Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Evil Minions and Gleeks in a Big Bad Mashup.

"Santana Lopez in Glee is arguably a version of the Dragon Ascendant, taking over Quinn's role as The Libby when Quinn's status as a Fallen Princess (she suddenly became unpopular when her pregnancy was revealed) made her do a Heel Face Turn.  However, considering that Sue Sylvester is the real Big Bad it's more like Santana was just upgraded to The Dragon from being an ordinary minion."

It's not Glee gone rogue, it's tropes:  storytelling devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations.

The tongue-in-cheek site that authored the Gleeful opening paragraph of this blog is "TV Tropes," because TV is where the writers started, but don't be fooled. It's a valuable tool for anyone writing fiction that features a main character and supporting cast - in other words, it's a useful tool for anyone writing fiction.

According to the TV Tropes web geeks,  tropes transcend television. They exist in life. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, does its best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere.  Oddly enough, many of these tropes originated in literature, and even today there are books with enough cultural impact to spawn TV Tropes.

Any trope is here, sorted into a mind-numbing array of sub-tropes, but the Tropes manage to swerve away from cliché.  The word clichéd means "stereotyped and trite:" in other words, dull and uninteresting. There are no dull or uninteresting entries here.  The site is full of 'aha' moments with spot-on tropes that will cause you to view your neighbor, brother, high school bully or favorite action hero in a left-of-center, altered light.

TV Tropes main page also has useful toys including a pitch generator with hilarious results. My favorite? A pitch for the spoof, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes:

Tomatoes. You pickle them for your ketchup. You squish them for your tomato juice. You cut them to pieces and feast on their raw corpses in your salads. You treat them like vegetables.

And they're not going to take it anymore. 

Makes me want to double check the karma of the Beefsteaks in my garden.  Perhaps pulpy mutiny abounds.

Hundreds of tropes are broken down by male and female characters, incuding how to write for my favorite, the Badass, and answers the question: Why All Guys Want Cheerleaders - this, despite the fact that the cheerleaders are almost universally presented as shallow, bitchy and led by The Libby.

Veronica: Heather, why can't you just be a friend? Why do you have to be such a mega-bitch?
Heather Duke: Because I can be.
Aah, high school. The Libby; I'm familiar with this trope, though I was the Anti Libby. You see, I was in the band, and  though I don't have the inclination to search for the Band Geek Trope, I'm certain it's detailed in the website somewhere.

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