Created By: gigglesFebruary 23, 2011 Last Edited By: robinjohnsonSeptember 23, 2015

Berate And Switch

What appears to be condemnation turns out to be approval or enthusiasm.

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A comedic trope where a character assesses the current situation, listing typically unpleasant, unfavorable, or immoral actions or thoughts, and the conclusion drawn is the opposite of what you expect: they are very favorable and happy about it. The comedy can come from the fact that obsession and revulsion can result in a similar level of enthusiasm. Beauty, fashion sense, cuisine choice, etc. are all in the eye of the beholder.

This is a form of subverted Sarcasm Mode. Unlike Bad Is Good And Good Is Bad, this trope is used for comedy and is definitely not played straight. Expect sitcoms to cue the Laugh Track. For example:

Bob: Look at this car! It's covered in rust, the stuffing's coming out of the seats, and you have to kick the trunk to get it to open...beautiful, isn't it?

An alternate version of this trope happens when a character gives advice to another, and what is seemingly a situation they want to deflect or have the receiver turn away from instead turns out to be encouragement. Depending on the situation, the more conservative outsider may look on such a conversation with shock or disgust.

Can be inverted by describing typically pleasant things, such as a beautiful sunny day, flowers, and puppies and it turns out the character is disgusted by them.

Not to be confused with Evil Virtues, which are about honest to goodness virtues applied to evil. Compare I Have Just One Thing To Say and Arson Murder And Lifesaving. See also Too Kinky To Torture.

Examples

Comic Books

Literature

Film

Live Action TV
  • Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street. His signature song is "I Love Trash". Anything dirty or dingy or dusty, anything ragged or rotten or rusty....
  • From The Monkees episode "Monkees in the Ring":
    Mike: You're gonna be going through a lot strange cities, and there's always this one hotel: one with a lot of heavy drinking, a lot of fast women, and a lot of loose talk. You know what to do when you get to town?
    Davy: Find that hotel!
    Mike: And you'll do fine.
  • The Good Life: in "The Pagan Rite" when Tom and Barbara are out to dinner, they say that their food is full of artificial additives, cholesterol, etc., and Tom ends up saying, "Great, isn't it?"
  • A typical Get Smart quote:
    Chief: You understand your current assignment means you will be in constant danger, unable to trust anyone, and face torture or even death.
  • The various versions of The Addams Family are full of this trope, a rainy day will be described as something beautiful, flowers with only stems are more attractive, and dolls should be headless.
    • From the 1991 film:
    Morticia: Last night you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again!
  • The Aquabats Super Show combined this trope with Strange Minds Think Alike. First the MC Bat Commander describes being on tour involving truck stop food, public restrooms and a complete lack of showers as the best thing ever. After their Battle Tram is stolen by an unscrupulous carnival worker named Carl, he describes going out on the open road the exact same way; truck stop food, public restrooms, and complete lack of showers is like heaven on wheels.

Tabletop Games
  • "We've run into scorpions the size of battle tanks, three men died from Eyerot last week. I've sweat enough to fill a lake, my boots got sucked into a sink-swamp and the trees are so thick in places, you can't squeeze between them. Emperor help me, I love this place! It's just like home!"
    Captain Rock of the Catachan Green Devils on the Death World of Varestus Prime, Warhammer 40 K.

Video Games
Shadowknight: Whoever designed this dungeon was sick, twisted and half-mad... my compliments!

Western Animation
  • In My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Rarity spends time hanging out with posh ponies instead of designing her friend Twilight Sparkle's birthday dress. When Twilight shows up out of the blue, she seems to hate the plain dress, until she says she loves its simplicity and practicality.
  • In the first episode of Futurama, aafter Fry is unfrozen in the future, he reflects on how his girlfriend, parents, and everyone he's ever known is dead, pauses and says "Woo-hoo!"
  • In Beauty And The Beast, Gaston tells the asylum warden of his plan to force Belle to marry him by threatening to commit her father. He says "That's despicable... I love it!".

Inversions

Film
  • In Addams Family Values, the family is shocked when the baby turns out to enjoy hearing pleasant stories read to him and that he has curly blonde hair.
Community Feedback Replies: 87
  • March 9, 2011
    peccantis
    Hmm... Sarcasm Mode subverted?
  • March 9, 2011
    Cuchulainn
    In Fargo, after Margie bags Gaer, she lectures him about how many people he had to kill "just for a little bit o' money" and then remarks on how "it's a beautiful day". It's snowing like crazy outside.
  • March 9, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Get Smart: Typical quote:
    Chief: You understand your current assignment means you will be in constant danger, unable to trust anyone, and face torture or even death.
  • March 10, 2011
    WackyMeetsPractical
    Sounds similar to Bad Is Good And Good Is Bad.
  • March 25, 2011
    giggles
    I think this would qualify as its own trope outside of Bad Is Good And Good Is Bad since this trope is not necessarily related to stereotypically "evil" actions (like murder) or "evil" people, and could focus on a wider range of situations, involving alternate lifestyle choices that can be relatively minor in the scheme of things (what you eat, how you decorate your house, sex life, taking drugs recreationally, etc.) - more personal quirks, really.
  • March 25, 2011
    c0ry
  • May 19, 2011
    giggles
    The Killing Joke... has a pretty sinister rendition of this trope

    ^link is broken - could you add an explanation?
  • May 24, 2011
    TBeholder
    It's Wretched Now I Love It?
  • May 25, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • The Simpsons, "Simpson Roasting on an Open Fire" (the first full episode). This is how they get the dog. His owner disowns him and he leaps into Homer's arms.
      Bart: Oh, Dad, can we keep him?
      Homer: But he's a loser! He's pathetic! He's...
      SLH: licks Homer's face
      Homer: ... a Simpson.
  • December 28, 2011
    FastEddie
  • January 5, 2012
    TBeholder
  • January 5, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^ What Fast Eddie means by his comment above is "Your trope's title sounds like a line of dialog and if it's launched with that title I will Cut List it immediately."
  • January 5, 2012
    Tiiba
    Arson Murder And Admiration seems totally different. It's admiration despite, not because of.
  • January 5, 2012
    whizzerd
    • In My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Rarity spends time hanging out with posh ponies instead of designing her friend Twilight Sparkle's birthday dress. When Twilight shows up out of the blue, she seems to hate the plain dress, until she says she loves its simplicity and practicality.
  • March 29, 2012
    Alvin
    I've seen it quoted in a YTTW, but in the first episode of Futurama, aafter Fry is unfrozen in the future, he reflects on how his girlfriend, parents, and everyone he's ever known is dead, pauses and says "Woo-hoo!"
  • March 29, 2012
    Chabal2
    "We've run into scorpions the size of battle tanks, three men died from Eyerot last week. I've sweat enough to fill a lake, my boots got sucked into a sink-swamp and the trees are so thick in places, you can't squeeze between them. Emperor help me, I love this place! It's just like home!"
    Captain Rock of the Catachan Green Devils on the Death World of Varestus Prime, Warhammer 40 K.
  • July 8, 2012
    Rognik
    Just as a separate note, "wretched" is not a verb, it's an adjective. I think you mean "retched", as in to vomit.
  • July 12, 2012
    giggles
    ^ gotcha - it really needs a different title altogether, that's not a line of dialogue
  • July 14, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    Oscar the Grouch. His signature song is "I Love Trash". Anything dirty or dingy or dusty, anything ragged or rotten or rusty....
  • July 15, 2012
    LordCirce
    Imperfect Perfection, Disgusted Delight, So Bad Its Good. These are my initial ideas. The last one is an actual trope, but maybe you can spin something off that title.
  • July 16, 2012
    FastEddie
    We do not want articles about specific lines of dialog.
  • July 17, 2012
    Arivne
    Fast Eddie has said up above twice that the current title won't fly. He means it, folks.

    I therefore have changed the title to Disapproval Means Enthusiasm, which is Exactly What It Says On The Tin.

    It is not put forward as the final or perfect title, just one that won't get it discarded (which Fast Eddie has been known to do when people don't listen to him).
  • July 17, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^ A practice which is an easy target for criticism, but that aside, DME is ... just okay.
  • July 20, 2012
    giggles
    I'm liking the suggestion of Disgusted Delight - thoughts?
  • July 21, 2012
    randomsurfer
    I don't know whether this is the specific bit from The Killing Joke that the other personmeant or not, but it is an example. (Also, don't edit other's replies.) It's the current page quote from Amusement Park Of Doom:
    The Joker: Well, it's garish, ugly, and derelicts have used it for a toilet. The rides are dilapidated to the point of being lethal, and could easily maim or kill innocent little children.
    Estate Agent: Oh. So you don't like it?
    The Joker: Don't like it? I'm crazy for it.
  • July 22, 2012
    robinjohnson
    "Disapproval means enthusiasm" sounds unpleasantly close to "No means yes". Deliciously Disgusting?
  • July 22, 2012
    NimmerStill
    "Subverted List of Flaws"? "Subverted List of Apparent Flaws"? or "Virtues Dissonance"?
  • July 22, 2012
    giggles
    Changed to Subverted List Of Flaws - seemed to fit much better. Changed the laconic description as well.
  • July 23, 2012
    abk0100
    Awfully Good? with a custom title to "Awful... ly Good"?

    My worry with Subverted List Of Flaws is that there are examples that aren't a list, and you don't want to discourage them from being added.
  • July 23, 2012
    Earnest
    Not to be confused with Evil Virtues, which are about honest to goodness virtues applied to evil.
  • July 27, 2012
    dalek955
  • July 29, 2012
    giggles
  • July 29, 2012
    TBeholder
    Decry And Switch?
  • July 29, 2012
    spellraiser
    ^That's an excellent suggestion.
  • July 29, 2012
    ShiningArmor87
    This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Too Kinky To Torture.
  • July 29, 2012
    NimmerStill
    I also like ^^^, or ^^^^ too.
  • July 29, 2012
    NimmerStill
    ^^It has a little. With Too Kinky To Torture, the various incentives given to the torturee to do whatever the torturer wants become disincentives instead (and incentives to continue the contrary behavior; not talking, for example).
  • July 29, 2012
    giggles
    I like Decry And Switch - changed!
  • August 10, 2012
    giggles
    bump
  • August 12, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
  • August 12, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    • In Beauty And The Beast, Gaston tells the asylum warden of his plan to force Belle to marry him by threatening to commit her father. In a subversion of Even Evil Has Standards, he says "That's despicable... I love it!".
  • August 13, 2012
    spideydude
    This sounds a lot like I Have Just One Thing To Say
  • August 13, 2012
    Astaroth
    Arson Murder And Lifesaving is a related trope

    One of the Shadowknight's quotes from Champions Of Norrath hints at this:
    Shadowknight: Whoever designed this dungeon was sick, twisted and half-mad... my compliments!
  • August 13, 2012
    giggles
    ^^ It is very similar, but I Have Just One Thing To Say is much more specific than this one. Would that then be a subtrope of this one or just related? Or a sister trope?
  • August 14, 2012
    dalek955
    ^^Actually, this is more like Arson Murder And Admiration.

    • In Monstrous Regiment, Igor at one point says that a bar's beer tastes like horse piss, and he should know. After the other troopers make the bartender give them better beer, Igor sticks with the bad stuff.
      Igor: Look, I never thaid I didn't like it. Thame again?
    • From Vexxarr:
      Vexxarr: If you think the Emperor was enraged before, he'll boil away entire star systems to get me now! Once word of this gets back to Bleen, I'll be the most hated, despised and feared cnidarian in the galaxy!...YESSS!
  • December 19, 2012
    dalek955
    Bump.
  • December 19, 2012
    Stratadrake
    If we want to discuss naming, how about Berate And Switch?
  • March 27, 2013
    Alvin
    In an example I saw recently ... Live-Action TV: In a Halloween episode of Reba, the title character says a prank played on her by her family gave her a heart attack. She loves it.
  • March 27, 2013
    robinjohnson
    ^^ Seconding Berate And Switch.
  • March 31, 2013
    capsaicinfinity
    Thirding Berate And Switch, which I came to the replies to suggest!
  • April 2, 2013
    willthiswork
    Berate And Switch is like one of the best play-on-words I have heard all year.
  • April 5, 2013
    Dawnwing
    • At the end of the film The Hobbit:
      Thorin (angrily): You! What were you doing? You nearly got yourself killed! Did I not say that you would be a burden, that you would not survive in the wild, and that you had no place amongst us?
      (Bilbo looks down)
      Thorin: I have never been so wrong in all my life.
  • April 18, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    Chief: Didn't you cause about a bazillion dollars worth of damage? And I sure as hell ain't covering for you! I don't give a damn how sexy you look floating down in your little pants!
    Chief: And as for the rest of you...I just want to say how very proud I am of all of you. Undercover Brother, the world is safe once again thanks to you.
  • September 8, 2013
    dalek955
    • At one point in Freefall Sam says of Florence "She's out all night, doesn't check in to tell us where she's been, and now we find out she's been incarcerated. Helix, my hard work as a role model is finally starting to pay off."
  • September 9, 2013
    DAN004
  • September 9, 2013
    Stratadrake
    And (what was it) Do Wrong Right.
  • September 9, 2013
    robbulldog
    • snipped out a previous suggestion*

    Just to make sure I'm now understanding this correctly, this trope is about describing a situation, "I went on a campout, got sunburned, tick-bit, dumped out of my canoe, spent a week with my drunk father, slept in a leaky tent (when I could sleep), and ate cold canned beans... BEST WEEK EVER!"

    and differs from Arson Murder and Lifesaving and Arson Murder and Jaywalking because it's not describing a person's actions... "You put me on a canoe with your drunk father, sent me on a hike in tick filled woods, put me in a leaky tent... and made a man out of me"

    Or am I completely lost?
  • September 9, 2013
    SpocktorWho
    • Near the end of Disney's Mulan, when the Emperor speaks to her for the first time:
      Emperor: I've heard a great deal about you, Fa Mulan. You stole your father's armor, ran away from home, impersonated a soldier, deceived your commanding officer, dishonored the Chinese Army, destroyed my palace, and... you have saved us all.
  • September 9, 2013
    dalek955
    ^That one's Arson Murder And Lifesaving. The difference is, AMaL basically ends with "...and despite all that, I'm happy," whereas this trope ends with "...and because of all that, I'm happy."
  • October 11, 2013
    dalek955
    Is this ready to launch?
  • October 12, 2013
    robinjohnson
    ^^ The example from The Hobbit, currently in the draft, doesn't fit either. Thorin says he thought Bilbo was a loser, but it turns out he was wrong and Bilbo's ace. This trope would be if Thorin said "Bilbo, you're a loser... which is great."
  • October 12, 2013
    Antigone3
    Possible example in Girl Genius: Selnikov is in the middle of griping about being revived when he realizes he's no longer married, and suddenly becomes delighted.
  • November 1, 2013
    dalek955
    The Star Trek: Generations example could use a link to Sense Freak.
  • November 1, 2013
    DAN004
    Launch?
  • November 1, 2013
    Arivne
    ^^ Added to my example, the OP examples and the Sense Freak page.
  • February 7, 2014
    Prfnoff
    In the movie version of On The Town, the refrain of Chip and Hildy's love song leads off with, "You're awful—awful nice to be with," and goes on to subvert other conventionally demeaning adjectives.
  • February 7, 2014
    StarSword
    Web Original:

  • February 9, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Might be a subtrope of Bait And Switch Comment.
  • February 9, 2014
    Stratadrake
    See also Chew Out Fake Out — though the subtleties are different.

    I'm not entirely familiar with the series, but:
    • In an episode of Castle, when the District Attorney angrily interrupts an interview between detective Beckett, Castle, and one of the DA's secretaries, the police chief questions Castle and Beckett's choice of bringing her to the station for an interview — only to add a "Smart move" to the mix, explaining that because the DA decided to stop the interview in person, the DA probably knows something relevant to the case but wants to keep it secret.
  • September 4, 2014
    DAN004
    Would somebody please launch this?
  • April 2, 2015
    eroock
    Film:
    • In The Theory Of Everything, when the three professors are evaluating Hawking's thesis, they start tearing his Chapters 1 to 3 apart and it seems they will reject his paper, but then they conclude that Chapter 4 (space-time singularity) was simply brilliant.
  • April 2, 2015
    eroock
    I feel we have too many similar tropes already, all of which include a surprise switch in a The Reason You Suck Speech.

    Do you also see a potential for integration?
  • April 2, 2015
    DAN004
    I believe this is close to Chew Out Fake Out and Arson Murder And Admiration.

    If this can be distinct, then this should be called Listing Flaws And Liking It.
  • April 7, 2015
    LikeSnowyNights
    There might be conflicts with Chew Out Fake Out but that one seems to focus more on pranks. Arson Murder And Admiration is a villain to villain admiration. Berate And Switch is the perfect title in my opinion. Its witty, punny, and easy to understand.
  • April 8, 2015
    randomsurfer
    Downplayed in the first episode of The Simpsons "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" when Bart wants Homer to rescue a greyhound they had just bet and lost on.
    Bart: Oh, can we keep him dad, please?
    Homer: But he's a loser! He's pathetic! He's... (the dog licks Homer) ... a Simpson.
  • April 8, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^^ However, if you look at the examples on Arson Murder And Admiration, many of those examples would either overlap with this or actually fit here better. For instance, see the first fan fiction example, the Doctor Who one with Winston Churchill. There's nothing villainous anywhere in that example. It's Churchill talking about how obnoxious and ridiculous the Doctor is, and then remarking that he's awesome. (Which admittedly is pretty bad shoehorning is AMA is actually supposed to be villainous.)

    Or the X-Men Mutant Academy example in Video Games, delivered directly from one good guy to another: "Your training has shown you to be unpredictable, unconventional, insolent and... An X-Man."

    At the very least, the example list will need a going through to find out what belongs here and what overlaps (if any). Though it's worth mentioning that just in the first few examples of AMA I looked at, there is a lot of shoehorning and misuse.
  • September 22, 2015
    HiWayXingFrog
    Has this really still not been launched? Because, you know, if it needs to me launched...
  • September 22, 2015
    robinjohnson
    The OP seems to have abandoned it, but IMO it's a really good trope, I'd be happy for someone to Just Launch It Already. (I went ahead and took the The Hobbit example out, because it wasn't an example.)
  • September 22, 2015
    eroock
    I am not happy with having just another of those bait and switch comment tropes around. E.g., we could make I Have Just One Thing To Say much more broader (the stockphrase title should go) to include this trope and others, see my list 7 posts above.
  • September 22, 2015
    robinjohnson
    ^ This one has a well defined formula that doesn't quite fit any of those, and enough examples to justify its own page.

    I agree it's a subtrope of Bait And Switch Comment.
  • September 22, 2015
    eroock
    ^ I am having trouble distinguishing the tropes. Where would these examples go and why?
    • Babylon Five: Shortly after Sheridan's return to the station from Z'ha'dum: "Hey, I heard that you three [Ivanova, Lyta, and Delenn] went to Z'ha'dum after me. That was foolish and dangerous. And I can't thank you enough for trying."
    • Dumb And Dumber, when Lloyd traded their van for an extremely tiny mini-bike:
      Harry: You know, Lloyd, just when I thought you couldn't possibly get any dumber, you go and do something like this. [Beat] ...and totally redeem yourself!
    • Castle; his response to learning that the "murder" he witnessed across the street was staged as part of a birthday surprise for him (especially since the reveal comes mere minutes after seeing Beckett struggle with a man holding a carving knife):
      "This is... without a doubt... the greatest birthday gift of my life!"

    The trope quote and image of Bait And Switch Comment are the inversion or Berate And Switch as mentioned in OP above. They probably have to be moved here to avoid confusion where to place those kind of examples.
  • September 22, 2015
    eroock
    Film:
    • Major Menzies in The Imitation Game, when asked by Turing and Joan to help them keep the successful codebreaking a secret from the higher ups.
      Menzies: Maintain a conspiracy of lies? At the highest levels of government!? ...(pause)... Sounds right up my alley.
      and:
      Turing: This distraction is completely unacceptable ...(pause)... Please take a seat so we can begin.
  • September 22, 2015
    shimaspawn
    <MOD HAT>

    This needs a better clarity of the trope distinctions before launch. Admittedly, this has the best name, but the definitions are so close it's all just a mess.
  • September 22, 2015
    eroock
    ^ Agreed. Perhaps it's time to put all related tropes on the table and sort them out once and for all. The Laconics could then be listed in a Subtropes section under Bait And Switch Comment. If anybody wants to help sorting out this mess, join me at this trope discussion thread.
  • September 23, 2015
    robinjohnson
    ^^^^ "The trope quote and image of Bait-and-Switch Comment are the inversion or Berate And Switch as mentioned in OP above."

    No, they're not. The inversion of this would be something like "Archie, you're a hard worker, you smile all day, and you get on with your colleagues - I hate people like that! You're fired!"

    The crucial thing about this trope is that the speaker isn't tricking anyone or going back on what they said - it just turns out that they're speaking in favour of what you'd assumed they were complaining about. (Or, for the inversion, that they were complaining about the same thing you assumed they were giving praise for.)
  • September 23, 2015
    Chabal2
  • September 23, 2015
    eroock
    ^^ Your second paragraph makes a lot of sense and should be part of the description.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable