Sometimes Lampshade Hanging isn't enough. That's when this trope comes in, which is outright bashing on bad writing. Often expressed in the phrase, "Who writes this crap?" but there are other ways as well, of varying subtlety.
Keep in mind that in order to qualify as true to this trope, it has to be lampshaded in the actual work — i.e., one of the characters blurts it out. If it's the audience who's saying it, it's probably just actual bad writing.
Known as a "Signal from Fred" in the Turkey City Lexicon, which mentions how if your characters are complaining about how bad the writing is, your subconscious is probably trying to tell you something.
When used in another work (usually a parody), often overlaps with a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer.
See also: Self-Deprecation, Take That, Who Would Want to Watch Us? and Writers Suck. Often a symptom of Better than a Bare Bulb - they're knocking the trope, but they're still using it...
In one Samurai Pizza Cats episode, the heroes were facing the villain (named Big Cheese) directly. In the English version, the narrator describes the conclusion of the fight: "With his Ginzu-Sword, Speedy cuts the cheese once again! Who writes this stuff?"
Oh-so-very-used by Kyon, resident Deadpan Snarker, during episode #0 of Suzumiya Haruhi, except it's more along the lines of "Who wrote this crap? Oh yeah, Haruhi."
It happens again in a normal episode when Kyon is thinking about how crazy his life has become and says "Who wrote this scenario? Was it Haruhi?"
(actual dialogue in the English dub) Raye: That Serena isn't a Sailor Scout. She's a failure scout! (end of actual dialogue) Raye: Okay, who the *bleep* writes these lines?
There was one in Avatar The Abridged Series too, just after Aang get pwned by Jet: "Okay, seriously, what the crap? Who wrote this episode?"
Turns out Iroh taught Zuko how to break the fourth wall.
In episode 7 of Wedding Peach Abridged, Jama P told the love angels about the devil infecting rice with "the essence of fatness", and when they said it was lame, he said, "Hey! I didn't write this script, so don't complain to me!"
Kunō: And so it falls out that we have we prize not to the worth whilst we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost, why then we wrack the value, then we find the virtue that possession would not show us whilst it was ours. Ranma: What the f*** does that mean? Kunō: I have no idea. But it sounded sexy.
That one is actually a quote from Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing. Slightly misquoted, but it's at least partially understandable as the western version of the classical Japanese poetry Kunō would likely be spouting.
Bob: No-one knows for sure... oh you know what, screw it, I hate this stupid line.
In Zelda's PRIDE Force, a flash cartoon on Newgrounds, the final words come from animated versions of the creators.
Nimdok: Who wrote this crap? Nalem: There was a script?
In a Harry PotterFan FictionMade With Our Love, the author mocks several fanfic sub-genres/tropes most notably Foe Yay and M-Preg through Harry doing something that has become something of a cliche within those sub-genres. In the twist ending, it turns out he'd done it as a dare, and Harry admits that he'd gotten his idea for it from "some piece of crap on the internet."
In the fanfic Ed, Edd N Eddy: The High School Years, this is done subtly in chapter 4 by Kevin and then in chapter 5 by Eddy in references of the budding relationships of Rolf and Marie and of Ed and Edd
This fan Christmas carol by Kylee Henke involves the trolls from Homestuck singing a version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". On the seventh day, Karkat literally says "GOD, WHO WRITES THIS?!"
James Earl Jones:(introducing the Carnival of the Animals) Here the sensitive strains of impressionistic music combine with the subtle artistry of the animator to finally answer that age-old question: What is man's relationship to nature? (is handed a note) Oh, sorry... that age-old question: What would happen if you gave a yo-yo to a flock of flamingos? (beat, turns to look off-camera) Who wrote this?
FYI, the flamingoes use the yo-yo string to clean their beaks. Just... don't ask how I know that.
Nick Rivers: Listen to me Hillary. I'm not the first guy who fell in love with a woman that he met at a restaurant who turned out to be the daughter of a kidnapped scientist only to lose her to her childhood lover who she last saw on a deserted island who then turned out fifteen years later to be the leader of the French underground. Hillary Flammond: I know. It all sounds like some bad movie. (long pause with off-camera grumbles; both look at camera)
Cat's Eye: A character played by James Woods complains "Who writes this crap?" while watching David Cronenberg's The Dead Zone on TV. (Stephen King wrote the screenplay for Cat's Eye.)
In the highly self-referential indie film Killer Flick, the main characters, who are making the film itself as they go along, try to audition a woman to be The Chick. Looking at the script, she gets into an argument with them about the film's sexist and adolescent writing. In the end, the guys cheer and give her the role, since their whole argument was actually written in the script.
Delirious has a show-within-a-show example: the repairman fixes John Candy's cable, allowing them to see the lurid soap opera his TV producer character spends the movie trapped in, prompting this exchange: "You watch this crap?" "No, I write this crap."
Singin' in the Rain: At the test screening of the movie within the movie, when in a love scene the leading man makes a romantic speech consisting of saying "I love you" over and over again, one viewer sarcastically remarks, "Did somebody get paid for writing that dialogue?"
Fenster's reaction to the words he was given in the lineup scene of The Usual Suspects. This was actually a case of Throw It In, as Benicio Del Toro could only say "Hand me the keys you fucking cocksucker" so many times with a straight face.
In True Lies, Schwarzenegger's character has a French agent record some dialogue as part of a complicated scheme to punish his wife for (almost) cheating on him while also bringing some passion back into their marriage. Midway through, the agent complains, "Who wrote this shit? Harry? C'est la merde!"
In Muppet Treasure Island, during the completely over the top and absurd song Cabin Fever, one character's contribution to the song is the line "I'd like to get my hands on whoever wrote this script!"
In Winds of Change, Wintermoon describes the reunion of Skif and Nyara in similar terms. He found it funny, but also touchingly sweet:
In Redshirts, Jenkins concludes that not only are they all stuck in a sci-fi TV show, it's not even a very well-written one.
In the very first chapter of Spike Milligan's Puckoon the hero Dan Milligan (no relation?) has a conversation with the Author in which he complains about the legs the Author has written for him. When he asks the Author whether he wrote his own legs the Author admits that he didn't. Dan complains about the Author getting himself a decent leg-writer and then writing crappy old legs for Dan. The author tries to calm Dan down by claiming that he'll develop Dan's legs with the plot.
An issue of Playstation Magazine features this as a gag in reference to Blood Omen 2
Kain: By the sweet-smelling flame of the Soth, I command the Gates of Elderwalk to open... who writes this stuff?"
In one of the MTV Movie Awards, the cheesy writing in awards shows was mocked. Someone said a horrible banter line, and the presenter said, "Who writes this crap?" What followed was a pre-filmed sketch with David Cross pretending to be an awards show writer — specifically, a parody of actual awards show writer Bruce Vilanch. "I'm a patter writer! I write this crap!"
An episode parodying Robinson Crusoe started with the Crusoe and Man Friday characters watching The Monkees, and Friday saying "Who writes this stuff?'' Once the band arrived, he would repeat this frequently.
Not exactly this trope, but in another episode, Micky is frustrated by a turn of events and stomps off the sound stage, past the cameras and crew, into a back room, and demands that the writers give him an idea to resolve the plot. They do, but he rejects it and returns to the set.
Red Dwarf: Back to Earth has Rimmer reading what the back of the DVD box says about him and exclaiming, "Neurotic? Neurotic?! I'm not neurotic! Who writes this stuff?!"
In an episode of So You Think You Can Dance the host Cat Deely asked this after joking about a dancer's name that's pronounced "a day" — "It was Ade to remember..."
Canadian TV writer/producer Greg Lawrence often made references to his own apparent lack of writing skill in his shows Kevin Spencer and Butch Patterson: Private Dick. As just one example:
Female client: I can't believe you came all this way just to make a stupid sex joke. Butch:(also played by Lawrence) Just think how the writer feels.
Supernatural took potshots at some of its less well-written episodes in "The Monster at the End of this Book", wherein the author of the Supernatural book series, really a prophet, apologizes to the main characters for having forced them to live "bad writing."
Chuck: All the horrible things you've had to go through...your parents' deaths, the monsters, that racist truck...
Commonly used in Spike Milligan's Q series where Spike Milligan would often drop out of character during a sketch to complain about the poor quality of the writing "And I should know, I wrote it".
Alton Brown says "Who writes this stuff?!" in the Good Eats popcorn episode after encountering a parody of Adam West Batman.
A bit of a Take That against himself since Alton Brown writes Good Eats.
Stargate SG-1: Pretty much the point of "Wormhole X-Treme" is to give SG-1 and Co. a chance to say this. A good example is someone proposing that the third shot from a Zat Gun vaporizes its target (a retconned plot point from the early seasons) only to have a TV writer retort that that's "the stupidest thing [he's] ever heard."
They also used "Citizen Joe", an episode where a barber could see Jack O'Neill's life to mock some of their old episodes, particularly "Hathor", as well as some of the more complicated story points.
They also took potshots at Roland Emmerich—writer of the original Stargate film—by mocking his newer movies on the show.
Stargate Continuum has a line that's actually not Played for Laughs. As Daniel, Sam, and Mitchel are trying to explain to the incredulous alternate Air Force about the Stargate Program they get increasingly frustrated, causing Daniel to yell "Seriously, who would make this shit up?!"
Sheppard: I don't know. It's almost as if somebody in a warm, cosy room typing onto their computer sent us here for their own amusement.
Fox Mulder in the fifth season The X-Files episode "Post-modern Prometheus"; "This isn't the way the story is supposed to end... I want to speak to the writer!" It's then played as if Mulder was appealing to the writer of the comic in which the monster was featured and asks for a better ending.
And now for something completely different: one episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus had this caption with the last four words crossed out:
THE R.S.P.C.A. WISH IT TO BE KNOWN THAT THAT MAN WAS NOT A BONA-FIDE ANIMAL LOVER AND ALSO THAT GOLDFISH DO NOT EAT SAUSAGES. THEY ARE QUITE HAPPY WITH BREADCRUMBS ANTS' EGGS AND THE OCCASIONAL PHEASANT.
When the narrator reaches the last four words, he asks, "Who wrote that?"
Then there's this exchange:
Waiter: Fine, sir, he said in between clenched teeth knowing full well it was a most unrewarding part.
Interviewer: This is the silliest sketch I've ever been in.
A potential example occurred in the fifth season finale of LOST: after leading the Others to the statue where Jacob lives, Richard suddenly claims that only Locke (the leader) can speak to Jacob when Locke asks if both he and Ben can go inside. Locke angrily accuses Richard of simply making things up as he goes along. This is likely a reference to one of Lost's most famous criticisms in popular culture; the idea that (especially during earlier seasons) the writers had no long-term gameplan and made things up with no intention of resolving them.
Although this has a slightly different meaning when you find out later that this Locke is actually the Anti-Jacob and therefore already knows all the rules, meaning that Richard *did* make this up.
The episode "Normal Again" had several lines of this nature during the Cuckoo Nest scenario, such as the psychologist saying that Dawn's existence created "inconsistencies," and commenting almost snidely that Buffy went from fighting a god to a bunch of losers from high school.
In the episode "Shadow", Glory comments on the writing of a magic spell she's performing: "Dark incantations. Always overwritten."
In "Tabula Rasa", after everyone loses their memories, Buffy has to tell Spike that he's a vampire and they're both pretty confused that he seems to be one of the good guys. This leads to a playful Take That to both Buffy and Angel and a Shout Out to the latter, including the catchphrase for "Angel Investigations".
Spike: I must be a noble vampire, a good guy on a mission of redemption. I help the helpless. I'm a vampire with a soul.
Buffy: A vampire with a soul? Oh my God! How lame is that?
From "Once More With Feeling":
Willow: I think this line's mostly filler.
The episode "Worst Case Scenario" of Star Trek: Voyager featured a holodeck program written by Tuvok called "Insurrection Alpha," a tactical training scenario that the characters mistook for a holonovel. At one point, Paris was playing the program and ended up being trapped in the brig with a holographic Tuvok. He wanted to stage an escape attempt, as opposed to "just doing nothing." Tuvok replied that they were hardly doing nothing, but rather observing their captors for weaknesses and that they should keep doing so, even if it took a week for them to figure something out. At which point, Paris commented "A week? Who wrote this stuff?"
Inverted in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Soultaker", thanks to the fact that the riffed movie's female lead was also its writer.
Mike: Hey, look, you wrote this crap!
A variation in Doctor Who: "...clothes designed by a first year fashion student..."
Frankie Howerd practically made his career out of breaking the fourth wall, and many of his quips were about the bad writing, or that he knew that joke wouldn't work, or that the writers gave all the best lines to others.
An implied use of the trope was used in Season 9 promos for Two and a Half Men promoting Ashton Kutcher's appearance on the show. Alan is talking with Jake while dressed up as a surgeon, an Astronaut, and an explorer while giving various stories about how he met the guy whose going to stay with him, and eventually just turns to the crew and says "Aw come on, there has to be a better way to introduce the character."
A&E An Evening At The Improv was show about stand-up comedians doing their acts. One guy was talking about the script for Mortal Kombat the movie, especially when Shang Tsung says "Now, you will die!", and Lu Kang says "No, you will die!". The comic immediately said "Somebody actually wrote that!".
An episode of Horrible Histories talking about Tower of London executioners has an instructor talking to a trainee about the nooses used at different times of the day:
Executioner: This is the Seven O' Clock Noose. This is the Nine O' Clock Noose. This is the Noose at Ten. And this... (points to a guy in modern clothes on the chopping block) ...Is the guy who wrote that joke!
Used subtly in Community, though its more "we can't possibly be a TV show because things suck this bad". When Jeff tells the Genre Savvy Abed to realise the difference between reality and stories, and that they're not part of a sit-com, Abed replies;
Abed: I can tell life from TV, Jeff. TV has logic, structures, rules. In life we have this. We have you.
This is the reaction of more than a few contestants on Chopped when opening the mystery basket.
Shaq, on a commercial for his show "Upload." After making the joke that the clips on the show would be "funnier than his free-throw percentage" (accompanied by a clip of him missing an actual free throw), he deadpans to the camera, "Who wrote that?"
The Beatles' "Only A Northern Song" is this trope from start to finish, with lines such as "You may think the harmony/is a little dark and out of key/you're correct." Likewise, the song is an echo-filled cacophony, overlaid with tuneless instruments and random sound effects. (George wrote this song as an intentional slap-in-the-face to The Beatles' publishers, Northern Songs.)
Mindless Self Indulgence, in "2 Hookers and an 8 Ball": "Can you believe that I write this shit" (Basically the whole song, too.)
"Psychedelic Ranger" by New Zealand band The Clean concludes "if you think this really really sucks/then you are very intelligent".
"Another Boring B-Side" by Morris Minor & the Majors (the b-side of "Stutter Rap"):
It's another boring b-side, another load of tatt
it has no redeeming features, and we're really proud of that
you're listening to the product of considerable neglect
but for a lousy one pound eighty, tell me, what did you expect?
Then meta-heels Degeneration X decided to sit on the stage during a broadcast of RAW and play the part of angry fans. Triple H held up a sign that read "Who Booked This Crap?", the wrestling equivalent of the question. DX had almost unlimited access to the McMahon family then, and Trips married into the family later. As the years go by, a screencap of that momentgets funnier and funnier.
Shawn Michaels would later ask this in 2007 after a particularly confusing DX promo. Trips retorted with something along the lines of "I don't know, they're all on strike!"
Used in Muppet Treasure Island. In the middle of the "Cabin Fever" musical number, the following exchange occurs:
"I've got cabin fever, I think I lost my grip!" "I'd like to get my hands on whoever wrote this script!"
As the ship is leaving dock, Statler and Waldorf (serving as the ship's figureheads) commiserate about their cheap berths - but it could be worse, at least they aren't in the audience. (Dohohohoho.)
Muppets Tonight, at the beginning of the "Hardy Pig Boys in the Mystery of the Zombie Queen of the Amazon Outer Space Bee Woman Case: Based on a novel by Jane Austen".
Announcer: Ugh, who wrote this? Andy & Randy Pig: We did!
And in the episode with Garth Brooks, he and Miss Piggy have a Romeo and Juliet scene (that was supposed to be a country song), and Piggy has to read from cue cards, but either her eyesight is really bad or her glasses are faulty because she misreads many of the words.
"Romero, Romero, wherefore ark thong, Romero?"
"Good night, Good night. Parking is such sweet... sparrow? Sponging? Parking is such sweet sponging."
After reading the last line she snaps "Whoever wrote this should be shot!".
In The Goon Show episode "The Scarlet Capsule", the Guest Announcer Andrew Timothy at one point says:
"Ting-tong-billy-bong! I would like it known that though I read this stuff, I don't write it. Ftang!"
During one Bob & Ray show, the duo are openly embarrassed to have to read a cheesy promo. Ray eventually convinces Bob to go ahead by pointing out that it'll demonstrate "what happens when you let people with college educations write things."
In one episode, Dennis Day praises Jack's finer characteristics to the heavens... then asks to leave, saying, "I can't keep reading this stuff! It's making me sick!"
Fred Allen, a contemporary of Jack Benny, often made fun of the writing on his show, especially when a joke bombed. He'd make a comment like, "I'm through the halls, writing all week long, and it comes down to THIS..." or "It doesn't matter with our show, you can open the script at any page. Here, I'll show you...(reads next line)" These audience asides were much more popular than the original jokes.
On NPR's Car Talk, whenever Click and Clack (Tom and Ray Magliozzi) get a caller whose question and banter come from way out in left field, Tom will crack "Doesn't anybody screen these calls??!"
The BBC show Hello Cheeky was written by the three main performers, which occassionally led to some pleasant lampshading.
Stine:(reading from the script) "Wild, bloodshot private eyes?" That's atrocious! Am I supposed to run up and down the aisles in every movie house in the country and say I didn't write that? Donna: I thought it was clever, to be honest. Stine:(realizing) It's yours. It's your line. Donna: I tried to make it sound like you. Stine: It doesn't rub off. Sometimes not even on me.
In Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries, the voice actor who voiced Duncan Fisher (the commentator of the Arena) released some of his outtakes from said game. At the very end, an exchange like this happens:
Duncan, in character: Spectre, I wanna have your baby. (intended to be one of the random quotes if Spectre, the Player Character, wins the match)
Duncan, in character: BAM! That is it! (intended to be one of the random quotes Fisher says during the ending cutscene)
The voice actor, out of character: What kind of crap is this!? SOMEONE GET ME THAT SCRIPT WRITER!!!
In the SNES/Sega game Bubsy, the stage names were all Incredibly Lame Puns. Bubsy was one of the first voice-acted characters in the 16-bit era. His response to one of the worse puns? "Hey, I didn't write this stuff...."
Possibly, in the sequel, he even flat out said, "Who wrote this stuff?"
In No One Lives Forever, one level sees Cate visiting various informants who all have to use extremely goofy and horribly misogynistic (even for 1960s standards) pick-up lines as passwords and wonder who the heck chose to use them as such.
The Buffy The Vampire Slayer video game has Spike reading an invocation to summon a demon lord that's holding Dru's spirit hostage. In the middle of the invocation, he pauses to say, "Who writes this dross?"
At the end of the dating sim parody in Super Paper Mario, no matter which responses are chosen, Peach will say a variation on this. "Hey! Who's picking these responses for me, anyway?!"
"Too bad the shields took a direct hit... too bad I said 'Bingo-bango', who writes this junk?!?"
Also happens during the Captain Qwark mini-games during Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. The narrator in the opening and closing bits voices his disbelief of Qwark's supposed adventures. Didn't help that Qwark wrote the scripts.
Sonic Colors: During an act of Aquarium Park, you may overhear on the loudspeaker:
Eggman: Wat-er you waiting for? Climb aboard the Exotic Aquarium for a boatload of... ahh, who writes this drivel?
Minion: You do, boss!
Eggman: ...oh, you're right, I do! Hahahaha, i'm hilarious!
In one of the non-canon side stories in Kagetsu Tohya Akiha suddenly remembers her twin sister! At which Shiki points out that's ridiculous, there was absolutely no foreshadowing or buildup and crummy as this story is that's just too dumb to let slide.
From the SmackDown vs. Raw series of wrestling games, known for their somewhat awkward commentary, Tazz describing a near pinfall: "If the referee hadn't cut his fingernails, that would've been three!... Who writes this stuff?"
One of the outtakes in the end credits of Age Of Mythology has Athena's voice actor wondering this about some of her lines.
Alas, you have died, You'll be buried at sea, To restart the game. JUST PRESS ANY KEY! (beat) God Who writes this rubbish?
The first level of Emogame has a boss battle against Creed. Before the fight, Scott Stapp explains that he and his band were literally formed from the shit of Eddie Vedder, at which the player character remarks that at least they know they suck. Then Scott elaborates, saying that they have held onto that shit and used it to build an attack helicopter, and now they must kill you because you know their secret. Your response is "God, this plot is getting worse and worse."
Lampshaded in Blast Corps, where the government contracts you to demolish a bunch of stuff on the moon for reasons that don't really make any sense, but makes for a good level.
In the VCPR radio station of Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories, the announcer for Bait and Switch reads off "Dialectical materialism", stops, and says "Wrong script... who wrote this shit?" before Larry yells "Tits!" and the announcer accepts that in place.
A bizarre, unintentional example occurs in The Ignition Factor, the American localization of the Super Famicom game Fire Fighting. Apparently the game was released with an unfinished translation, because, in addition to various "Blind Idiot" Translation issues, there were several developer in-jokes that were left in the script, including the line "I can't believe I'm saying this. Is this really in the script?", which occurs during an otherwise solemn discussion of the death of one of your teammates.
Alan Wake called this a very cheap plot twist, with the character even remarking on it by name. Before he dies.
Captain Smiley says this in the tutorial level of Comic Jumper:
Text Box: Captain Smiley is used to grabbing poles to make progress.
Variation in Adventurers!: Having found yet another legendary sword, Ardam wonders who writes all these legends about swords. Of course, right on cue, a scholarly-looking fellow carrying a big book walks up and says, "I do. Got a problem with that?"
Even greater variation in L's Empire where one of the authors asks this question, only to answer themselves.
One Over Zero has No Fourth Wall, so two lovers can directly address the writer when they realize he sucks at writing romantic conversations. Most of the rest of what they say to each other is off-panel.
When Girl Genius took a break to do their take on Cinderella, Gil and Tarvek complain to co-writer Phil Foglio over the fact that they've both been assigned the role of the prince. When Gil asks who thought having two boyfriends was a good idea, there's a pan to Agatha, Zeetha, and other co-writer Kaja Foglio with huge grins on their faces.
Phil: Deal with it.
Sketch Comedy: On more than one occasion, Karen visits the cartoonist's office to lodge a formal complaint about the strip's persistent surrealism and discontinuity.
In Homestuck, Roxy's fanfiction "Wizardy Herbert" is full of it.
In "The Anvil Chorus", Plucky similarly complains about an opera he's expected to perform, in which the script calls for him to have an anvil dropped on his head every three seconds or so. Incidentally, the short was apparently written by the anvils.
This joke comes up quite a bit. In one episode, Little Sneezer is playing a tuba and eating smelly cheese in the basement, which carries through the ventilation system, causing the toonsters to assume someone is farting repeatedly. Babs asks, "Who wrote this?"
In the second episode of the series, "A Quack to the Quarks":
Foghorn Leghorn:(shoving Plucky out of the classroom) Phew! That duck spits more words than a dictionary in a garbage disposal! Buster Bunny: Uh, speaking of garbage... Babs Bunny: What? Buster Bunny: Who wrote today's script? Babs Bunny: Be nice!
One episode of Drawn Together ("Little Orphan Hero") ended with the cast walking out in disgust, saying the plotline had obviously been written by a special-needs child.
Krusty, when he is introducing himself with Brooke Shields for the cartoon awards, ends up being fumed about a joke in his opening line.
Krusty: Well, here we are. Star of The Blue Lagoon and me: The blue-haired goon! What the...? It's terrible! [...] First of all, my hair is green, not blue! I've got nothing to work with here! Nothing!
Also, in the same episode, Krusty mentioned this in regards to the Itchy and Scratchy episode "Dazed and Contused", which basically had Itchy tapping Scratchy's head with a mallet repeatedly, then saying "Kids, say no to drugs!"
Krusty: (Back on the air, smoking a cigarette) Ehh... I could pull a better cartoon out of my a... (turns to the camera and notices he's back on the air and immediately stops himself and tosses away the cigarette) ...ahhehehahahaha! (runs to them) Hey, whoa! Wasn't that great, kids?!
And when he's performing King Lear at the dinner theater:
Krusty: Come on people, lighten up! It's a comedy! (reads script) Woah, who wrote this crap? Wait, I got one — how do you make a King Lear? Put the Queen in a bikini! Hey, tough crowd — they're booing Shakespeare!
And also when performing Il Pagliacci in Rome.
Krusty: No more Rice Krispies, we are out of Rice Krispies. What, don't blame me, I didn't write this crap.
Mr. Burns gets one of these moments in "The Mansion Family", when he wins an award for Oldest Man in Springfield (the previous winner has just died via Kiss of Death from Britney Spears), and tries to pass off the guy's written speech as his own:
Burns: "Thank you all so much. I love Springfield, from the cuddliest infant, to—" (grimaces and rifles through the rest of the speech) "Puppies"? ... "Patriotism"? ... "Bluebirds"?! ... Pffft! I'm not reading this drivel! This speech is over!
Sideshow Bob said the way his evil plans in "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming" ended could have been written by Hollywood's laziest writer.
The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy did this at least twice with Grim/Billy saying something about what kind of moron wrote the script for the episode of the day, usually cutting away to a drooling baby or a monkey wearing a diaper and typing on a typewriter.
In one episode of Sheep in the Big City, the Narrator reacted to a particularly weird plot twist by asking "Who writes this stuff?!"
Clerks: The Animated Series did this in its sixth (and final) episode. Dante and Randall find a door marked "Writers' Room" and inside are what appear to be a bunch of morons whose next great idea is "Let's stick them on Gilligan's Island and make gay jokes about them."
This happens in Wakfu during the Gobbowl story arc, when Yugo, Amalia and Eva are entering the match. The rather excitable sport announcer is handled sheets with their descriptions, finds them too bland and comments "Who wrote this? That's lame!" before going into wild improvisation.
In an episode of King of the Hill Peggy fills in for Bobby in his Of Mice and Men play the line goes something like:
Peggy: Lenny, don't drunk so much! Hank: Okay, George you have some, you have some too. Peggy: I don't know, it looks kind of scummy to me... who writes this crap!
Hey Arnold! has one where Helga reads some of her Arnold-centered poetry to see whether an "out-of-love potion" she took has stopped her from being obsessed with him:
Helga: "Oh, orzo-shaped Prometheus, wandering dim hallways of my..." What is this crap?!
Somewhat referred to in the Animaniacs theme song... "The writers flipped, we have no script / why bother to rehearse?"
Sung while they show a bunch of drooling maniacs playing with paper and pencils, presumably the very ones who do Write This Crap.
One of them is Shakespeare. Stereotypical clothing and everything.
More specifically, in one cartoon Slappy asks Skippy why he's delivering bad dialogue. He says that's what's in the script, to which she reminds him that scripts are only good for lining the bottom of bird cages.
In Guardin' the Garden, Slappy delivers a more subtle critique of the script:
Slappy: That snake doesn't have a leg to stand on. (to camera) Hey, it's the dawn of time. What'd you expect, new jokes?
Ed Edd N Eddy: In "Brother, Can You Spare An Ed?", after Edd goes on a dramatic, guilt-ridden monologue about Eddy convincing Ed to buy jawbreakers with Sarah's money (instead of fudge, like she asked), Eddy responds with "Who writes this guy's stuff?"
Probably the instance that started it all in animation is the 1937 Porky Pig cartoon "Porky's Duck Hunt," where Porky sends his dog to retrieve the duck he's ostensibly shot, but the duck throws the dog back on land. Porky takes out a notepad, studies it for a second, then exclaims "Hey! That wasn't in the script!"
In Recess, King Bob reminisces about his days as the Prankster Prince. One of these pranks had this:
Principal Prickly:(via P.A.) ...And don't forget to tell your parents that Principal Prickly is a big fat... HEY! Who wrote this in the morning announcements?! Mrs. Lemon!!!
The children started laughing in an uproar, while King Bob, then a fourth grader, smirks, hinting that he was the one who messed up Prickly's speech.
Also in "Ladies Night" when the girls have to sing a song about Mortimer Mouse.
Daisy: Who came up with these lyrics?
Clarabelle: I'll give you three guesses.
In the Looney Tunes cartoon, Blooper Bunny, Daffy is seen doing a mini-rant while going over his script.
Daffy: Oh brother! 51st and a half anniversary... Who writes this slop?! Ech! "Happy birthday, old chum, old pal, old buddy." They next thing you know, they'll stick me with three snot-nosed nephews! I wouldn't put it past them! It's just... ugh! Warner Brothers doesn't have an original bone in its...
Orson Welles:Rosebud. Yes, Rosebud Frozen Peas! Full of country goodness and green pea-ness. Wait, that's terrible. I quit!
In the final installment of Family Guy's Star Wars parodies, Han Solo/Peter comments that the Ewoks use weapons of stone and wood, yet they seem to have mastered cosmetology, having braided Leia/Lois's hair. Leia/Lois responds "I know, it's not as good as Empire".
Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada once was giving a speech, and in the middle, he looked up and said, "Who wrote this crap?" on National Public Radio. Ironically, he's a notorious malaproper whenever allowed to speak extemporaneously.
Reportedly the father of Werner Klemperer (a.k.a. Colonel Klink) read the script of the first episode and said to his son "Your work is good... but who is the author of this material?".
Mark Twain once wrote at the end of a chapter in the novel Heavenly Twins “A cat could do better literature than this.”
There was a moment on New Zealand TV when Leighten Smith, the "colour" presenter for the then relatively new TV 3 channel, interrupted a lead-in to say, without changing his serious tone of voice; "Who writes this stuff? [Long Pause] I did". He then went on as though nothing had happened.
This behind-the-scenes video of rehearsal footage from Late Night With Conan O'Brien. The look on Conan's face and the tone in his voice as he reads the name "Yakov Smirnoff" is absolutely laced with contempt.
A famous example of 'celebrities at their worst' is an MP3, originating from the BBC's Classic Doctor Who site no less, of Tom Baker recording a commercial for a company named Symphony Furniture. The seven-minute recording features Tom berating the other poor individuals in the studio without mercy, saying (among other hilarious quips) that the commercial should've been marketed as a sleep aid, read like a translation from early Serbo-Croat (or "fucking Albanian"), seemed to have been written by a "fucking infant teacher," and was powerful enough in its sheer emotion to give him an erection.
The infamous Frozen Peas tape, featuring outtakes from Orson Welles' readings of various commercials where he complains about the directors, the inane pronunciations, and the writing.
Wells: Because it's full of—of—of things that are only correct because they're grammatical, but they're tough on the ear. You see, this is a very wearying one, it's unpleasant to read. Unrewarding.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was presented with a Hurricane of Puns speech to read for the Nathans Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Upon completing the speech, he immediately asked, "Who wrote this shit?" Video here.
There's an outtake for a British radio commercial in which the narrator is obviously several sheets to the wind. After several unsuccessful attempts to read the copy he slurs, "I've got nothing against the man who wrote this, but whoever wrote it should be... chopping out sugar beet, not writing scripts."