When you watch movies and TV long enough, you start to notice certain patterns. Whether it be plot elements that show up every where or moments that seem similar in nature, it becomes apparent that sometimes shows and movies aren't as different as they seem. You'd even be surprised to know that there are certain terms to describe such tropes. Today, we are going to look at five entertainment tropes that you are definitely familiar with.
5. Deus Ex Machina
This term, which is translated as "God from the machine", was originated in ancient Greece. Back in that day, the term was used to describe the process of using machines to bring actors playing gods to the stage during tragic plays. Nowadays, the term is used to describe a plot device in which a new character or object single-handedly resolves a seemingly unsolvable problem. This plot trope is often considered a lazy way to achieve a desired happy ending. Notable examples of Deus Ex Machinas in entertainment include water melting the Wicked Witch in Wizard of Oz and bacteria killing the aliens in War of the Worlds.
This term, popularized by film legend Alfred Hitchcock, is used to describe an object that is used to drive the plot, and that's it. The object is completely interchangeable (i.e. you could change the object, and it would have no impact on the story) and is irrelevant to the plot. The Indiana Jones movies are undoubtedly the biggest culprit of this trope, as it seems there is at least one for every movie.
3. Woman in the Refrigerator
While this is a trope more associated with comic books, it has made its way to movies and TV from time and time. This is term is named after the infamous moment in which the Green Lantern finds his girlfriend dead and stuffed in a refrigerator by the villain Major Force. This moment really served no further purpose other than giving the hero extra incentive for defeating the villain. The term was popularized by comic writer Gail Simone, who created a website that lists numerous examples of female superheroes being brutalized, killed, or de-powered as a plot device. This term is often referenced when talking about the questionable treatment of female in certain mediums (specifically in comic books).
2. Liar Revealed
Also known as "The Plot of Almost Every Notable Dreamworks Animated Movie", this trope focuses on the dishonesty on the main character. This dishonesty almost always plays out in the same way: the main character plays up a lie to the supporting characters, only for the truth to be revealed when the conflict reaches its peak. This is often used to set up the 3rd Act, where the characters have to deal with the consequences of the lie (along with other external threats). This trope is often used as a lazy of creating tension, in order to make the climax seem more dramatic.
1. Jumping The Shark
This arguably the most popular term in all of television. This term is named after an incredibly infamous moment in the classic show Happy Days. This moment sees fan-favorite character The Fonze literally jumping over a shark with the help of water skis. Many TV buffs point to this event as the moment in which the show started its gradual decline in quality and popularity, eventually culminating in its cancellation. Since then, fans of TV have tried to pin point where once great and popular TV shows started to fall from grace.