Blog: Das Sporking

Das Sporking is a small sporking community on LiveJournal. It was originally a solo sporking community for Das Mervin, a LiveJournal user most famous for her breakdown of the Twilight series. Over time, it has evolved to accept sporkings from all of its members. The sporkings cover a range of fandoms and styles. This also includes professional works. There are currently a small number of active sporkers on Das Sporking.

This community is mostly known for being very analytical in its approaching to bad fiction, and for covering a variety of professionally published works as well as fanfiction. Jokes and snarking take a backseat to literary analysis, though they are far from absent.

It is also notable for being in depth. Most sporkings double the word count of the fanfics they are focusing on. A number of Unfortunate Implications that are glossed over in other sporkings of the same material, in particular Twilight (and its sequels) and Fifty Shades of Grey (and its sequels), are explored in detail there.

YMMV tropes can be found here, while Funny Moments can be found here.

Notice: Please do not link directly to sporked fanfiction! This is to cut down on wank.

Relevant tropes:

  • Accentuate the Negative: Most of the sporks point out flaws in the work, and mock goofiness caused by them.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Once in a while, for parts that had potential or were somewhat decent. Or, yes, when a joke was actually funny.
  • Angrish: Quite frequently.
  • Angst Nuke: Ket tends to explode. A lot. Especially when reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Raxistaicho refers to Zelda Queen as "Queeny," and, since the I'm Here To Help spork, Midoriri as "Riri."
  • Arson Murder And Jay Walking: Christian Grey has many bad qualities but the final straw was when the sporkers realized he's a morning person.
  • Author Powers: How most sporkers force their special guests to read badfic. Also exercised by a handful of sporkers using the Keyboard of Power.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Oh, yes. Especially when combined with...
  • Berserk Button: With a fairly diverse sporking crowd, different things set different sporkers off.
  • Ban on Politics: Mervin specifically states no political issues be discussed within the comm. Strict monitoring by the admins is done to ensure this.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The sporkers are all a nice bunch of people, even maintaining some politeness while sporking, but once in a while, such as when a Berserk Button is pressed or the story gets really bad...eesh.
  • Brain Bleach: Quite a few sporkers say that they need brain bleach after a spork. Some refer to Bleeprin and Bleepka, specifically.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Some sporkers have their own.
      • Raxistaicho's is "Standby, ready for more", used in his live journal cuts. Occasionally, "more" is replaced by something specific to the chapter.
      • azralibrarian's is "primus", usually used as if an expletive.
    • Some sporkings have them, too. For a good portion of the sporking of a Spice and Wolf fanfiction, chapters were introduced with "Last Time on..." followed by a video clip of something parodying events in the story.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Many of the sporkers have shared their histories of abuse, bullying, trauma, or depression, usually to explain how a work is getting it dead wrong.
  • Das Sporking Will Ruin Your Life: After years of intensely criticizing Twilight Mervin confessed that she and Mrs. Hyde can't watch something without analyzing it.
    Mervin, on trying to watch Real Steel: We talked about characterization, motivation, story arcs, symbolism, deeper meanings, all that stuff, and only after we’d spent probably three hours discussing it did we realize what we were doing.

    You know, I didn’t used to do that. I do it now—it doesn’t matter what it is, how lighthearted or mindless it is, whether I enjoyed it or not, I will sit there and analyze it and pick it apart until I’m satisfied.
    [...]
    (after revealing the sporkings of the Twilight books are at least twice as long as the source material) Why the fuck would you do that to yourself.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Every sporker has at least a moment of this.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In one of Mervin's chapters of Howarts Exposed, she brings in Sands to co-spork. Sands, who has never pretended to be anything but a misogynistic, violent asshole, is appalled by it, particularly the sexualization of children and objectification of women (which, amusingly enough, stuns him, since he never felt outrage on behalf of objectified women before).
  • Everyone Has Standards: All of he sporkers have their limits on what they will and won't spork. Usually it's because a work is unspeakably horrific (Mervin even added the "Hogwarts Exposed line" to the comm rules, stating that anything that manages to be worse than that fanfiction is banned from being sporked there), although some sporkers refuse to do works on the grounds of them simply being boring (for example, this is why Mervin stopped sporking Child of Grace and Standing My Ground). Mervin herself holds the comm at large to several ironclad rules, including certain types of fics that are not allowed, namelyl the aforementioned "squick-fics", troll fics (on the grounds that they basically spork themselves), things that run the risk of breaking the "no politics" rule (such as The Turner Diaries), and real person fics. She also forbids making personal attacks/death threats towards the Suethors or their families. The only exception is Neil, who wrote the aforementioned Hogwarts Exposed and is hands-down the most hated Stuthor on the comm.
  • Friendly Sniper: In a metaphorical sense. The sporkers and commenters are remarkably polite and sympathetic people. It won't stop them from skewering works that they find flawed. (This may overlap with Beware the Nice Ones.)
  • Gamer Chick: Several of the sporkers, but azralibrarian stands out most. Her knowledge of Final Fantasy is well shown during one of her sporks of a self-insert Dissidia fanfic.
    • She also displays a good deal of knowledge of RuneScape during her sporking of a sloppy crossover fic.
    • Nix has made a habit of sporking almost nothing but things from The World Ends with You.
  • Geek: Whether it be literature, TV series, movies, video games, and western or eastern animation, most of these sporkers are very devoted fans of their chosen fandoms. Sometimes unabashedly so.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Ever since a joke made in the sporking of Chapter 12 of Breaking Dawn, people have taken quite well to seeing themselves through Meyer Goggles(TM).
  • Gratuitous German: "Das" is gender-neutral "the" in German.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Some of the group are this way, Mervin stands out the most.
  • Handicapped Badass: Gehayi is open about being mobility limited. It sure doesn't stop her from absolutely destroying poorly-written and researched work.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Frequently, and with various drinks.
  • Insistent Terminology: Riffing Academy is a die-hard MSTie, and to that end calls his sporkings "riffings." His username may have something to do with him sticking to it, too.
  • Long Runner:
    • Mervin began recapping the Twilight series in December 2009.
    • Before that, her sporkings of Rose Potter and Ariana Black ran for two years each. (Technically, her Ariana Black sporking is on hiatus until she's done with Twilight.)
    • As of April 6, 2015, Gehayi and Ket Makura have been sporking the Fifty Shades series for three years—and they still have roughly half a book to go.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: The sporkers tend to be far more scathing and nasty while sporking than they are while commenting or otherwise interacting with others. Mervin in particular is very nice so long as people on the comm follow the rules (which are more or less standard decency anyway) and don't come to stir trouble.
  • Mid-Spork Upgrade: Midoriri, her sporking self being a Magical Girl Warrior, gets during a particularly-awful passage in Sailor Rainbow, trading in her Spork Wand for the Spork Staff.
  • MST: Sort of the whole point.
  • Muggles Do It Better: A widespread reaction to the frequent messages of Humans Are Morons, Humans Are Bastards, and Humans Are Ugly that so frequently appear in fics and books. Sporkers and members have decided that humanity, for all its flaws, can also be awesome.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Metaphorically. Most of the rules about sporking that involve yelling at the fic, not at the author, are turned off for the infamously nefarious Hogwarts Exposed.
  • Noodle Incident: Gehayi and Ket Makura describe their invitation to guest sporkers Elsa and Anna of Arendelle this way:
    GEHAYI: I'm not going to say what it took to persuade the queen and princess of Arendelle except that it involved kittens, the Hubble Telescope, and Ket karaoke.

    KET: And a really bad clam. *shudders*
  • Oh My Gods!: Raxistaicho occasionally uses Morrighan/Morrigan with this trope. azralibrarian uses Primus (and Zaros); taekarado, Steiff; Man Called True, Celestia (and occasionally Torak).
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Shipping Mervin and Ket Makura has been dubbed Mervkura.
  • Properly Paranoid: Ever since his first proper sporking featured one, Riffing Academy thinks that wolf-themed Stus follow him around. They don't hit all the time, but they're definitely a theme.
  • Rage Quit: Once in a while, sporkers will simply give up on particularly bad works. Mervin occasionally "refuses" to do certain chapters of her own sporks and instead has one her common special guests do it for her.
    • An interesting variant happened with one story Riffing Academy tackled: while he finished the story as it was written when he wrote his sporking, when new chapters appeared he refused to do them. Raxistaicho picked it up later, doing the newer chapters.
    • After one of his flash drives (the one containing all the chapters) broke, Man Called True walked away from Frigid Winds and Burning Hearts when faced with the task of completely redoing several chapters's worth of sporking.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Of course, once the ol' Berserk Button gets slapped.
  • Relax-o-Vision: Used occasionally by several of the sporkers. Raxistaicho does it most often both in his own sporks and comments to others, usually showing cute/fanservicey anime girls.
  • Revenge Fic/Hate Fic: This is a REALLY common response to canons with Unfortunate Implications and/or characters that are Too Dumb to Live (though it's called "spitefics" on the actual community). There were so many Twilight spitefics that Das_Sporking eventually created a spinoff fic comm for them. (The comm is now shared by fics for Fifty Shades of Grey.)
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: A few examples
    • Mervin is the Red to Hyde's Blue.
  • Rousing Speech: Mervin makes a pro-human, pro-Volturi one in the third part of the sporking of the Chapter 34 of Breaking Dawn to counteract the unnecessarily rebellious (the Cullens don't want to fight) anti-Volturi speech by one of the Cullens' allies since defeating the Volturi means there's nothing stopping other vampires (including some of the Cullens' allies) from eating and enslaving humanity.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Quoted verbatim by Midoriri before the twelfth chapter of Over The Rainbow, before she ate one of Mervin's coma-brownies. Malachite filled in for her.
    • Raxis managed this in the sporking of I'm Here to Help, via exploding. A Pokemon he specially trained to speak filled in.
    • From chapter 20 of Breaking Dawn, after Mervin mused at length on the fact that she'd been sporking the Twilight series for five years and wants to quit but—
      Mervin: I finished Rose Potter — I can finish this.
      Bella (narrating): Everything was
      Mervin: OH FUCK YOU, I'M GOING HOME!!!
  • Servile Snarker: Mervin generally portrays her special guests as behaving this way toward her, most notably Sands and Snape.
  • Shipper on Deck: Sporkers often make their preferred ships known throughout their sporkings, although not so much that the sporking becomes a Sporker Filibuster.
  • Shout-Out: Varies by sporker, but everyone has made at least one.
  • Shown Their Work: Very much so. Mervin and Mrs. Hyde have expert knowledge about medicine, the latter even having her PHD in the subject. The pair of them also know quite a bit about the behaviour of "old money", being from that kind of background themselves. Gehayi is a freelance editor, and Ket Makura has enough experience in the realm of BDSM to help her take down the Fifty Shades series. And as far as canon knowledge goes, it's a rule that to spork a fic in a fandom, the sporker has to know what they are talking about.
    • This often shows up in the comments as well. If a reader is knowledgeable on a subject brought up in the spork, they'll give additional information or point out what was done wrong.
  • Signature Style: Aside from the aforementioned analytical, in-depth style, the sporkers are a diverse lot, and this shows in their preferences and typical sporking material:
  • Single Issue Psychology: In the Fifty Shades of Grey series, all of Christian's problems stem from his having been abused and poor until the age of four. Gehayi and Ket, both survivors of childhood abuse, take it to task. The comments similarly rip the flimsy excuse apart.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: The female sporkers don't shy away from taking the occasional Amusing Injury, most notably when Sands punches or slaps around Mervin, Hyde, or Ket.
  • Small Reference Pools: Defied. Sporking topics are fairly diverse amongst the community, and while there are some popular fandoms and sources of stories, there's a wide mix between Western and Eastern fandoms that have sporked fiction. That doesn't even begin to describe each sporker's own favored references, either...
  • Something Completely Different: A side series was recently started called "Writers Against Cliches", with the intent of deconstructing hackneyed tropes and concepts and allowing sporkers to write fics that play with expectations. More obliquely, the_whittler once sporked one of their own works (with permission), and at least one member plans to spork a bad sporking.
    • Sweettalkeress introduced her sporking of the Code Geass Lighter and Softer fic "Euphemia's Surprise" this way because it was so different from the works she had been sporking.
    • Zelda Queen's sporking of How I Became Yours was the first sporking of a fancomic, both by her and on the comm (though she had sporked the first Twilight graphic novel on her own journal).
    • Azra sporked a series of RuneScape fan-quests, which were written in the style of walkthroughs rather than as stories. She not only tore apart their failings as stories, but detailed the parts that would be poor gameplay as well.
  • Special Guest: Some sporkers use characters from other series to spork with them. Examples are Sands, Severus Snape, Leah Clearwater, Sam and Dean Winchester as well as Castiel, Harry Dresden and Thomas Raith, Fi, Nanoha... even Dr Wood.
  • Spinoff: In addition to the abovementioned fic comm, Das_Sporking gave rise to Anti_bella, a LiveJournal comm that focuses on finding well-written female characters of every stripe and analyzing why these characters work well/are awesome. (On occasion, "anti-Edwards"—well-written male characters—have also been highlighted.)
  • Spit Take: Used as a running gag for the Sailor Rainbow sporkings, in response to Accidental Innuendo. It gets taken to unprecedented levels with Raxis joins Midoriri and Zelda Queen on one chapter.
    Midoriri: The Powers To Be are going to have to send a janitor in here...
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Zelda Queen seems to have a fondness for chocolate.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Happens quite often, for obvious reasons.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: The comments on any given spork or recap are usually full of anecdotes and additional information.
  • Viewers Are Morons: Sporkers tend not to appreciate being treated like this by the fics they spork. In particular, Mervin ran a "hand-holding" count through Twilight, for when Meyer sat down and outright spelled out for her readers what was happening.
  • Villain Song: Cherylbites wrote one to be sung by Mary Sue characters called "Onward, Sueish Soldiers".
  • Visual Gag: Frequently used, typically involving pictures.
  • Voice of the Legion: When The Riddler tries to get his hands on the magic keyboard at the end of Chapter Nine pt. 2 of Fifty Shades Freed, Mervin pops in to remind him who's boss:
    Mervin: YOU PITIFUL, INSIGNIFICANT FOOL. I AM THE BEAST, THE ABOMINATION, THE GOD THAT RULES THIS CYBER REALM.
  • Wall of Text: Riffing Academy's love of big words and writing stuff in general leads to big intros, big outros, and big paragraphs dropped in between shorter, snappier remarks. When other sporkers do it, usually something else is about to happen.
  • X Meets Y: Raxistaicho describes Sword Art Online as "Anime The Matrix meets Anime Twilight".