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Truth In Television

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Once in a while, a TV show does something that actually happens in Real Life. Don't worry, it never lasts, and they soon slip back into their old habits. Rarely, other shows pick up on this, and you then get a recurring Trope that accurately reflects the real world. Listed below, for your convenience, are some examples of those.

The Dark Side of this Trope occurs in Ripped From The Headlines.

When it's the exact opposite, you've got a bad case of Reality Is Unrealistic. If people fall for it, it's because TV Never Lies.

Technically, these Tropes do not need to be Justified Tropes, since they are truth. However, Viewers Are Morons, and so writers may actually throw in justifications.

The Bastard Spawn of these two Tropes gives us Inspired By and Very Loosely Based On A True Story.

There's a Sliding Scale of Truth In Television Frequency. In one end, the amount of times the said Trope is Truth In Television can be counted with fingers of one hand (AirVentPassageway is one of these examples). On the other end of the scale, these Tropes happen very frequently in Real Life (like Berserk Button).

Another way of saying the above is that a great many things happen on television that have happened at least once to someone in the world. The reason they become Tropes -- and remember the principle of Tropes Are Not Good here -- is because they're used in TV (et al) a lot, and generally in ways that wouldn't mesh well in Real Life. So, for instance, it's certainly the case that special agents have worn Lycra (or similar) bodysuits, that people have squeezed themselves through air ducts, and that some people are cripplingly afraid of small spaces. This does not make the protagonist with a Spy Catsuit, making an Air Vent Passageway escape but hampered by her Fatal Flaw of claustrophobia an example of Truth In Television. To extend this even further, if we only ever saw those Tropes being used together or in similarly improbable combinations, none of them would qualify as Truth because they wouldn't have ever been used in a way that was, well, Truthful. They've been hyperbolized, exaggerated and stretched to be much more exciting and dramatic than Real Life, and in doing so hardly resemble it any more at all. Which is why they're Tropes.

And that's pretty much how television works. So please, before adding anything to the list below or describing any existing Tropes as Truth In Television, think for a moment: is or was this used in TV kinda like it really happened? Or is there maybe kind of a lot of hyperbole on one side or the other of the equation to make it fit? If the answer to the first question is a definite yes... Go right ahead.

Also, just because something may be definitely and entirely Truth In Television does not mean we necessarily want Real Life examples of it. If a trope is listed both here and on No Real Life Examples (or says No real life examples, please on its page) that means that while its occurrence is definitely possible or even common in Real Life, listing the examples would either be too exhaustive and pointless or too controversial because Real Life is subjective.

For example, The Mentally Disturbed - mentally ill people do exist in Real Life and therefore the trope belongs on this index. That said, real life mental illness (at least once you include the milder illnesses and degrees of it) is so common that having a list of mentally ill people would overwhelm the entire wiki, and some people would find being listed as examples of mental illness or instability very insulting.


A-C Edit

  • Abandoned Warehouse: At least one or two can be found in any larger town or a city.
  • Abdicate The Throne: Britain's Edward VIII, Sweden's Queen Christina, recent Dutch monarchs.
  • AB Negative: AB- really is the rarest common blood type with between .2% and 1% of any given population having it. However, there are LOTS of really rare types.
    • The whole aspect of the Trope in that AB- can only take AB- blood is false. The positive variant (i.e. AB+) is considered a universal receiver of Red Blood Cells (O- is the universal donor), which makes life much easier for the blood bankers, in that they can usually just grab a bag of any old blood type and they won't reject it. AB- (the Trope Namer) is only slightly more limited; they can receive any negative red cells but not positive red cells (as opposed to how the inverse is possible and is why AB+ is the universal receiver).
    • The universal receiver angle only works with components. Whole blood is uncommonly used in transfusion medicine at present; most blood products consist of specific processed components such as red blood cells, plasma, or platelets. O- is the universal donor for red cells; AB+ is the universal recipient for red cells. With plasma it's basically reversed: O is the universal recipient, AB is the universal donor (Rh+/- doesn't matter much in plasma). If you had to give someone whole blood it really ought to be exact match.
    • You can usually get away with giving Rh+ red cells to an Rh- patient ONCE without ill effects. Most people don't have Rh antibodies unless they're been transfused with Rh incompatible blood (you can get them from pregnancy too). Once a person makes Rh antibodies giving them Rh positive blood can kill them.
    • Regardless of the above, it is standard practice to give patients only their own blood type. Even if one is a universal recipient, using another type is done only if you have no choice. Rarity isn't really an issue either, because if one has a common blood type meaning there are plenty of donors, that also means there are plenty of recipients to split it between.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Dragon's Breath pyrotechnic shotgun rounds. Actually most of shotgun ammunition types could be considered abnormal.
    • Name any episode of Myth Busters. Chances are you will see this Trope in action with a gun or cannon.
    • The blunderbuss will use literally anything you can stuff down the barrel as ammo.
    • The British rather ingeniously use (or used) tungsten rounds for cave fighting to prevent ricochet. There was a side effect of the bullets acting like explosive rounds in human tissue.
    • 40mm grenade launchers, such as the Mikhor MGL, are often marketed with a wide variety of ammunition types, ranging from the standard high explosive to smoke grenades and 40mm Buckshot. One episode of Futureweapons showcased 40mm canisters that fired small reconnaissance cameras.
  • Above The Influence: Refusing to have sex with someone whose consent may be compromised is a sign of integrity, maturity, and not being a rapist. Refusing to have sex with someone who is wanting to do it for reasons that severely conflict with your own values or desires (e.g. you want love and they want money) is a sign of being a mature adult with a healthy approach to sex.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Public colleges in Mexico often have an Absurdly Powerful Student Association, capable of granting all sorts of suspicious favors to those who have the appropriate connections.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: France has an underground community due to their delicate catacombs and sewers. There are illegal shops and theatres under there.
    • Seattle has the legal version of this, sort of. No sewer, but plenty of underground shops and corridors.
    • Any subway system could be considered this. Especially if it is an old subway system, which means lots of abandoned tunnels.
  • Abusive Parents: Unfortunately.
  • Acme Products: Acme was a fairly common name for companies at one time, as it would put them at or near the beginning of the listings in the phone book. It helped that the word means the best.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: An actual DSM defined personality disorder that develops in some people who acquire fame or notoriety.
  • Acrofatic: Sumo wrestlers. Many technical pro-wrestlers qualify too.
  • Action Mom: Because motherhood isn't the end of life for most women in modern society. Firefighters, paramedics, police, and some militaries all include some mothers among their ranks, and sometimes they end up defending their own or others' children. Historically truth as well.
    • Played straight with deadly results with samurai-class women. They trained with various weapons (inferior naginata and tanto particularly) specifically to be this trope and defend the home and family while the men were off making war.
  • Adminisphere: Administrators and upper management of anything tend to either be or become separate from the rank and file, which means decision making may well be affected badly. Averted by policies and by keeping communication open, and subverted when the education or better information of higher-ups makes for better decisions.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Yes; though it's very exaggerated nowadays, there really used to be rough-and-tumble cowboy archaeologists. Roy Chapman Andrews is said to be the inspiration for Indiana Jones. He led expeditions through the Arctic and China, but most famously through the Gobi Desert. He was frequently attacked by bandits and survived by his wits. Yes, he was a real person. Go look him up. His biography reads like a pulp fiction novel, but unlike L Ron Hubbard, it's all true.
  • A Fool And His New Money Are Soon Parted: It's called sudden wealth syndrome.
  • Afraid Of Blood: Hemophobia.
  • Afraid Of Needles: Trypanophobia, the plague of Big Damn Heroes for years.
  • Age Appropriate Angst: Teenagers and early 20s people have many hormonal changes and environmental pressures even if their lives are relatively easy. Middle-aged people have to cope with death, divorces, physically and hormonally changing bodies, and financial pressures. Elderly people have to cope with death and the realization of their own being near, illness, and loneliness.
  • Agony Of The Feet: Much to our sore toes.
  • Air Guitar: Serious Business for those who take part in the official air guitar championships. Also, rhythm games like Guitar Hero made this an acceptable form of entertainment.
  • Air Hugging: Homophobic men can have this down to an art... as can some religious people who believe touching is in essence sexual.
  • Air Jousting: This is what dogfights were like back when they had more maneuverability (WWI, for those playing at home).
  • Air Vent Passageway: Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers escaped Alcatraz using this method, but it requires very special circumstances to work effectively. Jason Grimsley used this trick to steal a corked bat to help a fellow MLB baseball player.
  • The Alcatraz: Where do you think the trope title comes from?
  • Alcohol Hic: That said, it's not the surest way to tell if someone is drunk - sober people can get hiccups just as easily.
  • Alcohol Induced Idiocy: Alcohol is well known for its ability to decrease intellectual capacity while lowering inhibitions.
  • Alcohol Is Poison: Alcohol is toxic to humans, but for most adult humans, in amounts well below the LD50, the poisoning produces enjoyable effects and no lasting damage. Once one gets near the LD50, one can die or be permanently sickened. In pregnant women and in children, the damage can occur much faster - causing fetal alcohol syndrome or death. Same for pets. And chronic overuse even below the LD50 can lead to lasting and permanent illness or even cancer.
  • The Alleged Car: Chances are, you've either owned one, or you're too young to drive.
  • All Natural Snake Oil: All natural can refer to many things, from the beneficial to the deadly, and is a form of the Appeal To Nature fallacy.
  • Almighty Janitor: Plenty of people are far more competent than their low station would give reason to believe. Generally speaking, pissing off a secretary is a very bad idea for those seeking employment.
  • Alpha Bitch: The stuck-up spoiled popular kid who won't invite you to parties unless you're cool enough... there's one in every crowd.
  • Altar The Speed: Hurried weddings exist for a variety of reasons, among them pregnancy and military deployments.
  • Alternative Calendar: The Lunar Calendar. Very confusing and annoying when it comes to planning for Jews and Muslims.
  • Always Second Best: For many of us, much to our eternal chagrin.
  • Always Someone Better: Ditto.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Parents are almost always embarrassing, at least to teenagers.
  • Ambulance Chaser: Hey, it's a living.
  • Amoral Attorney: The word shyster comes to mind.
  • Analogy Backfire: As illustrated by anyone citing Romeo and Juliet as happy lovers.
  • And Ninety Nine Cents: See the trope page for theories of its Real Life origin.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: This is how younger siblings are, in fact, perceived by their older siblings.
  • Antimatter: Is real, albeit in very small quantities.
  • Anxiety Dreams: Most people have a few nightmares like these. Some have many of them.
  • Anyone Can Die: Even you.
  • Armor Piercing Slap: Very common when dealing with the more hot-headed ladies.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: See the Real Life section.
  • Arranged Marriage: Believe it or not, there are still places where this is common.
  • Asexuality: It's weird being surrounded by something that you've got no interest in.
  • As Long As It Sounds Foreign: Known in business as foreign branding, and in everyday life as Häagen-Dazs Also, Engrish. Seriously, they couldn't find an gaijin expatriate somewhere around Tokyo? And some Chinese tattoos look cool until a Chinese person tells you what it really means.
  • Asshole Victim: This is what can happen to you when you're the kind of person that others are right to rejoice in your misfortunes. The moral: Try not to be such a douchebag.
  • Assumed Win: Much to the embarrassment of whoever stands up.
  • Artificial Limbs: Existed long before it became a trope.
  • The Art Of Bra Removal: Bound to happen for virgins who don't practice or pay attention.
  • A Team Firing: Random firing generally discourages people from taking the time to aim when they fire back. This is known as suppression fire, and has been a standard tactic going back to the first World War.
  • Attention Whore: Interior Semiotics.
  • Auction: They happen every day on websites such as Ebay and Yahoo Auctions, and many days in auction houses. Charity auctions are also a common way of fundraising.
  • Ax Crazy: To the great dismay of many.
  • Axes At School: Unfortunately, the school massacre has become Truth In Televsion too many times.
  • Baby Talk: Also called parentese. Enunciating vowels and slowing things down helps babies get a grasp on how to physically imitate verbal speech.
  • Badass Adorable: Being cute does not negate being badass. This is especially interesting when you consider animals who are examples of this, though, as plenty of animal species considered cute also tend to have behaviour that would be considered tremendously badass.
  • Badass Boast: Samurais in feudal Japan started their duels by telling their own and their ancestors' achievements. Among other places.
  • Bad Boss: Quite a few examples. Especially prominent examples during ancient and middle ages.
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: In some of the more corrupt regions of the world. Let's leave it at that.
  • Bar Brawl: The consumption of alcohol can lead to some people getting violent over the stupidest of reasons. If you have a large group of people consuming alcohol, you are bound to have a couple of these people. Usually, this trope is less fun to watch in real life.
  • Batteries Not Included: Children's toys eat batteries the way kids eat candy after Halloween. Which is why Nintendo started making Game Boys rechargeable in the 2000s.
  • Battle Cry: Some have hypothesized they came into existence as warning or intimidation, but common through the history of warfare.
    • Remember The Alamo: A quite common casus belli in warfare is remembering a Last Stand conducted in fighting against or defending against the enemy.
  • Bara / The Bear / Manly Gay: A case of truth becoming trope - a fixture in gay-directed media, and once mainstream media began to portray a wider range of gay men, Manly Gay men including bears began to be depicted more often in it as well. Contrast Camp Gay and compare both Armored Closet Gay, Macho Camp, and Straight Gay.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: People generally do what they're told, and this can be used against them. Spearphishing and other social engineering scams feed off of this quality of human beings.
  • Bedouin Rescue Service: In the modern era, this is mandatory. In ages past... not so much.
  • Beeping Computers: They used to do that in the days of blinkenlights. Now not so much.
  • The B Grade: Yes, there are perfectionists out there who will become suicidal because of this. Somewhat justified if they're trying to get into MIT, University of Tokyo, an Ivy League school (and they aren't a Legacy), or either Oxbridge university in the UK. Basically, if you've been in a classroom for any period of time, you've seen it happen - maybe to you.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Especially in the civil service sector, where too much work, not enough time seems to be status quo.
  • Be Quiet Nudge: Who hasn't been on the giving or receiving end of one of these?
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Scorpions, various insects like bees, stingrays...
  • Beware The Nice Ones: The nicer someone is, the worse can be his or her anger when triggered. Or at least it stands out more.
  • Big Friendly Dog: St. Bernards, Mastiffs, Pit Bulls, and Newfoundlands, along with many of the larger herding dogs, like Komondors, Great Pyrenees and Old English Sheep Dogs. They've been bred for decades to have calm natures and strong loyalty to their owners.
    • Beware Of Vicious Dog: On the flip side, you have many dogs (including of the above mentioned breeds) that are... less than friendly, whether naturally so or trained that way by their owners. Or they get that way as a result of rabies.
  • Big Bulky Bomb: Some bombs require a lot of C4 to get the required blast.
  • Billions Of Buttons: Many more complex vehicles and control panels of industrial buildings have them. Ever been in the cockpit of a plane?
  • Bitter Almonds: But if you can smell it, you're in trouble.
  • Black Widow: The female variant of The Bluebeard.
  • Blame Game: In officespeak, they call it blamestorming.
  • The Bluebeard: He was a real person. He wasn't the only one.
  • Boxed Crook: Informants. They're criminals themselves, but given immunity in order to testify against bigger criminals in their orbit. In the past law enforcement was itself this - hire the biggest Badass that can be found to stop the others.
  • Boys Love: As you can see from many other entries on this list, gay men exist.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Too many to name, but anything where the only award is immediately consumed or is an unusable certificate or trophy (or worse, the temporary acclaim of one's current peers.)
  • Brainwashed: Rare, but it can happen, though NOT by hypnosis or subliminal suggestion. (See More Than Mind Control below for how it does.) Ongoing situations of Domestic Abuse and other forms of abuse and exploitation tend to have some element of this.
  • Brainwashed And Crazy: Nazi Germany. North Korea. Cults that attack, perpetrate crimes against, sue people in the outside world, or commit mass suicide. Abused spouses or family members that (sometimes violently) defend their abusers. Often specific to charismatic cults centred around an individual and or specific set of beliefs (including atheistic, religious, and political). These cults can control whole countries but are usually very small and insular. Usually far too self-destructive, insular, unstable, and paranoid to survive long.
  • Briefcase Blaster: Heckler and Koch makes a special briefcase for their MP5K. Here's a video.
  • British Stuffiness: (see National Stereotypes) Brits are more private and reserved with people other than their close friends than Americans are, but this should not be interpreted as being arrogance; likewise the reverse with American bluster.
  • Broke The Rating Scale: The first use probably was by a band who claimed that they were so loud that their speakers had to Go To Eleven (versus the usual 1-10 volume control).
  • Buried Alive: Used to happen extremely frequently because of primitive medicine. (Well, with varying frequency, depending on who you ask.) Now, it's rare. People still have this fear and request bells installed in their coffin just in case.
  • Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie: Specific instructions for the final handling of a body or ashes are far from uncommon.
  • Busmans Holiday: Carpenters spend their time off fixing the house, IT staff spend their time at home on a PC, musicians tend to spend time off going to others' shows and listening to music, and pilots and flight attendants do hitch rides on their airlines, obviously.
  • But I Play One On TV: Actors, musicians, and others are often recognized for role played or stage persona.
  • But It Really Happened: Because, sometimes, it did, just as the creators said. We just would prefer not to know all the gory details.
  • But We Used A Condom: To the sorrow of many, and the existence of quite a few.
    • If our product doesn't work, Happy Father's Day!
  • But You Screw One Goat: Yes, bestiality exists.
  • Call A Smeerp A Rabbit: European naturalists named some animals, such as the koala bear, after other animals that kind of looked similar but weren't at all related. Example: The Tasmanian tiger, aka the thylacine.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Martial arts practitioners believe that expressing certain phrases or vocalization help build up chi or ensure proper breathing
  • Camp Gay / The Twink: Although to a far lesser extent (and a far more self-aware extent) usually than TV depictions of gay men would have you believe. Contrast Bara, The Bear, Straight Gay. Macho Camp is when this is intentionally subverted, and Armored Closet Gay is arguably when it is unintentionally Double Subverted.
  • The Captain: On pretty much every naval ship that exists, and private sailors and pilots also have the title.
  • Cardboard Prison: Some prisons and jails are rather easy to escape. Tended more to happen in the pre-camera past or in the Third World.
  • Casting Couch: Real Life examples abound from film to fashion and music (where it's more common now). Somewhat subverted in that unlike in fiction, where complying may well benefit the victim, in reality, the victim may very well get nowhere at all for his or her trouble, or end up destroying his or her career doing this for real. Of course, there's also porn staged around the idea with fully willing participants...
  • Casual Kink: In some places far, far more than others. If you're in such a place, you probably either are very aware of it, or don't even recognize it as unusual.
  • The Catfish: The wels catfish, also called a sheatfish. They can be up to 10 ft long (3m) and weigh 330lbs (150kg). They eat ducks.
  • CAT Trap: If you're suffering from claustrophobia, you don't want to spend too much time in a closed scanner.
  • Caught With Your Pants Down: Because some people don't remember to lock the door, and others are exhibitionists.
  • Ceiling Banger: What apartment dweller hasn't had to deal with noisy neighbors?
  • The City Narrows: Most large cities have what is euphemistically called a bad area or two. The larger the city, the more likely. It probably won't be all alleys, though.
  • The Chains Of Commanding: It can be tough to be a political leader, and sometimes political leaders are restricted by politics or the lack of cooperation from others from accomplishing even important or needed goals.
  • Check Point Starvation: There are no Check Points in Real Life, unless you count sleep as one.
  • Cherry Tapping: Human beings who die from stinging insects or from something else that in small or ordinary amounts is fairly harmless, but in large numbers is fatal.
  • Chewbacca Defense: If the defense does not make sense, you must acquit. Still a logical fallacy, but it works.
  • Child Soldiers: Uganda, Sierra Leone, Congo, Somalia, Darfur, the Iranian militia during the Iran-Iraq war, and the Hitler Jugend. Among far too many others.
  • Church Of Happyology: We'd say more but they'll sue us.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: Apparently, a means of showing dominance or control... or of, again, being an exhibitionist.
  • Cold Cash: To the point that many burglars make a point of checking the freezer for stashed valuables.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: What you'll suffer the day you'll fail to pay the power bill, causing the power company to leave you unplugged for 3 working days with no access to TV Tropes.
  • Compensating For Something: Examples are both too numerous and too Flame Bait to mention.
  • Come To Gawk: We are very curious primates, we humans.
  • Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For: In the Digital Age, people who torrent music, movies, games, software, etc. for free can be just as critical of a product as someone who bought it through legal means, if not more critical because someone who buys a product would be more willing to get some value out of it, seeing that he would have given up money for it.
  • Congruent Memory: Hey, it works. Seriously, try it.
  • Conjunction Interruption: Your dad has used it.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Those who have money often feel the need to display their riches.
  • Constantly Curious: Toddlers are naturally precocious, some more than others. They want to learn about the world around them.
  • Conveniently Common Kink: Because a fair amount of kinks are fairly common among sexual humans (especially at the lighter end of BDSM, for example), and in settings where people can be open, they may be quite surprised at how many people share their deepest, darkest desire.
  • Converting For Love: Yes, it happens. Enough that some religious sects will use the promise of a loving relationship to recruit people.
  • Convicted By Public Opinion: Cultural hegemony, trial by jury.
  • Cool But Inefficient: The Tsar Tank. You could walk faster than it could move at top speed.
  • Cool Chair: Thrones, of course. And someone based a 15K chair off of the one Blofeld had.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: There are so many examples to list that this is considered standard procedure for any CEO. One good example is American bank execs spending bailout money (which was supposed to be spent on failing businesses and bank loans) on multi-million dollar bonuses for high-ranking bankers.
  • The Corruption: Methamphetamine.
  • Cosplay: More common in reality than fiction. Just go to a fan convention.
  • Could Say It But: We could say this is an example, but we didn't.
  • Coy Girlish Flirt Pose: Happens, and used by men as well.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Some due to deinstitutionalization or addictions, others simply due to how others perceive their behavior (e.g. to most normal people, bathing in a sink or fountain may seem crazy, but if one has no shower...) or due to the mental strain that homelessness and social isolation itself provides.
  • Crazy Prepared: Survivalists and the prepper community. Also known to happen among ex-soldiers and those who have had difficult lives or experienced traumatic events. Preparing is seen as a way to gain control over life.
  • Creepy Basement: All kids are afraid of their attic. The only kids who aren't, don't have one, or live in it themselves.
  • Criminal Mind Games: The Zodiac Killer and other serial killers.
  • Cucumber Facial: The cucumbers function to help with puffiness around the eyes.
  • Cuteness Proximity: The presence of something cute or beautiful in a photograph will increase the aesthetic value of all nearby. Models make a living off of this trope, as do animal and child stars.

D-F Edit

  • Dan Browned: Happens far more in Real Life than in fiction. Fictional creators who make shit up almost never get called out on it. There are many hoaxes still alive today thanks to this.
  • Dance Of Romance: Sometimes, people do fall in love after dancing with each other. Even people who had no previous romance. Happens with professional dancers and figure skaters, among others.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Sometimes happens in sports and politics.
  • Day Hurts Dark Adjusted Eyes: As anyone whose eyes have been dilated in an eye exam can testify
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers, a picture by Vincent Van Gogh, was never bought when he was alive. In 1987, almost 100 years after his death, that same picture was bought for £24,299,562 ($39,921,750) dollars in an auction at Christie's. This trope also applies to musicians, in part explaining the ongoing popularity of everyone from Elvis to Amy Winehouse.
  • Deadly Doctor: To the surprise (and distress) of many. The reason why malpractice suits (and subsequently, malpractice insurance) exists.
    • In a less horrifying example, Dr. Kevorkian.
  • Deadly Gas: The amount of chemicals belonging to that category are just too numerous to count. Even oxygen itself can be one in some circumstances.
  • Deadpan Snarker: You really want an example of this?
  • Decade Dissonance: Compare Hong Kong to the Guangdong province just over the border, or downtown Rio de Janeiro to its slums. Hell, compare ANY inner city to the gleaming, tourist-laden areas.
    • There is a tiny island off the coast of Scotland, St. Kilda, where the seas are so choppy and rough, that few people dare try to sail to and from it. People have lived there for centuries. The government sent an expedition there in about 1746 to see whether Bonnie Prince Charlie had taken refuge there after the Battle of Culloden. The locals hadn't heard of Prince Charles Edward Stuart--nor of King George II either. George I had been their king for twenty years.
  • Deep Sleep: Some people are definitely heavier sleepers than others, especially if drunk or drugged. The reason fire alarms and loud alarm clocks exist.
  • Delegation Relay: Else known in English as passing the buck, because no one really wants to do some chores or run some errands.
  • Denied Food As Punishment: Concentration camps in Nazi Germany and North Korea, in which the highest death rates were (or in North Korea's case, are) from starvation. In a more benign sense, a child being denied junk food for bad behavior.
  • Depraved Dentist: There's been a few cases of Real Life dentists sexually assaulting unconscious patients, and others doing fraudulent or unnecessary work (especially on low-income children on Medicaid and, conversely, in high-income privately insured patients) to make money, even if said work makes the patient's oral health far worse. And the Ur Example of the Deadly Doctor, Mad Doctor, and all similar tropes, Josef Mengele, started out as a dentist.
  • Deserted Island: All around the world. And not just in tropical regions as in fiction, but in temperate and polar regions as well.
  • Diagonal Cut: Real-life iaido practitioners actually cut up inanimate objects for practice, in exactly this fashion.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud: Many examples in radio and TV interviews, and politics.
  • Diner Brawl: It's not rare for late-night diners to see these happen from time to time. Many of these diners are in areas with a lot of nightlife, resulting in drunk patrons coming in to eat. As with the Bar Brawl, drunk people gathering together in one place can sometimes be dangerous.
  • Dinner Deformation: Some types of snakes eat a prey so large that it shows.
  • Distracted By The Sexy: Many Ad Councils have tried putting sexy things in their billboards to get people to pay attention to them. They end up causing more car accidents than they had been trying to prevent.
  • Divided We Fall: Internal squabbles and quarrels can have far more destructive impact on anything from a friendship to a nation than can any external threat. Good examples can be seen in nearly every case of Internet drama that has ever happened as well.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: When you've shared the same stuff for years, of course you're going to fight over who gets what. Averted with prenups.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Can happen with people on the autism spectrum. There's also neurotypical people who don't get sarcasm. Like the Dumb Blonde, or anyone unfamiliar with a language or culture. Aphasia and aprodosia, where because of a brain injury, someone physically cannot comprehend what you're saying, are some other reasons.
  • Dodgeball Is Hell: In some schools.
  • Dodge By Braking: Some planes really can do that.
  • Do I Really Sound Like That: Some voice actors avoid watching their own work specifically to avoid this.
  • Domestic Abuse: Sadly so, and probably more common than most of us would like to think, especially if emotional and financial abuse are counted alongside beatings and rapes.
  • Dominatrix: You can find one fairly easily in any major city, should you desire.
  • Doom It Yourself: Because do-it-yourself projects can become far more complex than they seem at first, misunderstood or forgotten instructions or items can have major impacts on their outcome, and some things REALLY do require professional training to repair (electrical wiring being the big one usually - mess it up and you have a life-threatening hazard for shock or fire)
    • Do It Yourself Plumbing Project: Because people don't see plumbing projects as necessarily hazardous as electrical or structural work, they're more likely to try to do it themselves with equally bad results.
  • Doomsday Device: We had a whole Cold War revolving around nuclear weapons.
  • Doorstop Baby: Less common nowadays because hospitals will take abandoned babies, no questions asked. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
  • Double Entendre: Practically the stock in trade of anyone who uses Twitter, headline writers, and pretty much anyone in some situations.
  • Double Standard Rape Female On Male: In some countries, rape is actually defined as unconsented male-on-female sex.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Glass tends to break in accidents, crimes, and disasters. Also, in a form of Defictionalization, people being dramatic or wanting to destroy something will often break whatever glass is nearby.
  • Dream Within A Dream: Incredibly common.
  • Dress Code: High schools, particularly privately-operated schools. Many businesses, of the No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service variety. Fancy restaurants may require a jacket or tie for men, and many bars and clubs prohibit hats.
  • Dr Feelgood: Prescription pill mills, and doctors who divert addictive or psychoactive medications for themselves or people they know, or who prescribe before finding other solutions.
  • Dr Jerk: Because some people in the caring professions enter them for their profit potential or for being better than or able to control others, or believe they have an Omniscient Morality License.
  • Dropped A Bridget On Him: Doesn't always end up as funny though.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: It doesn't work -- sorrows are excellent swimmers -- but that doesn't stop people from trying it.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Truth In Television when drugs are used incorrectly or dangerously, or by someone who shouldn't use them due to age, allergies, or addiction.
  • Dude Wheres My Reward: Ditto.
  • Dungeonmasters Girlfriend: Sometimes a significant other or relative of the person running a game does join the game and sometimes they get preferential treatment from the Dungeonmaster, who is supposed to be impartial.
  • Dying Town: Extremely common in Europe and US where people move from smaller villages and towns to larger towns and cities. Also common in Australia. And India. And China...
    • Mountain towns (like Viganella, Italy and Rattenburg, Austria) that are deprived of sunlight for winter are the most famous. The young will move away as soon as possible, leaving the towns inhabited by few dozen old people. Recently, mirrors have been installed to reflect the light from behind the mountains.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Most people must do this to at least some degree. Especially common among artists and those who live in less than perfect circumstances.
  • Earth Is A Battlefield: There have only been 80 years in the past 3000 where there hasn't been a war somewhere.
  • Electric Instant Gratification: Accidentally invented.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: There's no shortage of people who dislike their middle name. This might be part of why a Full Name Ultimatum is so effective.
  • Emergency Broadcast: Everything from tests to tornado warnings in the US, possibly overused there.
  • Emergency Services: Some form of medical assistance is generally the most common (even if it's just one doctor or battlefield medics). Once a settlement or village or town of some sort has developed, the need for law enforcement is usually not far behind. A firefighting agency generally organizes if there are enough people close enough together to make fires a hazard.
  • Emergency Weapon: Every half-decent army gives its soldiers at least knives for backup, and even the ones that don't still have their soldiers equipped with hands.
    • It's the countries that take soldiers hands away you really have to watch out for.
  • Empty Cop Threat: Even if the cops can't actually charge the suspect with obstruction of justice, they can still threaten to do it -- and some cops do.
  • The European Carry All: Just check out this one leg pant, or as most people would call it, a skirt.
  • Even Nerds Have Standards: Nerds either have very low standards, or very high standards.
  • Everythings Better With Chocolate: It releases pleasure hormones. Many people use it as an antidepressant, including JK Rowling.
  • Everything Is Big In Texas: Texas is a pretty damn big state.
  • Everythings Sparkly With Jewelry: Because bright colors or unusual colors attract the human eye.
    • Gem Encrusted: Some people can really overdo this now that Swarovski crystals are more common...
  • Everything Trying To Kill You: Australia. For the immunocompromised, life.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Most All of them. No exceptions. See Palisade Collections or the collections department of Wachovia Dealer Services as typical examples.
  • Evil Luddite: Ted Kaczynski, more commonly known as The Unabomber, is probably the Real Life Trope Codifier.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: Anytime a dictator or a really powerful dude is deposed. Colombia, for example, sank in a chaos of guerrillas and rival crime lords after Pablo Escobar got killed.
  • Evil Uncle: The laws of primogeniture, where the deceased's son gets estates ahead of the deceased's younger brother, sometimes provoked younger brothers into this sort of thing.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Power-hungry dictators (the closest Real Life equivalent of evil) often fight each other in their selfish quest for power. Hitler and Stalin could be an example of this form. Organized criminals fighting amongst each other creates another form: the drug cartel mafia wars in Mexico, gang wars elsewhere.
  • Exalted Torturer: Due to Values Dissonance, at various points in various societies, Real Life torturers have been excused and even glorified, as has torture itself. No examples may be given to avoid the obvious Flame War, but it has happened.
  • Explosive Overclocking: In memory of all those who turned their CPUs into grilled silicon after overclocking them to 6 GHz.
  • Extreme Graphical Representation: LainOS is a FreeBSD-based operating system whose goal is to recreate the extreme graphical pizazz of the computers from Serial Experiments Lain.
    • Compiz is a window manager presently included with many Linux distributions. If you want, you can overload it with plugins so that your windows wobble like Jello when they move, your desktop is on the surface of a cube (with sharks inside), windows shuffle and dodge around one another when you switch between them, inactive windows go translucent and gain a mirror sheen, and a trail of fire follows your mouse around. Here are some videos of it.
  • Face Doodling: If you haven't done this to someone, you're either lying or you've had this done to you.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Because many brides see their wedding as the best day of their lives, and want it to be like a fairytale.
  • Family Business: Many small businesses involve some element of this.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Imprinting.
  • The Family That Slays Together: Organized crime tends to produce this, and some non-organized crime examples exist.
  • Family Unfriendly Violence: Most Real Life violence that isn't part of an organized sport tends to be this.
  • Famous Last Words: Many people have had them, and many others have had them falsely attributed.
  • Fan Girl: To an annoying degree.
  • Fan Boy: To an even more annoying degree.
  • Fashion Show: Another one that's existed in real life long before it was a trope.
  • Faster Than Light Travel: Averted due to relativity. But wait! Not so fast!
  • Fast Roping: Lifted directly from a standard (if somewhat dangerous) Real Life rappelling technique.
  • Fatal Flaw: Lots of people Everyone will have one. Some have more than one.
  • Fat Cat: Some cats really are overweight.
  • Fat Bastard, Fat Idiot, and Fat Slob: Definitely NOT Truth In Television for all overweight or obese persons, but there's definitely enough cases of all three (sometimes coexisting in the same person) to keep the stereotypes going.
  • Fence Painting: Arranged by recruiters for militaries, fraternities, and sororities.
  • Feuding Families: The Hatfields and the McCoys in the US; the MacGregors and the Campbells in Scotland; the Italian mafia families in New York and Sicily (with a couple in New Orleans).
  • Firing In The Air A Lot: The earliest form of warning shots and suppressive fire, intended more to frighten and terrorize than to actually hit anyone with the gunfire. In another form, celebratory gunfire for anything from holidays to terrorists celebrating a victory. The problem with it is that the bullets have to land somewhere, and when they do, people in their way get shot.
  • Flawed Prototype: Happens in many aspects, from military gadgets to toys.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Lots less extreme and common than it used to be in general fashion, but still going strong in performance costumes, like dancewear, and stage costuming. Still around on hats, too.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Prohibiting something and creating a mystique of danger around it will draw people to consume it or do it.
  • Force Feeding: Sometimes it's necessary when the person (or animal) is sick. But it has been used so that a torture victim can't starve themselves to death.
  • Foreign Queasine: There's a whole show based around it called Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. And while most of it is in Asia, there are episodes that take place in North America, believe it or not. Anyone for fried nutria on a stick?
  • Forgets To Eat: Every gamer has done this. This can also be applied to workaholics.
  • 419 Scam: Truth In Television and in New Media. Don't believe it? Just take a look inside your spam folder... and realize this is one of the reasons why we have to have spam folders.
  • Freeze Sneeze: Cold really does make some people sneeze.
  • Friend Or Foe: Sometimes, especially in combat, it is very difficult to tell who is on your side and who is not.
  • Friends With Benefits: Often is a real relationship for some people, especially those that don't prefer traditional dating and romance models.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: This isn't just in America, they come from all over the world. Some of the most ridiculous are from Brazil and Britain.
  • Freudian Excuse: Used in many a court case. Daddy Issues and Mommy Issues are subtropes of this, also used in many a court case.
  • Freudian Slip: Whether or not you give any weight to Freudian psychology, it happens.
  • From Nobody To Nightmare: Happens more than most people like to think about. Also, hardly anyone sees it coming until the nightmare is at last real...
  • Full Name Ultimatum: My mom's done it, so has yours. Sadly, people rarely use it on their parents.
  • Functional Addict: Most real addicts would fall under this category.
  • The Fundamentalist: If you've never met one, you will someday. If you have, you know it... and everything about their cause and why you are evil for not converting to it.
  • Funny Money: Happens due to hyperinflation; as of 2009, about 300 trillion Zimbabwean dollars are worth one single US dollar. The most famous example was the Weimar-era German mark.
  • Fun Size: Kittens, puppies, and the like. It wouldn't work in art if it didn't work in life.
  • Future Imperfect: Often due to Hollywood History, since TV Never Lies. Plus the fact that no one can predict the future.


G-I Edit

  • Game Of Nerds: America's pastime is popular among the genius set, what with its love of statistics and all.
  • General Failure: There were many, but it's best not to start listing them.
  • Gentle Giant: Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, a Hawaiian singer famous after his hit Somewhere Over the Rainbow. André the Giant. A great many others, many of whom probably edit this wiki.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Oklahoma, Indiana and an increasing number of other states now have fire-at-will laws which allow employers to fire employees without explanation or advance notice, except as mandated by federal laws.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: It's common for artwork that is not appreciated in one place to be appreciated in another.
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves: The leg of mutton sleeves of the 19th century. The puff-and-slash sleeve of the Renaissance. The revival of leg o' mutton sleeves in the 1980's.
  • Gilded Cage: Getting or being rich has its own concerns and problems - and some people do feel trapped by their upper-class status, and in some cases are prohibited from things they want to do due to maintaining decorum or out of self-protection.
  • Girl On Girl Is Hot / Yuri Fan / Guy On Guy Is Hot / Yaoi Fan: Quite a few people find the idea of same-sex couples hot, even if they are themselves straight-identified.
  • Going Postal: We have a word for this: massacre.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: Golden items are a status symbol.
  • Goomba Stomp: Quite a few animals can actually be killed when jumped on, although that applies to mostly smaller animals.
  • Gossip Evolution: Especially in small communities and on the Internet.
  • Grass Is Greener: Why people try to change their place in life. Sometimes it's not, per the Aesop, other times it actually is and people regret not trying for it sooner or even commit suicide over the despair of realizing it is too late to make said changes. One of the greatest sources of depression in Real Life.
  • Great White Hunter: Jim Corbett was a naturalist and conservationist who hunted several tigers and other big cats that had turned man-eater. Many far less ethical examples exist: they're called poachers.
  • Groupie Brigade: Actors, musicians, and many other famous and notorious people have these. Generally they tend to appear at shows, parties, and other events related to their person of interest, and are quite more varied than the stereotype: some can be respectful of the stars and of other fans. Others, not so much.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Everything from life experiences parking someone firmly on the cynical side of the sliding scale to illnesses such as dementia can make some seniors very much this trope.
  • Guide Dang It: Learning a foreign language. Cooking. Almost anything involving computers, though this may change. Pretty much anything related to repairs.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: Real Life takes some wild, surprising, 90 degree turns due to both tragedy and luck.
  • Handicapped Badass: This guy, for one.
  • Happily Adopted: Lots of people.
  • Happily Married: Many, MANY couples.
  • Hate Plague: Mob mentality and methamphetamine abuse are on one end of the spectrum in that while neither are actual disease, they spread virally and produce hatred, paranoia, and violence. On the other end, for actual disease, we have rabies and possibly toxoplasmosis.
  • Hates Small Talk: Introverted people in general are not fans of small talk.
  • HaveI Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today: Baseball player Mike Piazza once called a press conference to announce he's not gay.
  • Have You Tried Not Being A Monster: Ahh, the Coming Out Story...
  • Heads Tails Edge: Hey man, it can happen!
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason the FBI has the Witness Protection Program.
  • Heroic Self Deprecation: Real people who did good things feel bad about themselves, especially if the good things came at a cost of human life or suffering or even property or money, or if they weren't done soon enough... among many other reasons.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: In the nonviolent sense, Moral Guardians and some political organizations. In the violent sense, gay-bashers and people that attack transgendered people claiming gay panic.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Known in North America as bromance.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Sadly, far too often.
  • Holier Than Thou: Everyone has met or heard of someone who was a total jerk or hypocrite about religion. This is true for both theistic and atheistic beliefs.
  • The Hollywood X Tropes. Most of them have a germ of truth somewhere in them. The inaccuracy lies in taking a narrow definition and assuming that it's universal.
  • Honor Before Reason: Uncommon, but not nonexistent. Most likely to show up in the military.
  • Hookers And Blow: Musicians, actors, artists, rich people, and their parties.
  • Hot For Student: Debra La Fave comes to mind. Or Mary Kay LeTourneau.
  • Human Popsicle: Cryonics companies such as Alcor and the Cryonics Institute offer to preserve your whole body or your brain (currently done by keeping the whole head) at low temperatures just after you're legally dead until someone finds out how to cure whatever was killing you. Research shows this might work someday, as the method they use now allows us to freeze and thaw small organs. They'll also, of course, have to cure the effects of freezing on the brain, which is somewhat more complicated. Oh, and figure out how to make new bodies for the heads-only crowd.
  • Humiliation Conga: A criminal once tried to trick someone into sending him an Apple PowerBook G4 he bought at eBay. He ended up receiving a binder with keys glued on the inside covers. Read the full story here!
  • I Always Wanted To Say That: Because offline, at least, your brain comes up with that great quip far too late.
  • I Cant Believe Its Not Heroin: Capsaicin (the stuff that makes chili peppers hot) is very addictive.
  • I Coulda Been A Contender: Bill Butterfield was so bitter about his football career ending in high school that he tried to push his son into athletic success. The results weren't pretty. Also mothers of beauty pageant girls, and parents trying to push kids into careers or better academic levels.
  • I Hate Past Me: Everyone at one point or another has looked back on their life and asked at different points What was I thinking?!.
  • Idle Rich: Because for some people, being rich is their life's accomplishment. Aversions, however, do exist.
  • If It Tastes Bad It Must Be Good For You: Several good foods are actually quite bitter or almost disgustingly bland.
  • I Just Shot Marvin In The Face: Every 12 seconds, a kid accidentally fires a gun and hurts someone. [3]
  • I Know Karate: Because some people do, indeed, know karate and other martial arts.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Because even more people know no martial arts but think they do. The reason Bullshido and the What The Fu Are You Doing trope exist.
  • If You Ever Do Anything To Hurt Her: Anyone with a younger sister has said this.
  • The Illegal: Illegal immigrants are a large portion of many populations, and a hot-button political issue for nativists in said countries.
  • Implausible Deniability: Bad excuses are common everywhere.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Often one of the most tragic forms of Love Hurts.
  • Incompetence Inc: Enron and more recently, the Yellow Book company. Their stock plummeted from over 100 dollars a share to just 13 cents in about a year.
  • Induced Hypochondria: Dr. Google is often to blame, along with its accomplice, Dr. WebMD. Spend time reading around either and you will believe yourself to be ill, possibly dying.
  • Industrial Ghetto: Because not many people capable of not living in overly industrialized areas tend to choose living there. Hence, industrial areas become restricted to industry and to those too poor to live elsewhere.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: Admit it, you've made these.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: It's cute and charming when Hugh Grant does it. Not so much in real life.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Show any person over the age of, say, 50 a picture of a random high school in America, and they'll likely insist this is what's going on. Also, the prevalence of Girls Gone Wild videos also leads one to think that the average drunken party coed may teeter into this area after 3-4 shots.
  • Insufferable Genius: Architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • The Internet Is For Porn: or downloading music. or, according to some, buying drugs.
  • In Universe Camera: Just look at You Tube videos of any disaster after around 2000. From 9-11 to 3-11, you will see any disaster from the inside.
  • Is That Cute Kid Yours: Check the discussion page for examples.
  • I Surrender Suckers: The reason why police officers will keep one gun pointed at a dangerous suspect at all times until his arms are fully handcuffed.
  • Its All About Me: Narcissists and sociopaths on the more extreme end, individual survival and forgetfulness on the more benign.
  • Its A Small Net After All: In Mexico, everybody uses MSN Hotmail, MSN Spaces, and MSN Messenger, thanks to an alliance between Microsoft and Telmex, the latter a nigh-monopolic telco led by Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world.
  • Its Not You Its Me: You'd be surprised how much this line gets said in Real Life breakups. Heck, you've probably used it (or will use it), too!
  • Its Raining Salesmen: Sometimes they do this to people coming in with bags (or in cases with far more Unfortunate Implications, because you're poor or a minority, because they want to make sure you're not a shoplifter). Also can happen if the sales staff needs to look busy.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: The easiest way to get people to show up to an event is to provide free food.


J-L Edit

  • The Jail Bait Wait: Depending on the state, you may not even have to wait. Some go as low as 14. But yes, people are dumb enough to do this. By the time she's old enough, she'll already have a boyfriend.
  • Jerkass: Who hasn't met at least one in real life? If you haven't, you may want to look in the mirror.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Gold: ... On the other hand, you've probably met one of these as well. But if you consider yourself one you probably aren't.
  • Jews Love To Argue: The Talmud itself is a result of legal arguments regarding Jewish religious laws. This emphasis may have also been a contributing factor in the amount of Jewish lawyers, stereotypical and otherwise.
  • Joke Item: Plenty of them exist, some for the point of using them in practical jokes, others for many other reasons.
  • Joker Jury: War crimes trials held by the victorious nation can be seen as this. As can very biased juries, for racial or other reasons. Attempting to prevent this is the reason that the voir dire process exists in some countries that use juries.
  • Joke Weapon: Happens in Real Life. In one variant, carried to look like an actual Weapon For Intimidation but with no intent of actually being used. In another variant, used - there was at least one case of someone being slapped with a fish.
  • Jump Off A Bridge Rebuttal: Used by everyone's dad.
  • Kangaroo Court: See Joker Jury above. Corrupt legal systems can produce this, as can biased or unfair ones.
  • Key Under The Doormat: Burglars know this. Don't bother with it.
  • Kiai: See Calling Your Attacks above.
  • Kids Are Cruel: As anyone who went through middle school can attest.
  • Kids Prefer Boxes: And bubble-wrap. Sweet, sweet bubble-wrap.
  • Killed Off For Real: Death, obviously. Unless one is somehow revived.
  • Killer Rabbit: A great many animals are meaner, sharper, or more poisonous than they look. This is why you don't play with wild animals.
  • Kill Sat: The Strategic Defense Initiative, more commonly known as Project Star Wars. Similar projects are in the works, mostly because lasers are cool.
  • Knocking On Heathens Door: Door-to-door proselytizing does exist, most infamously with the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons.
  • La Resistance: The French and Dutch Resistances were notoriously violent and strong, as were the Soviet and Yugoslav partisans, and the Polish Home Army.
    • Krav Maga, the deadliest martial art, was made specifically for Jews getting accosted by the SS.
  • Leave Behind A Pistol: Intentionally leaving a suicide method in reach of someone likely suicidal has happened.
  • Lensman Arms Race: World War II and the Cold War. Consider: the Germans only made very primitive payload rockets with long range work somewhat in WWII, and America couldn't launch a rocket as late as 1957. We were on the moon just over a decade later. (The Space Race being guided on both sides by genius German rocket scientists from Nazi Germany, who were unaware of each others' existence as competitors for quite some time). And of course, nothing says my dick is bigger kung-fu is better than yours like the ever-more-powerful nuclear weapons tests of the 50s and 60s.
  • Lethal Joke Item: Some items are far more dangerous or even deadly than they would look, either by themselves or when combined with something else.
  • Lethal Joke Weapon: They exist, and are usually why the Joke Weapon is taken seriously. No one knows whether a Joke Weapon is a Lethal Joke Weapon and assuming the latter tends to be a good idea for those interested in staying alive.
  • Leonine Contract: Not only exists, but is called that in courts of law.
  • Level Grinding: Sheer repetition is the best form of improvement. Well, most effective form, anyway.
  • Living Lie Detector: Dogs have been shown to yawn when a human stranger yawns, but not when said stranger pretends to yawn.
  • Living Motion Detector: True for several animal species, which is why said species are so hard to film.
  • Loan Shark: Why do people use their services instead of a, you know, bank? Bad credit, my dear Watson. Bad credit.
  • Locking Mac Gyver In The Store Cupboard: Surprising but true. The most memorable case would be John and Clarence Anglen's and Frank Morris' escape from Alcatraz (as hard as it is to believe someone would actually fall for the fake-dummy-head-in-the-bed trick).
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: The OTHER reason why you have a spam folder.
  • Loners Are Freaks: People often wrongly jump to this conclusion when dealing with loners in real life.
  • Lost Wedding Ring: The lengths people have gone to to get them again can be quite amazing.
  • Love Hurts: A list of personal examples would likely be the largest and most soul-crushing page on the Wiki. or on the Internet.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: So, so painfully true.
  • Love Martyr: Nothing to laugh or smile about in real life.
  • Loving A Shadow: Loveshys and Involuntary Celibates (incels). This is the problem with loving someone from afar.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: The Hotel Escobar. Pinochet's exile. Elba.


M-O Edit

  • Mac Guffin: The Bragging Rights Reward in its physical permutations (e.g. trophies and objets d'art) and anything useless that only has value in being collectible or desired by more than one person.
  • Mac Gyvering: VERY common in Real Life, especially among people who are cash-poor. Everything from furniture creation to computer repair to fashion to automobile repair to animal and human health care may well be subject to it depending on the setting.
  • Made Of Plasticine: Human beings can be very weak and die from some of the most unlikely to ordinarily cause death things, but not always - see Normally I Would Be Dead Now below.
  • The Mafia, The Mafiya, The Triads And The Tongs, Yakuza, and other organized crime groups: They are tropes because they exist.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: There are hundreds, if noth thousands of examples throughout history of people hating those who marry outside of their race. In fact, at one time in the US, there were laws banning miscegenation[4].
  • Mama Bear: Both the animal and human kind. There are documented cases of mothers rescuing their children from mountain lions and actual bears.
  • Mama Didnt Raise No Criminal: The families of real life criminals do indeed live in this sort of denial sometimes, even when confronted with overwhelming evidence of criminal behavior.
  • Mamas Baby Papas Maybe: Men do wonder. DNA testing has shown that sometimes, they have reason.
  • Maam Shock: Was more pronounced when ma'am meant an older woman. Now not as big of an issue - except for men mistaken for women on some occasions.
  • Man In A Bikini: How often have you seen one, and the reaction it gets?
  • Mars And Venus Gender Contrast: Will almost inevitably be claimed as this by anyone invoking it.
  • Meat Versus Veggies: There are many cases where persons debate with one another about the superiority of one kind of diet over another. If you're a vegetarian, you have probably had to contend with all sorts of reactions ranging from concern borne of ignorance to open scorn or derision. Alternately, if you're a meat eater, you've likely been accused of everything from murder to animal cruelty to endangering your health.
  • Meddling Parents: You've probably had these or know somebody who does: c.f. Jewish Mother.
  • The Men First: Insofar as their instructors can hammer it into their heads.
  • Mental Affair: The non- Science Fiction variant is fairly common.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Far more common but also far more mild than TV would make you think.
  • Might As Well Not Be In Prison At All: If you're not claustrophobic, house arrest.
  • Mile High Club: Though trying to join is probably a bad idea if you don't have a private aircraft, and a very bad idea if you're the pilot.
  • Military Brat: There is a whole subculture surrounding the family of military personnel.
  • Military Maverick: For every Colonel O'Neill you see on TV, there's far worse in real life.
  • Misleading Package Size: Overpackaging, fraud, or the desire to present something as more valuable than it is can make this happen.
  • Miss Conception: If sex education doesn't exist. More common in the past, still sometimes happens in restrictive religious communities.
  • Mission From God: From Joan of Arc to Osama bin Laden, religion has been a powerful motivator.
  • Mistaken For Gay: Many times, a result of the conflation of traits attributed to binary gender and sexuality. Yes, feminine men and masculine women can be straight.
  • Mistaken For Special Guest: See Guy Goma for an example.
  • Mistakenly Banned: Spend enough time on the Internet and it will happen somewhere.
  • Mistaken Nationality: Far too common simply because many people don't care to learn geography or about nations.
  • Mister Muffykins: Most breeders call the little yappy dogs victims of small breed syndrome. A lot of it is just plain stupidity on the owner's part.
  • The Mistress: Divorce lawyers and journalists alike make a huge part of their living because this is Truth In Television.
  • Modesty Towel: Force of habit and shyness will often lead to this being used even when there is no reason for it. Paranoia can also be a factor, if your room has a window.
  • Monster Clown: Coulrophobia. Also applies to mimes.
  • Moral Guardians: Futurama parodied PETA's practice of trying to get liberated carnivores to live on a vegetarian diet.
  • More Than Mind Control: How Brainwashed and Brainwashed And Crazy actually happen in Real Life. The amount of ways that people can be turned against their own interests, their own consciences, and even their own bodies and lives, or pressed into Happiness In Slavery or resignation to slavery are enough to be Nightmare Fuel and Paranoia Fuel.
  • Mugging The Monster: If people make a career of robbing people, there's always a chance they'll pick the wrong person to try to victimize and end up getting the shit beat out of them or shot. There have been quite a few cases of muggers trying to assault karate students.
  • Mundane Luxury: To someone living in a third-world country, simple things like clean running water can be considered luxuries.
  • Music Is Politics: Protest songs of the 60s were practically their own subgenre.
  • My Car Hates Me: Otherwise, we wouldn't have tow trucks.
  • My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad: Because he totally can, and you know it.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full Of Eels: Mandarin Chinese.
    • Icelandic (and by extent, Faroese) is considered the hardest language (grammatically) to learn, even for native Icelanders.
  • My Rule Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: This is what lawyers are for.
  • Mystery Meat: Pink slime, which is ammonia-soaked beef castoffs. Mechanically separated chicken. Similar and worse examples exist.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Streakers.
  • Never Recycle A Building: Sometimes for historic value, sometimes because builders are lazy and architects want their plan used. There's also the unfortunate case of, say, a building that was clearly home to a Jack-in-the-Box now saying Wendy's on the front, which just looks plain silly.
  • [[Nice Guy|Nice Gal]]: Lots of them, and far more than a pessimist can ever think.
  • No Can Opener: Can openers weren't even invented until several decades after tin cans. Before then, they used bullets.
  • No Fame No Wealth No Service: Members-only or restricted entry clubs, restaurants, and other venues. Anything that will only provide service to celebrities.
  • Non Sequitur: No, I don't think the mailbox needs painting.
  • Normally I Would Be Dead Now: Human beings can survive quite a lot, but see Cherry Tapping and Made Of Plasticine above too...
  • No Sex Allowed: Some religious systems that impose celibacy or heavily restrict sex. Also applies to minors for obvious reasons.
  • No Tell Motel: Love Hotels in Japan, and plenty of other hotels and motels. You may have even stayed in one...
  • Not In My Back Yard: And another one used in Real Life long before it was a trope.
  • No You Hang Up First: A manifestation of the sunk cost fallacy in that someone who is speaking in such a conversation will want to stay on as long as they can even if it would be better to stop talking.
  • Obligatory Swearing: Middle and high school. The Hardcore Punk Heavy Metal, Hip Hop, and Visual Kei music scenes. Sailors and truck drivers.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: Yes, many of those war crime scenes you see in movies actually happened (or were based on true events) and were most likely toned down for viewers. The exception would be But It Really Happened.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Oh, it happens alright. More often than we like to think.
  • Obsolete Mentor: Because Science Marches On, Society Marches On, and Technology Marches On, and some people don't bother to catch up with them, even if they're the best of a specific art or the best at a specific time.
  • Occupiers Out Of Our Country: The reason La Resistance tends to exist in Real Life and one reason Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters exists as a trope.
  • Of Corpse Hes Alive: Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang.
  • Offered The Crown: Again, by default, any trope concerning royalty is automatically TIT
  • Off The Wagon: Not quite as often as portrayed in the Drugs Are Bad moral stories, but often.
  • Old Shame: Everybody's got something they're embarrassed about.
  • One Man Army: Under the right circumstances, this is completely possible. Sometimes inverted in One Man Armies going down against sufficient numbers or overwhelming volumes of fire. An excellent real life example would be MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randy Shughart at the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993. Technically a Two Man Army, but still qualify.
    • Simo Häyhä, a Finnish sniper during Finlands winter war (1939-1940) he scored 505 confirmed kills & 542 unconfirmed. Also 200+ kills with submachine gun. Remarkably, all of Häyhä's kills were accomplished in fewer than 100 days with a very limited amount of daylight per day. Nicknamed Valkoinen Kuolema in Finnish, which translates to White Death.
  • Only Sane Employee: Been there, done that, burned the t-shirt.
  • Only Sane Man: You feel like this often, admit it. And this trope's cousin Surrounded By Idiots too, most likely.
  • Operation Blank: They've had some pretty silly names.
  • Operator From India: Dell is the biggest offender. Most big companies do it nowadays to save money. Outsourcing FTL
  • Overheating: Why your computer needs fans or some kind of a cooling system, especially the more you push it to do. Why ignoring the check engine warning or the temperature gauge on your vehicle is never a good idea. Can happen to human beings also, usually during heat waves, under the influence of drugs that affect the brain's temperature regulation - from alcohol to MDMA to neuroleptic drugs - or who have some forms of brain damage that do the same.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Komodo dragons and leafy sea dragons, among others.
  • Out With A Bang: Yes, there are some sexual practices that can kill you. If you're in bad enough health or are just unlucky, sex itself can do so.


P-R Edit

  • Paedo Hunt: As exemplified by the cases where parents' family photos of once-innocent events have been reported to police by developers or by people who see them on Face Book, by the infamous pediatrician mixup, and Moral Guardian callouts of fictional media employing Dawson Casting or not even involving real personages at all for depicting relationships between teenagers.
  • Papa Wolf: As if the Mama Bear trope wasn't enough, do not threaten or harm someone's children.
  • Passive Aggressive Kombat: Some situations don't allow for a physical or heated confrontation.
  • Path Of Inspiration: Church Of Happyology, and other cults.
  • Pepper Sneeze: It irritates the mucus membrane of the nose.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Don't say you've never whacked your TV or computer when it failed. It's The Coconut Effect many times, but in cases where the failure involves poor solder joints, dust or dirt, loose wires or connectors, or other causes of bad connections, a good whack can actually be a useful temporary fix. Also used as a last resort fix (as in, nothing else works and the only option is losing the data) to get a non-solid-state hard drive to work long enough to retrieve data from it.
  • Performance Anxiety: Nervousness caused by being in front of people is one of the biggest sources of stress in the world today.
  • Perky Goth: Because not all Goths are depressives or dour.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Happens in many places apart from Japan. In Mexico, for example, white people are automatically assumed to be American, Canadian or German. Lots of Germans and Nazis went to South America due to WW2.
    • In the USA, all brown people are assumed to be either Mexican, Indian, or Middle Eastern.
  • Picked Last: Hopefully, this one doesn't happen to you.
  • Pimped Out Cape: Whether it's a coronation robe or just something to show off your wealth in public.
  • Pimped Out Car: There was even a reality show about doing this called Pimp My Ride, and there's some parts of car culture centered around it. If you want to see some extreme examples, go to Japan and look at the vanning subculture - mostly yankii or retired bosuzoku, who know mechanical repair and devote themselves to designing each others' increasingly outrageous-looking mobile housing or promotional vehicles.
  • Pimped Out Dress: Worn by rich women throughout history (and men), and a huge part of the Ermine Cape Effect.
  • Pink Elephants: That said, alcohol-related hallucinations are usually due to withdrawal or alcohol poisoning (or that your drink has been spiked with something other than alcohol, if you're not in withdrawal and haven't drank more than three or four drinks at least.)
  • The Pirates Who Dont Do Anything: Bosozoku and yankii in Japan, 99 percent of motorcycle clubs elsewhere in the world, punk rockers and black metallers for the most part, the list goes on. The most harm members of such groups likely do on average is creating noise, minor illicit drug use or petty fraud or shoplifting, if that. They normally get hated either for the more outrageous crimes (and incredibly rare) crimes that show up in their midst, or for being nuisances with the extent of petty crimes in a more law-oriented and business-oriented mainstream culture.
  • The Plague: The Black Death. Spanish Flu.
  • Platonic Life Partners: CS Lewis made a note in the friendship section of The Four Loves that platonic friendship between members of the opposite sex happened a lot in academia. (He ignored the gay angle, though.) It's called the Westermarck Effect, and it's why most brothers and sisters raised together aren't romantically interested in each other.
  • Playing Sick: Don't tell me you've never done it.
  • Plucky Middie: They had to be.
  • Police Are Useless: Do some research on the subject, and then take a new look at the gun control debate.
  • Police Brutality: Rodney King. Any number of incidents you can find on Youtube or elsewhere.
  • Police Brutality Gambit: Also sadly real - and hurts not only cops but the actual victims of Police Brutality, by making their cases less believable.
  • Police Lineup: Often done with photographs more now, and somewhat fading from popularity due to misidentifications. Eyewitnesses are often considered one of the least reliable forms of testimony compared to CCTV and other video recordings, DNA, and other less partial and less easily influenced evidence.
  • Porn Stash: You know what you're hiding deep within your closet, drawer, or hard drive...
  • Post Robbery Trauma: Something far more serious than it seems on TV.
  • Powder Trail: It happens. Often more so with liquid than powder - this is why you avoid sparks and open flame near gasoline or other flammable liquids.
  • Pretext For War: Has happened quite a few times in history.
  • Pretty Fly For A White Guy: It's a common subculture among some.
  • Pretty In Mink: Fur is often worn for style instead of warmth.
  • Primal Scene: Walking in on parents (or other adult relatives) having sex has happened to a lot of people.
  • Prison Rape: It only became a trope relatively recently because it was TIT
  • Privately Owned Society: See the article's Real Life section for details.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: The mad scientist stories had to come from somewhere, and OSHA regulations tended to be a bit loose when science was in its infancy. The mad scientist stories, and the stereotype we associate them with, came from Nikola Tesla. Those lightning bolts in the background were Tesla coils. In Europe, abandoned castles were squatted in because (since there wasn't a UNESCO back then) there was a lot of free space and they wouldn't disturb anyone. Scientists back in the day really were experimenting with electrobiology.
  • Profiling: Racial and otherwise.
  • Punch Spin Gape: Its actually a legitimate theatrical technique for faking fistfights.
  • The Purge: How most people kick off dictatorships.
  • Push Polling: If you've ever taken a survey, you've probably been a victim and don't even know it.
  • Racial Remnant: People survive genocide and assimilation, as do their cultures.
  • Racist Grandma: Because people tend to hold onto ingrained beliefs, even if they have incredible Values Dissonance. Other times, can be a result of cynicism or mental illness.
  • Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits: Is there a chapter in the Mexican 19th century that doesn't has one of these? Also, any revolutionary group in the history of forever.
  • Rain Of Arrows: A key strategy of the English during the Hundred Years' War and of the Chinese.
  • Randomly Drops: Dollar stores, consignment shops, and lost and found are this trope's Real Life counterpart. Also, in large cities or other places with a lot of people, people will often drop or forget things from loose change to occasionally expensive or hard to acquire items.
    • Thieves (and on the other side of the coin, police raids of thieves or drug dealers) also run into this trope - things stolen or acquired in a raid can range from absolutely useless even for resale, to incredibly valuable or rare.
    • Locally, there is a tradition of getting rid of unwanted items during a move or after a yardsale by simply leaving them in a box by the side of the road. These boxeses can contain almost anything, and sometimes have amazing finds.
  • Rant Inducing Slight: Everyone has had this happen to them. There are thousands of examples to be found every day. NEW examples.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Prior to the 20th century, this was almost mandatory for women in just about any culture. Also the natural result of a baptized Sikh's obedience to the requirement to keep kesh. There are also multiple people who just happen to have this or who are trying to achieve this. Also pretty common among Visual Kei artists, especially from earlier times.
  • Recursive Ammo: TheMIRV, for starters.
  • Red Light District: There's quite a few in the world.
  • Relative Error: Siblings get mistaken for lovers in real life a lot, oftentimes to the disgust of the siblings. Sometimes the opposite happens. Just as squicky.
  • Renaissance Man: Leonardo Da Vinci is the Ur Example, but there are many.
  • Ret Irony: Rare cases are present. See the page for examples.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: See Pimped Out Dress.
  • Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: Happens from time to time.
  • Ring Ring CRUNCH: This is so common, there are actually products to prevent this: Meet Clocky and the Sonic Bomb.
  • Roboteching: Many guided weapons actually do this.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Though not common, superior tactics or sheer weight of numbers have defeated superior technology. This was apparently one of the reasons the Japanese won in the Russo-Japanese war, too. There's also the Whack-a-Mole theory: wherever you wipe out insurgency one place, they'll just pop up somewhere else, ad infinitum. Iraqi insurgents, the Viet Cong, and Afghanistan over the last 50 years are examples.
  • Romantic Two Girl Friendship: It is proposed that eight out of ten Japanese women had experience with such relationships.
  • Runaway Bride: An anonymous bride left the groom at the altar and ran away with his witness who was also his best friend. And they all lived happily ever after (except the groom).
  • Ruptured Appendix: Yes, it happens in Real Life. And it IS fatal if untreated (this is why, if you have severe stomach pain in the lower right side or that started there and spread, you go to an emergency room, and you DO NOT take a laxative.)


S-U Edit

  • Sacrificed Basic Skill For Awesome Training: The amount of time you need to spend to become an expert on something is, on average, around 10,000 hours. That time has come from somewhere - usually socialization.
  • Safe Sane And Consensual: Hopefully.
  • Safe Word: Yes, people do use them.
  • The Savage South: Until recent times, areas near the equator were seen by many Europeans and Americans as not only unpleasantly hot but also arid or sopping wet and full of dangerous large animals like panthers and lions. If the heat or animals did not kill you, the diseases borne by biting flies or mosquitoes would. Modern advances in dealing with disease and wild animals have resulted in a more friendly outlook on these places as the risks are more easily managed.
  • Sand Bridge At Low Tide: Mont Saint-Michel, a French islet near the coastline of Normandy.
  • Saved By The Awesome: Just like the Cowboy Cop and Military Maverick can be found in Real Life, so can this; this being the reason they exist in the first place.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: If you're in high school or college, you probably know a few. Aka LUGs (Lesbian Until Graduation) or Daddy's money lesbians. Bisexuality is the new I'm soooo drunk.
  • Secondary Fire: Many weapons have burst and autofire modes or even grenade launchers attached to the gun.
  • The Scrappy: Bill collectors are one of the most hated professions out there largely in part due to their (justified) very bad reputation. Attorneys and estate agents, politicians, the list goes on.
  • Scope Snipe: Carlos Hathcock pulled this off during the Vietnam War, but it's near impossible to do unless under the exact conditions.
  • Screw Politeness Im A Senior: Because of dementia, or sometimes because of feeling as if one has earned the right not to respect younger people.
  • Screw The Rules I Have Connections: The reason why celebrities often get off the hook.
  • Screw The Rules I Have Money: Because only the richest can bribe their way to victory.
  • Screw The Rules I Make Them: Freaking politicians...
  • Screw The Rules Im Beautiful: Paris Hilton in jail... complaining that the food wasn't good enough. And refusing to eat it. Sure it's bad, but everyone else has to eat it...Also behind the Double Standard regarding teacher affairs. If the teacher is female and hot, tends to get a lot more sympathy from media (and the kid will get hi fives from a lot of guys.) If the teacher is male, he's a monster.
  • Screw The Rules Im Doing Whats Right: The only one here that isn't cynical.
  • Sealed Evil In A Can: Any drug (legal or otherwise) with a serious potential for addiction or a fatal side effect.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: It is arguable that there is nothing more realistic than this trope. Indeed, an argument over that would be the perfect example. Absolutely any conversation will turn into this if entered in the middle.
  • Self Fulfilling Prophecy: There are many cases when it has happened. See the article.
  • Senseless Violins: The 2008 Northern Illinois University shooter managed to bypass the campus security by packing a pair of shotguns inside a guitar case.
  • Serious Business: Unsung rule of life, the universe and everything: if it exists, somebody out there is taking it VERY seriously
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: As noted in the entry, Williams Syndrome. Some forms of autism and Asperger's Syndrome will cause this as well.
  • Sex Is Interesting: At least in the minds of advertising executives, who will happily the nebulous promise of it to sell anything.
  • Sexless Marriage: For a variety of reasons: Incompatible Orientation (or Asexuality) being the most common, but religion and long-term separation can also cause this.
  • Sex Slave: Unfortunately.
  • Sex Tourism: Exists on a spectrum of Squick, from couples resorts, cruises, and other ventures to connect consenting adults, all the way to pedophiles seeking children overseas.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: Rule34's SFW (or not as NSFW) version.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: At least four separate editors have had this happen to them. Check the page.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: All the knockoffs of real products. Mostly from Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, or China (never Japan or Korea). During the Cold War, they came from Eastern Europe.
  • Showing Off The Perilous Power Source: Don't look directly at the sun, a solar eclipse, a nuclear explosion, or something being welded, and wear your ski goggles. A lesser degree of this with easy recovery (as an example of why you shouldn't) can be induced by staring at any light source (from a match to a lightbulb) for a few minutes.
  • Shrinking Violet: Shy people exist.
  • Shy Bladder: It's called paruresis, and people have been fired because of it when they couldn't pee for a drug test. And yes, before you ask, there have been lawsuits.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Any society that places a premium on property has had women who do this. An example would be the wives and daughters of ship captains in 19th Century New England.
  • Single Mom Stripper: Usually due to economic reasons, those being that stripping is one of the few careers that doesn't require extensive experience, has somewhat flexible hours, and pays far more than welfare or child support in general.
  • Signs Of Disrepair: As a look around Fail Blog and occasionally where you live can tell you.
  • Slave Mooks: Unfortunately so.
  • Somebody Elses Problem: Fascinating to sociologists, not so much for the victims. Most notably the case of Kitty Genovese.
  • Smite Me Oh Mighty Smiter: This is why many people are atheists.
  • Snipe Hunt: A very common form of hazing or practical joke is to send someone on a search for something nonexistent.
  • Somethings Different About You Now: People change over time. That fat nerd you knew? Dropped the weight and became hot. That man you knew? Was actually a woman.. The Hollywood Atheist you remembered from college? Is now a devout churchgoer. Can be very difficult, especially if the changes make your relationship now incompatible.
  • Solar Powered Magnifying Glass: Unfortunately, for our six-legged friends.
  • Solid Gold Poop: Ambergris is whale vomit. It's also extremely valuable for use in perfumes. Guano. Not as valuable now as it used to be. For centuries, it was used to make saltpeter and phosphorous, which was used for explosives and gunpowder. Now, it's mostly used for fertilizer, and some of the world's best coffees owe their rich flavor to this particular fertilizer.
  • Sorry Occifer: The reason why, if you are drunk or high, not talking to the police (if you live somewhere where you have this right) is the best legal advice you can possibly ever follow. And you got it here free.
  • The Spiny: Sea urchins.
  • Spit Take: Yes, people often do this in reaction to a shocking image or piece of information.
  • Spock Speak: Asperger's Syndrome and legalese (though usually not to this degree). Justified in the legalese case, when the document has to be airtight. Still funny, though.
  • Stage Mom: See I Coulda Been A Contender.
  • Star Crossed Lovers: Things just didn't work out.
  • Stealth Hi Bye: It happens when you're distracted and don't notice when someone is entering or leaving the room.
  • Stone Soup: Taxes. Volunteering. There are many examples. The opposite of Too Many Cooks Spoil The Soup.
  • Stout Strength: Incredibly strong men often look more rotund than body-building. Just watch the weightlifting portion of the Olympics. Or sumo wrestling.
  • Stylish Protection Gear: Silk has properties that allow for diminished arrow penetration (note: there would still be non-lethal wounds). It was used by Mongol warriors and samurai. It's also fireproof.
  • Straight Gay: Contrary to historical portrayals, most gay people appear and act just like most straight people.
  • Street Urchin: One of the most serious social problems everywhere in the world.
  • Succession Crisis: Plenty of historical examples. There was even a whole war called The War of Austrian Succession.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Since not everyone always lets you know everything they know.
  • Suicide Attack: Kamikaze and suicide bombers.
  • Super Persistent Predator: Humans with their persistence hunting during the majority of the stone age.
  • Sure Lets Go With That: You've said it and you know it.
  • Surrounded By Idiots: Everyone who's ever had a day job can attest to this. Or been in Public High School.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Joan of Arc, Mulan (the REAL one).
  • Tail Slap: Even horses can makes use of it to an extent. With elephants, it can be fatal.
  • Take This Job And Shove It: The Jet Blue flight attendant incident is a very recent example.
  • A Taste Of The Lash: Flogging was a commonly used punishment in many real-world cultures.
  • Taught By Experience: You know that your mistakes have left a mark on you, probably a scar.
  • Technical Virgin: It happens, ironically enough, often due to abstinence-only education.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Some teens can be amoral and scary. Not all are, though.
  • Televisually Transmitted Disease: Strangely, many of the miraculous recoveries you see in medical dramas actually have happened.
  • That Poor Car: Disasters will cause this.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: One of the most common passwords is... password or password1 (since now most registrars require letters and numbers). The most common varies in length but is some form of ascending number sequence -- i.e., 12345.
  • There Are No Therapists: Teen suicide rates are much higher than they should be, but it's more because they don't WANT to see a therapist for fear of rejection. Also because since they think with their amygdalas, which is the emotional part of their brain, not the logical part.
    • Bad experiences with therapy can lead people to never seek help again, even when it is urgently and severely needed. A bad therapist can be even worse than no therapist, for this reason.
  • The Glomp: Some people hug their friends like this.
  • The Ugly Guys Hot Daughter: There are quite a few.
  • Theme Naming: The Emperor Constantine's children. The Duggars' children all have names that start with J. Multiples (twins, triplets, etc) frequently get theme named. Retired heavyweight boxing electric-grill pitchman George Foreman has named all of his children of both sexes George.
  • This Is Not A Drill: Because of a phenomenon called warning fatigue, sometimes it's very necessary to tell people that this alarm is for real and obeying it is important.
  • Those Two Guys: Those Two Guys are in every high school, workplace, band... anywhere one doesn't remember people by name.
  • Time Capsule
  • Tongue On The Flagpole: Yes, it does work. Check youtube if you don't believe it. Or, better yet, try it yourself! Be sure to carry come hot water with you, though.
  • Too Dumb To Live: Everyone has met them at some point. Rad Girls. (NSFW)
  • Too Many Cooks Spoil The Soup: The opposite of Stone Soup.
  • Too Much Information: Eventually, you will hear something or see something you wish you could erase from ever having been aware of.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: As many juvenile delinquents can attest to.
  • Transparent Closet: Sometimes those of us who are LGBTQIA are the last to know for real. Other times, we just don't really care about creating a closet or have been lucky enough to have lived in a situation that has never imposed or demanded one.
  • Trash Of The Titans: As you can see in this site. It's called Collyer Bros Syndrome.
  • Trigger: Almost everyone has them in some form. Some far, far more distressing than others. See it's Useful Notes page for details.
  • Trigger Happy: The reason a lot of shootings (whether by police or civilians) happen. Especially if one feels as if one is in mortal danger, it is an instinct borne of paranoia that can be very difficult to override.
  • Troll: An undeniable Truth In New Media. If you spend any amount of time on the internet, you will see them, and you will likely interact with some even if it's just trying to banhammer them or keep them out - or you may be one yourself.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Angst tends to make art be seen as more serious. Note that Oscar Bait is usually angsty.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: This is one of those annoying ones that reinforces itself.
  • Trying To Catch Me Fighting Dirty
  • TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life: You will go on a wiki walk sooner or later. It will last longer than you expect.
    • Chances are, you are on a wiki walk RIGHT NOW.
  • Ugly Guy Hot Wife: Note: Being funny and unique will not get you chicks... until you turn 21. Money and influence also helps.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Having a relative at the company will make your coworkers hate you, but at least you'll never be fired.
  • Undisclosed Funds: Swiss bank accounts. Also, talking about money was once viewed as crass, so people used these methods to do so.
  • The Unpronounceable: Indians working in call centers with American customers typically use adopted American names. It's also very common for immigrants to have an Americanized nickname, especially if they're from the Middle East or Asia.
  • Upper Class Twit: Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and any socialite. Lotta good those fancy private schools did. Buddha was also one of such before leaving his castle.
  • United We Chant: Can happen often in sports arenas or anywhere many people gather; Barack Obama's US presidential run was littered with yes we can! and sports arenas often get U!S!A! or chant a team name.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: TD dances.
  • Urban Segregation: The Independencia Avenue in Guadalajara, Mexico divides the city in two: the West side is the rich side, home to all the trendy malls, while the East side is the poor side, filled with gritty factories and impoverished ghettos.
  • Useful Notes: Useful because they're true.
  • Utopia Justifies The Means: Stalin, Mao, Robespierre, Pol Pot...


V-Z Edit

  • Verbal Tic: It happens, just not with every single person. Francophone Canadians often say (there) at the end of each sentence, Mexicans do the same with wey and ese (dude and this, respectively), Argentinians start their phrases with che, and Americans use like, like, every five words. And not just, like, the Valley Girl types (thanks to MTV). Most famously...
    • It's become a pastime of many Canadians to use their verbal tic when around Americans.
  • Vindicated By History: More than a few people. There are several politicians who were widely hated during their term but are now fondly remembered by history books.
  • Violation Of Common Sense: Happens quite often in Real Life.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Glasgow is the murder capital of Western Europe.
  • Visual Kei: Some artists and fans dress in the style or even maintain complete personas offstage.
  • Virtual Celebrity: A few of them are around like Vocaloids.
  • Virtual Ghost: Programmers working with the band X Japan made a hologram of a late member (lead guitarist hide) that was both a Virtual Celebrity and very, very close to this idea. Programmers also did this to bring Tupac Shakur to Coachella 2012.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Radio DJs, Mike Tyson, Steve Blum, and several others do not look how you would expect them to based on their voice, and vice versa. This was a very real problem back in the days when talkie movies were new, and many actors lost their jobs because their voices were so silly.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Geeks love asking their soulmates in ways like that. And people take great lengths (e.g.: ball games, fireworks, et cetera)
  • Walking The Earth: Being a hobo is about Walking The Earth for a while, finding all sorts of small jobs, with nothing but a backpack, enough money to stay fed, groomed and with a place to sleep.
    • So you decided to be a bum?
    • 'Walking the Earth' sums up the lifestyle of pre-war Gypsies and modern Travellers pretty well.
  • Wangst: Because not all angst is appropriate to age or situation. Often a frequent cause of conflict when someone suffering from Wangst expresses it in a way that insults more legitimate angst (e.g. someone posting to a forum to whine about a thief stealing their IPod and how that makes them understand someone whose house just burned down) or is extremely inappropriate (threatening suicide over a broken toe or common cold).
  • Water Is Blue: But only a very slight amount.
    • Go look at pictures of tropical beaches. It's either blue or green.
  • Weapon For Intimidation: The reason most people in Real Life that have weapons do. On a larger scale, nuclear weapons are this.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The political spectrum is a line, not a circle. A very long line. But still a line.
  • Well Intentioned Extremist: The real world version is a lot scarier, actually.
  • We Sell Everything: Wal-Mart and Target and other wholesellers, who are steamrolling the competition.
  • Wild Child: There's a few examples: Kaspar Hauser, Genie, and a feral French boy. None of them ended up that well off.
  • Whammy Bid
  • What The Fu Are You Doing: The usual result of someone trying to invoke I Know Mortal Kombat
  • What The Heck Is An Aglet?: Cruciverbalists of the world have been through this all too much. Which is why there's a huge market for Crossword Puzzle-specific dictionaries.
  • Whoa Bundy
  • Why Couldnt You Be Different: Many parents of special needs children often feel this way, especially if it's their first child. This trope is why 4 out of 5 parents of autistic children divorce. Even if they don't outwardly say it to the degree it's portrayed in fiction, they often feel this way inside, because, yes, life would be a lot simpler and cheaper if their kid were different.
    • Or if society changed so that autistic children and otherwise disabled children were valued for themselves rather than seen as problems or burdens...
  • Why Did It Have To Be Snakes: Phobias are common, even silly ones (like peaches, balloons, pickles, chickens), etc. Basically, if it exists, someone in the world has a phobia of it.
  • Wiki Walk
  • Will Not Tell A Lie: Very uncommon, but definitely real. This was ostensibly true in ancient Persia, since it was a religious edict of Zoroastrianism. They throw around the word truth like Americans do with freedom.
    • Might also be your experience of cultures where the idea of little white lie does not exist.
  • Wind Turbine Power: Wind turbines sprout like mushrooms all over the planet because they work.
    • The real question is: do they work good enough? Also, lots of lobbying tends to muddy the issue.
  • Wiper Start: To the embarrassment of many a new driver.
  • Wishful Projection: Another Freudian trope.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Turkmenbashi was a very... eccentric ruler. Yes, he was a dictator. But he didn't have gulags and didn't violate any human rights. He was just weird.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: The need for food is universal among animals and humans, and larger amounts of and specific kinds (more nutritious in specific ways, or providing of certain ingredients) of food are needed for those whose occupations or hobbies are physically (and in some cases mentally) demanding.
  • Wolverine Claws: Ninjas used the Nekode and Indians used the Tiger's Claw for fighting
  • The Worf Effect: Used by police to break up fights and riots before they really start.
  • Worthless Foreign Degree: Sadly true.
  • Would Not Shoot A Civilian: See Screw The Rules Im Doing Whats Right.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Happens a fair bit online, more rarely but scarily in real life.
  • Wretched Hive: Somalia. The slums of Rio in Brazil. Lagos. West Africa. A few very bad neighborhoods in the United States. Hell, look hard enough, and you will find them all over the world.
  • Yiddish As A Second Language: What kind of schmuck needs this one explained, anyhow?
  • You Cant Go Home Again: Examples can range from personal to those which affect the entire countries.
  • You Can Panic Now: Locked-In Syndrome. Global Warming Climate change. Nuclear war. Leprosy. Jack the Ripper. The goblin's gonna getcha if you don't... watch... OUT!
  • Your Other Left: The bane of those giving directions over a mobile phone.
  • Yuri Genre: Lesbians, obviously.
  • Zettai Ryouiki are a very popular fashion item among girls and young women in Japan.

NotesEdit

  1. Beauty And The Beast
  2. Mary I
  3. Someone needs to take the gun off that fucking kid, then.
  4. interracial marriage
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