bovine motif due to her transformation into a cow after she was raped by Zeus.
  • Animesque: The channel's art style is heavily influenced by chibi, featuring cute, Moe-esque characters. The Journey to the West series affectionately parodies all manner of trope-laden Shonen anime.
  • Answer Cut: During the Aeneid, King Latinus is informed in a dream that he should marry his daughter Lavinia to a "very specific foreigner". Cut to Aeneas eating pizza on the beach.
  • April Fools' Day: Every year since 2016.
    • 2016 saw the (in)famous Les Misérables video, responding to suggestions that Blue take over some drawing duties and criticisms that Red speaks too fast and with not enough detail. This results in horrendous scribbles for the artwork (Blue did not have a firm grasp of the intricacies of a drawing tablet) and a stilted, halting delivery from Red as she attempted to be as informative as possible. The pair barely last five minutes before abandoning the video with screams of physical pain and cringe.
    • In 2017, they uploaded the first episode of what would be their "OSPlays" Let's Play series. Notably, since it's an April Fools episode, it's done parodying the style of a typical loud, high-octane Let's Play, compared to later OSPlays episodes which are more subdued.
    • In 2018, Red and Blue uploaded a video in which they admitted to being the secret masterminds responsible for every disaster in human history.
    • 2019's April Fools episode parodies cooking channels and sees the two preparing the dish "Carthaginian Delight", inspired by the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage. Instructions include adding "Hannibal Barca's blood" and "salt the Earth" (cue Blue throwing an entire bowl of salt into a pan).
    • 2020 sees the continuation of the Journey to the West series... as a Minecraft Let's Play.
    • In 2021, the duo just uploaded a 4-minute video of Blue's cat Cleo, titled "The Cleo Cameo".
    • In 2022, they pretended to upload Classics Summarized: The Silmarillion, A highly requested video, but it turned out to be several minutes of them rambling off-camera in fake setup footage before Cleo chewed through the cables.
    • In 2023, Red put her musical talents to good use and produced a slideshow music video, singing a parody of Wonderwall that detailed the fall of Troy.
  • Archenemies: Aphrodite and Artemis hated each other. Aphrodite hated chastity and would torture worshipers of Artemis.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • When discussing Tantalus' crimes, Red lists kin slaying, cannibalism, theft in breach of hospitality and, worst of all, being Agamemnon's ancestor and stealing a dog.
    • In Red's video on the Pandora myth, Red's list of the evils Pandora unleashed upon the world includes natural lifespans, childbirth, and Swedish Fish.
  • Art Evolution: While Red's artwork was never something to sneeze at, she's greatly improved over the years. Compare the difference between Hades in 2016 and Hades in 2021; or, to be more specific, the depiction of Achilles and Hector's fight to the death in the Iliad video in 2015, versus its depiction in the Trojan War video in 2022. Damn.
    • Best seen in Red's 2022 overview of the Trojan War, which looks and reads like a Greatest Hits of the video trilogy that first used her art style—the Illiad, Odyssey, and Aeneid Legends Summarized videos. The gods now share their more distinct designs, the characters look more proportional, and backgrounds and fights are shown in more detail.
  • Aside Glance: Crossed with Disapproving Look when Red gets to the part of H. P. Lovecraft's life summary where he's said to "not have the constitution for math." She just stares at the "camera" for a split second, no other jokes included, before moving on. For the record, Red's degree was in mathematics.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Acrisius locks up his daughter to prevent her from conceiving any children. When Zeus still manages to impregnate her, he tosses her and his infant grandson into the ocean, technically avoiding filicide by not spilling their blood personally. Needless to say, nobody mourns when the adult Perseus inadvertently beans him in the head with a discus as he's thinking about how he loves thwarting prophecies.
    • Red brings up that the only time Hades legitimately and willingly screwed with the lives of others was when he used snakes to strap Theseus and Pirithous to their chairs and let the Furies have their way with them. Red considers this fitting and well deserved since the two of them tried to literally kidnap Hades' wife. She's also openly gleeful that while Theseus is eventually rescued by Heracles, Pirithous spends all of eternity in that chair.
    • Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter, refuses to ransom his Sex Slave, and brings another Sex Slave home to his wife. Then he gets murdered by his wife and her lover.
      • In the Oresteia:
        Cassandra: She'll kill us all! And only he deserves it!
      • In the Aeneid:
        Agamemnon: [being stabbed by Clytemnestra] Damn you negative consequences!
      • And even in Achilles's Imagine Spot in the Iliad:
        Agamemnon: [impaled by a spear] Oh I am slain! If only I hadn't been a giant prick!
    • Paris, the guy who kicked off the Trojan War just so he could bang Helen, ends up dead and alone, receiving no help from his actual wife, the healing nymph Oenone. Red sums it up very nicely:
      Red: I feel bad for the guy, and yet... I don't.
    • In "History's Best(?) Couples", Blue retells the story of emperor Xuanzong, who made his son's wife Yang his concubine and was so taken by her that he appointed her (rather incompetent and corrupt) family to various government positions, which, unsurprisingly, led to a rebellion and Yang's eventual execution by government officials who had enough of the schenanigans. While the chronicle of the events in "Song of everlasting sorrow" treats this as a tragedy, Blue notes that the couple in question was 100% at fault for everything that happened.
  • Asteroids Monster: Raktabija from the "Kali Tries to Kill Everthing" video has a variant of this - whenever a drop of his blood falls to the ground, its grows into a clone of him.
  • Attractiveness Isolation: Psyche is described by Red as being so beautiful that men are too anxious to talk to her.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Urban Fantasy is a topic Red likes to bring up in her videos.
    • Blue makes no secret of his love for Venice.
    • Anime has a huge influence over the channel, as shown by Red's chibi art style.
    • The God of War franchise also gets a few shout-outs here, either mocking the game's interpretation of Classical Mythology or praising certain elements. An example of this is in Loki's Wager, where Red's design of Brok the dwarf appears to have been based on Magni from God of War (PS4).
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The solid gold carriage the Princess gifts to Gerda in The Snow Queen is so ostentatious that it quickly draws the attention of a gang of bandits, who steal it for themselves and murder the servants assigned to drive it.
  • Awesome Ego: Invoked.
    • In the first episode of "City minutes", which is about Athens, Blue starts by saying that "the most frustrating thing about Athenian history is that they are almost as great as they're constantly insisting they are". And from the way he delivers this line, he sounds both annoyed and impressed.
    • Jamshid from Zahak the Serpent King was the greatest king in a long line of great kings. Unfortunately, he was too great and it led to him developing a god complex so massive it tipped the cosmic balance towards evil.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name:
    • Red loves the fact that Fionn mac Cumhaill is pronounced "Finn MacCool", citing this trope.
    • In the Wild Hunt video, Red takes a moment to admire the name of Norwegian ruler Eric Bloodaxe and his wife, Gunnhildr mother of Kings.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: Odysseus is depicted as wearing one in Classics Summarized: The Iliad, which is always blowing in the Dramatic Wind regardless of where he is. Combined with his beard, cardboard box, and his role as the sneaky guy, it makes him look somewhat familiar...
    • He also ends up wearing the magical anti-drowning scarf as a bandana in Classics Summarized: The Odyssey, and is shown wearing his old one in his flashback to before he got stranded
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Discontent with real women, who do things like talk and have sex, Pygmalion creates Galatea and then, unhappy with her inability to return his affections, begs Aphrodite to bring her to life.
    Red: So now she can do things like talk! And have sex!
    [Pygmalion stares at the fourth wall, then sidelong at Galatea, looking queasy]
    Red: You kids have fun!
  • Bed Trick: Zeus' primary tactic for sleeping with mortals is to assume the form of a mortal. Heracles' mother, Alcmene, slept with Zeus when he took the form of her husband.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't talk to Red about The Taming of the Shrew or the Percy Jackson movies.
    • Don't be mean to your teachers.
    • Red's (probably) deliberate mispronunciations of "Bolgia" are this for Blue.
    • Don't tell Red that you burned the Library of Alexandria.
    • Don't say "The real story..." around Red when it comes to mythology as there is no canonical story about mythology, just endless retellings and reimaginings of the subject.
    • Another one for Red: Don't be Agamemnon. Or be in any way responsible for his existence (like Tantalus).
    • Also, don't be mean to dogs. Again, Tantalus.
    • One for Blue; don't suggest that Cleopatra had become one of the most powerful historical figures of her time due solely to her looks, as opposed to her intelligence and charisma.
  • Big Friendly Dog:
  • Big "WHY?!": Red does one of these when she finds out Odysseus's faithful hunting dog dies the moment he returns to his house in The Odyssey.
  • The Blank: Whenever Red refers to the person watching the video (EG by saying "You might be thinking..." or something to that effect), a stock character, representing the viewer, is shown. It's a standard character model in the show's art style with the word "YOU" written across its chest. Its face only has eyebrows and a mouth, since Red has no idea what the viewer looks like.
  • Blasphemous Boast: In "The Wrath of Demeter", nothing screams "blatant disregard for Greek Gods" like chopping down Demeter's sacred tree and loudly declaring you'd do the same to Demeter herself. Well, King Erysichthus learns for himself what Demeter has to say about that.
  • Bookends: Blue's video for "Judaism" starts and ends with the same clip from Mel Brooks' History of the World Part I, with Moses (Mel Brooks) declaring "The Lord Jehovah has given unto you these Fifteen (one of the three tablets falls and shatters)—Ten, Ten Commandments..."
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: Red's video on Beowulf lampshades the absurdity/good fortune of Grendel's mother being immune to human-forged swords, but having a giant-forged sword decorating her lair which Beowulf steals and uses to decapitate her.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Victor Frankenstein's little brother William.
    William Frankenstein: [to the monster] You, sir, are ugly and therefore morally reprehensible.
  • "Bringer of War" Music: Holst's "Mars" will play whenever violence or war is present in the video, especially if it involves Ares.
  • Broken Ace: Edgar Allen Poe had everything; Parental Abandonment, financial ruin, alcoholism, a dead wife, and an appropriately mysterious death at age 40. He also did most of the work of creating the Gothic literary genre.
  • Bury Your Gays: In "Dante's Inferno", Dante sees his teacher in Hell for being gay.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome:
    Sun Wukong: [disguised as the Bull Demon King] Whoa, Tripitaka? But I hear he's under the protection of the terrifying and devastatingly handsome Sun Wukong! You best be careful — that tricky monkey could be anywhere. Looking like anyone!
  • Butt-Monkey: Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, typically gets herself kidnapped by Hera whenever one of Zeus's kids is supposed to be born.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Happens to Blue when he gets locked in a room a la The Cask of Amontillado as punishment for going on tangents by Red in this video.
  • Call-Back:
    • When Ra is sick and dying, one of the gods called to help him is Wadjet, who tells him she can't help. Ra is offended and threatens to sic his other eye at her.
    • The Atlantis video very briefly brings back the old running gag from the Lovecraft video.
      Text flying by the screen: Oh hey it's a mysterious color unlike any seen on Earth
    • Red also calls back to her Lovecraft video in the Trope Talk on Kaiju. In discussing how the first Godzilla movie was in may ways an allegory for the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests, she mentions the series Chernobyl and how the nuclear fallout of the Chernobyl disaster was treated in the show as a Lovecraftian horror, adding that the radiation "appeared to be a mysterious color unlike any seen on earth."
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: In the trope talk on Pinocchio Plots, when Red talks about how the plot is precipitated on the idea that some non-human entity desires a human trait, the illustration shows a Faerie expressing admiration for the human ability to lie whenever we want.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: Red's video on "Robin Hood" has footage of Smaug's hoard from The Hobbit used as an "artist's representation" of the rich choosing to hoard their money rather than spend it, and the problems this causes for the poor, in a society that associates wealth with social standing.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Red discusses the modern interpretation of Loki as this in Miscellaneous Myths: Loki, where later authors conflated him with Satan and gave him titles he didn't have like "Serpent", which makes little sense given how Loki was chained to a rock while poison was dripped into his eyes by a snake. This interpretation of him is so pervasive that Loki takes offense when Red's analysis puts him in a decidedly more sympathetic light.
    Loki: [labeled a sympathetic rebel] Wha? [label changes to good as Loki turns to the viewer] Now hold on a second!
  • Cartwright Curse: To say Apollo is unlucky in love is an understatement. All of his would-be lovers end up dead, either to avoid being with him or because another god got envious. At the beginning of "Hyacinthus," Red cues up a montage that includes three separate people diving off a cliff to escape. Hell, one of them went as far as to turn themselves into a laurel tree just to avoid dating him. This is downplayed as Flanderization in the Pride Tales video, as Red points out the multitude of relationships that didn't end horribly. Then it's played back up in "Hades and Persephone."
    Red: [after facetiously castigating Hades] Anyway, I just love Apollo! He's the hottest thing since hotness! And isn't it tragic how many of his true loves die? Wonder why that keeps happening.
  • Catchphrase:
  • Character Shilling: Invoked by Red on Oskar Sommer's Galahad becoming a Christian ideal hero.
  • Characterization Marches On: Explored in Red's videos on the Greek gods Dionysus, Aphrodite, and Hermes, as she discusses the changing cultural contexts and how that influenced how they were portrayed and worshipped.
  • Chivalric Romance: Don Quixote deconstructs chivalric love and explains how it can't exist in the modern world. These lovestruck men are just petty manchildren who refuse to take no for an answer and objectify their crushes. When they can't succeed they bitterly run away from society, cursing the women who turned them down. Their gestures of romance are irritating and borderline threatening to their respective crushes.
  • City of Gold: Red covers the Trope Codifier, El Dorado, in one of her "Legends Summarized" videos. In the video, she points out how the entire city is a myth fabricated by conquistadors consumed by their own greed and the natives sending them on a wild goose chase just to make them go away, and how the greed motivating searches for this sort of things means that no matter how much gold you end up finding, you still won't be satisfied and will likely convince yourself that the real, even richer City of Gold must still be hidden somewhere else.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: The queen of faeries quips that if she had known that Tam Lin would fall in love with a mortal girl named Bonnie Janet, she'd have petrified his eyes.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Red points out that despite being the goddess of love, Aphrodite has serious issues involving her marriage to Hephaestus.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Red has red eyes and Blue has blue eyes. Specifically, Blue was left unnamed until the characters noticed that there was already a color theme with Red and just went with it. (Per the channel trailer, anyway.)
  • Color-Coded Characters: The gods Red draws are usually drawn with one colour. For example, Aphrodite is pink, for their association with love and romance. In "The Aeneid", Aeneas is depicted with reddish-pink hair since he's depicted as the son of Aphrodite.
    • Downplayed with the Norse gods, who were generally seen as less powerful in the myths they originate in, but still present in their hair and eyes. Loki, a fire jotun, is drawn with red hair, as is Thor, while Freyr and Freya are blonde with green eyes, and Heimdal is light grey.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Apollo kills Orion because he thinks he's trying to seduce Artemis. And Artemis is clearly unable to see through his seduction because she's never been with a boy before. For some reason.
  • Consummate Professional: Red calls Daedalus this, considering that he had no issue doing a commission for Pasiphaë to build a cowsuit for her.
  • Continuity Snarl: Red often points out that stories are also different from telling to telling and that one myth may contradict with another myth, especially with Greek mythology. For example, with Hippolyta:
    • In her Heracles video:
      Red: They (Amazon) dogpile on him and in the chaos, Heracles kills Hippolyta, for some reason, and bail with the girdle.
      Heracles: Sorry, Hippolyta.
      Hippolyta: It's cool. Pretty sure I have to be alive to marry Theseus later anyways.
    • Hippolyta is briefly mentioned in the video about Hippolytus as the mother of the titular character, one of her footnotes is "Banged Heracles and died (???)."
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The souls in "College Hell" are subjected to a range of bizarre punishments:
    • The punishment for the souls trapped in the First Circle (Limbo) is to simply not to go to college.
    • Those in the Second Circle (Lust) are punished by being hit on by a creepy person in a frat party for all eternity.
    • Souls in the Third Circle (Gluttony) are forced to eat nothing but dining hall food for the rest of time.
    • People in the Fourth Circle (Greed) are doomed to an eternity of working as a fry cook at Burger King.
    • Souls in the Fifth Circle (Wrath) are forced to stress and study forever. And if they ever take their eyes off their work, they instantly forget everything.
    • The Sixth Circle (Heresy): Those who continuously badmouth their professors are forced to hold office hours in burning cubicles forever.
    • Each of the three rings in the Seventh Circle (Violence) has a different punishment:
      • In the first ring (Violence Against Neighbors), the souls of those who trash others' rooms are forced to remain in their rooms with the sprinklers going off for the rest of time.
      • In the second ring (Violence Against Self), people are transformed into expensive textbooks.
      • In the third ring (Violence Against God, Art, and Nature), souls who whine continuously about college, despite choosing to go there, are forced to wear sweaters from rival universities and deal with the social consequences forever.
    • The Eighth Circle (Fraud) a.k.a the Malabolge has a number of punishments:
      • Bolgia 1 (Pandering): Those who refuse to contribute in group projects are forced to drag huge boulders around in a twisted infinite relay race.
      • Bolgia 2 (Flattery): Teachers' pets who endlessly kiss up to their professors are turned into actual pets.
      • Bolgia 3 (Simony): Those who sign up for prime-time class slots and sell them back for ridiculous prices are sentenced to eternal 8:00 am classes, and are also upside down and on fire.
      • Bolgia 4 (Sorcery): Those who try to cheat their own futures by procuring previous years' study material are doomed to always using the wrong study guides.
      • Bolgia 5 (Graft): Those who try and line up "business opportunities" with other students are sentenced to the worst job interview ever. They are unprepared, their suit is uncomfortable, one of their pockets is falling off, one of their shoes is brown and the other is black, and they spend the entire time hoping that the interviewer doesn't notice (but he does).
      • Bolgia 6 (Hypocrisy): Students who start off squeaky clean and starry-eyed but wind up completely trashing their work ethic after a single semester are forced to explain their deteriorating grades to their parents over an eternally awkward dinner. Plus, they smell of weed the entire time, which tips off the parents right away.
      • Bolgia 7 (Theft): Criminals who callously steal unattended laptops in the library are doomed to an eternity of being hunted by Liam Neeson.
      • Bolgia 8 (Deception): The jerks who lie to their friends during housing by saying that they'll all stick together but leave to get a single all by themselves find themselves in the absolute worst room on campus: no outlets work, there's a sprinkler directly over their bed, the windows don't open, and the room permanently smells of pee. It's also right next to the RA's room and walls are paper-thin, and the neighbors on the other side are constantly having sex. Their roommate also has a significant other who never leaves and has the worst laugh.
      • Bolgia 9 (Schism): Gossipers who never stop spreading lies suddenly find themselves being gossiped about.
      • Bolgia 10 (Forgery): Those who plagiarize their work have the words they stole permanently and repeatedly branded on their skin.
    • And finally, the souls in the Ninth Circle (Treachery) are each subject to a different punishment:
      • Round 1 (Traitors to their Kindred): People who spend all their parents' money are frozen in the nearest body of water.
      • Round 2 (Traitors to their Country): Those who leave their clothes in the washing machine for hours on end are subjected to a fitting punishment: being trapped in a washing machine with many other souls, as well as someone's laundry.
      • Round 3 (Traitors to their Guests): Those who make out with their significant other excessively while the roommate is still in the room (it doesn't matter if the roommate is asleep or not) are sentenced to be naked forever.
      • Round 4 (Traitors to their Lords): The people who are mean to their teachers are doomed to drown in the school's tuition vault while the university president watches and laughs.
  • The Corrupter: Ahriman, the embodiment of all evil in Zoroastrianism, convinced friendly young prince Zahak to murder his father. When Zahak turned out to still be a good person, patricide excluded, he gave him snake shoulders and an insatiable hunger for human brains to force him into villainy.
  • Corrupt Church:
    • In "Dante's Inferno", Dante places Pope Nicholas III in Hell. Nicholas III proceeds to complain about Pope Boniface VIII and Pope Clement V.
    • Blue discusses some pretty awful popes (including the aforementioned Boniface VIII) in his "Pope Fights" video, even dubbing Benedict IX the "meme Pope" before highlighting it as A Rare Sentence.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Nerites gets turned into a shrimp in two different myths, one because he didn't take Aphrodite up on her offer to join her on the surface world, the other by Helios just because. Red jokes that she imagines the myths took place sequentially and he gets turned into a shrimp every week or so by random gods venting their frustration over petty things like other gods hogging the remote.
  • Courtly Love:
    • Deconstructed in Don Quixote, where the relationship between Dorothea and Don Fernando is entirely false. Don Fernando was creepily persistent and selfishly lacked any form of self-awareness. He bombarded Dorothea and her family with gifts, letters and money until her family told Dorothea that they support her choices and completely understand why she isn't interested in Don Fernando. When he realises that Dorothea is liable to marriage, he comes to the logical idea of breaking into her room in a last-ditch effort to seduce and then marry her. She only agrees to it because the marriage will bring status to her.
    • Red discusses this concept to give context to why Chrétien de Troyes's version of King Arthur portrayed Lancelot's and Guinevere's love affair as morally right (in fact, Lancelot is an invention of Chretien de Troyes), as it was used as an example of various virtues of courtly love such as distant yearning that can never be fulfilled. It didn't last long, as every other version of King Arthur frowns on the love affair as just plain adultery.
  • Crack Fic: Red refers to the Divine Comedy as Dante's self-insert crack fic at a few points.
  • Credits Gag: After the video's end, stray observations or factoids that didn't make it into the video often play through before Patrons are credited.
  • Crossover: Happens occasionally with other informational YouTube channels:
    • For his videos on the Normans and Classical Warfare he is joined by Shad. In "The Normans" he is able to summon Shad by simply shouting "Swords!" Blue has returned the favor, discussing elements of Greek history in some of Shad's videos.
    • For his video on the history of steelmaking, he's joined by Matt and Ilya from That Works.
    • For "Dystopias", Red teams up with Hello Future Me.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In Miscellaneous Myths: Artemis and Apollo, Red describes a scene in The Iliad where Hera effortlessly beats the crap out of Artemis, to the point where the art shows Apollo nervously watching as his sister is literally being stomped by Hera.
  • Curse Cut Short: Happens a few times, especially in earlier videos:
    • Book 11 of the Iliad gives us this glorious example.
    • Odysseus' reaction to his crewmates getting turned into pigs by Circe.
    • The punishment for souls in the fourth circle of Hell is... confusing, to say the least, but Virgil cuts off Dante's protest before he can say anything too sacrilegious.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: At one point in "Anansi wins Stories", the sky god Nyame is watching a Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoon, and complains that if the coyote has enough money to buy all the Acme Products, he should quit trying to eat the roadrunner and just order a pizza.
  • Cute Monster Girl: In "Frankenstein's Monster", Victor thinks this much.
    The Monster: She [the wife he asked Victor to create] didn't need to be reproduction-capable!
    Victor: Only a fool makes a monster you can't fu
  • The Cycle of Empires: Blue touches briefly on this while discussing Ibn Khaldun in his History Makers series. Unsurprising, since Ibn Khaldun was one of the cycle's codifiers (although he phrased it as Build, Peak, Decline and Fall, and applied it to societies as a whole).
  • Damned by Faint Praise: In Red's list of reasons why Henry Jekyll is superior to Victor Frankenstein, the last item is "Responsible for fewer than 3 deaths."
  • Death Trap: The protagonist of "The Pit and the Pendulum" is placed in two of these by the Inquisition. Rats save him in the first one, the French Army saves him in the second one.
  • Dead All Along: One of the stories she featured in her Halloween special of H.P. Lovecraft's stories is "Cool Air," which had a twist that Doctor Muñoz was dead 18 years ago but was able to keep himself alive with the air conditioner until it eventually broke down and death caught up to him.
    "Turns out "Dead All Along" is an older twist than it looks."
  • Deconstructive Parody: The channel itself deconstructs mythology, classic literature, and history in general. With mythology and Literature, Red talks about how logic and values no longer apply in the real world. While Blue points out the wackier parts of history and puts them under a microscope.
  • Depending on the Writer: Red states that the characters of Lancelot, Guinevere, and Arthur depend on whether Lancelot or Arthur are the hero of the story. If Lancelot is the hero then he and Guinevere are justified in their affair and Arthur is painted as deserving to be cheated on. If Arthur is the hero then Lancelot becomes a selfish Ungrateful Bastard.
  • Designated Hero: invoked
    • Red is often befuddled by Stranger in a Strange Land, in which the hero is free to murder people, force himself on others and start a sex cult, and it is never portrayed as a bad thing, she even points out in the end that, since he is a literal angel of heaven, all of his actions were in the right.
    • Red sees the claim that Theseus is Athens's greatest hero to be a pretty poor showing for the city-state, pointing to his extreme misogyny (with the Wife Husbandry being a particular note), as well as coming off as a complete idiot in multiple stories (leaving Ariadne behind for no real reason, forgetting to change the sails despite them being a death signal, killing his own son on incredibly spurious reasons, and trying to steal Hades's wife).
  • Didn't See That Coming: While Utgard-Loki is successful in messing with Thor and company with his tricks and illusions, the fact that Thor managed to get anywhere with his tasks put the entire world in danger much to Utgard-Loki's surprise and dismay.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • In "Frankenstein's Monster", Victor refuses to create a wife for the unnamed monster he created because he fears they'll produce an entire brood of monsters. Red mentions that Victor could have just made the monster's bride barren, but Victor doesn't consider this option.
    • In Pygmalion's story, Red points out the downfall of Galatea's existence and becoming human. Pygmalion has extremely high standards, didn't like how regular women did bothersome things like talking or having sex, and the only "woman" who met his standards was handcrafted by him and was essentially a static, unmoving representation of physical beauty without the complications of a person coming with it. Galatea coming to life contradicts the very purpose of her existence.
    • In "Hou Yi and Chang'e", the archer god Hou Yi and his wife are banished for killing 9/10 of the Jade Emperor's sons-turned-suns... after the Jade Emperor explicitly commanded Hou Yi to deal with the aforementioned suns who had been roasting the Earth.
      Red: The Jade Emperor is shocked — shocked, I tell you! — that the arrow guy he commissioned to shoot arrows shot arrows at the people he pointed him at.
      Hou Yi: Look, I don't know what you were expecting.
    • Red is clearly very confused by Tantalus's idea to honor the gods with a sacrifice... by feeding them his own son during a party, even though familicide and cannibalism are probably the big no-nos of the classical world.note 
    • In "Aphrodite", it's noted that the titular goddess tends to act impulsively without considering the consequences. She promised Helen of Troy to Paris, despite her already being married to King Menelaus, which caused the Trojan War. And set her son Aeneas up with Dido, even though it would distract him from his quest.
    • And of course, there's the patron saint of not thinking things through, King Midas. Though amusingly, despite his mythical rep he actually gets off rather lightly compared to most (he gets to give up his power to explain why there's gold in the Pactolus River, and saying he liked Pan's music better than Apollo's "merely" ends with him getting literal donkey ears), since his primary crime was merely being a short-sighted doofus. Red even points out that the part about him turning his daughter into gold wasn't part of the old myths, and in fact invented by Nathaniel Hawthorne to make things more tragic.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: At the end of the Edgar Allen Poe episode, Blue makes some puns. Red finds this annoying... and so walls Blue up in catacombs to suffocate. Don't worry, though — the ninjas broke him out.
  • Dissimile: David's unification of the Jewish tribes is "like the guy who combined peanut butter and jelly... but in king form... but with twelve of them?" (Cut to a dozen crowned sandwiches piled up around Michelangelo's David)
  • Divine–Infernal Family: This video, while also discussing the various tropes associated with Satan, blatantly lampshade this trope repeatedly. Specifically, by summarizing the conflict throughout the epic as Daddy Issues.
  • Does He Have a Brother?: Helen in "The Trojan War" is illustrated choosing Menelaus as her husband and commenting that that "Clytemnestra will want to know if he has a brother." The good news is that Menelaus does have a brother. The bad news is that said brother is Agamemnon.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Sans Indigo, the main cast (Red, Blue, and Cyan) prefer to be known by their colour-coded stage names as they deeply value their privacy. Blue has revealed his first name in the earlier videos as "Gregory" but that's the only part of his name that he's comfortable with revealing.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: Frequently mentioned in discussions about the Greek pantheon. Zeus is the main contestant due to his tactic of shapeshifting into a mortal so he can have sex with an oblivious mortal. Selene developed a crush on Endymion and succeeded in having children with him by making Zeus put him in eternal sleep.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male:
    • Discussed in Red's video on Stranger in a Strange Land
    Red: There's barely a concept of consent in here because none of these people in the nest would ever say no, so why would you ask? And Ben, who is saying no to a lot of this is being treated like he'll learn or come around. For the record, he does not, but that doesn't stop someone from having sex with him anyway. Heinlein, did you just write one of your male leads being assaulted by your sex cult and treat it like it was a good thing?
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: Discussed in Red's video on Stranger in a Strange Land; the sex cult believes the true meaning of life is have ritualistic orgies until they get superpowers as a result of breeding with the protagonist. Valentine Michael Smith is constantly pursued by the authorities for his multitude of sex crimes but the authorities always disappear before they can arrest him. Red is appropriately horrified by this and openly wonders why Valentine is considered morally superior for all of this.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Red does not approve of Selene using a permanently slumbering Endymion to have fifty kids.
    Red: Whoa! Not cool, lady! He's asleep!
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Discussed in the Titus Andronicus video, where Red explains that some people have a hard time believing that this play was actually written by William Shakespeare.
    Red: Shakespeare, the man who made a three-day fling between underage teenagers the most iconic love story in history. The man who explored the tortured psyche of kings and princes driven to murder. The poet who practically defined half of our modern character archetypes over the course of his career — that's the guy who supposedly wrote this two-hour pointless gore fest.
    • A meta example with Red's now-iconic art style — the reason why she started drawing her adorable chibis in the first place is that Troy is bad, and she didn't want to use clips from it to illustrate her summary of The Iliad. Since then, she's used her drawings in almost all OSP's videos, and there's been some Art Evolution.
  • Eats Babies: Rhiannon, wife of Pwyll, is accused of this by the maids who'd lost the baby during the night before as a means to cover up their mistake. She was sentenced to seven years' penance for the "crime" - thankfully their son, PryderiTranslation , was being raised by the horse lord Teyrnon, who recognized the resemblance between his Doorstep Baby and the royal couple after hearing news about Rhiannon's penance.
    Rhiannon: Did none of you look for clues?
    Maid: Clues about how you ate him?
    Rhiannon: Shut it.
  • Edutainment Show: The show's purpose is to present literature and history in a entertaining and thoroughly sarcastic manner while poking fun at historical sensibilities and tropes.
  • Either "World Domination", or Something About Bananas: The possible meanings of "Pryderi" — "worry," "concern," and "I'm going to strangle those handmaidens for telling everyone I ate you."
    Red: It's a language of many beautiful complexities.
  • Eldritch Location: Boston ends up being described in these terms. Red is still not sure if she actually left the town.
  • Elemental Hair: Enki, primordial god of water in the Sumerian pantheon, is drawn by Red as having long flowing blue-green hair shaped like a fish.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Blue considers "the Great" to be a terrible nickname because of its blandness. His rationale is that the heroes in Greek Mythology always have unique and descriptive epithets to describe people (Homer giving his Heroes five each), so "the Great" is underwhelming for someone who conquered more land in one lifetime than any Greek person before him. Blue suggests "Alexander who fights in the Front Line", "Alexander the Excellent", "Alexander the Horseman", and "Alexander the Conqueror" as more appropriate nicknames. This is just a tiny selection of the total used in Blue's full video on the subject.
    • Red, on the other hand, refers to "Alexander the Sort Of Alright."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Spoofed with Atalanta's father, who has no problem with abandoning his newborn daughter on a mountain but would never dream of disrespecting her gender identity.
  • Everybody Hates Hades:
    • They discuss the trope and note how undeserved it is. They point out that the two questionable things he did was kidnap his wife (common for gods, and by all accounts, he treated her well) and imprison two Greek Heroes (who deserved it).
    • Discussed again in the "Loki" video. Loki is consistently treated as a villain but in his earliest appearance in the Prose Edda, Loki was actually one of the more responsible gods. His decision to bring about Ragnarok seems less evil than righteous anger when it's remembered what the Aesir had previously done to him and his children out of fear and spite. Red suspects it's a mix between Loki having been an antagonistic character in the Edda and the conflation of a god of lies with the Prince of Lies.
  • Everybody Wants the Hermaphrodite: Asu-shu-namir, an intersex person created by Ea, is able to rescue Ishtar by seducing Ereshkigal. Subverted in that Ereshkigal cursed gender non-binary people to be outcasts in retaliation, and double subverted in that Ishtar gave them the gifts of healing and prophecy to counterbalance this and Ereshkigal still wants them.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • In the Narcissus video, Red shows Artemis and Athena (who remain single because they're asexual) agreeing that Narcissus (who remains single because he thinks he's too good for any of his suitors) is a tool.
    • In the Werewolves deep dive, Red goes on a tangent about the Malleus Maleficarum and its author, noting that even the medieval European church thought he was nuts and a heretic.
    Spanish Inquisition: Dang, that's pretty messed up. And we're literally the Spanish Inquisition.
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: When introduced, Diomedes waves to the audience with one hand while spearing an offscreen Trojan with the other.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The Shadow Over Innsmouth ends with Robert Olmstead doing one. After escaping the cultists, Robert realizes that he is actually a descendant of the cult's founder and is part Fishman. He then has a dream where he is approached by his grandmother and great-grandmother who convince him to join them. Upon waking he discovers that he's begun to turn into a fish person and the story closes with him leaving to free his cousin who was placed in an asylum after he started to turn years earlier.
  • Fainting:
    • Dante does this a lot in The Divine Comedy. Red lampshades it, noting that for a protagonist — and a self-insert one, at that — Dante is kind of a wimp.
    • Robert Olmstead passes out from seeing dozens of fish people in The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
  • Fair for Its Day: invoked Red discusses this in Legends Summarized: Atlantis. She points out that while Plato would be considered sexist today, his belief that women could be just as virtuous and capable as men was very egalitarian by the standards of Ancient Athens. One of the things she specifically points to is the fact that his idealized version of Athens in the distant past had complete gender equality.
  • The Fair Folk: Referenced and explained in the videos about "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Tam Lin". Fairies were originally far more malicious than the modern Disney interpretation of fairies, as they abducted children, seduced wives and husbands, lead travelers astray and caused mayhem for anyone they locked eyes with.
  • False Rape Accusation: Theseus's second wife, Phaedra, accuses her stepson Hippolytus of raping her after he rejects her advances.
  • False Start:
  • Family Eye Resemblance:
    • "Perseus": Perseus, his mother, and his maternal grandfather are drawn with green eyes.
    • "Heracles": Alcmene and her son Heracles both have gold hair and gold eyes.
    • "The Oresteia": Clytemnestra and all three of her children have periwinkle eyes, implicitly contradicting Apollo's claim that only the father contributes to the creation of a child.
    • "The Shadow over Innsmouth": Nearly all of the Innsmouth natives have green eyes, but Obed Marsh's most human-looking daughter is drawn with blue eyes — like her great-grandson Robert.
  • Fan Disservice: Medea (and the audience's eyes) are haunted by an image of a nearly naked Jason reclining on a bed of roses, asking if she wants his "mcnuggies".
  • Fantastic Drug: Red explains in the Halloween special of "Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde" that Mr Hyde wasn't originally a separate, chaotic entity created from a divided mind. Mr Hyde was literally just Doctor Jekyll without his inhibition, making him a representation of substance abuse. Doctor Jekyll feels liberated while drinking the potion but his addiction to it creates a gateway sin that escalates from hedonism to anarchy.
  • Feminine Leg Swish: Subverted in the video, "Legends Summarized: The Saga of Grettir", when Thorfinn asks the usually highly masculine Grettir if he wants to do any work, Grettir is seen lying on a stack of hay and crossing his legs, which is a stereotypical feminine pose.
  • First Installment Wins: Red doesn't say much about the various adaptations of Dracula, but she does say that the original has better suspense than any other. invoked
  • Flaming Hair: Red draws Hestia, Greek goddess of the hearth fire, with flaming orange hair.
  • Flashy Protagonists, Bland Extras: The characters drawn in the videos are drawn in a way to make them stand out from the other characters. Brok from Miscellaneous Myths: Loki's Wager is the best example of this; all the dwarves were drawn as muscular bearded men, so Brok was able to stand out when Red depicts him with an "Old Dutch" beard.
  • Flat "What":
    • Red has one of these when she discovers how Dante describes God's true form in The Paradiso. It's three rings surrounding a book surrounded itself by rainbows. Rings surrounding a Reading Rainbow, as it were.
    • Red has another one when she discovers the Internet's reaction to Rey from The Force Awakens.
  • Flipping the Bird:
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Red mentions in one video how there's evidence that Cerberus means "spotted"note , which means that Hades, the Lord of the Underworld, named his enormous three-headed hellhound Spot.
  • Forgot About His Powers: In a somewhat silly case, Thor seemingly leaves his "magic, goat-drawn chariot at home," and then proceeds to get stuck on the edge of a turbulent river. This is somehow challenging to the Norse god, which forces him to argue with a ferryman to get across. Doubles as Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu? for the ferryman, who is seemingly very comfortable insulting the god of thunder.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The animated episodes are full of these, with multiple jokes, rants and aside comments being included in scenes only present on-screen for a split second.
    • In the Narcissus episode, the save screen is briefly shown with the names of various lovers of Greek myth. Helen's playtime is 87654 hours, roughly 10 years.
  • Freudian Excuse: Red describes H. P. Lovecraft thusly at the start of the 2018 Halloween video.
    Red: It would be inaccurate to describe Howard Phillips Lovecraft as "a man with issues". It's more like he was a bundle of issues shambling around in a roughly-bipedal approximation of a man. Chronically depressed, hyper-sensitive to criticism, almost certainly agoraphobic, prone to horrible nightmares and nervous breakdowns, and thoroughly racist even by the standards of the time, it'd be easy to come to the conclusion that H.P. Lovecraft was simply afraid of everything. But this isn't true either — he was just afraid of anything that wasn't his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island.
  • From Beyond the Fourth Wall: In the Beowulf episode, the viewer appears as a character, chewing Red out for taking so long to talk about the real Beowulf.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Blue going Super Saiyan in the background after Red finally says "bolgia" correctly. She'd been saying it wrong for pretty much the entire video, likely intentionally just to mess with Blue.
    • In the "Loki's Wager" video, Brokk writes up a mathematical formula for how long it will take for Draupnir to completely cover the Earth in magic golden rings and how much of a catastrophe it would be. But Odin is too busy marveling at Draupnir to notice.
  • Furry Reminder: In Miscellaneous Myths: Animal Brides, the swan maidens may have a human form when removing their skins, but are still swans as they talk about their aggressiveness and diet.
    Swan Maiden: "My diet is mostly bugs."
  • Fun T-Shirt: When talking about Sörla Tháttr, which imagines the Norse gods as Advanced Ancient Humans, all of the characters wear articles of clothing that clearly claim of them being regular humans and not gods at all. Even Huginn and Muninn are seen wearing t-shirts.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Artemis turns Actaeon into a stag after he asks if she and her huntresses are going to make out.
  • Good Counterpart: Galahad is the good counterpart to his biological father Lancelot, meant to demonstrate how changing moral views had made Lancelot come off as an adulterous jackass. This is most obvious during the quest for the Holy Grail; while Lancelot is forced out of the room by a ball of fire because he is unworthy of seeing the grail, Galahad is carried up to Heaven alive once he touches the grail.
    Red: Galahad is basically Lancelot but better. Like "not sleeping with another man's wife" better.
  • Good Is Not Soft: This is Red's take on Hades. He's a loving husband to Persephone and altogether commits less cruelty than his contemporaries, but as Pirithous and Sisyphus can tell you, upsetting him is still a very bad idea.
  • Good Name For A Rock Band: It's a bit of a Running Gag that, usually on describing a mythical character alongside a group of people, Red will comment on how that might make for a good band name.
    • The Odyssey gives us "Penelope and the Suitors".
    • The Kali video gives us "Durga and the Matrikas".
    • The Bram Stoker's Dracula video gives us "Lucy's Boyfriend Squad"
    • Quetzalcoatl gave us a possible name for a tabletop RPG set in feudal Japan — "Katanas and Kimonos".
  • Grandfather Clause: The chair, bookcase and fireplace background used for Trope Talks, Detail Diatribes and (until the ancient india video) Blue's history videos don't resemble Red's current artstyle at all, and the perspective and colors are way of, but it's still used, frequently adding in new elements that stand out like a sore thumb. Red has admitted that part of the reason she hasn't redrawn it is that she lost the original art file.
  • Greedy Jew: A townsperson in "The Boy Who Found Fear At Last" fraudulently claims a valuable bracelet from the protagonist. Red doesn't mention his religion aloud, but it's made pretty clear in the accompanying illustration.
    Townsperson: Hey, I'm an unexpected reminder of the casual ubiquity of antisemitism in historical literature. Guess my single personality trait.
  • Green Aesop: Of the Space Whale Aesop variety in "The Wrath of Demeter". Erysichthon learns the hard way not to mess with nature, lest it messes with you, the hard way.
  • Growling Gut: Hermes' tummy growls in the in-depth video on him, as does Tripitaka's at the beginning of Journey to the West (Part IV).
    This is your daily reminder that you're a squishy mortal.
  • Halloween Episode: Red has made several videos at the end of October, talking about classic horror stories. In each one, she talks about well-known piece of gothic literature, such as Dracula, Frankenstein, several poems by Edgar Allan Poe, several stories by H. P. Lovecraft, and The Strange Case Of Dr Jekylland Mr Hyde. In the 2020 special, Red ran out of ideas for horror literature and was originally going to talk about The Count of Monte Cristo as a substitute but couldn't finish the book in time so she instead made a Miscellaneous Myths on The Wild Hunt. She continued the deep dive in 2021, with a video on Werewolves. In 2022, she summarized the The Saga of Grettir the Strong.
  • Hate Sink: In the story of "Medea", Jason becomes this trope when, in act 2 of her story, he tries to arrange a politically/financially advantageous marriage with another woman (a princess) despite everything he and Medea have been through together. That unto itself is bad enough. But when Medea confronts him with all the times she saved his life, Jason crosses that Hate Sink horizon when he argues that he saved Medea from her "icky barbarian country", claims she's "famous" despite taking all the glory, tells her he doesn't need her anymore, and he blames her for getting herself exiled and "ruining his plan". All in all, it's no surprise when Red bemusedly remarks "I want her to kill him so badly".
    • Red also voices that Agamemnon doesn't exactly fall under the category of most beloved character or father of the year. For starters, he was willing to sacrifice his innocent daughter to the Gods on the principle that it was the only way to bring wind to their sailboats (despite he has neither no personal gain nor personal stakes in this war) and went trough with it. Then, he took a priest's daughter for his "Bride Prize", despite that said-father was willing to pay through the nose for her safety. He proves to be a Dirty Coward who wants to retreat from the war only because it would spare his own life. And as "The Trojan War" reveals, he was willing to threaten Odysseus's infant son just to get Odysseus to stop Obfuscating Insanity.
  • A Hell of a Time: In "Dante's Inferno", Paris's punishment for being lustful in life... is to be trapped with all the most beautiful and lustful women in history.
  • Here We Go Again!: "The Journey Of Ra" has Ra travel across the sky every day, die, and travel through the underworld as a corpse before being reborn every morning and repeating the cycle over again.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Both Blue and Red, who are only ever represented by their avatars outside of their two Q&A videos. Red has a quick appearance in her Trope Talk “Writing What You Know”, and later on, both of them did an entire video without their animated equivalents in the 2018 April Fools Day special.
  • Hide Your Gays:
    • Parodied. While Patroclus appeals to Achilles to help out the Greeks, Achilles is overcome by "brotherly affection". This is, of course, immediately followed by THREE close-ups of their faces to the tune of "Careless Whisper".
      Achilles: I couldn't save my hetero life partner, Mom! This life isn't worth living anymore!
    • Further parodied in the Aeneid, where the men engage in "healthy, sporting, and 100% heterosexual activities".
  • Hijacked by Jesus: A recurring pet peeve of Red's. As a lot of ancient stories were only recorded in text after the advent of Christianity, and the near-exclusivity the Church had on literacy and book printing for quite a long time, a lot of said records were... edited to be more Jesus-friendly, which created a lot of headaches for people like her and anthropologists who just wanted to study ancient cultures without outside bias. It's brought up that a lot of the study of Norse Mythology simply involves trying to figure out what in the Eddas are the original material and what was added in later (most infamously that one part of the Völuspá where God himself shows up just to style on the Aesir), and the Book of Invasions is a mess of plot holes because of the writer's insistence that it takes place after Noah's flood and that the Tuatha Dé Danaan are most definitely not Ireland's deities. Arthurian Legend followed a similar rewriting, but not only do we have a number of earlier records of those, Red notes a bizarre trend of non-biblical supernatural elements creeping up more over time after the stories got Christianized in a twist of karmic backlash.
    • Which reared its head when it paints Loki of all people as a Jesus figure. In "Miscellaneous Myths: Loki," Red brings up the concept of a scapegoat, an Old Testament cleansing ritual where one goat is sacrificed while the other is taken to the wild where it absorbs the sin of man with Christianity added Jesus Christ as the scapegoat and a willing agent to separate from the concept. Since Loki is often picked on by the gods and made him deal with their problems, whether he caused them or not, to absolve of their sin and Snorri's agenda of christianizing the Norsemen, it ironically makes Loki a Jesus figure, not in a way that most people think of.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": In the Epic of Mwindo, one of the major characters is Mwindo's father Shemwindo, whose name just means "Mwindo's Dad".note  Of course, this being a tale transmitted through oral tradition, it's hard to know if it's actually intended to be his name or if it's just for convenience's sake.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Discussed by Blue in "Rulers Who Were Actually Good". One of the reasons he dislikes the "Great Man" theory of history — aside from considering it insultingly reductive — is because it leads to the glorification of figures who were often deeply flawed or even outright terrible people. He also makes sure to mention that while the rulers he discusses in the video were remarkably benevolent and magnanimous to the point that even their enemies were singing their praises, they still did some very morally dubious things and shouldn't be considered perfect beings.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: The April Fools Day video "We're So Sorry" has Red and Blue confessing to their roles in multiple historical and mythological atrocities, including (but not limited to) Red causing the Tunguska Event (by plugging a power bar into itself in an attempt to generate infinite electricity), the sinking of Atlantis ("I swear, I had no idea that's what that button did"), and refusing to cry when Baldr died. Blue, meanwhile, told Robespierre to "just guillotine everyone" during the French Revolution, was behind one of Tripitaka's many kidnappings, and stole the Library of Alexandria then burned the foundations to cover his tracks.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Persephone falls for Sisyphus's ruse and allows him to return to the world of the living, even though he has a reputation for murdering guests.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Hinted at in Red's video on Bellerophon and Pegasus:
    Red: Pegasus' origins are a little wackier than you might think... (cut to a picture of a horse and a bird enjoying a romantic meal) ...Yeah, even wackier than that.
  • Hot Teacher: Red admits in the Eros and Psyche video that she saw her Greek studies teacher as "absolutely gorgeous" with a "beautiful accent" and having the most "piercing of eyes".
  • Ho Yay: Invoked Red notes that Lancelot and Galehaut have a really close relationship, with the latter surrendering to King Arthur just to be friends with Lancelot.
    Arthur: If you surrender, I'll introduce you.
    Galehaut: DEAL.
  • Hubris: The concept of Hubris is brought up whenever Blue talks about the Athenian Empire. Blue believes that pride is what made Athens great in the first place and led to the construction of various works of art that are still admired to this day, like the Parthenon and Sounio, but also what destroyed it in the end.
    Blue: You know how a bunch of ancient greek myths make a real big deal out of Hubris? When some ancient hero gets too full of himself, thinking he's invincible, and only realises that he's not invincible, when he's already been impaled and/or disintegrated? Well, Athenian history is a grade-a example of how hubris can make and break you, so let's get into it.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Typhon and Echidna respectively are depicted this way. Try not to think too hard about how this led to them having so many kids.
  • Humiliation Conga: Utgard-Loki, almost everyone involved is embarrassed in one way or another, but Thor gets the brunt of it, getting the worst weekend of his life.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Izanagi lets loose a stream of fire-related puns after Kagu-tsuchi is born, completely oblivious to the fact that Izanami is dying right in front of him.
  • Hype Backlash: In-Universe, Red claimed to have been surprised to find that Momotarō was a popular story, pointing out that "not a whole lot happens, there's hardly any drama, and Momotaro just kind of... wins." She ultimately concludes that the story owes a lot of its fame to the fact that its narrative of a newcomer underdog of blessed origin resolving the bickering of his underlings to take on a distant enemy and return with fortune and fame was a narrative that Imperial Japan found quite appealing.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The video on Robin Hood opens and closes on it!
    Red: Capitalism sucks. (Don't demonetize me, YouTube.)
    • Then at the end, she starts complaining about how people keep trying to build a coherent narrative out of mostly disconnected stories from very different authors and times... before quickly realizing the problem with her making that complaint.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Both Apollo and Zephyr fall in love with Spartan prince, Hyacinthus. Zephyr then kills Hyacinthus by blowing a discus into his head for choosing Apollo over him.
  • I Let You Win: Invoked with their telling of the story of Atalanta, where she figured out early on what Hippomenes was doing with the golden apples, but liked him well enough that she deliberately threw the race.
    Red: Of course, you could say that Atalanta was totally captivated by the allure of the golden apples, unintentionally kneecapped herself as a result, and got married out of a bout of shockingly out-of-character stupidity and ended up without a say in who her husband was. But like, why would you WANT to? It's up to interpretation and that interpretation is gross.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Achilles and Paris are in the Second Circle of Hell, which means he's in a windy place with all the beautiful and lustful women in History. While Paris is staring at them eagerly, Achilles just awkwardly points out that this isn't his kind of party.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Red and Blue both treat Athens as having a bit of this. They weren't really important at all until the 5th century BCE, so when they suddenly got put in the middle of Greek geopolitics, they tried to act like they had always been a big deal, and not a minor citystate nobody cared about. Both the story of Atlantis and Athens' founding myth were written specifically to make Athens seem like it was always super cool.
  • Informed Ability: Red has a fun time of pointing this out in her video on The Minotaur, pointing out that Theseus was widely viewed as the greatest of all heroes of Athens despite his massive list of screwups. Notably, she actually discards the idea of Theseus being forced to leave Ariadne behind on the island, claiming it to be a later addition and that Theseus leaving Ariadne behind by accident (because he's an idiot) or just for the hell of it (because he's an asshole) to be entirely in-character for him.
  • In Name Only: In Blue's "History Summarized: Samurai" video, he points out that Samurai Jack, despite being classified as a samurai, really doesn't fit any of the characteristics or attributes that samurai warriors possess. He doesn't wear the armor of a samurai, he's out on a quest that samurai never did, and he has no master to serve (which would make him more analogous with a ronin, but Blue notes that even calling him that has issues), which was seen as the most important thing to a samurai.
  • Instant Sedation: Happens to Blue in this video when Red throws a chloroform cloth on him for mentioning the Venetian Resort.
  • Interactive Narrator: Appears in Red's videos on The Divine Comedy occasionally, when the characters have a Lame Pun Reaction.
  • Intercompany Crossover: December 3, 2018 saw one between Overly Sarcastic and Extra Credits.
  • Ironic Hell: Red and Blue came up with their own version of Hell with punishments modeled after The Divine Comedy exclusively for college students. "Just for Funsies: College, Hell, What's the Difference"
  • Irony:
    • According to Red: Hades, the archetype for Satan and seen as the evilest Olympian in Greek Mythology, had the healthiest relationship in the entire pantheon. Hades and Persephone were passionately in love, equal partners in their marriage and rule of the Underworld, and they never once thought to betray the other or have an affair. Zeus, on the other hand, had more affairs and bastard children than the sky has stars, raped several women because he felt like it, and was still deemed a hero despite all of this.
    • In the end credits of "The Saga of Gretir", Red sings Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive". Although it mostly fits with the fugitive nature of Gretir's arc, there's one lyric that contradicts his story: "I'm a cowboy, I've got the night on my side". Oh no he doesn't.
  • It's All About Me: Red accuses Victor from "Frankenstein's Monster" of being extremely selfish, and she has a good point. Victor almost never considers how his actions might adversely affect others, i.e. when he completely fails to consider that Elizabeth might be harmed instead of him. Red goes so far as to say that Victor crosses the Moral Event Horizon when he lets Justine get executed for a crime she didn't commit, simply because he doesn't want to face consequences for creating the monster that's actually responsible.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The kitsune Tamamizu declines to take the form of a human man to woo their crush, knowing about the potential for an Interspecies Romance to end badly, and instead turns into another woman to become close to her as Just Friends.
  • I Will Show You X!: From the video on the Poetic Edda, when Thor threatens Loki to stop insulting the other gods.
    Loki: Couldn't stay away from my sparkling wit?
    Thor: I'm about sparkle your wits halfway across the ocean.
  • Jerkass Woobie: In-Universe, Red is of the firm opinion that the Creature is this. His horrible treatment at the hands of his creator and virtually everyone else he has encountered definitely justifies his hatred of humanity, but he still kills three people and indirectly causes the death of another solely because they were related to Victor.
    Creature: You think it was easy for me to ruin Victor's life? I'm not a monster, I have feelings too!
    Walton: Yeah, I'm sure Clerval would be so sympathetic.
  • Just Friends: The whole friend zone concept is vivisected in Don Quixote. Marcella insults Chrysostom by calling him a selfish manchild who felt entitled to her affections.
    Red: Her argument is basically that her beauty makes them feel entitled to her, but the fact that someone finds her attractive doesn't mean she owes it to them to find them attractive. They're acting like she's choosing to not be interested when she certainly can't and won't force herself to pretend to be attracted to someone she isn't, just because they'll be upset she doesn't reciprocate their feelings. She didn't lead Chrysostom on, he just refused to process emotions like an adult and treated like it was an act of malice for her not to be interested in him.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Sisyphus manages to successfully outwit and elude all punishment the gods attempt to inflict on him. He lives a long life and dies peacefully in his bed of old age... whereupon his soul falls straight to Hell where all three gods he pissed off have been eagerly awaiting their chance at payback.
  • Kid Hero: Deconstructed by the Youth Corp in Cú Chulainn. With the titular protagonist comatose from his injuries, they are left the only defenders available and are massacred by the end of Red's sentence.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In Miscellaneous Myths: Artemis and Apollo, Red describes a scene in The Iliad where Hera effortlessly curb stomps Artemis, and when Poseidon, who is also one of the more powerful Olympians offers his nephew the chance to throw down, Apollo wisely declines.
  • Kubrick Stare: Monkey delivers a pretty epic one to Pigsy in "Journey to the West: Part 3".
  • Ladies and Germs: The episode "Amaterasu and the Cave" has the goddess Ame-no-Uzume address her audience as such:
    "Ladies! Gentlemen! Those of us whose gender fluctuates from myth to myth!"
  • Leitmotif: Usually whenever Aphrodite is brought up in a video, or when something romantic happens, a metal cover of "Kiss From A Rose" by Seal (covered by the band Wake Me) plays in the background. For more Ho Yay scenarios, expect "Careless Whisper"; for rumpy-pumpy, expect "Bang Bang".
  • Lethally Stupid: Red is unimpressed with Lancelot's decision to not only paint a picture detailing his illicit affair with Guinevere, but to do so in the castle of her and Arthur's Arch-Enemy Morgan Le Fay and leave it behind.
  • Les Yay: invoked
    • Red notes that when researching her video on Fionn Mac Cumhaill, she couldn't find anything specific about the exact nature of the relationship between the title character's female guardians. So she goes on to refer to them as "fighter mom" and "druid mom".
    • Later discussed in her video on the myth of the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu, which she reads as an almost literal Coming-Out Story. See the entry for "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer for details.
    • Averted with Artemis. Red points out that, while Artemis did swear off men, she didn't really show any preference for women either, and argues that she may have been asexual.
  • Lethally Stupid: Glaum in "The Saga of Grettir", whose sole functions in the plot are using an obviously cursed log as firewood (leading to the axe injury that kills Grettir) and forgetting to close off the one access point to the island of Drangey (which leads to the overrun of the island and the death of Grettir's little brother).
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Red's depiction of Narcissus.
  • Lost Aesop: "The Sun Maiden and the Crescent Moon", after recounting the moon's creation story of a tragic romance between an immortal and dead mortal, Red comes to her conclusion.
    "It just goes to show: Something."
  • Lost Common Knowledge:
    • Brought up as the probable reason we don't know much about Quetzalcoatl. The myth and worship of the Feathered Serpent was so big and ubiquitous that Mesoamerican people didn't really take the time to record his stories since back then, everybody already knew all of that stuff. End result: today, we know a lot more about minor gods than we do one of the biggest names in South America.
    Red: Why would they write about something that everyone already knows? That'd be like if someone wrote a step-by-step instruction manual on how to operate a flush toilet, or made a 20-foot sculpted frise describing the Fitness-Gram PACER Test. Why would you do that?
    • Also brought up in "Legends Summarized: The Nine(?) Realms" as one of the main reasons that modern society knows how many realms were a part of Norse mythology but is undecided on what those nine realms are. The field has no pre-Christian written reference material, and while the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda are the least biased accounts, they fail to properly elaborate on such details. Red even proposes the theory that because nine is an Arc Number in Norse Mythology, the term "nine" in this context might just mean "a whole bunch of" or "many" given the context it appears in other myths.
    Red: Okay, bad news everybody, turns out the "nine realms" are actually the most frustratingly vague concept to ever claim a strict numerical delineation and everyone is mad about it. The Eddas call them "the nine worlds" plenty, but they never actually list what those nine worlds are, and nobody's more frustrated by this than the poor sods translating those Eddas, whose footnotes are full of barely-concealed rage and lamentation at those dang inconsiderate scribes and their completely unnecessary coyness.
  • Malicious Slander: In Don Quixote during a meeting of goatherders, someone mentions how a man called Chrysostom had feelings for a woman called Marcela but she kept turning him down. Then all the other goatherders speak of their own experiences with Marcela, specifically how she turned them all down. During Chrysostom's funeral, they proceed to insult her by reading out Chrysostom's poetry about how mean Marcela is for refusing to date them. Marcela interrupts the funeral by calling Chrysostom a selfish manchild who didn't respect her choice to not date him.
    Priest: By request of the deceased, "my girlfriend is in denial and also a huge skank, chapter 1" "I shall compare thee to a giant bit—

    Marcela: AHEM!
  • Mama Bear: Quite literally with Atalanta. Frigg made everything swear an oath to not kill her son Baldur. Aphrodite's loyalty to her children was unrelenting.
  • Manly Gay:
    • Many Greek heroes were depicted as bisexual or, at least, having male lovers because of Greece's patriarchal system. Being gay was considered the ultimate form of manliness. For example, Heracles was considered a symbol of masculinity and virility because he had 4 wives and 7 boyfriends.
    Red: What's manlier than two men?
    • In a valentines video, Blue discusses how Rome also had a thing going on with gayness being seen as manly... but only if you were the dominant part of the relationship, as being submissive was considered very disgraceful. Blue admits that this fits entirely with Rome's hat of everything being about status. Julius Caesar himself was also (rumoured to be) in a relationship with a foreign king... which got him the rather embarrassing nickname of "Every woman's man and every man's woman", as he was supposedly the submissive.
  • Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: This happens in too many myths to count and is often how heroes are conceived.
  • Marty Stu (Invoked): In the "King Arthur" video, regarding Lancelot:
    "Yeah, Lancelot "Best Knight in the World" du Lac, an exiled prince raised by the Lady of the Lake in her magical fairy kingdom who's super handsome and totally unbeatable and all the girls like him and also he totally gets the girl instead of Arthur, is somebody's Original Character Do Not Steal. Try and contain your shocked disbelief."
    • Then in the Vulgate Cycle, Galahad was created to out-Marty Stu Lancelot.
  • Mercy Lead: Rhiannon is shown giving a ten-second head start to the maids who'd falsely claimed she Eats Babies.
  • Messianic Archetype: Red's video on Loki involves the idea that Loki was actually the Norse equivalent of Jesus Christ, not Baldur. Before being vilified, Loki was ethically superior to the Aesir (who loved fighting, cheated on their bargains, and blamed Loki for everything and made him fix it). Like Jesus, Loki was a scapegoat for the Aesir because they wanted to remain superior and blameless, he was tortured by the Aesir for going against them, and he comes back for the end of the world. Ironically, he was soon turned into a Satanic Archetype by later tellings of the myth.
  • Metaphorically True: Agamemnon argues that "from a certain point of view" he did arrange Iphigenia's marriage... to the war effort. Clytemnestra doesn't buy it.
  • Mind Screw: Red gets a little googly-eyed trying to wrap her head around how Tantalus could have stolen a golden robot dog built by Hephaestus that was guarding baby Zeus, given that the two of them are Zeus' children (when Hephaestus isn't solely Hera's child via parthenogenesis). And no, Zeus wasn't pulling some shapeshifting shenanigans, his mother Rhea was using the golden robot dog to protect Zeus, as an infant, and Tantalus, Zeus' son, stole the dog.
  • Mister Seahorse: Red references the story of Zeus sewing the fetus of Dionysus into his legnote  in Dionysus, the birth of Athena from his head in Theogony and the story predating Aphrodite's birth story with Kumarbi giving birth to Ishtar after biting Anu's balls out.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain:
    • To conceive Heracles, Zeus disguises himself as Amphitryon and sidles up saying "Hi there, pretty lady who is my wife." Subverted when it turns out that that's just the way Amphitryon actually talks.
    • "Pwyll, Prince of Dyved":
      Hafgan: Arawn! We meet once again!
      Pwyll: Yes. I am Arawn.
    • The Oresteia:
      Orestes: Uh. Your son's dead. And not me.
  • Motor Mouth: A signature part of Red's presentation style, which goes double for the various City Reviews short segments.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Red brings this up in the "Medea" video. While Medea solved several problems during Jason's quest via murder, when she killed Pelias it go the two of them exiled from Iolcus for their crime. The tragedy that followed their move to Corinth could have been avoided if Medea wasn't so quick to jump to murder.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Red talks about the two contradictory backstories for Aphrodite (daughter of Zeus and the Titaness Dione vs. created when Ouranos' severed testicles fell into the sea), and how Ancient Greece tried to explain them.
  • Musical Spoiler: "We're So Sorry" starts out as a standard apology video, but its status as an April Fools skit is quickly blown by the "sad music" actually being a piano cover of "MEGALOVANIA".
  • My Beloved Smother:
    • Aphrodite was a bit "intrusive" with her children's lives. Aphrodite hated Psyche for being prettier than her and went to great lengths to ensure she never dates Eros. With Aeneas, she chooses to encourage a relationship between her son and Dido, despite the relationship hindering Aeneas' journey.
    • Demeter had an... overreaction to the marriage between Persephone and Hades. When the myth was created, kidnapping had a less sinister meaning and the marriage itself was arranged by Zeus. So when Demeter found out about it, she went on hiatus so she can vent and get it out of her system. However, her hiatus created a famine that could have caused the extinction of humanity and the death of the gods. According to Red, this happens every time Persephone goes to the underworld to live with her husband.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: In Red's retelling of that particular version of the myth, Apollo tricks Artemis into killing Orion because he's worried that she'll lose her virginity to him, and that's because he somehow completely failed to notice that they were Just Friends on account of her being blatantly asexual.
  • Mythology Gag: Where does the founder of Rome order pizza from? Little Caesar's, of course!

  • Never My Fault: In the prelude to the Oresteia, Agamemnon tells his weeping daughter Iphigenia it's really Clytemnestra's fault he's using her as a Human Sacrifice, since she fell for the cover story about an Arranged Marriage to Achilles and brought her to him.
    Agamemnon: Your mother should have known you weren't Achilles' type.
  • Night Parade of One Hundred Demons: In the Halloween Episode "The Wild Hunt", Red discusses the Hyakki Yagyo alongside the aforementioned Wild Hunt and other types of nighttime spectral processions (or as she calls them, "ghost tornadoes").
  • Ninja: Blue getting attacked by them is a Running Gag.
  • No Fourth Wall: To be expected, as Red and Blue are talking to their viewers.
  • "No. Just… No" Reaction:
  • No Kill like Overkill: Queen Dido's suicide, burning herself alive and stabbing herself with Aeneas' own sword.
  • Nominal Hero: Red interprets Aeneas as one, noting that he doesn't actually accomplish much, comes across as "a bit of a knobhead", and does many of the same things the story condemns the Greeks for doing. She suggests this may have been a Writer Revolt on the part of Virgil, since Aeneas is pretty similar to Augustus, and plenty of scholars believe Virgil wasn't a fan of the guy.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • Red comments that "Inferno" is an odd name for a story about Hell, considering that only a few of the circles are on fire and the worst ones are frozen.
    • The channel itself. They aren't actually particularly sarcastic.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: In "Miscellaneous Myths:Hyacinthus", the titular character can be seen saying "No more peanuts for me, stewardess" shortly before dying after getting brained by Apollo's discus.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Whatever reason Blue became an atheist...he really doesn’t want to talk about it.
    • In "Bellerophon", Red mentions a confusing incident involving divine intervention from Poseidon and a whole bunch of naked women.
    • "The Great Norse Seal Fight" is essentially all about one. While reading the Prose Edda, Red got really confused by a very off-hand mention of Loki and Heimdall duking it out over a necklace while turned into seals. The video documents her desperate research in an attempt to figure out just what the hell Snorri was talking about.
  • Not So Above It All: In "Hades and Persephone", Red makes it a point to reestablish that Hades is the most chill Greek God and the most faithful husband out of all his brothers. However, Red also doesn't gloss over that he is nonetheless a flawed person and is therefore guilty of this transgression. Hades did trick Persephone into eating the pomegranate seeds that keep her in the underworld, if out of fear he'd never see her again.
  • The Nothing After Death: Limbo, the first circle of Hell and the only one without suffering.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Red concludes that it was Lovecraft's fear of the unknown (read: virulent xenophobia and distrust of modern science) that's led his work to endure for so long, even as Society and Science marching on preclude his specific fears.
  • Not in the Face!: Blue shouts this when Red kicks him for interrupting her video on The Aeneid.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer:
    • Red assures us that she is neither joking nor exaggerating upon revealing that the plan that ends up successfully luring Amaterasu out of the cave she's been sulking in is to get Ame-no-Uzume, the goddess of fun, partying, and the dawn, to do a striptease.
    • During the video on Cu Chulainn, the disclaimer applies to Scathatch's evil twin sister Aife.
    • She also feels the need to say she's not joking when she says the Athenian tyrant Peisistratos got the Athenians to worship Dionysus by telling a story about the horrible things Dionysus did to the genitalia of people who tried to block his worship.
    • When Achilles takes off the helmet of the slain Penthesilia and is so blown away by her beauty that he breaks down crying over the life they could have had if they met under better circumstances, a blurb appears on the bottom of the screen assuring the viewer that this is not a self-insert fanfiction.
  • Not Me This Time: Loki has a moment of this in the video on the Poetic Edda, when Thor mistakenly believes he took Mjolnir. The trope is pretty much summed up by this exchange:
    Thor: (from offscreen) LOKIIIII!
    Loki: I don't think I did anything to warrant that... today.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Demeter really hates the marriage between Persephone and Hades, even causing a famine out of spite because Zeus arranged their marriage behind her back. Demeter still does this every time Persephone returns to the underworld.
  • Obligatory Joke: Red mentions her sponsor in the Trope Talk on Queer-Coded Villains:
    "This video is sponsered by Campfire Blaze. Insert "flaming" joke here."
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: When giving some historical background to All Quiet on the Western Front, Red calls the Second World War "World War II: Electric Boogaloo".
    • Also when she's talking about Frankenstein, she refers to the making of the monster's girl as "Crimes against nature 2: Electric Boogaloo.
    • Exaggerated and spiked with a few Shout Outs in the Trope Talk about robots:
      Red: Typical plots include: "How human is a robot? Let's get philosophical!" Or: "Humans played God making robots in our image! Let's get philosophical 2: Electric Boogaloo", "We use robots for cheap mechanized labor but now they're sentient and want to be treated like people, so we should probably just kill them before the blender starts getting ideas - Let's get philosophical 3: Tokyo Drift", and the big favorite "robot racism", also known as: "Let's get philosphical 4: On Stranger Tides."
  • Offhand Backhand: Krishna gets to the point where he's punching out the demons his Evil Uncle sends after him without even looking up from his book.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In their Trope Talk about The Hero's Journey, Blue walks in after apparently fighting off a horde of ninjas. Then in the final moments of the video, Red returns from her own quest, boon and all.
  • Oh, Crap!: Four of Mauna Kea's kupua have this reaction when they realize the woman they just pissed off was actually Pele.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Red has never revealed her actual given name. Blue on the other hand has been called Gregory on several occasions.
  • Operation: [Blank]: In "Perseus", Polydectes' plan to get Perseus killed so he can marry Danae is called "Operation: Get Some" on his diagram.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: "Reverse centaurs" — horse heads on human legs — show up as gags in maps during videos on Greek myth.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: "Perseus" mentions that Hera is "oddly cool" with the title character, an illegitimate child of her philandering husband Zeus, arriving in her garden.
  • Overly Long Gag: From her Trope Talk on Dragons:
    Red: Let's ask, why is the dragon the iconic fantasy creature? Why is it "Dungeons and Dragons", not "Basements and Basilisks" or "Mineshafts and Manticores"? "Gorges and Griffins"? "Treasures and Tarrasques"? Okay, sorry, I'll stop.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: In the Aeneid, Neptune saves Aeneas from Juno because no god is allowed to make life unnecessarily complex for a hero of the Trojan War but him.
  • Parental Incest:
    • In one of the more famous examples, Oedipus and his mother Jocasta, although in their case it was Surprise Incest.
    • Heavily implied in Paradise Lost, as the ones guarding the gates of Hell are Satan's daughter Sin and his son/grandson Death, to which Red says "Really, don't ask, it's gross."
    • It's also referenced in the story of Hippolytus, where Phaedra tries to seduce her stepson while under the influence of Aphrodite. Red responds with retching noises.
  • Perspective Flip: While discussing how the Humans Are Cthulhu trope feels to the reader in her "Small Mammals on a Big Adventure" trope talk, Red jokingly compares it to an Eldritch Abomination reading The Colour Out of Space with complete understanding of how the mysterious colour works, and being worried about the poor humans who don't realize how dangerous it is.
  • Pineapple Ruins Pizza: In "History Summarized: Hawai'i", Blue says that not only is putting pineapples on pizza an atrocity to nature, but calling it "Hawaiian Pizza" is a slap to the face due to the icky history concerning the pineapple industry in Hawai'i.
  • Pink Is Erotic:
    • Aphrodite is the goddess of sex and is colored in pink. The drawing of Aphrodite Pandemos takes this further by having her drawn in hot pink to reflect her representation as the physical aspects of love, beauty, and sex, she's even drawn wearing a backless dress.
    • Legends Summarized: Journey To The West (Part IX): This episode talks about the famous part of the story where Piggsy and Tripitaka accidentally impregnate themselves by drinking magic river water. The story also contains an antagonist who denies women their reproductive rights, Tripitaka is forced into an arranged marriage that promises "spectacular bonking" as one of the benefits, and then Tripitaka is suddenly abducted by a demoness who wants to seduce him. The entire episode has pink in the background to represent both femininity and sexuality.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Aphrodite is depicted as pink, and she's probably the (for lack of a better word) girliest of the Olympian goddesses.
  • Platonic Co-Parenting: The Perseus video shows baby Perseus and his mother being taken in by a kindly fisherman and his wife, leading to him growing up in a stable, happy, three-parent household. The way it's framed, it can just as easily be interpreted as either this trope, with Perseus' mom receiving child-rearing help from two extremely good friends, or as a poly relationship.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Eurytheus counts on this causing a feud between Artemis and Heracles during the latter's trials, but Heracles awesomely subverts it by just asking Artemis if he can borrow her Ceryneian Hind for a while instead of stealing her. Artemis is cool with it.
  • Power Echoes: Powerful deities have a noticeable echo effect to their voices.
  • Pregnant Badass:
    • Psyche faces several trials set by Aphrodite to win back Eros while pregnant with his child.
    • Bonny Janet rescues her lover Tam Lin from the Queen of the Fairies while pregnant. Even when the Queen of the Fairies transforms Tam Lin into various dangerous creatures and harmful objects, she never lets go.
    • Macha won a foot race against the horses of the king of Ulster when pregnant with twins.
    • Despite being tormented by Hera and shunned from giving birth in almost every location, Leto continues to search for a place to rest and ultimately is able to have her children in peace.
    Leto: Take that, you harpy!
  • Pretty Boy:
    • Hyacinthus is described as being "really pretty".
    • Nerites is a mermaid pretty boy.
    • Narcissus is a negative version; he's hot, he knows it, and he uses it as an excuse to blow everyone else off.
    • Alcibiades is described as being "indisputably the most attractive man in the ancient world". He's even portrayed as Henry Cavill with Anime Eyes.
    • Red really likes drawing men, young and old, this way - Valentine Michael Smith of Stranger in a Strange Land is depicted as a really cute prettyboy.
    • Blue takes issue with the English king looking about what you'd expect from European royalty at the time, whereas Napoleon is this, or "the missing Jonas brother," as Blue puts it.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Referenced in "Medea" after Medea delivers her "The Reason You Suck" Speech about all the reasons the gods hate Jason now, leaving Jason to brokenly mutter "... but I'm the hero."
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Athena does this while repeatedly whacking Arachne over the head with a weaving shovel after she got the brilliant idea to detail Zeus and Poseidon's numerous affairs in her tapestry.
    Athena: What. Were. You. Thinking?!
  • Punished for Sympathy: In "Dante's Inferno", Virgil chews out Dante for feeling sympathy for the magicians whose heads are backward.
  • Puppet King: Lepidus, the little-remembered third member of the Second Triumvirate.
    Blue: If you got the sense that Lepidus didn't matter, it's ok. Because you're right. He didn't.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: In the flashback in the Aeneid covering the Trojan Horse, Sinon flashes these while pretending to be a hapless Human Sacrifice.
  • A Rare Sentence:
    • Blue qualifies Benedict IX as a "meme pope" in his Pope Fights video, words he never imagined saying back to back.
    • Red's conclusive sentence in the Atlantis video is her surprise not on the Minoan eruption, the imaginary mud shoal described by Plato, Doggerland, the fact that fiction depicts Atlantis with a Greco-Roman architecture when it was supposedly a completely different civilization, but the fact that Critias and Timaeus are not just made-up names from a filler arc of Yu-Gi-Oh! and the fact that Yu-gi-oh! knows more about Atlantis than her.
      Red: "That one... that one kinda stung."
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The hilarious mess that is the search for El Dorado, eventually culminating in the conquistadors discovering platinum and then dismissing it as worthless and throwing it away because it wasn't gold.
    Red: This whole debacle is such an incredibly apt metaphor for the flaws inherent in the colonial system and how the lust for gold literally blinded them to the true, unique value of the New World, that if I read it in a book, I would have called the writer a hack.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Blue is surprised at where he finds one in Hecuba.
      Blue: In a shocking twist of fate, Agamemnon is... actually helpful in this story?
    • Two show up in the Werewolves video. First, when the extremely sexist and paranoid preacher Heinrich Kramer responded to criticisms by a woman who thought his sermons sucked by having her and several other women accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake, the court refuses because Kramer is clearly nuts and reacting disproportionately to a minor slight. When Kramer goes on to write the Malleus Maleficarem, which is nothing but scaremongering about witches and the devil, the Spanish Inquisition themselves, known as the most draconic fanatics in Europe, consider him completely nuts and his book a work of heresy.
  • Record Needle Scratch: One of these occurs when Blue is caught singing along to the Skyrim theme in his video on vikings.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Red, who walled Blue up in a catacomb to suffocate... twice.
    • This trope is also responsible for Red being called Red, as she made a youtube channel with the name of this trope, people just started calling her Red as an abbreviation of the name, and it stuck even after the channel's name changed to what we now know today
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue-skinned Krishna, who has divine levels of chill, is contrasted with his older brother Balarama, who is drawn with red accessories and has no chill whatsoever.
  • Relax-o-Vision:
    • When discussing All Quiet on the Western Front, Red fills in the footage gaps (the adaptation she used didn't cover some parts) with pictures of kittens.
    • In "History Summarized: Medieval China", Blue refuses to show pictures of foot-binding, so instead he shows Song Dynasty-era paintings of birds while talking about it.
    • When Red covers a particularly deep and potentially upsetting topic on Trope Talks, she'll often apologize and offer a kitten, sometimes more than once in an episode. She's also been known to substitute images she refuses to draw (too gross or upsetting) with kittens.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: A borderline case. The "History Summarized: Ukraine" video was scheduled for the summer of 2022 for a year and a half, but Blue stepped up its production and released it early in April when the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian war broke out, since the relative obscurity of the topic was being used to spread misinformation and propaganda.
  • Romanticized Abuse: Red has no mercy for The Taming of the Shrew because of this very reason. The main character psychologically tortures a woman into marrying him, yet the play is still hailed a great love story.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Invoked. Dante used his story to put all the people he hated in Hell. Of special mention are the heroes from Greek mythology, because Dante was an Italian (and thus descended from the Romans, who are descended from the Trojans, whom the Greeks wiped out during the Trojan War).
  • Running Gag:
    • Red constantly pronounces "bolgia" wrong in the "College Hell" video, much to Blue's frustration.
    • "Hey kid, you like proving yourself?" "Do I!" pops up whenever someone sends a young hero off on a dangerous task in the hopes of getting them killed (which almost always backfires).
    • In early episodes, Blue decided that any video pertaining to an empire will include the Star Wars crawl.
    • Red's predictions of her audience's reaction to supposedly controversial things she says by depicting the comment section of the video as a fight from a kaiju movie.
    • In "The Journey Of Ra", the running gag is snakes and how they seem to find ways to show up in every part of the underworld.
    • "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "Kiss From a Rose" tend to play lot in the background during romantic moments.
    • "Careless Whisper" and "Guy Love" for moments of Ho Yay.
    • "Paradise Lost" has Red explaining Satan's rebellion as daddy issues.
    • "ENORMOUS F**K-YOU DRAGON!" is said whenever such a creature appears in a story that Red is summarizing.
    • Blue occasionally explains actions surrounding Sparta's prestige simply by saying "I mean, come on, they're Sparta, you know?"
    • Red is pretty annoyed by how utterly useless and Out of Focus the horse in Journey to the West is, at one point grinding the video to a halt to rant at him about how, being a river dragon, he could've easily overcome the pilgrims' obstacle of getting across a troublesome river that Sha Wujing was hiding under.
      • Another forms during the later videos, depicting a character (usually Sun Wukong) busting through a wall, with another character on the other side facing away and spitting out a drink.
    • Parties are depicted as raves with flashing colored lights and deep bass techno music thumping.
    • The H. P. Lovecraft video has a few:
      • Red offers various suggestions for what the "H.P." stands for, including "Horrible Phobias", "Hates Progress", and "Hippopotamus".
      • Later in the segment covering "The Colour Out of Space", the mysterious color unlike any seen on Earth! complete with Scare Chord. So many times that Red starts cutting herself off.
      • "Place your bets" and an accompanying multiple-choice set of conclusions that the Genre Savvy reader is likely to have reached well before The Reveal for a particular short story comes up three times throughout the video.
    • The video on Stranger in a Strange Land has a few segments of "Deep Thoughts with Heinlein", where Robert A. Heinlein expresses views that are sexist and/or homophobic. There are also a few such thoughts that paint him as a Dirty Old Man.
    • Frequent use of the Metal Gear Solid "Alert!" sound when a character is startled.
    • Particularly on Irish myths, the phrase "Metal!" is often used to describe general awesome moments.
    • Alexander the Great is generally referred to by other epithets, such as "Alexander the Pretty Alright" or "Alexander the Far-from-Home". Stems from Blue's opinion that "the Great" is a horribly generic epithet.
    • Red mentioning a character's name followed by that of a group (i.e. Penelope and the Suitors) and then commenting on how that sounds like a Good Name For A Rock Band.
    • Whenever a sex scene takes place in a story, Red will substitute it with playing Yahtzee or cards.
    • Whenever Blue goes into the origin of a religion, he describes it as "Bada-bing, bada-[core tenet to that religion], we've got a shiny new religion!"
      Islam: Bada-bing, bada-one-true-god, we've got a shiny new religion!
      Buddhism: Bada-bing, bada-eightfold-path, we've got a shiny new religion!
    • In her Trope Talk "Are We The Baddies?" (discussing the Heel Realization trope), Red constantly refers to her hypothetical evil organization as "Kitten Squishers Incorporated".
    • Blue is fascinated by historical architecture, particularly domes. Whenever a significant historical structure turns up he briefly notes if it's a "good dome" or not. Exemplified with his "Top Five Domes" video where he gushes over his favorite domes.
  • Sadly Mythcharacterized: A few times, usually to provide a Lighter and Softer alternative interpretation of a myth:
    • Amaterasu and the Cave: Other interpretations of the myth portray Ama No Uzume's striptease with different motives and results: to pique Amaterasu's curiosity as to what all the hubbub is about and seeing herself reflected in the mirror, thus thinking they are cheering her on, or having Amaterasu hear all the uproar over Uzume's dance making her wonder why all the gods could make so merry without her divine light, and stepping out to see what could be replacing her so easily. Red offers an alternate interpretation: that Amaterasu comes out of the cave due to all the ruckus, and once she does so, she finds Uzume's striptease attractive.
    • Atalanta: Ignoring a common interpretation, that Atalanta was distracted by the golden apples, in favor of Atalanta playing along with Hippomenes's plot and letting him win; the commentary in the end credits states this to be a deliberate choice, as Red found this particular interpretation more attractive.
    • Red points out that, as a personal preference, she prefers the interpretation that Hades and Persephone actually were in love, and the whole myth was more a case of Demeter throwing a tantrum.
    • In "Perseus" she uses the "sex with Poseidon in a temple" version of Medusa's origin story but leaves out the part where it was rape, presumably to avoid having Perseus and Athena murder a rape victim. It is, somewhat, corrected in the video about Hippolytus, where Poseidon responds to Theseus' demand that Hippolytus be killed for (alleged) rape by saying "Oh crap, that's a crime now? I mean, uh, sure!" and in the video on Nerites where she says that Poseidon wouldn't recognize consent if bit him in the trident. In "Io" she also points out that this version of the myth was created by Ovid and doesn't appear in older stories, which instead depict Medusa as simply the gorgon daughter of sea gods with two other gorgon sisters tormenting humans without Poseidon factoring into it in any real capacity.
    • H.P. Lovecraft provided his own example due to his severe pantophobia, as he saw Dagon (a Mesopotamian grain and fertility god) as an aquatic demon.
  • Sadly Mythtaken:
    • The Sekhmet video has Osiris refer to Ra as his father multiple times. Osiris' actual father was the earth god Geb. Geb's father Shu was Ra's son, so he is more accurately Osiris' great-grandfather.
    • Red takes certain artistic liberties in concerning how mythological creatures are depicted, likely to make them easier to draw or less gruesome. A notable example of this is the Chimera, which is somewhat different from its depiction in ancient Greek art.
    • Andromeda is depicted as white in the Perseus video. The video's description has Red say she didn't know Andromeda was from Ethiopia... which is also incorrect, since to the Ancient Greeks, "Ethiopia" (also spelled "Aethiopia") referred to the Levant. So if anything, Andromeda was Middle Eastern.
    • The summary of the Iliad leaves out the actual ending — the return of Hector's body and subsequent funeral — and skips ahead to the death of Achilles via an Achilles' Heel (which he didn't actually have in this version of the story).
  • The Scrappy: In-universe example—Red really hates Agamemnon and takes shots at him whenever she can. In the Tantalus video, she even considers his existence to be one of Tantalus' many crimes (he's one of Agamemnon's ancestors) and accompanies this with an image of Agamemnon cheerfully saying "What a wonderful day to be the worst person alive!" Blue also expresses incredulity in his video on Hecuba when Agamemnon is willing to help the title character bring Polymestor to justice (after sacking her city and enslaving her daughter).
    Red: So, Agamemnon. Let me start this off by stating my personal opinion on this famous Greek hero. (beat) F*CK THIS GUY!
  • The Scream: The text "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" basically pops up a lot in their works if there's some screaming or crying that needs to be done.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: When Medea kills her children offstage -
    Child 1: Oh no! Murder is happening!
    Child 2: How unfortuitous!
  • Screaming Birth: The birth of Perseus is accompanied by a lot of agonized screaming by his mother Danaë.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Alcibiades' reaction to his fleet losing horribly, verbatim.
  • Secret Identity: Red notes that despite the pop-culture interpretation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mr. Hyde isn't a case of Split Personality but rather this. Mr. Hyde is just Dr. Jekyll with a science-induced change in appearance, allowing him to do some (initially) consequence-free indulgence of the darker impulses he's been keeping repressed.
  • Self-Deprecation: Blue refers to his History Makers series as "where he gets to go into extremely esoteric analysis of the political and literary context of famous historical writers. You know, the first fifteen minutes of the lecture that nobody ever pays attention to."
  • Self-Insert Fic: How Red basically describes The Divine Comedy due to it being about Dante teaming up with his idol Virgil.
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: Frequently invoked in the summary of The Aeneid, with Red practically making a Running Gag out of the number of times Virgil rips off a scene or setpiece from one of Homer's works.
  • Selkies and Wereseals: "Animal Brides" discusses a story of a female selkie who's forced to marry a fisherman who steals her skin that comes from the Faroe Islands.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Happens on occasion in "Miscellaneous Myths", though probably most famously in the "Utgard-Loki" episode, where Utgard-Loki bellows out "Unorthodox display of hubris, but very well" towards Loki, which is just Utgard-Loki saying "Weird flex, but alright" in big words.
  • Shameful Source of Knowledge: Red discusses how Victor is a victim of this trope in her video on Frankenstein, when Justine is framed for the murder of his brother and Victor refuses to speak in her defense for fear either being branded insane or revealing the existence of the monster he created to the world.
  • Shapeshifting Lover: Red covers this trope through "Miscellaneous Myths: Animal Brides." The stories include the Swan Maiden in Swedish folklore, the Kopakonan the Seal Woman of the Faroe Islands, and the Fox Wife of Inuit folklore.
  • Share the Male Pain: In "History Summarized: Ancient China", Blue visibly winces when he describes how Sima Qian was castrated for speaking too openly about his opinions to the emperor.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Aphrodite, who started the Trojan War because she refused to let a little thing like Helen already being married get in the way of shipping her with Paris. She also had a hand in making sure Hippomenes x Atalanta, Pygmalion x Galatea, and Aeneas x Dido all set sail. She emphatically does NOT ship Eros x Psyche, however.
    • In the 2019 Valentine's Day video focusing on her, a new aspect of her characterization, Aphrodite Areia, raises the subtle implication that provoking a war was her intention in the first place, or at least not something she was opposed to.
    • Victor Frankenstein's mother ships him with his foster sister Elizabeth, and pushes them together on her deathbed.
    • Red, Blue, and Cyan were this ecstatically when Thanatos showed up in their Hades playthrough. They spent ten minutes gushing about him and Zagreus.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • "Frankenstein" takes this to extremes.
      Red: So if you're keeping track, that's an exhaustive life story note  inside another exhaustive life story note  that poor Captain Walton is transcribing in its entirety to mail to his sister.
    • The monster listens to and recounts the life story of a family he was following, adding yet another layer to this.
  • Shower of Angst: Red speculates that Aphrodite "spent the next few millennia showering with a Thousand-Yard Stare" as soon as she realized the circumstances of her creation in her video on the Theogony.
  • Shout-Out: Now has its own page.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Captain Walton finally meets the monster in Frankenstein, he's unimpressed by the Freudian Excuse after learning about how said monster murdered three innocent people and framed a fourth.
    Red: Just like his creator, the monster spends an inordinate amount of time waxing eloquent about how all that horrible stuff he did really hurt HIM, and isn't THAT the important thing to consider right now?
    The Monster: You think it was easy for me to ruin Victor's life? I'm not a monster, I have feelings too!
    Walton: Yeah, I'm sure Clerval would be so sympathetic.
  • Side Effects Include...: Spoofed in the Theogony video with "Ask your doctor if absorbing your pregnant spouse is right for you."
  • Signing-Off Catchphrase: Red's is "So... yeah", said when she finishes an episode of Trope Talk.
  • Silent Snarker: Helen of Troy is this when she gets kidnapped by Theseus as a twelve-year-old, flipping Theseus off and glaring at Pirithous for being stupid enough to try and kidnap Persephone.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Inverted in "Tantalus," as the title character's punishment is worsened thanks to the actions of his great-grandson Agamemnon.
  • Skyward Scream: Invoked for a brief second in the Dionysus video by a distraught Midas cradling his daughter who was turned into a golden statue.
    Dionysus: You got me, I thought it was foolproof.
  • Smug Snake: Loki comes across as this, being an arrogant trickster who promptly gets himself into nasty hijinks through his own stupid pranks before being subsequently humiliated for them, as shown in videos like Loki's Wager. Red scoffs at the modern interpretation of him as a brilliant Manipulative Bastard, as Loki literally can't manipulate his way out of a box.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Apophis is an exaggerated example of this trope in "The Journey of Ra", because every single night he attempts to eat Ra and end the world. Subverted with every other snake in this myth (of which there are many), who is shown to be neutral at worst and benevolent at best.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Two different kinds for each host. Red's choice of bleep is Yoshi's eating sound, while Blue's is a quack.
  • Space Whale Aesop:
    • If you're gender non-binary then you have the gift of prophecy, Ishtar loves you, and the queen of Hell thinks you're hot.
    • According to Stranger in a Strange Land; You shouldn't bother with finding answers to the whys and hows of life, your only priority is to have interplanetary, heterosexual sex until you get superpowers.
  • Speech-Bubbles Interruption: May double as a Curse Cut Short, depending on your definition of 'curse'. In the Poetic Edda, Odin tells Agnar stories about the Aesir, telling him about the time Loki tied a goat to his testicles. Of course, the fire pillars next to him cut off the final word.
  • Spider People: The jorogumo is depicted as taking a drider-like, centaurine, and eight-eyed form in addition to a fully human shape.
  • Spiteful Suicide: Some versions of the myth of Hippolytus claim that when he spurned the advances of his stepmother Phaedra, she committed suicide and used her suicide note to frame him for raping her.
  • Squishy Wizard: Circe says she's a mage and has "like two hit points" when Odysseus pulls a sword on her in The Odyssey.
  • Strawman Has a Point: In-Universe, In Red's video about Aphrodite, she discusses how Sparta converted Aphrodite into a war goddess due to Sparta's philosophy on war. This was an unpopular choice by the other Greek locations, so their interpretation of Aphrodite was unique to only Sparta and Kythera. Red points out in the ending that the Spartans were right: Aphrodite's actions in The Illiad were the actual cause of the Trojan war and later iterations of the story wrongly blamed Helen of Troy for the war.
  • Stock Shōnen Hero:
    • Blue amusingly pegs Napoléon Bonaparte as one, pointing out how in a society of pompous nobles in powdery wigs, the most powerful man in the world was a young, handsome guy who came out of nowhere and rose not through Blue Blood or divine mandate but simply because he was better at ass-kicking than everyone else around him.
    • The Journey to the West videos unashamedly portray Sun Wukong as one. He might be ugly looking and is often underestimated by his opponents at first glance, but he's a gluttonous, hot-blooded, and fiercely loyal (albeit violent and temperamental) monkey who itches for a good fight. It's no wonder he's the blueprint for so many later manga and anime heroes (and extremely little wonder that Red makes use of this by using the soundtrack of one of his literary sons' series for the videos).
  • Suddenly Shouting: When Dante and Virgil encounter a man with his eyes sewn shut in Purgatorio, Red gives a sudden loud scream. Doubles as a pretty effective Jump Scare as well.
  • Suicide is Shameful:
    • In "Dante's Inferno", those who commit suicide go to Hell and are turned into trees. A demon rips their leaves off just to make them suffer further.
    • Subverted with Ajax. When the titular hero commits suicide over being tricked by Odysseus and Athena, two of his former friends demand he be dishonored and denied a proper burial. Odysseus insists Ajax be buried. While narrating this story, Blue openly shows contempt for the two people who oppose burying Ajax.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: After describing Aphrodite Areia, a goddess of both love and war, Red finds the Iliad a bit too vehement about Aphrodite's complete lack of combat ability.
    Zeus: Aphrodite, you silly girl! What were you doing out on the battlefield?
    Aphrodite: [bandaged from her encounter with Diomedes] Oh, tee-hee, I don't know what I was thinking~!
  • Swiss-Army Tears: When Gerda starts crying on Kai's chest, her tears thaw and destroy the shard of mirror that was lodged in his heart. Once Kai is able to feel emotions again, he starts crying too, and his tears destroy the shard of the mirror that was caught in his eye.
  • Take That!:
    • The Beowulf video has a quick one to the film, where the infamous "naked golden Angelina Jolie" interpretation of Grendel's Mother appears for about half a second, before being stomped into a gold puddle by the actual Grendel's Mother.
    • The Jorogumo video takes some time to criticize Middle-earth: Shadow of War's depiction of Shelob, and specifically her ability to turn into an attractive human woman.
      Red: Tolkien's crippling arachnophobia didn't die for this.
    • Blue expresses some annoyance with the imperial vs. metric measurement system in the present day when he points to a similar issue in Bronze Age Mesopotamia:
      Blue: It's just so infuriating and primitive to have two different sets of units for the exact same measurements! Gosh, could you imagine?
    • Also in the Mesopotamia video, he includes some nods to the current state of American politics:
      Blue: The Sumerians attempted to build a wall to keep out Western barbarians, but that went about as well as it always does.
    • In "Trope Talk: Detectives", when discussing mystery stories in general, Red points out that a writer setting up a mystery without having figured the answer first is probably not going to work. Said out-of-nowhere mastermind? Palpatine.
    • Red rarely passes up on the opportunity to take a jab at the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the various issues she has with it. Lampshaded in "Trope Talk: Fridging", where she describes the MCU as her own personal punching bag.
    • In "Fables and Folktales: The Snow Queen", when Red discusses the school the demon runs, she describes how it basically consists of him and some friends looking at stuff in the enchanted mirror, seeing that it sucks, and then patting themselves on the back for thinking that it sucks:
      "Look at this visionary, inventing Twitter a century and a half early!"
    • At the end of "Legends Summarized: The Epic of Gilgamesh", Red says she normally does not care about the Fate Series, but then rants about how it got Gilgamesh and Iskandar's designs wrong, and it would have been better if they had switched. She also rants about the various Historical Gender Flip that the franchise likes to do and how barely any Servant actually looks like their historical counterpart.
    • In the episode on Tone Armor, Red recaps the Season 2 Finale of Reboot:
      Red:…trickster paragon protagonist Bob gets bundled into a rocket and into space, or rather the computer equivalent of space, The Web, which is worse than space because it has Twitter in it.
  • Tempting Fate: In "Perseus", King Acrisus' last thoughts are "I love foiling prophecies" — right before the prophecy of his death is finally fulfilled.
  • Threesome Subtext: "Perseus" has Danaë, Dictys and Clymene raise the title character in a three-parent household. As if that weren't enough, two shots include a smiling Danaë combing Clymene's hair.
  • Title Drop: Lampshaded when Red talks about Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado, with Montresor exclaiming "Whoops, dropped the title" immediately after.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Osiris merrily climbs into his own coffin (well, sarcophagus).
    • Yes, Arachne. Using your tapestry to graphically depict many of Zeus and Poseidon's sexual conquests and showing said tapestry to Athena is such a good idea.
    • Not only did Theseus and Pirithous think they would be able to take Hades' wife Persephone so Pirithous could marry her, but also that it would be a good idea to accept Hades's invitation when they got to the underworld.
    • "The Wrath of Demeter" had King Erysichthus, who somehow got it in his head that it was a good idea to not only clear-cut Demeter's sacred grove but openly murder her favorite tree-slash-nymph despite that his own men couldn't bring themselves to do it. He even had a fair warning in the form of the "tree" bleeding from being chopped. That little transgression prompts Demeter to avenge said nymph in the form of hiring a starvation goddess to curse the king, kicking off a domino effect that leads to a most unsettling (but nonetheless deserving) death.
  • Too Many Halves: In her examination of the works of H. P. Lovecraft, Red describes Cthulhu as a "half-human, half-octopus, half-dragon thing".
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Red mentions that the young Krishna's favorite thing-to-eat-that-he-shouldn't-be is not dirt, or demon life force, but pilfered butter.
  • Trade Snark: Used in the analysis for Dracula for the "Dude Squad".
  • Tranquil Fury: In "Miscellaneous Myths: Krishna", Krishna doesn't go into a screaming rage when Canura finally manages to anger him by insulting his father. He just calmly and quietly says "perish" and starts fighting him.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Per Blue, the Battle of Gaugamela was this for Alexander the Multiply-Nicknamed and King Darius of Persia. Alex won.
  • Unbuilt Trope: Discussed in Detail Diatribe - Satirizing Superman. Red and Blue argue that many Beware the Superman stories that try to be "cool" and "subversive" fall flat because Superman was already a subversive character: he's someone with near-godlike powers who doesn't get Drunk with Power and abuse them. Meanwhile, they feel "what if someone with near-omnipotent power... was a jerk?" is hardly groundbreaking: it describes nearly every Big Bad in fiction.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • The protagonist of "The Tell-Tale Heart".
    • Red in the "Legends Summarised: Underworld" video establishes the structure of these myths, then it turns out only one in the video follows it.
      Red I am such a reliable narrator.
  • Uriah Gambit: Heroes, like Bellerophon, Perseus, and Hercules were actually sent on suicide missions in their respective myths.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: Red uploaded the video Miscellaneous Myth: Aphrodite on Aphrodite and the origin of her on Valentine's Day 2019.
  • Values Dissonance: invoked
    • The source of Red's discomfort with The Taming of the Shrew (featuring spousal abuse), the Greek myth of Pandora (featuring a woman ruining everything), and the final act of The Oresteia (featuring matricide being pardoned because mothers aren't actually related to their children like fathers are).
    • Appears in a lot of their videos explaining myths and mythological heroes. Red can't help but note in her summary of The Divine Comedy how much Disproportionate Retribution there is by modern standards for characters who are suffering in the Inferno, and also notes that the work featured a massive amount of political commentary by Dante Alighieri when he wrote it.invoked
    • Subverted in the H. P. Lovecraft video. Red claims that while Lovecraft's era of early 1900s in America was pretty racist, Lovecraft was racist even by the standards of his time. Though Red notes that Lovecraft hated pretty much anything that wasn't his hometown in Rhode Island, she doesn't excuse his attitude, pausing the video several times to show her palpable disgust with the extremely racist characterization of non-white people in Lovecraft's work.invoked
    • Don Quixote zig-zags this. While she's pleasantly surprised at the modern feminism shown in the story, she's wide-eyed mortified at Sancho Panza thinking he could get rich selling African slaves.
      Red: OKAY!!!!!
    • The Miscellaneous Myths episode on Nerites addresses the Ancient Greek practice of pederasty, and how it's considered completely unacceptable in the modern Western world.
    • In Stranger in a Strange Land, Red is disgusted by the author insert character shaming Duke for being horrified by cannibalism because Duke has Native American ancestry and his ancestors were also cannibals.
    • It's directly addressed in "Hades and Persephone" that ancient Greek myths most certainly didn't intend Zeus to be seen as an irredeemable sex offender, but the discrepancy between antique values and our belief that Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil made that specific part of his characterization take over any and all modern discourse about the guy.
  • Values Resonance: Confucius believed that a government that no longer protects and serves its people is not a legitimate government because it doesn't fulfill its purpose. Upon narrating this, Blue takes a moment to look at the camera. invoked
  • Victorian Novel Disease: Discussed in the Dracula video, when she notes that Lucy's illness is a subversion (one of several); it is both serious and plot-relevant, as she is suffering from anemia due to Dracula feeding on her.
  • Villainous Incest: Blue talks about the Borgia Family (and how Lucretia Borgia had sex with her father and brother), and about the Ptolemy Family (which involves numerous generations of brother-sister inbreeding). Blue finds these incestuous relationships weird and wrong.
    • In the Legends Summarized: King Arthur, Mordred has the speech bubble "Aunt Guinevere, have you heard the phrase 'Incest is Wincest?'" when he usurps Arthur's throne and tries to marry Guinevere.
  • Villain Protagonist: Sexy Satan, as shown in Paradise Lost. However, Red can't say "our hero Satan" without corpsing.
  • Visible Odor: The chloroform cloth and bottle Red uses to sedate Blue in this video emits this.
  • Visual Pun: In The Paradiso video Red decides to represent one of the Saints as a Big Friendly Dog, namely Bernard.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Best summarised in Don Quixote. The concept of the friend zone is deconstructed and explained as something fabricated by entitled, disgruntled manchildren who believe that women romantically reject them for no other reason than spite and cruelty. No matter how many compliments or tokens of affection they give.
  • War Is Hell: The video on All Quiet on the Western Front actually has a "War is Hell Counter", based on all of the terrible things that happen to protagonist Paul and all of his war buddies. It reaches 55 by the end of the video, despite the entire book summary taking barely more than eleven minutes.
  • Waxing Lyrical:
    • The grave of the unnamed protagonist of The Swan Bride tale has the epitaph the lyrics of the chorus of "How Could This Happen To Me?"
    • In "Typhon", Red describes Zeus's final battle with Typhon:
      "Earthquakes, volcanoes, fire everywhere, thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightnening me, y'know, the works."
  • We All Die Someday: Briefly mentioned in the video describing the myth of Hades and Persephone:
    Hades is a pretty cool dude, and as king of the underworld, his divine domain is nothing to sneeze at — as firstborn son of Kronos, the world was his by birthright, and even if there's a bit of a delay, everyone becomes his subject eventually.
  • Western Zodiac: Red talks about the Western Zodiac in Miscellaneous Myths: The Zodiacnote  and its origins from the Babylonian to the Greeks. She discovered that the Greek Zodiac has a very loose definition of the meaning and representation of each constellation, which wasn't a problem for the Babylonians.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Red's video on the myth of Bellerophon mentions that he's the demi-god son of Poseidon, and as a consequence of this, is a stellar equestrian... because, outside of young adult fiction, being a demigod only earns you the lamest of your deific parent's abilities.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: "The Snow Queen" ends with no consequences for the main antagonist of the story, and she's shown returning to her palace with Starbucks.
    • When Paradiso informs her that children used to have a Get Into Heaven Free-card, but post-Jesus, they need to be baptized, or else they're thrown into Limbo, aka the first circle of Hell.
    Red: Thanks, Jesus.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Red has pointed out before that Acrisius, Aphrodite, and Hera could've easily just killed the person that was troubling them. Those people being Danae (and by extension, Perseus), Psyche, and Heracles, respectively.
  • Wife Husbandry: Theseus kidnapped Helen of Troy when she was a child with the intention of doing this. Red does not approve.
  • The Wild Hunt: The Halloween Episode of 2020 is focused on the Wild Hunt, or similar ideas in other cultures, and the stories behind them.
  • Woman Scorned: The Greek Goddesses do not approve of hubris or rebellion. Aphrodite hated Artemis for her promotion of virginity and abstinence. Since Hippolytus was a follower of Artemis, Aphrodite used her powers to make his stepmother lust for him. Naturally, Hippolytus is repulsed by this and Phaedra orchestrates his death with false accusations. Aphrodite kickstarted Psyche's trials because she was seen as the most beautiful woman in Greece.
  • The Worf Effect: In Miscellaneous Myths: Artemis and Apollo, Red comments that in the Iliad, Hera beating the crap out of Artemis with her own bow and sending her running and crying back to Zeus seems to be out-of-synch with her characterization as a powerful goddess of the hunt, but admits the scene it was happening in was all about establishing Hera as the most powerful goddess so this trope was probably in effect.
    Hera: [Effortlessly restraining Artemis' arms in one hand and gripping her terrified face in the other] My husband lets you get away with anything, but you are not queen.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks:
    • Red blames this trope for the origins of the "El Dorado" legend; To the indigenous South Americans who lived before the Spanish conquistadors arrived, gold was beautiful enough to make jewelry and sculptures, but had little actual value in their barter-based economy. To the conquistadors, gold was symbolic of wealth, fame and everything their society valued, and the sight of natives decked out in gold jewelry could have convinced them that there was an abundance of it somewhere in the New World.
    • The same episode also mentions how the conquistadors became so obsessed with the pursuit of gold that they completely overlooked the hauls of rarer and more valuable platinum they were finding, considering it a poor imitation of silver and dumping most of what they found of it into the ocean.
  • World of Snark: Expect everyone and everything both In-Universe and out to have a dry, sarcastic sense of humor, as each of the creators are a Deadpan Snarker themselves.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math:
    • H.P Lovecraft was actually homeschooled and had poor math skills. This was explained under the erroneous belief that he "had too delicate a constitution for math". Red (a college graduate with a degree in Math) is baffled by this excuse and mocks it whenever she notices a mathematical flaw in his works.
    • A non-writing example involves "El Dorado", as the conquistadors didn't understand why the natives had so little value in gold and came to the conclusion of the natives having so much of it that it became trivial. A funnier example involves their treatment of platinum, as no conquistador had actually seen platinum before and they dismissed it as being "unripe silver" and having less value than gold. When people used platinum as counterfeit gold, the government responded by dumping most of their supply of it in the ocean without ever learning of its rarity and true value.
  • You Can Keep Her!: In "Ares' Abduction."
    The giants... have kidnapped Ares. Well, this is terrible! Awful! We have to do something!
    ... in eight to thirteen business months.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Ame-no-Uzume manages to lure Amaterasu out of the cave she was hiding in with a striptease.
  • You Don't Look Like You: In the last segment of the first Di-VINE OSP, about Antony and Cleopatra, the latter's design is noticeably different compared to her design for her historical counterpart, having a much more generic design. Since the designs the historical personalities are fixed, compared to the personalities of Red's videos, this can be taken as a reinforcement of the idea that the historical queen is not at all like how she's painted by Rome and therefore, how Shakespeare saw her. Also slightly applies to Mark Antony to a lesser extent.
  • Your Mom: When discussing Titus Andronicus, Red admitted that while this was an early work of Shakespeare's before he found his narrative voice, it did contribute something to Western culture that cannot be ignored, "the original 'your mom' joke" ("Villain, I have done thy mother!")
  • Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Discussed frequently, Red and Blue like to bring up society's changing views and how different cultures respond to each other.
    • In El Dorado, the conquistadors thought the abundance of gold meant that the Muisca people had so much of it they used gold to make homes. When in actuality, gold had no monetary value to the Muisca people since they didn't use money, meaning it was only useful for decoration.
    • Red also discusses how Paedophilia wasn't as evil in the past as it is now. To the Greeks, Pederasty was seen as a rite of passage that turned boys into men. Red also states that homosexuality was seen as a show of manliness in Greece, unlike in the modern age where the LGBT are still growing in public acceptance (as in, the LGBT has less rights in one country but more rights in another).
  • YouTuber Apology Parody: Red apologizes for not being as sarcastic as the channel name suggests, and this escalates into both Red and Blue apologizing for things like the sinking of Atlantis, the Tunguska Event and the sacking of the Library of Alexandria.

Tropes discussed on Trope Talk

  • '90s Anti-Hero: Brought up in the discussion mostly for Red to argue that it's by far the worst variation of the archetype, relying too much on excessive edginess and Protagonist-Centered Morality to move the plot forward (and Too Bleak, Stopped Caring as a result).invoked
  • Academy of Adventure: The focuse of the episode "Welcome to Super School!". Red makes particular note that they tend to be broken down into three main gimicks; the super-specialized niche school that covers things like card games, golf, or Ninjitsu; the Urban Fantasy school that remains hidden from the mundane world (the go to for wizards, monsters, and superheroes); and the speculative fiction school, which teaches things that're common in the world it's set in, but not in our world (ie., piloting space ships, piloting mecha, fighting monsters, etc.).
  • Adaptation Distillation: "Superheroes in an Empty World" is mainly about the downsides of this. Red's thesis is that superheroes movies (and a few other similar setups such as Sherlock Holmes), in their attempt to "trim the fat" and focus on what is considered important, often make the world feel empty at best, and completely undermine the work's entire premise at worst. Notably, cape movies regularly ignore low-level crime (that is often the entire reason for the hero's creation in the first place), and attempt to streamline things by focusing directly on the hero's relationship with their Arch-Enemy (doing things such as linking them together right from the start, making them the cause behind every problem the hero faces, or killing them off to close the story)... which incidentally makes it seem like the hero has no reason to be around once said threat is dealt with. Heroes being there is a given because it is a superhero story, but the world around them forgets to justify their being there. It gets especially bad as the lack of villains regularly forces the heroes to end up causing most of their own problems, which itself goes on to fuel every "superheroes themselves are the problem" debate in the process.
  • All Just a Dream: Gets its own video. Red argues this trope is near-universally hated as a Framing Device because it's a low blow to the Willing Suspension of Disbelief. After the audience has emotionally invested in something, suddenly reminding them within the story itself that none of it mattered is a frustrating Anti-Climax. Thus, playing it straight requires some seriously good execution to not leave the audience with a bad taste in their mouth. Red's suggestions to play this trope straight are to quickly make it clear that what the audience is seeing is a dream, keep it brief, make it funny, or tie it into the character's mindset.
  • Anti-Hero: In the "Antiheroes" Trope Talk, Red ends up concluding that this is one hell of a subjective trope. The definition of "hero" constantly fluctuates depending on social values (pointing out how, for instance, Captain America stayed an Ideal Hero despite going from perfect model soldier in wartimes to maverick challenging authority in the name of his own values in a more peaceful age, or how Classical Mythology would set a guy as antiheroic simply for favoring brains over brawn); and with it, so does its opposite number, the anti-hero. She tries to design a chart based around motives and methods, only to point out that this reasoning puts The Punisher, usually the example of an Anti-Hero, as a straight-up Villain Protagonist. Then the Twitter poll she set up only gives out the result that most people can't agree whether characters are anti-heroes or just grumpy/tragic regular heroes (except Deadpool). In the end, this is ultimately more of a subjective label set by the readers than a true archetype.
    Red: If you're writing a character... write the character. Maybe they'll be seen as an anti-hero, maybe they won't. Maybe anti-heroes just don't mean anything. Language is made up anyway.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Touched on in the "Personifying Death" episode, where Red notes the difficulty in making a character be the physical embodiment of some aspect of the world or universe and make them be, well, a character with actual personality traits. It's not impossible though, with Red citing Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett as examples of authors who have pulled off that trick extremely well, and with the concept of death itself no less.
  • Anvilicious:invoked Red discusses this trope in the "Post Apocalypses" video. She mentions how stories in this genre tend to put more emphasis on the message in comparison to other genres. She splits stories into three key elements, those being characters, theme, and message, with the latter being the major focus of several After the End stories. She also goes over some Stock Aesops that get used a lot in the genre, admitting she hates the Humans Are Bastards aesop because of how overdone it is, as well as the fact that it can lead to Too Bleak, Stopped Caring.
  • Anyone Can Die: The episode on Tone Armor explains that stories with this trope in mind can still end up using Plot Armor anyway, as killing main characters left and right would lead to too many unresolved plot points, resulting in a poorly-written story.
  • Apocalypse How:invoked Red discusses this trope in "Post Apocalypse". While she notes that the Post-Apocalypse is bleak and hopeless by the nature of the story, the hopelessness varies in many different types of apocalypse with Zombie Apocalypse being at the extreme end of cynicism with Nuclear Apocalypse, Robot Apocalypse, and Supernatural/Alien Apocalypse having a lot of variables, and the Studio Ghibli Apocalypse being at the end of optimism slide. She states that Too Bleak, Stopped Caring is the biggest risk of the story if the setting is too bleak and the characters are too unsympathetic, though she does note subversions and uses of these as appeals like in I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream and There Will Come Soft Rains.
  • Arch-Enemy: Covered in the Trope Talk episode Nemeses, including the various types, like the Evil Former Friend. She points out how arch-enemies are far more personal enemies, which can lead to more emotional drama, but on the downside, the plot of said relationship is very simplistic, making the conflict more like a boxing match compared to a chess match regular villains or antagonists can bring.
  • Ass Pull: One of the types of plot twists discussed in "Plot Twists". Red starts the episode by discussing the finale of Game of Thrones and how it subverted a whole bunch of expectations, even though the subversions made no sense within the context of the story or character arcs. Red calls this trope by the term "shock bait", which she defines as "deliberately trying to confuse/surprise the audience, no matter the cost to the quality of the narrative". Thus, Red argues that trying to surprise the audience purely for the sake of shock value can be seriously detrimental to the narrative.invoked
  • Artifact of Doom: The video on Cursed Artifacts covers this trope and most of its subtropes, from Evil Weapons to misfortune-causing relics. It's also discussed that despite the evilness of some artifacts and the tragedies that befall their users, some readers/audiences still wonder if they could use the artifact for good by just being smart or savvy about it, and succeed where everyone else in the story failed. Moreover, it could be a bug or a feature that the audience thinks this, as either the author didn't write the relic's evilness well enough to warn off people from using it, or the cursed artifact's allure is written so well that it affects people beyond the fourth wall.
  • Bathos: Gets an entire episode. Red talks that there are many different types of bathos like unintentional one (called Narm for TV tropes reasons) and intentional one. She discusses that bathos, like plot twists, tend to work the best when the non-twist sincere outcome would have been less satisfying, has already happened etc. invoked
  • Become a Real Boy: The central focus of "Pinocchio Plots." A major point made is on the fact that the trope is very rarely played straight anymore in stories about nonhuman beings desiring to be human. Instead of a human body being a reward they are granted at the end, these characters tend to treat it as an unattainable dream, with their development involving them becoming human in spirit rather than in form. She specifically points to Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio as the iconic modern take, where Pinocchio explicitly does not become a flesh-and-blood human at the end, and this is treated as a good thing.
  • The Big Guy: She points out the variations on the trope, with the "Powerhouse" getting its own dedicated episode, as well as The Worf Effect that tends to happen to this trope.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Red cites this as one of the worst kinds of plot twist in the "Plot Twist" video. Red especially hates it if the story seems to think the twist is a lot more clever or unpredictable than it really was. She cites Avengers: Age of Ultron as an example, noting that it isn't surprising that Quicksilver died and Hawkeye didn't—the film had been foreshadowing that someone was going to die and dropped so many death flags for Hawkeye that it was clearly gonna be someone else, and Quicksilver was the most expendable one anyway, since he was at the epicenter of various Disney/Fox rights issues that put a lot of his more interesting conflicts off-limits. Red particularly cites the attempt to do an Ironic Echo of "You didn't see that coming?" (taking it as a meta nod to the audience) when, yes, she did see that coming.invoked
  • Catlike Dragons: In Trope Talk: Dragons, when discussing portrayals of dragons as Not Evil, Just Misunderstood, Red mentions that the most common way of doing this with animalistic dragons is to essentially make them cats. Dragons-as-cats are not evil, but they are temperamental, asocial and difficult to read, and a cat scaled up a couple hundred times and given the ability to breathe fire can cause a lot of damage as it looks for a new scratching post. Since people also generally like cats, this makes it easier for the audience to like the dragons as well.
  • The Chosen One: Red talks about this trope in one of her videos, along with It Sucks to Be the Chosen One and The Poorly Chosen One. She also delineates several recurring variants of this trope:
    • The Prophesied Chosen One, like Harry Potter or Anakin Skywalker, who is fated by some otherworldly and usually unspecified power to do something specific. This sort of destiny is often literally unavoidable, although it may often resolve itself with some sort of Prophecy Twist, and attempts by either heroes or villains to derail it will likely backfire and cause the prophecy to come true anyway. Issues with free will and having your life inescapably mapped out for you may also crop up.
    • The Literally Chosen One, like Po, who is actively chosen by another person to fulfill a specific role. This case may come with issues stemming from The Chooser of the One being, as a person, potentially fallible — so what if they chose wrong? This may be exacerbated if previously chosen Ones ended up as washouts, failures, or outright villains.
    • The Chosen Wielder is instead chosen by some sort of powerful artifact, which will in some way select them as its wielder. This comes with the bonus of a handy super-tool that will almost certainly be perfectly suited to dealing with whatever it's chosen you to do, although the definitively amoral nature of an object means that it's entirely possible for it to choose a villain as its wielder.
    • The Chosen Incarnation, like Aang or Link, is a reincarnation of some past hero, and may have been born multiple times over history. They may either be reborn only when some crisis arises that they have to deal with or be reborn at regular intervals, in which case they may have some specific role to play in the world even in times of peace.
    • The One True King, like Simba or Aragorn, is exactly that — the rightful ruler of some specific place. Exactly what this means varies from work to work, and can range from cases where the Rightful King Returns to reclaim the throne from usurpers to ones where the Rightful King is a foreign conqueror with a divine mandate to take over rule of the land. It can also overlap with the Chosen Wielder in cases where the king is chosen by a magic sword à la Arthurian Legend.
  • Classic Villain: Red discusses this type of antagonist in Pure Evil. She notes their core qualities can make them fun to watch in a Love to Hate fashion, but they can be boring if they come off as a Generic Doomsday Villain. She advocates against adding sympathetic motivations as a means to give depth to such a villain, as the compromise between an Anti-Villain and a Pure Evil villain ends up creating a watered-down version of both villain types. Red instead insists on fleshing them out personality-wise and focusing on their interactions and differences with other characters, particularly with a more complex antagonist serving as a foil to a villain of this variety; just because the Pure Evil archetype produces a simple character, doesn't mean they are not a character. Also, Red argues against the idea that this kind of character is automatically bad, saying that's not necessarily true as people really like pure evil villains from the Disney Animated Canon like Jafar, Cruella de Vil, and Frollo.invoked
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Red discusses this trope and the different forms it can take. She notes that the use of this trope is largely dependent on how it is balanced to avoid the problems based on its extremes (comic relief vs. awesome badass). In the 100K subscriber Q & A, Red also states that this is her favorite trope since watching morons bust out badass moves never gets old for her.
  • Cute Is Evil: In the Deal with the Devil talk, Red uses Puella Magi Madoka Magica as an example and adds as an aside that cute catlike critters like Kyubey aren't to be trusted a lot of the time.
  • Damsel in Distress: Red discusses this trope and even admits that she is a huge fan of this trope, despite being very tomboyish. While she is not a fan of the classical damsel who is more of a Living Macguffin, she is a fan of when established characters are the damsels. She does note that the big issue of the trope is the "damsel mindset", where a character in distress acts helpless in spite of previous characterization that should make them a Badass in Distress or a Badass Damsel. Red is a fan of it because of the dynamic of how the trope is handled and seeing the distressed needing help can add a lot to characterization if handled properly. It also overlaps with Damsel out of Distress, Badass in Distress, and Distress Ball.
    • The Trope Talk about The Heart also mentions the "heart-to-damsel" pipeline, about how easy it is to turn a character who is generally nice, everyone likes, favors emotional strength to physical strength, and will get everyone to help if they're in danger, into the one who gets kidnapped all the time to get the team emotionally invested.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Red takes issue with people who use "Realism" as shorthand for "Grimdark". She argues that it's a misconception that making things realistic means making things as dark and depressing as possible, even when it (ironically) causes the story to be unrealistic.
    • Red later talks about "Grimdark" and how this setting, by design, has no heroes, no hope for a happy ending, and Gray-and-Grey Morality, with any victories being either short-lived or exceedingly minor. She does acknowledge while there is some appeal for these settings; such as catharsis by proxy, shedding perspective on the reader and how their life isn't as bad as it could be, and struggling to Earn Your Happy Ending (the last one Red finds especially odd due to grimdark settings, by design, not being allowed to have happy endings otherwise it isn't grimdark), it's not something that should define a worldview.
  • Darkest Hour: Covered in the video of the same name. Red notes how every plot can be argued to have a point when things look at their worst to generate suspense. She argues that the real meat lies in personal variants where the protagonist enters a “Belly of the Whale” scenario and must undergo Character Development to move out of the darkest hour. She does warn against making the characters not taking their situation seriously, or on the other hand make the story too miserable to watch or have the protagonist be rescued by outside circumstances, all of which mitigates the chance for character growth.invoked
  • Dead Horse Trope: Alluded to in Trope Talk: Dragons, where Red points out that Dragons Prefer Princesses is so Cliché'd (and involves Damsel in Distress, which is also cliche'd) that writers only bring it up nowadays to subvert it. (the dragon is just misunderstood, the girl is actually a villain, the girl is doing the rescuing, the girl is the dragon, the girl is dating the dragon...)
  • Dead Unicorn Trope: In Trope Talk: Detectives, Red notes that the stock noir Hard Boiled Detective character that frequently shows up in parodies has almost nothing in common with classic Noir detectives, and feels it's derived more from Dick Tracy.
  • Deal with the Devil: Covered in "Faustian Bargains". Red notes how this trope acts as a sort of Chekhov's Gun, since it's inevitable that before the story's end, the Devil will get their due. She also goes into detail about the sort of boons acquired, and how they affect the plot and characters.
    • Power (supernatural, financial, political, etc.). Characters' motivations range from Revenge (which inevitably turns self-destructive) to power for its own sake, possibly for some lofty goal like saving the world. Red notes that this results in a bad guy with a convenient kill switch, or in the case of revenge-driven examples, a tragic element.
    • Saving a loved one. Tend to be more sympathetic than other Faustian villains, to the point of being Antiheroes. These sorts of deals tend to backfire due to Loophole Abuse by the deal-maker.
    • Good times. The go-to wish for The Hedonist, generally covers immortality, eternal youth, a specific person to love them, or wealth. Tend to be the Villain Protagonists in cautionary tales where the moral is Be Careful What You Wish For.
  • Deus ex Machina: Discussed in the video with the same title. Red notes how they can be classified depending on how established the instance of Deus Ex Machina happening is (from instances that contradict established canon to something that is established to be possible but is still not something to be relied on), whether the Deus Ex Machina helps the hero or solves the problem of its own and finally, the instances where deus ex machina is most likely to be received well. Diabolus ex Machina is also discussed, as well as how the audience usually and ironically perceives Diabolus ex Machinas less negatively than its happier counterpart.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: She brings it up in the episode on Deal with the Devil. As she puts it, outwitting the devil and getting out of your faustian bargain scott-free has fallen a bit out of favour because making a deal with the devil is generally considered an evil thing to do, so getting away with it without consequences makes them a Karma Houdini. She adds that in most cases where this does happen, the person who took the bargain is an innocent or largely good person who got duped into the deal in the first place. In these cases, the person who tricked them into the bargain is generally considered the real villain, and the audience cheers when their victims successfully outwits them.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: In the "Queercoded Villain" talk, Red notes that this might be the reason for the trope's popularity. Because queer-coded people during the Hays Code had to be framed as villains, they were free to break out of the boxes that heroes were often put into at the time, which frequently had the side effect of making them more interesting and more memorable. Even when the Code ended, their status as bold, confident rebels to the status quo made them relatable to a much wider audience than just queer people. invoked
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: In the video on "Personifying Death," Red talks about how Death as a character in stories is usually portayed as someone who rules death (such as Hades), a Psychopomp (beings who ferry the souls of the dead to the after life) or as the embodiment of the concept of death itself (such as Thanatos), or some combination of the three. While mention is made of some villainous examples of death-themed characters, much of the focus is on characters that invoke this trope (though it's not named in the episode itself), and how it can be conforting to have a character like this help the audience come to terms with what is often a frightening or deeply depressing subject (with much of the episode itself having a much more sober tone than most of the series). Special focus is given in the video to discussing one of the most notable examples of this trope in literature, Death from the Discworld series, and how it has affected both Sir Terry Pratchett and his readers.
  • Double Standard: Majorly brought up in the Trope Talk of Mary Sue, where Red points out that female characters tend to get the accusation a lot more than male characters. Specifically, she says that, while it's true that male characters are often referred to as this, the threshold for a female character getting the label seems to be "plays an important role and has any kind of unusual ability or skill" in some circles.invoked
  • Downtime Downgrade: Discussed in both of Red's videos on romantic subplots and sequels. Red makes it very clear that she really, really dislikes this trope, arguing that splitting up an Official Couple between sequels or installments makes it seem like writers are afraid to write characters in a relationship. Red especially dislikes it when a writer makes the characters undergo the Will They or Won't They? dance all over again after they've canonically hooked up and split apart, saying that it just feels cheap.
  • Dragon Hoard: In Trope Talk: Dragons, Red discusses this trope alongside other traits of dragons in folklore and modern fiction. Treasure-guarding dragons first appear in both Germanic and Greek myth, and although fell from favor in the middle ages — seeking wealth wasn't seen as a properly noble motivation for a knight — they're extremely common in modern fiction. A dragon's motives for hoarding treasure vary based on its characterization and intelligence; animalistic dragons are basically guard dogs, more intelligent ones might have greed and acquisitiveness as a more or less prominent character trait, and explicitly evil dragons tend to have guarding and adding to their hoards as major motivations for their actions. There's also a tendency to have dragons hoard things other than treasure, but gold is still the most common thing for them to obsess over.
  • Dragon Rider: In Trope Talk: Dragons, Red describes how this trope is a very recent invention, and was by and large invented by Anne McCaffrey for her Dragonriders of Pern novels. Dragons-as-mounts are usually portrayed as noble steeds, sometimes intelligent and sometimes not, and have become popular on the basis that dragons are awesome and, ergo, riding one makes you awesome as well. A telepathic link between rider and dragon isn't obligatory, per se, but it's common. Dragons as steeds for villains, however, goes back a bit further, at least as far as Tolkien having the Nazgûl riding dragon-like fell beasts.
  • Dragons Are Divine: In Trope Talk: Dragons, while talking about portrayals of dragons in folklore and modern fiction, Red describes both several divine dragons from real-life myths, such as Chinese and Japanese dragons and the Rainbow Serpent of some Australian myths, as well as their successors in modern fiction. These tend to be based on the Chinese kind, and range from powerful and benevolent creatures to literal gods. They are usually mentors, distant protectors or similar figures, and rarely central characters. Some are more malevolent instead, and likelier to feature as powerful foes in the backstory or in a story's grand finale.
  • Dragons Prefer Princesses: In Trope Talk: Dragons, Red discusses dragons' tendency to kidnap and/or eat damsels alongside other traits of dragons in folklore and modern fiction. It got its start in the middle ages, as the usual motivation for dragonslaying — getting the dragon's gold — was seen as too base and greedy a motivation for a knight, so rescuing a damsel for the sake of rightness and love was substituted; however, it's also seen in other mythologies with some frequency. Nowadays it's seen as very cliched, so it's usually subverted or otherwise played with.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked. When discussing Avengers: Endgame with Hello Future Me, Red gets extremely agitated at Thor's undignified treatment in the movie. This is both because she's a big Thor fangirl, and because Thor's mental trauma is callously Played for Laughs both in- and out-of-universe, even though Tony Stark's was Played for Drama in Iron Man 3. This is despite Thor having even greater reason to suffer from mental health trouble than Tony did, yet he gets made fun of for it.
  • The Empire: This shows a foil to the Heroes as well as a large obstacle to overcome, but most of the time The Empire is not well thought-out and the aftermath of overthrowing it — such as the effects of the story's largest government collapsing, or how the heroes aim to fill the power vacuum left over afterwards — gets ignored.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Discussed in the Trope Talk about Betrayals, and how whether the act is seen as a Heel–Face Turn, Face–Heel Turn or otherwise is all down to the audience perspective (and ultimately irrelevant to the act itself).
  • Evil Minions: Red discusses the concept of minions and how they affect the narrative in regard to the villains. She says that it's a good way to make the villain have an active role in the story while keeping them out of the front lines, but this risks making more of a conflict with the minions than the main villain.
  • Evil Overlord: Evil emperors are discussed as part of the video on evil empires, where Red outlines the most common varieties and how they tend to affect the characters of their empires and the role they play in the story.
    • The major variants of villainous rulers include the more hands-off types, like Sauron and Palpatine, who leave their minions to run the show while they pursue their own agendas and whose supernatural control over their empires is equally likely to free their thralls as to cause the whole thing to collapse under its own weight once the emperor dies; the indolent Caligulas more interested in pursuing their passing whims than governing and who are often little more than figureheads, whose defeat won't likely impact the empire much at all; the maniacal tyrants a la Joffrey, who rule through fear and kill people left and right for any and no reason, but who luckily almost inevitably have rebellions brewing against them that the heroes can join forces with; and the treacherous usurpers like Scar and Zant, who stole the throne from the rightful ruler and are likely awful monarchs themselves but who conveniently tend to come with legitimate heirs hanging around somewhere in order to sidestep the question of what happens to the Empire after the Emperor dies.
    • Evil empresses tend to come in one of two specific types — the (sometimes literal) ice queen, cold and unfeeling and generally either a harsh but fair ruler or a heartless tyrant, and the fiery-tempered seductress in skimpy clothing, who will be gleefully sadistic, probably associated with slavery in some form and likely to try to force a hero into being her consort. Either type is also likely to be Daddy's Little Villain.
  • Fantastic Racism: "Robots" discusses how using this can fall flat in stories that try to act as a metaphor for real-world racism, and can end up falling into Clueless Aesop territory. One big issue is that people of different races are all humans and are all the same species, whereas beings like robots, orcs, and goblins, are inherently different species that will have different values compared to humanity, so it's a false equivalence to try and use bigotry towards robots or a fantasy race as a metaphor for real-world racism. Red even refers to the backlash Detroit: Become Human and Bright faced trying to comment on real-world bigotry because it seemed like the writers didn't really fully understand how real-world racism works. With Bright, she points out how people hated the orcs, who are supposed to be a stand-in for black people, because of crimes their ancestors committed 2000 years ago, even though the prejudice black people face in reality has nothing to do with the Sins of Our Fathers and is more about irrationality.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Appliance: Those Dang Phones covers the history of personal, long-range, instant communication devices across Speculative Fiction.
  • Fatal Flaw: Red makes note of this in the Trope Talk on Tragedy on how the protagonist eventually falls from grace, but also notes how they start off as character traits that only become flaws when put into specific circumstances. She also plays with the plots of Othello and Hamlet by pointing out that both tragedies could've been averted if the leads underwent a Personality Swap: An Othello who was overthinking instead of impulsive would've overthought Iago's machinations so much that he would've eventually realized that Iago was playing him, and a Hamlet who was Hot-Blooded instead of dithering would've chopped King Claudius down from the ghost's first go before anyone else got hurt.
  • Fatal MacGuffin: "Macguffins" episode discusses this kind of Macguffin. Called "Instakill Macguffins", here at 7:04:
    Instantly kills whoever messes with it.
    Again, usually villains-only
    Kind of a basic karmic punishment
    Renders the whole race for the Macguffin retroactively pointless
  • Fate Worse than Death: Gets an entire episode. Red discusses how this trope has multiple uses: It can raise stakes for the character and for the audience as it is easier for writer to convince the audience that this is a possibility. It also can be used for karmaic punishment for the villain. She also discusses various levels of fate worse than death, and how bizarrely prevalent this trope is in kids' media. These fates may be horrifying, but there's usually hope of reversing them, which takes off some of the edge.
  • Five-Man Band: In the appropriately-named "Five Man Band" (which even provided the former page image for the trope page). It focuses on the Classic FMB set up (i.e., The Leader, The Lancer, The Heart, The Big Guy, and The Smart Guy) and the interesting plot and character arcs that this lends itself to. Amusingly, Red even aims an explicit Take That! at This Very Wiki over its definition of the trope, noting that she's using a looser definition that allows for characters in the Band to share roles since, in her words, "rules are dumb."
  • Foil: Discussed in depth in "Parallel Arcs", with Glimmer and Catra in season 4 as the example. Both start out in similar positions, being the effective rulers of their respective sides, and both end up at the literal same place in the end, as prisoners of Horde Prime, an arc that is enforced by their respective flaws; Glimmer constantly thinks she's doing the right thing, even if she's pushing her friends away, while Catra knows she's doing bad things, but thinks she's come too far to stop, also pushing her friends away.
  • Fourth Wall: In Lampshading episode, Red discusses the importance of maintaining a fourth wall to not break immersion. She also discusses how it was far more important in the stage performance than in other media where the audience is naturally separated from the work.
  • The Grim Reaper: Gets an entire episode in Personifying Death where Red discusses the history of personifying death in more detail.
  • Happy Ending Override: Discussed in her Sequels video. Red argues that this can be one of the causes of invoked Sequelitis, as writing a follow-up to a story with a definitive end requires you to do this, which when handled badly will not only make your sequel a bad work but retroactively render the first story pointless. The best sequels retroactively make the ending of the original feel like a natural midpoint.
  • The Heart: Discussed in their own episode. Red notes the trope's evolution from "The Chick" (a now-defunct trope for the token female in the Five-Man Band) into its modern version, discusses several subtypes such as the All-Loving Hero, Loved by All and the mediator, and also potential character arcs like caring unwisely to the point of a Pacifism Backfire, exhausting themselves by always having to carry others' personal baggage, or solving others' problems to avoid dealing with their own. She concludes by saying The Heart is often vital to keeping the group together and helping the audience care about them as characters.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Red discusses how a villain turning good is full of potential. However, she also acknowledges the biggest issue with this trope is convincing the audience that the villain has genuinely turned good, and that depending on the scale of their crimes, can look like a Karma Houdini if handled poorly.
  • Idiot Plot: This gets its own video. While this trope is stigmatized as a bad trope that should be avoided, Red points out that a lot of William Shakespeare's most popular stories used this trope, and it made sense in the context of the stories and characters. For instance, the titular Macbeth creates a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, and Romeo of Romeo and Juliet ends up causing a lot of needless tragedy, both because the characters were too impulsive and stubborn to hear any arguments to the contrary. Comedy is also a genre where people are expecting idiot plots because the characters doing something stupid that makes no sense is usually funnier than them acting rationally. The problem with this trope is when characters act inconsistently for the sake of advancing the plot because the writer can't think of another way to do so. Red ends the video pointing out that the problem with idiot plots isn't when characters act dumb, but rather when the audience suspects the writer is dumb. invoked
  • Informed Loner: When discussing The Loner, the first things Red brings up is that the Loner archetype is, by its nature, always this trope as a story cannot be carried by a truly alone character. There is a difference between a loner and an alone person.
  • Instant Death Stab: In the episode on Tone Armor, it's mentioned that being a Mook in, say, a Heroic Fantasy movie gives you negative Plot Armor and tone armor, to the point where a single light hit from a hero's sword, which doesn't even draw blood, can be instantly lethal even through armor, which also keeps the tone from getting too dark by avoiding showing the minions slowly dying.
  • Just a Machine/What Measure Is a Non-Human?: invoked"Robots" discusses this trope when it comes to using robots or a fantasy species like orcs or goblins as a metaphor for the discrimination minorities face in the real world. Red notes that humans have a tendency to recognize patterns, so if all members of the species have some common trait, such as laziness or greed, the audience will analyze this and think this is how the author sees the minority group that species is supposed to represent. Red also notes that real world bigots use excuses like "they aren't human" and "they're monsters" to justify their bigotry of different groups, so using a different species like robots as a metaphor can backfire on the creator, even if they're trying to take an anti-bigotry stance. Red points out that this isn't racism on the audience's part and not how they see the group, but rather the audience believes this is how the author sees that group, which can make them seem unintentionally racist.
  • Kaiju: Red covers kaiju with the original Godzilla as an example. She actually states that kaiju are frequently personifications of political topics that made if these personifications were giant monsters. For example, Godzilla is a personified worry of nuclear fallout with Japan suffering several nuclear disasters including the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing and the radiation poisoning from the Bikini Atoll testings.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Downplayed in "Trope Talk: Magic". While Red doesn't actually mention this, she does mention how The Masquerade being upheld would have the implication that magic-users were allowing atrocities they could have prevented.
    Wizard: [speaking to a grieving woman] Yes, yes, very sorry to hear about your mundane family, but you know the rules. They'll just have to sort out this "kitler" fellow themselves.

  • Lampshade Hanging: Red discusses this trope starting with its origins in stage productions. She mentions how it can work when used in moderation, to encourage audiences to not fret over Acceptable Breaks from Reality, but it can be a problem with it goes too far. She notes that writers who excessively lampshade tropes may come across as ashamed of their own plot points, or anticipating a plot point will be hated by the audience long before the work is published. She does note at least one example of a lampshade-heavy story that works, The Emperor's New Groove, where the jokes are made even funnier by the characters having active awareness of how little sense their world makes.
  • The Lancer: Red talks about The Lancer, who serves as the Foil of the protagonist. Specifically, Red argues that the point of the Lancer is to highlight the hero and give them opportunities to show off. However, Red likes it when this mindset gets explored — as a warrior who is The Unchosen One, or "good but not good enough" to be the hero — and deals with the implications of the Lancer taking this mindset to its logical conclusion.
  • Last of His Kind: Has entire episode dedicated to this trope. Red disusses that most of the examples aren't really straight examples as there is usually another, whether it be antagonist or not.
  • Like You Would Really Do It invoked
    • In "Save The World'' , Red addresses the problem that many writers think that higher in-universe stakes mean more audience investment. However, in actuality the uncertainty of outcome correlates more to the audience investment. That's why the audience doesn't believe that the world and especially the Universe isn't going to explode as that would mean the end of the franchise or series.
    • "Fates Worse Than Death" addresses this problem again that higher stakes for the character won't mean higher stakes for the audience as the audience knows that the series can't afford to lose a charactes. Red discusses that sometimes there isn't a sweet spot between "The writer will never do this!" and "I think the story isn't fun anymore." in terms of a general audience reaction.
  • Love Hurts: Discussed in "Arcane's Unbreakable Bonds of Love (And Why They Suck)". Red and Blue take a look at Arcane, arguing that one of the Central Themes of the work is about how the show is "packed full of character struggling with this one question: 'what can you do when someone you love hurts you?' You can't just make yourself stop loving them. That's not how love works. So how do you change that?" In particular, the hosts take a look at Powder/Jinx and Vi, as well as the very complicated relationship the two characters have because, despite having every reason to hate each other, they still love each other.
  • Love Triangle: Covered in an episode of its own, including the myriad variations and subplots. One observation is that they can be divided into "true" or "mock" triangles, depending on whether the final pairing is a Foregone Conclusion or not.
  • MacGuffin: In the Trope Talk for "Macguffins", Red discusses the topic of MacGuffin. She defines this trope as something that drives the plot by being wanted, and solely by the fact that people want it; it could be replaced with anything else and the story would barely change (in fact some examples, like the briefcase from Pulp Fiction, never even show what the item is). If it actually does something for the plot, then it's not a MacGuffin. For instance, she contrasts the Unobtainium from Avatar, which has a theoretical use, but that use is never relevant and it only matters as the source of the central conflict, and the One Ring, which factors very heavily into the story by its nature and not just because characters are fighting over it.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The episode "Magic", which Red breaks down into five major forms:
    • Potions: A concoction that applies a supernatural effect on those who drink it. Noted to have it's origins in early medicine, and how many diseases were believed to have supernatural causes like evils spirits or curses (and to a lesser extent, alchemy, due to the whole 'distilling and purifying materials believed to have magical properties' aesthetic), though it has since expanded beyond the purely medicinal scope, with the classic love potion being the ur-example.
    • Enchantments and Curses: A magical effect or influence that's been placed on someone until a time limit has been reached or specific condition has been met that breaks the effect. Noted to be wildly popular in fairy tales, usually involving a royal, usually involving them being transformed into a monster or animal or placed into an enchanted slumber. Modern fiction has brought the idea of positive enchantments, though they're less common in more classic folklore ("Diamonds and Toads" being a stand-out exception).
      • Sympathetic Magic: Related to enchantments and curses, the idea that doing something affiliated to a specific person will affect said person.
    • Prophecies: Very popular in most stories due to being one of the easiest methods of Foreshadowing. Most often manifests in Dreaming of Things to Come.
    • Magic Items: A staple of classic mythology and folklore. Usually comes with some sort of caveat (limited number of uses, can only be used by a specific type of person, etc). Modern fiction has seen the rise of evil magic items and swords that are used to choose kings.
    • Spells: A broad and rather nebulous term, that can be best described as 'wave your hands and have something that would otherwise be unrelated to said handwaving happen'. Usually involves summoning and magic circles. In modern media, will work with anyone who knows the right words.
    • Red also notes how magic tends to be broken down into various systems, the most common ones being 'Magic as a Science', 'Magic as Divine/Demonic', 'Magic as a Rare Talent', and 'Magic as a Force of Nature'.
  • Magical Land: In "All A Dream" episode, red discussed a variant of this trope where dream world exists in parallel to the real world where the events do not stop once someone wakes up. Red discusses how this variation can be used to fix the problem of events of the plot not mattering.
  • Mary Sue:
    • Red talks about the evolution of this trope. She points out that Mary Sue is not about being overpowered. Instead it's about how the canon bends and breaks for the character that makes that character a Mary Sue. She also discusses and how disproportionate it is that the traits that could be used to describe a male character get a female character branded as a Mary Sue. She also briefly discusses some of the offshoots of this trope: the Jerk Sue, the Villain Sue, and the Possession Sue.invoked
    • Brought up in the Antiheroes video, in which Red pulls no punches in calling most Nineties Antiheroes Jerk Sues, saying that she really dislikes the character type and how it brought about the idea that being cool means being an asshole.invoked
  • Masquerade: In "Trope Talk: Magic", Red deconstructs this trope by pointing out how poorly it reflects on the magic-users and how implausible it is that this secret would be kept.
    Red: Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead and the third is cursed to only speak in spoonerisms.
  • Men Are Tough: Discussed in Red's Trope Talk about Manly Men, where she finds it bizarrely common for even intellectually-inclined male protagonists to be physically strong in media.
  • Mentor Archetype: They get a whole video dedicated to them, describing a variety of types (including the classic Obi-Wan model, the Trickster Mentor, the Evil Mentor, etc.)... and also why exactly do they seem to die all the time. Red posits that the mentor is prime Character Death fodder because not only having a character around that's both a crutch to and more competent than The Hero is not a good idea, they are also often SatelliteCharacters with little personal arc beyond their relation to their pupil; making them quickly irrelevant as the story progresses, and thus allowing them to be killed off for emotional impact with little damage to the story's potential. Then she dedicates a good third of the video to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a movie about a kid dealing with half a dozen mentor figures, all with different roles and methods.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Red argues that mentors being killed off serves two purposes: First, give an easy emotional scene and second: getting rid of characters who have served their purpose.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: invoked Red notes in her "Queer-Coded Villains" Trope Talk that such antagonists are often very popular, including among members of the LGBT community, despite them having their roots in the prevailing homophobia of the first half of the 20th century. She speculates that this might be because of how entertaining and shamelessly transgressive they often are, which both grabs attention and resonates with many people.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Briefly mentioned in Red's episode on Saving the World. She discusses how a villain often gives the hero a Sadistic Choice between the world and their loved one. Choosing the loved one is objectively dumb, but to an audience who knows said loved one better than they know seven billion anonymous faces, it might seem like the best choice.
  • Moral Pragmatist: Discussed in the trope talk about pure evil. To Red, morality is a spectrum and she believes the definition of evil is hurting others without justification or necessity, as hurting others was a necessity for the progress of science and medicine.
  • Mouse World: Discussed in the episode "Small Mammal on a Big Adventure".
  • The Multiverse: Done in a Detail Diatribe video on the concept, where Red and Blue discourage writers of any level from invoking it. Red and Blue argue that the reason that a lot of multiverse stories don't work — either starting with one, pushing the Reset Button to invoke one, or using a Retcon to make one — is what they call "The Multiverse Problem". By invoking a multiverse, the writer shows the invisible hand of the author in a way that draws the audience out of the story. It draws attention to the fact that none of what the characters went through matters, and it suggests that nothing anywhere matters because of the inherently infinite scope of the multiverse. This, in turn, breaks the Willing Suspension of Disbelief and/or causes Too Bleak, Stopped Caring in a way that causes the audience to say that they no longer care about what happens to the characters anymore. Red argues that the only piece of fiction to do the multiverse concept well is Everything Everywhere All at Once, because it categorically rejects the idea that nothing matters as self-serving cynicism, and directly addresses the Multiverse Problem by saying that if nothing matters, then the only that does matter is what we do.invoked
    A multiverse does not automatically destroy audience investment, but it is a VERY CONVENIENT SHORTCUT if the writer wants an in-universe mechanism for retcons. Thus, when a previously linear story suddenly introduces the concept of a multiverse, it can be a sign that the writer is contriving a way out of a corner. Not everything in a story matters to the same degree, but drawing attention to this fact reminds the audience that this IS a story, not a living, immersive world. Doing this breaks the audience's trust in the narrative.

    And THAT is "The Multiverse Problem."
  • New Eden: In Red's trope talk episode on "Post Apocalypses", she admits that she prefers the more optimistic version. Where nature was able to regrow and humanity was able to recover, unlike most apocalypses where everything is either dead or dying. She summarises the episode by saying, people shouldn't depict the apocalypse as nihilistic, as it can depress the audience.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Red finds this trope to be cringeworthy a lot of the time because the majority of works that use it do so very poorly — the villain convinces the hero that they are similar when they are really nothing alike (making the hero look like an idiot). She states that a better use of this trope is when there is truth to the villain's words, or when the hero realizes it first and tries to change themself for the better and avert this trope. Red uses Enzo from season 3 of ReBoot as an example, where Enzo's evolution into Anti-Hero Matrix first gets noted by Matrix himself as coming dangerously close to committing the same kind of actions as Big Bad MegaByte. She also prefers versions where it's used to bring characters closer together via Commonality Connection, as it can lead to character growth and relationship development.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Red brings this up as a subtrope of the Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass. "Fakers" like Vash the Stampede or Himura Kenshin are badasses that pretend to be morons for personal reasons, like trying to distance themselves from violent pasts or for just liking to goof around.
  • Opening a Can of Clones: Though not mentioned by name, this is a major point of their Detail Diatribe on The Multiverse. It doesn't matter if a writer handles a time-travel or universe-altering plot well the first time; by introducing an in-canon Reset Button, the audience now knows that anything they're invested in can be undone whenever a writer feels like it, which can be a major blow to their enjoyment of the franchise.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Red discussed that All Just a Dream trope tends to be subverted by either leaving it ambiguous if it was a dream, implying it was not a dream or explicitly showing it wasn't a dream.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Red talks about dragons in Trope Talk: Dragons, where she discusses both the mythical origins of dragons, including the extremely common theme of a draconic or serpentine monster being fought by a storm deity, as well as their uses in modern media.
    • Firstly, she identifies and discusses a number of common types of dragons and of narrative themes they tend to be matched with:
      • "Apocalyptic dragons" are disproportionately huge creatures, often based on mythical entities such as Tiamat or the Leviathan. They're plot devices more than characters and tend to be relegated to the backstory or epic end-of-story battles — unless it's a Kaiju movie, in which case they're gonna be central parts of the story. She uses a picture of Ancalagon, whose claim to fame is being larger and heavier than three mountains the size of mount Everest.
      • "Divine dragons" tend to be based on the Chinese kind, and range from powerful and benevolent creatures to literal gods. They are usually mentor figures, distant protectors or imparters of missions and information, and don't usually figure as central characters. This can combine with the apocalyptic dragon variant to form evil and destructive draconic deities, such as Dungeons & Dragons's Tiamat.
      • "Dragon shifters" are characters who can shift between a draconic and humanoid form. Some appear in mythology, but the concept was mostly popularized by Dungeons & Dragons, where all dragons can do this. This may be used to explain where half-dragons come from, and it's not uncommon for a villain to turn into a dragon during a final confrontation.
      • Draconic curses are a similar concept where someone is quickly or gradually turned into a dragon, and tend to be inspired by Fafnir. Often, this is a karmic punishment for extreme greed. Sometimes the transformation is more mental than physical.
      • Dragon Hoards draw from both Germanic and Greek myth, and although they fell from favor in the middle ages they're extremely common in modern fiction. A dragon's motives for hoarding treasure vary based on its characterization and intelligence.
      • Dragons kidnapping damsels got into its stride in the middle ages, as the usual motivation for dragonslaying — getting the dragon's gold — was seen as too base and greedy a motivation for a noble hero, so a more righteous goal was substituted. Nowadays it's seen as very cliched, so it's typically inverted, subverted, and otherwise messed around with.
      • Non-evil, misunderstood dragons are increasingly popular. Intelligent ones can usually be talked to in order to get their side of things; more animalistic ones require more careful handling.
      • Dragon Riders are a very recent development, and were by and large invented by Anne McCaffrey for her Dragonriders of Pern novels. These dragons are noble steeds, sometimes intelligent and sometimes not, and have become popular on the basis that dragons are awesome and, ergo, riding one makes you awesome as well.
    • She also analyzes the weight and importance stories tend to give to dragons and the sheer breadth of different shapes, traits and characteristics something can have while still being a dragon — overall, "dragon" as a term is much more flexible than other mythical creatures, which vary only slightly from their base form before not reading as that thing anymore and is more of a loose category bound by certain common themes rather than a single specific thing. The only thing dragons really share, besides being at least somewhat reptilian, is being very powerful, very important and usually very big. Modern fiction's occasional use of tiny, weak dragons is almost always a deliberate subversion of a well-known expectation. The main reason fantasy uses dragons as often as it does is because dragons are a universal element in many stories throughout the world, while most fantastical creatures are limited by their geography, and because of the sense of gravitas and importance that dragons carry with them in modern culture.
  • The Paragon: Red actually loves seeing The Paragon in stories because they facilitate character growth on those around them. She also states that this trope can be deconstructed by having them be misguided or by having their opponents refuse to negotiate ‘em on the basis that they’re sure they’re doing the right thing because of how charming/good they seem.
  • Pet-Peeve Trope:
    • Red really dislikes the Downtime Downgrade trope, where a couple splits up between installments or sequels. Red argues that splitting up an Official Couple between sequels makes it seem like writers are afraid to write characters in a relationship, especially because the characters are probably going to go through the Will They or Won't They? subplot all over again.
    • Red discourages a lot of grimdark elements in general, but it's the idea that optimism, hope, and idealism are childish that really grinds her gears. Red argues that hope is essential to the human condition, that believing things will only get worse creates a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy where things don't get better because no one thinks it'll work, and that this is objectively incorrect since human life has gradually improved over time.
    • In the 100K subscriber Q&A special, Red says that her most-hated trope is Poor Communication Kills. Specifically, she can't stand it when "the entire plot is based on miscommunication", because such a plot would be over in a few minutes if characters just talked to each other, but the narrative always has to contrive a reason why the characters won't do that.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Discussed in "Dystopias", where it is acknowledged that a typical freedom-crushing dystopia can lead to a protagonist who never acts because they are incapable of acting.
  • Planet of Hats: Red examines the various types of common Hats (historically-based or otherwise) and explains its origins. She also explains how, while many fantasy races are based on either Tolkien's Legendarium or real-life cultures, the trope is actually subverted by both of those instances: a Planet of Hats is what you get when you take a cursory glance at most cultures and then apply that stereotype to the whole.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In the 100K subscriber Q&A special, Red says that this is her least-favorite trope. Specifically, Red says that she's "so tired of stories where the entire plot is based on miscommunication" because any plot that would be over in a few minutes if characters just talked to each other always has to contrive a reason why the characters won't do so. Blue bringing up Frozen (2013) elicits a groan from Red in this regard.
  • Portal Fantasy: Discussed under the name "Magical Otherworld". While fond of most versions of the trope, Red singles out the "isekai" subgenre wherein a character is reincarnated into a book or video game as being underwhelming. She believes the impact of the real world tends to be so minimal in most such stories that it would be better if they just took place in the magical otherworld entirely, and any knowledge the main character has as a result of their prior life that does impact the narrative can generally be covered by some other plot element (such as a member of the cast being a seer or a Fourth-Wall Observer) with little issue.
  • Power Creep: Talked about in Red's video about the Superpowered Evil Side. She brings up the issue that despite power creep existing to combat boredom in a story, it often ends up causing boredom since there's no reason for the audience to get invested in a powerup if they know the story is going to make it obsolete after one fight.
  • Reset Button: Done in a Detail Diatribe video on The Multiverse, specifically about how comic book writers love to hit this button whenever they find themselves backed into a corner. Red and Blue argue that all this does is cause Too Bleak, Stopped Caring, since the audience can see the hand of the writer influencing the world in a way that breaks the Willing Suspension of Disbelief. In the end, Red says that "you'd think these superhero writers would've figured out that the problem with resetting the universe is not, in fact, that they just haven't done it enough times yet".invoked
  • Revenge: Discussed in depth in the video on Sins of Our Fathers. As Red puts it, the concept of Revenge is an extension of anger. When you're angry, you want to lash out at the world around you. Revenge is simply directing that lashing as someone you feel deserves it, whether that is true or not.
  • Revenge Is Not Justice: In Sins of the Father, Red describes revenge as an amoral action that can be deconstructed in the story. As noted above, revenge is just an extension of the instinct to lash out at the world around you when you're angry, specifically targeting someone who "deserves" it. When there isn't someone directly responsible in sight, it can easily turn into "make whoever can be blamed suffer, regardless of how unrelated they are".
  • Rule of Three: Red explains that everything comes in threes in stories because three is a large enough number to be interesting without being too large to keep track of.
  • Sadistic Choice: Red briefly discusses this trope in her video about Saving the World, particularly examples where the villain forces the protagonist to choose between saving those they love and saving the world. As Red points out, saving loved ones is objectively the wrong choice, no matter what school of ethics you subscribe to, but the audience will be more invested in the fate of one person they know than that of seven billion nobodies. Therefore they will sympathize more with saving the loved one (until Fridge Logic kicks in, at least).
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Discussed in "Urban Fantasy", where Red mentions how writers will often pull mythological creatures or deities of ancient cultures into a modern setting without realizing the dissonance removing them from their original context causes. She stresses how important it is to do your research when including mythological figures in your fiction, or you may prove you Did Not Do the Bloody Research, especially if the mythology you're drawing from comes from a religion still practised today. She also discusses how writers often use names from native cultures like "Wendigo" and "Skin-Walker" for generic monsters because they sound cooler than, say, "snow beast" and "shape-shifter", while ignoring the folklore behind those names. Red says that if you're going to include creatures or myths from folklore that's not your own, do your homework to avoid getting it wrong.invoked
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Discussed in the "Ancient Superweapons" video, as the case where the superweapon the villain is seeking turns out to be a more powerful villain. Red points out that, ironically, this variant often ends up being less narratively interesting than the superweapon being just a weapon, as a sealed villain is nearly guaranteed to be a Generic Doomsday Villain by virtue of needing to be sealed in the first place. (A villain with any character depth could likely have been dealt with another way, such as negotiation or a Heel–Face Turn)
  • Sequelitis: Red has a whole episode on sequels, splitting the discussion into two broad categories (it should be noted that she doesn't consider works that were always planned as one story in multiple parts, like The Lord of the Rings, to be sequels):invoked
  • Shipping Bed Death: In the Trope Talk about "Romantic Subplots", Red points out the commonly cited idea that the audience cares more about the journey to the relationship rather than the relationship itself. But when that's resolved, a lot of stories don't actually explore the couple as a couple, as the rest of their time together is spent either being non-characters outside of the coupling or having drama infect the plot so that they can remain "interesting" to the audience.invoked
  • Shoulder-Sized Dragon: Red touches on this at the end of Trope Talk: Dragons, as modern fiction's occasional use of tiny, cute dragons is the most noticeable break from one of the few consistent traits in dragons — that they're powerful and important entities. Tiny dragons, however, are almost always a deliberate subversion of this trope, playing on the audience's expectations that dragons are in fact big and powerful by presenting the shoulder-sized dragon's cuteness and tiny size as something of a living paradox.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Red briefly touches upon this in her Grimdark trope talk, along with its counterpart. She thinks that the idealists ultimately have it better. The world can get dark, yes, but one look at history will tell you that is has gotten immensely better over time, usually thanks to idealists.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Gets an episode dedicated to the trope. Red discusses how reasons for wanting to punish someone for the sins of ancestors can range from petty (Characters that looks just like an offending ancestor) to grey zone (Characters that somehow takes advantage over some evil thing their ancestors did) to legitimate (Characters act just like their ancestors).
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: Discussed in "Fridging". To define the trope, Red creates a test echoing the "sexy lamp test". If the character's death could be replaced with someone's prized Pokémon card collection getting ruined without the narrative being affected, and the character's death is supposed to be emotionally impactful on the surviving character but is never brought up again, then the character was Stuffed in the Fridge. Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru are the primary example Red uses, since they have little to no impact on the story aside from being killed so Luke can be sad for a minute and have the motivation to go to Alderaan. Lisa Tepes, on the other hand, does not qualify as being Fridged in Red's eyes, since Red argues that Lisa's death is given appropriate focus, and it motivates two of the show's most important characters in Big Bad Dracula and Deuteragonist Alucard for the entire series, long after Lisa is gone. Red believes that this is a universally bad trope, as while others can be misused or difficult to write yet still have possible potential, Fridging a character wastes any dynamics they have with other characters and their role for future parts of the story to create angst, and usually not for that long. invoked
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: invoked Discussed in the episode about Character Death. Red states that bad character deaths are solely for shock value and take away a character who otherwise could provide interesting plot or character scenarios and development, using Quicksilver from the Marvel Cinematic Universe as an example; had he lived through Avengers: Age of Ultron, he would have sided with Tony during Captain America: Civil War, putting him at odds with his twin sister Wanda, and then surviving the Snap and being one of the few heroes actually doing any heroics during the five year time skip, with more conflict arising when the Snap is undone and Wanda is now five years younger than him and still reeling from the events of Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Time Skip: According to Red, for a Time Skip to qualify as such, important plot points and character changes must have happened offscreen. Just skipping time without advancing the plot is considered a Time Jump for her.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring:invoked
  • Tragedy: She discusses "Tragedy" on Trope Talk. She splits the episode into time periods, with classic Tragedy like Oedipus the King, Shakespearean Tragedy like Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, and modern Tragedy like Death of a Salesman. There are clear differences with each time period, like Classic Tragedy making use of a chorus that tells the fourth wall of the situation, Shakespearean Tragedy utilizes Collateral Damage, where people die due to the protagonist's flaw, and Modern tragedy subverting certain traditions like the protagnist being a middle class worker instead of a king, but all three share a story where the protagonist fall because of their Fatal Flaw. What makes a tragedy is the suspense; the twist in a tragedy isn't if the protagonist will experience a fall from grace, but when and how they'll fall.
  • Trope Breaker: Discussed in "Those Dang Phones", specifically how phones (and magical/ sci-fi variants of instant long-distance communication) can become part of a story, and that by adding phones to a work, it leads to breaking other story, location, and character narrative conventions. The upside is that the protagonist and allies being able to communicate at will can make a writer's life easier in managing the story and characters' situation. The downside is that it makes situations and tropes that only work without phones present to get either broken, or forever changed (split up the party? No more worrying about allies; everyone has earpieces!). For what its worth, the reason Red even made the video was because they wanted to have this sort of communication for Aurora (2019), going down a deep rabbit hole trying to determine how old this idea really was (short answer; at least Older Than Television), and being surprised by their findings. Red also mentions that even though they were partly inspired by other fantasy stories doing the same thing, the normality and handiness of phones in the modern age had an influence on their decision.
  • Values Dissonance: Mentions in "Post Apocalypses" that it is difficult for modern audiences to truly understand the depth of the "Nuclear Weapons Are Bad" aesop that started in the midst of the Cold War because in those times, the fear of nuclear war was much more prevalent than in modern times.invoked
  • Villainous Friendship: In Red's The Power of Friendship video, she notes that it's extremely rare for villains to have The Power of Friendship, while showing a villain, with his friends beside him, confronting a hero.
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode: "Greatest Fear" discusses a stock episode, the fear episode, and how it shows the character's fear and how they overcome. It allows writer to reveal character motivation and development without disrupting the status quo.
  • What You Are in the Dark: As a corollary to the Loner archetype, it is how writers characterize the Loner character as a way to show depths outside of their loneliness. For example, she uses The Mandalorian as an example as the titular character could have collect the bounty by turning in the Child but instead is putting himself on the run from everybody to keep the Child safe.
  • The Worf Effect: Discussed in the video about "The Powerhouse", and how it can eventually decay the powerhouse's badass credentials if they keep getting beat up every other episode. Red also notes an interesting antidote to said Worf Effect, used by the show Leverage. In Leverage, Eliot Spencer never loses a fight despite his role as the team muscle, and the series never requires him to lose a fight to illustrate the problem's threat level. The trick is that most episodes' problems aren't ones that can be solved by punching them harder, not that Eliot is incapable of punching well in the first place.
    • This is to contrast with the eponymous Worf, who despite residing in a series of exploration and space battles, where physical strength isn't usually the solution, still ends up getting smacked around as a story beat. As such, his combat expertise ends up becoming an Informed Ability.
  • Write What You Know:
    • In Red's opinion, this doesn't mean you have to live the exact experiences you're writing; you can simply bring up the nearest equivalent that you have already experienced. And if you can't, then it doesn't hurt to get in touch with someone who can do such a thing to help your writing.
      • Then there's the issue of writing diversity. Red admits that the topic is so politically charged, any answer you pick will have someone complaining about it. Avoid diversity altogether? Bigotry! Stereotypes? Even moreso! Have a diverse cast, but don't really do anything special with that diversity? Meaningless tokenism! Actually do your research on other people, and use it as part of your writing? Cultural appropriation! She has no clear solution for that and admits it's a big reason why she prefers writing fantasy and/or sci-fi. However, Red says that if you must do this, do your homework on it.invoked
    • Meanwhile, Blue actually brings up an example of that having awkward consequences: Buffalo Bill's Wild West. Bill fashioned his show around what he knew of life in the West, but his own life was so over-the-top that his massive success ended up popularizing The Theme Park Version of early America over what it was really like. Bill was a cowboy, but was also a veteran, an adventurer, and a serious adrenaline junkie, leading to him having a much different life than most people did.
  • Xenafication: Discussed in the Trope Talk on The Heart, where Red notes that in an attempt to avoid sexism, it was once common to portray the token girl of the team as a '90s Anti-Hero. The problem was that this robbed the Five-Man Band of any emotional center or moral compass, and so ran the risk of making the resulting group of macho badasses, none of whom are capable of expressing any actual friendliness for each other, wholly unlikable. This is why Red prefers when later evolutions stopped restricting the team roles by gender, as it removes the burden of being the emotional center from the sole girl's shoulders and allows everyone, boy and girl, to perform more nuanced character roles.
  • Xenofiction: In Trope Talk: Small Mammal on a Big Adventure, Red talks about the trope in general, and notes that in a number of works where human activity is presented as inscrutable and dangerous, it becomes Dramatic Irony Cosmic Horror, with the audience being akin to an Eldritch Abomination reading The Colour Out of Space and going "No, little humans! Get out of there, the colour pucegenta is very bad for organics!"
  • Zeerust: A lot of the "Those Dang Phones" episode is dedicated to the effect invokedthe sheer speed at which communication technology improved in the past century has on fiction, with Red pointing out that you can practically date sci-fi just by looking at what the writer's idea of the tech (and potential for its future) is like.


Dramatic Irony Cosmic Horror

Red describes the "Humans Are Cthulhu" trope, or as she calls it "Dramatic Irony Cosmic Horror".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / HumansAreCthulhu

Media sources: