TV Tropes is a wiki that collects and documents descriptions and examples of various plot conventions and plot devices, more commonly known as tropes, that are found within many creative works. Since its establishment in 2004, the site has shifted focus from covering only television and film tropes to covering those in other types of media such as literature, comics, manga, video games, music, advertisements, and toys, and their associated fandoms, as well as some non-media subjects such as history, geography and politics. The nature of the site as a provider of commentary on pop culture and fiction has attracted attention and criticism from several web personalities and blogs.
The content of the site was published as free content from April 2008. TV Tropes changed its license in July 2012 to allow only noncommercial distribution of its content while continuing to host the prior submissions under the new license. TV Tropes has over 395,000 pages.
Type of site
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TV Tropes was founded in 2004 by a programmer under the pseudonym "Fast Eddie", who described himself as having become interested in the conventions of genre fiction while studying at MIT in the 1970s and after browsing Internet forums in the 1990s. The site was sold in 2014 to Drew Schoentrup and Chris Richmond, who then launched a Kickstarter to overhaul the codebase and design.
Initially focused on the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, TV Tropes has since increased its scope to include television series, films, novels, plays, professional wrestling, video games, anime, manga, comic strips/books, fan fiction, and many other subjects, including Internet works such as Wikipedia (referred to in-wiki as "The Other Wiki"). Additionally, articles on the site often relate to real life, or point out real situations where certain tropes can be applied. It has also used its informal style to describe topics such as science, philosophy, politics, and history under its Useful Notes section. TV Tropes does not have notability standards for the works it covers. It also can be used for recommending lesser-known media on the "Needs More Love" page.
The site includes entries on various series and tropes. An article on a work includes a brief summary of the work in question along with a list of associated tropes. Trope pages are the reverse of articles on works: they give a description of the trope itself, then provide a list of the trope's appearances in various works of media. In this way TV Tropes is fully interconnected through the various connections made between the works and their tropes.
For example, the trope "I Am Spartacus" is a specific type of scene that appears in multiple works. It refers to scenes where a character is shielded from identification by other characters who are also claiming to be that particular character. The trope name references a famous scene in the film Spartacus. This example is included, along with examples from South Park, Power Rangers in Space, the Talmud and even recent stories from real life. Not all examples of a trope may be cases where it is "played straight". They may also include cases where the trope is parodied, played with, inverted or even averted (i.e. avoided altogether in a context where it would be expected).
In addition to the tropes, most articles about a work also have a "Your Mileage May Vary" (YMMV) page with items that are deemed to be subjective. These items are not usually storytelling tropes, but are audience reactions which have been defined and titled. For example, the page of the well known trope "jumping the shark", the moment at which a series experiences a sharp decline in quality as in the notorious story point in Happy Days, only contains a list of works that reference the phrase. TV Tropes does not apply the term to a show, that being a subjective opinion about the show, but cites uses of the phrase by the show ("in-universe"). Most articles also have various pages within them. For example, the article may have an "Awesome" page to describe crowning moments of awesome (i.e., a moment in a show or other fictional work that the majority of the readers or viewers regard as one of the high points); a "Fridge" page which describes examples of the tropes "Fridge Logic" (issues of a given work's internal consistency that do not typically occur to one until later), as well as the related "Fridge Horror" and "Fridge Brilliance"; a "Laconic" page which describes an article/trope in a few short words; and more pages that focus on a particular aspect of an article/item.
Trope description pages are generally created through a system known as the "Trope Launch Pad"; site members (referred to as "Tropers"), can draft a trope description and have the option of providing examples or suggesting refinements to other drafts before launch. While going through TLP is not necessary to launch a trope, it is strongly recommended in order to strengthen the trope as much as possible.
The site has created its own self-referencing meta-trope, known as "TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life". The trope warns that some readers may become jaded and cynical as an unanticipated side effect of reading TV Tropes, "[replacing] surprise almost entirely with recognition," referring to the inability to read books, watch films, etc. without identifying each trope as it occurs. Also mentioned is that many frequently-contributing community members self-describe themselves as addicted to the site. The community has dubbed the pattern of many tropers as taking a "Wiki Walk," starting an edit on an intended article, and subsequently following links from one page to the next for hours on end without intending to, pausing occasionally to add examples the troper notices to the listings or rework articles. In the process, this leads to the discovery of entirely new tropes to analyze, edit, and add examples to. This self-perpetuating cycle of behavior has become the subject of much lampooning for the community, with tongue-in-cheek references being made in the articles for tropes such as "Brainwashing," "Hive Mind," and Tome of Eldritch Lore (a book of cursed knowledge which infects the reader with obsessive madness).
Considerable redesign of some aspects of content organization occurred in 2008, such as the introduction of namespaces, while 2009 saw the arrival of other languages, and as of 2018, its content has been translated into 12 languages: German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Romanian and Esperanto. In 2011, TV Tropes branched out into video production, and launched Echo Chamber, a web series about a TV Tropes vlogger explaining and demonstrating tropes.
In an interview with TV Tropes co-founder Fast Eddie, Gawker Media's blog io9 described the tone of contributions to the site as "often light and funny". Cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling once described its style as a "wry fanfic analysis". Essayist Linda Börzsei described TV Tropes as a technological continuum of classical archetypal literary criticisms, capable of deconstructing recurring elements from creative works in an ironic fashion. Economist Robin Hanson, inspired by a scholarly analysis of Victorian literature, suggests TV Tropes offers a veritable treasure trove of information about fiction – a prime opportunity for research into its nature. In Lifehacker, Nick Douglas compared TV Tropes to Wikipedia, recommending to "use [TV Tropes] when Wikipedia feels impenetrable, when you want opinions more than facts, or when you've finished a Wikipedia page and now you want the juicy parts, the hard-to-confirm bits that Wikipedia doesn't share."
In October 2010, in what the site refers to as "The Google Incident", Google temporarily withdrew its AdSense service from the site after determining that pages regarding adult and mature tropes were inconsistent with its terms of service.
In a separate incident in 2012, in response to other complaints by Google, TV Tropes changed its guidelines to restrict coverage of sexist tropes and rape tropes. Feminist blog The Mary Sue criticized this decision, as it censored documentation of sexist tropes in video games and young adult fiction. ThinkProgress additionally condemned Google AdSense itself for "providing a financial disincentive to discuss" such topics. The site now separates NSFG articles (Not Safe for Google) from SFG articles (Safe for Google) in order to allow discussion of these kinds of tropes. They also stopped allowing pages for pornographic tropes, works, and fanfiction following the incident. Additional content and works deemed to be inappropriate were removed as well.
Regarding these and other concerns of re-licensing and advertising, a wiki called All The Tropes forked all the content from TV Tropes with the original CC-BY-SA license in late 2013. Authors of the fork attributed several actions of taking commercial rights over what is published on its website, censorship, and failing to comply with the original license to TV Tropes managers. Some editors raised concerns that keeping the content submitted with the previous copyleft license at TV Tropes is illegal, as the re-licensing had occurred without the permission of the editors and the original CC-BY-SA license did not allow its distribution under the new terms.
"Beam me up, Scotty" is a catchphrase that made its way into a popular culture from the science fiction television series Star Trek. It comes from the command Captain Kirk gives chief engineer, Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, when he needs to be transported back to the Starship Enterprise.
Though it has become irrevocably associated with the series and films, the exact phrase was never actually spoken in any Star Trek television episode or film.
Despite this, the quote has become a phrase of its own over time. It can be used to describe one's desire to be elsewhere, technology such as teleportation, slang for certain drugs, or as a phrase to show appreciation and association with the television show.Block (Internet)
On the Internet, a block or ban is a technical measure intended to restrict access to information or resources. Blocking and its inverse, unblocking, may be implemented by the owners of computers using software. Some countries, including China and Singapore, block access to certain news information. In the United States, the Children's Internet Protection Act requires schools receiving federal funded discount rates for Internet access to install filter software that blocks obscene content, pornography, and, where applicable, content "harmful to minors".Blocking may also refer to denying access to a web server based on the IP address of the client machine. In certain websites, including social networks such as Facebook or editable databases like Wikimedia projects and other wikis, users can apply blocks (based in either IP number or account) on other users deemed undesirable to prevent them from performing certain actions. Blocks of this kind may occur for several reasons and produce different effects: in social networks, users can unrestrictedly block other users, typically by preventing them from sending messages or viewing the blocker's information or profile. Privileged users can apply blocks that affect the access of the undesirables to the entire website.
Blocking is used by moderators and administrators of social media and forums to deny access to users that have broken their rules and will likely do so again, in order to ensure a peaceful and orderly discussion place. Common reasons for blocking are spamming, trolling, and flaming. Some criticize cases of the use of bans by administrators of large websites, such as Twitter, saying that these bans may be politically or financially motivated. However, websites have a legal right to decide who is allowed to post, and users often respond by "voting with their feet" and going to a place where the administrators see their behavior as acceptable.Catchphrase
A catchphrase (alternatively spelled catch phrase) is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance. Such phrases often originate in popular culture and in the arts, and typically spread through word of mouth and a variety of mass media (such as films, internet, literature and publishing, television and radio). Some become the de facto or literal "trademark" or "signature" of the person or character with whom they originated, and can be instrumental in the typecasting of a particular actor.Catgirl (anime and manga)
A catgirl (nekomimi: 猫耳, literally cat ear[s]) is a female character with cat traits, such as cat ears, a cat tail, or other feline characteristics on an otherwise human body. Catgirls are found in various fiction genres and in particular Japanese anime and manga.Chris Richmond (entrepreneur)
Chris Richmond (born July 29, 1986) is a businessperson and entrepreneur. He founded a television streaming site called ShareTV.com, co-founded an ad network called Proper Media and acquired ownership stakes in popular websites such as TV Tropes and Snopes.Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook
"Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook" is a Monty Python sketch. It first aired in 1970 on Monty Python's Flying Circus as part of Episode 25. Atlas Obscura has noted that it may have been inspired by English As She Is Spoke, a 19th-century Portuguese/English phrase book regarded as a classic source of unintentional humour, as the given English translations are generally completely incoherent.Evil Overlord List
The Evil Overlord List, also known as If I Were An Evil Overlord, is one of several popular lists of planned actions for a competent Evil Overlord to avoid the well-known, cliché blunders committed by supervillains in popular fictional works, typically explained in a comical fashion. The lists were compiled by science fiction fans over a number of years, and copies of the list that can be found on the Internet vary in number and order of entries.Formula fiction
In popular culture, formula fiction is literature in which the storylines and plots have been reused to the extent that the narratives are predictable. It is similar to genre fiction, which identifies a number of specific settings that are frequently reused. The label of formula fiction is used in literary criticism as a mild pejorative to imply lack of originality.
Formula fiction is similar to genre fiction. The label of genre fiction is typically assigned because of the reuse of settings, content, layout, and/or style. The label of formula fiction is assigned because of the reuse of plot, plot devices and stock characters.
Genres like high fantasy, Westerns and science fiction space opera often have specific settings, such as a pseudo-Medieval European setting, the Old West, or outer space. Approaching a given genre, certain assumed background information covers the nature and purpose of possible predictable elements of the story, such as the appearance of dragons and wizards in high fantasy, warp drives in science fiction, or shootouts at high noon in Westerns. These set-ups are taken for granted by the genre conventions, and need not be explained for the reader anew, though these elements can easily be treated subversively as well, playing with some of the preconceptions inherent in formula fiction.
The formula is defined specifically by predictable narrative structure. Formulaic tales incorporate plots that have been reused so often as to be easily recognizable. Perhaps the most clearly formulaic plots characterize the romantic comedy genre; in a book or film labeled as such, viewers already know its most basic central plot, including to some extent the ending. This does not always prove to be detrimental to a given work's reception however, as the popularity of the aforementioned genre demonstrates.
Formula fiction should not be confused with pastiche (the mimicking of another work or author's style), though the latter by its nature may include elements of the former; the same holds true of some parody and satirical works as well, which may well include formulaic elements such as common stereotypes or caricatures, or which may use formulaic elements in order to mock them or point out their supposedly cliché or unrealistic nature. Indeed, between parody, satire and such subgenres as romantic comedy, comedy as a whole often relies on either formulaic elements, or the mocking of such elements.
Formula fiction is often stereotypically associated with early pulp magazine markets, though some works published in that medium, such as "The Cold Equations", subvert the supposed expectations of the common narrative formula of that time.
The dissection and tracking of common formulaic tropes (as well as their subversions and new permutations) has become reasonably popular beyond strictly academic circles. (The Final Girl being one such example, as well as, to some extent, Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces). Amateur circles have websites such as the TV Tropes Wiki.Girl next door
The girl next door is a young female stock character who is often used in romantic stories. They are so named because they often live next door to the protagonist or are a childhood friend. They start out with a mutual friendship that later develops into romantic attraction.Hong Ying Animation
Hong Ying Animation (simplified Chinese: 鸿鹰动画; traditional Chinese: 鴻鷹動畫; pinyin: Hóng Yīng Dònghuà) is an animation studio located in Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China and Shanghai, China.Kirby Krackle
Kirby Krackle (also known as Kirby Dots) is an artistic convention in superhero and science fiction comic books and similar illustrations, in which a field of black, pseudo-fractal images is used to represent negative space around unspecified kinds of energy. Kirby Krackles are typically used in illustrations of explosions, smoke, the blasts from ray guns, "cosmic" energy, and outer space phenomena.Kōji Mitsui
Kōji Mitsui (三井弘次, Mitsui Kōji, 6 March 1910 – 20 April 1979) was a Japanese movie, TV, and stage actor. He appeared in more than 150 films from 1925 to 1975, including 29 of Kinema Junpo’s annual Top-10 winners and three of its Top-10 best Japanese films of all time.Live from Studio 6H
"Live from Studio 6H" is the nineteenth episode of the sixth season of the American television comedy series 30 Rock, and the 122nd episode overall. It features a return to live broadcasting from the season five episode "Live Show", both of which were directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller, and co-written by series creator Tina Fey. The episode originally aired live on the NBC television network in the United States on April 26, 2012, with separate tapings for the East Coast and West Coast audiences. "Live from Studio 6H" featured guest appearances by comedian Amy Poehler, musician Paul McCartney, and several actors associated with 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live.
30 Rock follows the production of the fictional sketch comedy program The Girlie Show with Tracy Jordan (TGS). In this episode, producer Jack Donaghy and head writer Liz Lemon decide to cease live broadcasts of TGS to save money. In order to save the magic of live television, NBC page Kenneth Parcell gives an impassioned history of live broadcasting to his co-workers in order to maintain the tradition for the show.
The episode makes explicit references to classic television sitcoms and variety shows and draws humor from breaking the fourth wall and acknowledging that the actors are portraying fictional characters. It received generally positive reviews from critics.Mogami River
The Mogami River (最上川, Mogami-gawa) is a river in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan.Spectrum Animation
Spectrum Animation was an animation studio in Japan, made up of former TMS Entertainment employees. Spectrum animated several episodes of Batman: The Animated Series.
On the commentary track for "Heart of Ice" on the Batman: The Animated Series, Volume One DVD, producer Bruce Timm stated that Spectrum was responsible for airbrushing Mr. Freeze's helmet in every frame that featured him. Such attention to detail ultimately drove the studio to bankruptcy; most of their staff members are now working for Production I.GFrank Paur (director, "Vendetta", Batman: The Animated Series) praised Spectrum's animation. "We wanted to keep the show heavy on the mist, the rain. I wanted reflections, mist, gentle rain to play up the whole motif. I was really worried at first that it would go to a bad studio."Spectrum was also credited for providing overseas animation work for the 2nd season of Captain N: The Game Master.Super Smash Land
Super Smash Land is a demake of Super Smash Bros. released on September 14, 2011 by Dan Fornace. The game features 6 playable characters and 11 stages. The game visual design resembles the graphics for the Game Boy. The game was developed with GameMaker 7.The Science of Illusion
"The Science of Illusion" is the 20th episode of the first season of the American comedy television series Community. It aired in the United States on NBC on March 25, 2010.Trope (literature)
A literary trope is the use of figurative language, via word, phrase or an image, for artistic effect such as using a figure of speech. The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.