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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya break down common tropes in romance literature and discuss their favorites.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Kenrya: It's time for Know Your Trope with Kenrya and Erica.
Erica: Da, ding, ding. Know your trope.
Kenrya: Yes, I love it.
Erica: You sounded so official, so I had to nigga it up a little bit.
Kenrya: It's fine, girl. That's what makes us good together. So romance, erotica, shit, pretty much all literary works and films rely on these things called tropes. And they help to move stories forward ... But what are tropes? We're about to tell you.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: Basically they are these common themes and they help people to orient themselves in the story. I think of them as handrails that help you understand what's going to come next. When they're done well, they give a writer a really solid place to start a story before they mix things up, hopefully to keep it interesting. But when they aren't done well, they're boring and predictable, like the very worst of the Hallmark or Lifetime movies where you already know what's going to happen as soon as they show the woman leaving her job and walking into an inn with a big suitcase.
Erica: And the snow storm approaching.
Kenrya: Exactly. So, in an effort to help y'all, our dear listeners.
Erica: One of my questions is, well for the readers, listeners.
Erica: For our listeners, why the hell would-
Kenrya: Who are also readers.
Erica: Why the hell would you use a trope? And so, my answer to that is look at Bad Boy, the record company. They built an entire label on sampling really good music. And so, that's kind of how I look at a trope. It's like okay, it's somewhere to start, it's something to of give you a little bit of guidance. And if you can do it well, if you got Stevie J and the Hitmakers on your team, you can freak that shit and build an empire.
Kenrya: Right. Yeah, and so it's good for writers in that way. And it's also good for readers because it helps you to ... You don't want to come in completely, unless you're like me. I really do like to know literally nothing when I start a movie or a book. But most people want to know a little bit of something. That's why we have trailers and why we have sneak previews and excerpts and shit like that. So, it gives you just a little taste of what's going to happen to get you oriented to what's going to come next. Yeah, so you're not feeling lost-
Erica: I also look at it like a sports game. You know the rules-
Kenrya: Do explain.
Erica: You know the rules. You know this is basketball, you know that there's 15 players on each team. How many players are on a basketball team?
Kenrya: Well, I think it's only five on the court per team at a time. That's where the sixth man comes from.
Erica: Anyway, I thought sixth man was a football term. Anyway-
Erica: Yeah, but it's kind of like a sports thing. You know what you're getting into. It's just-
Kenrya: Yeah. It defines the rules of the universe in a way.
Erica: Yeah. How well is this going to play out?
Kenrya: Or not.
Erica: Or no, yeah. Okay. Sorry, I just had to-
Kenrya: No, I love it-
Erica: I'm always looking for metaphors.
Kenrya: You are and they're always really good and weird.
Erica: But we get there.
Kenrya: You get there.
Erica: Get on this train, we gonna get to the station.
Kenrya: So, today we thought we would do a quick breakdown of a couple of our favorite tropes.
Kenrya: All right, so I'm going to start with friends to lovers. You've seen it. In this joint we meet two people who are destined to be together but they don't know it yet. We might meet them when they're kids and getting bathed next to each other and shit and might not be able to see why anybody else would think that they're attractive because it's just that little ashy nigga that lived next door my whole life.
Kenrya: Or we might meet them as adults and they may be the folks who are quote unquote best friends who comfort each other while they with terrible ass other people. This makes me think of things like “Love and Basketball,” “Brown Sugar,” Sanaa Lathan was in a lot...
Erica: “Love and Basketball” was trash though, now that I think about it.
Kenrya: What makes it trash? In hindsight-
Kenrya: The fact that he didn't want her until-
Erica: Yeah. I'm not going to play you for ... I don't remember a lot about it but I wish the fuck you will be like, play me for my heart. Bitch, keep that raggedy ass heart. Sorry.
Kenrya: And then by then he couldn't even play.
Erica: Yeah, so it was like-
Kenrya: She had to be the bread winner-
Erica: By the time you now, nevermind.
Kenrya: Now you want me? That's cool.
Kenrya: But so that is a thing. I feel like ... Well, I love Brown Sugar and that's definitely the thing there, where they supposedly are just friends and then they accidentally fuck and it's like oh, okay. We in love. I see you differently now. We in love. And then we also saw it in a couple of the books that we did earlier in the show, like “Can't Escape Love.”
Kenrya: By Alyssa Cole. They're supposed to be friends. They weren't lifelong friends, but they're supposed to be friends and then they ended up fucking.
Kenrya: And “From Scratch,” which is interesting because it's the male portion of the love situation, the triad that have been friends and kind of like a mentor-mentee for a long time before they ended up fucking, so I thought that was interesting.
Kenrya: But yeah, in these movies we see that they're really determined to fight, that they actually are love connection even though, because of the way the trope is set up, everyone who's reading and watching can see that it is coming. But they do shit like acting shady toward their best friend's partner, and taking long showers and staring off into the distance as they think about how supportive they're friend is. Meanwhile they partner is shitty as hell. And then eventually they progress to imagine in the sex that they might have until they finally get to the point where they kiss or fuck inappropriately-
Erica: Pull a titty out.
Erica: Pull your titty out.
Kenrya: They run away from each other. And then they come back and they realize it's you.
Erica: It's always been you.
Kenrya: Exactly. And then they get together. So, that is the friends to lovers trope ... Yeah, and it's interesting. I mean, I love it, but I ain't ... that ain't. I mean, I guess I think it's good because you get to see them develop a relationship that doesn't have anything to do with romance, which I think is actually important, necessary to have a real relationship that's going to last any kind of years. It can't ... Although I adore sex, I feel like if you're trying to build a life with somebody, that has to be an important part of it, but not the only part. So, I think that's part of why I liked this one, because you get to see how their relationships develop before they even think of each other romantically.
Erica: Oh, and then there's always the, I don't want to ruin this part of the-
Kenrya: Yes. Yeah, and I'm like, but you just make it better, but all right girl, go off.
Erica: If it don't work, but yeah. Okay, so the trope that I picked was the love triangle. And it is what it sounds like, three people, maybe more, somebody's got to choose. Sometimes it's a choice of one person having two people to pick from. Oftentimes they're so different that it's evil versus good, that kind of thing.
Kenrya: But the evil one has a heart of gold.
Erica: Exactly. But the reason I like this trope is because ... I actually like this trope because I feel like increasingly it's becoming an opportunity to showcase different types of relationships, polyamorous relationships, because we covered this in a few books so far in our show. “Fire Baptized,” wasn't there-
Erica: Which actually-
Kenrya: Ended up turning into a-
Erica: You mentioned “From Scratch.” She didn't have to choose. She had them both-
Erica: And “Lead Me Astray.” So, I feel ... Oh, and then also “My Billionaire Benefactor.” We didn't quite get into the end of it, but she had two sugar daddies that was both after her [crosstalk 00:08:44] and her main boo was like, I want you to be just mine. So anyway, I feel like-
Kenrya: That did happen.
Erica: It's a classic trope because one, who doesn't want to be wanted by everybody?
Erica: But two, like with “From Scratch,” it gives you an opportunity to explore some-
Kenrya: You don't have to choose.
Erica: Yeah, like to explore some new and naughty situations.
Kenrya: That's interesting because yeah, and when we see that play out in movies, it's always a choice. We never get to see people be like why don't we just all be together?
Erica: Yes, and I actually like-
Kenrya: See? Look at these books innovating.
Erica: Yeah, our books have been innovative. So yeah, that's what I got. I know that was much shorter than your explanation.
Kenrya: It was just me running my mouth. But that's cool because guess what?
Erica: Now we've learned. Now you know.
Kenrya: This has been-
Erica: I don't remember the melody.
Kenrya: Know Your Tropes.
Erica: Know Your Tropes.
Kenrya: With Kenrya and Erica.
Erica: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya and edited by B'Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. We want to hear from y'all. Send your book recommendations and all the burning sex and related questions you want us to answer to TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com. And please subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app. Follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast and find links to our books, transcripts, guest info and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com. And remember, the turn on is now part of the Frolic Podcast Network. You can find more shows you'll love at Frolic.media/podcast. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you soon. Holla.
The Turn On
The Turn On is a podcast for Black people who want to get off. To open their minds. To learn. To be part of a community. To show that we love and fuck too, and it doesn't have to be political or scandalous or dirty. Unless we want it to be.