25 TV tropes you’ll definitely recognize but are super tired of seeing

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The tortured, brooding white guy

If you break down the demographics of the most popular dramas over the last decade, you’ll start to see a pattern emerge. Most of the successful shows are almost exclusively about middle-aged white men who are complicated, tortured messes.

Tony Soprano of The Sopranos fame is probably patient zero for this phenomenon, seeking out a psychiatrist to help him sort out his neuroses. After Tony, there’s been an subsequent avalanche of white guys, on TV and movies, lamenting the white man’s blues.

These men are often depicted as being crippled under the weight of their familial responsibilities, and we’re meant to sympathize with that obligation. Their wives are sometimes distant and cold, and they usually don’t understand their husbands anymore. This almost inevitably leads to a mistress, affair, or some other sort of major relationship development. Their jobs are dangerous and (usually) illegal, and yet their egos are fragile and tender.

These men usually participate in a very toxic version of cultural masculinity and are tragically ill-equipped to handle the sorts of life stresses they make for themselves. It’s too bad they alienate their wives with their infidelity, dishonesty, and emotional unavailability, because they usually choose very capable and competent women who often end up having interesting stories of their own.

Examples: The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Ray Donovan, Dexter, The Blacklist, and The Walking Dead