Parodied: Alice and Bob are watching the Show Within a Show, starring Alan and Barbara. Alice mentions that she finds Alan really obnoxious. On the television they're watching, Barbara says "Hey! Alice is right! You are really obnoxious, Alan!"
Zig Zagged: Barbara's friends Cassie and Deborah talk about how annoying Alan is, but Barbara catches them and disagrees... until Deborah reminds her of something particularly annoying that he did. She then joins in the gossip. Alan finds them and interrupts, only to get nastily rebuked by Barbara and Deborah. After he slinks off, however, Cassie points out that maybe that was a little too harsh. Debora disagrees, while Barbara waffles, unsure whether they went too far or not.
The producers have listened to the fans' complaints about Alan, and are trying to satisfy them by making sure he doesn't end up a Karma Houdini in the end.
The creators specifically make Alan as unlikable to the audience as possible so that the "Take That, Scrappy" moment is extremely satisfying.
"God, I've been waiting to say that to you for years!"
"We could be on a TV show, watched by millions of people, and there still wouldn't be anyone who thinks you're funny."
Invoked: Barbara's Jerkass rival Eva goads Alan into doing something incredibly stupid as part of a plot to embarrass her.
Exploited: Alan is suspiciously quiet and keeping to himself. When Barbara asks why he's acting so strange, he tells her that he's found out the fans hate him, and he's worried that the creators will fire him.
Defied: Barbara is clearly about to rip Alan a new one...but closes her mouth, and refuses to say a word, considering herself above such petty grievances.
"You know what the mark of a good director is? The nerve to make fun of their own annoying dead-weight character."
Conversed: "Finally, that annoying jerk got called out! The authors do listen to our complaints!"
After years of being able to do anything without being called out, the Creator's Pet has a mental breakdown when someone does.
We're shown that Alan is just trying to be helpful, even though he's totally incompetent. When the other characters insult him for his failures, some of which are direct quotes from fans, we're shown in great detail how much this hurts Alan.
Plotted A Good Waste: Alan was deliberately made irritating so that the audience would root for Barbara to call him out, and to set up his Face-Heel Turn after she gives him what-for.
Played for Laughs: Barbara pulls out a list and recites each and every complaint that fans have about him.
Played for Drama: It's revealed to the audience that Alan considers Barbara to be his only real friend, and that he's just trying to help her... right before he inadvertently pushes her Berserk Button and gets screamed at.