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Ensemble Darkhorse Cleanup

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Sep 27th 2015 at 11:57:59 AM

Heh, I thought I had deja vu for a couple seconds.

Then I remembered I did take part in discussing this trope in TRS: link. Reposting some of my posts from there:

This character doesn't need to be very minor. The important part is that they get more popularity than characters with more prominent roles. E.g. a secondary character outshining the protagonist could also be this trope.

[...]

The main symptom of being an Ensemble Dark Horse is... becoming a Breakout Character. That's because the companies and creators usually listen to their audience, and if a character becomes unexpectedly popular, they usually try to cash in on that.

[...]

What I would suggest is to limit Ensemble Dark Horse only to those examples that don't become a Breakout Character/Ascended Extra.

Thoughts?


And also, some examples from the Comic Book page that I think don't really fit:

  • Obadiah Stane is pretty much one of Iron Man's most dangerous foes. He was a great chessmaster villain who was behind the one most notable story arc in Iron Man's entire history. And it's Iron Man, who isn't really known to have memorable villains anyway, among them Stane is pretty notable. How the hell is he an "Ensemble Darkhorse"?
  • Verity Willis isn't an example, until she somehow manages to outshine Loki.
  • Carol Danvers. She of course had a following even back in the day, but was that following bigger than what could be expected for a long-time Avenger? Her rise to prominence in the recent decade or so was an editorial decision. She was given an important role in Marvel's 2000s events, which gave her more publicity, and thus more fans. If anyone could be called an Ensemble Dark Horse, it's Kamala Khan who inherited Carol's Ms Marvel mantle. She became so popular, she quickly outsold Carol's Captain Marvell title, and now, just a year later, she's already in the Avengers.
  • The Runaways — how can there be "a group of Ensemble Dark Horses"? That doesn't make sense.
  • Storm from X Men was always supposed to be one of the main characters of the Claremont and post-Claremont era. And she is exactly that, and gets exactly the appropriate amount of love from fans and writers, not more, not less. She didn't become a Wolverine.
  • Batwoman is a ZCE, and I'm not sure she fits this trope really.
  • Static is kind of an opposite Ensemble Dark Horse: DC took an interesting character and pretty much shoved him into obscurity. Of course Static still has fans who have read his original series or have seen the cartoon. The point is, he became a "side character" (in the DC universe) after he already got a fanbase.
  • How is Archie's Jughead an Ensemble Darkhorse? He's pretty much supposed to be the #3 in the whole cast (Betty and Veronica sharing the #2 spot). He didn't become more popular than Archie or the girls, so he's exactly where he's meant to be.

edited 27th Sep '15 12:00:58 PM by Rjinswand

Larkmarn Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Oct 9th 2015 at 12:52:34 PM

Zapp Brannigan on YMMV.Futurama is listed as both a Scrappy and an Ensemble Dark Horse. I was pretty sure those were mutually exclusive, but even if they're not, I don't really think either applies. Zapp's liked, but not hugely. He's generally more a Love to Hate guy.

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Oct 9th 2015 at 1:45:30 PM

Yeah, those are mutually exclusive. The size of fanbase an Ensemble Dark Horse requires is one that disqualifies a character from being The Scrappy.

Also unsure if he qualifies for either. Definitely not The Scrappy, though.

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Adept from Online Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Oct 17th 2015 at 1:08:40 AM

Two issues.

Michael Pena's Luis from Ant-Man is listed as both this trope and Broken Base. I've never seen anyone hating on the character, but then again I'm not too involved with the MCU fandom, so I don't really know which one is more accurate.

In Pan, Blackbeard is listed as Ensemble Dark Horse even though he's a main character (the Big Bad in fact). Should the entry be removed?

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Oct 17th 2015 at 1:51:53 AM

No idea about the fandoms, but a Big Bad is pretty much automatically disqualified. I suppose it could be possible if the character is extremely out of focus for the role, but that's not the case here.

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Adept from Online Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Oct 17th 2015 at 3:46:13 AM

[up]Fair enough. Blackbeard's entry is zapped.

Larkmarn Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Dec 7th 2015 at 8:15:26 AM

So, YMMV.Questionable Content. Three examples, and I'm not sure any of them actually fit.

This is probably okay. It's a bit different from how I remember it... I don't remember her getting popular until her Early Installment Weirdness wore off, and by then she was clearly on track to become a main character. But as-written, it's correct.
Depending on what "Even the artist thinks so" means. If it means that even the artist likes her, then that makes her being an ED extremely unlikely. If it means that even the artist has noticed how much the audience likes her, that'd be fine. Personally, I think it means that the artist expected her to be popular, which would be a bit of a shoehorn (one of those "contructed darkhorses," you know?
  • Claire is moving into this territory as well, considering the amount of positive feedback Jeph has received so far for her.
Pretty sure this is misuse. She only got popular after a great deal of Character Focus. Back when she was a genuinely minor character, she wasn't particularly popular (especially given she was introduced at the same time as Emily). This is evidenced by the fact her writeup says "moving into this," implying that she didn't start out popular. As soon as she got her Character Development, she was essentially a member of the main cast (eventually dating the main character). And even so, she's more of a Base Breaker than a darkhorse.

edited 7th Dec '15 8:18:07 AM by Larkmarn

Karxrida Art by @anoderp from Darkness within Darkness Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
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Dec 31st 2015 at 1:03:19 PM

Posting this for reference and to bump.

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody remembers it, who else will you have ice cream with?
Apr 2nd 2016 at 11:02:05 AM

YMMV.Trailer Park Boys

  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Conky - More likely Bubbles himself, as he became easily the most beloved character on the show.
    • Bubbles started off as a minor character (the actor who plays him is a producer/writer of the show). By the fourth season he's not only main cast but a full-on lead along with Ricky and Julian. Conky could be said to have a bit of a Broken Base, while some absolutely loved him, others truly hated the puppet for various reasons.
    • Phil Collins started off as a minor character who appeared a few times, but was given a larger role in season 7.

Conky is an example, since he only appeared in one standalone episode in season 4, then reappeared in an arc in season 7 (where he "dies"). Bubbles was a main character from the start and Phil Collins would be a Breakout Character.

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Apr 2nd 2016 at 1:02:55 PM

How much of a "main" character was Bubbles, and how popular? If it's far beyond what would be expected of the position (which means it needs to significantly surpass other more prominent characters), it can be an example.

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Apr 2nd 2016 at 3:58:22 PM

If you don't count the pilot movie as canon, Bubbles is one of the core three, is in every episode and movie and receives roughly equal screentime as Ricky and Julian.

Philadelphia Collins was a minor character in earlier seasons, then became a recurring character around season six and appeared at least once an episode.

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Apr 2nd 2016 at 7:06:48 PM

Then Bubbles doesn't fit.

And yes, Breakout Character is a better fit.

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Apr 5th 2016 at 8:11:30 PM

I would like to point out a case on the Robot Wars YMMV page.

Steg-O-Saw-Us is listed as an Ensemble Darkhorse, but nothing is said about its popularity or fan reaction, and the entry just talks about how it was a reserve robot that made it to the Grand Final.

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Apr 5th 2016 at 11:51:04 PM

Doesn't fit. There are far more popular robots out there, like Hypno-Disc and Razer.

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TheFox Quick like...
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Apr 6th 2016 at 11:29:40 AM

All right. Steg-O-Saw-Us has been removed.

Apr 21st 2016 at 6:16:28 PM

YMMV.The Man With The Golden Gun listed Scaramanga as an Ensemble Darkhorse.

Scaramanga is the villain of the film, not a minor character.

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Apr 21st 2016 at 7:52:42 PM

Yeah, a little too major of a character, especially since it's a Bond flick.

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Apr 27th 2016 at 6:03:50 PM

The Next Food Network Star

Lenny from Season 10 is listed as a darkhorse, although the entry right under him says that he lost that status, and he also has a lengthy entry in the Scrappy section. From the looks of things, it seems that the darkhorse entry was written early on in the season, considering it just lists something he did in the premiere and some generic praises, while the scrappy entry was written later in the season, with more specific details.

So should we cut the darkhorse entry?

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Apr 27th 2016 at 8:58:25 PM

I'd say so. Fifteen minutes of fame isn't exactly Ensemble Dark Horse material.

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TheFox Quick like...
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Apr 27th 2016 at 9:29:58 PM

Gotcha. Lenny's entry has been removed, and the entry below it has been edited to compensate for that.

edited 27th Apr '16 9:30:14 PM by TheFox

Larkmarn Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Apr 29th 2016 at 2:12:23 PM

I'd argue Scaramanga counts, but for the Bond Franchise as a whole. As the writeup points out, he's considered one of the best Bond villains even though his movie isn't a particularly important or well-regarded one. I'd be down to include him on the franchise-wide YMMV page.

Anyone have any thoughts on the Questionable Content darkhorses?

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Apr 29th 2016 at 11:10:49 PM

Is he more popular than Bond himself?

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Larkmarn Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
May 18th 2016 at 12:03:18 PM

Of course not, but he's more popular than any other one-shot villain, all of whom would have equal (or greater) prominence than he does.

Anyone want to chime in on my Questionable Content queries?

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
May 18th 2016 at 12:58:29 PM

Ensemble Dark Horse isn't just "most popular of a particular group". It's about being significantly more popular than what you'd expect from a character of that tier. A one-shot bit character being significantly more popular than the supporting cast. A supporting character being significantly more popular than the main characters. "This villain is more popular than other villains of similar caliber" isn't the trope. That's not being unexpectedly popular. A villain isn't a darkhorse among other villains. A one-time villain is a darkhorse compared to the series main character.

I'm not familiar with QC, but your reasoning seems to hold up. There's also not a lot of context to the examples.

edited 18th May '16 1:00:14 PM by AnotherDuck

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AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Jun 28th 2016 at 9:25:26 AM

Just noting that I'm removing Sheik and Vaati from EnsembleDarkhorse.The Legend Of Zelda

Vaati is listed as Big Bad, and is as such disqualified. Sheik is Zelda.

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