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11th Sep, 2019 11:22:02 AM

The difference is:

  • Stuffed into the Fridge boils down to a character's death being done only to motivate a character. The character wasn't killed as the natural end to an arc or as the consequence of whatever they were doing, but just so another character can get development and plot.
  • Other deaths are about the character who died. Obviously other characters will react, but their reaction isn't the purpose of the death.

If you have a crazy villain randomly kill the hero's mother just to give the hero a reason to fight and angst, that's SITF. If the hero's mother was killed in a fight with the villain and the emphasis is on the loss rather than the hero's reaction, that's just a normal death. In other words, it's about the intent and portrayal.

Anyway, this is a better fit for the Trope Talk forum.

11th Sep, 2019 12:11:22 PM

Put another way, the difference is how arbitrary the event is, in the same sense that a MacGuffin's form is arbitrary: "Alice has to find X and keep it from falling into the wrong hands" It doesn't matter what X actually is, just that it exists, people want it, and Alice has to keep it from them.

For SitF, the writers decide they want Alice to be upset, so they use Decision Darts on the "board of people Alice cares about" and "board of horrible things the villain can do to someone". {Bob} dealing with having been {paralyzed by the villain} is a background arc if it's even brought up again, the story is concerned with the fact that this upsets Alice.

On the Tropes Are Not Bad front, you kind of have the reason this is an Undead Horse Trope in the query title- the fridge is well past full. It can be used well (particularly when the other character isn't just ignored), but its very, very easy (and very, very common) for it to be used poorly for cheap drama.

Edited by Scorpion451

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