Writer on Board
"If you want to send a message, use Western Union."
—Samuel Goldwyn, renowned Hollywood producer
Obvious authorial intrusion. When the characters start behaving like idiots or against their previously established characterization because the writer damn well needs them to in order to tell their story.
May also occur when a character is accused of being used just to show a particular point of view, and not because they actually have it. The high-falutin' literary term for a character designed to express the author's preferred opinions (often the Only Sane Man) is the raisonneur—here at All The Tropes the preferred term is Author Avatar.
At best, the only difference is a rather heavy-handed Aesop. At worst, narrative is put aside so that an Author Filibuster can be conducted. When you agree with what the author has to say, but feel that their method of conveyance is detrimental to the work, it becomes a case of Don't Shoot the Message. Creator Breakdown occurs when personal issues within the writer's life drives the authorial intrusion.
A play on "Baby on Board".
Of course, interpretations will vary and may be wrong...
Anime and Manga
- Director Hideaki Anno, who had gone through a serious bout of depression pre-production, was famously accused of this practice in regards to the later opaque parts of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- As was Gundam director Yoshiyuki Tomino, but for a different reason.
- The original English language manga Drama Con has an OEL manga artist pause to commiserate about people who think OEL works aren't "really" manga. She's immediately set upon by a representative of the opposing view: he's ten, dressed as Naruto, only able to talk by shouting... oh, yeah, and racist.
- Someone on the Darker than Black staff really hates smoking. Although note that the most Anvilicious part—the cigarettes with a skull label--is actually a real brand.
- DC Comics writer Keith Giffen is unabashed about his hatred of Legion of Super-Heroes character Karate Kid and his "super karate", and has stated outright that any time he ends up writing the Legion comic, Karate Kid will die. Could be considered a subversion in that when Giffen did write Karate Kid's death in one run of the Legion comic, he gave the character a respectful send-off via Heroic Sacrifice, rather than simply dropping a bridge on him.
- A few reviewers have accused Giffen of trying to co-opt Midnighter, one of the only openly gay superheroes, after reading their run wherein Midnighter disbands the team, leaves his husband, Apollo, and moves to a tiny apple-pie town where he lives with a young woman named Mindy. The Reset Button was pounded so hard after that it nearly cracked.
- Stan "The Man" Lee himself. Particularly his run on the Spider-Man comics. It's a somewhat well-known fact that, originally, Mary Jane Watson was introduced as merely a foil for Gwen Stacy. However, Mary Jane was infamous for stealing every scene she entered, largely overshadowing Gwen's softer personality. Stan made numerous attempts to downplay MJ's character, mainly by simply excluding her from the story, but he once gave MJ a ridiculous haircut that even the characters hated.
- In a featurette on the Spider-Man 2 DVD, Stan admits that despite his efforts, he just couldn't make Gwen as interesting as MJ and he knew it.
- John Romita is on record (repeatedly) that he did all he could to make Gwen as interesting as MJ but to no avail. The thing was that MJ was an immediate hit - readers started writing letters asking for her to be made Peter Parker's girlfriend on the strength of the iconic panel that first showed her face on the last page of ASM #42. After that, Lee's and Romita's best efforts to make Gwen prettier and feistier were not enough. A fan who analyzed the Ditko issues and Ditko's recorded statements also pointed out that Gwen only became Peter's primary love interest after Steve Ditko left, so her perceived early feistiness may have been due to the fact that Ditko still wrote her as a replacement for Liz Allan in relation to Peter's first love, Betty Brant.
- Stan Lee also helped Amazing Spider-Man avert this trope, as Steve Ditko apparently tried to shoehorn his political views into the story (which were more or less the polar opposite of the book's readership at the time). Ditko plotted the stories out but Stan wrote the dialog, so a scene with Spidey swinging over a crowd of protestors would be drawn with the intention of having Spider-Man lambast them for their behaviour but Stan would write it so Spidey was encouraging them.
- In a featurette on the Spider-Man 2 DVD, Stan admits that despite his efforts, he just couldn't make Gwen as interesting as MJ and he knew it.
- Current[when?] Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott has personally expressed his dislike of Parallel Lives, the story which revealed that Mary Jane knew Peter's secret identity from all the way back to Amazing Fantasy #15, arguing that it made a "lie of all the stories that came before" and that it made MJ into someone who was fell in love with Peter because he was Spider-Man and not for just being plain old Peter. This is despite the fact that it was stated many times over the years- even as far back as Parallel Lives itself- that MJ was NOT interested in Peter because he was Spider-Man but despite of it. Then comes along ASM# 652, where Peter and MJ share a moment talking about Peter's current relationship with Carlie Cooper and why he won't tell her his secret. Peter reveals that he wants to make sure that she falls in love because he's just plain ol' Peter, and not because he's Spider-Man as he feels that MJ did with him, which essentially makes Peter Dan Slott's mouthpiece for how he feels about Peter and MJ's relationship why it was "wrong" and why his relationship with Carlie is "better."
- Slott wrote the Spider Island storyline, which breaks up Peter and Carlie precisely because she found out he was Spider-Man and felt like he betrayed her trust by never telling her. Even further, the story sets Peter and Mary Jane to get back together thanks (in part) to her using the temporary spider powers she gained to help him and The Avengers fight the arc's Big Bad.
- Nearly everything Judd Winick wrote for DC Comics, particularly his Very Special Issues.
- Green Lantern #154, in which we learn the very important lesson that Beating People Up For Being Gay Is Wrong after Green Lantern Kyle Rayner's personal assistant Terry Berg is beaten up by a group of random thugs while leaving a club with his boyfriend. Despite having lost his first girlfriend to super-villain violence in the incident which defined the Stuffed Into the Fridge trope and seeing numerous other violations of basic human decency on a daily basis, THIS particularly display of man's inhumanity to man is so bad that it inspires Kyle Rayner to abandon the Earth in favor of wandering outer space and helping random non-human species.
- Green Arrow #44, in which we learn that Oliver Queen's adopted daughter Mia is a recovering methhead AND HIV-positive. Despite having been portrayed by Winick as an unrepentant womanizer and having been so during a time when knowing such things would be vital, Oliver is completely ignorant as to what HIV is and how it is contracted, prompting a text-book recital on how HIV is contracted and treated.
- Outsiders #17-19 (a.k.a Most Wanted), in which the Outsiders approach real-life hero and Very Special Guest Star John Walsh for help in tracking down the leader of a child slavery ring. It doesn't speak well of the team that when their leader, a Batman-trained detective (i.e. Nightwing), is unable to find any leads that his next plan of attack is "Let's get that guy on TV to help us!" This arc had Executive Meddling written all over it.
- While it did indeed have "publicity stunt" all over it, they still attempted to rationalize it a bit better than "Let's get that guy on TV to help us!" They put forth the idea of John Walsh as having more experience than any of them do with kidnapping cases (okay, highly debatable, but still), but also that he was much better situated to wage infowar and drag the slavery ring into the light than they were, considering they're underground superheroes and he had a TV show.
- Green Arrow #61, in which newly elected Mayor Oliver Queen sums up his plan for rebuilding Star City with two words: gay marriage. In exchange for living in the city for two weeks, gay couples can have a free wedding on the steps of city hall - the hope being that all of these couples will stay and settle in the city, bringing money which will go into the local economy. Sadly, the plan is a bit of a non-starter seeing on how it is dependent on finding gay people who are so desperate to be legally married they will willingly move to a city that is currently divided by a massive wall built to separate the poor side of town from the rich side of town in the wake of a super-villain attack. Ollie does privately admit, however, that the main purpose of the announcement is as a headline grabber, designed to keep media attention on Star City and it's problems, and that he doesn't expect it to do much else.
- Gail Simone is well known for her liberal political leanings, and her work often reflects this. Many of her works feature ethnically-diverse casts (the notable exception being Birds of Prey, an aspect of which she has apologized for). Other elements that frequently pop up are commentary on race (The Fury of Firestorm, Welcome to Tranquility) and queer subtext (Secret Six, Birds of Prey).
- Then there is the Civil War. Even if the main writer didn't "intend" for there to be any meaning, it was there, and worse, gives the impression that the higher ups Running the Asylum at Marvel just might not even like superheroes that much, since this series was basically bashing the idea of them. And then the writers who didn't agree with that notion naturally write their stories against it, turning this into a huge clusterfuck of writers on board. Mark Millar, who apparenly holds a low opinion of Americans, also apparently felt that having the authoritarian pseudo-fascist side win is what the American audience would want.
- There is also Ultimate Civil War: Spider Ham, a one-shot that is, basically, one long Take That to Joe Quesada's run on Marvel (therefore, more of a Take That Us) because, other than showing the pointless-ness of the Civil War itself as it was forced by Mark Millar (see image), the last panel shows the final alternate version of Spider-Ham: Zombie Ham.
- A somewhat humorous example: Animal Man. Grant Morrison used it to constantly pitch for animal rights, particularly stating that Humans Are the Real Monsters and eating animals is wrong. Part of the plot was also the fact that the main character was slowly realizing he was in a comic book. In the last issue of Morrison's run, Animal Man and Morrison talk face to face, and Animal Man points out that animal rights are all well and good - but sometimes he verged on eco-terrorism. And that sharing minds with animals shouldn't automatically make you a vegetarian since half of the time you're going to be sharing minds with a carnivore. And all of this felt like Character Derailment. Morrison admits he has some good points but wonders if the next writer will take that too far and have Animal Man run down a zebra and eat it alive. As both a Continuity Nod and a Take That, the next writer had him do just that in the very next issue.
- While we're on the animal rights subject, take Wolverine #54. People are hunting Morlocks for sport. Wolverine, in a gratuitous little aside, condemns the hunting of animals as well as people. This is out of character, and just odd. If an author wants to get up on a soapbox, why choose Wolverine as the mouthpiece for their views? He's not exactly a role model or a paragon of morality.
- Actually, Wolverine has never been a proponent of hunting. In fact, in one of his earliest X-Men appearances, he comments on he's going to go hunt a deer. Storm acts with revulsion that he'd kill an innocent animal. He immediately chastises her, saying that hunting doesn't mean killing, and says that it takes more skill to sneak up on a doe and touch her than it does to just kill. Even when it comes to killing other people, Logan typically offers up as his only justification, that he only kills those who're trying to kill him, or other people.
- The X-Men have suffered this since the late 90's. Every time new writers come on board, they kill or write off any new characters the previous writer introduced, and existing characters' development tends to be largely forgotten. Most egregious is how, for a long time, Emma Frost was treated like she left the Hellfire Club for the X-Men last week as if Generation X never happened (but considering how Jubilee is still a teenager while her former teammates are now young adults, who knows). Then they blow up the mansion and have the team go in a totally new direction. One must wonder when was the last time the X-Men had a direction that they stuck to for longer than two years. Chris Claremont is the best-known for this, leaving a title then coming back years later and picking up his old plotlines with no regard to what happened between stints. Like his tropes page says, if he didn't write it, he doesn't care.
- Jeph Loeb. Every time he takes over a book certain characters just get ... devolved. His rendition of the Ultimate / Supreme books, was. Well. Shit. Him taking over Ultimates turned Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch into fullblown incestuous lovers as opposed to Millar's more subtle approach. That's right, less subtle than Mark Millar. Hawkeye turned into a suicidal hardcore twat, and his Hulk speaks in third person despite Ultimate Hulk not talking in third person after his initial showing. Worst? Thor suddenly goes from I speak like a normal person to Thou art Shakespearian like his 616 counterpart. Ultimate Wasp suddenly switches from Asian to white. And let's not forget Pyro. Apparently nobody told Loeb that Ultimate Pyro is a heroic X-Man and horribly burned because he's not immune to his own powers. The version that turned up in Ultimates? Classic Brotherhood villain mook Pyro, with a slice of rapist on the side.
- He also appears to have (or at least had at some point) an axe to grind against organized religion. In the famous "Emperor Joker" storyline, there's an early scene making fun of a monastery, and The Joker later spouts some atheistic viewpoint towards the end (although, granted, this is probably in character for the Joker). Then in the "Return to Krypton" story, the entire point was Jor-El and an army of scientists fighting against the priestly clan of Krypton. To make the point more glaringly Anvilicious, at the beginning when a time-traveling Jor-El shows up to meet present-day Superman, Superman exclaims "Great Rao!" (Rao is the Kryptonian Sun-God), and Jor-El moans "No, not Rao!!!
- IDW's Transformers comics have probably suffered this with the advent of the All Hail Megatron series. Before, their comic continuity was a rather interesting variation of G1, with many characters getting redesigns to reflect technological advances (the Seekers, for example, became F-22s rather than F-15s). Then writer Shane McCarthy wrote All Hail Megatron, reverting to retro G1 designs in many cases for no real reason, creating a number of inconsistencies with Furman's body of work on the series. While the continuity is still fairly good, there are more than enough differences to give one the feeling that something's not quite right.
- Another example occurs in the first issue of the ongoing series that follows "All Hail Megatron". Prowl, the Autobots' logical and pragmatic tactician makes an emotional decision to protect a Decepticon from humans, and is captured. Many fans have argued that Prowl is the Autobot who is least likely to have made such a rash move. Subsequent issues, including Spotlight: Prowl, go a long way towards explaining Prowl's seemingly out of character behavior.
- The new Drift miniseries is equally divisive amongst the fanbase. Perhaps the two biggest gripes of the fandom at this stage is the setting, where the 3rd cybertronian faction resemble Gundams and that the 3rd faction seems to include female transformers, something that goes against the Furman continuity.
- A fairly positive example: whenever Geoff Johns takes over a title, expect some combination of Retcon and character-specific Wham! Episode that justifies Johns writing the character however he wants. Keep in mind, almost all of these changes have been well-received; it is simply worth noting that characters tend to receive compressed, sped-up Character Development quickly after Johns comes on board. Examples:
- Atom Smasher's mother dying before being saved by time travel, leading to him going the Darker and Edgier route;
- Obsidian, from the same title, finding new aspects of his powers that lead to With Great Power Comes Great Insanity;
- Barry Allen's new motivation of proving that his father did not murder his mother;
- Impulse getting shot in the knee and mocked for his impulsiveness, precipitating a name and attitude change as Kid Flash;
- Superboy finding out that he is the combined clone of Superman and Lex Luthor, providing him with a reason to indulge in Cloning Blues;
- Wonder Girl receiving a new lasso from Ares that works based on anger, causing her to become more wrathful;
- Lightning Lad going from calm, stalwart Legion veteran to impulsive, foul-mouthed Jerk with a Heart of Gold; while a Continuity Reboot is technically in place, a lot of Legion fans were perturbed to see a character who is ostensibly the original Silver Age Lightning Lad acting like this.
- With all of the above in mind, Johns' run on The Avengers was a classic, clear-cut case of Writer on Board with Character Derailment and Did Not Do the Research all over the place. The previous writer, Kurt Busiek, set the Vision down a path of exploring a human social life beyond his long-term love interest, the Scarlet Witch; Johns quickly, awkwardly had the two of them Strangled by the Red String. Similarly, the Wasp turns down a marriage proposal from Hank Pym despite the fact that she was pining for him to propose under Busiek. Jack of Hearts inexplicably went from needing 14 hours in an isolated chamber to revert to human form to needing to spend 14 hours a day in the chamber, period, to keep from exploding, and additionally went from nervous rookie to raging loose canon. Finally, Iron Man and Black Panther were given a gigantic Conflict Ball over events that had long since been smoothed over during Busiek's run. Johns admitted afterward that his knowledge of the Avengers was not up to par with his mastery of DC continuity, and most of his run seemed to ignore anything that was not written by Roger Stern (the one Avengers writer Johns gushed about).
- Scott Lobdell has been quite outspoken about the need for more ethnic diversity in superhero comics, and often goes out of his way to include minority characters in his books. Examples include:
- Mondo (Samoan), Jubilee (Asian American), M (Mixed Afro-Algerian), Skin (Mexican American) and Synch (African American) in Generation X.
- Cecelia Reyes (Afro-Puerto Rican) and Maggott (black South African) in the X-Men titles.
- Skitter (African American), Bunker (openly-gay Mexican), Solstice (Indian) and Thrice (Samoan) in Teen Titans.
- During the latter half of Ken Penders' writing stint on the Archie Comics version of Sonic the Hedgehog, many of the stories either revolved around Penders' own anti-gun views or would come to a screeching halt for a few panels for an Author Filibuster about the same. An example of the former was an entire story devoted to showing how the great Overlander vs. Mobian war began: two children - one Overlander, the other Mobian - meet between the two kingdoms to play, one of them brings a gun one day and accidentally shoots the other while they're horsing around, war engulfs both races, After School Special credits roll. An example of the latter has one of the less scrupulous members of the Freedom Fighters (Fiona, who goes on to betray the team and join the bad guys in a later issue) asks why they don't just use guns to solve their current dilemma and is given a verbal bitch-slap by Rotor Walrus about how they have never used guns and never will use guns. This sudden Mood Whiplash is made even more jarring by the fact that Bunnie Rabbot, a character that had for a while been wearing six-shooters holstered in a bullet belt up until the issue in question, can be seen in the background, without the pistols but still wearing the belt. Further, not but twenty or thirty issues previous, Rotor had developed a huge bazooka-like laser cannon that purportedly operated much like a hand-held Wave Motion Gun and which Rotor actually fired directly at Dr. Robotnik at one point.
- His replacement, Ian Flynn, could be just as bad; he has stated several times how much he hates certain characters, and in-comic has either shunted them off to scenarios where they're unlikely to be mentioned again in the main series, killed off, or abused for no other reason but to abuse them (his treatment of Drago Wolf and Rotor in-comic are perfect and well-known examples). He has also voiced his dislike of having villains be sympathetic or - heaven forbid - redeemed, turning most villains he uses into either the stereotypical Complete Monster or Goldfish Poop Gang, with the heroes (mostly) showing no remorse for them.
- Garth Ennis hates superheroes, and with the exception of Superman usually writes them as complete morons. He also uses The Punisher to speak out against US military actions, not a trait of his before. He's also vocally atheist.
- J. Michael Straczynski's Superman: Grounded storyline features Kal-El taking walking across America to "reconnect" with ordinary people while lecturing them at length along the way. The "walkabout" theme is a deeply personal one for Straczynski, based on a turning point in his own life, and has turned up in his work before (with Dr. Franklin on Babylon 5). Those with a suspicious mind might also think Superman's expressed views are mostly the writer's own.
- Jim Starlin does not like religion, and he writes about it often in his comics. He also has very strong opinions on how some things in comics should be and doesn't mind using the power of Retcon to have things his way—the biggest example is his take on the Anti-Life Equation, which is nothing like Jack Kirby's. He also once used Galactus, Marvel's planet-devouring star god, as a metaphor for U.S. foreign policy.
- J.M. DeMatteis is a strict pacifist writing in an industry that's basically defined by people punching each other. Inevitably, this results in a certain tension when he writes Superhero stories (or his one issue of Marvel Star Wars.) Either you have a pacifist writer telling stories about violence solving problems, or characters embracing pacifist ideals despite long histories of solving problems with violence.
- After 9/11, Frank Miller proposed a Batman story called Holy Terror Batman!, in which the Dark Knight hunts down terrorists. DC wisely refused to let him use Batman for the project, which was released as Holy Terror and reads like All Star Batman and Robin with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.
- Alan Moore has admitted that his series Promethea was basically a mouthpiece for his views on magic.
- A bizarre and infamous example of this trope appears in the Doom Comic when Doom Guy suddenly rambles about the dangers of nuclear power and the need to preserve the ecosystem for the children of mankind, in the middle of shooting demons and zombies left and right. Probably Played for Laughs, though, but who knows...
- Very common in Harry Potter fanfics:
- In the infamous My Immortal, everyone turns into a goffik Stanist who swears a lot and sticks their middle finger up at preps. They also develop an unhealthy preoccupation with slitting their wrists.
- There is a fic about Harry Potter battling the threat of communism. It had Lucius Malfoy as a communist who was taking over the Ministry of Magic, and they planned to defeat him by... pointing out the fallacies of communism. The first Harry Potter book is set in 1991, the year the Cold War ended.
- In many conversion fics, Harry abandons 'witchcraft' and becomes devoted to some monotheistic religion.
- There was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic wherein 9/11 brought Spike to tears. And not in a jealous "Why can't I be that evil?" way. In a woobie needing-a-cuddle-to-make-the-bad-go-away way.
- A Crushed Empire, a long-gone Warhammer 40,000 fanfic where the Emperor is evil, all non-humans are trying to be friendly and everyone converts to Christianity. That the instigator is a Dark Angel (read:uber-fanatic) who Wangsts just because his home planet got hit by an Exterminatus. The sequel is just as bad, as the races well known for their Fantastic Racism and Omnicidal Maniac tendencies are being nice to each other, and the Marty Stu Dark Angel-wannabe somehow banished the Chaos Gods. The cause of all this? The Bible.
- One Super Mario Bros. fanfic had a Koopa kid converting another to Christianity via Easy Evangelism for no good plot-related reason.
- There were a myriad fanfics that had Osama Bin Laden being skewered by Cloud Strife's BFS.
- There were also any number of Kim Possible fics where Kim is sent to kill bin Laden, and in the process she lectures him sternly on the treatment of women in Muslim countries.
- There's an Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic featuring Zuko and a Mary Sue starting a communist revolution.
- Cannibal! The Musical has a subplot about the main characters love for his faithless horse called Liane that was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone as a dig at his ex Liane who he walked in on having sex with someone else (and in South Park Cartman's prostitute mother is Liane)
Packer: How does it feel to be riding my horse
- All of which is doubly odd in light of the fact that the real Liane was in Cannibal! The Musical. She's one of the dancers in the 'Hang the Bastard' musical number, and choreographed some of the dances for the film.
- Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, wherein Christopher Reeve was given creative control of the story, is a thinly-veiled veneer for his anti-nuclear, anti-corporate media philosophies. In one particularly jarring scene from the movie, Superman saves the passengers aboard a runaway subway car, then gives a speech to a crowd of pedestrians about the benefits of mass transit.
- The biggest failing of the film Lady in the Water was that it was just two hours of M. Night Shyamalan rubbing his self indulgence in our faces. The movie is pretty much centered around inspiring a writer (not surprisingly, played by Shyamalan himself) into writing a book that will change the world for the better at the cost of being martyred in a Heroic Sacrifice. He also includes a Take That against the film critics who gave his earlier movies negative reviews by putting in a film critic character who is an arrogant, unlikable man who dies a horrible death... and was one of the most popular characters among viewers.
- In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Leonard Nimoy preaches his pro-environmental views and gives a nonsensical justification for it. Yet by not putting those views front and center, and keeping the movie strong on character and humor (also thanks to the screenplay by four skilled writers), the trope is barely noticeable when watching (and is largely considered the second best of the Trek films).
- It also helps that Star Trek as a franchise has always been about allegory and metaphor for various issues modern society faces, so it's not like an environmentalist message is out of place. The best Trek episodes are generally known, however, for the writer presenting these views in the method of a good and entertaining story, rather than just taking the opportunity to beat you over the head with it. Tropes Are Tools, and Writer on Board is as capable of being used well or badly as any tool, after all.
- Any Quentin Tarantino film usually has a scene that is obviously a theory or pet peeve of Tarantino's shoved into the mouth of one of the characters. Sometimes even by playing the character himself.
- The Naked Gun 2 ½ arguably did this when the main villain goes on about his plot to suppress environmentally-friendly tech. In an action comedy. Although this might have been a parody of the use of "villains who hate nature".
- Annie Hall parodies it, by having Alvy Singer write his failing relationship into a play he's working on. In real life, Singer and his girlfriend break up, but in the play he delivers a poorly-written speech about how their relationship was far too superb to end in a hell-hole like Los Angeles. Singer lampshades it by turning to the screen and saying, "What do you want, it was my first play."
- Kevin Smith, for all the great stuff he's put out, is openly guilty of this in most of his movies. There are plenty more examples (some like Red State more painfully obvious than others), but these are straight from Word of God:
- Chasing Amy: An adapted version of his onetime relationship with the female lead, Joey Lauren Adams.
- Dogma: Explored religious issues from his Catholic upbringing.
- Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: The four "outrageously hot" chicks in the girl gang... wait, one of these things is not like the others? That was his wife, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith.
- Clerks II: The whole movie was the result of a promise to Jason Mewes that if he could get clean from his heroin addiction, he'd write another movie for him to work in. Also, at the same time, he used it to explore emotional issues regarding his transition into fatherhood.
- Zack and Miri Make a Porno: Explored a lot of the stuff he went through making the original Clerks.
- In one of the greatest examples of Tropes Are Not Bad, Akira Kurosawa makes use of this trope in Seven Samurai; Kikuchiyo, a farmer's son, not a samurai, dissuades the other samurai from blaming the villagers for killing and stealing from samurai in the past; after all, it was samurai rule that had forced them to live that way. This is widely seen as Kurosawa apologizing; he came from a family with samurai ancestors.
- Revolver seemed set to be the next awesome Guy Ritchie crime film, but what had appeared at first to be a rather promising plot eventually turned out to be a Mind Screwy delivery system for the Kabbalistic beliefs Ritchie picked up during his marriage to Madonna.
- The In Name Only adaptation of Fast Food Nation is basically a two-hour rant by director Richard Linklater on why people shouldn't eat meat. Bizarrely enough, the author of the book (who isn't a vegetarian) was one of the film's producers.
- In Francis Ford Coppola's original mid 1960's screenplay for Patton, General Patton's contemporary General Omar Bradley was merely a supporting character; while Patton and Bradley knew and respected each other in Real Life, they were not close by any means. When the film was finally made several years later and Bradley was added as a technical consultant to assist with Edmund North's rewrite, Bradley was suddenly the second-leading character to Patton, they were portrayed as lifelong best friends, and Bradley was often shown as the more reasonable of the two.
- Karen Traviss when she writes Star Wars. Her abuse of Jedi and conspiracy theories make the Living Force cry. Which is nothing compared to her obsession with Mandalorians:
- Bardan Jusik/Gotab being the perfect example of both her abuse of Jedi and Stu-ification of the Mando'a.
- That being said, during her later books before her contract with Lucasfilm was cancelled due to retcons, Traviss did make an attempt to show the inherent hypocrisy of her character's actions. It didn't stop them from being the primary focus of the novels, but she was aware of this trope being in effect, and was striving towards fixing things. And before anyone says that her stories are no longer canon, the Expanded Universe had the situation covered before her contract had even finished.
- Not to mention what happens in Allies and Vortex: Mandalorians murdering a Padawan, and massacring slaves, respectively. Ouch.
- The Gears of War novel Aspho Fields that she wrote pretty much beats the reader about the head with the idea that "weapons developers = war criminals." Traviss' Mandalorian "super tribal warrior" fixation carries over into the novel as well, with its hyper-competent, misunderstood, absolutely perfect Pesanga warriors, who are pretty much Mandalorians with machetes.
- Bonus points? This a setting where these so-called "war criminals" are the only reason the human race is still alive.
- Her Halo: Glasslands novel throws out everything we know about Dr. Katherine Halsey and have every single character (including characters who were on her side earlier) treat her like the worst human being who ever lived. Even Halsey herself starts to think this way. As far as the author is concerned, stealing children from their parents is the worst atrocity anyone can commit. Even if you happen to save your civilization (and every sentient being in the galaxy) by doing it. On the other hand, asking 6-year-olds if they want to be soldiers and undergo skeletal and psychological modifications to be a mix between Super Soldiers and cannon fodder and accepting their answer as legal-binding is perfectly ok in the author's book (literally). The same book refers to Colonel Ackerson, who was previously established to be a Manipulative Bastard who tried to get Master Chief killed just to spite Halsey, as an ok guy.
- The Da Vinci Code has been criticized for having a protagonist with no personality, who simply serves as a mouthpiece for Dan Brown's theories. And it's not just the protagonist, either. Dan Brown repeatedly pauses the plot for Author Filibusters that would give Ayn Rand a run for her money, if not in length or research, then certainly in obviousness.
- Orson Scott Card does seem to have a habit of doing this.
- In Empire, characters will pause during the action to explain exactly why any disrespect for the military whatsoever is unpatriotic and therefore evil.
- Not to mention the fact that, despite apparently being a warning against partisanship, the Big Bads are still liberals.
- Card's religion is made blatantly obvious in his Homecoming Saga, which is essentially just a re-telling of the Book of Mormon. Ditto in his Alvin Maker series, where the main character is a very "creative" Roman à Clef of Joseph Smith and the early Mormon church. With magical powers yet.
- In one very uncharacteristically blatant and unmistakable example, several characters near the beginning of Ender in Exile espouse the view that monogamy is the only and best successful means of human society, using the exact same phrasing consistently enough to put conservative pundits' talking points to shame. Thankfully, he drops this act soon enough to make the book as a whole still enjoyable.
- In Empire, characters will pause during the action to explain exactly why any disrespect for the military whatsoever is unpatriotic and therefore evil.
- The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind is often accused by detractors of being nothing more than Objectivist propaganda. Faith of the Fallen is two-fifths desperate battles and angst, and three-fifths Anvilicious Ayn Rand soap-boxing on how individuals working for themselves in a free market works far better than broken, inevitably corrupt socialism, and will also get you the chicks. Goodkind admittedly comes by it honestly: pretty much all fiction by Ayn Rand is a soapbox for Objectivism—most famously Atlas Shrugged.
- Another particular example of this is when Richard denounces religious beliefs on the basis that no one has ever come back with proof of the afterlife. In the first book, Richard sees and fights ghosts, while his enemy rides a Hellhound through the afterlife. In several of the books, a recurring threat is that the Keeper of the Dead will break from the underworld into the world of the living.
- Not only that, he's seen, spoken to, and deliberately called up ghosts on several occasions, and has made at least two trips personally to the Underworld by the end of the series.
- Victor Hugo does this all the time. He has a tendency for: "Okay, now let's stop the story and have a "short" explanation about something that has nothing to do with the plot!" While his characters are usually in big trouble.
- In Hugo's defense he was paid by the word.
- Also: "And this is WRONG, because..."
- Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. After bubbling under the surface for the first two-thirds of the trilogy, the final volume explodes into a massive Take That against Christianity. Pullman's admitted intention with his series was to set up an atheist response to the fantasy novels of Christian writer/philosopher C.S. Lewis.
- Lewis, on the other hand, kept it under control until The Last Battle, wherein Satan-worshipping Arabs take over the world and the subtext rather becomes the text. Though it's rather more nuanced than that in practice (and certainly more nuanced than Pullman's attempt). Yes, the actual Tash is essentially Satan... but the fantasy-Arabs don't know that, they're not worshiping him out of a deliberate attempt to be evil. Aslan himself specifically says that a good man who worships Tash is actually offering praise to Aslan, while an evil man who worships Aslan is actually in service to Tash. It's a fairly tolerant idea, for when the book was written.
- Anthony Burgess' famous English novel, A Clockwork Orange, is so generally believed to suffer from Writer on Board in its last chapter that until 1986 its US editions left out the offending chapter- and even now, come with a preface explaining the cut. The classic movie version also changed the ending, as did a 1990 play written for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
- The inspiration of the wanton violence (especially with one chapter in particular) was Burgess's wife being assaulted and robbed by deserters in World War II. The book's "ultraviolence" was so much based on Burgess' painful memories, he admitted he found it necessary to be drunk while writing much of it.
- After his own conversion to Spiritualism, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a novel titled The Land of Mist to explain and justify his beliefs, including having his ultra-rationalist hero Professor Challenger (from The Lost World) become convinced of the rightness of Spiritualism and convert. It's Better Than It Sounds however, as Conan Doyle makes a point of Challenger a believable motive for his abrupt philosophical U-turn, namely the death of his beloved wife.
- Spider Robinson's Very Bad Deaths occasionally lapses into sermons about why marijuana is great and conservatives are evil. Fortunately, it doesn't dominate the book.
- The early works of lesbian author Katherine V. Forrest fall victim to some clumsy all-men-are-evil soapboxing. Daughters of a Coral Dawn is the most extreme, having men (who are suffering from one giant inferiority complex) outlawing some Applied Phlebotinum that renders them redundant in the act of procreation. It Runs on Nonsensoleum (and the precise nature of the phlebotinum is never explained). Fortunately, Forrest appeared to have toned it down by the time she started on the Kate Delafield books.
- Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer. The entire book is about rescuing a lemur from being killed by the Extinctionists. Artemis' having sent this lemur to its death is continually treated as a horrendous act, even though he did it in an attempt to save his father. There is virtually no disagreement on this point. Holly is horrified (as are the other fantasy creatures present), Artemis is filled with remorse, and even Artemis' younger self feels a twinge of guilt that apparently never bothered him during any of his other countless criminal escapades. The sheer magnitude of the overreactions of the characters when they learn that Artemis sent the lemur to die makes this an Author on Board.
- Since 2001 or so, if the particular Alternate History setting allows for it, Harry Turtledove will include some kind of analogy to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. No problem on the surface, as analogies are standard stock-in-trade for alternate history stories. The problem came when, in a timeline where the South won the American Civil War, he chose Mormons for this role. Many fans believe that he's crossed the line from "Broken Aesop regarding repression of religious expression leading to violence" into outright bigotry.
- In the same work, he also turns Canadians into Irish separatist terror bombers, blacks into Communists and Mexicans into Nazi satellite state collaborationists.
- Turtledove does mention repeatedly (as is his writing style) that the Mormon separatists are, amongst the major combatants, probably the most conscientious about following the Geneva Conventions with regard to POWs and enemy wounded. So apparently Even Evil Has Standards in this timeline's universe.
- In addition, while he portrays the Mormons as terrorists, they are not depicted as evil or bloodthirsty. Especially early in the series, it is made quite obvious that the Mormons are legitimately oppressed (the U.S. government ostensibly wants them to settle down and behave but there's a severe official prejudice towards some of their more infamous customs and a fair number of people in charge want to eradicate them on those grounds). Whereas the Canadian terrorists have a set of viewpoint characters who are clearly motivated by personal revenge, the Mormons are depicted as simply fighting a much more powerful opponent with all means it can manage.
- The Man With the Iron Heart takes this to extremes about his feelings on the Iraq War. Reinhard Heydrich lives to run a partisan campaign. Body bags are showing up as everyday Germans become radicalized and engage in terrorist acts. It's subtle as a brick when you have mothers of dead soldiers acting just like a certain famous protester and it leads up to the Republicans winning control of Congress and getting us out from the Democrat's war. The Wallbanging hurts on this one, especially with how the Soviets meekly accept the acts. Let alone how lacking the cooperation of the Germans, the Marshall Plan would not have been enacted. Leading to either the plan that loots all machines and important tooling as well smashing the infrastructure, or the one that called for the castration of all German men. These were real plans...
- The Soviets in The Man With the Iron Heart do not meekly accept the acts. They reopen Auschwitz and Treblinka in retaliation for German insurgent attacks.
- Given how badly France suffered at the hands of the Germans in World War Two (and the level of brutality the French dished out in their occupation zone in Germany after the war) it's somewhat surprising that they cut and run when the Werwolf plan is implemented against them in this book. This is corrected in Turtledove's next WW 2-themed book, Hitler's War (about a timeline where Chamberlain and Daladier do stand up to Hitler over Czechoslovakia) in which the French fight even harder and longer than in our history.
- Michael Crichton tended to do this a lot, albeit that he was somewhat more subtle about it as the characters whom he boarded were created more or less for the purpose of espousing a philosophy central to their characters. He also did it a lot because his modus operandi was to take a source of public fear/apprehension/paranoia and then base a novel around it. Fear of computers/robots: Westworld. Fear of genetic manipulation: Jurassic Park. Fear of the Japanese: Rising Sun. Fear of sex discrimination: Disclosure. Fear of the media and flying: Airframe. And so on.
- Unfortunately, at the end of his career, It Got Worse: State of Fear is an anti-climate-change screed about environmentalists planning mass murder to cause a climate change panic and receive funding, and when he got called out on his blatant misuse and misrepresentation of science, he turned one of his critics into a child molester with a small penis in Next.
- The Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell gives us the impression that Mr. Cornwell really, really dislikes aristocrats, particularly when they hold military rank.
- This is very obvious in his other books, usually aimed at the Church (though generally just its leaders. Various characters, particularly Uhtred get on quite well with the quirkier/better priests/devout christians, e.g. Fathers Pyrlig, Beocca, Willibald and Cuthbert, Galahad and Bishop Bedwin.) with it being presented as an often corrupt institution.
- In fairness, both of these portrayals are reasonably accurate - for every Duke of Wellington or Lord Uxbridge, there was a Henry Simmerson. The purchasing of rank in the British Army of the time did lead to idiotic dilletantes obtaining command roles. Ditto, the ninth-century (or, arguably, the nineteenth-century) Church was not a model of progressive politics, common sense and personal modesty. Pope Sergius III, who ruled around Uhtred's time, for instance, ran a "pornocracy" (rule of the harlots) and got his position by murdering his predecessor.
- Gibbons and Berry, the two drunken rapey Lieutenants in Sharpe's Eagle, are named after his first wife's divorce lawyers.
- In several of his novels, Neal Stephenson has his characters voice an interest in the arts and complain about how most of their scientist/techie acquaintances think that the arts are useless. Stephenson is an MIT graduate and (obviously) a novelist. Also, it's possible that Stephenson doesn't agree with the sentiment, but in both Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, a character gives a lecture to the effect that some cultures are superior to others and that those who are wealthy deserve to be that way.
- This trope is Older Than Steam: Moliere's plays often were whole essays against the hypocrisy and vulgarity that ran rampant throughout French society, as well as tirades against doctors (medicine was horrible back then, and many docs were VERY ignorant), pseudo-intellectuals, and self-appointed Moral Guardians. (Tartuffe, one of his most well-known plays, was censored for years because of this.) Characters like Philinte (Le Misanthrope) and Cléante (Tartuffe) serve as Author Avatars for the playwright.
- H. Beam Piper's Terro-Human Future History novels were essentially on the hard side of Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness. On the other hand, the Paratime story "Last Enemy" essentially gave reincarnation a free pass. To his credit, that story spent a fair amount of time discussing the social effects of universally-accepted reincarnation, such as a casual attitude towards death and suicide.
- It was not an entirely free pass, either; it only grants that reincarnation has been proven in the setting and arguably the entire story is driven by the implications developing methods for retrieving past lives' memories accurately would have upon the Masquerade. It is, in many ways, an example of how well this trope should go.
- While the entire Left Behind franchise is a massive Author Tract, the Writer on Board aspect comes into play when a previously independent, scientifically minded character is suddenly touched by God, converts, and from that moment on reminds us repeatedly how happy they are that they got rid of their delusions and bloated self importance brought on by education (self importance through Holier Than Thou is fine).
- Daniel Silva's books have a lot of this trope. His most famous series is about a Mossad assassin named Gabriel Allon. Silva would spend pages to justify right-of-center Israeli policies. For example, in "Prince of Fire", several chapters justify Israel's policy of expelling Arab residents during the country's early history. Another thing he likes to go on about is how Europe is basically a giant antisemitic cesspool that harbors Islamic terrorism and how Europe is unjust to push for peace that would be "unfavorable" to Israel. Basically, he tends to portray any country/politicians that are not entirely pro-Israel as antisemitic, which is of course a giant fallacy.
- There's also his dislike for Pope Benedict. He created a fictional Pope who espouses more liberal/inclusive views, not to mention being rather better at apologizing for antisemitism than Benedict has been (this would probably go with the Europe = antisemitic cesspool mentioned above). In the afterword to the book in which that character is introduced, Silva talks about how disappointed he was in the real-life Pope and uses his fictional Pope from that point onward in the series.
- Klaus Mann does this in his novel Mephisto. There is a middle part where the narrative is abandoned for a heated anti-fascist rant and then the novel resumes without breaking stride.
- George MacDonald - The Princess and the Goblin is a classic piece of Victorian children's literature. The lesser-known sequel, The Princess and Curdie is a bizarre, Anviliciously heavy-handed cross between The Pilgrims Progress and The Revelation of St. John that is likely to give a child unfortunate enough to read it nightmares for years to come.
- His non-fantasy novels are even more excessive, often stopping right in the middle of the action to deliver religious sermons (sometimes from the characters, sometimes from the author himself) that can go on for pages in unedited editions. However, as CS Lewis observed, it's actually Better Than It Sounds if we consider that "the author, though a poor novelist, was a supreme preacher."
- Andrew Vachss is unabashed about his condemnation of government and society's failures in his Burke books. These comments are usually delivered through said first person protagonist, who has a Dark and Troubled Past involving precisely that.
- To be fair, Vachss is up front about this (he states in a foreword that "I'm not a good writer but I write for a good reason") and most of it is unfortunately based on his experience as a children's advocate or his wife's experience as a sex crimes prosecutor. That said, he seems to particularly dislike wannabe mercenaries and paramilitary types; if one turns up, he's going to be the Butt Monkey and if he's really, really lucky, his death will be quick.
- Some fans argue that Stephenie Meyer's Twilight is rife with Mormon beliefs despite none of the characters being obvious practitioners.
- Stieg Larsson was obviously not a fan of guns. In a chapter of The Girl Who Played With Fire, told from a veteran policeman's perspective, he criticizes hollow-point ammunition. The character calls it "hunting ammunition" and says that it is "unclear" why law enforcement uses it. A real police officer would be well aware of the reasons, such as preventing the bullet from passing though a target and hitting bystanders, even if he didn't agree with them. Shortly thereafter, another policeman calls a Colt handgun a "cowboy pistol" and says they should be banned outright.
- The Neanderthal Parallax descends into this, what with the Neanderthal's perfect society, devoid of crime, not like us nasty humans, eh?
- While Year of the Griffin is normally a Fantastic Comedy about the trials and tribulations of Wizarding University students, it takes one moment in a chapter to get Aesoptinial about sexism and women's education. Thankfully, rather than disrupt an existing character, it creates a new one—a horrifying misogynist gangster—to serve as its designated vice-target. Since the author has autobiographically noted that she was seen as a Strange Girl in her childhood for wanting to be smart and intellectual, it's somewhat understandable why she would feel strongly about this.
- In the Maximum Ride series, the fourth book abruptly switches to a clumsy Aesop about Hollywood Global Warming, completely ignoring whatever semblance of a plot and characterization the previous books had. Among other things, the Big Bad is defeated by a random hurricane, which is explicitly linked to Hollywood Global Warming.
- John Ringo's Council Wars includes things like cheerleading for the American 2nd Amendment, dislike of welfare, and other political views that at least make sense given the context in which they come up in the story and are worked in logically. Stopping dead to explain why believing in human-caused climate change is stupid, going on at length about the sexual kinks of Herzer, and a completely nonsensical explanation of American "strategy" in the "War on Terror", not so subtle.
- In the third book of the Posleen War Series, When The Devil Dances, a very large artillery piece happens to have been named and decorated after Bun-Bun, from Sluggy Freelance. One of the crew members suggested it and talked the commander into it, after introducing him to the comic. They don't have time to consult anyone to see if they'll have to take it off before the fecal matter hits the fan. Later on in the book, one character refers to "Bun-Bun", and the complete stranger he's talking to knows what he means. He happens to not only read the comic, but is a "big fan". This is after five years of war with a genocidal alien race that has control of most of the planet, yet apparently the Sluggy Freelance servers are still up, or at least a mirror or archive thereof.
- Kurt Vonnegut does this sometimes, in addition to actually appearing As Himself to do this to characters in real time.
- Subverted in that he often mocks himself for doing so.
- Averted in 1633. The United States of Europe adopts the death penalty, although Mike Stearns is personally opposed. Reading between the lines, it's likely that Eric Flint is anti-death penalty, but recognized that most people in a West Virginia mining town would favor it.
- Diane Carey's Dreadnought! Star Trek book is, at times, a thinly-veiled Libertarian propaganda piece; government intervention is portrayed as uniformly bad, be it an admiral trying to use a new Federation starship as the flagship of his private army to cement control over the Galaxy, or socialism as described derogatorily by her human POV character, Cadet Piper and Piper's Vulcan sidekick, Sarda.
- It's absent in the film, but if you read the novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by B. Traven, it seems rather clear that Traven really didn't like the Catholic Church.
- In an apologetic example of this trope, Glen Gook's Gilded Latten Bones contains a scene where playwright Jon Salvation admits it was unkind of him to snub Crash, a young fan of his work, and explains what it's like for a writer to keep hearing the same questions over and over. Salvation eventually makes amends by inviting her to attend one of his play rehearsals. Been getting a bit tetchy at conventions and book-signings, Glen?
- Harlan Ellison's hatred of computers crops up quite a bit in his later work.
- Tom Clancy was never particularly subtle, but most of his later books became mouthpieces for his own views rather explicitly. The Bear and the Dragon' was this by his own admission, especially the condemnation of China's one child policy.
- Most Star Trek episodes penned by the Berman/Braga team, as they have the opinion that the future is going to be a bad place, taking the Star Trek franchise away from Gene Roddenberry's vision of hope and optimism. While it has sometimes worked when taken as a whole (the latter seasons of Deep Space Nine, for instance, were quite good—and Braga had nothing to do with the series), taken individually many of the episodes are rather dark, depressing, and pessimistic. Not quite Downer Endings, but definitely not the "Let's explore space and have fun!" endings that Roddenberry's episodes typically possessed.
- Gene Roddenberry himself may also be listed here. He was the one who made The Federation a moneyless Mary Suetopia, although there is some doubt as to whether he did it to deliver a message or just because he preferred writing about that sort of thing.
- Jeri Taylor is often accused of this since she often wrote episodes with Janeway being a Mary Sue and how everyone on the ship loved her.
- SF Debris critiqued this perfectly while reviewing a Taylor-made episode in which Janeway apparently (but not really, of course) died. The crew had a memorial service in which every cast member made a speech about how awesome Janeway was. SF Debris pointed out that this scene was twice as long as Spock's funeral in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- It may or may not be significant that Jeri Taylor was one of Quincy's most prolific writers.
- SF Debris critiqued this perfectly while reviewing a Taylor-made episode in which Janeway apparently (but not really, of course) died. The crew had a memorial service in which every cast member made a speech about how awesome Janeway was. SF Debris pointed out that this scene was twice as long as Spock's funeral in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- Doctor Who: The Two Doctors, written by vegetarian Robert Holmes, is a thinly-disguised parable about the evils of meat-eating.
- Russell T. Davies was all about this trope, particularly in the Ninth Doctor's run, where most episodes had a criticism of some sort. The man himself has acknowledged putting his beliefs on religion into his work, pointing to its banning in The End of the World as an example. The Slitheen two-parter is one long Take That against the then-current Iraq War.
- Aaron Sorkin often used Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip as a soapbox to air his thinly-disguised personal grievances, particularly to vicariously lecture his ex-girlfriend. This also happened in The West Wing when internet critics hurt his feelings. The West Wing at least had the advantage of being pretty spot on, and quite funny, with political beliefs getting aired at least making sense in context. Studio 60... not so much. On the other hand, Studio 60 appeared aimed to a be a Red State/Blue State love story, so political rants and banter were to be expected.
- Much of Series Two of Extras - in particular, the parts dealing with Andy's sitcom - seemed to be Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant explaining in great detail how their naturalistic style of comedy was infinitely superior to anyone else's.
- Gervais and Merchant elaborate that the show is not about saying that broad comedy is bad; if you have grand ambitions, you shouldn't settle for less and let people meddle with your ideas. Do what you want to do. They don't portray either camp in a sympathetic light, as many more successful actors and writers in the show are intensely arrogant, elitist and pretentious. The entire last half of episode 2.2 displays this in the club where Andy is humiliated by just about everyone there. Episode 2.4 also has Stephen Fry belittling and patronizing Andy after Fry wins the BAFTA over him. Even Andy himself act very pretentious and two-faced, hiding his celebrity status but later using it to try and get his way whenever it suits him.
- Gervais and Merchant even admit that Andy's sitcom When the Whistle Blows does indeed make them laugh, even if it is not very intellectual.
- In-universe, Maggie also calls out Andy for turning his nose up at a show so many people like, even if they aren't the people he was trying to impress. She also points the money and lavish lifestyle that the show has brought him. His response is to storm out of the restaurant and ditch his best friend. The resounding message seemed to be "you can't always have things both ways", and that having high standards doesn't give you the right to look down on people who are genuinely trying to help you.
- Producer Frank Mancuso Jr. was promoted to producer on the second season of the cult TV series War of the Worlds. He took a promising concept (the aliens left over from the 1953 invasion living among us), and destroyed it. How? He turned the present-day setting into a rundown, "Almost Tomorrow" setting that is never explained; half the main cast were killed off (the two visible minorities!); the villains of the first season were exterminated to make way for a new group of aliens from the same planet; and several plot threads from the first season (most notably, an alien who helped the main characters defeat the aliens in the first-season finale, and promised to bring reinforcements) never showed up again.
- Pretty much the last three years of Law and Order. In particular, Jack McCoy's vendetta-like attacks on defendants who use religion as a defense. It is stopped just short of being completely Anvilicious by being well within his character and having him regularly being called out on it.
- Curiously subverted in Law and Order Special Victims Unit where Elliot Stabler enjoys his rants about how violating his morals is evil and horrible (which often times it is) but he typically comes off to the audience and in-universe as borderline psychotic.
- In an instance that might be called "Actor On Board", Law and Order Special Victims Unit has Detective Sergeant John Munch, whose utter devotion to the civil liberties of every human being stops rather abruptly at the right to end one's own life. This character is played by Richard Belzer, an actor whose own father committed suicide.
- Babylon 5 had a minor version where any and all cute kids and robots were killed off in a very blunt and mean-spirited way.
- To be fair, this was because JMS wanted to specifically avoid a Creator's Pet or Top Gun pilots. And he only included such cliches when Executive Meddling made him. The one time a teen character appeared as part of a legitimate story (the awakened Psi-burglar) she's crucial to the plot (and a key to the Wham of the Season 1 story!) and gets her ideal ending.
- As he put in one of his books, the problem with cute kids and robots, is once you include them, the show becomes ABOUT them. As for the Top Gun guy? He was demanded by Execs who FORGOT THEY ASKED FOR HIM! And, all station commanders are PROMOTED pilots! (And in fact have to log flight-time). Interestingly, JMS still felt REALLY bad for the pilot's actor.
- Two definite examples? The walkabout arc with Franklin was straight out Muse Abuse, and he blew up San Diego for the same reason. He was mugged there, and nearly died.
- A very early episode of Stargate SG-1, "Emancipation", was centered on Samantha Carter becoming a Blithe Spirit on a planet where women were oppressed in every way possible. The feminist message was conveyed with all the subtlety of a naquadah explosion, and it wasn't exactly the show's best episode. The events from it were never mentioned again.
- Most episodes of Boston Legal involve at least one case where the Crane, Poole & Schmidt firm takes on The Government / Mega Corp over a Ripped from the Headlines controversial scandal or policy. Guess who always wins?
- Numb3rs suffered from this with the eco-storyline and the minority-treatment arc at the end of last season. Nothing like a good Green Aesop to pull the handbrake on a perfectly decent whodunit.
- In fairness to the writers, this was during a period where just about all Prime Time TV shows had some awkward and obvious addition of greenness to it; being uber earth friendly was like the chickenpox for all the major networks.
- Also in line with the trope, at many various points the main characters talk about what they're doing to be eco-friendly, up and including building a windmill in the backyard for power and including a filter-collector for rainwater.
- Pretty much the entire sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had the characters (particularly Buffy and Spike) changing opinions, morality, and emotions depending on whether or not Marti Noxon was writing the episode that week. For example, one week Buffy is shown to be trapping lovelorn Spike in an abusive relationship. Then next, he's preying on an emotionally damaged Buffy.
- Marti Noxon herself generally had a men are bad vibe to her episodes as early as Season 3 when she made her debut as a writer. Prominent examples are the episodes "Beauty and the Beasts", "Consequences", and "Wild at Heart." A lot of her episodes tended to feature males as villains or be the bad character in a relationship. It gets so extreme that Willow's reaction to Oz's cheating comes off as not quite as sympathetic as intended considering what Willow was doing with Xander the season before.
Willow: And you know, what happened with Xander, it doesn't compare. Not with what you and I had. Not with whatever you've been doing with her.
- In fairness, Willow's statement is factually correct; she did not have sex with Xander (or, apparently, get much past first base), while Oz went for multiple grand slam home runs with Veruca. So while they both cheated on each other, one of them cheated notably more. (There's also that Willow's relationship with Oz was less than a year old when she stepped out with Xander, but her and Oz had been together almost three years when he stepped out on her.)
- Not to mention the tendency of anything remotely resembling a Christian (with the exception of Riley (whose religion is given in a throwaway line), holy water and crosses (who are never explicitly stated to be Christian)) in the series to be either a Knight Templar, Sinister Minister, or some other form of evil, reflecting a prejudice that Joss Whedon is at least honest enough to admit to (he joked in one interview that he was doing it to undo the work of 7th Heaven.)
- The Wire's lead producer/writer David Simon (a former writer with the Baltimore Sun) devoted most of the fifth season to serve as background for his views on the state of the newspaper industry. While the season still has great moments peppered throughout, it is increasingly bogged down with subplots about a rookie newspaper writer at the Baltimore Sun who can't believe her stories keep getting buried in the paper, another reporter who outright lies and distorts facts to string the public along about a serial killer's whereabouts, and a city editor whose only defining characteristic is that he always adheres to truth and honesty. In any other series, these characters would have had time to grow and change, but after only ten episodes, the show ends, and the audience barely knows more about them than they did at the beginning of the season. Also, compared to the themes of the previous seasons (which focused on the drug trade, the rise of a criminal leader, corrupt politicians and the state of Baltimore's school system), having an episode where two reporters get a story published just isn't as exciting. Some people accused Simon of using the show as a vehicle to air out his own personal grievances with the Sun.
- Why would the producers of Dallas make an entire season All Just a Dream just to bring back one character? Answer: They didn't. Executive producer Leonard Katzman wanted that entire season retconned out of existence because the misogynistic Katzman hated that the women on the show had been made into much stronger characters during his absence from production. Bringing back Bobby Ewing was just a bonus.
- Many people believe the famous/infamous Power Rangers episode "Forever Red" was essentially used by Promoted Fanboy Amit Bhuamik to force his fanfic hoax "Scorpion Rain" into canon with the series. Although actually, Bhuamik only provided the voice of Tommy in the fanfic, which was actually created by Derik Smith. Still, Bhuamik admitted that he considered the fanfic "completely in canon" when writing Forever Red, taking advantage of what was originally supposed to be a sequel to Countdown to Destruction (but got changed due to Executive Meddling from Jonathan Tzachor and Koichi Sakamoto) to put his old friend's fan works into continuity.
- Jackie Marchand did the same thing with Thrax.
- Torchwood's writing staff comes off as aggressively atheist. Jack refers to religion as superstition and rants about how primitive cultures cling to anything that denies the randomness of existence. It's repeatedly stated that there is no afterlife, and anyone with a belief in some form of deity is shot down as naive or just wrong. There's also the fact that Everyone Is Bi. The series was created by Russell T. Davies, who also wrote Queer as Folk, and is openly gay.
- All three of the Blake's 7 episodes written by Ben Steed trample characterisation for the sake of sexism. In "The Harvest of Kairos" Supreme Commander Servalan goes meekly along with the manly Jarvik (rather than killing him, which was statistically more likely). "Moloch" had women as helpless victims; Servalan is briefly added to their number, and she doesn't do much more than look outraged. "Power" featured a war of the sexes and an uncharacteristic sermon from Avon—usually an equal-opportunity misanthropist—about how he, as a man, would always be stronger than a woman.
- Alan Alda began writing episodes for the later seasons of M*A*S*H and the show tended to become his personal soapbox when those episodes were aired.
- Battlestar Galactica did this at least twice, with one episode in which Laura Roslin was forced to weigh the consequences of protecting a woman's right to an abortion with the need to protect the small amount of human life that was left, and again with another episode which Tyrol was used to champion the greatness of organized labor. In the Battlestar Galactica podcast, Ronald D. Moore admitted that he was engaging in this trope with these two episodes, but that he basically didn't care.
- Funky Winkerbean usually dips only occasionally into Tom Batiuk's views. However, in mid-September 2009, he suddenly ran a plotline in which a group of angry parents protest a production of Wit, a play about "cancer" and "death". As Batiuk's own dip into these two topics was a source of mockery and harsh criticism (mainly due to his lack of skill in shifting a gag-per-day strip into heavy drama), it was pretty obvious that he still had a chip on his shoulder.
- During the last few years of Jonny Hart's life, B.C. was increasingly dominated by his fundamentalist Christian religious beliefs. Despite being ostensibly set in the Stone Age.
- When the setting information for a tabletop game includes slaves, the authors quite often feel the need to throw in an aside about how bad slavery is/was in the real world. This is presumably in case anyone is thick enough to read "here's a fictional country that practices slavery, like countless civilizations in Real Life history" as "let's all keep slaves". Dungeons & Dragons works dealing with it go out of their way to say that, according to the game's Character Alignment system, slavery is always and only an evil act. A supplement for Exalted on the economy of the setting took this to its logical extreme by opening with an Author Filibuster about how great it is that we don't practice slavery anymore. A notable aversion is Requiem for Rome, set during the Roman Empire, where slavery is presented as just part of the setting without any hand-wringing (even though it's noted vampires are brutal to their slaves). Given the flack some supplements, such as Charnel Houses of Europe, received, this may not be unreasonable behavior.
- Amazingly, Dark Sun takes a much less obtuse view on this, at least in fourth edition. It explicitly states that owning a slave is counter to the thought process of a Lawful Good character; it is, however, the way of life everywhere but recently-liberated Tyr. Most folks have opinions between "It's not right but whatcha gonna do?" and "well as long as I'm not a slave."
- GURPS provides detailed rules for owning slaves including possible slave personalities which range from "fanatically violent hatred of being a slave" to "unable to think for himself". Of course, laws about slaves are presented (realistically) as equally wide-ranging and remains totally quiet on the morality of owning slaves.
- In the GURPS fantasy setting Banestorm, most of the Kingdoms have slavery, in some cases including gladiatorial shows. But Cardiel outlaws slavery and has an abolitionist society.
- In the Living Greyhawk RPG, the "River of Blood" event featured bumbling villains who were kidnapping children in order to perform "Raxivort's Orgy" which was described as a wild party in celebration of their god. Individual judges across the country re-interpreted the party as a sexual orgy involving the rape of the kidnapped children. Even though it was not the author's original intention, the more offensive version was so prevalent that Wizards of the Coast issued an apology and re-edited the event.
- The Chronicles of Fate. The entire theme of this setting is basically one big anarchist message about how society is bad. That's it. That's all it's about. You cannot play a good character who believes in law, order, and following the rules in this world. Everyone who does those things is, by definition, evil in this sitting. Only people who practice chaos and freedom are heroes. Perhaps the creator of this setting is trying to say something about their views on anarchy vs civilized society?
- In Victoriana RPG's 2nd Ed. The Authors are very clear to tell the players that sexism, racism, and class breeding are all 'bad,' despite the game using all these. Their harping on this goes back to the 1st edition rules having orcs as Shaka's Zulu tribesman, and the PC police immediately assumed the authors were racists rather than simply making fictional changes in a fictional setting. When they reused this in 2nd ed, they immediately said Orcs were not the only tribals, and they protested it had nothing to do with race. In a game where Ogres can be player characters, this ought to have been obvious. One would think.
- In an example of Tropes Are Not Good, FATAL. Read the page for more information.
- In Max Payne 2, Payne can eavesdrop on two cops who mock the idea that video games cause violence.
- Better Days. It's bad enough that the entire main cast is perched on the same moral and political wave length as the creator. But whenever a new character shows up who opposes those views they are swiftly cut down by the "good" characters. Worse yet, the poor opposing party is never seen again making it seem like the main cast can do no wrong. Even if the other side has an argument, the reader never gets to hear it because Naylor's characters out talk them or leave before they can say anything. It's always been like this, but lately it has gotten worse. The main character, Fisk, is a Gary Stu stand-in for Jay Naylor. However, he was somewhat more 'round' when he was younger (and Naylor was a religious fruitcake rather than an Objectivist one). Young Fisk was an anti-social Gary Stu, yes, but there were hints that he had a lighter, more vulnerable side that was hidden by the fact that he was the 'man of the family' in a traditionalist Southern household. However, after Naylor's conversion to Randian Man-God, that side of Fisk was removed in favor of an increasingly sociopathic cardboard cut-out, whose grunting, monosyllabic comments were enough to have multiple women spontaneously change their personalities and seek nasty, unemotional sex with him. Fisk not only has all the features of a Gary Stu, but the traits of some kind of Roarke rip-off.
- A specific example: In the earlier comics, it was implied that Fisk and his family were Christian to some degree (Lucy mentions about them learning about the tale of Saul while at church) and Elizabeth's Jewish family were all very friendly and welcoming to Fisk. In the sequel webcomic, Original Life, Fisk compares taking a child to a religious function to taking a child to a political rally, and Elizabeth's mother has become a shrewish woman who finds the idea of atheist grandchildren to be horrific.
- Winston Rowntree hates trolls.
- Venus Envy. Most noticeable in the frequent fillers, in which she cries about everything from persecution of transgendered people to the war in Iraq. The main story only seems like a story in comparison to the filler, since it limits itself to just one theme (don't beat on TGs). Still extremely writer-heavy.
- David Herbert does this occasionally, but sometimes the message can be a good one. [dead link]
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal's Zach Weiner is a vocal atheist (or as he refers to himself, a Mesognostic), and occasionally does comics mocking religion.
- Ryan Sohmer with Rayne Summers of Least I Could Do. Oh so much.
- Pretty much the reason for all the brutal violence in the (theoretically) kids-oriented Sonichu. All the characters hate the same things as the creator and are supportive towards violence against those things.
- Tropes sites - both TV Tropes and All The Tropes - have shades of this. Editors will frequently inject their opinion about something they don't like, usually starting with This Troper. Subjective Tropes pages have plenty of these.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd constantly references his childhood in many of his videos.
- Homestar Runner: The Brothers Chaps seem to have a low opinion of celebrity-endorsed activism, and made a cartoon portraying the concept as essentially a ridiculous scam that never really helps anyone. However, Tropes Are Not Bad, and said cartoon is gut-bustingly hilarious.
- Family Guy, especially post-revival, has many cases of this. Brian is frequently a mouthpiece for the writers' liberal political views, and other characters occasionally fill the role as well. Characters with dissenting views—conservative Christians, pro-lifers, Republicans, Southerners, people who practice abstinence, radical feminists, etc. -- are frequently portrayed as being dumber than dirt.
- Though in the episode FOX-y Lady, Brian's flaws are pointed out perfectly. Lois was ordered by her new employers at Fox News to expose Michael Moore's (theorized) homosexuality. When it is discovered Rush Limbaugh is (possibly) his lover, the exposé is cut. Brian is repulsed by Fox News avoiding the truth to protect a fellow conservative, but urges Lois to do the story anyways to nail Limbaugh. Lois asks why this is any different than Fox trying to discredit Moore. Brian stammeringly claims it is okay because he is admitting his hypocrisy.
- Then "Jerome is the New Black" came around, where near the end Quagmire verbally rips Brian a new one, and is basically dead on. Although he actually was a really good father, until his son's biological mother came to take him back. And occasionally Brian is also depicted as a great writer, and wasn't originally an atheist.
- In addition he comments about Brian always trying to hook up with Peter's wife (which is inappropriate) but leaves out the fact that Quagmire (particularly in earlier seasons) was constantly trying to hook up with Lois in far more egregious ways than Brian ever has.
- The show parodied this trope in an early episode, when Lois is directing The King and I at the community theater. When she makes Peter producer, he proceeds to rewrite the script several times until finally the story is about a post-apocalyptic future world where the lead character is a robot ninja. It drives Lois crazy, but everyone else loves it.
- Hey Arnold!: "Eugene, Eugene!" demonstrated this and Adaptation Decay with a Show Within a Show, by having a guy who's just been spurned by his girlfriend direct a production of a musical, and completely changing its ending to reflect his own life.
- The Simpsons: Since being condescending and outspoken about her beliefs was partly built into her characterization, Lisa Simpson has frequently been used as a mouthpiece, though she is frequently acknowledged as being annoying to those around her.
- In an example of Guest Star on Board, Paul and Linda McCartney only agreed to appear in the episode where Lisa becomes a vegetarian on the condition that she remain a vegetarian for the rest of the series. On the other hand, Paul and Linda end the episode by telling Lisa that even if she doesn't approve of other people eating meat, it isn't okay to force them to change or shove her own vegatarian choices down their throats – a lesson that is almost immediately ignored when Lisa manages to turn her "apology" into explaining how her father was wrong.
- Transformers: Beast Machines. The author outright admitted that he deliberately ignored aspects of the prequel series Beast Wars because he wanted to "tell his own story", as opposed to, for instance, an actual Beast Wars story. The result wasn't pretty; near-universal Character Derailment is just the start of the problems. For the most part, he acted as if this were a completely new series, and not a sequel to another.
- Though it's undoubtedly a fact that Bob Skir derailed almost all of the Beast Wars'' characters, the matter cannot be entirely blamed on him alone. On his website, Skir admitted that Hasbro specifically hired him because he had no prior experience with Transformers and they even ordered him not to watch Beast Wars. Bob Skir receives the most flack for Beast Machines because out of all the writers and producers on the show, he was the one who made himself the most accessible to the fans (which resulted in him having to cancel a Botcon appearance due to death threats). Others (such as Marty Isenberg and many other writers on the show) received no such backlash from the fandom, even though they played an equal part in making Beast Machines what it is.
- South Park has, in later seasons, become nothing but a vehicle for Trey and Matt to dispense whatever magical wisdom they feel obliged to share with us.
- However, most people don't feel that this has affected the quality of the show.
- Also Cartman's prostitute mother is named Liane after an ex girlfriend of Trey's who he walked in on having sex with another man (and in Cannibal! The Musical Packer's faithless horse who gets ridden by the entire town in called Liane)
- Some say that Butch Hartman's extremely unsympathetic portrayal of the popular and rich kids in both Danny Phantom and The Fairly OddParents is his way of showing how bad rich kids can be if they abuse their position, while taking it Up to Eleven and almost making them Complete Monsters. Then again, the protagonists of both shows have rich girls as love interests; not to mention Danny ultimately ends up with a rich girl, though she hides her wealth to avoid fake friendship.
- When said rich girl's parents are shown as absolute Jerkasses and pretty much Jack Chick clones while the girl is a Soapbox Sadie who hates them and pushes her ultra-radical views on EVERYONE, the point about Hartman's hatred of the rich and popular people stands.
- As for Timmy, well it's hard for either of the rich girls interested in him to have a real relationship with anyone when neither of them are comfortable in their own skin. Trixie is the opposite of Sam in that Sam hides her wealth and accentuates her tomboyish nature, whereas Trixie hides her tomboyishness and accentuates her wealth, due to a pathological need to be the center of attention. Veronica, on the other hand, is a Satellite Character to Trixie, as her entire personality is built around trying to supplant her, to the point of developing paranoid delusions. Naturally, this makes her Yandere for Timmy.
- King of the Hill fell into this in later seasons as Mike Judge increasingly injected his libertarian views into the show. Also, roleplayers are all cultists according to this show.
- Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows deliberately jerked protagonist Toa Vakama out of character for the entire movie, because the writers thought that him becoming a traitor would be more dramatic than, you know, someone to whom it might have made sense to play that role. So they derailed him to be more reckless, foolish (the exact opposite of how what he was like in the previous movie) and dangerously misguided (... again), and the other characters consequently acted meaner toward him. Also, this fit in well with their plans to make the movie one giant Star Wars - Homage. The real Bionicle writer detests this story to this day, although many fans think that he managed to handle it quite well in the novelization, and admittedly, this made Matau's Character Development all the more engaging and lead up to a powerful (if highly clichéd) Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Yet later on, a general refers to Bun-Bun, meaning he knew about the nickname and decorations, and either didn't care, or actively approved.