Plot Tropes

From YoungHerculesWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Plot: A fictional(ized) series of events that have some connection.

The quality of a plot is often judged by how convincing that connection is established along the criteria of:

  • cause and effect (physics),
  • emotional motivation (psychology) and
  • reason (logic and ethics).

Failure to meet those criteria results in a Plot Hole. If the first criterion is repeatedly violated, we have a Random Events Plot, the second criterion is not met if someone acts Out of Character, and a consistent failure to meet the third is called an Idiot Plot. Deus ex Machina is a desperate plot-advancing technique that does not quite link events in a story in a convincing manner but at least keeps it going.

Plots are usually driven by Conflict, which has a strong tendency to make stuff happen. According to Aristotle, Plot, together with Character and Spectacle, is one of the six items present in any story.

A Plot Point is an important event or state of affairs that the viewer or reader is required to be aware of in order to follow the plot. An object or character whose only purpose is to drive the plot (i. e. provide the connecting element between events) is called a Plot Device. Similarly, a Plot Coupon is an object that acts as a key to advance or resolve a plot. In contrast to the Plot Device, it is actively and purposefully used (and often also sought out in the first place) by the characters to reach a goal, while a Plot Device doesn't necessarily require a character's volition to advance the plot. See also MacGuffin and Magnetic Plot Device.
- Television Tropes and Idioms

All Up To You

The lead has been captured by the bad guys and imprisoned, drugged or otherwise immobilized. The Sidekick and/or Plucky Comic Relief are forced to step up, apply what they learned from their hero, and pull his hiney out of the fire. - All Up To You

And Now You Must Marry Me

The villain's Evil Plan isn't just to take over the world, or to kill the hero. His goal is far more personal and sinister – he's going to force the heroine to marry him. - And Now You Must Marry Me


A character is transformed into an animal, either completely or partially (like a Biological Mash Up). The defining quality for this trope is whether their transformation was voluntary or not: There are many characters unwillingly transformed into animals, usually as a punishment (ironic or otherwise) or curse, more often than not by the dark magic of the Big Bad. In any case, regardless of species, the target is none too happy about being an animal. (Indeed, for some reason, characters are often just as upset over being turned into swans as they would be if they were turned into worms. There is an intriguing amount of Cursed with Awesome associated with this trope.) The target may lose the ability to speak, and must work hard to get the message to their friends about what happened. This is sometimes combined with a Freaky Friday Flip, leaving the animal's mind trapped in the human character's body (where Hilarity Ensues). This is frequently accompanied with some sort of time limit, after which it will be difficult or impossible to reverse the process. - Animorphism

  • As a punishment to Hercules, the Graeae Sisters curse his friends. Jason is turned into a boar, and begins to change both physically and mentally, developing boar ears and a snout and craving slop. - (1.38 - Me, Myself, and Eye)

April Fools' Plot

Some works will have plots based on April Fool's Day, much like the Christmas Episode. Plots will revolve around character pranking each other. It might be just a bunch of harmless fun. However, often as not, what was intended as a harmless prank might spiral out of control and create real problems. If the show as a resident Jerkass or Bully, that character might use this celebration to be a douchebag to everyone around them and simply yell "April Fools!" to be immediately immune from any form of criticism. They use the freedom of the day to be abusive towards others by pulling pranks and get away with it scot free! If that is the case, the episode will probably end with the jerk getting his comeuppance ending with "April Fools!" being uttered by the former victim as he or she pulls a prank on the prankster. - April Fools' Plot

  • During Prank Days, Hercules, Iolaus, and Lilith plan to prank Jason, since it's his last year. However they soon discover that there's an assassin using Prank Days as a cover to kill Jason. The cadets band together to use pranks to reveal the assassin and incapacitate him. - (1.34 - Get Jason)

Attack of the Town Festival

A common plot in Attack of the Killer Whatever movies. The town that is under attack happens to be holding a festival. Generally this is accompanied by an official that refuses to cancel the town festival for economic reasons. This in turn puts the public at risk and the hero of the story now has a whole town to protect from the fearsome people-eating whatever. Bonus points if the festival in question features some theme, object or commodity (besides potential victims) which would naturally attract the Killer Whatever. - Attack of the Town Festival

A Death in the Limelight

Briefly, an episode or issue that suddenly focuses on a character specifically because they're going to die at the end (or fairly close to the end). Usually this is a relatively minor recurring character, or someone who technically is in the main cast but never had a Backstory or much in the way of characterization. - A Death in the Limelight

  • Marco, who was never seen before this episode, is suddenly given a rich and emotional backstory just in time for his death to be meaniful to the audience. - (1.43 - The Beasts Beneath)

Beach Episode

Simply put, an episode where the cast decided to take a break and go to the beach or a swimming pool for some wet and splashy fun. Often combined with or immediately following a Recap Episode, the Beach Episode exists solely for the purpose of getting the female (and sometimes male) cast into bathing suits. Sadly for the fanboys, beach episodes are usually considered extreme examples of filler and treated accordingly. Note: It sometimes occurs that the Beach Episode is interrupted by the actual plot of the story. For example, the heroes are taking their well deserved beach trip when the villains decide to show up and cause trouble. Sometimes you'll meet the Surfer Dude here. Smashing Watermelons is a popular party game, as is volleyball. - Beach Episode

  • On their way back to the Academy, Hercules, Iolaus, and Theseus stumble over a beach filled with frolicking men and women playing volleyball and enjoying the sun. They join in the fun, until Apollo arrives and starts causing trouble. This episode falls immediately before a recap episode. - (1.48 - Apollo)

Cock Fight

In essence, a Cock Fight is what happens when the vying between the two suitors escalates into open hostility. Often occurs if neither was aware of the existence of the other, or when the hero has been courting the girl for a while. Typically, the fighters tend to focus on each other with the woman becoming secondary goal or, in a nastier tone, treated as a trophy. As the title implies, this trope is Always Male and is very different from a Betty and Veronica situation in its execution. Namely, it is more about posturing and machismo and much less about emotions; it tends to be more violent and physical, instead of being catty and verbal. Needless to say, this is a staple of romantic films, works where romance is an important part of the plot. However, it can show up in any type of work. Usually, this happens before the girl's heart is clearly settled between her two suitors but, even when her choice is made and spoken out, there is still a chance for the Cock Fight to turn up again, since Romantic False Leads are not known for giving up easily. If the Romantic False Lead utterly refuses to acknowledge defeat, the next step is almost always If I Can't Have You. When it comes to the competition itself, it is generally about displaying protectiveness, doing nice things for the girl, strength contests and other kinds measurements comparisons, preferably in front of her. More often than not, things can get out of hand — sometimes up to physical confrontation — if one of the suitors gets too close to the girl in front of his rival, or worse still, if he openly claims the girl for himself. During such conflicts, the girl can either stay neutral or try to intervene whether or not her choice is made. If she takes the second option, what she does can go from trying to soothe the guys's differences, telling them to shut up and stop fighting over her, or even get the HELL out at least until they stop being stupid. - Cock Fight

  • When Iolaus and Jason first catch sight of Lilith, they immediatly fight over her. It doesn't matter that neither of them have even met her yet, nor do they know whether she'd have feelings for either of them. The only thing that matters is proving which one is superior in a test of skills. - (1.05 - Girl Trouble)
Jason: There she is.

Iolaus: A girl in the academy? A babe-- who can cook.

Jason: Aw-- I've died and gone to the Elysian Fields.

Iolaus: No. No, wait! No! I saw her first!

Jason: You were busy stuffin' your face!

Iolaus: Huh? I'll show you how to stuff your face! Come on!

Hercules: Guys, guys, guys, guys. Listen, are we really gonna fight over a beautiful woman, huh?

Jason and Iolaus: Yes!

Crossing the Desert

On his neverending quest to find the MacGuffin, Hero Bob must cross a desert wasteland. Expect there to be scorpions, cacti, a few Ribcage Ridges, and maybe even a Sand Worm or two. For whatever reason, rather than travel during the night, Bob will nearly always travel starting at high noon, though this can be justified by the planet having multiple suns, or the desert having some kind of curse, what have you. - Crossing the Desert

  • Iolaus, Lilith, and Marco cross a desert during the middle of the day on their way back to the Academy, since they are running late and Iolaus claims that it's a shortcut. When they don't make it back, Hercules and Theseus go after them, also crossing the desert in mid-day. Sand worms and sun-bleached bones abound in the desert. - (1.43 - The Beasts Beneath)

Fundraiser Carnival

When a school has a fundraiser, they need ideas how to carry it out and bring in big money for the cause. One of those ideas, in Real Life as well as on television, will include a carnival, and this is the option that wins out overall. There are other situations in which this can apply, for example: A birthday party, a senior send-off, a major holiday, a prom, or just for the hell of it (Carnivals are awesome!). With any situation, the carnival is always chosen as a proper venue. And, in all situations, the school will always have enough money to pull it off, even "poor" schools. Important features of the carnival usually are: A dunk tank, a ferris wheel, a ring toss, cheap, unsafe rides, a kissing booth, and that game where you have to throw a baseball at some bowling pins to win a comically large stuffed animal for your date to impress her. - Fundraiser Carnival

Jason: I've been looking all over for you! It's festival time!

Hercules: Yeah, uh, listen, I'm kinda busy right now, okay?

Jason: I got tickets for the dunk booth! Guess who's inside. Initials: E. Olaus.

Ghost Story

Ah, the classic - everyone gathered around a campfire telling stories just in order to see who can freak everyone out the most. Usually, in fiction, the stories will be made up on the spot and even have to do with the location the campers are staying in. Whenever this happens, it often turns into a ghost hunt when someone's fevered imagination takes the story a little too seriously. Whether or not the location actually is haunted varies, but even in cases where there's a rational explanation for the strange occurrences the campers experience, it's common to leave the story with a somewhat jokey Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane ending. - Ghost Story

Theseus: So they were sure the monster was asleep. Then the boy reached his hand inside the monster's cage. A little further... a little further... just a touch more. Until he could just reach the golden key pinned under the monster's bloody jaw. He pulled his hand away. A little more... a little more... and then...

Heroes Gone Fishing

Sometimes when the bad guys aren't feeling all that bad, when they don't feel like terrorizing the locals, they go shopping. But what do good guys do when they don't feel like fighting evil at the moment? When they just want to get away from it all? Everybody deserves some free time after all! Even superheroes deserve a holiday! They go fishing, of course. "Fishing" being a general euphemism for things like chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool, shooting some b-ball outside of the school. Obviously, the story probably won't just be about them enjoying some downtime - there's no drama in that, so trouble is likely to follow them, although they might get a Beach Episode or a Breather Episode. - Heroes Gone Fishing

Horrible Camping Trip

Simply put, several members of the cast go on a camping trip, and disaster ensues. This plot is sometimes used even in situations where the characters do not live anywhere near the wilderness, nor seem the type who would even go on camping trips or have any experience doing so. Typical disasters include being snowed in, freezing in a cabin, never-ending rain, running out of food, or getting attacked by incredibly fake-looking bears (or Bigfoot. Or every animal). - Horrible Camping Trip

Love Triangle

A is in love with B, but B is in love with C, resulting in wacky hijinks. Alternatively, A and B are both in love with C, who is torn between the two and must make a choice. In the latter case, A and B tend to be Betty and Veronica; in the former, A will usually be a Romantic False Lead or Hopeless Suitor. Can sometimes lead to A stepping back because They Just Want Their Beloved To Be Happy. Alternately, A is a total jerk or Clingy Jealous Girl, making it completely okay for B to get C. See also Two Guys and a Girl. - [1]

Makeover Montage

A girl with frizzy hair, pimples, braces and Nerd Glasses is plunked into a chair (maybe even tied down for good measure) in front of a mirror by well-meaning friends and attacked with a flurry of curling irons, combs, hair gel, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, lipstick, nail polish, and all manner of powders and waxes. Put her under a bright spotlight, like at a Jack Bauer Interrogation, for good measure. Just remember, before you're done, The Glasses Gotta Go. She never exhibits any allergic reactions from the multitude of substances that are put on her, and never stands up for herself, if she doesn't want to have a make over in the first place. Voila, She Is All Grown Up! - Makeover Montage

  • In preperation for pretending to be a princess, Lilith is taught posture, table manners, ettiquite, and fan-waving. At first it doesn't seem like the lessons take, but then she gets a few tips from Princess Dido, and when the time comes Princess Lilith appears as regal as any high-born daughter. - (1.35 - My Fair Lilith)

Older Hero Vs Younger Villain

In this plot, a principal character who is supposed to be significantly older than most is opposed by a villain who is relatively young and apparently in his physical prime. The plot ends with a big fight that has the young villain sneering that his victory is inevitable because he's younger than the older hero. However, either through his superior combat experience, being less reckless or just plain toughness, the older hero soundly defeats the young villain. At or near the end, the old hero proclaims something like "I may be older, but I'm better!" Furthermore, the other principal characters quickly agree that the older hero is still a valuable member of the team. - Older Hero Vs Younger Villain

Zylus: Looks like it's just you and I, huh?

Hercules: That's you and me. You should have stayed in school.
Zylus: You are well past your prime, old timer.
Hercules: Old timer?

Zylus: Why don't you do yourself a favor? Retire gracefully, 'cause I can take it from here.
Hercules: Is that all you got?

Zylus: Why? You tired?

Hercules: Nothing beats experience.

Parent With New Paramour

A fairly common plot in modern shows and sitcoms that due to divorce, widowhood, or some other situation that results in a single parent dating again and the child trying to accept a parent's new love interest. Generally, this goes one of three ways: (1.) The kid and the new person get along quite well from the start. If Status Quo Is God this person may not stick around for longer than the episode, usually due to a breakup. In this case the kid may be quite upset to see this happen. (2.)The kid is nervous about the person at first (sometimes due to already knowing them or still being sore about their missing parent), but gradually warms up to them. This may go either way in terms of the people staying together. In this situation the kid is generally shown as being irrational and in the way of their parent's happiness. (3.)The kid doesn't like the person at all and never gets used to them. This can become a recurring plot element, and likely to have the line "You're Not My Father!" (or Mother) spoken at least once. If the person is obviously a villain, this can become Guess Who I'm Marrying, with the kid often being the Only Sane Man who can see the evilness of the new paramour. But even then, sometimes the kid puts this aside to let their parent be happy. - Parent With New Paramour

  • Hercules comes home to find out that Alcmene has met someone new, a man named Capaneus. At first Hercules is extremely hostile towards Capaneus to the point where they end up aiming spears at each other's throats. Iolaus talks to Hercules, making him understand just how irrational he's been, and Hercules apologises to Alcmene, saying that he just wants her to be happy. - (1.31 - Home for the Holidays)
Hercules: I'd like to talk to you.

Alcmene: I thought you would.
Hercules: Who is he?
Alcmene: I met Capaneus in the marketplace.
Hercules: At the marketplace?
Alcmene: I needed help with the planting, he needed work, so...
Hercules: He's a hired hand.
Alcmene: No. He's a friend.
Hercules: Now you're buying your friends at the marketplace?
Alcmene: Don't forget who you're talking to, young man.
Hercules: I know you're my mom, but I think I deserve to know what's going on around here. It's just that... you're alone out here... and there are men who would take advantage of that. What do you know about this guy anyways?
Alcmene: I know he's good and kind. He makes me laugh.
Hercules: I don't trust him.
Alcmene: I expect you to be nice to him.
Hercules: Why? Planting season's done, right? He'll move on and I'll never have to see him again.
Alcmene: You may see him more often than you think.
Hercules: I want him out of here.
Alcmene: I'm sorry, Hercules, but this is my house. I decide who stays or who goes.
Hercules: I want him out of here!

Alcmene: We should talk about this later, when you've had a chance to calm down.
Hercules: Hey.

Iolaus: Hey.
Hercules: Wha?
Iolaus: What's your problem?
Hercules: You just don't get it, do you? That's my mom in there, all right? My mom.
Iolaus: Yeah, I get it. In that nice house, cooking you a hot meal, waiting for you to wise up and get back in there.
Hercules: Whatever.

Iolaus: Oh. Well. You wanna trade places? Huh? 'Cause I'd have a mom like that any day. And if she happened to find someone who made her happy, then that's fine with me. 'Cause I want her to be happy. You big dope. You know, uh... some of us never had it this good.

Pet Baby Wild Animal

A young character adopts an abandoned or orphaned baby wild animal and cares for it as a beloved pet. However, when the animal reaches maturity, the character is advised and/or pressured by the adult characters to drive it away so it can live in the wild on its own. With heartbroken reluctance, the young one complies and is profoundly upset as the animal leaves. If it happens early enough in an episode or arc, this may later result in an Androcles' Lion. The fact that a creature raised in captivity will lack the necessary skills to survive in the wild will very rarely be addressed. Nature is loving and nourishing, right? - Pet Baby Wild Animal

  • When a baby basilisk is hatched in the middle of Corinth's throne room, Iolaus quickly ends up being the surrigate parent figure for the baby creature who he names Ruff. But basilisks can spit goo that makes things catch on fire, and Hercules and Jason eventually convince Iolaus to let Ruff go live in the wild. Iolaus does briefly raise the issue that Ruff may not be able to survive on his own, but becomes more comfortable when he hears the roar of other basilisks, indicating that Ruff will not be alone. - (1.18 - A Serpent's Tooth)

Split Personality Makeover

When dealing with a character that has a Split Personality, there will frequently be a striking visual difference depending on who is "in control." It's not a literal transformation, like the original Jekyll and Hyde; it's still recognizably the same person, but the differences will be visible. This may include anything from subtle stylistic changes (the character's design becomes more hard and angular when an evil or aggressive personality is in control, but softer and more rounded when a kind and good personality is in control) to more physical things like changes in hairstyle and black bags under the eyes. A significant vocal shift is common as well. Some of these changes are perfectly possible to do without physically altering the person's body, like the personalities having hair that's styled differently (or one of them not styling it at all and another styling it neatly) but the same length, or changes in body language and posture, or talking differently without completely changing voice actors, but others are firmly in the realm of Artistic License. These changes may or may not be noticed in-universe; if they are, expect them to treat the change as something intangible. They'll comment "he's like someone completely different now!" or "that's not the person I know!" rather than "hey, when did you get your hair cut?" or "did your voice just drop two octaves?" - Split Personality Makeover

  • Hercules asks the Fire From The Heart Of The Earth to change his heart so that he devours life, like Zeus. While under the influence of the fire, Hercules is drastically changed: his body language is smoother, he flirts with every female in sight, the way he speaks has a bit of a slur/twang to it, and he loses his sense of responsibility. It is only when Iolaus's life is in danger that his love for his friends is strong enough to break the hold that the fire has on him. - (1.13 - Forgery)
Kora: What's the matter with you?! It's like you're somebody else!
Hercules: Maybe I just decided to be someone else.
Iolaus: You're not yourself anymore, Herc.

Temporary Blindness

The hero(ine) of an action/adventure series is blinded at the beginning of the episode. The character is told that the damage will heal, provided he does not do any action/adventure heroic things for the next hour. Since the viewer did not tune in to watch the hero convalesce, the plot goes on. A supporting character helps the hero get used to his condition. Often, the blinded character's other senses will become much more acute. Unfortunately, the villain of the story sometimes discovers the hero's condition and instantly realizes he now has an overwhelming advantage. However, the hero still wins because the villain usually underestimates how well he has adjusted to his situation — in some cases, the temporary disability may actually give the hero a useful advantage. - Temporary Blindness

  • Lilith is injured and loses her sense of sight just long enough for her to learn an important lesson about fighting with her other senses. The villains realize that she's blind and several attack her at once, but she is able to hold her own in a fight by listening to the noises they make while circling her so that she knows when to attack. By the end of the episode she miraculously regains her sight. - (1.08 - Keeping Up With the Jasons}
Cheiron: You all fought with skill and loyalty and honor, but Lilith discovered that a warrior's strength comes from within.

Lilith: I did? Well, how?

Cheiron: When you saw without your eyes.

The Other Darrin

A new actor is brought on to play the same character as an actor who left, with no explanation for the switch being given to the audience. - The Other Darrin

The Power of Friendship

The villain or Ineffectual Loner mocks the idea of relying on others, insisting that friends make you weak and only fear brings servitude. Then he discovers to his extreme shock and dismay that the hero's friends really do stand up for him, and this really does enable the hero to kick the crap out of the bad guy. The Aesop: Having friends makes you strong, being alone makes you weak. - The Power of Friendship

  • Ares decides that Hercules's weakest point is his "pathetic mortal feelings", and sends Strife to attack Hercules through his best friend, Iolaus. In the end, it is Iolaus shouting Herc's name during Hercules and Strife's final showdown that distracts Strife long enough for Hercules to win the fight. - (1.02 - Between Friends)
Ares: We'll soften him up where he's weakest: his pathetic mortal feelings.
  • This trope also somewhat applies when Apollo, jealous of Hercules's friends, sets fire to the Academy to prove that his friends will turn on him at the slightest inconvenience. In the end, Iolaus, Theseus, and the cadets stand up for Hercules, even when moments earlier some of them were blaming Hercules for bringing the god's wrath down on them. - (1.48 - Apollo)
Hercules: Where are you hiding, coward?

Apollo: Hey, bro! Aw, where's your sunny disposition?
Hercules: Leave my friends alone!
Apollo: Friends? Who are you kidding? You think I can't hear? Well, they wish they'd never met you.
Hercules: That's because of you, all right?

Apollo: It didn't take much, if you ask me.

Training Montage

A variant of the Hard Work Montage in which a character builds themselves up over time in preparation for a battle. Usually accompanied by uplifting music. - Training Montage

Urban Legends

An Urban Legend is a story told by a person as a true event. It is told as having happened locally, to a "friend of a friend", and is usually altered in the telling. - Urban Legends

Jason: They thought everything was quiet... and then it came again, that eerie, scratching sound. So the knave and the maiden sped off in the chariot. And when they got home, they found the monster's hook stuck in the side of the chariot!
Hercules: Last time I heard that, it was a farm boy and a peasant girl in an oxcart.

New Super Power

A standard episode concept. Our main character who has new super powers has to cope with his newfound ability, learn to control it, and come to terms with it. Ultimately it will solve his problem that week. Half the time it's never important again, but the other half of the time it becomes a major step forward for the character. - New Super Power

  • After successfully getting a hold of the Kronos Stone, Hercules acquires the ability to shoot energy bolts from his hands the same way Ares can. This ability only lasts for as long as the stone is in his possession, though. - (1.42 - The Prize)
Ares: Typical. You don't know what you got, you don't know how to use it.

Hercules: That's not important to me. What's important is the fact that I have it and you don't.

Ares: Not for long.

Hercules: Yeah? You want to play rough? Well you can say hello to my little friend, mister! (he shoots an energy bolt into the chain of the chandelier that's above Ares)

Ares: That is so you. You get your hands on the Kronos Stone, you can't hit what you're aiming at.

Hercules: No, I can. And I did.

Pygmalion Plot

A character has made someone — literally, such as by sculpting a statue, or figuratively, through giving lessons in speech, behavior, or etiquette — and has fallen in love with the creation. Originally the Greek myth of the sculptor Pygmalion, and his statue brought to life by the gods. Ovid never gave the statue-girl a name, but the name Galatea was given in Apollodorus's Bibliotheca, which predates Ovid. - Pygmalion Plot

Hercules: Listen, Hephaestus, don't sweat it, all right? I mean... we mean well, but, the truth is, we have no idea what we're talking about. Listen... if I know one thing about women, and that's it, you can't make 'em like you. All right?

Hephaestus: No, but I can make a girl.
Kora: Oh, yeah, sure.
Hercules: Are you serious?
Hephaestus: Yeah.
Hercules: Oh, uh, okay. I mean, I-I guess. I mean, he is the god of making stuff, but--

Hephaestus: Hey, and you can help me! It's, it's brilliant!
Hephaestus: I'll call her ‘Galatea'.

Hercules: No-- no, no, no, no, no, no! Hephaestus-- tell me you didn't.
Hephaestus: Whaddya think?
Hercules: Well-- I mean-- it's beautiful--
Hephaestus: Ahhh! Shhh! Not 'It'-- 'She'.

Hercules: 'She'?

Jaw Drop

Most frequently observed in Western Animation, though it also occurs in anime, manga, and webcomics. A character becomes surprised or shocked, and their jaw drops comically. This is done to ridiculous extents in some cases (where the jaw drops to the floor and sometimes even tongue rolling out), but also sometimes within a reasonable human limit. On occasion, another character will reach over and close the dropping character's jaw. - Jaw Drop

She Cleans Up Nicely

The USTful, Will They or Won't They?, Slap-Slap-Kiss couple is at a formal event — either as reluctant dates or as part of a group. Usually in some sort of ballroom or fancy dress setting. The girl (it's always the girl — almost) appears a little late, standing at the top of the stairs in an outfit which is probably an order of magnitude more attractive and stylish than her usual wear. The light catches her just right so she sparkles. And, of course, suddenly she's got boobs. The guy, at the foot of the stairs, glances up and sees her and his jaw drops, eyes widen. The music rises. His heart flutters. He may gulp loudly. Can't make a coherent sentence for a minute or two. Sometimes the girl is self-conscious and shy of her new appearance, and sometimes she looks at the guy and goes "What? What are you looking at me for?" Occasionally she smirks instead, enjoying the effect she's having on the guy. Wrench Wenches are likely to have at least one scene like this. Tomboys and The Lad-ette also often have a moment like this — often tagged with a "Hey, I guess you really are a girl." This happens to the Undercover Model for work-related reasons. While the ballroom and the staircase are not strictly necessary for this trope to function, they are the most common elements in which to place the events unfolding. Sister Trope to Princess for a Day. Be aware of the Unnecessary Makeover where this trope doesn't work for the audience. - She Cleans Up Nicely

The Smurfette Principle

For any series not aimed solely at females, odds are high that only one female will be in the regular cast. The Smurfette Principle is the tendency for works of fiction to have exactly one female amongst an ensemble of male characters, in spite of the fact that roughly half of the human race is female. Unless a show is purposefully aimed at a female viewing audience, the main characters will tend to be disproportionately male. In many series, men will have various different personalities, but women will always be The Chick. Thus, by the Law of Conservation of Detail , you only need one. In other cases, the women are feminized versions of existing male characters. - The Smurfette Principle

Princess for a Day

This is whenever a low- to middle-class girl gets to put on some fancy clothes and pretends to be a member of the upper class for a short time— maybe even a princess. Often it's to go to a royal ball, but it could be for different reasons. It could be part of a Massive Multiplayer Scam, or because she's been telling a loved one or rival living somewhere else that she is part of the upper class. If it's the latter, expect the deception to be exposed, and An Aesop about honesty and being yourself. Other times, it's just that girl showing up and having a good time. Often involves She Cleans Up Nicely. - Princess for a Day

Limited Wardrobe

The character always wears the same outfit, regardless of the setting or season. Winter (or at least a Christmas Episode) may sometimes see the addition of a heavy coat, but circumstances will conspire to put the character in a situation where they must shed the coat, at which point it is never seen again. (A more likely choice is a hat, scarf, and perhaps mittens, which imply colder weather without obscuring the character's trademark wardrobe). Even characters whose very nature should prevent them from having such a Limited Wardrobe (read: fashion nuts) may still have one. A common Lampshade Hanging is revealing the character's wardrobe to consist entirely of multiple copies of the same outfit (see page image), doubly so if another character points to an arbitrary item and explains, "That's their favorite". One benefit to this trope is that characters are recognized by their clothing. Their clothing becomes just as much identified with them as their hairstyle and personality. Always wearing a plain T-shirt, shorts and sneakers can indicate a relaxed personality; an expensive business suit is the hallmark of any Corrupt Corporate Executive. A more logistical reason is that whether something is filmed or animated it is rarely done in a sequential order. Even though character models are rather simple to produce and alter and in live action rather easy to change clothing, making such changes on a regular basis requires a great deal more effort to maintain continuity from scene to scene. This is kind of the same reason main characters have a Dirt Forcefield and have little Clothing Damage unless dramatically necessary. - Limited Wardrobe

Moment Killer

It's really going to happen this time. They are about to share with each other their feelings after years of keeping them hidden. They come closer together and look into each other's eyes; there has never been a moment so perfect. The stars are aligned, the moon is full and one of them says, "I've never had the courage to tell you this before..."

Then her brother walks into the room, asking if she wants pepperoni or ham on her pizza. "Ugh!" is their reply, echoed by all of the fans. Whatever was there has been shot down dead. They lost the spirit of the moment and it will be a long time before they can get it back. After witnessing their frustrated anger, the brother then asks, "Is this a bad time?"

The Moment Killer is the bane of all shippers, and eternally frustrates those who will find any reason to hook up a favorite pairing. The moment is far most commonly romantic in nature, but covers the instances whenever there is a possibility of a relationship upgrade or change, including going from enemy to ally or getting that coveted "Well Done, Son." - Moment Killer

  • After freeing the Telaquir Amazons from Zared and his crew, Hercules and Cyane say their goodbyes and come very close to a kiss. Iolaus accidentally interrupts by inviting the tribe to look them up next time they're near the Academy. - (1.05 - Girl Trouble)
  • Having successfully averted a second Centaur/Amazon war, Hercules is offered a chance to stay with Cyane's tribe. He declines, and the two come very close to sharing a kiss. Iolaus interrupts, awkwardly informing Hercules that Cheiron wants to see him. - (1.12 - Battle Lines II)
  • As Jason is saying his goodbyes to Pelia, Hercules and Lilith accidentally interrupt them before they can even start to share a kiss. Pelia does give him a quick peck on the cheek, though, thus slightly subverting this trope. - (1.26 - Cold Feet)
  • As Cyane recovers her strength, having been poisoned by a spy from a rival tribe, she and Hercules take a stroll around the Academy grounds. They stop walking after a point and come incredibly close to a kiss before Iolaus appears to show them the 'energy potion' he'd made. - (1.49 - Ill Wind)


Tomboyish female co-star in a Shonen (Demographic) oriented series. Often argues with the lead male a lot in a kind of mild Slap-Slap-Kiss situation, although the Will They or Won't They? debate is occasionally subverted.

The character may not even be that tomboyish by Western standards, and have extreme weaknesses for cute things and girlish trappings. The latter sometimes they avoid because they just can't seem to make it work for them; their lack of femininity is often the butt of jokes, even if it's clear to the audience she's very cute.

Usually wears a lightly Fanservice-y, sporty outfit like shorts and a tanktop (hence the name) that preferably bares the stomach rather than a dress. If they're a bit girlier, they'll wear miniskirts once or twice as well.

She often has a soft spot in her heart for plants and animals making her a Friend to All Living Things. If the living thing is a person she'll probably become a Bully Hunter. - Shorttank

  • Lilith definitely qualifies as this, particularly in earlier episodes. As the series progresses, she does embrace her more feminine side a bit more.
Iolaus: Come on-- girls against guys.

Cyane: Is she one of the guys?
Iolaus: Uh, she's a-- she's--

Lilith: A cadet. Let's play.

Ridiculously Cute Critter

A cute widdle creature typically consisting of fur, big eyes, maybe a Big Smile, and little else. It's probably biologically unfeasible, if not downright impossible, but who cares? It's stupidly huggable, and if the show is Merchandise-Driven, it will probably be a top seller. In many cases, it will become an easily-recognizable symbol for the show/series/whatever. All together now: "Awwwww..."

You can easily spot one of these by the four tricks detailed on the Analysis page: oversized head, large eyes, and probably large feet and stubby limbs; soft and huggable looking; high-pitched, low volume noises; and small size.

This trope is an instinct, genetically encoded into almost every vertebrate to trigger mercy and sympathy in adults when they see a hatchling/pup/kit/etc with eyes large, and muzzle small compared to the head.

May double as Non-Human Sidekick types, but the main purpose of these creatures is to be irresistibly cute. Sometimes, they are unconventionally cute. Their natural habitat is the Sugar Bowl, but they have been known to wander far and wide.

Depending on the series, there can be either only 1 or 2 types of cute characters, contrasting the rest of the cast. In others (most commonly those taking place in Sugar Bowl realms) the most, if not all the cast is like that. - Ridiculously Cute Critter

  • Though several Corinthian citizens seem to be either afraid of or annoyed by him, baby Ruff could count as this. - (1.18 - A Serpent's Tooth)

Pet Monstrosity

A character keeps as a pet what would normally be considered (and the same species may be in every other instance) a bloodthirsty monster. Such a creature may be given a deceptive name. A person with such a pet may be a Fluffy Tamer. May be a Team Pet. - Pet Monstrosity

  • Particularly as an adult, Ruff qualifies as this. Fully grown, he's well over seven feet tall and has advanced from spitting up flammable goo to simply breathing fire. And, yet, he's actually surprisingly tame when he wants to be. - (1.23 - The Mysteries of Life)

I Didn't Tell You Because You'd Be Unhappy

A character decides to not reveal important information to another character because they don't want to ruin whatever it is the second character is doing. The reasoning for this is that this information will cause the second character to do something they would not want to do, but would feel emotionally obligated to do if they had this information. The character who the secret is being kept from will almost always be upset when they find out about it. - I Didn't Tell You Because You'd Be Unhappy

  • Hercules does this to Cyane. Knowing of her hatred of Zeus, he withholds the fact that he is Zeus's son out of concern for how she would take such news. When he does reveal the truth to her, she feels angry and betrayed. - (1.09 - Amazon Grace)
Hercules: Zeus is my father.

Cyane: Oh, yeah, very funny. You know how I hate Zeus.
Hercules: I tried to tell you.
Cyane: You're not kidding.
Hercules: Cyane...
Cyane: What part of your father's plot is all this?
Hercules: Listen--
Cyane: No!
Hercules: Cyane! I'm not like my father! My--

Cyane: Yeah, well, I don't believe you!

Clear Their Name

Sometimes, the hero is accused of a crime they did not commit, and must haul ass to prove their innocence. And sometimes, the person accused of the crime is someone else, who is incapable of proving their own innocence. Maybe they've already been arrested or convicted, and had the key thrown away long ago. Maybe the evidence is stacked up against them and almost nobody believes them. Maybe they're just not badass enough to do it themselves. Either way, it's up to the Big Damn Heroes to buck the odds and naysayers, find the evidence and Clear Their Name.

The poor sap locked up will usually have one person — often a beloved relative or a best friend (who's actually in love with them, hence their fixated devotion) — who remains committed to their cause, and who brings in the often-initially skeptical heroes to investigate the case. In some cases, the loved one's devotion to the wrongfully accused will persist even if the wrongfully accused has given hope of being acquitted. If the hero's good enough, they may learn of the case independently and offer their services to the skeptical police, who are convinced they've got the right person locked up. In some cases, the police might be corrupt and actively perpetuating a Miscarriage Of Justice in order to obscure the true culprit or another crime. - Clear Their Name

Constable Tarsus: Is this your pouch?

Iolaus: Well, yeah, it's mine, but it was empty when I put it in there!
Constable Tarsus: Take him away!
Iolaus: What? Chei-Cheiron!
Cheiron: Be patient. Let justice run its course.
Iolaus: Hercules!
Hercules: Iolaus!
Cheiron: [stops Hercules from chasing after the Constable] Wait!
Hercules: Cheiron, listen, I've known Iolaus my whole life, and he's a lot of things, but a liar he's not.

Cheiron: Then both of you must work to find the truth.

Clip Show

An episode which consists mainly of fragments (clips) of previous episodes. Usually has a theme: for example, to highlight a character's development over the years, or show the relationship between characters. Sometimes, however, it won't be shown that the events take place in the past, but they are shown as appearing directly one after another. Clip shows can be used to stretch the budget — they utilize footage already shot, thus needing only narrative glue money for the episode. When a clip show is used to sum up a season or storyline, it is a Recap Episode. Clip shows were more appreciated by viewers in the days before reruns, syndication, and videotapes/DVDs provided an alternative way for them to revisit the old moments of their shows. When previous clips of a single character's line or action are played out in rapid succession (such as Homer's "D'oh" sequence in So It's Come To This: A Simpsons Clip Show), that's a Fully Automatic Clip Show. - Clip Show

  • After Cheiron is taken prisoner by Ares and is in danger of being killed, he gives Hercules and the others clues on where to find him. To decipher them, Hercules must think back on his previous adventures - (1.45 - Life for a Life)
  • When Cyane falls mysteriously ill and the tribe is in danger of being overtaken by another, she tries to communicate exactly what happened to her via Hercules' memories. - (1.49 - Ill Wind)

Duels Decide Everything

In a World where Card Games, Mon-battling, Foo Fu, or What Have You is Serious Business, conflict resolution often boils down to a Card Game, Mon-battle, Foo-off, or what-have-you-bout.

Every problem will inevitably lead to a climactic battle of Mahjong, or Uno, or the like. Is The Hero facing the threat of war? A terrible plague? An economic recession? Inevitably, there's a tangible villain responsible for it and the solution is for the hero to confront them and show them that his Kung Fu is Stronger Than Theirs. If you're watching Tales of the Knights of St. Bob you're probably looking at a swordfight waiting to happen, but it's equally possible that you're watching something like Super Table Football Superstar and after an interminable mutual glare, one party will dramatically challenge the other to a game of table football.

Everyone has absolute respect for the authority of the fu-du-jour to decide who gets to walk away the winner. If the "Foo" in Foo Fu is arm wrestling, after Bob has won and is walking away, Alice will not even contemplate the possibility of shooting him in the back. If it's psychic manipulation and Alice has just won a tiring Battle in the Center of the Mind, it will not occur to Bob to jump at her, pin her to the floor and start punching her in the face. And, yes, even if Bob has just lost a game of table football he will just helplessly stand there, shaking his fist in frustration- because, well, what can he do? He's been beaten in a game of table football. Game over for him, really. The best he can hope for is a rematch. Fighting Alice in any way that doesn't involve table football doesn't cross his mind.

This extends beyond just getting the defeated party out of the picture. If the Big Bad has been bested, their whole evil operation will fold up on itself and disappear within the day. The Evil Army will not rally. There is no plan B. The superweapon The Hero managed to destroy while Storming The Castle will have No Plans, No Prototype and No Backup. It's as if some cosmic force had decreed that this conflict be settled with Combat by Champion. Whether the stakes are trivial or world-shatteringly huge, Duels Decide Everything. - Duels Decide Everything

  • Jason and Iolaus, both attracted to Lilith, decide to settle their fight over her with a kickoff contest involving making a complicated kick and landing the ball squarely in the pigpen. Neither one wins, unfortunately, as Cheiron's messenger, Arcus, ends up tripping over the ball just before it can roll into the pigpen.- (1.05 - Girl Trouble)
  • Angered at being called out for cheating during an event in the Corinthian Games, Pollux challenges Jason to a pankration, an almost-no-rules wrestling/kickboxing match, to see who the real champion is. Even with (presumably) a few bruised ribs, Jason wins. However, when Pollux proves to be a sore loser, it's Hercules who steps in for the next, rather elaborate duel. - (1.17 - Winner Take All)
Iolaus: Okay. Through the arch; off the ladder; over the roof; off the well; off the wall; down the steps; nothing but pigpen.

- also, Combat by Champion in Amazon Grace

Emergency Impersonation

A secondary character of some importance in the world at large has disappeared or been rendered incapable of performing his usual duties: they've been kidnapped, or have run away, or they might have even died. Someone else (usually one of the program's leads) finds themselves dragooned into service; they must impersonate the missing person during some critical event or meeting...or for much longer.

While sometimes the impostor receives sufficient briefing and/or real-time aid to bring off the deception seamlessly, it's more common for time or other constraints to prevent this seemingly necessary step. In a comedic setting, naturally, Hilarity Ensues; in more dramatic locales, the results can be anything from painfully embarrassing to potentially fatal.

Eventually the missing person (if they aren't deceased) is recovered, but often only after they learn An Aesop about some aspect of the world which was hidden from them in their usual role. - Emergency Impersonation

  • Not wanting to be late for his first day of work, Iolaus plots to sneak away from detention and begs and pleads with Hercules and Jason to cover for him. To avoid any suspicion from Fiducius, the ruse even goes to the extent of Hercules pretending to be Iolaus by placing a mop on his head, covering himself in mud, and disguising his voice - (1.06 - Teacher's Pests)

- [ ]

  • - ([[]])
: ""