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This trope has been misused for a few years as of now.
Moral Event Horizon is defined as "a character committing an act that puts him or her beyond any chance of redemption." Tropers, however, tend to put characters that commit horrible acts, but said characters either redeem themselves or the character doesn't commit any acts like that again. The trope needs cleanup on YMMV pages, potholes, and the subpages.
edited 26th Jun '17 7:44:42 AM by MsCC93
MoralEventHorizon.Once Upon A Time is full of misuse because many of its villains redeem themselve.
I am not a fan of that, but you're better off deleting the non-examples and explaining why they are not examples.
One point to clarify: The character doesn't need to keep on committing similar acts. Just the once is enough, as long as it puts them beyond any expectation of redemption. They can reform and do absolutely wonderful things for the rest of their lives, but if all that isn't enough to redeem them, it's still the MEH
Two things here:
So, either MEH needs to be defined in such a way that it only allows predominant audience opinion, or it needs to be In-Universe. Otherwise it's effectively meaningless.
Reaching way back in my memory, I seem to recall that we made a kind of Deal with the Devil when we tightened up Complete Monster, acknowledging that Moral Event Horizon would not be similarly constrained to follow strict rules.
edited 26th Jun '17 9:49:00 AM by Fighteer
MEH is already a YMMV. That kind of means we can't make it In-universe only. It also means it shouldn't be on any main pages, and that it can be removed from YMMV pages if it's demonstrably false-to-fact — that is, there's clear evidence within the work that the character is supposed to be perceived as having redeemed themselves/been redeemed, i.e. the other characters treat them as though they've been redeemed.
edited 26th Jun '17 10:16:53 AM by Madrugada
Except don't we have Karma Houdini for when a character is treated as redeemed even though the audience disagrees with the redemption extensively (among other things)?
edited 26th Jun '17 10:19:33 AM by PhiSat
Not really. Karma Houdini is when they aren't punished at all. "But when the time comes for the hammer to fall, that's not what happens. At least, not on him. He doesn't get what he deserves. Instead, he gets away scot-free. " It has a small aspect of subjectivity, but it's mostly visible in-universe — either he gets some sort of comeuppance or he doesn't. Karma Houdini is when he doesn't. Not getting enough of a comeupppance technically would be Disproportionate Retribution in the relatively rare "disproportionate by virtue of being too mild" sense.
edited 26th Jun '17 10:34:12 AM by Madrugada
Presumably if the author of a work treats the character as redeemed then they're not going to get smacked by karma for their MEH.
. I think this trope should only apply if the character not only commits an act that pushes them far from being a "good guy," but said character shows no remorse for said actions and there are no reset buttons.
edited 26th Jun '17 10:52:10 AM by MsCC93
I disagree. I think if it wasn't an Audience Reaction than we would need more strict standards but as it is it's fine to put abhorrent acts as long as those acts completely destroy the audience's sympathy for the character and in the audience's eyes make them irredeemable.
There's a difference between being treated as redeemed and not being smacked down at all.
Als, we may want to consider making a sister trope to Disproportionate Retribution specifically for Disproportionately Light Retribution. Maybe rename DR to Disproportionately Severe Retribution, as well because, as the trope definition currently notes, while it technically does include both "overly severe" and "overly lenient retribution", common usage only includes the "overly severe" version.
edited 26th Jun '17 10:56:03 AM by Madrugada
Just because something is YMMV and an audience reaction, doesn't mean all examples will qualify. For example, I remember an Edit War on the Designated Hero page for the Wreck-It Ralph movie on the main character Vanellope being an example, despite her redeeming herself in the end.
Also, Complete Monster is YMMV, but that doesn't mean that all evil characters qualify.
Also, people use the Moral Event Horizon trope to complain about things characters do that don't necessarily come off as evil. For example, for a recap page on an Ed, Edd n Eddy episode, someone put this as an example:
This isn't an action that comes off as irredeemably evil, this is just an example of a character being a petty, immature bully.
edited 26th Jun '17 10:59:31 AM by MsCC93
We may need a Heinous Standard test a la Complete Monster to weed out bad examples, but to me the author trying to redeem a character after they did something flat out awful isn't enough to discount their actions for an Audience Reaction trope. Bad writing is still a thing.
Now I understand where you are coming from. I think the misuse with Moral Event Horizon is more prominent in ongoing work.
What does confuse me about the work is how some characters can have out of character moments and do things that would come off as irredeemably evil. In the next episode, however, the show would act as if it never happened. Then when the series goes on, said character never performs actions like that again. So will the MEH example count, then?
Depends if the audience treats that moment as serious and never lets it go or not, I'd say.
For example, Teen Titans Go is pretty much a Negative Continuity show, but a lot of people find the Titans actions (especially Robin's) to have cemented them as Villain Protagonists.
edited 26th Jun '17 11:12:08 AM by PhiSat
Well, Villain Protagonist is an objective trope, so it doesn't matter what "people think" in that regard. It's very tricky to establish irredeemability in a work with Negative Continuity, but as we've been noting, Moral Event Horizon is a YMMV trope; it's a matter of how heinous the audience finds the actions every bit as much as how the work treats them.
The major problem here is that literally any act can be an MEH for someone, making this "trope" as meaningless as Dethroning Moment Of Suck in terms of standardized criteria.
edited 26th Jun '17 11:55:11 AM by Fighteer
Aside from Once Upon a Time, I found the other works that have their own Moral Event Horizon subpages. They are: And Then There Were None, Game of Thrones, The Simpsons, and South Park.
You also gotta remember that this is a YMMV trope. What can be seen as unforgivable by one part of the fanbase doesn't have to be seen that way by the other part.
The action should rise to some minimum standard of heinousness. At the very least, it should be treated as heinous In-Universe, so that we don't get people adding MEH examples for the time Joey kicked Suzie in the shins. ("Carol sneezed on David. I'm a germophobe, so MEH!!!!oneone")
Let's not forget that YMMV tropes do not permit individual opinions. They should represent significant or predominant opinion among fans of a work. There are only a few tropes that allow tropers to cite personal examples, and they mostly go in Sugar Wiki or Darth Wiki.
edited 29th Jun '17 11:51:58 AM by Fighteer
I agree with Fighteer. Some people just use this trope when a character is just being a meaniehead to another character. Like "Sarah fatshamed Susie...omg, MEH!!!!"
IF it was something like "Sarah stabbed Susie many times, intending to kill her," it would probably count.
edited 1st Jul '17 4:05:22 AM by MsCC93
Well yeah, DUH, there has to be a baseline heinousness, but for some people Alice stabbing Bob to Death out of jealousy might be a MEH while others think it wasn't because Bob cheated on her.
Maybe not the best example, but you get the point.
I'm not sure about any immediate qualifier, but a disqualifier would be if any other character even considers forgiving them. Which is part of the description. Well, probably excluding clinically insane or mind-controlled characters, but those don't really count in this regard.
I'm also not sure about any situation that's in any way played for laughs. It's potentially possible it could happen, but I suspect that would fall under some other similar looking trope.
After thinking about it, I think this trope should have In-Universe reactions for it to qualify. This will lesson this misuse.
Here's one MEH I'm not sure qualifies:
The character in question is portrayed not as an irredeemable villain, but as somewhere in between Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain. He IS a huge Base-Breaking Character, but that means he DOES have a lot of fans who sympathize with him.
Should I remove that example?
Actually, now that I think about it, ALL of the Danganronpa 2 examples might not qualify. Spoilers for the Danganronpa 3 anime ahead:
The anime reveals that all of the evil things the members of Ultimate Despair did were done under mind-control, which in a way absolves them of moral responsibility for their acts. Can someone be considered irredeemable for something they didn't do willingly?
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