Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tired Trope Kick-out

I was watching what was a great series of horror shorts when one of the pieces comes out of the blue with an excessively overused trope that I am really sick of seeing. You know it very well too I bet. A person has information that could help the police once they get past the fact that it is a supernatural perpetrator. This in and of itself is not a story problem even as often I've seen it. Now, this informant meets with the detective on the case and starts in about how the detective will think the informant is crazy. Mistake number one. Certainly the informant is intelligent enough to know that it's hard to believe so why don't they think ahead to find a way around that? This is way too often made worse by how the informant came into this information about the supernatural, which is a part of the trope--and the worst of it all--that there was a previous case involving just such a modus operandi as the current crimes.

In the particular case of this series there is a further bit of information. The informant knows about the particulars not only because of the previous case, but also because a relative was directly involved in the old investigation. Yet, the informant never does what any reasonably intelligent mammal would do and start off the conversation with "Hi, my name is Clara and I have something to tell you about your case because my deceased grandfather was a crime scene photographer and I found old case files that seem just like what I saw in the news papers." No, instead the conversation goes, "You'll think I'm crazy... there's something unnatural going on... the victims eyes are missing..." and the detective immediately has suspect number one right in front of him because no one not on the case is supposed to know anything about the missing eyes.

Instead, why can't script writers--I have no idea if this trope is repeated in novels but I have to imagine it is--sidestep this tired, and frankly pretty lame from the first instance whenever that was trope? What happens if this and other overused plot devices are put aside? How will the stories differ? Sometimes movies with tongue firmly planted in cheek, or with an attitude that all of their competition sucks flaunt these ideas. Sometimes they even knock these scenarios with flare and style. Not all tropes are bad, just like stereotypes. The word trope itself refers to different things with the meaning I have here being in line with the idea of "TV tropes" rather than traditional literary tropes. I'm personally fond of a trope I like to call "heritage speaking" where intelligent, somewhat socially awkward, characters speak as if they come from an older time period, but it is instead actually a matter of their family's status and its link to stuffy archaic thought and speech.

Mood: breezy.
Music: Phantom of the Opera by Iron Maiden and The Phantom Opera Ghost by Iced Earth.

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