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Friday, May 15, 2009

TVTropes introduction

I have been spending the past 3 months or so rummaging through the most fascinating little site known as TVTropes. It is a listing of, well... let's explain a bit of terminology as used by the site first. The term trope, in context, is a kind of mnemonic shortcut based on a cultural understanding which allows storytellers (it says TV, but really storytellers in any medium) to tell their story without explicitly setting everything up. To give you an example, if I wanted to tell a fairytale, all I need to do is add a princess, a handsome price, maybe an evil stepmother, and a good witch. Once I have all these elements, the story practically writes itself! Each element (trope) carries a certain expectation with it, and tells the audience what to expect. Its usefulness, therefore, is limited to the viewer having seen (or at least possess some familiarity to) this kind of setup before; for example, if you have never seen Mythbusters or Top Gear (Braniacs, Smash Lab etc etc etc) before, then you might not understand why there is such a thing as Education Through Pyrotechnics.

It is an immensely time-consuming site, which is why I haven't resumed my old habits of dropping by my usual blog haunts. Not to mention, incredibly addictive. The worst thing is, you can now see all of these 'tropes' in real life; when I see two girls chumming up, immediately I'm thinking LesYay. Remembering my old schoolmate, who was a HotLibrarian as well as a Meganekko, whose voice never went above a whisper except that one time when it created an EarthShatteringKaboom, I am reminded that you really need to BewareTheNiceOnes.

Have no idea what I'm talking about? Go to the site and search the terms, one of the most fun things to do.

TVTropes is fun, don't doubt it. There is a seriousness behind it, though, in the sense that mostly, these tropes come about because there is a common body of knowledge and cultural osmosis, so to speak, that enables the storytellers to draw upon shared experiences that most people will be able to grasp. Because of this, there is a certain amount of realism in these tropes, which can be looked at in a deeper sense - and that is what I will be thinking about for the next few posts. Assuming I can tear myself away long enough to post, of course.

3 comments:

Tangent128 said...

This Troper looks forward to your future postings.

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Absolutely Nobama said...

This site rocks, dude.