One of my absolute favorite websites on the Internet is TV Tropes. TV Tropes, whose full name is Television Tropes and Idioms, is a wiki that is devoted to cataloging various types of narrative devices, or tropes as they call them. Despite its name, it not devoted solely to tropes from TV; it covers tropes from literature, film, music, comic books, video games legends, folklore, mythology, religion, the Internet and real life.
The site first began as a collection of tropes from the popular series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in 2004. In the nine years since, TV Tropes expand tremendously to all types of media.
I first began using the site regularly in about late 2010. I was so entranced by it. There was so much information on various shows and movies that I had never found anywhere else; it most certainly was not on Wikipedia (which TV Tropes calls “The Other Wiki”). It was also a good place to learn about narrative tropes and help aid writers in developing plot occurrences and characters. I am happy that it helped give me direction in the development of one of my characters, Riley Diamond I used the trope called Cloudcuckoolander, which denotes a character who is odd and seemingly out of touch with reality. I’ve since used the site to help develop other tropes in my other ideas.
I cannot say enough good things about it. However, I will point out that due to the fact that it is a wiki, and therefore, can be edited by anybody, it is not suitable for academic research for essays and the like, just like Wikipedia. Not to mention, it has very few sources, and therefore, it has almost no verification of the information listed. However, much of the information can be confirmed by viewing or reading the media discussed.
However, the main strength of TV Tropes is its community of lovers of all type of media and wealth of perspectives.
I plan on devoting several future posts to various tropes listed on TV Tropes, but for now, I will briefly discuss a few of my favorite entries.
This focuses on tropes that are subjective. They may involve differences of opinions on characters such as whether a character is unlikable or whether a plot element is weak or strong.
These are YMMV tropes. They refer to characters who are intended by the writers to be heroes or villains but who are perceived as unlikable or even villainous in the cases of designated heroes or likable, sympathetic, and even heroic in the cases of designated villains. This often happens because writers do not realize that they are making their heroes unlikable or their villains likable.
As mentioned above, this a character who does odd things, and who seems to have his or her head in the clouds, so to speak.
This character is mean girl of the school. She does everything to assert her popularity and make the lives of the so-called unpopular kids a living hell.
Another YMMV trope, this refers to characters who something that causes the audience or reader to think or say “What an Idiot.” Many of examples listed on the site are structures as follows.
This refers to a phenomena that has mostly died out in musical films where if the actors did not have suitable singing voices, either in general or for the material at hand, then professional singer would record their musical numbers, and it is the singer’s voice, not the actor’s voice, heard during the musical numbers. Occasionally, as in the film versions of the musicals West Side Story, The Sound of Music, and My Fair Lady, certain actors sang their songs only to have them re-recorded by more skilled skilled singers. This has also happened in various animated musical films of the 1990s, particularly those done by Disney.