Deconstructed Trope

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The intentional use and exploration of a Trope, typically for ironic or satirical purposes. This differs from subverting a trope and Lampshade Hanging because the trope is not altered in any way, nor is any attempt made to make it more believable. It is used straight—far straighter than normal, in fact—and is examined in great detail, usually to try and show what circumstances would cause the trope to manifest in real life and/or what the real-life consequences of this trope would be, revealing some flaws beneath, like saying, "Be careful: this is what happens when you have this trope."

Alternately, the trope can be used in a manner that differs greatly from its usual context. For example, many characters in comedies display behavior that, while played for laughs in the show, would be construed in real life as evidence of some form of mental problem--Yanderes, Bottle Fairies, and Lovable Sex Maniacs, to name a few. A more serious show might play with these tropes by presenting identical characters as unstable or even dangerous.

If an entire genre gets this treatment (which usually happens over the course of an entire story), then it's an example of Genre Deconstruction, and they belong in that article, not here. Deconstructed Tropes occur in Deconstructions, but they can just as easily appear in straight examples of a genre, or even in Reconstructionist works.

It should be noted that a deconstruction doesn't have to be Darker and Edgier than its source. If a negative trope is taken apart and shown to not necessarily be as bad as it's generally made to look, that's a Lighter and Softer deconstruction.

See also Playing with a Trope for comparison with the other ways tropes can be used. May lead to Reality Ensuing. When a Trope Maker seems to have done this, it's because it was an Unbuilt Trope.

Examples from Fanfic are to go in Deconstruction Fic.

Examples of Deconstructed Trope include:


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Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion loved to do this.
    • Half the characters are first presented as classic anime stereotypes, but as the series progresses they are revealed to be extremely messed-up individuals whose behavior is as much of a problem in the show as it would be in reality. For example, Asuka is the living incarnation of the Clingy Jealous Girl, and is totally obsessed with Kaji—but rather than being a source of comedy, her attachment to him is symptomatic of a highly unstable mind with a series of bizarre neuroses. Misato Katsuragi, initially presented as a classic Bottle Fairy, is crippled by her failings, especially her inability to have real relationships, which is the reality behind her party girl persona. She keeps her old lover Kaji at an arm's length for much of the series, admits to using men and alcohol to try and make up for her personal problems, and in the end, is unable to be a mother to Shinji. So, in desperation, she tries acting like a woman towards him instead, which simply pushes him over the edge.
    • Many past Humongous Mecha shows often have a Disappeared Dad who turns out to be the head scientist or commander of the unit covering the protagonist's mech. Gendo showed exactly what sort of person would abandon their family to build a giant robot.
    • And of course, why the hell do they have teenagers piloting war machines as the last hope for humanity? The justification involves Nightmare Fuel and what could be yet another deconstruction of the entire idea of Humongous Mecha.
  • Excel Saga deconstructs the Nebulous Evil Organization trying to achieve World Domination. ACROSS has a charismatic leader whose followers would do anything for him, but Il Palazzo's plans of taking over Fukuoka City and then the world are not thought out and lead to failure. Also, since working for a secret organization does not pay, the minions of ACROSS have to find time to enact evil plans inbetween temp jobs.
  • The Powers of Love and Friendship are examined and deconstructed in My-HiME, in that the abilities of the titular Magical Girls (almost all High School-aged) are literally powered by their emotional connections with their friends and family. Many of the characters have trouble with (or are otherwise afraid of) openly admitting their feelings for the ones most important to them. This causes a lot of hardship in the second half, when they're tricked into fighting one another to protect the lives of their loved ones and for the sake of Saving the World from a Cosmic Horror that wants to end it all. Love Hurts, indeed.
    • It's not just the psychological side either. Their mons are LITERALLY powered by the love and affection for, and there to protect, the person the HiME loves most. So if the Mon dies... - which happens to pretty much all of them at some point or other - it isn't the HiME that kicks the bucket
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Celestial Being's slow downwards slide leads to three new Gundam Meisters showing up - the Trinity siblings, whose quirky, less 'realistic' character designs and role in the plot make them appear to be the trope-archetypical mecha pilots. However, older brother Johann's methodical nature makes him a Lawful Neutral soulless machine; middle brother Michael's aggressive, feisty nature makes him a Chaotic Neutral, Ax Crazy psychopath (and his protectiveness of his sister, instead of being played for comedy, causes him to resort to very seriously-played violence); and younger sister Nena is very youthful-looking and has cheerful Genki Girl mannerisms, but she's in touch with her own sexuality, and is so out-of-touch with reality that she murders guests at a wedding because she thought it was unfair that they could have a normal life unlike herself.
    • Marina Ismail, for all her genuine desire to make Azhadistan better, is a deconstruction of Rebellious Princess. She tries to work hard for her goals, but ends up as a figurehead and soon can't do lots more than being an inspiration for Setsuna F. Seiei (who seems to view her as a partial Replacement Goldfish for his Missing Mom, whom she resembles closely) and taking care of children once Azhadistan is burned down in the second season.
    • Wang Liu Mei, for all her Smug Snake Ojou-ness, provides a realistic view of what would've happened to Lacus Clyne in any other Gundam series. Cue deconstructions of The Pollyanna, Idol Singer and The Ojou: both girls are popular and beautiful idols with quite the degree of social and political power, but whereas the gentle and idealistic Lacus wants peace between Coordinators and Naturals, the cynical and selfish Liu Mei wants the world to change... at any costs.
    • Saji Crossroads is a deconstruction of many tropes associated with him. First, the Non-Action Guy and Naive Newcomer, by showing the devastating emotional damage that these two roles can bring to an average guy caught up in a military clash and taken in by one of the conflicting sides. Then the Screw This, I'm Outta Here, because not only was he (briefly) captured when he attempted this, but this action led to the deaths of thousands of people.
    • Soma Peries aka Marie Parfacy also is a deconstruction of the Super Soldier girl so popular in Gundam. While having a bipolar personality, she is very much capable of love and feeling for others, regardless of which personality is the dominant one (unlike her counterparts, who become conveniently Brainwashed and Crazy when the plot demands it). While being born as a super soldier, she is portrayed as reliable by not forcing impractical medical drugs to keep her in line (Aka Stellar or Four) and this ironically causes her opponent Allelujah/Hallelujah to go Ax Crazy more than a few times; normally in Gundam, it is her who would had snapped and tried to kill everyone. And unlike most Super Soldier girls like her, she survives both campaigns, and gets hitched with her Star Crossed Lover and rival, forming a Battle Couple with him.
    • Celestial Being during the first half of season 1 could be seen as a deconstruction of the Three Ship Alliance and Terminal, in particular their tendency to unilaterally police the Natural/Coordinator wars. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 depicts the impact of such organizations' actions in real life and takes it to its logical extreme, by having them attempt to literally end ALL conflicts.
    • Lyle Dylandy could be seen as a deconstruction of the Backup Twin concept in general. The first thing he makes known to his teammates in Celestial Being is he's not his older twin Neil's Replacement Goldfish, even preferring to put on a Jerkass Facade than leading Feldt, a girl who's in love with his deceased brother, on. He also prefers to use a different style of gun fighting to contrast Neil's sniping method, although he also uses it frequently.
  • Souichirou Nagi from Tenjho Tenge is a possible deconstruction of the typical Ordinary High School Student that discovers he has a Secret Legacy that makes him the star of the series and its hero. He is the inheritor of immeasurably powerful bloodline abilities...because he was bred to be the host of them by the Big Bad his own father. Rather than making him the hero of the series, he has steadily been reduced to being the pawn of a centuries old Xanatos Gambit and primed for a Grand Theft Me by aforementioned Big Bad dad. The legacy that normally turns an Ordinary High School Student into The Hero has left Nagi a screwed up example of Blessed with Suck.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya deconstructs The Unwanted Harem and, to a degree, Cannot Spit It Out. Despite Kyon showing a strong attraction for a really pretty girl of the harem and a strong appreciation for another one of them, circumstances prevent him from acting on anything (among many other reasons, the words "It's forbidden" come up a lot). Considering the main girl who is available is a beautiful yet borderline sociopathic Reality Warper, there's evidence that this is more than coincidental. And no, it does not get better with time... in any of the three cases.
  • Even Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the Reconstructive Parody of Humongous Mecha, manages to deconstruct something few things:
    • Telescoping Robot and Hyperspace Arsenal, which are enabled by Spiral Energy that explicitly creates matter and breaks the laws of physics. It forms a key plot point by being the motivation of the Anti-Spirals, as it's overuse will lead to the universe imploding and aforementioned Anti Villains wish to prevent that. This plot point/deconstruction was lifted directly from Getter Robo, the series TTGL is largely an homage to, though the way Getter Rays and Spiral Power are supposed to destroy the Universe are different - in Gurren Lagann mecha that big simply existing can eventually cause the amount of matter in the universe to be so great that the force of gravity will overwhelm every other force in existence, causing a Big Crunch, while in Getter Robo that's only part of the reason - the other being the endless increase in scale of all the fighting, which is deconstructing the Lensman Arms Race
    • Only Sane Man - Rossiu grows up to be the Manipulative Bastard with few shades of Jerkass because he is only one male member of Dai-Gurren Brigade who is not Hot-Blooded Chaotic Good Leeroy Jenkins to some degree, so he starts treating all his comrades as bunch of idiots and believing he's the only one who knows how to save the world right to the point when he commits several acts of Shooting The Dog. Also related with the deconstruction of...
      • Extreme Doormat - As Rossiu's partner, Kittan's middle sister Kinon is forced to do unthinkable things just to prevent Rossiu from taking everything too far, culminating in having a gigaton of explosives strapped to her chest in case Simon tries to escape custody. It almost destroyed the poor gir's psyche and self-esteem, and Rossiu was deeply sorry for this.
    • The second half of the series also deconstructs Authority Equals Asskicking and the result of The Resistance successfully defeating The Empire and having to deal with ruling over the land they have liberated - when the Dai-Gurren Brigade takes up the top government positions thanks to their combat prowess, most of them do a really bad job, not everyone wants to be under their command and almost all members of Team Gurren admit they're not cut out for administrative duties. Also, once the Anti-Spiral invasion appears, Rossiu's ascension to power by scapegoating Simon mirrors similar situations in real-life politics where, during crises, people get high office by blaming their predecessors for what's going wrong.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, Anji Yukyuzan deconstructs Papa Wolf, as the murder of his adoptive children drives him to become a brutal Bare-Fisted Monk who is completely immersed in his pain and desire to punish the culprits and give them the "judgement of God". Unlike others, though, Anji gets better.
  • For the heroine of a very idealistic show, Sora from Kaleido Star deconstructs Naive Everygirl and Purity Sue, by facing crippling losses and rejection from the beginning and having to work hard for both respect and technical prowess... without becoming cynical. At the same time, her rival from the second season May Wong is a deconstruction of Tsundere Sue: she plays it straight at first, but she actually pays the price for her arrogance... VERY brutally.
    • Sora's ultra-optimistic behavior deconstructs Jade-Colored Glasses too: you do not have to become super ultra gritty and cynical as time passes and things don't work the way you want, therefore it is possible to work hard and build a compromise of sorts between maturity and idealism, so you can have both of them. The two persons who do fall into cynicism and despair after being broken, Yuri Killian and Leon Oswald, end up converted as well.
    • Fool deconstructs Fairy Companion. Sora thinks she has lost her mind when she starts seeing him, his advice isn't exactly flawless, and when Sora goes into borderline Wangst status she actually stops seeing him for a while.
  • Code Geass either deconstructs the Idiot Hero with Suzaku or simply plays it for drama. Either way, poor Suzaku painfully pays the price for his questionable actions.
    • Kaname Ougi is a deconstruction of The Everyman, since the fact that he's a normal guy in a war-torn world is the reason why he makes many questionable decisions.
    • Clovis is the Designated Villain deconstructed. He is remembered by the royal family as a good son and brother (if a bit quirky), but his atrocities overshadow his good traits.
    • Oh, Shirley Fennette. What a way to deconstruct Naive Everygirl through your heartbreaking tale, huh?
    • Yamato Nadeshiko is deconstructed with Kallen's Japanese birth mother, who cannot cope with the suffering she goes through and ends up as a drug addict since she wants to relive her happy times, and causes Kallen to be disappointed as she mistakes her devotion to her for devotion to her Jerkass Britannian father. Fortunately, she gets better in the Grand Finale.
  • Death Note deconstructs Vigilante Man with Light Yagami, showing just what an arrogant Jerkass someone would have to be to decide their judgment is better than the law.
    • Death Note also deconstructs both Well-Intentioned Extremist and Utopia Justifies the Means.
      • In the case of the former, while Light might begin with the best interest of the world at heart, honestly believing that using the Death Note is the best way to achieve an end to evil, by the end he becomes so narcissitic that he comes to believe he is a god.
      • In the latter case, the "utopia" that Light creates is actually free of war and crime, everything Light wanted to get rid of; however, this is only true because everyone is terrified of Kira, and are constantly afraid of him. That was the point, of course.
  • xxxHolic deconstructs The Dulcinea Effect by showing that in order to be like this, Watanuki has to place essentially no value on his own life, how others feel about his 'sacrificing' and how intensely mentally unhealthy you have to be to act like this. People get incredibly upset over how reckless he is and eventually he learns that not only is it not heroic to risk your life for someone you barely know, it might even be wrong to risk yourself for someone you do know if you don't think it through, such as sacrificing an eye for Doumeki without considering what he feels about that (and making him very upset at the prospect) and having the Shrinking Violet spirit with a crush on him nearly die trying to retrieve it.
  • Orihime Inoue from Bleach can be seen a a deconstruction of Damsel in Distress by constantly egging on how taking a Sadistic Choice that made her the willing prisoner of Aizen in exchange for her people's safety can fuck you up really painfully and, once you crack and almost cross the Despair Event Horizon, get you even more broken once your Knight in Shining Armor gets killed and returns as pretty much an uber powerful zombie that will kill anybody just to keep protecting you. OUCH. She only gets better once she's completely out of such an environment and more than a year has passed.
    • Her relationship with Ulquiorra may be a deconstruction of Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, as he is not only savvy but almost heartless and openly seeks to break her emotionally. Not to mention he is the one who kills Ichigo, and he does it to prove a point to both Orihime and Ishida.
    • The last arc is a deconstruction of True Companions, as Ichigo's friends and family have been mindwiped by Tsukishima and either believe him to be crazy or are fighting him. And they don't do it out of hate, either, but because Tsuki has made them believe that their beloved Ichigo has gone mad, and they want him to stop and reconsider what he's doing. The whole deal has a terrifying effect on Ichigo's mind as well, considering how his main instinct is to protect his friends... who later fall completely in the hands of Tsukishima, and he can't do anything to break their brainwashing. It takes a MASSIVE gambit from Soul Society as a whole to fix him..
    • Yukio is a deconstruction of Complete Monster. He was a massive Cute Psycho with touches of Smug Snake and had a definitve Kick the Dog moment when he mocked Jackie and tried to kill her and Renji. For worse, he then tells Hitsugaya with glee that he's proud of driving his parents to suicide. However, with some prodding and flashbacks, the Cute Psycho masks shows us a much uglier truth: he was totally deprived of moral guidance as a child for having been a Cute Mute, he wanted his parents to aknowledge him as an equal since their abandonment (as he thought and still thinks that adults see children as inferior beings), and the deal about enjoying his parents's deaths was actually a lie. In short: the kid did really nasty shit, but his Start of Darkness didn't come from inherent evil, and it looks like he's still not beyond the point of no return.
  • Monster loves doing this.
    • Incorruptible Pure Pureness is deconstructed with Tenma. He pays a very heavy price to keep his kindness and idealism, and nearly goes into a Heroic BSOD when he thinks he's killed someone.
    • It also deconstructs what exactly a Complete Monster is, through Johan Liebert.
    • Action Girl is deconstructed through Johan's twin sister Anna/Nina, whose physical badassery and Aikido expertise are not enough to save her from the HORRIBLE emotional pain she's subjected to.
    • Married to the Job is deconstructed with Inspector Runge. His obsessive pursuit of Tenma not only lets him have no social life, his family abandons him because of it. And later gives up even connecting to his daughter in order to focus on his pursuit. At the very end of the story, we do see him getting in touch with said daughter again, however.
  • Swiss Army Tears is deconstructed in Kanon, as Mai Kawasumi is deemed as a freak and withstands lots of abuse when she uses them to heal her fatally ill mother.
  • School Rumble. Yakumo's seeming perfection hides her inability to interact with others (the manga shows that she had trouble making friends) and her devotion to her sister Tenma and to Harima causes her to ignore her own emotional needs. Also her Heavy Sleeper quality seems cute but Tenma points out it's a problem.
    • Eri's Clingy Jealous Girl and Tsundere tendencies almost wreck her friendships with Mikoto and Tenma. It definitely destroyed her already distant friendship with Yakumo.
    • Nara is a parody of the Unlucky Everydude.
    • Harima deconstructs the Badass Shounen hero. It's only after he falls for Tenma does he realize how pointless his life has been and it motivates him to make something out of himself.
  • The first book/arc of The Twelve Kingdoms plays an awful lot like a cynical writer watched one too many bad Trapped in Another World series and thought, "Okay, what would really happen if you threw an insecure teenage girl into a war-torn fantasy world?" The result is what seems to be the anti-Fushigi Yuugi, where the hostile, alien environment drives the heroine into a nervous breakdown even before she learns that everyone expects her to lead a nation.
    • And it's not just a deconstruction from the point of view of the heroine, either. In the anime, her two friends also have their share of problems about it: Yuuka has a Face Heel Turn and goes Psycho Supporter because she wants to be the heroine so bad that she's willing to betray Youko if it's needed (in itself, a deconstruction of Ascended Fangirl, due to what extremes she'll reach); while the other, Asano, falls into despair and insanity, ends up as the pawn of the villains, and once he's getting better... he gets a very cruel Deadly Change-of-Heart.
    • Enki and Taiki didn't have it easy in our world either. Enki's bad experiences soured him in regards to taikas (people from Japan that are spirited to the Twelve Kingdoms), which brought him trouble when the person better suited to reign in En was a Japanese Fallen Prince. And Taiki... Lord, poor Taiki had a shirei (protector beast) who lashed at others and hurt them out of despair and fright, and since nobody could see where the attacks came from they blamed them on Taiki and shunned him. Not to mention, once he was brought back to the Kingdoms, his inability to handle his Kirin powers brought him much angst.
      • Same goes to Suzu Ooki. She was a normal girl spirited to the Kingdoms, but unlike Youko or Taiki she wasn't a taika, so she couldn't understand the language of the Kingdoms and passed through lots of hardships. And once it seemed an immortal took pity on her plight and took her as her maid... she actually was a Jerkass who tortured her for a century straight.
  • Black Lagoon deconstructs Improbable Age, Yakuza Princess and Yamato Nadeshiko at the same time, through the terrible tale of Yukio Washimine.
    • Hitman with a Heart is also deconstructed through Mr. Chang, a former policeman who became a Triad leader.
    • Also with Rotton the Wizard, who turns out to be one of the few decent people in Roanpur, but not at all the hitman he was trying to be.
  • Freezing initially had a very romantic view of the Battle Couple concept, with asking someone to be your partner being akin to a Love Confession and the "baptism ceremony" (when the couple becomes an offical Battle Couple) being one big metaphor for sex. Then it brutally shows you that since the couple is expected to be on a warzone, either of them could die any moment. Not very romantic. Surviving singles are then just told to pair up with each other to get ready for the next battle, reminding you that "battle" always comes before "couple".
    • It also deconstructs The Ace. Satellizer is beautiful, smart, a strong Action Girl, pretty much a female Determinator... but the heavy pressure to be the best does not mix well with her trust issues and troubled past, and so she's feared and hated by everyone.
      • And Real Women Never Wear Dresses, too. In her death bed, trying to make up to Satellizer for not defending her from her half-brother's physical and sexual abuse, her mother gives her advice that sounds a LOT to what the "fandom feminists" demand from every single female character: "don't relay on others, don't show any 'weaknesses', never ever give up on any purpose you have, crush your enemies mercilessly so you'll always be the strongest." Did this help Satellizer "get over" her traumatic past? NO. She did become a very powerful, beautiful and smart Super Soldier Action Girl... but her mental issues became even worse and she ended up driving everyone away from her. Satellizer wasn't seen as a "strong female" and "good example for little girls", but as a Complete Monster who hurt everyone mercilessly. And it actually was a man, the Barrier Warrior Kazuya Aoi, who helped her work on her issues and become a mildly-functional human being.
  • Ashita no Nadja is mostly on the idealistic side, but it deconstructs Wide-Eyed Idealist and The White Prince very painfully through the figure of one of Nadja's love intrests, Francis Harcourt. He's sweet, gentle, generous and a philantrope who deeply believes that as a nobleman, he's gotta make sure a good part of his money goes to charity... and boy, when he sees how such donations are not enough to make people happy, his huge hidden problems come to the surface and cause him more than one Heroic BSOD, to the point that he's willing to pull a Twin Switch and be sent to jail for the sake of his Gentleman Thief twin brother Keith, who is not happy when he learns about it and actually calls Francis out on how his "self-sacrifice" is harming him and others..
  • Shaman King has a deconstruction of Purity Sue in Iron Maiden Jeanne. She is very pretty, cheerful, humble, soft-spoken, immensely skilled as a Shaman, willingly and happily subjects herself to horrible and constant torture in the belief that her suffering will make others suffer less (there is a reason she is called "Iron Maiden"), seems to make the world a brighter place just by smiling, and is immensely kind to Lyserg Diethel when he becomes the Naive Newcomer of her group. Oh, and she's a ruthless Knight Templar who brutally tortures to death anyone who opposes her, yet doesn't do it out of pure malice but because she truly believes that's what she has to do. At least she seems sad about it...
    • Shaman King also deconstructs Villain Sue with Hao. The guy's clearly powerful enough to be one, he has a Freudian Excuse several characters acknowledge, he's related to one of the heroes, and killing him just means he'll be back stronger for the next Shaman Fight. It seems completely impossible for any of the good guys to stop Hao from becoming God and destroying the world. Yoh's solution? Realizing that for all his power, Hao is still a lonely and miserable person under his calm, Affably Evil facade. Rather than trying to defeat Hao with strength, Yoh and his friends reach out to him once Hao has attained the title of Shaman King to try and appeal to Hao's better nature. When every character in the series follows suit, Hao is completely caught off-guard and loses his resolve to destroy humanity, admitting defeat calmly and letting everyone go back to their lives. The epilogue indicates that the heroes do see where Hao was coming from when he was rejecting their worldview, but fortunately Hao mellowed out.
  • Many Hentai tropes get played for drama in Imma Youjo.
  • In Mirai Nikki, Yuno Gasai deconstructs the Shallow Love Interest by showing exactly what kind of obsessive person someone needs to be in order for them to base every action they do around one person (not to mention the other effects of such obsession, such as taking Clingy Jealous Girl to Murder the Hypotenuse levels).
  • In Bunny Drop, Rin deconstructs Emotionless Girl and possibly Sugar and Ice Personality, as she looks so unemotional that her relatives get terribly uncomfortable and, when her elderly father dies and her mother disappears, no one but male lead Dankichi wants to take her in.
  • Welcome to The NHK deconstructs the Manic Pixie Dream Girl with Misaki, who only appears to be an eccentric girl helping Satou out of the good of her heart. In reality, she needs Satou's overall worthlessness to forget about her own failure.
  • In Cross Game, Kou and Aoba meet Akane who happens to look exactly like Wakaba, Kou's dead love interest Aoba's Dead Older Sister. Looks like we're sailing towards Doppelganger Replacement Love Interest, huh? Uhm, no. Kou and Akane don't end up together, and the main characters theorize (somewhat bizarrely) that Akane was sent by Wakaba to let them know that it's okay to move on.
  • The 3rd OVA to Fushigi Yuugi is a deconstruction of the tropes I Just Want to Be Special and I Just Want to Be Loved. So many fangirls were expressing their desires to be sucked into the Universe of the Four Gods and get a fairy-tale ending with one of the Bishounen that the creator decided to deconstruct such a girl into a Jerk Sue that's meant to symbolize human weakness in matters of the heart.
  • Erika Furude's analysis of the Rokenjima deaths as if they were from a novel deconstructs Genre Savvy, as it's used to make her come off as evil and insane instead of logical. You just DON'T tell a mother her child died in a way that sounds like it's from a third-rate mystery.
    • Maria Ushiromiya deconstructs Incorruptible Pure Pureness, too. She is "pure and childlike" —which, aside from implying geniality and a loving nature ( and letting her retain the imaginative power necessary for being a Creator), means that she acts a few years younger than she truly is, doesn't understand the concept of doubt, and has next to No Social Skills. As a result, she's bullied and rejected by her mother and her peers.
    • Also, she and Rosa deconstruct Free-Range Children. Rosa frequently leaves Maria alone so she can run off on vacation with her boyfriend, and other adults like the owner of a local convenience store are troubled to see her wandering around with nothing but a stuffed animal (which turns out to be intelligent, but that's neither here nor there). Any attempts to intervene with social services usually ends badly, and it's acknowledged to be traumatizing for Maria.
  • Paranoia Agent. Oh, Paranoia Agent. Firstly, it deconstructs Japan's love of cute things and youthfulness by showing how crazy people can get over an adorable mascot that's potentially an adorable Eldritch Abomination. And then it seems to deconstruct a Characterization Trope with every episode. To wit:
  • One Piece deconstructs Wouldn't Hit a Girl. Sanji refuses to hit a girl no matter what, even in a life or death situation, and that gets him to lose fights if a girl is involved. And once, his female opponent was a Genre Savvy Dark Action Girl who had previously injured his friend Usopp and was purposely wasting Sanji's time so he wouldn't be able to save Robin.
    • Badass in Distress was deconstructed hard with Portgas D. Ace. The moment this Badass was rescued after a long time as a Dude in Distress, he fought alongside his savior Luffy awesomely... and all of a sudden, he died protecting him from the enemy, sending the poor dude into an Heroic BSOD.
    • From the above, the Whitebeard War Saga deconstructs Luffy's Determinator traits. To save Ace, he has to go to the deepest level of Impel Down, and he gets heavily poisoned by the Chief Warden Magellan in the way, and even though his determination helped him to heal himself faster than normal when he got some healing hormones from Ivankov, he got some lifespan loss from doing so. And then Luffy and company have to go back upwards again because Ace has been taken to Marineford for execution. And it doesn't stop there - fast forward when he finally saved Ace, Admiral Akainu kills him. As mentioned, Luffy has an epic Heroic BSOD that lasts for about a week.
    • I Can Still Fight is deconstructed in Zoro's case, where his miraclous ability to recover from the most heinous injuries appear to be Hollywood Healing. It's not until he's brought back from the brink of death does he show signs of pain and still fights as if nothing had happened. Finally, during a battle, he keels over at the worst possible moment, defenseless and while injured, needed to be carried away from the battle, while insisting he can still fight.
  • Inuyasha deconstructs Reincarnation Romance. A half-demon guy falls in love with a Miko girl who dies tragically and pins him to a magical tree before dying, and is woken up from said experience by the Plucky Girl reincarnation of the girl he loved. Now, there's the catch of having the Miko girl forcibly reincarnated by an evil witch, which brings problems for the three of them: the guy has conflicting feelings and loyalties to both ladies, the original girl is consumed by bitterness and pain, and the reincarnated girl has her self-esteem badly damaged. The three do get better... but not before lots of heartbreak and having the original girl die again, this time much more peacefully so both she and the guy can finally move on, and he and the other girl can be together.
  • Just like in the case of Helga Pataki (mentioned below), Taiga Aisaka from Toradora! takes the Tsundere trope and shows a more down-to-Earth origin to it. It's really, really not pretty, since Taiga's father is a Jerkass who abandoned the family after going bankrupt (which actually does happen in Japan, due to Values Dissonance) and only appears to mess up with Taiga's emotional stability, and for worse she can't emotionally connect with her mother's second family (stepfather, baby half-brother). Hence, her mood swings and violent behavior don't come just from childishness towards romance, but from serious emotional and familial imbalance.
  • I"s deconstructs Like Brother and Sister with Ichitaka and Itsuki's relationship. He feels this way towards her while she nurses romantic feelings for him; when he finally starts to question if he does like her romantically, she realizes that he does feel that way and is just confused, and she gets over him. She later gets a boyfriend of her own in the USA, and Ichitaka ends up with Iori instead.
    • Earlier than that, Video Girl Len deconstructs Purity Personified by showing a character, Hiromu, who truly thinks that women are pretty much this, therefore Len has to pretty much prove him that girls are, well, just human beings like him.
  • My Two Wings is arguably a deconstruction of futanari and how they would function in real life. The main focus is a woman who her grandfather hoped would be flat chested so he could raise her as a boy and without problems, but ended up with enormous boobs, had to ditch the charade, and is in the dark about a lot of things related to sexual relations and her own anatomy. An early chapter averts No Periods, Period just to show her in discomfort when she has her first period and her various romantic partners have varying reactions when they find out about her "equipment"... ranging from acceptance to crippling discomfort.
  • Rumbling Hearts is as brutal a Deconstruction of the very concept of True Companions as you will ever find.
  • Busou Renkin does a nasty deconstruction of the Hard Work Hardly Works and Boring Invincible Hero ideas which are so common in shounen. Throughout the first half of the series, it's very frequently remarked how the hero, Kazuki, experiences dramatic improvement in his fighting abilities in a very short period of time and there are comments from Tokiko in episode 14 about how Kazuki seems to bounce back at his lowest point, fed by the energy of others. Well, come the next episode, he dies, and through said heroic will, rips out the "kakugane" (the source of his power and a replacement for his heart) from his chest and it is revealed to be a "black kakugane". Seems that when you have one of those in your chest in place of a heart, you get superhuman powers, but with a catch. Those with black kakuganes have Power Incontinence and constantly drain the life energy of anyone around them. Thus, what at first seemed like stock shounen-hero traits were actually a foreshadowing of Kazuki's powers being a curse.
  • Naruto deconstructs several psychological tropes like All Girls Want Bad Boys and Deceased Parents Are the Best by showing the toll they take on the characters' psyches (Sakura and Naruto's, respectively). Considering the number of pranks Naruto pulls early on, it's easy to mistake this series for a comedy at first, but it quickly becomes clear that such things are sanity preservers, and that this is a deadly serious series about Child Soldiers.
  • In Loveless, Hitomi Shimonome is a deconstruction of the typical female teacher in anime, the Sensei-chan. She's already in her 20's and not only is she unmarried, but a virgin as well - and her cat ears make it very obvious, since they're supposed to fall off once the wearer loses their virginity. Due to this, the poor woman's self-esteem takes more and more of a nosedive as the series advances.
  • Sayaka Miki from Puella Magi Madoka Magica brutally deconstructs The Power of Love, Love Martyr, and/or other tropes connected to the idea that love must be completely selfless and dedicated to others. She thinks that it's okay to use her wish in benefit of the injured and despaired Kamijou, but when she says it out loud, Mami asks her if she's actually doing to have Kamijou owe her rather than for his completely selfless sake. Later she uses her wish anyway for him, but while he DOES heal, he doesn't run into her arms for comfort and moves on so fast that he doesn't even tell her he's leaving the hospital. That gets her mocked by Kyouko, who even says she should've broken his limbs to force him to rely on her. And as time passes, she learns that being "selfless" in regards to those she loves simply doesn't work: love does involve at least a part of selfishness. Her friend Hitomi proves it right: she's selfless when she gives Sayaka the first shot at confessing to Kamijou and by actually telling her about said plans instead of doing so behind her back... but being selfish in regards to actually confessing when Sayaka doesn't take the chance is what works, and she becomes Kamijou's girlfriend instead. This causes Sayaka to progressively break down, which shows via her: going Ax Crazy on Elsamaria out of frustration, refusing to use Grief Seeds because "it's what others do", snapping on the Jerk Asses that show her exactly what they think of fully selfless persons (that they're extreme doormats to be used and thrown away - and specially if they're women), and finally becoming a witch. Her last words before she definitely crosses the Despair Event Horizon and has her Face Heel Turn are "I'm such an idiot", acknowledging how wrong she was before she definitely loses it. It takes Madoka completely re-writing the Magical Girl System via her wish (and reconstructing the trope, in a sense) to "purify" Sayaka from her despair and let her pass on in peace.
    • The Magical Girl trope itself is deconstructed in Madoka. Not only does it show how terrifying it would be to fight against "evil" when your life is on the line (as Madoka quickly learns when Mami dies). More importantly, it also gives a realistic reason for why exactly it has to be girls doing said work: Without elaborating on the entropy Techno Babble Kyuubey gave, it essentially boils down to this: Magical girls eventually become the witches they fight against when their soul gem is empty. At that moment, their emotions (hope/despair) are turned into energy, which the Incubators want in order to confront entropy. Young girls are specifically chosen because out of all sorts of humans, they're more emotionally unstable than all others, making them give more energy than, say, adults of both genders. In other words, it's just a matter of effectiveness why it has to be young girls.
    • Fatal Flaw is deconstructed through Mami. Her loneliness allowed her greater focus when it came to fighting. When Madoka became her friend, she became happy for the first time but loses focus and is killed. A person's greatest strength is also their greatest weakness but it's also the other way around.
    • There's also the deconstruction of Selfless Wish, since it's something of a theme in the series that there is no such thing. Everyone who makes a wish for someone else's happiness is also unconsciously hoping that it will also benefit themselves, even if only indirectly — a fact which Mami (wishes for herself to be saved, later she laments that she could have used the wish to save her parents as well), Sayaka (wants to be loved by the Ill Boy she uses her wish for, a fact that Mami herself points out), Kyoko (wants to save herself and her family from destitution), Homura (wants to be the one who rescues Madoka from death) and presumably others all fall afoul of. Also, because hope and despair balance out to zero, seeing the chance for that selfish expectation slipping away with the equivalent rising happiness already given to someone else sends a Magical Girl deeper into despair. At the end, this is reconstructed: Madoka's TRULY selfless wish becomes the most powerful force ever to exist, because she manages to learn from the examples of the other three, and knows exactly what she wants -- a better world for everyone, even if she has to be erased out of their memories to do so.
  • Weiss Kreuz deconstructs Chivalrous Pervert with Youji Kudou. He's both shamelessly flirtatious toward and protective of women - at one point proclaiming that "woman's enemy is my enemy" - but he's also an assassin and male Honey Trap, and any woman he makes any kind of emotional connection with is inevitably either a target he is using for information, a target who's trying to use him for information, or just plain doomed to become a statistic. (And believe us, Youji is very bad at not making emotional connections.) By sequel series Weiss Kreuz Gluhen, the emotional toll on poor Yoji has become so bad that he's developed habits like talking to his dead girlfriend on the phone and unconsciously throttling his partners during sex, and after he hits the Despair Event Horizon he nearly pulls a Face Heel Turn in his desperation to forget about all of it. He only recovers after a complete case of Victory-Guided Amnesia allows him to leave it all behind and marry the Hospital Hottie who takes care of him... arguably the happiest ending that he could possibly have hoped for by this point.
  • Godannar deconstructs Tsundere again, but taking a different approach than Taiga and Helga examples above and below - instead of showing the reason for such behavior, it shows the consequences. Shizuru Fujimura notes that this was exactly how she was treating Goh Saruwatari, pushing him away, so before she could finally come to terms with her own feelings and accept the fact she loves him... he married another woman, Anna Aoi.
    • It also discusses and lightly deconstructs Battle Couple. Goh and Anna are married as well as partners, but it doesn't mean their relationship is all wine and roses: there's the 12 years age gap, the fact that Go was in love with his dead partner Milla, the stress of battles, etc. And then we get the other team-ups...
  • Tokyo Babylon deconstructs the idea of soul mates. Every character in the CLAMP multiverse has their "special person" despite things like time, distance, and gender. Subaru Sumeragi's soulmate is Seishiro Sakurazuka, which is no surprise to the audience. The surprise in this case is that Seishiro is an assassin, an Affably Evil Magnificent Bastard sociopath who intentionally causes Subaru as much pain as possible to try seeing if that could change his own stance in love and life, including killing his twin sister. And Subaru can't help loving and obsessing over him anyway.
    • The OAV's also deconstruct Born Lucky. Shinji Nagumo noticed he had extremely good luck when he survived several accidents. He then became so smug that he actually started to set up different mishaps involving him and his work rivals/superiors, from which he'd walk away while the others would end up dead.
  • Karina/Blue Rose from Tiger and Bunny deconstructs Ms. Fanservice. She's marketed as a mix of Faux Action Girl (she does have decent ice powers, but her fanservicy outfit puts serious hampers on her fighting and she doesn't have hand-to-hand skills) and Romanticized Abuser (people think she's a hot Dominatrix, but she's as much a Tsundere)... and she hates it, due to how far her public image is from her real personality. Not to mention she doesn't even have much of a choice: her sponsors are the ones who choose the skimpy outfit, to start.
  • Berserk deconstructs most Heroic Fantasy tropes until only a pile of gibs remains. For example:
    • The Badass in general. Yes, Guts would drink molten lead when sufficiently thirsty, can mow down entire armies of Mooks with ease and is capable of winning battles against huge demons that could rip open a tank, but he only became like this because he lived trough a lifetime of horrors and has been walking the razors edge of survival even before he was properly born. It is very obvious that Guts would have been a somewhat brash but mostly average guy if he had led a normal life instead of suffering trough what he got. You DO NOT want to be him, but you will respect him even more.
    • Casca deconstructs the Action Girl. She became one of the best swordfighters in the world due to her intense physical training and dedication to her hero Griffith. But she still has her rules every month, doesn't like being covered with scars very much and, being the only female fighter in a gritty medieval war, is a constant target for countless would be rapists who think a woman has no place on the battlefield. She handles a lot of horrible experiences admirably but when the gloves come off for real during the eclypse she ends up permanently broken and insane.
    • Most notoriously: the Card-Carrying Villain. Supernatural magical creatures who are the "masters of evil" feature a lot in kids shows and are usually rather goofy. When used realistically tough, you better brace yourself.
    • Isidro is a deconstruction of the Kid Samurai who shows how incompetent and delusional a Kid Samurai would really be (believing in Calling Your Attacks, choosing swordsmanship over throwing, which is his true forte, etc), with a bit of parody thrown in for good measure.
    • The King of Midland deconstructs the "king who believes in merit over birth" archetype by wanting to have sex with his own daughter, wants Griffith to become King so that he can be relieved of the loneliness of the throne, and has alienated his wife.
    • Griffith also serves as a deconstruction of the typical Rags to Royalty fantasy hero. Rather than being genuinely noble and heroic, he is actually very ambitious and scheming, views his Nakama as tools that belong to him, and romances the princess not out of love for her but instead to get her father's throne.
      • Griffith also deconstructs Ambition Is Evil by showing what kind of guy would sacrifice everyone including himself to fulfill his dream.
      • Griffith further deconstructs The Chosen One. He was made into a hero of prophesy who would deliver Midland from evil, or rather the Kushan Empire led by the apostle emperor, Ganishka. The thing is, the forces that made him the hero are the exact same ones that created his antagonist and the conflict he's supposed to stop. In this, Griffith is not so much a hero as he is an actor knowingly playing his part.
    • Which brings us to Charlotte who is a deconstruction of the Princess Classic. She's lovely, sweet, soft spoken, and always wears wonderful outfits. But no one cares about the actual woman behind that lovely facade, since all she is in the eyes of almost everyone is a womb that must give birth to new members of the royal line... by marrying members of her uncomfortably close family. Everyone knows the only reason Griffith wants her is gaining access to the throne. And as it's easy to see, all of these experiences (including being almost raped by her dad) are quite hard on the girl.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima deconstructs the Idiot Hero: the main character's father, Nagi Springfield, is pretty much the World's Strongest Man, capable of defeating even the strongest opponents without breaking a sweat, and his usual reaction to any kind of enemy is to simply charge head-on and beat it into submission. Which normally works for him, since he's so incredibly strong. However, he seems to be unable to think his way out of a situation, and he finds himself out of his playing field when faced with a problem that can't be solved by simply hitting it hard enough - for example, the impending destruction of the Magical World.
  • One Alternate Character Interpretation of Saito Hiraga from Zero no Tsukaima suggests that his creepy pervert ways show how a normal hormonal teenage male thrust into a... bountiful fantasy realm will really act.
  • Teana Lanster of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS deconstructs I Just Want to Be Special by presenting the pressures felt by somebody who has mediocre talent in a group of elites. Being surrounded by people considered geniuses (Nanoha, Fate), people with rare skills (Hayate and Caro), and those with high latent potential (Erio and Subaru), she forces herself to work twice as hard because she feels the need to prove that she belongs to the group (as well as to prove to the world that her brother's skills and by extension her skills are not worthless). When she fails or performs poorly, she punishes herself by working even harder due to her lack of confidence, eventually causing her to have a Heroic BSOD when she felt that her lack of talent was causing others trouble.
  • In the Black Butler manga (the anime didn't reach that part), Elizabeth Middleford deconstructs Deliberately Distressed Damsel. Unlike most girls that fit this trope, she does this for the sake of her beloved, and not because she simply likes being rescued or wants to look more hepless for her own benefit. It also shows that Lizzie actually had to sacrifice a few things in order to maintain Ciel's pride; i.e., keeping her badassery at bay caused her emotional pain since she was deeply scared of being rejected by Ciel if it ever came out , and not to mention there's the Values Dissonance coming from the Victorian Britain times (women who didn't act like proper ladies would face scorn and discrimination).
    • I Will Find You was also deconstructed by Soma and Meena. Soma spoke of how Meena was the only person who made his loneliness in the palace better and how he deeply loved her. Having been kidnapped by an Englishman, Soma traveled all the way to England, going to great lengths to find her. When he does, it turns out Meena willingly sneaked out of India, was living happily with the Englishman and flat out told him that she hated Soma for being a spoiled brat (which he was prior to his Character Development).
  • Queen Maria Pia Armonia is Victory Gundam's deconstruction of Purity Sue. She is a beautiful woman with amazing Psychic Powers that include Healing Hands and empathy among others, the leaderess of the powerful Zanscare Empire and a very charismatic and loved-by-everyone holy woman... but she's few more than a figurehead of the Zanscare military, which uses her to seize power on Earth and the colonies. Maria is VERY unhappy about it, but has lost all hope of grasping any power to change her cruel situation, thus she doesn't do anything to stop it as she believes it's useless.
  • Sakura Gari deconstructs several tropes, but the most notorious are:
    • Complete Monster: Souma presents himself as such via abusing Masataka in several senses... but once we see his past as well as what exactly drove him to act that way, things are much more complicated and horrifying than having him as a mere abusive bastard without any depths.
    • "It's Not Rape If You Enjoyed It": We get to see the painfully realistic psychological consequences that such a trope brings on the victim and on the rapist. Who also was a victim.
  • Detective Conan, as one of the Long Runners, features more than one deconstructed trope in its cases. A good example is what Gosho Aoyama did with Rescue Romance, when a guy who hopelessly crushes on Ran, Sonoko and Shinichi's sempai Asami drugs her when they go karaoke singing and then secretly sets the karaoke parlor in fire, hoping she'd finally fall for him when he rescued her. In the end, not only Ran is the one who really rescues Asami, but Conan (through Sonoko in the manga, and Kogoro in the anime) reveals his gambit to everyone, harshly calling him out on his selfishness.
  • The new season of Pokémon, Black and White deconstructs what normally happens in the early seasons. For one, Iris doesn't get her bike destroyed, Team Rocket no longer blasts off, and they start to act more competent then they were in the Seasonal Rot episodes. And, they're more successful in their jobs then before.

Comics[edit | hide]

  • Life Sucks deconstructs every vampire trope it can get its hands on (and its fangs sunk into), and towards the end it lists them off as it does so. The main thrust of it is that most vampire stories portray ordinary humans as mindless cattle and vampires as liberated beings that can do whatever the hell they want, whereas the protagonist is enslaved both by the rules necessary to uphold The Masquerade, and by the older vampire who sired him and can kill him at will. It also touches on just how alienating the inability to go out in sunlight can be, how humiliating it is to steal from blood banks (and how dehumanizing it is to obtain blood more directly), and how the ability to charm and enslave humans is equivalent to rape, with an ultimate message that nobody should ever want to be a vampire. Whew!
  • Irredeemable deconstructs Face Heel Turn by exploring reasons behind superhero making such decision as well as consequences of world's greatest protector turning into the bad guy - Plutonian's entire life was full of experiencing fear, mistrust and alienation, followed by a nasty case of Samaritan Syndrome and a disaster he unintentionally caused which turned his best friend against him and which he himself considers his Moral Event Horizon and his rampage basically brings Type I Apocalypse. Its Spin-Off series, Incorruptible does the same with Heel Face Turn - Max Damage turns into a good guy because of cold logical calculation that with all the damage Plutonian did and typical threats any superhero universe faces, without somebody taking his place humanity would be at the edge of extinction, rather than Power of Love or Power of Friendship. He also has no idea how to be a hero, aside doing opposite of what he was doing before (He is however Genre Savvy enough to gather several people to be his Morality Pets and teach him).
  • Batman's Papa Wolf and his Berserk Button of "killing a couple in front of their son" was deconstructed when pursuing a criminal who had shot and killed a couple, leaving the boy in a state of shock. Batman naturally is hellbent to get the criminal. It turns out that the boy had shot and killed his parents while the criminal was just nearby. Batman's Berserk Button made him chase after the wrong person.

Batman: Everything I've done in the past three nights, I've been doing for the wrong little boy.

  • It's almost the entire purpose of Marvel's Runaways. The characters are meant to be real kids who just happened to live in a superhero universe. The results of them gaining superpowers and fighting supervillains is fearing for their very lives everyday and trying to avoid actual superheroes by seeing them as the same as their supervillain parents in how immature their viewpoints are. Gert even gets into an intellectual argument with Spider-Man on his "With Great Power" philosophy.

Gert: Really? That's inane. Most people in life don't have great power, and the few that do are almost never responsible with it. The people who have the greatest responsibility are the kids with no power because we're the ones that have to keep everyone in check.


Animated Film[edit | hide]

  • The Incredibles deconstructs Impossibly Cool Clothes with the character of Edna Mode, superhero costume designer. One of Edna's most memorable scenes comes when she points out the unfortunate side effect of making costumes out of bulletproof "Mega-mesh": cape-related accidents are deadly.
  • Megamind as a whole is a deconstruction, and more specifically, one of Designated Villain, as the titular Villain Protagonist as Metro Man's death would lead him to create a new enemy that is more evil than him.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas deconstructs the classic Disney aesop "you can be whatever you dream to be". Yeah, Jack dreams to be Santa, but dear Lord, does he suck at it. Might be sensible ("Look Before You Leap, Think Of May Get Happen If You Commit A Mistake") or family unfriendly ("Don't Try To Ovecome Your Place In Life, It'll Only Lead To Destruction"), depending on how you view it.
  • Shrek regularly deconstructs the usual fairytale tropes. Shrek wasn't any knight or prince going to save Fiona; He only did it so he could live in peace in swamp and after he struck a deal with Farquaad. It also deconstructs Beast and Beauty, as Fiona transformed into an ogre at night and thus also becoming a "beast" like Shrek and after Shrek gives her True Love's Kiss instead of transforming her or Shrek into a human, Fiona becomes an ogre. And realizes, she would be happier this way.
  • The Lion King deconstructs It's All About Me with Scar, who treated being king of the Pridelands as being able to do whatever he wants. This view of his leads to the Pridelands becoming barren and dead, the rest of the pride starving and even the hyenas growing sick of him.
    • What's most jarring is that, just before's Scar's "Be Prepared" song, we have "I Just Can't Wait To Be King". Though the latter is much more colorful and cheery than the former, they're both essentially about the same thing: the singer's desire for power but not responsibility.
      • As "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" is sung by a child/cub that has only begun training to be king, I think we can cut Simba some slack for being excited about not having anyone tell him what to do. Scar, an adult, is another matter entirely.
    • The song "Hakuna Matata" is presented as a paradise of "just forget about it and have some fun", but this is immediately taken to pieces when Nala shows up and forces an adult Simba to realize that this is just petulant and childish and he needs to step up.
  • The Prince of Egypt deconstructed Red Oni, Blue Oni through Moses and Ramses, respectively, by showing the qualities associated with them evolving in positive and negative ways as they mature.
  • Lilo and Stitch deconstructs Promotion to Parent with the well-intentioned and loving Nani struggling to be a competent guardian and raise Lilo to the satisfaction of the Social Services, as well as balancing her job, dealing with Lilo's strange coping methods and coping with their parents' death herself. They still argue like sisters and Lilo even says, "I like you better as a sister than a mom."


Film[edit | hide]

  • The movie Heat is such a treatment of the Gentleman Thief stock character. Neil MacCauley has the charm and all the connections, but he's painfully lonely, and won't get close to anyone for fear that the cops will be right around the corner. The one major job he's involved in goes terribly awry, and results in over half of his team being killed by the cops. MacCauley gets more violent as the film progresses, culminating in his revenge overriding his need to escape. He ends up proving his own adage right when he flees (and leaves his girlfriend) after he sees Vincent Hanna pursuing him, and winds up dead at the end of the film.
  • Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan is noted for deconstructing Kirk's trademark of Take a Third Option - sometimes there really is no alternative, and he's going to have to live with it.
  • Sky High deconstructs the Sidekick trope by showing how frustrating it is to be one.
    • In fact, it deconstructs The Hero and Sidekick dichotomy or in otherwise labels. It shows the insecurity of young high school students today and can lead to serious consequences like Gwen Grayson or in otherwise known as Royal Pain.
  • District 9 deconstructs the daylights out of the First Contact plot. The fact that the aliens landed over Johannesburg and were practically starving creates the bad conditions in the first place, but it's still fairly realistic and dark. It helps that the first half of the film is held documentary-style. It's basically Apartheid with aliens.
    • Also the Mighty Whitey is deconstructed as well. Wikus becomes a friend of the aliens, who are supposed to play the poor black folks in alien costumes in this movie, but he becomes everything but mighty or special. He only becomes a friend to the aliens out of self-interest and fear for his life, not sympathy for their struggle against the monstrous mean humans. He dosen't become their charismatic leader or the most badass member of their speices but just another bit-player forced to run and hide from the oppressors through the rest of his life.
  • Steven Spielberg's Hook deconstructs Growing Up Sucks: while it's vital that Peter rediscover his inner child, a big theme of the film is that there are inherent advantages to adulthood. Peter grew up in the first place to finally fall in love, get married, and have kids; the memory of becoming a father turns out to be the happy thought that restores his ability to fly.
    • As in all Spielberg's movie, the relationship between father and son is important and implies bad stuff most of time.
  • Whip It deconstructs the Shallow Love Interest. Oliver seems like he's 100% the trope incarnate, as his character seems tailor-made to fall for Bliss and not do much else. In the end, though, it turns out he was just trying to get into Bliss' pants (he even gives away her old t-shirt to a groupie), and she later chides herself for falling for the act.
    • It also deconstructs The Rival and the Worthy Opponent in the form of Iron Maven; Maven loves derby and has a big competitive streak, and she dislikes the Hurl Scouts because they don't even try to play well. When she discovers Bliss' true age, she gets mad because Bliss' parents could easily have sued the league for allowing her to play and ruined the fun for everyone, and in the end when the Scouts finally get their act together and the last bout is just a few points' difference, she compliments Bliss' skills and even asks her to teach her.
  • There's Something About Mary shows how disruptive an Unwanted Harem can be on someone.
  • Bruce Lee's Fist Of Fury shows the hero's Roaring Rampage of Revenge escalating the violence rather than stopping it, to the point that by the end of the movie, The Hero is a completely broken man who has lost everything in his desire for revenge... including his girlfriend and his family, who have been brutally slain by the enemy. In the end, he kills the Big Bad and soon turns himself in to the police, having nothing left to live for.
  • Big Bully deconstructs Bully Hunter. Davy has his bully Rosco arrested for stealing a moon rock... and years later finds out this ruined Rosco's life, when his family abandoned him to a reform school and grew up a pathetic milquetoast.
  • King Ralph deconstructed Rags to Royalty by showing how unprepared he is in running government and how impossible for someone like him to change the traditions of the royal court.
  • Inception is a deconstruction of the Determinator. The eponymous act involves placing a single, simple idea deep into an unwitting subject's subconscious--that they will never be rid of. This single idea will define them for the rest of their lives, and both the primary protagonist and antagonist demonstrate how it can backfire. Spectacularly.
  • The Adam Sandler film Punch-Drunk Love, his first dramatic role, deconstructs everything about the typical "eccentric man-child" characters that Sandler usually plays. The pudding thing (something that would've been funny in any other Sandler movie) is just disturbing here.
  • The Breakfast Club was the definitive deconstruction of stock cliche high school movie characters for a whole generation, to the point where every teen movie made since has responded to it in one way or the other.
  • Aside from showing the nightmarish life of an alcoholic, The Lost Weekend served to debunk the "lovable drunk" movie stereotype.
  • The Social Network takes the Self-Made Man archetype that is idealized in American culture and puts it through the ringer. In a few short years, the main character goes from a nerdy nobody at Harvard who can't keep his girlfriend to the world's youngest billionaire with his creation, and gets everything that he could possibly want... but it's also heavily implied that a lot of people got ruined or otherwise screwed over in the process, that he possibly stole the idea for his website in order to get to that point, that his flawed personality traits are precisely what allowed him to rise to the top, and that, even with all his material wealth, he's no happier than he was before. This is hardly the first time that such themes have been explored—indeed, it's not even the first time that the film's own writer has done this.
  • In the Scream series, Sidney evolves from a straight Final Girl into a deconstruction of such. In the second film, her life has grown to be defined by her status as the survivor of a massacre, and while this has brought her fame, fortune, movie deals and (by the fourth movie) a bestselling autobiography, it also means that she is constantly having to look over her shoulder for the next wannabe Ghostface. And then she has to repeat the entire experience, watching her friends getting slaughtered all over again by the pissed-off mother of the last killer, looking for payback against Sidney for killing her son.

By the third film, she's living in a self-imposed isolation bordering on Crazy Survivalist levels, working from home under a fake name and suffering recurring nightmares about Ghostface killing her. For a real Final Girl, the horror wouldn't end when the credits roll—she'd have to live with the experience for the rest of her life. Fortunately, the passage of time and the settling of her family drama (and, presumably, years of therapy) mean that she's gotten somewhat better by the fourth film.

  • The Shop Around the Corner and its remake, You've Got Mail, deconstructed "The Reason You Suck" Speech in that saying this to the one you hate didn't make the lead female star feel better.
  • Heartbreakers deconstructs All Men Are Perverts with style. Max and Paige make their living off conning rich men by seducing them, Paige remarking "we can't make a scumbag do anything a scumbag wouldn't do". But then when Max tries to seduce Paige's husband nice guy Jack, he says no and she has to resort to drugging him. Then the last man Max conned says he would never cheat on her again, not because he got caught but because of what he lost (her).
  • The Filipino film "Anak ng Cabron" deconstructs the Filipino idea of manhood and of the struggles between the rich and the poor. The main character is a Villain Protagonist raised to be the "Cabron" (neighborhood bully) by his father. He runs the neighborhood with an iron fist and ruins a corrupt council man's genuine attempts to improve the neighborhood by raping the doctor at the free clinic who is also his daughter. The doctor hates her father's corruption but has no qualms about getting his private army to take the cabron by force showing she's not so squeaky clean either. It would be a good film if it wasn't a Anvilicious Cliché Storm
  • The Icelandic film Bjarnfreðarson deconstructs the Pointy-Haired Boss trope by taking a comedy one from a comedy series and revealing him to be a Rounded Character with realistic and deeply disturbing reasons for being the way he is to his underlings.
  • The film Real Steel provides a deconstruction of the Finishing Move trope. During an underground fight, Charlie gains the upper hand with his new robot Noisy Boy, putting his opponent on the ropes. Confident that he's gained the advantage, Charlie has Noisy Boy wind up for a big finishing move... giving his opponent enough time to strike Noisy Boy in the chest, knocking him to the ground and turning the tide of the match.
  • Streets of Fire deconstructs the Damsel in Distress plot. Cody's doing it for money, and Ellen is rescued about halfway through, the problem then becomes keeping her safe.
  • Five Hundred Days of Summer deconstructs both the Manic Pixie Dream Girl with the love interest appearing to be one from Tom's perspective, but he then find's out that she never really loved him. His problem was he saw her as perfection instead of as a real person. In addition it deconstructs the happy ending of a Romance Movie. As the opening line stated: "This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know up front, this is not a love story."
  • A Thin Line Between Love and Hate deconstructs The Casanova trope. Martin Lawrence plays Darnell, a male chauvinist ladies man who has a habit of pursuing women and then throwing them to the side when he's done with them. He actively pursues a socialite named Brandi, who has suffered this treatment from men in the past before. After managing to Defrost the Ice Queen, Darnell manages to start dating her....up until he's no longer interested because he'd rather hook up with his childhood friend. Although the movie starts off as a typically Romcom, it it goes dark from this point.
  • The Disney film ""Max Keeble's Big Move deconstructs Roaring Rampage of Revenge when he goes on this on his enemies after he finds out his family is moving. Its only later that he finds out that its his friends who will pay for what he did.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • A Song of Ice and Fire does this with several tropes, but one good example is the "Pay Evil unto Evil" trope: that evil, painful events are okay as long as they happen to Asshole Victims. George R.R. Martin is fond of placing us inside characters' heads to experience how bad the "punishment" actually is, particularly in the case of Theon Greyjoy.
    • Honor Before Reason is deconstructed in the case of Eddard Stark and his son Robb, showing the horrible consequences of their actions when they are not willing to do anything that they consider even slightly dishonorable, even when facing ruthless enemies.
  • An even earlier Deconstruction of Knight in Shining Armor exists in Don Quixote, in which the titular character attempts to take up the role in an age when Knights are Deader Than Disco. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Before Don Quixote, there was Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, whose intense love for Angelica basically turned him into The Incredible Hulk after he finds out that she's a normal, human woman who's had a fling with a shepherd, and not a virginal Princess Classic.
      • This scene was homaged/parodied in Don Quixote when the titular character (who doesn't realize that Orlando is a satire) decides to recreate it. The only thing more ridiculously unheroic than a man going violently insane over a woman who doesn't want him is a man trying to go violently insane over a woman who doesn't want him.
    • Don Quixote is a Deconstructor Fleet, but even more than a deconstruction of Chivalric Romance, (a genre now forgotten given Weird Al Effect), he is a Deconstructive Parody of the Fan Dumb (hence an immortal novel).
  • Ender's Game is a deconstruction of the Kid Hero and Boring Invincible Hero. By the time the book ends Ender abandons Earth forever, has killed all but one of a decidedly non-hostile species that accidentally antagonized humanity before they realized we were sentient, doesn't hook up with his love interest (because, you know, he doesn't get one) and had his ass handed to him psychologically. Oh, and he accidently killed two fellow students but was never told about it, but he's smart enough to suspect it and feel guilty.
    • Ender's Game also deconstructs the Groin Attack. Yes, really. And yes, it really is as bad as it sounds...possibly worse.
    • The book also deconstructs the Bug War. You see, the buggers only killed humans because they had assumed our individuals were drones like theirs, when they realize we possess sentience on an individual level, they accept humanity's retaliatory invasion with a resigned, "oh… the humans didn't forgive us…" They actually turn out to be a fair bit nicer than humans at least as far as respecting other sentient life.
  • The novel Nuklear Age by Brian Clevinger subverts and deconstructs almost every aspect of The Cape (trope) and rebuilds it in his own image.
  • The Neverending Story provides a particularly satisfying deconstruction of the Canon Sue. Bastian gets the power to remake an entire world as he sees fit, but with each wish that gets granted he loses one of his memories and becomes more and more of a moron and a jerk. Finally it's up to the story's real hero to save his ungrateful ass, and when he finally realizes what's been going on it's a thing of beauty.
    • The various 'stories' also serve as deconstructions of various tropes, especially in the second half where Bastian's attempts to help don't go as intended. For instance:
      • Always Save the Girl and Standard Heros Reward are both decontructed with the character of the Hero (actually his title) who is madly in love with a princess who won't give him the time of the day. Bastian uses his powers to create a situation wherein a dragon kidnaps the princess and the Hero can rescue her to make her fall in love with him. It's briefly described that the Hero endures a number of dangers and saves her, and she does fall for him... except he's no longer interested in her after going through so much for her. So there's only so far The Dulcinea Effect will take you.
      • Said Hero's three companions (of the same class) deconstruct Knight in Shining Armour and Undying Loyalty - after Bastian earns their respect, they swear to serve him forever... This unfortunately includes trying to do amoral things against their benevolent nature, and also when Bastian disappears they dedicate their lives to finding him, ultimately Breaking the Fellowship and going their seperate ways.
      • Magic A Is Magic A and Applied Pleubotinum are deconstructed when Bastian - in a very special city with an acidic lake, full of inhabitants who wish to know their own origins - creates a story for them which becomes fact. That would be fine... except that said origin involves the acidic 'water' of the lake coming from a group of grotesque, ever-weeping creatures, whose acidic tears created the lake but also unearthed the one metal which it withstands (the city's main source of profit as well. Bastian's attempt to make them happy (by changing their forms into butterfly-like beings) comes back to bite him much later when they reveal to him that without their tears, the lake has dried up and there is no way to mine for the special metal anymore. He is threatened and almost killed by them to try and change them back into their sorry prior forms, before Atreyu and Falkor save him.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu is deconstructed in the Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker, where the victory of Gaunt and a small group of troopers (exalted by some Eldar sorcery) over a thousands-strong Chaos force without taking casualties is found to simply not make sense given the tactical data, which should have had them killed to the last man, and is written off by analysts as a phantom engagement.
  • Dan Abnett also deconstructed The Smart Guy in his Warhammer 40,000: Eisenhorn trilogy. Eisenhorn's savant, Ueber Aemos, is the walking databank he is because of a "meme-virus" he acquired that gives him a compulsion to keep gathering knowledge, culminating in memorising the entirety of the Malus Codicum and summoning a daemon in an attempt to protect Eisenhorn.
  • Animorphs deconstructs Recruit Teenagers with Attitude by combining it with War Is Hell.
    • It also had some fairly lengthy deconstructions of Exclusively Evil, basically arguing that any species you could call "sentient" must have the potential to choose good or evil.
  • The Mistborn books deconstruct the Evil Overlord in the character of the Lord Ruler- he's introduced in the first book and pretty much played straight as an inhuman/superhuman force of evil though we do get a bit of his backstory; subsequent books delve deeply into his personality, history, and motivations, ultimately making him out as Not So Different from the heroes.
  • Stardust makes the Deconstruction of the Engagement Challenge a plot point, by showing and openly talking about how stupid an idea it is, and how if someone makes a joke about an impossible task to evade your flirtations, this doesn't mean that they actually want you to do it. Victoria spends the entire duration of the Hero's quest torn between being guilt-ridden and terrified that she's probably sent an old childhood playmate to his death, and terrified that he'll come back, because she's in love with someone else. The book also covers the unpleasant end of a Mayfly-December Romance, although the movie version offers a way out.
  • Paradise Lost is a deconstruction of Draco in Leather Pants in its portrayal of Satan. He starts out all Badass and charismatic, but as we get to know him more and more, he see that he's a whiny, self-pitying bully who bows to peer pressure from the other demons, bangs his own daughter and isn't even all that badass when compared to, say, Michael or Kung Fu Jesus. The intention was to make the reader acknowledge that they felt the allure of sin but also that it leads nowhere good. Sadly, the Misaimed Fandom didn't get the memo and talk about how "heroic" a character Satan is.
  • Ayn Rand deconstructs several tropes in her works. For instance...
    • The Fountainhead deconstructs Screw the Rules, I Make Them as well as Nietzsche Wannabe with the character of Gail Wynand. Wynand embodies what is arguably The Theme Park Version of Nietzsche's philosophy and believes he can rule the masses and shape popular opinion with his newspaper. Things don't exactly go according to plan.
    • Atlas Shrugged deconstructs Don't Think, Feel with the villain's justifications for their economic policies, as well as Betty and Veronica via an actress who joined the strike because she was always typecast as Veronica but lost the man to less interesting characters.
    • Atlas Shrugged also deconstructs I Just Want to Be Loved with James Taggart's relationship with Cheryl. Instead of being loved for owning a company, for being skilled or for even being a nice person, he wants to be loved for what he is, and that's pretty much nothing.
  • The Elder Scrolls Novels - Pretty heavy on this:
    • Warrior Prince: Does this with Prince Attrebus. instead of going out and winning glorious battles for The Empire, he is tricked into believing he has done so, and subsequently gets all his men killed, realizes that just being a prince doesn't make a person a great fighter, and is forced to face his own failings before he can try to be a real hero.
    • Action Hero: Annaig. She reads a lot of adventure books, and has an extreme desire to be an adventurer herself. when she finally does get to go on a "real" adventure, most people she cares about are killed, she is constantly forced to keep her morals in check or else she is worried she will become just as bad as the people she's fighting, she realizes that destroying Umbriel will likely kill hundreds of decent people along with the not-so-decent ones, and spends most of her time just trying desperately not to die.
  • Tomorrow When the War Began takes the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits and La Résistance tropes to their logical conclusions via War Is Hell. The kids have to stop being kids and start being soldiers - those of them that can't quickly get captured or killed, while those of them that can never really recover from some of the traumas.
  • The Harry Potter series deconstructs the Chosen One trope. Harry's status as the chosen one wasn't decided by fate, but happened because Voldemort thought it was fate and leaped into action with an impulsive decision. Moreover, while he's competent with magic (better at some things than his peers), he's not a genius or exceptionally gifted in magic like his adversary (who is described as one of the most powerful wizards in wizarding history). His heroic actions save lives but, until the end, do not bring him glory - on the contrary, they end up being used to label him as "reckless" and "unstable" for a long time. He ultimately triumphs over Voldemort not because of his superior talent, but because Voldemort makes a major mistake and is arguably brought down by his own blindness and arrogance.
    • Another deconstruction takes place in regards to Comforting the Widow. A certain Death Eater named Severus Snape can't get over being Lily Evans-Potter's Unlucky Childhood Friend, who is more or less Happily Married to James Potter and is the mother of baby Harry. He panics when his boss, Lord Voldemort, decides to kill her alongside Harry for being his mom and a "mudblood", and then asks Voldemort to only kill her husband and child so he can comfort the widowed Lily and ultimately have her as his trophy wife of sorts. Voldemort's answer is "NO DAMMIT" and he coldly kills Lily too, when she goes Mama Bear to protect baby Harry (and her Heroic Sacrifice protects him from beyond the grave too). Snape is so crushed after losing the only person who once cared for him due to his own actions, that he has a Heel Face Turn and becomes a Good Is Not Nice Atoner.
    • A deconstruction of a lighter shade comes with Luna Lovegood's Cloudcuckoolander tendencies, which have left her an easy target of teasing and ridicule amongst the other students. (In example, she tells Harry that the Ravenclaw kids prank her by hiding her stuff and forcing her to search for it all alone). Consequently, Ginny Weasley had been pretty much her only friend at Hogwarts until her 4th year at the school... However, neither of these facts bothered her significantly, and she does what she can to live her life at the fullest.
    • Also deconstructs The Power of Friendship; there isn't any magical reason Harry's friends are an advantage (indeed, Ron, like Harry, isn't really someone special) but Harry's willingness to make friends means that he has people by his side fighting for his cause because they believe in him, whereas Voldemort tries to command loyalty through fear and power. People think nothing of betraying him (one doing this in particular very important in the process of his undoing) or at the very least not giving him their all if they've come to find that it's no longer to their advantage.
    • Cho Chang serves as a deconstruction of the Relationship Sue trope. She is introduced as a pretty and popular girl who is an excellent Quidditch player. But when she and Harry finally get together a combination of her still grieving for Cedric, Harry knowing nothing about girls and a few misunderstandings show that they are not very compatible and they remain friends. In another variation Ginny Weasley may reconstruct the trope by realising her crush on Harry won't amount to anything and working on becoming a stronger and more capable friend to him...which is the very reason he falls in love with her.
  • Speaking of deconstructing The Chosen One, The Wheel of Time does an absolutely brutal deconstruction in the form of Rand Al'Thor who is nearly driven insane by the pressure of having the entire world resting on his shoulders and begins to use much darker methods to make sure everything stays together. Eventually he realizes what he's doing wrong and gets better.
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is yet another deconstruction of The Chosen One. After seemigly getting knocked out after getting hit by a car, he wakes up in a magical land, and spends the rest of the series refusing to accept any of it is real because he thinks it's all in his head and he's going insane. And to top it off he's a Jerkass, highly cynical loner who really is only a hero because the villain is someone that gives most other Complete Monsters nightmares.
  • The Honor Harrington series deconstructs The Federation, in the form of the People's Republic of Haven (or, arguably, the Solarians). Much more on the trope page.
  • In Dostoevsky's classic The Idiot, he ruthlessly deconstructs the Purity Sue. Myshkin is basically Jesus reincarnated, being possibly the most pure representation of what the Church expects that people should try to be like. The problem? Everyone who doesn't want to be like this (that is to say, everyone except Myshkin himself) takes advantage of his personality for all it's worth because Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • Kingdom Keepers deconstructs Clap Your Hands If You Believe. Enough people believing in Disney allows those characters to come to life. However, it's those like Maleficent that take advantage of it.
  • The novel Speeding Bullet by Neal Shusterman takes a knife to the idea of Jumped At the Call. Nick saves a girl from a subway train, then a man from a burning building, then gains the attention of a rich, hot girl, and keeps running across situations for him to intervene in. Except his girlfriend has been paying people to set up situations to feed his Adrenaline Junkie habits. And when he really needs it, he can't find his courage anymore.
    • From the same author, "The Shadow Club" involves a group of teenagers getting back at others by playing pranks on them. Naturally, someone takes the "harmless" pranks too far; because that's what happens when you give people power over their foes.
  • The Red Badge of Courage deconstructs the idea that War Is Glorious. When it's not boring and monotonous, it's absolutely horrific.
  • Wuthering Heights deconstructs All Girls Want Bad Boys, by showing exactly what happens when girls fall in love with troubled, angry men. Heathcliff is a 'bad boy', and Bronte shows exactly what this means; he's unstable, vindictive, violent, selfish and vicious. The relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine is depicted as being intensely passionate, but also intensely unhealthy (not least because they may or may not actually be brother and sister), and Heathcliff's response to being spurned for another man is to embark on a single-minded crusade of vengeance that ultimately results in the ruination of both lovers and their immediate families for absolutely no point whatsoever. As if this wasn't enough to illustrate the point, Edgar Linton's foolish sister Isabella elopes with Heathcliff because she's attracted to his bad-boy image. She gets what she wants, but not in the way she expects; an abusive husband who is openly contemptuous and violent towards her, and makes no secret of the fact that he only married her to get at her brother. This hasn't stopped a Misaimed Fandom growing around Heathcliff, however, who even to this day is considered a model of a romantic hero despite the fact that he's pretty much a sociopath—something that Bronte intended to make absolutely clear.
    • It also shows that what happens when good boys fall in love with troubled, angry women who are in love with said troubled, angry men...
    • Romance, as a genre, is one of the easiest to deconstruct, simply because by its very nature it is fantasy-driven. There are eerie parallels between the 'romance' and 'porn story' genres (aside from the fact that a story can be both at once), in that both exist to embody fantasy satisfaction of impulses that in real life must be restrained by the necessities of duty, common sense, and sanity. Drama is good as entertainment but rapidly becomes exhausting and draining when you have to live it.
  • Even optimistic adventure stories, while free from overall deconstruction, aren't necessarily free from having individual tropes deconstructed. Case in point, The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, which blatantly falls on the Ideal side of the scale. Thus, the trope of Robinsonade is played straight by the main protagonists, but is brutally deconstructed by Sixth Ranger Ayrton who goes mad from being isolated for so many years and probably would have died an agonizing death were it not for Nemo telling the castaways about his island.
  • When the Windman Comes by Antonia Michaelis brutally deconstructs Mr. Imagination . The girl Paredoile and her mother live in a world filled with their imagination, and some of things they imagine are very wonderful and excitiong - but most are evil and threatening - like the titular Windman. They live in constant fear of imaginary phantoms, which leads to both of them having no friends (which is especially hard for the girl), brings further hardships, and even creates some very real dangers (like when Paredoile's mother refuses to let her be treated in a hospital for fear of Windman). Ultimately, it takes an intervention of the hero, a Down-To-Earth kid, to break them free of that.
  • The Godfather, one of the most famous Mafia sagas in fiction, made a big deal out of the Nothing Personal trope. But in the novel that inspired the films, Michael Corleone himself deconstructs the trope in this speech to Tom:

Michael: Tom, don't let anybody kid you. It's all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it's personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don. My old man. The Godfather. If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. He took my going into the Marines personal. That's what makes him great. The Great Don. He takes everything personal. Like God. He knows every feather that falls from the tail of a sparrow or however the hell it goes. Right? And you know something? Accidents don't happen to people who take accidents as a personal insult.

  • The title character of Alexander Pushkin's Eugene Onegin is a deconstruction of a Byronic Hero.
  • Gone with the Wind deconstructs the Southern Belle and Southern Gentleman archetypes in the winning form of Scarlett O'Hara and Ashley Wilkes.
  • Animal Farm
    • Brilliant but Lazy: Benjamin is the smartest animal in the farm but refuses to become a leader not so much because he's lazy but out of fear. He still wouldn't say anything even after Boxer got sold to the knackers.
    • Dumb Is Good: The animals' Fatal Flaw.
    • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The animals refusal to adopt human ways allows the pigs to screw them over.
  • Seven Sorcerers by Caro King deconstructs Plot Armor. The heroine Nin Redstone, a young girl, has it, and therefore survives many dangerous situations unscathed - physically that is. However, the Plot Armor, as usual, does nothing to prevent her from getting into such situations. In fact often she get into bad situations precisely because somebody wanted to exploit her luck, in fact, this is the whole reason she got dragged into the whole mess in the first place, and Nin has to deal herself with the psychological scars of her dangers. Also she developds huge Survivors Guilt, when other people die around her - partially because her Plot Armor doesn't seem to care about collateral damage.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • It might have been unintentional, but Rick's character arc in Degrassi the Next Generation was an effective Deconstruction of Villain Decay and Badass Decay. Rick starts out in the third season as a ruthless, controlling sadist. With each appearance, he gets stupider and weaker—and much more dangerous. In his last appearance, he is on the losing end of Eviler Than Thou, and still manages to cause far more trouble in the process than the villain who outplays him.
    • The charecter Riley is a deconstruction of the gym bunny gay trope. Although, its usually played for laughs on other TV shows, its implied that Riley's masculinity and steroid use are attempts to compensate for his sexuality.
  • The new Battlestar Galactica deconstructed the maverick/rogue trope with Starbuck. Ron Moore played the trope straight, even admitting using it slightly unrealistically by having Starbuck be as good a sharpshooter out of the cockpit as in the cockpit too. Yet they showed exactly how messed up and driven by demons that person would have to be to be that good and yet that much of a loose cannon. And of course, the consequences in military and personal terms for those actions as well.
  • This trope (specifically in regards to the Cowboy Cop) is also deconstructed with Jimmy McNulty of The Wire, who, despite being an excellent detective, allows his free-wheeling ways to cause much destruction to both his personal life and performs numerous, possibly career-damaging moves on his way towards cracking any given case.
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles makes it a point to show just how badly a teenager would be affected Because Destiny Says So and being forced to constantly move around the country, with the only people he can trust being his mother and a very scary Robot Girl.
    • The whole "robot learning to act human" plot portrayed as adorable in the movies is seen as frightening and unnatural in the series.
    • John Connor himself is a Deconstruction of the Future Badass, in that he's always known he's going to become one. The series pulls no punches with putting him through the traumas and harsh life lessons that would turn somebody into one. He's also frequently seen asking characters from the future (who are often disappointed and frustrated that he's still just a kid) what his future self would do in a given situation.
    • "Self-Made Man" asks wouldn't it be great if Cameron was your friend. In the end, she drove away the only friend she had but that's okay he has a replacement whom she can exploit.
  • Around Season Two, Supernatural started deconstructing A Man Is Not a Virgin with Dean. Sure, he's Mr Yo-Yo Boxers but it's compulsive, his own brother believes that he's a whore with no standards and he's on his way to getting a slightly nasty reputation.
    • It also began examining just how incredibly screwed up a person would have to be to lead the lifestyle hunters do. Although it never sacrifices its premise of being a fun show about two guys with a cool car hunting monsters, it gets very serious and thus very dark on these occasions.
    • Supernatural brutally deconstructed Heroic Sacrifices with Dean's "Deal With The Devil" storyline. He knows it was selfish and only did it because he should have stayed dead, feels like he's fucked up so much that he deserves eternal torture, he can't be without his brother and because John told him to look after Sam at all costs. For his part, Sam thinks it was self-righteous, hypocritical, suicidal and extremely selfish. As for the others—Bobby finally realizes how broken Dean was and how much he hates himself, both the Crossroad Demons call it needy and Azazel knows it was self-destructive, pathetic and self-loathing. So Heroic Sacrifices? Not so noble after all—more like selfish, pathetic, destructive and so very suicidal.
    • One episode deconstructs the idea of standing up to a bully. As a kid, Sam beat up a bully named Dirk and saddled him with an unflattering nickname, "The Jerk". This ruins Dirk's reputation and his life spiraled out of control as he grew up until he died of a drug overdose. It's only years later that Sam found out Dirk was also oppressed in school for being poor and stupid.
    • "Wishful Thinking" deconstructs a Shallow Love Interest in an example of a guy who made the wish that his high school crush would love him over anything else. At first, he is happy with this new situation but eventually, he becomes disheartened by the fact she literally has no other personality other than pleasing and loving him, even resorting to murder for him to maintain their "love".
  • Foyle's War deconstructs the myth of wartime Britain being a place where everyone pulled together to make a stand and fight the common foe; in the early years especially, there's an awful lot of defeatism, cynicism and would-be collaboration afoot, and there's more than a few people who are willing to cynically exploit the confusion, desperation and uncertainty produced by the war to venally line their own pockets. Furthermore, the British government is willing to do whatever it takes and make deals with whomever they need to win the war, resulting in an awful lot of Karma Houdinis in DCS Foyle's investigations.
  • Jasmine in Angel could be considered a deconstructed Mary Sue; she's beautiful, her mother is in a coma, and from her first appearance, she completely steals the spotlight from the main cast, who are instantly trying to help her accomplish her goals, while constantly talking about how wonderful she is. (Because they're Brainwashed!)
    • Angel also deconstructs The Big Guy. Charles Gunn resents being thought of as little more than "the muscle," and so make a (basically literal) Deal with the Devil to gain intricate knowledge of the law, human and demon alike. To maintain this new skill, Gunn makes a second deal that ends up killing someone he loved. He doesn't even realize that his upgrade has actually made him The Big Guy version of a lawyer.
  • Season 6 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Dead Things", consciously deconstructs the trope of Mind Control by following it through to its unsettling conclusions. Led by Warren, the geeky Trio use a device to hypnotize Warren's ex-girlfriend into doing their bidding, even having her dressed up in a French maid's outfit. Jonathan and Andrew even giggle childishly about how cool the situation is ... until Warren takes his ex into another room and orders her to give him oral sex. She comes out of the trance, is utterly squicked by what the Trio are doing and points out that it's esentially rape. She is then killed by Warren in her attempt to escape the basement, and the Trio are sobered out of ever using their Mind Control device again.
    • Buffy's whole arc that season can be considered a deconstruction of Back from the Dead, and why it can be a bad idea. She was so miserable that season because of the contrast between heaven and earth, her life doesn't seem to matter without death, and the world pretty much completely overwhelmed her. How crappy her life was that year doesn't help either.
    • The same season also deconstructs the Foe Yay relationship by showing what would happen if a heroine and villain surrendered to their attraction to each other, with the combat-as-sex metaphor becoming rough sex devoid of any tenderness, and their mutual Values Dissonance culminating in Spike's Attempted Rape of Buffy.
    • And, of course, Buffy deconstructed the Mary Sue even more blatantly than the Angel example above in "Superstar," in which Jonathan, having cast a spell on himself, becomes one not only overshadowing Buffy as one of the Scoobies but apparently the entire world, retconning himself into a famous basketball player (despite being shorter than Buffy), the star of The Matrix, and a strategic genius to whom even the most classified of military operations defer.
    • Buffy's status as The Chosen One increasingly made her emotionally distant towards her family and friends.
  • The League of Gentlemen has deconstructed both the Fag Hag and the equating of gay people with vampires. One of the League members is gay.
  • Despite The Glades being about a Cowboy Cop, the first episode showed somewhat realistic consequences to having an officer who tramples all over the rules and gets away with it because of his skill and talent. Specifically, his partner feels overshadowed by him, and complained about it to his wife so much it eventually destroyed their marriage. When she tried to leave him, he killed her. She's the Victim of the Week.
  • The characters Han Won Soo and Mo Ji Ran from the Korean Drama First Wives Club deconstructs the typical portrayal of the Victorious Childhood Friend. In order to be together, the childhood sweethearts cheated on their respective marital partners, with Ji Ran abandoning her family, and Won Soo beating up his wife when she doesn't want to sign their divorce papers.
  • In Flashpoint, Parker and his team generally try to avoid Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him, even when they get a clear shot of the hostage taker. Because they want to ensure that casualties are miminal to none, which includes the life of the hostage-taker, only using lethal force as a last resort. Not to mention the show deconstructs the general idea that all hostage-takers are crazy, unbalanced criminals. The viewers get a chance to see what lead to the events, which are often because of misunderstandings or an emotional crisis. More than once, the hostage-takers never intended for things to spiral out of their control, which causes them to panic and things get messy, both for them and for the team.
  • How I Met Your Mother did a beautiful one about a Runaway Bride and how it affected the groom she had left.
    • To be specific, said groom was the main protagonist Ted who had done nothing to deserve the bride disappearing on the day of their wedding with only a note to explain her reasons. He was left with serious emotional baggage that lasted many episodes.
    • Also the show appears to be deconstructing True Companions. While it's undeniable that the gang care for each other and would go to extreme lengths to help each other, it is pointed out how dyfunctional the group is getting because they are meddling too much into each other's affairs.
    • Amicable Exes is deconstructed through the relationship of Ted and Barney with Robin after they had broke up on good terms. It's been pointed out by others that part of the reason Ted's relationships with other girls fails because he is unconsciously pining after Robin after their breakup. Likewise with Barney and this cost him when he slept with Robin while dating Nora.
  • Cold Case deconstructed:
    • In with the In Crowd - A girl was murdered after finding out her friend had been gang raped as part of her initiation into the cheerleader squad. The friend helped cover up the crime because she wanted to be popular.
    • Save Our Students - A teacher is killed by another teacher who's basically a jaded, older version of her, when she tries to get him to confess to drug use to save the future of the student he forced to carry for him. The student in question feels so responsible for her death that he descends into the life of crime he would've had without her intervention, despite his obvious talent as a writer.
    • Rescue Romance - The one about a girl and her friend who got into a car accident and the fireman who saved her and eventually married. He married her out of guilt because his carelessness during the rescue was what crippled her. The friend who was blamed for the accident found out so he had to die.
  • Earth: Final Conflict gives us a rare deconstruction of Energy Beings: the energy-based taelons burn the energy they're made of simply by existing. It turns out that they are, for all intents and purposes, an evolutionary dead-end; they can't naturally reproduce, nor do they have the knowledge to synthesize the energy they're built on, so while an individual taelon with a full life-span would live for a thousand years, they've been dying out and are down to their last generation as the total reserves of core energy dwindle to nothing.
  • Torchwood did this with the idea of an Alien Invasion in the special Children of Earth. Instead of fighting the aliens back with BFGs and More Dakka, Earth's leaders instead decided to heed the aliens' commands and almost ended up doing potentially very naughty things.
  • Mitchell from Being Human (UK) is a deconstruction of the Friendly Neighbourhood Vampire. Blood as an addiction isn't a new metaphor, but consider how difficult it is for real people with real addiction to go a lifetime without falling off the wagon. For Mitchell, losing control means killing people, lots of people, and because he's immortal, it's inevitable that he'll fall off eventually. It happens at the end of series 2 and when his friends find out, they can't forgive Mitchell, even though he's genuinely remorseful.
  • Kamala from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Perfect Mate" is a deconstruction of the Relationship Sue. As the title says, she is bred to be the perfect mate with whoever she's with, having no real desires or passions of her own.
  • The Big Bang Theory arguably deconstructs Child Prodigy by using it as Sheldon Cooper's backstory. On one hand, Sheldon went off to college at 11, became an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, went to Germany at age 15 as a visiting professor, and got his first Ph.D (he has two at present) at age 16. On the other, we meet him not as a child/teen but as an adult... and not only his early successes have fueled his large ego (making him quite insufferable to those around him), but at age 30-something he still has the emotional capacity of a kid due to his abnormal childhood, and his vast intelligence greatly alienated him from his own family with the exception of his mother.
  • Charmed deconstructs Phoebe's Serial Romeo lifestyle by showing how the endless stream of failed relationships, both human and magical, leaves her emotionally fragile and terrified of love. She even resorts to using her premonitions to see if the relationship will go anywhere on the first date and is punished by the Elders. However they eventually delve into reconstruction when Phoebe considers getting a sperm donor and realises that she doesn't just want a baby, she really does want to be in love and a cupid gets sent to help her overcome her problems.
    • The episode "All Hell Breaks Loose" arguably deconstructs Prue's God Mode Sue characteristics that were part of the show. Every decision Prue made in the episode resulted in something bad happening when for the past three seasons she had never faced any serious consequences of her reckless behavior. Twice she forced Piper to recklessly go out in public and use their powers against a demon, ending up getting caught on live TV both times and exposed. Leo calls her out on her carelessness when she tries to reason it as saving an innocent. Next she uses her powers on a woman who comes into their house without stopping to think. Said woman is actually quite mad and ends up shooting Piper. Prue then goes mad and uses her powers on innocent people, albeit clearing them out of the way so she could drive Piper to the hospital but she definitely goes too far by sweeping everyone in the street away. A SWAT team is called in to kill her. And finally at the end of the episode she carelessly takes a hit from a demon, pushing an innocent out of the way when she could have used her powers and this is what kills her for good. The next few episodes have the others talking about how she recklessly risked her life without considering the consequences.
  • Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess deconstructs Wide-Eyed Idealist since her unbending morals and naivete cause her to commit rash though well intentioned actions.
    • "A Day in the Life" deconstructed Improbable Weapon User since Xena used the frying pan to fight off bad guys, they have no way to cook their food. She also used their knife the week before so Gabrielle is forced to use the chakram to slice fish which Xena did not like.
    • In their use of Callisto, the show deconstructed But for Me It Was Tuesday. Back in her warlord days, Xena led a raid on a village that involved an accidental fire that killed women and children. Though she felt regret, it didn't exactly keep her up at night. Years later, Callisto turns up, swearing vengeance for the deaths of her parents and sister in that raid, and confronting Xena with the fact that her past crimes have created a psychopath. It's not until this point that Xena realizes the full consequences of her actions and the fact that she's unknowingly created her worst enemy, a woman who doesn't want anything in life but to make Xena suffer. Xena's "Tuesday" ends up costing her dearly, both with her Guilt Complex and in all the chaos that Callisto causes.
  • Tosh.0 deconstructed Too Soon in a blink it or miss it moment. During a video breakdown Tosh makes a joke that a guy falling two feet off a roof "Flailed like Saddam at the end of a noose." The audience is shocked by this joke until Tosh responds by saying. "Seriously? It's Too Soon for Saddam jokes...Do you guys miss Saddam?"
  • Dead Like Me deconstructed Cool Old Lady in the form of Grandma Phyl who spent so many years doing "cool" stuff in foreign places that she neglected her own daughter which caused Joy to grow up anal and over self-reliant.
  • iCarly deconstructed Epic Fail in the episodes iChristmas and iGot A Hot Room. Spencer has an innate ability to cause things he creates or even touches to start on fire. Normally they burst into flames and Spencer puts the fire out, like he did to a drum kit and a reception desk bell. In iChristmas he destroys all of their Christmas presents, and in iGot A Hot Room he causes Carly's room to be completely gutted by fire.
  • Merlin deconstructed Perfectly Arranged Marriage. After Guinevere was Mistaken for Cheating and banished from the kingdom, Arthur becomes engaged to Princess Mithian, who is beautiful, charming, witty and Nice to the Waiter. Their marriage would have solved the land dispute between their kingdoms. They get along well and have plenty of things in common. Her character was designed to be such a perfect match for Arthur, that if it was any other story, they would have been Happily Married.
  • New Girl arguably deconstructs the Purity Sue trope. The main character, Jess, is sweet, kind-hearted, innocent and relentlessly optimistic, always trying to see the best in people regardless of circumstances. As a result, She is crushingly naive, incapable of anger or self-assertion, she is extremely emotionally fragile, has a tendency to judge the choices of others, is often taken advantage of by others (Her boyfriend cheated on her in the first episode), she isn't respected by friends or the children she teaches, her friends love her but are very aware that she needs to be constantly handled with kid gloves, and people often find her help more irritating than anything else. There are quite a few instances where other characters point out how unsettling her attitude is for a grown woman and her friends have called her out on being judgemental.
  • The British mini-series Dis/Connected deconstructs The Casanova and Really Gets Around; the character of Ben fancies himself a lady-killer, but all the female characters of substance find him repulsive (resulting in a Gender Flipped version of My Girl Is Not a Slut considering they label him "a little slut" and "a man-whore"), and he only manages to get lucky with unintelligent and/or slutty girls (deemed as such by their peers).
  • Noob deconstructed Appliance Defenestration when a computer thrown out a window by a player with Hair-Trigger Temper killed someone and had him end up in jail.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Pet Shop Boys like to do this to individual songs. The most relevant example is their version of the so-often-covered "Always On My Mind", which, by putting it to a dance beat and singing it in a detached sort of way, makes it sound less like a love song and more like a half-hearted apology from a neglectful lover. The subject of the song probably wouldn't stick around if the words were spoken instead of sung.
  • The works of Gustav Mahler could be viewed as deconstructions of Romantic era music, particularly his later symphonies. His 6th symphony, for example, takes apart the idea of the "Heroic" symphony that Beethoven codified in his 3rd. In Mahler's version, the hero is not quite so successful. He then went on to parody himself and his critics alike in his 7th symphony.
    • Not quite so successful? The sixth symphony could be subtitled "Life's a bitch and then you die." Mahler burst into tears whenever he had to compose it, and took out one of the hammerblows because it was autobiographical and he was a bit skittish about having his own death sounded forth at the climax of the work.
  • Many of the songs written by Serge Gainsbourg for the 60's French pop star France Gall were deconstructions of common themes in pop music and its role at the time in everyday life. The most well-known example is probably Poupée de cire, Poupée de son, winner of the Eurovision Song Contest of 1965, which deconstructs the idea of a star too young to actually understand love singing Silly Love Songs for cash that younger kids will believe.
  • Khanate play crushingly slow music based on super-distorted guitar "riffs" stretched out for ten or twenty minutes, over which lie demented shrieking and arhythmic, cacophonic drumming. Their music is so alien that # 182 of Terrorizer magazine described their fourth album Clean Hands Go Foul as "musical deconstruction", explaining that it lacked "coherency, rhythm, melody, structure and all aspects of what would typically be associated with the art of songwriting". They also gave it an 8.5/10.
  • Da Vinci's Notebook's song "Title of the Song" is a deconstruction of '90s boyband songs.
  • Polish grunge band "Hey" is paricularly fond of including deconstruction in their lyrics. One example would be the song "Mikimoto - król pereł" ("Mikimoto - king of pearls") which deconstructs popularity. The lyrics, roughly translated, go: "He was the king of this city/ With a cigarette in the place of a scepter/ He was the local saint/ With a halo of gray smoke/ He was the sluts' pet/ Quoted by the bartenders/ He was everyone's favourite/ Everyone wanted to be close with him/ He was found in the morning/ While everyone was still asleep/ Leaving a short letter behind/ About the unbearable loneliness".
  • The Temptations deconstructed the previously romantic view of being a runaway in "Runaway Child, Running Wild".


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Warhammer 40,000 deconstructed The Paladin in the form of the incorruptible Grey Knights. Not one of them has fallen to Chaos or turned rogue but that's only because they were given the "666 Rites of the Emperor" which accounts to 666 brain washings.


Theater[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Metal Gear Solid has several deconstructions of various cliches and tropes. For example it shows just how much of a tragedy the Fake Defector would be in real life, what would happen to a Tyke Bomb when they reached adulthood (one is a bitter man almost incapable of making emotional attachments, another spent a good portion of his adulthood being controlled and manipulated), just how mentally unstable or fairly screwed up a real life Quirky Miniboss Squad would probably be (FOX-HOUND, Dead Cell, Cobra Unit) and just how disturbing and yet fairly tragic a real life Cloning Blues plot would actually be.
  • Mass Effect makes it a point to deconstruct the Planet of Hats and the Proud Warrior Race Guy in the form of the krogan, who are universally bad-tempered, violent, brutal, and selfish... and have exactly the interspecies relations this should earn them. They got themselves slapped with a nice, unpleasant Depopulation Bomb for being an entire species of jerkasses.
    • It also deconstructs this with the asari, who are well known about the universe for being excellent diplomats and dealers... and having the best commandos and the largest population of biotic (superpower) users in the entire galaxy.
      • As both the Green Skinned Space Babes and the Discount Lesbians of the universe, it is also mentioned in passing on a few occasions that the Asari are often collectively looked down upon as being flighty and promiscuous.
    • And finally the Geth, in which the Robot War they had fought with the Quarians was that they are not mindless killbots (well the true geth) but rather a confused race of robots which questions their own existence in this world and that they really didn't want this conflict in the first place. While heretic Geth believed in the Reapers and played the trope straight and even then, it was more of a need of a proverbial god.
    • In the sequel, Miranda is a deconstruction of the Mary Sue. She is incredibly beautiful, highly intelligent, fast-healing, skilled in combat, and bioticly gifted... because her egotistical prick of a father designed her that way in a lab so that he could have the "perfect" daughter. She is tortured by all of her "gifts", seeing in them constant evidence of her father's influence.
    • On top of all that, As her Shadow Broker file reveals, for all her "perfection", she has a lot of trouble with being social with "normal" people, and she's badly affected by her inability to have children of her own.
  • Amongst many tropes it skewered, Planescape: Torment deconstructed the standard RPG trope of your character always being the center of the story by turning the story into a personal quest for identity rather than a standard 'save the setting from Evil Overlord X while most people sit by and watch'. Furthermore, The Nameless One leads the outfit because all the joinable NPCs are bound to you by the Mark of Torment, interlocking their destinies with your own; they could not leave you even if they wanted.
  • E-102 Gamma's storyline in Sonic Adventure was an unexpected deconstruction of Eggman's robotic Mooks...or more specifically, the fact that Eggman's robots are powered by animals. (Well, technically, Gamma was an Elite Mook, but whatever.) After seeing Amy's flicky in the Egg Carrier's prison chamber, his power source's memories and emotions began to conflict with his programming, eventually leading to his seeking out and destroying the other E-100 models (and himself) to free the animals inside.
  • The Messiah is semi-deconstructed in stages across all three routes in Fate/stay night as being impossibly idealistic but not necessarily a bad thing if you can keep your sense of perspective. A handful of other tropes are touched upon in this - such as The Dulcinea Effect - but are generally props for the main point that there is something basically wrong with Shirou.
  • Killzone deconstructs the glorious D-Day style liberation in a It Got Worse situation as it becomes obvious that with a corrupt military brass whom sold out your forces twice, that going in after recovering from a devastating attack on your planet and how putting down the leader will not make things better at all.
  • Deconstruction, along with subversion, is a prominent focus in the plots of the Tales (series) games.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV deconstructs the whole idea of Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!, which, until then, had been a staple of the Grand Theft Auto series. The main character, Niko Bellic, is a bitter and cynical Shell-Shocked Veteran who hopes that a new life in America will offer some alternatives to his old in Eastern Europe, where he committed various crimes for a living. Of course, being an illegal immigrant, his only option for getting some quick money is working as hired muscle for gangster bosses, and he is quickly pulled back into the business of robbing, blackmailing and assassinating, and it only serves to make him feel more miserable.
    • In The Lost and Damned, Johnny is a biker gang member who just wanted a relatively stable criminal life and not get into trouble. The resulting gang wars do the opposite of what normally happens in Grand Theft Auto, with Johnny's gang getting destroyed by them.
  • Saints Row 2 deconstructs it in the opposite direction, along with Heroic Sociopath, by escalating the Boss' Shoot the Dog moments until he/she has finally crossed the Moral Event Horizon for most of the playerbase. By the end of the game, the PC is out of excuses and can hardly be defined as 'Heroic' anymore. Most Alternate Character Interpretation of the Big Bad sympathetically recasts him/her as a Designated Villain.
  • BioShock (series) is a deconstruction of linear gameplay and But Thou Must!, once it is revealed you've been being mentally controlled throughout the game.
  • Half Life 2 and Episodes is another said type of gameplay, ironically Lampshaded with the Arc Words: "The one Free Man!"
  • While Shin Megami Tensei was always a darker version of Mons (despite preceding Pokémon by several years), Devil Survivor took it to Narutaru levels of brutality by showing exactly what kind of world would result in people gaining control of extremely powerful creatures that would follow any order.
  • Cody from the Street Fighter games deconstructs Blood Knight. He went to jail for always starting brawls under the slightest provocation despite his connections with Mayor Mike Haggar and he looks obviously bored everytime he fights, presumibly because he doesn't get any satisfaction out of fighting anymore and continues to do so only because he is simply addicted to it.
  • Two different types of Mary Sue are deconstructed harshly during the course of the Kingdom Hearts series. Namine starts out as a Relationship Sue, but it's also shown exactly how one would have to go about supplanting a love interest, and how harmful - possibly permanently damaging - to the hero's psyche and to Namine's own it would be. (Not to mention, also she does it because she's forced into it by others, not juuuuuust because she fancies this dude and wants him for herself). Xion, the so-called 14th member of Organization XIII, is actually not a Nobody at all, but an imperfect Replica, and was never a real member, just a tool. By the end, it's as though she never existed, which is actually quite similar to the fate of many fanfic Sues in her position, but so many of the harmful side-effects are shown that it's impossible not to cry at the end.
  • Suikoden III deconstructs the Mayfly-December Romance of many characters, most notably the Flame Champion as he gave up his immortality by retracting the True Fire Rune in his body so he can age with his loved one, but the act caused his body to break down and eventually die.
  • Action RPG Metal Walker deconstructs the empty overworld found in many RPGs. Besides your character and a select few NPCs with Mons, no one is outside, even in towns—because killer robots populate the landscape, even right outside buildings. Since you yourself are attacked very frequently, you can imagine why defenseless humans don't go out...
  • The Fallout series heavily deconstructs the Irrelevant Sidequest. Nearly every single sidequest in each game affects the Where Are They Now? Epilogue in believeable, realistic ways depending on how they were completed.
  • Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu deconstructs Genki Girl and Plucky Girl, since the characters who fitted the archetype in the first generation (Tiltyu and Sylvia) end up meeting really tragic life experiences and are unable to keep their cheeriness in the end.
    • At the same time, FE also reconstructs the same archetype in the second generation, since the pegasus knight Phee and the thief Patty (and their expies Femina and Daisy) do manage to keep their optimism until the end and earn their happy endings. Yes, they can be sad and/or angry (specially Phee, if her father is Levin), but they don't let it get to them too much.
  • Mega Man Zero is known for its deconstruction of White and Grey Morality and Rousseau Was Right in the first two games by showing the tragedy that ensues from such an event.
    • When you factor in Zero's origin as the last creation of Dr. Wily the series is also a deconstruction of Joker Immunity, Thou Shall Not Kill, and probably a few other related tropes as well. Because Dr. Wily was not executed after Mega Man 6, or killed in the next game because of Mega Man's "Three Laws"-Compliant nature, he lived on to build Zero, the latter being the cause of the wars in from the Mega Man X series all the way to his own. Then we have Dr. Wiel, the main villain of the Zero series, who was also not killed when captured in the Zero series back story, and came back to wreak havoc.
  • Dragon Age deconstructs two major fantasy concepts:
    • The Wizarding School is more of a prison and re-education camp than a school, as it seems to be the only way to avoid devolving the world into a bunch of mage-controlled city states.
    • Our Elves Are Better is deconstructed, as any race that avoids use of more modern technology is going to get boned—even if they live in the forests.
    • Dragon Age II could be said to deconstruct the use of the Big Bad in fiction. While it seems like either Meredith or Orsino could fit the bill and there is an Artifact of Doom involved, the social, religious and personal conflicts are what drive Thedas into war over human rights versus the safety of the masses-and since the story is being told in the past tense, there's very little the player can do about it. Even the creators have stated the circumstances are the true villains of the game.
  • The Condemned series does a good job deconstructing the Vice City setting of most crime games. By placing it in a Survival Horror context, it shows just how terrifying the concept of a rotting, crime-filled metropolis with a demoralized and incompetent police force could be in real life.
  • Yggdra Union deconstructs the tropes surrounding The Empire by portraying the forces of Bronquia as just soldiers doing their job instead of gleefully evil Mooks.
    • It arguably deconstructs Tsunderes with Kylier by giving a realistic reason to her constant bitchiness towards Yggdra instead of a simple Love Triangle. She resents Fantasinia and its royal family as a whole for their Fantastic Racism towards her people, displaying a little Fantastic Racism herself.
      • Not to mention the deconstruction of the resistance, how in spite of Yggdra being not vilified, her weapon has caused more pain and suffering to the empire than what the empire does. And the Sadistic Choice(s) she must make.
      • And the game takes a good hard look at would happen if you abuse The Messiah and make too much of a scapegoat of him with Nessiah. Yggdra Union has a lot of fun with deconstructionism.
  • Chrono Cross mercilessly deconstructs Time Travel, specifically the Time Travel used in Chrono Trigger, by asking a simple question: "If you make it so a certain event never happened, what happens to the world, and the people in it, that came to being because of that event?"
  • The online game You Only Live Once (found here) brutally deconstructs every meta-trope of your average Mario-style platformer (mainly extra lives). Just keep hitting continue...then when it runs out, refresh.
  • Viewtiful Joe, while in homage to lots of things, has a particularly interesting Deconstruction of Trapped in TV Land, Joe doesn't demonstrate it, but Captain Blue certainly does, the game shows that he got caught up in his fantasy in Movie Land, showing he went insane because he couldn't visit his wife or daughter, and eventually tried to destroy everything, it shows that being Trapped in TV Land sucks, and isn't really something to take lightly.
  • Iji manages to deconstruct the One-Man Army trope... By making the protagonist slowly go insane from all of the slaughter, while the few enemies she tries to talk to refuse to listen to her and label her as a mass murderer. Though it's completely possible to avoid killing anyone at all.
    • It also deconstructs the typical "save the world" plotline. Iji first tries to save the world on her own and fails. She can only do it by calling in the Komato, a warmongering race whose arrival seems to have made matters even worse. Then you reach the end of the game and realise the Komato's arrival on the planet did what Iji could not -- saved humanity after all.
  • Far Cry 2 deconstructs Badass with the player character. The enemies attack you on sight, no one bothers to check if you're enemy or not...solution? You kill everything on sight, becoming just like them and racking up hundreds of kills, and by doing that, becoming the epitome of badassitude with enemies running from you in fear if your reputation is high enough...of course, this reputation doesn't just affect enemies, it affect friendly people as well, which you need them for malaria medicine...
  • Shadow of the Colossus deconstructs video game objectives as inherently good. Every time you kill a colossus, you see it fall peacefully to its death while sad music plays. Some players stopped playing after a few because they felt they were doing something wrong. You can't help but feel like the invasive villain at times. Especially after you become the final boss.
  • One could argue that the first Etrian Odyssey is a brutal deconstruction of the concept of dungeon crawling/looting. In their quest for fame and fortune, the "heroes" murder an entire tribe of forest creatures who were acting purely in self defense, murder a man whose only "crime" was trying to develop a way to heal the ravaged world, and putting the entire world at risk by destroying an artifact that was helping the aforementioned world healing. All this, just to complete the Labyrinth and get the treasure at the end of it. This shows that blind, mindless dungeon delving and looting of said dungeons can indeed, and often do, have severe consequences, and the adventurers' sense of adventure and inherent greed make them completely oblivious to such consequences.
  • Knights of the Old Republic 2 deconstructs several video-game RPG tropes such as how the main character seems to gain power by slaughtering others and how upon meeting you, the other members of your party become entirely dependent on your continued existence. It also deconstructs the Star Wars universe itself, including notions of good and evil and ideas about The Force.
  • X-COM deconstruct the monster and alien-fighting cartoons popular during the 90's. where you have an elite team of heroes able to travel anywhere in the world to fight cheesy villains and win despite having inferior technology and numbers. Then look at X-COM, who travel the world in a Cool Plane to fight goofy-looking aliens... and suffer a high fatality rate, have barely enough funding, and have to desperately struggle just to get good enough weapons to fight 3/4 of the things that keep coming down.
  • Tales of Symphonia starts out as a Cliché Storm, but it quickly begins deconstructing tropes, with the most ripped-apart trope being The Chosen One; it shows what a shitty life a person would have if they were expected to save the world, and the psychological effects such a title and life would have on them. In this case, both of the chosen's become stepford smilers, with Colette always covering up her problems because she doesn't want to worry people, and Zelos covers up his suicidal tendencies with his apparent stupidity.
  • The Mobile Suit Gundam game Gundam Senki 0081 deconstructs the young vs the old generation. If you are playing as the Federation, the male lead is at a rather old age for Gundam leads (32 years old! That is just screaming for a death wish) while all of the cast on the Federation side are pretty much adults. The Zeonic side consists of young adults who attempt to cause trouble, for a series that usually favors the younger side. The older generation defeats the younger generation in battle.
  • After completing the first loop of Don Pachi, it's revealed that the events of the game have thus far been a deconstruction of the One-Man Army present in many shmup Excuse Plots. The player character, as part of his training, has been fighting against his own army, with his comrades willingly giving up their lives in order to help him become the ultimate Super Soldier. And when you start the second loop, the player character has been doing this same training for the past seven years. Only when he's pretty much slaughtered the entirety of his allied forces is he finally admitted into the elite DonPachi Squadron.
    • Its second-degree sequel Do Don Pachi dai ou jou is a deconstuction of Robot Girls. Set in a future crawling with Element Dolls, robot girls used as little more than slaves (of both the standard variety and...not-so-standard variety), the protagonist embarks on a mission against the forces of Hibachi with the assistance of one of three dolls. Depending on which doll you use, the ending has her choking the protagonist to death and going back in time to cause shit in DOJ's sequel DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu, falling for him despite him not reciprocating her feelings, or becoming so protective of the pilot that she has to be forcibly removed from the ship. Regardless of which doll, it's clear that your doll has gone batshit insane.
      • Finally, in DaiFukkatsu, the enemy is a series of giant robot girls, manipulated by Colonel Longhena into destroying humanity.
  • Each of the romantic routes in Katawa Shoujo features a deconstruction, depending on the girl you pick for Hisao. Not all of them are intentional, but it still counts due to the effects on each relationships:
    • Rin: Cloudcuckoolander: Becomes self-destructive and compulsive in an attempt to keep up with her art and gain inspiration. Her Bad Ending implies that she's liable to kill herself due to these emotional problems.
    • Emi: Plucky Girl: Tries to deal with her issues as much as she can, but this means she can't bring herself to get close to others.
    • Lilly: Oneesama and Yamato Nadeshiko: Represses her emotions to the point of utter neglecting them, and it's not easy to know what she needs and wants.
    • Hanako: I Will Protect Her: Eventually gets fed up with Hisao and Lilly coddling her, and the more you try to protect her, the more resentful she is.
    • Shizune: Spirited Competitor: Is so competitive that she drives away almost all of her friends except for Hisao and Misha. And in her Bad Ending she breaks up with Hisao since she thinks she's driving him and Misha away too.
  • Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun deconstructed Enhance Button. The processing power the AI CABAL requires in general and for this operation in particular comes from human brains and the resulting picture looks exactly like one would expect: grainy, except in the parts made up which are very smooth and Oxanna also does not know who the woman on it is, only she's a mutant.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Cyanide & Happiness is currently deconstructing the concept of a Child Prodigy having a job with their "Doctor Baby" series, stating that a child would be in many ways unprepared for an adult job.
  • El Goonish Shive deconstructs the Quirky Miniboss Squad. Hedge, Vlad and Guineas bicker amongst themselves, like normal minibosses, but Vlad has deep self-loathing, Hedge and the real Big Bad despise each other and Guineas is usually mistaken for an idiot because he rarely, if ever, speaks. They cheer up later, however.
    • "New And Old Flames" deconstructed the idea of betrayed trust and the resultant pain with Justin and his former best friend Melissa - as Noah points out, Melissa's confiding in her gossipy sister about his sexuality didn't just ruin Justin's life, it also destroyed hers as Justin has refused to forgive her for years. This has led to Melissa acting like an annoying Clingy Jealous Girl because his refusal to see things from her side means she can't get over her feelings for him - in turn, Justin's own pain blinds him to the fact that Melissa does have genuine human feelings and causes him to lash out at Elliot for daring to empathise with her (before Ellen chewed him out with a What the Hell, Hero? speech). The final shot of this Arc shows Justin staring after a departing Melissa (who has promised to not bother him anymore), with a look that is not pleased, annoyed or satisfied... but lost and empty. While what she did was terrible, Justin's unwillingness to move on has only hurt them both more in the long run.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court deconstructs Adults Are Useless. The school staff are very competent, and much more knowledgeable about the strange goings-on than Antimony is. In spite of this, Annie never seeks their help; on a few occasions, she outright refuses it. While Annie's behavior is partially explained by her Backstory, it's still counterproductive to solving the mysteries that she's investigating.
  • Kid Radd deconstructs a number of tropes, namely Collision Damage and the One-Man Army that many video game characters are - the former is described as the "Touch of Death", and its various implications as they apply to a more realistic world are taken under consideration. The latter often results in badly-repressed psychopaths and incidents of mass slaughter.
    • As Iji will also tell you. In fact, it's pretty much what Kid Radd would be if it were stripped of meta-references and were an actual game. Which is admittedly quite different, but they share many of the same concepts.
  • The Order of the Stick deconstructs Knight Templar by making the religious zealot paladin almost completely incapable of accepting that she could be wrong, believing herself and her every action to be the work of the gods even after she loses her paladin powers. The god practically told her "No, get out!" and she still believes herself to be in their favour. It also explores the concept of Exclusively Evil in the case of Redcloak.
    • Belkar arguably deconstructs the Token Evil Teammate. While his gleefully evil ways were initially played for laughs, lately they've proven to have realistic consequences, both on the world in general and his relationship with the rest of the party.
    • Miko is also an intentional deconstruction of Lawful Stupid. It's shown just how badly she can screw up things, and the other Paladins are shown as quite reasonable.
    • The Monster in the Darkness is the result of an alternate look at The Reveal: specifically, what kind of life one would have to live to remain completely hidden from the heroes and readers before the big moment, and the effect it has on its personality. Specifically, its inability to contribute despite its great power has destroyed its self-esteem (more so than simply being a minion would have), and never having a chance to practice evil results in an inevitable F.
  • 8-Bit Theater deconstructs Jerkass Gods. Sarda spent billions of years with no purpose in life and is trying to make up for the loss of his chance to design the universe in the first place.
    • Debatable. Technically he isn't a deity. It's more like he wanted to be, which is why he went back in time to design the universe in his own image anyway. If anything, Sarda is a deconstruction of people who think they are/have the right to be deities by showing just how fucked up people of such mindsets have to be before they reach that conclusion. And on that note, two words: Black Mage.
  • Sluggy Freelance arguably decontructed He's Just Hiding in a 2009 arc. Torg's insistence that Riff and Zoë are alive is seen as destructive and insane by his friends.
    • Even more clearly, Oasis is a deconstruction of the Magical Girlfriend. If you chose the right elements, you could describe her in a way that sounded exactly like, say, Steel Angel Kurumi. She herself is both a very tragic and intentionally shallow character, as well as now (again, as of 2009) the reason for the tragedy hinted at above.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja deconstructs the Inverse Ninja Law by having Frans Rayner actively invoke it. He was able to kill off most of the existing ninjas at once just by getting them in one place, and, in an attempt to kill Dr. McNinja, constantly cloned him and made the clones dumb as bricks, not only forcing the original Doctor to have his ninjaness spread thin, but prevent the clones from understanding strategy. The Doc was only able to win by ALSO deconstructing this trope by spouting several generic war buddy action movie lines and teaming up with Rayner, halving his ninjaness and making him vulnerable to the wave of ninja clones.
    • More ingenious yet, one of the Doctor's original clones, that actually had his intelligence, did this, invoking the law, and killing all the stupid clones. THE REAL Doctor McNinja invoked this law by staying hidden all the time, so that after his farmer-clone and Franz finished off the rest, he was the most über ninja present. SHAZAM.
  • Misfile is a deconstruction of the Gender Bender: girl-Ash is basically the same as boy-Ash: same name, same clothes (more or less), same sexual orientation (i.e. she's still attracted to girls), same hobby racing and fixing cars. While we don't ever get to see boy-Ash, it's easy to imagine that the only difference between the two is Ash's physical body and the way people treat him/her. And yet Ash hates being female, alternating between resignation and fear that she will become some sort of girly-girl, even though there's no indication of that happening so far.
  • Homestuck manages to deconstruct the classic Reset Button way of getting a situation hopelessly back on track. The Scratch, once initiated, resets a session - and all the factors that went into it. Including the character's lives, memories, interests, what have you. Suddenly what seems a sure-fire way to salvage their game seems like a really bad idea. And that's before we find out that the Scratch is essentially a Deal with the Devil. Let's just say Alternia wasn't always a Death World and leave it at that.
    • It also deconstructs Trapped in Another World. More like the other world cultivates the players and their parental figures/role models, sends them off to another planet, then starts throwing meteors at the planet once the players have hit puberty. Winning the game is pretty much the only way they can go back to some semblance of a normal, happy life. And the trolls don't even get that.
  • Megatokyo is a not-so-subtle example of this trope when applied to the harem genre; more precisely, what happens when a standard male lead gets an Unwanted Harem and what does it really mean to deal with a Broken Bird as a part of your harem (yes, dealing with real, severe psychological issues, not the ones you can see in standard harem works).


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Dive Quest, from the guy behind Ruby Quest, deconstructs the usual structure of Collective Games by having the "players" exist in universe, as facets of the protagonists personality, accessed through the Orb of Infinite Psyche. This proved so popular that it's been used in several other games. It also provided justification for switching the player character by having the second character find a shard of the orb.
  • I'm a Marvel And I'm a DC deconstructs The Cape (trope) tendencies of Superman, where he spends his time remembering back when righteous heroes were idolized, fully aware that his nobility and incredibly overpowered persona are frowned upon by current comic book fans, who want a hero that's full of faults so they're more relatable. Lex Luthor tries to use this to convince Superman into writing Marvel out of history. Without Marvel making flawed superheroes, everyone would still idolize the perfect, heroic good guys of yesteryear.
    • The interesting thing about this deconstruction is that it essentially says that comics need Superman because he does still act as a standard, and that the entire basis of Marvel heroes is that they're trying to be like Superman, so without Superman, there'd be nothing to strive for.
    • Season 2 Happy Hours deconstructs Darker and Edgier, as the Joker brainwashed almost all the characters to become more like Batman. Green Goblin tells off the Joker since if all characters are dark and there is no Lighter and Softer counterparts, then they lose what made them interesting since there wouldn't be any contrast.
  • This Cracked article shows what happens if you try to copy romantic gestures from films to real life. They all involve jail time.
  • This can sometimes happen within a fandom, such as the Furry Fandom. The "New Found Form" series is about mysterious runed artifacts which just happen to turn people into sexy animal-hybrid hermaphrodites (usually) because, as Rule 34 says, some people like that sort of thing. One writer came up with "New Found Frost" and turned the story into Lovecraft-influenced psychological horror, telling the tale of a fallen-from-wealth Russian family forced to choose between their humanity and dying in their snowbound house. And that author does this sort of thing all the time.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Hey Arnold! deconstructs Purity Sue and with Olga Pataki, Helga's sister. In order to keep your "pretty, intelligent, sweet, absolutely beloved young girl" image, you're likely to end up as a perfectionist, weepy, perpetually smily, dangerously out-of-reality mess who will break down to melodramatic levels the very moment something doesn't seem to fit in such a bubble of perfection, while being almost completely unable to connect with people far more "flawed" than yourself.
  • A whole episode of the X-Men series is dedicated to deconstruct Super Strength. The puny guy who steals Juggernaut's powers... promptly ruins his own life by becoming an unintentionally-destructive human demolition crew. He doesn't get better until losing said powers and having them restored to their owner... who, by the way, needs these powers to actually survive.
  • An episode of American Dragon: Jake Long has a rare deconstruction of What the Hell, Hero?. After finding out that Jake had his Dragon Chi confiscated on purpose, Lao Shi rants him for irresponsible and not flawlessly rising to the job. The Annoying Younger Sibling angrily berates that being the American Dragon is not the icing on the cake. After being on the job for just a few days, she wouldn't even consider going for two more days - let alone two more years. She also points out all the things that Jake had to go through ever since he began his duties: always being late for school, lying to his dad, his own girlfriend forgetting about him, not to mention being the guardian of a magic realm that no mortal (other than Jake's friends) has any knowledge about. Lao Shi takes this to heart and decides to cut Jake's dragon training in half.
  • An episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends deconstructs something that your typical Vacation Episode usually doesn't even touch on: The whole "packing up and getting to the airport" part. Try telling that, however, to those who were expecting a regular Vacation Episode.
  • The Kid Hero trope is brutally deconstructed in Return of the Joker. Being a youngster who fights evil won't spare you from the torture and brainwashing Mind Rape you'll receive once you end up in the claws of a sadistic, murderous, amorally psychopath. If you do survive it, you'll completly lose your sanity, it will take years of therapy to cure you, and even then you've to live with PTSD through the rest of your life.
  • Generator Rex does this with Dating Catwoman by showing how shitty it can be when the girl you're in love with works for the Big Bad. Even when she decides to quit working for said Big Bad, Rex still doesn't win her in the end.
  • The season finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic "Best Night Ever" does this to Fluttershy's Friend to All Living Things nature. When she encounters cute little animals that don't immediately want to be her friends, she quickly becomes unhinged and aggressive; chasing them, screaming at them to come out, trying to trap them in a net with an Evil Laugh...it peaks when she chases all of them into the ballroom while demanding that they love her.
    • Don't forget, "Party Of One" did the same to Pinkie Pie with her role as the Genki Girl. Parties are her way of self-validation and she immediately goes to "they don't like me anymore" when everypony lies to avoid her and her parties.
    • Twilight has immense magical power, more than most unicorns, but lacks the real training to use it effectively (since up until she was sent to Ponyville, she literally spent all of her time reading and studying magical theory, not practice.) This really comes back to bite her in the flank in "Swarm Of The Century" when she casts a spell to stop the Parasprite infestation from eating all the food in town. They stop eating the food all right...they just start ripping their way through the buildings instead!
    • "Lesson Zero" deconstructs the Once an Episode formula a lot of shows, including this one, use. Twilight freaks out because she doesn't have a letter to send to the Princess, as there wasn't much conflict in anyone's life lately. She goes crazy and tries to create a problem for her to solve, but things get horribly out of hand.
  • Recess has an episode of a new boy in their school who turns out to be a Mary Sue. He's a nice kid but the others want to challenge him so he ends up doing his best but that leads to the others seeing how he's better at everything they can do. They end up hating him for it and he's sad to have to deal with the fact that to be himself he can't have friends. He tells them this, which makes them more understanding, and leaves the school.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated pretty much thrives on deconstructing every one of the Scooby-Doo franchises most iconic tropes.
  • Adventure Time deconstructs Trapped in TV Land in video game form in the episode "Guardians of Sunshine". When Finn and Jake transport themselves into a video game through Beemo (Who told them not to), they realize that things are not what they seem. For one thing, they lampshaded the fact that if they lose all of their lives, it would be similar to dying in real life. Also, they can only carry just a few coins in their hands and the pain they feel in the game is real as the pain they feel in real life. The enemies in the game pose a bigger threat than expected. When Finn tries to activate the special weapon Bomba, he realizes that he can't do it without his controller. When Jake tries to pull Bomba from the screen, it causes an error that takes them to their world, along with the enemies they encountered (Note: The coin Jake kept turns into a penny, meaning the game currency is not worth much in the real world). The enemies were hostile towards Beemo for imprisoning them in the video game because they long for the sunshine.
  • Family Guy deconstructs Subbing for Santa. How? Well, Stewie and Brian are the ones doing the subbing, and their first and only job becomes a home invasion.
    • That same episode also features a truly heart-wrenching deconstruction of How Can Santa Deliver All Those Toys?: trying to keep up with the increasing demands of a constantly growing and increasingly greedy world population has turned Santa's workshop into an ecosystem-killing Nightmarish Factory staffed with horribly inbred elves, the reindeer have mutated into vicious carnivores and Santa himself... well,"failing health" doesn't even begin to describe his condition.
  • The Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy finale movie deconstructs Amusing Injuries in a hard way, in which Eddy recieves a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from his older brother. It's deconstriucted here because Eddy reacts as if he's seriously hurt and the kids (even Kevin and Sarah) react with fear. Not to mention the reveal that this is how his brother always treated him.
    • Cartoon Physics were also deconstructed in the infamous episode One + One = Ed, featuring the Eds discovering all sorts of weird things, such as paper thin trees, eating the sun, messing with their outlines, etc.
  • An episode of The Simpsons deconstructed Scare'Em Straight. Marge was away and Bart & Homer weren't doing their chores so Lisa made them think they had leprosy. Instead, Flanders shipped them off to a Hawaiian leper colony.