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TV Tropes Monday: Shaggy Dog Story



Tweet of the Day: A Mother’s Day Link-look at SciFi Moms


I hate this trope.


I shall quote straight from the page:

A Shaggy Dog Story is a plot with a high level of build-up and complicating action, only to be resolved with an anti-climax or ironic reversal, usually one that makes the entire story meaningless. The term comes from a type of joke (called “gildersome” in The Meaning of Liff) that worked the same way—a basic premise, a long amount of buildup, and a deliberately underwhelming punchline.

That’s right. Remember all those hours you spent curled up with the latest edition of your favorite book? Or glued to your television/monitor watching the latest season of the one show you dared not to miss? How about all those hours you spent leveling up your characters and bashing monsters over the head in that one game you could not stop playing?

Guess what, it was all for naught.

The reason this trope upsets me so is that it violates the basic Premise-Promise cycle by failing,  deliberately I may add,  to fulfill the promises in the premises. Often it is a sign of that the writers never had a ending in mind, that they did little or no actual plotting. Instead they relied on old tricks to keep the audience engaged until the story runs out of steam. Only in the best ironic or humorous settings would this trope be successful.  It should be avoided everywhere else.


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