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Because we should have made this thread literal years ago.
There are quite a few problems with the various Wham tropes, and this is for cleaning them up best as we can. Fleshing out ZCEs, deleting obvious terrible entries, and even discussing deleted examples to possibly be added back.
For my part, I'm going to be trying to use this thread to flesh out ZCEs, because it's the most obvious problem and the easiest to fix. On that note, here's the WhamLine.Web Animation page, which is almost entirely ZCEs. I commented out most of them on the page, but I'm bringing them here because there is an editor who tried uncommenting them because he didn't understand what a ZCE is.
Here's my feedback on the Strong Bad Email examples:
I haven't seen the other shows, so I can't weigh in on them. I can add context to the Strong Bad entries if the consensus agrees they should be kept.
I'm not sure about that first one. Would you mind writing it as you would an example, to give the full context?
I can try. How about this?
Feel free to give feedback if needed.
Edited by chasemaddigan on Oct 19th 2019 at 6:09:34 AM
First one still doesn't look like a wham to me. I know anything Homestar is weird as hell, so maybe there's something huge I'm missing, but I just don't see it.
Other two look fine, and I'll add them to the page.
I'm inclined to agree with Discar, though I also don't know the work very well. I just know that Wham episode is a bit more shocking than just "there's a change to the status quo". In other words, while a Wham Episode changes the status quo, that's not the only criteria. The others seem fine.
I also agree with Discar (but I'm yet another one who doesn't know it well).
The most common misuse I see of the Wham tropes is that they keep getting used for an emotional/suspenseful climax, The Reveal or something that acts like a Gut Punch to the audience. Wham shouldn't be set up by the creators in a way that the audience can figure out in advance and it needs to change the status quo on top of that. It's that out-of-the-blue game-changing moment that makes it the 'wham'.
Edited by Wyldchyld on Oct 20th 2019 at 11:26:42 AM
As someone who is more familiar with Homestar, Strong Bad throwing out his computer in Invisibility probably is not a Wham. This is because it is the logical conclusion to Strong Bad Email E 33 Gimmicks, which definitely is a Wham. There, for the first time in the series, and out of nowhere, Strong Badís computer just blows up.
Incidentally, yes, in those emails in between Gimmicks and Invisibility Strong Bad still uses the original computer post-explosion.
My question is, how much foreshadowing, if any, is acceptable?
Here's an example I posted to Dad. Spoilers have been stripped for the purposes of discussion.
The idea of Dad actually being a trapped man named Andan was so heavily hinted at, that almost everyone knew it was a thing. However, nobody expected him to just suddenly gain control and storm off on his own, nor was it expected that we'd learn more about both Andan and Cheryl's true lives outside the facility's experiment, and it especially wasn't expected for Andan to temporarily take the channel. So the twist itself was built up to, but the actual series of events that transpired and why they all happened was not expected.
Yeah, I've noticed that Wham Episode is often used for any episode where something happens.
At one point, WhamEpisode.Game Of Thrones had 29 episodes listed out of 60.
Edited by Silverblade2 on Oct 21st 2019 at 10:47:16 AM
From Dr. Stone:
The first and last examples are about things that only really matter for the current arc, not the story as a whole. Chapter 121 may count since the cause of the petrification has been one of the biggest mysteries since the start. But even then, I'm not sure if it's a big enough reveal, since we've known that the islanders had a petrification weapon for several chapters at this point.
The Legend of Korra has 34 out of 52 episodes listed.
Bojack Horseman could also use a clean-up. A third or more of every season is listed as WHAM, and the entirety of season 2.
Edited by Stage7-4 on Oct 24th 2019 at 12:34:00 PM
Yeesh that's bad. I'd say at least half of those have to go.
Yeah, there ought to be some rule that limits or at least encourages only calling a few episodes "Wham Episode", otherwise it's meaningless.
Or, if pretty much every other episode is shocking and radically changing the status quo, can there even be anything Wham enough to stand out as a proper Wham Episode?
Edited by WarJay77 on Oct 24th 2019 at 2:17:01 PM
I don't know the show and I can already see that this clean-up might suffer from people not knowing the shows well enough to truly identify when something is Wham or another trope. For instance, your description here suggests we're dealing with The Reveal or a more specific reveal trope, but that doesn't mean my interpretation is correct for the wider context of the work.
This is what I don't know from your example, and I think this is the important thing: what was the long-term impact on the story of this reveal? That seems to be the big factor in separating Wham from reveal or plot twist tropes or even just episodes where 'something impactful happens'. Twists and reveals are built into stories — they don't fundamentally change the rest of the story so much as clarify the story so far. A Wham event, however, is a radical readjustment of the entire story. It doesn't just reveal something, it's changed the entire status quo for the rest of that story.
So, did this scene radically alter the status quo for the rest of the story? Or was just a one-episode wonder or a thing for a season's story arc before everything settled back down again? That's what'll tell you if it's Wham or just a reveal.
Edited by Wyldchyld on Oct 25th 2019 at 6:57:39 PM
To be completely honest, I don't know that yet- we're still waiting on Act 3 (basically the third "season") to start. I greatly believe this'll change the status quo, but the fact that I can't say for certain it has, means I was probably being unintentionally speculative. The thing about this series is that the entire plot seems to be the Andan situation, but a lot of information has only been hinted at. Andan is the main character and needs to get home, but is being trapped in the Dad persona- but I don't know if the reveal to the audience will change the status-quo.
I still think this episode was the most shocking and revealing episode for pretty much everyone watching the series (especially since this episode was being streamed, so I saw the fan reaction live in chat), but it may be better off moved to the newly-launched Shocking Moments or something, and then re-added later if it turns out it did change the status-quo.
Edited by WarJay77 on Oct 25th 2019 at 1:57:53 PM
It may be that we need to sit down with the Wham tropes and solidify exactly what's meant by them, especially in light of the existence of other tropes like Shocking Moments.
I know this is supposed to be just a clean-up thread, but I'm not sure everyone interprets the Wham tropes in quite the same way. And I think that might be part of the problem, why a clean-up is necessary at all. For example, I think we suffer from perhaps having too many Wham tropes — I actually think the existence of so many Wham tropes is itself a symptom of uncertainty over what Wham is supposed to cover.
Just as speculation here, shouldn't we just have one trope (a sort of 'Wham Event' or 'Wham Moment' trope) which deals with that moment in the show that is defined as 'Wham' — whether it be done through a line, a scene or an entire episode? The three separate tropes make it seem as though what's important is whether it's a spoken line, a scene or an episode, when the real importance is whether it's 'Wham' in the first place... and none of that helps actually define what 'Wham' is at all. Indeed, reading the three tropes, I don't even think they completely agree on what the concept of 'Wham' actually is. To give one example of that: Wham Line really emphasises how important it is that the line has to be completely unexpected, that it can't be a Foregone Conclusion and that it radically changes the plot; Wham Shot mentions it has to alter a scene but doesn't talk about set-up and only mention it being unexpected as a throw-away line that's easy to ignore; Wham Episode talks about radically altering the status quo, but doesn't mention anything about set-up, Foregone Conclusion or it being unexpected.
Edited by Wyldchyld on Oct 25th 2019 at 7:11:24 PM
Ya know, I agree.
Though this discussion may be better back on that Trope Talk thread, yeah?
Yes, it's a bit of a deviation from the clean-up.
As someone who believes wham lines should solely be restricted to massive spoilers, I'm all for this cleanup.
We probably do need yet another discussion on the Whams, but the specific reason I started this thread was for the ZCEs. We don't need any definition realignment to agree that some random line that makes no sense out of context needs help. That's also the reason I started with Wham Line; it's just one line, not arguing over an entire episode.
What a wonderful kind of misuse!
Delete. The former could be a Shocking Moment, but the latter is inconsequential.
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How well does it match the trope?