"Ouch, that was painful. So very, very lame."
Something really bad, such as horribly off-tune singing or bad poetry, being almost weaponized, or at least being traumatizing. The horribleness of it can range from giving nightmares, to blowing up cities.
Can take the form of a Brown Note
, but there can be other effects than that trope. Sometimes this can be invoked with using the horrible thing as Cool and Unusual Punishment
In Real Life
, it's fairly common to at least describe a very bad movie as being "painful to watch", or to say that it "hurts to read" a bad book. The concept of an "eyesore" isn't limited to English either; Japanese has migurushii
(見苦しい), literally "painful to look at".
Can overlap with Anything But That!
, Faux Horrific
, Comical Overreacting
, Dreadful Musician
, Even Evil Has Standards
(if a villain decides a work would be too horrible to inflict).
Compare/Contrast Awesomeness Is Volatile
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- A 1980s advert for Castela Classic cigars featured comedian Russ Abbot going fishing in a rather unusual way. He put on a record of Des O'Connor's Greatest Hits and lowered a speaker into the water, then sat back with his cigar. As he watched, the horrified fish leapt out of the water and into his net.
Anime and Manga
- Blink and you'll miss it, but in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Itoshki-sensei's suicide kit, filled with poisons, pills and all manner of lethalities, also contains an Enya CD (though it might also just be relaxing suicide mood-music).
- In CLANNAD Kotomi Ichinose specializes in this trope with her violin of doom.
And her weapon is the violin it only takes 0.2 before sound waves come out from the moment she takes position. The number of people she's felled is countless.
—Tomoya to students, after interrupting Kotomi's introduction.
- Chapter 25 of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun has Sakura and Nozaki reacting badly to Kashima's tone-deaf singing, to the point that they're crawling on the ground in agony.
- In the incredibly long author's introduction to My Inner Life, Jenna fails to understand hyperboled criticism that claims this.
Jenna: Also as a side note, I NEVER physically hurt ANYONE with this story. I got one reviewer that said. “Oh God please stop writing, your hurting everyone.” Now I want to know where I physically touched that person. I want to know how I’m twisting anyone’s arms to read this. I have never done anything of the sort in any way, shape or form and I DO NOT appreciate being accused of that!
- The Chosen Four: The last thing the ghosts scare the heroes with while on the tunnel to Threed is a copy of Superman 64. Doubles as a Take That to the game.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Vogon poetry, which is used in-universe as a torture device, and the poetry of the Azgoths of Kria, which has literally killed several listeners.
- Similarly, the Discworld's Nac Mac Feegle have Gonnagles, bards whose poetry is so bad that it's used on the battlefield. They are presumably named for the legendarily-bad Scottish poet William Topaz McGonagall.
Live Action TV
- The "plot" of Mystery Science Theater 3000 involves a Mad Scientist attempting to find a movie so bad it could be weaponized.
- And they've come close a few times. Monster A-Go Go is generally agreed to be one of, if not the worst movie ever featured on the show. "Manos" The Hands of Fate was so god-awful that Dr. Forrester and Frank were actually apologizing to Joel for making him watch it. And Invasion of the Neptune Men was such an ordeal that Mike and the 'bots had to take turns stepping out of the theater for a few moments, and were only cheered up afterward by a surprise visit from Krankor.
- Once Pearl took over, she used Hobgoblins as a punishment - mentioning "the movie" made Bobo scream, she kept it in the Ark of the Covenant, the 'Bots took turns trying to flee during the opening credits, and eventually they put up cardboard cutouts and tried to sneak away.
- Also used for particularly dull, monotonous sequences in the movies, such as the "rock climbing" segment of Lost Continent and the sandstorm section of Hercules Against The Moon Men, the latter of which was presaged by the mads saying, "DEEP HURTING. DEEEEEEP HUUUUURRRRRTING!"
- A story arc in Kamen Rider Double features a street musician whose singing (a rock-rap fusion he calls "spilk") is so horrible it kills birds in mid-flight and causes an earthquake. The conflict comes from his winning an American Idol-style TV show despite his competition including actually competent singers (as well as members of AKB48 in Real Life), who hire the detective protagonist because they're sure the guy's cheating.
- This is the constant reaction to Sophie's Bad Bad Acting in Leverage. Eliot once called one of her performances the "worst night of [his] life," a statement that was juxtaposed with a flashback to him being forced to play Russian Roulette alone by some unsavory-looking brutes. As Parker once said, quoting a reviewer:
- South Park:
- On The Critic, Roger Ebert was interviewing a potential new partner and showed him the kind of bad movies he'd have to watch. A version of Mrs. Doubtfire with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role fully skeletonized him.
- The poetry of PedXing in Dave the Barbarian has this effect on everyone but Dave and Princess Irmaplotz.
- An episode of Spongebob Squarepants revolves around Patrick's self-composed song, which is so awful that it actually kills the band that records it. Also, there's Squidward's clarinet skills.
- Also Squidward's dancing is unbearable to watch that it hurts peoples eye's, and make some throw up.
- A cutaway gag for Family Guy. Peter and a young girl stand in the living room, and she hands him a tape but warns him that if he watches it, he will die. Peter plays it on the VCR. The tape in question turns out to be Mannequin; in the next scene Peter dies with a contorted appearance, similar to victims of The Ring.
- At one point in Futurama, Bender auditions for a part on the Show Within a Show when a role opens up. His lousy "Spanish accent" prompts this response from Calculon:
Calculon: That was so terrible, I think you gave me cancer!
- In the The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron episode One of Us, this trope is how Jimmy describes "The Happy Show Show" after his hypnotized friends convince him to watch it.
Jimmy: I thought my TV would explode! I thought I might faint from the show's supreme stankiness!
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic had Pinkie Pie's "You Gotta Share, You Gotta Care" song. It was so awful that two warring tribes only strengthened their resolve to go to war after she performed it once. The second performance, when the tribes were RIGHT on the precipice of a truce immediately before commencing battle, made the chief of one tribe so enraged that he lead his people into battle simply because the song pissed him off so much.
- In "Maud Pie", Pinkie's sister Maud comes to visit, and the rest of Pinkie's friend find her stoic, anti-social, and only interested in rocks. At one point, Twilight asks Maud about her poetry and Maud provides a sample. Twilight's reaction shows how bad this poetry is, and it's only the tip of the iceberg.
- The Yogi's Treasure Hunt episode "Yogi's Heroes" had Dick Dastardly and Muttley capturing Snooper and Blabber and forcing them to watch episodes of Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines. Blabber even states that it will turn their brains to mush.