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Fictional Wikipedia

  • Jun 21, 2012
There are phrases I tend to use a lot of in my reviews in order to describe certain aspects of storytelling that tend to show up in a lot of stories, no matter how different they may be. When I write about television shows, I tend to refer a lot to Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. In a handful of video game reviews, I've used the term "Nintendo Hard" to describe a certain level of difficulty. I talk about inversions and subversions of storytelling devices known as tropes.

If you thought anything I ever described was perfectly named in any of my reviews, then be sure to drop a line to tvtropes.org and tell them what an awesome job their site is doing in assisting me with my reviews. Well, actually, assisting me is a bit too strong a term. If there's a common cliche I need to find a snarky name for, TV Tropes excels in providing descriptions for just about every device that ever existed in order to move a plot along. I have this site bookmarked.

People talk about the Wikipedia Black Hole. First of all, it's entirely possible that the term "Wikipedia Black Hole" was invented by TV Tropes. But it doesn't change the fact that TV Tropes basically on the same premise, except for the fact that TV Tropes only deals with story devices in works of media, most of which are fiction. Where the two really differ is that Wikipedia uses common essay structure. TV Tropes uses bullet points to list the examples of tropes it finds in a particular bit of media or the examples of media that rely heavily on a certain trope. Also, anyone can edit TV Tropes, just like Wikipedia. There is also a TV Tropes Black Hole which is easy to fall into when you run into an interesting-looking page link.

TV Tropes was originally launched in 2004 to focus on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (My source for that is Wikipedia.) But it grew and it contains wikis on virtually every bit of mass media ever produced, and a lot of the shows. It also goes into areas like international politics and sports, fan fiction, anime with a separate section for western animation, music, webcomics, theater, mythology, religion, and even real life.

Some of the descriptions are so over-the-top in how serious they are that they come off as very, very funny, and in those circumstances it's genuinely difficult to remember that TV Tropes is NOT a humor website. I know it's difficult to remember when you're flipping through the list of Trope Tropes or reading an essay on the American government which could only have been written by a particularly cynical libertarian (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Useful...AmericanPoliticalSystem) but if you have something you want to say about a particular cliche in the media, this is definitely the place to go.

My only real problem with TV Tropes is that it can sometimes be slow on an update, and it leaves a lot of things out. I looked there for help in my review of My Boys, and it came up empty. But it's fun to just browse, and you'll be amazed at just how long some of the pages can be.

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June 21, 2012
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Nicholas Croston ()
Ranked #17
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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