Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Another Trope!

This one is called the Abhorrent Admirer, and is really kind of freaky. Like really REALLY freaky.

Abhorrent Admirer

"My man! Come to Lena!"
— Lena HyenaWho Framed Roger Rabbit (pictured, much to our dismay)

An ugly or overweight female is noticeably attracted to a male protagonist. Maybe she's even a little forward about it. The protagonist realizes this, and is profoundly uncomfortable with the whole idea, but the female character either doesn't realize he's not interested or is undeterred. Yet the character is not just uncomfortable; he's shocked, horrified, or disgusted. Even a wave and a smile from her will be treated as a fate worse than death for the recipient. Hilarity Ensues.
In some cases, the point of the joke is that the protagonist is too nice to say anything, thus allowing the situation to come up repeatedly. In others, just portraying the protagonist's reaction — which may be closer to mortal terror than awkwardness — is considered enough of a punchline on its own.
The Abhorrent Admirer differs from more sympathetic characters in one key respect: the audience is expected to find her both unattractive and extremely unsympathetic, and is supposed to feel sorry for the protagonist because she has him in her sights and just won't take a hint or proves resistant to the clue-by-four.
These characters tend strongly to be female rather than male, as a result of a few different gender stereotypes. For one thing, No Guy Wants to Be Chased means the mere fact that a woman takes the initiative in courting a man is often portrayed as evidence that she must have something wrong with her; for another, double standard rapemeans that sexually aggressive women are viewed as less threatening, and therefore more comical, than men who impose their attentions on obviously unwilling women. However, in recent years the male "undesirable suitor" has become more common in comedies.
An increasingly occurring variant of this trope is when the amorous woman in question is Transsexual—typically when a male character discovers that the lovely lady he's been chatting up in the bar either isn't really a lady, or wasn't born with the standard-issue female equipment. This is typically played for laughs, tending toward mocking the hapless and naive fellow.
This trope is Older Than Print: the original might be the medieval legend of the "loathly lady", which is the basis of "The Wife of Bath's Tale" in that thing by Ye Father Engelishe Litterture. Loathly ladies also figure in several Child Ballads.
May or may not overlap with Stalker with a Crush, though that one usually isn't Played for Laughs. The Old Maid,Grande DameBrawn Hilda and Lady Drunk are likely candidates to act out this trope. Compare Extraverted NerdHollywood NerdBeast and Beauty. Contrast Ugly Guy, Hot Wife. For versions where only the personality is a problem, see No Guy Wants to Be ChasedRomantic Runner-Up and Casanova WannabeKavorka Man is an inversion... and overwhelmingly male.