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Not Tropeworthy: Counterpart Comparison

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Dec 21st 2018 at 7:37:33 PM

Counterpart Comparison strikes me as an odd trope—the laconic is 'A character similar to an older one is judged by their similiarities to the latter,' and likely because of how loose it is compared to expy I've most often seen it shoehorning comparisons between any characters regardless of how old or how similar they are.

The trope description also doesn't help, as it doesn't clearly define what the trope is ("They can like the new character because he resembles the old character, or hate them as a rip-off. Anti-fans can treat the new guy like a pointless, unnecessary character created only to attract the old one's fans, or turn them into a model of "This is how the original one should be written to be a good character." "However, sometimes they can take revenge, proving that he is better than the old one and becoming more popular. This is the first step to turning one of them into The Scrappy, or Replacement Scrappy in the case of Legacy Characters and the Suspiciously Similar Substitute.") until the Editor's Note, which goes "This page is for documenting instances where a Vocal Minority in at least one fandom has noted the (alleged) similarities between two characters and commented on them, for better or for worse" but many examples do not cite such sources, if they exist at all. Even the page quote is just "Seto Kaiba is like Scrooge Mc Duck" without anything saying why, how, or whether the fans think so too.

The most recent examples of trope misuse I can think of are from YMMV.Ralph Breaks The Internet where Pyro is compared to Fred without saying why, Ralph is compared to Herman Munster with plentiful reasons but there's no indication of many fans noticing, and Dan resembling two other characters again without evidence. CounterpartComparison.Big Hero 6, CounterpartComparison.Stretch Armstrong And The Flex Fighters and CounterpartComparison.Zootopia have many examples that are just as bad, and it's far from an isolated problem.

Between shoehorned examples with characters ("A purple character who is the third boy in the group and gets the least amount of appearances. Do you think of Austin or Ongo?"), misused examples of comparing works to one another ("The plot of The Good Dinosaur, where a dinosaur helps a young human boy find his family, can be compared to Yoshi's Island"), along with Expy's stricter definitions of characters deliberately being based off others, I'm not sure this needs to be a trope at all, especially since theoretically any character can be compared with any other character.

Edited by lalalei2001 on Dec 21st 2018 at 9:57:48 AM

Lymantria "Mordor!" from Toronto Relationship Status: Seeking boyfriend-free girl
"Mordor!"
Jan 9th 2019 at 4:33:19 PM

Also, if there are any examples that are just "Work X ripped off Work Y and I hate it for that" they should be cut.

Otherwise, I agree with pretty much all of what you said.

Edited by Lymantria on Jan 9th 2019 at 7:37:46 AM

Join the Five-Man Band cleanup project!
Jan 9th 2019 at 4:48:53 PM

Also, every other example should be cut, and the page should be cut, because "two characters have literally anything in common" is not a trope.

In my always-humble opinion.

Jan 9th 2019 at 5:01:43 PM

[up] Well of course it's not a trope, it's an Audience Reaction. People view the work and react by thinking that a character reminds them of another. Not being a trope isn't a reason to not give something a page.

The question is whether or not the reaction is interesting and notable enough that it's worth keeping examples of. It's true that a lot of the time it's basically treated as "I wanted to list this character as an Expy but the cleanup thread deleted it".

Perhaps we should require evidence that there is a widespread opinion that these characters are similar. For example, at least one piece of fan art that compares them together.

WarJay77 A rogue creation from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
A rogue creation
Jan 9th 2019 at 5:52:25 PM

[up] That might be a good way of dealing with it.

Hi, I'm a female troper with an interest in ARGs, Pokemon, Writing, and more. ZCE sandbox
Jan 10th 2019 at 10:01:10 AM

I think that guts the page to such an extent that it winds up getting cut anyway. Which is fine if we want to go about it the long way around I suppose.

But DO we want to go the long way around? We typically only carry out solutions that require ongoing well-supported long-term project threads (which is what this would require to vet examples) for Tropes of Legend and other pages of long standing that clearly have some kind of value to keep around, like Complete Monster (which is demonstrably a thing despite widespread misuse).

And even then, such threads often hang around for years accomplishing a lot of nothing, like the Five-Man Band cleanup thread which has been around since 2012, and yet if you look at the FMB examples subpages, they're still 99% Zero Context Examples and/or obvious misuse.

Do we really want to go through all that for Counterpart Comparison when we already have so many ways of saying "these two characters have something in common"?

Edited by HighCrate on Jan 10th 2019 at 10:58:56 AM

GastonRabbit More bored man than swordsman from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
More bored man than swordsman
Jan 10th 2019 at 10:19:20 AM

I agree with Zuxtron that the use of it for rejected Expy examples is pointless, but I disagree with adding an evidence requirement instead of cutting it outright. While we do have an Audience Reaction that requires evidence (Unfortunate Implications), that was because the only other non-cut solution in that case was designating it as Flame Bait.

Edited by GastonRabbit on Jan 10th 2019 at 12:22:54 PM

"We're just a weed in the universe." —Karl Pilkington
WarJay77 A rogue creation from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
A rogue creation
Jan 10th 2019 at 11:20:02 AM

[up] True, but how should we go about fixing this otherwise?

Hi, I'm a female troper with an interest in ARGs, Pokemon, Writing, and more. ZCE sandbox
Jan 10th 2019 at 8:00:57 PM

[up][up] Requiring evidence was just one possibility I was throwing out there. I could certainly get behind cutting the whole thing too. It's true that the rule would be ridiculously difficult to enforce and probably not get anywhere.

GastonRabbit More bored man than swordsman from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
More bored man than swordsman
Jan 10th 2019 at 10:39:24 PM

[up]I seem to have misread what you originally said.

[up][up]My previous post was meant to indicate that I'm in favor of a cut.

Edited by GastonRabbit on Jan 11th 2019 at 2:18:56 PM

"We're just a weed in the universe." —Karl Pilkington
WarJay77 A rogue creation from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
A rogue creation
Jan 10th 2019 at 11:10:44 PM

Ah.

I wouldn't mind cutting.

Hi, I'm a female troper with an interest in ARGs, Pokemon, Writing, and more. ZCE sandbox
Jan 11th 2019 at 4:10:48 AM

I'm in favor of a cut as well, if that's the only real option.

WaterBlap Blapper of Water Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Blapper of Water
Jan 11th 2019 at 10:09:20 AM

The issue is that it's not a trope, but that's already been dealt with as it's already labeled YMMV. The OP is mostly written as though it's a trope, but the standards are a bit different for YMMV articles. Just look at Harsher in Hindsight or other YMMV's, where the concept doesn't merely concern the content of the work itself but also other works or outside sources. Counterpart Comparison concerns the reaction some audience members feel when they encounter a character that reminds them of another, and in many instances this engenders feelings of nostalgia. If we're looking for the subjectivity in this YMMV, it's that. If we're looking for the objectivity, it's the similarity with Expy that people in this thread have already mentioned.

If memory serves, Counterpart Comparison isn't merely about tropers seeing similarities but outside sources making the comparison. In that way, there needs to at least be a reference to who said what, rather than just using Weasel Words to shoehorn examples.

I think we need a wick check before seriously proposing a cut, especially since there are 1590 wicks (all of which would need to be cleaned were we to cut) and over 7K inbounds to this article.

I'm against cutting until there's an actual reason to give up completely.

[witty saying]
Jan 11th 2019 at 1:25:06 PM

[up] A lot of examples are tenuous at best, with very few examples having links, citations, or even just... valid comparisons. Over on Abby Hatcher, Fuzzly Catcher we have

"Where have we heard a young child with a critter companion who go around catching other creatures before? However unlike Pokémon, a big difference is that Abby doesn't make them compete and fight; rather, she collects them to hug them and keep them safe.

An even vaguer comparison can be made between this and Esme & Roy, which focuses on a young girl and her monster friend taking care of, or "monster-sitting" cute baby monsters."

while Sonic Forces has a slew of comparisons for Infinite that are basically "he resembles every DBZ character, Antasma, Kylo Ren, Tempest Shadow, and characters that use cubes to attack."

Edited by lalalei2001 on Jan 11th 2019 at 1:25:46 AM

Jan 11th 2019 at 2:16:36 PM

Inbounds can be preserved with a redirect to the closest-related remaining page, in this case probably Expy.

In the case of a wick check, what are we checking for?

Edited by HighCrate on Jan 11th 2019 at 2:17:08 AM

Jan 12th 2019 at 7:50:57 AM

Another misuse I've seen regarding this trope was that it was used for comparisons between works and not characters.

Edited by costanton11 on Jan 12th 2019 at 4:26:37 AM

naturalironist from The Information Superhighway Relationship Status: TV Tropes ruined my love life
Jan 12th 2019 at 8:03:33 AM

Given that the definition specifies that there must be a substantial portion of the fandom that supports the comparison, if we keep this there should be some sort of semi-objective criterion.

That said, there is a lot of overlap between Surprisingly Similar Characters, which seems like a better fit for people liking to compare two characters in a work. So I don't really see the value of this trope. For myself, when I read YMMV pages I want to find out what people think of the work, not what they think of random other works I haven't read.

"It's just a show; I should really just relax"
Jan 12th 2019 at 10:21:11 AM

A redirect to Surprisingly Similar Characters would also work, or maybe a disambiguation page pointing to both that and Expy.

In fact, SSC seems like exactly what Counterpart Comparison should be: a Just for Fun page that doesn't pretend to be anything else.

Edited by HighCrate on Jan 12th 2019 at 10:21:23 AM

GastonRabbit More bored man than swordsman from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
More bored man than swordsman
Jan 12th 2019 at 1:56:46 PM

Merging with Surprisingly Similar Characters sounds like a good idea.

"We're just a weed in the universe." —Karl Pilkington
Lymantria "Mordor!" from Toronto Relationship Status: Seeking boyfriend-free girl
"Mordor!"
Jan 12th 2019 at 2:25:19 PM

I still support a cut. As others have said we have Suspiciously Similar Characters (sorry, Surprisingly Similar Characters) which is Just for Fun. (We also have the also JFF Surprisingly Similar Stories - the trope is supposed to be for characters, not works, but some of the misused examples might be for works, so if we decide to cut, they can be moved there).

I actually thought for a while that the titles of those two pages used "Suspiciously" instead of "Surprisingly".

Edited by Lymantria on Jan 12th 2019 at 5:30:14 AM

Join the Five-Man Band cleanup project!
GastonRabbit More bored man than swordsman from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
More bored man than swordsman
Jan 12th 2019 at 3:16:33 PM

[up]When I said merging, I mainly meant moving non-duplicate examples there, if that's determined to be necessary (though I'd be fine with just a cut). I'd be fine with your proposal of not keeping Main.Counterpart Comparison around as a redirect for JustForFun.Surprisingly Similar Characters.

As for Surprisingly Similar Stories, if examples need to be moved, misuse of Counterpart Comparison that refers to works instead of characters could be moved there.

Edited by GastonRabbit on Jan 12th 2019 at 5:23:16 AM

"We're just a weed in the universe." —Karl Pilkington
Jan 13th 2019 at 2:04:44 PM

I'd like to note that Alternate Company Equivalent is basically Counterpart Comparison in disguise in the Main namespace, so if something is done with the latter, I'd do the same with the former.

Edited by Asherinka on Jan 13th 2019 at 1:05:49 PM

Take my heart when you go.
Jan 14th 2019 at 7:49:06 PM

I've seen some valid (widely done by fans) examples of Counterpart Comparison. But without some way of keeping it even minimally objective, I say redirect or require evidence to prove it's a widespread comparison.

Karxrida Mean and Green from Darkness within Darkness Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Mean and Green
Jan 15th 2019 at 12:19:09 PM

Doing cleanup projects for YMMV just isn't worth it anymore. Cut it.

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody remembers it, who else will you have ice cream with?
GastonRabbit More bored man than swordsman from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
More bored man than swordsman
Jan 15th 2019 at 3:44:56 PM

[up]I agree with you about YMMV cleanup projects. There are plenty of those already.

Edited by GastonRabbit on Jan 15th 2019 at 5:47:04 AM

"We're just a weed in the universe." —Karl Pilkington

Page Action: Counterpart Comparison
22nd Jan '19 11:30:20 PM
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