We all have them. You know, them, the tropes that fill you with rage, disgust, or just tired groans whenever they rear their ugly heads. They aren’t necessarily the super toxic ones that need to die, like Bury Your Gays or Stuffed in a Fridge, but what tired old tropes would you like to finally ship off to a nice farm upstate?
One of my biggest hated tropes is the wizard in a robe and pointy hat, and since the LotR films we seem more stuck with them than ever. In Morrowind half the wizardly types you met were decked out in boss-looking armor, but later games did their best to strongarm the magically-inclined into the old wardrobe. Even if wizards can’t wear armor for whatever reason, they’re better off wearing sensible clothing instead of something that screams “kill me first!”
I’m also done with situations that could be easily avoided if one person stopped to explain things. Bertie Wooster can get away with it, but I check out of a story that expects me to take it seriously as soon as we get to a scene where someone could stop a lot of stupidity by saying “hey, have you met my sister?”
Blatant exposition. It’s just bad writing. Find a way to explain things without a character saying, “yesterday, we went to Cincinnati, Ohio in this helicopter which only you know to fly to kill a man only I have ever seen using this gun.” Just because we didn’t see it doesn’t mean you have to have one person exposit the whole thing.
Men are stupid. This is especially egregious in sitcoms and adverts.
Not so much a writing trope as a sound trope. I do not need to hear water pouring into a pitcher as if the mic was right there. I also do not need to hear people swallowing. And what’s up with that bloody hummingbird that seems to be in every outdoor shot? (and now that I’ve mentioned it, you won’t not be able to hear it)
Prophecies and Chosen Ones.
Training wheels for writers who don’t trust their protagonists to have agency.
I did once want to write a story based on a prophecy that turned out to be complete made-up BS.
“You must face the monster, you are the Chosen One!”
“Chosen by whom?”
“By me, because I’m not facing that thing!”
Maybe just me, but if I never see another talking baby/animal again that would be fine.
Superhero movies with no consequences. How many people do superheroes kill throwing each other around?
Commercials with talking animals with animated mouths were accursedly common for a while a few years back. Maybe they still are, I don’t watch TV with commercials any more.
Another sound trope: every microphone produces feedback when touched.
They still are. Every time I think the ad world has caught on/given up on them, new people who haven’t learned to hate them yet get to start making decisions.
Some movies have engaged with exposition dumps in a fun way, like Big Trouble in Little China and Sleepy Hollow, but, yes, serious stories need serious writing.
But how else will I excuse my horrible behavior?!
Yep, those are so done. We’ve had some good stories play around with it (Morrowind, Arcanum, and Lego Movie come to mind), but playing it straight these days is just wrong.
Microphones also work by rule of cool, not by what they’re most useful for.
Police experts can zoom in on security camera images to an unlimited degree and still maintain full resolution.
If only. More often it’s a poor attempt at writing a “strong” female character. If your character can only be strong by weakening the characters around her, that’s not strength.
I feel like we had a thread about this, but… remember the recurring riffs in I Was A Teenage Milk-Thrower where the meek, colorless love interest keeps saying things like, “I love you, Fred. Don’t I?”
Every movie where someone (usually a woman) just falls for some jerkbag with a bad temperament and no promise of a real future (usually a man) because that’s what the filmmakers want to see. No other reason.
I mean, okay he’s handsome. Maybe. That doesn’t help. It just makes her seem shallow and not really bright. (Oh, wait. “Issues with women.” Right.)
I guess this butts up against the complaint upthread about exposition. But I honestly think I’d prefer some 5-minute treatise stopping the plot cold as she rhapsodizes about the hero’s finer qualities than nothing addressing the issue at all.
Probably my least favorite trope ever in TV shows: A man and a woman cannot work side-by-side without eventually falling into bed together.
I thought X-Files would avoid that. It didn’t. I thought Warehouse 13 would avoid it, and it did… until the very last episode. Zing.
The last TV show I can think of that ran for any length of time and avoided that trope was The Avengers.
The only way it could happen is if you made one of the two gay.
That’s one of the things that killed the big superhero movie rush for me. The levels of destruction are ridiculous, but never disrupt life unless that’s a separate, usually poorly-developed plot point.
That leads to the recent tendency towards cruel deaths, which I’ve seen other people write about better than I can. Killing off an innocent in a mean/gory way in a horror movie is one thing, but in a normal movie that needs to be saved for the bad guys. I think Rifftrax even called out Jurassic World on this one.
I’m distracted with admiration by your Wodehouse reference. I absolutely love Wodehouse stories, especially the Jeeves canon.
Back on topic, I despise the super rapid clacking away on computer keyboards to operate software that has a graphical interface. Zoom in? Fifty keystrokes on the keyboard.
The movie Chasing Amy proves that the last strategy doesn’t always work.
It would be a hoot if they did jump in bed, realized that it was a bad idea (or just that their curiosity was now satisfied) and went back to being friends. (And never talked about the one-off sex with each other or anyone else ever again.)
I assume you’ve seen the Fry and Laurie TV series. I think they do a decent job of adapting Woodhouse. You can’t adapt the language outside the dialogue, but they capture the personalities of his characters very well.