Stylistic Suck

"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." note 
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 comic effect.

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 to:

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.


Examples:

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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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Dance 
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.

    Let's Play 
  • This Mega Man 4 let's play featuring off-sync, offensive commentary, bad video and sound quality, unskilled gameplay and bad screen capturing.
  • "Crumbling Centurion", a troll/parody who initially pretended to be a DeceasedCrab hater, with his "LETS PLAY MININGCRAFT". Deliberately horrible recording quality (using a camera to record the video off the computer screen), misinformation and lag...
    minecraft is a game where you take blocks and then make other blocks and then make a mine or a house out of blocks it is very fun
  • Chuggaaconroy's Mega Man 2 LP. Made for April Fools 2009 as a parody of crappy Mega Man LPs on YouTube.
  • ChipCheezum and General Ironicus' LP of No More Heroes had one video like this, specifically for a Crossover with Retsupurae. It Makes Sense in Context... no, it doesn't.

    Music 
  • 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-SaŽns'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.
    I'll be like Dwight Stone
    I'll be like Bruce Jenner
    I'll be like that girl who trained all her life as a distance runner and then tripped with a quarter mile to go
  • "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.
  • After H&M created a line of clothing bearing the logos of fake metal bands just to look cool, Henri Sorvali of Finntroll and Moonsorrow decided to create some bands to fit the logos. He went the extra mile with trolling H&M and got others in the Scandinavian metal scene to record songs for each of the fake bands, and post them on Youtube. They made sure to make the songs as awful and/or offensive as possible.
  • The genre of lo-fi deliberately uses low-fidelity production techniques as a protest against the modern recording industry. Pavement are generally considered the Trope Codifier for this, although they really only used it on their early E Ps and to a lesser extent their first album Slanted and Enchanted.
  • Black Metal bands also frequently use lo-fi production (although the term "raw" is generally preferred here), and for similar reasons as bands in the lo-fi genre, although some of them are likely also using the production style as a throwback to the early days of the genre, when many bands simply didn't have the budget for a better recording quality. The most frequently cited example of this in black metal is Darkthrone's Transilvanian Hunger, although Ulver's Nattens madrigal is also sometimes cited. Notoriously, Varg Vikernes of Burzum recorded his vocals on Filosofem with the cheapest microphone he could find and didn't even bother using a guitar amp, instead micing his guitar with a distortion pedal through a stereo receiver. This tendency is less common amongst avant-garde and progressive black metal bands, who tend to prefer for their complex arrangements to be clear to the listener, but even some of them have used it; Sigh's Scenes from Hell is a good example (although it has received an alternate mastering by Maor Appelbaum that does not fall under this trope).
  • Deliberate examples of the Loudness War also fall under this trope by definition.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • 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.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • 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.
    • Dude Love's Titan Tron was a perfect example of so bad it's good, and it was entirely intentional.

    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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Aspect: Fire sourcebook quotes The Doom Of The Emperors, a Dragon-Blooded propaganda novel. It is every cheesy Evil Overlord story you've ever read, which is what makes it awesome.
    The Anathema chuckled darkly from the opal throne on which he reclined and tossed a fragment of dovesí liver to the leopards that crouched at his feet.

    Theatre 
  • "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 by Tom Stoppard is about two critics watching an incredibly poorly written sub-Agatha Christie thriller (clearly, to anyone familiar with the original, parodying The Mousetrap).
  • Tom Stoppard's 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;
    Then combine
    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,
    The renowned
    Almond tartlets you behold!
    The poets (with mouths crammed full): Exquisite! Delicious!
    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.

    Web Animation 
  • Da Amazin OT Advenchr:
    • The series plays this trope straight. Even the episodes are renamed to ďAppisotesĒ.
    • 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.
  • Fin Punch! looks just like a bad anime, complete with Bishie Sparkle... But we LOVE it!!

    Other 
  • 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.
  • The YouTube channel "Really 3 D" consists of 3D animations that fit this trope, such as this 20th Century Fox logo parody.
  • There are several programming languages designed to be as obtuse as possible - Examples include INTERCAL and the dreaded Malbolge


Alternative Title(s):

Artistic Suck