"If you want to send a message, use Western Union."
—Samuel Goldwyn, renowned Hollywood producer
Obvious authorial intrusion. When the characters start behaving like idiots or acting against their established characterization because the writer damn well needs them to in order to tell the story in a particular way, often to make a point. Who cares if the characters become less believable as a result?
May also occur when a character is accused of being used just to show a particular point of view, and not because they actually have it. The technical literary term for a character designed to express the author's preferred opinions (often the Only Sane Man) is the raisonneur—here at TV Tropes the preferred term is Author Avatar.
At best, the only difference is a rather heavy-handedAesop. At worst, narrative is put aside so that an Author Filibuster can be conducted. When you agree with what the author has to say, but feel that their method of conveyance is detrimental to the work, it becomes a case of Don't Shoot the Message. Creator Breakdown occurs when personal issues within the writer's life drives the authorial intrusion.
A minor subtrope of this is "Actor On Board", a related phenomenon in which an actor in a work has, for example, the script of a program changed to suit his beliefs. (e.g. Munch's issues with child abuse)
Author Appeal is a specific form of this. See also Creator Breakdown, and Idiot Plot. Compare Out-of-Character Moment.
Of course, interpretations will vary and may be wrong...
The original English language manga Dramacon has an OEL manga artist pause to commiserate about people who think OEL works aren't "really" manga. She's immediately set upon by a representative of the opposing view: he's ten, dressed as Naruto, only able to talk by shouting... oh, yeah, and racist.
DC Comics writer Keith Giffen is unabashed about his hatred of Legion of Super-Heroes character Karate Kid and his "super karate", and has stated outright that any time he ends up writing the Legion comic, Karate Kid will die. Could be considered a subversion in that when Giffen did write Karate Kid's death in one run of the Legion comic, he gave the character a respectful send-off via Heroic Sacrifice, rather than simply dropping a bridge on him.
A few reviewers have accused Giffen of trying to co-opt Midnighter, one of the only openly gay superheroes, after reading their run wherein Midnighter disbands the team, leaves his husband, Apollo, and moves to a tiny apple-pie town where he lives with a young woman named Mindy. The Reset Button was pounded so hard after that it nearly cracked.
Stan "The Man" Lee himself. Particularly his run on the Spider-Man comics. It's a somewhat well-known fact that, originally, Mary Jane Watson was introduced as merely a foil for Gwen Stacy. However, Mary Jane was infamous for stealing every scene she entered, largely overshadowing Gwen's softer personality. Stan made numerous attempts to downplay MJ's character, mainly by simply excluding her from the story, but he once gave MJ a ridiculous haircut that even the characters hated. In a featurette on the Spider Man 2 DVD, Stan admits that despite his efforts, he just couldn't make Gwen as interesting as MJ and he knew it.
John Romita is on record (repeatedly) that he did all he could to make Gwen as interesting as MJ but to no avail. The thing was that MJ was an immediate hit - readers started writing letters asking for her to be made Peter Parker's girlfriend on the strength of the iconic panel that first showed her face on the last page of ASM #42. After that, Lee's and Romita's best efforts to make Gwen prettier and feistier were not enough. A fan who analyzed the Ditko issues and Ditko's recorded statements also pointed out that Gwen only became Peter's primary love interest after Steve Ditko left, so her perceived early feistiness may have been due to the fact that Ditko still wrote her as a replacement for Liz Allan in relation to Peter's first love, Betty Brant.
Stan Lee also helped Amazing Spider-Man avert this trope, as Steve Ditko apparently tried to shoehorn his political views into the story (which were more or less the polar opposite of the book's readership at the time). Ditko plotted the stories out but Stan wrote the dialog, so a scene with Spidey swinging over a crowd of protestors would be drawn with the intention of having Spider-Man lambast them for their behaviour but Stan would write it so Spidey was encouraging them.
Current Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott has personally expressed his dislike of Parallel Lives, the story which revealed that Mary Jane knew Peter's secret identity from all the way back to Amazing Fantasy #15, arguing that it made a "lie of all the stories that came before" and that it made MJ into someone who was fell in love with Peter because he was Spider-Man and not for just being plain old Peter. This is despite the fact that it was stated many times over the years- even as far back as Parallel Lives itself- that MJ was NOT interested in Peter because he was Spider-Man but in spite of it. Then comes along ASM# 652, where Peter and MJ share a moment talking about Peter's current relationship with Carlie Cooper and why he won't tell her his secret. Peter reveals that he wants to make sure that she falls in love because he's just plain ol' Peter, and not because he's Spider-Man as he feels that MJ did with him, which essentially makes Peter Dan Slott's mouthpiece for how he feels about Peter and MJ's relationship why it was "wrong" and why his relationship with Carlie is "better."
Slott wrote the Spider Island storyline, which breaks up Peter and Carlie precisely because she found out he was Spider-Man and felt like he betrayed her trust by never telling her. Even further, the story sets Peter and Mary Jane to get back together thanks (in part) to her using the temporary spider powers she gained to help him and The Avengers fight the arc's Big Bad.
Green Lantern #154, in which we learn the very important lesson that Beating People Up For Being Gay Is Wrong after Green Lantern Kyle Rayner's personal assistant Terry Berg is beaten up by a group of random thugs while leaving a club with his boyfriend. Despite having lost his first girlfriend to super-villain violence in the incident which defined the Stuffed into the Fridge trope and seeing numerous other violations of basic human decency on a daily basis, THIS particularly display of man's inhumanity to man is so bad that it inspires Kyle Rayner to abandon the Earth in favor of wandering outer space and helping random non-human species.
Green Arrow #44, in which we learn that Oliver Queen's adopted daughter Mia is a recovering methhead AND HIV-positive. Despite having been portrayed by Winick as an unrepentant womanizer and having been so during a time when knowing such things would be vital, Oliver is completely ignorant as to what HIV is and how it is contracted, prompting a text-book recital on how HIV is contracted and treated.
Outsiders #17-19 (a.k.a Most Wanted), in which the Outsiders approach real-life hero and Very Special Guest Star John Walsh for help in tracking down the leader of a child slavery ring. It doesn't speak well of the team that when their leader, a Batman-trained detective (i.e. Nightwing), is unable to find any leads that his next plan of attack is "Let's get that guy on TV to help us!" This arc had Executive Meddling written all over it.
Green Arrow #61, in which newly elected Mayor Oliver Queen sums up his plan for rebuilding Star City with two words: gay marriage. In exchange for living in the city for two weeks, gay couples can have a free wedding on the steps of city hall - the hope being that all of these couples will stay and settle in the city, bringing money which will go into the local economy. Sadly, the plan is a bit of a non-starter seeing on how it is dependent on finding gay people who are so desperate to be legally married they will willingly move to a city that is currently divided by a massive wall built to separate the poor side of town from the rich side of town in the wake of a super-villain attack. Ollie does privately admit, however, that the main purpose of the announcement is as a headline grabber, designed to keep media attention on Star City and it's problems, and that he doesn't expect it to do much else.
Then there is the Civil War. Even if the main writer didn't "intend" for there to be any meaning, it was there, and worse, gives the impression that the higher ups Running the Asylum at Marvel just might not even like superheroes that much, since this series was basically bashing the idea of them. And then the writers who didn't agree with that notion naturally write their stories against it, turning this into a huge clusterfuck of writers on board. Mark Millar, who apparenly holds a low opinion of Americans, also apparently felt that having the authoritarian pseudo-fascist side win is what the American audience would want.
There is also Ultimate Civil War: Spider Ham, a one-shot that is, basically, one long Take That to Joe Quesada's run on Marvel (therefore, more of a Take That, Us) because, other than showing the pointless-ness of the Civil War itself as it was forced by Mark Millar (see image), the last panel shows the final alternate version of Spider-Ham: ZombieHam.
While we're on the animal rights subject, take Wolverine #54. People are hunting Morlocks for sport. Wolverine, in a gratuitous little aside, condemns the hunting of animals as well as people. This is out of character, and just odd. If an author wants to get up on a soapbox, why choose Wolverine as the mouthpiece for their views? He's not exactly a role model or a paragon of morality.
Actually, Wolverine has never been a proponent of hunting. In fact, in one of his earliest X-Men appearances, he comments on he's going to go hunt a deer. Storm acts with revulsion that he'd kill an innocent animal. He immediately chastises her, saying that hunting doesn't mean killing, and says that it takes more skill to sneak up on a doe and touch her than it does to just kill. Even when it comes to killing other people, Logan typically offers up as his only justification, that he only kills those who're trying to kill him, or other people.
Of course, Origins, which is considered Wolverine's actual origin, does have him hunting animals and killing them, giving the extras to his neighbours.
The X-Men have suffered this since the late 90's. Every time new writers come on board, they kill or write off any new characters the previous writer introduced, and existing characters' development tends to be largely forgotten. Most egregious is how, for a long time, Emma Frost was treated like she left the Hellfire Club for the X-Men last week as if Generation X never happened (but considering how Jubilee is still a teenager while her former teammates are now young adults, who knows). Then they blow up the mansion and have the team go in a totally new direction. One must wonder when was the last time the X-Men had a direction that they stuck to for longer than two years. Chris Claremont is the best-known for this, leaving a title then coming back years later and picking up his old plotlines with no regard to what happened between stints. Like his tropes page says, if he didn't write it, he doesn't care.
Though by now, that's not seen as a bad thing. With all the writers who say "I'll make the characters a mouthpiece for my political/fanboy agenda, Character Derailment and the fact that it just doesn't result in a good story be damned!", things being as if one of the few writers left whose agenda is "make this comic awesome" never left is quite refreshing. After the 2009-2011 X Men Forever limited series (the ultimate expression of this tendency, where he got to pick up where his original run left off) the consensus was, "a lot of titles need the Forever treatment!"
That point notwithstanding, Claremont is notorious for using an entire story arc in X-Treme X-Men ("The Arena", which was the penultimate arc) to feature Storm going undercover in a mutant slaving ring and fall under the control of a mutant transvestite whose minions wear gimp suits and have what amount to mutant orgasm powers, while one of his favourite creations (the Morlock leader Callisto) has had her arms replaced with creepy writhing tentacles.
Jeph Loeb. Every time he takes over a book certain characters just get ... devolved. His rendition of the Ultimate/Supreme books, was, well, shit. Him taking over Ultimates turned Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch into fullblown incestuous lovers as opposed to Millar's more subtle approach. That's right, less subtle than Mark Millar. Hawkeye turned into a suicidal hardcore twat, and his Hulk speaks in third person despite Ultimate Hulk not talking in third person after his initial showing. Thor suddenly goes from "I speak like a normal person" to "Thou art Shakespearian" like his 616 counterpart. Ultimate Wasp suddenly switches from Asian to white. And let's not forget Pyro. Apparently nobody told Loeb that Ultimate Pyro is a heroic X-Man and horribly burned because he's not immune to his own powers. The version that turned up in Ultimates? Classic Brotherhood villain mook Pyro, with a slice of rapist on the side.
He also appears to have (or at least had at some point) an axe to grind against organized religion. In the famous "Emperor Joker" storyline, there's an early scene making fun of a monastery, and The Joker later spouts some atheistic viewpoint towards the end (although, granted, this is probably in character for the Joker). Then in the "Return to Krypton" story, the entire point was Jor-El and an army of scientists fighting against the priestly clan of Krypton. To make the point more glaringly Anvilicious, at the beginning when a time-traveling Jor-El shows up to meet present-day Superman, Superman exclaims "Great Rao!" (Rao is the Kryptonian Sun-God), and Jor-El moans "No, not Rao!!!
I believe he's referencing Alan Moore's 'Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?' in 'Return To Krypton', in which case there is no ax being ground.
IDW's Transformers comics have probably suffered this with the advent of the All Hail Megatron series. Before, their comic continuity was a rather interesting variation of G1, with many characters getting redesigns to reflect technological advances (the Seekers, for example, became F-22s rather than F-15s). Then writer Shane McCarthy wrote All Hail Megatron, reverting to retro G1 designs in many cases for no real reason, creating a number of inconsistencies with Furman's body of work on the series. While the continuity is still fairly good, there are more than enough differences to give one the feeling that something's not quite right.
Another example occurs in the first issue of the ongoing series that follows "All Hail Megatron". Prowl, the Autobots' logical and pragmatic tactician makes an emotional decision to protect a Decepticon from humans, and is captured. Many fans have argued that Prowl is the Autobot who is least likely to have made such a rash move. Subsequent issues, including Spotlight: Prowl, go a long way towards explaining Prowl's seemingly out of character behavior, but a lot of fans want Furman's Prowl back, not Mc Carthy's Prowl explained. (The change in his character is permanent, not one moment.)
The new Drift miniseries is equally divisive amongst the fanbase. Perhaps the two biggest gripes of the fandom at this stage is the setting, where the 3rd cybertronian faction resemble Gundams and that the 3rd faction seems to include female transformers, something that goes against the Furman continuity.
With all of the above in mind, Johns' run on The Avengers was a classic, clear-cut case of Writer on Board with Character Derailment all over the place. The previous writer, Kurt Busiek, set the Vision down a path of exploring a human social life beyond his long-term love interest, the Scarlet Witch; Johns quickly, awkwardly had the two of them Strangled by the Red String. Similarly, the Wasp turns down a marriage proposal from Hank Pym despite the fact that she was pining for him to propose under Busiek. Jack of Hearts inexplicably went from needing 14 hours in an isolated chamber to revert to human form to needing to spend 14 hours a day in the chamber, period, to keep from exploding, and additionally went from nervous rookie to raging loose canon. Finally, Iron Man and Black Panther were given a gigantic Conflict Ball over events that had long since been smoothed over during Busiek's run. Johns admitted afterward that his knowledge of the Avengers was not up to par with his mastery of DC continuity, and most of his run seemed to ignore anything that was not written by Roger Stern (the one Avengers writer Johns gushed about).
Scott Lobdell has been quite outspoken about the need for more ethnic diversity in superhero comics, and often goes out of his way to include minority characters in his books. Examples include:
Mondo (Samoan), Jubilee (Asian American), M (Mixed Afro-Algerian), Skin (Mexican American) and Synch (African American) in Generation X.
Cecelia Reyes (Afro-Puerto Rican) and Maggott (black South African) in the X-Men titles.
During the latter half of Ken Penders' writing stint on the Archie Comics version of Sonic the Hedgehog, many of the stories either revolved around Penders' own anti-gun views or would come to a screeching halt for a few panels for an Author Filibuster about the same. An example of the former was an entire story devoted to showing how the great Overlander vs. Mobian war began: two children - one Overlander, the other Mobian - meet between the two kingdoms to play, one of them brings a gun one day and accidentally shoots the other while they're horsing around, war engulfs both races, After School Special credits roll. An example of the latter has one of the less scrupulous members of the Freedom Fighters (Fiona, who goes on to betray the team and join the bad guys in a later issue) asks why they don't just use guns to solve their current dilemma and is given a verbal bitch-slap by Rotor Walrus about how they have never used guns and never will use guns. This sudden Mood Whiplash is made even more jarring by the fact that Bunnie Rabbot, a character that had for a while been wearing six-shooters holstered in a bullet belt up until the issue in question, can be seen in the background, without the pistols but still wearing the belt. Further, not but twenty or thirty issues previous, Rotor had developed a huge bazooka-like laser cannon that purportedly operated much like a hand-heldWave Motion Gun and which Rotor actually fired directly at Dr. Robotnik at one point.
His replacement, Ian Flynn, could be just as bad; he has stated several times how much he hates certain characters, and in-comic has either shunted them off to scenarios where they're unlikely to be mentioned again in the main series, killed off, or abused for no other reason but to abuse them (his treatment of Drago Wolf in-comic is a well-known example).
Garth Ennis hates superheroes, and with the exception of Superman usually writes them as complete morons. He also uses The Punisher to speak out against US military actions, not a trait of his before. He's also vocally atheist, and many of his stories feature mocking depictions of God.
A popular guess among readers is that his views on religion and hero-figures were shaped by his living through the Irish religious wars.
In an issue of Fury, Ennis has two military commanders inspecting a battlefield. One of them makes an awkward segue into a lengthy rant about the Vietnam War, where he essentially gives the reader Ennis' manifesto on the subject. What's especially absurd is that his companion, a decorated general with enough military prowess to have conquered an entire country, simply responds in disbelief, as if he'd never heard of the Vietnam War.
He also REALLY HATES human traffickers as his Punisher arc "The Slavers" shows. Maybe more than the U.S. miltary... MAYBE.
J. Michael Straczynski's Superman: Grounded storyline features Kal-El taking walking across America to "reconnect" with ordinary people while lecturing them at length along the way. The "walkabout" theme is a deeply personal one for Straczynski, based on a turning point in his own life, and has turned up in his work before (with Dr. Franklin on Babylon 5). Those with a suspicious mind might also think Superman's expressed views are mostly the writer's own.
He was also on board for much of Rising Stars, the latter half of which was often devoted to JMS lecturing through the Poet.
Jim Starlin does not like religion, and he writes about it often in his comics. He also has very strong opinions on how some things in comics should be and doesn't mind using the power of Retcon to have things his way—the biggest example is his take on the Anti-Life Equation, which is nothing like Jack Kirby's. He also once used Galactus, Marvel's planet-devouring star god, as a metaphor for U.S. foreign policy.
Starlin also did not like Robin, and did everything he could to make the Robin at the time (Jason Todd) unlikable.
J.M. DeMatteis is a strict pacifist writing in an industry that's basically defined by people punching each other. Inevitably, this results in a certain tension when he writes superhero stories (or his one issue of Marvel Star Wars.) Either you have a pacifist writer telling stories about violence solving problems, or characters embracing pacifist ideals despite long histories of solving problems with violence.
After 9/11, Frank Miller proposed a Batman story called Holy Terror Batman!, in which the Dark Knight hunts down terrorists. DC refused to let him use Batman for the project, which was released as Holy Terror with original characters instead.
A bizarre and infamous example of this trope appears in the Doom Comic when Doom Guy suddenly rambles about the dangers of nuclear power and the need to preserve the ecosystem for the children of mankind, in the middle of shooting demons and zombies left and right. Probably Played for Laughs, though, but who knows...
The Batman mythos character Anarky exists to be a vehicle for his creator Alan Grant's political views. This is why Anarky's ideology abruptly shifted from libertarian socialist to Neo-Tech between appearances (matching Grant's own conversion) and why few other writers use him (one of the exceptions being Kevin Dooley, who himself used Anarky as a mouthpiece for his views on gun control). In particular, Grant's 1997 Anarky miniseries is essentially a four-issue-long Author Filibuster, delivered via Anarky's Inner Monologue, long philosophical debates with Batman, Darkseid, and Etrigan, and occasional pauses in the action to allow Anarky to break the fourth wall to lecture the reader directly on his alternative view of human history and development.
In the early 2000s a new storytelling rule was made at Marvel Comics: heroic characters could not be shown smoking. The head editor at the time, Joe Quesada, lost his father to cancer brought on by smoking.
Speaking of Quesada, a number of readers suspect he dislikes the institution of marriage in general and married women in particular, pointing to both the number of prominent married Marvel women killed off (Janet van Dyne-Pym, Jean Grey-Summers) or Put on a Bus (Mary Jane Watson-Parker) during his tenure in the EIC's chair, and the fact that his ex-wife was said to have treated him terribly during their marriage. Suddenly any male character is "more interesting" without his wife or longtime love interest, and said love interest often gets a date with a bus, or worse, a bridge, even if (like the aforementioned Jean and Janet) said love interest has years of history as much more than just "male character x's lover."
More evidence that Quesada has some issues with marriage is the whole affair between Scott Summers and Emma Frost prior to Jean Grey's death. Scott was having issues with his marriage, Xavier (the trained psychiatrist) refused to help and suggested Scott talk to Emma, so Scott confided in Emma instead of his wife and ended up in a psychic affair that of course Jean found out about because she's psychic too! Basically the marriage ended in such a way to make all parties look like awful people (a dying Jean psychically manipulates Scott into getting together with Emma Frost following her death). Emma, of course, treats Scott like garbage pretty much from the beginning of the relationship and continuing up through present comics.
Maybe Quesada just doesn't like Cyclops either.
Leo Ortolani, the creator of Rat-Man, has been reading superhero comics since he was a kid and dislikes manga, in part due to the fear that they might replace superhero comics entirely. Because of this, he has written a couple of storylines (the Master trilogy and Yellow trilogy) which argue that superheroes are superior to manga characters.
Kathryn Immonen apparently hates the Runaways, or at least enjoys killing them, and thus her brief stint on the series saw two of them apparently getting killed and another being badly injured and traumatized. When she was given a one-shot during Age Of Ultron, she made a point of having a character explicitly state that all the Runaways, except Victor Mancha, had been killed.
Rick Remender has been accused of doing this in his Uncanny Avengers. Remender is outspoken in his belief that the mutant-rights movement within the stories is a poor metaphor for real-world civil rights, because unlike real minorities many mutants are legitimately dangerous, and several characters within the story express the view that the mutant rights movement is completely different from, say, the African-American or gay rights movements. Particularly controversial has been his handling of Rogue, and to a lesser extent Wolverine and Sunfire, who hold the view (shared with the majority of writers and fans) that the parallels do work, and who are portrayed as unreasonable for it.
Like Immonem and Griffen above, Jason Aaron's recent Marvel work that involves Cyclops to some extent usually involve at some point or another either Cyclops doing something he views as wrong and being called out on it (usually by Wolverine), or having someone call him out on something he did previously, usually something he did while under Aaron's pen (both Schism and Avengers Vs X-Men being keen examples of such). Cyclops will either give weak defences for this or he will be cut off by some big speech about why he's a horrible person and why they're much better than him, with him not responding and the scene ending there. In his contributions to Battle Of The Atom, he even has Cyclops' time-lost teen self remind him and the viewer he's still against his recent behaviour and will stop it (despite the fact that he's since learnt that what he thought about him was wrong) and had Kitty criticize Illyana (who's currently siding with Cyclops), despite both characters actually expressing appreciation for his attempts at helping them and having the two leave Wolverine's side to join him in Bendis' parts. In general, if Aaron is writing something X-Men related and Cyclops pops up, he'll be a pathetic jerk who exists to be hated and blamed, and it doesn't matter if the other character ends up coming off as childish, immature, idiotic, hypocritical, or just down-right asinine. Other writers follow suit in order to keep continuity, but they at least give Cyke credence and have him point out what an ass they're being about it.
In the infamous My Immortal, everyone turns into a goffik Stanist who swears a lot and sticks their middle finger up at preps. They also develop an unhealthy preoccupation with slitting their wrists. However, due to its status as a (possible) Troll Fic, this ridiculousness is likely quite intentional.
There is a fic about Harry Potter battling the threat of communism. It had Lucius Malfoy as a communist who was taking over the Ministry of Magic, and they planned to defeat him by... pointing out the fallacies of communism. The first Harry Potter book is set in 1991, the year the Cold Warended.
In many conversion fics, Harry abandons 'witchcraft' and becomes devoted to some monotheistic religion.
There was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic wherein 9/11 brought Spike to tears. And not in a jealous "Why can't I be that evil?" way. In a woobie needing-a-cuddle-to-make-the-bad-go-away way.
While labeled as an Axis Powers Hetalia of all things, the story ''Israel's workout'' and ''The Two Americas" are really very extreme Conservative and racially insensitive propaganda at that. One also wonders why someone opposed to Gay Marriage would write fanfiction for a series that encourages Yaoi?
"A Crushed Empire", a long-gone Warhammer40,000 fanfic where the Emperor is evil, all non-humans are trying to be friendly and everyone converts to Christianity. That the instigator is a Dark Angel (read:uber-fanatic) who Wangsts just because his home planet got hit by an Exterminatus. The sequel is just as bad, as the races well known for their Fantastic Racism and Omnicidal Maniac tendencies are being nice to each other, and the Marty Stu Dark Angel-wannabe somehow banished the Chaos Gods. The cause of all this? The Bible.
Cori Falls is the epitome of this trope. Trying to find a fic where she doesn't preach the glories of paganism and the evils of "mainstream" popular kids is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Cannibal The Musical has a subplot about the main characters love for his faithless horse called Liane that was written by Trey Parker as a dig at his ex Liane who he walked in on having sex with someone else. Ironically, his ex provided some of the choreography for the film.
Packer: How does it feel to be riding my horse
Frenchy: Everyone in this towns ridden your horse
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, wherein Christopher Reeve was given creative control of the story, is a thinly-veiled veneer for his anti-nuclear, anti-corporate media philosophies. In one particularly jarring scene from the movie, Superman saves the passengers aboard a runaway subway car, then gives a speech to a crowd of pedestrians about the benefits of mass transit. Amusingly, Reeve himself later admitted the final product of the film was terrible, but reminded people it had a So Bad, It's Good quality.
The biggest failing of the film Lady in the Water was that it was just two hours of M. Night Shyamalan rubbing his self indulgence in our faces. The movie is pretty much centered around inspiring a writer (not surprisingly, played by Shyamalan himself) into writing a book that will change the world for the better at the cost of being martyred in a Heroic Sacrifice. He also includes a Take That against the film critics who gave his earlier movies negative reviews by putting in a film critic character who is an arrogant, unlikeable man who dies a horrible death... and was one of the most popular characters among viewers.
In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Leonard Nimoy preaches his pro-environmental views and gives a nonsensical justification for it. Yet by not putting those views front and center, and keeping the movie strong on character and humor (also thanks to the screenplay by four skilled writers), the trope is barely noticeable when watching.
Nimoy probably took a hint from the aforementioned Superman IV.
Any Quentin Tarantino film usually has a scene that is obviously a theory or pet peeve of Tarantino's shoved into the mouth of one of the characters. Sometimes even by playing the character himself.
The Naked Gun 2 ½: the Green Aesop is laid on pretty thick when the villains outline their devious plan. Ironically, David Zucker would become a hard-line conservative and write a whole movie on the opposite side of the political spectrum.
Annie Hall parodies it, by having Alvy Singer write his failing relationship into a play he's working on. In real life, Singer and his girlfriend break up, but in the play he delivers a poorly-written speech about how their relationship was far too superb to end in a hell-hole like Los Angeles. Singer lampshades it by turning to the screen and saying, "What do you want, it was my first play."
Kevin Smith's interests and opinions jump right off the screen in all of his films.
Chasing Amy: An adapted version of his onetime relationship with the female lead, Joey Lauren Adams.
Dogma: Explored religious issues from his Catholic upbringing.
Red State: Expy Westboro Church fanatics are some of the villains and a lot of attention is given to their pathological hatred of gays.
Akira Kurosawa makes use of this trope in Seven Samurai; Kikuchiyo, a farmer's son, not a samurai, dissuades the other samurai from blaming the villagers for killing and stealing from samurai in the past; after all, it was samurai rule that had forced them to live that way. This is widely seen as Kurosawa apologizing; he came from a family with samurai ancestors.
Revolver seemed set to be the next awesome Guy Ritchie crime film, but what had appeared at first to be a rather promising plot eventually turned out to be a Mind Screwy delivery system for the Kabbalistic beliefs Ritchie picked up during his marriage to Madonna.
The In Name Only adaptation of Fast Food Nation is basically a two-hour rant by director Richard Linklater on why people shouldn't eat meat. Bizarrely enough, the author of the book (who isn't a vegetarian) was one of the film's producers.
In Francis Ford Coppola's original mid 1960's screenplay for Patton, General Patton's contemporary General Omar Bradley was merely a supporting character; while Patton and Bradley knew and respected each other in Real Life, they were not close by any means. When the film was finally made several years later and Bradley was added as a technical consultant to assist with Edmund North's rewrite, Bradley was suddenly the second-leading character to Patton, they were portrayed as lifelong best friends, and Bradley was often shown as the more reasonable of the two.
The Fugitive had a case of a costume designer trying to put her beliefs on screen. Actress Jane Lynch of Glee had one scene in the film as a doctor friend of Richard Kimble. She writes in her memoirs that the costume designer insisted that her lab coat have buttons that were for "pro choice" and other issues.
The Animorphs book The Experiment was ghost-written and a heavy-handed anti-meat screed, so much that the real author K. A. Applegate stepped in to rewrite the final chapter so that the Animorphs are happily chowing down on hamburgers as a Take That to the ghost writer. Though Applegate herself doesn't have much room to throw stones, as The Secret is just as much of an excuse to rant about the logging industry.
Karen Traviss when she writes Star Wars. Her writing on the Jedi tend to be, well, less then favourable, compared to the rest of the franchise. Which is nothing compared to her obsession with Mandalorians:
That being said, during her later books before her contract with Lucasfilm was cancelled due to retcons, Traviss did make an attempt to show the inherent hypocrisy of her character's actions. It didn't stop them from being the primary focus of the novels, but she was aware of this trope being in effect, and was striving towards fixing things. And before anyone says that her stories are no longer canon, the Expanded Universe had the situation covered before her contract had even finished.
Not to mention what happens in Allies and Vortex: Mandalorians murdering a Padawan, and massacring slaves, respectively. Ouch.
The Gears of War novel Aspho Fields that she wrote pretty much beats the reader about the head with the idea that "weapons developers = war criminals." Traviss' Mandalorian "super tribal warrior" fixation carries over into the novel as well, with its hyper-competent, misunderstood, absolutely perfect Pesanga warriors, who are pretty much Mandalorians with machetes.
Her Halo: Glasslands novel provides a very alternate perspective on everything we know about Dr. Catherine Halsey and has most of the characters character (including characters who were on her side earlier) treat her like the worst human being who ever lived. Even Halsey herself starts to think this way at times. As far as the author is concerned, stealing children from their parents is the worst atrocity anyone can commit. Even if you happen to save your civilization (and every sentient being in the galaxy) by doing it.
Not to mention that Dr. Halsey's inquisitors are none other than the Office of Naval Intelligence, the very same people who recruited her, kidnapped young children to be turned into indoctrinated supersoldiers, and so on, all to crush what at the time were only human rebellions. She also tries to paint the Director of ONI as a hero, despite the fact that she has done even worse things than Halsey.
An explanation for ONI condemning Halsey is given in the prologue of Halo 4: ONI's problems with the SPARTAN-IIs has nothing to do with morality, they just want them to look inferior so that the SPARTAN-IV Program looks better in comparison. The really kicker? It's painfully obvious the SPARTAN-IVs are inferior to the Master Chief. And that's nothing compared to ONI's previous project with the SPARTAN-IIIs who they recruited en mass from orphans of glassed worlds, and made into expendable commandos.
The Da Vinci Code has been criticized for having a protagonist with no personality, who simply serves as a mouthpiece for Dan Brown's theories. And it's not just the protagonist, either. Dan Brown repeatedly pauses the plot for Author Filibusters that would give Ayn Rand a run for her money, if not in length or research, then certainly in obviousness.
In Empire, characters will pause during the action to explain exactly why any disrespect for the military whatsoever is unpatriotic and therefore evil. Not to mention the fact that, despite apparently being a warning against partisanship, the Big Bads are still liberals.
In one very uncharacteristically blatant and unmistakable example, several characters near the beginning of Ender in Exile espouse the view that monogamy is the only and best successful means of human society, using the exact same phrasing consistently enough to put conservative pundits' talking points to shame. Thankfully, he drops this act soon enough to make the book as a whole still enjoyable.
The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind begins as a typical sword and sorcery series, but becomes increasingly a vessel for the author to express his Objectivist beliefs. For example, the central struggle in Faith of the Fallen is between free market capitalism and socialism. The main character Richard delivers a number of Author Tracts in which he states Goodkind's Objectivist opinions, which often contradict views the character expressed earlier in the series-or even the story's reality itself, such as claiming that belief in the afterlife is unfounded, when Richard has been there and back himself.
Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange is generally believed to suffer from Writer on Board in its last chapter, where the villain protagonist suddenly gets bored with evil and desires to start a family. Burgess' inspiration for the story was his wife's rape at the hands of World War II deserters, so the desire for an uplifting end is understandable. However, until 1986, the book's American editions left out out the offending chapter. Adaptations, including the film version and the 1990 play written for the Royal Shakespeare Company, also leave it out.
After his own conversion to Spiritualism, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a novel titled The Land of Mist to explain and justify his beliefs, including having his ultra-rationalist hero Professor Challenger (from The Lost World) become convinced of the rightness of Spiritualism and convert. Conan Doyle makes a point of Challenger having a believable motive for his abrupt philosophical U-turn, namely the death of his beloved wife. This follows Doyle's own conversion due to the death of his son in World War One, which says more about him than Spiritualism being true or false. (His friend Harry Houdini, famous as a magician, was appalled and debunked numerous mediums to prove it was false-this only made Doyle think Houdini himself possessed magical powers which he used to "disrupt" theirs, and that he performed some of his magic tricks supernaturally, to Houdini's frustration).
Spider Robinson's Very Bad Deaths occasionally lapses into sermons about why marijuana is great and conservatives are evil. Fortunately, it doesn't dominate the book.
The early works of lesbian author Katherine V. Forrest fall victim to some clumsy all-men-are-evil soapboxing. Daughters of a Coral Dawn is the most extreme, having men (who are suffering from one giant inferiority complex) outlawing some Applied Phlebotinum that renders them redundant in the act of procreation. It Runs on Nonsensoleum (and the precise nature of the phlebotinum is never explained). Fortunately, Forrest appeared to have toned it down by the time she started on the Kate Delafield books.
Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer. The entire book is about rescuing a lemur from being killed by the Extinctionists. Artemis' having sent this lemur to its death is continually treated as a horrendous act, even though he did it in an attempt to save his father. There is virtually no disagreement on this point. Holly is horrified (as are the other fantasy creatures present), Artemis is filled with remorse, and even Artemis' younger self feels a twinge of guilt that apparently never bothered him during any of his other countless criminal escapades. The sheer magnitude of the overreactions of the characters when they learn that Artemis sent the lemur to die makes this an Author on Board.
The series in general is fairly loaded to he gills with Green Aesops, with heaping helpings of Humans Are Bastards for good measure. Even amoral characters like Mulch Diggums expressing disgust at how humans are destroying the Earth.
Since 2001 or so, if the particular Alternate History setting allows for it, Harry Turtledove will include some kind of analogy to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. No problem on the surface, as analogies are standard stock-in-trade for alternate history stories. The problem came when, in a timeline where the South won the American Civil War, he chose Mormons for this role. Many fans believe that he's crossed the line from "Broken Aesop regarding repression of religious expression leading to violence" into outright bigotry. In the same work, he also turns Canadians into Irish nationalist terrorist bombers, blacks into Communists and Mexicans into Nazi satellite state collaborators.
The Man with the Iron Heart takes this to extremes about his feelings on the Iraq War. Reinhard Heydrich lives to run a partisan campaign. Body bags are showing up as everyday Germans become radicalized and engage in terrorist acts. It's subtle as a brick when you have mothers of dead soldiers acting just like a certain famous protester and it leads up to the Republicans winning control of Congress and getting us out from the Democrats' war-after which the Nazis are poised to take over again.
Michael Crichton tended to do this a lot, albeit that he was somewhat more subtle about it as the characters whom he boarded were created more or less for the purpose of espousing a philosophy central to their characters. He also did it a lot because his modus operandi was to take a source of public fear/apprehension/paranoia and then base a novel around it. Fear of computers/robots: Westworld. Fear of genetic manipulation: Jurassic Park. Fear of the Japanese: Rising Sun. Fear of sex discrimination: Disclosure. Fear of the media and flying: Airframe. And so on.
At the end of his career, State of Fear is an anti-climate change screed about environmentalists planning mass murder to cause a climate change panic and receive funding, and when he got called out on his blatant misuse and misrepresentation of science, he turned one of his critics into a child molester with a small penis in Next.
The Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell gives us the impression that Mr. Cornwell really, really dislikes aristocrats, particularly when they hold military rank.
This is very obvious in his other books, usually aimed at the Church (though generally just its leaders. Various characters, particularly Uhtred get on quite well with the quirkier/better priests/devout christians, e.g. Fathers Pyrlig, Beocca, Willibald, and Cuthbert, Galahad and Bishop Bedwin.) with it being presented as an often corrupt institution.
Cornwell was raised in a very strict Christian sect called the Peculiar People, who are, well, peculiar. He says his portrayal of religion (individual parish priests=good, hierarchies=bad) is intended to reflect both the historical realities (there were and are good bishops and bad bishops, but the bad ones are more fun to read about) and his views on religion in general: he recognizes the comfort value, communal benefits, encouragement of virtue etc. but also dislikes the way in which organized religion can become corrupt and self-defeating.
In several of his novels, Neal Stephenson has his characters voice an interest in the arts and complain about how most of their scientist/techie acquaintances think that the arts are useless. Stephenson is an MIT graduate and (obviously) a novelist. Also, it's possible that Stephenson doesn't agree with the sentiment, but in both Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, a character gives a lecture to the effect that some cultures are superior to others and that those who are wealthy deserve to be that way. Moral relativism also gets a bit of a kicking in several of his books, notably Cryptonomicon and The Diamond Age (again).
This trope is Older Than Steam: Molière's plays often were whole essays against the hypocrisy and vulgarity that ran rampant throughout French society, as well as tirades against doctors (medicine was horrible back then, and many physicians were VERY ignorant), pseudo-intellectuals, and self-appointed Moral Guardians. (Tartuffe, one of his most well-known plays, was censored for years because of this.) Characters like Philinte (The Misanthrope) and Cléante (Tartuffe) serve as Author Avatars for the playwright.
While the entire Left Behind franchise is a massive Author Tract, the Writer on Board aspect comes into play when a previously independent, scientifically minded character is suddenly touched by God, converts, and from that moment on reminds us repeatedly how happy they are now that they got rid of their delusions and bloated self importance brought on by education (self-importance through Holier Than Thou is fine).
Daniel Silva's books have a lot of this trope. His most famous series is about a Mossad assassin named Gabriel Allon. Silva would spend pages to justify right-of-center Israeli policies, while glossing over or justifying any questionable actions by Israel. For example, in "Prince of Fire", several chapters justify Israel's policy of expelling Arab residents during the country's early history. Another thing he likes to go on about is how Europe is basically a giant antisemitic cesspool that harbors Islamic terrorism and how Europe is unjust to push for peace that would be "unfavorable" to Israel. Basically, he tends to portray any country/politicians that are not entirely pro-Israel as antisemitic, which is of course a giant fallacy. Silva is a convert to Judaism himself, and clearly identifies strongly with Israel due to this.
There's also his dislike for Pope Benedict. He created a fictional Pope who espouses more liberal/inclusive views, not to mention being rather better at apologizing for antisemitism than Benedict has been (this would probably go with the Europe = antisemitic cesspool mentioned above). In the afterword to the book in which that character is introduced, Silva talks about how disappointed he was in the real-life Pope and uses his fictional Pope from that point onward in the series.
Klaus Mann does this in his novel Mephisto. There is a middle part where the narrative is abandoned for a heated anti-fascist rant and then the novel resumes without breaking stride.
His non-fantasy novels are even more excessive, often stopping right in the middle of the action to deliver religious sermons (sometimes from the characters, sometimes from the author himself) that can go on for pages in unedited editions. However, as C. S. Lewis observed, it's actually alright if we consider that "the author, though a poor novelist, was a supreme preacher."
Andrew Vachss is unabashed about his condemnation of government and society's failures in his Burke books. These comments are usually delivered through said first person protagonist, who has a Dark and Troubled Past involving precisely that.
Some fans argue that Stephenie Meyer's Twilight is rife with allegories to Mormon beliefs despite none of the characters being obvious practitioners.
Stieg Larsson was obviously not a fan of guns. In a chapter of The Girl Who Played With Fire, told from a veteran policeman's perspective, he criticizes hollow-point ammunition. The character calls it "hunting ammunition" and says that it is "unclear" why law enforcement uses it. A real police officer would be well aware of the reasons, such as preventing the bullet from passing though a target and hitting bystanders, even if he didn't agree with them. Shortly thereafter, another policeman calls a Colt handgun a "cowboy pistol" and says they should be banned outright.
While Year of the Griffin is normally a Fantastic Comedy about the trials and tribulations of Wizarding University students, it takes one moment in a chapter to get Aesoptinial about sexism and women's education. Thankfully, rather than disrupt an existing character, it creates a new one—a horrifying misogynist gangster—to serve as its designated vice-target. Since the author has autobiographically noted that she was seen as a weird girl in her childhood for wanting to be smart and intellectual, it's somewhat understandable why she would feel strongly about this.
In the Maximum Ride series, the fourth book abruptly switches to a clumsy Aesop about Global Warming, completely ignoring whatever semblance of a plot and characterization the previous books had. Among other things, the Big Bad is defeated by a random hurricane, which is explicitly linked to Global Warming.
John Ringo's Council Wars includes things like cheerleading for the American 2nd Amendment, dislike of welfare, and other political views that at least make sense given the context in which they come up in the story and are worked in logically. Stopping dead to explain why believing in human-caused climate change is stupid, going on at length about the sexual kinks of Herzer, and a completely nonsensical explanation of American "strategy" in the "War on Terror"? Not so subtle.
In the third book of the Legacy of the Aldenata series, When The Devil Dances, a very large artillery piece happens to have been named and decorated after Bun-Bun, from Sluggy Freelance. One of the crew members suggested it and talked the commander into it, after introducing him to the comic. They don't have time to consult anyone to see if they'll have to take it off before the fecal matter hits the fannote Yet later on, a general refers to Bun-Bun, meaning he knew about the nickname and decorations, and either didn't care, or actively approved.. Later on in the book, one character refers to "Bun-Bun", and the complete stranger he's talking to knows what he means. He happens to not only read the comic, but is a "big fan".
Kurt Vonnegut does this sometimes, in addition to actually appearingAs Himself to do this to characters in real time. Lampshaded in that he often mocks himself for doing so.
Diane Carey's Dreadnought! Star Trek book is, at times, a thinly-veiled Libertarian propaganda piece; government intervention is portrayed as uniformly bad, be it an admiral trying to use a new Federation starship as the flagship of his private army to cement control over the Galaxy, or socialism as described derogatorily by her human POV character, Cadet Piper and Piper's Vulcan sidekick, Sarda.
All of her Star Trek novels carried some form of this - major characters tended to develop a deep fascination with things of a nautical nature (one of Carey's loves), among other things.
She also had a well-documented dislike of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was made apparent when she actually was contracted for novels for the series, often finding ways to justify writing around the characters/setting (re: Ancient Blood, separating Worf from the rest of the crew with a B-plot of Picard and Alexander experiencing a Revolutionary War period holo-program, and Ship of the Line, separating Picard from the crew and putting a captain pulled forward from the 23rd century in command of the Enterprise, complete with his own crew taking positions on the ship).
She was also contracted to write episode novelizations. Her last one (and last Star Trek novel to date), for the pilot episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, was actually brought to the attention to Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, the showrunners, who felt that it was openly critical of the script, declaring it to be 'reeking of hatred' for the show.
It's absent in the film, but if you read the novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by B. Traven, it seems rather clear that Traven really didn't like the Catholic Church.
In an apologetic example of this trope, Glen Gook's Gilded Latten Bones contains a scene where playwright Jon Salvation admits it was unkind of him to snub Crash, a young fan of his work, and explains what it's like for a writer to keep hearing the same questions over and over. Salvation eventually makes amends by inviting her to attend one of his play rehearsals. Been getting a bit tetchy at conventions and book-signings, Glen?
Harlan Ellison's hatred of computers crops up quite a bit in his later work.
Frank Herbert clearly had serious issues with homosexuality; Big Bad Baron Harkonnen in Dune is a Depraved Homosexual who even lusts after his own nephew, and even his henchman Piter is briefly said to have a vaguely feminine personality. Then The Dosadi Experiment features the omniscient narrator discussing how gay people make ideal suicide bombers, an aside that comes right the hell out of nowhere and never even has any impact on the plot.
Similarly, thriller writer Dick Francis had a thing about sado-masochism: if a character in any of his books is any sort of kinky they are bound to be among the bad guys. This gets so predictable that when one hero has a suspicious character followed and finds that all he's hiding is that he visits a spanking prostitute, genre savvy readers are ready for it when he turns out to be part of the evil conspiracy after all.
It doesn't stick out as painfully as most other examples, but you can easily use the collective Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett to teach a child about the basic values and ethics of secular humanism. It's more obvious in the more serious novels like Small Gods, Hogfather or the later Watch novels, but subtly permeates the entire setting and standard narrative. Note for example how the only people ever truly condemned and removed from society for the greater good are obvious sociopaths — other types of antagonists get some chance of redemption and are depicted as just misguided or scared or stupid, but not outright evil. And the gods are there to be mocked, not venerated; or in the case of truly benevolent higher powers (like Death), they don't care what people believe. And basic human (dwarvish/trollish/undead/etc.) kindness and decency always, always wins the day in the end. All this is no real surprise, considering that Sir Terry is an outspoken member of the British Humanist Association.
This also goes double for Good Omens, even if that's obviously not secular humanism.
Stephen King's Gunslinger series has a particularly uncomfortable section where he inserts his own real-life incident of being hit by a reckless driver into the plot. Not only does he use the actual real name of the person who hit him, he spends a considerable amount of time demonstrating and discussing that the driver was an absolute inbred moron that had no business driving on the road. This is especially awkward considering that the driver had died the year after the accident, which was before this section was written. Supposedly, King had expressed sorrow at the man's death, so it's unknown why he was determined to demean him in his later book.
This regrettably carries over into Fraser's other works. His memoirs Quartered Safe Out Here and The Light's on At Signpost are loaded with take thats directed towards modern, multicultural Britain. Even his last novel The Reavers, set in medieval Scotland, evinces a similar attitude. Fraser became an arch-Tory later in life and increasingly let it bleed into his writing.
In the Honor Harrington books by David Weber, certain policies are very clearly favored across the board, namely laissez-faire economics, capital punishment, meritocracy, benevolent constitutional monarchy, sexual liberation, etc.
Live Action TV
Most Star Trek episodes penned by the Berman/Braga team, as they have the opinion that the future is going to be a bad place, taking the Star Trek franchise away from Gene Roddenberry's vision of hope and optimism. While it has sometimes worked when taken as a whole (the latter seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, for instance, were quite good—and Braga had nothing to do with the series), taken individually many of the episodes are rather dark, depressing, and pessimistic. Not quite downer endings, but definitely not the "Let's explore space and have fun!" endings that Roddenberry's episodes typically possessed.
Gene Roddenberry himself may also be listed here. He was the one who made The Federation a moneyless Mary Suetopia, although there is some doubt as to whether he did it to deliver a message or just because he preferred writing about that sort of thing.
Gene's atheism has been portrayed in several star trek episodes and movies here and there, but most prominately in "Who Watches the Watchers", where several enterprise crew members strongly denounce religion as superstition and imply that they view it as nothing but a roadblock to progress. This attitude is never seen again in any Star Trek episode.
Jeri Taylor is often accused of this since she often wrote episodes with Janeway being a Mary Sue and how everyone on the ship loved her. SF Debris critiqued this perfectly while reviewing a Taylor-made episode in which Janeway apparently (but not really, of course) died. The crew had a memorial service in which every cast member made a speech about how awesome Janeway was. SF Debris pointed out that this scene was twice as long as Spock's funeral in Wrath of Khan.
Robin Hood: Pacifists Dominic Minghella and Foz Allan's created whole plotlines about Robin's anti-killing mantra. Fine for modern day folk at home, but in a ruthless, medieval setting it produces an Idiot Hero who prefers endless slaughter to killing the one man responsible for it.
The most glaring example is early in Season 1, when Robin's reluctance to just shoot the Sheriff (who is about ten feet away from him) causes the death of one of his own men.
Doctor Who: The Two Doctors, written by vegetarian Robert Holmes, is a thinly-disguised parable about the evils of meat-eating.
Russell T Davies was all about this trope, particularly in the Ninth Doctor's run, where most episodes had a criticism of some sort. The man himself has acknowledged putting his beliefs on religion into his work, pointing to its banning in The End of the World as an example. The Slitheentwo-parter is one long Take That against the then-current Iraq War.
Sylvester McCoy is quite open about how he and script editor Andrew Cartmel used Doctor Who to protest against Margaret Thatcher's government.
At the time Doctor Who used satire to put political messages out there in the way they used to do in places like Czechoslovakia. Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered.
Aaron Sorkin often used Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip as a soapbox to air his thinly-disguised personal grievances, particularly to vicariously lecture his ex-girlfriend. This also happened in The West Wing when internet critics hurt his feelings. The West Wing at least had the advantage of being pretty spot on, and quite funny, with political beliefs getting aired at least making sense in context. Studio 60... not so much. On the other hand, Studio 60 appeared aimed to a be a Red State/Blue State love story, so political rants and banter were to be expected.
Much of Series Two of Extras - in particular, the parts dealing with Andy's sitcom - seemed to be Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant explaining in great detail how their naturalistic style of comedy was infinitely superior to anyone else's.
Gervais and Merchant elaborate that the show is not about saying that broad comedy is bad; if you have grand ambitions, you shouldn't settle for less and let people meddle with your ideas. Do what you want to do. They don't portray either camp in a sympathetic light, as many more successful actors and writers in the show are intensely arrogant, elitist and pretentious. The entire last half of episode 2.2 displays this in the club where Andy is humiliated by just about everyone there. Episode 2.4 also has Stephen Fry belittling and patronizing Andy after Fry wins the BAFTA over him. Even Andy himself act very pretentious and two-faced, hiding his celebrity status but later using it to try and get his way whenever it suits him.
Gervais and Merchant even admit that Andy's sitcom When the Whistle Blows does indeed make them laugh, even if it is not very intellectual.
Producer Frank Mancuso Jr. was promoted to producer on the second season of the cult TV series War of the Worlds. He took a promising concept (the aliens left over from the 1953 invasion living among us), and destroyed it. How? He turned the present-day setting into a rundown, "Almost Tomorrow" setting that is never explained; half the main cast were killed off (including both two visible minorities!); the villains of the first season were exterminated to make way for a new group of aliens from the same planet; and several plot threads from the first season (most notably, an alien who helped the main characters defeat the aliens in the first-season finale, and promised to bring reinforcements) never showed up again.
Pretty much the last three years of Law & Order. In particular, Jack McCoy's vendetta-like attacks on defendants who use religion as a defense. It is stopped just short of being completely anvilicious by being well within his character and having him regularly being called out on it.
Highlighted in the extreme in Law & Order: Trial By Jury were Dick Wolf 's negative views toward defense attorneys who were at times portrayed as more immoral than their clients (who were all inevitably guilty). But the polarity of the integrity of the DA's office vs. the sliminess of defense attorneys can often be seen in all of the Law & Order series.
Curiously subverted in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit where Elliot Stabler enjoys his rants about how violating his morals is evil and horrible (which often times it is) but he typically comes off to the audience and in-universe as borderline psychotic.
In an instance that might be called "Actor On Board", Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has Detective Sergeant John Munch, whose utter devotion to the civil liberties of every human being stops rather abruptly at the right to end one's own life. This character is played by an actor (Richard Belzer) whose own father committed suicide, as did Munch's in-universe, thus explaining this inconsistent stance. Munch in one episode attempts to explain his feelings because of this to the assisted suicide advocate (Marlee Matlin) they've arrested, convincing her not to kill herself on a hunger strike.
In general, JMS tried as hard as he could to avoid shilling his own views, and present both sides of an argument with no judgment calls made by the episode itself (though the actual characters involved generally had very strong views). Ironically, this often had the opposite effect. For instance, he got hate mail for the first season episode "Believers," with people claiming it was either blatantly pro-religious, or blatantly anti-religious.
Carter had many moments of Straw Feminism in the early seasons that later became Canon Discontinuity — her infamous reproductive organs speech from the first episode is a prime example, and if you're only familiar with the show through later episodes it's quite jarringly out of character.
The earlier seasons of Weeds would toss in several ostentatious diatribes against George W. Bush, none of which had any bearing whatsoever on the plot. Not just a few little Take Thats here and there; the writers would practically pull the handbrake on the story just so they could whine at-length through a character's mouth about how much they hated him.
NUMB3RS suffered from this with the eco-storyline and the minority-treatment arc at the end of last season. Nothing like a good Green Aesop to pull the handbrake on a perfectly decent whodunit.
In fairness to the writers, this was during a period where just about allPrime Time tv shows had some awkward and obvious addition of greenness to it; being uber earth-friendly was like the chickenpox for all the major networks, with many of the networks forcing the green line on the people who made their shows.
Also in line with the trope, at many various points the main characters talk about what they're doing to be eco-friendly, up to and including building a windmill in the backyard for power and including a filter-collector for rainwater.
Marti Noxon herself generally had a men are bad vibe to her episodes as early as Season 3 when she made her debut as a writer. Prominent examples are the episodes "Beauty and the Beasts", "Consequences", and "Wild at Heart." A lot of her episodes tended to feature males as villains or be the bad character in a relationship. It gets so extreme that Willow's reaction to Oz's cheating comes off as not quite as sympathetic as intended considering what Willow was doing with Xander the season before.
Willow: And you know, what happened with Xander, it doesn't compare. Not with what you and I had. Not with whatever you've been doing with her.
Not to mention the tendency of anything remotely resembling a Christian (with the exception of Riley — whose religion is given in a throwaway line, holy water and crosses — which are never explicitly stated to be Christian) in the series to be either a Knight Templar, Sinister Minister, or some other form of evil, reflecting a prejudice that Joss Whedon is at least honest enough to admit to: he joked in one interview that he was doing it to undo the work of 7th Heaven.
The Wire is basically the creators' five-season-long diatribe about the corruption that is eating away at America from all aspects of its culture. David Simon is a former journalist and Ed Burns is a former policemen. The show focuses mostly on the drug trade and law enforcement, while the fifth season tackles journalism.
Why would the producers of Dallas make an entire season All Just a Dream just to bring back one character? Answer: They didn't. Executive producer Leonard Katzman wanted that entire season retconned out of existence because he's misogynistic and hated that the women on the show had been made into much stronger characters during his absence from production. Bringing back Bobby Ewing was just a bonus.
Many people believe the famous/infamous Power Rangers episode "Forever Red" was essentially used by Promoted Fanboy Amit Bhuamik to force his fanfic hoax "Scorpion Rain" into canon with the series. Although actually, Bhuamik only provided the voice of Tommy in the fanfic, which was actually created by Derik Smith. Still, Bhuamik admitted that he considered the fanfic "completely in canon" when writing Forever Red, taking advantage of what was originally supposed to be a sequel to Countdown to Destruction (but got changed due to Executive Meddling from Jonathan Tzachor and Koichi Sakamoto) to put his old friend's fan works into continuity.
Torchwood's writing staff comes off as aggressively atheist. Jack refers to religion as superstition and rants about how primitive cultures cling to anything that denies the randomness of existence. It's repeatedly stated that there is no afterlife, and anyone with a belief in some form of deity is shot down as naive or just wrong. There's also the fact that Everyone Is Bi. The series was created by Russell T Davies, who also wrote Queer as Folk, and is openly gay along with being atheist.
In series one a number of the people the team resurrected had memories of darkness and a hungry thing which turned out to be quite literal, real, and verifiable (and, at one point, summoned into the living world). This wasn't a minor plot point, either, it was the first series arc, making every character around before series 2 that says something like "this life is all there is" something of a Flat Earth Atheist. Admittedly the Torchwood afterlife is apparently extremely boring, but nonetheless.
All three of the Blakes Seven episodes written by Ben Steed trample characterisation for the sake of sexism. In "The Harvest of Kairos" Supreme Commander Servalan goes meekly along with the manly Jarvik (rather than killing him, which was statistically more likely). "Moloch" had women as helpless victims; Servalan is briefly added to their number, and she doesn't do much more than look outraged. "Power" featured a war of the sexes and an uncharacteristic sermon from Avon — usually an equal-opportunity misanthrope — about how he, as a man, would always be stronger than a woman.
Alan Alda began writing episodes for the later seasons of M*A*S*H and the show tended to become his personal soapbox when those episodes were aired.
"The Gun" - an episode where a colonel's antique pistol is stolen. In a war where everyone carries guns, it's strange to see an anti-handgun message. Hawkeye is within character in disliking the handgun, but when Radar and Colonel Potter both question why the colonel has a personal sidearm, this is obvious writer on board. For bonus points, in a real military unit an officer without his sidearm can in some situations be considered out of uniform and subject for disciplinary action. Exceptions are made, but it seems somewhat unlikely that the colonel was a registered conscientious objector, since he'd served in combat during World War II.
"Peace on Us" - Hawkeye steals a jeep and runs off to interrupt the peace talks. At no time in the episode does Colonel Potter get upset with Hawkeye for going AWOL and pulling such a stupid stunt. Instead, the unit throws a party. Even worse, the General that Hawkeye confronts at the peace talks seems to be on his side as well, letting him off with a slap on the wrist and a hinted agreement at what Pierce had done.
"Images" - Getting tattoos is stupid and regrettable, not to mention unhealthy. Hawkeye doesn't like tattoos and everyone agrees with him. Even characters who have tattoos in the episode are against tattoos and regret getting them.
Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined) did this at least twice, with one episode in which Laura Roslin was forced to weigh the consequences of protecting a woman's right to an abortion with the need to protect the small amount of human life that was left, and again with another episode where Tyrol was used to champion the greatness of organized labor (he later became a union leader). In the Battlestar Galactica podcast, Ronald D. Moore admitted that he was engaging in this trope with these two episodes, but that he basically didn't care.
When Glee did a brief story arc in the third season where Shannon was being abused by Cooter, it was quite clear that the whole thing was orchestrated by NeNe Leakes, the actress playing Roz, since domestic violence is her personal cause. Besides the fact that Shannon's aesop of "Big burly people have feelings too" was already run into the ground in the second season, the story line resulted in out-of-character moments for almost everyone involved, from Cooter—previously portrayed as a nice guy—suddenly becoming a wife-beater offscreen, to the girls of New Directions acting completely nonchalant towards Shannon's plight and claiming that their own boyfriends would never hit them (even though two of the girls in the group were dating each other), necessitating Roz to set them straight.
Friends: The reason why the story with Phoebe and the stray cat exists is because Marta Kauffman (one of the show's key writers) lost her own mother just before work on Season Four began. Normally such a plot would have been rejected, but because of the circumstances surrounding Kauffman and her mother's then-recent death, the plot was allowed to slip past the writers' room.
Funky Winkerbean usually dips only occasionally into Tom Batiuk's views. However, in mid-September of 2009, he suddenly ran a plot line in which a group of angry parents protest a production of Wit, a play about "cancer" and "death". As Batiuk's own dip into these two topics was a source of mockery and harsh criticism (mainly due to his lack of skill in shifting a gag-per-day strip into heavy drama), it was pretty obvious that he still had a chip on his shoulder.
During the last few years of Jonny Hart's life, B.C. was increasingly dominated by the fundamentalist Christian beliefs he took up. Despite being ostensibly set in the Stone Age.
When the setting information for a tabletop game includes slaves, the authors quite often feel the need to throw in an aside about how bad slavery is/was in the real world. This is presumably in case anyone is thick enough to read "here's a fictional country that practices slavery, like countless civilizations in Real Life history" as "let's all keep slaves". Dungeons & Dragons works dealing with it go out of their way to say that, according to the game's Character Alignment system, slavery is always and only an evil act. A supplement for Exalted on the economy of the setting took this to its logical extreme by opening with an Author Filibuster about how great it is that we don't practice slavery anymore. A notable aversion is Requiem for Rome, set during the Roman Empire, where slavery is presented as just part of the setting without any hand-wringing (even though it's noted vampires are brutal to their slaves). Given the flack some supplements such as Charnel Houses of Europe received, this may not be unreasonable behavior.
Amazingly, Dark Sun takes a much less obtuse view on this, at least in fourth edition. It explicitly states that owning a slave is counter to the thought process of a Lawful Good character; it is, however, the way of life everywhere but recently-liberated Tyr. Most folks have opinions between "It's not right but whatcha gonna do?" and "Well as long as I'm not a slave."
GURPS provides detailed rules for owning slaves, including possible slave personalities which range from "Fanatically violent hatred of being a slave" to "Unable to think for himself". Of course, laws about slaves are presented (realistically) as equally wide ranging and (as usual for GURPS) the text remains totally quiet on the morality of owning slaves.
In ''Victoriana RPG's 2nd Ed. The Authors are very clear to tell the players that sexism, racism, and class breeding are all 'bad,' despite the game using all these. Their harping on this goes back to the 1st edition rules having orcs as Shaka's Zulu tribesman, and the PC police immediately assumed the authors were racists rather than simply making fictional changes in a fictional setting. When they reused this in 2nd ed, they immediately said Orcs were not the only tribals, and they protested it had nothing to do with race. In a game where Ogres can be player characters, this ought to have been obvious. One would think.
In Max Payne 2, Payne can eavesdrop on two cops who mock the idea that video games cause violence.
Grand Theft Auto V features Trevor breaking character to deliver an impassioned speech about the evils of the government's use of torture. Aside from sounding completely out-of-place, it rings rather hollow considering that he's speechifying to the man he just gleefuly tortured for a government agent.
Specifically, Trevor admits that he enjoys torture, he just finds the idea that Torture Always Works offensive. The way he sees it, you should be honest about why you're doing something. Whether the moral inconsistency is shoehorned in or just another example of Trevor being a badly wired person is up to you.
Better Days. It's bad enough that the entire main cast is perched on the same moral and political wave length as the creator. But whenever a new character shows up who opposes those views they are swiftly cut down by the "good" characters. Worse yet, the poor opposing party is never seen again making it seem like the main cast can do no wrong. Even if the other side has an argument, the reader never gets to hear it because Naylor's characters out talk them or leave before they can say anything. It's always been like this, but lately it has gotten worse. The main character, Fisk, is a Gary Stu stand-in for Jay Naylor. However, he was somewhat more 'round' when he was younger (and Naylor was a religious fruitcake rather than an Objectivist one). Young Fisk was an anti-social Gary Stu, yes, but there were hints that he had a lighter, more vulnerable side that was hidden by the fact that he was the 'man of the family' in a traditional Southern household. However, after Naylor's conversion to Randian Man-God, that side of Fisk was removed in favor of an increasingly sociopathic cardboard cut-out, whose grunting, monosyllabic comments were enough to have multiple women spontaneously change their personalities and seek nasty, unemotional sex with him. Fisk not only has all the features of a Gary Stu, but the traits of some kind of Roarke rip-off.
A specific example: In the earlier comics, it was implied that Fisk and his family were Christian to some degree (Lucy mentions them learning about the tale of Saul while at church) and Elizabeth's Jewish family were all very friendly and welcoming to Fisk. In the sequel webcomic, Original Life, Fisk compares taking a child to a religious function to taking a child to a political rally, and Elizabeth's mother has become a shrewish woman who finds the idea of atheist grandchildren to be horrific.
And that's farfromtheonly example of this trope in the comic. Suffice it to say, Rowntree hates more stuff than Francis. It's probably easier to list the comics that aren't examples of this trope.
Venus Envy. Most noticeable in the frequent fillers, in which she cries about everything from persecution of transgender people to the war in Iraq. The main story only seems like a story in comparison to the filler, since it limits itself to just one theme (don't beat on TGs). Still extremely writer-heavy.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal's Zach Weiner is a vocal atheist (or as he refers to himself, a "Mesognostic" - take that as you will), and does comics mocking religion from time to time. He also apparently really has something against economists, making fun of them quite frequently.
Pretty much the reason for all the brutal violence in the (theoretically) kids-oriented Sonichu. All the characters hate the same things as the creator and are supportive towards violence against those things.
Sinfest has started displaying this, after its creator embraced feminism.
TV Tropes itself has shades of this. Editors will frequently inject their opinion about something they don't like. Subjective Tropes pages have plenty of these.
In We Are Our Avatars, there were several moments of this trope in action. One infamous example included "The Rant", where Andros (yes, that one) tried to destroy the Touhoumons and stated how they were evil. All because his player didn't even like them at first. And coupled with Creator Breakdown, she gave the Grayson family a chance to voice her negative opinions.
Midna used his characters to voice opinions about Mana, among others.
The Writer is also a bit vocal at times. For instance, there was the Writer arc, where several members were chosen to be killed and their wishes reversed because they represented something that the character—and Lemurian himself—didn't even like. And then there was the "Two Sentences" incident in the Incarnates arc...
The Brothers Chaps seem to have a low opinion of celebrity-endorsed activism, and made a cartoon portraying the concept as essentially a ridiculous scam that never really helps anyone. However, Tropes Are Tools, and said cartoon is gut-bustingly hilarious.
Aydin Marcos of Darwins Soldiers shares the same values as his devoutly Catholic creator, Noname.
Family Guy, especially post-revival, is infamous for this. Brian is frequently a mouthpiece for the writers' liberal political views, and other characters occasionally fill the role as well. Characters with dissenting views — conservative Christians, pro-lifers, Republicans, Southerners, people who practice abstinence, radical feminists, etc. — are frequently portrayed as being dumber than dirt.
Though in the episode FOX-y Lady, Brian's flaws are pointed out perfectly. Lois was ordered by her new employers at Fox News to expose Michael Moore's (theorized) homosexuality. When it is discovered Rush Limbaugh is (possibly) his lover, the exposé is cut. Brian is repulsed by Fox News avoiding the truth to protect a fellow conservative, but urges Lois to do the story anyways to nail Limbaugh. Lois asks why this is any different than Fox trying to discredit Moore. Brian stammeringly claims it is OK because he is admitting his hypocrisy. At the end of the episode, it transpires that former child star Fred Savage invented both Limbaugh and Moore out of whole cloth (which, of course, is totally untrue in real life), and then the Family Guy team made "Excellence in Broadcasting" and got Limbaugh a guest shot as himself on the episode. As well as playing a giant version of himself in the Star Wars Return Of The Jedi parody "It's a Trap" taking the place of the Rancor.
Then "Jerome is the New Black" came around, where near the end Quagmire verbally rips Brian a new one, and is basically dead on. Although he actually was a really good father, until his son's biological mother came to take him back. And occasionally Brian is also depicted as a great writer, and wasn't originally an atheist.
In addition he comments about Brian always trying to hook up with Peter's wife (which is inappropriate) but leaves out the fact that Quagmire (particularly in earlier seasons) was constantly trying to hook up with Lois in far more egregious ways than Brian ever has.
The show parodied this trope in an early episode, when Lois is directing The King and I at the community theater. When she makes Peter producer, he proceeds to rewrite the script several times until finally the story is about a post-apocalyptic future world where the lead character is a robot ninja. It drives Lois crazy, but everyone else loves it.
Played much straighter in "Tea Peter", which paints the Tea Party as stupid, insane anarchists who would destroy the country if they had their way; the episode's writer is a loud-and-proud supporter of the Occupy movement, generally considered the liberal equivalent to the conservative Tea Party.
Hey Arnold! "Eugene, Eugene!" demonstrated this and Adaptation Decay with a Show Within a Show, by having a guy who's just been spurned by his girlfriend direct a production of a musical, and completely changing its ending to reflect his own life.
In an example of Guest Star on Board, Paul and Linda McCartney only agreed to appear in the episode where Lisa becomes a vegetarian on the condition that she remain a vegetarian for the rest of the series.
On the other hand, Paul and Linda end the episode by telling Lisa that even if she doesn't approve of other people eating meat, it isn't okay to force them to change or shove her own vegatarian choices down their throats, so there's that.
Transformers: Beast Machines. The author outright admitted that he deliberately ignored aspects of the prequel series Beast Wars because he wanted to "tell his own story", as opposed to, for instance, an actual Beast Wars'' story. The result wasn't pretty; near-universal Character Derailment is just the start of the problems. For the most part, he acted as if this were a completely new series, and not a sequel to another.
Though it's undoubtedly a fact that Bob Skir derailed almost all of the Beast Wars characters, the matter cannot be entirely blamed on him alone. On his website, Skir admitted that Hasbro specifically hired him because he had no prior experience with Transformers and they even ordered him not to watch Beast Wars. Bob Skir receives the most flack for Beast Machines because out of all the writers and producers on the show, he was the one who made himself the most accessible to the fans (which resulted in him having to cancel a Botcon appearance due to death threats). Others such as Marty Isenberg and many other writers on the show received no such backlash from the fandom, even though they played an equal part in making Beast Machines what it is.
South Park has, in later seasons, become nothing but a vehicle for Trey and Matt to dispense whatever magical wisdom they feel obliged to share with us.
This goes beyond politics. For example, there have been two episodes that express their disapproval with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
Also Cartman's promiscuous mother is named Liane after an ex girlfriend of Trey's who he walked in on having sex with another man (and in Cannibal! The Musical Packer's faithless horse who gets ridden by the entire town is called Liane)
Some say that Butch Hartman's extremely unsympathetic portrayal of the popular and rich kids in both Danny Phantom and The Fairly Oddparents is his way of showing how bad rich kids can be if they abuse their position, while taking it Up to Eleven. Then again, the protagonists of both shows have rich girls as love interests; Danny ultimately ends up with a rich girl, though she hides her wealth to avoid fake friendship.
When said rich girl's parents are shown as absolute Jerk Asses and pretty much Jack Chick clones while the girl is a Soapbox Sadie who hates them and pushes her ultra-radical views on EVERYONE, the point about Hartman's hatred of the rich and popular people stands.
As for Timmy, well it's hard for either of the rich girls interested in him to have a real relationship with anyone when neither of them are comfortable in their own skin. Trixie is the opposite of Sam in that Sam hides her wealth and accentuates her tomboyish nature, whereas Trixie hides her tomboyishness and accentuates her wealth, due to a pathological need to be the center of attention. Veronica, on the other hand, is a Satellite Character to Trixie, as her entire personality is built around trying to supplant her, to the point of developing paranoid delusions. Naturally, this makes her Yandere for Timmy.
BIONICLE 3: Web of Shadows deliberately jerked protagonist Toa Vakama out of character for the entire movie, because the writers thought that him becoming a traitor would be more dramatic than, you know, someone to whom it might have made sense to play that role. So they derailed him to be more reckless, foolish (the exact opposite of how what he was like in the previous movie) and dangerously misguided (... again), and the other characters consequently acted meaner toward him. Also, this fit in well with their plans to make the movie one giant Star Wars-Homage. The realBionicle writer detests this story to this day, although many fans think that he managed to handle it quite well in the novelization, and admittedly, this made Matau's Character Development all the more engaging and lead up to a powerful (if highly clichéd) Crowning Moment Of Heart Warming.