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Backlashed Away


(permanent link) added: 2008-05-12 12:41:11 sponsor: Tzintzuntzan (last reply: 2008-05-16 10:54:26)

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As always with my YKTKW, it needs a better title.

The polar opposite of Vindicated by History, and a variant on Seinfeld Is Unfunny. This is something -- an individual character, an individual song or book or game, an entire genre -- that was very, very popular in its day. But at some point, it got too popular. It was talked about on every radio station, on every TV network, on every chat room. It was overexposed until people got bored with it, and it got so much publicity that there was plenty of time to notice each flaw and dissect it under the microscope. Soon, small problems were regarded as unavoidable flaws. The final tell-tale sign is when hate comes not just for the thing itself, but for its fans. They become the subject of nasty, highly-specific stereotypes, and gushing about how you like it on-line is considered trolling.

Ten years later, almost nobody will admit that they ever liked it. It may get revived decades later as Guilty Pleasures or as kitsch, but never popular on its own merits again.

Sometimes caused by people saying that It's Popular, Now It Sucks, but not always. It's particularly common with things that never had a cult following to begin with -- they went from nowhere to everything, and then back to nowhere, very suddenly. Distinct from Hype Backlash in that the consensus is usually with the backlashers.

Examples:

  • Many, many many novelty songs and one-hit-wonders. Even though people expect them to be fads and fade out, there's still an amazing jump between "cute, fun fluff" and "anyone who sings this gets a punch in the nose." A good example is "Achy Breaky Heart."
  • Similarly, many manufactured bands (from the Monkees to the Spice Girls) go through this. Critics hated them even at their peak, but there were hordes of people willing to appear on TV at their concerts, and now will deny ever being there.
  • I don't know much about Professional Wrestling, but I suspect (from this wiki) that individual wrestlers, especially Darker and Edgier ones, often go through this.
  • A variant: Ally Mcbeal never went from all-popular to all-hated (having both admirers and haters at its peak). Instead, it went from The Extremely Important Show That Expressed The State of The American Woman Today(tm)to a half-forgotten joke. Everybody, love it or hate it, used to think it was a cultural milestone. Time Magazine regarded it as an important(bad)moment in the history of US feminism, and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd went through a period where every single column of hers (no exaggeration)mentioned it. A decade later, it's a footnote. It's telling that Hayden Panettiere's time on the show is barely mentioned, not even as an Old Shame.
  • In comic books, the work of Rob Liefeld. For a while the hottest artist in the entire world, with hordes of imitators, and established creators like Alan Moore teaming up with him. Ten years later, he's the subject of hate sites, a lot of comic book fans claim he can't draw and never could, and he's blamed for practically every problem 1990s comic books had.
  • Wolverine might be an example, given that his Wolverine Publicity has created a lot of haters. However, the character still has a lot of fans, so Wolverine might just be straight Hype Backlash.
  • Any two-hundred-plus-episode Anime (especially shonen) is likely to get this. Being too big a fan of Dragon Ball Z or Inuyasha (especially if you don't know much other anime)makes other anime fans back away slowly, and Naruto may be going through the same process.
  • Many a Dead Horse Genre suffers from this, as "Disco rocks" turns to "Disco sucks!" However, not all of them do -- some of them were cult genres all along.
  • Drizzt Do'Urden was the hottest thing in Dungeons and Dragons, before the Wolverine Publicity and all the bad Fan Fic. Now, say "I love Drizzt books" on-line and many RPG players will think you're saying "I am a 13-year-old boy who has never read anything else in his life."
  • Similarly, going to a World of Darkness game and introducing your character with "he has a trenchcoat and a katana..." is now the ultimate Dead Horse Trope.
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