It’s time to complain!
All in good fun, of course, though I think some of my complaints today are justified. Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads set last week’s T5T topic as “Tropes I Dislike,” and I’ll be tackling it today instead (mostly since I don’t feel like combing through books with bad tropes to find the shining example of a good subversion for today’s real topic).
Technical details aside, come join me in crabbing about tropes that fill me with dislike! Or even hate, in a couple cases. I know that’s a strong word to use, but trust me: there’s a couple tropes that don’t deserve anything less than my full animosity. Okay? Okay, cool.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl
Let’s get the worst tropes out of the way first, okay? Manic Pixie Dream Girl deserves to be on this list for being so stale. It’s been done a thousand times, and it’s always some quirky girl meant to support the male lead before she dies tragically or throws away anything that interests her just to be in love with a guy who’s either a total jerk or barely more developed than cardboard.
We’ve all read it before. We’ve all suffered through this. No more. It’s a simple ask?
Bury Your Gays
If Manic Pixie Dream Girl makes me roll my eyes, Bury Your Gays actually has me seething. I mean, no brainer that it would make this list today. I’m queer, and I’m tired of what little rep I get dying for shock value. Or to further a cishet white guy’s arc. It’s exhausting, between the disappointment and the anger it always brings.
Thankfully, we’re seeing less of this over time. Either queer characters aren’t dying, or if they are, they’re not the token minority, and their deaths actually fit with the plot. The situation is overall less awful than it used to be, but this trope goes on the list all the same. Mostly because it makes me angry, and “dislike” is just too mild a word to describe my feeling toward it.
The middle finger emoji probably covers things a little better.
He’s an Asshole, So He Must Be in Love
This one! This one sends me into a senseless rage! It’s like “Boys Will Be Boys” meets “He’s Less of a Jerk to Me Than to Everyone Else, So it’s True Love,” and it makes me wish I could breathe fire. It makes me feel like I could, anyhow. You should see the smoke pouring out of my ears whenever I run into it.
Again, this is becoming less and less of a common trope, especially as soft love interests take their rightful place upon the Love Interest Throne, but still. I hate it with every fiber of my being, and I wish it would turn into He’s an Asshole, So I Dumped Him more often than it does.
Girl Next Door Meets the Bad Boy
Finally, one that doesn’t fill me with total rage. Girl Next Door and Bad Boy can be done well in some cases. A little trope subversion here, a little thoughtful characterization there… Really, it’s not a lost cause.
But it’s just not for me. It falls under tropes I dislike because it often strays into “I Can Fix Him” territory, or, as above, “He’s an Asshole, So He Must Be in Love.” It’s hard to find this one done well, and even harder to find it without a bevy of overdone or outright crappy tropes attached.
Besides, where’s my Bad Girl Meets Boy Next Door? Girl Next Door Meets Bad Girl? Bad Girl Meets Bad Boy, Bad Girls United, Boys Next Door Enjoy a Mug of Hot Chocolate and Catch a Break For Once in Their Lives?
Honorable mention to my dream Bad Character Scenario: Bad Nonbinary Love Interest Secretly Soft Inside and Falls For Earnest Wild Child Main Character.
Like last time, I specialize in specificity. Can you blame me when the options are just so sweet?
The Chosen One
Of all the tropes I’ve listed today, this is actually the one that’s able to get a pass sometimes. You see, The Chosen One is basically THE trope of all time. We’ve all read it, we’ve all seen it on TV. You can’t avoid it, which is why it made my list of disliked tropes. I’m simply tired of seeing it everywhere.
However, it’s also one of those tropes that can be subverted marvelously, and I’m always open to a Chosen One book in the hopes that it will dismantle and rearrange this trope for the better. Let’s try A Chosen One, out of multiple Chosen Ones! What about a Chosen One who chose themself, no higher powers necessary? What if they just said “nobody’s stepping up to the plate, and I can sort of make this prophecy about me, so let’s go”?
The possibilities are endless here, and ultimately, I only dislike The Chosen One in its standard, singular form. Selection by a higher power? Whatever, guys. Do something new. Impress me.
And that’s that on tropes I dislike! I’m sure there’s more out there that I missed, but these are the first ones that came to mind. Probably a good sign they should be on this list.
What about your list, though? Which tropes do you have no fondness for? Is there a particular trope you’d like to punt clear into outer space, never to return? Let’s chat!