Stuart Ashen

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"In March 2011, all e-book readers will be recalled after it is discovered that e-books are shit."
Stuart Ashen, Ashen's Tech Dump, "God's Source Code"

Dr. Stuart Ashen (yes, a real doctor; of psychology, no less), or simply Dr. Ashen, is the premier source on YouTube for reviews of Shoddy Knockoff Products — primarily electronics. He also reviews equally horrible retro British games in a series called Terrible Old Games You've Probably Never Heard Of. He has also created two small series of comedy videos for the BBC Comedy Extra website, named Ashen's Tech Dump and Back Space.

He co-starred in the sci-fi webseries/ARG The Proxy, which ran through March 8–17, 2012. Unfortunately, the contest aspect, not-so-subtly sponsored by Alienware, was available only for those living in the UK. Regardless, it is available to watch worldwide here.

His site is here, his YouTube page here, and he hosts some of his game reviews on That Guy With The Glasses here. He also served as the narrator for Ninja the Mission Force, duplicating the Large Ham British narrator of Godfrey Ho's films.


Stuart Ashen provides examples of the following tropes:

"There should be a Vinnie board game. As soon as you open the box, there will be a slip of paper that kindly informs you that 'YOUR ACTIONS HAVE DAMNED VINNIE'."

    • This inspired him to make up his own rules for a board game:

"You open the box and it is full of jewelery and nothing else. Ten minutes after opening it the Police knock down your door and accuse you of stealing it during a burglary you know nothing about, which resulted in the death of an old woman. In court they produce all sorts of false evidence and you end up being sentenced to 10 years. Six months into the sentence you wake up at 3am and see Vinnie silently staring at you from outside your cell door. Then it suddenly comes back to you — you DID commit the burglary, and it was you who pushed the old woman down the stairs. Vinnie points at you and screams and screams until you go mad. The winner is the player with the most counters."

  • Arch Enemy: The autofocus. Many, MANY times.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: His review of the Chintendo (or "Ken Sing Ton") Vii showed that it was a simplified NES in design with a Wii controller slapped on, 2D Playstation 1-esque graphics, weighed nothing even with a small lump of useless metal inside it, and had cost him financially and mentally very much. His reason for giving it a 0/10? No lanyard.
  • Ascended Meme: After someone did a Gentlementlemen remix of his Retieval Review, he was heard humming it in a later video and put an annotation link to it.
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: "Sprue," meaning those little pieces of plastic that come off the mold for a toy or something similar. He himself admits he has no idea how he came to know the word.
  • Auto-Tune: His review of LaDiDa has him turn the Auto Tune up as high as possible because of Rule of Funny. Improvised hilarity does indeed ensue.
  • Berserk Button: Lanyards. They set him off because every piece of retro tat comes with one. "They're a waste of the planet. The campaign starts here." Incidentally, his way of getting rid of them seems to be selling them with his DVD.
    • Forms of patronizing marketing also manages to piss Ashen off. He expressed his displeasure at the Flip Video's slogans plastered all over its packaging, and actually refused to properly review a set of Carpenter earbuds due to the pretentious-sounding description on the back of its box, especially with its incredibly lame would/wood pun.
  • Bile Fascination: His claim to fame is a series of video reviews of POP Stations, toys and games, almost all of which are crap. Many of them are donations from viewers.
  • Biting the Hand Humor: During the WLL review, the youtube staff terminate the video when he mocks the partnership program.
  • Blatant Lies: A Running Gag of his. He denotes all sarcastic comments with "...he lied."
    • "<Sarcasm>. Also, I am a crazy liar"
  • Blind Idiot Translation: Nearly every foreign product has manuals filled with this. It's so bad that Dr. Ashen is angry when it doesn't happen. Sometimes even the name is badly translated.

Ashen: You've probably read the title of this video and thought "Surely there can't be a POP Station called Retieval Mankind's Batman!"

  • The Board Game: He has reviewed several board game adaptations of computer and arcade games.
  • Body Horror: The Fight Club action figures, which have limbs twisted around the wrong way and faces painted on wrongly. Apparently, it can spread.
  • Brick Joke: In Poundland Special 3 (April 2010), he tries to test the Packbuster's claims with a LCD game based on Doctor Who. He also claimed that he will review it later, but it took until December 2011 for it to be reviewed. Turns out it had fallen behind a wardrobe. The post for it on ashens.com also lampshaded its former What Happened to the Mouse? status.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: In playing the Turbo boardgame with Guru Larry, he manages to come in third place... out of two people playing.
  • Buffy-Speak: From his Barcode Battler review after he realised the device needed new batteries.

"This thing eats batteries like an enormous battery-eating thing."

  • Catapult Nightmare: At the beginning of his "Fortress Guardian" review.
  • Catch Phrase: Occasionally teases about making one up, but always decides against it. Two options were "Stay Fresh, Cheese Bags!" and "Thumbs up to Dingoo!"
    • "Let's see what lurks inside."
    • "Marvellous."
    • "He lied."
    • Early in a review he will make a Captain Obvious comment along the lines of "It's a (thing)" or "It's got a (thing)" in a pained, Dalek-like voice.
    • A skeptical "Hmmmmm" after he reads a line of Blatant Lies product description.
    • "Nought to three sad onions."
    • "I don't know, and you know what? I don't care."
  • Christmas Special: Christmas Tat 1 (2008) and 2 (2009), and the Christmas Specials for 2010 and 2011.
  • Corpsing: In the iPhone 5G review, he dissolves into a fit of uncontrollable laughter after discovering an ancient-style rabbit ear antenna on the phone.
  • Curse Cut Short: Chef Excellence at the end of "An Excellent Newsflash".
  • Cuteness Proximity: Whenever he brings one of his pets onto the show, he tends to act especially cute with them, in a weird way—such as looking for his dog, Oscar ("Where's Oscar-dog? There he is!) so he can poke him, or asking his guinea pig if he's going to going to turn into a god-monster. "Yeees! Are you going to go on a rampage? Yeees!"
  • Creepy Doll: Shows up in the "Poundland Girls' Toys Special". His reaction? Kill It with Fire.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He doesn't hold anything back against the "products" he reviews. Emphasis on the "Deadpan," too, as he's usually extremely calm-voiced during his inferior product reviews.
  • Deconstruction: Realism Fighter, from Episode 2 of Ashen's Tech Dump.
  • Defictionalization: The action figures of him started out as a joke before becoming real for a limited run.
    • Vinnie the Vole's Existensial Nightmare.
  • Drinking Game: Dr. Ashen gives one to the viewer in the description of the Barcode Battler video.

Ashen: Take a shot every time I say "Right", and "...or something". Alcohol poisoning may ensue.

  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: A mild example. In the end of POP Station Watch 6, Chef Excellence makes an appearance as a puppet and Stuart asks him how he is now that he was replaced on the Stay Fresh line. They parted on sour terms.
  • Dual-Wielding: He destroys a pair of shoddy headphones with dual-wielded hammers.
  • Dude, Not Funny: By his own account, he's invoked this again and again and has been keeping track with a checklist. This is mostly concerning how people didn't get jokes such as his repeated avoidance of copyright infringement (Considering the youtube community's troubled history with copyright), or his appearance on The Node.
  • East Anglia: Ashen is from there and often mentions Norwich in his reviews.
  • Easter Egg: The strange sound during when he supposedly fell asleep during his R-Zone review. By playing it on a spectrogram, it reveals a picture of Noseybonk. Proof here.
    • On his Guitar Fever review, if you record the screech and play it on a ZX spectrum emulator you get a special message! (Volume warning!) SPLINK!
  • Eat That: One of his most popular bits is consuming various dubious edibles on camera, and it's one of his most requested ones as well, since his reactions are generally rather dramatic. Favorites include him eating a giant gummi-candy foot, the terrifying "anti-pizza," and generic boxed wine.
    • His Easter 2012 contains possibly the two extremes of all the "Eat That"s he's ever done: First, there was a "cream egg" so vile, it caused an immediate Spit Take (for which he later apologized, it being rather unprofessional), and a marshmallow bunny that, while it looked horrifying (its eyes were misaligned and it had a random hole in its forehead), he had to admit actually tasted pretty good.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Bort Sompson.
    • Referenced in regards to a Fight Club ripoff action figure whose face has been printed wrongly.
    • Also used when talking about a doll from Poundland. After burning it, of course.
    • He used the term again when talking about the Bridesmaid doll in the second Poundland Girl's Toys Special. He said it went beyond "Eldritch abomination" and into "harbinger of the apocalypse" levels.
  • Eldritch Location: The ice field from the Turbo board game is depicted as such.
  • Epic Fail: His attempts at building a Christmas cracker from a kit set the sofa on fire and reduced him to a gibbering wreck. And that's before he set off all the gunpowder.
  • Even the Rats Won't Touch It: The Stinger for Poundland Food Special shows his dog refusing to touch the "pizza" "snack".
  • Evil Genius: According to Guru Larry and Wez, at least.
  • Evil Laugh: He uses one to let you know that he may phone you.
  • Evolving Credits: His standard intro has big googly eyes appear on his logo as he says a cheery "Hello!" For Poundland specials, instead pound coins appear where his eyes should be and he says 'cheapo!' For "Popstation Watch" a police siren plays while a Popstation orbits his logo's head and the eyes follow it.
    • And then there's the times he's changed it up by replacing the googly eyes with headbanging with heavy metal, a more high-definition version of the popstation watch opening, and CELERY!.
    • The Poundland Food Special has him barfing in addition to his pound coin eyes. Given the nature of the "food" he's about to eat, it's basically foreshadowing what's to come.
    • The 2012 Easter Special replaced "Hello!" with a very unenthusiastic "Easter." It also placed the Easter Bunny into the scene and omitted the googly eyes.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Terrible Old Games You've Probably Never Heard Of
  • Eye Scream: When reviewing a knock-off Darth Vader action figure with a light-up lightsaber, Ashen accidentally shines the light in his eye when pressing the button before putting in the lightsaber. He does not take it well.
  • Face Palm: His Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen review.
  • Fan Nickname: "Bort Sompson" for the nightmare-inducing Not Bart Simpson from the Huge Screen V2 review.
    • He also comes up with nicknames for all the Doctor Who villains during his review of the Doctor Who LCD Adventure Game.
  • Filk Song: One of the entries to the non-100th video contest was a four-track album called "Recorded Tat", which includes theme songs for City Fighter and BMX Ninja.
  • Follow the Leader: After Dr. Ashen's videos increased in popularity, a number of "Ashens tribute" review videos in his style have appeared throughout YouTube. The video Ultra-Cheap Action Figures Review has a clip of a contributor doing an impression of him included in the end.
    • In a VLOG made by several members of Channel Awesome for Magfest, purely by coincidence they ended up filming themselves in the back of a car while finding bits of plastic tat, holding them in front of the camera and talking about them: they ended up dubbing it "The Ashens Car".
    • It's unknown if it's done intentionally but much of the review format and snark of Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation review series seems quite similar to Terrible Old Games You've Probably Never Heard Of
  • Freudian Slip: Both invoked and lampshaded in his Game King review, upon stating Game Boy games would not work on it.

"Oh... I don't know what it is with you people! You're obsessed with sticking things in the wrong slot... hm. Very Freudian."

    • In his Game.Com review, he accidentally made a Freudian slip whilst reviewing the Batman and Robin game. Damnit! I've given away the ending in a freudian slip!
  • Fun with Acronyms: The company behind some of the Royal Wedding Tat had the unfortunate acronym PMS.
  • Fun with Subtitles: The videos with subtitles sometimes describe his actions pejoratively. MOON MEN
  • Gilligan Cut: After he had opened a package of promotional X-Factor instruments (a whistle, a recorder, and a tambourine), he examines the quality of the instruments, then says "I can't see myself making a musical triptych with these". Cut to exactly that.
  • Harmless Villain: The Silver Skull
  • Hypocritical Humor: After the segment where Harry Partridge does a small review in Ashen's style in the "Ultra-Cheap Action Figures" video.

Ashen: People appearing in my own videos, trying to steal my shtick... Bet Mike Mozart doesn't have to put up with this.

  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • As a reference to the La Di Dah iPhone app's autotune effect, as he was saving his recording to share it, he wondered, "Can I send it to Cher"? Very subtle, but terrible, nonetheless.
    • He didn't like jokes with Christmas crackers either.
    • "It looks like a fat Batarang: a Fatarang!"
  • I Need a Freaking Drink / This Is Gonna Suck: After finding out that one of the items he was reviewing was yet another POP Station repackaging, he laments on it:

Ashen: Oh, dear... I'm not looking forward to turning this on.
(After getting the packaging over and done with) Right, I'm going to go have a stiff drink or twenty, then I shall return.

Ashen: I knew I shouldn't have taken him to see The Artist.

"Once, I had a dream I was eating a giant marshmallow. When I woke up, my wife was missing and everything was covered in blood!"

  • Mascot with Attitude: At one point he said that Chef Excellence's Stay Fresh Cheese Bags sounded like the sign-off of a Nineties mascot — "Stay fresh, cheesebags!"
  • The Mean Brit: Imagine Yahtzee, but about ten times less mean and five times slower. He's certainly not afraid of snarking at all the stupid things the thing he's reviewing got wrong.
  • Medium Awareness: He notes that the Silver Skull is unlikely to make good on his threat to return because "I get bored of recurring characters very quickly".
  • Missing Episode: His A-Team video game review was taken down due to copyright infringement, but can be found here (until THAT video got taken down), but the channel associated with it still has all of the other videos that were formerly on extras.ashens.com.
    • To an extent, The Proxy could count as a trace of this. Each of the descriptions link to its Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia pages. However, the Wikipedia page has since been deleted.
  • Most Annoying Sound: He's declared this on a number of things. The MIDI files on Guitar Fever. The Game Over noise of Outrun knockoff, which was originally a classic in the original. Also, U2.
    • A number of Popstations start up with an awful MIDI version of the Ode to Joy, which he has dubbed the "Ode to Pain."
    • The R-Zone, despite actually being made by a (somewhat) reputable company in Tiger Electronics, was discovered to have music far more unbearable than any of the Popstations he reviewed. The two Star Wars games he tried out were just barely tolerable, but music in the system's version of Virtua Fighter was likened to "a giant spider running across a keyboard."
    • The pointless nature noises the iPhone 5G's screensaver constantly made.

Stuart: Have you got a frog in your pocket, or have you bought one of those stupid phones? (later on) WILL YOU SHUT UP?!

"Overall, I give [Karting Grand Prix] 73%. Because I'm a fucking idiot."

(after hearing the intro to the Super Mario Bros. theme in Football Ground/Gbound of Legend) "Wow, they're even ripping off the music these days."

  • Precision F-Strike: His review of games based on The A-Team had him swear a few times. He expressed surprise at viewers' shock at his language, not realizing that this was the first time he did so. He uses profanity slightly more liberally now, but keeps it to a minimum.
    • He did it again in his Amstrad Penpad review.
    • And again in the Star Wars Action Figures episode, albeit on accident after a crappy Darth Vader toy shined a bright LED in his eye. Borders on a Atomic F-Bomb

"ARGH! Fucking...god DAMMIT!"

    • On his new "Extra Ashens" channel, he did this to show his contempt for Peter Popoff.

" You astonishingly vile fuck."

    • In his headset/headphones review, after reading some incredibly gushy pun-filled stuff on the back of the box of one of them.

" You know what? Fuck you, and fuck your headphones!"

    • In his "Recording Microscopes" video:

"Science! I fucking love me some science!"

  • Poke the Poodle: Ashens does this while checking off a list of tropes on this very page.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The Illegal Activity Special.
  • Reality Warper: His helmet in the second quickest game overs video.
  • Recursive Reality: At Jurnet's Bar in Norwich, if you remove one of the bricks in a wall, you'll see a figure of a guy removing a brick from a smaller version of the same wall.
  • Retraux: His 75,000-subscriber milestone video is a repost of his very first video review.
  • Rewriting Reality: Dr. Ashen meets the man who cracked the Source Code of the Universe in Episode 1 of Tech Dump. Depressingly though, the man was obsessed with spontaneously creating Booty Parties out of thin air.
  • Running Gag: "Realistic color and sound effect. Just the one. Running Joke." He claimed that he was going to stop using it in Pop Station Watch 5, but it unexpectedly came back in his PCP Station review
    • You could say that was an outright lie to begin with, because it gets used again in POP Station Watch 9.
    • He also refers to the "Children Under 3 Should not play with this" logo as the "Sad Onion".
    • He always mentions how the Street Fighter games that come with all of the POP Station variants consist of men ripping their own arms off and throwing them at each other.
    • Argh! Jump Cut!
    • "[sarcastic comment], he lied."
    • His battle with the auto focus.
    • A less frequent one: smiling and clicking his teeth together whenever his reflection shows on the screen of the tat he's reviewing.
    • In his "Terrible Old Games You've Probably Never Heard Of" segment, describing the modern fate of the companies that made the games as "A FITTING PUNISHMENT!"
    • Potatoes seem to come up an awful lot.
  • Schedule Slip: Ashen's Tech Dump Episode 4 was released seven months after the previous one.
  • Self-Deprecation: A very large part of his style. He describes himself as a "Professional idiot" in biography sections of his webpages and social network accounts like Twitter. When pressed for his occupation, he insists he is an internet comedian and never brings up his Ph.D.
    • At the end of his Xbox rip-off review:

"Terrifying thought: You have been watching an idiot talking about a broken toy for over ten minutes."

Ashen: Maybe that's where the "S" from the end of "Maths" ended up?

"It's hard to believe that introduction cost 8 and a half thousand pounds to make."


YOU HAVE SHOWN THESE HUMANS TOO MUCH

  1. really, it's just 30 minutes of zooming
  2. said before preparing a made-in-China instant cupcake from Poundland.