->''"It's not our job to appeal to the lowest common denominator, Doug - it's our job to '''raise''' it."''
-->--'''President Jed Bartlet''', ''Series/TheWestWing''

When applied to fiction, the term Lowest Common Denominator means appealing to as many people at once as possible.

There are varying interpretations on what this implies. Taking an upbeat viewpoint, it might be admirable; making stories that most people can relate to, stories that all human beings can understand in relation to their own lives. If we think of media as communication between the creator and the audience, the most successful communication would be the one that is understood by the most people.

From a more elitist point of view, if we assume that a significant percentage of ViewersAreMorons, it can mean a work that is made to appeal ''only'' to the Great Unwashed, instead of more "worthy" audiences, marketing to Joe Sixpack and all his family out there in ''FlyoverCountry'', taking out everything that anyone more educated might appreciate, reducing it to its most shallow parts.

The trope is OlderThanSteam. Creator/WilliamShakespeare, in particular, was a master of combining both GeniusBonus and Lowest Common Denominator.

Not to be confused with TheLowestCosmicDenominator.
%%
%% No real life examples on this one please. If examples are added to this page, they should be limited to in-universe only. Saying that a work was intended for the "Lowest Common Denominator" is highly subjective and hard to define as such. Even a work that was "simplified" was perhaps made as such simply because the author thought it would be a better approach instead. Not to mention, calling a work "made for uneducated people" tends to invite {{complaining}} and [[InternetBackdraft heated debates]], and we're not really too keen on having that here.
----