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Pandering to the Base
"What's happening with video games is the same thing that happens with anything new and interesting. At the beginning, everybody wants to see what it is. They gather around and check it out. But gradually, people start to lose interest.
"The people who don't lose interest become more and more involved... And the medium starts to be influenced by only those people. It becomes something exclusive to the people who've stuck with it for a long time. And when the people who were interested in it at first look back at it, it's no longer the thing that interested them."
One of life's little oddities is the nebulous relationship between the fans of media and the creators, producers, and distributors of that media. In theory, the creators call the shots; they decide what's happening and the fans follow as they will. But that's a bit naive; it's the fans who keep the ratings up, the sales high and the money flowing in, and if you displease them, they can just go elsewhere and take the gravy train with them. The existence of things like fanon discontinuity, dork age, author's saving throw, and fanon means that any property successful enough to cultivate a group of intensely devoted fans is going to be at least partially concerned with satisfying their wishes; you have to give your viewers what they want.
So, just give the fans exactly what they want and everything will work out. Simple, huh?
Not quite. Generally speaking, the more intensely devoted fans in a fandom are usually outnumbered by the casual fans, but the more devoted a fan becomes, the more active (and louder) they become in the fandom. So while a few million casual fans might enjoy an episode without ever making it widely known, a handful of devoted and occasionally unhinged fans are screaming on a web forum about how the show is now Ruined FOREVER, which can be seen and heard by everyone... including the people making the show. The producers may then start pandering to these voices exclusively, believing them to be the voice of everyone watching (which they will often claim to be) — but "everyone" in this case may in fact consist only of a handful of people, and what this minority wants and what the other, less noisy fans want can differ drastically.
This presents a major problem. The property can end up becoming a private club, accessible only to a select few. Excluding the casual fans means they'll simply drift away to find something else to spend their time on, and raising the entry bar too high means you run the risk of locking out new fans who may have possibly been interested in the property, but now find it too difficult to access. While the vocal minority might now be satisfied (and you can't evencount on that), they rarely translate to enough ratings and / or sales to justify the property's continued existence — and to make matters worse, even this hardcore minority may begin to drift away for numerous reasons (changing tastes, burnout, lessened interest, etc). This results in diminishing returns ending in eventual cancellation if unchecked.
Furthermore, the overall quality of the property can begin to suffer; just because someone is intensely committed to a particular work of fiction doesn't necessarily mean they know what makes good fiction work. The hardcore fans are generally fascinated by the backstory, trivia and continuity which can build up around a franchise, but this doesn't necessarily make riveting entertainment to anyone less interested in all of this stuff. And if you somehow get the story's continuity hopelessly tangled up or make any mistakes, this makes things worse; not only have you lost the interest of the people who don't care about this stuff, you've annoyed the people who do, and it's now guaranteed they won't be shy about saying so. In many cases, pandering to the base rarely succeeds in making anyone happy, not even the fans it's supposed to win over, because ultimately what most devoted fans want is the same as the casual ones; interesting and engaging stories, not just constant pandering.
A wise producer understands a simple rule that helps them avoid all of this; generally speaking, you've got the hardcore minority regardless — they'll usually (but not always) keep following the story- even if they're dragged in kicking and screaming. You need to win over the undecided. They understand that for every fan who writes a frothing invective on the Internet or a rabid email, there's probably ten or more who are perfectly content with what's happening.
On the flip side, however, tropes are not bad; pandering to the base can and indeed in many cases does work out just fine. Sometimes giving the fans what they want is the same as giving the wider audience what they want as well. And while they can at times be annoying, the fans are still part of your audience, and if you're deliberately pissing them off, you're still pissing off a potentially significant segment of your own audience, who will desert you if you go too far. Furthermore, relying on the approval of the silent majority over the noisy fans presents its own pitfalls — in particular, you might not actually have it. The fan criticism you're receiving may have a point.
Compare Vocal Minority, which usually is the bases being pandered to. Sometimes the base in question is the Lowest Common Denominator. Can result in The Chris Carter Effect, Better on DVD, Continuity Lock-Out, Continuity Porn. Compare/contrast Running the Asylum, which is sometimes the writers pandering to the fans, and sometimes pandering to themselves. Can also result to fans screaming Ruined Forever as well as an Unpleasable Fanbase. When the pandering actually does work, it's And the Fandom Rejoiced.
This phenomenon is sometimes called "fanservice", but don't confuse this with our definition of said trope (although the two can often be related, depending on what exactly the fanbase being pandered to is demanding).
Tropes this often involves (but are not necessarily this themselves):
The "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" ads for Apple can be seen as an inverse case of this. The ads seem to exist to reassure prospective Apple newbies that they're cool rather than providing a reason why knowledgeable Mac users (those interested in more than making fan videos on YouTube, and someone likely to use Photoshop) would want to stay. Not with much success - many people (across the OS divide) see the Mac guy as a stuck-up poseur and the PC guy as, well,John Hodgman.
There is also a small division of grammar vigilantes who berate Apple for claiming that Macs are not Personal Computers. Especially after Apple switched from IBM-Freescale PowerPC to Intel x86.
Anime & Manga
This entry at MangaCast discusses the increase of Ho Yay moments in stories published in Shonen Jump. Although the author is a yaoi fangirl (or "fujoshi") herself, she's not entirely pleased with the rate of fanservice:
'When Jump started to give bits and pieces of fanfare for fujoshis, it became fun in the beginning. It felt great to be reassured of your fandom. Of course, those moves were little and those who don't know probably wouldn't notice it, but we fujoshis do and we treasured it like our first love letter. [...But] the magazine became over-saturated with fujoshi overtones and it's no longer fun. [...] the fujoshi moe and maybe even regular moe diluted the core of their stories. Perseverance. Victory. Friendship. Although a few titles still keep these values, most have been written simply to whet the fantasies of the readers. In the end, you find yourself wondering, "Why did I even read this story to begin with?"'
One of the major theories of why the Japanese Invasion had began to grind to a halt in The New Tens is that the anime industry in Japan in general has been pandering more and more to its core otaku base at the expense of a most likely wider audience creating a vicious circle of appeal to otaku, sales lower as you appeal to less of a wider audience, increasing prices for little content to make up for the loss and then circling back around to appeal to otaku even more and on and on.
The entire relation between Gundam fans of the original time-line (Universal Century) and the Alternate Timelines is entirely shaped by the very different expectations of each side as well as Vocal Minority. Disentangling what each group really wants and trying to appeal to both sides is for many what is ruining the original appeal of the series. The fact the UC and Alternate Timelines appeal to different tastes with the same success hasn't helped matters.
The staff behind Code Geass has intimated that fan response incited them into expanding the role of one character as the series progressed.
This◊ is a stellar example of non-sexual fanservice. Most fans have been wanting to do this to Suzaku for quite a while now.
Lucky Star had its pandering in the form of Konata and Kagami getting more screentime than the other two mains because a large group of fanboys enjoyed the incidental yuri fodder. They won but fans of other characters lost out.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion shows the audience of the original series many things they wanted see, including: focusing on Madoka and Homura relationship and having the latter declare her love for the former, heavyLes Yay between Sayaka and Kyoko, showing Charlotte the Witch's human form and giving her an owner-pet like relationship with Mami, having Hitomi as an antagonist once, etc.
Kenjiro Hata seems to have a good handle on this trope. When Athena was introduced in Hayate the Combat Butler, the fandom exploded with praise for how the story had changed for the serious and the better character introduction. Since her arcs ended, and Athena faded back into the background, the fandom has returned to the less vocal minority, and Hata has made note how he's happy the story has returned to it's normal functioning many times.
'"We’ve got a lot of followers who are looking to become mangaka, and there’s something I noticed about their works – I’d like to write a bit about what we’ve noticed. It’s about art – there seem to be few people who can draw cool looking men. Especially their faces. People who can draw a man who looks cool to other men, with a sense of sex appeal. Are there no rookies about who can do that…Looking at recent contributions, everyone can draw cute girls. But however you look at it they put no effort into men. I suspect those who can draw cool men will command the next era in manga (though this is an exaggeration). Keep trying!'"
The live-action Death Note movies, wherein L defeats Kira.
In the Gundam Wing novel sequel Frozen Teardrop, the Identical Students of Trowa and Quatre spend a lot of time together. This could possibly be the author (also the head writer of the anime) granting a concession to the Yaoi Fangirls, since Trowa/Quatre was one of if not the most popular yaoi pairing amongst that fandom. It's not a complete concession, though; Quatre's successor is his identical sister.
In the eyes of some fans, Saint Seiya Omega was hit hard with this during its second season. The Clothstones and sleeker Cloth designs, which a lot of people complained about, were swapped out for the old Cloth Boxes and bulkier Cloth designs, and a good chunk of the main cast, like Souma and Yuna, was severely shafted in favor of the Gold and Legendary Saints.
Fansubs are as a rule made by and for Occidental Otaku and assume a greater familiarity with the Japanese Language and Japanese culture than professional subtitles do. Their translations also tend to be more literal.
4Kids Entertainment rather infamously added additonal Ship Tease in Pokémon between Ash and Misty in order to appeal to new found shippers who were reading more into subtext than the writers actually intended. It got to the point where they even created an original Image Song about shipping the two.
A recurring problem in comic books for the past few decades. The big comic-book universes are shackled by Continuity Porn, their obsession with trivia, and the need of their fans for everything in a particular verse to be internally consistent and logical (despite the fact that by this point this is next to impossible to achieve). This results in periodic reboots (which are almost impenetrable if you're a casual fan and don't care), where the writers have to retool everything in order to assure the most hardcore fans that no, it all really does make sense; as well as individual series having their plots derailed by massive, universe-spanning crossovers.
To an extent Marvel managed this with their Ultimates remake. It simplifies plots of the original comics, for good or for bad, but if you come to it without preconceptions, it actually reads pretty well, at least till you get to Ultimatum
Marvel has been accused of Pandering to Themselves with One More Day and subsequent storylines, which flew in the face of widespread complaints from the fanbase. Even people who disliked the Parker/Watson marriage resented the manner in which it was broken up.
DC followed suit with their Earth-One series of graphic novels. Part of the rationale of The New 52 reboot was to simplify continuity. Then again, part of the rationale for every reboot is to simplify continuity.
This reaction to the official DC Comics novel Inheritance takes a similar attitude to Ho Yay in Western comics:
Believe me, there was LOUD, LOUD SQUAWKING. I've reached the phase wherein I'm too embarrassed to continue, and too curious to stop. It's too rich to be subtextual porn; it's too laden with innuendo to be textual and serious.
It's unbelievable, luxuriously, lustily GAY. Bad-fanfic kind of gay. The "OMG, what are you DOING?!" kinda gay. The shrieking and the "How did they even PUBLISH this!?" kind. [...] Oh, God, if it weren't so raw in its obviousness, I'd be in slash nirvana.
Being a heavily reviewed fic, You Got HaruhiRolled! acquired a fanbase of its very own. The writer, superstarultra, is in contact with some of his most loyal reviewers via private messaging, and has freely taken their suggestions, creating a whole Fanon. Over time, some of his reviewers have expressed a preference for his interpretation of the Anti-SOS Brigade, and though they have never become a Spotlight-Stealing Squad (which is probably a good thing) superstarultra did write a whole chapter filled with nods to this Fanon which only exists in private messages.
Ultra Fast Pony references this in the episode "The Best Episode Ever", where Twilight organizes a play because she misunderstands what the UFP fandom wants.
Fluttershy: So why do we have to do this? Twilight: Well, according to the fans of the show, we need to have more "smoking hot thespian action". [...] As long as we give the fans everything we think that they want, I'm sure this will be the best episode ever.
The film features a ton of this in the form of background ponies appearing as humans (namely Derpy Hooves) as well as a few nods such as the Cutie Mark Crusaders dancing to their theme song as well as the great and powerful TRIIIIXIIIEE (needing some peanut butter crackers). The more idealistic fans see it as a successful attempt to Win Back the Crowd from the Audience-Alienating Premise and enjoyed it. The less accepting fans, however, see their appearances as blatant pandering and an attempt to cover up what was perceived as bad writing and Canon Defilement. Not so much pandering to the base as the Periphery Demographic, but they would be far more receptive to something like this than the franchise's traditional base anyway, who would just see it as a fun commercialnote Word of God is that the show is designed to appeal to parents as well, and just happened to appeal to bronies, which Hasbro has zero problems with..
The movie's sequel, My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks ups the appeal, with inclusion of other fan-favorite background characters without any speaking lines, including Octavia (who has actually does have one line), Lyra and Bon-Bon (with a dash of the fandom's Ship Tease), Bulk Biceps and Maud Pie. It also has much more Trixie (who plays a secondary antagonist in the film), and much more Derpy (having her own band where she plays the saw).
For all the They Changed It, Now It Sucks that the Transformers series gets from the fanbase, the writers did a surprisingly bold move when the desire to include fan favorite Soundwave into the film hit the wall with Michael Bay's demands for what the movie Transformers would be able to do, like refusing to allow mass-shifting. In the original draft Soundwave was supposed to be the one hacking the defense network and tracking Sam Witwicky down. Part of the story involved him mass shifting from a small infiltrator robot into a Humvee. Michael Bay vetoed this plot and Soundwave's role was divided up among a few additional robots. Instead of just naming the primary one Soundwave to salvage the plotline to appease Bay, they named the robot Blackout, with Frenzy, Barricade and Scorponok taking on the role Soundwave and Ravage would have had. The writers then proclaimed said "Do Soundwave right or not at all." Revenge of the Fallen in turn gave us a strong Soundwave/Ravage showing, with Soundwave as a spy satellite.
Similarly, the 2005 film The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy included a lengthy and completely superfluous second intro involving the title book flying through space to the tune of "Journey of the Sorceror", a sequence copied from The BBC miniseries. This seems to have been MJ Simpson's main problem with the film, as he accuses it of being more interested in its jeweled scuttling crabs and other trivial allusions to the source material than being a coherent and faithful adaptation. Which is sort of Completely Missing the Point, since each iteration of the Hitchhiker Universe is its own continuity and the film isn't an adaptation of the book, much like the book isn't the same as the original radio plays.
Peter Jackson has been accused of doing this with The Hobbit, by introducing characters from The Lord of the Rings, such as Frodo, Galadriel and Saruman, who didn't have any part to play in the original novel (which was written well before The Lord of the Rings) but who were made immensely popular and well-known to movie-goers thanks to the movies. He also made three movies out of one book much shorter than any one volume of LOTR, introduced some subplots very loosely based on material from the LOTR appendices, and inserted several Continuity Nods or Mythology Gags to the LOTR movies to such a degree that several critics have called him out on the Fanservice and Padding, and likened the experience to the bad sort of Fanfiction.
Some people accused Iron Man 2 of setting up the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe more than its own, due to the greater presence of Call Forwards like Captain America's shield, a clip from The Incredible Hulk, Tony being evaluated for the Avengers, Black Widow, Nick Fury's return, and Thor's hammer being found. However, Nick Fury doesn't appear until more than an hour in and even then his purpose is more to get Tony off of his ass and work than to convince him to join the Avengers. He even tells Tony that how annoyed he is Tony has become his problem to deal with when S.H.I.E.L.D. has more on its plate to handle. Pandering also seems to be parodied when Coulson discovers an incomplete Captain America shield. Tony asks for it excitedly... and uses it to prop up his machine.
Due to Loki's popularity skyrocketing after the release of The Avengers, the script for Thor: The Dark World was rewritten to give him more focus, at the expense of Malekith and the Dark Elves.
The Cosmic Retcon of the two most disliked movies in the series, as mentioned under Author's Saving Throw and Broken Base, can be seen as this. Even more so since among the things retconned out is Origins' reviled version of Deadpool, opening the door to a more fan-friendly version of the popular character, as hinted by comments from the creators.
Making Kitty the key to sending people into the past may have been an attempt to placate the fans who were mad that Logan was sent back instead of her. In this case, it's something that only pleased some of the base.
Many Star Wars games and books like to repeat famous lines from the movies as shout outs, unfortunately to the point where it's getting a little hard to believe. Sure there must be someone in that universe who doesn't "have a bad feeling about this".
For the games, the opening crawl, the music, and the Idiosyncratic Wipes are also things that fans have come to expect, nay, demand.
Almost every ship in the prequels and the EU seems to be based on the ones from the original trilogy. More accurately, the most iconic ones; the X-Wing, TIE series, Star Destroyers, and the Death Star, even unto the Old Republic era, which is 4,000 years before A New Hope. Speaking of which, the Sith have been going after/building giant superweapons for at least that long. You'd think they'd have caught on by now. Most versions also like to include an Artoo & Threepio-like pair of robots, or just one.
The way Artemis/Holly is becoming more and more canon in Artemis Fowl. They've now kissed and had Artemis' alternate personality, Orion, tell Holly that Artemis thinks of her constantly and is very passionate about her. Not to mention Orion spends the entire book mooning over Holly, which he claims he picked up from the real Artemis. Though he does have a very limited social group. They've been the Fan-Preferred Couple since the very first book.
Somewhat of an example in Jack Chalker's last published novel Kaspar's Box, from The Three Kings series. Best known for his physical transformation fetish (and having the strongest fans with similar tastes), there's a purely gratuitous physical transformation which has absolutely nothing to do with the plot, hasn't anything to do with the universe the story appears in, happens offscreen, literally comes out of nowhere, doesn't have any real repercussions, and the effect never happens again. For all intents and purposes, it looks like it was simply thrown in to appease his biggest fans.
Star Trek descended into this territory during the final season of Enterprise, though this is considered to be a good thing given that that show's final season is generally considered its best.
John Nathan-Turner's tenure as producer of Doctor Who is frequently criticised for doing this. He was probably the first producer to really interact with and respond to the desires of the fanbase, an approach that initially made him quite popular. Unfortunately, this same approach eventually resulted in constant ham-fisted continuity references, return appearances from one-off villains who hadn't been seen in ten years, sequels to stories that hadn't been broadcast in twenty years, an overdose of self-indulgence, and the gradual feeling that the only people who could enjoy the show were anoraky types who kept detailed charts of every single thing that happened in the show's twenty-five-year history. To make matters worse, some of the original material being referenced was material that was missing and presumed wiped, making it near-impossible to actually go back and catch up on it. Naturally, the fanbase was quick to realize that what they thought they wanted wasn't actually what they really wanted, and today Nathan Turner's tenure is considered controversial by fans, to say the least; he's often blamed for the show's gradual decline in popularity and eventual cancellation in the 1980s.
For an example of what might be considered the nadir of this approach, watch the serial 'Attack of the Cybermen', which is almost incomprehensible without a degree in background knowledge of the show's history. And if you are that kind of fan, you'll be outraged by the conflicts between the story and the stories it was trying to reference, which caused a Continuity Snarl that some people think was the reason that the 2000s Cyberstories started from scratch with Cybermen from a parallel universe.
A lot of people think RTD bringing Rose back in S4 and giving her a conveniently human clone of the Doctor was pandering.
Reading interviews with Heroes producers about all the major story decisions they made based entirely on what the fans wanted (the death of Simone and survival of the first-season Big Bad Sylar into Season Two, among the worst examples), one wonders if they have any confidence at all in their own storytelling abilities.
From Bad to Worse. Due to the fans absolute love of season one, Kring just rehashed season one and called it season two. This lead to sloppy writing and many complained about the bad pacing and romantic subplots. Kring's answer was to write out anybody who originated in season two, and then turn the season into a Random Events Plot to answer the lack of plot twists. Now he plans to do a reboot of the show and ignore what happened in volume three. Yep, no confidence at all.
When it comes to the female guest stars, Supernatural is certainly guilty of this. Jo was a love interest for Dean; she was hated by the fans and so got booted. Bela was introduced — to say that she was hated would be an understatement — and she got ripped to pieces with Hellhounds (off-screen). It was then revealed that Katie Cassidy as Ruby had to leave too (however, that was because they didn't have the budget to pay for her return). Kripke has also ended up apologising for the oft-reviled "Red Sky At Morning" and a few other unpopular episodes. While you appreciate the thought, you kind of wish they had the stones to ignore the bitchier parts of their fanbase. Ruby was a subversion before she got Killed Off for Real. It's revealed in season four that she simply got a new meatsuit after being forced out of the old one by Lilith.
This might not necessarily be a bad thing here, since the female viewership were not only trying to ship clearly straight (frequently related) heterosexual men together, they were picking up on and complaining about the stereotypical way the show portrayed female leads. In Jo's case, the writers began to see the fan's point; according to her actress, they told her she came off more as a 14-year old sister than a love interest. The female fanbase warmed to Jo after she stood up to Dean when he tried to pick her up, and positively started liking her and Ellen after their Alas, Poor Scrappy moment. Later seasons seem to have picked up on how much the fangirls hate the stereotypical Girl of the Week. Meg (as played by Rachel Miner) and Pam (the blind seer) both played against the female stereotypes and were both reasonably well received.
More creepily, the writers throw in a buttload of ho-yay moments and the characters spend a lot of time tied up and broken. Episodes written by Sera Gamble in particular tend to throw in a lot of female-directed fan service. It's probably one of the main reason the show has run for eight seasons, despite the writing quality not being consistently good and the base being irreparably broken. They've figured out what sells.
As a part of Jeremy Carver's general attempt to Win Back the Crowd lost during season 6 and especially season 7 he turned up the Ho Yay between Dean and Castiel Upto Eleven, at one point even scripting an 'I love you', which made it as far as being acted out before Jensen Ackles (the actor who plays Dean) decided it was out of character. This worked a bit too well; it drew back a lot of old viewers upset at Castiel's absence from season 7 and drew in a lot of new viewers interested in the possibility of a Ho Yay ship going canon, but then a script supervisor tweeted that there wasn't and never was any intention to actually go through with it, followed by a guest director insulting the shippers by tweeting that they were getting upset over a storyline that didn't exist and calling them 'weirdos'. This led to a MASSIVE backlash, and accusations of queerbaiting so strong that Misha Collins (the actor who plays Castiel, as well as the most interactive and PR conscious person on the show) had to step in to do damage control. This article partially explains what happened.
Charlie Bradbury has been accused of this as well. The writers attempted to sidestep the Die for Our Ship issues that plagued other female characters by making her a lesbian. When she proved to be a Base Breaker, the writers went out of their way to give her more focus and repeatedly (offscreen) take levels in badass in a very jarring manner, leading to her being called a Creator's Pet by detractors. Even those that like her often think she comes across as the creators trying too hard to make an Ensemble Darkhorse.
In a rare doubly positive subversion, after years of sinking ratings under MMPR Productions, Power Rangers Ninja Storm managed to produce a Lighter and Softer version of the show full of Lampshade Hanging and Genre Savvy characters. The ratings took a dramatic upswing. The most vocal sect of the online fandom erupted at a perceived insult to the beloved departing production regime from a poorly worded press release and at the perception that the series had now become an Affectionate Parody of itself, necessitating an injection of fandom rejoicing in the form of Power Rangers Dino Thunder and the return of Tommy Oliver. Dino Thunder not only maintained the bump Ninja Storm enjoyed, it further increased the ratings.
As it turned out, test audiences of children polled after Ninja Storm had wrapped agreed with the fandom that Lothor was the weakest part of the show and demanded scarier villains.
Smallville started doing this towards the end in regards to the Chlollie ship (Chloe Sullivan and Oliver Queen). The very first time the two characters had met, Chloe was definitely attracted to Ollie, but the show apparently meant for that initial moment to be as far as it went, and played the moment for humor. But due to massive fan demand, in Season 9 the show explored the idea of Chloe and Oliver initially becoming Friends with Benefits (who clearly want something more, though they deny it) and then later embarking on a romantic relationship. Although there were naturally a few dissenters, most of the fanbase enjoyed it so much (or at least, were okay with it, which was actually a rather significant accomplishment for any ship in the SV fanbase), that the writers gave the ship a vague ending at the end where, 8 years later, Chloe is seen with a child that is implied to be hers and Ollie's, without actually confirming whether they're still together. This way, the comic book fans are free to speculate that Ollie ends up with Black Canary like he does in the regular DC Comics, while Chlollie shippers are free to speculate that he and Chloe are still together. A remarkable example of a new ship gaining Popularity Power.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7 has three or four very clunky gear changes/ dialogue cuts that look designed to appeal to Spuffy shippers irrespective of story logic. In the end the whole just about hangs together, but the ends of "Beneath You" and "First Date" stick out like sore thumbs and Buffy's supremeidiocy in "Lies My Parents Told Me" are seen to fit this.
Made somewhat interesting in that characters were kept on longer than initially planned due to their popularity with fans. Characters such as Spike, Faith, Mayor Wilkins, Anya, among many others were initially set up to either be one episode characters or appear in just a handful of episodes. Their popularity often saw them get more prominent screen time and even resulted in an alternate universe character, Vampire Willow, getting a second episode that same season. The most prominent example is Spike, who was set to die in his debut episode, who ended up not only staying on through the series finale but then transitioned onto the offspring show's final season!
The writers of Everybody Loves Raymond initially had the show centered around the title character of Raymond and the way his interactions with his zany family members would bring out his neuroses, causing hilarity to ensue. However as time went on, execs apparently noticed that the rivalry between his wife and his mother was polling well with certain key demographics and gradually the show started playing up their rivalry to the point where it seemed to become the show's new focus, instead of Ray and his neuroses. Ray himself frequently got reduced to being a quivering punching bag who would be swatted around between his wife and his mom as each angrily demanded that he argue against the other on her behalf, and the show even started making the wife become a Designated Heroine in the later seasons and clearly wanted the audience to cheer her on against Ray's mom. What made it rather ridiculous in the eyes of many fans was the fact that the wife and the mom were exactly the same in that they were both arrogant and mean, and in the wife's case, which made it very hard for many fans to root for her, though she certainly did have an ardent fanbase. The whole thing ended up being something of a base breaker.
The creator of iCarly panders to the shippers on that show generally by teasing the side that are Out of Focus at the moment. He started by pandering to those who ship Sam\Freddie as they fell out of focus after the "iKiss" episode. He uses his blogs and episode 'commentary' posts, where he always makes little references to them together without actually confirming any kind of feelings or love between them.
As the end of Season 4 and the start of Season 5 have a canon Sam/Freddie romance arc, it could make one wonder if his pandering was because he knew he was going to eventually do something that would at least partially satisfy them, or if they were just so numerous and responsive that he put it onto the show when it could quite easily have not been done at all.
He also immediately switches from pandering to the Sam/Freddie fans, to pandering to the Carly/Freddie fans the moment he put the episode out, by saying things like "you don't know how the next episode goes" and "watch the final scene closely", which were identical things to what he used to tell the Sam/Freddie fans when it was Carly/Freddie in the limelight. This time around people realized what he was doing, and they did not react at all like he would have expected.
He also panders to the base in a non-shipping way - in iCarly and Victorious he's given the Ensemble Dark Horse characters a bigger role once he found out how much the community liked them.
Glee is a big offender: the writers have totally acknowledged that they make it up as they go along, and many plot points were encouraged/demanded by or flat-out dreamed up by the audience, including: Idina Menzel as Rachel's biological mother, the Brittany/Santana relationship (largely spearheaded by actor Naya Rivera), Gwyneth Paltrow's performance of an Adele song ("Turning Tables"), and more.
The rabid Klaine fans are a VERY Vocal Minority that may be a factor in Blaine's Relationship Sue status. Most Klaine fans wanted less songs and more actual writing for Blaine. Also, Dave Karofsky was intended to be a violent, homophobic, bully and, later, something of a sexual predator. As it turns out, a lot of the gay male fans ended up actually identifying with him, or just found Max Adler attractive. The character was later brought back and allowed to redeem himself..
There is a huge amount of pandering to the Arthur/Merlin shippers when it comes to promoting Merlin, especially from Cult Fix, which releases ten teasers concerning upcoming episodes. These teasers will aways involve at least one example of Ship Tease between Merlin and Arthur, whether it involve piggy-back rides, loss of clothing, Merlin caught in compromising positions, conversations about peeing, or other bits of slash-bait. Often they word their teasers in such a way that insinuates the scenes are far more homoerotic than they actually appear in the episode. The teasers for the episode "Aithusa" also mentioned that the show's only female characters (Morgana and Guinevere) would not be appearing in the episode - the marginalization of women being a cause of much celebration for the slash fan-girl mentality. Yay, misogyny!
Following the cancellation of the UK children's game show Knightmare, a petition was set up in an attempt to revive the show. In 2002 a 13 minute pilot for a new updated series was produced called Knightmare VR using funds granted by the National Lottery. The producer, Tim Child, stated that he mainly chose to make the pilot due to the pressure and interest from the Knightmare fan base years after the original series ended. Unfortunately the new update deviated too much from the formula established in the original series and fan reaction to the pilot was generally negative. The proposed series never came to fruition.
The Battlestar Galactica movie "The Plan" spends time filling minor plotholes from the first two seasons, such as what happened to Shelley Godfrey. Most of these weren't terribly relevant to the plot after their initial episode, so they were never visited again in the series proper, but a handful of vocal fans kept asking the creators to answer these questions, so they did.
Arrow has been accused, especially prevalent by the fact that there isn't a large gap between production and transmission, meaning the series was able to actually take fan reaction of the first half of Season 1 to heart. The promotion of Ensemble Darkhorse characters like Slade Wilson, Felicity Smoak, and Roy Harper to the main cast for season 2, alongside toning down some of the more disliked parts (Thea's brattiness, Oliver's ruthlessness,) are seen as this, although since the show only just wrapped Season 1, it remains to be seen whether that was pandering or merely listening while smoothing out some Early Installment Weirdness. The show's Fanservice might be a better example, since the second season ad campaign (titled "Coming Back Strong" and consisting solely of the male actors posing shirtless.) is much more blatant about it.
The Vampire Diaries has a habit of keeping the Big Bads past season finales because they are popular with fans, while at the same time killing off other fan favorites such as Anna and Kol (even though he was a Draco in Leather Pants). The most blatant examples are Katherine and Klaus, the latter who was rendered literally unkillable because if he died, all of the main characters would die with him. Katherine finally met her end in Season 5
Classic Albums: On one hand the individual episodes of this TV documentary series about classic music albums will mostly attract fans of that particular artist or people with knowledge beforehand of that particular album. On the other hand music and rock fans can also enjoy the series, even if they aren't particularly fan of said album or artist.
Monty Python's Flying Circus became this in the fourth season, where Cleese was no longer involved and most of the material felt rather repetitious. Many sketches have scenes that are clearly only there to amuse and please their own fans, who by this point laughed and cheered at every odd thing they came up with. This is in high contrast with the earlier seasons where the audience merely snickered or almost didn't react at all, save for a few friends of the Pythons in the studio audience.
The titles of three releases by the Japanese pop group Perfume include the phrase "fan service", namely the CD single Fan Service (sweet), the concert DVD Fan Service (bitter) and the box set Fan Service Prima Box. The last is perhaps a genuine example of fanservice, since it comprises three discontinued CD singles from earlier in their career, which fans wanting to complete their collection would otherwise have to look for on the secondhand market. A review of Prima Box in the Japan Times refers to Perfume's 'coy, knowing references to otaku (obsessive fan) culture'.
The Song Study version of Devo's album, Something for Everybody. Fans participated in an online survey to determine which songs would end up on the album. On the other hand, it is quite clear that the whole Song Study campaign was meant to poke fun at the entertainment industry's extensive uses of focus groups and online surveys, and Devo simultaneously released a "88% focus group approved" version of Something for Everybody that contained all the songs that were cut from the Song Study version.
Taylor Swift has been accused of this by some fans after her second album, which, in stark contrast to her first album (which, for the most part, was startlingly mature and dark, but well-liked by listeners of all ages), is more decidedly geared towards teenagers. Let it not be ignored that the small majority of her first album's sales were from the teenage crowd.
Nerd Rock duo Paul and Storm explicitly admit to this in their concerts, particularly during The Captain's Wife's Lament (a song that, did they not continually interrupt themselves, would last somewhere on the light side of 90 seconds, but often takes ten minutes or more to get through).
Similarly to Devo's album, but unironically, Jethro Tull did their own "song study" when selecting the tracks for their 1987 comeback album, Crest Of A Knave. Justified as they had wanted to avoid the backlash they suffered through when releasing their previous album in 1984, the synth-heavynote most of the instrumentation being programmed on a Fairlight CMI workstation and Linndrum drum machine, with the exception of the acoustic track, "Under Wraps II", very uncharacteristic Under Wraps album. The album became a moderate hit and even won a (controversial at the time, but for unrelated reasons) Grammy award.
Frank Zappa: Zappa is an odd example of this trope. On one hand he simply did what he liked, telling the audience literally to get fucked if they hated what he did on stage or in his work. A huge chunk of his lyrics are inside jokes, incomprehensible to anyone but him and his band members. Yet on the other hand he did put in a lot of inside jokes and clues (conceptual continuity) that only his hardcore fans would recognize and cheer about.
The expression "pandering (or, less judgmentally, 'playing') to the base" originated in U.S. politics, where the primary system requires candidates to win the approval of their party's rank-and-file before formulating a broader appeal in the general election. Essentially, if a candidate wants to be elected, they have to persuade the party faithful to vote for them before targeting the wider majority. Of course, this can and has meant that the party may nominate someone who speaks to their specific views but lacks mainstream electability.
Another feature of how Congressional districts are distributed is that by this point almost every district in the country is safe for either a Republican or Democrat candidate. This means that it is quite common for the district to elect a candidate who not only is extreme by national standards, but can be an extremist even by the standards of the state.
What often happens in Presidential elections, especially for the party currently out of government, is that the chosen candidate must pander to the far wing of the party during the primaries, but then move back to a more middle of the road position for the actual Presidential race.
Political parties are frequently accused of this (and usually are guilty), especially during elections which pit members of the same party against each other. (Known in the United States as "primary elections," as distinct from "general elections" which feature all candidates.) Politicians who aspire to higher office often engage in this as well, in order to please the base ahead of a "primary election."
Professional Wrestling writer Vince Russo is infamous for catering exclusively to the hardcore Internet "Smart Marks" (who know that wrestling is fake but enjoy it as an art form). His biggest mistake was that he would often try to swerve these fans with confusing Worked Shoot angles. This is a problem for two reasons. First, the casual fans (90% of the fanbase) didn't know enough about the background of these swerves and were just confused by what was going on. Second, the smart marks (by nature of being smart marks) weren't fooled. What's more, he would often load these angles with obscure references that only the most hardcore fan would know of.
What is truly bizarre is that Russo caters to the fans' knowledge of tabloid-like stories of backstage shenanigans, but does not cater to what they want most (long, well-wrestled matches with minimal interference and shenanigans). Russo has some very strange beliefs about who his audience is.
Ring of Honor, at its outset, was more or less defined by catering to the hardcore wrestling fanbase. The result is a generally entertaining product, but not without a little elitist snobbery. Note that hardcore in this case means "purist fan" instead of hardcore wrestling.
WWE has been doing this lately with NXT. The commentary team of Josh Mathews and Michael Cole full with their commentary with Continuity Nods, talk about the indies, wrestling dirtsheets & blogs and even Ascended Meme. Even the pros and rookies do it from time to time.
Speaking of NXT, Season 3 rookie Diva AJ Lee's gimmick is basically pandering to the nerd audience.
CM Punk's "The Reason You Suck" Speech that led to his (kayfabe) suspension was one big pander to the Smarks and everything they hate about WWE, as Punk listed wrestlers that had supposedly been held back and criticized higher-ups like John Lauranitis. It becomes funnier if one wonders just how many Smarks believed Punk was truly being defiant when, in reality, none of what he said would have made it on the air without WWE approval.
The Torchwood: The Lost Files audio drama "The House of the Dead" is one long grovel to the fans who were outraged that Jack never told Ianto he loved him in those exact words during the televised serialChildren of Earth.
At the time of the strike, the NHL had trouble getting new fans to appreciate the game because offense had declined in the league thanks to offside traps. The NHL tried to eliminate this but couldn't because hardcore fans vocally complained that defense was being taken out of the game. Post-strike, the NHL passed new rules to thwart the offside trap, mainly because they were forced to be more fan friendly.
By contrast, MLB has begun pandering to the more casual fans in the last 30 years or so, particularly with the designated hitter in 1972 and inter-league play in 1997. (the DH is still despised by many purists all these years later, though a lot of that grief could be fixed by making it consistent between leagues).
For years, many college basketball fans and experts wanted a rule in the game where teams in the foul bonus could choose to just inbound the ball after being fouled rather than shoot free throws, thus preventing the end of games from turning into drawn-out free throw shooting contests. The NCAA finally instituted the rule in 1999 - and then repealed it two months later when it appeared coaches were having trouble deciding what to do in that situation.
The NFL's change to its overtime rules in 2011 to encourage teams try go for touchdowns simply because the majority of the fans hate field goals. To explain the new rules: What had previously been flat sudden death overtime (game ends on the next score) was changed so the the overtime won't immediately end if the first score is a FG; the other team will get the chance to score and then the game will end when either squad takes the lead. If the first OT score is a TD (or safety), however, the game does end immediately.
This has had some unintended consequences as far as team gameplay is concerned. Before the change, teams would play safe football if they won the coin toss, making high percentage plays for short yardage meant to drive into field goal range rather than actively going for the touchdown, a different game plan than a team would use in regulation. Now, the first drive after the coin toss is played more "normally", but should they score a field goal, the opposing team will play "reckless" four down football regardless of their situation, again changing their gameplan from what it would be in a similar regulation situation. An option that has yet to be explored is to treat overtime as a fifth quarter with both teams playing and scoring until time expires.
ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball program has been accused of pandering to certain teams' fans. What was once a Sunday night tradition to see two different teams slowly became the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and Cardinals show, in an attempt to pander to said fans.
Mark Rosewater's columns on Magic: The Gathering.com have used this argument to justify such things as bad cards, skill-testers, overly simple Core Sets, and its focus on recent-duration formats. While Wizards of the Coast appreciates its devoted fanbase, it needs to ensure that newer players have a clear path into learning the game without being inundated with complexities early on.
Similarly, Upper Deck Entertainment and Konami have been doing this with the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, specifically demanding that older and more rabid fans not bash on the younger demographic or the anime-based cards that they make for them. The problem is that the anime-based cards that they make are almost always underpowered, and prime targets for bashing.
One of the great balancing acts of the modern era is on display whenever Games Workshop begins working on a new army codex. Pandering to the base is a great temptation, especially when there's two different bases to pander to. Take the Eldar Wraithlord for example. As it is now, it's a monster in both shooting and close combat and greatly feared when it's taken in numbers. When they release a new Eldar codex, they have three roads they could go: they could pander to their Eldar players and make it more powerful; they could pander to the Wraithlord detractors and nerf it something awful; or they could potentially anger BOTH sides and leave it relatively unchanged. And don't get me started on sprue recuts...
The attention given to Space Marines far outweigh attention to other armies in the codex. Meanwhile, Commissars feature heavily in the books, despite being fairly minor in the actual game/overall plot.
White Wolf's Old World of Darkness setting had a specific form of this - every 'splatbook' (or expansion pack) they released inevitably raised the power level, awareness or general coolness of the group being discussed; they'd be depicted as being better than (or at least putting one over on) every other faction. Until the next one, where the next group would top that. Some fans said they felt sorry for the one that had to go first, since the second was better, etc. putting the first faction at the bottom of the heap. It was a form of serial base-pandering, with different bases inside the White Wolf fandom.
This is averted with the New World of Darkness, where each 'splatbook' simply fleshes out and expands on the splat, as well as having discussions on both its strength and merits and its flaws and weaknesses. No splat is ever portrayed as inherently "superior" to any other.
Greg Costikyan (one of the authors of Paranoia) has written an essay about "grognard capture", "grognard" being a term for Napoleon's old guard, and the full term used by hardcore wargame players to refer to products that seek to capture the market of the hardest of the hardcore. It's worth mentioning that in the article Costikyan is somewhat dismissive of Nintendo's strategy of blatantly seeking the non-gamer market for the DS while positioning the PSP as the "hardcore" platform, something that, if nothing else, did indeed make tons of cash for the company.
Shakespeare did it.Macbeth was first performed in front of an audience including King James I, and popular Fanon at the time was that James was descended from main character Banquo. Shakespeare reversed Banquo's role into a benevolent character to appeal to James.
There's also some speculation that several scenes of the Three Witches were added later because they were found to be popular.
In its later days, BIONICLE practically ran on this, by having many story elements, from names of fictional animals all the way to upcoming characters and even ENTIRE story threads depend on the decisions made by fans (more specifically, only the members of BZ Power). Even the most minor, insignificant details that didn't affect the story in the least got explanations that, more often than not, were needless and/or ridiculous. It didn't help that many fans had a blase attitude on that site, which meant that more critical fans (some of whom didn't even visit the site out of spite) tended to get overshadowed by their votes. Yes, they had polls on what to make canon, because the situation was getting too out of hand.
Due to the massive Periphery Demographic of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Hasbro produced quite a few pony related toys that are quite obviously geared towards the adult fanbase. The most notable of these are toy versions of Ensemble Darkhorse characters like Derpy Hooves, Lyra, Trixie, Vinyl Scratch and Nightmare Moon, who almost certainly wouldn't have gotten toys if not for the fanbase. The large Funko figures are a particular example, being released in waves of two figures (up until wave 8, which added Discord as a third figure), with the top six background poniesnote Derpy, Dr. Hooves, Lyra, Bon Bon, Vinyl Scratch, and Octavia all getting figures released before Applejack and Rarity got theirs to complete the Mane 6.
As noted in the quote at the top, this trope is something Nintendo is trying to avoid, focusing on innovative, intuitive gaming that can convert non-gamers instead of trying to impress the hardcore with marginally newer and flashier doodads. This is a case of learning from experience: The Nintendo 64 and GameCube were ultimately perceived by some critics as being only for little kids and hardcore Nintendo fanboys, which resulted in teenagers, adults, and third-party developers going for the PlayStation instead. With the Wii, Nintendo seems to be avoiding this perception. However, a good number of third party developers, mostly in western nations, have either failed or rejected to follow Nintendo's direction, with most of their top tier titles still on Sony and Microsoft's platforms.
That's been changing. A couple high profile flops on the PlayStation 3, and the fact that of the largest developers, the ones giving the Wii the least support have been showing losses (Take-Two Interactive and Electronic Arts), while the ones giving the Wii support are doing well (Activision and Ubisoft). The CEO of Take Two even said they can't ignore the Wii's success anymore.
Nintendo is starting to lean back towards this trope with the Wii U, specifically stating that while the new console will still have features and games geared towards casuals, it will also have games and features catered towards the more dedicated fan, pointing out that the "U" in Wii U means the console is made for you.
One of the stronger examples of this trope is Final Fantasy VII and all of its compilations. After the original game gained its massive popularity, new additions were added on to the story to "expand" its content, or "explain" points in the story that were generally the most confusing or significant. In actuality, these add-ons were created to help cater to the needs of the many fans of the game; indulging popular characters such as Cloud Strife, Vincent Valentine, and Sephiroth; and increasing (and complicating) the already large and solid storyline with new plotlines and characters. At this point, Final Fantasy VII is practically a new franchise itself.
The producers of Advent Children admitted in an interview that the reason Cloud acts like a conflicted, pensive loner instead of the strong and confident leader he had become at the end of Final Fantasy VII was because that was the way he had been depicted in most doujinshi.
Crisis Core is, in fact, prefaced with the new symbol created for Final Fantasy VII, called the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Considering the series is famous for love-it-then-leave-it tactics in regards to the various games, the fact that Final Fantasy VII has not one, not two, but fully six games featuring the same characters shows a dramatic shift in the management of the series.
The Final Fantasy VII compilation was a way of pandering to the base through the intellectual property, but it also gave Square Enix developers a chance to try their hand at different genres while still creating popular titles.
The pandering went as far back as the Final Mix edition of the original Kingdom Hearts, which threw in a Sora and Riku flashback scene right at the very end of the game that seemed designed solely to cater to the Yaoi Fangirls of the base.
The key to avoiding this is the offer a larger breadth of difficulty. "Normal" in game 2 should be about the same challenge as "Normal" in game 1, but game 2 could include a Harder Than Hard difficulty that isn't present in the first game.
The Guitar Hero franchise sank into this, with certain note and chord arrangements clearly mixed for challenge instead of logical chord placement on the higher difficulties. This gets worse (or better, if you're one of the hardcore players) with each installment. In fact, Guitar Hero 4's guitar is generally easier than 3's due to these complaints.
This went the other way for Devil May Cry; a chief complaint of the second game from Western audiences was that it lacked the first game's challenge, even the infamous Dante Must Die mode providing little difficulty. The version of the third game released in the West went too far in the other direction, with each difficulty spiked up to be the equivalent of the Japanese version's next-higher setting. "Normal" was the Japanese "Hard," "Hard" was the Japanese "Very Hard," and "Dante Must Die" was just plain ridiculous. The fourth game, as well as the third game's special edition, were toned down.
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (also known as the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros 2) is one of the earliest examples of the trope. Nintendo created a sequel to the original Super Mario Bros. that was essentially a Mission Pack Sequel designed for players who mastered the first game and its subtitle was dubbed "For Super Players". Nintendo of America feared that the game would be too difficult for American players and would tarnish sales after the first Mario game sold so well. And they were right; Lost Levels has enemy placement and traps designed to catch players off guard very frequently, introduced the Poison Mushroom, had warp pipes that would send the player backwards in the level progression, and had an extra set of worlds that could only be unlocked by beating the game eight times in a row. Western players would eventually get the game in Super Mario All-Stars with slightly reduced difficulty, but still bone crushingly hard overall and players would also get the original version of the game on the Wii's Virtual Console.
A lot of Fire Emblem fans accused Intelligent Systems of pandering to the yaoi fangirls in the tenth game: The Ike/Soren base conversation is very sappy and more full of Ho Yay than their supports in the previous game, and they have a paired ending. The perception is that this is at the expense of the Ship Tease Ike had with women in the previous game, though some of that was added by the localization, and said localization seemed to have toned down the Ho Yay in the ninth game.
Fire Emblem Awakening introduced sexier character designs, Beach Episode downloadable chapters, and mass shipping of dating sim proportions. Fans went completely ballistic, accusing the game of being made to cater to horny fanboys and "ruining" female characters of the previous games by giving them different costumes for the DLC. It was revealed that due to dwindling sales, Awakening might have been the last entry in the series, so the blatant Fanservice was most likely a calculated attempt at saving the series.
Some critics have argued that the maturity and decline stages of the MMOG life cycle have more to do with this than the actual age of the game. The logic is that at some point developers cave to the demands of the loudest fans—usually more high-end content and boosts to their favorite playstyle—and so the raised barrier of entry makes the game far less appealing to new players.
This can also manifest as a new race or class almost nobody wanted save those who had plain run out of things to do. Designs incorporating many wings, belts, zippers, or draconian pants are common. The launch of the Kamael in Lineage II caused a heavy exodus towards private servers, for instance.
Many of the retcons in the Warcraft universe seem directly tied to this trope. If a vocal group of the fanbase is mistaken about something, it's more likely for it to be turned into canon than reiterated, resulting in a nest of continuity snarls that make the canon into something almost entirely fluid.
At the end of Warcraft III, the Alliance and the Horde made peace to fight the greater enemies of the world. While World of Warcraft had decided to split the races into these two factions (which apparently was a contentious decision, according to an interview about the early development, with just as many employees against factions at all) and have PvP typical to similar MMOs, the intro specifically mentions that their tenuous pact had all but vanished, confirming that it still existed (at least for now) and that the current low-intensity conflicts were small deniable brushfires in a kind of cold war scenario. People who didn't understand the phrase "all but" and people who were strongly influenced by how iconic the Humans vs Orcs conflict had been since the series' birth, however, never realized the war had ever ended. Since then, the truce has only been vaguely referenced now and then while even the more diplomatic leaders do little to stop the open fighting. By Cataclysm, it's pretty much all out war again.
The night elf race itself has suffered greatly due to this trope, with them being marginalized in favor of other things the fans want. Since the vocal fans of World of Warcraft either think the night elves are "gay" (which various definitions of the word implied), call them "treehuggers," deride them for being for "kids," or forget about them altogether, Blizzard themselves seems to have forgotten to a point as well. Once one of the major factions in Warcraft III, the night elves in World of Warcraft (especially by Cataclysm) have been pushed back to only a couple of zones, reside in a capital city that was created for World of Warcraft (with no explanation about what they did before having this city), were missing their leader and most iconic character (Furion) for six years, and have the shortest race intro that neglects to mention the few things that they still do. Once a feral and mysterious sylvan people, with iconic females and animalistic males, that lived with living trees for buildings, they're now seen as little more than just a generic, purple-skinned elf that is an otherwise unremarkable race in the Alliance. You'd never guess that a game ago they had their own entire faction, that took on both the Alliance and the Horde, known as the Sentinels.
Khadgar, one of the major heroes from Warcraft II, disappeared with his comrades at the end of the expansion. Statues of these heroes were seen in Stormwind in World of Warcraft, but we finally got to see (most of) them in Burning Crusade. However, while Khadgar was once a great archmage (trained by the legendary Guardian Medivh himself, whom he eventually helped defeat), he spends the entire expansion acting as little more than a liaison to the newly-invented holy beings the naaru. When it comes time for the organization he once belonged to, the Kirin Tor, to actually be important in Wrath of the Lich King, he's nowhere in sight. The group is also given a new leader from the one presumed in the original game. Not the legendary hero who beat the greatest mage of all time, but the often-mocked Rhonin, who we first met when said organization tried getting him killed. Khadgar has not been mentioned since, even when the comics brought back the topic of the Guardian, which Medivh presumably had him in line for at some point (being his apprentice and all). When the fans remember him, it seems he is often referred to in forum posts as being a priest by people who never knew or forgot about the character's past. One wonders how much longer it will be until he is officially retconned into a priest.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm seems to be almost entirely made of this trope. Along with giving the Horde goblins, adding new race/class combinations, and letting players use flying mounts in Azeroth, it uses the Burning Crusade-era fantheory (previously dismissed due to timeline conflicts) of Gilneas being infested by worgen in order to justify them as the new Alliance race.
Notably averted by Sylvanas, undead high elf leader of the Forsaken. She had a reskinned night elf model for a very long time. While the differences between the races may be subtle to non-fans, people all over seemed to forget her original race, to the point where her night elven look (sometimes complete with unmistakable night elven dress) appeared in the card game, a manga, fan art, and other sources. Luckily for her and long-term fans, she avoided the retcon so many others have suffered due to long misunderstandings, and eventually got a proper, high-quality, high elf model.
We ♥ Katamari, the first sequel to the wildly popular Katamari Damacy, is literally all about this: The whole game is essentially one big thank-you to the game's fans, and the plot itself deals with the King of All Cosmos becoming wildly popular for his Prince's katamaris and receiving an onslaught of requests for new katamaris to roll up from the fans.
Despite a few alterations throughout its lifespan, the Katamari series defines its base as content with the material from the first game, only wanting to take it to different home and portable consoles. The base has also been pandered to greatly by the Katamari Forever soundtrack, which features remixes and re-imaginings of old Katamari tunes, often re-done by previous Katamari artists that composed different tunes in the series. This pandering is in no way a bad thing, as the soundtrack was amazing, as if the previous soundtracks were now Growing the Beard.
Team Fortress 2's class updates seem to be one long string of Valve weaponizing memes. They also managed to make "Your mom" jokes with style.
Pokémon: Possibly the point of the heavily updated and polished remakes of the Gen I and Gen II games.
HeartGold and SoulSilver take the cake for Base Pandering. The game is rife with cameos from characters across all generations and references to other games in the series. Perhaps the most prominent of these is the return of Pokémon following the Player, which hadn't been seen since Pokémon Yellow, a purely cosmetic function that has no effect on gameplay whatsoever, and it's glorious.
Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 can be seen as this by those who feel that very little work was put in to make these sequels stand out. There's also the World Tournament which boasts the ability to battle Gym Leaders from every single past generation. It sounds impressive but in reality it's just a cosmetic version of the Battle Tower.
The announcer's dialogue about Red goes on end to make him seem like a stoic and mysterious person, much like how Fanon portrays him, in contrast to the Keet he typically is implied to be (and shown to be in Pokémon Origins).
Pokémon X and Y set a new record, with extensive pandering to Gen 1 fans. The Kanto starters are given away, the Gen 1 games get a 2-hour anime special, and Charizard gets two Mega Evolutions while the other 2 Kanto starters get one each. And speaking of Mega Evolutions, it was officially stated that popular Pokemon are most likely to be the ones who get them, even if other Pokemon need them more. The actual new Pokemon introduced in the generation make up only 15% of the total Kalos Pokedex.Mewtwo also got two Mega Evolutions, despite being powerful enough as is. And about that Kalos Pokédex - not only do the new Pokémon take up a tiny percentage of the 'dex, it would still be the smallest amount of new Pokémon to date (with only 69, where all other regions had at least 100). The 6th Gen was also the first to put the most emphasis on Competitive Battling instead of the actual campaign. Mechanics such as Super Training, Wonder Trade, easier breeding (Smeargle, a mon with the ability to copy any move in the game with its Sketch ability, is found on the same route as the Day-Care Center), and quicker leveling up were all made available to the player extremely early. Almost every major addition or change to the game was done so to cater to the competitive battling crowd.
Also the trope behind the revival of both the anime's original theme song and the "Gotta catch 'em all!" slogan not seen since Generation II.
Left 4 Dead 2 has a new campaign planned called The Passing, which brings together the old survivors from the first game and the new survivors together. This is definitely nothing more than appealing to the fans who been wanting to see the two survivor groups together ever since Left 4 Dead 2 was made.
Done again for The Sacrifice campaign and comic version to explain to fans how exactly Bill dies and how the survivors from Left 4 Dead went down south.
Valve also ported over every single campaign from Left 4 Dead 1 into Left 4 Dead 2 as a throw to fans that have been porting the maps over themselves (with varying results) so the fans can play Left 4 Dead 1's maps with elements used in Left 4 Dead 2. Of course, this pissed off players who bought Left 4 Dead 1 already.
In Sonic Generations, Classic Sonic doesn't speak. This was not a design choice for the Classics, it was technical limitations, and in a few games he did actually speak. However, the fans didn't want to have Classic Sonic talk, so SEGA decided to make him mute for no reason whatsoever. Despite this, they thought it would make sense for Classic Tails and Robotnik to be able to talk.
Lately it seems Sega is going out of their way to pander to classic fans; after Sonic Gererations which was a crossover of sorts between the classic and modern games as a result of time travel. Sonic Lost World features badniks from the very first Sonic game for no particular reason other than this and also goes out of its way to avoid referencing the modern games. Of course Sonic's fanbase is as pleasable as ever.
The announcement of Street Fighter IV was the result of fans and competitive players constantly bugging Capcom for it every chance they got.
When Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was first shown at E3 2010, many long time fans were disappointed at how different the game seemed to be from Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes. After that, each and every successive demo build of the game featured changes that brought the game closer to its predecessor. The final result, a game that feels like a natural evolution of the previous game (while still showing some influences from Tatsunoko vs. Capcom). The only reason the game doesn't seem to be as unbalanced as the previous one is that this time, they seem to be making every character a Game Breaker.
Freddi Fish was originally a point-and-click EdutainmentAdventure Game series that was based around problem solving with several educational values buried within the gameplay and several humorous moments, making it fun for kids and adults. After Humongous Entertainment sold all the rights to Atari, they got 1st Playable Productions to put out another game, ABCs Under the Sea, nearly a decade later. What was it? A Minigame Game about teaching little children their letters, words, numbers, directions, and colors. What. And despite this, the game tries to ride on the previous installments' success by pointing out that it's from the award-winning series with 15 million copies sold worldwide, not mentioning that the rest of the series was made by different people. (Additionally, one of the game's alternate titles is ABC's Under the Sea, which is grammatically incorrect.)
DICE, makers of the Battlefield series, have been doing this heavily with Battlefield 3 and Bad Company 2, feeding the flames of their stalwarts' huge Fandom Rivalry with Modern Warfare. In addition, their marketing for the original Bad Company pandered to people who disliked popular games in other genres entirely.
Episode 5 of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People begins with an arcade machine breaking down and emitting ominous smoke. When Strong Sad says that the fan is broken and needs to be serviced, Strong Bad replies, "Where are we going to find fan service around here?" At that moment, fan-favorite Trogdor busts out of the broken machine.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 brought back Jun Kazama due to fan demand, despite the fact that the game was based on the characters who had appeared in the 4th, 5th and 6th games (in none of which she appeared). It can be justified as the game is non-canon, and she had appeared in some of Jin's endings. Similarly, Kunimitsu, another fan-fave missing since Tekken 2, was included in the game's console port as free DLC alongside several other "missing" characters like Michelle, Alex, P. Jack, and Ogre.
The "Citadel" DLC for Mass Effect 3 is one giant opportunity for Mass Effect fans to put aside the series of Player Punches that comprise the plot of 3 and reunite for one last grand hurrah with all their previous squadmates, with touching Callbacks and Continuity Nods galore.
The Gundam Vs Series, especially since Extreme Vs. has pretty much become a serial case of this trope. An incredible amount of fanservice abounds, whether it's the mobile suits themselves, the works covered and referenced, the soundtrack and voice-over work or even the quirks lifted directly from the shows. And yet despite or perhaps because of all that, it manages to work exceptionally well.
One of Yahtzee's videos included a note to any potential writers that fans will never appreciate them and you'll be happier the moment you excise the grating sound of their pleading from your memory. Then he suggests buyingThe Merch. This memorable clip also ran for a few months at the end of every video as part of an actual ad for said merch (replacing a more generic one).
Questionable Content does this from time to time, with obvious anime references and quirky, odd female characters populating much of the strip. The most obvious example is Marigold, a cute-but-curvy girl with low self-esteem (despite her large breasts) and a major fandom for World of Warcraft and popular anime series. She probably represents the fans better than anyone else in the cast.
Claire, a transgender character to appeal to the ever growing number of tumblr LGBT community viewers of the comic.
While Beast Wars was directly connected to the original Transformers series, Transformers Animated just overdoses on the Mythology Gags and use of characters from the original show to pander to the older Transformers fans. You don't have to be familiar with the original versions of these characters to understand and enjoy even the most Fanwank-heavy scenes and episodes. It's just a bonus, if you are familiar, to see things that hearken back to your favorite past series.
Also, it's the first place to have characters originating from the Beast Wars era, namely Blackarachnia, Waspinator, Strika (Beast Machines) and Spittor. There's also a couple of Unicron Trilogy references (Bulkhead and Lugnut) and cameos (Red Alert as a medic rather than security guard, Safeguard, and Hot Shot), and it also has some G1 era characters that were exclusive to Japanese fiction (the concept of the Headmaster, Grandus, Dai Atlas).
It also owes big chunks of the premise to the 2007 movie, such as the Allspark (previously a Transformers version of the afterlife, a term now replaced by "The Well of All Sparks") and Megatron's original form.
Also worth noting is the process through which many of these character's appearances are decided: the writers plan out the story beforehand and ask the lead character designer (who is a longtime fan of many different ''Transformers'' series) what character would be good to use in a role they already have.
Speaking of Beast Wars, the continuity ties increased rapidly at the end of the 2nd season. A fan from a newsgroup was actually recruited as a consultant for it.
The co-creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender referred to their chibi-short tribute to the show's Shipping phenomenon as "fanservice". With its obvious detachment from the main storyline and nicely animated comedic anime effects (all subsequent to the mid-season downcast ending of the finale), the short was almost unanimously well-received by both shippers and non-shippers alike.
There was also an in-universe play near the show's end parodying the show itself.
The Legend of Korra has an automobile company that was founded by the descendant of the fan-favorite Cabbage Merchant from the earlier series. As the owner is arrested and dragged away in one episode, he even yells "No! Not my Cabbage Corp!" much like his predecessor's "My cabbages!" whenever his cart was destroyed. They're even voiced by the same actor.
There are other fans who see the character of Mako as a living, breathing Pander to the Base, particularly disgruntled Zutara shippers from the first season. Critical fans see Mako as a shallow, two-dimensional love interest whose relationship with Korra is by far the weakest element of the show.
Season 4 is running with this trope after the massive fiasco that the finale of season 3 brought up with Twilight's promotion to Princess of Equestria. In the second part of the premiere, she's shown to be unable to fight off a couple of plant buds that spew knockout gas on her own, and from the third episode to the eighth, she only uses her wings twice in circumstances where it's easy to ignore, and her status isn't brought up to so much as ask for a taxi in a long line in Manehattan - not that any of the ponies even acknowledges her as a royal. The developers seem to be going to great lengths to deliberately avert Mary Sue tropes that the fandom has associated with alicorns, such as God-Mode Sue and Black Hole Sue.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) has been featuring an overload of references to the past cartoons, films, and comics to keep older fans interested, especially when it comes to the 1987 cartoon. This includes several characters from it or nods to the characters' 1987 incarnations (such as Splinter being the human Hamato Yoshi again or Baxter being mutated into a fly), several plot homages to the 80's cartoon, and even a cameo appearance from the '87 turtles at the end of one episode, with their original voice actors no less.
The Simpsons, Futurama and South Park are all examples of shows that have become increasingly self-referential after a few seasons, with only their own fans able to get most of these references.
According to this blog post, LiveJournal did this constantly, which prevented the site from becoming mainstream.
On the other hand, LJ has instituted many changes in its commenting system and design that are meant to appeal to those outside its fanbase (or at least the English-speaking ones).
Jeff Dunham has been becoming this, as his shows have become more rooted in shock humor and stereotypes (with increased emphasis on Breakout Character Achmed) in order to appeal more to the conservative Southern crowd (Dunham is a Texas native).
Peter Kay gets accused of this by some other stand-ups. Richard Herring said his act consisted mostly of "remembering things that happened in the 1970s".
Debian is currently planned to pander to the Vocal Minority that hates GNOME 3 by switching from GNOME to Xfce as the default desktop environment for Debian 8 "Jessie".
Is pretty much the reason why The '90s Are All That exists. During the tail end of the Turn of the Millennium and going through The New Tens, 90s nostalgia was reaching an all time high, especially among "Generation Y" babies born in the late 80s and early 90s (i.e. the people who spent most of their childhoods in The Nineties). Since Nickelodeon was seen as a major victim of Network Decay during this time, there were lots of petitions and requests for Nick to bring back their 90s era programming in some form, much like what Cartoon Network did by introducing Boomerang. At long last the 90s kids got what they wished for and The 90s Are All That premiered on Nickelodeon's "for teens and older audiences" channel TeenNick in 2011 as a late night block that brought with it shows like the titular All That, Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, and many more. This block is also notable for finally re-airing the infamous "lost movie" Cry Baby Lane (during Halloween no less) for the first time since it was banned more than 10 years prior.
Fascism (particularly Benito Mussolini's brand of it) has been described as an ideology that was whatever the public wanted it to be, as long as it was set to marching music.