“There is no such thing as a new idea,” Mark Twain once said. And while writers do their best to find new ways to package old ideas, the fact of the matter is that well-worn tropes and clichés are recognizable no matter if you’re gender-swapping characters or tossing them onto an alien spaceship bound for the wild wild west.
And no matter how often we groan when we spot the tell-tale signs of a cliché so familiar we could mumble along with it in our sleep, there’s a reason they’re repeated so often: we secretly really love them.
Some of them, anyway. Every one of us has our trope preferences, and specifically, that handful of set-ups or moments that have us frantically clicking away at the “buy now” button before we’ve even finished reading a book or movie’s description.
In typical internet fashion, Twitter users have taken to not only sharing their favorite tropes this week, but doing it in an accurately self-deprecating way. Look, we all know we’re hypocrites when it comes to proclaiming our disdain for the well-traveled road of clichés. So let’s enjoy being hypocrites together.
‘I hate cliches’ meme
ME: i hate clichés— nicole (@akechitime) July 30, 2019
AUTHOR: and they r childhood friends who get put on opposite sides of a conflict and struggle with their loyalties to each other
ME: ohmygod they r childhood friends who get put on opposite sides of a conflict and struggle with their loyalties to each other
me: i hate clichés— Carly Lane-Perry (@carlylane) July 29, 2019
author: they agree to a marriage of convenience but then realize they actually have feelings for each other
also me, crying: ohmygod they agree to a marriage of convenience but then realize they actually have feelings for each other
me: i hate clichés— cam (@justabookeater_) July 30, 2019
author: the grumpy one is soft for the sunshine one
me: *sobs* omg the grumpy one is soft for the sunshine one
Me: i hate clichés— lunaillumina⁷ @ FLING POSSE POSSE (@lunaillumina) July 30, 2019
Author: so they're fuck buddies with a no-strings attached rule and it was all casual until one of them falls for the other
Also me: wHAt omg THEY'RE FUCK BUDDIES WITH A NO-STRINGS-ATTACHED RULE AND IT WAS ALL CASUAL UNTIL ONE OF THEM FALLS FOR THE OTHER
ME: i hate cliches— G 'please leave by 9' B ✨ (@anacrusisnt) July 30, 2019
AUTHOR: the tough character is actually very gentle and submissive in bed
ME: ohmygod the tough character is actually very gentle and submissive in bed
Some of the tropes covered are broad enough that you can build a whole plot out of them. Honestly, how many “friends with benefits gone terribly wrong” stories have we all consumed at this point? (The only acceptable answer is “not enough.”)
But others go directly to highly specific moments that are just as easily recognizable as their broader counterparts. And boy, when those moments come…if there were an emoji simultaneously rolling its eyes and grinning the biggest grin ever, this would be a highly appropriate place for it to go.
me: i hate clichés— cef (@buckysnut) July 31, 2019
author: one of them yells "BECAUSE I LOVE YOU" in the middle of an argument
me: omg one of them yells "because i love you" in the middle of an argument
me: i hate clichés— Jenna Guillaume⁷ (@JennaGuillaume) July 31, 2019
author: they have to stay in a hotel and there’s only one room with one bed left and they have to share the bed and-
me: *giddy with glee* omg they have to stay in a hotel and there’s only ONE ROOM with ONE BED left and they have to SHARE THE BED AND-
No matter the genre, or target demographic, or medium, a well-loved trope can cross boundaries and bring readers or viewers of all types together to agree on one thing: we totally hate clichés…but not this one.