"The world is full of bad books written by amateurs. But why settle for the merely regrettable? Atlanta Nights is a bad book written by experts."
— T. Nielsen Hayden
A Show Within a Show
or other Meta Fiction
by a character inside another story is often presented in an inferior writing style (for obvious reasons, it's a bit difficult to do it the other way around — if the writer could do better, then he would presumably use that as his baseline, unless it's using the first person). The most conspicuous aspect of this is in terms of dialog, in which one can expect the characters to speak in a stilted, mechanical tone for no apparent reason at all.
The main character often is an obvious stand-in for the fictional author.
This can serve to distinguish the nested story from the main one, or to demonstrate the limited skills or intellect of the character who writes it. Alternatively, a really
inferior writing style, presented right, can provide So Bad, It's Good
There's No "B" in Movie
is related, though in that case the focus is on the audience of the Show Within a Show
rather than on its writer. If the material is not horrible, merely so-so, but is supposed
to be awesome, it's an Informed Ability
. See also Rule of Funny
A Super Trope
It's been suggested by various movie critics that this is done solely because it would be irritating to the viewer and humiliating to the writer if the story within was a lot more interesting than the story around it (though an enterprising author could release it as a spin-off
, not unlike the real-life Radioactive Man
comics), so they do what they can to kill it while retaining its purpose.
May overlap with The Power of Acting
Contrast with Framing Device
Basically So Bad, It's Good Played for Laughs
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Anime and Manga
- The first (in airing order) episode of Haruhi Suzumiya, "The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina", is a gloriously bad student film made by the main characters, with a plotline that makes no sense, random scene changes, flat characters, appalling acting, shoddy directing (the conversation where both characters are facing right springs to mind) and really badly animated special effects (with one exception - that happens to nearly take out the cameraman). And Kyon commenting on all this.
- This episode is all Kyon's. Without his commentary, the film would honestly be bad, with it included, it's So Bad It's Absolutely HILARIOUS!
- Episode 00 is in 4:3 aspect ratio while the rest of the series is widescreen. The first screen format-related Stylistic Suck?
- An early fansub added to this by applying subtitles and karaoke that were reminiscent of those you'd find on old fansubs, complete with Comic Sans and a static karaoke with notes.
- The unnamed alien soap opera watched by the whole household in the original Tenchi Muyo! OVAs is poorly written and badly acted, and yet enthralls everyone who watches.
- Genshiken's Show Within a Show, Kujibiki Unbalance, was intended to be like this, a Cliché Storm that contained every absurdity ever to appear in anime. Then they actually made a few episodes of the show as an Omake, and real viewers loved it so much it became a real, full length series.
- Sadly, the full length series diverges quite a bit from the one within Genshiken, both in art style as in plot.
- Nadesico had the Show Within a Show Gekiganger 3, which has become somewhat legendary among fans.
- In the Ichigo Mashimaro manga, Miu tries her hand at making a Shoujo manga herself. Her style is not that much inferior to the original, which is actually pretty good for a twelve-year old. Her storytelling leaves something to be desired, though.
- The Uraon DVD specials from K-On!. The art style borders in So Bad It's Horrible.
- An episode of the Kirby anime features this hilariously Show Within a Show where Dedede tries to make an anime, recruiting more or less the entire cast to do the work. Between Executive Meddling, a ridiculously tight schedule and low budget, and most of the staff having no idea what they're doing (especially Kirby), it starts out as a parody of the show itself and gets very steadily worse. And funnier.
- The entire premise of the Excel Saga anime is based on this. Each episode, there's a scene of the director forcing the writer to put his 'stamp of approval' on that episode's script, which is invariably a haphazard attempt to shoehorn his characters into a variety of inappropriate genres.
- Rozen Maiden features a puppet crime show with anthropomorphic animals and plots vaguely inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels, Detective Kun-Kun, which is quite unexceptional and bland (complete with exaggerated acting, stiff, low-budget puppets, weak twists), yet all the dolls living in Jun's house are enthralled by it, screaming to warn the character of traps or betrayal, and genuinely shivering when a "scary" scene is happening, to the point of having Shinku in love with the title character, a pipe-smoking dog dressed as Sherlock Holmes (Jun even uses it to win an argument); yet this might also be to show that despite their age and occasional wisdom they all are little girls, and react as such, to tone down the many creepy and downer moments of the series.
- The Detective Kun-Kun OVA presents an episode of the television show from the point of view of the Rozen Maiden dolls watching it: as a theatrical masterpiece complete with red curtain.
- In Hayate the Combat Butler Nagi's greatest dream in life is to become a famous Mangaka. Too bad the only people capable of understanding the completely nonsensical plot of her manga are herself and her friend Isumi.
- The parts in the Futatsu no Spica anime in which Asumi talks about her childhood dreams or shares astronomical knowledge (usually in the beginning) are drawn in a very primitive, childish style.
- Sensei and Ninomiya-kun, a soap opera in Minami-Ke. It's an utter Cliché Storm with horrible acting, and yet the protagonists seem to like it.
- Sergeant Frog has the Five-Man Band attempt to create an anime movie. The characters were little better than doodles, nothing moves and the voice acting has nothing to sync to. Only the (pirated) backgrounds looks good.
- Pretty much the entire "169th Friends Concert" in 20th Century Boys. Lampshaded by the protagonist.
- Made even more obvious in the live-action movie adaptations, where you actually have to hear "Ai Rock Yuu" in all its horrific sucky glory.
- In episode 183 of Gintama, the opening is redone to look as though it was drawn in MS Paint after an in-universe example of Author Existence Failure leaves the show without an animator.
- There's also an episode where Gin and a prison inmate (from a previous arc) attempt to create a shounen manga but basically end up with a mix of super saiyan style shoulder pads, a Chage Note and blatant harem cliches. Plus rough children's illustrations. It doesn't even make sense in context.
- Despite the fact that he's supposedly a best-selling and award-winning novelist, the extracts from Usagi's Boys Love novels in Junjou Romantica are full of Purple Prose and cliched dialogue; the Junai Romantica novels, which are supposedly the novels that he wrote, are similarly prone to Cliché Storm and weepy uke syndrome, but are hilarious to read because of the mismatch between Usagi's fictionalized versions of the characters and how they really are.
- Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga uses this both for innate humor and to parody the stereotypical art styles of every major genre of manga.
- The opening of Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer depicts a Movie Within A Movie that recreates the events of the Gundam 00 TV series...as a hammy, Super Robot-esque affair that bears almost no resemblance to the actual show. Getting in on the gag, at least one fansub group gave the movie cheesy subtitles with different colored text for each character and several words left in Japanese with translation notes explaining what they mean and then saying there's no good English translation (a Take That against a certain fansub group that does this un-ironically).
- In Bleach, whenever Rukia uses her hand-made drawings to explain the spirit world and Hollows to Ichigo, they look as if they were done by a six year old. Ichigo never fails to point out how much her art style sucks. And usually gets hit because of it. Apparently Byakuya has a very similar art style, which is strange, considering he's captain of the calligraphy club, and a good sculpter.
- On the rare occasions that comics are portrayed in Jojos Bizarre Adventure, it will be in a very crude and deformed style that makes it clear the reader is looking at a comic-within-a-comic.
- Perfect Blue has "Double Bind", a detective drama that has many plot elements directly lifted from popular works of the genre. It's implied that the writer has no plan whatsoever and throws things like rape in because they are his Author Appeal.
- Baby Beel's drawings in Beelzebub are given criticism as if they were true works of art, when he's actually a toddler who can do little more than scribble.
- The manga and some supplementary materials for Hatoful Boyfriend have Anghel's manga, a bit of which is visible here, clearly made with more enthusiasm than skill and are in a much more scribbly style than the rest of the manga. Ryouta says there's a high stroke count and he respects Anghel, but Anghel can't get anyone very interested in his stuff; an editor says there might be something there but it lacks an "adult feel".
- The first ending of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which is styled like a child's crayon drawing.
- Zoot Sputnik was a comic-within-the-comic written by one of the characters in 'Mazing Man. The art was by Fred Hembeck.
- Whenever the Fish And Bicycle Theatre group pop up in Y: The Last Man, their productions are like this: a play about a man surviving the Gendercide (and later dying because the world doesn't need him any more), an action movie, a comic book called X: The Last Woman. All Anvilicious and pretentious.
- V for Vendetta contains many references to the fictional show Storm Saxon - a misogynistic, racist and homophobic action/adventure series, as well as the opinion news show "Voice of Fate" (which was eerily prescient of Bill O'Reilly).
- The filmmakers appear to agree with that last point, since he's a clear parody of Bill in the film.
- X-Men Noir features a series of backups prose stories parodying old pulp sf stories. ("The Sentinels" by Bolivar Trask) Thomas Halloway reads them, and even uses them to interrogate Professor Xavier. Considering the style and subject this is almost certainly a reference to the Iron Dream mentioned below. (Ironically, Trask comes across as rather egalitarian by 1930s standards, in his story the "perfect race" is formed by combining racial characteristics, and the mutant underclass turns out to be misunderstood. This is also ironic when you consider that in the main Marvel universe, Bolivar Trask was the bigoted scientist behind the mutant-hunting Sentinel robots.)
- Jhonen Vasquez's comic Johnny the Homicidal Maniac has the comic-within-a-comic Happy Noodle Boy. Interesting in that they don't suck too bad at first, but get progressively worse as Johnny slowly loses his sanity.
- Any time a superhero comic appears in a superhero comic, it's done like this.
- In the Essex County trilogy, the comic-within-a-comic drawn by a young child in the story is actually a real comic made by author Jeff Lemire when he was a child.
- Jordan's movie idea in House of Mystery. Not only is at a totally absurd Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot farrago, he keeps changing bits of it, and remembering things he forgot to say earlier. The art, meanwhile, plays along by showing exactly what he's saying at the time, even if this means everything has to change completely in the next panel.
- Subverted in an issue of Animal Man where Cliff Baker watches his dad's movie on his phone. The art is actually better and smoother in the movie.
- The famous nihonbuyou number Fujimusume ("Wisteria Nymph") features a scene where the spirit dances for her Love Interest in order to try and make him interested. Later, the spirit has drunken some sake and performs the exact same dance, only "a bit wonky". The scene is both very amusing for the audience, and very demanding for the dancer, who must appear wobbly and out-of-rhythm while actually staying in rhythm and keeping the dance recognisable.
- Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, which features all-male swans (among other innovations), features a ballet-within-a-ballet that parodies the conventions of Romantic ballet in general and the original Swan Lake in particular.
- Prinz von Sommerhoffnung has the character Ywiu, who speaks mainly in Singlish. It looks like genuinely bad writing at first, until one point where she code-switches to standard English and shows that the "bad English" is used deliberately. (At least if you somehow miss the fact that most of the others speak standard English.)
- Used in Troll Fics by authors such as Peter Chimaera and Squirrel King.
- The Light of Courage is a series of fan animations based on The Legend of Zelda done in a deliberately blocky and polygonal style to imitate the low quality of the fan script they are based on.
- The Fantendo fic Sunny and the Mushroom: THE END OF THE WORLD in which a guy explodes and blood goes EVERYWHERE and EVERYBODY DIES.
- The entire SHPDMBGWL 4 series. Although, the third one is actually somewhat decent.
- Hunter Truf: Ace Attorney and later Justices Memoirs on Ace Attorney Online feature an easter egg in which Martin Summers (hotel dusk)'s real "talent" is revealed.
- This Sonic Parody Fanfiction by a guy named Kimarnic accomplishes this pretty perfectly.
- Chapter 59 of You Got HaruhiRolled! imagines what the Haruhi Suzumiya series would be like had it been dubbed by 4Kids Entertainment. It's the most saccharine thing ever.
- Possibly many more fan fictions. We may never know how many.
- In-Universe in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series - Calvin is forced into a competition to impress a girl by Andy, and he creates a poem that falls into Painful Rhyme. She likes his poem more than Andy's because she believes Calvin was trying to aim for this.
- Balenaproductions's Sonic Zombie series, a Garry's Mod-made video set about Sonic and friends fighting zombies, has this trope all over. Loads of Special Effect Failures (the gun used to move objects around is visible in several scenes, characters don't walk so much as get dragged, the interface is visible multiple times, and at once point the in-universe maker has to actually spawn some tacos because he forgot to do so earlier), the plot's loaded with Giant Space Fleas From Nowhere, the final villain of the third part is a dragon-thing that's supposed to be Satan who sounds like a stoner, everyone has an exaggerated, OOC personality, and Wreck-It Ralph appears out of nowhere just to die in the "origins" story.
- There is one Team Fortress 2 animation called "Every TF2 Animation You've Ever Seen" meant to throw a jab at overused cliches in Team Fortress 2 videos, with a lot of the animation quality of the characters being wooden and using derivative jokes that many would already be familiar with (the always familiar sentry-sapping, for example). All of this, however, is meant to hide the creepier elements seen later in the video.
- The Homestuck fan-adventure Trol Seasson starts with naming the main character Anger Crabman. Things just get worse/better from there.
- The samples we get of the 'acting' in the adult entertainment movies in Boogie Nights are of course hilariously bad.
- The Dueling Cavaliers, the first "talkie" movie made by silent stars Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont in the classic musical Singin' in the Rain, is awful thanks to an unfortunate conjunction of many many small (and not-so-small) problems, not the least of which are Don throwing out lines he doesn't like, and Lina having a voice like fingernails on a blackboard.
- Americas Sweethearts opens with segments from the title characters' previous movies together. They are scenes that are just so completely generic, they would have no appeal whatsoever in the real world.
- Ironically, the second remake of King Kong used dialog from the original film to fit this trope.
- The portrayal of natives may also qualify. The racist and cliched view of the makers of the original film became... the racist and cliched view of the characters of the remake.
- Saved! - at one point, the protagonist and her mother watch a TV movie about ovarian/uterine cancer starring Valerie Bertinelli, and it's even worse than you'd expect. Leads to the hilarious scene with the character praying for cancer (instead of pregnancy).
- One scene of the movie the cast and crew are making in Living in Oblivion is completed, (a pseudo-Twin Peaks-esque Dream Sequence) and looks absurd.
- There are three different movies-within-the-movie. The first one is the one the director is dreaming about, a realistic family drama that actually looks pretty good, especially when the lead actress cries for real during the take they fail to get; and the second one is the one the lead actress is dreaming about, a black-and-white romance with characters drinking champagne and wearing evening dress, which looks awful and has incredibly cheesy dialogue.
- This is pretty much the point of The Producers, which has the main characaters trying to make pure suck and accidentially end up with So Bad, It's Good hilarity instead... which is bad because [success is exactly how their attempt to pull off a scam will get them caught.
- All the clips of the Show Within a Show "Crime Scene" from Forgetting Sarah Marshall fall under this. So does Aldous Snow's song "We Gotta Do Something" and its music video, in which Russell Brand does things like glower accusingly at the camera while holding up signs that say, "HOW CAN YOU READ/WHEN YOU ARE BLIND," then simulate sex with a passing nun.
- In A Dog's Breakfast, the space opera Starcrossed is intentionally melodramatic, over-acted and revoltingly soppy.
- Done on purpose and out of (in-story) necessity in Be Kind Rewind.
- Pretty much anything the characters on Tropic Thunder are shown being part of. A good deal of it is based on actual bad movies. The dialogue in the film they're currently making is filled with cliches. One of Ben Stiller's character's previous movie Simple Jack is repeatedly mocked in-story.
- The writing of the title character of Barton Fink isn't so much sucky as completely nonsensical. The "wrestling movie" Barton watches fits the trope well, though.
Wrestler: (repeatedly) I WILL DESTROY YOU!
- In the movie House (no connection to the similarly-named show), the main character's wife is an actress on a cheesy soap opera called Resort, filled with melodramatic and nonsensical lines like "My sister was an only child, and you abused that!"
- One of the extras on the DVD of The Incredibles is "Mr. Incredible and Pals", an in-universe cartoon starring Mr. Incredible, Frozone... and a rabbit-thing named Mr. Skipperdoo. The animation is not animated (a la Clutch Cargo), Frozone is portrayed as a tan-skinned beatnik, and the plot was clearly written for an audience of morons. There's also a commentary track, in which Mr. Incredible and Frozone — watching the cartoon fifteen years later — decide that it's a good thing the cartoon never aired.
- In the Ronstadt/Kline film production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, the climactic battle interrupts a stilted, badly-played and sung version of G.&S.'s H.M.S. Pinafore; their way of saying, "Yes, there are many, many things wrong with this production, most of them Linda Ronstadt, but see how much worse it could have been in an old-fashioned, fuddy-duddy sort of way."
- Yet another climactic battle, in Blazing Saddles, interrupts what looks to be an intensely stupid Busby Berkeley-style musical number.
"Throw out your hands, stick out your tush/hands on your hips, give 'em a push!/Don't be surprised, you're doing the French Mistake, VOILA!
- The Band Wagon, a musical about the making of a musical, showcases the rehearsal of a overblown, pretentious dance number that contributes to the show's total failure on opening night.
- "It Must Be June" from 42nd Street is an example of intentionally bad songwriting.
- In & Out features a double Stylistic Suck: the film opens with extracts from a "serious" drama about gay men in the army, parodying every gay movie trope known to mankind. These extracts are being shown at a parody of the Academy Awards broadcast, which includes such nominations as "Steven Seagal for Snowball in Hell".
- Bowfinger concerns the production of a really stupid Alien Invasion movie called Chubby Rain. Its success leads to the making of Fake Purse Ninjas, which appears to be just as ridiculous.
- The entirety of Fourth Wall obliterating Amazon Women on the Moon consists of unstated Framing Device of someone in the audience randomly switching channels from one Stylistic Suck parody to another, while nominally watching the eponymous movie. There isn't a single second of the film that isn't this trope.
- Love Actually gives us Christmas Is All Around. This is an odd example because the original song wasn't original to the film; it was a Troggs song, famously covered by Wet Wet Wet. The obnoxiousness of the Christmas version is in the blatant commercialism; according to writer Richard Curtis, "I couldn't think of a funnier way to start the film than by actually making [the British public] listen to the same song again."
- Mortal Kombat has a brief scene where Johnny Cage fights off some bad guys in a cheap fighting movie. Of course, Mortal Kombat itself isn't much better.
- According the DVD commentary of Austin Powers 2, they actually went out of their way to make their scenes shot in Southern California look like they were shot from Southern California when they were supposed to be in England, so Austin's joke about England looking nothing like Southern California would be funny.
- In the same scene, the characters pass a sign that just says "English Countryside".
- Early in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, studio executives watch scenes from Jane's films, and note that she's an awful actress. However, those were real scenes from the early movies of Bette Davis (who plays Jane).
- The Hays Code's compulsory insistence on Happy Ending in movies often led to movies having abrupt, unrealistic endings that audiences felt were not convincing. A lot of this was deliberately done by film-makers and screenwriters. Douglas Sirk, director of melodramas like Imitation of Life and All That Heaven Allows noted in post-career interviews that he deliberately made his endings unconvincing so that audiences would focus on the subtext of his films and he stated that this was a common practise in American films of the time.
- The movie adaptation of Ghost World has a lot of this, most notably Roberta Allsworth's incomprehensible art film Mirror Father Mirror and abysmal blues-rock band Blueshammer.
- The songs "African Child" and "I Am Jesus" from Get Him to the Greek are almost certainly Stylistic Suck; the rest range from Affectionate Parody to simple Pastiche.
- In Meet the Feebles the corrupt producer will never - under any circumstances - allow a certain musical number that the camp gay director thinks of as his magnum opus. When it finally does get performed... well, let's just say the subject matter isn't appropriate for a family variety show.
Director, singing: Sodomy! You must think it really odd o' me / that I'm really into sodomy...
- The short film "US vs. HK" by the ZeroGravity stunt team is the same fight scene twice. The overwrought American version falls wonderfully into this trope. (The Hong Kong one gets more over towards So Cool It's Awesome.)
- The 2009 independent film After Last Season features some of the most shockingly boring, awfully rendered CGI visuals you've ever seen in your life...but it's okay, because the CGI sequences are supposed to represent a machine that converts thoughts into images, and the thoughts are unclear at first, so it's supposed to look like crap!
- Despicable Me has Gru being forced to read a bedtime story called "Sleepy Kittens" to put his adoptive daughters to sleep. It's as saccharine as kid's books get, complete with finger puppets for the three little kittens, with Gru getting increasingly annoyed at the story as he reads on. Also, its now available for purchase on Amazon.
- Wayne's World has the main characters start the eponymous show by thrashing madly on electric guitars and singing (badly) "Wayne's World! Wayne's World! Party Time! Excellent!". When an actual professional intro is added it's just... wrong (and the main characters are stunned).
- The entirety of the show falls under this, as it's basically the duo goofing around with no script, which is apparently what their fanbase likes.
- Early in Synecdoche, New York we find Caden presenting an unconvincing version of Death of a Salesman using a very young cast. Result? Caden is awarded a Macarthur Fellowship "genius grant."
- An early scene in The President's Analyst (that's been absent since early tv broadcasts) has James Coburn's character watching an art movie that's disgusting the audience (one shot dwells on an overfilled garbage can), which is walking out in a steady stream. As he points out funny details to a similarly disgusted girl, they end up the only viewers left, having a great time - the movie's auteur then angrily tells them they were supposed to hate it.
- Spice World is itself not a very good movie, but there's one intentional example of this trope; the scene where the screenwriter describes the frantic journey the Spice Girls are making through London as they're doing it. At one point, they're about to jump the rising platform of Tower Bridge in a double decker bus. The executive this is being described to comments that this would be pretty expensive. Cue the scene being rendered using a scale toy bus bumping over a rather shoddy replica of Tower Bridge. "Not necessarily."
- In Mr. Bean's Holiday, Carson Clay makes an absurdly ham fisted "personal statement" for Cannes Film Festival. The film shown to the festival goers uses footage filmed by Bean paired with Clay's navel-gazing dialog. Hilarity Ensues.
- Gentlemen Broncos - the main character Benjamin's SF novella Yeast Lords is spectacularly awful from a Real Life perspective; in-universe, it's treated as a work of staggering genius.
- In Wag The Dog, the President's re-election ads are absolutely atrocious. In the end, the film producer who helped put on the fake war is unable to remain silent if it means that the people who made the ads get to take credit for the President's re-election, and so he is Killed to Uphold the Masquerade.
- In Adaptation., Charlie Kaufman's (fictional) twin brother Donald writes a script for a film called "The Three", which is a murder-mystery in which the murderer, detective and victim are all the same person. Charlie proceeds to point out the Plot Holes and Fridge Logic that would result from all of this, but everyone else loves it.
- At the start of Josie and the Pussycats, Boy Band DuJour are selling an absurdly bad song called "Backdoor Lover" which is basically a list of increasingly filthy Double Entendres about anal sex disguised as a Silly Love Song about a lover who uses the back door of his girlfriend's house.
You know that I won't hurt you so open up and let me in
We love each other way too much for it to be a sin
Some people use the front door but that's never been my way
Just 'cause I slip in backwards, well, that doesn't make me - hey
- Captain America: The First Avenger: Captain America's brief career as a USO mascot is shown via a montage of his cheesy propaganda musical number, complete with high-kicking Chorus Girls, punching Hitler over a hundred times, and a completely over-the-top Ear Worm of a song "The Star-Spangled Man." And it is glorious!
- Galaxy Quest:The cheapo aesthetic of the "real-life" Galaxy Quest show. It's very fun to watch the special features, in which the filmmakers discuss the cutting-edge special effects technology used to film the movie, and then show how they made the in-universe television show look cheaply-made on purpose - complete with a red cyclorama and papier-mâché rocks. Director Dean Parisot explains that he put sand on the dolly tracks to make the camerawork look rough.
- The puppets in Team America: World Police, particularly the opening puppet show. This was done to freak out the financers (the story goes that one of them yelled "My god, they fucked us!")... but then the camera pans back to show the crude puppet and backdrop are part of a rather more sophisticated puppet's performance.
- Some of the DVD extras reveal that the puppeteers were actually capable of even more complex and realistic puppetry than is seen in the movie, though at times it is deliberately done overly simply, partly because it was simply funnier, and partly because overly realistic puppets slam deep into the Uncanny Valley, which they wanted to avoid.
- In Werner Herzog's Heart of Glass, almost all roles were played by untrained actors who were hypnotized for shooting. As a result, they move around like sleepwalkers and deliver their lines with essentially no acting at all.
- In Detention, what we see of the Cinderhella movies plays out like every teen slasher and Torture Porn cliche come to life. The eponymous killer appears to be some sort of spurned high school girl (we're never given any details of the films' plot) who, in the second film, is torturing one of her classmates, forcing her to perform a Saw-style act of self-mutilation in order to avoid getting her head blown off by a device that a teenage girl really shouldn't have the resources or technical know-how to build. The bootleg work print for the third film likewise depicts a group of teens (who are conspicuously like the main characters of Detention, who are watching the work print) engaging in such immoral behaviors as premarital sex and digital piracy before Cinderhella walks in and murders them all.
- The entirety of Casa De Mi Padre, as it fashions itself after telenovelas.
- In The Decoy Bride, James is the author of a novel called The Ornithologist's Wife. It's set on the tiny Scottish island of Hegg, but James has never even set foot on Hegg, so the novel is riddled with inaccuracies. It's also full of Purple Prose and Katie describes it as soulless with an unsatisfactory Romance Arc. It's also very heavy. Every single inhabitant of Hegg has read it, because it's the only book ever written about the island, but they all mock it rather relentlessly.
- In Coraline, the scenes in the Other World are done with slightly worse animation, some missing frames here or there, just to make it feel unsettling to the audience even before the the big reveal.
- Much of the humor of Black Dynamite is in presenting the film as a shoddy blaxploitation film filled with 70s-era Values Dissonance and low production value.
- The song "Please Mr. Kennedy," from Inside Llewyn Davis, doesn't suck, exactly, but Phil Ochs it isn't.
- Poolboy Drowning Out The Fury is presented as if it were a unreleased 1990s action movie that was written, produced and directed by a 10 year old boy, then reedited with newly filmed footage starring the now-grown up director. Intentionally sucky elements include onscreen crewmembers, bad dubbing, poor writing and intentionally racist content.
- "Moonquake Lake" from Annie (2014) has a ridiculous premise, clichéd dialogue and overacting.
Live Action TV
- This is the whole purpose of Garth Marenghis Darkplace The intentionally-awful Show Within a Show is a poorly produced supernatural horror series from The Eighties, with amateurish production, atrocious acting, and hack writing that exposes the various bigoted beliefs of the self-important writer. The retrospective cast interviews interspersed throughout each episode are also filled with the trope, showing how the people behind the show are clueless as to their own incompetence and are all pretty awful people.
- Wormhole X-Treme!, a Show Within a Show from the Stargate SG-1 episode of the same name. It can be considered either a self-parody or an Anvilicious Take That against the campier predecessors of Stargate; either way, it's full of Take Thats directed at earlier SG-1 episodes.
- Conan O'Brien's merciless parody of the Spider-Man musical.
- Two and a Half Men does this with the jingles Charlie writes. Granted jingles are rarely good in the first place, but one glaring example is when The Rival is set to win his eighth award in a row, which Charlie was only nominated for. The rival goes on stage to perform his song, and it of course is cheesy and hammy. Yet the rival wins again.
- Also happens when Alan decides to write a book.
- And his screenplay. "Suddenly a meteor comes out of the sky..."
- iCarly: Subverted. The episodes present the webshow segments in Freddie's perspective being the one behind the video camera (with a battery charge indicator, frames, etc.) The "uploaded" videos on the actual iCarly website look quite similar to what is seen on YouTube (with a small rectangle video frame, with comments and the rest of the site around it). Of course, going "full screen" doesn't seem to ruin the quality, though.
- On Monk, Randy Disher's attempts to be a rocker in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Dentist" result in at least one hilariously bad video. We only see part of it in the episode, and it clearly looks like it was made on a very low budget. You can watch the full version on USA Network's site or by searching for it on YouTube, where you can see its low quality in the fact that they just did a lot of green-screen work and superimposed images instead of doing location shooting like most music videos go with.
- Karen Stottlemeyer's documentaries are apparently very terrible, enough that Leland refuses to watch them even though she hawks him in "Mr. Monk and the Very Very Old Man" to watch her documentary about Miles Holling, the oldest man in the world, which Monk and Leland have to struggle to stay awake to watch
- Friends does this a lot with Joey's acting career.
- Days of Our Lives doesn't escape, despite being a real life soap. In fact, in one memorable scene, Joey's stalker refuses to believe he is an actor and not really Dr. Drake Ramoray - but is convinced to leave by a badly acted, badly improvised skit concocted by Ross. This reached its height of superb nonsense when Joey's character received a brain transplant so that a woman could live on in Drake's body - but then the body rejected the woman's brain, as explained in a scene where Joey is acting as though he has the brain of Drake, even though Drake's brain was meant to have been damaged beyond repair.
- And who can forget some of the dross he's been seen in on stage. Freud! The Musical springs to mind. Especially since we got reminded of it in every Clip Show ever. Why couldn't they let us forget it?
- As Chandler said of Mac And C.H.E.E.S.E., a Buddy Cop Show that paired Joey with a robot, "That was one of the worst things ever. And not just on TV."
- "Why Don't You Like Me", a one-woman monologue featuring an angry lady shouting her life story at her audience. Chandler, unintentionally left to watch it by himself, gives it a rave review, saying it's deepened his understanding of what women go through. Of course, it was painfully bad - by tricking the friends into seeing it, Chandler gets his revenge.
- Phoebe's songs don't exactly hit high notes in the music world either. However, unlike Joey's career, this is recognised by everybody but herself.
- Ross's "wordless sound poems" are just as bad, if not worse.
- The show-within-a-show in Extras, "When The Whistle Blows". Subverted in that Andy Millman, the main actor and creator of the show, actually wanted to make a television show that sounded very similar to ''Extras'' creator Ricky Gervais's previous series, The Office, but it was the BBC that turned it into a catchphrase-spewing, wig-and-glasses-wearing, badly-written, lowest-common-denominator sitcom that turns off critics everywhere, but makes Millman a minor star with the aforementioned lowest-common-denominator.
- House enjoys watching a hospital-based soap opera called Prescription Passion while he's supposed to be working. In one episode where he kidnaps the star to treat a condition he's diagnosed by watching the show, it turns out even the male lead thinks the show is terrible.
- Word of God has it that they originally intended to use clips from General Hospital but were denied, so instead made up their own version of the show that was as ridiculous as possible (see a Christmas-themed episode where all the doctors are wearing Santa Claus hats in the OR). However, in one episode, House tells his 'ducklings' that his file is under the codename "Luke and Laura."
- An in-universe example is the season 4 episode "Games". A former punk rocker named Jimmy Quidd (possibly based on Johnny Rotten) creates an album of pure, unrelieved, discordant noise, for the sole purpose of messing with people (which sounds a bit like Metal Machine Music).
House: "Remind me of your influences here. I'm gonna say, Thelonius Monk and the sound a trash compactor makes when you crawl inside it."
- The musical "Gay" that the characters attend in episode 2.1 of The IT Crowd qualifies as this.
- Spaced character Brian Topp is an artist whose work embodies all the cliches of a tortured, pretentious, self-absorbed, angst-fueled performance-artist stereotype, pushed to their limits. Though the writers created it as if seriously trying to come up with a piece of performance art, according to the commentary, knowing that it would be funnier than if they tried to parody the style.
- How I Met Your Mother features three comparatively rare music video examples from Robin's days as a Canadian pop star. The first one, at least, is So Bad, It's Good.
- Also, there's the pretentious experimental play Lily is in (Ted describes it as being below "homeless people screaming at you in the park" as a theatrical experience) and the one-man play Barney does just to get even with Lily for having to sit through it.
- There's also Doctor X, Ted's persona from his college radio days. Although this definitely counts as So Bad, It's Good too.
- And the movie The Wedding Bride, which was every Chick Flick cliche turned Up to Eleven.
- Also the board games made by Lily's dad, many of which no store with any common sense would dare put on their shelves. As just a taste, one of his "board games" consists of nothing more than holding onto jumper cables connected to a car battery.
- There was also the game show "Heads or Tails", in which contestants can win fabulous prizes if they call a coin flip correctly. Granted, the only thing really wrong with it was the premise, but that premise was bad enough to count.
- An episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation had the crew trapped in a 1920's style gangster story that repeated itself over and over and kept them from leaving. Upon examining the hotel that was the setting, they discover the skeletal remains of an astronaut. Reading his diary reveals that his ship encountered aliens which accidentally killed his crew. Out of remorse, they placed the lone survivor in a replication of what they thought he would be happy with. Unfortunately, the only reference they had to what life was like on Earth was a copy of a trashy novel he had brought along with him. The astronaut laments that, while he believes the aliens meant well, the characters are so shallow and the plot is so derivative, that it has become a living hell and he eagerly looks forward to the sweet release of death.
- The "Captain Proton!" holonovels from Star Trek: Voyager. A deliberate send-up of the old sci-fi film serials that, to today's jaded viewers, really did suck. The Holodoc ticks off the crew by incorporating them into one of his own holonovels, which are already bad. Tom Paris takes revenge by rewriting the novel, meaning that now it depicts the Doc in a horrible light (as opposed to his crewmates). The best (or worst, depending on your point of view) part of the joke was that once he sees things from the crew's perspective in Tom's rewrite, he finishes it (presumably in a form they're okay with), and publishes it, and it's implied that it may well start a rebellion of some kind among Holodocs being used as miners in a capacity not unlike slaves.
- McGee's novel from NCIS, a parody of the trashy bestseller. People like his books, but they're not good. The extra joke being how seriously he takes his writing.
- This is the entire premise behind Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiques, a spoof of 1980s British soap operas which formed a recurring sketch on Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV. The sketches exaggerated all the problems resulting from the unfeasibly tight schedules and low budgets of soaps, including wobbly sets (with which the actors often collided), underrehearsed actors flubbing lines and missing cues while obviously reading cue cards, visible technical equipment (with which the actors also often collided), crew members audibly hissing directions from off screen, ill-fitting costumes, obvious continuity errors, and stories rife with absurd twists, implausible dialogue, unresolved subplots, and wildly inconsistent characterisation. Even the credits were not immune to technical problems and corner-cutting; the theme tune went from a tinny synthesiser recording to a piano version clearly recorded in someone's living room, while the cast credits were often carelessly slid on and off the screen.
- Doctor Who:
- The propaganda film at the start of the serial "The Armageddon Factor" is a classic example... although, as Doctor Who: The Discontinuity Guide notes, it would have worked better if the rest of the story had been more of an improvement.
- Harrison Chase's "music" in The Seeds of Doom.
- The Eleventh Doctor's hilariously bad dancing, lovingly dubbed the Drunk Giraffe outside the show, is this. Matt Smith was told to dance badly, and he did.
- Done for dramatic effect with the Second Doctor's recorder playing in "The Power of the Daleks". He starts off constantly getting the notes wrong, and going right back to the beginning of the tune every time he does, in the manner of a beginner; and his breath control is horrible and leads to him frequently accidentally overblowing it. As he settles into his new personality, he gets better and better at playing it until he's actually pretty good.
- LOST's Nikki was a guest star on a show called Exposé, which is about strippers who fight crime. The show features melodramatic music, bad acting, and the odious Catch Phrase "Razzle dazzle!" yelled by the strippers as they fight. Notable for having Billy Dee Williams as the Big Good except he's secretly the Cobra, the Big Bad!
- In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Terminator Cromartie imitates an actor. After some of Cromartie's crimes become public, a few clips from one of his movies are shown. They're about a barbarian and include a lovely blond wig, poorly spliced-in footage of a tiger, and utterly legendary acting.
- In a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, the movie Scott of the Antarctic is renamed Scott of the Sahara so Scott can get to fight a lion. The fight scene starts with the charge of a Stock Footage lion, which reaches Scott as a lifeless dummy lion. Halfway through the fight, the dummy is replaced with an actor in a lion suit who punches Scott and hits him over the head with a chair. At the end, as was promised by Idle's character, the blood goes "psssh!" in slow motion....with all the drama of water from a drinking fountain.
- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip tried to do this with the never seen "Peripheral Vision Man" sketches, which are continually derided as awful. This ended up misfiring, as all of the "brilliant" sketches that are shown are completely terrible, one wonders how bad Peripheral Vision Man could possibly be, especially considering that it's the only sketch premise that might actually appear on a real sketch comedy show.
- Australian comedian Shaun Micallef uses this very frequently, both in playing himself as a terrible television host and interviewer in The Micallef Program, and more notably through the persona of David McGhan, who has been a completely idiotic reporter, hosted a nigh-incomprehensible documentary series, and produced and starred his own spy series (Roger Explosion), western (Villain in a Cowboy Hat), courtroom drama (District Attorney Ferguson) and medical drama (Dr. Miracle), all of which were (deliberately) terrible beyond description - or So Bad, It's Good.
- Also Sotto Vocce, the Spaghetti Western with the inaudible hero, who was carried through to Micaleff's Newstopia series and given classy big budget production values, but still kept the same bad acting and relevant cliches.
- Leverage has con artist Sophie Devereaux, who is a terrible actress... unless she's conning someone, in which case she's incredible. The show's so far included a hamtastic rendition of Lady Macbeth, an audition for a soap commercial where she "view[s] the dirt as a metaphor for sin," and an unseen performance of Death of a Salesman where she played Willy Loman.
- The episode "The Stork Job" also has the team hijack the production of a film shot in Serbia called Howl Force, which features "NATO forces fighting werewolves." Sophie actually turns in a moving performance as a nun who gets shot to death by enemy soldiers... but no one gets it on tape.
- The episode "The Three Days of the Hunter Job" also had a non-artistic version of this, otherwise much the same, featuring Parker:
Sophie: "You're not supposed to take it, you're supposed to get caught with it.
Parker: "I don't know how to get caught!" *
Sophie: "Yeah, I know it's difficult to steal badly, just... try."
Sophie riffles through a stack of papers loudly, then slams a desk drawer.
- Charlie the Wonderdog. "YAY! NICE-WORK-CHAR-LIE!"
- From Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike's poetry. Dear God.
My heart expands,
'tis grown a bulge in it
inspired by your beauty... effulgent.
- The first time we hear that poem was before he was a vampire, and one listener said that he'd rather have a railroad spike driven into his head than hear it. The second time is a hundred plus years later in a rough biker-type bar. This time the patrons loved it, because everyone in the bar (including Spike) was completely drunk.
- Giles' drawing. Just look at Hush, or his conversations with the Chinese Slayerette. Especially bad in comparison to Angel's incredibly lifelike sketches...vampire should have been an artist.
- In a Seinfeld episode where we hear George sing an answering machine message to the tune of the Greatest American Hero theme song, Broadway star Jason Alexander had to tone down his singing talent to sound more like George would sing.
- Elaine's awful dancing also fits this trope.
- Twin Peaks and its in-series soap opera Invitation to Love.
- On Supernatural, the character Becky writes fanfiction that applies Rule 34 to the in-universe series of novels describing the lives of the protagonists. The excerpt of her work that actually appears on the show is full of Narm and Fetish Retardant.
- The above-mentioned in-universe series is a far-superior, more-accurate, and very popular (among those who know about it), series that chronicles their lives, written by a prophet called Chuck who knows what will happen to them shortly before they do. Its quality is justified, seeing that Chuck is actually God. Sam and Dean still aren't very happy with its existence.
- Dean heatedly denies watching Dr. Sexy, MD.
- Almost everything Charlie writes in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is either completely illegible or completely insane. The best example of this would be his song "The Nightman"—Charlie claims it is about the nightman filling him up and he becomes the spirit of the nightman, but the lyrics sound like they are more about a man breaking into his house and raping him. Later when Mac hands Dennis Charlie's lyrics, Dennis asks if it is a page from a coloring book.
- To say nothing of his musical "The Nightman Cometh".
- Christopher Multisanti seems to be a magnet for this trope in The Sopranos. Season 1 introduces the godawful band Visiting Day, which he is forced to help promote with his girlfriend Adriana. Later seasons introduce his screenplay and later film, which is basically a poorly-spelled Cliché Storm of bad mafia-movie and horror-film tropes.
- Father Ted opens one episode with a clip from a show called "Father Ben", displaying exactly the same title sequence as its parent show, and hilariously similar yet exaggerated characters.
- In Skins Series 3, Freddie's sister takes part in a TV talent competition to join girl group "Da Sexxbombz". The show is like an even more crass, sleazy version of The X Factor or American Idol.
- A recurring sketch on That Mitchell and Webb Look features two scriptwriters who don't do their research. Any reserch. Their sports drama is filled with Gretzky Has the Ball; their hospital show was written without knowing any medical terms, and so on. Faced with their Bad Bad Scripts, it's apparent that everyone else involved ceases to care, so we get Bad Bad Acting as well.
- The Muppet Show pretty much runs on this trope. Fozzie Bear's terrible comedy act is the most obvious example; but it's also a good description of many other major and minor characters, particularly Miss Piggy, and the hapless duo Wayne and Wanda.
- Flight of the Concords has some of this when we see the band actually play a gig. They also appear to only know 2 songs (Robots and Rock the Party). The music videos in the show that presumably take place in the characters' minds are very good in comparison.
- Flash Forward has a recurring kids' cartoon called "Tim Tim and Squirrelio" which looks more like a bad flash cartoon than an actual animated show.
- Saturday Night Live had its running series in the 1970s episodes hosted by Leonard Pinth-Garnell (Dan Aykroyd) featuring "Bad Theater", "Bad Cinema", "Bad Musicals", "Bad Children's Cabaret", etc.
- Also worth noting is the recurring "Digital Short" "Laser Cats". Each "Laser Cats" begins with Andy Samberg and Bill Hader pitching their idea to showrunner Lorne Michaels. In the future, cats develop the ability to shoot lasers out of their mouths. The shorts feature them as Admiral Spaceship and Nitro, Space Police who fight evil with laser cats. The shorts are all shot with handheld cameras in locations that are obviously just back halls of the SNL studio, featuring terrible special effects, Bad Bad Acting, poor costumes, and "cats" that switch between real cats and stuffed ones without warning. Each time, Hader and Samberg think "Laser Cats" is brilliant; Michaels just tells them to get the hell out of his office (though the recent one with Steven Spielberg backing it up did make Lorne Michaels reconsider, even if he had to lie about how good it was).
- Rachel's Run Joey Run video in Glee. And let's not forget "My Headband" and "My Cup," two awful attempts at songwriting.
- Also, Blaine's big brother Cooper thinks himself a great actor. He's really not.
The secret to great acting, great
acting: ignoring whatever the other actor is doing. Eye contact with a scene partner is incredibly distracting; I try to tune them out entirely. Sometimes I wear ear plugs. That way I don't get distracted by what they're doing, and I can focus on the awesome
acting choices I've planned ahead of time. Like, eating a roast beef sandwich. Right? Other choices I can plan ahead of time: SCREAMING ALL MY LINES!
Because I'm really intense, AND THE THINGS I'M FEELING are really intense 'CAUSE I'M AN INTENSE ACTOR!
- Although we never actually see her dance, Diane Chambers from Cheers is said to be very, very bad at ballet.
- In Black Adder Goes Forth, Baldrick recites several poems:
Baldrick: Boom, boom, boom, boom, / Boom, boom, boom, / Boom, boom, boom, boom...
Blackadder: Boom, boom, boom?
Baldrick: How did you guess?
Hear the words I sing,
War's a horrid thing.
But still I sing, sing, sing
Ding a ling a ling.
- The Blackadder the Third episode "Sense and Senility" featured the play The Bloody Murder of the Foul Prince Romero and His Enormous-Bosomed Wife of which its writers, Enoch Mossop and David Keanrick, were inordinately proud. The extracts we hear make it sound like the most ponderous examples of restoration drama possible.
- To give just one example, one of the lines is "To torture him I lust! Let's singe his hair, and up his nostrils hot bananas thrust!"
- An episode of Red Dwarf features a B-Movie, Attack of the Giant Savage Completely Invisible Aliens, the trailer of which is little more than people pointing at things that aren't there and a flying saucer on a fishing line.
- There's also the Neighbours parody Androids, which features (literally) robotic acting and deliberate 'mistakes'.
- An episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has Sabrina attempting to write a romance short story as an assignment: "Claire looked at Robert, and Robert looked at Claire. Claire and Robert were looking at each other. Claire didn't want to fall in love but nothing in her crazy life made sense and she lost all feeling in her thumbs!" Needless to say, the episode was about how she was failing that class. The one she ultimately submitted was a cliched` spy novel that, while better, was still pretty cheesy with a fair amount of Fridge Logic, even as it was magically brought to life, plus originally had a fairly depressing The Bad Guy Wins outcome since Sabrina was too lazy to think of a better ending.
- 30 Rock is all over this trope. The in-show sketches of TGS (such as Robot vs Bear and Fart Doctor) are portrayed as mindless dreck that only appeals to the lowest common denominator. Most of the rest of NBC's lineup (including reality shows such as Milf Island) are shown as no better. Then there's the distinguished careers of TGS's stars, Tracy Jordan and Jenna Maroney. Tracy is best known for dim-witted comedies such as Who Dat Ninja and Samurai I-Am-Awry. And Jenna's greatest achievements are a Broadway adaptation of Mystic Pizza and a biopic of Janis Joplin that, due to legal issues, ended up being about "Jackie Jormp-Jomp" performing at "Wordstock".
- Threat Level Midnight, Michael's action movie from The Office. Looks like what one expects a movie written by a regional manager and filmed in his free time over eleven years would look like. Also on The Office, the hilariously bad yet accurate sexual harassment training video ("Are you a real redhead?") and the children's show (Fundle Bundle). And Kelly's video, The Girl Next Door.
- Roundhouse, with its cardboard props and practically non-existent sets, seems to fit this rather well. (And Word of God has stated it's designed to look like kids doing a show with practically nothing.)
- A Taxi episode had Bobby get a role on a soap opera, with many jokes about how the show's star is constantly crying. Alex even reads part of the script, which specifies the exact way she should be crying with every line.
- MythBusters sometimes has the crew members reenact movie scenes (or do their own) that illustrate a myth that they're testing. Often, they don't really make an effort to make the acting (or, in some cases, special effects) believable. Generally, the "worse" ones will be lampshaded by revealing how they were shot—the Chroma Key fades to green, the camera pulls back enough to show some details of the set, etc. Most noticeable for the bus jump from Speed, and the Point Break "trilogy" of myths based off the plane jump.
- The X-Files has the movie featured in "Hollywood AD", about one of Mulder and Scully's cases. It's a cheap looking action movie, with the pair of them do traditional Hollywood quips. Both Mulder and Scully express disgust though Scully is also above it and looks amused with the whole silly thing.
- On some episodes of The Red Green Show, Ranger Gord did "educational" forest-themed cartoons, with animal versions of the Possum Lodge members and a Parody Sue version of Gord. Gord's actor (Peter Keleghan) did all the voices in a deliberately bad style, and the animation was intentionally jerky.
- The LA Complex makes it a point how bad Nick's Stand-Up Comedy routine is.
- While deconstructing Self-Made Man, in The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert fires his staff and ends up filming his show with an iPhone, and using a dry eraser board to do The Word, falling straight into this trope, up until he chokes on the cap of his dry erase marker.
- On Queer as Folk there was a Show Within a Show called "Gay as Blazes" which was shown to be extremely politically correct, and thus dull and overall very bad, although all the characters except Brian loved it. It was a very unsubtle Take That to the critics who complained that Queer as Folk itself wasn't PC enough, and eventually Brian mentions that it was cancelled.
- In one episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Lois tries to get a confession out of her sons by torturing them with an obnoxiously repetitive and didactic children's song called "Nice Is Good, Mean Is Bad". The deliberately bad song was provided by Pop Star Composers They Might Be Giants, who also happened to be working on their first children's album, No!, around the same time.
- Community has the recurring Inspector Spacetime TV programme and Kickpuncher movies. We only glimpse a few scenes, and although they do look really, really bad, Abed and Troy love them both.
- Ironically, Abed's films have a tendency to be...not good.
- Dean is in the process of penning a novel about the exploits of Dean Dangerous which Jeff classifies as the worst book he'll read cover to cover.
- One episode has the study group telling each other scary stories, all of which suck in different ways.
- One of the series 2 episodes ends with a terrible animated segment that the Dean is supposed to have made.
- The majority of The Aquabats! Super Show!. After all, it is meant to be a throwback to cheesy 60's live-action superhero shows.
- As Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger is a parody of Super Sentai shows, it frequently and deliberately uses obvious budget-cutting tricks and crappy special effects, ranging from poorly montaged shots to using toys instead of actors. Even the writing is not immune, as the second season starts by giving a completely incorrect recap of season 1.
- Michael Scott's screenplay, as read by the rest of the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch in The Office's second season and seen as a produced film in the eighth.
- Hugh Jackman's opening number when he hosted the 81st Academy Awards. He re-enacts the year's Oscar nominated films with deliberately cheap-looking props, which he claimed to have put together in his garage the night before, due to the poor economy not allowing the Academy to make actual props.
- The M*A*S*H episode "The Most Unforgettable Characters" has Radar enrolling in a mail-order creative writing course. Throughout the episode we hear his voiceover narration of the weekly staff report written in ridiculously purple prose.
"The friendly old sun showed his friendly hot face over the mountains of purple majesty, as though he was salutating 'Good morning' to all. Alas, alack! The peaceful quietness was detonated by a herd of chopper, transportizing punctured personnel. But our gallant doctors, the miracle medical mortals, are ever-ready to treat the sick..."
- On Breaking Bad, there are Saul Goodman's "Better Call Saul" commercials. Hank obviously doesn't think very highly of them:
Saul: Anything you care to share with me?
Hank: Sure, your commercials, they suck ass. See better acting in an epileptic whore-house.
- The Show Within a Show surgical drama Hearts'N'Scalpels on NipTuck.
- The whole point of The Spoils Of Babylon, which is presented as a self-indulgent vanity project by the fictional hack author Eric Jonrosh that got shelved in 1979 and is now being unearthed. It's full of Bad Bad Acting deliberate Special Effects Failures and an entire part played by a mannequin voiced by Carey Mulligan. It's essentially a Trans Atlantic Equivalent of Garth Marenghis Darkplace, but lampooning overblown "event" miniseries rather than supernatural horror shows.
- In The Sarah Silverman Program, Brian's favourite TV show is something called "Doctor Lazer Rage", a No Budget British science fiction show starring ex-Doctor Christopher Eccleston doing a send-up of his own performance, by way of David Tennant's Doctor and Roj Blake. What little we see of the show involves incredibly unconvincing CGI and monsters, and Eccleston's character acting painfully well despite the ludicrous Ice-Cream Koan and Cliché Storm dialogue they're making him say, while wearing a dreadful shiny jacket and wielding a silly raygun that makes cheesy zap sounds.
- An Adventure in Space and Time:
- The remade clips of Doctor Who in An Adventure in Space and Time, especially the remade "An Unearthly Child" sequences, are far, far worse than the actual 1960s Doctor Who series is - Bad Bad Acting, awful camerawork, framing and editing, Leave the Camera Running leading to awkward pauses in the action, visible stagehands, and continuity errors. Unlike most examples, this is not Played for Laughs, and is mostly just there to heighten the difference between the actors in character and the actors out of character, as well as to make it clear just how hopeless the show's production was. It's possible it was also exaggerated because, in the film, only short clips of the action are ever shown and so the audience needed to get a sense of the shoddiness of the production from much less footage. The clip of the Doctor's speech to the departing Susan from "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" is notably better acted, as it is in-universe Enforced Method Acting due to Hartnell's grief over Verity Lambert's departure. (In reality, Verity Lambert left during the production of "Mission to the Unknown", a pretty grisly Bottle Episode which didn't even have the Doctor in it, so it's almost impossible that Hartnell had been thinking about her during the scene. It doesn't work as well for the story, though.)
- The costumes of some of the aliens look significantly worse than the ones in the show, possibly because of Reality Is Unrealistic - Doctor Who has a rather exaggerated reputation in the public consciousness for monsters made out of duct tape and bubble wrap (okay, that last one did happen once, but...) that the film had to abide by. Compare the Menoptera◊ in the film to the Menoptera◊ in the show - obviously, neither is particularly good, but the original Menoptera has a more detailed headdress and makeup, more realistic antennae and eyes that aren't just painted onto the fur, more graceful limbs, wings with more structure, and a mantle made of properly quilted cloth instead of a strip of upholstery foam with the design painted on. The construction is overall better and less lopsided as well.
- Agent Carter has an in-universe "Captain America Adventures" radio show full of bombastic melodrama, featuring a "Betty Carver" character who does nothing but get rescued by Captain America and gush over his manliness. Peggy Carter is not amused.
- From Once Upon a Time, we have a commercial for Ruby's diner that was obviously filmed in front of a green screen, and Ruby advertising with a very stilted voice.
- Harry Nilsson's marvellously irreverent album Son of Schmilsson includes the song "Joy", a country-music parody built around an Incredibly Lame Pun, awkward pauses, repetitive lyrics, and more obvious rhymes than you could shake your ... thyme ... at. Yeah.
- The Human League's "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" is intentionally like this, being a parody of the new wave genre. This is why the synth sound is out of tune, and the happy mood of the song is in huge contrast with most of their music. Presumably because most people didn't get the joke, they left it off their album Hysteria (although it was included on a Fascination! EP of non album material)
- Much of Frank Zappa's parody work, particularly his early material. The most obvious example of this is America Drinks where the song is generally played as if the band are a very bad bar band.
- The album "Cruisin' With Ruben & The Jets"(1968) was a stylistic parody of cheesy doo-wop songs, so accurate that you could almost mistake it for being a real doo-wop album.
- Microdisney's B Sides towards the end of their career were like this because the band were growing tired of recording new material for them. "Little Town in Ireland" and "I Can't Say No" are both intentionally bad parodies of the Celtic Folk and Country genres respectively.
- Camille Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals has a movement titled "Pianists", in which the two pianists tediously perform five-fingered exercises and scales... as if they were beginners.
- The entire discography of Anal Cunt is this trope turned up to twelve and beyond.
- Varg Vikernes of Burzum deliberately used the cheapest microphone he could find to record "Filosofem"
- The Punk Rock movement invoked this trope by bashing out simple songs turned Up to Eleven.
- "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas was supposed to be this, a parody of overtly sexualized songs sung by female artists flaunting their figures. It didn't work. Then Alanis Morissette covered it and it worked spectacularly well.
- David Bowie wanted a 'garage band' feel to 'Boys Keep Swinging' but felt his band were playing too proficiently....so he got them to swap instruments. Diamond Dogs is so full of reverb, judders and crackling that, even remastered, it still sounds like an old phonograph.
- Country music parodist Cledus T. Judd used to sing some of his parodies in a slightly off-key nasal twang, but later albums found him toning down the voice somewhat.
- The Bonzo Dog Band:
- On the Swirling Eddies Cover Album Sacred Cows, all the songs are either deliberately bad (like DeGarmo & Key's "God Good, Devil Bad" performed as if they were recovering from head injuries) or wildly out-of-genre (like a lounge jazz version of DC Talk's "I Luv Rap Music").
- The Puppini Sisters made a well-arranged cover of "Spooky," but the video is loaded with homages to old, poorly-made horror films, complete with bad effects and silly screaming expressions.
- Lil Wang is made of this trope. He parodies other rappers, he just does it... terribly. That's really all there is to say on the matter.
- A large part of the appeal of The Moldy Peaches and similar 'anti-folk' bands and artists.
- Music historians are still debating whether Mozart's A Musical Joke is an example of this or an excuse for Mozart to experiment.
- Invoked by Igor Stravinsky and subverted by time. In his now famous (then infamous) composition The Rite of Spring, the famous opening melody is given to the bassoon. It was a line that was more suited for a clarinet and was written out of the common range of a bassoonists at the time; Stravinsky intended it to sound broken and strained. Now, ironically enough, the piece is so famous that the bassoon melody is a must-know for bassoonists, who've gotten significantly more proficient at their instruments when the "Rite" improved the PR of their instrument. Now every performance of the piece has the opening melody played beautifully and expertly.
- The Statler Brothers' comic alter ego, Lester "Roadhog" Moran and The Cadillac Cowboys, which began as a sketch on one of their albums and later spun off into a full-length album of their own. A small-time country band with minimal musical proficiency and off-key vocals, who also has a tendency to forget songs right in the middle of playing them.
- Donny Benet's deliberately outdated brand of lounge-synth, particularly obvious in the video for his main single 'Don't Hold back'.
- In 1997, artist duo Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid once took a massive poll of Americans' taste in music, down to very specific criteria (what type of instruments were liked and disliked, what type of tempo, what type of lyrics, etc.). Using this data, they then decided to create the most statistically "wanted" and "unwanted" songs in America. The "Most Wanted Song" is a Glurgey R&B ballad that acutely reflects the spirit of the times. The "Most Unwanted Song", however, born from average Americans' distaste for musical elements as diverse as opera, cowboy songs, rap music (!!), accordions, tubas, commercial jingles, bagpipes, children's voices, abrupt changes in tempo, extreme length, and "intellectual stimulation", must be heard to be believed. To put into perspective: this song features an opera singer rapping about cowboys and Ludwig Wittgenstein to the accompaniment of a drum machine, tuba and bagpipes. Yes.
- The music video for Stone Temple Pilots' "Big Bang Baby" has intentionally No Budget, with a White Void Room performance, video-grade greenscreen effects, and other cheese. Supposedly, the director's reasoning was that the band was already famous...
- Similarly, there's Faith No More's "Everything's Ruined" video, which was inspired by video booths at county fairs, and had the band miming in front of various Chroma Key Stock Footage - particularly funny moments have them "swimming" in front of an underwater backdrop, or fleeing from a giant tortoise. The band really didn't have much of a budget, having spent most of it on the other two videos for the album Angeldust, so they deliberately went for something as silly and cheap-looking as possible.
- Pearl Jam's "Olympic Platinum", an overblown Power Ballad about the Olympic Games. Written by one of the mixing engineers, it features ridiculous music, backing vocals, and lyrics (at times Eddie Vedder can't even hide that it's a joke - "I'll sing like Whitne-eeeee"). Even the cover for the fanclub-only single indulged in this.
- "Hardcore Judy" by The dBs, where the band turns their own three minute Power Pop love song "Judy" into a minute and a half of sloppy, unintelligible Hardcore Punk.
- Miley Cyrus's performance at the 2013 VMAs was certainly this, but it's impossible to tell whether it was Stealth Parody of the industry, Stealth Parody of her Former Child Star self, an attempt to invoke Cool but Stupid or No Such Thing as Bad Publicity Trolling.
- Her performance at the EVMAs later that year was even more deliberately sucky, featuring her singing her Power Ballad single about a failing relationship with an Ice King, in front of a backdrop video of a poorly-photoshopped Cute Kitten lipsyncing to her and crying. This one was definitely Trolling, considering the internet's love of cats.
- The Contemptible Cover of her album "Bangerz", which is intentionally badly photoshopped and styled like the stuff from the 1980s that did not age well. And this one is definitely Cool but Stupid, since the aesthetic makes it look nothing like anything else on the shelf and has an undeniable style to it, albeit an ugly one.
- Her Instagram edits as of 2014 (and those of her fans she post on her account) are very deliberately poorly photoshopped and filled with surrealistic humor, in an extension of her Bangerz-era artwork/tour graphics. She seems to delight in riling up trolls and cyberbullies on social media this way.
- The KLF's single under the pseudonym "The Timelords", a deliberately lazy proto-Mash Up of a Gary Glitter song with the Doctor Who theme and the song "Blockbuster", featuring some Harry Enfield and Chums sound clips processed to sound like Dalek voices. The video was even worse, featuring a Cool Car as the TARDIS and a couple of cardboard boxes covered in tinfoil as a Dalek.
- Garage Rock is an entire genre that often lends itself to this with purposefully out of tune guitars and simplistic riffs.
- The guitar solo in Dr. Hook's "The Cover of the Rolling Stone" is hilariously bad.
- The online record label PC Music has stylistic suck down to an art. The label's head, A. G. Cook, has said in interviews that he particularly enjoys "recording people who don't normally make music and treating them as if they're a major label artist." Cheesy electro-pop fun ensues.
- Snoopy's novelist alter ego writes stories that are filled with melodramatic dialogue, cliched characters, and ridiculous plot lines that don't really go anywhere. The stories often begin with It Was a Dark and Stormy Night.
- In FoxTrot, Roger once wrote a spy novel with a Marty Stu self-insert as the lead character. One week of strips consists of hiliariously-bad quotes and over-the-top scenes, plus his wife's reaction to the same (for instance, a Big "NO!" when the character is faced with a Wire Dilemma involving 173 wires and cuts the right one). It's even funnier when one realizes that his wife is (ostensibly) a professional writer.
- At the beginning of the nWo angle, WCW produced a series of deliberately cheap commercials with the disclaimer, "the following announcement has been paid for by the nWo." They were all in black and white and often featured recordings of Hogan yelling taunts, selective editing of the bad guys wiping out heroes, and sometimes action figures being destroyed.
- Likewise, the first Souled Out, billed as a PPV financed and organized by nWo, was also deliberately cheap.
- Generally, one of the ideas behind the concept of a jobber is that they are sub-par wrestlers in their respective league. When promoters want to show off the in-ring prowess of a certain wrestler that they want to turn in to a star, they put them in to easily-won matches with jobbers, who are designed to look mundane and easily beaten in comparison to the hopefully soon-to-be star. This makes the wrestler than the promoters are trying to, well, promote look like a competent and powerful character by having him handily dispose of the sucky wrestler.
- Some jobbers aren't portrayed as actually being "sucky wrestlers" as much as they are "wrestlers hopelessly out of their league". Some explicitly are shown to be terrible however. Also, when an onscreen non-wrestler personality (like a dastardly manager or an evil executive authority figure) is thrust in to the ring with an actual wrestler, the non-wrestler will play up being clumsy and just plain bad. Behind the scenes though, they usually have a bit wrestling training or even be former wrestlers; Captain Lou Albano (former tag team champion), Mr. Fuji (who was a champion in several promotions) and the legendary Bobby Heenan are good examples.
- WWE's revival of ECW began with 2005 and 2006 ECW One Night Stand pay per views, both serving as ECW reunions. True to the original ECW, they were extremely lacking in the special effects and gigantic elaborate stages that WWE was known for. To add to this, it was held ECW's old stomping ground: the Hammerstein Ballroom, which is a tiny venue capable of seating capacity a mere 2,500, whereas most WWE PP Vs are held in arenas that accommodate roughly 10,000). In 2007, One Night Stand would entirely drop the ECW theme for good to become a standard WWE pay-per-view with extravagant production values and conventional matches in a much larger arena; Joey Styles remarked on camera that it seemed inappropriate.
- Mick Foley as Dude Love. To drive home how different this persona was from Mankind and Cactus Jack, Foley would make his performances as Dude Love as boring as he could. One way included repeatedly putting his opponent into headlock after headlock after headlock.
Radio and Audio
- The trailer for the Dalek movie at the beginning of the Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama Jubilee is ridiculously over the top and involves a lot of very large explosions, as a send-up of Hollywood movies.
- "Don Juan Triumphant", the opera that the The Phantom of the Opera writes and extorts into production in the Andrew Lloyd-Webber production, is hideously overwrought and cliched even by the standards of opera.
- All three of the "operas" within the show (the other two being the Meyerbeer-esque "Hannibal" and the opera buffa pastiche "Il Muto") would count here.
- Three words - Springtime for Hitler. A Double Subversion variation in that it's meant to suck, but of course turns into So Bad, It's Good.
- "The Midas Touch" from Bells Are Ringing is a rather bad nightclub song written by dentist Joe Kitchell. (This character was fictional, but the notion of a dentist moonlighting as a songwriter was not. A week after Bells Are Ringing opened on Broadway in 1956, the Ethel Merman vehicle Happy Hunting opened; its widely-panned score was composed by a Real Life dentist named Harold Karr.)
- "Robbin' Hood" in the musical Curtains!
- "Over the Moon," Maureen's absurdly pretentious (even for performance art) one-woman show/protest in RENT.
- About half the audience of RENT thinks that the fact that most of the works of art we're shown (Mark's movie, Maureen's performance art, Roger's "In Your Eyes", Collins' "fighting the power" consisting mainly of breaking into ATMs and putting a virus on a college's computers) kind of suck is intentional, and that the play is making a point about fighting for even low quality art. The other half thinks that this was unintentional. It's best not to think about this too much.
- The 1929 play June Moon parodied the sort of bad songwriters who thought they were the first to notice that "June" and "moon" rhyme.
- William Shakespeare included several examples in his plays.
- The plays within a play in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Pyramus and Thisbe) and Hamlet (The Murder of Gonzago) feature stiff and awkward (and, in the former case, outright silly) prose compared to the play proper. The former gets an additional nod for hilarity because it also was a Take That against Macekre-style editing in order "Not to offend/frighten anyone".
- Pyramus and Thisbe was also the inspiration for Romeo and Juliet (which Shakespeare is believed to have written concurrently with Midsummer), and its interpretation in the play can be viewed as a parody of Shakespeare's own tragic version of the story.
- The Shakespearean stage directions also work with the stylistic suck of Pyramus and Thisbe; in Shakespeare's time, stage directions were woven into the dialogue (since, for example, they did not have the technology to raise and lower lights and change scenery for different times and places), and the scene setting in Pyramus and Thisbe all occurs long after it is meant to have happened, meaning the actors have to run around and generally look stupid to make up for it.
- A Bug's Life has a scene that deliberately calls reference to the Midsummer play. The schoolchildren act out a play of how the "warriors" are supposed to fight the grasshoppers. Dot's final lane in that play — "I die, die, die, die, die, DIE," complete with overblown acting — is taken directly from the end of the Midsummer play.
- Orlando's love poetry in As You Like It also qualifies; Touchstone mocks it openly with his own Stylistic Suck parody.
- Richard Wagner's Siegfried has a scene in which Siegfried tries to imitate a significant bird call by plucking a reed and playing on it. The sound heard is that of an out-of-tune English horn.
- The Real Inspector Hound is about two critics watching an incredibly poorly written sub-Agatha Christie thriller (clearly, to anyone familiar with the original, parodying The Mousetrap).
- Continuing with Tom Stoppard - his play 'The Real Thing' features a playwright asked to rewrite a play by a young political agitator. The brief dialogue we hear from the play is utterly awful.
- The eponymous Show Within a Show from The Drowsy Chaperone goes into this territory frequently, most obviously in the song "Bride's Lament" in which the heroine compares her wayward groom to a monkey on a pedestal. It makes sense in...actually, it really doesn't; that's what makes it so funny.
- Both of Conrad Birdie's big performance numbers in Bye Bye Birdie, "Honestly Sincere" and "One Last Kiss," as well as "The Telephone Hour," are such obnoxiously (and brilliantly) simplistic and repetitive parodies of 1950's teenybopper pop ("Goin' steady! Goin' steady!") that people frequently forget how sophisticated and melodic the rest of the show is, lumping it in with pure camp shows like Grease.
- But "Honestly Sincere" isn't that bad of a song, and in The Movie it actually proves to be Crowning Music of Awesome (causing every person in the square except Hugo Peabody to faint).
- In Wonderful Town, Ruth, in an effort to prove herself as a talented and sophisticated writer, leaves a pile of story manuscripts on a magazine editor's desk. Her stories, depicted in vignettes, include bad knock-offs of Hemingway ("For Whom the Lion Roars") and Dorothy Parker ("Exit Laughing"). (Comden And Green were the real writers of these vignettes, though they were credited only for lyrics.)
- "Gliding Through My Memoree" Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song, with the transparently terrible attempt to pass off Chinese-American Chorus Girls as exotic beauties from Ireland, Sweden, etc.
- Archibald Grosvenor and Reginald Bunthorne's poems in Patience are delightfully abysmal parodies of aesthetic poetry.
- Bunthorne's poem high-flown, grandiloquent poem "Oh, Hollow! Hollow! Hollow!" refers to "amaranthine asphodel", "calomel" and "the amorous colocynth" that "yearns for the aloe". These are all laxatives.
- Baby June/Dainty June's vaudeville numbers in Gypsy are intentionally written to be cloying, cliche-ridden and insipid, to show that while Mama Rose might be persistent and determined to succeed (through her daughters), she clearly lacks talent. It also underscores how hopeless her attempts are to force her daughters to succeed in a dying art form.
- Cyrano de Bergerac: Ragueneau's theme for a poem is a recipe in verse. All of his audience are poets who obviously are praising him only to eat free, but Ragueneau is taking his poem with all seriousness.
Ragueneau (who has put himself ready for reciting, cleared his throat, settled his cap, struck an attitude): A recipe in verse!. . .
Second Poet (to first, nudging him): You are breakfasting?
FIRST POET (to second): And you dining, methinks.
Ragueneau How almond tartlets are made.
Beat your eggs up, light and quick;
Froth them thick;
Mingle with them while you beat
Juice of lemon, essence fine;
The burst milk of almonds sweet.
Circle with a custard paste
The slim waist
Of your tartlet-molds; the top
With a skillful finger print,
Nick and dint,
Round their edge, then, drop by drop,
In its little dainty bed
Your cream shed:
In the oven place each mold:
Reappearing, softly browned,
Almond tartlets you behold!
A Poet (choking): Homph!
- The Retool of Carrie: The Musical. Hot-blooded, indeed.
- The song "Bianca" in Kiss Me Kate, which is supposed to be a bad poem Bill wrote for Lois.
- Max Payne 2. The various TV shows the player can catch snippets of during the game (which often have plot elements reminiscent of Max's own experiences) have scripts ranging from Cliché Storm to pure Mind Screw, the dialogue is overacted, and the visuals consist of a small selection of still images. Especially funny is one scene in Lords and Ladies (a cheesy, Austenesque soap opera), where a villain is stabbed with a sword, but the actor is visibly tucking the blade under his arm; the arm facing the camera, no less.
- In Final Fantasy VII, the infamous date scene involves Cloud and whoever his date happens to be viewing a ridiculously bad play involving a king and a dragon, one in which they're thrust into the main roles, with various levels of reluctance depending on the date.
- In Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, Genesis will not stop quoting from LOVELESS, which (we are told), is an epic poem of such complexity, beauty, perfect writing, narrative depth, and popularity that it has been adapted as a play, and the play is so popular that the avenue hosting the theater that produces it has been renamed to LOVELESS avenue... it's practically at Dethklok levels of popularity. The poem we hear — every time Genesis opens his mouth — is a bunch of emotionally overwrought dreck.
- Oddly enough Cid mentions going to see it in the original game, and he too thought it was overwrought drek.
- Sephiroth also identifies a quote of Genesis' as coming from LOVELESS, but states that the only reason he knows it is because Genesis has "beaten it into [his] head."
- Hojo doesn't seem to have a high opinion of it, either. That's mainly because it can't benefit his research, but he still hit the nail on the head when he called it "pure drivel."
- Though we don't see all of it, in Final Fantasy IX the play "I Want To Be Your Canary" seems to be an overdramatic mishmash of several of Shakespeare's plays (it's even been penned by a "Lord Avon" and has characters named Cordelia, Leo, and Marcus). Oddly enough, there are flashes of quite good dialogue and some interesting story; it's just the onscreen acting that's melodramatic.
- Treasures of a Slaver's Kingdom (or anything Encounter Critical)
- The Elder Scrolls contain a lot of in-game books; most either contain background info about the gameworld, some advance the plot, and some are there for amusement, many of the latter group falling into this trope. Most infamous is the one written by the perverted Hlaalu councilman in Morrowind called "The Lusty Argonian Maid".
- The mini-game "Hero Klungo Saves Teh World" in Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, developed entirely by Klungo. All you do is jump your way to the end as the game auto-scrolls and the only obstacles in your path are Bottomless Pits, badly drawn critters, and walls that will squash you against the screen. The graphics make the NES look like a next-gen console, the music consists of crappy chiptunes, the text is filled with Klungo's Sssssnaketalk everywhere, the boss is the Holy Grail of all Anticlimax Bosses, the Excuse Plot consists of Klungo literally saving the world by carrying the Earth in his hands the game screen is framed by a contrasting Animesque border and best of all, it randomly crashes (after which Klungo will reset the game for you while noting that he was sure that he fixed the crashes).
- The bulk of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is made up of extremely unsubtle repeats and allusions to the previous game, making it seem like a complete carbon copy with little redone but cosmetic dressing. Until you get to the Mind Screw ending, and it's revealed that it was intentionally done that way in order to give the new protagonist the same experience as the protagonist from the previous game. Which makes perfect sense until you found out that that person who was manipulating everyone, was being manipulated, although it's still possible that it was done that way as a part of manipulating him. The point is, MGS2 is confusing. In theory. There's also the tanker episode's quirky "MGX" computer program "SPRITE v2.21" with its vintage 2d animation.
- Used straight for Captain Qwark's "video-comic" games-within-a-game in Ratchet & Clank. Also, his attack plans are drawn using crayons and childish doodles on lined paper.
- The entire point of The House Of The Dead Overkill is this, presenting itself in a way that makes the series' infamously Narmy dialogue and voice acting intentionally hilarious by doing it like a Grindhouse film.
- Among the things a World of Warcraft rogue can pickpocket off NPCs are a couple of "Steamy Romance Novels." Opening them allows the player to view a couple pages of melodramatic Purple Prose laced with several game-related and groan-worthy double entendres. (It's doubly amusing to find one of these on, say, an enormous hammer-wielding ogre.)
- The romance novels - there are around five of them - are Blizzard's joke items regarding ERP.
- Baldur's Gate 2 has a play performed by troupe that lacks its leading actor and replacement Biff the Understudy is hilariously bad at filling his shoes, turning the play into one of these (naturally, Minsc thinks it's a masterpiece). A bard CHARNAME can inherit the theater after completing the associated quest line and put on a play: Depending on how much money, time and effort you put into it, the play can end up as one of these or become genuinely good.
- Guild Wars Nightfall has Prince Bokka the Magnificent's theatre. The plays he puts on are all comically bad (sadly, we don't actually get to see Summertime for Bokka). One instance of this, a retelling of events from the Prophecies campaign, is actually justified: the "actors" are in fact Kournan soldiers who staged the play to lure your party into a trap.
- Upgrade Complete. The graphics start out low quality and it's up to you to upgrade them. Overall, the game takes unlock systems to the extreme (you spend money on things like better graphics, better sound effects and music, a proper character portrait, straightening the crooked menu, getting rid of that annoying hum, spelling the title properly, getting the store owner to stop insulting you...) And there's Upgrade Complete 2, which takes it up a notch.
- Ultima VII also had a play about the previous exploits of the protagonist, who indeed runs around at random spouting monosyllables like "name, job, bye". You get to apply for the role, but you won't get it since you don't look enough like, er, yourself.
- Also, the anvilicious "Passion Play" put up by the Fellowship, which even your companions will complain was a terrible waste of their time to watch.
- The entire point of adventure game META, although of course some reviewers missed it.
- Brutal Legend's intro features Kabbage Boy, a Nu Metal band that comes off as a Lighter and Softer Linkin Park.
- Kingdom of Loathing's stick-figure aesthetic.
- Just about any game from indie developer Jazzuo, up to and including his website itself. But especially Sexy Hiking. To quote the instructions:
use the humer as if u were really climbing something and ull see
- The real-time strategy game Stalin VS Martians was obviously aimed towards So Bad, It's Good territory, but ended up in the other end of the badness spectrum. It is a perfect example that attempting this does not necessarily give the appropriate result.
- Every so often on VCPR in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories are episodes from two very very very bad 1940s radio dramas, one of which revolves around a violently misogynistic private detective who spends more time hitting his girlfriend and shooting innocent people for being 'commies' than investigating the mystery, and another about a guy who time travels every time he goes on A Date with Rosie Palms. They're so bad that even the announcers admit they're terrible, but they have to broadcast them as part of their public service remit.
- The Waligie Bros series, made as a parody of bad game maker games. Graphics that consist almost entirely of pictures taken from google, midi files and unfitting and overly loud sound effects everywhere, awkward physics, and enough bad spelling to kill a grammar nazi. And yet we wouldn't have it any other way. And then the Super Hyper Paper Deluxe Mario Bros. Galaxy World Land 4: Partners in Sunshine SuperStar Island & Saga of Time Advance 64 DS series inspired by it.
- If you get an E rank on a mission in Sonic Unleashed, the usual level completion theme will be played very, very badly. And it is hilarious.
- Alien Hominid's minigame "Super Soviet Missile Mastar" see it for yourself!
- Sam & Max: Freelance Police: The Devil's Playhouse is incredibly well-written, even the things that are Stylistic Suck are hilarious. The game has a puzzle in which Sam listens to audiobooks of Max's godawful and borderline plagiaristic (but nonetheless hilarious) 'ideas for novels', including some of his Self Insert Fan Fic.
- In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective, the entire game is a hyper-clichéd and amateurish action movie that Strong Bad has written and directed. Everything about it is terrible, but most subtle is the bad camera work, which includes things that are hard to render in a video game. This includes bad handheld-camera zoom, ignoring of the 180 degree rule, and a split-screen camera which doesn't join up in the middle.
- Mondo Medicals: low-res, blurry pixelated borderline MS Paint graphics, with Engrish Good Bad Translation. Of course, it just serves to increase the creepy.
- Kane and Lynch: Dog Days has blurry pixelization effects used to make everything seem as if it was being recorded from somebody's cell phone. Unfortunately illusion becomes reality: the game is unstable and having to render those sketchy blotches often causes real lag.
- supra mayro bross and supra mayro kratt. MS Paint graphics, horrible controls, music by a guy that can't play a guitar, a very Obvious Beta, and terrible spelling? All intentional.
- The infamously narmful laughing scene from Final Fantasy X. Common complaints are about how forced and horrible the laughing is. That's rather the point; their laughter is forced, and it's supposed to ring hollow. When you know the context, and what they're trying to cheer themselves up about, it's actually pretty sad. All the characters react accordingly to the horrible laughing. ("You probably shouldn't laugh anymore.")
- Wheatley's first test chamber in Portal 2 is deliberately designed poorly because the developers wanted to give it the feel of being designed by a first-time level editor, complete with the corny idea of signing huge words into the scenery. This is done to exemplify Wheatley's severely limited intelligence in comparison to GLaDOS.
- C. Evil Ryu is Arpa/Chainsawdentist's Take That against the MvC: EOH project (a fan-project trying to recreate the feel of Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes in the MUGEN fighting engine, but whose huge roster falls victim to quantity over quality, with characters possessing moves that simply don't fit with the balance of the game). He has sloppy hit boxes, can throw in mid-air, unfitting moves, annoying voices from Yasunori Masutani and CVS hit sparks even though it is ostensibly based on Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes.
- The voices in Team Fortress 2 are supposed to be this, ranging from incorrect accents (Scout, who has a Brooklyn accent despite being from Boston), to incorrect grammar on foreign words the characters are supposed to be fluent in (Medic - it should be Schweinhunde and Dummköpfe), to tons of Poirot Speak. Apparently Valve wanted the feeling of a 1960's pulp novel written by Americans who didn't do the research. The voice acting is a blast to listen to, though, and you can tell the voice actors are having a lot of fun.
- The Obscure series revels in this, as part of its homage/throwback to late '90s teen horror movies. The first game's theme song is by Sum 41, for example, while the teenaged characters all speak in badly-researched/made-up slang.
- In the last level of the First Year in Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4, Ron tries to put Fluffy back to sleep by whipping out a trumpet and playing Harry Potter's theme terribly off key.
- Taken to a new level in the third episode of Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, an entire game done in Retraux 16-bit style... with a sequence which the characters get trapped in an even retraux-er 8-bit game.
- Similar to the above Sonic Unleashed example, Guilty Gear XX gives Robo-Ky an alternate theme that is styled after his template's "Holy Orders," but is completely, utterly, and shamelessly mangled in a way fitting only of... well, Robo-Ky. It must be heard to be believed.
- The early areas of The Halloween Hack doesn't have much scary or technically impressive things, but that's to trick the player, to lower expectations.
- The eponymous Alan Wake of Alan Wake is supposed to be a gifted-though-frustrated novelist who is unsatisfied with his "schlocky" work and suffering from two years of writer's block. During the game, he has to dash off a horror novel in two weeks to satisfy a malevolent Reality Warper Genius Loci. These are made available to the player in game, and they're as corny as you expect.
- Very small example: At one point in Bioshock Infinite, Booker and Elizabeth have a quiet moment where Booker plays a guitar and Elizabeth sings. During rehearsal, their voice actors (Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper) were perfectly in sync, which would have been a bit odd for a pair of amateurs who have never made music together before. In the finished product, Baker's playing is more casual, and Draper's singing doesn't quite match the notes.
- Saints Row: The Third has several notable examples, particularly in the DLC content. Attack of the Clones features Pierce in a stereotypical (female) pop star outfit singing in a hilariously awkward and monotone manner. Gangstas in Space features the titular movie, which has a ridiculous plot and horribly stilted dialogue from the Boss.
- Saints Row IV features a mission set in a 16-bit era side-scrolling beat-em-up, complete with heavily pixelated graphics, a reduced colour palette and badly delivered, heavily compressed voiceovers.
- Borderlands 2 has a mission where you have to help Scooter write a poem to impress a girl by finding inspiring scenery to photograph. Such as a guy who hung himself on a tombstone and a corpse and a robot that look like they're spooning. Needless to say, the poem is not exactly Shakespeare quality. It's so bad that the girl the poem is supposed to impress shoots herself.
Daisy, I like you a whole lot
More than that bandit liked spoonin' that ro-bot.
You are a diamond in the rough
Or a flower surrounded by shrapnel and stuff.
I will hang myself from my own tombstone
if within you, I cannot put my bone.
- In Super Smash Bros. 4, many of Mega Man's animations are rather stilted and choppy - which is done to mimic his sprites from the original games.
- ChaosCompleXX, a Super Mario World ROM hack which parodies terrible ROM hacks, complete with bad spelling and grammar.
- SUPER MIARO BORS, a deliberately awful Mario fan game meant to resemble a newbie's first game development experience. Complete with oversized versions of Mario and Luigi from the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show running around and killing badly JPE Ged versions of their enemies from the same show.
- The microgames throughout the WarioWare franchise are made with varying degrees of skill (and the lack thereof) on the part of the in-universe developers.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: The portions of the game that are set in the modern era allow you to hack into the computers of Abstergo Entertainment to uncover various confidential company documents; among them are internal marketing evaluations of the protagonists of the previous games in the series. These are presented in a stilted, flat tone of voice that mispronounces their names and utterly dismisses the cultural context in which they lived. You also get to watch various promotional trailers for the pirate movie that you're researching, which are hilariously myopic and overacted in what can only be Self-Deprecation from Ubisoft directed at its own industry.
- After getting a surprisingly positive response to the product of a game jam that was never meant to be taken seriously, Coffee Stain Studios produced Goat Simulator. The game is filled to the brim with deliberately buggy physics. It's both Stylistic Suck: The Game and Good Bad Bugs: The Game.
- To the Moon has a holiday minisode where Neil makes a video game based on the events of the main game. All characters are represented by disembodied heads, the scenery is extremely pixelated (one pixel of the scenery is the size of one RPG Maker tile) and story is extremely vague, being told by Neil getting items from various characters and placing them elsewhere to open doors.
- One of the Multiple Endings in Meteos has Meteo getting stabbed by a giant galactic fork from nowhere; the ending's image resembles a sloppy crayon drawing.
- Subverted in Mishap: An Accidental Haunting and Mishap 2: An Intentional Haunting. In the first game, a painting supposedly done by amateur artist Judith Kaufman is an attractive, tasteful fantasy work which doubles as an illustration of how her art was the only thing in her daily life which made her feel free. In the second game, a song supposedly written by heavy metal performer Mercedes Vixen is no worse than genuine examples of the genre and her voice actress is a decent singer.
- Da Amazin OT Advenchr:
- The series plays this trope straight. Even the episodes are renamed to Appisotes”.
- Subverted in Appisote 18, when Lite and Deine start seeing Art Evolution around them.
- Homestar Runner:
"The Cheat is a millionaire! A parade for the Cheat!"
- "Dangeresque" is a Show Within a Show created by Strong Bad. It's a series of home-made action movies about the eponymous Cowboy Cop, Dangeresque, that are rife with bad acting, clumsy editing, and crude cardboard sets and props.
Renaldo: Dangeresque, it's Renaldo. I need you back here away, right? I mean, right away.
- Teen Girl Squad was also meant to be this, but became unexpectedly popular on its own merits and became a regular feature of the site.
- The creators also made a website for imaginary game company Videlectrix. Almost all their games are based on the most repetitive or unplayably dull gaming styles of the 1980s. Despite this, some of them are legitimately fun.
- Almost the entire premise of Disaster Labs' Arfenhouse series of RPGs and cartoons.
- Disaster Labs' related parody cartoon, 8-Bitch Fyve, is crammed so full of deliberate badness (including garbled audio and video, Bad Bad Acting, Instant Message windows cluttering up the background, and two characters stealing each other's parts every other word) as to be almost unwatchable.
- The Baman Piderman animations are made of this.
- The animations by bob from Weebl & Bob feature extremely crude art and a reliance on Surreal Humor.
- All of Girlchan in Paradise!! is meant to imitate a low quality anime series that is poorly dubbed, with frequent Lip Lock and Off Model animation.
- Jerry Jackson is a thirteen year old boy who posts peurile, badly made flash animations on Newgrounds. Except that he's actually Salad Fingers creator David Firth trolling the internet by being terrible on purpose.
- Octocat Adventure, prior to the Animation Bump.
- The Demented Cartoon Movie isn't high quality animation and lampshades it, but one part that stands out as lame even in context is the dancing figure, which looks and sounds like something an amateur might have developed on an early-model Apple Macintosh.
- All of Coconut Buyer's videos are this.
- This Game Grumps Animated Adaptation.
- Matt N Dusty plays with this to a degree with its animation, even Lampshading it on multiple occasions.
- In Tomorrows Nobodies when David takes over animation at the end of episode 5 it changes from the series usual style to a squiggly, poorly drawn style.
- Anytime a commercial, TV show, or movie is shown it will be this.
- All of the videos by seinfieldspitstain has primitive CG animation and bland backgrounds. Just the artist needed to make an Animated Adaptation of sweet bro & hella jeff.
- Dutch web video series Kud has one episode in which one of the main characters (The Green One) makes a video parodying Dutch ice skater Sven Kramer, who infamously took the wrong lane during an ice skating tournament. The video consists of a stick-figure Sven Kramer being sodomized by a badly drawn brontosaurus.
- Ducktalez utilizes the same amateurish, static character designs for the Ducktales characters from the first episode through the seventh, which stands out compared to other characters like Vegeta, who, by episode 7, was animated in professional looking CG.
- At the start of the second volume Order of the Stick, No Cure For The Paladin Blues the plot to date is summarized by Elan, using finger-puppets.
- A Punch an' Pie subplot includes three pages out of a So Bad, It's Good novel by one of the characters. It's written to be received as So Bad, It's Good by the readers in the real world. The general public (or at least the critics) in the webcomic world actually think it's a good novel. Justin (the author) and Angela think it's crap.
- When the author of Brawl in the Family decides to take the day off and lets Dedede draw a comic, it has has loads and loads of this.
- The authors of Erfworld created a site for Parson's "Hamstard" webcomic. Suffice it to say that "Nobody reads my webcomic" is one of his laments about his real-world life prior to his summoning.
- The works of Tycho's archnemesis L.H. Franzibald in Penny Arcade, whose undeserved success is a great source of jealousy for Tycho. Gabe, of course, is immediately hooked.
"I am Grimm Shado," said Grimm Shado, his triple wand claws extending. "And I am here to take it to the limit."
- And Franzibald himself is an offshoot of the "Elemenstor Saga," an "epic" fantasy series about wizards and talking furniture supposedly written by the Tycho character. In an inspired bit of meta-metafiction, Gabe and Tycho created a wiki where readers can create their own continuity for the fictional works.
- Sluggy Freelance: My name is Gunman Stan McKurt, and I shoot Evil In The Face
- The theatre and TV shows the characters put on in Something Positive (such as Nailed!, a musical version of the Crucifixion), all appear to be terrible, especially Aubrey's TV series My Neighbor Cthulhu which was so bad the State of Massachusetts served her with a restraining order keeping her away from TV production equipment.
- Also Davan and Jason's Cat Girl comic strip Neko Neko Holy-Chan, which Davan holds in such contempt the idea of meeting the people who like it fills him with horror.
- Shortpacked!!'s Amber has written at least two blatant Mary Sue stories. Her superheroine, Amazing Girl, was impervious to criticism and had no father issues. Her online romantic novel, in addition to being a hilarious Twilight parody, is an extended metaphor for her ideal romantic life.
- The various stage performances seen in Girl Genius are as overblown and corny as possible, featuring all sorts of hackneyed mad science and adventure cliches, grandiose romances, and even more grandiose dialogue. An opera called The Storm King is a particularly "impressive" example.
- Of course, it is set in a quasi-Victorian milieu. Remember where melodrama originated.
- Most of the main characters in Achewood keep blogs, and the some of the more dysfunctional characters have atrocious blogs. And the dangerously psychotic Nice Pete has made two forays into the world of novel-writing, both of which manage to be talentless and extremely creepy at the same itme.
- "When I want your opinion I will cut out your brain and eat it and crap your opinion back into your skull"
- Peanut of Housepets! writes his own comic featuring Spot (the Superdog), drawn in a crayon-and-lined-paper style, and written in an exaggeratedly amateurish style, with a Boring Invincible Hero, who is also an Author Avatar and delves into the realms of bad Fan Fic at times.
Spot loves orfans and then we shoot him!
- The B-Movie Comic is full of Special Effects Failures, bad writing, Throw It In moments, and Plot Holes galore. Of course, that's the whole point, and where half the humour comes from (the rest comes from the really good writing about the bad writing, complete with Behind the Scenes "DVD specials" showing "how" the special effects were created. Usually by doing horrible things to Butt Monkey Lee, who plays Snuka.
- The page image is from Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, Homestuck's most prominent Show Within a Show, ostensibly written by Dave Strider for ironic purposes. It started life individually from Homestuck, originating as a playful mockery of a mediocre Two Gamers on a Couch comic posted on the Penny Arcade forums (which never continued past a few unfinished strip concepts) and was later integrated into Homestuck as a Show Within a Show. Its primary technique is being a Cut and Paste Comic, regularly reusing basic assets from earlier works for most of the panels; the comics are constantly saved as lowest-quality JPEGs, making every subsequent copypaste even more degraded, and it regularly leaves in entire chunks of text, background, other characters, or even bits of Adobe Photoshop windows when copying and pasting. Add liberal doses of Rouge Angles of Satin, Totally Radical, Word Salad Humor, and Fan Disservice, and you have perhaps the defining example of Stylistic Suck in webcomics.
- There's also Sherlok Holms, a comic that's pretty much "Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff WITH CREEPYPASTA INSTEAD OF VIDEO GAMES!". It's slowly gaining popularity among the video game creepypasta fanbase.
- Unwinder's Tall Comics features several in-universe comics, books and movies, some (most?) of which do indeed suck.
- Irregular Webcomic! uses a fictional version of William Shakespeare, where "Will" is a modern-day office worker instead of the historical figure known in Real Life. Instead of writing epic poetry and plays, he focuses his time on writing Harry Potter fanfiction, which is portrayed as being low-quality writing chock full of wish fulfillment of Will's fantasies. The very idea of Shakespeare writing fan fiction would likely fit this trope, even if Will's writing didn't suck.
- These Webcomics Are Bad is...well, just sort of is.
- Questionable Content:
- Marigold's fanfiction... could use some work. Jeph had a lot of fun writing that.
- Also, Jimbo's romance novels.
- Gunnerkrigg Court has a bonus comic called City Face. Its black-and-white art isn't bad per se, but it's certainly much simpler than the highly detailed and painstakingly colored art that Gunnerkrigg normally features. The dialog has a unique flavor (i.e. highly awkward and stilted, but apropos for the characters in question), and the overall effect is... interesting. The comments in the Shout Box below each strip are part of the joke—written by the author and patterned as a mockery of internet flame wars. Strangely, despite the odd style and superfluous plot, the City Face storyline (and its sequel City Face 2) are are stated to be canon by the author.
- Super Mega lives and breathes this trope, in bright yellow.
Puppy on top of other animal: "Where did this unicorn's horn go?! Is the magic gone forever???"
- BIONICLES ADVENTURS COMIXS was literally conceived as "Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff on BIONICLE", though in execution its approach is fairly different. It actually takes two people to make it as shitty as it is. Then there's the "author"'s Twitter account...
- "The Degenerate", Corbin's webcomic in +EV.
- Power Up Comics is meant to be a jab at those who create really sloppy webcomics by cutting and pasting a bunch of canned drawings into simplistic backgrounds and fill it with punchline-less jokes or lazy writing.
- Double Fine Action Comics.
- brazilian webcomic cersibon.
- Educomix - all of its characters spend a lot of the time Off Model and speak with very strange grammar, but it's all part of the style of the comic.
- Isaac Baranoff did a one-off comic strip mocking a fellow cartoonist who he felt was "biting" his humor and art style. Baranoff's parody of that cartoonist was intentionally done as a bad stick figure drawing, mocking the rival cartoonist's style, which Baranoff disliked, and the dialogue basically accuses the other cartoonist's Expy character of being a Mary Sue.
- In Not A Villain, some Digital Avatars are deliberately drawn worse than others, with bad proportions and no shading. Kleya's is particularly bad, because she drew it herself, and she's a Terrible Artist.
- In Sketch Comedy, Rene Descartes creates his own stick figure comics. The premise: various philosophical figures get schooled by Rene Descartes. Surprisingly, he actually finds a market for it.
- Allen The Alien has the B Side Comic Poorly Drawn Allen.
- Teen Girl Squad is this trope from start to finish.
- Subverted in Axe Cop. The entire series is written by a 6 year old (literally), but the good artwork by the writer's older brother brings it up to So Cool It's Awesome.
- Star Trek: Paradigms
- PvP's Marcy used her webcomic i hate your face as part of her application portfolio for art college. The two strips shown were rather dire.
- The Pack, based off of early Image Comics the likes of Youngblood, from the eponymous episode of Gargoyles. All shots from the show consisted entirely of action scenes, with no plot other than "the Pack fights evil ninjas", pretty similar to episodes from such shows.
- Done in The Venture Bros. with the Rusty Venture cartoon, which seems to be even more a spoof of Jonny Quest than the show it inhabits.
- One episode ends with a public service announcement for Testicular Torsion shot in a grainy 1960s-esque filter and featuring the cast delivering their lines in a terribly stilted manner and clearly reading off cue cards (indicated by their eyes constantly shifting from left to right).
- The Soap Within a Show "All My Circuits" from Futurama is another over-the-top soap-opera-within-a-show ("Let me get this straight. Is there anyone here who doesn't have amnesia?" "I don't remember.") There's also Fry's holophonor opera, which the Robot Devil critiques for having the actors describe how they feel instead of showing it.
- Note that even at his own wedding, Calculon so believes (most likely programmed to) in his soap opera ways that he is tricked by the main cast in a convoluted way to rescue Bender, all by badly acting out different soap opera cliches, including amnesia, fake-dead, lost sibling and quite a few more in just a few minutes.
- The same show has a total subversion as well with "Everyone loves Hypnotoad", the best show in the history of television.
- There's also the incident in which the Earth is attacked by giant brains, and Fry eventually stops them by trapping their leader in a book he wrote, "a crummy world full of plot holes and spelling errors!"
): The Big Brain am winning again! I am the greetest! I'm now leaving Earth for no raeson! [sic]
- To save the Earth from aliens, the crew writes and acts the ending of ''Single Female Lawyer.'' An ending that Fry made up in an hour (which was only about four minutes of material), having only a vague memory of part of one episode.
- More recently, there's the badly-drawn motion comic that Fry did in "Lrrreconciliable Ndndifferences", for which he also did all the voices and sound effects.
Leela: Good ending. Not great.
- The Transcredible Exploits of Zapp Brannigan certainly qualify. Although it's a Dream Sequence, it is presented in the style of a low budget 1950's sci-fi serial.
- South Park
- This was part of the original appeal of the show, portraying absurd and foul situations in extremely crude animation. The original short and the series's first episode were animated with construction paper. The show has gradually improved the art style over the years, and occasionally includes bits of impressive CGI for contrast.
- "The Terrance and Phillip Show" was a parody of what critics accused South Park to be: a crudely-animated cartoon all about farts. Eventually the show discarded the parody by making Terrence and Phillip a live-action show. Canada is always drawn crudely to match, as are the Danes, the "Canadians of Europe."
- In the two-part episode "Cartoon Wars", terrorists strike back at Family Guy by creating a badly animated cartoon showing barely animated cutouts of western figures like George Bush and Jesus crudely pooping on each other while shouting about how much they enjoy "crapping on each other" in broken English.
- One episode of Celebrity Deathmatch features the finding of a time capsule with a cheaply done Totally Radical faux-version of the show from the 80s where Boy George fights Don Johnson (with Ronald Reagan as the guest referee). It's possibly the show's finest moment.
- The Simpsons,
- In early episodes, the children sometimes watch a cartoon called The Happy Little Elves, but the writers stopped putting it in because lots of people didn't understand that the suck was stylistic rather than just plain suck.
- In other episodes, the characters go to see various musicals. While usually pretty well-sung, they often use hilariously poor or inappropriate source material for a musical, such as Planet of the Apes and A Streetcar Named Desire.
- Itchy and Scratchy's Poochie, which is hated by everyone in-universe. The show itself is an inversion; it's a total ultraviolent send up of Tom and Jerry (more specifically of Herman And Katnip, itself a more sadistic ripoff of T&J), but it's very popular both in-universe and amongst actual Simpsons fans, and is a staple of the show.
- In "Krusty Gets Kancelled", a rival kids' show gets the exclusive broadcasting rights for Itchy and Scratchy, and a desperate Krusty shows a short from its Eastern European counterpart, Worker and Parasite. It consists entirely of a stiff, sketchily-drawn cat and mouse bouncing around a scribbled background speaking vaguely Slavic gibberish, followed by a title card reading ENDUT! HOCH HECH! Krusty's (and our) reaction: "What the hell was that?!"
- Principal Skinner's favourite seasonal movie is The Christmas That Almost Wasn't But Then Was, featuring cardboard animals, a "Christmas hobgoblin" singing a duet with Little Bo Peep for several hours, a stage hand wandering into the background of a scene, an elf walking into the shot only to announce "I'm happy!" and leave, and "Santa's big sing off".
- Bart's comic turn computer animation "Angry Dad", which is a badly drawn version of Homer, becomes the most watched non-porn video in the internet.
- "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" consists of nothing but parodies of intentionally badly scripted spin-off TV shows.
- Home Movies feature this trope almost every episode, given that the central premise of the show is that three kids make their own movies. Although many times their movies are also parodies in disguise. They're actually really impressive considering they're 8-year olds. Sort of.
- Subverted in a couple of episodes where the kids do very bad productions (Bye Bye Greasy, Renaissance Fair) that the audience absolutely loves. How could you not? Although they do bomb pretty comprehensibly in the Camp episode.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In "Suited For Success", the Mane Six(minus Rarity)'s requested modifications for their dresses turn out so tacky that Rarity's fashion show fails miserably, leading her to shut herself in her room for several days.
- In "The Show Stoppers", when the Cutie Mark Crusaders enter a talent show in an attempt to earn their cutie marks, they each cover roles more suited to one of the other fillies. The result is, well... this. They end up winning "best comedy act" as it had the audience laughing so hard, and pretended it was all part of the act. You even hear Scootaloo's voice actress start to crack up during the second chorus (this is really noticeable on the vocals-only cuts of the song).
- Pinkie's Wonderbolt Rap in "Testing, Testing, 1 2 3" is deliberately made to look like a cheesy 90's-era rap video – complete with reduced audio/video quality, a 4:3 aspect ratio (the show is produced in 16:9), and VHS artifacts.
- Spike's rendition of the Cloudsdale anthem in Equestria Games.
- The Rocko's Modern Life episode Wacky Delly, where Ralph Bighead has Rocko and his friends produce the Show Within a Show of the same name in an attempt to get fired. It backfires really hard because of how awfully hilarious the end product is.
- An episode of Justice League featured a (presumably animated) series based on The Flash. Not only was it apparently drawn by Rob Liefeld, but the "joke" an entire scene builds up to is Flash saying "Take that, you cur!" after punching an enemy.
- All the reenactments in ReBoot all have very obvious production errors, with the Megabyte binome obviously bouncing into frame after falling off stage in one episode, and the Mainframe Strolling Players Modern Major General parody having everyone who was hoisted to the ceiling fall back onto stage and when the background scrolls across there is text on one saying "don't scroll past this point".
Bob Impersonator:"I'M A GARDENER! I KNOW EVERYTHING!"
Director: "...Psst. It's Guardian. GUARDIAN."
- An episode of Batman Beyond opened with a Batman musical. Though the writing and singing weren't half bad with all things considered, it was the tone that was ridiculous. Bruce was not pleased.
- A case of Truth in Television if the "success" of the recent real life Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark musical is anything to go by.
- In Pinky and the Brain, this tends to happen whenever Brain's plan involves entering the art world or the entertainment industry. For example, the episode "Broadway Malady," in which the Brain decides to finance his latest scheme by producing Angst: The Musical.
- Of course, a lot of post-1960s musical theatre really is like that. One of the playwrights casually referenced by Brain in that episode is Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, and – let's be honest here – some of Sir Andrew's stuff is so pretentious and melodramatic that it can easily qualify as sucky unless you're a diehard fan.
- Looney Tunes: "Porky's Preview": Porky, then in the "kid" stage of his career, drew the cartoon himself, with stick figures, one scene scribbled out and restarted, and the music slightly off-key.
- "Duck Amuck" has a scene where the unseen animator who's screwing with Daffy draws a crude, black and white, stick figure background for him.
- In its sequel "Rabbit Rampage", Bugs Bunny is drawn as a stick figure at one point, causing him to warn the animator, "Continue to draw me like this, buddy, and we'll both be out of woik."
- Does the slogan "What would happen if kids could draw their own cartoon?" sound familiar? If so, guess what show centers around that concept. We dare you.
- KaBlam!: Depending on who you ask, Henry and June come off sometimes as this. However, the fans wouldn't have it any other way.
- From The Ren & Stimpy Show, Stimpy's cartoon "I Like Pink" is a bizarre, nonsensical, poorly drawn and animated cartoon with very little plot.
- The 'Dramatic Reenactments' done on Mysterious Mysteries of Strange Mystery in Invader Zim, which include things like bad costumes (which fall apart), the crew visible in the background, and the actor playing Dib accidentally setting part of the set on fire. And it is hilarious!
- During the rashomon episode of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Krumm's recollection is animated in a childish scrawl.
- Subverted in that Krumm's childlike account of the events are implied to be the most accurate.
- On Family Guy Peter has made his own Chick Flick, "Steel Vaginas", and cartoon series, "Handiquacks".
- The Christmas movie Peter watches on TV, Kiss Save Santa Claus.
- The poetry Jimmy writes under the effects of a love sweater on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
- One episode of Phineas and Ferb had Doof'n'Puss, a show about Doof and Perry with a ridiculous premise, outright insane plot and gigantic amounts of camp. Doof pitched it to a TV producer (voiced by Seth Mac Farlane), who actually bought it.
- Rejected by Don Hertzfeldt is this from start to finish. The cartoons shown start off being poorly drawn, nonsensical, and completely inappropriate, and get much much worse, fast.
- The art style of Adventure Time is intentionally simplistic and effortless (with many people having the same face)... and it still manages to look pretty dang good.
- In Charlie and Lola, the characters are depicted as childish drawings and the backgrounds are paper collages.
- "Mama Don't Allow" was an Animated Adaptation of a story about a possum who plays the saxophone so badly that his mother kicks him out of the house until he learns to play it. (Notably, as scriptwriter Mark Evanier recalls, they hired professional saxophonist Tom Scott to play the part… who was so good, he actually had a very hard time playing badly enough. Read it here.)
- Superman vs. the Elite features a poorly animated Superman cartoon that seems like a Call Back to the corny superhero shows of the past such as Super Friends. Even Big Blue himself seems slightly embarrassed after watching an episode.
- Beavis And Butthead featured this bit in which the duo create poorly drawn versions of themselves that get killed over and over.
- Ben 10 episode Super Alien Hero Buddy Adventures had the Show Within a Show Super Alien Hero Buddies, with characters based on the known Omnitrix aliens. The episode segment they show is very, very painful.
- MAD revels in making most of its parodies of CGI movies in an extremely stiff and low detail style akin to Chinese mockbusters, albeit a thousand times funnier.
- The Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Batman's Strangest Cases" has a Batman/Scooby-Doo crossover which parodies the Limited Animation and loopy logic of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, and an adaptation of Bat-Manga that not only had Limited Animation but was badly dubbed.
- In a season 5 episode of Garfield and Friends, Garfield's frustration with the degrading protrayal of cats in most cartoons leads him to create his own self-empowering feline cartoon character, "Sam the Cat". Unfortunately, the thin plot of Sam's only episode involved cheap acts of revenge against people Garfield found annoying in real life, and then the entire rest of the cartoon was Sam sleeping for over 20 minutes. Garfield hears a horrid popping noise while watching his cartoon – it turns out to be the sound of everybody in the entire country changing channels at the same time.
- The modern Mickey Mouse cartoon Get a Horse is animated like an early sound cartoon circa 1928, and includes common errors found in cartoons of the era, such as film pops, coloring mistakes and primitive sound effects.note
- Both the prominently featured songs in The LEGO Movie are this, in different ways. "Everything Is Awesome" is a brainless, Cliché Storm pop Ear Worm with shallow lyrics, synthesisers, a stupid Dubstep breakdown, A Wild Rapper Appears, and grating Auto-Tune, and is used to illustrate the Happiness Is Mandatory setting. Meanwhile, the song Romantic False Lead Batman wrote for Wyldstyle is a mindnumbing, amateurish, thumping mess with tuneless gravelly vocals and lyrics like "Darkness! No parents!"
- Two words: Cat poster. BELIEVE.
- The ghost of Vitruvius is nothing more than an inanimate Lego figure dangling on a string, complete with the actor going, "Oooooh". And it is glorious.
- King of the Hill has the book A Dinner of Onions from the episode "Full Metal Dust Jacket", which based on the character's comments is implied to be a massive Cliché Storm. One of the first things Hank says about it was that the entire first two chapters were only a dream.
- Gravity Falls:
- In one of the TV shorts, a very cheap commercial for the Mystery Shack is shown, complete with bad green-screen and Grunkle Stan constantly either messing up his lines, or getting hit by something.
- One of the TV shorts made for the show is "Fixin' It With Soos", an in-universe web show made by Soos and loaded with cheap special effects, like gratuitous clip-art and poorly cut-and-pasted images.
"Hey, dudes, welcome to Fixin' It With Soos, the only home fix-it show I edited myself on my own home computer."
- In one Trollz episode, the girls see a 50s-style video about then-new technology, such as dishwashers.
Ruby: This movie was old when my grandparents were young!
- The Amazing World of Gumball:
- How to Ratatawng Your Panda, as a Take That at cheap knock-off studios like Video Brinquedo, is a very poor movie within the show with terrible CGI, obvious animation errors, and a fart attack joke for humor.
- The humans from "The Sweaters," who not only look like Filmation-era cartoons, but move with very Limited Animation. This becomes aknowledged by how the background characters in the tennis match are actually stiff, cardboard-like figures. One of the shorts from "The Extras" takes the latter concept and makes a Running Gag about it.
- Kent Pietsch's airshow comedy act is an example of aeronautical stylistic suck. He throws his 1942 Interstate Cadet aircraft around the sky in ways that would make any pilot cringe, creating the illusion that a terrible pilot is clowning around at the controls. His aircraft loses vital parts like ailerons in flight. He even drags the wingtip against the ground at one point.
- This commercial for Lotso-Huggin' Bear. Which is actually a Viral Marketing campaign created by Pixar.
- Instagram and Hipstamatic are iOS apps that apply filters to the pictures they shoot to replicate wonky optics, aged film, and other characteristics of old film cameras to produce pictures that look like old Polaroids and the like; they in turn were inspired by the current popularity of Retraux cameras, particularly cheap film cameras like Russia's Lomo or China's Holga, whose notoriously crappy build quality and quirky optics create uniquely random effects in the finished pictures. On top of that, many camera companies (particularly Canon and Sony) have included "toy camera" modes that attempt to duplicate the same effects to compete with the phone apps. (Ironically, the starting picture quality of most digital cameras on the market since about 2009 means that it's actually nearly impossible to get the photos to look bad enough in camera. For truly godawful quality out of a cheap digital camera, you need Photoshop.)
- The card game "We Didn't Playtest This At All". Lots of instant win and instant lose cards, all played for laughs.
- One explanation given for poorly-written scam emails: Those which are well-written might "accidentally" snare people who would waste time before later backing out. The badly written email filters out all but people who would believe nearly anything.
- This 20th Century Fox logo parody.