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Related: genre theory - stock character - stereotype - ordinary
Example: It was a dark and stormy night
"When all the archetypes burst out shamelessly, we plumb the depths of Homeric profundity. Two cliches make us laugh but a hundred cliches moves us because we sense dimly that the cliches are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion . . . Just as the extreme of pain meets sensual pleasure, and the extreme of perversion borders on mystical energy, so too the extreme of banality allows us to catch a glimpse of the Sublime." -- Umberto Eco, "Casablanca: Cult Movies and Intertextual Collage" (1984) from Travels in Hyperreality
A cliché is anything that is overused, often to the point of being rendered meaningless.
A common form of a cliché is an overused phrase that has a standard, figurative meaning. For example, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
In literary fiction, clichés often take the form of predictable characters or situtations, for example the stereotypical peg-legged pirate searching for treasure.
Movie clichés are similar to the ones found in literature, with a particular focus on predictable situtations. For example, a common film cliché is for a fruit stand to be knocked over during a chase sequence. Another cliche, it could be said, is when a killer is killed in an horror movie, only to be revived for the next sequel. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliche
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