Top 5: TV Tropes

Everybody loves a good cliché; and though they say that “on the whole, tropes are not clichés,” it’s one of the reasons why TV Tropes is more dangerous than Wikipedia when it comes to wasting your time on the internet. In fact, it’s so famous that it has its own trope page, the dangerously titled TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life. Now that is meta.

Recognising tropes isn’t a bad thing – engaging with your media makes you an “active, intelligent viewer,” and recognising the tools and plot devices inherent in your favourite things isn’t going to make you love them any less; if anything it will just up your appreciation for their place in popular culture and of what came before.

So if you want to lose 7+hours of your life, look no further than the Tropes of Legend. But in case you have a pesky job or an unavoidable appointment like your wedding or your birthday, here’s 5 of them to keep your occupied. In truth any 5 tropes could be a top 5 (yes, they are just that good) but these are some staples to get your started on your epic journey.

ACTION GIRL (plus analysis)
The Action Girl is a female Badass who can go toe to toe with her male counterparts without breaking a sweat.
EXAMPLE: Ellen Ripley (Alien), Eowyn (Lord Of The Rings Trilogy)

Any time the heroes get to save the day in a big, awesome manner.
EXAMPLE: Mal, Zoe, Wash, Jayne, Kaylee, and Book (Firefly)

Often, some people have the need to top things. It could be because of dissatisfaction with something, a need to best someone else (often known as “Keeping up with the Joneses”), or some other reason. Either way, you would like to take something, and push it beyond what’s been done before.
EXAMPLE: This Is Spinal Tap (originator), JLA-Avengers: Superman is better than Mjolnir (Marvel/DC)

A woobie (named for a child’s security blanket) is that character you want to give a big hug, wrap in a blanket and feed soup to.
EXAMPLE: Gatsby (The Great Gatsby), Frodo (Lord of the Rings Trilogy)

A Hand Wave (also memetically called “Scotch Tape”) is any flimsy explanation – particularly involving the backstory, a retcon, or a use of phlebotinum – which is noteworthy for its lack of detail or coherence. It may be used to (try to) hold together an Idiot Plot or an otherwise outrageous story.
EXAMPLE: The Sonic Screwdriver (Doctor Who), Dawn as The Key (Buffy the Vampire Splayer)