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I Read It for the Articles is the StockPhrase people use to avoid catching any flak over liking a media product which has parts to it that are not popular or socially acceptable. It still allows them to watch or read it as a GuiltyPleasure -- after all, they can't say they actually ''like'' it without facing widespread ridicule. Some have actually said "I watch it ironically" unironically.

[[TropeNamer Name comes from]] a common justification for reading ''Magazine/{{Playboy}}'' magazine, which an incredible number of people claim to only read for the articles. While certainly [[DiscreditedTrope discredited]] today as a ''legitimate'' excuse, this could have reasonably been TruthInTelevision in TheSixties and TheSeventies; ''Playboy'' paid writers nearly three times as much as other publications, meaning that it drew considerable talent, such as Creator/JackKerouac and Creator/ArthurCClarke, and interviewed interesting people like [[UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement Martin Luther King]] and UsefulNotes/FidelCastro. It still features a variety of short stories, snippets, and interviews that wouldn't be out of place in ''Magazine/TheNewYorker''... just surrounded by pictures of naked women. This is true to the point that the Braille edition of ''Playboy'' is one of the top selling Braille magazines, even though it completely lacks [[BowChickaWowWow its usual selling point.]] To be honest, Playboy does have a startling amount of purely factual and text articles. It's either intellectual content with a pornographic bonus or [[UsefulNotes/{{Pornography}} pornography]] with an intellectual bonus. Writers will tell you that getting published in ''Playboy'' really is a big deal - and they're right. In 2015 ''Playboy'' announced they were dropping nudity (largely due to TheInternetIsForPorn destroying their business model, but also affected by accusations of MagazineDecay (next to no articles, almost all exploitative FanService). However, they later announced that they were bringing back nude photo shoots after a year-long absence starting in 2017.

In some respects this has become an outdated trope as more people become used to sexual explicitness in TV and film. To whit: someone who watches a critically acclaimed or sexually explicit show like ''Series/{{Girls}}'', ''Series/MastersOfSex'', or 95% of other shows made today for cable or streaming, is unlikely to bother or be bothered by anyone reading something as innocuous as ''Playboy'' anymore.

Just to be clear, this is in-universe examples only. Works that ''you or the fandom'' consider guilty pleasures are not examples of this trope.

Compare OrSoIHeard and JustHereForGodzilla. Contrast with UnconventionalLearningExperience. Also see JustForFun/ComeForTheXStayForTheY.



* The Creator/DiscoveryChannel used this trope to market the show ''Series/SmashLab'' when it premiered.
-->''"If anyone asks, you watch it for the science. But we know [[StuffBlowingUp the real reason.]]"''
* At least at one point, ''Magazine/{{Playboy}}'' sold and advertised shirts with their logo in small and the trope name in large print.
** ''Playboy'' actually sold compilations of all its articles. You can get the last ''Playboy'' John Lennon interview as a book too.
** The founder actually stated that, without the naughty pictures, ''Playboy'' would have been a literary magazine.
* One commercial for the {{fanservice}}-ridden ''VideoGame/DeadOrAlive 3'' for has a player insisting he only plays it for the fighting.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Early in ''Manga/DeathNote'' manga, Light's younger sister found a dirty magazine is his room, which he claims he only read for the article about Kira.

* In one sketch, the French comedian trio "Les Inconnus" mentioned the magazine ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo_%28French_magazine%29 Photo]]'', an art photography magazine featuring naked models, which can "provide a good alibi" when in society:
-->''"...it looks very smart, you can read it in front of people: '- what are you reading ?' '- I'm reading ''Photo''... You know, I recently took an interest in photography...'"''
* In the Creator/RobinWilliams show ''Weapons Of Self Destruction'', he takes a jab at NASCAR fans.
-->'''Robin:''' "I watch NASCAR for the driving." Yeah, and I watch porn for the acting. ''YOU LIAR!!!''

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* From ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'':
** Paraphrased:
--->'''Andy:''' Peter, I found something interesting under your mattress.\\
'''Peter:''' Mom, I swear, I only read those magazines for the articles!\\
'''Andy:''' I meant this baseball mitt.\\
'''Peter:''' I put it there to break it in.\\
'''Andy:''' Now, about those magazines...\\
'''Peter:''' Oh, you mean my Scientific American collection?
** Another strip has Jason excitedly carrying a stack of National Geographics. Roger assumes that he intends to use it as PoorMansPorn, but it turns out he and his pal [[BlackBestFriend Marcus]] actually were interested in the articles, particularly the Apollo 11 pictures.
** In another one, Peter claims to have bought the ''Sports Illustrated'' Swimsuit Edition for an article on marlin fishing off Bora Bora. His mother offers to cut the article out for him and his impassioned response is "And read it out of context?"
* Parodied in ''ComicStrip/PoochCafe'' when Chaz tries to convince Poncho that a collarless dog is still decent by showing him wolf photos. (Kinda gives a new meaning to NationalGeographicNudity.)
* ''ComicStrip/TheWizardOfId'' had a strip where the Wizard is told by his shrewish wife that his girly magazine arrived in the mail. The Wizard objects, noting the fine articles in it; she says that she's glad he thinks that way, because she cut out the pictures (which horrifies the Wizard).
* ''ComicStrip/{{Alex}}'': In one strip Clive his shocked when he flicks through his boss's collection of leatherbound Victorian pornography and discovers how explicit they are. Penny remarks that he shouldn't be, as they were that era's equivalent of ''Playboy'' and ''Penthouse''. Clive responds that this is why he thought they would have the occasional article about Stephenson's Rocket or spinning jennys in them, so that a chap could claim to be reading them for that.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In a review of ''Film/TheBourneLegacy'' in ''The Irish Times'', film critic Donald Clarke joked that people who claim to watch Film/TheBourneSeries for the plot are rather analogous to people who claim to read ''Playboy'' for the articles.
* In ''Film/MajorLeague II'', catcher Rube Baker actually does read ''Playboy'' for the articles...which the coaching staff uses to help him get over his throwing problems.

* In ''Literature/BreakfastOfChampions'', although Kilgore Trout's novels once sold at a high price to people who bought them for the "wide-open beavers" advertised on their covers in banners larger than the stories' titles, they later sold at a far lower price to people who bought them for the words, since hard-core pornography had become so devalued that "even high quality color motion pictures of wide-open beavers were going begging in the marketplace." When Kilgore Trout buys an old issue of ''Black Garterbelt'' magazine including one of his own stories, the cashier thinks he's just buying it for the PoorMansPorn.
* Creator/DaveBarry mentions this excuse in one of his books: "you read it for the articles despite knowing how hard it is to read sideways."
* Implied in ''Discworld/GoingPostal'' with the magazine ''Back-Alley Pins''. While most pin-collector magazines treat acuphilia as SeriousBusiness, this one mostly contains pictures of young women wearing leather. "But, to be fair, they're mostly holding pins." (This is a parody of the real British motorbike magazine ''Back Street Heroes'', notorious for being crammed with pictures of scantily-clad {{Hood Ornament Hottie}}s.)
* In the Most Unperceptive Review Ever Written, ''Country Life'' magazine praised ''Literature/LadyChatterleysLover'' for its description of the life and duties of a professional Gamekeeper, only noting that "regrettably, the reader has to wade through a great deal of extraneous material to reach the interesting passages..."

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/{{NCIS}}'', Tony states this as the reason why he has such a large PornStash.
* ''Series/{{Friends}}''
** In the episode "The One Where Chandler Crosses a Line":
--->'''Kathy:''' Oh, God, is that ''Series/{{Baywatch}}''?\\
'''Chandler:''' Yes, but I only watch it for the articles.
** Also a bit of an inversion in the episode where ''Playboy'' prints a joke which Ross (or Chandler) made, and Joey says, "You know they have naked chicks in there, right?"
* Referenced in ''Series/{{Coupling}}'' where the men visit a lap dancing club, Steve claims their visit is 'strictly for the articles'.
* An inversion occurs in the Christina Applegate sitcom ''Jesse'' when the title character finds a ''Playboy'' among Diego's belongings.
-->'''Jesse:''' Let me guess. You read it for the articles.\\
'''Diego:''' No, no... there are naked women in here.
* Another inversion happens in ''Series/MorkAndMindy'' in an episode where Mork becomes addicted to advertisements. When Mindy finds a magazine, Mork says "I swear, I only read it for the naked women."
* In ''Series/WillAndGrace'', Will mentions "actually reading ''Playboy'' for the articles" as something he used to do before he [[ComingOutStory came out]].
* ''Series/LifeOnMars2006'': Sam's excuse while hiding a tape recorder under Gene's copy of ''Jugs''.
-->'''Gene:''' You know what the really sad thing is? I believe you.
* Theo uses this as a defense for Cliff finding a Biker Mag in his sock drawer on ''Series/TheCosbyShow''.
* A non-pornographic version was used in the ''Series/LawAndOrder'' episode "D-Girl", when Lieutenant Van Buren says she had heard about the victim of the week in the tabloids. That she only saw while she was in the line at the grocery store.
* ''Series/LawAndOrderCriminalIntent'': While investigating the murder of a magazine editor in "Traffic", Nichols comments that his father used to read it and remembers an article featuring Creator/UrsulaAndress in a brassiere that fired bullets. When Steven wryly asks "Your father read it?", he admits it was shared, then adds there was always a fight over the crossword.

* In ''Radio/HamishAndDougal'', the Laird reads ''Big Fit Birds'' for the gardening tips.
* One of ''Radio/RoundTheHorne''[='s=] running gags is Kenneth Horne mentioning some absurd and often vaguely smutty-sounding publication and claiming to read it for the crossword/spot the ball competition/etc.
-->"Now the other day I was leafing through my copy of ''The Lady Wrestlers Home Journal'', which I buy for the fat stock prices..."
-->"Recently I was leafing through my copy of ''Throw off Your Clothes and Live'' - I buy it for the chess problems..."
-->"As I was glancing through my copy of ''Forbidden Flesh Monthly'' - it's a vegetarian magazine..."
* Used on one episode of ''Radio/TheNowShow'' with a song, one of whose lines was "you don't read [[UsefulNotes/BritishNewspapers The]] [[PageThreeStunna Sun]] for the news" (as well as going through every other example of PoorMansPorn).
* In the Radio 4 adaptation of ''Literature/TheDiaryOfSamuelPepys'', Pepys's bookseller explains that ''L'escolle des filles'' is quite expensive due to the high demand among people interested in the story of a sixteen-year-old girl being "educated" by her older cousin, but that Pepys will of course only be interested in its literary merit, before leeringly adding that it has illustrations. (Pepys himself called it "a mighty lewd book, but yet not amiss for a sober man once to read over to inform himself in the villainy of the world.")

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/Fallout2'': when asked by Miss Kitty in New Reno why you have some Cat's Paw magazines on you, you can reply that you read them for the articles.
** She gives you a quest to find a full set of the Cat's Paw magazines, since she runs the Cat's Paw brothel. When you bring them all back, she says there's two issues of #5, and some of the pages are stuck together,. so you can keep it. She unsticks them for you, since she's an expert at handling sticky things. An article in the magazine gives you an extra 5% skill with energy weapons. "What do you know. You DO read it for the articles."
* Mao of ''VideoGame/Disgaea3AbsenceOfJustice'' ''claims'' that his obsessive collection of comics and video games is merely research on heroes... it's pretty obvious that he's one of TheKnightsWhoSaySquee.
* Guardsman Joey in ''VideoGame/DragonNest'' supposedly reads "Naughty Goddess" (a men's magazine, wink wink) for the articles, then uses the rest for toilet paper. So does your character. Even if your character is the archer (an elf girl).
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'', after Snake escapes from Groznyj Grad's prison, should he have the magazines on him prior to capture, calling EVA will have her reveal that she knows about the magazines (although she nonetheless promises not to throw anything away), with Snake being unable to explain why he had them. EVA, however, isn't too upset that he has them in themselves, more that he would actually read them during a mission, or that he would use them to distract an enemy, explaining that [[ThatCameOutWrong he should request her help in distracting the enemy, at least]].
* Referenced in ''VideoGame/MafiaII'': The game contains a number of ''Playboy'' centerfolds as collectibles. The games stats menu shows the amount of time looking at said collectibles as "Time spent on ''Playboy'' articles."
* Taken even further in ''VideoGame/MafiaIII'', which once again has ''Playboy'' magazines as collectible items. Not only are the usual centerfolds there, but so are many of the articles, which contain interviews with famous '60s figures like historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., right-wing oil baron H. L. Hunt (known to modern pop culture as the inspiration for J. R. Ewing from ''Series/{{Dallas}}''), and anti-war [[UsefulNotes/IvyLeague Yale]] chaplain William Sloane Coffin.
* In ''Series/TheLoveBoat'' Doc claims that he only reads ''Kitten Magazine'' for the articles shortly after commenting that Sandy, who posed for it once a few years ago, has nothing to be ashamed of.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/CyanideAndHappiness'' has a comic that goes like this:
--> Wife: Japanese Playboy?\\
Husband: I, uh, read it for the articles.\\
Wife (happy): Wow! I didn't know you could read Japanese!\\
Husband grins
* ''Webcomic/SamAndFuzzy'' has a character use an inversion of this. Sam, embarrassed to be caught reading a porn magazine's advice column, insists to his coworkers that he only reads it "for the pornography".
* Inverted in ''Webcomic/{{Fans}}'', where Shanna, who claims to be a lesbian, keeps around a stack of ''Magazine/{{Playboy}}''... which (being a closet scifi geek) she reads for the articles.
* ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'' has a [[http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=35 comic]] where [[RobotBuddy Pintsize]] swears he is reading an Apple magazine for the benchmarks despite a suspicious can of [[ADateWithRosiePalms WD-40 lubricant]] nearby.
* ''Webcomic/TwoLumps'': Eben's [[http://twolumps.net/d/20070926.html justification]] for reading "Cat Fancy".
* Igor of ''Webcomic/DorkTower'' quotes this when trying to explain why he's a ''VideoGame/DeadOrAlive'' fan, then immediately self-corrects to "I buy it for the gameplay." This does not convince anyone.
* ''Webcomic/FurryExperience'': [[http://furryexperience.smackjeeves.com/comics/1807152/page-299/ Cat's Goals]], where she wants to buy a ''Playboy'' magazine to see what the articles are like, since everyone's reading them. This from a girl who runs in terror from just about anything to do with sex. The AltText [[LampshadeHanging comments]]: "Every time you find out someone has a ''Playboy'' magazine, they protest they have it for the articles."
* In one ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' strip, Helena the Immortal tells a stream of BlatantLies to prove that Immortals are capable of lying. The last one is [[http://www.egscomics.com/index.php?id=2106 "Men buy adult magazines for the articles."]]
* [[YaoiFangirl Ruby Larose]] of ''Webcomic/StickyDillyBuns'' has been known to declare that she reads {{Yaoi}} for the stories. This isn't totally convincing (though she does pay attention to the characters and plots). She does become a bit more honest about such things as she experiences CharacterDevelopment.
* In ''Webcomic/ArthurKingOfTimeAndSpace'', an unused "[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Guenevere the Vampire Slayer]]" arc strip ([[http://www.arthurkingoftimeandspace.com/3515.htm published in script form]] when Paul started wrapping things up) would have had Arthur-as-Xander claim he only reads ''Literature/AnitaBlake'' for the articles.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Josh Hadley, host of ''Podcast/{{Radiodrome}}'' has actually said that he ''does'' read ''Playboy'' for the articles, because the "pornographic" content is so tame, that's all it's good for.
* The [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/i-watch-it-for-the-plot "I watch it for the plot"]] image macro meme follows this line of thought. The joke in this case was associating common literary devices ( such as CharacterDevelopment, engaging storylines, and humor) with images of (usually female) characters' chests and butts as a sort of UnusualEuphemism for {{Fanservice}}.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', when Flash says that he knows who the Hugh Hefner {{expy}} is, Wonder Woman asks "So you're familiar with his work?" To which Flash responds "I just read it for the articles." As always, this bit of GettingCrapPastTheRadar brought to you by ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''.
* Homer tries to use this excuse on Marge in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', so she calls his bluff and cuts out all of the naked women. Homer sadly throws the ''Playdude'' in the garbage where Bart finds it, and apparently not realizing that something is missing, assumes the articles are what the big deal is about ([[FridgeLogic But what about the articles on the other side of the paper?]])
** In an older episode, Bart asks supernanny Sherry Bobbins what she'd do if she caught him reading a ''[[BlandNameProduct Playdude]]''. Her answer? Make him read ALL the articles, including [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment Norman Mailer's "latest claptrap about his waning libido"]].
** In "Homer the Heretic," Homer reads a copy of ''Playdude'' while his family is at church, and he actually ''is'' reading the articles!
* In ''[[Franchise/WinnieThePooh My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Super Sleuth Christmas Movie]]'', Rabbit's Christmas wish is to meet Santa Claus and find out how he delivers toys to all the children. He doesn't think it's possible, though, so he states that he's also asked for a subscription to ''Rutabaga Monthly''. He then continues, hilariously, [[ParentalBonus "for the articles, of course."]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'', Numbuh Five accuses Numbuh Two of reading Rainbow Monkey comics. Numbuh Two claims that he only reads them for the video game ads.
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' where Hank discovers a copy of ''Magazine/TheNewYorker'' in Bobby's room. When confronted about Bobby panics and swears that he ''wasn't'' reading it for the articles.
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'': Daphne spots Fred with a copy of his favorite magazine "[[HilariousInHindsight Traps Illustrated]]" with a female cheesecake photo on the cover. Fred's alibi is that he reads it for the articles. (This being Fred, it's very possible he's sincere.)
* Inverted in an ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' episode where Eddy has Ed hide his "magazines". After the trio implies that Ed hid them in the sewer and Double D mentions how the text must be ruined, Eddy's remark is, "It's the pictures I'm worried about."
** Referenced again in the same episode. While Double D is trying to deduce where Ed might have hidden the box of magazines, he instructs the very impatient Eddy to "read a magazine or something." Eddy retorts that he would if he knew where they were; Double D rather snootily asks, "Oh, you ''read'' those?"
* Inverted(?) in the ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' episode "G-String Circus," when ex-stripper Tanqueray declares: "I'm gonna try and get in Playboy. [[spoiler:I've got a lot of good short stories. This suitcase is filled with science fiction.]]"
** [[spoiler:[[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] about ten seconds later when Francine comes barging in and thinks that Tangueray has stolen all the jewelry and silverware. Which [[ZigZaggedTrope Stan then admits ]] that he sold to finance his latest schemes.]]