"In the anime industry's quest for ratings, the creators of shows with strong cross-demographic appeal must pander to two separate, yet equally important groups: the Shonen fandom, who enjoy Giant Robots, short-skirted schoolgirls and long, drawn-out fights between musclebound supermen full of thinly veiled homoeroticism; and the Shoujo fandom, who like their schoolgirls magical, their Giant Robot pilots Bishonen, and their homoeroticism right out in the open. These are their stories..."
—Episode 9, Vision of Escaflowne Abridged
Uncertain Audience takes place when producers have not positioned a certain enough target for their work's release.
Occurs when a form of media seems unaware of its target demographic, appealing to a wide range of different people. It can be a candy-coated Squee with a Squick center for some people (Like a Tootsie Roll lollipop for those who don't like chocolate, or prefer real chocolate) or vice versa (Like salted peanuts that you can't eat until you bust em open.) For chocolate-munching, peanut-swallowing people on the other hand, this genre blend can be the perfect flavor for you. On the other hand, if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, your best bet is to stay away from this.
Food metaphors aside, it generally comes in three forms:
- The direct result of a Genre Shift.
- The media's style was predetermined from before the author started by a gigantic melting pot of various genres combined into one.
- The author/writer/producer/what-have-you simply not considering their audience when writing the story.
Compare Multiple Demographic Appeal.
- Code Geass seems to have about five different genres it wants to be in, ranging from robots to politics and back around to high school comedy, with elements of supernatural thriller thrown in.
- Similar to Code Geass, Full Metal Panic! manages to find a way to take a giant robot military thriller and include high school comedy.
- You are never quite sure if Tower of God is a Shounen, Seinen, Shoujo, for otaku or for hipsters or for the general public.
- Higurashi might be the king of this. Cute lolis run around the show having fun like sunshine and puppies until stuff gets bad.
- Mahou Sensei Negima started out looking like a Harem Comedy, then took a hard turn into a fighting series in volume three. After that it remained a fighting series, albeit with Harem Comedy elements left in it. It works pretty well.
- As a Space Western, Cowboy Bebop falls here.
- To elaborate, Cowboy Bebop runs the gamut in terms of genre and tone from comedy, like in "Mushroom Samba", to gruesome horror as in "Pierrot le Fou". This sometimes leads to extreme Mood Whiplash, though it is also what makes the series so popular in many people's eyes. In fact, in the preview for "Black Dog Serenade" Jet even warns the children and women in the audience that they won't care for the plot of the next episode because it is aimed at the middle-aged men.
- .hack//Legend of the Twilight: On one side, it was considerably more light-hearted and childish than .hack//Sign, with more comic relief and cute monsters. On the other side, it also had more Fan Service and Implied Twincest between the two main characters such that the series has arguably become infamously immortalized because of it.
- Perhaps the main flaw of Titan A.E. was it did not seem to have a target demographic: The harder science fiction elements turned off children from it, and the goofier moments (already hit by the Animation Age Ghetto) turned off Science Fiction fans.
- Pirates of the Caribbean plays up both the romance angle and the pirate angle, as well as the kiddie comedy angle and the zombie curse angle. Taken individually, each would seem to mesh poorly with the others, but (the first, at least) is notable for its success in Multiple Demographic Appeal.
- Also the bad sci fi Pod People, now mainly known through Mystery Science Theater 3000. It features an E.T.-like Friendly Alien who befriends a little kid, but also features a gang of bikers with some coarse language and sexual innuendo. It also contains a B-plot about a second alien, identical to the first, going on a murderous killing "spree" against the rest of the trapped-in-a-cabin cast.. so it's basically E.T. meets Friday the 13 th. Possibly a result of Executive Meddling; originally it was written to be a straight up horror film, but when E.T. was released they tried to capitalize on the success and turn it into an alien buddy film. Didn't really go well.
- Speaking of Mystery Science Theater 3000, who the hell was Hobgoblins made for? It's about a bunch of Grotesque Cute obvious puppets who trap people in twisted versions of their wildest fantasies... all of which seem to be about everybody boning their brains out. If you thought the movie it was ripping off was a bit confused about its target audience, wait until you see this thing.
- Mary and Max, a stop motion animated film based on a story of two lifelong pen pals. The story is framed as a kooky children's movie, with poop jokes and a plucky little girl hero. However, the majority of the movie focuses on the emotional bonds between Mary and Max, and Max's various psychoses. Plus some pretty dark themes such as attempted suicide, Max's inability to cope with his Asperger's syndrome, and Mary's husband leaving her for another man. It's an interesting blend of Oscar-style character study, children's movie, animated movie, and a combination of all three. The target audience, however? Hard to say.
- Hudson Hawk. A parody of musical comedy (a singing cat burglar) and action/adventure/espionage.
- Last Action Hero. A mass Lampshade Hanging of action/adventure movie tropes mixed with a comparison between Real Life and cinematic reality.
- The Adventures of Baron Munchausen[context?]
- There's also movies like Dick and Across the Universe which are meant to appeal to a young audience but deal with things (Watergate and The Sixties, respectively) that are more likely to appeal to baby boomers.
- Battlefield Baseball, which is sort of a spoof of baseball movies... but also has gratuitous violence, an inexplicable plot, and a few musical numbers, all wrapped up in a martial-arts package. Its weird.
- Spice World. The Nostalgia Chick comments on how she has no idea who it was being marketed towards, given that some of the jokes were clearly meant for adults (such as men in thongs and one of the girls suggesting that they get naked for a young boy in the hospital), but other jokes seemed more geared for kids, or at least would be unfunny to adults.
- The live action film adaptation of Yatterman made by Takashi Miike seems pretty childish, with lots of slapstick humor, colorful special effects, cheesy action scenes and a clumsy villain trio... but it also had many sex- related jokes, including one scene where one robots starts acting as it was having an orgasm.
- The 2009 film of Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell.
- Sucker Punch: While the trailers make it look like it was a pop-corn flick (with giant robots, dragons and samurai monsters), is actually a serious drama about a girl being put in a mental institution who uses her imagination to escape from harsh reality, involving at least two fantasy sub-plots: One that takes place in a brothel, and another that involves different genres, such as Tolkienesque High Fantasy, Sci Fi/Cyberpunk, Steampunk/Dieselpunk/War Movie.
- Despite being rated "PG", and having lots of childish humor, the movie version of Howard the Duck also contains lots of sexual humor and innuendo, including references to zoophilia.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In a commentary on the DVD, Richard O'Brien mentions that this was a concern around the time the film was released.
- The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
- Several anthology films tend to do this, such as New York Stories and Paris, je t'aime. (The latter had elements of comedy, drama, fantasy, Magic Realism, and one story involving vampires.)
- It is not quite clear if Barry Levinson's Toys was intended as a kid´s comedy or a satire for adults, having elements from both genres.
- Ink has many light-hearted and whimsical elements from Fairy Tales and Juvenile Fantasy, but it also has lots of swearing, frightening scenes, deals with several adult themes as drug use and suicide. It also has several elements from arthouse films(Specially in the visual style) and fighting sequences involving martial arts and a shaky camera.
- Many Space Western films and series fit this trope:
- Firefly was a ratings flop in part due to the difficulty of marketing such a mixed-genre product properly. (Getting Screwed by the Network didn't help it find its audience; it wasn't until the DVD release after it was cancelled that it became a phenomenon.)
- Ditto Star Trek: The Original Series. They even threw Chekov in to bring in the Monkees Fan Girls.
- Glee especially in its first season. It meshes things like oral sex jokes with the teeny angst of Degrassi and the kind of anvilicious messages you'd expect from an 80s kids cartoon along with the cutesy singing appeal of Kidz Bop and The Wiggles. Based on comments from the writers, it eventually decided it was mainly for Tweens.