Tabloid Melodrama

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When you're a celebrity, or become one overnight, tabloid stories will turn your personal life into a trashy melodrama. Try not to take it too seriously, even if they are pronouncing nuptials for you and some celebrity you merely had a friendly conversation with.

Truth in Television (but not in tabloids), especially applied to Hollywood actresses and actors. For characters who work for such publications, see Paparazzi.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The manga/OVA Boys Love series Haru wo Daiteita is based on two actors and their relationship with each other, surrounded by paparazzi and gossips, including tabloids and talk shows.

    Comic Books 
  • In Tintin The Castafiore Emerald, Paris-Flash's cover promises the wedding of Castafiore to Captain Haddock (who can't stand her voice), and she tells him not to take it too seriously, as she's been linked to hundreds of other men in the past. She later gets upset about the Tempo di Roma's unauthorized expose on "La diva ed il pappagallo".
  • She-Hulk is once a victim of a paparazzi who photographed her sunbathing, topless. Fortunately for Jen, the guy's editor airbrushed the photo, making her skin look flesh-colored instead of green (likely a routine editing job by someone who didn't realize she was supposed to be green). No-one who read the rag ever realizes the woman in the picture is her.
  • Spider-Man once has to deal with a rather vile paparazzi (and the biggest sleazeball you'd ever meet) named Nick Katzenburg, a Fat Slob with absolutely no morals, who gained a high position at the Daily Bugle because J. Jonah Jameson had been replaced by the Chameleon, making the Bugle's attacks against Spider-Man into outright slander. When the real Jonah returns, Nick's claws are clipped a little, due to Jonah having some morals as a newsman, and then severely grounded when Thomas Fireheart becomes the owner in a hostile takeover, turning the Bugle's coverage towards him positive in order to repay a debt he felt he owed (which, sadly, was just as biased, only in reverse). Nick's slanderous ways finally comes to a head when he takes incriminating pictures of the Rose and published them with Peter Parker's name to protect himself; once the truth comes out, he is the target of both the underworld and the police, and an attempt on his life leads to a heart attack and his eventual death from lung cancer.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Death Note AU Ragnarok, much to Light's dismay, the tabloids become interested in "the pretty boy cop" that teen idol Misa Amane hangs out with and write up a trashy article about him which concludes that if he and Misa aren't a couple then he must be gay.
  • In the Harry Potter AU 3 Slytherin Marauders, it seems the staff of the Daily Prophet has nothing better to do than stalk an 11-year old boy.
  • In Diaries of a Madman, Navarone gets his revenge on Celestia by getting her caught up in a tabloid scandal.
  • In the Shadowchasers Series, Jalal Stormbringer claims to have been a victim of trash like this "ever since the printed periodical replaced the town crier". (Given how old he is, that is likely true.) He mostly ignores it these days.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Mega Man has often been the subject of tabloid scrutiny, but this trope really takes effect in the interlude to Episode 14, where Tiesel Bonne gives footage of Mega and Kalinka's kiss to the Conduit, opening Mega Man and Kalinka up to tabloid scrutiny like never before should the footage be leaked.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The movie Paparazzi does this as the whole excuse for the film's plot.
  • A lot of Notting Hill revolves around trying to keep things from the tabloids.
  • What Price Hollywood?: The price of fame—being in tabloids, having your name turned into dirt by them, and people believing these scandalous lies— is something that Mary has to live with.

    Literature 
  • Rita Skeeter's job description in the Harry Potter series; she is an immoral paparazzi who really doesn't care who she hurt or whose reputation she ruins (or even if her information is exaggerated a little — or more than "a little") so long as she gets the dirt on a subject. As it turns out, she is using an illegal method to get her stories, being an unlicensed Animagus who can turn herself into a beetle and listen in on any conversation like a fly on the wall, literally.
  • In Rewind (Terry England), the Rewound Children become instant celebrities and are hit full-force by this, the unwilling center of a media circus. At one point, a tabloid prints nude photographs taken of all seventeen by the government. This does not go over well, to say the least. Rewind generally takes a very dim view of the media.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Absolutely Fabulous had Patsy locked in a steamy affair with an important man (possibly a cabinet minister), leading the tabloids to hound her and refer to her as a "flash fash slag."
  • A two-part episode of Dream On reversed the gender roles when Martin Tupper began an affair with a woman who turned out to be the wife (Teri Garr) of a prominent politician (George Hamilton). In the ensuing tabloid uproar, cameo roles went to people like Rita Jenrette, Gennifer Flowers and Jessica Hahn, all of whom had experience with the phenomenon in real life.
  • As proof that this sort of thing is Older Than They Think, in the 2010 biographical HBO miniseries about the life of John Adams, there is this dialogue between Adams and his rather upset wife, who is reading The Federalist Papers, which has printed some rather absurd exaggerations and lies:
    Abigail Adams: [reading] "The reign of Mr. Adams has hitherto been one continued tempest of malignant passions. As president, he has never opened his lips without threatening or scolding. He is a repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite, one of the most egregious fools upon the continent, a hideous, hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."
    John Adams: It is beneath the President of the United States to take any notice of insinuations.
    Mrs. Adams: In any other country, such filth would have been silenced long ago.
    President Adams: Mr. Hamilton takes equal pains to ensure that the Federalist Paper are filled with scurrilous attacks on Thomas Jefferson and his party.
    Mrs. Adams: Think of all the vile falsehoods written about you—continue to be written about you. You may have patiently borne all the slanders, but I have not. "Before it is too late to retrieve our deranged affairs—"
    President Adams: For goodness sake.
    Mrs. Adams: [continues reading] "— the people must demand the immediate resignation of old, querulous, bald, blind, crippled, toothless Adams."
    [long pause]
    President Adams: I am not crippled.
    Mrs. Adams: I find no amusement in this. Waste of paper and ink.
    President Adams: Waste of time reading it, Abigail. Put it down.
    Mrs. Adams: They would not say such a thing about Washington. They would not call George Washington hermaphroditical!
    President Adams: They could call him toothless, though. [both laugh]

    Western Animation 
  • Taken Up to Eleven in the Batman Beyond episode "Sneak Peak". Ian Peek runs a popular celebrity gossip show that seems like the typical one, but the difference is, he will use any method, no matter how immoral, to get the dirt on celebrities. As it turns out, he has murdered a Wayne Enterprises scientist in order to steal a device that can make him intangible, letting him spy on and record conversations that most paparazzi can't access. A Smug Snake to the extreme, he even dares to publically expose a mobster who turned informant on other crime bosses, and not only discovers Terry's identity as the current Batman, but Bruce Wayne's identity as the original one. However, right before he plans to air that secret in what he hopes will be his biggest hit ever, he discovers he is losing control of the device, and it is making him intangible against his will. He postpones the airing, and then calls Bruce, pleading with him for help. Unfortunately, it is far too late for Bruce to do anything. As Terry arrives and a fight broke out, Ian completely lost control of it, and plummets downward, unable to even stand on solid ground, eventually vanishing through the basement floor. He hasn't been seen since, but Bruce theorized that he will probably keep falling until he reaches the center of the Earth, so it's not surprising.

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