Cliché Storm

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

You are watching something like Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation and it strikes you that you have heard every single line of this somewhere else. Every trope is presented without irony or acknowledgment. All the situations and setups are clipped out of another story and pasted in as-is.

You are in a Cliché Storm. Do not worry. The pain will soon pass. A bug will soon scrag the inept Lieutenant. Security will soon come to the perimeter. The line will soon be held. It will be over, soon.

Remember, this is not always a bad thing - many a Cliché Storm is also a guilty pleasure, or even, dare we say it, exactly what the audience wants in the first place. You can see from some examples that people often intentionally create as big a Cliché storm as possible... and then start having fun with all of the Clichés. Oftentimes, they may not start around deconstructing or playing with the cliches as so much play it for laughs. It's very common in an Affectionate Parody.

See also A Space Marine Is You, a specific form of a Cliché Storm; see also Deconstructor Fleet, for works that tear through dozens of tropes en route from Cliché Storm to originality. Compare Medieval European Fantasy, a common setting in some Cliché Storms. Compare Strictly Formula, Reconstruction. Compare and contrast Troperiffic, which is a more fun version of this trope, although the lines between the two are blurry and kind of subjective.

An important thing to note is that, as we enter the 21st century, the sheer number of works created makes it nearly impossible to write something "original". Also, our ability to securely store books and films in libraries makes it easy to access old works. That can make the newer material appear to be cliché storms, simply because we could see the similarity to countless older stories. With all that, Cliché Storm is about to become one of the most heard of tropes in the near-future. This is why we warn you that Tropes Will Ruin Your Life.

Examples of Cliché Storm include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Rob Liefeld's infamous Youngblood featured a team whose only non-powered member was also its leader, several Wolverine rip-offs including a Proud Warrior Race Guy, characters layered in pouches and shoulderpads, names like "Darcangel" and "Badrock," gun-toting anti-heroes with religious-sounding names (the hot new character when the book debuted was Marvel's gun-toting antihero Bishop—Youngblood gives us Chapel, Cross, and Prophet), and buxom women in skimpy outfits. And they had "Home" and "Away" teams.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel comics, which continue the story after both series end, reuse a good number of the best one-liners and comebacks from the TV episodes. They're meant to invoke familiarity, but the problem is that they end up doing them way too often. After the nth Meaningful Echo, you start to wonder if the writers can come up with any new witty dialogue.
  • Well Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash briefly notes that "they thought of everything! No cliche left unturned!" when he sees his team's new headquarters in Final Crisis Aftermath: DANCE. The series itself doesn't exemplify the trope, however, nor does the team.

Fan Works

Snape: "I'm not going to start off irrationally hating Potter because of his parents even if he did make a pained face and cover his eyes the minute he saw me."
Dumbledore: "That's certainly big of you, Severus. I feel inspired already."
Snape: "After that doesn't happen, I'm not going to be forced to spend time with him in my classes and as the head of his house and start to see a new side of him. Particularly as I'm not going to find out that he was abused or neglected or had some other tragic problem growing up other than his mother's death..."
Dumbledore: "...What won't happen then?"
Snape: "I'm certainly not going to see a side of him that I hadn't before and see some of myself or any random relatives of his that aren't his father in him. I'm not going to be drawn to his modesty, intelligence, kindness, or any other virtue you can think of."
Dumbledore: "Well, now I think you're just limiting yourself. Would it really be so bad if that did happen?"
Snape: "It doesn't really matter if it would or would not be since it won't. And finally, I will most certainly not become his favorite teacher and or his mentor. I simply will not do it and this will not become an inspirational story. It will not."


"All right, Deep EYES, this is a bug hunt! You heard the man and you know the drill... lock'n'load, move out, and Stay Frosty!"

  • Dungeons & Dragons, The Movie. It's easy to imagine little "DING!" noises and a counter display ratcheting up as each cliché goes by. The film makes for an impressive drinking game.
  • The complete filmography of Roland Emmerich, Michael Bay, and Stephen Sommers, but that's not to say they aren't entertaining.
    • Sommers in particular lampshades the hell out of this. In his commentary for The Mummy Returns, he notes that if you have a jungle full of ruins, you have to have shrunken heads.
    • He also claims that movie rules require a pointed gun to make sufficient rattling noises - about the level created by a large garbage bag full of cans is a good starting point.
  • Deathlands: A cocktail of every sci-fi movie you've ever seen, thrown together on a budget equal to the price of a bus ticket.
  • Ryuhei Kitamura isn't a terrifically subtle director, to say the least. He is, however, terrifically entertaining, which might explain why he was picked to direct Godzilla: Final Wars.
  • The three Starship Troopers movies. These movies are all about irony, producers claim. Whether or not that works for you is your call.
    • The first and third are intentional satire, the second is closer to this, with some heavy-handed satire.
  • The Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has Brendan Fraser delivering cliché one-liners every few seconds.

"I really hate mummies!"
"Time to go!"
"Here we go again!"

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000-featured fantasy film The Quest of the Delta Knights has the Big Bad saying things like: "I grow weary of your antics, beggar man!" Ironically, and with no explanation whatever, both the Big Bad and the old man were played by David Warner.
    • The movie was a thinly-veiled attempt to do Star Wars in a fantasy setting long before Eragon made it cool, and that's how they linked the Darth Vader and Obi-Wan characters. It's not much of an explanation, but it does seem slightly less random when you realize that.
  • Briefly parodied in Small Soldiers, which features a scene where Major Chip Hazard gives a hilariously cliché-ridden speech to his "soldiers."

"Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give me death! Eternal vigilance is the price of duty. And, to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what your country can do for you, only regret that you have but one life to live!"

    • Actually, everything Hazard says is made of this, from the "roll call" when he activates his troops to his combat banter.
  • Street Fighter the Legend of Chun Li has a terribly huge number of action movie clichés, even (perhaps especially) ones which contradict the canon and tone of the Street Fighter series.
  • The 2007 hard sci-fi epic Sunshine borrows heavily from both 2001 and 2010, along with a host of other influences in the serious science fiction family of movies. The movie works though, mostly because you don't see its type very often anymore.
  • Sleepover. Mind you, it is a preteen chick flick comedy, but this is ridiculous. It doesn't help that most of the actresses are fresh out of Barbizon and don't even realize how many Dead Horse Tropes they're playing straight.
  • Parodied in Loaded Weapon 1 with this exchange:

Gen. Morters: Where's the microfilm, Mike?
Mike McCracken: I don't know, I gave it to York. I thought she was one of your men.
Gen. Morters: Act in haste, repent in leisure.
Mike McCracken: But he who hesitates is lost.
Gen. Morters: Never judge a book by its cover.
Mike McCracken: What you see is what you get.
Gen. Morters: Loose lips, sink ships...
Mike McCracken: Life is very short, and there's no time for fussing or fighting, my friend.
[Gen. Morters, cornered, looks to Mr. Jigsaw]
[Mr. Jigsaw consults Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, shakes his head]
Gen. Morters: Sorry Mike, no good.

  • Discussed in Serenity as the setup for an action punchline:

The Operative: "The Alliance isn't some evil Empire; he is not the plucky hero; this is not the grand arena--"
Inara: "--and that's not incense."

    • Oddly enough, The Alliance is an evil empire, and Mal is the plucky hero and the rest of the movie goes pretty well as you would expect, albeit with enough emotional twists and turns to engage the audience.
    • Actually, as Joss Whedon points out, the Operative is kind of right. While the Alliance is antagonistic to the main characters, said characters are thieves and smugglers. The Alliance is presented as actually being largely beneficial and benevolent. Granted, how much of this comes across in the film itself is debatable, since time for these subtleties is somewhat limited. As for Mal as 'the plucky hero' - even in the series Mal is far from the hero archetype, and for the film Whedon pushed him even further towards the darker, non-heroic side so he could undergo some sort of arc of development during the film.
  • In a So Bad It's Good way, both Darktown Strutters and Order of the Black Eagle. These movies aren't related at all, they just fit together when run matinee style due to using exactly half of all available tropes ever created prior to the 80s. The combination effect induces what can only be described as an effect similar to a caffeine rush without the coffee.
  • Cheap Sylvester Stallone vehicle D-TOX. Stallone plays a cop who, after punching a Cymbal-Banging Monkey, finds out his wife has been killed by his nemesis. He develops a drink problem and is sent to a remote, snowy rehab place. People get killed off one by one. And who's doing the killing? Why, the Evil Brit of course! As you'd expect from a film populated by alcoholics, you get an Anvilicious message:

"Booze may be a slow-burner, but it's still suicide."

  • Subverted in almost every possible way throughout Inglourious Basterds, a film in which almost everything you expect in a World War II action film turns out exactly the opposite of what you'd expect.
    • Unlike Saving Private Ryan... aside from the Normandy Beach scene, which broke some serious new ground in that genre.
  • Limit of Love: Umizaru. Up until the last 10 minutes, you can easily predict not only every single "unexpected twist" but every single line the characters are about to say. Of course even if we count that last moment where the ship sinks with the protagonist still on board, the ending is still pretty much the same. Just goes to prove it, you can only make so many movies about a sinking ship.
  • The Amy Adams flick Leap Year is not so much a film as it the feeding every Rom Com and Oireland cliche imaginable into a blender and making the audience drink the result.
  • Many Quentin Tarantino movies are like this, but Kill Bill is the poster child. And you will love every last second.
  • This trope is parodied in the trailer for Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters.
  • When Time Ran Out. Of course, it's notable that most of the Cliches used in that movie were the ones Irwin Allen himself have been credited with creating. (It's eerily similar to the 1972 film adaptation of The Poseidon Adventure, complete with an elderly woman fleeing for an escape dying of a heart attack and the majority of the people who stayed behind dying.)
  • Daylight; it's pretty much every disaster movie since 1972.
  • The portions we hear of the speech the Federation President gives at Khitomer in Star Trek VI are basically a political/diplomatic speech cliché storm.
  • The Expendables. But that's precisely the point.
    • In fact, it hits up more tropes than expected, particularly during the middle section, which unfortunately bores the Genre Savvy person who knows exactly what the main character's going to decide to do, and just want him to Get On With It Already.
  • Battle: Los Angeles is oversaturated with Alien Invasion and war movie tropes. Which doesn't mean it has nothing new or exciting to offer.
    • And then the film Skyline ripped off its plot from Battle Los Angeles, which led the makers of one Cliche Storm to sue the makers of the other.
      • This is made even more ironic when one realizes that both films were released months apart. Film/Skyline was actually released first in November 2010 and then Battle: Los Angeles in March 2011.
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse contains so many cliches from every zombie, sci-fi and buddy action film in the past ten years before release that it is near impossible to find something original in the film.
  • Alpha and Omega. Entire movie in a nutshell: Male falls in love with female. Male realizes he can't be with female because their love is forbidden due to them being different. Male and female get captured, wake up in a new location, and have to find their way home. Then throw in a bunch of kiddie humor during their adventure. Male and female finally arrive home, but the female dies. Oh wait, she didn't actually die. Male and female, despite their differences, fall in love, and live happily ever after. The end.
  • Roger Ebert's review of Stargate was basically one long checklist of the cliches involved.
  • The trailer for the new Steven Soderbergh actioner Haywire (starring MMA hottie Gina Carano) promises a cliché storm the likes of which even God has never seen, despite a terrific supporting cast including Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas.
  • National Lampoon's Senior Trip is the bad/lazy version of this as the entire class is just one big checklist of student cliches from the High School Hustler leader to The Stoner sidekick(s) to the Schoolgirl Lesbians with special emphasis on Miosky, who's trying everything in his power to be the next John Belushi, plus "date a blonde Jap." The only saving graces to this film is Matt Frewer as their teacher, Kevin McDonald playing an Ax Crazy Star Trek fan out to kill them and Carla asking guys if they "want to screw."
  • Christian Mingle. E. Reid Ross of wrote in 4 Reasons the New Christian Mingle Movie Will Be Hilarious that the trailer of this film "May Have Set the All-Time Record for Cliches".
  • The Scarecrow by Richard Rich has been criticized for being too similar to a Disney movie, namely Beauty and the Beast. It's far from being horrible, though - the animation is surprisingly good, and the main villain Grisham is just different enough from Gaston to stand out (though no less hammy).


  • Defied by Codex Alera. Yes, it is a story about a Farm Boy who becomes a sword-wielding badass, learns the magic system, gets a hot girlfriend, saves the world from an Exclusively Evil nonhuman menace, and is secretly the incredibly magically powerful heir to the throne. But it isn't. Perhaps this is due to the Cool vs. Awesome. Or the unique magic system. Or the fact that all the races have been replaced by completely different and awesome things. Or that the main character is the Defied Trope of the Marty Stu. Or maybe because it was written by Jim Butcher.
  • In The Hall Of The Dragon King by Stephen Lawhead fits this to a T. Peasant boy who becomes heir to the throne? Check. Old, wise mentor figure? Check. Supporting Leader? Check. Completely evil, slightly insane villain who wants to take over the world? Check. Evil Prince? Check. Liberal use of both the Idiot Ball and Villain Ball? Check. Despite all that, it's still a rather well written book.
  • The Inheritance Cycle often comes across as this. One of main reasons the movie was worse was that it took anything vaguely original from the book and replaced it with Narmful clichés. For example, in the movie, Saphira goes from being a small dragon hatchling to a fully-grown dragon in a matter of moments. How? She flies up into some stormy clouds. The book actually has her physically growing, over the course of a few months, without the use of magic clouds.
    • Christopher Paolini actually said at one point that he was attempting to pay homage to the vast store of high fantasy archetypes. Given that he said this about a book he wrote when he was in his early teens, and that that was the least painful book of the series, this troper is inclined to believe that he actually just writes really clichéd works.
  • The Sword of Truth series. Everything from a common man of mysterious lineage, to a wise old wizard with robes and white hair, to a character that was turned into a small, fanatical creature when deprived of the artifact that was precious to him. The live-action TV adaptation (Legend of the Seeker) is, if possible, worse.
  • The Fionavar Tapestry reads like a deliberate attempt on the part of Guy Gavriel Kay to see how many high fantasy clichés can possibly be strung together in 1,000 pages of text.
    • Considering his motive for writing it was because he'd just been helping Christopher Tolkien edit The Silmarillion and he needed to get Middle-Earth out of his system, this was probably very deliberate.
  • The Belgariad, intentionally, as it was an experiment in making something grand out of the most shopworn fantasy elements. Most David Eddings works have a certain familiarity about them.
    • Unfortunately all of his works have a more than certain familiarity to each other...
  • Maximum Ride. So what if you've never read it? In some form, you already have.
  • The Lord of the Rings is notorious for being mistaken as a Cliché Storm by everyone who watched the movies without knowing that it's the Trope Maker for almost every fantasy trope, and is furthermore credited with other tropes which do not appear in it at all.
  • Nicely lampshaded and then subverted in the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey. Here, the "cliche storm" is almost literal: a metaphysical force called The Tradition which gathers around significant events and people, directing magical energy to flow in archetypal directions and following certain tropes that have been set down through folklore and that consequently reinforce themselves by inspiring even more folklore! Characters throughout the series find themselves guided by, opposed by, and sometimes rebelling against The Tradition—a witty metaphor for the writing process itself!
  • Jim Springman and the Realm of Glory has a book within a book that purports to be about 'A unique fantasy world of hope and fear, good and evil, beauty and barbarity', where 'A teenager armed only with a magic sword and a stout heart takes up this impossible quest'. The (fictional) book is filled with cliches.
  • Twilight: Awkward, clumsy girl moves to new school and is instantly adored by all? Check. New girl falling in love with the hottest (cough) guy in school? Check. Hot boy falls in love with new girl? Check. Girl is so in luv she will do anything for her twu wuv? Check. And that's just the beginning...
  • Grahame Coats of Anansi Boys is a walking Cliché Storm; to converse with him is to be buffeted by lines you've heard so often that they're not even language anymore, just meaningless noises. For his own part, Coats revels in cliches, finding them far more valuable and expressive than original thinking ever could be; this fits somewhat with the "corporate executive" to Coats' Corrupt Corporate Executive, because in conversation as in business, he'd rather go with the tried-and-true than take a real risk.
  • Played with in George R. R. Martin's story The Hedge Knight. It begins with every possible cliched circumstance around a knight joining a tournament. Then every single element of the story is revealed to actually be something else.

Live Action TV

  • The characters on Stargate SG-1, as the quote below from "urgo" indicates, would occasionally indulge in volleys of cliches. O'Neill in particular had a tendency to refer to the Goa'uld as having "very clichéd" behavior, and the last scene in the series is of the characters reciting various proverbs and cliches.

"The probe indicates a sustainable atmosphere. Temperature 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Barometric pressure is normal."
"No obvious signs of civilization."
"P4X-884 looks like an untouched paradise, sir."
"Appearances may be deceiving."
"One man's ceiling is another man's floor."
"A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell."
"Never run with... scissors?"

    • Something similar happens in The X-Files episode "The Unnatural".

Scully: Mulder, this is a needle in a haystack. These poor souls have been dead for 50 years. Let them rest in peace. Let sleeping dogs lie.
Mulder: Well, I won't sit idly by as you hurl cliches at me. Preparation is the father of inspiration.
Scully: Necessity is the mother of invention.
Mulder: The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
Scully: Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die.
Mulder: I scream, you scream, we all scream for non-fat tofutti rice dreamsicles. (grabs Scully's dreamsicle and eats it)

    • In the very last episode of Stargate SG-1, at the end, the team use a large amount of cliches to describe what they've learned from their experiences. "Beggars can't be choosers. Better late than never. Look before you leap." "The best things in life are free."

Vala: Let me guess, beauty is only skin deep?
Daniel: Silence is golden.
Cam: Jack of all trades, master of none.
Sam: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

      • Then Vala says "Life is too short", a statement repeated throughout the episode (and Daniel and Vala's time-erased relationship) but supposedly forgotten when the Reset Button was hit. Suggesting, interestingly, that somehow Vala remembers what happened.
  • Col. Blake of M*A*S*H attempted to give a Rousing Speech in "Crisis" but ended up giving the speech version of this trope. Lampshaded by Trapper:

Trapper: Welcome to the Henry Blake Cliche Festival.

  • Prison Break—Okay, maybe it's not quite a storm, but just too many of the characters are overly familiar—the ominous, shade-wearing government guys, the oblivious warden, the brutish guard captain, the aged Mafia guy with an Italian name, the sweet-yet-daring female leads...doesn't have to mean it's a bad show, of course.
  • The Post-Modern Prometheus in The X-Files is one giant, spiral-sliced, and deliciously smoked ham.
  • Legend of the Seeker is a fantasy cliche hurricane.
  • This is pretty much the entire premise of Glee.
  • The ending of this commercial.
  • On The West Wing, when Bartlet debated his Strawman Political opponent Robert Ritchie, we hear a snippet of one of Ritchie's responses that goes like this:

...and the partisan bickering. Now, I want people to work together in this great country. And that's what I did in Florida, I brought people together, and that's what I'll do as your president: end the logjam, end the gridlock, and bring Republicans together with Democrats, 'cause Americans are tired of partisan politics. (Applause)

  • The Supernatural episode "Monster Movie". Every classic horror movie cliche you can think of -- because the bad guy, a shapeshifter, is deliberately invoking them.
    • That's because the episode was an Affectionate Parody of the old Universal monster movies, right down to the way it's shot.
  • Alton Brown's commentary in Iron Chef America have been this from the start. The Chairman's conversations with the challenger have turned into this.
  • The A-Team is an example of an effectively fun Cliché Storm. You know the show's basic formula after an episode or two, but the characters make the plots entertaining.
  • The Charmed episode "Chick Flick" parodies all the typical slasher movie cliches when a demon releases psycho killers from horror movies and sends them after the sisters. Since their powers don't work on the killers, the sisters have to follow the typical cliches. And there's a nice little shout out to Psycho.

Piper: "I'm being stalked by psycho killers and I hide in the shower?"

  • Perfect Disaster. A short Mockumentary-styled Documentary series that focuses on horrible natural disasters—ice storm, fire storm, but the most notable is the cliché storm. While the narrator and various experts explain the science behind the phenomenons (sometimes in cut-away scenes), each episode tells a fictional story about how the citizens and the local government of a given town/city would react to them. The set-up of these stories borrows everything from clichéd disaster movies—mediocre (but decent enough for a TV series) effects, overused character archetypes and interactions, even the camera angles can be guessed if you are savvy enough. While this may undermine the intended realism for some viewers, others enjoy the heck out of it.
  • In the season 3 finale of Leverage, the team writes a speech for a politician that is intentionally made up of nothing but political speech cliches. The public eats it up.
    • Granted, it was a small country with a one-party democracy, so the public wasn't yet disillusioned with political cliches, and the team took advantage.
  • T. J. Hooker is very guilty of being this for cop shows. Every storyline, you've seen before. All of the character types and stereotypes are here. The villians tend to have no characterization, largely being inhumane monsters. The show is such a Cliché Storm, that you might think you're watching a parody of cop shows rather than the real deal.
  • Gilmore Girls has an episode when Rory is moving into her college dorm and another student has lost a bet between him and his girlfriend and must only speak in cliches. A cliche storm follows.


  • The careers of many pop-punk bands—most notably Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, that sort of thing—could be called this, due to their fanboyish emulation of The Ramones. This doesn't mean it's not still awesome. In some cases, pop punk bands do get really generic and cliched in a bad way.
  • The Beatles' song "I Will". Still a pretty song, though.
  • The charity single "Just Stand Up!" Justified in that the song was written so that sales could go to the cause (Just Stand Up For Cancer) and for inspirational purposes, and therefore wasn't intended to be original.
  • Every line of Cascada's "Every Time We Touch." You know, we could just place the last nail in the coffin and admit that the weather forecast for every pop music station is 100% chance of Cliche Storm. Forever.
  • The story of the Mannheim Steamroller album and TV special The Christmas Angel: A Family Story seems built from a list of Christmas fantasy cliches: living toys (including a teddy bear, a snowman, and a toy soldier); a monster who hates the holiday, wrecks the town square and steals the eponymous angel from the top of its Christmas tree to ruin everything (because it represents the spirit of the holiday); a trip by the heroine and toys to the icy north to confront him; and a happy ending wherein the villain is reformed by the power of goodness.
  • Celine Dion's albums are a veritable clichefest. Her first seven albums (not counting her Christmas Album) feature no fewer than 27 songs with the word love in the title. That's about 1/5th of the songs she recorded. She outdid herself on "The Colour of My Love" where half of the songs (and the title of the album) feature the word love.
    • Toto are pretty similar; about half their songs follow the formula of 'I love you very much <insert female name as title of song>.' It got so bad, they named one song (admittedly a good one) 99. On their second album.
  • Nearly anything written by Diane Warren, including Céline Dion's "Because You Loved Me". Count how many times she used the phrase "in this moment" in Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing".
  • Almost eveything ever released by Ronnie James Dio... although, to be honest, rocking like this when you're around 70 is still pretty damned awesome.
  • The entire discography of Kiss... who are still kind awesome in a guilty-pleasure sort of way.
  • The lyrics Cosmos' (and Chaos') themes in Dissidia Final Fantasy might as well have been a long list of cliched fantasy phrases run through a computer algorithm and edited by a non-native English Speaker. The songs are still catchy, though they owe far more to the kickass score and excellent performance than the written content.
  • Michael Jackson could fall into this.
    • His last large-scale video, "You Rock My World", is a rehash of elements from his Bad/Dangerous-era videos: 1930s/'40s gangster motif ("Smooth Criminal"), Jackson having to prove he's tough ("Bad"—the phrase "You ain't nothin'" appears in both), celebrity appearances ("Liberian Girl", "Remember the Time", etc.), and Jackson pursuing a sexy girl ("The Way You Make Me Feel").
    • While many regard it as a tearjerker, "Gone Too Soon" is really just a list of tired similes ("Like a perfect flower/That is just beyond your reach/Gone too soon").
  • Most of Tenacious D's songs are made of Cliche Storms. Not that that makes them any less awesome...
  • Rhapsody of Fire lyrics, with fantasy clichés.
  • Brad Paisley's "Then". Could there be a more cliché chorus line than "And now you're my whole life / Now you're my whole world / And I just can't believe the way I feel about you, girl"?

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • StarCraft II, particularly its trailer. You've heard every line before, and that's a guarantee.
    • The Wings of Liberty campaign itself isn't much better. The characters are, at best, paper-thin stereotypes—even Raynor himself doesn't have much depth—and the plot has all the moral complexity of a fairy tale.
    • This is exacerbated by the fact that not only is it a cliche storm on its own, its plot is the exact same cliche storm you saw in the previous Blizzard RTS. Not that people noticed.
  • Skies of Arcadia. This may have been part of its charm; damn near everyone that played the game loved it. The cliché storm came at a time where every other RPG in a five year radius -- following the lead of Final Fantasy VII—had gone to such great lengths to avoid clichés (largely by becoming Darker and Edgier and stiflingly pretentious) that a return to overused tropes had somehow become a breath of fresh air. One thing that makes Skies of Arcadia work in spite of this trope is that it combines the various clichés in genuinely new and previously un-attempted ways.
    • Grandia, a much earlier RPG, may well have beaten Skies of Arcadia to the decision to stop trailing after Final Fantasy VII... though really, in Grandia's case it feels more like the writer just wanted to have fun rather than having a specific intention of being different. The hero's a mischievous young lad, who runs away from home chasing the legacy of his dead father to become an adventurer, carrying his Orphan's Plot Trinket (the Spirit Stone), fights the evil empire... and it is awesome in very much the same way as Skies of Arcadia's lack of fear for the use of cliché lead it to be.
    • Also the whole point of the aptly-named Nostalgia.
  • Eternal Sonata seems to teeter between this and Troperiffic, with varying opinions as to which side it leans more heavily towards. It has many elements of the traditional JRPG, but it could be argued that this was intentional.
  • A fair few people argue that the first Atelier Iris game, and maybe the second one, work on this level as well—yeah, it plays a lot of common RPG adventure tropes completely straight, but they're used so well and the tone of the games is fundamentally so bright and optimistic that the audience ends up loving the product anyway.
  • BlazBlue. It invokes so many anime and fighting game clichés (and subverts, inverts or averts just as many), every character is a walking case of Troperifficness.
  • Likewise, Neverwinter Nights 2. A somewhat unusual development by the team that brought you the Deconstructor Fleets Planescape: Torment and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, it seems almost like an experiment in how many cliches (from Doomed Hometown to Gotta Catch Them All to Kill'Em All) could be crammed into a fantasy RPG given enough attention to detail, characterization, and dialogue.
    • Mask of the Betrayer makes more sense if you think of it as the deconstructor to Neverwinter Nights 2's cliche-storm.
  • Mass Effect is this in game form, although that's the point—it's like playing a Space Opera to the hilt.
    • That and the writers show an awareness to all the cliches and play with them constantly. The writing is also so strong, that it never feels cliche or unoriginal. The game always feels nice and fresh.
    • Mass Effect 2 on the other hand, is much darker, deconstructive, and subversive than the first game.
    • There's also a summary (on this very wiki no doubt) of this series that points out that each of the Mass Effect games correspond to one time period in sci-fi writing- 1 is the 1980s, 2 is the late 1980s, and 3 is the 1990s. This can't be anything but intentional.
  • Knights of the Old Republic does this for Star Wars. Obsidian did their utmost to subvert this in the sequel, though.
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Likewise, True Crime: Streets of L.A. intentionally reproduced the 1980s action flick in video game form.
  • And likewise, Total Overdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico did this for the Mexican action movies.
  • Dragoneer's Aria. It's an RPG that consists of chasing a psychopath around the world as he destroys the world's elemental MacGuffins. The battle system is also very stale.
  • Beyond the Beyond, one of Camelot Software's first non-Shining Force RPGs.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time should have had a counter that clicked every time they recycled a cliché from Star Trek, Final Fantasy, and every other console RPG. Maria even lampshaded it during one in-town dialogue.
    • Bonus points go to the twist that the world of Star Ocean is a Video game -- even the 4D beings who play it probably thought "This game really is pretty cliche isn't it?"
  • Grandia II, Luminous Arc, and Tales of Symphonia are, like, the threesome of cliché storms, being built around identical framing devices and having largely the same plot twists.
  • Legend of Dragoon. When it first came out, many fans couldn't stop comparing it to Final Fantasy VII. There is a good reason for this. It didn't help that the few "original" elements were downplayed. One of the "big revelations" (one of the members of your group has been mass murdering anybody that comes in contact with The Reincarnated Chosen One for hundreds of years) was just flat out ignored immediately afterwards without even so much as a chiding.
  • Done intentionally in Fable I, which essentially was a Hero's Journey simulator.
  • Live a Live is like this for most of the game, with chapters made up of incredibly cliched characters and plots. Then you unlock another chapter that starts like this but turns into an exceptionally brutal Deconstruction.
  • Just Cause 2 falls into the category, most likely as a stylistic choice. Having the good guys really wrestle between helping the average Panauan and serving the Agency? Resolving the "plot" with something more sensible than the vile oppressive evil slimy toad of a dictator pulling a nuclear threat along an international struggle over a huge oil field that was totally there all along? Come on now, it'd just distract you from the ridiculous car chases and the 80's style gasoline explosions.
  • House of the Dead: Overkill by far, and completely intentionally.
  • Halo: pretty much half the speeches by either the Master Chief or the Sergeant fall into this catagory. That being said, many of the Sergeant's little speeches are also played up to have humorous lines.
  • Every single thing about Rogue Galaxy, down to every line of dialogue.
  • Enchanted Arms plays every trope, every cliche, and every stock phrase so straight, you could lock it in a temperature-regulated room in France as the International Standard for Straightness. Okay, it does have the Pizza Golem. With pepperoni, bacon and sausage. That's fairly original.
  • Dead Space, which played everything so very straight that it actually included the line "As You Know" without irony or Lampshade Hanging. Hell, the designers admitted that Isaac's suit was inspired by the Power Loader, to which one imagines the world replied "Yeah, we know."
  • Black Sigil is pretty much every late-80s/early-90s JRPG cliche rolled into one really slow DS game. It also suffers from the "One random fight every three steps" syndrome that plagued a lot RPGs of the era.
  • Red Steel is one of the most shameless examples of a Cliché Storm ever seen.
  • Wet
  • The first 10 hours or so of nearly every single Tales game. Then it hits you that the game is supposed to end now but you're still on Disc 1. Cue Wham! Episode. And therein lies why they have a fanbase. The Tales (series) series are great at deconstruction and subversion, so, for fans of the series, part of the fun is waiting to see just how many cliches they are going to utterly demolish by turning them on their heads, or exposing the downright nasty sides of them. (Sadly, most people only seem to play the first two hours and then say "The plot is a Cliché Storm." The entire series is built on a big Cliché Storm.)
  • Last Scenario works sort of like the Tales (series) in this respect. A Mysterious Informant shows up to tell the Farm Boy that he is the descendant of a legendary hero and must help fight the Empire to gain strength for the inevitable awakening of the demons. He goes off to fulfill his destiny, overjoyed to be saving the world. By the end of the game, he's found out that a) he isn't related to Alexander, b) the demons aren't, and c) Zawu was an agent for the Kingdom, whose up-and-coming General Castor was Playing Both Sides. Even the intro text scroll was a lie.
  • The PlayStation 2 game Shining Tears.
  • Sands of Destruction. The first 50 minutes of the game are pretty unique—the female lead doesn't want to save the world as most RPG heroes want, but rather destroy it. By the next town she's already saving people and leaning towards the cliche-ism. More clichéd characters appear and more clichéd events happened, culminating in a finale that has more or less every finale cliché in the book, including Luke, I Am Your Father, Power of Friendship, Power of Love, Evil Cannot Comprehend Good so on so forth.
  • Forty Winks for the PlayStation.
  • Dragon Age. Granted, the game does have quite a few original things, but when one looks at the setting...with few's practically every Tolkienian-inspired Medieval Fantasy plus a few things, minus a few things. Forest-dwelling elves who are big on Archery and hunting? Check. Subterranean Mountain-dwelling dwarves with a fondness for alcohol and crafting? Check. Mage towers? Check. Humans who speak with British accents? Check. Obvious influence from the British Isles or Western Europe? Check. Mages wound up destroying the world and creating Darkspawn? Check. Dwarven warriors? Check. Fantastic Racism?, mark it but not fully played out. Green and brown-stained landscapes? Check. Evil dragons that are just giant animals in terms of intelligence? Check. Last in the line of kings? Check.
    • The game's even self-aware! The human origin story is loaded with Cliches...yet during the story, when you kill giant rats, your character can say "Giant rats? That's like the start of every bad bard-song I've ever heard!"
  • Dr Nefarious from Ratchet and Clank is practically built out of this trope. Played for Laughs of course.
  • Try this Quake IV drinking game. Take a shot for any Space Marines cliche lifted from Aliens, Warhammer 40,000, Vietnam War movies like Apocalypse Now, and previous Id Software shooters. Only those Made of Iron will still be conscious by the beginning of the third level. Seriously, the trope page for A Space Marine Is You reads like the design document for the game.
  • The Saboteur seems to have been made intentionally with every World War 2 cliche in mind.
  • Disaster: Day of Crisis plays every single Disaster Movie-Cliche known to mankind painfully straight. And somehow, it still works.
  • Guild Wars is particularly guilty of this, though it doesn't get much attention.The storyline in all four campaigns is pretty cliched itself, but if you listen to the dialog you'd think you were listening to a dictionary of cliche things to say. From the motivational speeches you quite often get ("We are the light that will shatter the coming darkness"), to the supposedly dramatic twists in the storyline ("But something tells me if they see for themselves what the White Mantle really do with the Chosen, they'll have a change of heart about their masters"), it's about as bad as I've seen it get.
    • Although there are some subversions. (Varesh Ossa is actually The Dragon rather than a pawn of Abaddon, despite being Chosen, it's heavily implied literally any of the Chosen could have done what the player character does, the player character unintentionally screw over Elona in time for Guild Wars 2) Nightfall in particular has the most Cliché Storm story out of all of them...despite the subversions.
  • The Feeble Files is kinda cross between genuine cliché storm and parody of it.
  • Super PSTW Action RPG is this for video game RPGs.
  • Red Dead Redemption is full of this. This is most likely because EVERYTHING that happens in the game is a tribute to old Spaghetti Western movies.
  • The plot of Champion Mode in Fight Night Champion is essentially an amalgamation of every single boxing movie cliché in existence: brutish undefeated rival? Check. Crooked Don King-esque promoter? Check. Friendly rival brother that turns bitter only for the two to eventually reconcile? Check. Shallow Love Interest? Check...
  • Super Robot Wars (especially Super Robot Wars Original Generation) is built on this it's not even funny, starting with a mecha otaku turned giant robot pilot, a German Samurai with his Char Clone Heterosexual Life Partner as real men who ride each other, The Stoic gambler and his Manic Pixie Dream Girl partner, guy with ridiculous No Sense of Direction with one of the Elemental Powers on his tows AND two talking cats, a ridiculously busty android girl... and so on. Really, and it's still awesome.
  • Darksiders has been noted for mainlining on Grimdark tropes: set After the End, featuring a stoic Badass on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, fighting against the Legions of Hell, and so on and so forth. General consensus is that it works.
  • Baten Kaitos: Eternat Wings and the Lost Ocean. You have Kalas, a teenage orphaned Anti-Hero out to avenge his family who was killed by The Empire. He meets up with Xelha, a Mysterious Waif who is trying to stop said empire from acquiring the five End Magnus. About a third the game is like that, then it turns out that nothing is as it seems.
  • The Fire Emblem series is split between Cliché Storm games and games which avert it: games one, two, three, six, eight, eleven and twelve fall under this (one and six being pretty much identical in how they do it!), whereas four, five, seven, nine and ten don't. (Worth noting that eleven and twelve are remakes)
    • To be fair, Fire Emblem Akaneia wasn't as cliche in their day as they seem now - consider Akaneia helped establish the genre it's a part of; compare Fire Emblem 6 and 8, which were about a decade and a half after Akaenia.
    • Fire Emblem 9 was, backstory and setting aside, pretty much this to Fire Emblem games. However, it's interesting to note that about half way through the game, they start playing with the Fire Emblem tropes, such as having the princess instead of being a plot figure don armour and become full out playable. Fire Emblem 10 meanwhile goes into full-on Deconstructor Fleet.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening was actually mistaken as one, on basis of having the main character being a blue-haired sword-wielding prince. However, it quickly begins to subvert this/
  • Diablo intentionally does this as part of the charm. Then again though, at this point (By Diablo 3), Blizzard probably knows that they could somehow bring Chaucer back from the dead and have him write the plot, and 95% of their players still won't pay attention to it.

Web Comics

Alt Dave: That's great, but what about the huge freaking asteroid about to hit the planet?!
Tony: Sorry, pal! You're on your own!

Web Original

Western Animation

  • The animated The King and I was one big fat cliché from start to finish.
  • The Mega Man animated series specialized in giving its viewers a sense of familiarity, from plots such as "I wanna be a real boy" and "shrunken protagonist" to "hypnotic hard rock."
  • Delgo. In an incredibly bad way. Considering how it has gone down in history with the worst opening weekend for a wide-release movie in history...
  • Storm Hawks can be seen as this from a mile away.
  • Barbie movies often fall prey to this especially when they're ferociously trying to subvert it in the name of Girls Need Role Models.
    • Barbies and the Three Musketeers manages to fall prey to this and attempt to make them role models for girls. Unfortunately, it flops (even more, mind you) when they replace the swords (and muskets) with batons and fluffy, uniformed kittens.
  • Just about every Disney sequel that ever went straight to DVD.
    • Although, some have thought that Cinderella III was somewhat deconstructive, and it also lampshaded several tropes played in the original fairy tale (e.g., the king asking why the prince is so in love with someone over their choice in footwear, characters seemingly being very suspicious about choice of love).
  • Three Delivery, the Nicktoon. Think of Xiaolin Showdown, but with food puns and even more cliches.
  • Skeleton Warriors hits most every fantasy cliche it can reach.
  • Whether intentional or not, The Fairly OddParents feels like an example of this right from the start. There are scenes after scenes and jokes after jokes that one can almost guess the outcome, or ask oneself, "why have I heard of this before?" At the worst one will emit an inner groan at the overused joke, but also at times one can find it charming.
  • Pretty much the entire point of Total Drama Island is to be a Category-5 Cliche Hurricane, especially for Reality TV tropes. Played for Laughs.
  • The character of the Archmage on Gargoyles was a deliberate Cliché Storm—indeed, his primary weakness is his love affair with villain cliches, which prevents him from utilizing his godlike magical power to the fullest possible extent.
  • The LEGO Hero Factory mini-series, also called "Rise of the Rookies". A great cast with some big names and CGI models with over-detailed textures a good story do not make. It relied so much on recycled formulas and rolled so well on clichés, that it neglected to explain the very driving force behind its plot: Just what did Von Nebula want revenge for? Nobody has done anything to him. Heck, the first episode included a scene during which the characters tell us just how awesome the main hero is, and that he will end up saving the day. Just in case you feared that the series would have something interesting and unexpected in stall for him (and surprise, surprise, his whole character development was also wrapped up in the same episode).
    • Arguably, its p-redecessor Bionicle started out this way, playing all the tropes very, very straight in the first few years, although still managing to be enjoyable. It's only in the later years that it became more subversive and ascended to Troperiffic. There's still a chance for HF to do the same.
  • Atomic Betty. Betty, a secret space cadet, balances protecting the galaxy from evil with being a teenager. Together with her goofy sidekicks (a ditzy alien and Deadpan Snarker robot), Betty fights to stop the evil "genius", Maximus I.Q. (a catlike alien) and his (literally) two-faced sidekick Minimus P.U. There is absolutely NOTHING original about this show. Aside from her kickass theme song, of course.
  • Cars is this for Pixar movies. It's easy to imagine a little counter in the corner dinging whenever you see a Pixar cliche. Stranger in a community or group? Check. Brooding moment from a side character? Check. Wacky sidekick who forms a comedic duo with the main character? Check. Said group full of wacky members with their own quirks? Check. All of the development threatens to go downhill when something happens to separate or alienate the stranger? Check.
    • Brave also seems to be heading down this road considering it stars a rebellious princess and has glaring similarities to previous films such as Tangled and How to Train Your Dragon. This is probably intentional due to the fact that John Lassater has said that since all of the heads of Pixar are male, they have an easier time writing male characters and they just went with a familiar formula when they started writing a story with a female lead, but this is Pixar so this might be a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, or just plain Troperrific.
  • Danny Phantom is a cliche storm for the superhero genre. Ordinary High School Student in a Freak Lab Accident becomes a Half-Human Hybrid and must now Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World and maintain his Secret Identity while dealing with bad publicity. To help him are his best friends as he fights a variety of villains with Puns, most notably a Magnificent Bastard With Good Publicity who eventually makes clones with varying levels of success. And, oh yeah, he dates a ghost hunter for a while. This show is full of cliches, but usually makes it all work somehow.
    • Probably because the show had a heavy emphasis on comedy; the writing made it clear that they knew it was all cliched, so at times it could come off as an Affectionate Parody of the superhero genre.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender; the basic plot is one you've heard before. The world is in danger, there is a single Chosen One who has to defeat the legion of evil despite his young age, and he only has a year to do it! But like other cliche storms, like Harry Potter, by giving characters good back-stories and depth and creating a fleshed out world, it still works.
  • Detention - however, the characters (What little we saw of them) were memorable enough it's listed as Too Good to Last.
  • Fish Hooks
  • The 2010 reboot of Pound Puppies. Even its fans admit it's one.
    • Though it's not as bad as some examples. The 1980s version, however gave us The Legend of Big Paw.
  • My Life Me is this to Anime tropes and Slice of Life tropes.
  • Johnny Test
  • The 2011 ThunderCats trots out well-worn clichés by the dozen, but uses the pretext of its planet-wide Fantasy Kitchen Sink and Schizo-Tech to play Genre Roulette with those it employs. Stock plots from High Fantasy, Wooden Ships and Iron Men, Space Opera and Western all get their turns at bat, often while mashed up with two to three other genres.
  • The first season of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi. This was removed in the second season.
  • Do not be fooled by the insect-populated Scavenger World that The Buzz on Maggie takes place in; it is about as cliched and stereotypical as animated sitcoms get.
  • While Courage the Cowardly Dog might not be an actual Cliche Storm, it certainly is one hell of a Trope Storm.


  • Subverted so much in online text-based RP games that it's almost starting to come full-circle. Everyone seems so terrified of making their character a Mary Sue that they're going to ridiculous heights to make their characters/plots blandly average... even in genres and settings where everyone having some measure of the fantastic is not only forgivable, but preferred. These often end up producing Anti Sues that still dominate the spotlight unfairly in spite of the total lack of anything noteworthy of them.
    • This is especially prevalent mostly due to the misuse of the Mary Sue accusation—it has evolved from something that was reserved for genuinely annoying characters to simply complaining about characters you don't like, with several "Mary Sue tests" including stuff that really isn't Sueish...just stuff the author of the test dislikes and wants to get rid of by calling it one of the Common Mary Sue Traits.
  • The fourth installment of Bunny Kill is chock full of various anime cliches, including over the top violence, super modes, ninja jutsu, and the Disposable Woman. Word of God states this was intentional.
  • All the reviews for The Princess and the Frog seem to be loaded with glowing, poster-ready cliches:
  • Cirque Du Soleil's KA, their only show to put its Excuse Plot front and center, is a conventional heroic journey: royal twins are separated when their kingdom is attacked and their parents killed by evil forces; they and their sidekicks (some wacky, some serious) go through a variety of adventures to be reunited and help defeat the army. Each finds romance along the way, the Twin Brother with a villain's daughter and the Twin Sister with a Tarzan-like forest hero. The pleasure of the show is watching it unfold without intelligible dialogue and with oodles of Scenery Porn and acrobatics; the familiarity of its story is kinda to its benefit.
  • This hilarious Real Trailer, Fake Movie.
  • Bernard Montgomery's address to the British Eighth Army [dead link] shortly before the battle of El Alamein was filled with cliches, and he was known for being fond of using them in general.
  • This brief.
  • How To Tell If You’re In a Novel series on The Toast classifies it by genres.