I came across the word trope in a Guardian blog entry on Asus at this year's CES 2011.
To quote, the article, the line was:
"He's working the Steve Jobs trope, by walking back and forth and talking slowly, but it's not quite as compelling."
Trope in this usage is an "overused device", referring to Steve's Jobs habit of walking back and forth on stage. Trope also refers to expressions or themes that have been overused to the point of being a cliche.
Example: When I watched the movie, the director pulled in the usual thriller tropes to the point that I got bored midway through it and fell asleep.