->''"In the anime industry's quest for ratings, the creators of shows with strong cross-demographic appeal must pander to two separate, yet equally important groups: the {{Shonen}} fandom, who enjoy Giant Robots, short-skirted schoolgirls and long, drawn-out fights between musclebound supermen full of veiled homoeroticism; and the {{Shoujo}} fandom, who like their schoolgirls magical, their Giant Robot pilots {{Bishonen}}, and their homoeroticism right out in the open. These are their stories..."''
-->-- '''Episode 9''', ''WebVideo/VisionOfEscaflowneAbridged''

Uncertain Audience takes place when producers have not positioned a certain enough [[TargetAudience target]] for their work's release.

Occurs when a form of media seems unaware of its target demographic, appealing to a wide range of different people. It can be a candy-coated {{squee}} with a {{squick}} center for some people (like a Tootsie Roll lollipop for those who don't like chocolate, or prefer real chocolate) or vice versa (like salted peanuts that you can't eat until you bust em open). For chocolate-munching, peanut-swallowing people on the other hand, this genre blend can be the perfect flavor for you. On the other hand, if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, your best bet is to stay away from this.

[[PurpleProse Food metaphors]] aside, it generally comes in three forms:
* A bungled or misguided GenreShift, or an MidDevelopmentGenreShift that wasn't done thoroughly enough.
* An indecisive [[GenreRoulette gigantic melting pot of]] [[GenreBusting various genres combined into one]].
* The author/writer/producer/what-have-you simply not considering their audience when writing the story. (E.g., if DoingItForTheArt or AuthorAppeal are turned up so high that they are literally the only member of the target demographic.)

Compare MultipleDemographicAppeal.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' seems to have about five different genres it wants to be in, ranging from robots to politics and back around to high school comedy, with elements of supernatural thriller thrown in.
** In fact, the reason the Mecha aspect can be excised from the show with no real impact on the plot is because it was not, in fact, originally conceived as a Mecha show. However, being a {{Sunrise}} Anime, one thing led to another...
* Similar to ''Anime/CodeGeass'', ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic'' manages to find a way to take a giant robot military thriller and include high school comedy.
* ''Manga/{{Negima}}'' started out looking like a [[WriterRevolt Harem Comedy]], then took a hard turn into a fighting series in volume three. Since then it's remained a fighting series, albeit with Harem Comedy elements left in it. It works pretty well.
** This can be blamed on {{Executive Meddling}} - Ken Akamatsu wanted to write a fighting series, but the publisher wanted another harem series like ''Manga/LoveHina''. Akamatsu essentially pretended to be writing a harem comedy, and gradually turned it into the fighting shounen he'd wanted.
* As a SpaceWestern, ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' runs the gamut in terms of genre and tone from comedy, like in "Mushroom Samba", to gruesome horror as in "Pierrot le Fou". This sometimes leads to extreme MoodWhiplash, though it is also what makes the series so popular in many people's eyes. In fact, in the preview for "Black Dog Serenade" [[LampshadeHanging Jet even warns the children and women in the audience that they won't care for the plot of the next episode]] because it is aimed at the middle-aged men.
* ''Manga/DotHackLegendOfTheTwilight'': On one side, it was considerably more light-hearted and childish than Anime/DotHackSign, with more comic relief and cute monsters. On the other side, it also had more FanService and Implied TwinCest between the two main characters such that the series has arguably become infamously immortalized because of it.
* ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' has elements of a traditional MagicalGirl series with a large helping of sci-fi added on.
* Some anime Anthology Films like ''Anime/RobotCarnival'', ''Genius Party'' and ''Genius Party Beyond'' fit in this category due the complete change of mood (and sometimes of genre) in each animated short. For example, in ''Genius Party'' there is a science-fiction adventure ("Shanghai Dragon"), a MagicRealism tale ("Doorbell"), a Creator/TimBurton-esque comedy ("Deathtic 4"), a philosophical monologue ("Limit Cycle") and it ends with a SliceOfLife romance story ("Baby Blue")
* It can be argued that this {{trope}}, combined with ValuesDissonance, is why ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' (a.k.a., ''Case Closed!'') failed when it was broadcast on Creator/CartoonNetwork in the United States: it was too childish for '''[adult swim]''', yet too violent for Toonami, having brutal murders, complex plots involving suicide, drugs and business dealings but also many childish comedy moments.
* ''Manga/ShugoChara'': It has a young girl protagonist, adorable fairy mascots, and sparkly MagicalGirl battles. It also deals with some surprisingly dark subjects, many characters have deep psychological issues, and a huge part of the story is the heroine's romance with a boy in his ''late teens'' (who is openly sexually attracted to her). There's also lots of {{moe}} elements in order to appeal to otaku. This may be why no licensing company wants to pick the anime version up.
* ''Anime/JewelpetSunshine'' is often accused of this. It's a wacky kids' school comedy that deals with issues such as incest and ''zoophilia''. Also, the school part is specifically ''the last year of high school'', meaning all the major characters are at least 18.
* ''Manga/WatashiNiXXShinasai'' can't decide if it's a mature shoujo romance or a shounen {{moe}} ecchi. And it's serialized in ''Magazine/{{Nakayoshi}}'', a little girls' manga magazine, further confusing things.
* Despite its massive popularity, ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' arguably falls into this trope. It has mecha play an important role in the plot, but is also heavily focused on interpersonal character drama - the audience for the two contrasting elements is very different. This might be why the series is so divisive.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Perhaps the main flaw of ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE'' was it did not seem to have a target demographic: The harder Science Fiction elements turned off children from it, and the goofier moments (already hit by the AnimationAgeGhetto) turned off Science Fiction fans. According to a publicist, they were aiming for the 10-13 year old crowd. According to the director's commentary, they were aiming for teenagers.
** Even the VHS reflected this uncertainty- on it you had a trailer for the first ''Film/XMen1'' movie, followed by a promo for ''/Anime/{{Digimon}}'' (remember- Creator/FoxKids was still around at this point).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' plays up both the romance angle and the pirate angle, as well as the kiddie comedy angle and the zombie curse angle. Taken individually, each would seem to mesh poorly with the others, but (the first, at least) is notable for its success in MultipleDemographicAppeal.
* Also the bad sci fi ''Film/PodPeople''. It features an [[Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial E.T.]]-like Friendly Alien who befriends a little kid, but also features a duo of poachers and a pop music band with some coarse language and sexual innuendo. It also contains a B-plot about a second alien, identical to the first, going on a murderous killing "spree" against the rest of the trapped-in-a-cabin cast.. so it's basically ''E.T.'' meets ''Franchise/FridayThe13th''. Possibly a result of ExecutiveMeddling; originally it was written to be a straight up horror film, but when E.T. was released they tried to capitalize on the success and turn it into an alien buddy film. Didn't really go well.
* Who the ''hell'' was ''Film/{{Hobgoblins}}'' made for? It's about a bunch of GrotesqueCute [[SpecialEffectsFailure obvious puppets]] who [[IronicHell trap people in twisted versions of their wildest fantasies]]... all of which seem to be about [[MyGirlIsASlut everybody boning their brains out]]. If you thought [[Film/{{Gremlins}} the movie]] it was [[FollowTheLeader ripping off]] was a bit confused about its target audience, wait until you see this thing.
* ''Film/HudsonHawk''. A parody of musical comedy (a singing cat burglar) and action/adventure/espionage.
* ''Film/LastActionHero''. A mass LampshadeHanging of action/adventure movie tropes mixed with a comparison between RealLife and cinematic reality.
** Though it's worth noting that the film itself almost plays out like TVTropes TheMovie, so it could be argued that the audience for it just hadn't been invented yet.
* There's also movies like ''Film/{{Dick}}'' and ''Film/AcrossTheUniverse'' which are meant to appeal to a young audience but deal with things (Watergate and TheSixties, respectively) that are more likely to appeal to baby boomers.
* ''Film/BattlefieldBaseball'', which is sort of a spoof of baseball movies... but also has [[BloodyHilarious gratuitous violence]], an inexplicable plot, and a few musical numbers, all wrapped up in a martial-arts package. Its weird.
* ''Film/SpiceWorld''. WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick comments on how she has no idea who it was being marketed towards, given that some of the jokes were clearly meant for adults (such as men in thongs and one of the girls suggesting that they get naked for a young boy in the hospital), but other jokes seemed more geared for kids, or at least would be unfunny to adults. Of course, you could make much the same point about the band themselves, so maybe the target audience was just "Spice Girls fans".
* The live action film adaptation of Yatterman made by Creator/TakashiMiike seems pretty childish, with lots of slapstick humor, colorful special effects, cheesy action scenes and a clumsy villain trio... but it also had many sex- related jokes, including one scene where one robot starts acting as if it was having an orgasm.
* The 2009 film of ''Film/LandOfTheLost'' with Will Ferrell, which is probably why it flopped. It has a goofy, slapsticky sci-fi plot you'd expect to see in a kids' movie, but most of the humor is very dark and sexual.
* ''Film/SuckerPunch'': While the trailers make it look like it was a pop-corn flick (with giant robots, dragons and samurai monsters), is actually a serious drama about a girl being put in a mental institution that uses her imagination to escape from harsh reality, involving at least two fantasy sub-plots: One that takes place in a brothel, and another that involves different genres, such as Tolkienesque HighFantasy, SciFi[=/=]{{Cyberpunk}},{{Steampunk}}[=/=]DieselPunk[=/=]War Movie.
* Despite being rated "PG", and having lots of childish humor, the movie version of ''Film/HowardTheDuck'' also contains lots of sexual humor and innuendo, including references to zoophilia.
* ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'': In a commentary on the DVD, Richard O'Brien mentions that this was a concern around the time the film was released.
%%* ''Film/TheDangerousLivesOfAltarBoys''.
* Several Anthology Films tend to do this, such as ''New York Stories'' and ''Paris, je t'aime'' (this one had elements of comedy, drama, fantasy, MagicRealism, and one story involving vampires).
* It is not quite clear if Creator/BarryLevinson's ''Film/{{Toys}}'' was intended as a kids' comedy or a satire for adults, having elements from both genres.
* The Indian science fiction superhero film ''Bollywood/RaOne'' starts like a kid´s comedy about a nerdy father making a videogame for his son in order to make him think that he is cool. Then, after the first musical sequence (which [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar doesn´t look at all like something from a kid´s film]]) the movie turns very serious and dark, with the villain from the videogame becoming real [[spoiler:and starting to kill people, including a main character.]] Then, the movie turns silly again, but after another musical sequence the movie turns serious once again.
* ''Film/{{Ink}}'' has many light-hearted and whimsical elements from FairyTales and Juvenile Fantasy, but it also has lots of swearing, frightening scenes, and deals with several adult themes such as drug use and suicide. It also has several elements from [[LeFilmArtistique arthouse films ]](Specially in the visual style) and fighting sequences involving martial arts and a [[CameraAbuse shaky camera]].
* The film version of ''Film/CloudAtlas'' received a mixed reaction from critics and audiences probably due this: The movie, like the book by which it was inspired, involved six different interrelated stories, which were very different from each other: There were two {{Period Piece}}s, a thriller, a comedy (The story of Timothy Cavendish) a science-fiction DysTopia similar to ''Film/BladeRunner'' and a PostApocalyptic adventure. While the six stories are connected, there is a complete change of mood and styles in every scene.
* A frequent complaint about ''Film/SmallSoldiers'' is that its premise is too silly for adults, but too dark and violent for children.
* ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'':
** Though the films seem to alternate audiences, with some being for adults and others for children, ''Film/GodzillaVsGigan'' can't quite decide who it's supposed to be geared to. On one hand, it has a lot of goofy elements, including a couple of scenes where [[SuddenlyVoiced Godzilla and Anguirus actually talk]]. But on the other, the fight scenes are disturbingly violent and show more blood than was ever seen in a Godzilla movie before.
** ''Film/GodzillaVsHedorah'' has pretty much the same problem. While it has plenty of aspects pandering to kids, such as a kid main character, silly-sounding music, and [[SignatureScene Godzilla flying]], the film also has {{Family Unfriendly Death}}s of people being disintegrated to their bones, a scene where a guy has an alcohol-fueled hallucination, a creepy-looking MuckMonster villain, and fights between Godzilla and Hedorah that, while not exactly ''gory'', are still rather grotesque due to Hedorah's manner of dumping his slime on Godzilla.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Many SpaceWestern films and series fit this trope:
** ''{{Series/Firefly}}'' was a ratings flop due to the difficulty of marketing such a mixed-genre product properly.
** Ditto ''[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Star Trek: The Original Series]]''. They even threw Chekov in to bring in the [[TheMonkees Monkees]] {{Fan Girl}}s.
* The short lived police musical drama ''Series/CopRock'': The dissonance of cheery, happy songs appearing spontaneously in an otherwise relatively serious police drama was probably one of the reason of why it wasn´t very successful.
* ''Series/JoanOfArcadia'': A MagicRealism {{Dramedy}} which also contains some elements of a police drama (mostly in the parts related with Joan's father) high school romance and many religious/spiritual themes.
* ''Series/{{Glee}}'' especially in its first season. It meshes things like oral sex jokes with the teeny angst of Degrassi and the kind of anvillicious messages you'd expect from an 80s kids cartoon along with the cutesy singing appeal of Kidz Bop and The Wiggles. Based on comments from the writers, it eventually decided it was mainly for Tweens.
* The makers of the 1996 ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoTVMTheTVMovie Doctor Who]]'' TV movie seem to have never decided whether they were producing a jumping-on point for the general trans-Atlantic SF/"cult TV" audience, or a revival of the show for hard-core fanboys. As a result, the latter were repelled by such things as the Doctor [[NoHuggingNoKissing kissing someone]] and being half-human and the Master being able to spit corrosive slime for no apparent reason, while the former were bemused about what this "Eye of Harmony" thing was and why the central character turned into a completely different person thirty minutes in.
* One of the problems about the first season of ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' seems to have been that the writers and directors were all over the shop about whether they were doing a DenserAndWackier HotterAndSexier show full of fanboy RuleOfCool moments and fangirl feels, or a [[GreyRainOfDepression grey rain-soaked]] ultra-depressing cop show with barely-relevant SF {{MacGuffin}}s. This led to some weird juxtapositions between episodes and even more disturbing results when the two seemed to overlap.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* One of the problems with the original ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' was that it didn't seem to be sure whether it was a straight {{Deconstruction}} of [=RPGs=] and first-person shooters, a {{Parody}} of the same, or [[DeconstructiveParody something in-between]]. As such, it came off as an IndecisiveDeconstruction and a ShallowParody, which limited its appeal. [[VideoGame/BorderLands2 The sequel]] ratcheted the comedy and the parody UpToEleven, which made it DenserAndWackier, but gave it a much clearer idea of its own identity, and it found its audience that way.
* ''Go! Go! Nippon! ~my first trip to Japan~'' is an English-language VisualNovel made in Japan specifically for foreign audiences. However the makers seem to be unsure on what that audience wants... It's about an OccidentalOtaku (supposed to be the player himself) going to stay in Tokyo with two cute sisters for a week. In the developers' intentions, this game would be an educational one, a way to learn about actual Japanese landmarks and customs with a funny product tailor-made for otakus. However, these elements do not mix well since the protagonist's wacky shenanigans are too lame and boring for actual otakus and too off-putting for anyone else (since he's usually portrayed as a dorky ManChild) and the educational part is limited at best since you can't even access to all the info you gathered until you have completed the game (besides that, it's all stuff you can find on the internet for free). Plus, despite the fact that the company that made this is specialized in [[{{HGame}} erotic VNs]], there's no sex at all, thus alienating their overseas fans. Despite this, being released on UsefulNotes/{{Steam}} and featured in a series of bundles ensured that the title sold moderately well.
* The ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' franchise runs the gambit of genres. Stealth gameplay, open combat, collectors missions, Historical tourism starting from game 2 on, conspiracy series. With so many different angles to each game, it's no wonder the audience gets up in arms about the new games as they come.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* This may be why ''WesternAnimation/DanVs'' never got much of a mainstream audience. It's a BlackComedy that occasionally deals with mature themes (such as murder and marital problems), has a HeroicComedicSociopath as the protagonist, and sometimes heads into very dark territory (one episode ends with the implication that a character is ''going to be raped''). It's also filled to the brim with wacky slapstick, surreal plots, and there's little to no blood or swearing.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLooneyTunesShow'' could never decide if it wanted to appeal to sitcom fans or fans of classic ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'', and suffered for it.
* Likewise ''WesternAnimation/LoonaticsUnleashed'' was originally supposed to be a DarkerAndEdgier superhero reimagining of the Tunes, which eventually tried to include some of the humor of the originals while still being an action show. It never seemed sure how serious or how funny it wanted to be, though, and neither element was handled particularly well.
* While {{WesternAnimation/Jimmy Two Shoes}} is a (usually) kid-friendly show, the pilot was probably the darkest and most mature cartoon ever envisioned for children. Filled with gore, violence, BodyHorror, religious themes, serial killers, and Hitler as a character, it's safe to say ExecutiveMeddling was definitely for the better.

[[/folder]]
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