January 24, 2022

The tropes of Christmas movies and romantic comedies analyzed on the net

Christmas movie tropes are a bit like putting on an old pair of comfy slippers. Not necessarily top quality, but no question of doing without.

Love triangle, love at first sight, frenemy… the romcoms that we like to see again at the end of the year are full of archetypes and sometimes telephoned situations that we like to find. This is also the case with the Internet, which likes to baptize, catalog and replay them on video.

What is a trope?

Anglicism now used everywhere on the networks, a trope designates a narrative convention, an archetype of all kinds, whether it is a category of character, a type of reversal of the situation, or even a set of springs and devices specific to a genre, whether we speak of science fiction, novels of fantasy or Christmas movies …

As the TV Tropes website explains, which amuses itself by listing these devices in movies and TV series, tropes are the means by which “a story is told by anyone has a story to tell.” ”

Some examples of famous tropes to understand: The Chosen One or The Chosen One (ex: Matrix, Harry Potter…), Insta-Love, (immediate love) very present in YA literature – for Young Adult (ex: Twilight, Romeo and Juliet…), or Woman in Refrigerator (the woman in the fridge, a term coined in 1999 by screenwriter Gail Simone), which we often find in comics and which describes these situations where the murder or the rape of the beloved woman (girl or lover) at the very beginning of the narration launches the hero in a vengeful spiral (ex: Gladiator, Braveheart, Taken…) Note: it is possible to find the non-exhaustive list of these women on the site of the same name.


Attention, a trope is different from a cliché, as further underlined TV Trope : “(Tropes) may be brand new but seem mundane and hackneyed; they may be thousands of years old, but look fresh and new. They are not bad, they are not good. Tropes are tools that the creator of a work of art uses to express their ideas to the public. It’s virtually impossible to create a story without tropes. Conversely, it is possible (even recommended) to write a story without clichés.

Internet loves tropes

From YouTube to Reddit and TikTok, the whole Internet loves to dissect tropes, decipher them one by one, rank them in order of preference and decree which ones should be banned. la pop culture (you, Woman in Refrigerator ! )

For example, the Youtube channel The Take tackles different character archetypes and analyzes them in depth, whether it’s la girl next door (the girl next door), from the cool girl or even nice guy (the nice guy).

For her part, the American fantasy author Jenna Moreci is famous for the “top 10” (the 10 worst tropes of love stories, the 10 worst villain profiles …) offered on her Youtube channel and for her opinions. well decided on archetypes that it is urgent to throw in the trash. (The one she abhors above all else: from Enemies-to-Lovers, very significant in YA literature, which tells the story of the evolution of a relationship from the status of enemy to that of lover. For her, this trope should be banned, because it is toxic for a young audience who would be too quick to believe that if a man tries to assassinate you, it is because in fact he likes you …)

On TikTok, we replay scenes from the most popular tropes, including those from Christmas movies (an overly busy journalist who doesn’t have time for personal relationships, a prince who falls in love with a social worker … ) Where to find these delicious sketches: under #cheesymovietropes (1.3 million views) and #hallmarkchristmasmovies (48.1 million views), in reference to the Hallmark Channel, an American television channel known for producing Christmas movies full of clichés …

Finally, Reddit is not left out with the r / HallmarkMovies subreddit created in 2016 and counting some 5,000 members. They like to discuss tropes and Christmas movies, so much so that their favorite tropes have been used to establish a classification of the best tropes taken up by the press …

Top 5 tropes of Christmas romcoms

For redditors, things are clear, certain tropes have become essentials. Here’s one of their favorites … (Spoiler: The common thread is that the main character falls in love.)

The return to the small town Christmas : To conduct a vaguely-themed journalistic investigation, an overworked workaholic who hates Christmas is forced to return to the small town where she grew up. There, she rediscovers the simple joys of life, meets love (a childhood friend who works at the local hardware store) and opens a pastry shop far from the hustle and bustle of New York. (Ex: Christmas at home)

Love under the tree : she hates Christmas and is harassed by her parents who do not understand her celibacy. To avoid family tragedies, she brings her beasts (or ass plan) to play the role of his half. Between two glasses of mulled wine, she ends up falling in love with him to the sound of christmas carol. (Ex : Holidate, Love Hard)

They replay a classic of literature : the story takes up the scenario of a monument of English literature (Pride and Prejudice, A Christmas Carol…) but this time takes place under the snow in Chicago, with cell phones and Starbucks lattes. (Shaved…)

And in fact, she’s a princess (or anything to do with royalty) : a waitress in Philadelphia one day receives a mysterious calligraphic letter telling her that she is in fact the heir to the throne of a tiny country (whose snowy and very Old Europe aesthetic reminds us of Switzerland or Bavaria). On board a private jet (or sometimes a sleigh), she must come as quickly as possible to block a greedy and dishonest prime minister who wants to get his hands on the kingdom’s finances. The heroine will take the opportunity to fall in love during a game of sledding. (The Princess of Chicago 1, 2 and 3, A Christmas Prince, A royal Christmas…)

Santa’s heir : While she had not asked for anything, she is forced to take over from her father (Santa Claus) to save the end of year holidays and make the world a better place. (Noelle, Santa’s daughter…)