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Spoiled Sweet cleanup

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XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Oct 30th 2019 at 10:48:26 AM

Yay, another cleanup thread!

Spoiled Sweet is a trope that needs a dedicated cleanup effort because of the Trope Decay. The trope is used for a very vague notion of characters who are spoiled and at the same time nice.

There are relatively few examples on the page (about 100), yet it has over 1800 wicks.

This trope is problematic because many people believe it automatically makes the character more likeable and they apply it even when it doesn't really fit. Tropers often ignore that there are other similar tropes that fit better, at least for the example context provided.

Basics:

It's Always Female and a subtrope of Idle Rich. Usually not aristocrats and princesses. Not kids or boys.

    What it is 
  • A girl from the upper class whose parents are (usually) rich.
  • She's pampered and sheltered, and therefore naive about many things.
  • She's indulged in everything she could ever want. She's doted on by family and friends alike. If the family has servants, they'll probably adore her.
  • She's cheerful, optimistic and genuinely nice to everyone. She's almost always outwardly nice. (Of course she's allowed to be human and she can snap at people who are mean to her, but she should feel guilty for snapping, or she should almost immediately forgive them for being mean, or she should try to think of ways to get them to like her etc.)
  • She might be a bit selfish. She's a friendly character who's quite accustomed to getting her way, even insistent upon it, but she's willing to take "no" for an answer if getting her way means hurting others.
  • Typical plot is that Spoiled Sweet befriends someone poorer or of lower social class (in high school setting someone who is way less cool or not popular enough), and she thinks she can easily make her new friend fit into her sweet upper-class lifestyle... without understanding that it's not that easy or that her behaviour can appear condescending.
  • Sweet is always being there with hugs, kisses, a shoulder to cry on for distressed people. She is likely to ask about other people's emotions. She puts other people's feelings first. She wants to put a smile on a friend's face (ideally everyone's face). She's empathetic.
  • She's idealistic and has a naive belief that all people are inherently good and wonderful and that she needs to be good and wonderful back.
  • It's a gendered trope. Media tend to code sweetness as very feminine because it shows a lot of weakness and vulnerability.

    What it is not / Overlaps 
  • Nice Gal and Nice Guy. Separate trope, broader than Spoiled Sweet.
  • Wealthy Philanthropist: Giving away money and doing charitable things is not absolutely required for Spoiled Sweet. They may overlap though.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Sharing one's wealth and having fun with one's less rich friends is not Spoiled Sweet either. They may overlap though.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Like Spoiled Sweet, they might be naive about 'real life' behind the palace walls but have good intentions. These characters can treat servants and common folks like jerks without really understanding that they're jerks. Usually it's a set up for some development because aristocrats and especially roayls are supposed to care about their subjects and common folks.
  • Noblesse Oblige — redirect to Royals Who Actually Do Something. "Noblesse oblige" implies that with great wealth, power, and prestige come great responsibility. Royals and aristocrats (and in modern times, anyone truly rich) should behave well and their high status means more than entitlements. They should fulfil social responsibilities and extend generosity towards those around them, including servants and people who live on their property or rent their land. Non-Idle Rich and Comes Great Responsibility are related concepts.
  • Small kids: If everything is going well in life, kids are sheltered and pampered even if the family is fairly poor or if they have average income. Most kids are sweet or portrayed as Cheerful Child. An adorable child loved by his parents who is nice to others is not this trope.
  • Boys and young men: There might be exceptions, but men are extremely rarely portrayed as having that sweet but boring idle rich life. They're not as sheltered or pampered like girls.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: If she's an Alpha Bitch, she doesn't fit.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: If she's a jerk, she doesn't fit.
  • Spoiled Brat but downplayed. If she's a brat, she doesn't fit.
  • From rich background, but still a nice normal woman. Too broad. Not a Trope / People Sit on Chairs.
  • Just being rich and not a jerk. Too broad. People Sit on Chairs.
  • Spoiled doesn't equal rich. Usually if the character earned her money via hard work, she doesn't fit (as this shows she takes care of herself and no one has to coddle her).
  • There is some confusion what "sweet" actually means. Some people mention polite, modest, humble, or just nice and kind. But being humble or modest is not needed for this trope. it's actually rather atypical. "Nice" and "kind" is fine but it's too general. Concrete examples of how she's nice/kind/sweet are the best.
  • The Ditz: They might overlap, but it's not necessary. Female Ditz tends to be sweet and naive, but Spoiled Sweet is not necessarily stupid or dumb.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: If someone starts as a Jerkass or Rich Bitch, but gets better and nicer, it's usually covered by this trope.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: The have all the material things they could ever want, but they're not indulged by their parents (because they're busy working/taking care of the money and property) and they desperately want to have friends. Spoiled Sweet has it all: material things and immense love and attention.

I made a sandbox page with some arguments and things that should be addressed (the first part of this post). See Spoiled Sweet Cleanup. There are also some examples of misuse with my explanation why it's misuse. It includes examples that are too vague or ZCE.

However, I've been told before that I interpret the trope too narrowly or that I enforce too strict standards to this trope, but that is not my intention. So if you think I misrepresent the trope or if some ZCE that are actually valid examples got removed, I'd be happy to hear it. I'm very open to discussing it.

I'd appreciate any help with the cleanup. I try to maintain this trope and I occasionally remove misuse or comment out ZCE, but it's like a hydra. I feel like whenever I cut 10 misused examples, 20 more appear in no time.

Crosswicking good examples back to the trope page would help a lot, too.

Discussions for reference

Edited by XFllo on Nov 13th 2019 at 5:46:13 PM

XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Nov 1st 2019 at 8:39:37 AM

300 wicks down, 1500 wicks to check.

XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Nov 5th 2019 at 7:10:15 AM

Progress report: 1338. ETA: 1200. Phew!

Edited by XFllo on Nov 9th 2019 at 4:49:14 PM

XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Nov 6th 2019 at 5:50:18 AM

Here is one example that I want to talk about.

Frankie from Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Original write-up: Almost a zero-context example. It just says she's not mean and that her parents are rich.

Second write-up, added without discussing it first, might I add.

  • Spoiled Sweet: Frankie is funny, sweet and lovably awkward... and she was raised in an astoundingly wealthy household. The fact that her family relationships are less-than-perfect probably contributed to her modest demeanour.

That's getting better. The "sweet" part is explained well. However, Spoiled Sweet is supposed to be indulged and pampered, usually by family and friends alike. "The fact that her family relationships are less-than-perfect probably contributed to her modest demeanour" suggests she's not really pampered. Being wealthy is not enough context, many rich characters are miserable in fiction, for example a Lonely Rich Kid. Being modest or humble is also off this trope.

In this ATT, there is this discussion of Frankie, which suggests she could fit this trope:

  • A rich girl, a daughter of the mayor. She's very nice to all students of Degrassi until they're mean to her, but she's sheltered as well in terms of how the world works not in her rich white girl bubble.


What do you think?

GoldenCityBird Day 23 of using each avatar in my gallery from the UK
Day 23 of using each avatar in my gallery
Nov 6th 2019 at 6:33:04 AM

I don't think that would count, really. It tackles the "Sweet" part, but I don't see the "Spoiled" part at all. It provides no context as to if the mayor spoils her at all. Maybe someone who knows Degrassi can add more context.

Despite her innocent looks and disarming grin she actually has no idea what she's doing.
XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Nov 6th 2019 at 6:51:00 AM

[up] Thanks for your feedback. That's what I think as well. For now, the example is commented out as half-context example. A link to the character sheet.

harrietvanger yes. i do want to feel this way. Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
yes. i do want to feel this way.
Nov 7th 2019 at 4:44:56 AM

Hey, about this trope...I've seen a few examples of this deleted / commented out when I actually think the character DOES qualify for the trope (or a subversion / deconstruction), it's just that the actual description of how they fit into the trope is poorly written so it's not clear. Can I put it back in these circumstances? Or does it need to be approved by this thread?

XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Nov 7th 2019 at 5:12:53 AM

[up] Thanks for stopping by! Actually, it would be awesome and wonderful if you did just that. :-)

Disclaimer: I don't have any special power or editing privileges over this trope.

The misuse is pretty bad in my opinion, but probably nowhere near as bad as Complete Monster, The Scrappy, Creator's Pet or Woobie, which are some examples of audience-reaction-tropes that require to be approved by cleanup threads. What helps here is that Spoiled Sweet is an objective trope and it's easier to decide if the character is an example.

How I do the cleanup: I just delete examples that are classic ZCE, entirely without context — to make this cleanup easier. I know it's recommended to comment it out, but it's really tiring to keep coming to a page, only for me to realise that I have read those ZCE several times.

If the example context clearly points to another trope, I swap it (it often happens with Sheltered Aristocrat).

If the example context is so-so or half-context, and especially if it seems it's really an example, only poorly explained, I comment it out with %%.

You can put any examples you feel are valid back. I'd be happy to provide feedback though.

I'd be careful with subversions: there has to be a clear set up and then not delivering on those expectation, like Bait-and-Switch. I'm not saying it's impossible for this trope, I feel it's likely it's gonna be an example of another trope.

Edited by XFllo on Nov 19th 2019 at 11:18:43 AM

harrietvanger yes. i do want to feel this way. Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
yes. i do want to feel this way.
Nov 8th 2019 at 3:26:06 PM

Absolutely! The example I wanted to put back (I think there were others but this is the one that comes to mind) is a subversion is on Veronica Mars, for Meg Manning.

  • Spoiled Sweet: Meg initially appears to be a totally straight example, being the only nice female 09er, who even Veronica thinks is just too sweet. However, "Like A Virgin" has Veronica suggest that Meg is oblivious about the level of Veronica's suffering as a rape victim and past 09er. However, this gets played with extremely in Season 2 as Meg actually has very Abusive Parents who are religious freaks, though the main target of their abuse is Meg's younger sister, Grace.

Edited by harrietvanger on Nov 8th 2019 at 3:28:02 AM

XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Nov 8th 2019 at 3:44:20 PM

[up] Hmm, let me think:

The sweet part is explained fairly well, especially the moment that Veronica thinks she's too sweet and that she's oblivious to the suffering of Veronica as a victim. That points to the naive yet idealistic belief of Spoiled Sweet characters that all people are wonderful.

However, does she appear to be sheltered or coddled? For example, do her friends indulge her in some way or are they willing to baby her? Without the pampering, it's most likely just a Nice Girl.

The Reveal does put her in different light.

Sadly, I'm not familiar with the series.

rjd1922 The Radio Demon from Illinois Relationship Status: Love is for the living, Sal
The Radio Demon
Nov 10th 2019 at 9:40:20 AM

Fred from Big Hero 6 was cut by the TRS thread mainly because we didn't see his relationship with his parents. Since Big Hero 6: The Series does show this, I think this should be re-evaluated.

I haven't been that entertained since the stock market crash of 1929!
XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Nov 10th 2019 at 4:18:55 PM

[up] We can talk about him. Of course.

However, I think it has been demonstrated that this is a gendered trope. Any valid male example should be at least considered weak, effeminate or not tough enough for a guy because of his sweetness and naivety.

I originally thought this could be a gender-neutral trope (see my posts in the linked TRS) but I was convinced otherwise.


ETA: In a way, Spoiled Sweet is a sister compare/contrast trope to Alpha Bitch. Alpha Bitch is an Always Female trope, too. You wouldn't call a high school guy an Alpha Bitch unless he was for example a Camp Gay with girly traits.
ETA 2: I've been thinking about this a lot.

I'd also add that to know about a relationship with one's parents is not absolutely required for this trope.

Spoiled Sweet can be pampered by anyone: friends, aunts and uncles, older siblings, parental substitutes, loving servants... The important part is that they're 'taken care of' and showered with love, attention and material things.

Edited by XFllo on Nov 11th 2019 at 11:45:19 AM

XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Nov 14th 2019 at 12:31:06 AM

Wicks down to 1000.

XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Nov 21st 2019 at 5:46:48 AM

Gia from Characters.Veronica Mars

  • Spoiled Sweet: Her father is a very influential person, yet Gia is never anything but nice. Albeit utterly clueless about the fact that her father is a pedophile, and her mother is possibly also an abusive lunatic towards her younger brother, Rodney.

This is basically a Zero-Context Example. It's now commented out. Judging from other tropes listed on the character sheet, she most likely fits but the example context needs to be better.

Not all daughters of influential men are pampered or sheltered. And "she's anything but nice" is very vague. Concrete examples of her "sweetness" would be ideal.

XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Nov 23rd 2019 at 8:27:14 PM

800 wicks.

ETA: Again it's growing. 818. I hope the new wicks are not misuse or examples put back without discussion. :-)

Edited by XFllo on Dec 5th 2019 at 5:23:16 PM

sgamer82 from Middleton, ID
Nov 24th 2019 at 6:00:11 PM

There's a new ATT query about whether princesses can apply or not.

Confusion About The Trope Spoiled Sweet

Plus, remember how in Eragon everyone cries "a single tear"? Yeah, just try that with One Piece and see if it works
XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Nov 25th 2019 at 8:32:31 AM

[up] I don't understand why people don't post their questions here directly.

XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Dec 13th 2019 at 8:27:46 AM

One questionable example from Professor Layton:

  • Spoiled Sweet: A rare male version. Not to Flora's extent, but he's raised in a rich household (his father being a mayor), they own a butler and a maid and he can be Innocently Insensitive to other people's less...well-maintained lives and the condition of the Laytonmobile. Despite this, he's a really sweet boy, very friendly to new people, and loves animals.

He's just a small preteen kid and seems more like a Cheerful Child, Animal Lover and Nice Guy.

Feedback please?

XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Jan 14th 2020 at 10:56:17 AM

Can I have some feedback on this example from Beast? It seems pretty ZCE/insufficient context. ~Melinda has tried to improve it, but I still don't see the trope in the write-up.

  • Spoiled Sweet: The Manning twins are the kids of a millionaire and are going on a fairly expensive vacation, but come across as this (or at least Nice to the Waiter) towards Lucas their diving guide, are fascinated by exploring the ocean depths, and don't inspire any negative comments after their deaths at the squids tentacles.

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