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TV Trop | Nice Guy

Characteristics, examples, analysis
Author of the article: Tatiana Zhakova
Journalist, linguist, teacher of storytelling with 10 years of experience
In 2015 she created and promoted her project about Nizhny Novgorod,, after which she created a course called "Storytelling: How to Tell Your Story" based on it. Over 4,000 students have taken the course.

A linguist by education, she quickly masters new areas. Now she is actively studying screenwriting and storytelling in movies/serials, and writes about it in her project's blog.
The same guy who always ends up in the friendzone for some reason. Who is so good that you look at him and think: why is he the only one so unlucky in love? He's always there for that one girl he chose once and for all, ready to give her a shoulder after breaking up with a guy and put her to bed after a party.

That's him, the trope GOOD guy from the TV series, who you really want to meet in life. But for some reason, when you meet him, you are in no hurry to give him your heart in a gift box.

Because is he really that good?

A trope is an artistic device in storytelling. It is a collection of several factors that form a character/phenomenon. And that character is something we encounter in different movies/books/series.

Our brain identifies that there is something in common, but unless we know for sure the name of the trope and its characteristics, we can hardly explain it

Characteristics of a NICE GUY:
  • He smiles
  • Trying to do the right thing
  • As a rule, does not have a fatal appearance
  • Lives in his head and his fantasies
  • He immediately tries to make friends and become a good friend.
  • Not really a good person (not always)
Examples of the NICE GUY trope:
  • Ross, "Friends."
  • Tom, "500 Days of Summer."
  • Zoller (the German hero), "Inglourious Basterds"
  • Clay, "13 Reasons Why."
  • Smith Jerrod (young actor and Samantha's boyfriend), "Sex and the City"
  • Joe Goldberg, "You."
  • Tom Hanks, "Sleepless in Seattle",
    *but really just about everywhere else.
In fact, the main thing when you meet the trope of a NICE GUY in a movie (or even in life) is to identify whether this is a really good person or a wolf in sheep's clothing in front of you. From the examples I gave, so many characters have tried to seem like good guys, thinking they are actually doing good things.

For example, Tom in "500 Days of Summer" was so actively accusing Summer of not making it work that he didn't even hear her tell him directly that she didn't want anything. It's an echo of that culture when the word "no" seemed to be a veiled "convince me."

Or the example of the German hero from "Inglourious Basterds" - trying to be friendly and in love, he's so fantasized in his head about being attracted to Shoshanna that he doesn't even notice her real reaction to the idea of holding a Nazi premiere in her theater.

Perhaps the coolest example here is Joe from the three-season (so far) series "You." If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it.

Because Joe is exactly the kind of NICE GUY who then turns out to be a homicidal maniac.
That's certainly a great illustration of the phrase that you really need to protect yourself from someone who wants to protect you from everyone.

The darkest variation of this trope.
However, there are some really good people who are attentive to those around them and are willing to do anything for the person they think is their chosen one.

But a GOOD guy rarely plays a major role in a movie, don't you think? Well, unless he's Tom Hanks.
Many girls find such a guy-friend uninteresting and not rocky, unlike any other trope, but even boring. That's why he turns out to be always just a good friend, both in movies and in life.