The random pregnancy.
The boss who won't listen so that the hero has to do something risky without backup.
The love triangle that tears friends apart.
These scenarios are so common that you probably thought of a show or two that's driving you nuts using them while reading the words.
Common scenarios, also called TV tropes, have their uses, but more often than not they just make viewers choose between pulling their hair out and changing the channel! But with a little creativity, these tropes can easily be turned into something original that'll get people talking, and not just about how annoyed they are.
Some shows are already doing this but some are not. Here's our picks for the top 13 TV tropes that may or may not be being used effectively.
Love Triangles Tearing Friends Apart
We've seen this over and over. Two women, best friends at the beginning of the storyline, both fall for the same guy and pretty soon they've become bitter enemies out to destroy the competition.
Thankfully, Riverdale chose to turn this trope on its head by having Betty and Veronica decide to put their friendship with each other over their feelings for Archie.
Maybe other shows will follow suit or, better yet, have two guys pine over the same girl or throw some non-heterosexual love interests into the mix.
Contrived Couple Drama
On-screen romances would be boring if all that happened was that two people fated to get together did and lived happily ever after. But sometimes the will-they-won't-they question gets dragged on for too long or couples face ridiculous obstacles for the sake of creating drama, making viewers stop caring whether they get together or not.
Jamie and Eddie on Blue Bloods are a prime example of this – how many seasons now has it been without much forward movement in their story?
This one has such an easy fix, too. Just let the couple face some sort of problem together so that their happily ever after is less fairy-tale like and more true to real life and real love.
People Getting Into Dangerous Situations That Could Have Easily Been Prevented
Everyone loves a little excitement, but when characters' lives are in danger for no reason except their own stupidity, it cheapens the plot.
Days of Our Lives does this often, constantly letting bad guys get away with obvious crimes because the police are stupid and oblivious.
Recently, Gabi was kidnapped by a rogue cop because she ignored instructions to avoid a crime scene minutes after her FBI-agent love interest explained to her how dangerous it was.
Good drama doesn't insult viewers' intelligence like this. How about showing citizens getting in trouble while working with the cops instead of doing their jobs for them?
Bosses That Refuse to Listen for No Reason
Conflicts at work often drive TV plots, and that's all well and good, but not when the conflict is that the boss refuses to listen to a clearly competent employee, leading to rebellious behavior, danger, or other problems.
This pretty much drove the plot for the entire first season of Homeland, when CIA agent Carrie's suspicions about a newly-returned POW from Afghanistan were dismissed even though it was her job to have those kinds of suspicions and investigate them.
How about a more plausible reason for this kind of conflict, like pressure to cover up the situation from someone higher in the chain of command?
Women Cutting Their Hair Because of Trauma
For some reason, women's hairstyle choices are used as evidence of psychological problems on many TV shows. Women cut their hair to gain control over their lives or make a statement about changes to their identity.
Although Law and Order: SVU has been guilty of this from time to time (in an early episode a rape victim who couldn't deal with what had happened to her showed up with a shorter haircut), the show – or at least its star &nash; also turns this trope on its head.
Diehard SVU fans are sometimes curious about what hairstyle Olivia Benson will be wearing this year, as Mariska Hargitay has sported a different style in every one of the show's previous 17 seasons.
The Cop Who Relentlessly Pursues Justice
TV has been full of cops who are passionate about justice and strive to make the world a better place since Dragnet premiered in the late 1950s.
Today's crime dramas try to take a more nuanced view, but the stereotype remains.
The sadly short-lived Chicago Justice didn't deal with cops as much as lawyers, but it did a good job of subverting this trope by having its main attorney be stubborn nd naive to social realities so that his behavior often did more harm than good to people he thought he was standing up for.