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Damned by a Fool's Praise
A Take That in the form of a dumb or sleazy character liking something
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(permanent link) added: 2013-01-09 03:28:48 sponsor: Euan2000 edited by: Lawman592 (last reply: 2013-01-30 21:33:53)

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How can you tell a writer hates something when not stating it outright? The resident dummy will be a fan of it. Often comes at the end of an Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking.

The character praising something doesn't have to be a moronic tasteless twit when this trope is used. Sometimes the person can be a Jerkass, creep, or some other type of unsavory character thereby tagging the object of praise with the mark of low quality, disreputability, or even Squick.

See also Your Approval Fills Me with Shame when it's done between two characters, Hitler Ate Sugar when someone uses a hated character's intrests to make a point and contrast Dumbass Has a Point, where the idiot's praise is taken as a good thing. May overlap with It's Popular, Now It Sucks if the writer has a less-than-positive view about the intelligence and taste of most people and/or Hype Backlash.
Advertising
  • In addition to their usual strategy of depicting users of a particular product as savvy and cool, advertisers will sometimes show the users of a competing product as clueless dweebs and maladroits. However, ads of this type often come off as heavy-handed and end up backfiring. (It's generally not good business strategy to inadvertently insult and alienate potential consumers of your product.) If they are used, they are almost always done in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
    • Even the tongue-in-cheek approach can backfire. A Quizno's ad that took a potshot against Subway and--implicitly--its customers had two men sitting on a bench, one with a toasted Quizno's sub, and one with an untoasted sub that was obviously Subway's. The man with the Quizno's sub says "Untoasted? What, were you raised by wolves?" Cue the second guy (a pre-Sheldon Jim Parsons) having a flashback of himself, still adult and in a three-piece suit, nursing from a mother wolf with her pups. He then responds back in the present "Why yes. Yes, I was." Enough people were put off by this ad that it was taken off the air, then put back on with the nursing scene cut out (but with the "raised by wolves" insult left in).
  • This trope is more commonly employed in political advertising. In these cases, commericials promoting a candidate will depict a supporter or supporters of the opponent as being part of a particular group that's considered unpopular by the majority of voters. The message being that if members of the "hated" group are supporting the opposing candidate, there must be something wrong with the candidate.
    • An in-universe example of this is featured in the film Head of State when the protagonist (Chris Rock) runs an attack ad showing his opponent being praised by Klansmen and Osama bin Laden.

Comics
  • Any idea the Pointy Haired Boss of Dilbert likes will be seen as stupid. He's also a fan of Barney the Dinosaur.
  • Paige Fox finds a pair of retro pants and squees over them to Peter, until Bumbling Dad Roger walks by and mentions he used to have a pair just like that and suggests they should go around dressed the same. Paige's next line to Peter is "Want some pants?"
  • In Garfield, anything Jon likes is subject to this. Jon has ridiculously weird taste in things and tends to purchase things on impulse, then almost immediately forget he had those things upon obtaining them.
    • There's a comic strip where Garfield is watching an infomercial for something unknown but so bad that he can't help but complain endlessly. Jon walks by and tells Garfield he has three of them.
    • In the Garfield and Friends episode "Rolling Romance," Jon is the only one at an Honest John's Dealership who's interested in a particular car that even the dealer is initially hesitant to sell him--it turns out the car is possessed and madly in love with Jon (which Garfield is quick to question the car's tastes).
    • Both the comic strip and the TV show have done a showcase of useless things Jon has bought over the years, such as a battery-powered battery recharger.

Live-Action Television
  • In Paul Merton's Live at the London Palladium video, particularly stupid characters who appear in some of the sketches will often express a fondness for Angus Deayton (who, at the time, appeared alongside Merton on the BBC panel show, Have I Got News for You):
    Paul: So, I thought this builder was stupid, but I hadn't counted on his mate. He walks into the house, and the first thing he says is...
    Builder's Mate: Hehe! That Angus Deayton! He don't half make me laugh!
    Paul: Now you can't get more stupid than that!

Real Life
  • Whenever an old fashion makes a comeback like flared jeans expect a lot of children to lose interest when their parents mention they used to wear that.

Webcomics

Web Original

Western Animation
  • On Animaniacs, Slappy tells Skippy that all that junk food has rotted his brain, and adds "No wonder you like that Bonkers show."
  • An in-universe example occurs in the Family Guy episode, "Dog Gone", when Brian's book, Faster than the Speed of Love, is celebrated by a book club for the mentally challenged.
  • In one episode of Futurama, the entire population of the world except Fry become chronically stupid as a result of an invasion by the brainspawn. As soon as Fry figures this out, Bender declares "Let's all join the Reform Party!"
    • For syndication, it was changed to Tea Party.
  • On The Simpsons when Homer becomes smarter than average but hates it he goes to a Back-Alley Doctor (i.e., Moe) to insert a crayon up his nose to re-dumbify him. The "doctor" delicately shoves it up there; he doesn't want Homer to end up too dumb or too smart.
    Moe: All right, tell me when I hit the sweet spot. [gently slides crayon in]
    Homer: Deeper, you pusillanimous pilsner pusher!
    Moe: All right, all right. [with a small hammer and chisel, taps the crayon further up Homer's nose]
    Homer: De-fense! [woof-woof] De-fense! [woof-woof]
    Moe: Eh, that's pretty dumb. But, uh ... [taps once more]
    Homer: Extended warranty? How can I lose?
    Moe: Perfect.
  • In the South Park episode "Timmy 2000", the kids, and eventually the adults, get addicted to Ritalin and become so dull and boring that they actually like Phil Collins. When the pharmacists hear of this, they have a "My God, What Have I Done?" moment.
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