Some tropes are sometimes confused. This isn't the canonical list of tropes that might be confused for one another, that can be found here.

Some explanations of subtle trope differences can be confusing. This is a copy of the canonical list in a concise form. The explanations focus on the differences between the tropes, making it easier to identify where a particular example would fall. Ideally they should be concise, accurate and amusing.

If the concise version doesn't help your question, try figuring out the detailed version. If the detailed version doesn't help, you're on your own.

Please take all discussions of whether two tropes are insufficiently distinguished to the discussion page of the canonical list

If adding a new item, make sure that the full explanation is included in the canonical list in order to keep the two lists in sync.

The laconic version of this laconic (laconic^2) can be found here

Items are currently sorted alphabetically by whichever trope is alphabetically first.


Accidental Innuendo vs. Innocent Innuendo vs. Does This Remind You of Anything? vs. Freud Was Right:

Accidental Murder vs. Murder by Mistake:

Accidental Nightmare Fuel vs. Nightmare Fuel:

Achilles in His Tent vs. Deus Exit Machina

Action-Hogging Opening vs. Action Prologue

Actor Allusion vs. Casting Gag vs. Celebrity Paradox vs. The Danza:

Adam Smith Hates Your Guts vs. Karl Marx Hates Your Guts vs. No Hero Discount:

  • The price you pay to buy a useful item...
    • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Quadruples every time you reach a new area.
    • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: Is always the same everywhere, and often less than you get by selling it, meaning you just lugged 100 of them across the continent for nothing.
    • No Hero Discount: Is the same price paid by people who didn't just save the shopkeeper from being monster food.

Adam Westing vs. As Himself vs. Autobiographical Role vs. Celebrity Star vs. Character as Himself vs. The Danza vs. Special Guest:

Adaptation Decay vs. Bowdlerise vs. Cut and Paste Translation vs. They Just Didn't Care:

Adaptation Distillation vs. Pragmatic Adaptation vs. Woolseyism:

Adult Child vs. Man Child

  • Bob acts like a child...

Adventure Towns vs. City of Adventure

Affably Evil vs. Faux Affably Evil vs Laughably Evil vs Wicked Cultured

Agent Peacock Vs. Real Men Wear Pink

Airborne Aircraft Carrier vs. The Battlestar vs. The Mothership

The Alcatraz vs. Cardboard Prison vs. Gilded Cage vs. Luxury Prison Suite vs. Might as Well Not Be in Prison At All vs. Play-Along Prisoner

Alien Non-Interference Clause vs. Obstructive Code of Conduct

All Myths Are True vs. Fantasy Kitchen Sink vs. Crossover Cosmology vs. Planet Eris:

All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game" vs. First Episode Spoiler vs. It Was His Sled vs. Late Arrival Spoiler:

Allegedly Free Game vs. Bribing Your Way to Victory vs. Real Money Trade vs. Revenue Enhancing Devices

The Alliance vs. The Empire vs. The Federation vs. La Résistance:

Alternate Continuity vs. Alternate Timeline vs. Alternate History vs. Continuity Reboot:

Alternate Universe vs. Another Dimension:

Always a Bigger Fish vs. Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work vs. Villainous Rescue:

Ambiguously Gay vs. But Not Too Gay vs. Have I Mentioned I Am Gay? vs. Hide Your Lesbians vs. Get Back in the Closet

Amnesia Danger vs. Amnesiac Liar vs. Criminal Amnesiac vs. Easy Amnesia vs. Forgot the Call vs. Identity Amnesia vs. Laser-Guided Amnesia

  • A character has amnesia:

Amusing Alien vs. Funny Foreigner

Ancient Conspiracy vs. The Masquerade:

And This Is For vs. Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking vs. Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick

Anti-Magic vs. No Sell vs. Power Nullifier:

  • The hero is unable to blast the villain with a fireball because...
    • Anti-Magic: ...the hero is suddenly unable to cast spells.
    • Power Nullifier: ...the villain has a secret anti-fireball cloak.
    • No Sell: ...magic fireballs bounce right off the villain.

Anyone Can Die vs. Kill'Em All vs. Rocks Fall Everybody Dies vs. Total Party Kill

Applied Phlebotinum vs. Green Rocks vs Single Phlebotinum Limit vs. Magnetic Plot Device vs. Mineral MacGuffin vs Minovsky Physics vs. Unobtainium :

Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving vs. Chew Out Fake Out:

Artifact of Doom vs. Artifact of Death:

Ascended Extra vs. Ensemble Darkhorse vs. Breakout Character:

Ascended Fanboy vs Audience Surrogate vs Escapist Character vs The Everyman vs This Loser Is You vs Unfazed Everyman:

Asian and Nerdy vs. Bollywood Nerd

An intelligent and nerdy character of Asian descent...

Ass Pull vs. Deus Ex Machina vs Diabolus Ex Machina:

Atomic F-Bomb vs. Cluster F-Bomb vs. Mother F-Bomb vs. Precision F-Strike:

Author Appeal vs. Fan Service vs. Fetish Fuel vs Pandering to the Base:

Author Appeal vs. Playing to The Fetishes

Author Catchphrase vs. Catch Phrase

Author Filibuster vs. Author Tract vs. Writer on Board vs. Character Filibuster:

Averted Trope vs. Justified Trope vs. Lampshade Hanging vs. Subverted Trope vs. Double Subversion vs. Zig-Zagging Trope vs. Inverted Trope:

Awesome but Impractical vs. Cool but Inefficient vs. Too Awesome to Use vs. Useless Useful Spell:

A Worldwide Punomenon vs. Incredibly Lame Pun vs. Stealth Pun

Ax Crazy vs. Blood Knight vs. Psycho for Hire:

  • Ax Crazy: A dangerous lunatic who is prone to just snap.
  • Psycho for Hire: Like the above, but he gets paid to snap.
  • Blood Knight: Dangerous lunatic? Nah, just loves fighting.


Back for the Dead vs. Bus Crash vs. Character Outlives Actor vs. Dropped a Bridge on Him vs. McLeaned vs. Put on a Bus vs. Put on a Bus to Hell vs. Written in Absence:

Back Stab vs. In the Back

Badass Back vs. Offhand Backhand:

Badass Bookworm vs. Genius Bruiser

Badass Longcoat vs. Conspicuous Trenchcoat vs. Trenchcoat Brigade:

Bara vs. Yaoi:

Base Breaker vs. Broken Base:

Bat Deduction vs. Conviction by Contradiction vs. Conviction by Counterfactual Clue vs. Eureka Moment:

  • Bat Deduction: Conclusions about what happened based on insufficient evidence are treated as justified.
  • Conviction by Contradiction: Conclusion that someone is guilty based on a flaw in their alibi is treated as justified.
  • Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: Conclusion that someone is guilty based on circumstantial evidence from false premises is treated as justified.
  • Eureka Moment: Conclusions about what happened are inspired by completely unrelated events.

Batman Gambit vs. Gambit Pileup vs. Xanatos Gambit vs. Gambit Roulette vs. Xanatos Speed Chess:

  • Batman Gambit: I know what you'll do and I'll use that to win.
  • Gambit Pileup: Everyone's plans crashed into each other...I don't know who'll win.
  • Gambit Roulette: No matter what happens, no matter how unpredictable, I'll still win.
  • Xanatos Gambit: No matter what you do, I'll still win.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: If it looks like I won't win, I'll make up a new plan so I will.

Batman Gambit vs. Cloning Gambit vs. Fake Twin Gambit vs. Genghis Gambit vs. Lysistrata Gambit vs. Memory Gambit vs. Party Scheduling Gambit vs. Poison and Cure Gambit vs. The Uriah Gambit vs. Wounded Gazelle Gambit vs. Xanatos Gambit vs. Zero-Approval Gambit:

The Battle Didn't Count vs. Heads I Win, Tails You Lose vs. Hopeless Boss Fight vs. I Let You Win:

Beautiful All Along vs. She Cleans Up Nicely vs. She Is All Grown Up:

  • Beautiful All Along: Now that you've taken off your glasses and let down your hair, I realize you're beautiful.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Now that you've put on a ball gown and had a makeover, you're even more beautiful.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Now that puberty's beaten you with a pretty stick, you're even more beautiful.

Be Careful What You Wish For vs. Wanting Is Better Than Having

You wish for something and get it. But...

Become a Real Boy vs. Pinocchio Syndrome

Bellisario's Maxim vs. MST3K Mantra:

Beneath the Mask vs A Darker Me vs GIFT vs Hidden Depths:

Better by a Different Name vs. Follow the Leader vs. Recycled in Space:

BFG vs. Hand Cannon

  • BFG: a particularly large and unwieldy gun.
  • Hand Cannon: a very large pistol, but not that huge.

Big No vs. Squick:

  • Big No: Character's verbal reaction to being upset.
  • Squick: Physical reaction to something upsetting.

Bit Part Badguys vs. Mooks

Small-time villains...

Bittersweet Ending vs. Earn Your Happy Ending vs. Pyrrhic Victory

Black Comedy vs. Gallows Humor vs. Dead Baby Comedy:

Black Sheep Hit vs. Creator Backlash vs. Magnum Opus Dissonance vs. Old Shame

Bland-Name Product vs. Fictional Counterpart

Blind Idiot Translation vs. Either World Domination or Something About Bananas vs. My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels vs. Translation Train Wreck:

Bokukko vs. The Ladette vs. Shorttank vs. Tomboy

This is a girl who...

Bond One-Liner vs. Quip to Black vs. Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner vs. Pre-Mortem One-Liner

A cool line uttered...

Boobs of Steel vs. Buxom Is Better vs. Gag Boobs vs. Most Common Superpower

Boring Invincible Hero vs. Showy Invincible Hero vs. Boring Failure Hero

Bring My Brown Pants vs. No Dead Body Poops vs. Potty Emergency vs. Potty Failure

Brainless Beauty vs. Dumb Blonde

Breaking the Fourth Wall vs. Fourth Wall vs. Medium Awareness vs. No Fourth Wall vs. No Inner Fourth Wall:

Break Them by Talking vs. Hannibal Lecture vs. "The Reason You Suck" Speech

Brick Joke vs. Chekhov's Gag

  • Brick Joke: You don't know why it was there until it shows up again later.
  • Chekhov's Gag: It was a joke. Now it's back for a second round.

Broken Aesop vs. Clueless Aesop vs. Family-Unfriendly Aesop vs. Lost Aesop:

Broken Base vs. Fan Dumb vs. They Changed It, Now It Sucks vs. Unpleasable Fanbase

Buffy-Speak vs. Totally Radical

  • Totally Radical: is a genuine attempt by the writers (or a character) to use modern (or period) slang, but comes off as fake because it is from the wrong period, or otherwise misused.
  • Buffy-Speak: is a writer avoiding the first trope by using made-up speech patterns that sound plausible but aren't an actual attempt to use Real Life slang.

Bulletproof Human Shield vs. Human Shield

Bullet Time vs. Super Reflexes

  • Bullet Time: is a visual effect to show that a character's senses are so heightened that he can react to things as if they were in slow-motion.
  • Super Reflexes: is a Stock Superpower where a character can react to situations faster than normal; it may be depicted (visually) with Bullet Time, Slow Motion, or some other effect.

Bullying a Dragon vs. Mugging the Monster

Bunny Ears Lawyer vs. Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass vs. Obfuscating Stupidity vs. Obfuscating Insanity vs. Let's Get Dangerous vs. Crazy Awesome:

But I Can't Be Pregnant vs. But We Used a Condom vs. Miss Conception vs. Surprise Pregnancy

But Not Too Evil vs. Harmless Villain vs. Poke the Poodle

Butt Monkey vs. Cosmic Plaything vs. The Chew Toy vs. The Woobie:


Call Back vs. Continuity Nod vs. Mythology Gag:

Calvin Ball vs. Gretzky Has the Ball vs. New Rules as the Plot Demands vs. Unnecessary Roughness:

Campbell Country vs. Lovecraft Country

Camp Gay vs. Hard Gay:

Camp Straight vs. The Dandy

Canon vs. Fanon vs. Ascended Fanon vs. Fanon Discontinuity vs. Canon Dis Continuity vs. Running the Asylum vs. Extended Universe vs. Word of Dante vs. Word of St Paul vs. Word of God:

  • The fandom says something happened in the story.

Canon Foreigner vs. Canon Immigrant

  • Canon Foreigner: refers to a character exclusive to a certain adaptation of a previously-existing fictional universe.
  • Canon Immigrant: is when a character originally created in an adaptation is later introduced in the original source material.

Canon Sue vs. Creator's Pet vs. The Scrappy vs. X Pac Heat:

  • Canon Sue: Character represents the author.
  • Creator's Pet: Fans hate the character but the authors love them.
  • The Scrappy: Fans hate the character but he/she/it still has major role.
  • X Pac Heat: Fans hate the actor rather than the character.

Cannon Fodder vs. Redshirt Army:

Captain Ersatz vs. Expy:

  • A duplicate from another work, which...

Cartwright Curse vs. Fatal Attractor

The Cassandra vs. Cassandra Truth vs. Ignored Expert:

Cassandra Gambit vs. Cassandra Truth vs. Sarcastic Confession:

Cassandra Truth vs. Not Now, Kiddo:

Casting Couch vs.SexualExtortion vs Scarpia Ultimatum

Cat Fight vs. Designated Girl Fight

Cerebus Syndrome vs. Darker and Edgier

  • Cerebus Syndrome: when a light, comedic series gets more serious and dramatic as it goes on (but not necessarily darker).
  • Darker and Edgier: a series gets darker undertones over time or when a sequel/reboot/alternate continuity is noticeably darker than its predecessor(s) (but not necessarily more serious).

Head-in-The-Sand Management vs. The Quisling:

Character Derailment vs. Out of Character:

Character Filibuster vs. Holding the Floor:

Character-Magnetic Team vs. Hitchhiker Heroes vs. Magnetic Hero:

Charm Person vs. Compelling Voice:

Chaste Hero vs. Celibate Hero vs. Asexuality

  • The opposite sex shows a clear interest in the hero but he/she...
    • Chaste Hero: is completely clueless about their interest in them.
    • Celibate Hero: prefers to avoid love/lust entanglements.
    • Asexuality: has no interest in that sort of thing; period.

Cheaters Never Prosper vs. Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat

Chekhov's Armoury vs. Chekhov's Boomerang vs. Chekhov's Gun:

Cherry Tapping vs. Death of a Thousand Cuts vs. Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? vs. Finger-Poke of Doom vs. Zerg Rush

The Chessmaster vs. Manipulative Bastard vs. Magnificent Bastard:

Chewing the Scenery vs. Large Ham:

Clark Kenting vs. Paper-Thin Disguise vs. Wig, Dress, Accent

Cliff Hanger vs. Sequel Hook:

Closing Credits vs. Creative Closing Credits vs. Credits Gag

Coincidental Broadcast vs. Crystal Ball Scheduling:

Color Coded for Your Convenience vs. Chromatic Arrangement vs. Red Shirt vs. Bring My Red Jacket vs. Turns Red vs. Law of Chromatic Superiority

Combat Medic vs. Deadly Doctor vs. Martial Medic

Confusion Fu vs. Indy Ploy vs. Strategy Schmategy:

Conveniently an Orphan vs. Orphan's Ordeal:

Conviction by Contradiction vs. Conviction by Counterfactual Clue:

Cordon Bleugh Chef vs. Lethal Chef vs. One-Note Cook

Corrupt Church vs. Path of Inspiration vs. Religion of Evil:

Cosmic Horror Story vs. Eldritch Abomination vs. Lovecraft Lite

  • Cosmic Horror Story: The genre where we'll all eventually get eaten by monsters from beyond comprehension.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The creatures that do the eating.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The genre where the monsters from beyond all comprehension get killed and we don't get eaten.

Cowboy Bebop at His Computer vs. I Am Not Shazam vs. Gannon Banned:

Creator Backlash vs. Old Shame:

Critical Research Failure vs. Dan Browned vs. Did Not Do the Research::

Crossover vs. Intercontinuity Crossover vs. Massive Multiplayer Crossover vs. Mega Crossover vs. Fusion Fic:

Curb Stomp Battle vs. No-Holds-Barred Beatdown vs. One Hit KO

Curious as a Monkey vs. Constantly Curious

Cute and Psycho vs. Sugar and Ice Personality vs. Tsundere vs. Yandere

Cute as a Bouncing Betty vs. I Call It Vera


Dead Person Conversation vs. Mummies At the Dinner Table vs. Of Corpse He's Alive vs. Talking to the Dead

Death By Genre Savvy vs. Dangerously Genre Savvy:

Deathbringer the Adorable vs. Fluffy the Terrible:

Defictionalization vs. The Red Stapler vs. Product Placement:

  • A product appears in a work of fiction that is:
    • Defictionalization: Fictional, but due to fan demand, it later becomes a real product.
    • The Red Stapler: Real and receives an unexpected boost in sales/popularity due to appearance on-screen.
    • Product Placement: Real and is intentionally featured in the hopes it will boost sales/popularity.

Demonic Spiders vs. Goddamned Bats:

Department of Redundancy Department vs. Shaped Like Itself:

The Determinator vs. Implacable Man:

  • Alice keeps chasing Bob...
    • Implacable Man: ...because she's an indestructible robot following her programming.
    • The Determinator: ...despite hunger, dehydration, and a broken arm, because she's pissed.

Deus Ex Nukina vs. Nuclear Option vs. Nuclear Weapons Taboo vs. Nuke'Em vs. You Nuke'Em

  • Nukes are...
    • Deus Ex Nukina: Used in unrealistic ways to crank up the drama.
    • Nuclear Option: Used as an absolute last resort when all else has failed.
    • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Substituted with a weapon that's just as destructive.
    • Nuke'Em: Used frequently, recklesly and exclusively to almost anything else.
    • You Nuke'Em: Used whenever the player in a video game feels like using them.

Die for Our Ship vs. Ship-to-Ship Combat:

Diesel Punk vs. Raygun Gothic:

  • Raygun Gothic is how sci-fi artists of the 20's through the 50's imagined the future would look.
  • Diesel Punk is how sci-fi authors of today imagine the 20's through the 50's could have gone if our grandparents had more Applied Phlebotinum.

Discontinuity vs. Canon Dis Continuity vs. Fanon Discontinuity vs. Dork Age vs. Retcon

Discredited Trope vs. Dead Horse Trope vs. Forgotten Trope vs. Undead Horse Trope vs. Dead Unicorn Trope

Disney Death vs. He's Just Hiding vs. Never Say "Die":

Disposable Vagrant vs. Kill the Poor:

Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off vs Spank the Cutie:

Spanking done...

Dolled-Up Installment vs. In Name Only:

  • Something in an existing franchise...

Do Wrong Right vs Even Evil Has Standards vs Pragmatic Villainy

Dumb Is Good vs Good Is Dumb

  • A good person is stupid, or at least more stupid than he used to be. Which came first?


Earthshattering Kaboom vs. The End of the World as We Know It:

Easily Forgiven vs. "Get Out of Jail Free" Card vs. Karma Houdini :

Plot Tailored to the Party vs. This Looks Like a Job For Aquaman:

Endless Game vs. Game Over vs. Unwinnable:

  • Oops! You lose!:
    • Endless Game: The game was only about Scoring Points, how many did you get?
    • Game Over: You ran out of lives/whatever and can't continue playing.
    • Unwinnable: And you may not know you lost for a while, since you can keep playing...

End of an Age vs. Gotterdammerung vs. Here There Were Dragons vs. The Magic Goes Away:

Enemy Without vs. Literal Split Personality:

Epileptic Trees vs. Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory vs. Wild Mass Guessing:

Erection Rejection vs. Fan Disservice vs. Fetish Retardant:

Evil Twin vs. Evil Counterpart vs. Evil Knockoff vs. Criminal Doppelganger:

Example as a Thesis vs. Self-Demonstrating Article

Expository Hairstyle Change vs. Important Haircut vs. Good Hair, Evil Hair:

Expospeak Gag vs. Layman's Terms:


Face of the Band vs. I Am the Band:

  • Face of the Band: Bob is the only member of The Tropes that most people can name.
  • I Am the Band: Of course, Bob does write and sing all the songs and plays lead guitar.

Fake Ultimate Hero vs. Miles Gloriosus:

Family Versus Career vs. Never a Self-Made Woman

Fan Dumb vs. Broken Base vs. They Changed It, Now It Sucks vs. Unpleasable Fanbase:

Fantastic Aesop vs. Space Whale Aesop:

Fantastic Drug vs. G-Rated Drug vs. I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!:

Fate Worse Than Death vs. And I Must Scream

Filler vs. Padding vs. Wacky Wayside Tribe:

  • Filler: Additional side stories unimportant to the main plot arc.
  • Padding: Additional material added to the main plot to stretch the length.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: Additional obstacles added to the main plot to give the characters a hard time.

The Film of the Book vs. The Movie:

The Film of the Series vs. The Movie vs. Non-Serial Movie:

Five-Bad Band vs. The Psycho Rangers vs. Quirky Miniboss Squad:

Forgotten Phlebotinum vs. Plot Induced Stupidity vs. Holding Back the Phlebotinum vs. It Only Works Once

For Halloween I Am Going as Myself vs. Your Costume Needs Work:

Foreign Cuss Word vs. Unusual Euphemism vs. Pardon My Klingon

Fragile Speedster vs. Glass Cannon vs. Squishy Wizard Vs. The Medic:

Freaky Friday Flip vs. Personality Swap

  • Due to some weird event, Alice and Carol discover that they have swapped...

Fridge Brilliance vs. Fridge Horror vs. Fridge Logic:

  • When you think about a certain aspect of a show you just watched, you realize...

Funny Aneurysm Moment vs. Hilarious in Hindsight vs. Harsher in Hindsight vs. Narm:

  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: Supposed to be funny, but some later event makes it not so funny.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Later event makes it funnier than originally intended (if it was even meant to be funny at all).
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Supposed to be serious, and some later event makes it even more serious.
  • Narm: Supposed to be serious, but the audience sees it as funny.

Funny Animal vs Petting Zoo People vs Little Bit Beastly

  • All three could be swapped out for humans without changing the surrounding plot too much. What do they actually look like?


Genocide Backfire vs. Nice Job Breaking It, Herod:

Genre Savvy vs. Dangerously Genre Savvy vs. Medium Awareness:

Giftedly Bad vs. High Hopes, Zero Talent vs. I Coulda Been a Contender vs. Sorry, Billy, But You Just Don't Have Legs

Gone Horribly Wrong vs. Gone Horribly Right

The Good Guys Always Win vs. Invincible Hero

Guy in Back vs. Wing Man

  • The guy who provides support for the hero...

Guy-On-Guy Is Hot vs. Yaoi Fangirl

  • She thinks two guys making out is hot...


Hand Cannon vs. BFG:

  • Hand Cannon: A handgun so large and powerful it's ridiculous.
  • BFG: Any other gun that's so large and powerful it's ridiculous.

Hand or Object Underwear vs. Scenery Censor:

Hand Wave vs. Justified Trope vs. Lampshade Hanging vs. Voodoo Shark:

Have a Nice Death vs. It's a Wonderful Failure vs. Nonstandard Game Over vs. Fission Mailed:

Heroic BSOD vs. Heroic RROD vs. Superpower Meltdown:

Heroic Fantasy vs. High Fantasy vs. Low Fantasy vs. Standard Fantasy Setting::

Heterosexual Life Partners vs. Ho Yay vs. Odd Couple:

Ho Yay vs. Homoerotic Subtext

Homage vs. Shout-Out:

Honor Before Reason vs. Lawful Stupid:

Hyper Awareness vs. Sherlock Scan:

  • Hyper Awareness: Capable of observing minor details to everything around you.
  • Sherlock Scan: Observes minor details to make accurate assumptions.

Hypocrite vs. Straw Hypocrite:

  • Hypocrite: Often/Always fails to practice what they preach even if they believe in it in principle.
  • Straw Hypocrite: Doesn't even believe in what it is that they preach about.


Idiot Ball vs. Idiot Plot vs. Plot Induced Stupidity:

Ignore the Fanservice vs. Not Distracted by the Sexy

Immortality vs. Made of Iron vs. Nigh Invulnerability:

Incredibly Lame Pun vs. Just for Pun vs. Stealth Pun

Index Syndrome vs. Indexitis:

Insufferable Genius vs. Too Clever by Half:

Instrument of Murder vs. Musical Assassin vs. Senseless Violins:

Insult Backfire vs. Stealth Insult

Internet Backdraft vs. Flame Bait

Intoxication Ensues vs. Mushroom Samba:

Invisibility vs Invisible Main Character:

Ironic Echo vs. Meaningful Echo

I Want My Jetpack vs. Magic Floppy Disk vs. Science Marches On vs. Tech Marches On vs. Our Graphics Will Suck in the Future vs. Zeerust vs. Zeerust Canon:

I Will Fight Some More Forever vs. Attack! Attack! Attack!


Jumping the Shark vs. Ruined FOREVER:

  • Jumping the Shark: Fans realize that moment five seasons ago was when a show started to suck.
  • Ruined FOREVER: Fans claim that moment five minutes ago is when a show starts to suck.

Junk Rare vs. Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage:

Justified Trope vs. Truth in Television:


Kawaii vs. Moe:

  • Kawaii: Generic cuteness.
  • Moe: Specific targeted cuteness.

Kick the Dog vs. Poke the Poodle vs. Jumping Off the Slippery Slope vs. Moral Event Horizon:

Kill'Em All vs. Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies:

Kill It with Fire vs. Playing with Fire:

Knight Templar vs The Knights Templar vs Well-Intentioned Extremist:


Leeroy Jenkins vs. Spanner in the Works vs. Unwitting Instigator of Doom:

Living MacGuffin vs. MacGuffin Girl


Making Use of the Twin vs. Twin Switch

Mary Sue vs. most of the subtypes

Meanwhile in the Future vs. Portal to the Past vs. San Dimas Time

  • If you want to be back within an hour, you can't spend more than 59 min in the past/future.
    • Portal to the Past: Justified, the portal can only take you exactly X years forwards/backwards from the moment you step through.
    • San Dimas Time: Technically wrong, but the characters never realize it.
    • Meanwhile in the Future: The same idea applied to the narrative, rather than to the characters.

Mighty Whitey vs. White Man's Burden

  • A white hero encounters a group of minorities....
    • Mighty Whitey: The hero joins the tribe and quickly learns to be better than them at everything.
    • White Man's Burden: The hero sees how pitiful their lives are, then works to make things better for them.

Moral Dissonance vs. What the Hell, Hero? vs. Values Dissonance:

Morality Chain vs. Morality Pet:

Morph Weapon vs. Shapeshifter Weapon:

My Nayme Is vs. Spell My Name with an "S":


Narrow Parody vs. Shallow Parody:

Nazis With Gnarly Weapons vs. Stupid Jetpack Hitler vs. Ghostapo

Negative Continuity vs. Status Quo Is God:

Never Grew Up vs. Not Growing Up Sucks vs. Not Allowed to Grow Up

Nietzsche Wannabe vs. Ubermensch:

  • Nietzsche Wannabe: "Life is meaningless. We're all going to rot, so why not just end it now?"
  • Ubermensch: "I am beyond your petty morality. I seek a higher purpose."

No One Could Survive That vs. Not Quite Dead vs. Staying Alive:

The Nth Doctor vs. The Other Darrin vs. Suspiciously Similar Substitute vs. Replacement Scrappy:


One Mario Limit vs. One Steve Limit:

One-Winged Angel vs. Sequential Boss vs. Turns Red:

Only Idiots May Pass vs. Stupidity Is the Only Option vs. Violation of Common Sense:


Pacifist Run vs. Stealth Run:

Palette Swap vs. Underground Monkey

  • Making a new video game character by:

Platonic Life Partners vs. Like Brother and Sister vs. Better as Friends vs. Just Friends

The Power of Cheese vs. Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket

Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner vs. Pre-Mortem One-Liner vs. Bond One-Liner vs. Quip to Black:

Psycho Supporter vs. Yandere:

Psychotic Smirk vs. Slasher Smile:

Puppy Love vs. Toy Ship:


The Quiet One vs. The Voiceless vs. The Speechless vs. Silent Bob:


Reset Button vs. Snap Back:

  • Everything is back to normal...

Ret-Gone vs. Unperson:

  • Someone's existence is erased...

Romantic Two-Girl Friendship vs. Schoolgirl Lesbians:

Rousing Speech vs. He's Back vs. Heroic Resolve vs. Shut UP, Hannibal vs. World of Cardboard Speech:


Schmuck Bait vs. Press X to Die:

Sergeant Rock vs. The Neidermeyer vs. Drill Sergeant Nasty

Senseless Sacrifice vs. Stupid Sacrifice:

Shaggy Dog Story vs. Shoot the Shaggy Dog

Sorting Algorithm of Evil vs. Sorting Algorithm of Villain Threat:

Sorting Algorithm of Mortality vs. Sorting Algorithm of Deadness:

Staged Shooting vs Bait and Switch Gunshot

  • A person gets shot...
    • Staged Shooting: ...but the whole thing was a setup, and the person was probably part of it all along.
    • Bait and Switch Gunshot: ...but they're someone other than the person with a gun pointed at them.

Stalked by the Bell vs. Timed Mission:

Subverted Kids Show vs. What Do You Mean It's Not for Kids?:

Sugar and Ice Personality vs. Tin Man

Suicide Attack vs. Taking You with Me:


Tagalong Kid vs. Bratty Half-Pint vs. Kid Appeal Character:

That One Puzzle vs. Moon Logic Puzzle vs. Guide Dang It:

Tomboy vs. Bokukko vs. Shorttank vs. The Ladette:

Totally Radical vs. Buffy-Speak vs. Jive Turkey

Training Accident vs. Unwinnable Training Simulation

Two Lines, No Waiting vs. Third Line, Some Waiting vs. Four Lines, All Waiting


Unexpected Successor vs. You Are in Command Now:

Unwinnable vs. Unwinnable by Design vs. Unwinnable By Mistake vs. Endless Game:

Ur Example vs. Trope Maker vs. Trope Codifier vs. Trope Namer

  • Ur Example: The first example.
  • Trope Maker: The first well-known and deliberate example.
  • Trope Codifier: The example everyone else copies.
  • Trope Namer: Provides the name used here; may or may not be any of the others, or even an example of the trope.


Wasteful Wishing vs. Mundane Wish

Wig, Dress, Accent vs. Clark Kenting vs. Paper-Thin Disguise:

Word of God vs. Flip-Flop of God vs. Shrug of God

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