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Snark Bait

While a good movie or show is fun, there's just nothing like the visceral pleasure of taking apart a bad one. And sometimes hating something popular is what defines a crowd, especially if, despite its popularity, it's actually pretty bad. Not terrible, not pitiful, just boringly bad.

Of course, in order to hate it to its fullest potential, you need to watch it and find out why it's so terrible.

Snark Bait refers to any popular work that evokes a desire to watch specifically to mock and join other people mocking. It's often a generic Hollywood blockbuster, or best-selling book. It's usually so formulaic you can see the TV Tropes Wiki Words forming in the air as the plot happens, or so poorly fact-checked that 640k could pick it apart.

Either way, everyone is going to be complaining about it, and you wouldn't want to be left out of slagging off all those idiots who gave up their money and time for such junk. Or the derision of stupidity with the passwords halfway and the predictability of the ending. So, of course, you need to buy it yourself. That'll show 'em!

As a Troper, good Snark Bait can lead to seeing how far off you can see the Treacherous Advisor, which characters are secretly related, or playing Trope Bingo or a trope Drinking Game with them. On the plus side, seeing a trope done badly can help you see what it is, and appreciate when it's done well.

It often displays some of the following tropes:

Does not relate to the monster that can be utilized to bite your opponents or self. Nothing to do with thimbles, forks, railway shares and soap. Compare Periphery Hatedom.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • "America's Navy: A Global Force for Good". Whether you disagree or just think it's Narmfully Hammy, it's hard to deny this slogan's Snark Bait quotient.
    • Pretty much any military recruitment campaign invites this upon itself, especially from the people who are in the military branch being advertised.
  • The "Head On" commercials. How can you not make fun of a commercial that consists of nothing but "Head On: Apply directly to the forehead" repeated over and over?
  • An Italian spot with Manuela Arcuri promoting a book entitled Il labirinto femminile inspired countless Youtube parodies due to its amateurish direction, poor acting, creepy Soundtrack Dissonance and the overall bad quality of the book itself. It even contains a word ("strategismo") that doesn't exist in Italian. Here it is.
    • The most recent version of that spot featured Karima El Marthoug, a.k.a. Ruby, the girl (under age at the time) Prime Minister Berlusconi has been accused of having had mercenary sex with. During the spot, she gets undressed by a guy with a Phantom of the Opera mask. Oh, and the direction is still amateurish, the (rest of the) acting is still poor, the soundtrack is still creepy and the book is still bad, thanks for asking.
    • Not to mention the one starring Lele Mora, the TV agent with Fascist sympathies involved in the Corona scandal.
  • National Organization for Marriage's "Gathering Storm" ad has gathered quite a bit of this. Just try searching for it on YouTube. Almost every result is a parody of some kind. This is not unexpected of course, given that it's melodramatic enough to be a Stealth Parody to begin with.
  • Rick Perry's "Strong" ad has launched a meme based on making fun of it.
  • Pepsi brand 7UP made a critical mistake lately in India- they showed Kathakali, a serious south Indian classical dance form, as a street dance.
  • Ads for feminine hygiene products in general, due to their corny stock photo aesthetic, the cheesy music, the overall bubbly-ness of its protagonists and for making viewers uncomfortable without showing anything more explicit than unnamed blue liquid.
  • Many ads, posters, and articles from the 1940's and 50's weren't considered Snark Bait in their own time, but contain Values Dissonance that people enjoy laughing at decades later. Adding naughty captions to prim-and-perfect media of the period is also popular.
  • Political ads in general are prone to this, since they seldom have the slightest hint of subtlety. Attack ads in particular have a tendency to be so melodramatic in their negativity that it leads to Narm.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Apocalypse Zero, MD Geist, Genocyber (to a certain degree), the Fist of the North Star movie, Cybernetics Guardian, Cyber City Oedo 808... a lot of old ultra-violent anime series or direct-to-video releases in general tend to have this going on.
  • Bleach is considered to have Jumped the Shark and has become Snark Bait even among the fandom. Kubo is considered a troll so much that "Tite Kubo trolled my fandom" has sadly become a meme among Bleach fans.
    • Pretty much the same thing can be said about Naruto.
    • And the shipping fandoms for both of the above. The Ship-to-Ship Combat and the fans involved have become pure jokes to those not involved.
  • Code Geass was popular enough that many viewers enjoyed it for extremely different reasons. One of the factions was made up of a "trainwreck" following, especially during the run of its second season and the later stages of the first. Most of those folks watched it to see the show top its own over-the-top-ness, to pick apart the increasingly bizarre plot, and to laugh at the Narm.
  • Guilty Crown ended up, surprisingly enough, developing a proportionally greater "trainwreck" following than Code Geass despite not being quite as popular overall, as a result of the show having dull or unsympathetic characters, similarly bad twists, an obsession with rape or even more bizarre fetishes and perhaps equal or greater Narm fodder. There's not even a Broken Base this time around.
  • Pretty much the fate of any Gundam series in the latter run. Fans either watch them for this exact trope or they watch them because they're Gundam fans and they'll see whatever series through to the end. Especially true with latter day series such as Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destinynote , Mobile Suit Gundam 00note  and Mobile Suit Gundam AGEnote .
  • Kämpfer can be considered as this due to the fact that no matter how much dense Natsuru is to the point it's already irritating, viewers still couldn't stop watching the show week after week.
  • Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, due to its nonsensical setting and plot, shallow characters, questionable content, massive political incorrectness, and brother sister incest.
  • Pokémon can be considered this even within the Pokemon fandom, due to its Idiot Hero who seemingly gets dumber once he builds up experience, its long-running status, frequent Narm, and often characterization and plotting that is at odds with the games (like Pikachu being able to hit Rhydon with an Electric attack).
  • The School Days anime. The nature of the OVAs imply that the creators have either gleefully embraced this, or had planned it all along.
  • Sword Art Online. The first half of the series already had some people who couldn't take stuff like the facial expressions, melodramatic death scenes and the MMORPG setting too seriously, among other things. Elevate it Up to Eleven and you'll get the kind of bait that the second half became, including but not limited to the treatment of its female lead.
  • In Xxx Ho Lic Watanuki is an in-universe example due to his Keet behavior.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! is excellent Snark Bait, as evidenced by its abridged series.

    Comic Books 
  • Everything done by Rob Liefeld and Chuck Austen.
  • All-Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder: Virtually every other panel has some.
  • Anita Blake, listed in the Literature section below, also has a comic book adaptation. Chris Sims has more than a few words to say about it; he particularly loves taking shots at the comic's misleading covers, bad art, wasted premise, abysmal pacing, and Jean-Claude.
  • All over the place in Avengers Arena. Special mentions go to:
    • "I've always been a hater." It's a bad line, misuses the word "hater"note , and shows a complete lack of understanding of Hazmat's character and back story.
    • "My boyfriend exploded all over me!"
    • "Botsplosion."
    • "Chasehawk" achieving Ascended Meme status caused a lot of eye rolling.
  • Comics by Jack Chick. Those, sadly, become much less funny when a ten-year-old girl, with fervent earnestness, gives you one.
  • Marville: an unfunny, soon-dated parody comic created on a bet by the then Marvel editor, which then inexplicably morphed into a rambling, scientifically inaccurate diatribe about God, evolution, humanity, and the causes of war. You better believe the only reason anyone reads it is to marvel at how awful it is.
  • Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose has attracted a considerable deal of snark for its constant Fanservice, Stripperific costumes, Author Filibusters (usually in favor of Wicca), and oft-narmy dialogue.

    Fan Fic 

    Fashion 
  • Clothing by Abercrombie & Fitch and its subsidiaries, mostly for its frat guy clientele and some controversial statements from the CEO.
  • Crocs, for being widely regarded as hideous.
  • Anything by the brand Ed Hardy.
  • Fedoras, though the snark here is mostly directed towards the people who can't pull them off.
  • Mullets, which in the western world have become synomynous with White Trash.
  • Ugg Boots, again, for their questionable design.

    Film 

    Literature 
  • Anita Blake:
  • Atlas Shrugged, just take a look at the quotes in this very site.
  • Baby Sitters Club has become this in recent years after the popularity has waned, with several blogs and online communities being devoted to it.
  • According to many Warcraft fans, Cycle of Hatred.
  • The Da Vinci Code. It seems that a less-than-shiny book assembled from moldy pieces of cryptohistory is not going to be less of a target if advertised as a daring innovative idea and (whispering) maybe even really relevant theory.
    • The fact that it holds the record for the most frequently donated book gives way to a lot of Snark Bait.
  • "The Eye of Argon" is possibly the worst fantasy short story ever written ever. Terrible in the extreme, only readable with the help of the MST3K crew heckling it... yet somehow, impossible not to read (at least once). In places, it has become tradition to stage competitions of how much people could read with a straight face and expressive voice. Three quarters of a page is considered doing extremely well.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey in general, especially the part where Ana describes Christian's penis as "my very own Christian Grey-flavoured popsicle." The series has been parodied numerous times, e.g. by Jimmy Fallon[1] and barelypolitical [2].
  • Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle is one of the biggest examples, primarily due to accusations of being unoriginal.
    • With all the crap Paolini gets, you have to feel a little sorry for the guy when you learn he started writing the series when he was only sixteen years old. It probably started out as some sort of fan-fiction-y amalgam of all his favorite fantasy series. Of course, said pity may dissolve completely with the knowledge that he published it when he was over twenty-one, that was nine years ago - and it still looks very much like a sixteen-year-old wrote it (with the help of a thesaurus).
  • Though not remotely popular, the Maradonia Saga has become famous for being made of 100% pure fail. It's not just derivative, it literally plagiarizes from The Bible, has Random words Capitalized for no Reason, random italics, and 'quotes' where none should 'be'. Impishidea.com has sporkings and a drinking game, though it would be better to avoid the game if you don't want to die of alcohol poisoning and/or acute liver failure. The enormous ego of the author is the subject of as much, if not more, snark than the books themselves. SwankiVY sums the whole thing up nicely.
  • Tyra Banks is writing a fantasy novel about models. No, really.
    • The book trilogy in question is titled Modelland, and ends up practically snarking itself. For example SM-ize is an actual word. Really.
  • John Ringo's Paladin of Shadows series, although it seems to be something of a Stealth Parody. Proven by the fact that he links to most of these reviews and will usually write letters not only supporting many of their accusations, but pointing out inconsistencies and logical failures they missed. Such as the main character would have died about 6 pages into the first book. He called it his Dark Fic. People liked it so he published it and made a shit load of money. Here is a review, which gave us the "OH JOHN RINGO NO" meme.
  • The Sword of Truth series is a particularly big magnet. There are many websites and forums that mock passages from the books.
  • Twilight for a sizable fraction of those following it.
  • As far as Mark Twain was concerned, the entire body of Fenimore Cooper's work, and especially Deerslayer. This resulted in "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences," a hilarious Take That and early example of what we call Books on Trope.

    Live Action TV 
  • American Idol has the "Vote for the Worst", er... party.
  • Community had an In-Universe example called Kickpuncher, which the main characters watch entirely for the purpose of making fun of it.
  • Because of Seasonal Rot, a large section of the fandom of Criminal Minds (including most of the comments posted to Television Without Pity) have continued watching the show simply to snark at it, simply because of how far down in quality the show has declined since the beginning.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Franchises are incredibly formulaic, so much of it, technologically and procedually wrong, plus you can spot the murderer (always murder) in the first 10-15 minutes: There will be a background character who get 10 seconds of front of stage exposure, for no apparent reason. Did someone walk up to the lead (Horatio/Mac/Gill) and offer help for no apparent reason? Was a line said by an assistant to the chief suspect when they could have said it? Is someone pointed out for no reason - "I was fishing with Steve all day", cue Steve waving from the background? It's them
  • Dexter has definitely become this as of Season 8. Particular complaints include the poor pacing, massive and frustrating use of the Idiot Ball, lack of a truly epic conclusion, and worst of all, the overuse of voice-over to inform the audience on what they already know. It'd actually be harder to find any positive discussion about the show now.
  • In the UK, few annual events are more fun than gathering around a TV with your friends and/or family to watch and make jokes about the Eurovision Song Contest. Try it; a great time will be had by all.
    • In Spain even the commentarist does this.
    • The Spanish are mere amateurs compared to the ultimate master at sarcastic/sardonic Eurovision commentary, the formerly Irish/presently British Sir Terry Wogan. His commentary has been so vitriolic at times that some countries have threatened to ban him from entry into their country. For snarking on their Eurovision entry/-ies to the extent he does.
      • Wogan's sucessor Graham Norton does this also.
      • As does Australian host Julia Zemiro.
  • Full House
  • Glee. Where do we start? First there are the desperate attempts to be open and diverse which just end up being more offensive, then we have the clichéd plotlines and Seasonal Rot. Not to mention the heavily autotuned cover songs that somehow manage to drain the essence of every classic they can get their hands on. There's a reason why plenty of respectable musicians refuse to have anything to do with this show.
  • The extensive use of the Idiot Ball to keep those with a Story Breaker Power under control has pushed Heroes to becoming this. Among other reasons.
  • Jersey Shore.
  • Mob Wives
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 (and its related fanfic-mocking technique) popularized snark baiting (and pretty much invented the Alternate DVD Commentary community).
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show has this, with people claiming Oprah will or already has her own religion.
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager
  • Smallville had headed down that road.
  • Smash is quickly becoming this.
  • Sons of Anarchy : Many watch the show just to see what bizarre plots Kurt Sutter will come up with next. There is much debate over it. A Running Gag is that Jax often says he will 'get to the bottom of things' but either takes a long time to or never does.
  • The short-lived Discovery Channel show Smash Lab was this for a lot of MythBusters fans.
  • 7th Heaven
  • Pretty much any live action sitcom on Disney Channel.
  • Pretty much any show on E.
  • News channels that cater to the political party opposite to yours, and that's all there is to say about that.
    • There is also a sizable base of people who enjoy snarking at all news pundit shows regardless of the pundits' political slant. Don't Shoot the Message tends to come into play here.
  • Reality TV in general.

    Music 

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Church of Happyology has its own trope about specific examples for that particulal religion, whose real name we cannot print because doing so in this page would constitute slander.
  • Members of the "New Atheism" movement such as the late Christopher Hitchens tend to see all religion as an excuse to have a good snark. The Religious also snark back and also at each other.
  • Fundamentalists of any religion (especially Christianity and Islam) are often Snark Bait to non-fundamentalist co-religionists.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Tabletop Games 
  • See the bit about Twilight above? Now you can experience it on Tabletop, courtesy of Monsterhearts. Its tagline is "A story game about the messy lives of teenage monsters".
    Turn Someone On
    When you turn someone on, roll with Hotnote . On a 10 up, take a String against them.
    On a 7-9, they choose one: give themselves to you, promise something they think you want, give you a String against them.
  • To a sizeable number of Warhammer 40,000 players, Matt Ward and anything he writes is prime Snark Bait. Seriously, just look at his 1d4chan page.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

     Other 
  • Angelina Jolie for her frequent adoptions and the infamous right leg during the 2012 Oscars.
  • Armond White's movie reviews, as can be found on The New York Press Website and Rotten Tomatoes, constantly bring vitriol upon those who read them. Seriously, just look at the individual moviepages at Rotten Tomatoes - his will, almost without fail, rack up the most comments. He's gained a reputation for being a completely predictable contrarian, and many suspect he's only looking to gain controversy and thus gain attention for himself (Roger Ebert even called him a Troll). Ironically, his reviews have actually become arguably the most reliable prediction of how good or bad a movie is; if he slams it, it's a good movie, and if he kisses up to it, it's a bad movie.
    • Remember that Roger Ebert initially defended White, pointing out that not only is there nothing wrong with challenging consensus position, but White even agrees with the Tomatometer 50% of the time which he considered to be ideal. The biggest problem most people have with White is that the reasons he gives often go above and beyond Epic Fail - to the point that people question whether or not he actually saw the movies he reviewed. For example, he complained about the length of Rapunzel's hair in Tangled and comments that her hair never becomes a problem for her, which is flat out wrong (in the opening song, for example, she laments the length of time she has to spend brushing it, and later it gets snagged on a branch while she's trying to run). Then in his infamous Toy Story 3 review, he called Hamm the pig a villain, even though he's a good guy who spends much of the movie imprisoned with them!
    • White has never, ever given a single Steven Spielberg film a bad review, even calling films like 1941 a "classic", and going overboard in his effusive praise of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Even his praise of Spielberg's good movies somehow go way over the top.
  • Rosie O'Donnell, whose vocal political opinions and weight issues have long been the butt of many jokes.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker, whose alleged resemblance to a horse has become memetic.
  • Apple gets this a lot, largely over the pricing of its computers and the perceived "dumbing down" of its operating system. Microsoft fanboys especially make Apple a target of snark, and Apple fanboys are no better (see the Microsoft example below).
  • Contemporary Art as a whole, particularly due to True Art Is Incomprehensible.
  • Microsoft's products also get this a lot.
  • vBulletin 5. Ever since it was shown as a beta product, admin and webmaster forums have been absolutely filled to the brim with discussions on its downfalls and mishaps, as well as those of creator Internet Brands in general. If it's ever brought up in any sort of tech forum, the posts will devolve into repeatedly tearing it to shreds within the space of about five posts.
  • Literally every well-known politician gets this treatment. Please leave it at that.

Silent SnarkerOh Great, a Snark IndexSnark Ball
Smurfette BreakoutAudience ReactionsSo Bad, It's Good
Smurfette BreakoutUnexpected Reactions to This IndexSo Bad, It's Good
SssssnaketalkSelf-Demonstrating ArticleSo Good We Mentioned It Twice
Screams Like a Little GirlDeathcoreSpiritual Successor

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