Take That, Critics!
A specific form of Take That, in which the producers of a show respond to criticism of the show through the show itself, either through subtle in-jokes that obliquely refer to the criticism, putting lines of dialogue into the mouths of the characters, or presenting parodies of their critics. The program may even break the fourth wall to directly address the critics.
Depending on the producer, this can come in many forms; gentle ribbing or parody of the critics and their position, pointed rejoinders, triumphant gloating, and—in extreme cases—over-the-top bile that leads to the strong assumption that the critics may have struck a delicate nerve.
Use with extreme caution or, better yet, not at all. An ill-balanced attack will never come across the way you intended; your opponent may have a more clever rebuttal, but even if he doesn't the very act of replying to critics gives them credibility. Your attempt to assume the high ground may look like sheer hubris, contempt, bitterness, crushing insecurity, or a sign that you've entered a Protection From Editors (and by extension Critics) mindset. It may also look like a transparent attempt to forestall or prevent criticism by mocking the critics first... which is an approach likely to backfire, since most critics are made of sterner stuff than those who adopt this approach might anticipate, and now have unquestionably valid reason to attack. It'll also make your viewers aware of the criticism you're trying to deflect.
This can happen especially if the criticism that has been made obviously has merit to audiences, if the attack is kept up long past the relevance of the critique, or—particularly—if the author spends a lot more effort making ad hominem attacks on the critics themselves in lieu of addressing the points they're raising.
Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]
- Exclusive promos for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie made fun of the critics that didn't like it. One featured the Mooninites giving the pinky to a fake critic named Lionel. Another one featured Carl describing any critic that didn't like the movie as a 97 year old. Ouch.
- Domino's invoked this trope by having ads featuring videoes taken from focus groups about how their pizza sucked. Then they showed the Domino's execs reactions. Then the chefs vowing to do better. Then the chefs taking their new, improved pizzas to the critics houses. "I'm eating my words!"
- This ridiculous response to Stephen Colbert's criticism of a "hip" non-mayonnaise ad. Stephen retorted by thanking them for all the ad revenue and announcing he'd spend all the money on mayonnaise.
- In a brilliant piece of Self-Deprecation, the distributor for Australian energy drink Mother released this commercial after surveys revealed most people hated the taste of the drink.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- From The Sandman story "Calliope," one of the many story ideas Ric Madoc devises after he is cursed with "ideas in abundance" by the Sandman, in a case of Be Careful What You Wish For involves "the fraternity of critics": "In reality a dark brethren, linked by profane rites and blood vows. To destroy an author they sacrifice a child and perform a critical mass..."
- Dan DiDio actually turned one of his online critics into a supervillain so he could be beaten up. A really lame supervillain seeking Disproportionate Retribution. And for extra insult, he decided to make the villain Camp Gay.
- DC has a few of these: Funky Flashman (created by Jack Kirby as a thinly-disguised and none-too-affectionate parody of Stan Lee) and Superboy-Prime (a parody of the very worst aspects of the contiuity-obsessed forum-posting online fan) both spring to mind.
- Fanfic author Jared Ornstead, who does not deal well with any kind of criticism, has been known to write plot developments into his stories solely to spite reviewers or other commentators who had not been slavishly worshipful of his genius. And then crow about it in an author's note at the end of the chapter, just to make sure they notice.
- Lady in the Water features a Straw Critic expressly for this purpose, who gets killed. Also, there is an author who changes the entire world by becoming a martyr, and is played by Shyamalan himself. Naturally, in their (mostly savage) reviews of the movie, many of the critics were quick to note this stroke of narcissism. When the movie completely bombed he had to eat crow.
- Made even better by the common reaction to the critic, who became something of an Ensemble Darkhorse.
- The 1998 film Godzilla took dead aim at Siskel & Ebert by featuring the latter as the buffoonish Mayor of NYC and the former as his sycophantic sidekick, as revenge for the critical mauling their previous movies had received (also, presumably, a preemptive strike against criticism of the current movie). One problem: neither critic rose to the bait. Ebert claimed he was just happy to finally be a character in a Godzilla movie. And on their program, Siskel delivered the definitive Take That to this Take That:
Siskel: If you're going to go to the trouble of putting us in a monster movie, why don't you at least take advantage of having the monster eat or squish us?
- While Siskel and Ebert weren't squished, another critic of the movie was - the extra in the car that is squished early in the film was intended to be a representation of J.D. Lees, editor of G-Fan Magazine, who had harsh criticism for the film based on information leaks prior to its release. Several Godzilla fans noted how extremely petty it was to cast an extra for someone most film goers would never recognize just to have him killed off.
- Meet the Spartans has one of the most spectacularly backfiring examples in history: they build up the gag, by having characters read unflattering reviews of the previous installment, Epic Movie, off the Internet in a mocking tone of voice... but forget to put in the punchline. So all the scene adds to the movie is that it flat out explains how bad the rest of the film is.
- Superprodukcja, by usually brilliant Polish director Juliusz Machulski, stars a movie critic who is forced to become a screenwriter and director of a movie under the thumb of a mob boss. It's pretty bad.
- In Gremlins 2 the titular monsters overrun a TV studio. In one scene a critic is ranting about how horrible the original Gremlins is, using actual lines from a bad review, is mobbed by gremlins and starts yelling "I was just kidding! It was a 10! A 10!" Unusually, the critic was actually Leonard Maltin, playing himself and reading out his own review; a rare case where the producers and the critic seem to be taking things in equally good humour. (The entire sequel could be seen as a Take That to the original, despite being directed by the same guy.)
- Elsewhere, the sequel demonstrates its own self-effacing good humour by including a scene where people discuss the inconsistencies in the "don't feed them after midnight" rule (before being mauled by gremlins) and another scene where Kate (Phoebe Cates) is prevented from launching into a maudlin speech about why she doesn't like Presidents' Day, parodying her speech about Christmas in the original film.
- Fairly mild, but critic Pauline Kael gave negative reviews to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Raiders of the Lost Ark, leading to George Lucas naming a villain in his later movie Willow after her.
- Also in Willow, the two-headed dragon is named "Ebersisk" after Siskel and Ebert - although the name is never mentioned in the film.
- Kevin Smith responded to criticisms of his film Jersey Girl by stating "it wasn't made for critics".
- He said that about Dogma too. Or maybe he only said that about Dogma and it was still in response to critics not liking Jersey Girl. Either way I'm positive he said that about Dogma, which is interesting since critics loved the movie.
- Then there's the scene from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back where Jay and Bob blast some internet critics for making fun of them (in context of making fun of a comic book that is based on them in-universe). The film's penultimate sequence involves the two of them beating the shit out of the internet posters (most of who are revealed to be annoying twelve year olds).
Jay: [as Silent Bob transcribes on an internet movie site comment] All you motherfuckers are gonna pay. You are the ones who are the ball-lickers. We're gonna fuck your mothers while you watch and cry like little bitches. Once we get to Hollywood and find those Miramax fucks who are making that movie, we're gonna make 'em eat our shit, then shit out our shit, then eat their shit which is made up of our shit that we made 'em eat. Then you're all you motherfucks are next. Love, Jay and Silent Bob.
- He infamously did it twice in the wake of his most recent film Cop Out; once at critics in general and once again at one critic in particular when the movie came out on DVD.
- To be fair, he was probably getting sick and tired of people mistaking him as the person who wrote the movie, he just directed it.
- Bitterness at his perceived abuse by critics at least partially led to the decision to self-distribute Red State.
- He infamously did it twice in the wake of his most recent film Cop Out; once at critics in general and once again at one critic in particular when the movie came out on DVD.
- In They Live!, After Nada destroys the signal and the aliens' true forms are revealed, a pair of critics on TV (clearly Expies for Siskel and Ebert, are shown as aliens, complaining that directors like George Romero and John Carpenter "need to show some restraint". This is a bit odd, considering that at least Ebert greatly championed Night of the Living Dead and Halloween when many critics reviled them as trash, although Ebert hadn't been as kind to some of their later films.
- The villain of Galaxy Quest is named after Andrew Sarris because a producer had a grudge.
- History of the World Part One begins by showing the artist of the first cave painting, followed shortly by the first critic. The critic's response? He pisses on the painting.
- A guy who shows up at the beginning of The Asylum's The Hitchhiker was based on a critic who writer and director Leigh Scott hates. He's depicted as an Ambiguously Gay porn reviewer.
Literature[edit | hide]
- In Michael Crichton's Next, Crichton wrote a minor character into his book that was currently being tried for raping a toddler, with the commentary that while his penis was fairly small, he still did significant damage to the child. Strangely enough, the rapist's name was almost identical to that of a man who had criticized Crichton's last book. The critic found this very funny.
- SF&F author and Vietnam veteran David Drake was reviewed unfavorably early in his career by reviewer Charles Platt, who said that Drake wouldn't write the things he did if he'd ever seen war. In response, many of his works feature a reprehensible character named "Platt" who typically dies violently. About the best any "Platt" can hope for is to be stupid.
- Piers Anthony uses Xanth and its infamous puns to strike out against critics directly, to the point of creating a species of blood-sucking insects known as 'cri-ticks', and creating a group of self-proclaimed human critics who hated everything they saw without exception. He takes an even more direct shot at his critics in Currant Events: In the very first chapter, the muse Clio runs into a evil doppelganger who taunts Clio with many of the critiques of the Xanth series as she attempts to to kill and replace her as the Muse Of History. (It was one of Good Magician Humphery's challenges, so she probably wouldn't have killed her, but still..)
"In the British Fantasy Society Newsletter's 'Desert Island Books' spot he chooses, for his 'single item of no practical use whatsoever', a critic. Also he would take Finnegans Wake plus a guide to understanding it (written presumably by a cr*t*c), and the complete works of George Bernard Shaw (that fine dramatic and musical cr*t*c)."
- A. E. Van Vogt received a scathing review from Damon Knight after the magazine publication of his novel The World of Null-A. He answered the criticism in the introduction of the book publication. Oddly enough, he took it very well, revising parts of the book where Knight had pointed out plot holes, and even commented that Knight's review was very well-written.
- Artist Raoul Hausmann's The Art Critic.
- Lord Byron famously satirised the various Scottish critics who had panned his early verse, in the poem English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. It can be found in Vol.1 of his collected poetic works on Gutenberg.
- Terry Pratchett has a handful of Discworld books where, alongside the usually glowing review snippets you see on the covers and first few pages of books, ends with one from The Late Review that reads "Doesn't even write in chapters ... a complete amateur ... hasn't a clue".
- The quote is also used by a vapid and shallow witch in A Hat Full of Sky to dismiss another, hard-working witch: "She's rather sad. Complete amateur. Hasn't really got a clue. Just bustles about and hopes."
- Dean Koontz's novel Relentless was about a cabal of sinister critics trying to drive down cultural standards.
- Even Voltaire gets into this in his novel Candide. In the later chapters there's Count Pococurante who owns an extensive library of great literature. But he's incapable of enjoying anything and ruthlessly critiques all of it.
- The character also counts as Self-Parody- all of his literary opinions are those of Voltaire himself, who also a pretty snarky guy- but the character takes it to insufferable levels.
- Tolkien's foreword to The Lord of the Rings features the following: "Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works."
- Older Than Feudalism: 1st Century BC Roman poet Catullus' poem 16 is a response to two of his critics, and has been described as one of the most offensive poems ever.
- A.P. Herbert's Misleading Cases in the Common Law includes the following passage, where a judge (apparently) urges the jury that they shouldn't discriminate against a critic:
You were invited by the plaintiff's counsel to consider upon a somewhat higher plane the activities of Miss Trott, which are admittedly creative, than those of Mrs. Tulip, as being chiefly occupied in tearing to pieces the things which other men have made. But this distinction, however attractive to the lay mind, I must ask you to dismiss from your own. In many ponderous and ill‑drafted enactments our ancestors have been careful to secure to the most repellent of the King's subjects the common rights of free expression so long as it takes the harmless form of venomous and enraging words.
- Illuminatus! has a pre-emptive strike on its critics, by including the worst possible review of the novel in the text of the novel itself, and attributing it to a deeply obnoxious Camp Gay who admits that he hasn't actually read the novel itself.
- Amanda McKittrick Ros evidently was very creative at insulting the critics, those "clay-crabs of corruption" and "evil minded snapshots of spleen". Of course, her love of alliteration in itself tempts the other authors to give articles about her books titles like "Awful author addicted to alliteration achieves acclaim again" or "Brilliantly Bad Books".
- The short-lived show Vengeance Unlimited had "Critical", an episode that incorporated many critics' negative statements. Most of these lines were given to the naive 16-year-old computer whiz who was unwittingly helping the villain of the week, just to show how much they thought of the critics. Of course, this time the critics happened to have the show pegged, and it was canned two episodes later.
- Murphy Brown addressed then-Vice President Dan Quayle's well-publicized criticisms of the show and its favourable depiction of a single mother directly through the show. This eventually culminated in a Take That right back at him when they arranged for a dump-truck full of potatoes to be dumped on his front porch, in reference to Quayle's equally well-publicized 'potato' / 'potatoe' gaff. "It's a good thing he didn't misspell 'fertilizer.'"
- In a Dinosaurs episode Earl comments, when watching a puppet show, that while the aesthetic of using puppets makes it appear at first glance to be a children's show, the actual content and themes of the show make it clear that it isn't, may refer to criticism of the show being for children. Or something to that effect.
- The Doctor Who story "The Greatest Show In The Galaxy" is pretty much based around this trope, complete with a stereotypical Fan Boy whining that the circus isn't as good as it used to be, and the villains of the piece being a metaphor for television executives.
- The 2005 Christmas special has the Tenth Doctor scolding Rose for giving up on him while he was comatose following regeneration. Given that this was the first regeneration following the show's relaunch, it's easy to picture these words being aimed at everyone who dismissed David Tennant for replacing Christopher Eccleston.
- The 2005/6 seasons were criticised by some fans who complained about the number of stories set on contemporary Earth, wanted more exotic settings and Space Opera content, and got upset about the number of contemporary pop culture references. The 2006 Christmas special, "The Runaway Bride", featured an unspeakably nasty, misanthropic, intellectually-snobbish human villain who turned out to be plotting with aliens to destroy the world just because they offered to show him the wonders of the universe, and who was given a long and unsympathetic speech mocking pop culture.
- The Babylon 5 season four finale "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" episode ended with a dedication: "Dedicated to all the people who predicted that the Babylon Project would fail in its mission. Faith manages". The really neat part is that it works on both sides of the fourth wall.
- In addition, the blurb on the back of the box set contains a few of the many useful things comments from the show's critics.
- Richard Ingrams once attacked Fawlty Towers as unfunny. An episode of the next series featured a 'Mr Ingrams' inflating a sex aid doll in his room.
- Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear lives and breathes this trope. A particularly notable example comes from Season 9 episode 1, when Richard Hammond returned from a rocket-car crash at 288 mph that left him temporarily brain damaged and could have killed him. Clarkson thanked the (very much alive) Hammond for reminding everyone of an important lesson: Speed kills.
- Similarly to the Richard Ingrams example, the lengthy Not the Nine O'Clock News parody of The Two Ronnies came about after Ronnie Barker called the show obscene, making the point that someone whose entire routine relied on Double Entendre possibly shouldn't be throwing that particular stone.
- The West Wing featured an episode where Josh posts a message about some minor issue of government procedure on an internet forum. Though the site is actually dedicated to him, the users (including a forum administrator "sitting in a muu-muu and smoking Parliament Lights") attack him for getting the issue wrong. Creator Aaron Sorkin wrote this episode as a response to his experience using the website Television Without Pity.com, where he was a member for quite some time. Sorkin posted a topic about a dispute he had with a staff writer, which led to the site's users attacking him.
- Many people think that the song Droppin' Plates by Disturbed is a Take That at the record company who told them that because they played a unique style of music, they wouldn't become successful. Their first album selling over four million copies and their three consecutive #1 albums are even more effective examples. Sons of Plunder and Awaken could also count.
- The entire (albeit lighthearted) point of "Silly Love Songs," Paul McCartney's attempt to combine a, well, love song with a defense of the entire genre. Rock critics hated 'silly love songs' in The Seventies, and took it out on the musicians...
- The Eagles' song "The Long Run" has been interpreted as a response to music critics:
People talking about us, ain't got nothing else to do
When it all comes down, we will still come through in the long run
- Adam And The Ants' song, "Press Darlings," namedrops two adversaries in the British music press, Nick Kent and Garry Bushell. Adam Ant would later extend this trope to an entire album, Friend or Foe, where most of the tracks answer Ant's critics in the media.
- Tim Minchin's "Song for Phil Daoust"
Just wanna say, Phil Daoust, occasional guardian newspaper journal-oust
That it's been three years since you wrote it,
And time is very healing.
But I still wanna cut big chunks of flesh out of your stupid face,
And make your children watch while I force you to eat them.
- "99 Problems" by Jay Z featured a pretty vicious one: Rap critics say it's money cash hoes/I'm from the hood, stupid/what type of facts are those?...I'm like, fuck critics/You can kiss my whole asshole/If you don't like my lyrics you can press fast-forward.
- Perhaps the most direct version of this trope came from Billy Joel, who, early in his career, actually tore up newspapers on stage that gave him bad reviews.
- And take THIS, HATERS!
- The Clash's "Garageland" isn't entirely about this, but the first few lines are a direct response to a Caustic Critic's take on one of their early live performances - they were called something along the lines of "a garage band who should stay in the garage, preferably with the door closed and the car left running". Thus "Back in the garage with my bullshit detector/ Carbon monoxide making sure it's effective".
- Oingo Boingo's "Imposter": It may or may not be based on anyone specific, but it depicts a Straw Critic as a jealous failed artist ("You're just a critic, we know why you drink so much / Jealousy slowly consuming your gut").
- Guns N' Roses' "Get In The Ring."
- Christina Aguilera quite likes defending herself against criticisms of her sexual music/show. "Still Dirrty" and "Can't Hold Us Down" are both also against those types of critics.
- Death metal band Cryptopsy received massive fan backlash for their album "The Unspoken King" and it's jump into deathcore. They later uploaded a track, "It's Dinner Time" to their myspace page mocking fans for this criticism.
- "Mean" by Taylor Swift doesn't seem like this at first, but at the end it has a line that calls out those who think she can't sing, a common criticism held against her.
- "Shut Up Bitch" by Lil' Kim.
- "Don't Wanna See Your Face" by the John Butler Trio. Often assumed to be a break-up song, mainly due to the chorus being the only really intelligible part of the song for many listeners.
You think I love you? You think I need you?
Damn no, get out the door. don't wanna see your face no more.
- However in the verse...
Tell me why you're in this game
There's better use for your pen
Than criticising others for doing their thing.
- "Mr Writer" by the Stereophonics.
- "Jools and Jim" from the Pete Townshend solo album Empty Glass doesn't even try to hide the fact it's about music critics; the title refers to the critics Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons - who had written criticising the late Keith Moon - and the lyrics spit bile at professional critics.
- Tyler, The Creator of OFWGKTA often calls out critics who label his music as "hatemongering horrorcore", but his most notable example of disdain for the criticizing bloggers is heard at the very beginning of the title track of his debut album "Bastard" where he rants:
"Yo, fuck 2DopeBoyz and fuck Nah Right, and any other fuck-nigga-ass blog that can't put an 18 year old nigga making his own fucking beats, covers, videos and all that shit."
- "On Fire" by Eminem features the line "So, the next time you blog, try to spit a flow / You want to criticize, dog? Try a little more" which is assumed to be directed at former rapper Nick Cannon who claimed that a song on his Relapse album proved him to be racist and jealous of the relationship he now has with his ex-girlfriend Mariah Carey.
- The entirety of The Marshall Mathers LP" is this, among other things.
- Queen's "Princes of the Universe" has a verse that's commonly seen as a Take That to critics who thought them past their prime: "People talk about you / People say you've had your day / I'm a man that will go far / Fly the moon and reach for the stars / With my sword and head held high / Got to pass the test first time, yeah / I know that people talk about me / I hear it every day / But I can prove them wrong 'cause I'm right first time"
- Her Space Holiday's "Meet the Pressure". There's something incredibly petty about saying that the wives of your critics masturbate while listening to the very words they criticised.
- Lou Reed's live album Take No Prisoners contained a tirade against Village Voice critic Robert Christgau, calling him a "toe fucker" and complaining about his previous album receiving a B+. Christgau responded by giving the album a C+ and thanked Reed for "pronouncing my name right" in the review.
- Sonic Youth also reacted against some bad reviews by renaming the song "Kill Yr Idols" to "I Killed Christgau With My Big Fucking Dick". Christgau later named it one of the best singles of 1984.
- Much of Britney Spears' later (third album and beyond) career is essentially this, beginning with her first Saturday Night Live appearance.
- Nick Cave's "Scum" is a tirade of abuse against Matt Snow, a British music journalist who had been a friend of his until he dared to give him a bad review.
- The appropriately named song, "Shut Up!" by Simple Plan
- "War Nerve" by Pantera is a direct attack on the media in general and critics in particular.
"For every fucking second the pathetic media pisses on me and judges what I am in one paragraph - Look here - Fuck you all"
- "Panama" by Van Halen was written after a critic claimed that Van Halen only made songs about "partying, sex, and cars". Upon reading this David Lee Roth realized that the band didn't have any songs about cars, so he decided to write one.
- One of the more entertaining aspects of Christian musician Steve Taylor's career was his constant battles with charlatan televangelists who decried him as an agent of Satan for writing rock music. "Guilty By Association" in particular is all about critics who unfairly maligned his work as Satanic simply because of the instruments it uses and the genre of music it belongs to. Also, from "Cash Cow: A Rock Opera In Three Short Acts"
The golden Cash Cow had a body like the great cows of ancient Egypt
And a face like the face of Robert Tilton (without the horns)
- Pearls Before Swine took a dig at The Comics Curmudgeon and newspaper comics snarkers in general in August 2009. As noted in the post, Stephen Pastis was being rather light-hearted anyway, and the Pastis character is often used for self-deprecating humor through the strip's history.
- Retail took a more bitter jab at the same blog and fanbase in another strip from 2007.
- Funky Winkerbean's author appears to be using this to get at critics who think a former-gag-a-week comic becoming a depressing, mostly cancer-themed melodrama is the same as a high school class performing Wit.
- Brooke McEldowney, author of 9 Chickweed Lane, recently had his author avatar Thorax breezily condemn anyone as imbeciles who didn't like the warped perspective, ornate dialogue and Ayn-Randesque morals of his characters. He had earlier blamed his being forced to move his more openly sexualized fantasy strip Pibgorn off the newspaper comics page on the same imbeciles, who were besides which stuck in the past.
- In recent years, the WWE has made numerous Subtext references to Triple H's real-life marriage to Vince McMahon's daughter Stephanie McMahon, which many critics claimed was the only reason Triple H became a main eventer.
- In 2006, when Stephanie was expecting their first child, Shawn Michaels asked Triple H who he thought got her pregnant. Triple H's response: "I don't know, but I tell you what - that guy's gotta be one hell of a stud!"
- When Stephanie gave birth on the same night that RAW aired live, Michaels explained Triple H's absence by saying he was at the hospital without the McMahons knowing, then said, "Between you and me, I think he knows who the father is."
- In a later show, when Shane McMahon told Triple H and Michaels to grow up, Triple H brought up how Shane's father "put his own daughter in an I Quit match, just days before she married a man with the world's largest peni..." (Michaels cuts him off before he can finish)
- On RAW's 15th anniversary, when the McMahons tried to shoot a family portrait, Triple H came out and said he felt like he was a part of their family. Later, Stephanie got back at Vince for all the times he humiliated her by kissing Triple H. Trip's response: "All right Steph, see you at home... I mean, your brother's a gnome..."
- Of course, this all came full circle in the buildup to WrestleMania 25, when Triple H and the WWE not only admitted to the marriage on TV, but used it to hype his match with Randy Orton by having Orton assault Stephanie. On an episode of Smackdown, Triple H called his marriage "the worst-kept secret in the WWE".
- WWE had a infamously horrible feud between Triple H and Kane centering around a dead ex-girlfriend of Kane's. However, Vince McMahon expected the angle to take WWE into its second boom period and duplicate the success of Steve Austin vs The Rock, and was quite displeased when the fans hated it. The Raw after the infamous mannequin rape promo, Triple H cut a promo about how he didn't care that people were offended and anyone who was offended was so lame they shouldn't be permitted to watch WWE. It's very easy to watch that promo and hear Vince's voice coming out of Triple H's mouth.
- During the early turn of the century, WWE had the Right To Censor heel stable, which was a direct shot at the Parent's Television Council and other such media watchdog groups. Interestingly, the RTC was actually pretty successful - giving the WWE a kayfabe reason to make some of the changes the PTC and allies were calling for.
- WCW had a much less well known stable of a similar nature called "Standards and Practices", consisting of Lenny Lane, Lodi, and Ms. Hancock. This one was created by Vince Russo after he got pissed off at Turner Broadcasting for limiting violence and edgy material on WCW Nitro broadcasts. WCW and Russo being, well, WCW and Russo, S&P was never really used for much of anything, and they disappeared fairly quickly. However, it was Stacy Keibler's start in wrestling. And really, it's hard to complain about Stacy Keibler dressing as a secretary and doing table dances. (Incidentally, if you're wondering why a team called Standards and Practices would have a valet doing erotic dances, ask Russo, because no one else has a clue)
- Hulk Hogan had always been a target of criticism by the Wrestling Observer, a wrestling dirt sheet written by Dave Meltzer. Hulk Hogan had won "Most Overrated Wrestler" 3 times from the Wrestling Observer Awards. So at World War 3 1995, during Hogan's "return from the Darkside" (it was a storyline that Hogan was no longer a good guy because of Kevin Sullivan's "Dungeon of Doom" stable. Except for he was. It's WCW, it's always been very confusing), burning the clothes of his previous identity. Hogan would produce an Issue of Wrestling Observer, calling it a rag sheet, and was a dinosaur compared to the internet. Hogan would then throw it to a fire burning his clothes. Dave Meltzer would take note; not only did Hogan win "Most Overrated Wrestler" that year, but he also won "Most Embarrassing Wrestler" as well. He also had all of the "swervy" booking changes in the newsletter before the PPV went down.
- Dave Meltzer was also the target of UWF promoter Herb Abrams's wrath, in the form of a Jobber named Davey "The Observer" Meltzer. Watch here as Steve Williams methodically takes apart "Meltzer" and then stuffs a copy of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter in his mouth as a final humiliation.
- Showing an uncharacteristically pointy side, radio comedy team Bob & Ray reacted to New York Magazine critic John Simon's negative review of their stage show by incorporating him into their skits as 'The Worst Person in the World' - a character who never spoke, just made rude noises while other characters (that is, Bob and/or Ray) commented loudly on his uncouth manners. (Broadcaster Keith Olbermann later picked up the concept, sans specific attack, and used it in his Countdown.)
- Game Six of the 1995 World Series, which clinched the championship for the Atlanta Braves, might be seen as a Take That to the Braves' most overly critical fans. Tom Glavine was the winning pitcher with eight one-hit innings; many Atlanta fans booed him throughout the year for being the Braves' union representative during the previous year's strike. The game's lone run was scored on Dave Justice's home run; Justice had been booed throughout that very game after claiming the Braves fans hadn't been enthusiastic throughout the series.
- Dungeons & Dragons: The web animation "The Red Dragon's Interview" shows Wizards of the Coast taking one of these at anyone who criticises not the execution of 4e, but its highly controversial content by depicting them as a literal and figurative Troll.
- Though it must be noted that the whole thing was very tongue-in-cheek. By the same token, it looks as though Wizards itself was represented by the Red Dragon, who does nothign but sleep and crap, and the fans represented by the ridiculously fanatical Kobolds who worship the aformentioned crap.
- In Ars Magica, one of the backstory's major bad guys was the Scottish wizard Davnalleous, named for Dave Nalle, a game designer and reviewer who was critical of the game early on. Later editions of the game explained the name as an attempted Latinization of a more plausibly Gaelic-sounding name (Damhan Allaidh, which translates as "Spider".
- The Sondheim show Merrily We Roll Along features a Broadway producer who dismisses a certain song as not having "a tune you can hum," which Sondheim himself has heard once or twice during his career. Later on (or earlier, actually), when the tune has been revised with a new lyric and accompaniment, the song becomes a chart-topping success.
- The bout of Volleying Insults in Waiting for Godot, which is won decisively with the ultimate epithet: "Crrritic!"
- The 2007 production of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors at the Stratford Festival of Canada was panned for being disjointed and nonsensical. In response, they added a giant penguin which wandered across the stage sometime during the third act, with a sign on its back reading "For the critics".
- A stylish (as if we expect any less) example from Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest:
Algernon: The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility.
Jack: That wouldn't be at all a bad thing.
Algernon: Literary criticism is not your forte, my dear fellow. Don't try it. You should leave that to people who haven't been at a University. They do it so well in the daily papers.
- W. S. Gilbert, a trained lawyer, managed to sue one particularly annoying critic.
- Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg has Beckmesser, the mediocre, talentless, envious 'master'. He fails epically and hilarity ensues. Based on Eduard Hanslick, a fierce critic from Vienna, who hated Wagner.
- In one of the most extreme cases ever, magician Criss Angel found out during an April 2009 performance of his much-pilloried Las Vegas show Criss Angel Believe that celebrity blogger Perez Hilton was in the audience...using Twitter to tell his followers that the show stunk. During the curtain call, Criss pointed him out to the audience and profanely dissed him. The media stir in Vegas this caused proved a setback for Criss, as commentators derided him as unprofessional and a disgrace to the Vegas entertainment scene.
- The Moliere play The School for Wives Criticized is Exactly What It Says on the Tin; a short play about his previous play, The School for Wives, in which fans of the play enter into a discussion with people who didn't like it. The fans are of course intelligent, witty people, while the StrawCritics are pompous assholes who disliked the play because they were the targets of its satire or saw vulgarity everywhere.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- The computer game Peggle has often been described (notably by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw) as being pure luck with no room for skill. In the sequel Peggle Nights, if the player attains the relatively difficult achievement of 100% Clear on all the levels, the quip of the "lucky" rabbit character Warren in the trophy room is "You cleared all the pegs? I'm starting to think there's more to this game than chance!"
Web Comics[edit | hide]
- Shortpacked frequently broke up its "Flashbacked!" plotline to use Robin as a surrogate for criticism that his comic had gotten too serious. "The End of Shortpacked" was interpreted by many as a direct response to the John Solomon review, featuring a hostile customer upset that his opinion on how to run the store was not taken as the gospel and declaring the staff to be too arrogant to listen to him and regular customers to be merely yes-men.
- In direct response to Kevin Smith's statement (see in Film above), the Penny Arcade creators came up with a random strip called The Adventures of Twisp and Catsby, daring the critics to criticize it
- This backfired spectacularly as Twisp and Catsby became incredibly popular. No critic wanted to criticize them.
- Penny Arcade also had a variant (inversion?): after making fun of various game reviewers for years, they worry about the critics' response to their own game. Cue cut to the big review sites throwing a party: "Hey, guys - I just started my review! Do you know if there is a number less than zero?"
- VG Cats ran a strip with a controversial abortion joke. “Now some people weren't happy about the content of that last strip, and we can't have someone not happy. Not on the internet.”
- Delve is a webcomic meant to be an Affectionate Parody pf Dungeons & Dragons, which has quite a lot of gratuitous nudity. The author claims his first job was once where he continually had to censor the works of other artists (as in, covering up the nudity of Japanese video game characters) and was sickened by the hypocrisy of it, deciding to use Delve as an outlet. You can read it here, but be warned, it is very NSFW.
Web Original[edit | hide]
- The entire purpose of The Cinema Snob is to lampoon movie critics who hate any film that isn't meant to be a pure work of art. This is made even more brilliant when you know that the real Brad Jones actually likes most of the schlock and smut he reviews.
- Occasionally happens in The Simpsons, usually through the mouth of the Comic Book Guy. One notable example had him point out a continuity error that the producers had made ("Should The Simpsons get a horse?" When they did have one in an earlier episode, with completely different circumstances), followed by Homer asking "Anyone care what this guy thinks?" - with the entire town yelling "No!" at him.
- This Something Awful.com faked script for "The Simpsons Movie" mentions this joke in particular when it states "Good, if we point out our flaws then we don't need to fix them."
- The "anyone care what this guy thinks?" thing was probably just making fun of nerds and fans in general that would care, but it became Hilarious in Hindsight when IGN gave the 90s flashback episode a 3\10, not because of the level of humor, but because it broke continuity. Does anybody care what this guy thinks? No.
- May be the sole reason for the Shoo Out the New Guy episode.
- Family Guy have an episode that closed with Peter responding to criticism of the content of the show by saying, more or less, "If you disapprove of a show stop whining, don't watch it or let your kids watch it, maybe even turn off the TV every once in a while, you know, and spend time with your kids."
- In an earlier episode in reponse to a bad review by Entertainment Weekly, Peter uses a page from EW as toilet paper.
- Some argue whether turning Quagmire, a self professed rapist, into a prudish Self-Deprecation avatar to Brian and Peter's immorality counts as this trope as well.
- "The FCC Song" from the episode "PTV" is pretty much one big middle finger towards Moral Guardians and their stringent rules. Unfortunately, a spokesman from the FCC stated that they saw the episode and they loved it.
- Drawn Together tried to do this with an Entertainment Weekly review using the justification of the cast saying "Members with these characteristics aren't our target audience." Unfortunately they listed so many characteristics that it's impossible to find a member of society that doesn't fit into some of the demographics that were mentioned.
- Entertainment Weekly kept playing along, though, culminating in a review that went "I gave the show an F. They killed off my coworkers. If this continues, we'll have to get married."
- Ratatouille has a line that might be read this way. The final article of food critic Anton Ego says that "In many ways the life of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so." However, considering Pixar's good track record with critics, that might not be so.
- Even more likely is that it is a Take That against the contrarian critics who have beef with almost anything, more likely than not for the controversy which ensues.
- Futurama has Bender say, "have you ever tried turning off the TV, sitting down with your children, and hitting them?" as response to parents who blame television shows (like Futurama) for making their kids misbehave.
- Given the way it's presented, it's kind of a Spoof Aesop.
- The conclusion of The Beatles cartoon "Tell Me Why" has a donkey eating one of the boys' guitars. George quips, "Eight million mules in Spain and we had to get one that's a music critic."
- Which is ironic, considering how much praise they get.
- Well, this was back in 1965, when media critics in general saw them as another band churning out disposable pop.
- Which is ironic, considering how much praise they get.
- Subverted by Animaniacs, which pit Slappy Squirrel against Siskel and Ebert knockoffs but didn't seem to be a shot at them personally - A) Slappy's shtick is being a washed-up cartoon star, of course she'd have to deal with critics; and B) the show made liberal use of No Celebrities Were Harmed, they weren't not going to lampoon recognizable faces if they could help it.
- Then again, in her other cartoons Slappy repeatedly badmouthed Moral Guardians who wanted over-the-top, slapstick violence toned down. One cartoon specifically had her nephew Skippy deal with bullying, to which all the nonviolent solutions failed and he resorted to Aunt Slappy's favorite solution - liberal use of cartoon explosives. The same toon's B-plot saw Slappy forced to build some machine to tone down on-screen violence, which ended up working by moving the violence offscreen.