TV Tropes Tuesday: TV Tropes: Remember the New Guy

One of my favorite bloggers is Carrie-Anne Brownian.  I value her intelligence, creativity, and advice for writers.  She inspired me to blog about my own creative pursuits.  She made a post yesterday, where she reminded me of a an entry on TV Tropes known as Remember the New Guy. This trope involves a new character being introduced, and the characters act as though he or she have always been there even though they have never even been mentioned before. It can be a stretch to believe that a new character isn’t a new addition into the lives of the established characters.  I concur with Carrie-Anne’s advice, that if you want to introduce a new character, you should not have them already developed.  She points out that one should re-write the story to include the character, or write a passage explaining who the character is and what their background and relation to the established characters are.

Some examples of this trope include:

In That’s So Raven, the title character is harassed by a girl named Alana and her clique.  They had been enemies since fourth grade, ever since Raven got the part that Alana wanted in a school play.  However, Alana is never seen nor mentioned until season 2.  Some people could argue that it is possible that perhaps Alana was never mentioned because Raven and her friends don’t like to talk about her.  In schools, it could be more plausible to suddenly introduce new and fully developed characters, since they may not have the same classes together with the established characters, but if the characters are close friends on close enemies, if you like, it would be unlikely that they would never mention the new character at least once.

Another example from schools is Degrassi.  This trope is done right because two characters (Dave and Imogen) were introduced despite as having already been students, and nobody acted as though they had already been friends with them.  In fact, Imogen, in her first appeareance tells Eli that witnessed several of the events he went through during the previous season.

In my planned show SSCHS, I thought about using this trope, but making it plausible where a new teacher is introduced, but she’s not really new, and has been employed at the school for quite some time, and is known  in passing by the other characters, but because of scheduling, they rarely come into contact with each other; since they don’t know her very well, it would be implausible for her to never be mentioned.  Her role becomes much larger than before.

Another example, that did not seem to hurt the show is the character of Taylor Townsend of  The O.C.  She was first seen in season 3, and she was said to have history with the main characters.  She proved to be so popular among fans, that they suspended disbelief and overlooked the fact that it made no sense for her to  never at least be mentioned before.