DISCUSSION & GROUP CHAT: Legendary Episode Cliches - Are They That Bad?

➤ So, I know at least someone in this group has heard or experienced through Episode stories of cliches, ideas and stereotypes. But could you imagine a story without a number of them? Chat in the comments!

1. Bad Boys and Mafias
In badass leather jackets, smoking hot shades, a smooth reputation with one night stands and keeping a dark secret, bad boys are way intimate with the readers who binge watches and scans Episode original and featured chapters relating to bad boys and mafia gangs in your home page.

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For instance, the okay Bad Boy’s Girl with obsessed manipulator and brainwasher Nicole, protagonist Fatty Tessie and the Stone brothers –

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Or the heart-melting romance inside the story Bad Boy Roommate when you end up living with a dashing and handsome rule breaker and girl charmer, Shane, who is protesting he doesn’t do dating but blushes profusely every time you’re there, and his best friend Austin who has eyes for you too. Then there’s the completely weird and conceited Madison who can’t even take a hint Shane is over her. Dreamy and competitive love triangle for me to growl in frustration when it’s that moment to choose who you want –

To be honest, the path which I understand it, and no judgment please, but most of them include:
a. Stating the obvious, a bad boy who has trashed and hooked up with near everything that has a pulse and breath on the school campus.
b. The female main character who refuses the bad boy and somewhat interests him.
c. Bad boy tries to seduce her and his companions notice and tease him about it.
d. In the end they get together and leave the bad boy’s horde of crazy fangirls behind.

Epitome of the typical bad boy story. People say bad boys are overused, we need more angelic, rule-abiding scholars and class presidents. What do you think?

2. Mean Girls & Rivalry
I mean, can you imagine a story without an antagonist? The one who’s kind of undergoing therapy treatment because of her disgusting psycho behavior and jealous of you since the love interest is drooling over you? Nope. If they were permanently removed, when would your savage sense come into use? In fact some Episode story plots are entirely constructed out of rivalry and to outdone each other in a contest.

Via The K*ss List – your dominant personality then forces you to meet Riley the girl who wears pink every day, and her henchmonkeys in the K*ss List to take the throne, her private bathroom and Riley’s crown at the Black and White Ball.
Also the sickening mental image when you have the choice to FREAKING THROW A BEEHIVE AT RILEY to only GET RID OF HER! Isn’t that, like, criminal-based?

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Nevertheless, this story is seriously enjoyable. Excluding that scene where you plant a buzzing beehive on Riley’s face.
STEPS TO RECOGNIZE A MEAN GIRL

  1. A whole lot of sass, sashays around as if she owns the whole school which in this case she probably does, figuratively speaking.
  2. Loaded, rich and intimidating. Take Riley, she even wears tinted glasses indoors so that’s a sign they’re kind of desperate to remain on the reign.

What’s your opinion? Are mean girls essential, can everybody just deal with life and be nice to each other, or is rivalry neccessary?

Any other cliches or unfair details you noticed in Episode stories?

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Tbh, I love the bad boy cliche. But the ones that you see on the app are more or less the same plot. When done right, I think the trope could live on forever. For example, earlgreytea’s I Married a Millionaire. Darius is portrayed as a rich douchebag playboy who can’t settle down, but upon meeting Cara, he develops feelings for her and loses interest in sleeping around. Is it a cliche plot? Very much so lol. But she wrote it so well and developed Darius further than the typical “rich guy who is an entitled prick and think he owns the world” cliche. However, I do think that we need more “golden boys”. They do exist, and it’s really refreshing to read a story with a relatable character with relatable problems. Stories like Dare to Dream, Legally Clueless, and Finding Ourselves Together (I wouldn’t categorize Nate as a cliche bad boy in this story, so I’m counting it).

As for mean girls, oh my god, I hate them. Them as people and the cliche. Personally, I’ve never met a mean girl. At my high school, I had a looootttt of girls that would technically be classified as mean girls (the popular girl type), but they were all pretty nice girls. Mean girls are definitely not an essential trope and can be completely eliminated from the YA genre. I honestly think the real life cliche has died down over the years, since us millenials and Gen Z kids are generally more open and accepting people. I think we’ve strayed away from the past generation’s mentality of racism and sexism and judgement. Of course you’re still going to meet rude and stuck up entitled people, but is it really as big of an issue now as it once was?

Too many to count, man. But, since these irk me so much:

  • Shy girls turned badass (I am a very shy and socially awkward girl and I can tell you that if I was presented with the situations that you see in stories pertaining to this cliche, I would 100% hightail my ass out of there lol)
  • African American characters with European features (I’ve seen this topic come up a lot lately. Even though I’m hella white, it still bothers me. Like, yeah, it’s a game and it’s not real, but I do not like when people misrepresent other people’s cultures and backgrounds, especially if they are not a part of them.)
  • Drastic charcter heights. (Esp. when the girl is half the height of her LI. Just… no. It’s not cute. They usually look like they are their child lolol which is why it bothers me)
  • Tragic backgrounds. Parent(s) or sibling dies and then the MC (usually male) develops trust issues and becomes a total d*ck, but then he meets a girl and blah blah blah. It’s just lame and overused.
    (Adding onto this one, I hate the emotionally abusive parent trope that is shown in stories. I grew up with emotionally abusive parents, and I feel that this trope isn’t well developed or portrayed in most stories. Like I said, the character usually develops major trust issues and sleeps around and all that jazz. Though it’s definitely real and possible, there is so much more to it than that. Many kids who grew up with parents like this now have depression and anxiety and aren’t as ‘developed’ as their peers, and the abuse with stay with you forever. I guess I just wish there were more stories that portrayed it properly.)
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I think there’re a lot of cliche topics on Episode. The thing with bad boys for me is that if I see that on the title or the description I won’t even read the story.

Other recurrent topics are girls noticed by their crushes (who are the mean and popular girl’s boyfriend at the begining) after getting a makeover, girls falling in love with their kidnapper/roommate/boss/mafia leader/band member or musician/gang member/brother’s bestfriend/teacher, teen pregnancy and other ways to romanticize abuse (especially sexual type).

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I’d only read a bad boy story on how the author portrays the bad boy. I’m sick and tired of reading a cold-hearted bad boy player who’s controlling to the MC. It is overused, so we need to find something new.

Mean girls aren’t really essential but people add them to stir up the drama. I don’t like the idea of how the queen bee has to be the mean girl, it is so overused and kind of unrealistic.

Pregnancies are also cliches as well on Episode that I wouldn’t read. Some of them are disturbing like there was one where the MC gets pregnant by their own father. Luckily, the author took it down. It’s also a bit annoying how the author throws that the MC is pregnant by her LI near the end and she’s shocked.

Nerd makeover is also annoying. Like the MC is a nerd and is ugly and then she has a makeover and becomes beautiful. I hate how the MC wears glasses to represent that she is a nerd and ugly and when she takes it off, she’s suddenly beautiful. Lol, glasses doesn’t make someone ugly.

Overall, don’t use overused cliches for your story. Try something new and unique that will hook the reader on into reading your story!

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Yes, they are that bad :rofl:

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Moved to Episode Fan Community since this is related to Episode. Make sure to check out our Forum Tutorial for more info about creating topics, and feel free to PM me if you’ve got questions. :wink:

Uhhh I think the main thing is that there should just be more fully developed characters. I hate bad boys (though I like the physical aesthetics of like tattoos and piercings but IRL these things aren’t specific to only bAd bOyS) but bad boy characters are always manipulative and controlling and abusive. They’re cold and use women and for some reason see the “””shy nerdy MC””” and are instantly attracted to her. Then they spend 20 chapters being a jerk and the MC is like “oooo but I know they’re good deep down.” And then the bad boy is like “I know I’m a jerk but you have been putting up with my BS for so long so that must be what love is” and then they get married. So yeah, I’d say it’s pretty bad. They shouldn’t be replaced by underdeveloped “golden boys” either (who generally turn out to be just as controlling and manipulate but they are also good at sports and don’t have a tattoo so they must be a Good Boy).

Developing a well-rounded personality with believable flaws is important for a story. One of the basic aspects of storytelling that these stories are missing is that the characters should drive the plot. The goal isn’t to go from abusive characters to shallow but “nice” characters. You can have characters that are emotionally reserved but not uncaring. And more than that, there are thousands of other flaws for characters to have besides emotional repression. But if you’re going to have that as a main flaw or point of interest for your character and they’re an MC or LI, the character should still have people and values they care about; you still want them to be likeable and you want readers to root for their personal and relational development.

Are mean girls necessary? Uhh nope. I mean, having external conflicts in a story is totally valid, but if you have an antagonist they should also be well-developed so your readers are trying to understand what makes them do what they do. A mean girl character or similar antagonist who has no real reason to hate the MC doesn’t add much to the story. If you can replace the characters and have the same story, that means your characters could use more development. I’m also…like, I know girls and women are socialised to see other women as competition but it would be great to see more complex narratives than “random mean guy likes the Mary Sue so I must destroy her life.” Not every woman character has to be super nice and kind. In fact, giving complex histories and rich development (even if they’re an antagonist) is one of the best things you can do to show the variety of personalities women can have.

But if it sells to write these whirlwind romances with a kind of self-insert character, then I don’t see these cliches changing much. That being said, there are still thousands (??? I’m guessing lol I definitely haven’t read all of them) of stories that avoid these cliches or subvert them. There are so many community authors writing stories that are rich in detail and development, so there’s still plenty for me to read, personally haha

I kinda love cliches but it depends. I don’t like the mafia and gang stuff or “the mean girl”. The mean girl is usually an ex or an obsessive fan of the love interest and no doubt will go to great lengths to harass the mc. Mafia and gangs just bore me since those are like a majority of episodes stories. I still love bad boy cliches even though bad boys for me aren’t really my thing.

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I agree, although I guarantee at least 3/4 of the comedy featured section has a mean girl, the comedy and romance tagged ones of course.

I agree, earlgreytea’s stories are something special :sparkles: :sparkles: :sparkles:

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