The concept behind tvtropes.org is quite brilliant, and the pheomenon it documents endlessly fascinating. It’s one of those things you completely take for granted, and when you finally appreciate it, it’s like realizing you’ve unwittingly been wearing your trousers backwards:
Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means “stereotyped and trite”. In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them
TVTropes.org has a rich, categorized, user-contributed list of tropes.
Here’s an example of a tv trope. “Dumbass has a point”:
A character who’s normally Book Dumb, The Ditz or possibly even the Ralph Wiggum comes up with a valuable insight. The character most often heard belittling their intelligence sighs heavily and concedes, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with him.”
This was under the “dialogue” category. Other categories include “plot”, “narrative devices”, “paratext”, “characters”…
Here’s an interesting piece, more a “tv observation” than A “tv trope”, in the “british telly” category. British Brevity:
Shows are made differently in Britain, and perhaps the biggest sign of this is length. A full-length season in America is generally considered twenty-four episodes — many seasons run twelve or less, but usually this reflects budgetary constraints, a first season which is something of a trial period for the show, or some other special circumstance. Many have the conception that British shows invariably produce a grand total of six episodes per year: in reality, this only tends to be true for sitcoms, while dramas tend to last around 10 episodes per year.
There are a number of reasons for this, the simplest being that British shows usually have a fairly small creative team — it’s not uncommon at all for one person to single-handedly write every episode of a show, as Steven Moffat did with Coupling, or David Renwick with Jonathan Creek. This creative consistency, added to the fact that the British can spend a whole year putting together an amount of screentime that an American show produces in less than two months, often results in a show of satisfyingly concentrated quality (…)
TV Tropes | (via growabrain)