Pandering to the Base

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"What's happening with video games is the same thing that happens with anything new and interesting. At the beginning, everybody wants to see what it is. They gather around and check it out. But gradually, people start to lose interest.
"The people who don't lose interest become more and more involved...And the medium starts to be influenced by only those people. It becomes something exclusive to the people who've stuck with it for a long time. And when the people who were interested in it at first look back at it, it's no longer the thing that interested them."

One of life's little oddities is the nebulous relationship between the fans of media and the creators, producers, and distributors of that media. In theory, the creators call the shots; they decide what's happening and the fans follow as they will. But that's a bit naive; it's the fans who keep the ratings up, the sales high and the money flowing in, and if you displease them, they can just go elsewhere and take the gravy-train with them. The existence of things like Discontinuity, Dork Age, Author's Saving Throw, and Fanon means that any property successful enough to cultivate a group of intensely devoted fans is going to be at least partially concerned with satisfying their wishes; you have to give your viewers what they want.

So, just give the fans exactly what they want and everything will work out—simple, huh?

Not quite. Generally speaking, the more intensely devoted fans in a fandom are usually outnumbered by the casual fans, but the more devoted a fan becomes, the more active—and louder—they become in the fandom. So while a few million casual fans might enjoy an episode without ever making it widely known, a handful of devoted and occasionally unhinged fans screaming on a web forum about how the show is now Ruined FOREVER can be seen and heard by everyone... including the people making the show. The producers may then start pandering to these voices exclusively, believing them to be the voice of everyone watching—but 'everyone' in this case may in fact consist only of a handful of people, and what this minority wants and what the other, less noisy fans want can differ drastically.

This presents a major problem. The property can end up becoming a private club, accessible only to a select few. Excluding the casual fans means they'll simply drift away to find something else to spend their time on, and raising the entry bar too high means you run the risk of locking out new fans who may have possibly been interested in the property, but now find it too difficult to access. While the Vocal Minority might now be satisfied (and you can't even count on that), they rarely translate to enough ratings and / or sales to justify the property's continued existence—and to make matters worse, even this hardcore minority may begin to drift away for numerous reasons (changing tastes, burnout, lessened interest, etc). This results in diminishing returns ending in eventual cancellation if unchecked.

Furthermore, the overall quality of the property can begin to suffer; just because someone is intensely committed to a particular work of fiction doesn't necessarily mean they know what makes good fiction work. The hardcore fans are generally fascinated by the backstory, trivia and continuity which can build up around a franchise, but this doesn't necessarily make riveting entertainment to anyone less interested in all of this stuff. And if you somehow get the continuity hopelessly tangled up or make mistakes, this makes things worse; not only have you lost the interest of the people who don't care about this stuff, you've annoyed the people who do, and it's now guaranteed they won't be shy about saying so. In many cases, Pandering To The Base rarely succeeds in making anyone happy, not even the fans it's supposed to win over, because ultimately what most devoted fans want is the same as the casual ones; interesting and engaging stories, not just constant pandering.

A wise producer understands a simple rule that helps them avoid all of this; generally speaking, you've got the hardcore minority regardless—they'll keep following even if they're dragged kicking and screaming. You need to win over the undecided. They understand that for every fan who writes a frothing invective on the Internet or a rabid email, there's probably ten or more who are perfectly content with what's happening but don't feel the need to kick up a fuss about it. This doesn't, however, mean it's necessarily okay to start deliberately pissing off the hardcore fans; you're still spiting some of the people who are keeping you afloat, and they will desert you eventually if you go too far. Furthermore, doing so because you assume you have the approval of the "Silent Majority" can present it's own problems, especially when you don't; the fan criticism you're receiving may have a point. Indeed, when pulled off right, Pandering To The Base isn't necessarily and automatically a bad thing.

Compare Vocal Minority, which usually is the bases being pandered to. Can result in The Chris Carter Effect, Better on DVD, Continuity Lock Out, Continuity Porn, and—if left unchecked -- Too Good to Last. Compare/contrast Running the Asylum, which is sometimes the writers pandering to the fans, and sometimes pandering to themselves. Can also result to fans screaming Ruined FOREVER as well as an Unpleasable Fanbase. When the pandering actually does work, it's And the Fandom Rejoiced.

This phenomenon is sometimes called "fanservice", but don't confuse this with our definition of said trope (although the two can often be related, depending on what exactly the fan-base being pandered to is demanding).

This is the Super-Trope to the following tropes:

Examples of Pandering to the Base include:


  • The "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" ads for Apple can be seen as an inverse case of this. The ads seem to exist to reassure prospective Apple newbies that they're cool rather than providing a reason why knowledgeable Mac users (those interested in more than making fan videos on YouTube, and someone likely to use Photoshop) would want to stay. Not with much success - many people (across the OS divide) see the Mac guy as a stuck-up poseur and the PC guy as, well, John Hodgman.
    • The UK ones are probably worse; they star Mitchell and Webb, and the Mac and PC guys are just close enough to Jeremy and Mark that PC Guy looks like a Romantic Runner-Up and Mac Guy like a Jerkass. Charlie Brooker pointed this out in a column about how much he hates Macs.
    • There is also a small division of grammar vigilantes who berate Apple for claiming that Macs are not Personal Computers. Especially after Apple switched from IBM-Freescale PowerPC to Intel x86.

Anime and Manga

  • This entry at MangaCast discusses the increase of Ho Yay moments in stories published in Shonen Jump. Although the author is a yaoi fangirl (or "fujoshi") herself, she's not entirely pleased with the rate of fanservice:

'When Jump started to give bits and pieces of fanfare for fujoshis, it became fun in the beginning. It felt great to be reassured of your fandom. Of course, those moves were little and those who don't know probably wouldn't notice it, but we fujoshis do and we treasured it like our first love letter. [...But] the magazine became over-saturated with fujoshi overtones and it's no longer fun. [...] the fujoshi Moe Moe and maybe even regular moe diluted the core of their stories. Perseverance. Victory. Friendship. Although a few titles still keep these values, most have been written simply to whet the fantasies of the readers. In the end, you find yourself wondering, "Why did I even read this story to begin with?"'

  • One of the main reasons of the collapse of the company Geneon is because of this (the other being overpaying for licenses). They gave niche titles (relative to regular anime) high-quality releases with dubs and everything, and they kept on losing money because these anime simply didn't have the audience to bring in the revenue to cover loses. Mediablaster and Rightstuf have taken this to heart and are releasing niche titles as cheap subtitled-only discs. Which may be exactly what niche fandoms want, aside from the lower pricetag.
  • One critique by some is that the anime industry in Japan in general has been more and more appealing to its core otaku base at the expense of a most likely wider audience creating a vicious circle of appeal to otaku, sales lower as you appeal to less of a wider audience, increasing prices for little content to make up for the loss and then circling back around to appeal to otaku even more and on and on. On the other hand, this has also shown to be a rather popular and reliable strategy, the more negative aspects being diluted especially as digitization continues to grow and replace old sales standards.
  • The entire relation between Gundam fans of the original time-line (Universal Century) and the Alternate Timeline's is entirely shaped by the very different expectations of each side as well as Vocal Minority. Disentangling what each group really wants and trying to appeal to both sides is for many what is ruining the original appeal of the series.
    • The fact the UC and Alternate Timeline's appeal to different tastes with the same success isn't helping.
  • One of the more plausible reasons why Kira Yamato was thrust back into the spotlight (from episode 39 onwards) of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny (taking the spotlight from Shinn Asuka, the de facto main character of Destiny), was because, in Japan, Kira was, and still is, one of the most popular characters in the SEED universe, and perhaps, the Gundam franchise.
  • Gundam Build Fighters and its sequel are very much this in a nutshell. But in so doing, this helped save the Gundam franchise in general from becoming a Franchise Zombie as a result of the lukewarm if not hostile reception to Mobile Suit Gundam AGE.
  • The staff behind Code Geass has intimated that fan response incited them into expanding the role of one character as the series progressed.
    • This is a stellar example of non-sexual fanservice. Most fans have been wanting to do this to Suzaku for quite a while now.
  • Lucky Star had its pandering in the form of Konata and Kagami getting more screentime than the other two mains due to the fact a large group of fanboys enjoyed the incidental yuri fodder. They won but fans of other characters lost out.
  • Kenjiro Hata seems to have a good handle on this trope. When Athena was introduced in Hayate the Combat Butler, the fandom exploded with praise for how the story had changed for the serious and the better character introduction. Since her arcs ended, and Athena faded back into the background, the fandom has returned to the less vocal minority, and Hata has made note how he's happy the story has returned to it's normal functioning many times.
  • Like Shonen Jump, Light Novels and other manga publishers suffer from a similar issue. Whereas Shonen Jump was pandering more and more to fujoshi. The other side went the opposite approach and aimed for Fan Service and Moe as more Hentai Artists do artwork for the authors who did the storywriting, they had to accomodate to their style which have difficulty in drawing men and instead aim for visual novel style approaches to their storylines (read: Lots and lots of cute girls and a token guy). A chief Shounen Editor expresses his mind

'"We’ve got a lot of followers who are looking to become mangaka, and there’s something I noticed about their works – I’d like to write a bit about what we’ve noticed. It’s about art – there seem to be few people who can draw cool looking men. Especially their faces. People who can draw a man who looks cool to other men, with a sense of sex appeal. Are there no rookies about who can do that…Looking at recent contributions, everyone can draw cute girls. But however you look at it they put no effort into men. I suspect those who can draw cool men will command the next era in manga (though this is an exaggeration). Keep trying!'"

  • The KeyAni trio of animes (Kanon, AIR and Clannad) are notable for barely having any sexual Fan Service in the Harem genre, where the Accidental Pervert is the default for a lead. They find other ways to please a loyal fanbase for obsessive fans. One shot in the Clannad anime has the camera pan up while fading to white, finishing with simply the title of the show.
  • The live-action Death Note movies, wherein L defeats Kira.
  • In the Gundam Wing novel sequel Frozen Teardrop, the Identical Students of Trowa and Quatre spend a lot of time together. This could possibly be the author (also the head writer of the anime) granting a concession to the Yaoi Fangirls, since Trowa/Quatre was one of if not the most popular yaoi pairing amongst that fandom.

Comic Books

  • A recurring problem in comic books for the past few decades. The big comic-book universes are shackled by Continuity Porn, their obsession with trivia, and the need of their fans for everything in a particular verse to be internally consistent and logical (despite the fact that by this point this is next to impossible to achieve). This results in periodic reboots (which are almost impenetrable if you're a casual fan and don't care), where the writers have to retool everything in order to assure the most hardcore fans that no, it all really does make sense; as well as individual series having their plots derailed by massive, universe-spanning crossovers.
    • To an extent Marvel Comics managed this with their Ultimates remake. It simplifies plots of the original comics, for good or for bad, but if you come to it without preconceptions, it actually reads pretty well... at least till you get to Ultimatum
    • Marvel has been accused of Pandering to Themselves with One More Day and subsequent storylines, which flew in the face of widespread complaints from the fanbase. Even people who disliked the Parker/Watson marriage resented the manner in which it was broken up.
    • DC followed suit with their Earth-One series of graphic novels. Part of the rationale "The New 52" reboot was to simplify continuity. Then again, part of the rationale for every reboot is to simplify continuity.
  • This reaction to the official DC Comics novel Inheritance takes a similar attitude to Ho Yay in Western comics:

Believe me, there was LOUD, LOUD SQUAWKING. I've reached the phase wherein I'm too embarrassed to continue, and too curious to stop. It's too rich to be subtextual porn; it's too laden with innuendo to be textual and serious.
It's unbelievable, luxuriously, lustily GAY. Bad-fanfic kind of gay. The "OMG, what are you DOING?!" kinda gay. The shrieking and the "How did they even PUBLISH this!?" kind. [...] Oh, God, if it weren't so raw in its obviousness, I'd be in slash nirvana.


  • The 2002 Scooby Doo live-action movie is an example of this. This includes such fan-made theories as the allusion to drugs, Fred and Daphne as lovers, Velma being teased as a lesbian, and Scrappy-Doo being made into the main villain.
  • Kevin Smith admits that he made Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back purely for his fans who wanted a Jay and Silent Bob movie with tons of references to his other films, as well as lot of swearing, crude jokes, and Fan Service.
  • For all the Ruined FOREVER and They Changed It, Now It Sucks that the Transformers series gets from the fanbase, the writers did a surprisingly bold move when the desire to include fan favorite Soundwave into the film hit the wall with Michael Bay's demands for what the movie Transformers would be able to do, like refusing to allow mass-shifting. In the original draft Soundwave was supposed to be the one hacking the defense network and tracking Sam Witwicky down. Part of the story involved him mass shifting from a small infiltrator robot into a Humvee. Michael Bay vetoed this plot and Soundwave's role was divided up among a few additional robots. Instead of just naming the primary one Soundwave to salvage the plotline to appease Bay, they named the robot Blackout, with Frenzy, Barricade and Scorponok taking on the role Soundwave and Ravage would have had. The writers then proclaimed said "Do Soundwave right or not at all." Revenge of the Fallen in turn gave us a strong Soundwave/Ravage showing, with Soundwave as a spy satellite.
  • The film version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas changed a lot from the original book (and that's putting it politely), but it also incorporated both of the songs from the well-known animated version. Because, you know, it just wouldn't be the Grinch without that theme song, right?
  • Similarly, the 2005 film The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy included a lengthy and completely superfluous second intro involving the titular book flying through space to the tune of "Journey of the Sorceror", a sequence copied from the BBC miniseries.
    • This seems to have been MJ Simpson's main problem with the film, as he accuses it of being more interested in its jeweled scuttling crabs and other trivial allusions to the source material than being a coherent and faithful adaptation.
  • Hatchet II was intended to be the same as the original Hatchet, but more, for the sake of fans. It was also littered with in-jokes and one Continuity Nod after another. Reception was mixed.
  • The works of Tyler Perry aren't known for being critical darlings (and even have his share of black critics), but despite that he still has a very loyal and dedicated fanbase. Enough so to the point that Perry is actually the highest paid man in Hollywood.
  • Peter Jackson has been accused of doing this with The Hobbit, by introducing characters from The Lord of the Rings, such as Frodo, Galadriel and Saruman, who didn't have any part to play in the original novel (which was written well before The Lord of the Rings) but who were made immensely popular and well-known to movie-goers thanks to the movies.


  • Many Star Wars games and books like to repeat famous lines from the movies as shout outs, unfortunately to the point where it's getting a little hard to believe. Sure there must be someone in that universe who doesn't "have a bad feeling about this".
    • For the games, the opening crawl, the music, and the Idiosyncratic Wipes are also things that fans have come to expect, nay, demand.
    • Almost every ship in the prequels and the EU seems to be based on the ones from the original trilogy. More accurately, the most iconic ones; the X-Wing, TIE series, Star Destroyers, and the Death Star, even unto the Old Republic era, which is 4,000 years before A New Hope. Speaking of which, the Sith have been going after/building giant superweapons for at least that long. You'd think they'd have caught on by now. Most versions also like to include an Artoo & Threepio-like pair of robots, or just one.
  • The way Artemis/Holly is becoming more and more canon in Artemis Fowl. They've now kissed and had Artemis' alternate personality, Orion, tell Holly that Artemis thinks of her constantly and is very passionate about her. Not to mention Orion spends the entire book mooning over Holly, which he claims he picked up from the real Artemis They've been the Fan-Preferred Couple since the very first book.
  • Somewhat of an example in Jack Chalker's last published novel Kaspar's Box, from The Three Kings series. Best known for his physical transformation fetish (and having the strongest fans with similar tastes), there's a purely gratuitous physical transformation which has absolutely nothing to do with the plot, hasn't anything to do with the universe the story appears in, happens offscreen, literally comes out of nowhere, doesn't have any real repercussions, and the effect never happens again. For all intents and purposes, it looks like it was simply thrown in to appease his biggest fans.

Live Action TV

  • In the opinion of many fans, Xena: Warrior Princess did this by playing up lesbian subtext between the two leads in order to pander to a Vocal Minority.
  • Star Trek arguably descended into this territory during the final season of Enterprise, though this is considered to be a good thing given that that show's final season is generally considered its best.
  • John Nathan-Turner's tenure as producer of Doctor Who is frequently criticised for doing this. He was probably the first producer to really interact with and respond to the desires of the fanbase, an approach that initially made him quite popular. Unfortunately, this same approach eventually resulted in constant ham-fisted continuity references, return appearances from one-off villains who hadn't been seen in ten years, sequels to stories that hadn't been broadcast in twenty years, an overdose of self-indulgence, and the gradual feeling that the only people who could enjoy the show were anoraky types who kept detailed charts of every single thing that happened in the show's twenty-five-year history. To make matters worse, some of the original material being referenced was material that was missing and presumed wiped, making it near-impossible to actually go back and catch up on it. Naturally, the fanbase was quick to realize that what they thought they wanted wasn't actually what they really wanted, and today Nathan Turner's tenure is considered controversial by fans, to say the least; he's often blamed for the show's gradual decline in popularity and eventual cancellation in the 1980s.
    • For an example of what might be considered the nadir of this approach, watch the serial 'Attack of the Cybermen', which is almost incomprehensible without a degree in background knowledge of the show's history. And if you are that kind of fan, you'll be outraged by the conflicts between the story and the stories it was trying to reference, which caused a Continuity Snarl that some people think was the reason that the 2000s Cyberstories started from scratch with Cybermen from a parallel universe.
  • Reading interviews with Heroes producers about all the major story decisions they made based entirely on what the fans wanted (the death of Simone and survival of the first-season Big Bad Sylar into Season Two, among the worst examples), one wonders if they have any confidence at all in their own storytelling abilities.
    • It Got Worse. Due to the fans absolute love of season one, Kring just rehashed season one and called it season two. This lead to sloppy writing and many complained about the bad pacing and romantic subplots. Kring's answer was to write out anybody who originated in season two, and then turn the season into a Random Events Plot to answer the lack of plot twists. Now he plans to do a reboot of the show and ignore what happened in volume three. Yep, no confidence at all.
  • When it comes to the female guest stars, Supernatural is certainly guilty of this. Jo was a love interest for Dean; she was hated by the fans and so got booted. Bela was introduced—to say that she was hated would be an understatement—and she got ripped to pieces with Hellhounds (off-screen). Now it's been revealed that Katie Cassidy has to leave too (However, that was because they didn't have the budget to pay for her return). Kripke has also ended up apologising for the oft-reviled "Red Sky At Morning" and a few other unpopular episodes. While you appreciate the thought, you kind of wish they had the stones to ignore the bitchier parts of their fanbase.
    • In Jo's case, the writers began to see the fan's point; according to her actress, they told her she came off more as a 14-year old sister than a love interest. Eventually, she and her mom came Back for the Dead. Since Jo had undergone some character development, the fangirls promptly complained the two women were Stuffed Into the Fridge despite the fact that they were making a Heroic Sacrifice so the boys could save the world. The characters were bought back briefly in Seasons 5 and 6.
    • Ruby's case is a subversion. It's revealed in season four that she simply got a new meatsuit after being forced out of the old one by Lilith. Kripke himself stated that while the fans may not be too keen on Ruby, he sees the possible angle he can pull with her far too interesting to merely ditch her.
  • In a rare doubly positive subversion, after years of sinking ratings under MMPR Productions, Power Rangers Ninja Storm managed to produce a Lighter and Softer version of the show full of Lampshade Hanging and Genre Savvy characters. The ratings took a dramatic upswing. The most vocal sect of the online fandom erupted at a perceived insult to the beloved departing production regime from a poorly worded press release and at the perception that the series had now become an Affectionate Parody of itself, necessitating an injection of Fandom Rejoicing in the form of Power Rangers Dino Thunder and the return of Tommy Oliver. Dino Thunder not only maintained the bump Ninja Storm enjoyed, it further increased the ratings.
    • As it turned out, test audiences of children polled after Ninja Storm had wrapped agreed with the fandom that Lothor was the weakest part of the show and demanded scarier villains.
    • Ask and ye shall receive... immediately following Ninja Storm, Dino Thunder gave us Mesogog. Two seasons later, Power Rangers Mystic Force gives us the Master/Octomus, complete with the scene from its source Mahou Sentai Magiranger in which he emerges from Matoombo. Finally, Power Rangers RPM gave us Venjix, who wiped out most of humanity, got a One-Hit Kill attack later on, pulled off a Xanatos Gambit that was arguably even better than Lothor's, and may still be alive as of the series finale.
  • Lost getting rid of Nikki and Paolo because the Fan Dumb's hatred of them. Arguably the same could be said for Ana Lucia, as while she was always planned to be killed off, apparently Libby was killed alongside Ana at the end for better dramatic effect.
    • Lost was arguably greater of an even larger problem by taking sides in a Broken Base and decided that the show was to be more concerned with Shipping and heaping on melodramatic character moments to the point of the finale while ignoring demands from the other side of the fandom to start making sense and resolve the mythology.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7 has three or four very clunky gear changes/ dialogue cuts that look designed to appeal to Spuffy shippers irrespective of story logic. In the end the whole just about hangs together, but the ends of "Beneath You" and "First Date" stick out like sore thumbs and Buffy's supreme idiocy in "Lies My Parents Told Me" could be seen to fit this, although it also triggers the sequence that leads to the great eviction.
    • Made somewhat interesting in that characters were kept on longer than initially planned due to their popularity with fans. Characters such as Spike, Faith, Mayor Wilkins, Anya, among many others were initially set up to either be one episode characters or appear in just a handful of episodes. Their popularity often saw them get more prominent screen time and even resulted in an alternate universe character, Vampire Willow, getting a second episode that same season. The most prominent example is Spike, who was set to die in his debut episode, who ended up not only staying on through the series finale but then transitioned onto the offspring show's final season!
  • The creator of iCarly panders to the shippers on that show generally by teasing the side that are Out of Focus at the moment. He started by pandering to those who ship Sam\Freddie as they fell out of focus after the iKiss episode. He uses his blogs and episode 'commentary' posts, where he always makes little references to them together without actually confirming any kind of feelings or love between them.
    • As the end of Season 4 and the start of Season 5 have a canon Sam/Freddie romance arc, it could make one wonder if his pandering was because he knew he was going to eventually do something that would at least partially satisfy them, or if they were just so numerous and responsive that he put it onto the show when it could quite easily have not been done at all.
    • He also immediately switches from pandering to the Sam/Freddie fans, to pandering to the Carly/Freddie fans the moment he put the episode out, by saying things like "you don't know how the next episode goes" and "watch the final scene closely", which were identical things to what he used to tell the Sam/Freddie fans when it was Carly/Freddie in the limelight. This time around people realized what he was doing, and they did not react at all like he would have expected.
    • He also panders to the base in a non-shipping way, in iCarly and his new show Victorious he's given the Ensemble Darkhorse characters a bigger role once he found out how much the community liked them.
  • Glee is a big offender: the writers have totally acknowledged that they make it up as they go along, and many plot points were encouraged/demanded by or flat-out dreamed up by the audience, including: Idina Menzel as Rachel's biological mother, the Brittany/Santana relationship (largely spearheaded by actor Naya Rivera), Gwyneth Paltrow's performance of an Adele song ("Turning Tables"), and more.
  • There is a huge amount of pandering to the Arthur/Merlin shippers when it comes to promoting Merlin, especially from Cult Fix, which releases ten teasers concerning upcoming episodes. These teasers will aways involve at least one example of Ship Tease between Merlin and Arthur, whether it involve piggy-back rides, loss of clothing, Merlin caught in compromising positions, conversations about peeing, or other bits of slash-bait. Often they word their teasers in such a way that insinuates the scenes are far more homoerotic than they actually appear in the episode. The teasers for the episode "Aithusa" also mentioned that the show's only female characters (Morgana and Guinevere) would not be appearing in the episode - the marginalization of women being a cause of much celebration for the slash fan-girl mentality. Yay, misogyny!
  • Revenge, at least so far, seems to be doing this correctly on the creator's end. Writer/executive producer Mike Kelley admits to listening to the fans when it comes to influencing the show's direction, though he's aware that taking the fans' feedback too far can have disastrous consequences (see the Heroes entry).
  • Following the cancellation of the UK children's game show Knightmare, a petition was set up in an attempt to revive the show. In 2002 a 13 minute pilot for a new updated series was produced called Knightmare VR using funds granted by the National Lottery. The producer, Tim Child, stated that he mainly chose to make the pilot due to the pressure and interest from the Knightmare fan base years after the original series ended. Unfortunately the new update deviated too much from the formula established in the original series and fan reaction to the pilot was generally negative. The proposed series never came to fruition.


  • The titles of three releases by the Japanese pop group Perfume include the phrase "fan service", namely the CD single Fan Service (sweet), the concert DVD Fan Service (bitter) and the box set Fan Service Prima Box. The last is perhaps a genuine example of fanservice, since it comprises three discontinued CD singles from earlier in their career, which fans wanting to complete their collection would otherwise have to look for on the secondhand market. A review of Prima Box in the Japan Times refers to Perfume's 'coy, knowing references to Otaku (obsessive fan) culture'.
  • The Song Study version of Devo's most recent[when?] album, Something for Everybody is arguably this. Fans participated in an online survey to determine which songs would end up on the album. On the other hand, it is quite clear that the whole Song Study campaign was meant to poke fun at the entertainment industry's extensive uses of focus groups and online surveys, and Devo simultaneously released a "88% focus group approved" version of Something for Everybody that contained all the songs that was cut from the Song Study version.
  • Taylor Swift has been accused of this by some fans after her second album, which, in stark contrast to her first album (which, for the most part, was startlingly mature and dark, but well-liked by listeners of all ages), is more decidedly geared towards teenagers. Let it not be ignored that the small majority of her first album's sales were from the teenage crowd.
  • The ultimate in pandering in music is how every rock concert starts with "Hello <insert city name here>!" "Yay, he knows what city we're in and we're excited despite the fact that most of us drove in from somewhere else!"
  • Nerd Rock duo Paul and Storm explicitly admit to this in their concerts, particularly during The Captain's Wife's Lament (a song that, did they not continually interrupt themselves, would last somewhere on the light side of 90 seconds, but often takes ten minutes or more to get through).


  • The expression "pandering (or, less judgmentally, 'playing') to the base" originated in U.S. politics, where the primary system requires candidates to win the approval of their party's rank-and-file before formulating a broader appeal in the general election. Essentially, if a candidate wants to be elected, they have to persuade the party faithful to vote for them before targeting the wider majority. Of course, this can and has meant that the party may nominate someone who speaks to their specific views but lacks mainstream electability.
    • This has gotten so extreme in some cases that you can almost guarantee that at some point in the election both candidates will use something the other said in the primary to try and scare the moderates.
  • This phenomena is particularly prevalent in congressional elections, since because of extensive and (possibly) problematic levels of gerrymandering, which has lead to creation of many seats that are so utterly safe, there's almost no chance of a member of the opposing party getting elected, so Pandering to the Base is the only way to get elected—as the base and the population are for all intents the same thing.
    • This was particularly true in California for most of the last 10–20 years; however, in a rare moment of sanity, California voters approved two measures to prevent this: Proposition 14, which changes the electoral system to a two-round, "jungle primary" (which encourages moderate candidates, or is thought to anyway), and Proposition 20, which requires that Congressional districts be drawn by a neutral commission (which also promotes moderate candidates).
  • Oddly enough, this trope was inverted in the 2008 presidential race: the Republicans nominated the most moderate of their candidates in John McCain (a senator famous for "reaching across the aisle" to work with Democrats), whereas Democrat nominee Barack Obama was generally seen (at the time anyway) as more moderate than the other two leading contenders. During the general election, however, McCain was perceived to have pandered enormously, specifically with the selection of Sarah Palin as his vice-president.
  • The recent[when?] Tea Party movement leading up to the 2010 midterm elections is turning into something of a mixed blessing for Republican candidates. On one hand, it's hard to combat the amount of publicity and energy such a movement generates in support of its candidates. On the other, such candidates are tending to be arch-conservative with no inclination whatsoever to want to negotiate with Democrats (or even other Republicans) to pass legislation. By extolling their conservative credentials, they win the support of the Republican faithful at the cost of the more moderate voting public. Such is the case in Delaware, where early polls showed that the moderate Republican candidate, supported by the party establishment, was a shoe-in to win the seat. But when he was upset in the primary by the Tea Party candidate, Christine O'Donnell, the seat was almost immediately declared back in play, as far fewer Democratic and independent voters are willing to support a candidate so far from the center. The Democratic candidate, Chris Coons, would go on to win the election, though almost certainly helped by gaffes O'Donnell made in the lead up to the election (including an infamous campaign ad where she proclaimed that she wasn't a witch.) This has also bled into the 2012 Republican party primaries, which have become unexpectedly bitter and divisive as a result.
    • As a specific result, the Moderate Republicans are probably the most unhappy bunch in American politics right now: the 2012 Presidential primary was filled almost entirely by far-right candidates, and even though supposedly-moderate Mitt Romney triumphed (basically because he was the only moderate left standing after Jon Huntsman dropped out), many moderate Republicans fear that Romney will play this exact trope straight and pander to the far-right wing of the party. Meanwhile, most of the moderate Republicans also dislike Obama's policies. Meaning that for a moderate Republican, the 2012 election has become a choice between an incumbent who they see as too liberal and a candidate from their own party who—despite ostensibly being a moderate—the moderates fear he will pander to the party's fringiest elements in order to "rally the base."
  • This is typical of any given Civil War. If you study them closely you will find that most civil wars are contests between Vocal Minorities. If you think about it, it stands to reason; an autocrat has to work pretty hard at evilness to be corrupt enough that ordinary people would die to be rid of him. If you read military manuals and so forth you will find how much running a Civil War is like running an election, except of course the bullets are lead instead of verbal.

Professional Wrestling

  • Professional Wrestling writer Vince Russo is infamous for catering exclusively to the hardcore Internet "Smart Marks" (who know that wrestling is fake but enjoy it as an art form). His biggest mistake was that he would often try to swerve these fans with confusing Worked Shoot angles: the casual fans (90% of the fanbase) were just confused and the smart marks (by nature of being smart marks) weren't fooled. What's more, he would often load these angles with obscure references that only the most hardcore fan would know of.
    • What is truly bizarre is that Russo caters to the fans' knowledge of tabloid-like stories of backstage shenanigans, but does not cater to what they want most (long, well-wrestled matches with minimal interference and shenanigans). Russo has some very strange beliefs about who his audience is.
  • Ring of Honor, at its outset, was more or less defined by catering to the hardcore wrestling fanbase. The result is a generally entertaining product, but not without a little elitist snobbery.
  • WWE has been doing this lately with NXT. The commentary team of Josh Mathews and Michael Cole full with their commentary with Continuity Nods, talk about the indies, wrestling dirtsheets & blogs and even Ascended Meme. Even the pros and rookies do it from time to time.
    • Speaking of NXT, Season 3 rookie Diva AJ Lee's gimmick is basically pandering to the nerd audience.
  • CM Punk's "The Reason You Suck" Speech that led to his (kayfabe) suspension was one big pander to the Smarks and everything they hate about WWE, as Punk listed wrestlers that had supposedly been held back and criticized higher-ups like John Lauranitis. It becomes funnier if one wonders just how many Smarks believed Punk was truly being defiant when, in reality, none of what he said would have made it on the air without WWE approval.


  • The Torchwood: The Lost Files audio drama "The House of the Dead" is one long grovel to the fans who were outraged that Jack never told Ianto he loved him in those exact words during the televised serial Children of Earth.


  • At the time of the strike, the NHL had trouble getting new fans to appreciate the game because offense had declined in the league thanks to offside traps. The NHL tried to eliminate this but couldn't because hardcore fans vocally complained that defense was being taken out of the game. Post-strike, the NHL passed new rules to thwart the offside trap, mainly because they were forced to be more fan friendly.
    • The NHL is a great example of Pandering to the Base. Demographically, the sport is overwhelmingly white. Its vocal base is very proud of that, to the point of really not liking it when anything is done to appeal to a broader audience; usually couching their argument in a "They're Making It Like The NBA" form.
    • By contrast, MLB has begun pandering to the more casual fans in the last 30 years or so, particularly with the designated hitter in 1972 and inter-league play in 1997. (the DH is still despised by many purists all these years later, though a lot of that grief could be fixed by making it consistent between leagues).
  • For years, many college basketball fans and experts wanted a rule in the game where teams in the foul bonus could choose to just inbound the ball after being fouled rather than shoot free throws, thus preventing the end of games from turning into drawn-out free throw shooting contests. The NCAA finally instituted the rule in 1999 - and then repealed it two months later when it appeared coaches were having trouble deciding what to do in that situation.

Tabletop Games

  • Mark Rosewater's columns on Magic: The have used this argument to justify such things as bad cards, skill-testers, overly simple Core Sets, and its focus on recent-duration formats. While Wizards of the Coast appreciates its devoted fanbase, it needs to ensure that newer players have a clear path into learning the game without being inundated with complexities early on.
    • Recently[when?], players have been complaining that in trying to avoid Pandering to the Base they've gone too far in the other direction: all but ignoring their existing player base while trying to draw in new players. Like every game, there's an Unpleasable Fanbase problem to deal with.
  • Similarly, Upper Deck Entertainment and Konami have been doing this with the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, specifically demanding that older and more rabid fans not bash on the younger demographic or the anime-based cards that they make for them. In an ironic twist, one thorn in the older fans' side is the lack of anime-based least, those from the original series, most of which have never been made. Most of the anime-based cards released now are from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, with an almost monopolizing focus on series protagonist Judai, which further adds fuel to the fire (as most "veteran" players feel that such cards are ultimately inferior to the unique ones or those of the original series).
  • One of the great balancing acts of the modern era is on display whenever Games Workshop begins working on a new army codex. Pandering to the base is a great temptation, especially when there's two different bases to pander to. Take the Eldar Wraithlord for example. As it is now, it's a monster in both shooting and close combat and greatly feared when it's taken in numbers. When they release a new Eldar codex, they have three roads they could go- they could pander to their Eldar players and make it more powerful; they could pander to the Wraithlord detractors and nerf it something awful; or they could potentially anger BOTH sides and leave it relatively unchanged. And don't get me started on sprue recuts...
  • White Wolf's Old World of Darkness setting had a specific form of this - every 'splatbook' (or expansion pack) they released inevitably raised the power level, awareness or general coolness of the group being discussed- they'd be depicted as being better than (or at least putting one over on) every other faction. Until the next one, where the next group would top that. Some fans said they felt sorry for the one that had to go first, since the second was better, etc putting the first faction at the bottom of the heap. It was a form of serial base-pandering, with different bases inside the White Wolf fandom.
    • This is averted with the New World of Darkness, where each 'splatbook' simply fleshes out and expands on the splat, as well as having discussions on both its strength and merits and its flaws and weaknesses. No splat is ever portrayed as inherently "superior" to any other.
  • Greg Costikyan (one of the authors of Paranoia) has written an essay about "grognard capture", "grognard" being a term for Napoleon's old guard, and the full term used by hardcore wargame players to refer to products that seek to capture the market of the hardest of the hardcore. It's worth mentioning that in the article Costikyan is somewhat dismissive of Nintendo's strategy of blatantly seeking the non-gamer market for the DS while positioning the PSP as the "hardcore" platform, something that, if nothing else, did indeed make tons of cash for the company.


  • Shakespeare did it. Macbeth was first performed in front of an audience including King James I, and popular Fanon at the time was that James was descended from main character Banquo. Shakespeare reversed Banquo's role into a benevolent character to appeal to James.
  • Love Never Dies, a sequel to Phantom of the Opera, changes several characters from the original just to please the Christine/Erik shippers.


  • Nowadays, Bionicle practically runs on this, by having many story elements, from names of fictional animals all the way to upcoming characters and even ENTIRE story threads depend on the decisions made by fans (more specifically, only the members of BZ Power). Even the most minor, insignificant details that don't affect the story in the least get explanations that, more often than not, are needless and/or ridiculous.
    • It doesn't help that many fans have a Sure Why Not attitude on that site, which means that more critical fans (some of whom don't even visit the site out of spite) tend to get overshadowed by their votes. Yes, they have polls on what to make canon, because the situation was getting too out of hand.
    • However one must note that the theme doesn't have much of a choice. Besides LEGO's minimal support, the online fandom is essentially the only thing keeping it sort of alive (since the toys, books, comics and movies have been canceled), so it has to pander to as many fans as possible.

Video Games

  • As noted in the quote at the top, this trope something Nintendo is trying to avoid with its DS and Wii platforms, focusing on innovative, intuitive gaming that can convert non-gamers instead of trying to impress the hardcore with marginally newer and flashier doodads. This is a case of learning from experience: The Nintendo 64 and Game Cube platforms infamously developed a reputation as being only for little kids and hardcore Nintendo fanboys. The end result was that teenagers, adults, and third-party developers bailed for the PlayStation. With the Wii, Nintendo seems to have finally learned and is back on track at last. However, a good number of third party developers, mostly in western nations, have either failed or rejected to follow Nintendo's direction, with most of their top tier titles still on Sony and Microsoft's platforms.
  • One of the stronger examples of this trope is Final Fantasy VII and all of its compilations. After the original game gained its massive popularity, new additions were added on to the story to "expand" its content, or "explain" points in the story that were generally the most confusing or significant. In actuality, these add-ons were created to help cater to the needs of the many fans of the game; indulging popular characters such as Cloud Strife, Vincent Valentine, and Sephiroth; and increasing (and complicating) the already large and solid storyline with new plotlines and characters. At this point, Final Fantasy VII is practically a new franchise itself.
    • The producers of Advent Children admitted in an interview that the reason Cloud acts like a conflicted, pensive loner instead of the strong and confident leader he had become at the end of Final Fantasy VII was because that was the way he had been depicted in most Doujinshi.
    • Crisis Core is, in fact, prefaced with the new symbol created for Final Fantasy VII, called the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Considering the series is famous for love-it-then-leave-it tactics in regards to the various games, the fact that Final Fantasy VII has not one, not two, but fully six games featuring the same characters shows a dramatic shift in the management of the series.
    • The Final Fantasy VII compilation was a way of pandering to the base through the intellectual property, but it also gave Square Enix developers a chance to try their hand at different genres while still creating popular titles. The risk is that this compilation may be too much Final Fantasy VII, and may result in the "franchise in itself" Jumping the Shark.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series, which a lot of the staff of Final Fantasy VII work on, has also seen a rise in this; the most blatant being the very existence of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, which stars the members of Organization XIII.
    • And again in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, where the writers chose to include Lea and Isa, the non-Nobody selves of Axel and Saix. The two had no real reason to be in the story and the scene itself goes by and has no apparent relevance. But Saix and especially Axel are popular, so....
    • The pandering went as far back as the Final Mix edition of the original Kingdom Hearts, which threw in a Sora and Riku flashback scene right at the very end of the game that seemed designed solely to cater to the Yaoi Fangirls of the base.
  • In sequels, this can result in the difficulty approaching, and even going past, Nintendo Hard, as each sequel is designed to challenge players who completed (all of) the previous game(s).
    • The key to avoiding this is the offer a larger breadth of difficulty. "Normal" in game 2 should be about the same challenge as "Normal" in game 1, but game 2 could include a Harder Than Hard difficulty that isn't present in the first game.
    • The Guitar Hero franchise sank into this, with certain note and chord arrangements clearly mixed for challenge instead of logical chord placement on the higher difficulties. This gets worse (or better, if you're one of the hardcore players) with each installment. In fact, Guitar Hero 4's guitar is generally easier than 3's due to these complaints.
    • This went the other way for Devil May Cry; a chief complaint of the second game from Western audiences was that it lacked the first game's challenge, even the infamous Dante Must Die mode providing little difficulty. The version of the third game released in the West went too far in the other direction, with each difficulty spiked up to be the equivalent of the Japanese version's next-higher setting. "Normal" was the Japanese "Hard," "Hard" was the Japanese "Very Hard," and "Dante Must Die" was just plain ridiculous. The fourth game, as well as the third game's special edition, were toned down.
  • A lot of Fire Emblem fans accused Intelligent Systems of pandering to the yaoi fangirls in the tenth game: The Ike/Soren base conversation is very sappy and more full of Ho Yay than their supports in the previous game, and they have a paired ending.
    • The Egregious part isn't they ramped up the Ho Yay, it's all mentions of Ike liking women (mainly Elincia) are suddenly completely gone without a trace.
  • This was one of the primary reasons the Xenosaga series was stopped at the third installment. The other is Unpleasable Fanbase. (Though some blame Episode II, which was unpopular enough to do damage to any game, much less one with a continuous, complex storyline.)
  • Fighting and destroying 343 Guilty Spark in Halo 3 could be considered more fanservice than boss battle.
  • The entirety of the Super Smash Bros.. series, particularly after they introduced the trophies in Melee, allowing them to pay homage to games and characters who aren't playable.
  • The additional battle against Algus/Argath in the PSP version of Final Fantasy Tactics. Since he's a massive Jerkass and one of the most hated characters in video games, one may think killing him once is not enough...
  • Some critics have argued that the maturity and decline stages of the MMOG life cycle have more to do with this than the actual age of the game. The logic is that at some point developers cave to the demands of the loudest fans—usually more high-end content and boosts to their favorite playstyle—and so the raised barrier of entry makes the game far less appealing to new players.
  • Many of the retcons in the Warcraft universe seem directly tied to this trope. If a vocal group of the fanbase is mistaken about something, it's more likely for it to be turned into canon than reiterated, resulting in a nest of continuity snarls that make the canon into something almost entirely fluid.
    • At the end of Warcraft III, the Alliance and the Horde made peace to fight the greater enemies of the world. While World of Warcraft had decided to split the races into these two factions (which apparently was a contentious decision, according to an interview about the early development, with just as many employees against factions at all) and have PvP typical to similar MMOs, the intro specifically mentions that their tenuous pact had all but vanished, confirming that it still existed (at least for now). People who didn't understand the phrase "all but" and people who were strongly influenced by how iconic the Humans vs Orcs conflict had been since the series' birth, however, never realized the war had ever ended. Since then, the truce has only been vaguely referenced now and then while even the more diplomatic leaders do little to stop the open fighting. By Cataclysm, it's pretty much all out war again.
    • The night elf race itself has suffered greatly due to this trope, with them being marginalized in favor of other things the fans want. Since the vocal fans of World of Warcraft either think the night elves are "gay" (which various definitions of the word implied), call them "treehuggers," deride them for being for "kids," or forget about them altogether, Blizzard themselves seems to have forgotten to a point as well. Once one of the major factions in Warcraft III, the night elves in World of Warcraft (especially by Cataclysm) have been pushed back to only a couple of zones, reside in a capital city that was created for World of Warcraft (with no explanation about what they did before having this city), were missing their leader and most iconic character (Furion) for six years, and have the shortest race intro that neglects to mention the few things that they still do. Once a feral and mysterious sylvan people, with iconic females and animalistic males, that lived with living trees for buildings, they're now seen as little more than just a generic, purple-skinned elf that is an otherwise unremarkable race in the Alliance. You'd never guess that a game ago they had their own entire faction, that took on both the Alliance and the Horde, known as the Sentinels.
    • Khadgar, one of the major heroes from Warcraft II, disappeared with his comrades at the end of the expansion. Statues of these heroes were seen in Stormwind in World of Warcraft, but we finally got to see (most of) them in Burning Crusade. However, while Khadgar was once a great archmage (trained by the legendary Guardian Medivh himself, whom he eventually helped defeat), he spends the entire expansion acting as little more than a liaison to the newly-invented holy beings the naaru. When it comes time for the organization he once belonged to, the Kirin Tor, to actually be important in Wrath of the Lich King, he's nowhere in sight. The group is also given a new leader from the one presumed in the original game. Not the legendary hero who beat the greatest mage of all time, but the often-mocked Rhonin, who we first met when said organization tried getting him killed. Khadgar has not been mentioned since, even when the comics brought back the topic of the Guardian, which Medivh presumably had him in line for at some point (being his apprentice and all). When the fans remember him, it seems he is often referred to in forum posts as being a priest by people who never knew or forgot about the character's past. One wonders how much longer it will be until he is officially retconned into a priest.
    • World of Warcraft: Cataclysm seems to be almost entirely made of this trope. Along with giving the Horde goblins, adding new race/class combinations, and letting players use flying mounts in Azeroth, it uses the Burning Crusade-era Fan Wank theory (previously dismissed due to timeline conflicts) of Gilneas being infested by worgen in order to justify them as the new Alliance race. Rule of Cool...
    • Notably averted by Sylvanas, undead high elf leader of the Forsaken. She had a reskinned night elf model for a very long time. While the differences between the races may be subtle to non-fans, people all over seemed to forget her original race, to the point where her night elven look (sometimes complete with unmistakable night elven dress) appeared in the card game, a manga, fan art, and other sources. Luckily for her and long-term fans, she avoided the retcon so many others have suffered due to long misunderstandings, and eventually got a proper, high-quality, high elf model.
  • We ♥ Katamari, the first sequel to the wildly popular Katamari Damacy, is literally all about this: The whole game is essentially one big thank-you to the game's fans, and the plot itself deals with the King of All Cosmos becoming wildly popular for his Prince's katamaris and receiving an onslaught of requests for new katamaris to roll up from the fans.
    • Despite a few alterations throughout its lifespan, the Katamari series defines its base as content with the material from the first game, only wanting to take it to different home and portable consoles. The base has also been pandered to greatly by the Katamari Forever soundtrack, which features remixes and re-imaginings of old Katamari tunes, often re-done by previous Katamari artists that composed different tunes in the series. This pandering is in no way a bad thing, as the soundtrack was amazing, as if the previous soundtracks were now Growing the Beard.
  • Team Fortress 2's class updates seem to be one long string of Valve weaponizing memes. They also managed to make "Your mom" jokes with style.
  • Pokémon: Possibly the point of the heavily updated and polished remakes of the Gen I and Gen II games.
    • HeartGold and SoulSilver take the cake for Base Pandering. The game is rife with cameos from characters across all generations and references to other games in the series. Perhaps the most prominent of these is the return of Pokémon following the Player, which hadn't been seen since Pokémon Yellow, a purely cosmetic function that has no effect on gameplay whatsoever, and it's glorious.
    • Inverted in that it creates a new timeline to go with the current games thus fixing any errors in continuity and developing the story, and its characters, more.
  • Backyard Sports. They try to attract only young sports fans now.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 has a new campaign planned called The Passing, which brings together the old survivors from the first game and the new survivors together. This is definitely nothing more than appealing to the fans who been wanting to see the two survivor groups together ever since Left 4 Dead 2 was made.
    • That has more to do with the fact that said fans don't like the Wild Mass Guessing Downer Ending theories that have been floating around.
    • Done again for The Sacrifice campaign and comic version to explain to fans how exactly Bill dies and how the survivors from Left 4 Dead went down south.
    • Valve also ported over every single campaign from Left 4 Dead 1 into Left 4 Dead 2 as a throw to fans that have been porting the maps over themselves (with varying results) so the fans can play Left 4 Dead 1's maps with elements used in Left 4 Dead 2. Of course, this pissed off players who bought Left 4 Dead 1 already.
  • The entire point of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, which features a return to the classic gameplay.
  • The announcement of Street Fighter IV was the result of fans and competitive players constantly bugging Capcom for it every chance they got.
  • When Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was first shown at E3 2010, many long time fans were disappointed at how different the game seemed to be from Marvel vs. Capcom 2. After that, each and every successive demo build of the game featured changes that brought the game closer to its predecessor. The final result, a game that feels like a natural evolution of the previous game (while still showing some influences from the more recent Tatsunoko vs. Capcom). The only reason the game doesn't seem to be as unbalanced as the previous one is that this time, they seem to be making every character a Game Breaker.
  • Freddi Fish was originally a point-and-click Edutainment Adventure Game series that was based around problem solving with several educational values buried within the gameplay and several humorous moments, making it fun for kids and adults. After Humongous Entertainment sold all the rights to Atari, they got 1st Playable Productions to put out another game, ABCs Under the Sea, nearly a decade later. What was it? A Minigame Game about teaching little children their letters, words, numbers, directions, and colors. What. And despite this, the game tries to ride on the previous installments' success by pointing out that it's from the award-winning series with 15 million copies sold worldwide...not mentioning that the rest of the series was made by different people. (Additionally, one of the game's alternate titles is ABC's Under the Sea, which is grammatically incorrect.)
  • Super Robot Wars has a lot of this (like any crossover, of course), icluding giving the player the ability to save heroes that originally died on their shows or recruiting villains that weren't all that evil. Inversely, they also let players kill villains that didn't get directly killed by the hereos or worse, got away scot-free.
  • DICE, makers of the Battlefield series, have been doing this heavily with Battlefield 3 and Bad Company 2, feeding the flames of their stalwarts' huge Fandom Rivalry with Modern Warfare. In addition, their marketing for the original Bad Company pandered to people who disliked popular games in other genres entirely.
  • Metroid: Other M is widely seen as a failed attempt to appeal to the Japanese customers, who didn't really like the Metroid Prime games. Keep in mind, this is a dark Sci-Fi series that has historically found more success in the west than in its home country. The end result alienated western fans with a convoluted plot straight out of the worst anime, and gameplay that's so incredibly linear it makes Fusion look like Super. But the most damning of all, it completely missed the mark with the JP Fanbase as well, who merely wanted another Super Metroid-type game. Whoops.
  • Episode 5 of Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People begins with an arcade machine breaking down and emitting ominous smoke. When Strong Sad says that the fan is broken and needs to be serviced, Strong Bad replies, "Where are we going to find fan service around here?" At that moment, fan-favorite Trogdor busts out of the broken machine.

Web Original

  • One of Yahtzee's videos included a note to any potential writers that fans will never appreciate them and you'll be happier the moment you excise the grating sound of their pleading from your memory. Then he suggests buying The Merch. This memorable clip also ran for a few months at the end of every video as part of an actual ad for said merch (replacing a more generic one).

Western Animation

  • While Beast Wars was directly connected to the original Transformers series, Transformers Animated just overdoses on the Mythology Gags and use of characters from the original show to pander to the older Transformers fans. You don't have to be familiar with the original versions of these characters to understand and enjoy even the most Fan Wank-heavy scenes and episodes. It's just a bonus, if you are familiar, to see things that hearken back to your favorite past series.
    • Also, it's the first place to have characters originating from the Beast Wars era, namely Blackarachnia, Waspinator, Strika (Beast Machines) and Spittor. There's also a couple of Unicron Trilogy references (Bulkhead and Lugnut) and cameos (Red Alert as a medic rather than security guard, Safeguard, and Hot Shot), and it also has some G1 era characters that were exclusive to Japanese fiction (the concept of the Headmaster, Grandus, Dai Atlas).
    • It also owes big chunks of the premise to the 2007 movie, such as the Allspark (previously a Transformers version of the afterlife, a term now replaced by "The Well of All Sparks") and Megatron's original form.
    • Also worth noting is the process through which many of these character's appearances are decided: the writers plan out the story beforehand and ask the lead character designer (who is a longtime fan of many different Transformers series) what character would be good to use in a role they already have.
    • Speaking of Beast Wars, the continuity ties increased rapidly at the end of the 2nd season. A fan from a newsgroup was actually recruited as a consultant for it.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men: In both the title and giving him the most screentime.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters. If you have not seen everything show-related, you will be lost. The movie states this up-front; during the opening "Things not to do in the theater" musical number, one of the lines is "If you don't understand it, you shouldn't be here!"
  • The co-creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender referred to their chibi-short tribute to the show's Shipping phenomenon as "fanservice". With its obvious detachment from the main storyline and nicely animated comedic anime effects (all subsequent to the mid-season downcast ending of the finale), the short was almost unanimously well-received by both shippers and non-shippers alike.
    • There was also an in-universe play near the show's end parodying the show itself.
    • The Legend of Korra has an automobile company that was founded by the fan-favorite Cabbage Merchant from the earlier series. As the owner is arrested and dragged away in one episode, he even yells "No! Not my Cabbage Corp!" much like his predecessor's "My cabbages!" whenever his cart was destroyed. They're even voiced by the same actor.
  • Due to popular demand, Family Guy's former resident Creator's Pet is now getting his just desserts and resident Designated Monkey Meg has been thrown a bone ("Dial Meg For Murder"). The writers have also decreased the Overly Long Gag Manatee Gags in favor of less derailed episode plots and lampshaded/deconstructed the character changes.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Equestria Girls". Not so much pandering to the base as the Periphery Demographic, but they would be far more receptive to something like this than the franchise's traditional base anyway, who would just see it as a fun commercial.[1]
    • In "The Last Roundup," there's a largely filler scene in which a perrenial Ensemble Darkhorse background character with the Fan Nickname Derpy Hooves is actually canonically revealed to have that name, and gets several lines. This later got a controversial Author's Saving Throw which was partly due to this, and partly due to Unfortunate Implications.


  • According to this blog post, LiveJournal did this constantly, which prevented the site from becoming mainstream.
    • On the other hand, LJ has instituted many changes in its commenting system and design that are meant to appeal to those outside its fanbase (or at least the English-speaking ones).
  • Jeff Dunham has been becoming this in recent[when?] years, as his shows have become more rooted in shock humor and stereotypes (with increased emphasis on Breakout Character Achmed) in order to appeal more to the conservative Southern crowd (Dunham is a Texas native).
  1. Word of God is that the show is designed to appeal to parents as well, and just happened to appeal to bronies, which Hasbro has no problem with.