"Whoever wrote this episode SHOULD DIE!"This is when characters are unable to bear the stupidity of a script, usually that of their own show, and they outright mock it (Breaking the Fourth Wall if it is their show). This is often expressed in the form of asking who wrote that script. Known as a "Signal from Fred" in the Turkey City Lexicon, which mentions how if your characters are complaining about how implausible the writing is, your subconscious is probably trying to tell you something. Keep in mind that in order to qualify as true to this trope, it has to be done In-Universe about its own work or another work, often a Show Within a Show (expect it to be done with Stylistic Suck) or an actually existing work (the latter might even involve a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer, and may or may not be an Affectionate Parody). This doesn't count if it's just an audience reaction. A Sister Trope to Better Than a Bare Bulb. Compare Self-Deprecation, Take That!, Who Would Want to Watch Us?, and Writers Suck.
— Gwen, Galaxy Quest
open/close all folders
- In one Hanes commercial, a character tells spokesman Michael Jordan he finds it unrealistic that random people would show him their underwear. He then proceeds to show Michael Jordan his underwear.
- In the 'Down Down' series of advertising for Coles Supermarkets in Australia, a recurring theme has been how annoying the advertisements are. In the first one, members of rock group Status Quo conclude that 'Saving money is never annoying', and in the later one featuring Casey Donovan, they quip, "This one's even more annoying."
Anime and Manga
- In the Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt episode "Trans-Homers", the narrator attempts to conclude the episode by giving a summary of the alien robots' war, before finally giving up and saying "Who wrote this shit?"
- 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?"
- Haruhi Suzumiya:
- Oh-so-very-used by Kyon, resident Deadpan Snarker, during episode #0, 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?"
- A variant from the 4Kids dub of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, in an episode where Meta Knight is recording dialogue for a Show Within a Show produced by King Dedede:
Meta Knight: Look! It is Fire Dedede, our hero! (as an aside) ... I would never say that...
- In the original, he says something like "Even I can't make that sound cool" after losing his enthusiasm towards the end of the line.
- Lord Ryuu says exactly this during a battle in RG Veda. Kind of jarring considering it's a Fantasy series.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, during a duel between Chazz and Adrian Gecko, Adrian retorts to Chazz's lame comebacks with "The sooner I beat you, the less bad dialogue I have to hear!" That whole episode has many a Shout-Out to Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, proving even 4Kids Entertainment can be funny if they try. Unfortunately that seemed to have been the only time they did that.
- In Sgt. Frog, the Funimation Dub gives the narrator a few lines. Even the CHARACTERS take notice of how he hates the show, and is only doing the job due to being in debt from too much gambling.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Chisame is vocally annoyed by the lack of foreshadowing for Zazie's appearance in the Magic World. Which is a hilarious meta joke in reverse, because the big "show everyone" poster in the very first chapter had Zazie right in the middle with claws for fingernails.
- Admittedly, firstly, in most printings, the image in question is incredibly small, and/or also printed on the fold line, and secondly, several dozen volumes before the reveal. Only a incredibly dedicated reader would be aware there WAS foreshadowing. It's a Chekhov's Gun where everyone checked the gun for a bullet, and put it away in a box, and then all wondered why they heard a bang in the back of the storeroom.
- In Spice and Wolf, when Lawrence tells the (slightly edited) story of how he and Holo first met, Eve remarks that it "sounds like the kind of meeting a cheap poet would write about."
- HOLY agent Mad Script from Scryed had the ability to forcibly rewrite someone's perception, so long as everyone around them follows his script. Unfortunately, he's a little too in love with his own maudlin "genius", so when he tries to rewrite rogue Alter Kazuma into joining HOLY, his "players" are often shown complaining to him about their parts... including, inevitably, Kazuma.
- Space Dandy's Lemony Narrator does this when he's forced to say an Incredibly Lame Pun.
Narrator: Behold, the Planet Eden! It was a real garden spot 10,000 years ago.... Garden spot? Really?
- In Saikin Imouto No Yousu Ga Chotto Okashiinda Ga, everybody gets roped into participating in a school play. Shoutarou and his sister Moa whisper to each other that their dialogue is stupid.
- A staple of Pearls Before Swine is having Rat ridicule or threaten Stephen Pastis for making the strip into a long set-up for a terrible pun.
- In an issue of Booster Gold, Rip Hunter refers to Superboy Prime's reality-altering tantrums in the same way that many fans had already done. "Punching time? Ridiculous."
- Would occasionally crop up in Giffen and DeMatteis's Justice League.
- Power Girl never quite gets out the actual line, but when Vartox reveals that he has come to Earth because his planet is dying and he needs her help to repopulate the species she finds the entire story completely ridiculous.
- Done literally in the final issue of Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man, when Animal Man meets Grant Morrison.
- During her "meta" phase, She-Hulk would often despair at the crap she was forced to act out.
- In the Saint of Killer's origin story in Preacher, the Devil and the Angel of Death are playing poker.
Satan: Who dealt this piece of crap?
Angel: You did, Nick. Remember?
Satan: I did? Fuck.
- In a story of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Grim uses his scythe to find out what Nostramadus is talking about when he looks into Grim's future:
Mandy: (to us) Oh that's not too convenient, is it? Doesn't this comic book have any standards?
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series and Megami 33's Sailor Moon Abridged like to take Macekreed lines and say them as they are written, wholesale or paraphrased. You see disclaimers that this is the case. Finally, Raye got fed up with this.
(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!"
- Ranma 1/2: The Abridged Chronicles did this with Kunō as well, although only those who watched the original dub would be able to recognize it.
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.
- In Evangelion Abridged, Misato says "I have a bad feeling about this... who writes this crap?"
- Avatar The Last Puppet Bender has this as the final punchline to the first episode.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Abridged: "What's zat? You say I can beat your bum?" The words in the original manga were "What's that? You say you beat your pistol?", which isn't much better.
- ReBoot: The Abridged Series:
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 the Harry Potter Fan Fiction Made 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.
- A 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?!"
- In Suzumiya Haruhi No Index, Touma Kamijou defends Haruhi from Team ITEM. Haruhi, not comprehending that they were actually in danger and thinking the whole thing was a performance, says this plot sucks.
- In Diaries of a Madman, several retconned events survive as fake entries in Nav's journals, which the cast then proceed to make snarky and mocking comments about.
- In the Dragon Ball Z Abridged version of Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!, the narrator at one point gave up and asked if Team Four Star was even trying anymore.
- Ultra Fast Pony. Characters frequently hurl insults at "the writers", often after lampshading an episode's Family-Unfriendly Aesop. "Whoever wrote this episode must have brain damage." "I think they all do."
- In What Rainbows Are Made Of, Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash talk about the nightmares they've been having (the nightmares being Rainbow Factory and Cupcakes, respectively), before concluding that "Whoever dreams up these nightmares, that pony must be really crazy."
- In Fate Revelation Online the second Alley Cat Alliance sequence features the three female characters dressed up as Playboy bunny girls. They quickly fall into lamenting how the hack of a writer they have to put up with could only come up with one gag and falls back on cheesecake to cover for the weak metahumor. The narration takes offense.
- Beetlejuice has a tendency to complain about plot twists he doesn't like in the Contractually Obligated Chaos series. Somewhat justified since, as in the show, the characters are aware that Mr. Monitor often puts their antics on Neitherworld television, and he has every reason to believe that there actually is a screenwriter controlling the script.
- The Bridge: During the Valentine's Day special, Irys, Gigan, and Megalon enter the world of a comic book and have an adventure against the Mane-iac. Later, it cuts to the human Rainbow Dash reading the comic, which depicts their adventure, and she asks if the writers have lost their minds.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, John complains a lot about the rotten poetry sayings they keep finding. When someone tells him the gods wrote the stuff, he says, “Well, now we know they ain't the gods of poetry.”
Films — Animation
- From Fantasia 2000:trivia
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?
- In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Ms. Packard complains about one of the bad jokes on the intercom announcements:
Ms. Packard: Attention. Tonight's supper will be baked beans. Musical program to follow... Who wrote this?
- Lampshaded in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, where the South Park gang, watching a Terence and Philip show-within-a-show that is little more than a recurring fart gag, rhetorically ask how the writers can keep coming up such genius.
Films — Live-Action
- Galaxy Quest. And You Thought It Was a Game plus No OSHA Compliance equals Death Course:
Gwen:: What is this thing?! I mean, it serves no useful purpose for there to be a bunch of chompy crushy things in the middle of a hallway! We shouldn’t have to do this! It makes no logical sense! Why is it here?!
Jason: Because it was on the television show!
Gwen:: WELL, FORGET IT! I'M NOT DOING IT! THIS EPISODE WAS BADLY WRITTEN!
(after they make it through)
Gwen: Whoever wrote this episode should DIE!
- From Top Secret!:
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 adaptation of Stephen King's The Dead Zone on TV. 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.
- My Name Is Bruce starring Bruce... Campbell, to self-deprecating effect has a kid coming to the drunken "star" and extolling his need for help and explaining what is effectively the movie's plot. Bruce takes it as an indie film pitch, tells him to keep the budget under $500,000 and get one named actor, then gives himself an aside saying it's the stupidest pitch he's ever heard.
- 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 (Bryan Singer even took one instance where everyone started Corpsing and Left It In).
- 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!"
- Used in-universe in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) movie when Raphael just saw the movie Critters.note
Raphael: "Where do they come up with this stuff?"
- Parodied in Cabin by the Lake. Stanley joins the local cinema club's latest showing and knocks on the slasher movie they're watching and questions who the hell wrote it. As they quickly remind him, he did.
- In both Monkey Business and Horse Feathers, Groucho wonders to the viewer who could possibly have written this crap:
Groucho: I have to stay here, but there's no reason you folks can't go out to the lobby 'til this whole thing blows over.''
- Muppet Treasure Island During the "Cabin Fever" number:
"I'd like to get my hands on whoever wrote this script!"
- 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?!"
- Played for Drama in Catching Fire. After they're chastised by Haymitch for not being convincing with their speeches during their Victory Tour, Peeta sarcastically responds that it's difficult to sound sincere with the "stuff Effie writes for us". The "stuff" being pandering, sycophantic drivel designed to glorify and placate the Capital.
- In Winds of Change, Wintermoon describes the reunion of Skif and Nyara in similar terms. He found it funny, but also touchingly sweet:
"A meeting out of a silly ballad, Darkwind, I could almost hear a harp a-playing."
- 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. It turns out the main writer is in fact the actor who played him.
- 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.
- In The Fourth Bear, Ashley comments on just how ridiculous an Overly Prepared Gag is, and Mary sadly replies "I don't know how he gets away with it."
- Nearly everyone in Robert Rankin's Armageddon Trilogy does this at one point or another, including one scene where the lead characters of the Brentford Trilogy show up just to say the plot was even more far-fetched than the ones their books.
- MARZENA: In the First Book when Lauren is confronted with a lengthy and impossible to read contract, the narrator makes a pause and ask the public, "Who write stuff like that?! A Lawyer? An Algorithm? A Lawyer Algorithm?!" The answer is probably: "Hey! It's all good man!".
- The A-Team: In the episode The Crystal Skull, the natives' chant at the end of the show is clearly "Who wrote this? Who wrote this?" repeated over and over again.
- 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!"
- Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert at the Emmys, complaining about the quality of the Witty Banter .
- For that matter, Jon Stewart whenever he has to do one of his uncomfortably innuendo-laden segments (such as Uncle Jon's Story Hole...).
- Or when the writers return from a strike.
- Saturday Night Live had one of their Nobel Award Nights (as if it was like Oscar Night) where Kitty Kelly and Gabriel García Márquez are introducing an award.
Kelly: I'd like to spend a hundred years of solitude — with you!
Garcia Marquez: I can't read this crap.
Desi Arnaz: Who the hell talks this way?
- They've been doing this from the very beginning. A first season episode had Desi Arnaz (the host for that episode) doing a dramatic reading of The Jabberwocky.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
Detective Odafin Tutuola: Damn, who thinks this stuff up?
- The Basil Brush Show: "I'll have a word with the head writer when he gets home from school...."
- Characters on The Electric Company (1971) would occasionally ask "Who's the dummy writing this show?", particularly J. Arthur Crank.
- This trope is a recurring gag on The Monkees.
- An episode parodying Robinson Crusoe starts with the Crusoe and Man Friday characters watching The Monkees, and Friday saying, "Who writes this stuff?'' Once the band arrives, he would repeat this frequently while watching their antics.
- A more subtle example occurs in "Monkees a la Mode", which features a character named Rob Roy Fingerhead. Whenever his name is mentioned, Mike and Micky look at each other in disbelief and mouth the words "Rob Roy Fingerhead?" to each other.
- Not exactly this trope, but in "Dance, Monkee, Dance", 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, complaining that the writers are really overpaid.
- 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 Deeley 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 asks, "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 Atlantis had a quick mention, too, in "Doppelganger":
Sheppard: I don't know. It's almost as if somebody in a warm, cozy 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:
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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- 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.
Natalie: He's done something to my mom!Zach: No, your mom's fine! She's at the hospital.Natalie: What?!Mike: Hey, look, you wrote this crap!
- Doctor Who: When the Doctor meets his future self this inevitably happens. The War Doctor points out common criticisms of New Series Doctor Who, like the way the sonic screwdriver is used and the catchphrases.
- At the beginning of "The Doctor Dances", the Ninth Doctor is his surrounded by a possessed child and its clones. He forces them to retreat by repeatedly shouting "Go. To. Your. Room." He then comments, "I'm so glad that worked. Those would have been terrible last words."
- At least one suspect on CSI has said the situation seemed like "something from a bad TV show".
- 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, telling various stories about how he met the guy who's 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."
- Happens all the time with Have I Got News for You, a news-based Panel Show, with guest presenters reading the auto-cue and having to give out the awful one-liners. However that's all part of the fun of the show.
- 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 it's 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. And likable leading men. 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.
- Similar to Chopped, this is often the reaction of the judges and contestants on Cutthroat Kitchen. Unlike the Good Eats example above, although Alton comes up with the sabotages, he isn't the one saying it.
- 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?"
- In S 7 E 22 of Castle, "Dead from New York," the star cast member of the Show Within a Show has a violent episode during rehearsal, complaining about the poor quality of a sketch, and declaring the show's producer "dead". (The latter of course subsequently turns up really dead.)
- In one episode of Boy Meets World, Eric visits the set of an ABC show, which is a self-parody of Boy Meets World called Boy Gets Acquainted With Universe. The lead actor Ben Sandwich flips out over some lines and starts hassling the writers - a group consisting of all children - and promptly fires them.
- On one episode of Growing Pains, after Maggie's father dies, his spirit is sent back to earth to say all the things to his loved ones that he didn't say while he was alive. He has a list in his hands, and a nice touching scene where he apologizes to his daughter for never taking her fishing like he promised. He then turns to his son-in-law Jason and starts to express his regret that they never had a good relationship. Mid-apology, however, he stops himself, saying that he does not feel this way and wondering who the heck wrote the list for him.
- Parodied in Conan with Bob Odenkirk doing spoof outtakes for a spoof commercial.
- In the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Turncoat", Mick Rory gives the opening narration, then directly says, "Who writes this crap, anyway?"
- In "Particle Man" by They Might Be Giants, after describing Person Man (basically a Chew Toy turned Up to Eleven), they then proceed to ask "Who came up with Person Man?"
- 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 and the Majors (the b-side of "Stutter Rap"):
It's another boring b-side, another load of tatit has no redeeming features, and we're really proud of thatyou're listening to the product of considerable neglectbut for a lousy one pound eighty, tell me, what did you expect?
- Quoted word-for-word in America's Most Haunted
Kaminski: Who writes this crap? These shows are so fake!
- 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?"
- Then meta-heels D-Generation 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 moment gets 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!" Ironically, the WWE isn't unionized, so it couldn't actually go on strike.
- The Rock turned this Up to Eleven while doing ringside commentary during the August 23, 1999 RAW where Triple H won his first world title (considering what HHH's reputation would become, Fridge Logic could make this Hilarious in Hindsight):
- World Championship Wrestling did this way too much during 2000 and Vince Russo's booking period, with many angles seeing wrestlers breaking the fourth wall, and often denouncing the storyline or script on purpose. Notable examples include Hulk Hogan throwing down the WCW Championship title and calling out the writing at that year's Bash at the Beach, and Dustin Rhodes ridiculing his new "Seven" gimmick in his first live appearance on Monday Nitro.
- Many fans can feel this way whenever there's a bad angle or promo going on.
- The Muppet Show:
- Happens rather regularly...
Miss Piggy: Whoever wrote this should be shot!
- How about this one...
Floyd: If I didn't know I was a genius, even I wouldn't listen to the garbage I write!
- Another example in one of the ballroom sketches:
Sam's Dancing Partner: What's the difference between immoral and illegal?
Sam the Eagle: Immoral is doing bad things. Illegal is me with a tummy ache. (to the camera) I didn't write it.
- Milton Berle's guest appearance, in the closing number ("Top Banana"), had him demanding to know whether he had to finish a particular terrible joke Fozzie had put in the script. He did.
- Happens rather regularly...
- Muppet Treasure Island
- In the middle of the "Cabin Fever" musical number, the following exchange occurs:
Pirate 1: (singing) I've got cabin fever
I think I lost my grip!
Pirate 2: (making strangling motions) 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.)
- In the middle of the "Cabin Fever" musical number, the following exchange occurs:
- 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 and 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!".
- 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."
- One Chuck E. Cheese's showtape (The Holiday Party one from 1999) had an intermission segment entitled "Chuck E. Cheese's Classic Theatre, in which the CEC Characters (sans Chuck E.) Are singing Deck the Halls, which at one point is taken up to chipmunk speed. After the narrator announces the segment's outro, he goes on to say "Who Writes This Stuff? Honestly!"
- 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."
- The Jack Benny Program:
- The actors on the Show Within a Show would sometimes stop in the middle of dialogue to object to a particularly corny gag, until Jack pressured them to go through with it.
- 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.
John: ...Who writes this rubbish?
Barry: We do.
John: It's not bad, is it?
- Kenneth Williams would make similar snarky asides about the quality of the script in Round the Horne, as well as breaking in to complain the scriptwriters weren't giving him enough lines, or else had miscast him.
- In Roy Castle's otherwise forgettable radio show Castle's On The Air, one of his co-stars was a dour northern comedian called Eli Woods, who would frequently pause in mid-script and grimly exclaim
I've seen some rubbish in my time...
- In John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, one episode has a spy drama set in a zoo, with an early gag of "Shall we say backchannels?" "All right, 'backchannels'. It's fun to say." Later, when Finnemore's character is explaining to another that they are not doing a joke about moles, even though it would seem to be the only reason to set a spy drama in a zoo, because it's a bit cheap and obvious, the other character says "So I take it we left out the backchannels joke as well?" Finnemore replies "Yes. Yes, we did."
- In a (possibly re-created) outtake from an unnamed Western radio show, perhaps The Lone Ranger, two bandits are discussing what they were going to do with the stagecoach they had just robbed, when the sound of hoofbeats is heard in the distance. One bandit says, "Listen, I hear a white horse comin'! . . . Say, that's a great line, I wonder who wrote it." The last sentence was not quite under his breath.
- The Firesign Theatre has a running gag in recent albums: "Boy, those Canadians can really write!"
- There seems to be a similar Running Gag with England in Forbidden Broadway, it's never fully explained.
- Show Within a Show example: In the musical City of Angels, Stine finds out that his secretary has been helping with the Executive Meddling on the script to his Film Noir:
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.
- The Flying Karamazov Brothers' adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors starts off with this after it's opening Mr. Exposition sets things up.
"Ding-dong, I wouldn't believe this story if they played it on the stage!"
- Which in itself is a reference to Shakespeare's use of this trope in Twelfth Night:
Fabian: If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as improbable fiction.
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) has Adam (as Juliet) saying "I didn't write it" halfway through a speech.
- 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.note
Duncan: (in character) BAM! That is it!note
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 Just for Pun. 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, the Berlin 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.
"Who writes these ghastly code phrases anyway?"
"Someone from the cryptography department. Someone in need of a girlfriend, apparently."
- 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?" (Which has some added humor value, since before he became a vampire, Spike was a writer known for writing truly bad poetry. In fact, his original nickname of "William the bloody" was a reference to this, as in "William the bloody awful poet!")
- 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?!"
- Used by Zetta in Makai Kingdom. Bonus points since he is literally (pun accidental, but intended) a book for the majority of the game. A book that actually contains the script.
- Happens once in Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
"My flaming fists of fury will destroy you fiend! Ha ha ha...God, who writes this stuff!?"
- Ratchet & Clank:
- In Ratchet: Deadlocked, Dallas, the commentator in question, is...not quite the smartest person in the game. Even he can spot the key bad writing:
"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.
- In Ratchet: Deadlocked, Dallas, the commentator in question, is...not quite the smartest person in the game. Even he can spot the key bad writing:
- 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?
Orbot: You do, boss!
Eggman: ...oh, you're right, I do! Hahahaha, I'm hilarious.
- 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.
- In Kirby Super Star Kirby gives a "Who writes this crap?" look to the camera when the game calls him a "Pretty Jolly Guy".
- The Game Over screen of the ZX Spectrum game Blob The Cop consists of the following verse:
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.Smiley: I'm "used to grabbing poles"? Who writes this stuff?!Star: Someone awesome!
- From Outlaw Golf 2, this was one of Dave Attell's quips.
"That ball is really moving! Is there a urologist in the house? I guess they work well with fast-moving balls...whadda...who writes this?!"
- In Mass Effect 3: Citadel, Commander Shepard and Javik find themselves guest-starring in the seventh installment of the in-universe Blasto movies. Renegade Shepard all but says this trope verbatim, while Paragon Shepard plays along while still making clear that s/he is thinking this trope.
- Everything Cranky Kong says in the manuals for the Donkey Kong Country series. For example, the intro to the Donkey Kong 64 one:
- So let's see what nonsense they've made up for this game shall we? Well, I have to hand it to them. This time they've managed to come up with a decent storyline that doesn't involve the usual golden bananas. Only joking kids! This one's worse than all the previous efforts put together! I know you probably aren't expecting a best seller, but wait till you hear this load of rubbish...
- The Orz say this in the credits of Star Control II:
HOLD IT! I'm getting sick of this stupid dialogue!Who wrote this stuff — a five year old?Okay, okay. I'll try it again *sigh*...
- At the end of Dragon Age: Inquisition, Varric brings up writing a book recalling the events of the game, to be titled All This Shit Is Weird. He can be called out on the title, and when he actually does publish the book in Trespasser, Cassandra reads it out loud during the rolling credits, having a blast at the exaggerated characters and critiquing the more inane lines. The other characters also give him a lot of ribbing about his previous book, which is, of course, the previous installment. This is mostly used as a series of Take That, Us jokes about that entry's eccentricities and plot holes.
- At one point in Quest for Glory IV, the narrator can be heard muttering "How cheesy can you get?" after a particularly pun laden bit of exposition. While this is the most obvious case of the narrator reacting to his lines, it's by no means the only one. Crosses over with Throw It In and Creator Backlash, as John Rhys-Davies, who voices the narrator, later said he was unpleasantly surprised at how many lines he had to read for the script, and was not fond of the pun heavy humor of the game's creators.
- Much like in his own series, Serious Sam can take a second to ask "Oh god, who writes this stuff?" during a match's closing in Oh...Sir!! The Insult Simulator.
- A puzzle in Bear With Me is solved by picking a lock with a rusty nail. Your companion complains that this is lazy writing.
- 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.
- In the Neurotically Yours sketch "Jiggly Butt", Foamy is outraged by the cartoon's declining standards when Germaine starts jiggling her butt onscreen.
Foamy: That's it. I'm leaving. This is the worst cartoon ever made. Scripts about jiggly asses don't cut it with me, alright? Who writes this crap? I want names. Give me names.
- In Decline of Video Gaming, Dim, Dan, and JT find a copy of Devil May Cry 4: Who wrote this crap?!
- In episode 7 of Four Swords Misadventures, during the "obligatory filler time", Purple Link exclaims this after Green Link does the ant speech from Naruto.
- In ASDF Movie 4, one character's reaction to getting a piano dropped on his head is to shout "Whose idea was this?!"
- Newgrounds' Legend of Pokémon has this; when Gary sees the ship, he says, "Who the fuck wrote this shit?"
- In Red vs. Blue's "Alien Auditions", Sarge lampshades this trope by saying (about the script), "This is ridiculous. Who wrote this?!"
- The Demented Cartoon Movie features a segment of this where a Blah Guy who steps on a Make-The-World-Blow-Up Button (yeah, it's that kind of movie). He immediately stops and rants about how implausible that sort of thing is, and is just starting to go full-on Rage Against the Author when the world blows up for the umpteenth time that movie.
- In "Pony Python and the Holy Grail", a Monty Python and the Holy Grail parody by the MLP Analysis community, Dr. Wolf (as Sir Bedevere) finally asks "Who wrote this?" in the Burn the Witch! scene, when he realizes its sole purpose is to give speaking parts to various random OC ponies. Cut to Silver Quill writing the script.
- 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.
- Ansem Retort: Red XIII playing scrabble with Sora.
- 1/0 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.
- In Fans!, when Rikk and Ally go on their first date with Rumy after agreeing to a triad relationship, Rikk and Rumy are still uncomfortably shy, only speaking in two-to-three word sentences, until Ally asks, "What, George Lucas is writin' y'r dialogue now?"
- 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.
- When Karen openly insults the creator's competence, her criticism is promptly redacted.
- In Homestuck, Roxy's fanfiction "Wizardy Herbert" is full of it.
- In League of Super Redundant Heroes, Mayor Kurgh objects strongly to using the pun "Mayor Pain", asking who wrote this and demanding a new speech writer.
- One of the many fourth wall-breaking gags in Bob and George is for the Author (who exists as a character in his own strip) to introduce himself to the characters, only for them to immediately turn on him and call him the hack who writes the script.
- Schlock Mercenary demonstrates this trope word-for-word after a pun by the narrator on Ch'vorthq's whisk attack.
- Inverted and combined with Self-Deprecation in Spoony's review of Bloodwings: Pumpkinhead's Revenge.
Linkara: I am... the beekeeper!
Spoony: Oh my God, I wrote that!
- Film Brain's review of The Time Machine, when the main character jams his pocket watch into the machine's mechanics to make it blow, creating... "a time bomb!!! ...Time bomb? Who writes this shit?"
- In his Virus review, the Joueur du Grenier (basically The Angry Video Game Nerd's French equivalent) has this reaction after saying a cringe-inducing lame pun about evil in a fake movie trailer for Virus 2.
Narrator: Le Mal est de retour ! Et ça va faire ma...maaal... et merde, qui a écrit ça?! *
- In the Julian Smith sketch Rerun, the characters are cartoons in a scene complaining about how dreary the show they're on is. It's multilayered Lampshade Hanging.
Character B: This scene is complete rubbish! Why would anyone want to watch this?
Character A: That's why we got canceled...
- The Author Page of Bettermyths.com is titled like this.
- Blockbuster buster: Who comes up with this shit?
- In a Cracked video called How to Survive Life as a Character in a Bad Work of Fiction, a new character is just created, wondering "what the heck is going on". She is told by another character she is in a crappy novella though he later states that the writing wasn't always this terrible.
- Scott Keith practically made this a Catch-Phrase in his wrestling reviews.
- Inu and Basileus of Inu And Friends Gaming do this repeatedly, especially when they Let's Play a translated game such as Fate/stay night. They often speculate on how some of these people became editors when they approved scripts that had sentences missing words, bizarre fragments of sentences, and more.
- During a Rooster Teeth livestream for Extra Life '15, Lindsay Jones is tasked with reading an excerpt from Fifty Shades of Grey in her Ruby Rose voice. After she does so, the first thing out of her mouth is "This is literature?! Who reads this shit?!"
- Speaking of Ruby, in RWBY Chibi episode 12, Ruby puts on a play of Red Riding Hood with the rest of Team RWBY as the grandma, Big Bad Wolf and Woodsman. However, when things start getting off-rail and everyone starts pointing out the flaws in Ruby's play, Weiss gripes "Who wrote this stupid story anyway?" When Ruby said she did, Yang accuses Red of being a total Mary Sue.
- Uttered verbatim by the Narrator in Messed-Up Bible Stories - 10 - God Smack.
- Tiny Toon Adventures:
- There is an episode in which Buster complains that the episode appeared to have been written by 13-year-olds. The joke, naturally, was that the episode was written by 13-year-olds.
- 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 trumpet 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.
- The Simpsons:
- 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...? That'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.
- And, in "Children of a Lesser Clod":
Krusty: Now, every year we find one good Samaritan so deserving that not recognizing him would make Santa Claus himself vomit with rage... mmm... who writes this stuff?
- 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 is "so formulaic, it could have spewed from the powerbook of the laziest Hollywood hack!"
- Happens to Kent Brockman in one episode where the word "fever" is used over and over again in the newscast because the script writer, Brockman's nephew, had lost his thesaurus and couldn't think of any better descriptions.
- When Selma starts going through menopause in Goo Goo Gai Pan the Simpsons family is shown a video, narrated by Robert Wagner, explaining what menopause is.
Robert Wagner: So let's all give menopause a round of men-appluase. Men-applause? I'm not saying that.
- Krusty, when he is introducing himself with Brooke Shields for the cartoon awards, ends up being fumed about a joke in his opening line.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & 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?!"
- From the Droopy short The Shooting of Dan McGoo:
- Phineas and Ferb's Cliptastic Countdown: Major Monogram asks who is writing their lines. Carl the intern responds "Agent M!". Cut to a monkey in a fedora at a typewriter. Dr. Doofenshmirtz then rants about how none of the kids watching this show are going to know what a typewriter is.
- Clerks: The Animated Series did this in its sixth 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." They got the idea from Seth MacFarlane.
- 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?!
It's Freakazoid and friends,
- Somewhat referred to in the 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?
- The debut episode of Freakazoid! has a song about the show done to the Animaniacs theme:
A show that no one comprehends.
Our longevity depends on our demographic trends,
It's totally freaky, Dexter's geeky,
The plots are reeky, we're up the creeky,
It sprung a leaky,
Freakazoid and friends! Now our song ends!
- In The Fairly OddParents!, the metafictional character The Crimson Chin is repeatedly brought to life. In the first episode he appears in, Chin Up!, this exchange occurs.
Timmy: Thanks, Chin! You saved me!
Crimson Chin: Actually, Cleft, you saved me... from myself. ((Beat)) Wow, that was shmaltzy. Who did you say writes this?
Timmy: Some forty-year-old dude who lives with his mom.
Crimson Chin: Any money in it?
Timmy: (indicates own speech bubble in previous panel) Lives. With. His. Mom.
- 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?"
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: As listed on the quote page, Dr. Robotnik demands to imprison the cartoonist who made fun of him in his comic book.
- 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)
- Danger Mouse:
- The narrator frequently criticizes the scripts and often refuses to read them if he thinks they're just too bad.
- In the 2015 episode "Danger on Level C", Danger Mouse's reaction to Greenback's latest monster is a sarcastic "A hammerhead-octopus? Who comes up with this?"
- Both Jeopardy Mouse and Baron Greenback complain about the quality of their lines when Count Duckula stages a Hostile Show Takeover by kidnapping the writers in "The Duckula Show".
- Inverted in an episode of Muppet Babies. Due to a transporter mishap, there are three versions of Kermit (Captain Kerkmit, Kerm Spaceton, and Skyhopper) and one Piggy. When a fourth one, dressed as Indiana Jones appears...
Piggy: I don't know who's writing this, but give them a big bonus!
- Invoked word for word in The Dating Guy by Sam in the 24 parody. She's then relabeled from "The Girl" to "The Bitch".
Sam: Harsh, but fair.
- House of Mouse:
- From the episode "House Of Scrooge"
Mickey: He may be the richest duck in the world but he's turning the "House of Mouse" into the "House of Baby Chicks".
Mickey: You know. Cheap-cheap.
Horace: Even the writing's gotten "cheap-cheap".
- 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.
- From the episode "House Of Scrooge"
- Looney Tunes:
- In the cartoon, Blooper Bunny, Daffy Duck 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...
- In A Star Is Bored, after spending most of the cartoon as Bugs Bunny's unwilling movie stunt double, Daffy gets to star in a movie of his own. His script reads, "I wonder where all the hunters are today?" When they start shooting the movie, Daffy says his line dramatically — after which a group of hunters all pop out and bombard him with gunfire. After that....
Daffy: (infuriated) I DEMAND TO KNOW WHO WROTE THIS SCRIPT!!!
Bugs: (standing nearby) I'd like to tell him, but, uh... (chuckles coyly) modesty forbids.
- In the cartoon, Blooper Bunny, Daffy Duck is seen doing a mini-rant while going over his script.
- Taz-Mania: Francis X. Bushlad gets an epic one in one episode, berating the writers for the All Just a Dream ending and pointing out the unfired Chekhov's Gun of the 16 ton weight that had been dangling over the characters' heads for most the episode. This proves unwise.
- In one episode of Donkey Kong Country, Bluster Kong has Cranky Kong do a commercial for the Barrelworks. After many mishaps, Cranky arrives at the live shooting and is fed the following lines;
Cranky: "Bluster Barrelworks... because their barrels have been around forever... and I should know because so have I"? What kind of crap is that?!
- The Orson Welles example below was parodied on The Critic:
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."
- In a episode of Garfield and Friends, has Garfield knocked into a trough by a horse.
Garfield: Can I see the script for this episode? Whose idea was it for the horse to have the last laugh? You're fired, you know that, right?
Mr. Cat (yelling): I don't like this episode!
- Done very subtly in the episode "Let's Play Paranormal Stuff":
- The entire plot of Episode 91 revolves around Kaeloo, Stumpy, Quack Quack and Mr. Cat deciding to re-dub older episodes of the show because they think they were poorly written.
- Sonic Boom: In the episode "Inn Sanity", on hearing that Dr. Eggman has turned his evil lair into a resort hotel to help pay back his garbage collection fees, Sonic remarks "Sounds like the writers are just phoning it in..."
- The Venture Bros.: An example that doesn't mess with the fourth wall appears in "The Revenge Society". Renegade Phantom Limb is trying to wrest control of the Guild of Calamitous Intent, and he abducts two members of its ruling council to force them to help. When the time comes for him to confront the Guild leadership, he makes the councilors his heralds:
Red Mantle: He wants us to read this. Ahem. "Make way for the dashing Phantom Limb!" I didn't write this crap.
- 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 radio. Not coincidentally, 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 TV3 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.
- 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. As with Tom Baker's radio outtakes, most of Welles' criticisms are actually sound, including the fact he is being given contradictory directions at one point.
Welles: 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.
- Charles, Prince of Wales reading the BBC Scotland weather report. "Who the hell wrote this script?"
- 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."
- One year at MAGFest, Jon St. John did a reading of Fifty Shades of Grey in his Duke Nukem voice. About halfway through he went back to his normal voice and commented, "Who the fuck wrote this crap?"
- Here's JSJ having a similar reaction to another passage.
- The great NBC sports journalist recalled (in an interview in Ken Burns' documentary Baseball) covering Game 1 of the 1988 World Series between the LA Dodgers and Oakland Athletics, sitting in the Dodgers clubhouse with the Dodgers down late in the game and him preparing to do a "losing interview" with the team, when Kirk Gibson, the Dodgers' best player but out of the game due to severe injuries to his legs and a stomach flu and watching the game on TV while undergoing physical therapy, hears the TV commentary saying that he's "nowhere to be found" in the stadium. Realizing this means the pitcher won't be expecting him, he called up the manager telling him he could pinch-hit. He went up to practice, and the pain was audible in Gibson's grunts. The hitting coach tells the manager "He thinks he has one more in him." And Costas, realizing that this chain of events sounds exactly like the ending of a sports B-movie, thinks to himself, "Who's writing this script?" (The outcome was pure B-movie, as well: Gibson, despite being barely able to walk, hit a walk-off home run on a full count and hobbled slowly around the bases while everyone cheered.)