Snark Bait

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

While a good movie or show is fun, there's just nothing like the visceral pleasure of taking apart a bad one. And sometimes hating something popular is what defines a crowd, especially if, despite its popularity, it's actually pretty bad. Not terrible, not pitiful, just boringly bad.

Of course, in order to hate it to its fullest potential, you need to watch it and find out why it's so terrible.

Snark Bait refers to any popular work that evokes a desire to watch specifically to mock and join other people mocking. It's often a generic Hollywood blockbuster, or best-selling book. It's usually so formulaic you can see the trope list hanging off it, or so poorly fact-checked that 640k could pick it apart.

Either way, everyone is going to be complaining about it, and you wouldn't want to be left out of slagging off all those idiots who gave up their money and time for such junk. Or the derision of stupidity with the passwords halfway and the predictability of the ending. So, of course, you need to buy it yourself. That'll show 'em!

Sometimes this may be an inversion of "Get the Sensation" marketing: ostensibly the subject of transaction is a specific product (face value of which usually is presumed subpar in the first place), but what the audience actually wanted is validation of its views and sense of superiority over fictional opponents, and this value usually is received (which is why the participant is in fact a loyal customer of the purportedly "inferior" product).

As a Troper, good Snark Bait can lead to seeing how far off you can see the Treacherous Advisor, which characters are secretly related, or playing Trope Bingo or a trope Drinking Game with them. On the plus side, seeing a trope done badly can help you see what it is, and appreciate when it's done well.

It often displays some of the following tropes:

Does not relate to the strange critters that can be pursued with forks and hope or utilized to bite your opponents. Compare Periphery Hatedom.

Examples of Snark Bait include:


  • National Organization for Marriage's "Gathering Storm" ad has gathered quite a bit of this. Just try searching for it on YouTube. Almost every result is a parody of some kind. This is not unexpected of course, given that it's melodramatic enough to be a Stealth Parody to begin with.
  • An Italian spot with Manuela Arcuri promoting a book entitled Il labirinto femminile inspired countless Youtube parodies due to its amateurish direction, poor acting, creepy Soundtrack Dissonance and the overall bad quality of the book itself. It even contains a word ("strategismo") that doesn't exist in Italian. Here it is.
    • It Got Worse. The most recent version of that spot featured Karima El Marthoug, a.k.a. Ruby, the girl (under age at the time) Prime Minister Berlusconi has been accused of having had mercenary sex with. During the spot, she gets undressed by a guy with a Phantom of the Opera mask. Oh, and the direction is still amateurish, the (rest of the) acting is still poor, the soundtrack is still creepy and the book is still bad, thanks for asking.
    • Not to mention the one starring Lele Mora, the TV agent with Fascist sympathies involved in the Corona scandal.
  • "America's Navy: A Global Force for Good". Whether you disagree or just think it's Narmfully Hammy, it's hard to deny this slogan's Snark Bait quotient.
  • Many ads, posters, and articles from the 1940's and 50's weren't considered Snark Bait in their own time, but contain Values Dissonance that people enjoy laughing at decades later. Adding naughty captions to prim-and-perfect media of the period is also popular.
  • Rick Perry's "Strong" ad has launched a meme based on making fun of it.
  • Political ads in general are prone to this, since they seldom have the slightest hint of subtlety. Attack ads in particular have a tendency to be so melodramatic in their negativity that it leads to Narm.
    • One such example is that of veteran Filipino politician Juan Ponce Enrile who made a bid for re-election well into his nineties. In an effort to appeal to the millenial voting public, his recent campaign ads made use of slang terms such as "lodi" (an anagram of "idol") or "petmalu" (a corruption of the word "malupet" which roughly translates to "awesome" or "cool"). Unsurprisingly, some found it more hammy than appealing especially given the dubious reputation Filipino politicians have.[1] And it didn't help that his "Petmalu" campaign ads were peppered by dislikes and negative comments from those who are understandably burned out by the crooked nature of Philippine politics.[2]
  • The "Head On" commercials. How can you not make fun of a commercial that consists of nothing but "Head On: Apply directly to the forehead" repeated over and over?
  • A series of commercials for Italian children's footwear brand Lelli Kelly became this as youths in the UK were subjected to said commercials in the late 2000s and early 2010s with their overly girly theme and ear-grating jingle. Unsurprisingly, said youths who were understandably annoyed by the ads' Narmy presentation later ended up making parodies of the commercials.[3]
  • Ads for mobile games from various obscure or fly-by-night developers, usually from Asia, end up becoming fodder for ridicule and ironic commentary since the late 2010s either for its overly hammy, cringe-worthy presentation, or in the case of some like Kiss of War, over-reliance on Fanservice or hyper-sexualised portrayals of women in a low-brow, vain bid to attract gamers.[4] At least some YouTube users remarked that the latter ads are either too misogynistic or are borderline PornHub material, something which may fall afoul of ad standards despite the games being rated Mature by the ESRB.
    • The most well-known example of these cringe ads is that of Mafia City whose Narm status became memetic in recent years.[5]

Anime and Manga

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! is excellent Snark Bait, as evidenced by its abridged series.
  • The School Days anime. The nature of the OVAs imply that the creators have either gleefully embraced this, or had planned it all along.
  • Apocalypse Zero, MD Geist, Genocyber (to a certain degree), the Fist of the North Star movie, Cybernetics Guardian, Cyber City Oedo 808... old anime in general has this going on.
  • Code Geass had a "trainwreck" following, especially during the run of its second season but also during the later stages of the first. Most of those people only watched it to see the show top its own over-the-top-ness, to pick apart the increasingly bizarre plot, and to laugh at the Narm.
  • Guilty Crown seems to be, surprisingly enough, developing a proportionally greater "trainwreck" following than Code Geass despite not being quite as popular overall, as a result of the show having dull or unsympathetic characters, similarly bad twists, an obsession with rape or even more bizarre fetishes and perhaps equal or greater Narm fodder. There's not even a Broken Base this time around.
  • Bleach is considered to have Jumped the Shark and has become Snark Bait even among the fandom. Kubo is considered a Troll so much that "Tite Kubo trolled my fandom" has sadly become a meme among bleach fans.
    • Pretty much the same thing can be said about Naruto.
    • And the shipping fandoms for both of the above. The Ship-to-Ship Combat and the fans involved have become pure jokes to those not involved.
  • In ×××HOLiC Watanuki is an in-universe example due to his Keet behavior.
  • Kämpfer can be considered as this due to the fact that no matter how much dense Natsuru is to the point it's already irritating, viewers still couldn't stop watching the show week after week.

Comic Books

  • All Star Batman and Robin. Comic book fans may argue over anything from Wolverine's degree of badassery to Supergirl's skirt, but the only argument about ASBAR (aka "ASSBATS") is whether or not its suck was intentional.
  • Comics by Jack Chick. Here, look (possibly NSFW). Those, sadly, become much less funny when a ten-year-old girl, with fervent earnestness, gives you one.
    • In the interests of full disclosure, we should note the excerpt in that link is a Gag Dub.
    • Well, anything from Jack Chick is a guaranteed Snark Bait, given its fire-and-brimstone, "repent-or-burn-in-hell" rhetoric as well as attacks towards Muslims, the LGBT community and even other Christian sects such as Catholics whom Chick somehow views as corrupt and demonic.
  • Chris Sims has more than a few words to say about the Anita Blake comics.

Fan Works



  • Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle is one of the biggest examples, primarily due to accusations of being unoriginal.
    • With all the crap Paolini gets, you have to feel a little sorry for the guy when you learn he started writing the series when he was only sixteen years old. It probably started out as some sort of fan-fiction-y amalgam of all his favorite fantasy series.
  • The Sword of Truth series is a particularly big magnet.
  • It seems that a Vocal Minority of Stephenie Meyer's "fanbase" only read Twilight for this reason. Or for the So Bad It's Good factor. Or both.
  • John Ringo's Paladin of Shadows series, although it seems to be something of a Stealth Parody. Proven by the fact that he links to most of these reviews and will usually write letters not only supporting many of their accusations, but pointing out inconsistencies and logical failures they missed. Such as the main character would have died about 6 pages into the first book. He called it his Dark Fic. People liked it so he published it and made a shit load of money. Here is a review, which gave us the "Oh John Ringo No" meme.
  • The Eye of Argon is possibly the worst fantasy short story ever written ever. Terrible in the extreme, only readable with the help of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew heckling it... yet somehow, impossible not to read (at least once). In places, it has become tradition to stage competitions of how much people could read with a straight face and expressive voice. Three quarters of a page is considered doing extremely well.
  • The Da Vinci Code. It looks like a less-than-shiny book assembled from moldy pieces of cryptohistory is not going to be less of a target if advertised as a daring innovative idea and (whispering) maybe even really relevant theory.
  • Tyra Banks is writing a fantasy novel about models. No, really.
    • The book trilogy in question is titled Modelland, and ends up practically snarking itself. For example SM-ize is an actual word. Really.
  • As far as Mark Twain was concerned, the entire body of Fenimore Cooper's work, and especially Deerslayer. This resulted in "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences," a hilarious Take That and early example of what we call Books on Trope.
  • According to many Warcraft fans, The Cycle of Hatred.
  • Though not remotely popular, the Maradonia Saga has become famous for being made of 100% pure fail. It's not just derivative, it literally plagiarizes from The Bible, has Random words Capitalized for no Reason, random italics, and 'quotes' where none should 'be'. has sporkings and a drinking game, though it would be better to avoid the game if you don't want to die of alcohol poisoning and/or acute liver failure. The enormous ego of the author is the subject of as much, if not more, snark than the books themselves. SwankiVY sums the whole thing up nicely.

Live Action TV


Tell us, is it you who are here
For our good cheer?
Or are we here for the glory
For the story
For the gory satisfaction of telling you how absolutely awful you really are?

Lest one carp, Hilton has been quick to point out that singing is a vocation for which she is eminently skilled. "I know music," she reassured the Sunday Times children's section. "I hear it every single day." [...] While this obviously gives Hilton a massive advantage over those who have never heard any music and thus believe it to be a variety of cheese, there remains the nagging suspicion that this might not represent sufficient qualification for a career as a singer, in much the same way as knowing what a child is does not fully equip you for a career as a consultant paediatrician.

Mythology and Religion

  • The Church of Happyology has its own trope about specific examples for that particular Cu... ool religion, whose real name we cannot print because doing so in this page would constitute slander.
  • As major religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism are all subjected to varying degrees of this.

Newspaper Comics


  • Armond White's movie reviews, as can be found on The New York Press Website and Rotten Tomatoes, constantly bring vitriol upon those who read them. Seriously, just look at the individual moviepages at Rotten Tomatoes - his will, almost without fail, rack up the most comments. He's gained a reputation for being a completely predictable contrarian, and many suspect he's only looking to gain controversy and thus gain attention for himself (Roger Ebert even called him a Troll). Ironically, his reviews have actually become arguably the most reliable prediction of how good or bad a movie is; if he slams it, it's a good movie, and if he kisses up to it, it's a bad movie.
    • Remember that Roger Ebert initially defended White, pointing out that not only is there nothing wrong with challenging consensus position, but White even agrees with the Tomatometer 50% of the time which he considered to be ideal. The biggest problem most people have with White is that the reasons he gives often go above and beyond Epic Fail - to the point that people question whether or not he actually saw the movies he reviewed. For example, he complained about the length of Rapunzel's hair in Tangled and comments that her hair never becomes a problem for her, which is flat out wrong (in the opening song, for example, she laments the length of time she has to spend brushing it).
  • Microsoft's Zune player gets this all the time.
  • Modern art as a whole, particularly due to True Art Is Incomprehensible.
  • An article by Noah Brand traces this marketing strategy to at least 1842 (P.T. Barnum’s American Museum).

Tabletop Games

Video Games


Western Animation

  • My Life Me: A Flash Animation cartoon done in Animesque style starring a Occidental Otaku manga-fan-artist in a Slice of Life style series. Reeks of Shallow Parody, They Just Didn't Care and Self-Insert Fic. Even before the first episode had aired in English it was a massive snark bait.
  • Frozen can be considered this, especially when its runaway success turned it into a Cash Cow Franchise shortly after its release, and the leagues of youngsters since 2013 who have either owned the countless merchandise, wore costumes based on Anna and Elsa, or subjected people to "Let It Go" on replay much to the consternation of others who are burned out by it. Not to mention parts of the adult fandom who'd either come up with lesbian fanfics involving Elsa with Honeymaren or some other female character, or worse yet, in an incestuous relationship with her younger sister Anna.
  • The Disney Princess franchise gets a lot of undeserved hate in recent years largely because of the Girl Show Ghetto and what is often viewed as an idealised, saccharine portrayals of the main characters especially with Snow White and Cinderella, who were viewed as too meek or passive to be viewed as role models for young girls.