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Whams cleanup (Wham Line, Wham Episode, Wham Shot)

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Oct 17th 2019 at 7:12:53 PM

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.

    Web Animation 

chasemaddigan Kirby's Triple Deluxe Sundae
Kirby's Triple Deluxe Sundae
Oct 17th 2019 at 7:55:59 PM

Here's my feedback on the Strong Bad Email examples:

  • The first one has Strong Bad replacing the computer he's used since the very first episode. This was the first time he did such a thing, and it would become a recurring trend throughout the series. So, maybe keep?
  • The second was for the 200th episode. Strong Bad is prepared to answer his email, only for it to be addressed to Homestar instead. This leads to him learning that Homestar has been running his own email show independently of his, and many of his older episodes were retroactively a part of Homestar's show. This later led to a series of "Hremails" that replaced Sbemails for a few months. I'd lean towards calling this one a keep.
  • The third one is simply Strong Bad getting fed up with Homestar taking over his show and bringing Sbemails back from hiatus after the last few months. I'm not feeling this one so much, since it's basically just restoring the status quo.

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.

Oct 19th 2019 at 2:38:38 PM

I'm not sure about that first one. Would you mind writing it as you would an example, to give the full context?

chasemaddigan Kirby's Triple Deluxe Sundae
Kirby's Triple Deluxe Sundae
Oct 19th 2019 at 3:08:55 PM

I can try. How about this?

  • Strong Bad Email:
    • In sbemail 41, "invisibility", Strong Bad returns from his vacation to answer a new email. Before he begins, he throws away the Tandy 400, the computer he's used since the very first episode. This established a new trend of Strong Bad replacing his old computers every few years:
      Strong Bad: Don't need this anymore... [takes sticky note off of the Tandy 400] Don't need THIS anymore... [punches the Tandy 400 off of his desk]
    • From sbemail 200, "email thunder", Strong Bad is prepared to answer his 200th email. When he reads who it's addressed to, it leads to him learning that he's not the only person in Free Country, USA to have his own email show:
      Strong Bad: "D-d-d-dear Homestar?!" WTC??
    • Following the events of "email thunder", Strong Bad Emails went on hiatus for a few months as Homestar took over with his "Hremails". For a while, it seemed like sbemails had truly come to an end, only for "hremail 3184" to have Strong Bad crash Homestar's show to prove otherwise:
      Strong Bad: AUGH! I CAN'T TAKES IT NO MORE! SOMEBODY HAND ME A RAKE!

Feel free to give feedback if needed.

Edited by chasemaddigan on Oct 19th 2019 at 6:09:34 AM

Oct 20th 2019 at 3:13:12 PM

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.

WarJay77 LT/P Herald~ from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
LT/P Herald~
Oct 20th 2019 at 3:15:42 PM

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.

Trope Idea Salvage Yard - Currently writing a fanfic for a dead fandom. If you're at all interested, then yay!
Oct 20th 2019 at 3:22:29 PM

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

If my post doesn't mention a giant flying sperm whale with oversized teeth and dragon wings for flippers, it's just not worth reading.
ShinyCottonCandy Cheatza Cheatza from Free Country, USA Relationship Status: Who needs love when you have waffles?
Cheatza Cheatza
Oct 20th 2019 at 4:28:25 PM

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.

I need to think of a better signature.
WarJay77 LT/P Herald~ from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
LT/P Herald~
Oct 20th 2019 at 4:38:18 PM

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.

  • Wham Episode: "Dad Elucidated - Act II Finale" dropped a lot of bombs at a rapid pace. It starts with Dad calmly eating a pancake off te floor, without "food sauce on it". Because of this, Andan wakes up and remembers everything. He goes rogue and leaves the facility. We discover that Neighbor has a name, Malvin, and is Cheryl's true partner outside of the facility. Ella and Emily are both officially introduced. To top it off, the channel name changed from Dad to Andan.

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.

Trope Idea Salvage Yard - Currently writing a fanfic for a dead fandom. If you're at all interested, then yay!
Silverblade2 Relationship Status: TV Tropes ruined my love life
Oct 21st 2019 at 1:42:37 AM

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

Oct 22nd 2019 at 1:30:00 PM

From Dr. Stone:

  • Wham Shot:
    • In Chapter 120, Ginro finds the ruler of Treasure Island... who is a stone statue!
    • In Chapter 121, after Ginro gets fatally wounded, Kohaku baits Kirisame into using the petrification weapon on them in order to save his life. They get to see the weapon with their own eyes, confirming that it's a scientific invention and not magic.
    • Near the end of Chapter 126, the beginning of the final battle in the Treasure Island arc, it's shown that Minister Ibara took Kohaku's radio-receiving earring, meaning he's been listening in on all the Kingdom of Science's transmissions for a while and thus has been plotting countermeasures to their plan to steal the petrification weapon.

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.

Oct 24th 2019 at 12:32:56 AM

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

Silverblade2 Relationship Status: TV Tropes ruined my love life
Oct 24th 2019 at 12:50:13 AM

[up][up] Yeesh that's bad. I'd say at least half of those have to go.

WarJay77 LT/P Herald~ from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
LT/P Herald~
Oct 24th 2019 at 11:15:35 AM

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

Trope Idea Salvage Yard - Currently writing a fanfic for a dead fandom. If you're at all interested, then yay!
Oct 25th 2019 at 10:50:42 AM

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.

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

If my post doesn't mention a giant flying sperm whale with oversized teeth and dragon wings for flippers, it's just not worth reading.
WarJay77 LT/P Herald~ from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
LT/P Herald~
Oct 25th 2019 at 10:56:05 AM

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

Trope Idea Salvage Yard - Currently writing a fanfic for a dead fandom. If you're at all interested, then yay!
Oct 25th 2019 at 11:01:48 AM

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

If my post doesn't mention a giant flying sperm whale with oversized teeth and dragon wings for flippers, it's just not worth reading.
WarJay77 LT/P Herald~ from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
LT/P Herald~
Oct 25th 2019 at 11:09:43 AM

[up] Ya know, I agree.

Though this discussion may be better back on that Trope Talk thread, yeah?

Trope Idea Salvage Yard - Currently writing a fanfic for a dead fandom. If you're at all interested, then yay!
Oct 25th 2019 at 11:12:24 AM

Yes, it's a bit of a deviation from the clean-up.

If my post doesn't mention a giant flying sperm whale with oversized teeth and dragon wings for flippers, it's just not worth reading.
Crossover-Enthusiast Okie Dokie Smoky! from somewhere doing something Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Okie Dokie Smoky!
Oct 25th 2019 at 12:30:02 PM

Thirding.

Please remember to save your icons as pngs before uploading them, otherwise they become jpegged as heck and look terrible
Klavice As if! from Pacific Canada Relationship Status: Hoping Senpai notices me
As if!
Oct 25th 2019 at 5:07:00 PM

As someone who believes wham lines should solely be restricted to massive spoilers, I'm all for this cleanup.

Pending Writeups, Drafts Discussion Dates
Oct 27th 2019 at 3:13:56 PM

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.

Oct 28th 2019 at 2:16:54 PM

What a wonderful kind of misuse!

Arthur

  • Wham Episode:
    • S7's "April 9th." Absolutely NO ONE expected Lakewood Elementary to catch on fire, or the emotional trauma Arthur and the gang go through. Not to mention, Mr. Morris, the school janitor and long-time character, retires and moves to New Mexico to live with his daughter after breaking his leg in the fire. Mr. Morris does still live in Roswell according to "Buster Isn't Buying It," but this is hardly an important change. "Binky's 'A' Game" even implies that he still works at the school. Also, the school is fine in the next season, so this isn't a status quo change.
    • S19's "The Last Day." Arthur and the gang move on to 4th grade, with Binky (who was previously held back in the 3rd grade) moving up with them, and Mr. Ratburn decides to transit to 4th grade to be with his long-time students. This has seemingly been Snapped Back, since the characters moving up a grade is never referenced again.
I'd say to delete both of them.

Brainulator9 Short-Term Projects herald, Hedge Trimmer & more from US Relationship Status: I get a feeling so complicated...
Short-Term Projects herald, Hedge Trimmer & more
Oct 28th 2019 at 2:25:17 PM

Delete. The former could be a Shocking Moment, but the latter is inconsequential.

"I turn to you, like a flower leaning toward the sun..."

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