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Tropes Are Not Bad. But some tropes haven't aged well.

Over the course of time, a trope may be overused, misused, opposed, made obsolete, subverted on many notable occasions, or just end up being widely disliked. Eventually, a trope may reach the point where it becomes one which none should dare use seriously and only belongs in parody, satire, homage or pastiche. Often, if one of these is used straight, people will assume it's a Red Herring.

In some cases, a trope may be discredited due to changes in our knowledge of history or science. Use of the trope in fiction may change to reflect this. See the Time Marches On index.

Note: Just because a trope is discredited does not necessarily mean it is not Truth in Television.

Note #2: This is not bad writing because the writing itself is bad, but because the writer doesn't know its audience. After all, Tropes Are Not Bad.

Omnipresent Tropes are immune to being discredited, mostly because those tropes are too natural to the medium of storytelling to ever be considered tired cliches. Undead Horse Trope describes tropes that have been subverted and parodied dozens of times, but aren't quite discredited.

See also Dead Horse Trope, where subversions or parodies outnumber straight use in recent works. See also Forgotten Trope, which describes tropes that aren't used in recent works at all; they may have been considered Discredited Tropes years ago, or just fell from use for other reasons.

Compare Discredited Meme.

Examples and Tropes:



  • In a Big Damn Heroes moment, the villain is struck from behind. He'll then turn around and ask "WHO DARES?!" before a head to head battle breaks out. Now it's only brought up for others to make fun of it.
  • The Thing's "It's clobberin' time!" line is never played straight anymore. Most characters say the line for him, while others (Hawkeye) insult him for not coming up with any other lines in his decades of superhero work.

 Hawkeye: Oh, we're still pretending The Thing isn't annoying?

Spider-man: Ben?! He's a great guy...

Hawkeye: He needs some new material.


Thing: It's clobberin' time!

Hawkeye: Of course it is...

  • Superheroes Wear Capes: In the early days of superhero comics, many superheroes wore capes. In more recent years, the number of cape-less heroes far outnumbers the heroes with capes. Marvel, in particular, has only one major hero with a cape and that would be Dr. Strange, with the only other two prominent cape-wearers in Marvel being the villains Dr. Doom and Magneto. Several recent works of the past thirty years, such as Alan Moore's Watchmen and Pixar's The Incredibles, have the deaths of cape-wearing superheroes due to Cape Snag incidents as part of their backstories. These days, aside from a few heroes for whom the caped costume is too iconic (namely Superman and Batman), very few superheroes are seriously expected to wear capes.



  • Said Bookism: In these days, it's often considered redundant.

Live Action Television

  • The line "Hi, honey, I'm home!" was a stock standard phrase in many American family sitcoms from the 1950s and 1960s. Back then it was used straight forward, but since then it has been discredited due to its corniness and unrealistic routine.
    • The album art for Dance Hall Crashers' "Honey, I'm Homely" parodies this, with a woman cringing in terror from a sinister looking man entering her home, bearing a bouquet of flowers.
    • 30 Rock also parodies this, when Tracy explains that he never does the same thing twice. Flashback to him doing the line "Honey, I'm home!" on the first take but then changing it with ever iteration: "Pacman, I'm Jewish! Jeffrey, we lost the tournament!""

New Media


  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Modern musicals, at least in theatre, are specifically not supposed to play this one straight anymore, though there's still a chance a song of this nature may end up as a Breakaway Pop Hit

Video Games

  • Mascot with Attitude: Started with poorly made copycats of Sonic the Hedgehog, the Trope Codifier, and solidified by Sonic's gradual decline.
  • Monster Closet: In first-person shooters. Present in shooters in mid 1990s to early 2000s but mainly replaced by offscreen or onscreen spawning.
  • One Bullet At a Time: Subjective; was originally a technical limitation, but can still be enforced for gameplay reasons (i.e. prevent some forms of Spam Attack).
  • Random Encounters: As a remnant of technical limitations of video games and its tabletop origins, they're lately replaced by other methods to engage a fight.
    • Some games made in RPG Maker play with this trope, by having the "Random Encounters" actually be regular encounters, but with the wandering monsters being invisible.
    • Tabletop Games still use random encounters fairly frequently, where they're just a trope used in some games where they fit the flavor better. Additionally, some pretty big games such as Fallout 3, many MMOs, any dungeon-crawler patterning itself after Diablo, and most of the JRPG genre still use these types encounters. This may be an Undead Horse Trope instead.
  • Real Is Brown: Rapidly becoming discredited thanks to games like Diablo 3 and Uncharted.
  • Video Games Are For Nerds: This was gradually becoming discredited when the Playstation 1 was released. By the time the Play Station 2 became popular, it was pretty much dead. Yet, many gamers (probably as a symbol of pride) still seem to hang on to it.
    • While still common enough the target seems to have moved a bit with the nerds now only being obsessive or interested in a particular genre (e.g. MMORPGs) or niche (e.g. Japanese dating sims). On the other side there has also been a rise in Video Games are For Frat Boys, again, depending heavily on the games being depicted (FP Ss and sports games seem to be the most common) and their attitude towards them.

Western Animation

  • "I Want" Song: This became discredited for a while after Disney and its competitors milked the Broadway musical cartoon formula for all it was worth — the makers of Toy Story even intentionally avoided this, in order to distinguish it from those films. That said, there's enough nostalgia left for it now to allow it to return in recent films like The Princess and the Frog, but it's nowhere near as prevalent as it was in the past.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: At least in Western Animation, ever since Disney and its imitators ran the trope into the ground during the Golden Age. Still played straight in Japan to this day, though.
    • This trope is not as discredited in Western Animation these days as it was in Golden Age western animation though.
  • Not entirely discredited, but at least diminished since the 1990s are the fastpaced "cartoony" cartoons with gimmicky sound effects, weird body transformations and chase scenes. A lot of cartoons nowadays have more realistic action on the pace of TheSimpsons, which resembles live-action TV more closely.
  1. As of Feb. 16, 2012, Japan's debt-to-GDP ratio is 235% and growing. The US is at 98%, while Greece is currently at 159%. Furthermore, Japan has been experiencing deflation for most of the past 15 years. To make matters worse, the population is aging fast, meaning there are fewer in the workforce able to support retiree programs.