Forum > General discussion > What are your least favorite tropes in stories?
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3 days ago, 12:28 PM #41
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This is more specific to anime, but tsunderes (Or basically the whole, “I don’t like you, but secretly I do actually like you, but I won’t let you know that”. For a more American example, think Helga from “Hey Arnold”).

I think tsundere characters can be really good characters if done well. I just feel like there are too many people who take the basic premise and just stop there. The characters are so flat and uninteresting that they end up just being annoying little brats. Maybe they’ll have one additional personality trait, but that doesn’t help much.
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3 days ago, 12:53 PM #42
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From a big picture view (more about genre issues but):
Anything that the most common comedies and romcoms do. I can't stand them. The way it's only about embarrassing characters over and over again and the way everybody is stupid and nobody has common sense. It genuinely makes me angry and I'm amazed at how people find it funny. (No offense if you do, if anything I'm kind of jealous. I just can't get over myself)

From a more specific general view:
Rushed romances. You know, they meet, they lock eyes and suddenly they plan their future life together and prioritize their newfound partner over friends they've had for years. And OF COURSE the friends are, for some reason, totally okay with it! Makes no sense to me. No matter how love struck a friend of mine would be about a newfound partner I would tell them to slow the fuck down before they do something they'll regret. And if they forget about me as soon as they get a partner I'm out.

The antagonist being pure evil. It's unrealistic, boring and honestly just lame.

My third one is VERY individual, and very common (and still very popular!) so don't take offense if you like it or if you've even written stories like these!
It's the whole school-romance scenario. Usually from a girl's perspective. Maybe I've seen too many, but they all just sound and look the same. The main character is always a shy "nobody" and suddenly they either 1. "get hot" by a makeover or 2. move to a different school where apparently they're popular now! or they for some other reason 3. get noticed by either a popular student or the edgy also "nobody" student. Usually the popular one. I feel like so many of the movies/shows I saw on tv as a kid that did this was like a self-insert of the writer??? It just felt like an ego-trip about a life you didn't have. I have seen written stories or comics who've done a way better job, but it's still not my thing.
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3 days ago, 1:10 PM #43
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Tropes I Hate:

1."(Perfectly defined) good guys versus (perfectly defined) bad guys” just annoys the hell out of me. In my life, I've noticed that even the most virtuous person is flawed and complicated, and even the most evil person has some good traits in them, so this trope just comes across as unrealistic. I mean, if a bad guy didn't have anything charming or delightful about them, how in the hell would they be able to get people to follow along with their evil plans? Plus, I am often surprised by how incredibly bigoted or ideologically-biased the stories surrounding this trope tend to be.

I don't mind two-dimensional villains and heroes if they are balanced out by other things, especially if they don't take themselves too seriously. I don't mind people avoiding the dark gritty anti-hero and creating virtuous people who battle against adversaries and circumstances. But, geez, two-dimensional everything is never good. This is why I live for media where this trope fails miserably and the bad guy unintentionally becomes a tragic hero and the toxic biases of the good guy are exposed. Never Too Young To Die immediately comes to mind. Purposeful subversion is even nicer.

2. ”The Hero's Journey" is one of those Insidious tropes that most Western storytellers think is an essential archetypal ingredient for good storytelling. It's not, but you don't really notice that fact until you start reading non-Western literature.

Not everyone needs to take a journey towards greatness and glory. It's perfectly okay for a story to be absurd, or just linger on a moment in someone's life. Character studies, pointless anecdotes, reflections, cyclical observations, and other forms of storytelling structures can be just as fun to read. This trope is especially irritating, when the hero is powerful from the start, or they have a Deus ex-machina waiting around the corner. This is probably why I can't stomach watching any modern Disney production.
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3 days ago, 1:19 PM #44
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It really ticks me off when a story has a hypercompetent, badass female character acting alongside the bumbling male main character and outperforming him on every turn, only to be rendered helpless by the third act so the male character can be the hero- In other words, the writers can avoid being accused of writing a damsel in distress while still reveling in a male power fantasy. It's so lazy.

I also hate when stories feel the need to have a conflict between characters at the end of the second act and have them start fighting for no good reason whatsoever, just so they can sit in a corner and sulk for ten minutes before the third act starts.
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3 days ago, 1:39 PM #45
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I really don’t like the all-powerful, hyper-competent female character in general. It’s not empowering, it’s just boring.

I also can’t stand when a female character is violent and abusive towards a male character, and it’s played for laughs. Abuse is never funny, regardless of gender.
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3 days ago, 1:44 PM #46
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Shannon:I really don’t like the all-powerful, hyper-competent female character in general. It’s not empowering, it’s just boring.


Yeah, same. I feel like it comes about when people want to write an empowering female character but has no idea how to do it, so they just make her completely devoid of both flaws and emotions. That sets impossible standards while also having some insideous implications that the only way for women to be strong is to remove their humanity. (This last part is a problem with many male characters too, where men who are supposed to be seen as badass aren't allowed to express any emotions other than anger.)
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3 days ago, 4:37 PM #47
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NiaNook:Just a side-tangent to that; I wonder if people writing that trope are aware of how many birds will kill other birds' babies just because it's easier than building their own nest.


yeah! Nature is full of brutality that often has NOTHING to do with obtaining food! Everytime I hear the "mankind is the only creature out of 'balance' with nature, that kills for sport or copulates for pleasure", I either bust out laughing or get really angry because this person doesn't know what the hell they're talking about.
The Circle of Life is WAY more complicated than that, Simba!

phoenixjklin:
The antagonist being pure evil. It's unrealistic, boring and honestly just lame.


vaslittlecrow:Tropes I Hate:

1."(Perfectly defined) good guys versus (perfectly defined) bad guys” just annoys the hell out of me. In my life, I've noticed that even the most virtuous person is flawed and complicated, and even the most evil person has some good traits in them, so this trope just comes across as unrealistic.


Same. It was this philosophy in general, and specifically from a DeviantArt collaborator that I deal with that sparked the idea behind IWATSV, in the first place!
(That, and what I call "Deadpool Syndrome")
Tack on the whole 'villain needs a redemption arc in order to be relatable' thing, and you have the makings of a very boring and predictable character/arc/story!
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3 days ago, 4:52 PM #48
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There are very few tropes I think are objectively bad, but... I don't know if this is realistic to America or what, but the couples almost always pair off by race. If the white main boy and white main girl both have a black friend, they're going to pair off that way exactly. If there's an ethnically indian major character, they'll introduce another one shortly before the romance starts. Bonus points if they're the ONLY two characters of that ethnicity to appear, or if one of them was clearly thrown in for the pure purpose of romance. Are mixed-race couples considered weird in California or something? I grew up in a 90% white country and it wasn't like I was purposefully looking for non-white people to date. In fact given that 90% of the people I know were white I would give myself a 90% chance of ending up with a white person.

On a related note, "heterosexual couple who have no chemistry" is a close one, but I don't think that's a trope so much as just... a mistake. Also closely followed by, "Writer is so bad at writing couples with chemistry that they spend a whole movie getting a couple together, then in the sequel can't think of anything to do with them except break them up and get them back together again". Like... most people in the industry are married men, right? Do they not talk to their wives???
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3 days ago, 4:59 PM #49
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Another trope I hate that Disney has been botching: The story from the villain's perspective. Like, I don't hate the trope in concept. We could get something like an origin story of how they became evil like in the Clone Wars cartoon or Joker. Or we could get a little deconstruction of how the villain's mind works.

But Disney decided it would be a better idea to make their villains the good guys. NO! I don't mind villain protagonists or anti-heroes, but making your villains so sympathetic they're the real good guys is not the way to go about it. I know the Cruella movie was good (according to the internet and my brother so take that with a grain of salt), but I still can't defend the dumb idea of her mom getting killed by dalmatians to justify turning dogs into clothing.

There are ways to do the story from the villain's perspective right. Practically making them the heroes is not the way to do it.
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3 days ago, 5:32 PM #50
loved birds way before they were the word
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I gravely dislike the bumbling guy who hates his wife because she’s a “nag” and he’s always trying to get away from her. They can’t stand each other, but they’re still together for some reason. It’s always played for laughs, but it’s extremely bleak. So many people think that this is what marriage or a long term relationship is like, and it doesn’t have to be this way. I usually see this in older sitcoms and comic strips, but there’s still some holdover because the attitude remains, especially in the older and/or more conservative population.
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3 days ago, 5:35 PM #51
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Octopus Ink:Tack on the whole 'villain needs a redemption arc in order to be relatable' thing, and you have the makings of a very boring and predictable character/arc/story!


Isn't that just gross! That bullshit ruined Maleficent for me.
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3 days ago, 5:42 PM #52
pigs are smarter than bears, but they can't ride motorcycles
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dalmatians killed my mother in a hilarious manner and that justifies me killing hundreds of small puppies in the name of fashion

ed: i'm finding lately that i really dislike soulmates/reincarnation romances. it's a really easy way for the writer to avoid writing characters that have chemistry and developing their relationship accordingly.
3 days ago, 6:46 PM #53
iiIIEEEHHEEEIIMM eeeeaaauuu hhYYYAaaaa
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vaslittlecrow:Isn't that just gross! That bullshit ruined Maleficent for me.


I liked Maleficent but mostly because I saw the whole thing as an allegory of how trauma affects one's psyche and relationships and no event was to be taken as literal.

And I say that as someone who usually doesn't like blatant allegories.





Other, unrelated, disliked trope:
When the public likes a character the author hadn't intended to make likeable so they write them acting out of character just to tell the fans they're actually liking a monster. Most famous example would be Jacob from Twilight, who was supposed to be a temptation away from the pure true love of Edward, but turned out a legit better catch than him, so the writer made him get creepy with the baby to make him unlikeable.
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3 days ago, 6:50 PM #54
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Maleficent movie falls into the alternate world/mirrorverse category. Clearly it can't be the same cast and continuity, it's alternate versions of them.

Cruella... It's ending as if the rest of the story was to develop in a familiar manner and I do not care how traumatized someone was when they're ending psychopath anyway.

Jeffrey Dahmer had bad childhood. So what?
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3 days ago, 6:59 PM #55
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For me, if there's one trope or a character-archetype that always grinds my gear, it's side characters who are fans of the hero/es. I've never seen an example that didn't annoy me to great extent.
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3 days ago, 7:08 PM #56
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Lutzbug:I gravely dislike the bumbling guy who hates his wife because she’s a “nag”


Oh, man... I'm just gonna keep coming back to this thread, aren't I?
Ok, I am really getting sick of the whole "bumbling" male thing, in general.
More and more I am seeing the 'Dad's so dumb, he can't work a squeeze-bottle of ketchup without help from mom' trope played up more and more in mass media. And not just dads, really. Nowadays it's almost every male in a project where a female is the lead, or central character.
I used to call it "Ron Stoppable Syndrome", but, I honestly like Ron and Kim Possible too much to lay that on them... though, they ARE guilty of it! I'll hafta find another name, I guess.

Mind you, I am a huge fan of the works of, let's say Lauren Faust, for example.
My Little Pony and DC Superhero Girls are both great, fun shows and all, but, they suffer from 'Girl's Cartoon Syndrome', which is to say that in most modern Femcentric cartoons, any and all males are portrayed in only 4 flavors:
1. Idiot/Ineffectual but well-meaning bumbler.
2. Asshole/Ineffectual yet mean-spirited, snarky, narcissistic and hostile bumbler.
3. Practically Mute. Sometimes literally, even.
4. Introverted, overly-sensitive, overly-emotional "feminized" (castrated(?)) boy, therefore considered 'cool' by all the sundry strong female characters because, unlike all the other icky boys, he has FEELINGS, dammit!
(and, to throw race in to the issue, I can't help but notice that last category is almost always done to a Black or Latin-descended character).

Snips and Snails from MLP and almost all of the Superhero Boys from DC Superhero Girls fall into the first 2 categories. Big MacIntosh and Hawkman fall into the 3rd category and Bow from She-Ra and Gus from The Owl House exemplify the last. Not to mention Wyatt Williams from 6teen and Johnny front desk guy from its sister series, Stoked. I assume this is a well-meaning but badly executed attempt to make the ethnic character less 'ethnic' in a somewhat wrong-headed attempt to NOT make them into stereotypical aggressive "street" kids and thus not a "threat", but it just comes out... BAD.

In DC Superhero Girls, even Superman is portrayed as a smarmy, immature, self-centered douche. SUPERMAN!!
The nicest, most respectful, aw-shucks humble "Male Power Fantasy" there ever was!

The main offenders of my main point, though, seem to be Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin who also fall into the point that Lutzbug made. These beer-soaked, brain damaged morons have been a negative mark on an entire generation of dads and MEN in general, both fictional and real. Hell, considering how long The Simpsons have been around, maybe it's more like 3 generations!
At the very least, Fred Flintstone, of whom they both are watered down copies, had a genuinely good heart and no real, tangible malice to anyone for all his loud-mouthed bluster.

Nowadays, I'd wager that at least 47% of all fictional men with wives and children are just maladroit numbskulls no matter what their intentions are, whether there is a hyper-competent female next to them or NOT, and frankly it needs to stop.
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3 days ago, 7:30 PM #57
Drum bum
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I'm very very late to return to htis conversation, but I just want to say that I actually really liked the way Percy Jackson handled the Chosen One archetype. Percy spent the entire series grappling with being the chosen one, and then he literally just was not it. I dunno - some people might think that's a copout, and I can see why, but I feel like that's a very appropriate way to follow through with the Chosen One plot. There's a lot of ways to handle it that I think work; there's just also a ton of stories that handle it very poorly.

That said, I do want to say that I'm actually seeing tropes on here I don't mind (pure evil villains can be so fun if they're done right -- I don't really want to do it myself, but there's merit to it. ALSO I LOVE YUSUKE URAMESHI SPELL SOBS) so obligatory if you see any tropes in your comic that are on this list, just keep in mind it's subjective and good execution can override a lot of people's personal distaste for it!

Unless you have the nag wife/boomer humor thing going on. That's unsalvageable sorry lol
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3 days ago, 7:46 PM #58
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Idk if it's a true trope or a trend, but I see a lot of comics (I'm looking at you, dmfa) that has a character with no interest in a romantic relationship, suddenly get paired off with somebody because THEY CHANGED THEM. I only recently became really comfortable with my asexuality and it just feels like too many people try to make one for representation but then oh no, main character changes their mind.

TL;DR, I hate romantic side plots with a character that has never shown interest in having a romantic or sexual relationship.
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3 days ago, 7:57 PM #59
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^ Oh man My sister's ace so that trope would be really dumb if I saw that lol (but she's been asexual but not aromantic), it would be like disney reluctantly and cynically putting a gay lead character and then have them end up in a straight relationship.

I agree with the idea that most tropes can be executed well and have at least a few examples of being done well, but today I just realized there is one I consistently find annoying though is that whole forced misunderstanding between characters device that happens and then they get uncharacteristically mad at each other for one lie. I'm not super analytical when watching a show/book or whatever but that plot point is so overused and unnatural more often than not. I don't think I can think of an example where it was done well for me to be like "well this worked well in THIS story at least" lol
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3 days ago, 8:18 PM #60
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Nyomi:[...] so obligatory if you see any tropes in your comic that are on this list, just keep in mind it's subjective and good execution can override a lot of people's personal distaste for it!


Bizfurd:This is a very broad thing and idk if you could even call it a trope, but when there’s a misunderstanding! Oh no! And the whole plot is that these two characters are at odds when if they just fucking communicated for two seconds then the issue could be resolved!

Sovember:there is one I consistently find annoying though is that whole forced misunderstanding between characters device that happens and then they get uncharacteristically mad at each other for one lie.

The irony is that my comic hinges on the "mistaken identity" for its plot to be effective (if both parties were upfront with each other with who they are and what they're getting out of befreinding each other, this precise plot-thread would likely be moot), yet I'm not really too hot on it as a trope in of itself. I complained about it recently, even, about how cliche it is. However, I make no guarantees on how "uncharacteristic" the reactions are or if communication really would've made things any better in the long-run. I haven't written it yet.

On the other hand, I'm not really out to "fool" anyone with this. If this kind of thing really gets to you, then I'm not making you read anything.

My patience runs out with lampshading as a general concept. Pointing out how something sucks doesn't make it better. Go and make it better, instead. Highlighting something that would be "weird in the real world" doesn't matter to me because I'm engaging with the story as something not set in the real world. To me, it takes the immersion away and derails the narrative. I seek fiction with the fourth wall intact ("medium awareness" does not count, here), otherwise I'd just stick with nonfiction. Even with things I enjoy, chracters looking at the camera throw me off slightly.

While not a trope but a trend or style I guess, I also don't enjoy snark, sass; characters talking amongst each other about how X sucks cos it's hip or cool to do it. I'm not one for a range or flavour of audience-surrogate characters (but I imagine they're really fun to write, though!).
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Forum > General discussion > What are your least favorite tropes in stories?
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