"Well, time for a review. Ha! Just kidding! No, it's time for a boring sketch with our interns! What, you didn't think we actually reviewed games anymore, did you?"
So you're a Caustic Critic
with your own Video Review Show
hosted on your website, and you have a somewhat sizeable fanbase to your name, with thousands of viewers pouring in on your website to watch you shout a lot about games, movies or television shows both new and old and why they all suck so bad
. That's all well and good, but you could still go that extra mile to grab some extra viewers, while flaunting your filmmaking skills
over the course of a standard review.
This is the Mid-Review Sketch Show: a series of usually short cutaways from the actual review for the reviewer (with a possible host of extras by his side) to perform additional, usually humorous skits relating to the work being reviewed, and often to showcase the creator's opinion of the work being reviewed in a more visual format. Depending on the reviewer, these can be either very subtle or massively elaborate, with some reviewers taking weeks to script, film and edit their videos into twenty-minute-extravaganzas.
Compare Cutaway Gag
and Big Lipped Alligator Moment
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- The Angry Video Game Nerd more or less codified this trope: his earliest videos featured some short skits, but he got particularly carried away with these in his Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street (NES) reviews and hasn't stopped since. His format has since then become almost standard of just about any Caustic Critic with a video series of his own, and his own theatrical antics have evolved to the point where he can spend more than half the video goofing around in front of a camera instead of talking about the game.
His more skit-heavy episodes can become so elaborate that he's often working on several reviews at a time, shifting between "classic"-style reviews with a bigger focus on the game itself, and more theatrical videos, the former kind taking less effort to make. (to show how the elaborate are complicated: in a "making of" special, he points out he listened to Iron Maiden's entire discography while editing his 100th episode!)
- Chris Bores' The Irate Gamer naturally does these frequently, seeing as his format is a wholesale carbon copy of the Nerd's format.
- Naturally, about half the contributors on That Guy with the Glasses indulge in these constantly.
- Especially the site's very own Doug Walker as the The Nostalgia Critic (who once decided that the best way to end a review of The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is a completely unrelated 2001: A Space Odyssey parody that lasts five minutes).
- Linkara only uses these occasionally, usually in the Previously On segments before each review, showcasing things that didn't actually happen in the last video while crossing over with other TGWTG contributors. He also has had at least one ongoing storyline, which was mostly cameos and foreshadowing that didn't take very much time away from the review — until it erupts into a major storyline turning point where there's more theatrics than review, such as the "Battle with Mechakara" and the "Linkara Is Lost" arcs.
- Noah Antwiler of The Spoony Experiment frequently interjects subtle theatrics into his videos, but only rarely gets too carried away with them (such as the end of his Phantasmagoria 2 Let's Play and his Final Fantasy VIII review). He has mentioned in his commentary videos that there's been some backlash against characters like Dr. Insano and Spencer D. Bum, and understands that his viewers don't necessarily want to watch him goof around on-camera that much.
Spoony subverts this formula in his recent review of Bloodwings: Pumpkinhead's Revenge, where he claims to have had an elaborate review planned out with sketches aplenty (with a guest appearance by Linkara), but cancels the whole thing because he wouldn't want to dignify the game with such an elaborate review.
- Film Brain did this often in his early videos, but it's pretty much been dropped, and fans seem to prefer the more straightforward approach.
- The Nostalgia Chick's recent videos seem to be half this, half review. She does the review and either Nella by herself or with her other friends provide the sketch subplot.
- Nash's What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?, while not a review show per se, always ends with a sketch.
- Brad Jones' The Reviewers is an Affectionate Parody of internet reviewers who incorporate sketches and story lines into their videos, and even includes cameos from other video producers who use them.
- Phantom Reviewer feature footage from old The Phantom of the Opera films to represent The Phantom Reviewer and Christine in the sketches.
- Red Letter Media
- Mr. Plinkett reviews feature the title character's exploits in his Creepy Basement and other psychotic behaviour.
- Half in the Bag has been described by its creators as a cross between Siskel & Ebert and an '80s sitcom, but in practice, this simply translates to the customary Mid-Review Sketch Show (usually featuring the Rich Evans version of Mr. Plinkett) being deliberately hackneyed and self-deprecating.
- The most prominent example of this is Episode 37. In what is supposed to be a review of Step Up: Revolution, only about 7 seconds of the 8 minutes long episode is spend talking about the film ("It sucked!"), the rest is about wrapping the season's running storyline ("Really? This was all this led up to? Another George Lucas thing?").
- Wiiviewer does some of these, especially when showing just how silly some aspects of the games are.
- Eat Your Kimchi: During the Music Monday reviews there are short sketches based on something from the reviewed video that Simon and Martina noticed, or questioned, or think is odd.
- Joueur du Grenier naturally does this too, since the formula is largely (and overtly) inspired by The Angry Video Game Nerd. The sketches usually happen at the end of the review, when the exceeded JdG is victim of the pernicious influence of the bad game he played — or when he tries to destroy it, and the game fights back (this one was mostly in the early episodes though). The sketches are also getting more and more elaborate with time, a bigger cast having joined JdG and Seb for the most recent ones. In 2012 he also started the Papy Grenier series alongside his normal reviews, where an old bearded (and slightly sociopathic) man revisits old games as if they had happened in real life, sort of making them reviews and sketch-shows blended together.