TV Tropes

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TV Tropes
Official site logo
Web address
Commercial? Ad-supported
Type of site Wiki
Registration Required to edit
Available language(s) English
Launched April 2004
Current status Active

TV Tropes, also known as Television Tropes and Idioms, is a wiki[1] that collects and expands on various conventions and devices (tropes) found within creative works. Since its establishment in 2004, the site has gone from covering only television and film tropes to also covering those in a number of other media such as literature, comics, video games, and even things such as advertisements and toys.[2][3] It is known for approaching topics in a casual and humorous tone[4]cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling once described its style as a "wry fanfic analysis."[5]

Economist Robin Hanson, inspired by a scholarly analysis of Victorian literature,[6] suggests TV Tropes offers a veritable treasure trove of information about fiction - a prime opportunity for research into its nature.[7]


TV Tropes initially focused on the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer,[1] and has since increased its scope to include thousands of other series, films, novels, plays, professional wrestling, video games, anime, manga, comic strips and books, fan fiction, and other subjects, including Internet works such as Wikipedia, which is referred to in-wiki as "The Other Wiki".[8] It has also used its informal style to describe topics such as science, philosophy, politics, and history under its Useful Notes section. TV Tropes does not have notability standards for the works it covers.[9]

Article Organization[edit]

The site includes entries on various series and tropes. An article on a work includes a brief summary of the work in question along with a list of associated tropes. In addition to the tropes, most articles about a work also have a "Your Mileage May Vary"[10] (YMMV) page with items that are deemed to be subjective. These items are not usually storytelling tropes, but audience reactions which have been defined and titled. For example, the page of the well known trope "Jumping the shark", the moment at which a series experiences a sharp decline in quality as in the notorious story point in Happy Days, only contains a list of works that reference the phrase. This is an important distinction. TV Tropes does not apply the term to a show, that being a subjective opinion about the show, but cites uses of the phrase by the show.

Trope pages are the inverse of articles on works: after describing the trope itself, it lists the trope's appearance in various works of media. For example, the page for the antihero trope contains a list of works containing varying types of antiheroes. In this way the wiki is fully interconnected through the various connections made between works and their tropes.

Trope Descriptions[edit]

Trope description pages are generally created through a standardized launching system, known as "You know that thing where ... ", YKTTW, in which site members, who are referred to as "tropers", can draft a trope description and have the option of providing examples or suggesting refinements to other drafts before launch. While going through YKTTW is not necessary to launch a trope, it is very strongly recommended in order to strengthen the trope as much as possible.[11]

The site has even created its own self-referencing meta-trope, known as "TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life". It warns some readers may become jaded and cynical as an unanticipated side effect of reading TV Tropes, "[replacing] surprise almost entirely with recognition," referring to the inability to read books, watch films, etc. without identifying each trope as it occurs. Also mentioned is that many frequently-contributing community members ("Tropers") self-describe themselves as addicted to the site. The community has dubbed the pattern of many tropers as taking a "Wiki Walk", starting an edit on an intended article, and subsequently following links from one page to the next for hours on end without intending to, pausing occasionally to add examples the troper notices to the listings or rework articles. In the process, of course, this leads to the discovery of entirely new tropes to analyze, edit, and add examples to. This self-perpetuating cycle of behavior has become the subject of much lampooning for the community, with tongue-in-cheek references being made in the articles for tropes such as "Brainwashing", "Hive Mind", and "Tome Of Eldritch Lore" (a book of cursed knowledge which infects the reader with obsessive madness). [12]

Expanding Scope[edit]

Considerable redesign of some aspects of content organization occurred in 2008, such as the introduction of namespaces, while 2009 saw the arrival of other languages, of which German is the most developed. In 2011, TV Tropes branched out into video production, and launched Echo Chamber, a web series about a TV Tropes vlogger explaining and demonstrating tropes.[13]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]