TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life

From Tv Tropes

"It's really good when I can just link to TV Tropes, because then I know you'll have hours of reading without me having to do anything else." -- David Morgan-Mar, Irregular Webcomic #1929

A common complaint of people who take courses like Media or Film studies is that they never look at a TV program, advertisement or film the same way ever again. Analyzing a medium in depth and pulling it apart by the seams teaches you to watch things critically — analyzing every aspect and codifying them inside your mind. Most tropers, academics, directors or writers who do this start to find new ways to enjoy media. The subtle blends of plots, the new spins on old stories. The rare and welcome times where a plot you weren't expecting appears. But it is never the same.

Enjoyment comes from a balance of Recognition and Surprise — we enjoy things that we can relate to and have seen before, but we also like to be surprised. Total recognition is cliche; total surprise is alienating. Through comparing different works of fiction, browsing TV Tropes will merge surprise almost entirely with recognition and you will begin analyzing everything and taking a totally new (and possibly better) enjoyment from media - or reality.

Also, according to this article, TV Tropes is actually a path that mirrors our desire to fictionalize and narrativize our lives.

Not to mention the amount of time you will spend browsing the website in your first few weeks of visiting. Some editors spend seven-hour-plus-long periods just reading through the thousands of pages going through a Wiki Walk. This effect is best shown by this xkcd comic.

You Have Been Warned, so don't come crying to us next time you pause whatever you're watching to rush to your computer and add an example of a trope you just saw. You did it to yourself.

Note: Despite what is written below, the only surefire way to avoid becoming "Tropelocked" is to avoid this wiki altogether. Even reading this page on the very subject or more specifically the section below on "ways to avert" is fraught with danger. Notably, said section itself made a certain troper open up 7+ new tabs.

There are ways to avert this fate, mostly by:

  • Noting that many tropes are not cliches of the genres but plot devices and progressions (similar to but more defined than literary devices) that have been around for a long time, and there's no inherent loss of complexity through the use of them (most of the time).
  • Noting the inherent creativity of many shows. Hell, you'd be unable to find a show that doesn't use tropes, especially given that the avoidance of some tropes are tropes in and of themselves. You're failing to appreciate the material if you immediately assume the show is unoriginal if there is a trope involved.
  • Remembering that thinking about what you watch and acting critically towards it makes you an active, intelligent viewer, pulling you away from the Lowest Common Denominator who just buys whatever the media pushes on him.
  • Remembering the MST3K Mantra and Bellisario's Maxim, to handle those urges to declare anything Ruined FOREVER.
  • Remembering what you loved about television/video games/other format in the first place, and how you were able to Hand Wave the flaws inherent to the medium back then. It'll take time to stop analyzing every minute detail, but if you stick with good quality entertainment you'll rarely be disappointed.
  • Staying away from tabbed browsing.
  • Not staying up all fucking night editing pages.

See also TV Tropes Will Enhance Your Life, TV Tropes Ruined Your Life, TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Vocabulary], TV Tropes As A Gateway Drug, TV Tropes Wiki Drinking Game (which will ruin your liver), and Just One More Level.

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