Hype Backlash

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Rabinowitz: What are you reading?
Topper Harley: Great Expectations.
Rabinowitz: Is it any good?
Topper Harley: It's not what I'd hoped for.

Your friends have been bugging you to watch the latest TV show that everyone's talking about. Every newspaper raves about its originality, well-deserved popularity, and effective mix of comedy and drama, on the front page of the Entertainment section. The critics are rushing to hail it as the re-definition of its genre. After the thirtieth or so "Just watch it already, geez!" and maybe a Hype Aversion stage, you finally give in, pop the DVD in your player, and lay back to enjoy the latest masterpiece...

...Except you come away with a very different opinion than your friends; to you, it's at best a mediocre show with average plots and few laughs or an utterly confusing one with more than enough Shocking Swerves to boggle the mind, a show that definitely isn't the seminal classic everyone's touting it as. What on earth did everybody see in this?

Usually occurs when Quality by Popular Vote fails. Most often, the work isn't bad in itself and would easily have been accepted as a solid and enjoyable work by the same person under different circumstances. But few things can live up to being praised as perfect works of pure genius by lots of people for long. To someone who was expecting nothing short of a flawless masterpiece, the disappointment of anything less can be bitter indeed. Bonus irony if the disappointment stems from the viewer having seen the work's elements done to death already, when the work had originated those clichés!

This trope is often the root of the gulf that can exist between the critical praise a show receives and the public reaction to it. Critics have a loud voice in influencing people about what they think is worth seeing, but it's not uncommon for them and the public to have different tastes, expectations, and demands.

This trope can also show up when, for the person disappointed by the work, something is heavily over-analyzed or praised as being more rebellious, challenging or intellectually 'deep' than it is. It's common for people coming to something that has been praised to the moon for its iconoclastic bravery or intellectual complexity to find that what they are watching is neither as revolutionary or deep as they've been led to believe. In some cases, the revolutionary unique show you're watching was only revolutionary when it was made.

If the people who are praising the work are also spoiling it in their praise, Hype Backlash becomes very likely. Almost guaranteed to occur if fans claim the work is a Trope Codifier, and/or that it's the inspiration of everything, including your beloved obscure work that was released years before it but is not as popular.

Over-enthusiastic fans can also provoke this reaction; of course, a fan of something is always going to be particularly committed and convinced of it's quality, but they can let their enthusiasm get out of hand. Often, this trope results when a person initially only had a mild dislike, or even just a passive disinterest, in a particular work - until over-enthusiastic fans of the work start harping on and/or berating the person for not enjoying the work as much as they do. This can often have the affect of making the person suddenly hate the work that he or she previously had no strong antipathy towards.

The true backlash comes when the person who "doesn't get it" becomes so irritated at others' tendency to see that work as absolutely perfect that they put as much energy into downplaying or nitpicking it to show that it isn't as wonderful as everybody seems to think it is. If pitted against a fan base so utterly enthralled with the work that they consider the slightest criticism to be an act of war, the two camps can degenerate into a vicious conflict very swiftly.

Of course, sometimes the thing really does suck according to general consensus and it becomes Deader Than Disco.

This, as well as Hype Aversion, is often a result of someone who may have been burned one too many times with "Try it - you'll like it!" promises in Real Life. Face it, everyone has one of those experiences. You probably remember as a kid being told to try something that looks and smells absolutely unappetizing at all, with the assurance that "You'll like it" by your parents/guardians that you actually thought tasted horrible. As natural, this happens with entertainment too, especially annoying since some people can be quite overzealous about recommending a show to a friend. There is nothing bad about recommending a work to a friend, but if they don't show an interest in it, then it's generally a good idea to back off. Sometimes, they might actually see it not because they think it might be good, but to shut you up, meaning they're already viewing it through Jade-Colored Glasses.

See I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham for when the subject really does live up to the hype. When the opposite to this trope occurs, and something is condemned and criticized in such a way as to make it impossible that the work is as bad as it is made out to be, that's Critical Backlash.

Related to Hollywood Hype Machine, along with healthy doses of Opinion Myopia and Fan Myopia. See also Wanting Is Better Than Having for when this is used as an Aesop or to refer to the psychology behind it.

No examples, please; Real Life examples of this are subjective, not to mention such examples can tend to devolve into Complaining About Shows You Don't Like, and the irony tends to make us kind of dizzy.