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Jan 29th 2018 at 11:40:19 AM •••

What happened to the Anime/Manga folder? Was it deleted on accident or on purpose? Were there simply too many examples or something?

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Feb 4th 2019 at 2:17:26 PM •••

They were \"migrated to subtropes\" in May 2016.

I was initially assuming for the \"clarity\'s sake\" reasons stated in the bold note of \"this page being about deconstruction as a method, only for meta-examples\".. But it\'s not really clear to me how 30 examples for each video-games and western animation categories are totally justified instead.


Jun 12th 2017 at 4:01:19 AM •••

In general, if an example here is already on its respective works page, should it be removed from this page?

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Jul 25th 2019 at 3:22:09 AM •••

no, only if it\'s on the subtrope\'s page.

Edited by NNinja
Mar 7th 2016 at 3:32:15 PM •••

I hereby propose the formal creation of a new trope, suggested name "Evangelization," named after Neon Genesis Evangelion. I notice that there are a surprising number of deconstructive works like this one, and yet they don't have a trope all unto themselves. So, here are the qualifications I propose for "Evangelizations:"

  • They are deconstructions of genres
  • They are darker and edgier
  • They take place in crapsack worlds
  • The characters are cosmic playthings
  • Included in the antagonistic forces are Eldritch Abominations

Such works include Evangelion (obviously), Madoka Magica, A Song of Ice and Fire, Drakengard, Narutaru, and even Undertale. So, what do you guys think?

Edited by MorganRayHess Hide/Show Replies
Mar 8th 2016 at 8:02:25 AM •••


Trope proposals go in YKTTW. I'll tell you this, the name is 100% not going to stick, and honestly the whole thing seems a bit of a stretch.

Mar 8th 2016 at 3:33:23 PM •••

Oh, I wasn't aware there was a dedicated page for trope suggestions. I'll move over there; thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

Jul 31st 2014 at 10:42:01 PM •••

Took out this chunk of the entry on the "Epilogue" episode of Justice League Unlimited.

  • as a deconstruction of the superhero genre, by having a woman deliberately make Terry McGinnis a superhero by killing his parents and replacing his dad's DNA with the DNA of Bruce Wayne, all in response to Batman growing older. It fits both invoked and deconstructed, because it shows the horrible consequences of making a superhero, as well as the kind of monster you would have to be to do it (killing innocent people to do something that might achieve a goal).
    • The episode also serves

The first thing about this is I don't even see what it is about the very concept of engineering a superhero that logically necessitates a ruthlessly amoral character who's willing to murder innocents. In most cases, making a superhero would probably mean making some superpower serum, building a badass cyborg body, bestowing some magical artifact, building a power suit, plain ol' intensive training, etc. etc., none of which inherently call for some coldblooded bastard carrying it out. This whole recreate-Batman's-origin-story scheme is just one ridiculously specific scenario that happens to require murdering a kid's parents, and I doubt it was in any way written to be reflective of superhero origins in general.

For that matter, I don't even feel like this is even deconstructing an actual thing. There are some man-made superheroes around, sure, but they're not exactly ubiquitous to the genre. And even among them, I don't think it's that uncommon for their creators to already be painted as corrupt and amoral, so the supposed deconstruction in the above entry wouldn't even be breaking any new ground.

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Aug 1st 2014 at 5:59:11 AM •••

Might be a deconstruction of the idea of a Legacy Character; the odds of someone just having the right attributes aren't just going to happen.

But that's meeting it more than halfway.

Aug 1st 2014 at 6:24:38 AM •••

The example is not a deconstruction at all - they aren't showing "how the trope would play out in reality", that is just a "dark" take on the superhero genre (and "dark take" is a frequent misuse of Deconstruction).

Nov 15th 2013 at 9:08:45 AM •••

We should remove all the examples on the main Deconstruction. It already had to be heavily edited to remove examples, and we're starting to see Non-Deconstruction Examples slipping back in again (particularly darker-and-edgier subversion stories).

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly is a subversion, not a deconstruction.

Mar 5th 2013 at 1:39:00 PM •••

Should the example for The Asphalt Jungle get moved to Unbuilt Trope? I don't know enough about the history of heist movies, but if it only looks like a deconstruction of The Caper in light of later Caper movies, and doesn't reflect on earlier films, then it cannot be a deconstruction.

Oct 27th 2012 at 8:20:53 PM •••

I've been seeing a lot of outcry about the misuse of the term "Deconstruction" around here, so here's my definition from what I've gathered:

  • Playing a situation completely straight and then taking a look at the social and sometimes ecologic reactions that get glazed over in the original context the trope/work/genre was constructed in.

Any opinions?

Edited by MsAmiClassified Hide/Show Replies
Aug 4th 2013 at 12:03:57 PM •••

You've got it right. If anyone else is still confused, Not A Deconstruction goes into more detail about the differences between deconstruction and similar-sounding tropes like aversion, subversion, etc.

Nov 15th 2013 at 8:23:28 AM •••

Pretty much. I think a lot of the examples on the page confuse having a darker, subversive take on a story with being a deconstruction.

Jan 5th 2012 at 1:10:20 PM •••

Would Ecco the Dolphin be considered a deconstruction? I've not personally played it, but a few friends keep going on about how it makes you question reality and how you percieve the world. So, would it count for this?

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Apr 4th 2012 at 8:22:44 PM •••

Having played the series since its Genesis days, I'm trying to remember all the ways it shows what would really happen if a time-traveling dolphin were to fight aliens...but I'm drawing a blank.

Aug 4th 2013 at 12:10:07 PM •••

A work that questions the nature of reality is not, in and of itself, a deconstruction. Deconstruction is when a trope brings (or is caused by) realistic consequences that the genre usually fails to address.

Dec 5th 2011 at 7:07:32 PM •••

"Deconstruction denotes the pursuing the meaning of a text to the point of exposing the supposed contradictions and internal oppositions upon which it is founded—supposedly showing that those foundations are irreducibly complex, unstable, or impossible."

This is the commonly accepted definition of deconstruction among literary critics. It is one of the most misused terms on this wiki. Could we please narrow down the overly broad definition provided on the main page and crack down on its overuse?

Jul 27th 2011 at 4:52:09 PM •••

I dont see how Madoka is an example of deconstruction with how its used.

From what I'm reading, its simply "How this trope would work in the real world."

Madoka doesn't seem to be going "Well if you WERE a magical girl this is how it would be" and more "If you are a magical girl in our universe, your life is gonna suck hard."

Darker and Edgier yes, but from what I'm reading, not a Deconstruction.

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Aug 18th 2011 at 10:02:23 AM •••

At some point, Mami talks about how being a Magical Girl will void you of a social life and how she's actually afraid to take on the Witches. The work page for Madoka gives a line from Homura pointing out the realistic measures of life. Not to mention that most of the tropes associated with the Magical Girl genre are being deconstructed.

Dec 11th 2011 at 2:41:24 PM •••

I don't see it as a deconstruction in the sense that it's more realistic. It seemed ungodly negative to the point of unbelievability. Like Mami being so lonely yet she doesn't try to socialize with her classmates.

The make of the series also clashes with comparisons to other Magical Girl shows. The girls just accept the idea that witches are a natural occurrence, and spend all of their free time hunting them. In any other show in the genre, they know a villain is behind the attacks, and it would do little good to wander around waiting for them to strike, especially if the villain could spot "on patrol" and avoid notice.

Of course, some feel that a deconstruction can also mean "Playing out a trope in an unexpected way, even if it's not REALISTIC." In that case Madoka does that in spades. Does that apply as a deconstruction or is this a case of what gfrequency said? "There's a tendency to claim that any Darker And Edgier work is automatically a deconstruction to justify liking it."

Nov 15th 2013 at 8:26:53 AM •••

Part of the problem is that the example is phrased badly. There are deconstructive elements there - Kyubi, for example, shows the kind of callousness that you would realistically expect from a creature whose business it is to turn desperate girls into child soldiers, and then discard them when they're no longer useful. The whole "be careful what you wish for" element makes the point that people realistically do not know what they actually want when they make a wish, and the literal interpretation usually conflicts with what they actually desired.

Jul 17th 2011 at 3:11:45 PM •••

Hey Why does the Page "Deconstructed Trope" cycles back to this? Where are we supposed to put examples of individual tropes being deconstructed now? Certainly not here, but where?

And while at it: do we also need a pagfe with "Works deconstruction" when a single fictional work is deconstructed?

Jan 8th 2011 at 6:36:48 AM •••

"Wish Fulfillment and Escapism are undeniable parts of fiction in general. However, sometimes an author believes a specific fantasy of the audience's is unrealistic and would be much less fun in Real Life than it is in fiction. This is where Deconstruction comes in.

Deconstruction is taking a fictional element (usually a trope or genre) that is usually seen as a nice thing, and showing this element to be poorly thought out, impractical, and/or much less nice than commonly assumed. As the name implies, this usually means taking it apart in order to better show the flaw or flaws at its core."

That was the original opening before it was changed. Keeping it here to preserve it in case we want to revert.

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Apr 13th 2011 at 6:02:17 AM •••

"While Wish Fulfillment and Escapism are undeniable parts of fiction, sometimes an author believes a specific fantasy of the audience is unrealistic and would be much less fun in Real Life than it is in fiction. This is where Deconstruction comes in."

I'm for getting rid of this part altogether. Telling someone their escapist fantasy is unrealistic? Might as well tell someone eating a piece of pizza that pizza has cheese and sauce on it, and some people are allergic to that stuff, so pizza is bad and everyone should stop eating it.

Dec 10th 2010 at 12:09:28 PM •••

Okay, one last thing that bugs me about "deconstruction," and then I'll shut up about the whole thing. It's supposedly about "realism," right? How tropes don't work in real life? And yet here we have the main page itself claiming that "Tropes transcend television. They reflect life." I find this considerably more true than I find deconstruction's assertion that when a trope is played straight in reality, it ends up with everyone in therapy, disillusioned with life, the universe and everything.

For example. On the Cloudcuckoolander "playing with" page, we have its deconstruction as follows: "Alice's Cloudcuckoolander tendencies come from insanity, another psychological disorder (like Disorganized Schizophrenia), or a very screwed up childhood." I know more than one real life cloudcuckoolander. I work with one. My sister's boss is one. There is at least one in the family. And yet not one of them was abused as a child, and none of them are mentally unstable or schizophrenic. Are they doing it wrong?

On the "playing with" page for Perma-Stubble, we have the following deconstruction: "Everyone who grows stubble is immediately Badass and society is thrown into turmoil. For instance, teen males who grow stubble earlier end up dominating their schools, be they nice guys or jerks."

Again, none of this has anything to do with naturalism or realism, emotional or otherwise. It's just Darker and Edgier.

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Dec 10th 2010 at 12:18:56 PM •••

Deconstruction doesn't mean "if this trope ever, ever happens in real life, it has to happen like this." It's not a reflection of absolute reality. It's taking the trope to its furthest conclusion. It is an exaggeration—exaggerating the trope, but seeing how that exaggeration would play in real life.

As for the Playing With pages, the problem there is half the people who add Deconstruction/Reconstruction to the list don't understand it. They really do think Deconstruction/Reconstruction boils down to "trope occurs and BAD THINGS/GOOD THINGS happen", and they're wrong on that. So don't go to the Playing With pages to see what those terms mean, because most of the time they're way off.

The way I sum it up is this:

Deconstruction: Why they're fiction tropes.
Reconstruction: Why they're fiction tropes.

Edited by MrDeath
Dec 12th 2010 at 8:31:11 AM •••

In that case the description and the laconic need an extensive rewording. They're either poorly worded enough to result in a nearly wiki-wide misunderstanding of what the term refers to, or — and this is how it currently seems to me — they really are saying that deconstruction means "trope is played straight in real life and bad things happen" when the main page points out that tropes often do reflect life.

Sep 24th 2010 at 9:44:01 AM •••

You what we really need? A broader "Subversion" page.

There are a number of examples that really qualify more as "Subversions" as opposed to "Deconstructions". For example, if a story has a Gandalf-like wizard, but that wizard turns out to be evil, it's a subversion.

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Nov 10th 2010 at 11:14:30 PM •••

Quite curious (at least to this troper) but why deconstruction has to be linked with real life? Why our reality had to be the rule for which the multiomniverse of Fantasy and speculation had be weight and judge? Is an effect that had kept bugging me for a while.

How could it be more wrong? Every single work of fiction, even the ones that are put "in our world" are in essence an alternate Independent Universe, just by the fact that the story exist in "out time" outside of our time line. Even if we only go for the anthropologic, socio-economic repercussion in the moment thereafter.

But what about the Discworld? The Middle-Earht? The Hitch Hiker World? Snowcrash and Matrix? Hell, just take Dresden Files or Wizard apprentice who had passable similarity to our own? The very essence of their world is completely eldritch of our own by the beginning of the word Magic and going from there, like a multilayered labyrinth that grows for infinite.

And yet we cry that Did Not Do The Research, That Reality Doesn’t work that Way or that it has acceptable Brakes of Reality? Seriously. Imagine that you travel to another planet and try to follow the same physic/chemistry rules applied to Earth in it, like say Jupiter? You would be dead in less than a Month. And far away of the Milky Way, who the greates Minds keep deluding themselves know perfectly when we only had photograph of billions of years old and far more hardcore speculation.

Yet when we discuss deconstruction is how it could work in real life? or Its unpleasant ramifications in our world. But is should be it? For each world is in fact a unique and very delicate biosphere, if of Infinite size and complexity and for and experiment to be done, to understand its parts and manipulate it, it has to be done in its own ambient, without changing it dramatically or the experiment is simply worthless. Then it wouldn't make the definition of Deconstruction as of know equally hollow, for its not playing by its rules, by its own configuration, but by what you believe is compromised your view of your own and forcibly put it in. Like taking a fish out of the ocean, mutilate to "fit" in dry land and then state how could the creature could not adapt in life and is in fact, quite useless for surviving.

Quite silly, isn't?

Nov 11th 2010 at 10:35:50 AM •••

It's because you're confusing naturalism (a literary style that rejects surrealism, romanticism, and expressionism, focusing on the mundane) with emotional realism (which demands that the human consequences of the fictional universe's postulates must play out in a realistic fashion - namely, if a character is human, they must act human).

For example, a naturalist universe would reject superheroes outright. A pulpy superhero would have the superhero as a good man fighting against evil with his extraordinary power. A emotionally realist universe would take that superhero and speculate on the consequences that power can have on human morality and lifestyle.

Nov 11th 2010 at 12:37:06 PM •••

But what is Human to de defined by the emotional realism? And if it so, why many complains of fantasy or praise for realism its not for its moral complexity and human character, but its technical knowledge and socio-political construction.

Even so, the morality of Human is tyed not only to its cultures, but the world it grew up, demostrated in the difference between a culture grow in a polar setting and one in the Jungle. Then take it to its extreme between worlds, where one is governed by spirits and gods, other is one in a thousand races in a intergalactic empire, another is hurled in a desolated planet outside the boundaries of sanity and another one is pastiche controlled by the Tradition, to name a few.

How can one define the Human characteristic in a enough practical way to be used anyother way as a empty label to the infinite myriad that fantasy and especulation allow us? And if we take it from its original source and put it in ours, managed by our own moral compass, should still be counted as a Deconstruction of the work itself?

Nov 11th 2010 at 12:39:39 PM •••

Also thanks a lot for the narutal and moral realism. Quite educational 00. Nice day!

Sep 12th 2010 at 4:35:28 PM •••

I dunno, but it's completely missing the point.


Edited by LostHero
Sep 12th 2010 at 5:20:11 PM •••

I respectfully disagree.

This is from here The detractors of this picture say "it's simply Darker and Edgier", but doesn't this trope go hand in hand with Deconstruction? If a caption like "Superheroes, before and after Watchmen, it would be a very nice, and very up-to=the=point illo.

Sep 12th 2010 at 5:22:04 PM •••

Also it shows reconstruction as well. After the "Edgy" phase the superhero comes back but more realistic.

Sep 12th 2010 at 7:15:30 PM •••

Darker and Edgier does not go hand in hand with deconstruction, despite what Watchmen has taught you. And the picture in question is just a stereotypical Nineties Anti Hero, not a deconstruction of anything.

Deconstruction is not Darker and Edgier, it's about pulling the loose threads of fiction. The Dark Age of comics misunderstood Watchmen, and simply tried to replicate its edginess instead of, say, deconstructing or reconstructing anything.

Edited by LostHero
Sep 5th 2010 at 6:47:58 PM •••

New Summary

I recently did a new summary for the main page. I think it incorporates the points that deconstructions aren't necessarily good, whilst still retaining the critical nature of the trope. Please advise.

Also, my internet connection is being mean, so if someone can put this summary up on the main page (subject to other members thinking it fair) I'd be delighted.

"Sometimes I think you enjoy breaking these little geniuses."
"There is an art to it, and I'm very, very good at it. But enjoy? Well, maybe. When they put back the pieces afterward, and it makes them better."

Wish Fulfillment and Escapism are undeniable parts of fiction in general. However, sometimes an author believes a specific fantasy of the audience's is unrealistic and would be much less fun in Real Life than it is in fiction. This is where Deconstruction comes in.

Deconstruction is taking a fictional element (usually a trope or genre) that is usually seen as a nice thing, and showing this element to be poorly thought out, impractical, and/or much less nice than commonly assumed. As the name implies, this usually means taking it apart in order to better show the flaw or flaws at its core.

At risk of generalizing, there are two ways to do this;

  • The most common way is to play the element perfectly straight, but to show the kinds of (usually unpleasant) effects this would have in the real world and on real people. This method is analogous to Reductio Ad Absurdum.
  • Look at the kinds of Real Life circumstances and/or types of people that would be required to produce this element in the real world. Whereas the above method looks at the undesirable real life consequences of the fictional element, this method looks at the undesirable real life causes of it.

And of course, both techniques can be incorporated into the same work.

For example, take the Princess Classic. This could be deconstructed by showing that Princesses have real obligations and duties, and don't just lounge around all day. Even more, one could show that her Prince Charming (whom she did not choose to marry, but only did because her hand was the sweetener on an alliance between him and her father) was a tyrannical oppressor of the people (like most absolute monarchies) and the end of our story finds the princess with her head in the guillotine.

The above example didn't change the underlying fantasy of "becoming a Princess." All it did was show the kinds of bad things that, in the real world, came along with the institution of Princessdom back in "fairy tale times." For instance, Feudalist institutional structures, the resultant social conditions, arranged marriages, treating Princesses as property, and of course the fact that Princesses didn't live a life of zero obligations. It also showed the kind of consequences that result from these preconditions; an unfulfilling life and an early death for our Princess Classic. And even this could be further deconstructed. For instance, what kind of person would want to be a Princess back in those times? They'd have to be more than willing to tolerate the institutions of absolute monarchy and feudalism, the conditions of permanent (for the Princess at least) arranged marriages to people they may not love or even like, and risk death at the hands of either a rebellious citizenry and/or a husband with an enthusiasm for having his wives killed.

So, does anyone want to be a Princess Classic anymore?

Deconstruction is also usually followed by Reconstruction. Whereas deconstruction aims to attack our fantasies by showing them to be flawed, absurd, and unworkable and unpleasant in reality, reconstruction accepts these criticisms and builds a new fantasy that allegedly would work in reality. Continuing the Princess Classic example, a reconstruction of this fantasy would make it clear that Prince Charming is the Prince of a Constitutional Monarchy that strictly limits the powers of the royalty, and that government is handled by a constitutionally-restrained representative democracy and thus the threat of any Regicidal Revolution is minimal.

Deconstruction and reconstruction can become Cyclic Tropes. A set of conventions is established (the initial "construction" of the genre or ideas that are used in the story), this set of conventions is played straight until some author gets bored or frustrated with the implications the fantasy brings and decides to show us the dark side of these conventions via a deconstruction of them. Atop the ruins, a more realistic narrative (i.e. one that accepts the criticisms of the earlier deconstruction) is then built via reconstruction, and in the future, this narrative gets deconstructed, etc.

Note that to be a deconstruction of X the work must both play the trope deadly straight and not ignore the realistic implications or consequences of the trope. As such, it both abides by the trope while offering criticism of it regarding how it would work in Real Life. Merely cranking up the cynicism does not make a story a deconstruction; it is only a deconstruction if the increased cynicism is realistic. Merely making things Darker and Edgier is not necessarily a deconstruction. For instance, Warhammer 40000 cranks all its tropes Up to Eleven and deliberately makes the setting an ode to moral nihilism but it doesn't seriously compel the audience to question whether or not they would truly want to be a Space Marine fighting Slaaneeshi Daemonettes stabbing them with an extremely large sword-chainsaw hybrid. Thus, 40k abides by the tropes without criticizing them.

Also, two important things must be said about deconstruction. First, deconstruction is not necessarily a bad thing. Cycles of deconstruction and reconstruction are basically how a genre or a trope evolves. Deconstruction is thus ultimately part of a constructive process. That said, deconstruction is often seen as inherently clever and "better" when, in fact, it isn't. Tropes Are Not Bad, and if every aspect of a fictitious work were seen through the often harsh lens of reality, there would be no enjoyment in escapism — nor, indeed, any tropes to deconstruct in the first place. Not to mention the fact that everybody's version of what's "realistic" is different.

Of course, it's not always a good thing either. A deconstruction can be just as easily ignored because it was done poorly or people didn't take it seriously. Often there's room for playing it straight and deconstruction. For example, Tolkien has been deconstructed numerous times, but his template is still alive and kicking.

Also note that simply doing a deconstruction does not make you a better storyteller than those who stick to the tropes and play them straight.

Deconstruction can be applied in various ways to a number of targets. For instance, many works deconstruct a whole genre. For this, see Genre Deconstruction. Additionally, many works that are not deconstructions of their genre often will deconstruct a trope or two, sometimes for comedic purposes.

A parody that deconstructs at the same time as parodying is a Deconstructive Parody. When a work suddenly realizes that it is making heavy use of unjustified tropes, screams "OH MY GOD, MY LIFE IS A LIE.", and then goes on a quest for truth, Reality Ensues. A work that attacks or critiques social phenomenon is a Satire, not a deconstruction (although a deconstruction may feature satire, and vice versa). See also Meta Trope Intro. Compare Postmodernism. Contrast Affectionate Parody. Not to be confused with the Deconstructor Fleet, which engages in parody, pastiche, and Genre-Busting as much as it does in actual deconstruction. Subtropes include Deconstruction Crossover, when Deconstruction is done by staging a Massive Multiplayer Crossover.

See also Unbuilt Trope, when a work can be retroactively seen as a Deconstruction. See Indecisive Deconstruction for where to draw the line between a genre piece and a deconstruction. See also Be Careful What You Wish For, a stock plot which (done well) is an elementary form of deconstruction. See also Decon-Recon Switch, where a reconstruction immediately follows deconstruction.

Not to be confused with, but named after, the Philosophic theory of deconstruction invented by Martin Heidegger and popularized by Jacques Derrida.

Sep 5th 2010 at 2:56:56 AM •••

I really have to object to the removal of the "criticism" element of the definition.

I agree that following a trope to its logical and/or realistic conclusion does not always result in tragedy or misery; it is quite possible that the logical and/or realistic results and/or causes of a trope are much less miserable than fiction tends to portray them as (and additionally, even if the results are pretty miserable and negative, one can still play them for comedy).

The name itself implies criticism. You don't criticize things that are already correct. Criticism requires looking at what can be fixed.

Tropes Are Not Good and I agree that deconstruction isn't automatically a good thing. I'm not trying to argue that all tropes should be deconstructed. Deconstruction is simply another way of Playing with a Trope.

Ultimately, Deconstruction is (to borrow the title of a Marilyn Manson song) "putting holes into happiness," taking unrealistic fantasies (which, because fiction ultimately originated in Wish Fulfillment, are usually idealistic and positive) and breaking them apart with realism.

If the work just piles on the cynicism and isn't plausible, it is Darker and Edgier rather than Deconstruction. Plus, cynicism isn't the same thing as "everyone gets raped, dies and goes to hell, where their souls are raped again."

I should add that I do agree that there is a role for escapist fantasy; without the fantasy there would be nothing to deconstruct. Everyone enjoys escapist fantasies from time to time. Indeed, if we didn't, deconstruction would have no impact.

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Sep 5th 2010 at 7:57:04 AM •••

On the other hand, all this implies that a lack of realism is a problem. Something that needs to be fixed. Sure, that can be the case, if the writing is bad and the show you're watching or the book you're reading is attempting and failing to maintain a willing suspension of disbelief, but according to this trope, if something is unrealistic, it must be made more realistic to be worth our time. Even reconstruction carries the implicit message that escapism is bad and cold, hard reality is the only thing needed to make it better. We're talking about fiction here. Why criticize something for being unrealistic when it's often not trying to be?

Sep 5th 2010 at 8:21:06 AM •••

Sometimes fiction supports very troubling morals, worldviews, and conclusions. It's good to take some works down, for one thing.

Sep 5th 2010 at 8:50:36 AM •••


Whether or not realism is good or bad is a matter of taste, and whilst some people prefer pure escapism, others like realism.

I don't think the trope itself contains the implications you ascribe to it. Again, the unrealistic idealism is ultimately required by deconstruction in order to have something to deconstruct in the first place.

Sep 7th 2010 at 6:42:55 AM •••

I suppose it comes down to a matter of preference. What bothers me is that deconstruction (and subversion — the two "negative" forms of playing with a trope, as it were) are both misunderstood and thought to be, on this wiki, at least, inherently better, smarter, cleverer and more mature than playing a trope straight.

The majority of the examples given don't deconstruct — they just make everything lousy and it's accepted that this constitutes realism. I've never seen an example of positive reconstruction. Someone suggested that if a Police Procedural were deconstructed, it might be shown that no city is as crappy as those depicted therein — but The Wire is already listed as a deconstruction of the police procedural, and it makes things worse. If Crapsack World were to be deconstructed here, it's a pretty safe bet that it would still be a Crapsack World — but worse.


"Now And Then Here And There is a deconstruction of the Trapped in Another World story. The "another world" is a barren wasteland filled with genuinely troubled crazy people in power, child soldiering and exploitation, no magic to speak of (except for Lala-Ru's power), and almost devoid of water. Granted, protagonist Shu does defeat the Big Bad against all odds and return home by the end, but the last scene is barely hopeful or uplifting.

To put it in shorter terms: Now And Then Here And There takes the Trapped in Another World plot and fucks it. Hard."

How is this more realistic than any other Trapped in Another World scenario? And from Deconstructor Fleet:

"The second Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic were viciously tearing every Heroic Fantasy and GFFA trope to utter shreds and taking a leak on the remains."

This doesn't even say anything about the games in question.

Ah well. It's all fiction anyway, everyone has their own preferences and I've gone on too long about it already. It just seems as if it's been all but forgotten that Tropes Are Not Bad. Hence the apparent need to see them fucked, shredded and leaked on.

Sep 7th 2010 at 5:44:19 PM •••

Now And Then Here And There sounds like a darker and edgier take, but I will stick up for The Wire, which really is more realistic. It's darker, but that's just Baltimore. It shows how real police work gets done, the political wrangling that affects it, and the details of the street level world it takes place in. It's a solid example of the Deconstruction.

Nov 9th 2010 at 9:20:16 PM •••

I'll give you The Wire. True, it is more realistic. On the other hand, if you hear any troper on this wiki talk about it, they say it's a deconstruction because everything is bad. Not because it's in Baltimore, or because of the political influence on police work. "Bad equals realistic" seems to be synonymous with deconstruction, and this is partly what I find sort of irritating about the page. If "tropes imitate life," as is stated on the main page, why deconstruct them when they're already deconstructed?

Dec 5th 2011 at 7:04:24 PM •••

Criticism is a vital element of deconstructionism. The abuse of the term on TV Tropes has become something of a running joke among the greater educated Internet population. I suggest cracking down on its usage here.

Aug 30th 2010 at 7:29:25 AM •••

I'm wondering if some of the later entries in Bokurano are deconstructions, and not simply Darker and Edgier. I really don't see how universe destroying cosmic dickery has any real connection to realism.

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Sep 1st 2010 at 9:31:18 AM •••

Bokurano's been removed several times for that very reason. It's just an extreme! Darker and Edgier mecha show.

Aug 18th 2011 at 9:56:32 AM •••

I'm not sure. Bokurano took a look at what would happen if young kids really piloted robots, then makes Life Energy the robot's fuel and shows what would happen then. There are elements of deconstruction, just that they needed to be pointed out.

Aug 25th 2010 at 7:53:07 AM •••

Recent discussion has made me wonder whether this trope should be renamed. (Yes, I realize it will never happen, but it should at least be pointed out.) The word Deconstruction the implies that a trope is being picked apart, examined (ostensibly with an eye toward realism), and eventually put back together (via Reconstruction) in a way that's more entertaining or useful as a narrative device than it was. That's not what this trope does. The trope being deconstructed is not taken apart for examination and reconstruction — it's just used, straight, but with a cynical mindset dictating that it would be bad in "real life," regardless of whether the trope can exemplify Truth in Television or not. Deconstruction is too often used as an excuse to make cynical people feel superior (and I'm a pretty cynical person, mind you). The Myth Busters are happy when a trope holds up under scrutiny. Why can't we be happy too, or at least not let our Jade-Colored Glasses get in the way of escapist entertainment?

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Aug 25th 2010 at 9:02:33 AM •••

We should clean up the examples then, not change the trope's definition or name. A deconstruction can be lighter and softer than the actual work - a good deconstruction of a Crapsack World could show that such a world is either not that bad or simply unable to function at all.

I think the idea of darkness = deconstructions comes from perhaps the purest example of deconstructive literature out there, Watchmen. It is kind of the yardstick we use here for deconstruction, it's just that influential. It just so happens that its target, the Superhero genre, was so idealistic that it had to be darkened a lot to be realistic.

If someone were to deconstruct crime stories, cosmic horror, or some other inherently dark genre, they might be nicer than a regular entry - really, what city precinct has a murder rate like some of those shows?

Aug 30th 2010 at 5:15:51 PM •••

That works for me. Although it's a fairly daunting task, as cynicism seems to be hardwired into the definition of deconstruction on this wiki. Just look at the laconic terminology:

"If this fictional element were real, why would it suck?"

Half the examples on the page could well be purged, as they're just examples of Darker and Edgier. Let's "deconstruct," for the sake of argument, let's say...Vomiting Cop. Under the current definition of deconstruction, that cop who vomits at a crime scene will be ostracized by his colleagues for his weakness, drink himself blind and stop vomiting altogether. AND THEN HE DIES.

Sep 1st 2010 at 9:33:15 AM •••

You just have to cut it when you see it. The article's description is good. It's the tropers that are the problem.

I'm changing the laconic entry.

Aug 8th 2010 at 8:32:30 PM •••

Can Genre Savviness be used for Deconstruction purposes? I'm working on this story that aims to deconstruct a lot of tropes (mostly Magical Girl tropes) by having the villain Dangerously Genre Savvy, but I think it doesn't fall under Deconstruction - at all?

Am I right or wrong?

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Aug 8th 2010 at 8:38:41 PM •••

It can, if you make the characters Dangerously Genre Savvy in a realistic way that breaks down the nature of the genre. If you just have characters snark at a straight story, it isn't. I think there's always a bit of metafictional awareness among the characters (or narrator, at least) in deconstructive stories.

For example, if the villain attacks the magical girl in the middle of the transformation sequence, that's deconstruction. If the villain rolls her eyes and says a transformation was a rip-off of Sailor Moon's, it isn't.

Check out Sailor Nothing, in which the eponymous character was genre savvy due to exposure to idealistic Magical Girl series.

Edited by MatthewTheRaven
Jun 4th 2010 at 7:57:35 PM •••

Is Dragon Age really a deconstruction, and not simply an Darker and Edgier take on fantasy?

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Jun 15th 2010 at 6:17:44 AM •••

There's a tendency to claim that any Darker and Edgier work is automatically a deconstruction to justify liking it. Deconstruction bothers me a bit because it essentially amounts to someone telling you that you should not enjoy this fictional trope or this fictional genre because it's unrealistic - which it is, of course. It's fiction. Escapism. It is not beholden to our rules.

That said, I would argue that Dragon Age is a deconstruction - certainly more so than some of the other examples given here. Magi, being extraordinarily powerful, really would be kept watch over constantly and be heavily restricted in the types of magic they were permitted to use. A hero battling the Always Chaotic Evil hordes and other monsters would not be likely to die peacefully in his sleep, and here it's simply enforced via the Joining. Given the history of human oppression, it's equally unlikely that elves living in a land dominated by humans would be revered as they are in other works. Other fantasy tropes are deconstructed as well, but it should always be kept in mind that the end product is an enjoyable work in its own right - not just Bioware saying "Haw haw, fantasy would suck if it were real and here's why."

Jul 13th 2010 at 5:28:59 AM •••

My issue is often that claimed deconstructions are usually "you should not enjoy this fictional trope, because it would really suck in reality" by showing what come across as equally fictional negative circumstances, often cranked to 11.

For instance, in the Dragon Age Origins examples, I fail to understand what is it about being an elf that necessitates your civilization being crushed, being a dwarf necessitates most of your civilization being crushed, and orcs being inherently evil, makes it more realistic.

I would honestly think elves would be better represented by a civilization like China (or at least what my courses on the subject taught me). Powerful, isolationist, help up as a high standard by the other nations, but has its fair share of skeletons, and if other nations picked on you when abroad, they're not likely going to do anything about it)

Edited by Peteman
Aug 16th 2010 at 4:59:37 PM •••

I would say the dissolution of elven society thanks to a combination of racism and religious fanaticism on the part of the dominant race (humans) is fairly realistic, as it's happened often enough in the past between various nations and ethnic groups. And a society as rigid and isolationist as the dwarves would hardly be able to expect assistance from a world it's decided to shun.

But I agree otherwise. I like Dragon Age because it's entertaining, not because elements of it are dark or realistic. I feel the entire concept of deconstruction is mostly sort of elitist and misguided, basically taking an aggressively cynical stance on reality and then applying that to something that isn't supposed to be realistic in the first place, telling everyone they're less intelligent for enjoying it.

Sep 20th 2010 at 5:08:09 AM •••

I chopped the Dragon Age examples down to, you know, the actual deconstructions. People seem to think that, simply because something is a bit Darker and Edgier than normal fantasy, the whole thing is a deconstruction. This is incorrect.

Nov 13th 2010 at 9:12:50 PM •••

I don't think that the Dragon Age examples are deconstructions so much as they are subversions. Having the Church Militants keep an iron grip on the wizarding folk is indeed more realistic and would be a deconstruction if it was aimed at a work that featured a ruling class of church militants with a magic-user wing, but as a deconstruction of fantasy works in general it simply doesn't add up. The Elves too fail as a deconstruction but for a different reason: I cannot recall it being mentioned at any point that traditionalism or unwillingness to use modern technology was the cause for their defeat.

I'll wait a couple days before removing DA:O from the examples list to give someone a chance to correct me if I'm wrong.

Apr 3rd 2010 at 1:23:26 PM •••

So let me get this straight, a deconstruction is:

  • Showing how awful a trope would be in real life.

  • How unrealistic the trope will be rather for good or for bad.

  • If a trope were to be true this would be the result or reaction.

  • Giving realistic reasons of why this trope may come into play.

Am I right or should I list some examples as well?

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Apr 3rd 2010 at 6:11:31 PM •••

It's the third mostly, with a little of the fourth. I changed the laconic wiki description, since it wasn't being helpful and that's where you want to go for a concise one sentence description.

Apr 9th 2010 at 6:15:44 AM •••

Something I've never understood: Going by that definition, how is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly a deconstruction of anything? Just because there is a con artist who is the "good" guy by dint of not being worse and having occasional flashes of decency, I never saw anything being held high and shown to be foundationless. It always confused me.

Apr 24th 2010 at 12:51:22 PM •••

Then you should probably delete that example. You are free to so. Argue with Someone one on the discussion of the movie.

EDIT: And sometimes, you gotta know how a trope, genre, or ect. work in order to see you could deconstruct it. Apparently it deconstructs The Westren genre (Dont know anything about.)

Edited by LadyGaga4ever
Apr 24th 2010 at 6:59:42 PM •••

I'd say it's primarily number 3, with a bit of 4, but 1 and 2 are more usually consequences of a deconstruction.

Sep 24th 2010 at 9:35:45 AM •••

I think the fundamental essence of Deconstruction is that it shows how bad something would actually be if played straight with realistic consequences. I'd go with 1,2, and 3.

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