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Crowning Moment of Annoyance- TV Tropes

by on July 25, 2009

Every so often, a site pops up that becomes generally fun and addictive. Places like Jump The Shark, Wikipedia and YouTube come out of nowhere but slowly build up a dedicated traffic. The most recent example of this is TV Tropes.

TV Tropes exists to catalogue the alleged specifics of fiction and entertainment. Things like evil twins, last second power ups and more narrative twists are listed in free to edit public maintained databases. It’s easy to see how someone could get addicted to reading and/or editing the site. However, it’s not all fun and games.

The site pretty much serves an open mic for all types of fans, from the sensible to the obsessed. The result is that the site works basically as a biased series of lists. Certain popular series will receive continued mention with their over exciteable fanbase declaring every single little thing to be the greatest thing ever whilst less popular series are often made the whipping boy. Let’s not even get into the self indulgence which is ‘Troper Tales’, in which attention starved editors include unfunny personal anecdotes.

The biggest problem however is the increased referencing of the site elsewhere online. The categories are already fairly broad but the situation is made worse by the erratic titles used. Names are often sourced from odd terminology in which words seem to have been randomly stuck togethor or using an obscure pop culture quote. The result is to alienate anyone who is not familiar with the site. Lazy individuals will increasingly toss out the terms to argue their opinion online, achieving little other than to show their inability to articulate a point.

But the heart of the problem is that TV Tropes takes good, challenging fiction and removes its identity as an individual piece of work. Whilst certain ideas may pop up in multiple places, TV Tropes highlighting of these factors only overstates the issue and reduces the complex craft of fiction into a series of easily digested flavourless chunks. Nothing more quickly removes the fun and charm of something born from human emotion and creativity than to strip it down into cold and clinical statistics presented out of context. TV Tropes removes the journey and emotional response of the narrative for the sake of generating more uneeded internet memes. No thank you. I’ll take the journey myself and discuss the sights and sounds with my fellow passengers.

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