is a satirical
newspaper devoted to all aspects of American life and culture, frequently parodying tropes mentioned on This Very Wiki
. It started in 1988 as a print newspaper by a pair of students at the University of Wisconsin, and originally distributed in Madison and Milwaukee
. It has since branched off into the internet, including video clips supposedly originating from the Onion News Network
. Its final print edition was published in December 2013, but the website has carried on.
Some people mistakenly think The Onion is a legitimate news source
, ranging from Christians against Harry Potter
, Fox Nation.com,
a news website operated by the Fox News Channel
to the People's Republic of China. Twice.
Others are aware of its parody nature.The Onion
also has an entertainment/pop culture newspaper and website called the AV Club
, which features pop culture news, reviews of almost every form of media (TV, albums, books, etc.) and interviews presented in a humorous but factual tone. The site's head writer was Nathan Rabin
until 2013. The AV Club maintains a separate identity and has very little (if anything) in common with The Onion
, mostly to avoid people mistakenly thinking that the AV Club presents fake news like The Onion
The Onion has in the past extended into a movie (critically derided, even by its own AV Club), and most recently two TV series — OSN Sportsdome
on Comedy Central
and Onion News Network
on IFC. In 2013, a pilot for Onion News Empire
, a behind-the-scenes look at the ONN newsroom, was made for Amazon.com. (It wasn't picked up.) There have also been three original Onion books - Our Dumb Century
, a history of the 20th century told through fake Onion front pages, Our Dumb World
, a Hollywood Atlas
filled with stereotypes and Black Comedy
, and The Onion Book of Known Knowledge
, a mock encyclopedia of all existing knowledge.
In Summer 2012, the Onion's YouTube
arm debuted Onion Digital Studios
, producing parodies of non-news programming ranging from nature documentaries to reality television
And in Summer 2014, the Onion launched another sister site, ClickHole
, a parody of clickbait websites such as Buzzfeed, Upworthy, The Huffington Post
, and Cracked
It's like a Transatlantic Equivalent
of Private Eye
(except decades younger, without the investigative journalism, and as a website) and similar to the later NJUZ
(which was created on the model "a British Onion
"). Similarly, Ministry Of Harmony
describes itself as "The Onion for China".
The site can be found here
Area Man Embodies And Parodies Following Tropes:
open/close all folders
- 8.8: In-Universe: "Pitchfork Gives Music 6.8".
- 24-Hour News Networks: "Media Landscape Redefined By 24-Second News Cycle"
- Aborted Arc: The mysterious congressman's presidential campaign initially seemed like just another funny article, but it was then followed up by him challenging the other candidates to a debate at dawn. Since then, nothing.
- Absent-Minded Professor: "Cure For Cancer 'Around Here Somewhere'".
- Adult Fear: "Every Parent's Worst Nightmare Is Losing A Child To Gorchul, The Dark Sorcerer Of Time"
- Adventurer Archaeologist: "Archaeologist Tired of Unearthing Unspeakable Ancient Evils".
- After the End: "Person Who Will One Day Become Warlord-Ruler Of What Was Once Nebraska Born In Omaha Hospital" claims that the USA will be a post-apocalyptic wasteland by the time a newly-born baby reaches adulthood. This one also has wild Mood Whiplash.
- Age Inappropriate Art: "Second-Graders Wow Audience With School Production Of Equus".
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
- Ain't No Rule: "Kentucky Violated NCAA Rules While Recruiting Basketball-Playing Dog".
- Air-Vent Passageway: "Clinton Escapes Through Air Vent".
- The Alleged Car: Jim Anchower's perpetually abused Ford Festiva.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: "Irrepressible Bad Boy Slays Seven". Parodied to the point where it crosses over into Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!. The bad boy in question is a sadistic, sociopathic mass murderer, yet the media still swoons over him because he's a handsome film star.
- All Men Are Perverts: "12-Year-Old Boy Scouts Offer To Give Breast Exams".
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: "Congress Adds 'All Your Base Are Belong To Us' Amendment To Bankruptcy Bill"
- Alpha Bitch:
- Alternate History:
- Americans Hate Tingle/Acceptable Hobby Targets: In-Universe.
- Anachronism Stew / Timey-Wimey Ball: "Historical Archives: Civil War Pre-Enactors Have Stage'd Battle Of Bull Run".
- And I Must Scream: "Study Finds Hearing Loved One's Voice Induces Excruciating Pain In Coma Patients"
- Angrish: "BREAKING: Incomprehensible Shouting Named Official U.S. Language"
- Animal Metaphor: An article has an entire family attempting to use the family dog as a metaphor for their relationship difficulties—The father for example saying that the dog feels confined and needs to run free, while the youngest child says the dog just wants some attention...
- Animal Wrongs Group:
- Animated Adaptation: "Aaron Sorkin Announces New 'West Wing' Animated Series At SorCon".
- The Anti-Nihilist: "Existentialist Firefighter Delays 3 Deaths"
- Antiquated Linguistics: The book Our Dumb Century loves these. For example: "Per the Mysterious Congressman's directive, the debate will held in one fortnight's time on the shores of the Tidal Basin at day's first light. It will be broadcast simultaneously by all network and cable-news channels."
- Archive Binge: In-Universe, "New Netflix Gas Lets Users Inhale Multiple Seasons Of TV Shows"
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: "If Only There Were Some Way I Could Watch Premium Movies In The Comfort Of My Own Home".
- Artifact of Attraction: "Wool Blanket Destroys Commune".
- Artifact of Doom: "Ashton Moves On From Demi, Dating Evil Black Disc".
- Artifact Title: "Steeler Defense Renamed 'Mid-Level White-Collar Curtain' To More Accurately Reflect Contemporary Pittsburgh".
- Artificial Stupidity: "Guard In Video Game Under Strict Orders To Repeatedly Pace Same Stretch Of Hallway", a report on Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
- Artistic License – Animal Care: "As Much As I Hated Putting My Dog To Sleep, I Know He'll Feel Better When He Wakes Up".
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: "I Bet I Can Speak Spanish".
- As Long as There Is Evil: "Osama Bin Laden Found Inside Each of Us".
- As You Know: "FAA Issues Holiday Reminder That Planes Can Crash And Kill You"
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: "Giant Bin Laden Destroys New York, Washington".
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Inverted with "It Doesn't Look That Cold Out, Reports Man Who Doesn't Have Thermo-Sensing Eyes".
- Ax-Crazy/Cute and Psycho: "A Vote For My Husband Is A Vote For Me Not Breaking Your Fucking Neck".
- Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted: "Autistic Child Ruins Marriage He Was Born To Save"
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: Several horoscopes are like this.
You will uncover an ancient Aztec curse this Thursday, one frightened locals say translates to "motherfucker."
- Bankruptcy Barrel: "Why Am I The Only Homeless Man Still Wearing Pickle Barrels?"
- Base Breaker: In-Universe, "Russell Crowe Praised For Stunning Portrayal Of Man Who Cannot Sing Or Act In 'Les Misérables'"
- Basement-Dweller: "Congress Cuts Funding For 26-Year-Old Stepson".
- Bears Are Bad News: "Whoooooo! Bears! vs. Aaaaaggh! Bears!"
- Becoming the Mask: "Why Can't Anyone Tell I'm Wearing This Business Suit Ironically?"
- Beneath the Mask: Parodied. "Study: Average Person Becomes Unhinged Psychotic When Alone In Own House"
- Best Years of Your Life: "Best Years Of Man's Life Apparently Never Going to Happen" brutally mocks this trope.
- Big Bad: "Department of Evil: All of You Must Die"
- Big Eater:
- Bigger Than Jesus: Published an apology in their corrections section after purportedly making such a remark, consequently revealing Inverted intentions:
"We would like to apologize for stating last week that The Onion is 'bigger than Jesus'. What we meant to imply is that The Onion is more important and influential than Jesus, not that our newspaper is in any way physically larger than He was. We regret any confusion."
- Bilingual Bonus: The so-called founder's last name is Zwiebel, German for "Onion".
- Black Comedy:
- Black Comedy Rape:
- "Black Bear Attacks, Rapes Zookeeper" is notable for being one of the few articles removed from the main site. A subversion, as the article's clownish treatment of the horrific subject matter was itself the joke.
- From Our Dumb Century, "January 30, 1969 - U.S. TROOPS PULL OUT OF VIETNAMESE PEASANT GIRL; 27th Infantry Division ordered to fully withdraw from Sia Nguyen, 14. 'That's enough for now, boys' says captain."
- Black Speech: "Royal Baby Speaks First Words"
- Blatant Lies: "Massive Flow Of Bullshit Continues To Gush From BP Headquarters".
- Blues: Exemplified in the recurring character of supposedly legendary Mississippi Delta guitar player Willie "Skipbone" Jackson, who frequently engages in pointless Epic Rocking, sings about how his woman does him wrong, and brings sanctions against Yemen.
- BOOM Headshot: Close Range, "The Game That Consists Of Nothing But Shooting People In The Face".
- Bothering by the Book: "Regulation Spitefully Obeyed To The Letter".
- Bottled Cool: "Area Man Buying Not So Much A Soft Drink As An Image".
- Bread and Circuses: "48 Syrian Civilians Massacred During Claire Danes' Emmy Award Acceptance Speech"
"At press time, government soldiers were throwing the bloodied corpses of the civilians into a large mass grave as Lena Dunham was anxiously waiting to hear if Girls would win the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series."
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
- Bulungi: The Trope Namer on fictitious African countries originated in this article.
- Buried Alive: "No Parent Should Ever Have To Bury His Child Alive".
- Buses Are for Freaks: "30 Miserable Lives Lost in Greyhound Bus Crash"
- Butt Monkey:
- There's a lot of articles that involve increasingly dreadful things happening to former U.S. President George W. Bush.
- Madison Daly and Tucker Hope are treated poorly by Brooke Alvarez.
- Call Back: One article makes reference to an online voting system that allows millions of masturbators to take part in the voting process. Two days later, the article "Nonvoter Knew It Would Turn Out This Way" ends with the nonvoter admitting he might start voting if the online voting for masturbators was up by 2012.
- The Cameo: Ben Stiller, Rachel Maddow, and Mike Huckabee were all on the TV show. The last two were on the same episode.
- Canada, Eh?:
- Canon Discontinuity: "Man's Life Riddled With Continuity Errors".
- Canon Welding: "Disney Reveals That Every Disney Movie Takes Place In Single, Unified Universe".
- Captain Obvious Aesop: "Third Amendment Rights Group Celebrates Another Successful Year".
- Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: Crash Comet, Space Commander from the Year 2000, the recurring enemy of Evil Overlord columnist Gorzo the Mighty.
- The Casanova: "7 Million People Direct Descendants Of Single Smooth-Talking Ancestor".
- Casanova Wannabe: How they portray U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
- Caught with Your Pants Down:
- Caustic Critic: "Awful Man Offers Witty, Acerbic Take On Everything He Sees".
- Chekhov's Gun: "Gun Goes Off During Life's Third Act".
- The Chew Toy: "Universe Admits To Wronging Area Man His Entire Life". Also, the protagonists in their reality TV spoofs "Sex House" and "Porkin' Across America".
- Children Are a Waste: "Department Of Education Study Finds Teaching These Little Shits No Longer Worth It".
- China Takes Over the World:
- Chinese Launderer / Stop Being Stereotypical: "Chinese Laundry Owner Blasted For Reinforcing Negative Ethnic Stereotypes".
- Church of Happyology: "Scientology Losing Ground To New Fictionology".
- Circles of Hell: "Tenth Circle Added To Rapidly-Growing Hell".
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: "Obama Warns He May Cease To Exist Unless America Believes In Him".
- Cleanup Crew: "High-Powered Washington Fixer Tells Blood-Soaked Obama To Listen Carefully".
- Cliché Storm: In-Universe, "Perfectly Marketed TV Show Somehow Fails".
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Several of the columnists, but particularly flaky stoner dude Jim Anchower.
- Jean Teasdale is a vicious and tragic deconstruction, as she's almost (but not entirely) oblivious to the living hell that is her life. This is Played for Laughs.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Oy.
- Comically Missing the Point: Uses this humor a LOT, especially their Today Now! and In The Know segments.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: "Hawaii Wins Little League World Series".
- Concept Album:
- Conspiracy Theorist:
- Content Warnings: "Teen Exposed To Violence, Profanity, Adult Situations By Family".
- Continuity Creep: The show on IFC has some recurring stories, such as the one involving time travelers trying to kill Suri Cruise and the FDA official yelling for everyone to start eating healthier.
- Continuity Nod:
- Joad Cressbeckler, first introduced as an "even more grizzled and ornery" alternative to John McCain during the "War For The White House", now has his own series (The Cressbeckler Stance) parodying FOX News' primetime commentary shows.
- Several stories about an "Area Man" visiting restaurants are about the same man (Don Turnbee of Erie, PA) with the same photo model.
- Conviction by Contradiction: "Idaville Detective 'Encyclopedia' Brown Found Dead In Library Dumpster". What was the perpetrator's alibi? He was at the North Pole watching the penguins.
- The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: "Naïve Detective Suspects Fair Play"
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: "'Layoffs Are Necessary If We Want To Keep The Lights On,' Says CEO Halfway Through Tasting Menu"
- Corrupt Politician/Sleazy Politician:
- Cousin Oliver: "To Join White House For Last Year Of Clinton Presidency".
- Covered in Gunge: "Ex-Nickelodeon Stars Relate Horrors Of Green Slime Syndrome".
- Cowboy Cop:
- Crapsaccharine World: The world seen in Today Now!
- Crapsack World:
- Crazy Cat Lady: "How To Put The Spark Back Into Your Relationship With Your Cat."
- Crazy Enough to Work: "Area Idea So Crazy It Just Might Work".
- Creator Breakdown: In-Universe, "Study: Children Of Divorce Twice As Likely To Write Bad Poetry".
- Crisis Crossover: "Clinton Goes Back In Time, Teams Up With Golden Age Clinton".
- Crossover: "KFC, Midas Team Up For Much-Anticipated Crossover Meal"
- Crosses the Line Twice: In-Universe.
- Cult: "You Call This A Doomsday Cult?"
- Dagwood Sandwich: "Report: American People Lead World In Compressing Big Sandwiches So They’re Bitable".
- The Danza: In-Universe, Tracy Toth, aka Today Now's Tracy Gill.
- A Date with Rosie Palms:
- A Day in the Limelight: "Is Pundit Duncan Birch A Worthless Idiot?"
- Dead All Along: Alarming MRI Shows Peyton Manning Has Been Dead For Past 6 Months
- Deader Than Disco: In-Universe: "'The Internship' Poised To Be Biggest Comedy of 2005".
- Deconstruction: "Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks".
- The Deep South: Repeatedly.
- Delicious Fruit Pies: "Spider-Man Distracts Dr. Octopus With Delicious Hostess Fruit Pies"
- Despair Event Horizon: "Fuck Everything, Nation Reports", after the Sandy Hook shooting.
- The Determinator: "‘The Onion’ Vows To Carry On Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program Until The Job Is Done"
- Development Hell: In-Universe, "Script Has Been Floating Around Hollywood For 75 Years".
- Did You Die?: "Candidate May Have Lied About Heroic Death In Vietnam".
- Dinner Order Flub: In Our Dumb World's entry on Burkina Faso, there's a joke about the very low literacy rate of that country when one of their diplomats tries to order a notice that an extra gratuity may be charged for large groups.
- Direct-to-Video: In-Universe, "Land Before Time VI Released Straight To Landfill"
- Dirty Old Man/Lovable Sex Maniac: Almost every article about Joe Biden portrays him this way.
- Discriminate and Switch: "I Won't Have My Daughter Bringing A Black Man Into This House Until I've Tidied Up And Created A Welcoming Environment"
- Disproportionate Retribution: "Little Boy Heroically Shoots, Mutilates Burglar".
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
"I just want to know if you still consider me appealing," she continued, "particularly to blacks, Hispanics, and women between 30 and 44."
- Door Stopper: "Girlfriend Stops Reading David Foster Wallace Breakup Letter At Page 20".
- Do They Know It's Christmas Time?: "Important Christmas Lessons Already Forgotten".
- Downer Ending: See Mood Whiplash examples below, as well as "World Now Down To 5 Stories That Are Inspirational", which followed on from the Real Life arrest of double-amputee Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius for murder. Even the article has a downer ending when the number is reduced to four (a father heroically battling cancer turned out to be having an affair with an underage girl).
- Drives Like Crazy: "General Motors Introduces New Instant-Win Airbags"
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe, "Circus Train Wreck Not Funny, Investigators Emphasize"
"According to officials, at least 13 circus performers have died, with dozens more suffering severe burns as a fire spread through the mile long train, eventually igniting a fuse that launched a human cannonball 200 feet above the devastating and not-at-all amusing scene."
"Other straight-faced sources confirmed none of the accident's sights and sounds were even remotely entertaining, from the spectacular fireworks launching every few minutes to the whimsical strains of carnival music echoing endlessly through the night as a result of smoke billowing through a steam calliope."
- Dumb Is Good/Only Sane Employee: "Developmentally Disabled Burger King Employee Only Competent Worker".
- Dysfunctional Family: Pretty much the whole point of Jean Teasdale's regular column, and strongly implied in Roger Dudek's, whose wife has grown to hate him and his jovial, neglectful stupidity ever since their third child was stillborn.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In "Biden Criticized For Appearing In Hennessy ads", a spokesperson for Hennessy was seen on Fact Zone, which is where the show on IFC would take place about a year after the video was released. The show would occasionally be mentioned on the news ticker on some other videos.
- Eldritch Abomination:
- Epic Rocking: "Carrie Underwood Releases Complex, Multi-Part Prog Rock Inspired "Sunday Night Football" Theme Song.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex: "BYU Students Protest Brandon Davies' Dismissal By Having Sex All Over Campus"
- Everyone Is Gay: "Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, And Daniel Day-Lewis Come Out As Gay".
- Everything Is Big in Texas: "Texas Constructs U.S. Border Wall To Keep Out Unwanted Americans".
- Everything's Deader with Zombies
- Evil-Detecting Dog: "Family Dog Barking At Evil".
- Evil Old Folks: T. Herman Zweibel, the fictional Editor of the Onion since 1888, is the epitome of this Trope.
- Evil Overlord: Gorzo the Mighty, Emperor of the Universe since the 1930's.
- Evil Power Vacuum / Jerk Jock: "Second-Most Popular Kid In School Assumes Power Following Death Of Star Quarterback".
- Evil Stole My Faith: One article had a Straw Loser whose very existence was an affront to both the theory of evolution (what purpose can this guy possibly serve?!) and the existence of a kind and loving god (If we're made in God's image, well...), with each side parading him around as the ultimate argument against the other.
- Exaggerated Trope: Many of the articles get their humor from taking a regular trope, such as the Cowboy Cop example above, and cranking it up full blast.
- Executive Meddling: In-Universe, "Network Executive Cancels Show After Ruining It In Development".
- Exponential Plot Delay: "Final Minutes Of Last Harry Potter Movie To Be Split Into Seven Separate Films".
- The Extremist Was Right: Some article, such as "Harry Potter Books Spark Rise In Satanism Among Children", essentially portray some paranoid conspiracy theorists as being right.
- Face-Heel Turn / Fallen Hero: "Lance Armstrong Admits Drug Use, Plans Return To Cycling As Flamboyant, Fan-Hating Villain"
- Fag Hag / Pet Homosexual: "Gay Man, Unattractive Woman Form Tight Bond".
- Fan Dumb: In-Universe.
- Fat Bastard: Jeremiah Alden, the fattest man on the Mayflower and possible culprit of genetic obesity in America. Although his demeanor is noted as being "joyous and agreeable" by the other settlers, his laziness and great appetite meant that he tended to do nothing but sit around all day and eat all of the colony's supplies, which led to half of the Puritans starving to death that winter.
- Faux Affably Evil: "So, What's It Going To Be?" by Bashar al-Assad is written in such a tone.
- Felony Misdemeanor: "USDA Official Takes Brave Stand Against Interstate Potato Pricing".
- Ferris Wheel of Doom: "Report: 40,000 People Died On Ferris Wheels This Summer".
- Fetus Terrible: Kate Middleton's baby looks to be one in such articles as "Kate Middleton: Cut This Monster Out of Me" and "Royal Family Releases Kate Middleton Ultrasound Image".
- Finishing Move: "NHL To Allow Finishing Moves In Fights This Season", with an obligatory Shout-Out to Mortal Kombat.
- Firemen Are Hot / Even the Guys Want Him / Black Comedy: "Incredibly Sexy Firefighter Tragically Dies In Steamy Blaze".
- First Contact Math: "Earth Contacted By Extraterrestrial Nerds".
- Fish out of Temporal Water: "Roman Centurion Crawling Out Of New York City Manhole In For One Wacky Adventure".
- Five-Token Band: "Graphic Artist Carefully Assigns Ethnicities To Anthropomorphic Recyclables".
- Flock of Wolves: "Klan Rally 70 Percent Undercover Reporters".
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: The tendency of many editorial cartoonists to draw bland "tributes" with dead celebrities at the Pearly Gates is mocked in Kelly's panels, which often depict famous people that he hates for some reason suffering in Fire and Brimstone Hell.
- Flyover Country: "Indianapolis Announces Really Embarrassing Bid For 2020 Summer Olympics".
- Foe Yay:
- For Want of a Nail: "Recent Rise In International Disputes Traced Back To Cute U.N. Tour Guide"
- Former Child Star / Future Loser / Green Aesop / Contractual Purity: "Entertainment Scientists Warn Miley Cyrus Will Be Depleted By 2013".
- Franchise Zombie: In-Universe, "Final Minutes Of Last Harry Potter Movie To Be Split Into Seven Separate Films".
- Friend to All Living Things: "Geese All Flying To Andy García's House For Winter"
- The Fugitive: "Fugitive Doctor Accuses Devlin MacGregor Of Fraud"
- Fun-Hating Confiscating Adult: One column has Senator Tom Delay losing his temper with a group of teenagers playing frisbee on the Capitol lawn. Said frisbee flies through the window and disrupts an important meeting. Delay tells the teenagers that he's keeping the frisbee and that they can't do anything about this because he is very politically powerful. When he turns away from the window, a hacky sack flies into the room and hits him on the head. Delay tells the teenagers that the joke's on them because he won't return their hacky sack either.
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In-Universe, "Everyone Outraged Catholic Priest Did That Thing Everyone Jokes About".
- Funny Background Event:
- Future Badass / Evil Overlord: "Person Who Will One Day Become Warlord-Ruler Of What Was Once Nebraska Born In Omaha Hospital".
- Game Show:
- Game Within a Game: "Warcraft Sequel Lets You Play a Character Playing Warcraft".
- Gang of Critters: "Woodland Pals Hold Impromptu Oompah-Band Jamboree".
- The Generic Guy: "Tim Duncan Announces Shoe Deal With Florsheim".
- Genre Blindness: "Experts Agree Giant, Razor-Clawed Bioengineered Crabs Pose No Threat."
- Genre Savvy / Call Back: "Sadly, Nation Knows Exactly How Colorado Shooting's Aftermath Will Play Out"
- Gentleman Thief: "Bad Boy Fencing Star Implicated In Daring Jewel Heist".
- Get A Load Of That Square: "Area Father Must Have Read Some Drug-Slang Brochure Or Something".
- The Ghost: Clifford Banes, the supposed host of In The Know. The various reasons given are Troperiffic:
"I'm sitting in for Clifford Banes, who has been accidentally erased
"I'm sitting in for Clifford Banes, who is battling his nemesis to the death on top of a clock tower
- Giant Enemy Crab: "Experts Agree Giant, Razor-Clawed Bioengineered Crabs Pose No Threat".
- Girlfriend in Canada: Appears in "Area Homosexual Thinks He's Still In The Closet".
- Girls Have Cooties: "10-Year-Old Denies Girl-Liking Allegations".
- Glurge: In-Universe, "Nation Afraid To Admit 9-Year-Old Disabled Poet Really Bad".
- Go Mad from the Revelation: "One-On-One Interview With God".
- Gone Horribly Wrong / My God, What Have I Done?: "What Kind Of Powdered Chocolate Drink Mix Have We Unleashed Upon The World?"
- Good Cop/Bad Cop:
- Gretzky Has the Ball: Inverted with "Even British Able To See Holes In Buccaneer's Defence".
- The Grim Reaper: Frequently appears in the cartoons.
- Hand Puppet: "Local Puppet Ignores Repeated Audience Dragon Warnings".
- Hands-On Approach: "Romney stands behind Ryan to Show Good Campaigning Stance."
- Harmful to Minors: "U.S. Children Still Traumatized One Year After Seeing Partially-Exposed Breast On TV".
- Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: "Teen Boys Losing Virginity Earlier and Earlier, Report Teen Boys"
- Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: "Ünited Stätes Toughens Image with Umlauts".
- A Hell of a Time: "Hell Now A Thriving Epicenter Of Gay Culture".
- Heroes Want Redheads: "I'm Certain That Sex With A Redhead Will Be More Fulfilling Than Other Sex".
- High-Altitude Interrogation: It's reported in their web video "Nation's Hardass Cops Finally Find Time to Play Games" that "hardass cops can be fucked with for two more hours, at which point they will resume dangling lowlifes from rooftops until they get the answers they want."
- Historical Beauty Update: "I Would Have Been Considered Very Attractive In The Middle Ages".
- Hive Mind: "Residents of Indiana Join Together To Form Collective Consciousness".
- Hollywood Atlas: Our Dumb World is constructed largely out of this Trope, with a dash of Black Comedy here and there.
- Hollywood Hacking: "Fast-Talking Computer Hacker Just Has To Break Through Encryption Shield Before Uploading Nano-Virus"
- Hollywood Heart Attack: "Doctors Say Average Heart Attack Victim Doesn’t Clutch At Chest Nearly Dramatically Enough".
- Hollywood Psych: Michael Falk is an autistic reporter in "Autistic Reporter: Train Thankfully Unharmed In Crash That Killed One Man"
- Hollywood Science: Coal Lobby warns Wind Farms may blow Earth off-orbit.
- Horse Racing: "Danica Patrick Takes Last Place In Preakness Stakes"
- Ho Yay: "World's Power Brokers Hold Annual Summit Where They Show Each Other Their Penises".
- Hulk Speak: "Why No One Want Make Hulk 2?"
- Humanoid Abomination: "Neverland Ranch Investigators Discover Corpse of Real Michael Jackson"
- Humans Are Psychic in the Future: "Report: World's Lone Non-Telepathic Individual Still Completely Unaware".
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: "Maverick Hunter's 'Human Beings As Prey' Plan Not As Challenging As Expected".
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: "Renowned Hoo-Ha Doctor Wins Nobel Prize For Medical Advancements Down There"
- Hype Aversion: In-Universe, "New Apple Friend Bar Gives Customers Someone To Talk At About Mac Products"
- Hypocritical Humor: "Female Scientists Say Domestic Abuse Not Problem, Says Team of Female Researchers Who All Recently Sustained Injuries Due to Various Accidents"
- I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: "But If We Started Dating It Would Ruin Our Friendship Where I Ask You To Do Things And You Do Them".
- If It Bleeds, It Leads: "Missing Girl Probably Raped".
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Inverted in a report on new financial regulations, among them requiring stock traders to pass a "Kitten and Hammer Ethics Test".
- I Have No Son: "DEA Official Announces Successful Drug Bust On Son's Room"
- I Have This Friend: "Bush Asks Advice For This Friend Of His Who Invaded Iraq".
- I Know Madden Kombat: "LBJ Deploys Green Bay Packers to Vietnam".
- I Love Nuclear Power: "We Must Expand Our Nuclear Power Program If We're To Realize Our Dream Of Superhero Mutants".
- Immoral Reality Show: Sex House, of course.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: "Nationals Book It After Foul Ball Accidentally Smashes Capitol Rotunda"
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Roger Dudek's regular column is basically just a nonstop barrage of the most horrible puns imaginable.
- Indian Burial Ground: "Economy Failing Because U.S. Built On Ancient Indian Burial Grounds"
- Innocent Inaccurate: A blend of this and The Onion's usual style is heartwrenching.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged
- The Internet Is for Porn: "Naked Woman Picture Gains Popularity On Internet". (NSFW)
- It Has Been an Honor: "It's Been An Honor, Gentlemen," Shift Supervisor Says As Giant Vat Of Molten Cheese Erupts
- It Is Beyond Saving: "FDA Commissioner: I Give Up On You Pigs"
- It's All About Me: "New Google Streep View To Provide Panoramic Imagery Of Meryl Streep"
- It's All My Fault: "Soaring U.S. Divorce Rate Blamed On Local 11-Year-Old"
- It's Popular, Now It Sucks: In-Universe, "Trekkies Bash New 'Star Trek' Film As 'Fun, Watchable'".
- It's Quiet... Too Quiet: "Tea Party Quiet... Too Quiet"
- I Want My Jetpack: "I Thought We'd Have Flying Slaves By Now".
- Japandering: "Obama Earns Money For U.S. By Appearing In Japanese Television Commercial"
- Jerkass Woobie: In-Universe, "Teen With Cancer Vows It Won't Keep Her From Being Mean, Moody Little Shit".
- Jiggle Physics: "New Video Game Technology Finally Allows Rendering Of Smaller Breasts".
- Joggers Find Death: "Nation's Joggers Sick of Finding Dead Bodies".
- Jurisdiction Friction: "Local Authorities More Than Happy To Let FBI Take Over"
- "Just Joking" Justification: "Come On, Lighten Up, I'm Just Being A Total Asshole".
- Just Train Wrong:
- Karma Houdini: Epic Saga Of Employee's Ineptitude Passed Down Through Generations Of Coworkers
- Killed Off for Real:
- Kill the Poor: "RNC Builds Levee Out Of Poor People To Protect Convention Site"
- Knight in Sour Armor: Existentialist Firefighter Delays Three Deaths
- Lampshaded Double Entendre: "Peyton Manning's Wife Tired Of His Constant 'Audibles' At The 'Line Of Scrimmage'"
- Lethal Diagnosis: "Lackluster Marriage Enlivened By Cancer Scare".
- Lets See You Do Better: "'Well, You Try To Reconstruct Iraq,' Says U.S. Defensive Dept."
- Let Them Die Happy: Family Tells Ailing Mandela Racism Over
- Lifetime Movie of the Week: "Oh, My God - The Baby!"
- Lighter and Softer: "New David Simon Project To Investigate Happy, Upper-Middle-Class Streets Of Wilmette, Illinois."
- Literal Metaphor: A good deal of the horoscopes.
You can learn a lot by putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Go the extra mile and put yourself in their clothes, their delicate hosieries, and their intoxicating undergarments.
You always knew your girlfriend was going to be high-maintenance. Still, never did you imagine you'd be replacing the internal combustion engine by yourself.
- Literal-Minded: "Concentric Circles Emanating From Glowing Red Dot".
- Lonely at the Top: "Rich Guy Feeling Left Out Of Recession".
- Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: "New Chuck E. Cheese Restaurant Forged In Iron And Blood".
- Loophole Abuse: "Child Bankrupts Make-A-Wish Foundation with Wish for Unlimited Wishes"
- Love Hotels: "Longtime Married Couple Subjected To Excruciating 'Romantic Weekend Getaway'".
- Lowest Common Denominator: In-Universe— "Pop Star's Single, 'Booty Wave', Most Likely Civilization's Downfall".
- Lysistrata Gambit: "Congressional Aides Withholding Sex Until Budget Compromise Is Reached"
- Mad Scientist:
- Madwoman in the Attic: LAPD Discovers Hidden Deformed Olsen Triplet
- The Magazine Rule: "Star Wars Gamer Magazine Boldly Claims To Be The Leading Magazine For Star Wars Gamers".
- Magical Negro: "Maya Angelou Honored For Courage, Blackness".
- Malevolent Architecture / No OSHA Compliance: "Video-Game Characters Denounce Randomly-Placed Swinging Blades"
- The Man: "The ONION's 1997 Man Of The Year".
- Man Child: Inverted, "Nation Down To Last Hundred Grown-Ups".
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Trope Namer.
- Manipulative Editing: Parodied in the Raw Justice video "Man Had Sex With Wife Thousands Of Times Before Killing Her". The "real" story is about a normal couple where the husband accidentally killed his wife after they got in an argument over their financial situation. Raw Justice's version turns it into an oversensationalized crime story about a "coital boogeyman" who held his wife captive for years as a Sex Slave before he murders her intentionally. They use every editing trick in the book to make the husband seem like a monstrous rapist and the wife as a battered victim with Stockholm Syndrome, while the actual content of the story is anything but horrific.
Dean Raid's description: In the kitchen where he would eventually murder her, John would have Mary prepare him sumptuous meals. He would force the captive Mary to listen to his rambling anecdotes about his job. Sometimes John would flex his power over her, demanding she tell him about her day as well. Sometimes... they would watch TV.
- Marathon Level: "NASCAR Considers Single 21,500 Mile Race For 2011 Season"
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": "Nationals Book It After Foul Ball Accidentally Smashes Capitol Rotunda"
- Medium Awareness:
- Mind Screw: "Obama's Weekly Video Addresses Becoming Increasingly Avant-Garde".
- Military Coup: "U.S. Government Stages Fake Coup To Wipe Out National Debt"
- Missing White Woman Syndrome / Beauty Equals Goodness:
- Mistaken Nationality
- Mockbuster: "Disney's 'Toy Tales' Hits Theaters Friday"
- Money, Dear Boy: In-Universe, "Nobel Fever Grips Research Community As Prize Swells To $190 Million"
- Mood Whiplash:
- Moon Landing Hoax: "Conspiracy Theorist Convinces Neil Armstrong Moon Landing Was Faked"
- Ironically, the story was reprinted by two Bangladesh newspapersnote as real news.
Added Armstrong, "I suppose it really was one small step for man, one giant lie for mankind."
- The Moral Substitute: This article explains that a West Virginia professor bans unreliable sources for papers. The first of them is The Onion, explaining that this is not news, but literally a parody. Then she explains the second source:
2) Fox News - The tagline "FoxNews" makes me cringe. Please do not subject me to this biased news station. I would almost rather you print off an article from The Onion.
- More Dakka: "Everyone At Office Planning Shooting Spree For Same Day"
- Most Definitely Not a Villain: "Cindy McCain Claims She’s ‘Just Like Any Other Female Human’": "Despite the media's portrayal of her, Cindy McCain says she is a down-to-earth person who enjoys breathing oxygen and consuming earth food for energy" "...who loves her children with both her hearts" but wonders why the man-creatures dare to doubt their masters. Just a normal person!
- MST: "Guy In Audience Shouts Out Perfect Thing".
- Multiple Demographic Appeal: "Adults Go Wild Over Latest In Children's Picture Book Series".
- Mundane Made Awesome / Calling Your Attacks:
- Mundane Utility:
- Murder Simulators:
- Musical Spoiler / Genre Savvy: "Ominous Music Heard Throughout U.S. Sends Nation Into Panic".
- Must Have Nicotine: "Smoking Now Permitted Only In Special Room In Iowa".
- My Greatest Failure: "Mall Justice Is Swift And Harsh".
"Thursday, November 3, 1995. Early afternoon. I have been working as a security guard at Clover Square Mall for two, maybe three months. The world is my oyster. I veer off my usual route and stop for a Mountain Dew at Mrs. Fields.
As I lean against the counter, shooting the breeze with Gail, I hear a distinctive clap-clap sound coming from the direction of Electronics Boutique. That sound can only mean one thing–running. Past Waldenbooks, Eddie Bauer, Lane Bryant and Sbarro runs a young Caucasian male. Paul, the assistant manager of Electronics Boutique, is pursuing him. I give chase, but I am too late. The perpetrator has escaped with a brand-new copy of Madden '96.
YOU COULD HAVE BEEN THERE. I was young, damn it. YOU COULD HAVE STOPPED HIM. I am a human being, not a god. HE IS OUT THERE STILL. I don't know that."
- Mystery Magnet: "[[http://www.theonion.com/articles/two-dozen-more-bodies-found-in-lake-wobegon,2695/? Two Dozen More Bodies Found In Lake Wobegon]]"
- Narm: Invoked with "Study: Children of Divorce Twice As Likely to Write Bad Poetry" (no longer available online but can be found in the book Dispatches from the Tenth Circle).
- Needle in a Stack of Needles: "Thousands Of Girls Match Description Of Missing Sorority Sister"
- Negative Continuity: For example, they made this article where the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage. The very next day they ran an article saying the Court voted unanimously to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act.
- Network Decay: In-Universe, "Learning Channel Switches to All-Gilligan Format".
- Never Live It Down: In-Universe.
- Never My Fault: "Shitty Human Being Blames Decreased Daylight This Time".
- New Technology Is Evil: Kelly's cartoons often mock/demonize teenagers for using these, typically referring to the devices as "gizmos". Contrary to the intended message, it only makes Kelly himself look hopelessly behind the times (he's bemoaned the fall of VHS◊ in the past, and only embraced the DVD format when it began to concede to Blu-Ray).
- Nietzsche Wannabe:
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: "Scientists Successfully Teach Gorilla It Will Die Someday".
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: "Hurriphoonado Cuts Swath Of Destruction Across Eastern, Western Hemispheres".
- No Animals Were Harmed: "Factory-Farm-To-Table Restaurant Proudly Serves Locally Tortured Animals"
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: "Nation Once Again Comes Under Sway Of Pink-Faced Half-Wit".
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: "If I See Doug, I'm Going To Kick His Ass vs. Apparently Doug Is A Better Fighter Than I Thought"
- No Indoor Voice:
- Noodle Incident: "There Should Be No Secrets In Our Relationship Excluding The Events Of March 2, 2004".
- No OSHA Compliance:
- No Product Safety Standards: has a few parodies of this, such as one video where a munitions manufacturer apologized for hollow-point rounds not exploding properly with animations showing the problem.
- Nostalgia Filter: Mocked In-Universe with "10 Things That Will Make You SUPER Nostalgic for The '90s", a 2013 slideshow with real photos of such great things as the Rwandan genocide, the firey end of the Waco siege, the Oklahoma City bombing, and Columbine. (And Alan Alda, for some reason.)
- No Talking Or Phones Warning: "Vehement Anti-Cell-Phone Guy Finally Caves"
- Not Listening to Me, Are You?: The AV Club reposted a wildly popular shot of two female leads from Community re-enacting a famous picture by Bettie Page. About halfway through the one paragraph article, they conclude no one is there to actually read it and just start listing random factoids.
- Off to See the Wizard / It's a Wonderful Plot: "Sitcom Resorts To 'Wizard Of Oz'-Themed Fantasy Episode".
- Off with His Head!:
- Old Shame: In-Universe, "Energy Secretary Just Assumed Cabinet Knew He Did Porn Films In The '80s".
- Only Six Faces: The American Voices feature has been showing the same six or so photos for over a decade, with different names and occupations each time (though one of them is often a systems analyst).
- Opinion Myopia: In-Universe: "Man Who Enjoys Thing Informed He Is Wrong".
- Organic Technology:
- Our Slogan Is Terrible: "New 'Small 'n' Flaccid' Ad Campaign Least Successful Ever".
- Overly Long Gag:
- Overprotective Dad: "Underprotective Father Demands Daughter Arrive Home By 10 A.M."
- Panty Thief: "Six Dead In West Point Panty Raid".
- Paranoia Fuel / You Suck: :
- Parental Obliviousness / Drugs Are Bad: "I Hope My Baby Doesn't Come Out All Fucked-Up And Shit".
- Parenting the Husband: Area Girlfriend, Boyfriend Achieve Perfect Mother-Son Relationship.
- A Party Also Known as an Orgy: "Obama Fed Grapes While Urging Press Conference To Enjoy Orgy"
- Pedophile Priest: "U.K. Cardinal Resigns In Wake Of—Get This—Sex Abuse Allegations"
- Periphery Demographic: In-Universe.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: "FCC Okays Nudity On TV If It's Alyson Hannigan"
- Photographic Memory: "Area Man Can Remember Exactly Where He Was, What He Was Doing When He Assassinated John F. Kennedy"
- Please Wake Up: "Daddy Put In Bye-Bye Box".
- Plot Hole: "Hollywood Maintenance Crews Sent Out To Patch Up Film Industry’s Plotholes".
- Poe's Law: Many, many times some articles have been mistaken for legitimate ones. "Republicans Vote To Repeal Obama-Backed Bill That Would Destroy Asteroid Headed For Earth" actually provoked a Libertarian blogger to agree.
- The most famous example, arguably, is the Chinese newspaper falling for the story about Congress threatening to leave Washington D.C. unless a better building was built (a parody of threats made by sports teams to relocate unless they received a new stadium). The one about Harry Potter sparking a rise in witchcraft, as well as the video about the boy bankrupting the Make-A-Wish Foundation with infinite wishes, have shown up in some email forwards.
- This site archives Facebook reactions treating the articles as real.
- Political Cartoons: Since 2006, The Onion has published an ongoing series of over-the-top editorial cartoons, drawn by artist Ward Sutton in the fictional persona of grouchy old right-wing crank Stan Kelly. Most of them feature the usual clichéd devices of the format as running gags - the Statue of Liberty weeping profusely, Kelly at his drawing board muttering a cynical pun in the corner. (A number have nothing to do with politics whatsoever, instead serving as a soapbox for Kelly to gripe about his lousy ex-wife, "today's messed-up teens", and the police officers who keep pulling him over for driving drunk.)note
- Poor Communication Kills: In Our Dumb Century, World War One ends when Archduke Franz Ferdinand is unexpectedly found alive; he had apparently been living as a Croatian peasant for several years and was completely unaware that everyone thought he was dead. The Allies are obviously displeased that the war was just a big misunderstanding, so the German chancellor orders Ferdinand's real execution to appease them.
- Popularity Polynomial: In-Universe, "Lava Lamps Revert From Passé Retro Kitsch Back To Novel Retro Camp"
- Potty Failure: The Capricorn of this horoscope list.
- Precision F-Strike: "Playboy Centerfold Has Big Dreams, Tits".
- President for Life: "Clinton Declares Self President For Life," complete with Commissar Cap and Chest of Medals.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Herbert Kornfeld, Accounts Receivable.
: 'Cause I keep my fly shit on my desk. I gots my dope spreadsheets, my hangin' file folders, my delinquent-account file, my paper clips, my Post-It note dispenser, my monthly desk planner, my Midstate Office Supply business cards, my four-color ball-point pen, my motherfuckin' dot-matrix printer address labels, and my stoopid-fresh three-hole punch. Not to mention my computer. I swear, if I see any of y'all within three feet of my computer, I'll put a Lee Van Cleef
on your bitch ass. I'll come at you like a mother fuck
- Not all that fly. Kornfeld was a big fan of Chicago.
- Product Placement / Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: "Should More Americans Get In On The EZ-Go Juicer Craze?"
- Professional Wrestling: "Vince McMahon's X-SPAN Promises Bone-Crunching Legislative Coverage".
- Properly Paranoid: "Paranoid Syrian Man Thinks Government Out To Get Him"
- Public Medium Ignorance / Snark Bait: "NASCAR Coach Reveals Winning Strategy: Drive Fast".
- Raised by Wolves: "Girl Raised From Birth By Wolf Blitzer Taken Into Protective Custody".
- The Rashomon: Point/Counterpoint, particularly "European Men Are So Much More Romantic Than American Men vs. American Women Studying In Europe Are Unbelievably Easy".
- Reactionary Fantasy: The cartoons by the fictitious artist "Kelly" are in this vein. The character himself is a parody of an out of touch old man with conservative and (in fitting with the character's Strawman Political nature) sometimes racist or downright deranged opinions.
- Real Dreams Are Weirder:
- Reality Ensues: "Being A Detective Who Talks To Ghosts Not As Exciting As TV"
- Really Gets Around: "Town's Teen Pregnancy Spike Due To One Impressive Youth".
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "New Study Finds It Is Impossible To Lose Weight, No One Has Ever Done It, And Those Who Are Trying Should Give Up"
- Reckless Gun Usage: "8-Year-Old Accidentally Exercises Second Amendment Rights"
- Recursive Reality: "Physicists Discover Our Universe Is Fictional Setting Of Cop Show Called 'Hard Case"
- Red Scare / Evil Only Has to Win Once: "USSR Wins Space Race As U.S. Shuts Down Shuttle Program".
- Refuge in Audacity:
- Released to Elsewhere:
"To be honest, we'll probably spare everyone the grisly details and just say we were forced to euthanize them."
- Religion Tropes
- Repurposed Pop Song: "Song About Heroin Used To Advertise Bank".
- Rerouted From Heaven: "Mother Teresa Sent to Hell in Wacky Afterlife Mix-Up".
- Retail Riot: "42 Million Dead In Bloodiest Black Friday Weekend On Record"
- Retraux: All of Our Dumb Century.
- Robosexual: "Ford Assembly Line Foreman Thinking About Asking Out Cute Welding Robot From Work".
- Rousing Speech: Attempted in "Scrappy Band Of Lovable Misfits No Match For Rich Kids", but, like all the other tactics the kids use to save their camp, it fails.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: "Star Trek Introduces Alien Character With Totally Different Forehead Wrinkles".
- Rule of Cool:
- Running Gag: Many.
- When the print versions need to fill a small space, they put in a small article with nothing but the repeated phrase "Passersby were amazed by the unusually-large amounts of blood." (which also appears in context during "Blood...Blood Everywhere").
- Recurring article types include "[Corporation] scientists discover [related discovery]", among others. In the sports section, any article about Tim Duncan will make fun of how bland he is.
- Clifford Banes has never actually appeared in his self-titled panel-discussion series In the Know with Clifford Banes; there's always a sit-in newscaster who gives a reason, often completely absurd, for Banes' absence.
- The Statue of Liberty crying appears in many Kelly cartoons.
- Our Dumb World, every single African country has at least one resident named Mtumbe Ngoube.According to
- All the George W. Bush injury articles (see Butt Monkey and Take That) end with "Bush is resting comfortably at Bethesda Naval Hospital."
- "This Week In History" always includes Professor Timothy Hendry sidetracking into a long rant. After he apparently killed colleague Eric Kaufman, he started in on some daddy issues instead. After that, he started arguing about payment with the hosts.
- Dr. Eli Wasserbaum is a recurring "expert" quoted in many articles.
- Taylor Swift's dating life, which thus far has included Garfield creator Jim Davis, Senator Joseph McCarthy, Suri Cruise, James Holmes, the winner of a "Win a Date with Taylor Swift" contest (which she wrote a scathing hit breakup song about), Christopher Dorner (who she got back together with after he was killed), the Watertown boat Dzokhar Tsarnaev was found in, an Alternate Universe bodybuilder George Harrison, and the Mars Curiosity rover.
- A photo of Alan Alda keeps showing up in slideshows.
- Ruthless Modern Pirates: Fake political cartoonist Kelly did a panel about these at the end of October 2013, not long after the release of Captain Phillips...but it presents them in a positive light, labeling them "Today's Swashbucklers" for carrying on the tradition set by Blackbeard, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Captain Morgan, suggesting that all he knows about piracy then and now comes from romanticized fiction and/or Pop-Cultural Osmosis (Sir Henry Morgan is mostly known in the 2000s as the namesake of a brand of rum).
- Sadistic Choice: "So, What's It Going To Be?"
- Sampling: "Nation's Rappers Down to Last Two Samples".
- Samus is a Girl: "Hotshot Test Pilot Removes Helmet, Reveals Female Status".
- Sapient Cetaceans: Parodied this with the article "Dolphins Evolve Opposable Thumbs: 'Oh, Shit,' Says Humanity". The article is then filled with stories of the Dolphins' incredibly rapid technology development, and marine biologists committing suicide or preparing to serve the Dolphin overlords.
- Sarcasm Failure: "Muscleman Put In Charge Of World's Fifth-Largest Economy", filled with legit facts and news due to being so unbelievable at the time.
- Save Our Students: "Naive Teacher Believes in Her Students".
- Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times:
- Scare 'Em Straight:
- Scenery Porn: "National Parks Closed For Annual Remajestification".
- Schmuck Bait: During Fact Zone's intro, if you pause at just the right time you'll see a TinyURL address. It leads to a Rickroll.
- School Study Media: "High School Freshman Thinks ‘Romeo And Juliet’ Might Just Be Her Favorite Play".
- Screwed by the Network: In-Universe. On the season finale of the show on IFC, The Cressbeckler Stance was canned so the network could introduce a new program about motorcycles in the spirit of the new American Dream.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: "Wealthy Teen Nearly Experiences Consequence".
- Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: "It's Okay, I'm Attractive".
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: "U.S. Troops Draw Up Own Exit Strategy".
- Seasonal Rot: In-Universe: 5-Year-Old Says 'Sesame Street' Has Sucked Since 2010.
- Second-Person Narration: The paper's preferred method to point out This Loser Is You, such as "Everyone Still Remembers Time You Threw Up In 5th Grade".
- Seize Them!: "Seize Him!" (Which also includes a bunch of other tropes expected in this scene: the Evil Overlord, Just Between You and Me, You Have No Chance to Survive, Agony Beam, Surrounded by Idiots, etc.)
- Self-Deprecation: "New Study Finds 'The Onion' Has Never Been More Popular, More Beloved, Or More Respected", written in the wake of the backlash towards their Quvenzhane Wallis insult.
- Serious Business:
- Setting Update: "Unconventional Director Sets Shakespeare Play In Time, Place Shakespeare Intended".
- Seven Deadly Sins: "All Seven Deadly Sins Committed At Church Bake Sale".
- Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: One article commented on the scandal of the Catholic Church covering up for pedophile priests (by moving them around instead of ousting and reporting them, thus covering their tracks and giving them access to new victims) by having the Pope announce that God will forgive the children for their crime of leading his priests into temptation.
- Sex Sells / All Men Are Perverts / Distracted by the Sexy / Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: "Poll Finds Majority Of Male Voters Would Have Elected Naked Woman". (NSFW)
- Shaped Like Itself:
- Shaving Is Science:
- She Cleans Up Nicely: "Bearded Lady Cleans Up Real Nice".
- She Is All Grown Up: "Teenage Girl Blossoming Into Beautiful Object".
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: "George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost of Iraqi Child That Follows Him Everywhere".
- Shoddy Knockoff Product / The Theme Park Version: "Yellowstone National Park Concerned About Competing 'Yello-Stone Natural Park' Built Right Across Street"
- Side Effects Include...: "Pfizer Launches 'Zoloft for Everything' Ad Campaign".
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: "Grown Adult Actually Expects To Be Happy".
- Single Tear: Kelly invariably depicts the Statue of Liberty as shedding one, whether out of sorrow or joy.
- Skewed Priorities:
- Small Name, Big Ego: In-Universe: "Somebody's Got to Save This Country From Certain Doom, And Let's Face It, That Person Is Me".
- So Bad It's Horrible - Music: In-Universe with "Man Just Going To Grab Guitar And Old Four-Track, Go Out To Cabin In Woods, Make Shittiest Album Anyone's Ever Heard" and "No One Admits To Singing, Writing, Producing Nation's No. 1 Song".
- Sophisticated as Hell: Smoove B.
Smoove B: Lay your body down, and I will show you love. I will drape you in the finest black silks. I will travel to the finest Asian nations to attain this silk. Then, I will run my fingers through your hair. I will caress your body slowly and whisper in your ear while I do so. I will tell you such things as, "You are the most beautiful woman in the world" and "Your skin is like the most expensive Swiss chocolate money can buy" and "Your eyes are like windows to paradise," and other romantic things that will make you tremble with desire. I will hit you doggy-style.
- Pretty much all of Horrifying Planet, especially this one.
The sound is heard in their small earholes. The two manatees did meander over, I assumed spurred by some rudimentary form of empathy to help their helpless brethren. This was incorrect. When they got there, the two manatees - seriously, this- this actually happened -worked together to hold the crippled one firm up against the glass of the inclosure, to help the first manatee finally succeed in fucking it in the ass.
- So Unfunny It's Funny:
- So What Do We Do Now?: Voice Inside Cheering Libyan Rebel's Head: 'Oh, Fuck, Now What?'".
- Spoiler: In-Universe, "Final Harry Potter Book Blasted For Containing Spoilers".
- Spurned To Suicide: ''David Cameron To Scottish People: ‘I’ll Kill Myself If You Leave’''
- Stalking Is Love: "Romantic-Comedy Behavior Gets Real-Life Man Arrested".
- Start of Darkness: "Cheadle Planned Darfur Genocide to Create Role".
- Stealth Cigarette Commercial: "Philip Morris: 'Please Talk to Your Cooler Children About Cigarettes'".
- Stealth Sequel "Francis Ford Coppola Reveals Every ‘Godfather’ Film Took Place In Same Narrative World"
- Stepford Smiler: The hosts of Today Now! are Type B, although it's possible Tracy Gill is Type A.
- Stoners Are Funny:
- Story Arc: In July 2009, T. Herman Zweibel sold the Onion to a Chinese salvage fishery, and the publication was quickly filled with pro-China propaganda and ads for fish byproducts. However, after a few days, the Chinese realized the collapse of the newspaper industry made their purchase worthless and gave the Onion back to its original management. This did not affect the AV Club, although they did let worried readers know that the company was indeed not sold to the Chinese.
- In June 2011, a week of articles blatantly touted The Onion as deserving a Pulitzer Prize, following a Zweibel editorial stating that he hated Pulitzer and decided it would be the best possible way to piss on his grave. A lobby group was formed, whose president turned out to be an embezzler. Several celebrities appeared in YouTube videos promoting the campaign.
- Stranger Than Fiction: Muscleman Put In Charge Of World's Fifth-Largest Economy is a perfectly accurate depiction of fact, just with an unusual tone.
- Strange Syntax Speaker: "Rules Grammar Change"
- Straw Critic: Jackie Harvey is an inversion, as he loves damn near any movie put out.
- Straw Feminist: "I Don't Support Feminism If It Means Murdering All Men".
- Strawman Political: The editorial cartoons are done by a strawman conservative who draws even more ridiculous strawman liberals.
- Strictly Formula: All of Jim Anchower's articles pretty much follow the same formula — first he complains about his car, then mentions he lost whatever job he had for the intermittent time between articles.
- Student Teacher Romance: "Lonely Teacher, Outcast Student Begin Somewhat Endearing Sexual Relationship". Also includes Shipper on Deck.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: "Running Back's Buttocks Undulate Hypnotically In Sexuality-Challenging Slow-Motion Replay".
- Sturgeon's Law: "Internet Scam Alert: Most "Kickstarter" Projects Just Useless Crap
- Suddenly Sexuality: "Newly Out Gay Man Overdoing It".
- Super-Deformed: "Bratz Dolls May Give Young Girls Unrealistic Expectations Of Head Size" explores the ramifications of even the mild form (4 heads) seen in Bratz dolls.
- Super Serum: "Clinton Injected With Highly-Unstable Experimental Growth Serum".
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
- Inverted; "Google Responds To Privacy Concerns With Unsettlingly Specific Apology".
- "When I Have Kids, I'm Not Going To Drown Them"
- "Attempt To Recreate Incredible Night Out From Youth Works Perfectly"
- "Life Jackets Issued To All Americans For Some Reason". Nothing to worry about though! Also, Homeland Security recommends wearing them at all times and the Navy is building shipyards in Idaho, Missouri, and Ohionote . No reason, though.
- "My fellow Americans, you may have noticed some small changes in the way we're asking you to go about your daily business," said Bush, his words muffled by a brass diving helmet. "The government is not trying to scare you. We just want you to be prepared for the very remote possibility that your lives will never be the same."
- "Again, I cannot stress enough what a longshot that particular unspecified scenario is," Bush continued. "We are not facing what I would call a 'credible threat,' so don't even bother worrying about it."
- "New Study Finds 'The Onion' Has Never Been More Popular, More Beloved, or More Respected" Explanation
- "Gore Camp Denies Putting Bush Camp's Canoe In Treetop"
- Sword of Plot Advancement / Reforged Blade: "Congress Sets Sail In Search Of Fabled Sword Of Bipartisanship".
- Take That:
- Take That, Audience!: Known to do this from time to time.
"Americans reported feelings of overwhelming disgust with whatever abhorrent bastard did this and with the world at large... and above all with their own pathetic goddamn selves, sitting in front of a fucking computer instead of doing fucking anything to help anyone..."
So, as managing editor of CNN.com, I want our readers to know this: All you are to us, and all you will ever be to us, are eyeballs. The more eyeballs on our content, the more cash we can ask for. Period. And if we’re able to get more eyeballs, that means I’ve done my job, which gets me congratulations from my bosses, which encourages me to put up even more stupid bullshit on the homepage. I don’t hesitate to call it stupid bullshit because we all know it’s stupid bullshit. We know it and you know it. We also know that you are probably dumb enough, or bored enough, or both, to click on the stupid bullshit anyway, and that you will continue to do so as long as we keep putting it in front of your big, idiot faces. You want to know how many more page views the Miley Cyrus thing got than our article on the wildfires ravaging Yosemite? Like 6 gazillion more.
That's on you, not us.
- The Talk: "Daughter Thinks It's Time To Have Sex Talk With Parents".
- Terrorists Without a Cause: "Conceptual Terrorists Encase Sears Tower In Jell-O"
- Teens Are Monsters: "15-Year-Old Girl Viciously Torn Apart By Rabid Pack Of Peers"
- Testosterone Poisoning / Real Men Wear Pink "New Texas-Style Yogurt To Feed Man-Size Hunger For Yogurt"
- There Is No Kill Like Over Kill: “NYPD Apologizes For Accidental Shooting-Clubbing-Stabbing-Firebombing-Choking-Impaling-Beheading-Electrocution-Lethal injection death"
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks: In-Universe:
- This Bear Was Framed: Inverted in this story.
- Three-Month-Old Newborn: "Woman on TV Gives Birth to Four-Month-Old Baby".
- Throw It In: In-Universe, "Police Interruption Hastily Written Into Student Film".
- Toilet Seat Divorce: Parodied in the Libra of this set of horoscopes.
You’re about to go through a really messy divorce, thanks in large part to the Philly cheese steak you’ll refuse to put down.
- Token Minority: "Black Guy Photoshopped In". As 11points demonstrates, this is Truth in Television.
- Token Trio: Can be observed in the peer review panel in this article.
- Too Hot for TV: "C-SPAN Releases 'Too Hot For C-SPAN!' Video".
- Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: The host of the "Troublehacker" videos.
- Too Soon:
- Trailers Always Spoil: "'Iron Man' Trailer To Be Made Into Feature Film".
- Tranquil Fury: "Dad Way Scarier When Controlling Temper."
- Transforming Mecha: "Kim Jong Il Unfolds Into Giant Robot".
- Translation By Volume: This article on traveling abroad advises that shouting at foreigners is useful, along with many other helpful tips for American tourists.
- Transparent Closet:
- Trans Equals Gay: "Conservatives: Sex Change Only Barrier Between Gays/Marriage".
- [Trope Name]: Used in perhaps the most spot-on parody of 24-hour cable news ever, "Breaking News: Some Bullshit Happening Somewhere".
- Troubled Production: "Me Explain Why Miley Cyrus Was Our Top Story This Morningrry-gilliam-barbecue-plagued-by-production-delay,4746/ Terry Gilliam Barbecue Plagued By Production Delays".
- True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-Universe: "Obama's Weekly Video Addresses Becoming Increasingly Avant-Garde".
- Underdogs Never Lose: "Scrappy Band Of Lovable Misfits No Match For Rich Kids".
- Understatement: "Tensions Mount After North Korea Destroys All Of Asia".
- Unexpected Successor: "Last Remaining Politician Must Rebuild Entire Government Following Bloodiest Midterm Election In American History".
- Unintentional Period Piece: "Area Man Consults Internet Whenever Possible", written in 2000, is supposed to be a satire of people who are obsessed with the Internet. Area Man uses the Internet to do things like check on movie showtimes, look up word definitions, and find food recipes. Within a short few years, people everywhere would use the internet for stuff like that all time time.
- Un-Person: "White House Denies Existence Of Karl Rove"
- Unstoppable Rage: "Twelve Customers Gunned Down In Convenience-Store Clerk's Imagination".
- Updated Re-release: "Classic Movie 'Avatar' Updated For Today's Audiences".
- Video Game Settings: "Neighborhood Would Make A Great Video Game Level".
- Viewers Are Goldfish: "FCC: All Programming To Be Broadcast In ADHDTV By 2007".
- Viewers Are Morons: "Microsoft Word Now Includes Squiggly Blue Line To Alert Writer When Word Is Too Advanced For Mainstream Audience".
- Villain Has a Point: "U.S. Authorities Can't Really Fault Al-Qaeda For Deadly Bombing Of Carnival Cruise Ship"
Following Monday's deadly terrorist attack on a Carnival Cruise Line ship, U.S. officials have had difficulty issuing a stern condemnation of the incident, saying that while any act of terrorism is inexcusable, they couldn't completely blame al-Qaeda for wanting to blow up what is essentially a giant, floating symbol of everything that is truly god-awful about America.
- Villain with Good Publicity: "PR Firm Kills Innocent Child".
- Visual Pun: "Guy Who Normally Holds Up Letter 'D' Sick This Week".
- Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: "Online University Cracks Down on Rowdy Online Fraternity".
- Walking Techbane: "My Computer Totally Hates Me! vs. God, Do I Hate That Bitch".
- Wall of Text:
- Waking Up at the Morgue: "Nude Biden Wakes Up On Cold Slab In D.C. Morgue"
- Wealthy Yacht Owner: "Rising Income Inequality Causing Wealthy Americans To Take On Second Sailboat"
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: "Romney Spends Day Tearfully Apologizing At Father's Grave".
- We Will Use WikiWords In The Future: Future News 2137 has the anchors and interviewees using words like "Frustrage" and "Criticalism".
- Wham Line: The very last line of the aforementioned "Cult Divided On Whether To Let Women Become Telepathic-Vision Clerics" article. "This whole argument will be moot in six days when we board up the windows and burn ourselves alive."
- What Could Have Been: In-Universe, "97-Year-Old Dies Unaware Of Being Violin Prodigy".
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: "Report: 10 Million Killed Annually By Stepping Out Of Comfort Zones".
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: In-Universe
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: "If I Had One Piece Of Advice For Today's Youth, It Would Be To Throw A Baseball Really, Really Well".
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: "Huffington Post Completes 63 Million Page 'Where Are They Now' Slideshow Of Every Celebrity Ever"
- Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: "Local Bar Comes Out As Gay".
- Whole Plot Reference: Apple iPhone fever as The Emperor's New Clothes in "Apple Claims New iPhone Only Visible To Most Loyal Of Customers".
- Wild Child: "Girl Raised From Birth By Wolf Blitzer Taken Into Protective Custody".
- Wild Teen Party: "Congress Lowers Drinking Age To 17 Just For Jenny's Party"
- A Wizard Did It / Techno Babble / Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything: "Sci-fi Writer Attributes Everything Mysterious To 'Quantum Flux'".
- The Woobie: In-Universe, "Awkward New International Student Saw His Entire Family Murdered In The Congo"
- Word Salad Philosophy / Talkative Loon / Techno Babble: "Raving Lunatic Obviously Took Some Advanced Physics".
- Worst News Judgment Ever:
- Worth It: "Confused NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin Runs Over 30 Golfers During Attempt To Win FedEx Cup"
- Wrong Genre Savvy: "Man Who Will Die In Great Eastern Seaboard Flood Of 2023 Preparing For Mayan Apocalypse".
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: "Alphabet Updated With 15 Exciting New Replacement Letters".
- You Bastard: #2 in "The People Who Mattered in 2010" was "Snooki - Just Try Not To Think About Who Should Really Be In This Spot".
- You Can't Fight Fate: Most of the horoscope entries, although this list's Scorpio is probably the most blunt example.
Try as they might, the stars can’t see the point in telling you about next week. You’ll just do whatever you damn well please, anyway.
- You Look Familiar: Todd Alan Crain (Tucker Hope) and Suzanne Sena (Brooke Alvarez) both were news anchors on the web clips as Jeff Tate and Ana Gentry, respectively.
- You Make Me Sic / Comically Missing the Point: "Nation's Educators Alarmed By Poorly-Written Teen Suicide Notes".
- You No Take Candle: "Republicans Reach Out To Women With New 'No Punch Pretty Lady' Bill"
- You Should Have Died Instead: