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over and over again

8 of the most annoyingly overused clichés in film and television

From the big Makeover to the Cowboy Cop to the Unflinching Walk.

ORIGINALITY? PLEASE. Almost every single film and TV show is made up of a collection of well-worn tropes.

A trope is the proper term for a plot device or trend that reoccurs in films and television time and time again – here are eight of the most annoying ones that we can’t seem to get away from.

Meet Cute

An awkward introduction between two love interests, used a lot in romantic comedies – it usually involves some embarrassing situation or wacky misunderstanding that will stop them from being together. So CUTE! So QUIRKY!

Vidhya Ashok / YouTube

We understand it’s done to speed up the whole process of falling in love, but really?

Notable examples: Notting Hill, Serendipity, 101 Dalmations

Bumbling Dad

This one is mostly seen these days in sitcoms, where the Dad is what the French call les incompetents. The family will always roll their eyes and sigh and get Mom to fix whatever Dad does wrong, because Dad is so silly. A tired view of men that must be stopped.

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Notable examples: Homer Simpson, Tim Taylor (Home Improvement), Hal (Malcolm in the Middle)

Unflinching Walk

Action films are all over this trope. A character just blew something up. They don’t care about shrapnel, extreme heat, or even potentially losing their hearing. They just casually walk away from the blast, cool as a cucumber.

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Notable examples: No Country For Old Men, Desperado, Man On Fire

Death By Sex

This one is so common in slasher movies that it’s not particularly shocking any more – characters that have sex in a horror film are nearly always doomed. What is Hollywood trying to tell us here, eh?

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Notable examples: Friday The 13th series, Taken, A Nightmare on Elm Street

The Makeover

In this staple of teen films, a nerdy character is made over by a kindly soul in a quest to be accepted by society. Generally, this makeover only involves removing the nerdy character’s glasses. What a revelation! *yawns*

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Notable examples: She’s All That, The Princess Diaries, The Breakfast Club

Cowboy Cop

Another action movie/police drama favourite, where an officer breaks all the rules to get stuff done. One day they go too far and have to turn in their badge and gun, but instead of moving on like a normal person, they go rogue. Why do they never learn?

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Notable examples: Rust Cohle (True Detective), Axel Foley (Beverly Hills Cop), Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry)

Belligerent Sexual Tension

This one is EVERYWHERE. Two characters fight and squabble endlessly, but it’s only because they secretly fancy each other. Sometimes in real life, people genuinely just don’t like each other. What’s so hard to believe about that?


Notable examples: Princess Leia and Han Solo (Star Wars), Matthew and Mary (Downton Abbey), Sam and Diane (Cheers)

Manic Pixie Dream Girl

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists to bring joy and wonder into a brooding, depressed male protagonist’s life. She generally doesn’t have issues or goals of her own, apart from being extremely quirky and cute. Sigh.

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Notable examples: Sam (Garden State), Claire Colburn (Elizabethtown), Ramona Flowers (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)

h/t the amazingly addictive

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