Created By: Hadashi on January 15, 2012 Last Edited By: Hadashi on July 19, 2012

Deliberate Bad Acting

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Probably have this, but...

When an actor or actor has to portray someone who, In-Universe, can't act at all. Strangely, it takes real talent to portray bad acting properly, but if done just right it can be funny, amusing, tragic, characterising, or a moment of realisation. Whatever it may end up as, a truly good bad performance can be something to remember, and a real stand-out moment. Done poorly or just not quite right, however, and the audience may well turn on the actor themselves. This makes this trope something of a gambit.



  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a really good example right at the end of episode 9 of season 1, Buffy and the gang are forced into preforming a scene from Odepus (a classical Greek tragedy), what results is possibly one of the funniest moments of the series.

Western Animation
  • Recess whenever the kids have to act they'll switch to a monotone, like they are reading out memorised lines.
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • January 15, 2012
  • January 16, 2012
    ^ That's probably it.

    Safe to discard?
  • January 16, 2012
    Dunno, the description also mentions good bad acting...
  • January 17, 2012
  • January 18, 2012
    Bad Bad Acting is about pure monotone over-the-top " An asteroid. run." acting. And Stylistic Suck is about, er, style that is deliberately made to suck. I've added a new example to help differentiate them.

    This trope is about good actors playing bad actors, and not necessarally for Rule Of Funny.

  • January 18, 2012
    Can you provide an example which isn't also Stylistic Suck? I'm not seeing a difference here.
  • January 18, 2012
    ^ That trope is far more broad than this. It's already listed as a Super Trope (because of the Sub Tropes it has, not because of the edit I just did).
  • January 19, 2012
    ^^^Bad Bad Acting isn't limited to wooden/monotone acting, although that does seem to be the main thrust of the description. Personally I'd say this is that, but if you strongly believe that they're different then pruning the examples there that fit better here would be in order.
  • January 19, 2012
    Bad Bad Acting seems very much to be about Bad Acting that is itself Bad, at most. As it stands it is explicitly about that dull monotone thing. Stylistic Suck is more about overall design choices. This is about an actor playing someone who can't, themselves, act. Bad Bad Acting is pretty much a subtrope of this.
  • January 26, 2012
    Essentially, this is about all portrayals of intentional bad acting within a story.
  • July 18, 2012
    So is this about a character that can't act?
  • July 19, 2012
    Yes, this is about actors playing characters who, themselves (In Universe), can't act.
  • July 19, 2012
    Re-reading Bad Bad Acting, it says that characters who can't act come in two flavours: the emotionless monotone of Bad Bad Acting, or a Large Ham. I'm guessing you mean this to be a middle-ground, but it almost seems to miss the point. Both of them should be pointed out in the description, assuming that is what the idea is.
  • July 19, 2012
    This is Bad Bad Acting, or very similar to it - it's just that the description for it sucks. Maybe it was originally meant to apply only to stilted monotone, but from both the Laconic version and the actual examples it's clear that its usage is in no way limited to this.

    Maybe this could be a supertrope to Bad Bad Acting, but the latter would need to be cleaned up significantly - as I believe it needs to be anyway.