Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Maybe when you're older.

Two posts that aren't weeks apart!? What is this madness? Eh, whatever, I don't have a lot of time to do this, so lets just get going, shall we?

Trope of the day:

Basically, the hero of your show or whatever is dismissed because of his age. Of course, the "kid" is almost always more competent than the person who's dismissing them. Complete unreality of this fact aside, it's fairly obvious why you would use this trope, especially in a show geared towards a younger audience: kids want to be acknowledge by adults. When you were seven years old, you probably wanted to do all the things that adults do; driving, staying up late, etc. Of course, your parents probably said you can't do that because you aren't a grownup. And in retrospect, they probably have a point. If someone thinks that they can be a robot when they grow up, you probably don't want them behind the wheel of a minivan.

You can, however, grow up to play one in a movie.

While in real life children usually aren't more competent than adults (although some are), seeing them on tv allows them to live out their dreams vicariously. It's really more a form of wish fulfillment more than anything else. Children like seeing someone in their position actually getting the better of the "grown-ups" because they don't usually get to see it happen. It's a novelty, and allows them to imagine themselves in that position.

Neil Patrick Harris doesn't need med school.

On a larger scale, there's the fact that a lot of people just like to root for the underdog.

From a story standpoint, someone who has to overcome adversity is a more interesting character than one who accomplishes their goals with no problems. A movie about a guy who wants to run in a race has a lot more punch if the guy has only one leg. (And even more punch if he also has a hook hand and a parrot, but that's beside the point).

At its core, this trope is about overcoming adversity, and age discrimination is as good a barrier as any.

P.S. This post doesn't have enough pictures. Therefore:

That's right: dog on a bike.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I had a pen named "Charles" once

Looks like I have in fact remembered that I have a blog. And that said blog is a half-decent excuse to avoid doing other work. So here we go.

The trope of the week is:

In short: some people like their weapons so much that they name them. And such names are usually female.

First off, this convention can be used for characterization. If you want to characterize someone as fight-happy, give them a grenade launcher named Phyllis.

You know what line from Scarface goes here.

The idea being that only someone who is really, really into blowing stuff up would name their grenade launcher. Naming something is a sign of affection, of giving value to something. By naming their gun, the character is revealing what they hold to be valuable.

Though not necessarily in the
monetary sense.

The fact that a character names a weapon also implies that the name differentiates this weapon from other weapons, whether it's because all the weapons have different names or because this one is the only one who has a name. What it means is that there is more than one weapon, which reveals more about the character. This isn't always true, obviously, but it's the connotation that counts.

For example, if you see this in
someone's basement, you know that they're
probably insane, and/or Rambo.

The other reason to give a gun a girly name is for comedic purposes. The juxtaposition of seeing a hard-boiled badass fawning over a gun like a 6-year-old girl with a teddy bear is funny, as well as encapsulating all of the above-mentioned characterization.

Long story short, you can get a lot of characterization out of the way by having a character name his bazooka "Jo".

I think I tainted my soul by
making that joke.