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Kitten says, Top 10 most annoying character tropes

Journal Entry: Fri May 25, 2012, 9:22 AM


8) Tastes like diabetes



What is it? These are the characters that try really hard to be cute. They are always politically correct, always do the right thing and are supposed to represent fragile innocent snowflakes of wonder. These characters are usually children or act as such, and the writer tries really really hard for them to befriend everyone or be liked by every living thing they meet. Other writers make these character speak in a 'cute' way like speaking in third person or replacing letters.

Why is it a problem? Oof, where to start. This trope is extremely annoying, and I see it all the time in pokemon. I'm going to try to explain without going in a full on rant on this subject.

Cuteness and childlike characters are really difficult to write. However, whenever I see a team with a high 'kawaii' factor I immediately lose interest. Here's why I think that this trope should be stopped or written better.

The thing is that most of the pokemon, by default, are already cute. You don't need to add bigger eyes or more sparkles or whatever. These creatures are designed to appeal to children so they can buy their cute product. The job is already done, you don't need to sprinkle more cuteness on these characters.

Another problem with 'cute' characters is that they don't have an edge that makes them interesting. If they always do the right thing and never make mistakes (or if they make mistakes it's not 'their fault) then I can predict this character will remain the same throughout the story. Why do I feel the need to care about characters that are not going to change and grow? Not to mention that it's irrealistic, ESPECIALLY concerning children who their whole purpose in their existance is to make mistakes and grow from them.

Finally I would like to add that I myself work with children. I'm in charge of a day care within a theme park, and I see kids of every single type and age and interact with them. While most of them are sweet and cute, they are some of the weirdest people around. Since everything is new to them, they react in a very bizarre way and a lot of the time they can be cruel to others. Innocence does not equal 'Pure and good' it means someone 'inexperienced'. When kids make mistakes they usually have no conscious of it and they need an adult to show them morally what's right. They are sponges in their enviroment without developed morals, and in the wrong hands they can also be dangerous. I've also never, ever, ever, EVER encountered a child who speaks in third person. Yes I've encountered some that speak in a cutesy way but this first person thing just sounds like the writer wants to add 70 sugar cubes into your brain.

All in all, children and child like characters need to make more mistakes and learn from them for them to work. Cuteness for the sake of cuteness implies emptiness and is a bore to read.

How to fix it: Firstly, you need to take a look at universally known cute characters and what their true appeal is. For example, cute characters like Winnie the Pooh and Kirby are gluttons and despite their cute appearance this trait usually works against them (well not much in Kirby's case). Tigger from Winnie the Pooh is also seen as cute by many but his hyperactive nature makes him fuck up a lot and many characters become annoyed by him. Envision your character in a REALISTIC setting. If a child writes all over your walls or throws your cellphone in the toilet you will not react in a 'Awww he didn't mean to!' way.

Secondly, tweak the design. Make your character's cuteness come from the inside. I think it's much more interesting if a Grimer makes me squeal with it's cuteness than a Cleffa who's cute by default. make your readers feel something new towards a character they would've never considered in being cute.

In my eyes, the cuteness from a character's action comes from his drive to be a better person despite the fact that he/she makes mistakes. You need to give your character something else other than depending on his/her looks and give it more layers. Remember that these type of characters are the ones that are supposed to change the most since they are inexperienced individuals that gain knowledge in every experience they encounter.

Finally I will like to add that the best written 'innocent' characters I've read are ones with some edge in them. Despite being cute, Kirby can kick your ass, or despite being a child Lilo (from Lilo & Stitch) is extremely quirky and has twisted morals. Of course you need to balance it out and give a very good reason why they are this way and not just sprinkle traits for the sake of it.

So has anyone encountered or is bothered by this trope?

Add a Comment:
 
:iconinvadermaythe1st:
invaderMaythe1st Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've never seen "tastes like diabetes" used for anything other than food.

I find the statement a little offensive anyway, but geez, the only way this fits is because the character tries to be sweet. ://
Reply
:iconether-muse:
Ether-Muse Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2016  Student Interface Designer
I have been reading all of your tropes and I have to say, I agree to every single thing you have typed down! I have seen this kind of trope in some of my RPs and it has been bugging me. Reading this have gave more better and more broad insight in the tropes that exists in current RPs. ^-^ Keep up the great work. I definitely would love for you to make something similar to these, especially of current RPs. Maybe I could even share a few interesting thoughts.
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:icongameb9oy:
Gameb9oy Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013
U know this stuff can apply 2 just about any type of writing. Maybe I can apply this stuff if I ever get the nerve 2 post something on this site, thanks 4 posting this stuff.
Reply
:iconshadeofshinon:
ShadeofShinon Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I've encountered and I've been bothered by this trope. This journal is excellent and a very good read. You got to the point and presented some nice solutions for the problems as well as very good examples.
I don't have anything to add. I just wanted to say this is a good journal entry. :>
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Wow thank you! :D That means a lot coming from you :hug:
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:iconshadeofshinon:
ShadeofShinon Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome. :D
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:iconshadowseapnt:
Shadowseapnt Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hey, you remember when you said a cute Grimer would be better here? Well, I found something close.

Adorable Muk! Enjoy~ [link]
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:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Omg, it's like a melted cookie monster YESSSSSSSSSS! :heart:
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:iconshadowseapnt:
Shadowseapnt Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Only purple! I know. X3
Reply
:iconzactoab:
zactoab Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I have a strange desire to make a Moe Koffing.

So when I saw you mention "Make someone cute when you wouldn't expect it", that's the first thought I had.
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hahahah yesss that would be epic.
Reply
:iconzactoab:
zactoab Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Student Digital Artist
It would certainly be a writing challenge, but it would be almost guaranteed to be interesting, too.
Reply
:iconeternanyx:
eternanyx Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am disturbed by these characters as well. It's as if their brain cells have died and they are determined to destroy everyone else's with their adorableness. They make no sense whatsoever. Cute to look at. But if there's nothing else to them than that, what's the point in creating them?
Reply
:iconsalemsword:
Salemsword Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
(Note to self when developing Lulu make her interesting xD Maybe she can be secretly an evil mastermind...{to cliched}... Maybe she ends up in a dire situation caused by her own innocence...Wait damn already been done...*continues on into rant*)

Thanks for this :) it really helps developing writers and story-boarders develop their craft many artists try and use cliched tactics to make their story interesting. As an avid reader (mostly of teen fiction :iconcreepystareplz:) i've run into many different characters from the "class clown" to the "Hopeless romantic" so learning how to prevent these cliches from appearing in any of my writing is very helpful. Thanks Kittengoo
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:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Your very welcome! :3
Reply
:icontokiball12345:
Tokiball12345 Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ahh, I love all these critiques you're doing.
I'm not even sure that's the right word.
Oh well. lD

But still, these are really awesome! C:
Reply
:iconhibiwiki:
HibiWiki Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I fail at this. but I do try and make my characters..."cute" but not THAT CUTE
Reply
:iconsintaux:
Sintaux Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
These are all really awesome kitten. They all have excellent points without going on a rant about the subject, and are really well written over all!
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Thank you :)! I'm glad they are helpful!
Reply
:iconjwmidnight:
JWMidnight Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
"Tastes like Diabetes" lmao, these are so great! Keep it up, they're really good.
I do know of certain characters that do this and it's quite annoying, because the character itself is just so...boring, I don't want to interact with it.
Reply
:iconroyalroses:
RoyalRoses Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
"Ok, where to start."
Best line ever. xD
Reply
:iconspringdragonfly:
SpringDragonfly Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
How do you survive working in a daycare. I can barely handle babysitting.

Thanks for posting this, I'm going to take a look at my younger characters again. They're not in diabetes land (I think), but I think it wouldn't hurt to look back at their childhoods and see what makes sense.
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Your welcome :D

For some reason I'm really good with kids o.o I have a a lot of patience with them and I have no idea why.
Reply
:iconspringdragonfly:
SpringDragonfly Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I'm not. I have a low patience for them and they can sense that I'm not a good authority leader. The last time I babysat, one of the kids tried to convince me that I had spent the whole night calling them by the wrong name.
Reply
:iconramunepop:
RamunePop Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I am guilty of this trope TO THE MAX XD

Luckily, none of my 'cute' characters fall under all or a majority of of the traits you listed.

I don't mind a super-duper, puresugar cute character as long as he/she is not one of the main characters, really x3

As for the third person thing, I always thought it fit better on an eccentric adult character, or an antagonistic teenage cute girl whom the creator designed with that quirk to deliberately annoy the audience a bit. I never thought it fit children too well.
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Yeah if they are not the main focus, it's not as annoying :)
And yes the third person thing works IF the character knows they are speaking incorrectly or they were raised that way (which is very rare)
Reply
:iconlivious:
Livious Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Filmographer
THIS.
Man, that trope is one of the ones that annoy me the most. ESPECIALLY "cute-based" teams. Thank you so much for pointing that out. :'D
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Your welcome ;)
Reply
:iconlyndsey96:
lyndsey96 Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Man, I feel you about the whole working with kids thing. I used to do this thing at a tae kwon do summer camp. So not only were they evil, spoiled little brats, but THEY KNEW TAE KWON DO. Imagine a bunch of 10 year olds ganging up on you. not a fun experience.

I mean the cute ones were really evil and beyond spoiled! Thus, I agree about this trope and suddenly realize that I am guilty. *sigh*
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Usually people who fall in this trope portray children how they want them to be and I don't blame them. I would love for my kid to be well behaved and perfect, unfortunately that isn't real life :(
Reply
:iconlyndsey96:
lyndsey96 Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
YOU HAVE A KID (lol jk!)

But yeah. I know I wasn't a little angel either. I was pretty manipulative actually O.o
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
ahahaha no I don't xD!

And yes, I was really manipulative especially to my little sister.
Reply
:iconlyndsey96:
lyndsey96 Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
To my parents really. I had such power... to bad I was too dumb to realize it! But yeah I'd lie to my lil bro all the time. :/
Reply
:iconcriticalquit:
CriticalQuit Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
Yeah I think you did mean third person, first person is saying "I" and "me."

Anyway, THANK YOU.
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Corrected! :3

And your welcome XD
Reply
:iconcriticalquit:
CriticalQuit Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
Hopefully Caroline won't fit this trope. Despite being adorable, I don't think she does, she definitely doesn't ACT kawaii. She's really cowardly and does not always do the right thing, more likely to flee even when others need her than stay and face fears.
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
As long as the consequences and actions can be seen in a realistic setting then I don't see the character fitting this trope :) And yes, I've encountered many cowardly children and it's really hard for them to grow out of it. Usually they hide behind someone stronger or someone they consider their 'protector' but other times they run off alone.
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:iconcriticalquit:
CriticalQuit Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
That's Caroline. I try to keep her realistic, she'll mostly try to hide from battle, if anything hide behind Brace, who as the thickheaded hero he is, makes an excellent defender until he gets his stupid ass knocked out again XD
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:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
haha then by the sounds of it, she doesn't fit the trope :)
Reply
:iconcriticalquit:
CriticalQuit Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
Yup. I try my hardest to make sure my characters are well-shaped and thus do not fit tropes like the ones you're using.
Reply
:icongoddess-chachi:
Goddess-Chachi Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
...Did you mean third person instead of first person? Like speaking with saying their name ("Chachi wants icecream!")?

Although, I do agree with you here. Personally, I don't believe in the "innocence" of children. They can be cute, but in my eyes, their sticky, cunning little masterminds who are always overlooked because people only see them as children. I think children are very, very smart. Inexperienced, yes, but they figure out more things than we adults tend to give them credit for. :)
Reply
:iconcaramelfrog:
CaramelFrog Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Oops! Thanks for telling me :3

And yes, kids can be very smart but it depends how they are raised. If the parent let's the child figure out problems on their own (and only guide them in the right track instead of doing stuff for them) they can be very smart. Cunning too since they know that they are kids and they can get away with things.
Reply
:icongoddess-chachi:
Goddess-Chachi Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome.

Ha ha I'm very annoyed by this trope, due to my personal beliefs about children. :XD: Luckily, I have yet to read a story that really features such a character. Fruits Basket came close to portraying this trope, but in the end, it was all right. But lol yeah, there are some dumb kids out ther too. :XD: Having babysat many a child, I can agree with you there.
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