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Misused (alt names crowner Feb 9, 2020): Those Two Bad Guys

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Oct 6th 2019 at 4:25:34 PM

Those Two Bad Guys is a trope that bleeds from several wounds. It supposedly is about a stock character duo type: "a pair of bad guys who not only provide bloodshed, but also exposition in the form of conversation between them". The problems with this are numerous:

  1. The vast majority of the examples are ZCE.
  2. The examples that are not ZCE seem to interpret the trope as "a duo of bad guys", explaining how the characters are villainous and how they are inseparable. I blame the unclear trope name, which seems to suggest this is Those Two Guys, but evil.
  3. The way it is used at the moment (a duo of bad guys) makes it a duplicate of "Evil Duo".
  4. Considering how so few examples show the "gives exposition in the form of dialogue" part, I'm not sure that this is an actual character archetype at all.
What should we do about it?

Wick check (for 66 wicks):

Exhibit A: These examples describe villainous duos, basically Those Two Guys (the context is often "they are always together"), but evil (the context explains that they are villains). - 24 wicks

    Those Two Guys, but evil 

Exhibit B: These examples only explain that they are a duo working for a character. We need to figure out from other examples that said character is a villain. - 4 wicks

    Two henchmen of a villainous character 

Exhibit C: Just two character names, without any context given. - 33 wicks

    Zero-Context Examples 

Exhibit D: Similar to Exhibit C, except the trope name is potholed into the character names. - 5 wicks

    Potholes 

Notably, not a single one of the above 66 examples fit the trope description (i.e. "duo of characters that provide bloodshed as well as exposition in the form of witty banter").

Edited by Snicka on Jan 18th 2020 at 8:47:18 PM

Berrenta Remakes on the way from Texas Relationship Status: Can't buy me love
Remakes on the way
Jan 18th 2020 at 11:26:24 AM

Good thing you remembered to do a wick check while the thread was still waiting.

Wick check's good, so opening for discussion.

WarJay77 Some like it hot from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Some like it hot
Jan 18th 2020 at 11:28:42 AM

This is another trope I think is being harmed by its title. Those Two Bad Guys just sounds like, well, the evil version of Those Two Guys, so that's how people use it.

Wick Check Project Official Sandbox (TM)
Jan 18th 2020 at 11:46:14 AM

Does the stereotype that the trope tries to describe, i.e. "a duo of criminals who provide exposition in the form of witty banter", really exist? It seems to be based on Jules and Vincent from Pulp Fiction, but I can't think of any other example off my head.

WarJay77 Some like it hot from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Some like it hot
Jan 18th 2020 at 11:52:55 AM

[up] I don't know. I've definitely seen more examples of the "Bumbling evil duo" than what the trope is actually describing.

Wick Check Project Official Sandbox (TM)
Jan 18th 2020 at 12:01:12 PM

"Bumbling evil duo" is definitely a common trope, and often lacks the power dynamics described in Evil Duo (i.e. one is a superego-ish, controlling mastermind, the other is a bumbling, dim-witted simpleton).

Brainulator9 Short-Term Projects herald from US Relationship Status: I get a feeling so complicated...
Short-Term Projects herald
Jan 18th 2020 at 2:18:53 PM

There are multiple cases within the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise where Dr. Robotnik/Eggman has the same two of his minions do his bidding with little success: Scratch and Grounder (Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog), Sleet and Dingo (Sonic Underground), Decoe and Bocoe (Sonic X), and Orbot and Cubot (since Sonic Colors). My brother also noted that this happens in Planes, though.

I even found Those Two Bad Guys on almost all relevant character sheets! (Characters.Sonic Boom Antagonists is the sole exception.) Nothing matches the description, assuming they aren't ZCEs to begin with.

Edited by Brainulator9 on Jan 18th 2020 at 5:19:32 AM

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WarJay77 Some like it hot from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Some like it hot
Jan 18th 2020 at 2:21:39 PM

Bebop and Rocksteady also come to mind. For the record, the example on their character sheet just says:

Edited by WarJay77 on Jan 18th 2020 at 5:22:17 AM

Wick Check Project Official Sandbox (TM)
Jan 18th 2020 at 2:34:13 PM

The Disney Animated Canon also likes the "bumbling Evil Duo" trope, such as Jasper and Horace, Brutus and Nero, or Pain and Panic. None of those meet the current description of Those Two Bad Guys, but all of them are listed as examples.

EDIT: Hercules's work page has the first example that actually cared to read the trope description! Is says the following: "Pain and Panic work for Hades and provide exposition about how the magic potion works." However, their Character page only says: "Two minor minions of the Big Bad."

Edited by Snicka on Jan 18th 2020 at 11:39:10 AM

Jan 18th 2020 at 5:38:42 PM

I have three ideas of how we can fix this trope:

  1. Redefine Those Two Bad Guys to mean "bumbling evil duo", and also rename it to that to fit how it's currently being used.
  2. Keep the current definition but rename to make its meaning clearer. The current name makes it sound like it means Those Two Guys but evil.
  3. Split the trope into two tropes: one for the current definition and one for the "bumbling evil duo" misuse.

Edited by ADrago on Jan 18th 2020 at 8:39:16 AM

WarJay77 Some like it hot from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Some like it hot
Jan 18th 2020 at 5:39:47 PM

I vote we redefine it. If we can't find any examples of the trope being used properly, what's the point of keeping the trope as is?

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naturalironist from The Information Superhighway Relationship Status: TV Tropes ruined my love life
GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Jan 18th 2020 at 8:47:17 PM

[up]So do I. I also think Bumbling Evil Duo sounds like a good name if we rename this.

"An ear for an ear makes it hard to hear." —Gaston (Animal Crossing: New Horizons)
Jan 19th 2020 at 12:15:22 AM

How would we differentiate Bumbling Evil Duo from the already-existing Evil Duo? The current Evil Duo mentions a Freudian character dynamic, but you wouldn't be able to guess that from the name.

No matter what we do, the description of Those Two Bad Guys needs to be changed. A part of the rampant misuse is that the thesis is written as a Self-Demonstrating Article, from the point of view of the bad guys - which makes it a lot more difficult to understand what the trope is about.

GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Jan 19th 2020 at 1:23:15 AM

[up]Huh... if Bumbling Evil Duo would be redundant with Evil Duo, then the proposed redefinition might not work.

Should we just redirect this to Evil Duo? If all current examples are misuse and the proposed redefinition is a duplicate, then I'm stumped.

Edit: The below post wasn't there when I was writing the second paragraph of this post.

Edited by GastonRabbit on Jan 19th 2020 at 3:27:39 AM

"An ear for an ear makes it hard to hear." —Gaston (Animal Crossing: New Horizons)
WarJay77 Some like it hot from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Some like it hot
Jan 19th 2020 at 1:26:10 AM

Evil Duo is Red Oni, Blue Oni as a pair of villains. Bumbling Evil Duo would be something entirely different; the only issue being the similar titles.

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GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Jan 19th 2020 at 1:27:01 AM

[up]Then maybe we do have a chance with redefining this. If we do redefine this, I don't think the name is that big of a deal compared to the definition and the description; changing the name might not even be necessary (it might not be a good idea, for that matter, if it would make things less clear).

Edit: I saw the wick count, and now I'm against changing the name, but in favor of changing the definition and description. Changing 2,000+ wicks would take way too long compared to just trimming the description and commenting out ZCEs.

Edit: Now that I think about it, wouldn't "bumbling evil duo" be more distinct than the current definition? We already have Mr. Exposition for characters who provide exposition.

Edited by GastonRabbit on Jan 19th 2020 at 3:57:07 AM

"An ear for an ear makes it hard to hear." —Gaston (Animal Crossing: New Horizons)
Jan 19th 2020 at 2:05:51 AM

[up][up]Doesn't that make Evil Duo redundant to Red Oni, Blue Oni? Or are Red Oni, Blue Oni always protagonists? Is being evil enough of an extra flavor to warrant a subtrope? Note that Evil Duo only has only 248 wicks (as opposed to the 2140 wicks of Those Two Bad Guys, the 6126 wicks of Those Two Guys and the 7746 wicks of Red Oni, Blue Oni).

[up]If we keep the name Those Two Bad Guys, the best course is to redefine it as what the trope name indicates: Those Two Guys, but bad. That said, Those Two Guys itself is a Zero Context Example magnet that may deserve its own trope repair shop thread (for example, its very first paragraph mentions they are "usually in a high school setting", whereas most examples are not from high school settings).

Adept from A city of Microbes Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Jan 19th 2020 at 7:50:34 AM

[up]I think Evil Duo is supposed to be the Evil Counterpart to Adventure Duo, where the villainous pair (usually the Big Bad and The Dragon) are foils to one another. Not sure if that's tropeworthy, or if this is another case of Five Bad Band, though.

Edited by Adept on Jan 19th 2020 at 11:51:15 PM

WarJay77 Some like it hot from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Some like it hot
Jan 20th 2020 at 1:57:33 AM

[up] I don't know, but that's probably a topic for a new thread.

Should we have a crowner? We seem to agree, but still.

Wick Check Project Official Sandbox (TM)
Jan 20th 2020 at 6:19:51 AM

[up]Yeah, a crowner is always useful as an additional confirmation of the consensus.

Berrenta Remakes on the way from Texas Relationship Status: Can't buy me love
Remakes on the way
Jan 20th 2020 at 6:19:54 AM

Yeah, a crowner might be best.

Jan 20th 2020 at 6:23:45 AM

If we redefine this as Those Two Guys But Evil, then Evil Counterpart is definitely a trope we need to mention in the new description (although they're only Evil Counterpart if the same work has a pair of character who are Those Two Guys and another pair who are Those Two Bad Guys).

Edited by Snicka on Jan 20th 2020 at 3:27:09 PM

Brainulator9 Short-Term Projects herald from US Relationship Status: I get a feeling so complicated...
Short-Term Projects herald
Jan 20th 2020 at 6:52:31 AM

My honest thought is that, if nothing else, cut Those Two Bad Guys and move examples to other tropes as relevant.

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GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Jan 20th 2020 at 7:04:35 AM

Made a crowner. Change as needed if I missed anything.

"An ear for an ear makes it hard to hear." —Gaston (Animal Crossing: New Horizons)

Alternative Titles: Those Two Bad Guys
8th Feb '20 12:33:25 PM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the title will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative titles.
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