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What are tropes, or why do we often meet the same characters?

In movies, TV shows, and in life, in general.
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.
Have you ever noticed that in almost every American story there is a best friend of the main character who is always around? The blond girl stands up to the brunette, and the dark-skinned woman turns out to be very strong? And even Marvel movies always track the plus-minus one and the same scenario?

It's all about the fact that every story is full of tropes. They are what add to the situations and characters' relatability, bring them together, and allow them to be categorized in your mind.
Factual Background
A trope is a storytelling tool, a brief description of a situation or character for the reader to recognize. It is the way of telling a story that every storyteller uses.

That said, a trope is not a cliché. Tropes can be brand new and trendy but still give the impression of being decrepit. They may be 1,000 years old, but they will be perceived as fresh and interesting.

They are neither good nor bad, they are simply tools that the creator uses to express his idea and communicate it to the audience. Without tropes, it's impossible to create a story.

I found two great sources where you can learn more about trails:

In other words, it turns out that any work, be it a movie, TV series, or short story, consists of tropes. Which, depending on their use, make the story worse or better. If a trope is used incorrectly, we feel dissonance. And if a trope is used too straightforwardly and hackneyed, it becomes a cliché.
For example, silly blonde. Such a trope can be used as a symbol of the struggle against the stereotype. Or as a humorous character who is ironic about her own blondness.

But in the year 2021, it is impossible to describe a character who acts like a dumb blonde in all seriousness. Because society and its self-consciousness have gone far in accepting our differences, and such a trope is likely to be perceived negatively.

Equally, if you use a gay best friend trope, but don't give it any development.

So it's not all that simple with these trails and their use.

Examples of tropes

  • Rude Girl
    Blair Waldorf ("Gossip Girl"), Regina ("Mean Girls"), Cheryl Blossom ("Riverdale")
  • A strong black woman
    "And fires smolder everywhere," "Black Panther"
  • Serial Killer
    Dexter, Meglin ("Method")
  • Nice guy.
    Dan (Gossip Girl), Ross (Friends), Steve (Sex and the City)
  • Reincarnation
    "How to Be a Princess," "It's All Her," "Don't Be Born Beautiful.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a screenwriter's dream
    "Sweet November," "Elizabethtown," "500 Days of Summer."
And so on... :)
The tropes are insanely numerous, and the same character can represent several tropes. The more interesting it is to unravel all these meanings and interactions! In future articles, I plan to take a closer look at some of the tropes and explain how you can use this knowledge from TV shows and movies to build your personal brand and create your story. Stay tuned!