So Bad It's Good

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"It is so bad that a kind of grandeur creeps into it."

H. L. Mencken, on Warren G. Harding's English composition

Once in a while, a work turns out to be so bad, it creates a disruption in the badness continuum, and wraps right around to good. Rather than it unintentionally Breaking the Fourth Wall like usual, something about the the specifics of the work in question instead cause an enjoyable, though equally unintended, emotional response in the viewing public. Maybe the hubcap-on-a-wire flying saucers are cute, or the spontaneous brothel scene goes on for so long it's hilarious, or the technically oriented find humor in the way the hacker can suborn the traffic lights of New York with no perceptible effort.

Whatever the reason, a truly horrid piece of work can become an unintentional riot and even get its own fandom for its very lack of quality. This can well be an ongoing process as attitudes change, budgets grow and cynicism increases.

Keep in mind that even when something is So Bad It's Good, it's still bad. For many things on this list, there will be an almost unanimous opinion that they fail entirely at having the sort of appeal they intended. Far less unanimous will be the opinion that they have a sort of appeal that is unintentional; here Your Mileage May Vary comes into play. Likewise, Your Mileage May Vary on where the line lies between simply bad, this effect, and So Bad, It's Horrible. In general, among the very large reserve of things that can be classified as "bad," works that get labeled so bad it's good tend to be loaded with unintended Narm and ludicrously Crazy Awesome factors, while So Bad, It's Horrible, is the place for works whose badness only makes them boring or offensive. Nonetheless, don't be surprised when you come across some items that wound up on both lists, such as Big Rigs Over the Road Racing or Soulja Boy's song, "Anime." On occasion, the writers may intentionally try to pull off this trope. Of course, this almost never actually results in something that fits because it's hard not to "wink at the camera", so to speak—though it's often still funny.

Something which is So Bad It's Good has a high probability of becoming a Cult Classic. Many are heavy on Camp, therefore falling far onto the silly side of the Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness, and are often considered Guilty Pleasures, although neither is necessary. See Narm Charm. This is also often seen in Memetic Mutation, when people combine two or more horrible things (or pieces thereof) into something good. Leeroy Jenkins, for example.

If someone just keeps on churning out work that's So Bad, It's Good, they're probably Giftedly Bad. Of course, it could also be a result of Springtime for Hitler.

Compare Stylistic Suck and So Unfunny It's Funny, which play this trope for laughs. Contrast with So Bad It's Horrible, which is when something actually "succeeds" in being too bad for this trope.

No real life examples, please; this is an Audience Reaction trope, and as far as we know, Real Life does not have an audience.

Examples of So Bad It's Good are listed on these subpages:
So Bad It's Good