This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

They Just Didn't Care

"Lisa, if you don't like your job, you don't strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way!"
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons, "The PTA Disbands"

The lighting is so bad you can see the shadow of the boom-mike on the wall. The zippers and seams are visible on the People in Rubber Suits. The editing looks like someone playing with the wipe feature on Windows Movie Maker. There are times when you really start to wonder what is going wrong with a movie; in theory, they should be trying to make the best product they can.

But that's not what happens. A strange combination of the lack of money, time, expertise, enthusiasm and/or optimism, and simple talent sabotages the production. This is when the production values of a work are just so far below what should be expected that you can't help but figure that "They Just Didn't Care."

The trope name can be used as a stock phrase, something that can be applied to a wide variety of issues. Examples for this trope are all about the production values. It is possible to "Just Not Care" in regards to other aspects of making a story, but we have another set of tropes for that.

Related tropes include:

Also worth remembering is that while the quality of any work given as an example has likely suffered horribly from its makers' apathy, this apathy itself is not necessarily all bad. As many an artist and writer can testify, any work for which the publisher's editors and executives have a complete lack of concern can be an opportunity for the creator to put whatever he or she wants in it, as their superiors' apathy provides a kind of de facto Protection from Editors. From a business perspective, some works simply have no target audience, or sometimes the concept underlying them is just so bad that no one should ever have approved any budget or other resources for its creation in the first place. When such an abomination makes its way down to the production crew, sympathetic souls in middle management will often warn everyone involved not to waste too much talent or money making it. On the critics' end, works for which even the creators showed no concern can have some Narm Charm, be So Bad, It's Good, or at least inspire some Bile Fascination.

Contrast Developers' Foresight and Doing It for the Art.

Due to a revised definition, all examples that are not In-Universe require Word of God confirming that the creators didn't care.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon: Michael Haigney of 4Kids Entertainment admitted to half-assing some of his Pokémon voices on the basis that, with over a hundred-and-fifty to get through, it was likely that some Pokémon would never be seen again. This rapidly backfired when he applied it to Charmander which is 1. a starter mon, i.e. one of the first Pokémon kids receive, 2. featured and spotlighted in a fairly early episode, and 3. captured by the protagonist, all of which should have been clear signs that it would become a recurring character, which it did.
  • While not the creators of the show, when Sonic X was acquired and dubbed by 4Kids Entertainment, many of the key elements that are present in the Sonic franchise were often either misinterpreted or mislabeled in the 1st season. Michael Haigney, who also produced the dub of Pokemon, in addition to Sonic X, stated, "I've never played the game, seen the series or read the comics." being the reason for the lack of research.

    Fan Works 
  • In an in-universe example, the Lemony Narrator of Equestria: A History Revealed, who is supposedly writing the whole thing, has a very lax approach to essay writing, getting drunk towards the beginning of Chapter 3, not wanting to write any more praise for Princess Celestia, and instead, inserting her self-authored haikus in their place, and literally admitting to lying to her professor and cursing him in-text (while simultaneously submitting it in to him later for marking).
  • Discussed Trope: Sailor Moon Abridged has the title protagonist fight a tennis-themed monster, who throws a ball at her and causes her to be trapped in a tennis ball. Her response?
    Sailor Moon: Holy s***, they turned me into a tennis ball! I mean really, are they even trying anymore?
  • Discussed Trope: An episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series had Yugi guess that the animators didn't even care about the size of Kaiba's nose.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Room: As production dragged on, professionalism just fell apart. Most of the crew were convinced the film would never be seen by anyone. Greg Sestero, who played Mark, admitted to phoning in his performance. Entire scenes were out of focus because they did not bother to check the lens. Greg's own book about the production of the film, The Disaster Artist chronicles this.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A Discussed Trope in Mystery Science Theater 3000, the Trope Namer:
    • The Trope Namer is a repeated phrase during the segment of Episode 418 — Attack of the The Eye Creatures [sic], where Joel and the Bots give a point-by-point presentation to prove that the makers of the movie had little concern for the quality of the film. This includes forgetting to adjust the camera to shoot day for night properly, giant zippers running up the back of the costumes for the People in Rubber Suits, and after running out of monster suits and monster boots, using the excess actors stomping around in their monster masks, black wool sweaters, and sneakers. And the fact that it's called Attack of the The Eye Creatures.
    • In another MST3K experiment, Red Zone Cuba, Servo groans, "I see the movie has finally thrown up its hands and said, 'I just don't know'."

    Video Games 
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a famous example of They Just Didn't Care attitude being responsible for bringing down an entire company, Atari. After Atari's parent company Warner had paid 21 million dollars for licensing the movie, Atari executives wanted the game to be available for Christmas market of that year, 1982. This gave its programmer Howard Scott Warshaw an incredibly tight deadline. He had to write the game in just six weeks, which even then was a ridiculously short time; Warshaw's previous two games had taken six and seven months to finish. In the documentary movie Atari: Game Over, he openly admits that the tight schedule resulted in a subpar product. The game was a huge flop that caused Atari to lose millions of dollars, and the rest is history.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • This trope is played up intentionally for humor and parody in the Ren and Stimpy episode "Stimpy's Cartoon". The plot is that Stimpy wants to make a cartoon for his hero, the godfather of animation, Wilbur Cobb. Ren is bitter about this, so Stimpy crowns him producer. However, it turns out out that Ren just doesn't care about the cartoon and his only role is to work Stimpy to the bone while presenting impossible challenges, taking month-long vacations, ripping up storyboards and tossing them in the trash, price gouging on art supplies, forcing Stimpy to shave logs for animation cels, etc.. In the end, Stimpy's cartoon is a poorly drawn, poorly animated, inept, and non-sensical romp called "Explodey the Pup" (or "I Like Pink"), which demonstrates the very definition of this trope.
  • Donald F. Glut has stated in many interviews over the years that he had little regards for his work as a writer for 80's cartoons (the little-seen syndicated Spider-Man series excepted), saying he often submitted first drafts as final scripts and that he did them purely for the $$$.

Alternative Title(s): Ni Se Molestaron