6/26/2009 or 26/6/2009? The world will never know.
byline: Some Guy
For some exposition- as TV Tropes has grown in size, its scope has also exceeded beyond what we can reasonably track. You may have noticed the giant "Visit Trope Repair" banner- it has had limited effectiveness in part because the forum environment is somewhat intimidating to new users who don't really know all the rules. Well, consider Trope Report your professor. We're here every week to give a basic rundown of what's been going on in the wiki so that a brief glance will inform a casual viewer of the major changes going on without forcing you to abandon all pretexts of normalcy and scour the forums and discussion pages indefinitely, trying to soak up every minute change. To insure some form of quality control and adherence to the mission statement-
Which can be laconically summed up as "tell people about stuff that's happening".
I, Some Guy, am currently monitoring submitted articles to see they meet proper form. Any who are interested in writing for Trope Report or generally helping out are free to PM me on the subject- rigorous editing standards are necessary here simply because much of the hardcore tropers are a tad too entrenched in the culture to describe it very well to casual viewers. If you disagree, feel free to lend your voice to the forums on this matter.
Renames are a contentious issue on this site. One of the more noncontroversial ones- Incredibly Lazy Pun to Stealth Pun. Part of the reason for this was self-evident- in most places, Incredibly Lazy Pun was being used to refer to Incredibly Lame Pun- several tropes involved in discussion didn't realize the two were actually distinct tropes. However, like most renames, this one was hardly that simple, and had quite a bit of history. The original name came from the Title Bin which is one of the weirdest facts about this: numerous tropers have commented on how well the name evokes what is in fact Incredibly Lame Pun (a pun so bad the story just has to mark how bad it is), the potholes support this, the mere existence of Incredibly Lame Pun supports this and yet the person who put it in the Title Bin did not come up with that idea themselves. Dr edman who took it from the Title Bin, understandably, may have already had the trope in mind, seen an example of it recently etc. Is there a mystery here? Is the mention of the trope as a success on the Title Bin page another example of Lazy/Lame confusion? Soon after the name was chosen, people began using it to pothole explicitly stated puns that didn't match the trope. Unfortunately, it's impossible to tell now how the word was initially used and spread because of how far back it is in the site's history.
Here's the working theory- the name resonated with an idea many already had a sense of. Thus someone had the idea to make a trope with exactly the same name but only two letters apart based on those Pot Holes. The problem with our potholes is they?re not stories; they are offhand jokes, small insertions of humors, postmodern jabs and personalization from This Troper A trope is a story-telling device and we gather these by finding examples of how they are used in a story and passed on from one tale to another and we were going backwards into one.
Pot Holes and the way they're used on the wiki are a problematic subject and worthy of its own article. For the moment, it suffices to be said that a single poor Pot Hole can lead to many tropers assuming incorrectly that a potholed trope actually means something else, and then the Wiki Magic turns into a giant snowball that may at some point threaten to kill us all. This is the overriding argument for renames in general- that words themselves will eventually lose all meaning as we all fold into a singular delicious yellow goo. Which at the extremes can be a bit of a panicky reaction- which is why the Incredibly Lazy Pun rename went through all the avenues of problem solving very carefully.
byline: Some Sort Of Troper
Laconically, a Stealth Pun is a joke punch line that has a set up, of varying levels of subtlety, without the final delivery so the audience must themselves piece together what the joke is in their own heads. It is crucial to note that the pun is never stated. That varying level of subtlety can range from telling a well known or obvious joke and then having the punch line cut off (for example, a cut short dirty limerick) to having several events or facts revealed over a broad range of time until at the end, you have a situation which could, by an alternative choice of words to anything used in the text, be uttered as a pun (see Terry Pratchett's use of Yellow Sick Toad on the Stealth Pun page). Which end of the range the writer goes for is usually affected by the purpose of the Stealth Pun.
Take, for example, a joke with dirty connotations. Here, the trope connects itself with Getting Crap Past the Radar, and may work as a Parental Bonus. Here, the Stealth Pun form lends itself very well. You can also use it in concert with an Incredibly Lame Pun, let?s say the pun is very obvious but you cut it short with some abrupt noise or the pre-emptive groans of another character. This works as the labeling of the joke as an Incredibly Lame Pun, it signals to the audience that they should be groaning (with a slight sense of guilt), in the same way that a Laugh Track is meant to induce audience laughter.
Note, these simpler uses are helping to set up the concepts right at that moment and make an instant reaction. As you make the joke more hidden, you can change the view of it; an Incredibly Lame Pun can become less lame. If you hide it more, you force the audience to start putting their mental power into figuring it out. This little mental work out has its own entertaining side, when you finally get it, there?s a sense of revelation- the Late to the Punchline moment- and the work that the writer put into it gets more focus than how lame the actual joke was. Remember, there was a reason people kept confusing Incredibly Lazy Pun with Incredibly Lame Pun, they connect the lameness to going for the easy shot, the lazy punch line. If it's not that easy to get to straight away, it's not lazy so it's not lame. The Yellow Sick Toad joke was in fact used both explicitly and stealthily which took things a step further because it became a reference to a previous use of a groaner so once you figure it out and you realise that it is the hiding of a really lame pun and things come full circle. The more complicated treatment is not just lovely for averting Viewers Are Morons but also gives significant Replay Value.
Tips for writers- when you first read something, you?ll be trying to move along the plot, figure out what?s happening and imagine an abundance of descriptive details. The small dropped in details that contribute to the joke can be looked over until the second viewing where you are now trying to look for the small details to fill in your broad memories, revelling in the writing more and perhaps picking out points for analysis. So when using a Stealth Pun you have the flexibility of time scale and subtlety. You can also introduce additional pun and stealth tropes e.g. displaying it visually to make a Visual Pun without explicit statement of what the pun is or hiding the information in another language to make it a Bilingual Bonus. The Bilingual Bonus can also its variations in stealth. Maybe the pun comes straight out after translating, then again you could make the words that come out be synonyms for the pun. Say you favorite anime has someone shout out "Follow Mr. Something" where something turns out to be the Japanese for Yolkish Frog i.e. a yellow toad and that character is ill so we have our Follow the Yellow Sick Toad joke. However when it gets to foreign made works, classifications can get harder. Remember our crucial point- the pun is never stated. Well, what if the character?s name was literally Mr. Yellowsicktoad in the original Japanese? To us it's explicitly stated but a Japanese viewer would have to make the pun connection in this language and then translate it back. Inversely, the character's name could be an explicit pun in Japanese for Yellow Brick Road but an English speaking viewer can't make that translation. There's an interesting case in the examples of the page:
In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Nanoha is pursuing Jewel Seeds, which grant wishes. One such Jewel Seed had possessed a tree that was near a couple's confession of love, and it responded by turning into a massive maurdering monster, trapping them inside itself and trying to consume everything. The pun comes when you realize what the guy must have been wishing for: wood. A less dirty way of interpreting this was that they pined for each other.
Here's the question to take home with you; do you think that the Japanese phrase for "pining for each other" in any way involves trees? Do you think that matters?
For extra fun- did you know that there's a Stealth Pun right here in this very article? Find it and win a prize! The editor doesn't know whether it was written deliberately. So in some cases a Stealth Pun might not even have been intentional. That's right- the pun was in you all along!
Nanoha is, rather famously, essentially Card Captor Sakura by way of Gundam, although genre conventions of the former are largely discarded in favor of the latter's two thirds of the way into the season; since when did Mahou Shoujos start packing firepower capable of leveling mecha (with the attendant environmental destruction) on a personal level?
Virtuoso aerial daredevilry is but one part of what the eponymous heroine is known for, another being the complex relationship she develops with her troubled counterpart: the heartrendingly pretty Fate Testarossa, erstwhile rival and candidate for social services poster child. Fate's vulnerability immediately appeals to Nanoha's protective instincts, and she consequently spends a considerable amount of time mooning over how someone so beautiful could show such sadness in her eyes, precipitating sincere (if unconventional) overtures of friendship. Not even remotely love at first fight, no.
While the character dynamics elevate the show above shallow displays of Super Robot derived pyrotechnics, they are in danger of descending into melodrama, mostly due to Precia's pantomiming. That the atrocity she perpetrates on daughter Fate is an implicitly regular occurrence would have sufficed as given: having to see it twice, lest we forget the real villain, is surplus to requirement and makes for uncomfortable viewing, despite claims otherwise.
Carping criticism aside, there is much to recommend about the series: short and sweet (a characteristic shared by its leads) at only thirteen episodes long, it never overstays its welcome despite intermittently uneven pacing. The grownup sensibilities are also refreshing: when not busy scarring the sky with plasma trails, Nanoha exhibits a strength of character that belies her tender age. Of course, this precocity also informs her...interest in Fate, which is seen finally reciprocated in moving fashion at the season's conclusion.
Now what was it someone once said about how relationships formed under intense circumstances never work out?
The hell do they know.
Wiki factions don't just exist in your imagination. There's actually codified, cohesively formed groups on the wiki that emphasize different mission statements. Look over these well- where you lean to most more or less determines your Character Alignment in regards to the nature of the wiki.
- SPOON, the Society To Prevent Overly Original Names, values clarity over cleverness. It is not surprising to see SPOON members quoting naming guidelines—as one would expect, this can lead to the Admins entering a discussion on the side of SPOON members. If you ever see a name that you think is boring, chances are that some members of SPOON supported that name over more opaque choices.
- Fo RKS, the Friends Of Really Kool Sobriquet, values cleverness over clarity. Fo RKS admits that it is the evil counterpart of SPOON, which lines up with a more casual approach to renames than will be found with SPOON. If you ever run across a silly name that is somewhat untuitive, chances are that the members of Fo RKS will attempt to defend it from rename attempts.
- KNIVES, the Kalculated Naming Indifference Violent Enforcement Section, believes that rename debates are detrimental to the wiki. KNIVES formed to prevent either of the two previously-formed organizations from gaining too much influence. In the process, they managed to both parody the seriousness of SPOON and out-silly Fo RKS. Don't be surprised if you never see anyone mention their KNIVES affiliation in a naming debate, as KNIVES takes no position on individual names.
- PLATTER, the People Letting All Trope Titles Exist Relishably, specifically opposes policy governing the use of cultural references. Currently, PLATTER is too small to have much influence, and it only has a strong position on a single issue anyway, but perhaps we will see a bit more of it in the future.