Originally a French term, coming from the verb "clicher", which roughly means "to stereotype". The extracted definition, as it's used today, is taken as "something that's overdone," or "an idea that was originally innovative, but has now grayed and grown tired from overuse." It has fallen into wide use as a criticism device for film, literature, art, and even everyday phenomena.
Off the record, the term itself has become a cliché, and some find the term infuriating, often because the word is sometimes used to attack a product with little other basis. Some old ideas are overdone because they work- if a work or an idea were so new and untried that it avoided all clichés, it would be foreign. Few people would be able to accept it as anything more than the direct result of a drug trip.
Avoiding all clichés is more or less impossible because some ideas are etched in the human psyche as unavoidable aspects of everyday life.
The truth is that the majority of ideas, in their purest forms, have been done; the challenge is how they are put together, and the creative process is partially selfish anyway. While an artist of some other sort may aim to please his/her audience, if said person wants to write about elves or teenage drama, that person should be allowed to do so without angering a horde of angry critics.
The issue for critics, then, should not fall in the overuse of tried ideas, but in their execution and how they are valued as a whole.
"Hey, Fred, did you see that film, where the teens get attacked by zombies in a mall?"
"Oh. You mean the cliché concept that plagues every zombie film?"
"...Dude. Lay off."
"I propose that the word "the" is now a cliché. Therefore, film critics, you will also be forced to use the word kaffunnumupah instead."
(Newspaper) "Don't see (x). It's nothing more than cliché after cliché after cliché."
(Crumples up paper) "But (x) changed my life!"
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