Snark Bait

SNARK BAIT OO-HA-HA!

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 Obvious Judas, 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 should also be noted that those who engage in Snark Bait could range from those who "love it but are able to laugh at its flaws" to those who "love to hate it and enjoy ripping it to pieces". Those who love it so passionately and are unwilling to recognize its flaws are unlikely to appreciate snarking, as well as those who hate it with a huge passion that they refuse to waste any time on even acknowledging its existence.

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:

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    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?
    • The same applies to most other television advertisements for prescription drugs. Usually features a generic, bland spokesperson doing something, well, generic. Bonus points for corny CGI graphics. Especially notable are the Viagra commercials.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 & Manga 
  • 4Kids Entertainment is a common target for anime fans, as the company is guilty of Westernizing anime series and giving them terrible dubs. Their dub of One Piece is widely mocked for these reasons, as well as for the infamous "Pirate Rap" theme.
  • 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 ×××HOLiC Watanuki is an in-universe example due to his Keet behavior.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! is excellent Snark Bait, as evidenced by its abridged series pointing out a lot of it's flaws such "invisible guns" or "dark energy disks that merely sends your soul to the Shadow Realm". Granted, most of the snark is aimed towards the 4Kids dub due to it's bizarre form of censorship but still.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Fashion 
  • Mullets, which in the western world have become synomynous with White Trash.
  • Ugg Boots, again, for their questionable design.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ripping on Batman & Robin is pretty popular. Many snark sites have dedicated time to it. The film was also nominated for a whopping eleven Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture, though it only won for Worst Supporting Actress (Alicia Silverstone).
    • Its presence is all but guaranteed on a "worst Super Hero film ever" list, and makes more occasional cameos on generic "Worst Films Ever" lists as well. Cracked.com, however, used this movie's reputation to create a list of "five comic book movies way worse than Batman and Robin"— most of which are waaay more obscure than Batman and Robin.
    • Bane especially seems to be a good source of snark, especially when compared to the one played by Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Also, anything by M. Night Shyamalan (except The Sixth Sense and possibly Unbreakable). The Last Airbender, in particular, for taking an extremely popular animated show and producing an insultingly horrible live-action version (reducing characters to bland cliches, performing Race Lifts across the board, etc.) that was universally panned by fans and neophytes alike for its unrelenting unfaithfulness to the source material as well as being generally bland and unpleasant to watch. The connection to something that doesn't suck meant that lots of people saw it and were all but forced to make fun of it.
  • Any mockbuster is bound to get this in spades. In almost all cases, the bare minimum amount of effort is put into these films to capitalize on the success of the movie being ripped off, with bad animation (CG and otherwise) and worse writing at every turn.
  • Rob Schneider was a popular comedic actor in the late 90's and early 2000's, but now he's far more remembered as the butt of a South Park joke (Rob Schneider is… A CARROT! Rated PG-13) than for any of his movies, almost all of which are rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. Special mention goes to Norm of the North, a movie where Schneider voices a twerking polar bear.

    Literature 
  • 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 for its overall smutty tone and increasingly bizarre metaphors, 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 - 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 wrote a fantasy novel about models. No, really. Three of them, even. The trilogy is titled Modelland, and ends up practically snarking itself. For example, SM-ize is an actual word that is seriously used.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Barney & Friends counts because during the 1990's, anti-Barney humor was extremely popular during the show's peak (its article on The Other Wiki is roughly as long as the show itself). In parodies, the simplicity of the show is exaggerated to show that its viewers are stupid.
  • The Big Bang Theory has gotten hit hard with this, be it due to accusations of Seasonal Rot, the portrayal of nerd culture which many see as insulting or just plain wrong, or simple It's Popular, Now It Sucks reactions.
  • 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.
  • CN Real. There's a reason why we had to merge it with the original Cartoon Network page.
  • CSI franchises are incredibly formulaic, so much of it, technologically and procedurally 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.
  • Doctor Who has the In-Universe example of Origins of the Universe by Oolon Colluphid, which the Fourth Doctor in "Destiny of the Daleks" is reading purely to mock.
  • Full House is a poster child for Tastes Like Diabetes, to the point where overly sappy moments are sometimes called "Full House Moments".
  • 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.
  • Ancient Aliens for anyone possessing a basic knowledge of history, biology, mythology, physics, astronomy...or anything at all really.

    Music 
  • Lampshaded by Jethro Tull on "A Passion Play":
    Tell us, is it you who are here
    For our good cheer?
    Or are we here for the glory
    For the story
    For the gory satisfaction of telling you how absolutely awful you really are?
  • Iggy Azalea, for being a white Australian chick pretending to be a black gangsta. This is why Azaelia Banks coined the nickname "Igloo Australia", and it stuck forever onto Iggy.
  • Justin Bieber is major Snark Bait for his Periphery Hatedom (interestingly, much of this is Astro Turf). It isn't possible to go onto any metal video on Youtube without comments saying that the only people who dislike the video are Bieber fans.
    • The standard of heartthrob for many pre-teens to just teenagers is enough to get anyone's dislike especially when you go from looking like a girl to a shirtless douche through the evolution of your career.
    • His ability to be egocentric in basically every exposure to the public. One of his most notorious incidences was visiting the Anne Frank House and writing in the guest log "Hopefully she would have been a belieber".
  • Kanye West has managed to put himself into this category, first by "George Bush doesn't care about black people," then by his now memetic interruption of Taylor Swift 's award acceptance speech, then his increasing megalomania, misogynist lyrics and his relationship with fellow Snark Bait Kim Kardashian. A long time debate is whether or not it was intentional, since on actual releases and rare interviews, Kanye has proven himself quite a clever person and skilled songwriter, in contrast with his usual shenanigans.
  • Kidz Bop for its bastardizations of pop songs sung by kids.
  • The later career of Madonna, mostly for trying too hard to stay relevant.
  • I Hate Your Blog by MC FrontALot is this trope's unofficial theme song. The tale of a man who repeatedly posts flame comments on an "incredibly terrible" blog telling the blogger to get off the Internet, then complains with equal volume when the blog isn't updated for a while.
  • Subverted by Metallica. The band was definitely this from the release of Load through, strangely, the release of St. Anger. It isn't that St. Anger was a good album. It was just so bad that it made people re-listen to the Load records and realize, "For bluesy hard rock records, these really aren't so bad". Death Magnetic, meanwhile, returned the band to relevance among the metal community. However, some metal fans still despise the band for releasing everything after ...And Justice For All. Lulu did not help matters, despite not even being a proper Metallica album in the first place, but a collaboration album with them and Lou Reed.
    • Metallica still gets a ton of snark for Lars Ulrich's crusade against Napster and music piracy in general (to the point that some legal, paid music streaming services such as Deezer don't even carry their official discography, instead having to rely on live bootlegs).
  • Nickelback is the ultimate snark bait band, mostly due to their sheer mediocrity and total lack of innovation. Also, Chad Kroeger has funny hair.
  • Nicki Minaj due to her music not only being reviled by anybody born before the turn of the millenium, but also for her rather strange outbursts and questionable dress sense.
  • One Direction: They're yet another Boy Band singing Silly Love Songs with large amounts of Ho Yay between the members, so this was inevitable. Then they became popular worldwide, so the snark bait spread globally as well.
  • The Guardian reviewed Paris Hilton's Self-Titled Album thusly:
    Lest one carp, Hilton has been quick to point out that singing is a vocation for which she is eminently skilled. "I know music," she reassured the Sunday Times children's section. "I hear it every single day." [...] While this obviously gives Hilton a massive advantage over those who have never heard any music and thus believe it to be a variety of cheese, there remains the nagging suspicion that this might not represent sufficient qualification for a career as a singer, in much the same way as knowing what a child is does not fully equip you for a career as a consultant paediatrician.
    • Paris Hilton herself is Snark Bait due to her lifestyle, behavior, and (at one time) constant appearances in the tabloids.
  • R. Kelly's Trapped In The Closet. It was so over the top Narmy that it became the source of so much parody and a result more and more people watched it so they could join in on the mocking.
  • Taylor Swift, who seemingly built a career on unfair breakup songs.
  • Tokio Hotel is one, even if that faded together with the band's success. Especially true for their own home country during the height of their fame, mostly for the lead singer's androgynous looks, their rabid fangirls and the very idea of then-15-year-olds posing as edgy naughty rock stars despite their actually very vanilla music.
  • In general, pretty much any Dead Horse Genre is going to be Snark Bait, period.
  • Vaporwave is seen by some to be boring, pretentious, hipster crap. So naturally it became this pretty quickly. That it has its roots partially in Tumblr doesn't help.
  • Any rock/metal band that uses turntables as an instrument is bound to get this reaction from some people in the community. See Nu Metal above.
  • Since their shift to adult contemporary (dating at most as far back as the power-ballad-laden New Jersey), Bon Jovi is viewed by many rock fans this way.

    Newspapers 
  • 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 - he 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.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • After 1994-96 American Wrestling Federation and "The New Generation" WWF were done, the twilight years of WCW became the snark bait for wrestling fans for its nonsensical storyline and constant burying of younger talent, along with a bunch of other problems. After they closed down, fans stuck to ribbing on some of WWE's sillier angles for a while. TNA didn't really succeed WCW in this role (despite willingly employing Vince Russo for as long as they did) until Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff took over and turned the place into "WCW-lite", and eventually the fans got sick of making fun of that since they had seen it already and went back to ribbing on WWEPG. These days it's still WWEPG in regards to storylines, but the fans still remember TNA still exists like to riff on the company's terrible business decisions, PR decisions, and general incompetence, with many comparison's to late WCW and ECW.

    Tabletop Games 
  • See the bit about Twilight above? Now you can experience it on Tabletop, courtesy of Monster Hearts. 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 
  • Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, which gained infamy when gamers discovered just how hilariously broken it is.
  • Cytus is often mocked by fans of other Rhythm Game players for its extraordinarily loose window for obtaining Perfects, making it easier to get perfect scores than in most other rhythm games. While the "TP" system and the splitting of the Perfect judgement into the stricter "color Perfect" and lesser "black Perfect" exists to counteract this, nobody really notices and people still continue to crack jokes about how It's Easy, so It Sucks.
  • Daikatana. As with Big Rigs, the game was very clearly an Obvious Beta. But that was nothing compared to the Hype Backlash creator John Romero got for the game's marketing campaign and constant delaysnote . The game itself wasn't that bad, but given its long development time and especially John Romero's pomp, pretty much anything less than So Cool, It's Awesome would've guaranteed that the game would become Snark Bait for years to come.
  • Duke Nukem Forever. The game's notorious fourteen year development made it Snark Bait before it was even released. And, when it finally did come out, it was mostly a So Okay, It's Average shooter with dated pop culture references, a boring protagonist, and none of the charm that made the original Duke Nukem 3D a success.
  • Metroid: Other M gets a lot of this for what its detractors see as an Idiot Plot and awful, awful characterization of Samus.
  • The PlayStation version of Resident Evil, the script more so than the actual gameplay. "You were almost a Jill Sandwich" anyone? What about a gun that's "good against living things"? or "master of unlocking". Don't forget "Wow! What a mansion!", especially with the Fridge Brilliance of Wesker's role later in the game.
  • Runescape gets this from a lot of people who view it as a poor man's World of Warcraft or EverQuest.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). Bugged out the ass, poor writing, bad acting, everything about the realistic human / Funny Animal romance... Video commentaries of this game exist for this reason and this reason only.
  • This trope most likely accounts for the entirety of Philips CD-i systems that were purchased at any time during the past ten years, with the games based on Nintendo's properties accentuating this.
  • Peter Molyneux and many of his more, recent, games. His habit of overhyping games that turn out to be buggy and mediocre has turned his named into a punchline for lying game developers. It didn't help that he would constantly feign Creator Backlash and refusing to break old habits change his marketing strategy has made him a favorite source of mockery for video game comedians like Jim Sterling and Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw.
  • Call of Duty. Ever since Modern Warfare, the franchise suffers heavily from Hype Backlash due to its popularity; as a result, there are people who make fun of its cinematic hyperrealism and how it appeals to the rowdy "dudebro" demographic as well as pottymouthed kids and teens attracted by the violence. Related memes, such as Major League Gaming along with Product Placement for Doritos and Mountain Dew, are frequently mentioned and used when making fun of the series. An example.

    Web Comics 
  • xkcd attracts a lot of this due to its Stylistic Suck art and slightly odd writing (but extreme popularity). The xkcd sucks blog popularized this, though it's hard to tell if he actually hates it or if he just thinks ranting about it is funny.
  • Homestuck has a really, really big fandom. And it's.. sort of a Cloud Cuckoo Land with everything from Nausea Fuel, Nightmare Fuel, and even stuff that's just weird. So a lot of places- YouTube for one- will often scoff one for being a "Homestuck". It gets a lot of mockery all over the Internet by those out of the fandom, and some of it is more than justified. However, in a really strange example of this trope gone a little bit wonky, some people seem legitimately scared of Homestuck Fans, to the point some people regard them as the "Most Terrifying Fandom" on The Internet, specifically Tumblr.

    Web Original 
  • Anything by Dark Syde Phil: His Let's Play videos are painful to watch, but his general incompetence and bizarre behavior has spawned dozens of "Let's Endure" and "Let's React" videos riffing on the highlights.

    Western Animation 
  • Regular Show is full of in-universe examples, most of which are parodies of B-horror films. In one episode, Mordecai gets tickets for "Love-Bot 2" just because the first one was such a bad movie.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SnarkBait