Cori Falls was a highly prolific and well-known author in the Pokémon and later the Yu-Gi-Oh! fandoms. She's most known for her participation in the former, her personal canon for which encompassed an epic saga of fanfics and had its own timeline. This might be impressive if not for the, ahem, questionable quality of her fics where things like canon and characterization were concerned and her general attitude towards fandom.Actually, her fics started off as being fairly decent, but the further she moved away from canon and the more she fleshed out her personal canon, the worse they got. Violent Tsundere Jessie suffered a severe case of Chickification as she was derailed into a weepy damsel who cried at the drop of a hat. Dorky, childlike James was buffed up into a manly knight in shining armor. Snarky sidekick Meowth fought harder to stay in-character, but even he only retained about 10% of his original self as he was modeled into little more than a matchmaker for Jessie and James who cracked fratboyish sexual jokes on a regular basis.As for the heroes, Ash was robbed of all his good qualities in order to tailor him into the antagonist Cori insisted he was. Misty became a sneering brat. Brock suffered the least; at worst he was simply portrayed as a dumb girl-chaser and was considered "the most reasonable and least detestable of the twerps" by the Trio. And Tracey was twisted into a womanizing moron who Cori decided was "fat" simply because he wasn't as skinny as other characters. Brock and Misty eventually made a Heel-Face Turn and became friends of Team Rocket, but Ash and Tracey got worse and worse as time went on.Here's a comprehensive essay on the decline in quality of Cori's fics as time went on, in fact. Interesting reading!Cori didn't work alone, though. Her friend Shigeru1313 wrote several installments in the timeline, though her works were more focused on Gary Oak, another favorite character of Cori's and the favorite of Shigeru1313. Gary also suffered terrible Stuification under their guidance.Cori eventually left Pokemon fandom and closed her Team Rocket site in order to focus her attention on her Yu-Gi-Oh! fics. Then one day without warning she closed that site as well. While her Pokemon fics can still be found scattered across the internet (or here if you don't feel like googling the entire net) and parts of her YGO site are accessible from the Internet Archive, her YGO fanfic series is largely sadly lost to the ages.She also used to have a whopping seven pages of rants on her Team Rocket site, wherein she and her minions went off on a million tangents about the "injustices" done to the beloved woobies, vitriol against the Twerps and the writers, long diatribates on why people who wrote certain types of fanfic or supported certain ships weren't True Fans, etc. One page of the madness was salvaged by the Internet Archive, just beware the eye-hurting purple text on a black background. (It's best if you Select All before attempting to read) As evidenced in her rants, Cori had quite a problem with other fans having ideas and opinions that contradicted her views and as far as she was concerned, only people who thought exactly like her deserved to call themselves True Fans and True Rocketshippers. Then there's her vendetta against the canon and its writers, but more on that below.
These stories contain examples of:
Acceptable Targets: In-universe, overweight and mentally ill people are blights on humanity that deserve mocking and ridicule instead of respect and getting the help they may need.
Accusation Fic: In her later fics, calling Ash out for everything he's done and punishing him with an inch of his life seems to be tied with True Love for the saga's major purpose.
Actually Pretty Funny: Meowth's "They're the best glittery plastic money can buy!" line from A Phony Matrimony.
Adaptation Expansion: Early on, anyway; but that eventually took a backseat as the stories drifted further and further from canon.
Alpha Bitch: Cassidy, Jennifer and Bonnie in Jessie's flashbacks.
Always Save the Girl: James takes this to a crazy extreme in "New Directions" chapter 1; panicking that Ash and his friends care more about saving Celebi than helping him save Jessie, then beating Ash to a pulp for doing just that. Because anyone who doesn't drop everything to rescue your one true love is clearly a bad person.
Author Filibuster: Eventually, the characters are no longer characters and become mouthpieces for Cori and Shigeru's views.
Author Vocabulary Calendar: Crimson mane, mop of blue-violet hair, sapphire-blue eyes, emerald-green eyes, eyes narrowing to slits, "I felt my blood boil", "those goddamned twerps", "Jesus tap-dancing Christ", couples resting their foreheads together, brushing away tears with the thumb, putting himself inside her, Ash screaming "AUGH" every few sentences, mention of rising bile in the back of one's throat or tasting bile at the sight/thought of someone, and many more. Playing a drinking game with these fics is not recommended; you'll be too drunk to blink on this trope alone before you're even halfway through any given fic.
Babies Ever After: Her timeline of fics ends not just at Jessie, James and their friends getting married and having kids but with their kids getting married and having kids.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Compare a description of Jessie, Mondo or Gary to one of Ash or Tracey. Guess who sounds like a supermodel and who sounds like a pig cross-bred with a troll doll.
Bias Steamroller: Cori's review of the book Team Rocket Blasts Off!, to the point where she was compelled to write one of her infamous WYDSnote What You Didn't See stories to correct the mistakes she felt were made. Granted, the book did play up a hatred for each other that didn't exist in the show, but even so.
Boyfriend Bluff: In "Seven Shades of Red", Jessie is rendered incapable of fighting off a gaggle of perverts harassing her (what mallet, giant fan and rocket launcher?!). James immediately comes to her rescue by claiming she's his girlfriend, and that immediately gets the men to back off.
Broken Aesop: "How James Got his Mojo Back" is an extreme example. James's horoscope turns out to be Magikarp, and Jessie spends a good deal of time trying to convince him that the horoscope doesn't mean anything, and that he shouldn't take it to heart or think he's as worthless as a Magikarp. Then we learn that he read the book wrong, and his true horoscope is the much more badass Articuno, thus implying that the horoscope was right about him after all.
Captain Ersatz: Walker G. Shrubb in "Heroic Hearts" is a very obvious parody of George W. Bush, with most of his lines being actual Bushisms and a site existing in-universe called "Shrubb or Slowpoke" in reference to "Bush or Chimp".
The Complainer Is Always Wrong: True friends always have the exact same interests and never disagree on anything, and anyone who thinks outside the box is evil, nasty, stupid and probably doesn't shower.
This happens a lot in-universe, too: for example, in one of Cori Falls' fics, when Jessie complained about Cassidy and her friends bullying her, she was accused of being a poor person trying to cause trouble for Cassidy by complaining. Also, to be fair, the "box" mentioned above is itself outside the box, as Jessie and James are portrayed as having unusual interests and are frequently given quite a bit of grief over said interests. The only real mistake Cori Falls made in this regard was that she forgot that how one thinks is just as essential to nonconformity as what one thinks, and if you don't take that into account you soon end up like the conformists you used to fight, in habit if not in the positions you take.
Creepy Child: In Where Angels Dare to Tread baby!James was supposed to come as Wise Beyond His Six Months, but looks like this instead. Seriously, which baby deliberately cries in his christening and then looks all "I did it to screw my parents' plans for me."?
Deconstruction Fic: Tried to be this by playing TR's comic relief scenes for serious business, especially in Stage 2, and making Pikachu's attacks out to me more deadly than they are in the anime or the games. Unfortunately, they forgot that played for drama, Jessie's treatment of James was far from sweet and romantic and loaded with Unfortunate Implications, causing glaring inconsistencies in the application of Darker and Edgier.
In fairness, it should be noted that this is how Cori Falls sees what keeps happening to Team Rocket, which is itself the reason why she uses this trope. She openly admitted that she has Team Rocket be outrageously cruel to the Twerps as payback for what Cori Falls sees as the Twerps taking disproportionate retribution out on Team Rocket (for example, when Ash keeps having Pikachu electrocute Team Rocket for petty theft).
Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Jessie's ex and her maternal grandmother's unwanted fiance are treated like monsters of the highest order for hitting the women they were involved with, and James has a panic attack when he swats Jessie in self-defense one time. Meanwhile, Jessie hits James on a regular basis and it's "not a big deal" because she gives him tearful apologies every time and "promises" never to do it again.
Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male / A Man Is Always Eager: In one fic, while James isn't raped, he refuses to have sex with Jessie because he's simply not in the mood. Jessie then starts whining and bitching at him, then tries to browbeat and guilt-trip him into sexing her up, without giving a crap about his feelings and well-being. Meowth then comes to them... and takes Jessie's side, harshly berating James for "not wanting to have sex with the most beautiful woman in the world." Creepy, creepy.
Easily Forgiven: James's (abusive) parents come begging on their knees, and after James's initial show of defiance he forgives them when they butter him up and explain why what they did was wrong and how right he was about everything. In her YGO fics, Joey's alcoholic dad apologizes for being a jerk and Joey forgives him almost instantly.
Embarrassing Old Photo: James finds a picture of his stiff, stodgy parents as hippies in an old photo collection.
Enraged By Idiocy: Jessie, James and their gang facepalm way too easily at cluelessness of any kind, but Ash's in particular drives them into angry rants and the desire to be violent with him.
Fan Nickname: Cori is also known as QOR (Queen of Rocketshipping) and Cori Fails.
Fanon Dis Continuity: In Cori's fics, all episodes of the anime after a certain point never happened or were Ash's sick daydreams.
Freudian Excuse: Giovanni technically has one in canon with his mother being cold towards him, but Cori turns him into an outright woobie.
Funetik Aksent: Meowth talks with one of these— even when he's the narrator.
Future Loser: Ash gets his trainer's license revoked and his Pokemon taken away, becomes more and more delusional as the years pass and in the end only his mother gives a damn about him anymore. Poor kid. Also Tracey, who gets fired from Professor Oak's lab and spends all his time eating and being fat and useless.
Generation Xerox: Not just their children, but going back at least three generations. Lampshaded by Jessie in "Never Too Late."
Heel-Face Turn: Weevil and Duke, oddly enough. Cori spends half her YGO fic series bashing them only to make Weevil into The Woobie and Duke into a halfway decent person. Misty and Brock have theirs in her Pokemon fics and eventually hook up.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Jessiebelle in "Broken Souls". A lot of the cardboard villains in Cori's fics tend to get this as well.
Humiliation Conga: Cori seems to get off on doing this to Ash later on in her series.
And her hypocricy is enough to give anyone a foul taste in the mouth — if I like you, you can do absolutely anything, and it's all good or at least defendable. If I don't like you, and you step one toe out of line, you deserve nothing but pain, humiliation and, oh, I'll laugh at you when you nearly die as a result of my antics too, you asshole. Hell, why wait until you step out of line? I'll gladly inflict pain and humiliation on you right away. This is the main reasoning behind her stories... and it's also the exact same reasoning she accuses canon of having, citing it as the main reason why she's now a pure AU writer... except she doesn't call it AU, she calls it WRHnote What Really Happened and claims that her version is what's true and canon is the much poorer AU, done by people who don't know or respect their characters and settings properly.
She once explicitly stated that porn fanart and fics of American cartoon characters is awful and wrong because "that's not what they're about", but Pokemon porn is A-OK because Pokemon is Japanese, and as we all know, anime is nothing but sophisticated adult material, and that includes the anime based off of a family-friendly video game franchise.
Identical Granddaughter: Jessie notes how her paternal grandmother looks almost exactly like an older version of her.
Insecure Love Interest: Jessie and James shift this role back and forth depending on the story; Jessie believes she's too cold-hearted and bitchy and nasty for someone as sweet as James, and James believes he's too weak and stupid and clumsy for someone as strong as Jessie.
Intimate Healing: Of the "nude body heat" variety in "To Unite All People Within Our Nation".
Intimate Psychotherapy: How James helps Jessie overcome her depression about not making it to the Pokemon League. Also used in "A Warm Place", "The Power That's Inside" and part one of "New Directions".
I Thought It Meant: Cori was entirely convinced that the word "hentai" translates to "rape". Given the stereotypical content of hentai, of course, one can't really blame her.
It's All About Me: Jessie and James suffer this very badly in Stage 2, in which each one makes the other's angst or bad moods their trauma to angst over. The biggest examples are "Blood on the Moon" and "Thorns of the Rose". In the latter two stages, they simply become ridiculously self-centered. See Never My Fault.
Lampshade Hanging: Jessie in "Seven Shades of Red" is angry with James and herself for not being able to fend off the perverts (see Boyfriend Bluff above) by claiming that it makes her feel like she's James's property and can't take care of herself. Appropriate since Jessie at this point has been acting more like a Distressed Damsel than anything.
Laxative Prank: In "A Phony Matrimony?!", Blissey brags to everyone about how she laced a serving of brownies for Ash with chocolate-flavored laxatives.
Melodrama: One notable example being the way she turned the comic relief of Jessie and James being shaved bald by Scythers in the ep "Tracey Gets Bugged" into an epic tale of harrowing psychological trauma. Cori's own reaction to the episode was pretty melodramatic as well.
Moral Dissonance: Jessie and James claim they're "good people" and that they can't stand when people harm others, but then they turn around and beat the stuffing out of anyone who so much as looks at them wrong.
Not to mention letting Jessibelle die even when she's crying and begging for help. And we're supposed to feel glad that she dies.
Moral Myopia: Ash taking extreme measures to protect his Pokemon is sick and twisted, but Team Rocket beating him to a bloody pulp to protect themselves is perfectly heroic.
MST: Several of her works have been given this treatment. Most of these MSTings can be found here.
Never My Fault: Eventually, nothing Jessie, James, Meowth or their friends do is ever their fault. Every bad thing that happens is because Ash happened to be within ten feet of them, or the other person was a jerk, or because of their traumatic pasts.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Sort of. The so-called heroes are always the ones giving these to people. A particularly disturbing example is in "Never Too Late", when Jessie's grandparents beat the ever-loving crap out of Ash and Misty and are praised for it.
No True Scotsman: Cori and her friends would invoke this when complaining about interpretations of the characters that differ from their own.
Old Shame: Cori apparently laughs at her old stories now.
Opinion Myopia: In-universe, Cori's opinions are this to the point where they become the truth. Jessie and James can't understand why anyone would see Lord of the Rings as "just a movie" to the point where they threaten to kick Meowth's ass for saying so. They explain the meaning the story has for them and presto! Meowth's an almost instant fan. Anyone who likes or is nice to Ash is either misguided or a bad person. If they apologize to Jessie and James, it's the former. If not, it's the latter.
Orwellian Retcon: In her earlier stories Ash is portrayed as being halfway decent despite Cori's dislike of him, but later on she went back and edited them, altering Ash's personality to make it look as though he'd always been a hateful little creep.
Patchwork Kids: Jessie and James even discuss this at the end of "Dark Reflection":
"I think the boy will have your hair and my eyes, and one of the girls will have my hair and your eyes," I continued. "And the other girl...the other girl will be a perfect blend of the two of us! She'll have purple hair, and blue-green eyes...."note And of course, she's absolutely right!
Pet the Dog: Cori actually portrays Ash as halfway decent in "Broken Souls" and "Forever". Or at least not like the monster she usually makes him out to be.
To clarify, there are fans of many "bad" characters who defend the "bad" character's actions on the grounds that they were done under extreme duress, or were provoked, or they can be redeemed anyway, etc. Cori Falls took it much further than that, however; she does not typically ask that Team Rocket's bad actions be forgiven, or excused, she asks that they be absolved because they themselves were exposed to suffering. In other words, Cori Falls under this trope not because she thinks Team Rocket has been given a raw deal disproportionate to their actual bad conduct; she falls under this trope because she thinks that raw deal erases the unethical nature of their conduct!
Post Rape Taunt: Used symbolically in "The Power That's Inside". While Jessie wasn't raped, she was severely psychologically broken when her hair was hacked off. Meowth challenges the Scyther swarm who did it in revenge, and during the battle the Scyther makes several mocking comments about how "satisfying" it was to destroy Jessie's hair in order to break Meowth's focus.
The Power of Friendship and The Power of Love: Everywhere. Pretty much the driving force of her later fics is how strong and powerful and shiny and special the love and friendship between Jessie, James, Meowth and Gary is. At least her YGO fics have the excuse of friendship power being big in YGO's canon.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: Basically, whether or not you're a good person in Cori's fics all boils down to how mean or how nice you are to her favorite characters.
Reality Subtext: It's been suggested that Cori's treatment of the overweight and mentally ill are her real-life attitudes towards these people, and that her depiction of Jessie and James as bullied nerds is based on her own school days.
Revenge Fic: The later entries in the series are basically Cori and her friends getting back at Ash and at canon for "being mean" to their darlings.
Ron the Death Eater: ANY of the good guys who oppose Team Rocket are portrayed as unbelievably evil or crazy, Ash and Tracey in particular. In-universe, Jessie all but accuses the history books for treating the Black Arachnid this way by not acknowledging what a hero he was.
Selective Enforcement: Jessie cries about how her school did this to her; the bullies were rich kids and spoiled brats who got to do whatever they wanted to her but when she tried to defend herself she got punished. To be fair, that is unjust and normally we would have sympathy for someone put in such a situation, but the problem is that when it's flipped around later on, Jessie takes full advantage of it and thus loses the reader's sympathy: when she's allowed to punch other kids and the teacher turns a blind eye simply because Jessie's late mother was one of his BFFs, Jessie sees nothing wrong with selective enforcement done in her favor.
Take That: The disclaimers for "A Warm Place", "Forever" and "Broken Souls" were thinly-veiled attacks on the authors whose fics upset Cori enough to feel she had to "undo the damage" with her own. She and Shigeru have also written scathing comments about the canon writers and the show in their author's notes.
Tear Jerker: There are many moments that are treated like this in-universe, but the real one comes when you think really hard about what happens to Ash. A bright-eyed young boy who just wanted to be a Pokemon Master, but years of being stalked by Team Rocket plus a family history of mental illness and retardation eventually come to stand in his way. His actions, though made out to be violent and petty, could easily be taken as severe PTSD symptoms and in the end he's become a delusional manchild with only his aging mother to care for him. And the worst part? Everyone but his mother sees him as a walking joke. That's right, rather than getting the psychiatric help he obviously needs Ash is reduced to the village idiot, this thing to be mocked and snarled at just for existing. Oh, and he doesn't even have Pikachu anymore. ...yeah. Think about it.
Teen Pregnancy: "Family Matters" tackles this issue, and in quite an Anvilicious manner. Though ultimately subverted when it turns out Jessie's not really pregnant after all.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jessie, James, Gary and their fanpoodles love giving these to their enemies, but the most epic example would have to be the smackdown James gave Misty in "To Extend Our Reach To The Stars Above", which shame her into beginning a "Heel-Face Turn" (so to speak.)
Trademark Favorite Food: Jessie's French Toast and strawberry cheesecake, James's Belgian waffles, Gary's custard dishes, Meowth's fish (though this could be considered a product of All Cats Love Fish in general). On the "enemy" side, Ash with his cheeseburgers and Tracey with Oreos, Mountain Dew and pork rinds.
Tourettes Shitcock Syndrome/Cluster F-Bomb: During stage three, when TR adopts their practice of cursing up a blue streak at anyone who wrongs them. Even worse, this usually convinces people to apologize and grovel before them.
Obligatory Swearing: Sometimes she has the characters swear where it's completely unnecessary or out of place in a failed attempt to be "edgy".
Traumatic Haircut: Taken Up to Eleven in "The Power That's Inside". In the actual episode Jessie was definitely pissed over her unwanted haircut, but in the fic she's psychologically broken to the point where she's rocking back and forth and crying like a scared little girl and even threatens to kill herself over it. James doesn't take it well either, having been triggered by the fabricated memory of his dad having the barber shave him bald as a child.
Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: In "Blood on the Moon" and "The Power That's Inside". In the latter, the narrative even implies James had it coming for daring to talk to Jessie when she was unstable!
The Woobie: In-universe, Jessie, James, Gary and Meowth are meant to be this. In reality the readers feel sorrier for the characters Cori and Shigeru hate.
Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The stories try to make it seem like J&J's enemies are the ones doing this, but in reality it's J&J when you take these stories in the context of canon, logic and reality.
To clarify, in canon, Jessie and James' actions are not excusable. They are not "merely" guilty of petty theft, as Cori Falls seems to think: they have repeatedly bombed places and put innocent lives in danger to achieve their goals, they've stolen Pokemon/best friends from their trainers, they kidnapped Ash and (indirectly) contributed to him losing his match to Richie, they're guilty of several counts of kidnapping and have almost gotten people killed several times, etc. This is the reason why most readers disagree with Cori Falls' interpretation of the situation: the readers are not attempting to justify any unethical behavior Ash Ketchum might have taken part in, as Cori Falls believed they were; rather, they were upset that Cori was attempting to justify the unethical behavior of Jessie and James by pretending it didn't happen. The readers might have sympathized with Cori more often if she were willing to admit that Jessie and James were human beings, and thus were capable of making mistakes and unethical choices just like any other human beings were.
Yo Yo Plot Point: Jessie and James's romantic angst, especially in Stage 2. Granted, new couplehood isn't always easy, especially when one half is a violent Tsundere and the other is silly and childish, and there were bound to be some issues to work through given their messed-up childhoods. But when every single fic has them in the throes of relationship drama and thinking their love is ruined forever, it makes you wonder just how strong their love really is.