Melodrama: Why Stereotypes and Tropes in Entertainment are Just Fine

Don’t be so melodramatic. We’ve all heard the admonition, either directed at us or by us at another person. The term is also generally considered pejorative when applied to modern performance styles.

But why? What’s so wrong with melodrama? Really nothing. Victorian-style melodramas like the one I’m currently rehearsing for are big, loud . . . and trope heavy. I believe that’s why this genre term is so often used negatively, despite the fact that pretty much any Marvel movie is one.

See, in modern entertainment, I’ve noticed this compulsive need to avoid the stereotypical at all costs; and stereotypes and tropes go hand in hand. The brave, dashing, [arbitrary trait descriptor] hero/heroine must save the day, avoid violence after the Lone Ranger fashion, and of course, win the fair one in danger. The villain shall have no redeeming qualities.

And don’t forget, characterization isn’t a huge priority. It’s nice to have some sense of your character, but we really don’t need six pages of family history for them. At the end of the day, we all fit stereotypes and we all break them. Why expect our entertainment to be any different?

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