Exploited Trope

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Sometimes it's obvious a Trope is going to happen. This is for when a Genre Savvy character knows a trope is going to happen, or is happening already, but rather than trying to stop, change, or even hasten the trope, this character instead decides to take advantage of it.

Perhaps a Mook knows he is turning good, but also realizes Redemption Equals Death. So he uses his upcoming death as a Thanatos Gambit against the Big Bad. Or a girl in a romantic comedy knows who she will end up with, and knowing that the other guy feels that I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy, helps get another girl to be noticed by that guy.

Note that a Dangerously Genre Savvy character might also take into account the upcoming trope might be a trick, and this is a Subverted Trope. Thus that character might plan for either outcome. (And learning to exploit tropes is one way to become Dangerously Genre Savvy.)

The process of exploiting a trope is sometimes called "weaponizing" the trope.

Compare Invoked Trope (which is deliberately trying to make a trope happen) and Flaw Exploitation.

Contrast Defied Trope.

Trope relationships:

Examples of Exploited Trope include:


  • In recent years, Bud Light commercials adopted the formula that whenever the eponymous drink gets involved, someone says, "Here we go!" For Super Bowl XLVI, a Bud Light commercial was released involving a rescue dog named Weego who fetches Bud Light bottles and kegs whenever someone calls for him. ("Here, Weego!")


  • In The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent manages to take control of dramatic events at a trial and turn them to his advantage, effectively exploiting Courtroom Antics. An accused gangster tries to shoot him in the middle of the trial - Dent promptly punches and disarms him, stunning the entire court. When the judge calls for a recess, Dent hams it up: "Your honor, I'm not finished!".
  • When Tom is chased by half the student body in PCU, he hides from them, and then realizes The Pit needs lots of people at their party, so they can raise money. He then gets the people to chase him to the party.
  • In Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, Candace exploited her inability to bust her brothers to make sure Doof-2 didn't take over the Tri-state area.
  • In Tangled Flynn and Rapunzel exploit the Power Glows trope when they use her Magic Hair to find a way out of a flooding cave.


  • In The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System, when he and his disciples were kidnapped by a villain-of-the-week-esque demon, the transmigrated Shen Qingqiu has no qualms into exploiting the Plot Armor surrounding the original protagonist Luo Binghe by directing the demon to try and attack the poor boy. Said attempt ends in a roof support column inexplicably collapsing above the demon, which also frees Luo Binghe and distracts the demon long enough for the boy to free Shen Qingqiu.

Video Games

  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, you find out that Zelda/Hylia herself exploited Link's series-common trait of The Determinator. She knew that if it meant rescuing Zelda from danger, he would go to any lengths to ensure it, without any thought of his own safety. All of this was to ensure that he would be able to wield the Triforce in order to vanquish Demise...but this doesn't mean she didn't feel intense remorse for doing so, and, as such, sealed herself in sleep for thousands of years to maintain the seal on Demise so that Link could have more time to permanently finish the job.
  • Vega Strike explored and exploited genre conventions for Some Kind of Force Field. Since Deflector Shields are mostly transparent, lasers are the least hindered by shields of all weapon types in VS 'verse. And if shields flash when hit, one of implications is... PESC (Photon Emission on Shield Collapse) warhead. A single shield emitter mounted on an autocannon shell or rocket is charged when shot and optimized to fail violently when it hits, converting much of its energy into a strong laser pulse. Of course, there's nothing to focus it, but it goes off right on the target's shield.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • When Robert Mandell was creating Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, he had three animation teams; a high-quality and expensive "A" team; a "B" team that split the difference between quality and price, and the "C" team that was cheap and fast at the expense of quality. He cleverly exploited the Animation Bump effect by making sure the Drama Bomb and Myth Arc episodes were farmed out to the higher-end teams and saved the "C" team for stand-alone episodes of dubious quality. As a result, the quality of the animation in a given episode will often match the quality of the writing.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "A Dog and Pony Show", Rarity discovers that the Diamond Dogs who kidnapped her find her complaining to be really irritating. So she purposefully takes it even further in order to invoke Pity the Kidnapper on them.


  • In Bionicle, Big Bad Makuta put the Physical God Mata Nui into an endless sleep, but he knows that heroes will wake him up again Because Destiny Says So. Rather than waste a ton of resources trying to stop the heroes, he arranges things so that he's in control of Mata Nui's body when it wakes.

Real Life

  • Pink Means Feminine was exploited by making it the color for breast cancer awareness.
    • Of course, men get breast cancer too (and masculine women, and gender-nonbinary people) -- the tissue's there for everyone in varying amounts. But because Tropes Are Flexible, the symbol can effect public awareness of the disease more generally (although some advocates call for a dot of blue in the pink, or a half of the ribbon -- though the latter is used for awareness of other medical and social issues too).
    • As a counter:
When I see pink I’m reminded of all things feminine...My delayed breast cancer diagnosis resulted in a mastectomy. There’s nothing feminine or pink about that.