During one of our Eventually Supertrain discussions, Dan suggested I write “10 TV tropes I Hate” and I decided to take his suggestion. However, I chose to cut the number in half. It felt a little aggressive to do ten.
I figure I can make a series out of this if I am so inclined.
And given how many tropes irritate me…
So, here they are in no particular order.
Five TV Tropes I Hate.
- The Bickering Couple -Blame the societal standard that het couples should detest each other. Married or dating or unresolved sexual tension, this seems to be the go-to way to show that two people are meant to be. Look at how they bicker with each other! Sure, couples bicker. They give each other shit. But if this is their sole way of communicating, it’s fucking annoying. I complained about this during the discussion of the Tales of the Gold Monkey episode that inspired this post. Jake and former-lover-turned-nun Bridget spent most of their conversations bickering, to the extent that if one of them said the sky was blue, the other one would disagree. That’s not chemistry. That’s grating. It’s hard to enjoy an episode when you’re irritated the entire time.
- Will They or Won’t They? -I don’t care. I don’t care about the arbitrary obstacles thrown in the couple’s way to prevent them from coming together and drag out the unresolved sexual tension as long as possible. I don’t care how they’re obviously meant for each other and any other human they interact with is an agent of the devil sent to prevent this holy union. It’s boring and takes up valuable screen time that could be spent on something more interesting, including getting these two characters together in a more creative way.
- A Good Ol’ Miscommunication -You know what I’m talking about. If one person would just talk to another person, it would all be worked out. Granted, the episode would only be about four minutes long, but still. I wouldn’t be subjected to all of the justifications of why this simple solution hasn’t happened yet. Same with seeing two characters interacting from a distance and then jumping to a conclusion. If this person is supposed to be close with one or both, wouldn’t they just ask? Yeah, they would. Because assuming makes asses of us all.
- Secretively Bratty Children -I’ve already discussed how I’m not big on children in TV shows to begin with. I feel they’re written so poorly. But of all of the TV children I despise, the secretly bratty kids make me wish it were possible to reach through the TV and slap someone. I’m not talking about the Eddie Haskells, who are shit to their fellow young people, but kiss asses to the adults. Nor am I talking about the spoiled kids whose parents will always defend them. I’m talking about the kids who are shitty to one adult in particular and then an angel to every other adult, making those adults doubt the other adult. Yes, this is a very specific hate. This sort of trope is usually played for laughs, but I’m not amused. My blood pressure is elevated just writing about it. I don’t advocate violence against children, but seriously, throw those kids in the trash. You think they’re cute now, but they’re going to grow up to be your least favorite coworker.
- No Sunglasses When It’s Sunny -This is less of a trope and more of a petty hill I will die on, but I think it’s absolutely ludicrous that you stick characters in sunshiny locations and then deprive them of the appropriate eyewear. Especially when they’re driving. I don’t want to share the road with these people who are squinting so hard to see that they’re giving me a headache. I realize that the justification of this is so we can properly see the actors emote, but I will counter that argument with Darth Vader and the Mandolorian. They don’t seem to have a problem. Y’all make fun of Horatio Caine for rocking his sunnies, but you don’t see him squinting, now do you? No.
Are all of these dislikes a little petty? Yes. Will listing them out like this change the course of television writing? No. Writers are going to continue to execute these tropes to their dullest and I’m going to continue to roll my eyes and pine for the rare instances when writers choose to subvert or even all together avoid them.
Hope springs eternal and these tropes will no doubt last forever.