YMMV / Cracked


From the website:

  • Acceptable Targets:
    • Depending on the Writer really, given that the site has so many writers, but usual subjects include teenagers, hipsters, Canadians, the song "We Didn't Start the Fire" (Billy Joel himself rarely is a target, however), or Phil Collins. It's pretty widely accepted that most of these are just running gags, and not really meant to offend anyone (except maybe hipsters).
      "[H]omeless, alone and dead. And ass-worm mouthed. Or worse. (You could be Phil Collins.)"
    • Played for Laughs, but Nerds and Fandoms are common targets for quick jokes. Cue Flame War in the comments between people offended by this, Trolls, people who simply see it as a joke and others who legitimately hate nerds.
    • They also don't seem to be shy about letting Jenny McCarthy have it. Ever since she jumped on the bandwagon of "Medical Vaccines Cause Autism," the writers have had multiple articles calling her an untalented moron who's talking about subjects way out of her depth and potentially endangering a lot of people in the process. The commentators don't like her either, considering how any article with her in an entry will have 90% of the comments saying how stupid she is. It helps that a lot of them have some form of autism, thus finding her views insulting.
    • Half the time Japan is mentioned, the writers can't resist the urge to put "Japan" and "weird" in the same sentence. And that includes the times they mock themselves for the racism involved!
    • Aquaman is considered a useless joke by most of the comic articles, particularly his Superfriends incarnation.
    • A lot of hate is directed at "Title Guy" or "the Title Editor", due to the horribly mismatching titles he/she uses for Photoplasties, and a gradual tendency towards click-baiting.
    • Some writers have a tendency to talk about contested sequels or other adaptations as if they are, or at least deserve to be, universally reviled. X-Men: The Last Stand and The Dark Knight Rises have recieved a lot of this.
    • The most consistent of the site's Acceptable Targets, by far, is Thomas Edison thanks to Tesla being a favorite of a lot of writers.
    • Complaining about Adam Tod Brown and his articles in the Comments section is less likely to get bombarded by dislikes than complaining/bashing the writings of other editors would be.
    • Most articles that bring up men's rights will probably make fun of MRAs, and articles that discuss the Most Common Superpower will mock comic fans that get defensive about it. On that note, the elements of Fan Dumb that cry They Changed It, Now It Sucks at every adaptation are also generally fair game.
    • The commenters consider both photoplaster Auntie Meme and the site's failure to properly indicate her solo articles to be open targets. She even likes collecting angry responses.
    • The site isn't very fond of Donald Trump either, and were writing vicious articles about him even before his highly controversial bid for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.
    • 'Chad', who keeps showing up in articles as an hypothetical officer worker who continually slacks off, eats food that isn't his and generally gets on everyone's nerves.
    • Some writers appear to really hate The Force Awakens, as it has frequently been brought up in a negative context, something the readers have not appreciated.
  • Adaptation Displacement: "Hey, that site with those funny lists used to be a magazine?"
  • Archive Binge: Those little "Recommended" links at the bottom of each page are diabolical. Even worse now with the "This day in Cracked" sidebar that shows articles released on that day, going back to the site's formation.
  • Anvilicious: Some articles have a tendency to come out as being poorly researched, reactionary, or just plain bashing the reader with over the head with an "X IS WRONG" message, and even to the point of mocking the people who disagree with them preemptively. Thankfully, since there are so many editors and writers on the website, this is uncommon, but sadly, not unheard of. In particular, a recent trend of articles talking about sexism/feminism, racism, or other social issues are often accused of lacking subtlety.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Cracked got in hot water with its fans over this article, which outright made fun of male abuse victims and male soldiers and employees who die in their professions, and has in general been accused of taking a Straw Feminist stance on gender politics. Three months later they published this article, which treats Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male as a serious issue without a hint of sarcasm. No matter who you are, being raped is awful, and playing Misery Poker doesn't help anyone. Many readers were pleased.
  • Broken Base:
    • The Photoplasty contest, an old tradition of the site, as of late 2012 or so. The main reason for the divide is an increasingly large number of the contests being 'true fact' style contests that amount to posting some fact over a picture. Themes tend to run either into the pop culture spectrum (little known facts about movies or music) or shocking facts like statistics on corporations or social justice issues. Some people at first were divisive in that they prefered the contests made in its original style, that is, doing an humorous photoshop of a picture; but due to the information from the 'true fact' contests being genuinely informative, that reaction died down rather quickly. A significantly more divisive issue later arose when the fact-based ones started to feature facts that had already been mentioned previously in Cracked articles. A common comment in these contests is posting a list of the Cracked articles in which the facts were previously mentioned. The flames rekindled in February 2016, when Cracked staff announced that the older "traditional" photoplasties were losing views, and fast, prompting the staff to start thinking about retiring "traditionals" entirely and just run "true fact" ones.
    • There is a divide between the fans that come strictly for the humor, and the fans that come to be entertained and informed. Often, one set lambasts the other when they complain about an article's Critical Research Failures and misleading claims in the comments.
    • Luke McKinney and especially J. F. Sargent for their polarizing social justice articles, leading to frequent accusations of white knighting. Sargent also gets hate for his occasional lapses in research and frequent use of his columns to vent his contemptuous opinion of stuff he doesn't like: Contested Sequels, This Very Wiki, and all of their fans. Meanwhile, McKinney is often seen as trying way too hard to make obscure female superheroes look cool. Even some non-radical feminists think he's a bit of a tool, due to his contributions to feminism amounting to little more than reading comics and watching movies. Nonetheless, they have their fans, due to their bitingly sarcastic sense of humor and willingness to direct it at segments of the fandom many consider Acceptable Targets, and in Luke's case handling other topics much better, especially science ones.
    • Dan O'Brien is generally pretty funny, but he tends to recycle jokes, and as a self-admitted Fan Boy, has very rigid and narrow opinions about his franchises of choice (Die Hard and Spider-Man in particular), to the point of expressing sneering contempt for anyone who doesn't share them.
  • Browser Narcotic: The trope actually got its name from this XKCD's alt-text, which used the term to describe Cracked.com (although TV Tropes itself was used to illustrate the phenomenon). Now especially true with Cracked's Random Article button.
  • Critical Research Failure: Enough for its own page.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
  • Don't Shoot the Message: Some readers argue that Cracked's increasingly large number of preachy, poorly researched articles do more harm than good to the causes they purport to help. That anyone who brings this up in the comments will be angrily shouted down almost immediately doesn't help matters.
  • Ear Worm: "Sex as Understood by Adolescent Boys"
    We're gonna have some fun tonight, 'cause you can touch my boobies!
    Don't be shy, yeah, it's alright! 'Cause you can touch my boobies!
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Robert Evans is not a part of Cracked's official columnists, but his "insider" articles are one of the more popular contributions to the site, and most readers appreciate his ability to track down and interview people who has very interesting stories to tell, and edit them with enough gentle humor to overcome Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy for sometimes truly horrible subject matter.
    • Chris Bucholz and Felix Clay, for being consistently comedy-oriented even as the site underwent Cerebus Syndrome. Clay overlaps with Memetic Badass because he's proven to be willing to do a wide range of things (rarely pleasant) to write his articles.
    • Mara Wilson has only written a few articles for Cracked, but they've all been well-received by the readers.
    • "Roger", the Cool Old Guy that serves as the spokesperson of the "If X are honest" series. Many viewers say that they enjoy this series even more than After Hours and want to see him more often.
    • Seanbaby. A look at the comments on his increasingly-rare articles shows that quite a few readers show up just to read his work.
  • Estrogen Brigade: Soren has a MASSIVE one.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • It was after the fact, but in a list of "5 Ways To Enjoy Terrible Winter Olympic Events", it mentions that luge and skeleton is easy, because it's like a sled, right after the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili during a crash while luging. It was probably an unfortunate coincidence that the article was posted at that time since it takes a while for them to actually post them. Which, in a ridiculously meta twist, was a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment itself, due to the same thing happening in Agents of Cracked, involving the death of Nicholas Cage.
    • The 5 Major Cities Most Likely to Be Spectacularly Destroyed was printed on the 15th April 2013 - just hours before the bomb attack in Boston. Cracked actually acknowledged this and pulled out the article hours after it was posted, for several days.
    • This 2010 article features Corporal Hicks' death in Alien³ as one of the "5 Worst Deaths Written For Great Characters" and includes an extra jab at Alien: Resurrection with the line "Don't worry, Michael [Biehn], we're pretty sure you got out of the [Alien] franchise just in time." Come 2013 where Biehn ends up reprising his role as Hicks in the universally loathed Aliens: Colonial Marines, which retcons the latter's death with an Ass Pull of epic proportions that was arguably much more disrespectful to the audience than his "original" death.
    • In an article written way back in 2007, David Wong brings up the fact that M. Night Shyamalan was once in talks to direct the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and actually opines that, "Even those of you who don't like the director have to admit that he probably could have made a more interesting first film than Chris Columbus crapped out." This was, of course, several years before anyone had any idea that Shyamalan actually would get to direct the first installment of a movie series based on a certain other popular fantasy series. Said adaptation is now widely considered one of the worst films ever made, and is universally loathed by the fan base.
    • "5 Movie Romances That Won't Last (According to Science)" predicts that Han Solo and Princess Leia's relationship is doomed to failure, and that Han will never be able to give up smuggling since it's the only life he knows. As we learn in Episode VII: The Force Awakens, they actually do eventually separate after their son turns to the Dark Side, and Han actually does return to smuggling—where it quickly becomes clear that he's past his prime, and he's already swindled so many people that no one trusts him anymore. They also never get a chance to rekindle their relationship, as Han is killed just as they're on the verge of reconciling.
    • Overlaps with Harsher in Hindsight; One of the entries for a photoplasty focused on highly absurd potential twists in movies portrayed Captain America as a Deep Cover Agent for Hydra, the joke being that he's usually such a Ideal Hero that the idea of him being Evil All Along is ridiculous. Come 2016 where Nick Spencer would use that exact twist for 616!Cap in his run and the first issue alone has received near universal backlash from casual and diehard fans alike, it becomes much more uncomfortable than anything.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The final entry in the "5 Heartwarming Stories to Restore Your Faith in Celebrities" article from 2013 is basically just gushing about what an all-round nice and decent guy Johnny Depp is. In 2016, during divorce proceedings from his wife Amber Heard, Heard alleged that Depp was frequently physically abusive towards her and posted pictures on the Internet that purported to be the injuries she'd sustained in a beating he'd delivered to her.
    • Pretty much anytime Adam Todd Brown talks about politics, odds are he'll be proven right within the next 18 months.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Hype Aversion:
    • Cracked's in-article plugs for their De-Textbook (mostly added in by editors) became so common that, more often than not, the top comments for any given article utilizing them consisted of complaints about it.
    • Their article titles more and more frequently use certain phrases to entice a click, to the point that it's very easy to get sick of it. "6 Myths About X (You Probably Believe)" and "5 Things You Didn't Know About X" are huge offenders. Worse, sometimes the articles are actually funny and interesting, while other times they're just lazy and derivative.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • The comments section exploded after John Cheese posted this article It's kind of a long story to explain, but the short of it is that a chunk of the comments section, who make a lot of tongue-in-cheek puns and meme jokes and already had a bit of friction with John Cheese, considered it a pretentious, arrogant attack on their community, but most were willing to shrug it off. However, it was then made much worse when John posted this tweet (and others like it) towards the entire comments section in response to some trolling and death threats he received on Facebook and Twitter, which sent the rest of the comments section into a full-blown rage. It then spread over to the forums, causing longtime members to be banned for posting anything that could be considered even remotely pro-comments section (which David Wong insisted was just filled with nothing but punk teenagers with a high sense of entitlement, and then called the readers cockroaches) or anti-Cheese, regardless of legitimacy or level-headedness. This blog goes into deeper detail.
    • 25 Posters That Would Have Tricked Us Into Seeing Bad Movies included The Iron Giant, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Brokeback Mountain on the list. Commentators were not happy to say the least.
      "Drinking game: While reading the comments, take a shot whenever you see a comment complaining about the Iron Giant entry."
    • Adam Tod Brown's articles have a tendency to attract this:
      • After Adam Tod Brown posted the article "6 Holiday Traditions No One Actually Enjoys", there was a moderate backlash in regards to a contentious joke he'd made in the article itself.note  There was also some annoyance with the fact that saying that no one actually enjoys the things put on the list is not entirely accurate, to the point where it can be argued that people who don't like some of the entries are in the solid minority.
      • Adam Tod Brown's article on TV shows that he thinks are overrated as hell. Many of the Cracked readers were already pissed off at his mention of The Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead, and then up in arms when he put Doctor Who on his list, then spent the whole section complaining about production values rather than writing, character, etc. (The screenshots used for the Doctor Who entry were in fact from the 1981-84 Fifth Doctor era.)
      • Adam Tod Brown managed to surpass that among a lot of Australian readers with 5 Famous People We Didnt Hate Enough In 2014, in which he proposed calling Australia "racist island" from now on.
    • Same issue for Mark Hill when he wrote this article, which made the X-generation look like slackers who steal entry-level jobs from teenagers, when the reality is that people from the X-generation are trying to get out of those jobs, but can't.
    • The jokes about autism in this article generated plenty of angry comments.
    • Christina H's early articles generated a great deal of backdraft, with many complaints about her writing style and subject matter (especially feeling like they were under-researched and repeatedly played on the fact that she's an Asian woman for cheap laughs). She became much more accepted later on, especially after a period of lengthy absence due to maternity leave.
    • 21 Photos that shatter your image of famous things. turned out to be a Photoplasty where every single entry was by AuntieMeme. Many were angry because the photoplasty implied that AuntieMeme was the best image manipulator ever and didn't bother to give other people a chance, as well as recycling images from previous Cracked articles, but more were angry about David Wong's response to the feedback about it, especially since the complaint was written in a noticeably respectful, well-written manner. (For the response, it's the third and final post.) Since then, there have been AuntieMeme plasties every week, getting even more backlash with each one. Even people that don't mind the fact the plasties are by one person, but fed up with the fact they say "By Cracked Readers" and think they deserve to know what the plasty is before they click it. Making matters worse are Photoplatsies that have entries from Cracked readers and AuntieMeme at the same time, despite the fact that she gets entire Photoplatsies to herself once a week and is paid for it.
    • The article "5 Ignorant Jokes From the Last Comedians You'd Expect" managed to actually unite the commenters in a way that not even AuntieMeme could hope for. The nicest thing anyone said about it was that it was pure clickbait and that Cracked probably didn't believe some of the claims it made. The rest... well, were pretty unimpressed with the article and the author, to say the least.
    • The video titled "Why the Justice League Movie Will Beat 'Captain America 3'" is such blatant clickbait that it immediately received a great deal of scorn. The (intentionally) controversial opinion espoused by the title has nothing to do with the video, which was simply about how a crossover between properties (DC, Marvel, and Sony's Marvel properties) would be mutually beneficial. Neither of the movies in the title were so much as mentioned. This led to significant backlash in the comments and mockery on other sites.
    • Five Classic Geek Debates That Were Settled A Long Time Ago was lambasted because it's more "Five Classic Geek Debates that Luke McKinney Has an Opinion On." Readers expecting examples settled by Word of God or fans who have done extensive research into the matter were disappointed when the examples were basically just the same arguments given by one side on the message boards, just in the format of a Cracked Article.
    • An article ('4 Religions You've Got All Wrong (Because Of Hollywood)') in April 2015 received a ton of backlash because one of the topics focused on was the Church of Happyology. The article spoke very positively of the religion, glossing over a lot of the issues and crime the church has been involved with, which is especially baffling because Cracked has repeatedly run articles dealing with people who have left the church talking about the cult abuse they experienced. Some believed the article was made to appease Church of Happyology representatives who threatened to sue Cracked due to a negative article written about the religion a few days earlier. The article was removed from Cracked the same day it was published.
    • An article about being a prostitute in Vietnam was criticized by many people for romanticizing several aspects of illegal prostitution in the area, such as saying that families are "perfectly fine" with prostitution (while in reality it often varies between being disowned by one's family or grudging acceptance because the alternative is poverty) The most criticized aspect of the article was the mention of the prostitute the writer interviewed in the article was only 15 when she started in sex work. The writer of the article had no discomfort mentioning it and still portrayed her work as positive, despite the fact that she often had sex with tourists from other countries (many where she would be under the age of consent) who, according to their own standards, would be having sex with a child.
    • This article from Luke McKinney is essentially a two-page review of a movie trailer claiming to expose Hollywood racism, but the wild assumptions and total lack of logic in it have angered the readers pretty thoroughly. The biggest sticking point is that McKinney insists that the (white) protagonists look up a helicopter and respond with horror because the man leaning out of the vehicle is Asian. This totally misses the fact that said Asian man is pointing an automatic rifle directly at them. The fact that McKinney sees a white family reacting in terror because a gun is pointed at them and assumes that they're racists who are only scared because the gun is held by a person of color is...well, it says a lot about McKinney, is one way to put it.
  • Magazine Decay: Not so much "decay" as a shift, since the content is generally still good, but the website seems to get less and less humor-based every day.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Fuck you. Buy a butter dish. Explanation 
    • No shit, Sherringford. Explanation 
    • Title Guy: Explanation 
    • They both get affected by lava. Explanation 
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • "5 Reasons Why Women Will Rule the Future." It's (hopefully) just a joke, but judging from some of the comments, not everybody saw it that way.
    • There's a large amount of people that take the writers' harmless (if sometimes a little mean-spirited) jabs at various fandoms seriously and agree. The most blatant example would have to be their various stabs at the Star Wars' Expanded Universe.
    • The writers themselves have fallen victim to this on occasion as in this article which uses Alec Baldwin's scene from Glengarry Glen Ross to describe how one might become a "better person", when David Mamet has openly said he intended that scene to show what was wrong with rampant capitalism and cutthroat sales tactics. More specifically: David Wong's point in the article ultimately boils down to "You are only the sum total of the valuable skills that you can provide the world." A valid message, but he apparently missed the fact that Glengarry Glen Ross is all about salesmen knowingly selling worthless real estate to gullible customers, and Alec Baldwin's big speech is meant to inspire them to sell more worthless real estate. The whole point of the speech is that the salesmen only care about how much they can outdo each other, and never question whether or not their work is valuable. Sure, Death of the Author and all that, but it's still a fundamental misunderstanding of context.
  • Memetic Badass:
  • Memetic Molester: A Running Gag is that writing for Cracked can turn you into one.
  • Memetic Psychopath: Popsicle Pete. "NONE OF YOU ARE SAFE".
  • More Popular Spin Off: Of the magazine. The website is both more popular and well-known (see Adaptation Displacement and Surprisingly Improved Sequel).
  • Nausea Fuel:
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: On this article, they posted a trigger warning due to the disturbing material contained in the arcticle (the article was written after Cracked interviewed a woman who was a child sex slave and beaten severely for most of her childhood). They stated that they don't usually put warnings on their articles as a policy, but decided to make an exception in that case thanks to the exceptionally triggering subject matter.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
  • Periphery Demographic:
    • While Cracked is an American site, with much of its content revolving around American culture, a substantial number of readers are from other countries.
    • A fair number of people enjoy Cracked not for the comedic articles, but the more introspective and philosophical articles. And while they're never taken seriously, there are quite a few scientific and technology based articles which are actually rather informative.
  • Retroactive Recognition: A strange example: one Photoshop contest featured a joke ad made with a stock photo that featured someone who looked very much like Soren Bowie. A few days later, Soren made an article explaining that yes, it was him in the photo (he'd made it during one of his previous jobs).
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Many fans dislike the fact that the site has become less comedy-oriented over time. By 2013, a lot of articles were more like opinion pieces or philosophical treatises than humorous stories or lists of factual information (like bizarre animals, or legends, or suchlike) presented in a funny way. Accusations in 2014 that the site was becoming host to Soap Box Sadies with political axes to grind didn't help their case. By 2016, readers noted a sharp increase in political articles, all of them with a strong progressive bent that comes across as Anvilicious, even to those who agree with much of the content. Even articles on pop culture haven't been free of politics: Many writers will add in a jab toward gun owners, evangelical Christians, or social conservatives in an article about deconstructing Hogwarts or the Marvel universe. Not helping matters was the 2016 US presidential election; two days after the results were in, every single article that ran that day was about politics. For those who go to Cracked for a distraction from political issues, this did not bode well, and the mission since then seems to have become turning the site into a marginally lighter-hearted version of The Huffington Post.
    • A lot of people accused many newer article titles of being clickbait.note  It doesn't help that many of the titles use attention-grabbing words/phrases like "Mind Blowing", "You Won't Believe", and "Horrifying" even if it isn't an accurate description of the article. The Huffington Post tv tropes
  • Snark Bait: Many of the more recent political articles have fallen into this, especially the ones that try to point out how your favorite works are racist or sexist or homophobic.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • While some are more contentious than others, most of the things written by David Wong can count. One example is 6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying, which explains why people are so angry at the rich; it's not because the poor are envious, it's because the rich are hypocrites and distant from the masses. Also: any well-off person in the modern world who honestly believes that they've never gotten any help from anyone is completely delusional. Civilized society wouldn't exist if people didn't help each other.
    • Most of Cheese's more-philosophical articles, particularly this article where he spells out quite clearly that parents can't control their kids indefinitely. The most you can do is educate them and recognize that they will make their own choices; and then there's 5 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Poor, which is pretty much required reading if you buy into any of the various bits of mythology on poverty, like the poor being lazy. The article explains, in brutal clarity, how poverty is a self-enforcing cycle that manages to claw back any gains those trapped in it make.
  • Squick:
  • Subculture of the Week: They've been accused of writing articles like this, most infamously when it comes to anime fans and Bronies. In fact, if you look at the Dethroning Moments subpage, you'll quickly see a pattern.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: For something that started out as a cheap MAD Magazine rip-off, the Retool to being a list-based humor website has really helped them a lot.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The site's redesign that was introduced in late June 2013 originally prompted this response from a lot of its users.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: The Choose Your Own Drug Fueled Misadventure series of stories by Robert Brockway involve plots on a lethal overdose of drugs. Literally.
  • Ugly Cute: The Jerboa as seen in this article. It's a species of a tiny fuzzy things with bunny-like ears and big eyes. But they also look like they have only two (hairless, thin, long) limbs,note  backward-bending knees, and a rat-like tail. This causes them both cute and unusually creepy at the same time.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The 10 Most Perverted Old School Video Games brings this up a few times.
  • The Woobie: Alf is considered this in articles that discuss his show.


From the magazine:

  • Harsher in Hindsight: Take a look at the main page image. Back in 1975, that could easily be Played for Laughs (and was indeed a dig at the then-current big-budget disaster movie Earthquake). After 9/11? Try looking at the plane hitting what looks like the WTC, complete with the all-too familiar ring of smoke and fire around the tower's midsection, without cringing.
  • Magazine Decay: The constant Executive Meddling in the later days, followed by the switch to a copycat of Maxim, followed by the outright termination of the mag.
  • Nausea Fuel: The last few years of the mag were rife with bodily function jokes, including a whole article on different types of farts and another on different types of puking.
  • Padding: The 2000s issues were rife with this: repeats from classic issues, a second Godzilla (1998) parody more than two years after the fact, several song parodies...
  • So Bad, It's Good: Let's face it, most of the "jokes" were lame...
    • Narm Charm: ... But the very same lameness that made you groan is also what made the magazine funny.
  • Ugly Cute: Sylvester P. Smythe evolved into this once John Severin started doing almost all of the covers.


From the TV show

For the audience reactions to the TV show that's unrelated but of the same name, click here.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Cracked