"'''I don't care what happens to these people.'''"

A phrase coined by Dorothy Jones Heydt in a science-fiction based {{Usenet}} group in 1991 to describe an AudienceReaction to a work of fiction where the characters are so universally bland, unengaging or unlikable that the reader simply loses interest in their fate and, by extension, the work as a whole. This can happen with or without the presence of [[BadWritingIndex more objective shortcomings]], but the most interesting examples tend to be those where this is a critic's main complaint, single-handedly dragging an otherwise well-made story down to where it's almost completely unenjoyable.

Note that "not caring about" a character is not the same as "not liking" them -- some character archetypes, such as the UnsympatheticComedyProtagonist, are driven by the notion that watching horrible things happen to people that deserve them can be entertaining. In other words, even if you ''hate'' the character, you still ''care'' about what happens to them (because you want to see them get their comeuppance) so you'll still follow the story. This trope comes into play when even that fails to arouse sufficient interest.

Many {{Horror}}/monster/{{Disaster Movie}}s try to avoid this by DevelopingDoomedCharacters, only to make the audience hate the characters ''more'' for getting in the way of [[JustHereForGodzilla the slaughter they came there to see]].

Also often stated with [[BoldInflation added emphasis]] as "I don't ''care'' '''what''' happens to these people".

See also DarknessInducedAudienceApathy, where an excessively dark setting renders the protagonist's struggle so futile that the audience can't bring themselves to get invested in it even if the characters have some shred of likability.

Not to be confused with SevenDirtyWords.

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%%This is not a complaining platform. Please only add examples of specific reviews or works where this reaction is actually played out InUniverse, not works about which you
%%personally felt this way.
%%
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!! Examples:

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%% [[folder:FanFic]]
%% * ''FanFic/MyLittleUnicorn''.
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[[folder:Film]]
* [[Creator/BobChipman [=Moviebob=]]] on ''The Escapist'' makes this observation of the movie ''Film/{{Monsters}}'', noting that both leads are unsympathetic and {{Flat Character}}s.
** His opinion of the human characters in ''Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen''.
** And now the ''Film/LesMiserables2012'' as well, despite praising Creator/AnneHathaway's performance.
* [[http://chromagic.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/review-battleship.html This review]] of ''Film/{{Battleship}}'' outright invokes this trope, nearly word for word.
* Creator/StevenSpielberg gave this as his reason for striving to attain AdaptationDistillation for ''Film/{{Jaws}}'' -- he found the characters in the book so unlikeable he wanted the shark to kill them all.
* [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] in-universe in ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory''. Whenever one of the selfish children does something TooDumbToLive that will clearly lead to their downfall, Wonka's response is an almost bored, "Help. Police. Murder." Later followed by an equally bored, "Stop. No. Don't."
* Peter Bradshaw expresses [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/sep/06/lawless-review this view]] of ''{{Film/Lawless}}'' calling it "an empty exercise in macho-sentimental violence", describing the supposed heroes of the film as flat heroes and the villain as "a pantomime baddie".
* Creator/RogerEbert gave George Romero's ''Film/DayOfTheDead'' [[http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19850830/REVIEWS/508300302/1023 one and a half stars]] in part because much of the movie consists of "unpleasant, violent, insane" or ridiculously noble characters shouting at each other. And while he doesn't utter the eight words out right, he does say that in Romero's [[Film/NightOfTheLivingDead previous]] [[Film/DawnOfTheDead movies]] "we cared about the characters."
* Some people responded to ''{{Film/Cloverfield}}'' this way. Apparently, [[DevelopingDoomedCharacters that long, monster-free stretch of character development at the beginning]] just made some viewers decide the characters are neither nice enough to sympathize with nor bad enough to want to see eaten by a giant monster from the deep.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Invoked many times on ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'', as the bots watched characters they were ostensibly supposed to care about hurtle to their doom.
--> '''Tom:''' ''[flat monotone a la Willy Wonka]'' Stop. Wait. Come back.
* ''Series/{{Hostages}}'' is getting this reaction from numerous critics on premiere night, including a [[http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/fall-tv-reviews-mom-hostages-the-blacklist nearly word-for-word recitation]] of the trope name from Alan Sepinwall.
* One criticism of ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryMurderHouse'' was that the characters were [[http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/11/06/ryan-murphy-s-american-horror-story-is-the-craziest-show-on-tv.html too nasty to be likable]] but not unlikable enough that you enjoyed seeing them get killed off.
** This was also a common criticism of ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryCoven'' - almost every character was a borderline sociopath who was willing to screw everyone else over to get what they wanted.
* [[http://www.hitfix.com/monkeys-as-critics/sons-of-anarchy-season-six-finale-recap-a-mothers-work At least one critic]] hit this with the season six finale of ''Series/SonsOfAnarchy'', due to it being a standout example of IdiotPlot.
* A growing criticism of Moffat era ''Series/DoctorWho''. This is part criticism of his characterization, such as making sexual harassment a running joke amongst the characters, and part that his stories often lack consequences and thus stakes.
* ''Series/StargateUniverse'' fell victim to this, with many early reviews stating something to the effect of "the only one of these characters worth caring about is Dr. Rush," who was by all accounts a bastard in his own right. They got better in season two, but proved to have happened too late as the series was not picked up after its second season.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* Dorothy Heydt coined the words when reading [[http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.written/msg/c67003d462c72a07?dmode=source Volume Two of]] ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', and also [[http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.written/msg/c0c86ef8c3d067df?dmode=source applied them]] to a ''[[Literature/TheFionavarTapestry Fionavar Tapestry]]'' book.
* Creator/MarkTwain's essay ''[[Literature/FenimoreCoopersLiteraryOffences The Literary Offenses of Fenimore Cooper]]":
--> 10. They require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of the "Deerslayer" tale dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together.
* Slacktivist's page-by-page review of ''Literature/LeftBehind'' often notes how the main characters are far less likable than the villain - who, of course, is the Antichrist.
** Made worse since the authors believe that YouCantFightFate in the real world, and wrote a story with two AuthorAvatar characters who also agree with the Biblical prophecies the authors believe in. As a result, they grumble a bit about the Antichrist, but don't do anything because everything is still part of God's plan. Even the characters themselves don't care what happens until Jesus comes back and kicks the Antichrist's ass.
** The reaction is best summed up in "[[http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2009/09/04/tf-no-heroes/ No Heroes]]":
-->''These are books without heroes because they are set in a world without heroism — without the possibility of heroism. A world of inexorable prophecies and inevitable doom.''

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[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Quite possibly the worst possible thing to happen to a pro wrestler outside of injuries is to get this sort of reaction. The entire [[{{Kayfabe}} point]] of wrestling is to get the crowds to [[{{Face}} cheer]] or [[{{Heel}} boo]] you. Not getting ''either'' is almost considered to be worse than getting XPacHeat, and is practically guaranteed to put you on the fast track to getting fired. The ''very'' worst descriptor for a pro wrestler is to call them "Boring"; it means there is absolutely nothing about them, be it their appearance, personality, mic skills, or in-ring performance, that the crowd finds interesting.
* This is the general outcome of a heel vs. heel feud. Face vs. Face feuds (case in point, Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin vs. [[Wrestling/DwayneJohnson The Rock]] heading into ''Wrestling/{{WrestleMania}} X-Seven'' and/or Wrestling/JohnCena vs. Wrestling/ShawnMichaels heading into ''[=WrestleMania=] 23'') can generally work on the fact that the crowd likes, to some extent or another, both participants and thus interest can be gained in seeing these two men/women, who respect each other immensely, square off in the ring. Heel/Heel feuds, meanwhile, pit two villains against one another. While this dynamic may work in literature, video games, or even film, to some extent, in wrestling, where the crowd controls a lot of the show, a match with two villains squaring off is more than likely going to drain interest in the show, considering that these are two characters the crowd ''hates''.
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[[folder:Theatre]]
* ''The Musical of Musicals'', a play that parodies various... well, musicals, registers this complaint about the works of Creator/StephenSondheim ("Unlikable people with lives that are hollow / It's all food for thought, but a bit hard to swallow...")
* ''Theatre/MotherCourageAndHerChildren'' is a Creator/BertoltBrecht work that is deliberately populated almost entirely by unsympathetic characters (Kattrin is the sole possible exception: she's mute and is victimized several times, but ultimately is killed during her futile effort to rouse sleeping villagers to the approach of the attacking army.) Even as each of her children are killed, the audience is discouraged from feeling any sympathy for Mother Courage; in fact, Brecht revised the ending following a production which he felt made Mother Courage ''too sympathetic'' to the audience.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* [[WebVideo/{{Retsupurae}} Diabetus]] declares a variation in the ''VideoGame/{{Darkseed}} 2'' Rongpurae, about the protagonist, Mike Dawson, who is suspected of murder.
-->'''LetsPlay/{{slowbeef}}:''' To be honest, do you think he did it?\\
'''Diabetus:''' I would think no.\\
'''slowbeef:''' Who do you think did?\\
'''Diabetus:''' Well the problem is I don't really care. It's like an episode of ScoobyDoo, I don't really care who ''did'' it, [[{{Metaphorgotten}} I just want to see the thrilling chase.]]
** They declare the same thing when they tackle Creator/ZapDramatic's ''Ambition'' series of flash games - they hate pretty much ''every character in the series'', save for DesignatedVillain Duke Crabtree.
* JesseCox has at times stated that he doesn't really care for any of the characters in the ''FinalFantasyXIII'' games but it wasn't until ''LightningReturnsFinalFantasyXIII'' came out that he finally couldn't stand it anymore.
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* Many a CausticCritic have this mentality when they're supposed to fear for a character's life. Special mention goes to WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob and WebVideo/{{Phelous}}, since they review exploitation and horror films, respectively, with Phelous spewing a lot of hate at the ''Film/{{Hostel}}'' movies especially for this flaw.
* WebVideo/TheAnnotatedSeries has this as a staple of comedy, as the annotators often cite not caring for any of the protagonists and instead paying attention to characters that aren't intended as significant or sympathetic.
* Max-Vader, veteran of the the Project A.F.T.E.R. forum and sometimes co-host of ''Podcast/TheOtherSide'' has this as one of his main reasons why he hates ''Webcomic/SugarBits'' by Creator/{{Bleedman}}.
-->''"I could forgive a bad story or clichéd writing if only the characters were likable and interesting. You see, in order to give a shit about the story, we need someone we can relate to — a protagonist with human character traits. A good example would be [[Franchise/StarWars Luke Skywalker]]. In the beginning we get to know him, learn about his hopes and dreams, and start to care about him. I can't stress this enough: Be sloppy with your writing when it comes to your protagonist, and you can kiss the slightest hope for quality storytelling goodbye. [[TheyJustDidntCare Bleedman doesn't give a shit]]. [[{{Wangst}} Emotional baggage]], [[DarkAndTroubledPast "tragic" pasts]] or JerkAss behavior do not make a likable, deep or interesting character."''
* This is [[Creator/RedLetterMedia Harry S. Plinkett's]] reaction to the ''Franchise/StarWars'' prequels.
* ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic'''s largest complaint about ''Film/TheLastAirbender'' was that he didn't care about the characters because they seldom showed any emotion and [[ThatMakesMeFeelAngry simply told you what they were feeling rather than showing it]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WesternAnimation]]
* Post-movie episodes of ''[[WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants SpongeBob SquarePants]]'' that try to make the treatment of Squidward, Mrs. Puff and Plankton justified by having them act like assholes but do nothing to make [=SpongeBob=], Patrick or Mr. Krabs sympathetic.
[[/folder]]
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