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By Shamus
on Sunday Aug 8, 2010
Filed under:


I’m still going and I don’t even remember what I was looking up in the first place.

Actually, I was looking up “Voodoo Shark”. How I got to Chuck Cunningham is anyone's guess.

Send help!

TvTropes is funny this way. Sometimes I’ll read one page and leave. Sometimes I’ll end up ten pages down some long chain of nested definitions, trying to get to the end of a line of thought so I can begin working my way back up. It really is handy to be able to cite a trope in the middle of an article, but it’s quite perilous looking them up to do so.

Comments (77)

  1. bentheiii says:

    I remember there’s actually a trope on what you just said, forgot what it’s called though…

  2. eri says:

    TV Tropes must be what purgatory is like.

    Although I have to say, it’s kind of annoying now that the site is so well known. I remember the days where every page wasn’t filled with 10,000 anime references… sigh.

    • Factoid says:

      Anime must really be filled with a lot of hack writers if these TV Tropes pages are any indicator.

      • Sumanai says:

        Most likely it has something do with the fact that in Japan they don’t really treat animation and live-action all that much. So it basically is one category which covers many others, just done in an anime style.

        Not that anime’s not filled with a lot of hack writers. “90% of everything is shit” and all that jazz.

      • Malimar says:

        I really hate to defend anime, but in this case, I must point out: Tropes Are Not Bad.

        • Sumanai says:

          Unless they’re overused.

          While my comment on hack writers wasn’t directly related to the amount of exposure in TVtropes, it’s still unfair. From what I’ve understood it’s more common for poor/cliche ridden writing/dialogue/narrative in the US to be because of management/marketing meddling or poor editing/directing and there’s really no reason to believe the same isn’t true elsewhere.

        • Also, a lot of “tropes” aren’t tropes: That is, there’s articles on TVTropes about common and accepted story events, like twist endings, and things that are flat-out good, like Fridge Brilliance. And tropes can be subverted, double subverted, inverted, averted, or lampshaded.

          • Sumanai says:

            Aren’t twist endings tropes, if they’re common enough?

            Lampshading doesn’t really change much, it just adds a level of self-consciousness. And a trope subversion, double subversion, invertion, avertion and lampshading can, in itself, become a cliche.

            Really, measuring a series value by the amount of links in the tvtropes page doesn’t measure anything.

    • Drexer says:

      I always attributed the anime-boom in TVTropes due to:

      A) Being the first tab in most pages, thus being the one most easily updated.

      B) Being a market which seems to use many more structureas of plot/tropes. Probably due to their graphical/budget not-constraints.

      • Mikeski says:

        C) The large crossover of “obsessive (non-Japanese) anime watchers” and “obsessive internet geeks”. I imagine your average vampire-show/soap-opera/network-crime-drama fans don’t hit TVTropes with the same frequency as anime/videogame/comicbook fans.

        Compouding on itself where everything that happens in anime becomes a “trope” on that site (many since “ordinary aspect of Japanese culture” looks like “Trope!” to a westerner). How many almost-anime-exclusive tropes are there? Eyelids that point down are a trope. As are eyelids that point up. So now every anime ever made fits into at least one trope category…

        • Sumanai says:

          A trope born out of culture is still a trope. I’m pretty certain there are tropepages for western style choices, and there are tropes for cliched representation of character types for western content as well.

          Also, in the page for Tareme there was a mention that it doesn’t count if there aren’t many without eyelids that point down. Presumably because that would mean that it’s purely a stylistic choice, and not part of characterisation. So an anime where everyone has Tareme, doesn’t belong in the examples. And because no-one can in it could have Tsurime, it wouldn’t belong there either.

  3. 8th_Pacifist says:

    That exact same thing happened to me today.

  4. Spider Dave says:

    Not to mention tabbed browsing has turned it into some kind of a depth first search for me, which makes it even harder to escape. Just when you think you’re done, there are all these tabs you’ve opened from a higher level you still need to read!

    • Sumanai says:

      I installed an add-on for Firefox which turns the tab-bar into a tree view on the side. So the tabs are basically organised and I can check what tab prompted me to open another tab. And I installed it precisely to make wikiwalks easier.

      It came around and bit me in ass.

      Right now I’m using Google’s Chrome because I have a session of wikiwalk saved in Firefox, that takes two minutes to load up with an “unlimited” (as fast as the network allows) 3G connection. There are about 90 tabs and I originally had a 512kbit/s connection back when I saved it. I’ve actually gone down in tab count from what it was, so you can probably imagine the time it took to start it back then.

      • Tizzy says:

        Wow! I didn’t know about this add-on, so thanks for the reference… and the ominous warning!

        • Sem says:

          Life saver add-on. I have (or had thanks to the add-on) the same problem as Sumanai. I’m rather scatterbrained so I tend to open a lot of links that I intend to check later. Off course, I never get to it in 99% of the cases.

          To illustrate, the maximum number tabs I’ve reached is about 600. If I restarted Firefox I had to wait a good 20 minutes for everything to load. Unfortunately, at this point windows started complaining it was running out of memory.

          However, even with this BarTab plugin there is still an upper limit. If we assume Firefox keeps it’s tabs in an array than the maximum number of tabs is the max length of array in JavaScript. According to Google that’s 4294967295. Assuming I open about 50 tabs every week (which is conservative) it will take me about 16519 centuries to fill up the array. So, the only thing to do now is either become immortal or clone myself 23597 times (assuming I and each clone have 70 years left) to do it in a combined effort.

        • Sumanai says:

          Ooh, me likey. Thanks.

    • Jarenth says:

      I too feel this way. There’s nothing quite like deciding “Right, that does it, I’m done with this nonsense!” and closing a tab to find that, heyo, there’s five more where that came from.

      Well, I could close these tabs too… but it looks fairly interesting, and I may not find them back later… I’ll just read these last few and then stop.

      And BAM, another four hours down the drain.

  5. Dan Bruno says:

    Despite its somewhat anemic coverage of most non-nerdy media (i.e. games, anime, comics), TVTropes remains one of my favorite websites on the internet.

  6. Gravebound says:

    I have the same problem with dictionaries. On the way to looking up the word I went in for I will stop on other words that catch my eye. And, if I still remember what the original word was, I will have thought of several others to look up as well.

    I spend way too much time reading the dictionary. :)

  7. CruelCow says:

    Nobody can help you now.

    • Another Scott says:

      Anyone coming in to help now would simply be lost to the void as well. Posting this here is like how a drowning man will grab and pull you under the water with him!

  8. Danath says:


  9. Eric Meyer says:

    This is referred to by some as WWILFing, apparently because the term “surfing” is just so passé.

  10. Mark says:

    OH COME ON! why would you post this, now my whole day is gone, ive got like, 30 pages open and now somehow im reading stuff on wikipedia too, and there goes the rest of my august. Thanks a lot shamus, i hope you’re proud of yourself.


  11. Jokerman89 says:

    Never heard of this site before…thanks.

  12. Davie says:

    This happened just last night. I was playing some STALKER Call of Pripyat around midnight, and I thought “Okay, Imma quit playing and go see if this one trope is listed on the page for STALKER. Then I will go to sleep.”

    At 2:30, I was still wide awake.

  13. Nostromo says:

    Do you know there is a Wikipedia article about TVtropes?

  14. Brian says:

    See, what we need now is some spooky internet story, but the protagonist isn’t being stalked by Slenderman or turning into a robot or summoning Zalgo, but is slowly being sucked into a humor wiki. Y’know, the kind of primal fear we can all relate to. Something like:

    oh god iÒ‰t has me. i havent slept in days and i dont think i’ll ever eÍ¡scape͘ Í¢itÌ´.Íž. i just find myself constantly switching to ̸it.. im sitting here and i think im reading an ebook but i look away for a second really im reading Í tÍœvtrope͏s…

    im updating my blog and i look something up and then i realize im reading tvtropes.

    im talking with my mom but really im reading tvtropes

    im staring at the w͡àll but really im re҉a̶d̕͢͞ing tvtropes

    but really im ŗe҉adìn̨g̀ tvtropes

    im reading tvtropes



  15. Nyaz says:

    AHH CRAP, I have seven tabs open with TVTropes now, without even noticing!

  16. toasty says:

    TVtropes is amazing. Its also really dangerous. Maybe that’s why its so amazing. :p

  17. Pickly says:

    I used to get lost wiki walking in TV tropes as well, though I’ve lost some interest lately after reading through a lot of the more interesting articles (for me) several times. It has led to some cool links, though, like the “cool guys don’t look at explosions” video.

    It’s also provided a lot of enjoyment from the automated ads. I have seen these on other sites, but far more on TV tropes, and TV tropes seems to attract a lot of quite funny automated ad/actual article combinations, likethis screenshot linked on the “Path of Inspiration” page (not my screenshot, but quite funny anyways.)


  18. Jarenth says:

    I find that the only reliable way to prevent TvTropes is to disable my wireless adapter as soon as the first link comes up.

  19. Galad says:

    I’ve never been on TvTropes for more than half an hour at a time, I wonder why..

  20. Mark says:

    I always include a conspicuous disclaimer whenever I link to a TV Tropes article. “WARNING: HYPERLINK LEADS TO TV TROPES. FOLLOW AT YOUR OWN RISK.”

  21. bit says:

    I just opened up every trope listed in the comments in separate tabs. I NEED to read them.

    There goes my afternoon.

    EDIT; Wait, so in 15 minutes I went from Wiki Walk, to Suspension of Disbelief, to various rape tropes. IT BENDS SPACE, TIME, AND LOGIC.

  22. froogger says:

    Gee, I just lost half an hour to tvtropes, but I got a dejavu doing it. Evens out, I guess.

  23. Eggbert says:

    I’m going to say that I intentionally get myself lost on TvTropes every now and then by going to the page for a show/book/movie I like, then click on a couple related Tropes, and then realize that I’ve burned five hours reading the Nighmare Fuel page looking for links.

    Oh, and the best way to get out of TvTropes in my opinion is to simply swear to yourself that you won’t open any more tabs. Not even that one.

  24. lazlo says:

    Weird confluence… Just this morning I was thinking it’d make a good Dilbert to have Wally proactively avert wasting time on TVTropes by reading it all so that he wouldn’t get sucked in at a later date.

    Don’t abandon *all* hope! You might be saved by being sucked out by… WoW. On second thought, yeah, go ahead and abandon all hope.

    • Deoxy says:

      Actually, TVTropes doesn’t really suck me in so much any more – it USED to, and I burned several hours at a time on a few different occasions… but now I’ve read essentially all the ones that interest me (and quite a few more, sadly).

      It’s still fun to look through the links at the bottom of some of them, but I can usually get away in fewer than 5 links clicked now, say 10-30 minutes, tops.

      Apparently, one can build resistance, eventually.

      (But yes, that sounds EXACTLY like Wally. And then, he can forget that he read it, and do so again later. Heh.)

  25. Nidokoenig says:

    This is why I have a TVTropes bookmark folder. “I can’t read all these articles now, chuck em in’ pit”. There’s 62 in there at the moment.

  26. Coffee says:

    TV Tropes is the Necromonicon of the Internet.

  27. FatPope says:

    Ah crap! Here I was looking down on all you people. I mean sure, television related tropes are interesting but come on!

    Then I discovered that they do games too. Bye bye evening

  28. Adalore says:

    I have a decent resistance to the site now, but that was only after I lost a good several weeks to it.

    So much time… Lost.

  29. Neil Polenske says:

    Jesus Christ…I WORK on Sunday sir! This topic RISKED MY JOB!

    I hope your happy.

  30. Jeysie says:

    I first discovered TV Tropes while looking through my website’s referral logs and noticing that this wiki I had never seen before had several pages linking to my site. So I figured I might as well check ’em out.

    I was doomed after that. It’s a rather happy sort of doomed, though. And I’ve managed to drag a number of my friends into being doomed along with me. Muahahahaha!

  31. I’m still trying to find a way to inject myself with an IV of pure concentrated TvTropes.

  32. X2-Eliah says:

    So.. Am I the only one here who doesn’t seem to care about TVT site and who fails to see anything amusing in there?

  33. hevis says:

    I have same exact problem, but with cracked.com and Wikipedia. Especially cracked keeps amusing me, even though I’ve probably already read all the articles there..

  34. Maldeus says:

    Chuck Cunningham Syndrome? Huh. You appears to have discovered one of the ~25% of trope pages I haven’t yet read…And now I’m curious as to what it says…And what it might link to…

    Damn you, Shamus!

  35. Evan says:

    Damn you Shamus. Damn you for sending me back to the horrible prison that is TVTropes.

  36. Ramsus says:

    Ok this is just funny. I spend like 3 hours browsing TV trops thanks to Darths & Droids (again) and then come here to see this. Warning: It can get really bad if you actually look up the Tv tropes article on Darths & Droids itself.

  37. Antman says:

    … just spent the last 8 hours on tv tropes.. thanks lol.

  38. Scourge says:

    TV tropes is like an epic maze trap with a DC of 99.

  39. Blake says:

    Argh! You just ate up 2 hours of my time by posting this!
    Asking for someone to save you from TVTropes is like asking someone to save you from a black hole, you’re both just gonna end up stuck in there.

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