Web Video: The Poparena

Greg (just Greg) hosts The Pop Arena, a Video Review Show where he provides in-depth reviews or recaps of television shows, comics, Video Games, and movies. He is most known for his retrospective of the Animorphs books and TV series. However recently he has expanded to include retrospectives on several other series and one-shot reviews of all sorts of media.


ThePopArena contains discussions of:

  • Air-Vent Passageway: Greg speculates in Animorphs #30. The Reunion that KA Applegate might have been mocking this trope and jokes that nothing has messed up the Animorphs more than the ventilation system.
  • Alien Among Us: For his review of #13. The Change, Greg brings up that it's rather late to be thinking about taking the newly freed Hork-Bajir to the press to reveal the presence of aliens on Earth when Ax, an Andalite warrior-cadet, has already been living on Earth for almost a year.
  • Alien Invasion: Discussed in great detail from every angle in Greg's Opinionated Animorphs Guides.
  • Aliens of London: Joked about in his review of #40. The Other, that all Andalites have to be played by British actors.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: Discussed in Greg's "Batman Returns Retrospective" how all the action taking place around Christmas ties into the perverse nature of the film, that Gotham hides its true nature behind bright lights and talk about goodwill on Earth while down below twisted freaks plot and scheme.
  • Anti-Climax:
    • Greg says Megamorphs #1. The Andalite's Gift ends this way after the epic Chase Scene which had come before kept building with a lot of tension and the stakes getting higher.
    • Greg discusses how anti-climatic the water balloon fight was in Animorphs Episode 1.07 The Escape.
    • Greg points out how stupid the destruction of the Yeerk pool was in the Animorphs TV show and further emphasized not to end a season cliffhanger with no idea how to proceed in the next season, because it was very clear that the writing crew had written themselves into a corner.
  • Artistic License Geography: Brought up during Greg's review of Animorphs book #44. The Unexpected that the flight Cassie found herself on was heading toward Sydney, Australia, yet somehow, when Cassie left the plane, she ended up a hundred kilometers away from Alice Springs, which is nowhere near Sydney.
  • As You Know:
    • Discussed in his review of #35. The Proposal how utterly pointless it is to reiterate to someone what they already know.
    • Brought up in greater detail during his review for ReBoot Episode 6 "In the Belly of the Beast."
  • Attempted Rape: invoked
    • Greg discusses how unreasonable it was for Animorphs #2. The Visitor to portray Rachel as being reckless when morphing elephant to stop a man from raping her, something he frequently references while describing the hypocrisy when the Animorphs misuse their morphing powers in unjustifiably stupid ways, which is generally treated more neutrally.
    • Greg details how despicably this trope was used in his segment for Breaking Spines #5. The Time of the Hunter's moon, with the woman in question, Cordelia Grant, fully aware of what her suitor had just tried to do her, making her attraction towards the man all the more perplexing.
  • A Wizard Did It: Talked about in his Animorphs #23. The Pretender review, how Tobias believed the Ellimist was responsible for liberating the new Hork-Bajir which had suddenly appeared in the free Hork-Bajir valley.
  • Ax-Crazy: Greg accuses Ax of being ready to kill at a moment's notice in his review of Animorphs #7. The Stranger.
  • Bad Boss:
    • For Animorphs, Greg always points out that Visser Three is likely to kill an underling just for reminding him that bugs exist.
    • Later in his review of ReBoot Episode 6 "In the Belly of the Beast" Greg calls Megabyte even worse than Visser Three when he executes an underling for doing something right.
  • Bad Future: Greg speculates that the Yeerk-controlled Earth seen in #7. The Stranger might have simply been an Ellimist trick because of what Aftran said in #19. The Departure.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: In Greg's review of Ranma 1/2 Vol 1 he points out the strangeness of stopping a sword that can cut through walls and trees with your bare palms.
  • Batman Gambit: Discussed in #22. The Solution that the Animorphs' plan to trap David in rat morph hinges on the assumption that he'd stick them all inside a Pepsi bottle they left lying around and going alone with Rachel into the construction site instead of simply ordering Rachel to bring the pieces of the blue box back or he'd kill her friends. Guess which one David picked?
  • Battle Cry: In one of the stupider moments from the Animorphs TV show, Greg points out how Tom confuses a Yeerk scream of pain for a Yeerk cry of triumph in Episode 1.20 Face Off, Part 2.
  • Berserk Button: He is otherwise very fair to most of the media he reviews, even if he personally doesn't enjoy it, such as emphasizing the So Bad, It's Good aspects of Batman & Robin, but the one thing that drove him into a blistering rage was Megamorphs #2. In the Time of the Dinosaurs, to the point that he refused to believe KA Applegate wrote it of her own free will, and even today he still has a hard time letting go of it whenever it crops in reviews.
  • Big "NO!": Joked about with the words "DO NOT WANT" superimposed on the screen when Visser Three screams this in his Animorphs TV review.
  • Black and White Morality: Greg mocks how clear-cut the conflict between the Mercora and the Nesk is during his review for Megamorphs #2. In the Time of the Dinosaurs.
  • Body Horror: Greg points out that #39. The Hidden was probably meant as a deconstruction of this trope in an attempt to turn Animorphs into a campfire horror story, but it simply couldn't sustain the effort due to its blatant Magic A Is Magic A abuse.
  • Broken Aesop: invoked Greg points out that Animorphs book #40. The Other tries to show how wrong ableism is yet the disabled character himself barely appears in the story and simply serves as the Damsel in Distress, fully justifying Ax's treatment of him as The Load.
  • Chase Scene:
    • In his "Batman Begins Retrospective" Greg discusses the inconsistency during the car chase across Gotham with Batman causing so much destruction and inadvertently killing a few of the pursuing police officers when earlier in the film he had refused to execute a man without trial.
    • Greg points out during his review of ReBoot Episode 6 "In the Belly of the Beast" that chase scenes work best when there's kinetic energy, but due to the limited computer graphics at that time, the creators of the show couldn't properly animate Enzo and Frisket's pursuers quickly.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Joked about in his review of Megamorphs #3. Elfangor's Secret, that the way you could tell history had been changed was due to the fact that France beat Great Britain during the Battle of Trafalgar and became a major world power soon afterwards.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • He points out how the water gun seen early in Animorphs Episode 2.03 The Front was later used to stop the Yeerk plot to infest people using cell phones.
    • Jokingly discussed in his review of #33. The Illusion when he refers to the eagle which appeared earlier in the chapter and was later used to get the Animorphs into the location Tobias was being held at as a "Chekhov's Eagle."
    • He points out a particularly clumsy one given early in Animorphs #39. The Hidden when Cassie mentions that birds can sometimes bring down aircraft, to which Greg puts a small picture of a seagull in the corner of the video for the duration of the review until that very same thing comes out of nowhere at the end to save Cassie's ass.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Greg was very upset at Animorphs #28. The Experiment for avoiding a cliffhanger twice.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Greg acknowledges the intense torture Tobias undergoes in #33. The Illusion and praises the series for exploring such dark themes years before 9/11 brought such a controversial issue back into everyone's minds.
  • Conflict Ball: Discussed in Greg's review of The Secret World of Alex Mack Episode 1.03 "Shock Value" when Alex and her sister Annie panic when they see Vince and Dave in the hallways of the school, but as Greg points out there's nothing suspicious about two kids staying after school, yet they start acting suspicious to draw attention away from themselves.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • He acknowledges all the references in #18. The Decision with the line that he's getting a "continuity boner."
    • Greg acknowledges that the reference to the new Kandrona in the Animorphs "The Leader" two-parter, while not perfect, still plays to one of the show's few strengths.
  • Covers Always Lie: Talked about in #31. The Conspiracy, in which the inside cover bears no resemblance to the events written inside the actual book.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • In his "Batman Forever Retrospective," Greg argues that Robin might be the main Damsel in Distress since he needs to be saved three times by The Hero before the movie ends, while the film's main Love Interest, Dr. Chase Meridian, only had to be saved one time by comparison.
    • During his review of ReBoot Episode 3 "Quick and the Fed," Greg points out that the normal Damsel in Distress role was fulfilled by Enzo, not Dot like some might expect, and praised the show for stepping outside the normal realm of Saturday morning cartoons by subverting the viewers' expectations.
    • He criticizes Ranma for frequently putting Akane in the Damsel in Distress role, which he points out is not only repetitive but just plain bad for girls reading the manga.
  • Death by Newbery Medal: After discovering the ghostwriter for Animorphs #42. The Journey wrote an entire series based on animals getting hurt he delivered quite a withering, sarcastic, and faux-cutesy rant about using that for drama.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • He points out how redundant it was for the Ellimist to show the Animorphs the EGS Tower in the alternate future seen in Episode 1.12 The Stranger only for it to later come up on its own in Episode 1.14 The Leader, Part 1.
    • Greg notes how Animorphs #41. The Familiar repeats the standard opening exposition several chapters in, like they were worried someone might be starting the series forty-one books in.
  • Detonation Moon: For Animorphs #41. The Familiar, the Yeerks' plan involves turning the moon into a sun while the local resistance's plan involves blowing up the moon instead. Needless to say, Greg was very confused that both the outcomes for the heroes' plan and the villains' plan would have spelled doom for the entire Earth.
  • Dull Surprise: Summed up the best in his review of #24. The Suspicion:
  • Dysfunction Junction: Greg calls the Dak/Aldrea shipping "dysfunctional with a capital diss."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Greg says in his review of #44. The Unexpected that even Dorley Kindersley books, whose sales plans were built around the Tupperware party model, would be aghast with the seemingly pyramid scheme nature for the Web site of "MyReportLinks.com."
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Greg always points out how strange it was that a slow-moving bulldozer blew up an alien Space Fighter in #2. The Visitor.
  • Evil Gloating: Greg emphasizes the gloating of Visser Three, villain of Animorphs.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: In "The Dark Knight Retrospective," he points out the Joker's claim to being an agent of chaos directly contradicts the massive planning he obviously had to do in order to pull off everything the way that he did.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Talked about in great detail during his review of Animorphs #25. The Extreme when the Animorphs find themselves in the Arctic without any cold-weather morphs, and Greg concludes that he wished the Animorphs would have learned to start acquiring any animal they could have used in the future.
  • Fish People: Greg was very critical of the use of the Nartec in Animorphs #36. The Mutation and suggested they could have just as easily have been written in as an alien race instead of mutated human beings and not only would that have made more sense but it also would have eliminated many of the inconsistencies in the book.
  • Flat "What.": Greg delivers one of these followed by one of the larger Big "WHAT?!" variety when he learns the Yeerks apparently have no security for their computer systems on the Blade ship.
  • Freeze Ray: While not a Freeze Ray in the literal sense, Greg points out during his review of #44. The Unexpected that the Yeerks' new Freeze Ray which immobilizes people should be the biggest game-changer in their invasion of Earth since they can now freeze planes in midair and infest the passengers.
  • Future Imperfect: While reviewing the Alternamorphs books, he points out how likely it is we're doing it right now given how much trouble he went through tracking down accurate information on a pair of books just fifteen years old and whose contributors were all still alive.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot:
    • While reviewing Animorphs Episode 1.16 Tobias, Greg inserts the images of two kissing lesbians fondling each other in the background while praising Ax's new device, which can generate thoughts for everyone around them to see, as "the greatest invention ever."
    • Later on he performed a rather hilarious parody in his review of #32. The Separation with Marco instructing Mean Rachel and Nice Rachel to start kissing and touching each other after knocking Ax out and leaving him tied up in the woods.
    • And then in his segment for Breaking Spines #4. The Hunger, Greg theorizes that the author of the book, Whitley Strieber, found lesbian erotic fantasy more sexually appealing than homosexual fantasy, which the book seemingly glosses over.
  • Great Gazoo: Greg refers to the Ellimist this way in his review of #7. The Stranger.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: Greg eventually concludes that the actions of the two omnipotent beings of the series, the Ellimist and Crayak, portrays them both as jerks.
  • Godwin's Law: Greg mocks Cassie's reference to Nazis in Megamorphs #2. In the Time of the Dinosaurs.
  • Half-Human Hybrids: Discussed for his review of #25. The Extreme that mixing the DNA of an ancient alien race with that of humans for the reason given in the book, that humans have dense DNA, doesn't make sense because the Andalites' high intelligence and Telepathy suggest they have an even more complex DNA structure, and that the alien race in question had only been extinct for a few thousand years, so there wouldn't be any gaps in their genetics.
  • Harmless Villain: Greg always takes the opportunity to show, aside from the Alternate Universe seen in Episode 1.17 Not My Problem, how utterly ineffectual the TV Yeerks are as villains.
  • Healing Factor:
    • Talked about in #13. The Change, that Hork-Bajir can slice open their own heads and expose their brains for everyone to see, and the cut will completely heal within seconds.
    • Brought up in his review of Animorphs Episode 1.06 The Message how confusing it was that morphing doesn't heal injuries like it did in the books.
  • Hearing Voices: Hilariously discussed in Greg's #43. The Test review when it's revealed Tobias has been hearing Taylor's voice ever since she tortured him.
    Taylor's voice (Greg): Tobias, you vile, evil bird! You're in Atlantis! What's a bird doing in Atlantis? You suck! You're disgusting! Are those fish-people? You're in Atlantis! You're a bird in Atlantis!
  • Hide Your Gays: Joked about in his review for Animorphs Episode 2.03 The Front, that Marco's sudden interest in shoes and shopping had nothing to do with him being gay.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Discussed during his review of Megamorphs #3. Elfangor's Secret. After chasing Visser Four across history, the Animorphs finds themselves in an alternate version of D-Day, and Hitler himself is just a low-ranking truck driver, who Tobias "accidentally" cuts with his Hork-Bajir blades. Described as such by Greg:
    Greg: Cassie manages to talk him down, but Rachel drops a grenade on a tank and the explosion causes Tobias to jump and accidentally stab Hitler dead. Yes, all those time travel stories about how you can't kill Hitler, and here's one where they actually do manage to kill Hitler, but it doesn't matter! Well played, Applegate. Well played.
  • Honor Before Reason: Greg speculates in his review for Animorphs Episode 1.14 The Leader, Part 1 that the reason the Yeerks only use one type of security measure in all of their installations might be from a sense of fair play, although it was more likely due to their sheer incompetence.
  • Hurricane of Puns: In his "Batman & Robin Retrospective," Greg confessed, among other things, that he didn't really mind Mr. Freeze's infamous thousand ice puns.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Greg points out in his review of Animorphs #2. The Visitor how making a big show in stealing two drunk teens' guns instead of just flying away and then later berating Rachel rather harshly in using her morphing powers to stop a rapist make Jake and Marco both look like hypocrites.
    • In Greg's "Batman Begins Retrospective," he points out that Batman's decision not to kill the villain but that he doesn't have to save him from an imminent crash results in Batman being directly responsible for his death.
    • Greg gets frustrated that no one else on the team calls out Marco on his hypocrisy in bringing up the incident back in #12. The Reaction when Rachel lied about her allergy to the crocodile to the rest of the Animorphs when he was doing the same thing she'd done in #35. The Proposal.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Greg points out that the Yeerks frequently carry the Idiot Ball in the Animorphs TV series.
    • Greg believes all the heroes to be carrying the Idiot Ball in his review of ReBoot Episode 2 "Racing the Clock."
  • Idiot Hero: In his review of ReBoot Episode 7 "The Crimson Binome," Greg ranks Bob as a "6.5 on the hero effectiveness scale."
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Brought up in a rather hilarious parody for his review of #23. The Pretender, that Tobias would be willing to have bird sex with Rachel, and when it was revealed that her bird morph was actually male:
    Tobias (Greg): Ahhh, screw it. I'll be a gay bird for you, Rachel.
  • Imagine Spot: Brought up frequently during Greg's The Secret World of Alex Mack Episode Guide.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Joked about during his review for #29. The Sickness when the Yeerk soldiers keep missing their targets, and Greg quips they had brought in the "stormtrooper squad," complete with the superimposed image of Imperial Stormtroopers.
  • Informed Attractiveness:
    • Talked about in his review of Animorphs Episode 1.11 The Reaction, that Jason John McCole, the TV show's version of Jeremy Jason McCole, wasn't necessarily ugly but he also wasn't that much of a looker, who was described in the books as a sort of older Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
    • And then brought up again during his "Batman & Robin Retrospective," where he pointed out that despite the fact that Uma Thurman is relatively attractive in her own right, she doesn't have any of the blinding beauty aspects Poison Ivy is known for and he suggested that maybe she should have swapped roles with Nicole Kidman in the previous film.
  • In Name Only: During his "Batman Forever Retrospective," Greg points out that besides a general "two" motif, Tommy Lee Jones's Two-Face is "two-faced" in name only.
  • Insufficiently Advanced Alien: In his review of the infamous Helmacron books, both in #24. The Suspicion and #42. The Journey, Greg wonders how the Helmacrons ever developed FTL drives when they acted so stupidly, and he speculated that perhaps the Crayak whipped them up in a last-minute deadline to create a new evil species.
  • Just Friends: Greg points out in his review of Alex Mack Episode 1.05 "School Dance" that while there was some slight Alex/Ray Ship Tease there it never really developed into anything further as the series progressed and for once he was happy to see a boy and girl who just happened to be friends instead of Love Interests.
  • Karma Houdini: While reviewing The Secret World of Alex Mack Episode 1.08 "The Feud," Greg calls Ray out for escaping any kind of punishment after risking his life and Alex's well-being over an All-4-One concert, though he does like to imagine the character's absence from the next episode meant he was ashamed and hiding from Alex for a while.
  • Kick the Dog: Lampshaded by Greg during his review of #32. The Separation when Mean Rachel tears up Nice Rachel's teddy bear.
  • Last of His Kind: Greg brings up that the Arn seen in #34. The Prophecy, "Queef," is now the last survivor of his race and jokes that means he has to imagine him with the voice of Christopher Eccleston.
  • Left Hanging: During his review for the Animorphs TV show, Greg brings up that several of his favorite shows never got a proper ending and advised against season-ending cliffhangers in case the show was cancelled in the next season.
  • Limb-Sensation Fascination: Talked about during his review for #29. The Sickness, when Greg read out the passage when Cassie morphed as a Yeerk infested a host body, and used it to point out that as cruel as some Yeerks such as Visser Three can be, the species themselves are not evil.
  • Loophole Abuse: Greg describes the Andalites' plan in #38. The Arrival to unleash a particle virus which had similar effects to the quantum virus that had been outlawed after its use in The Hork-Bajir Chronicles as "loophole city."
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Brought up during Greg's review of Animorphs #5. The Predator when it was revealed that Visser One was Marco's mom, complete with a superimposed image of Luke Skywalker himself.
  • Made of Plasticine: Greg frequently points out how Taxxons are more useful as tools but when it comes to combat they are very easy to kill.
  • Magic A Is Magic A:
    • Greg points out that Brandon Sanderson's greatest writing strength is his ability to establish comprehensible rules for the various fantasy worlds he writes and praises him for always sticking to them, though he adds that the actual writing style itself tends to be very dry as a result of this.
    • While reviewing #39. The Hidden, Greg admits he'd be willing to ignore the blatant violations of the internal rules for morphing as long as it resulted in a good story, such as the morphing buffalo slowly being developed throughout the series and eventually becoming its own character.
  • Magical Negro: He calls the one from the Animorphs TV show Episode 1.16 Tobias one of the most straight examples of this trope he's ever seen, with a random black guy who appears in only one scene, gives Tobias a bit of wise advice, and then promptly vanishes.
  • Manly Tears: Brought up in his review of Ranma 1/2 Vol 1.
  • Mary Sue: invoked
    • Greg was rather critical of the term "Mary Sue" in Animorphs #38. The Arrival because he feels it's become meaningless since the original description from "A Trekkie's Tale" has been distorted into any female character who is overly qualified at what she does.
    • Greg's review of the Jack Reacher film discusses how it takes such a character and really makes him work in a four-step process: Reacher never does anything blatantly impossible, the other heroes aren't made to look like idiots to prop him up, the villains are so evil that you can't wait to see a Wish Fulfillment character like Reacher take them out, and every single other aspect of the film is so top-notch that you don't really care about the ridiculousness of its main character.
  • Mind Meld: Greg jokes that Visser Three uses a Vulcan mind meld to stop Chapman's host from rebelling in Animorphs Episode 1.05 Between Friends.
  • Miss Exposition: Greg points out in #36. The Mutation that Queen Soco was being built up to be the Big Bad of the book, but after her first encounter with the Animorphs, she was never seen again, meaning her entire character existed solely for the purpose of dumping exposition.
  • Mood Whiplash: He notes the strangeness of the ending in #42. The Journey being Played for Laughs when the dog that still has the rabies is eventually going to die and that in the meantime everyone else in the building is in serious danger.
  • Moral Dilemma: Greg points out how Animorphs Episode 1.07 The Escape took the Moral Dilemma from #17. The Underground, that of freeing captured hosts but at the cost of having the Yeerk permanently fused into the host's brains, and then killed any tension by very clearly showing how easy it was removing an infected Yeerk from a host's brain.
  • Moral Event Horizon: invoked In one of Greg's longer rants he fully lists how he believes Tobias making the decision to preserve the timeline by causing the KT Extinction Event in Megamorphs #2. In the Time of the Dinosaurs has Tobias crossing this line.
  • Murder by Inaction: Batman's "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you" rationale given when confronting the main villain for the last time is ripped to pieces by Greg during his "Batman Begins Retrospective" where he highlights the hypocrisy of the statement and how it contradicts the last two hours of the movie.
  • Narm: invoked
    • Greg can't help laughing every time he says "the Anti-Morphing Ray."
    • Greg finds the line "And then the Dracon beam blew up the buffalo" so unintentionally funny that he recites it mockingly instead of his usually serious manner.
  • Never Trust a Title: Greg points out that there was absolutely no prophecy mentioned in his review of #34. The Prophecy.
  • No Endor Holocaust:
    • While Greg has many problems with Megamorphs #2. In the Time of the Dinosaurs, one of the issues he describes was how the nuclear explosion had no effect on the setting when it should have been one of the biggest non-Yeerk events in the series.
    • In #41. The Familiar he's quite disconcerted that both the heroes' and villains' plans would wipe out all life on Earth.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Jokingly discussed in his review of #26. The Attack, that the Iskoort sold their public safety department for some beads.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Greg examines how to be a Nostalgia Critic properly in his "The Land Before Time" review.
  • Only Sane Employee: Gideon Van de Leur in his Doctor Who Season 6 skit.
  • Operation Blank: Greg calls the Animorphs' final plan in #22. The Solution Operation "Why the hell didn't we do this the first time," or Operation WTHDWDTTFT.
  • Padding: invoked
    • In his review of #6. The Capture he points out how time that could have been better spent developing Jake's character was wasted on Juan and Terry playing basketball and Jake buying a birthday present for his mom with Rachel and Cassie.
    • Brought up during Animorphs Episode 1.15 The Leader, Part 2 how the buttons used to fly the Blade ship to Earth or the Yeerk home world are both identical simply to pad out the episode.
    • Greg jokes during his review for The Secret World of Alex Mack Episode 1.08 "The Feud" that his segue into the backstory of the All-4-One band as well as their history with the show was designed to pad out the review due to the typically short runtime of his videos.
    • In #42. The Journey, Greg points out a key sign to invoking this trope would be when you can flip around all the roles of the characters without any significant effect on the story, i.e. whatever happens doesn't depend on who the character is and adds nothing to their development.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Greg was disappointed when Tobias morphed into Taylor in #43. The Test, which completely ignored Tobias's reaction to morphing a human woman and speculates this was because there's no way a straight cis teenage boy's reaction to something like this could be put in a kids' book series. He claims it's an absolute certainty that Tobias spent ten minutes fondling Taylor's breasts before heading out.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: During his VISSER review, Greg discusses the Yeerks' ability to take over other bodies and concludes that they are not a genetically evil species, that no matter how much they must be stopped, it's merely what they were designed to do in their natural environment.
  • Purpose-Driven Immortality: Talked about in his review of Megamorphs #3. Elfangor's Secret when the Animorphs were given total immunity to anything that might kill them on the condition that Jake would die, and used by Greg to describe how despicable the Ellimist's methods are.
  • Ramming Always Works: Talked about in his review of #36. The Mutation how ramming an alien submersible spaceship while in a flesh-and-blood killer whale morph is a very bad idea and yet somehow, it still works.
  • Reset Button: In Greg's review of Animorphs #19. The Departure he points out how everything goes back to the way it was at the beginning.
  • Sadist Teacher: Discussed in his The Secret World of Alex Mack Episode Guide review what complete jerks the teachers working at Alex's school are. Quickly becomes Fridge Horror when Greg reveals he'd had teachers like this during his time spent in the public education system.
  • Series Continuity Error: #34. The Prophecy is called out for making a mess out of the continuity which came before it as well as having no effect on anything afterwards, and how it couldn't even maintain its own internal continuity thanks to an editing oversight that resulted in something the characters already knew being portrayed as a huge shock later on.
  • Silicon-Based Life: During his review of Animorphs #25. The Extreme, Greg points out the high likelihood that the Venber, an ancient alien race adapted to extreme temperatures below zero, are silicon-based lifeforms, and further went on to explain that mixing their DNA with that of human beings makes no sense because the two races exist on an entirely different spectrum.
  • Simple Yet Awesome: Greg describes the Animorphs' plan to trash the world leaders' conference during the David Trilogy so that the Yeerks couldn't infest them this way.
  • Special Effects Failure: invoked Greg notes that the Animorphs TV series use special effects that fail to meet his standards.
  • Society Marches On: He feels the Animorphs series firmly belongs in The '90s as a more complacent time in American history with very few wars and a more trusting atmosphere.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Greg's confusion over Cassie's morals being challenged in #9. The Secret and resulting in her returning to the way she thought in the beginning is one of his funnier takes.
    • Greg remarks on how the structure of ReBoot shakes up the status quo in his review of ReBoot Episode 3 "Quick and the Fed."
  • Techno Babble:
    • During his review of Alex Mack Episode 1.06 "Science Fair" Greg points out that Annie's entry for the local science fair doesn't qualify as Techno Babble since an ion engine actually exists in Real Life, although a later character's entry clearly falls under the definition of Techno Babble.
    • In his segment for Breaking Spines #7. The Hollow Man Greg notes that this was one of the few instances with Techno Babble done right.
  • Techno Wizard: In one of his funnier rants for the Animorphs TV show, Greg points out how Ax reprogramming a cell phone to display images when it isn't designed to do that is highly inaccurate, and speculates that Ax might have literally cast a magic spell on the phone.
  • Tempting Fate: Discussed in Greg's review of ReBoot Episode 1 "The Tearing" that the second Bob promised he wasn't going to leave the diner a Game suddenly appeared over the city.
    Greg: Despite Megabyte's continued threats, Bob insists he'll stay right here and make sure Dot's Diner is safe. And because birds shit in your mouth the moment you look up, that's when a Game Cube starts to descend on Mainframe.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Discussed in his "The Dark Knight Retrospective," that for all of Batman's efforts The Joker survives and Harvey Dent dies at the end, and Greg praises the film for stepping outside the realm of your typical summer blockbuster superhero action genre with this kind of focused storytelling.
  • The Hero: In his review of ReBoot Episode 3 "Quick and the Fed" he dissects the structure of the series in question to reveal how Bob, despite being the main protagonist of the show, isn't your typical Saturday morning cartoon hero.
  • The Mole: As Greg points out in his #23. The Pretender review, the reveal that Aria is secretly Visser Three seems to be rather out-of-character for him, and attributes it to the author trying to flesh out Visser Three more and give him more depth, but then the ghostwritten era began, and this was promptly forgotten.
  • They Just Didn't Care: invoked When reviewing the short-lived Season 2 of the Animorphs TV show, Greg points out that the writing crew abandoned any serious attempt at storytelling in favor of lame kiddie gags.
    Greg: They.. gave up. The people behind this show... gave up. I mean, they didn't put in all they effort they could have before, but at least Season 1 felt like they were trying to make decent television. Here, they just threw up their hands and went, "I'm tired of making serious TV, let's just throw stupid shit on the screen and call it a day! Let's put Ax in a chef's hat and have him chop vegetables, because exploring the Chee's past or what the Yeerks have been doing since the Yeerk pool was destroyed would force us to think what we're doing!" I swear, if the show went on longer than it did, we'd almost certainly have an episode where Ax wears women's clothing.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: invoked
    • Greg calls out the Animorphs TV show when Ax's plan to get back home fails, restoring the status quo. Since everyone knew going in that this was the last episode, why not just let him succeed and give a tiny bit of closure to at least one of the characters?
    • Greg was so intrigued by the concept of a morphing buffalo slowly developing human-level intelligence and becoming part of the Animorphs team that he'd be willing to forgive the blatant Magic A Is Magic A abuse to get there. Unfortunately, the buffalo doesn't survive the book it's introduced in.
    • Greg laments that the two Alternamorphs books wasted a promising idea in just about every way possible, with the writers seemingly having no idea what to do with this opportunity; there's only one real "good" path and any deviation from this path meant instant death, the readers were kept away from the action, and having any knowledge of the series was actually punished!
    • Greg points out that #43. The Test feels far more like part two of an unfinished trilogy for Taylor than an actual conclusion to her story arc. He's also disappointed in the complete lack of attention given to Tobias morphing a woman, though he acknowledges that any realistic teenage boy's reaction would probably be inappropriate for the books' target audience.
    • He's utterly baffled at how #44: The Unexpected refuses to take advantage of being set in Australia, with the writer's reasons for wanting to set a story there apparently beginning and ending with "Cassie morphs a kangaroo," to the point that Cassie is an even bigger idiot than usual just so she can be in a position to do it. He suggests a much better story would be her having to flee into the Australian wilderness and waging a guerilla war against the Controllers chasing her by acquiring the most dangerous animals she can find on a continent that has no shortage of them.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Greg was very confused over the Techno Babble behind the Time Travel from Animorphs #11. The Forgotten, and advised future authors who wanted to write good Time Travel to avoid writing Time Travel altogether.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • Shown during Greg's review of Animorphs Episode 1.04 On the Run that Rachel was crushed in fly morph yet when she reappears she's perfectly fine.
    • And then brought up later that Tobias was very clearly killed in Animorphs Episode 1.07 The Escape, and then in the next episode, he's suddenly alive and well without any explanation.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • He theorizes that Jake's incompetence in #36. The Mutation may be the result of Hahn's tragic death affecting his judgment, but he'd have to be lying about his reasons to the rest of the team for that to be true, suggesting this trope.
    • Greg talks about how Ax misled the readers during #38. The Arrival when the Animorphs split up, and while he admits the constant use of this trope would have seriously hurt the Animorphs series, this one time was a rather unique twist, and he praised the book for it.
  • Villain Ball:
    • He frequently discusses how Visser Three carries this most of the time.
    • He finds David's tendency to suddenly carry the Villain Ball after his switch in #22. The Solution to be rather jarring and inconsistent with the character as we had seen him before.
  • We Can Rule Together: In his recent review of #43. The Test, he points out how Taylor made this offer to Tobias, though he turned her down.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • From the Animorphs book series, Greg discusses how this is typically Visser Three's primary method in dealing with his subordinates whenever they screw up his plans and wonders how it is that nobody ever notices the large number of people disappearing from the city they live in.
    • During his review of the TV show, Greg brings up how stupid it was when two Yeerks refused to report their failure to Visser Three in Animorphs Episode 1.13 The Forgotten because we never see Visser Three punishing his minions like he did in the books.
    • Hilariously brought up again in his review of VISSER when it turns out that killing your underlings is the least offensive crime the Council of Thirteen punishes, which explains why Visser Three does it so frequently without repercussions. Greg summarizes it as such:
    Greg: What? You killed twenty subordinates? Community service, I say! Oh, wait... you also misfiled XP-12? Off with her head!
  • Yoyo Plot Point:
    Greg: Visser Three is there. Visser Three is always there.


ThePopArena contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Greg announced plans to review the Eighth Doctor Adventures books starting in January, 2012, but he never did.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: invoked
    • The Animorphs books portray Cassie as the moral center of the team. Greg considers Cassie's moral speeches to be very annoying and treats her more as The Load.
    • Greg offers a darker and more dangerous interpretation to Tobias than the Animorphs books did.
  • Buffy Speak: Featured prominently in his review of Animorphs Episode 1.02 My Name is Jake, Part 2 when describing the adapted construction site that the Animorphs meet Elfangor in:
    Greg: Jake shows up and tells everyone what he saw at the construction... site... place... thing.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Greg can be quite sarcastic when the opportunity arises.
  • Follow the Leader:
    • Greg is imitating the SF Debris Opinionated Trek reviews. He isn't ashamed of it, though, and even references it in the opening of every Opinionated Animorphs review.
    • SF Debris himself would later do a book review for Foundation, though he found it a quite awkward process and says more are unlikely. Though he also did World War Z later on.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In his review of Animorphs Episode 1.04 On the Run, he states quite clearly that Rachel will eventually die later on.
    • He jokes that AniTV predicted the future when Marco commented that Cassie looked like she'd acquired a ghost in Animorphs Episode 1.06 The Message.
    • Greg referenced Animorphs #42. The Journey infamously breaking the morphing rules well before coming to that review.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: During his review of "Who is Bugs Potter?" Greg stops the video several times and insists he's not jealous that Gordon Korman had four books published before he even became a legal adult.
  • Insistent Terminology: Greg always pronounces it "Fictional Olympics Gymnastics Star Carla Belnikoff."
  • Malaproper: He's infamously bad at pronouncing names, pronouncing "escape" as "ex-cape."
  • Male Gaze: During his review of ReBoot Episode 7 "The Crimson Binome" Greg gets distracted by Dot's ass and quips someone must have been paying someone else to render it that way.
  • Metaphorgotten: Played for laughs while reviewing "The Angels Take Manhattan." It begins by mocking stereotypical film noir dialogue, which finally degenerates into him getting completely lost inside the "worm and apple" metaphor he was trying to make.
  • Orphaned Punchline: "Shut up, Char...Cassie." This was a reference to a Lost review show with the Running Gag "Shut up, Charlie," whose creator he collaborated with briefly, which was little seen and has mostly been taken down.
  • Pet the Dog: After all the times he's made clear how much he despises Cassie, he actually lets her off the hook regarding her not recognizing Sydney Airport's flight designation, despite many other fans mocking her for it, saying that he doubts he'd know it either as a teen.
  • Precision F-Strike: He is known to indulge in a few on a fairly regular basis, to the point that it was commented on in his early reviews.
  • Running Gag:
    • "Animorphs! The Great Sci-Fi Epic!"
    • "Visser Three is there. Visser Three is always there."
    • His references to the Bug fighter getting blown up by a slow-moving bulldozer in Animorphs #2. The Visitor.
    • His humorous metaphors for how fragile the Taxxons are.
    • "Because you see... Cassie is a moron."
    • His speculations that the Ellimist might have somehow been responsible for all the oddities in the Andalites' evolution.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • After reaching the ghostwriter era of Animorphs, Greg does an impressive job of tracking down the identity of each ghostwriter, and what other work they did. And for "In the Time of the Dinosaurs" he enlisted an actual paleontologist to help explain how accurate or inaccurate the book's portrayal of dinosaurs is.
    • Before reviewing the Animorphs TV show, he got an interview with producer Ron Oliver. This paid off with several insights into the conditions the series was made under throughout the course of the reviews.