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YMMV: Cracked

From the website:

  • Acceptable Targets: Depends on the writer, really. Usual subjects include teenagers, hipsters, Canadians, 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.)"
    • Fans of anime are more or less always made to look like Otaku.
    • 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.
    • Someone on the writing crew seems to really hate Robin Williams.
    • For the site's commenters, social conservatives and Tea Party members.
    • Furries are also nigh-universal targets.
    • They also really hate the Star Wars Expanded Universe, or at least its tendency to be used to Retcon narrative flaws in the original films.
    • They regularly demean Bronies in many articles,(such as here), and none of them was very flattering.
    • 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 a untalented moron who's talking about subjects way out of her depth and potentially endangering a lot of people in the process.
    • Half the time Japan is mentioned, the writers can't resist the urge to put "Japan" and "weird" in the same sentence.
    • Aquaman is considered a Scrappy by the site.
    • Even site commenters themselves, whenever they and the authors are at odds. Proves that Hatedom can go both ways.
    • At the time of typing, 99% of hate is directed at "Title Guy" or "the Title Editor", due to the horribly mismatching titles he/she uses for Photoplasties.
    • 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.
  • 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 you over the head with "X IS WRONG" and will sometimes even mock the people who argue with them. Thankfully, since there are so many editors and writers on the website, this is uncommon, but sadly, not unheard of.
    • Most any article on sexism/feminism, racism, or most other social issue will be anvilicious. Part of the reason Christina H was so despised early on was that she attempted to tackle many of these issues, which wound up coming across as fairly hamhanded.
      • Admittedly, however, some accusations of anviliciousness come from people in the Cracked comments section who feel that if the authors advocate that they not hurt people or try to rise above baser instincts, the authors must be "manginas" who secretly wish to get into someone's pants. Some of this might be defensiveness on the part of commenters who chafe at the idea that they might have to treat people better than they're doing. That's why this is a YMMV trope.
  • Base Breaker: Pretty much all of the site's regular columnists have their moments as this, but a few notable examples:
    • Christina H. is either an annoying Scrappy who likes constantly reminding people that she's a woman or an Actually Pretty Funny writer who took a few articles to figure out what to do. It doesn't help that she primarily tackles socially uncomfortable issues, like racism or suicide. She also appeals to more of the Periphery Demographic, focusing on good natured respect and observations about society rather than writing solely humorous pieces.
    • Luke McKinney- A boring writer that doesn't know his facts, or a guy good at making decent if not always perfect articles?
      • His "6 Reasons a Great Game Developer Just Went Bankrupt" got a lot of flack for his entry on Homefront. Also received a lot of hate for his Take That, Audience! article "The 8 Stupidest Defenses Against Accusations Of Sexism".
    • John Cheese is either a boring, disillusioned man who constantly writes crap about his life thinking the anecdotes apply to everyone else or a great writer who can give funny articles and good advice at the same time.
      • Others split the difference and acknowledge John Cheese's serious articles as being genuinely uplifting or insightful, etc, but admit that his attempts at humor fall kind of flat and think he should probably just stick with the sad stories.
      • Worth noting, since his blow-up over the article "5 Popular Jokes That Only Make People Want To Punch You" and subsequent perma-banning of a significant portion of the site's readership, very few people are on his side anymore. (Though that has died down as well.)
    • Seanbaby. Some people love his articles for his skilled wordsmithing and good feel for the pace of comedic writing. Other people take his attitude and sexist/homophobic humor at face value and hate him for it.
    • Soren Bowie. Some readers enjoy his articles which do tend to be rather well-constructed and interesting, others are annoyed by his narcissistic attitude and frequent Atheist Author Tracts.
    • David Wong. Some find him funny and insightful with a keen insight on social issues. Others find his style of writing condescending, self-satisfied and hopelessly judgmental.
    • 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. The divisive bit is that, as of lately, the fact-based ones will feature facts previously mentioned in Cracked articles.
    • There are some fans that come to be entertained and informed, who are lambasted by those who come strictly for the humor when they complain about an article's Critical Research Failures and misleading claims in the comments.
  • 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:
    • This article's #1 spot lists three Sonic games in reverse chronology, calls Sonic Unleashed a spinoff when it's a mainline game, and claims Shadow from Shadow the Hedgehog is Sonic with a dark redesign (not accusing Shadow of being a palette swap, claiming that Shadow is literally Sonic, whom Sega tried to reinvent as a gun-wielding badass).
    • The list "4 Insane Pieces of My Little Pony Fanart (By Grown Men)" reads like it was written by spending 5 minutes on Google, some highlights are:
      • Saying Fallout: Equestria has graphic rape and sex scenes.
      • Having a entry on a trollfic/crackfic writer who's not even active anymore, and presenting it as said author being serious.
    • Apparently in Wreck-It Ralph, Vanellope's game is called ''Candy Crush''. The author apparently also thinks Calhoun is a Player Character in a home video game, even though she's the main NPC in an arcade.
    • This article, at best, contains some hypotheses that are still heatly debated amongst linguists, and flagrant falsehoods at worst.
      • #5 claims that gendered languages are directly related to sexism... despite that it was disproved already. For example, German, Icelandic and Dutch are gendered languages, yet Germany, Iceland and the Netherlands are egalitarian countries.
      • #4 cites a study of very loose intellectual rigor that tries to prove Language Equals Thought, but ends up simply asking the same question in a different context.
      • #2 says that culture and opinions are a product of language, not the inverse.
      • #1 also contains the patent nonsense that some languages don't contain any future tense. To elaborate, some languages may not have any verb conjugation for the future, but it's still evident which time period is being referred to by virtue of context.
    • The article "5 Movie Happy Endings That Are About to Go Horribly Wrong" has this to say about Monsters, Inc.: "First of all, we're explicitly told that the energy produced by laughter is '10 times more powerful than screams.' That's all well and good, but the monster world doesn't exactly appear to be in the grips of an energy crisis." Except we're told several times that they are, and this was part of the villain's motive.
    • In 5 Insane Ways People Trolled The System (And Won) the title for entry #4 calls the man Dutch, while the text calls him Norwegian. The man in question is actually Belgian.
    • #1 from this article is actually from the Brazilian equivalent of The Onion ("Jornal Sensacionalista", literally "Sensationalist News"). A bit of an understandable mistake though because not only was there a language barrier, but apparently their source was a US site that also thought the incident was real.
    • This articleclaims "You'll note that, despite having one-tenth of the population of New York, you're a lot more likely to be the victim of a violent crime in Columbus, Ohio." when the graph directly above shows the opposite.*Note .
      • In addition, the article was written in 2014. It contains the line "They voted the controversial Proposition 8 into law in 2008, and same-sex marriage has been illegal in California ever since." The very Other Wiki article it links to states that the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional in 2013.
    • This article has some math errors/Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics, such as using graphs that extrapolate linearly from 2 or 3 data points.
    • Four Irrational Fears That Aren't As Irrational As They Seem sorely misrepresents the infamous pesticide DDT.
      • It claims that the original study linking it to thinness in the egg shells of peregrine falcons was false, without providing a link. In truth multiple studies have shown the egg shell link (in multiple bird species), and other toxic effects of DDT build up in ecosystems.
      • It claims that DDT was banned world wide when only the agricultural use of it was banned. It is still sprayed in house holds in many malaria afflicted countries.
      • Although malaria deaths did rise after the partial ban on DDT, there were other factors involved, such as the insects becoming resistant to the chemical.
    • This article makes tons of mistakes with animal relationships (claiming that Gastornis is close to kiwis and ostriches when it's really closer to ducks, and Hyaenodon close to raccoons when it's equally close to all carnivorans), confuses the "classic" saber-toothed felids with the saber-toothed sparassodont ("marsupial", in the article's words) Thylacosmilus, serves up an unhealthy serving of Anachronism Stew (Gastornis and Andrewsarchus actually died out long before the Pleistocene), makes unwarranted assumptions about ancestor-descendant relationships, and implies that dinosaurs are cold-blooded.
    • The article "5 Weird Directions Human Evolution Could Have Taken" treats the existence of "the Boskop Man" as a fact, which in reality it most likely isn't.
    • This article closes by saying "when The World Cup inevitably makes its way to the United States"... half the comments section is sure to point out it already did in 1994.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: If Daniel O'Brien did any of the things he writes about in his column, Charles Manson would be freaked out. Swaim is the Only Sane Man in comparison, which is kinda funny considering the role reversal in the web series Agents of Cracked. Case in point: his apology to the Pennsylvania town where he recreated The Hunger Games at the youth center.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: The article where Soren makes fun of the kids he tutors was considered this by some users, but it's not exactly clear whether the kids in the article are his actual students.
    • The jokes about autism in this article generated plenty of angry comments.
  • 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!
  • Freud Was Right: We can't count how many dick jokes there are.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • It was after the fact, but in a list "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 could've been 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • This article about Seltzer and Friedberg that dissects their distinguishing brand of unfunny movies also makes a prediction at the very end that their next parody movie will be about ninety minutes of crap about vampires.
    • Swaim's 7 Words You Can't Say On The Internet video, which includes him doubting that a lot of Scientologist figureheads are lurking in 4Chan threads. And then Anonymous declared war on Scientology...
    • This article about recently discovered scary organisms at one point has the caption "Huh. Apparently Spider-Man can beat Batman. Thanks, Nature!". A few months later, in Death Battle, Spidey goes up against the Caped Crusader and wins.
    • This 2010 article: "Don't worry, Michael [Biehn], we're pretty sure you got out of the [Alien] franchise just in time." Yeah, about that...
    • In 2007 David Wong wrote this article about what an ultra-realistic war simulation game would look like, featuring such elements as mistakenly destroying civilian targets under the erroneous assumption they were enemy buildings, accidentally killing civilians, deploying chemical weapons "Geneva convention be damned" and CIA field agents who operate according to their own agenda and obstruct the player at every turn. It even includes a lengthy Apocalypse Now reference. The article was obviously intended as a joke, but then five years later Spec Ops: The Line was released...
    • On December 22, 2008, Cracked wrote an article about the 20 Most Ridiculous Batman Comics Ever Released, a few of which included Bat-Mite and the Rainbow Batman, the latter of which the site claims is "what happens when Batman is written by Liberace." Later, however, all of these are included in Batman: The Brave and the Bold (though Rainbow Batman was not included until the 2010 Animated Adaptation of Emperor Joker).
    • "Seven Badass Cartoon Villains Who Lost to Retarded Heroes' #1 entry was amusing enough before, with the unexpected popularity of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. It's now even more amusing due to the fact that in the MLP:FIM season 4 finale, the villain in question (Tirek) makes a return. Even more hilariously, this time around, the heroes who oppose him are most definitely not "retarded"; the battle between Tirek and Twilight is something straight out of Dragon Ball Z.
  • Hype Aversion: Cracked's in-article plugs for their De-Textbook (mostly added in by editors) have become so common that, more often than not, the top comments for any given article with such a plug will be complaining 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)", "5 things you didn't know about X" are huge offenders.
  • 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 wrongly 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.
    "Drinking game: While reading the comments, take a shot whenever you see a comment complaining about the Iron Giant entry."
    • 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. 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.
    • Robert Evans underestimated the number of Pro-Life readers the site had when he posted this article
  • Iron Woobie: John Cheese is showing signs of this with his article about how not to pass on the abuse to your kids that you suffered as a child. He uses his horrible childhood as an example. A lot of Cheese's articles show him to be this, as he was not only abused as a child, but also had substance abuse problems and lived most of his life in poverty. Some of his stuff is like a humorous self-help lecture.
  • Magazine Decay: Not so much "decay" as a shift, since the content is still good, but the website seems to get less and less funny every day
  • 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 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.
  • Memetic Badass:
  • Memetic Sex God:
  • Memetic Molester: A Running Gag is that writing for Cracked can turn you into one.
  • Memetic Psychopath: Popsicle Pete. "NONE OF YOU ARE SAFE".
  • Nausea Fuel: Michael Swaim outright admits it.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
  • Periphery Demographic:
    • While Cracked is an American site with much of its contents 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.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
  • Retroactive Recognition: A strange example: one Photoshop contest 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).
  • The Scrappy: Due to the massive, often divided fandom for the website, there are a quite a few depending on who you ask:
    • Some readers view Cody as this. When he first joined the site, there was a page pointing out that his work was a bit strange, and that not all of it would make the front page.
    • Christina had a very bad habit early on of writing articles that beat readers over the head with the fact she was a woman, followed by a habit of making list articles grounded in opinions (but presenting them as facts). Most readers agree she has since been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap and left the mantle for...
    • Adam Tod Brown. While he's written fan favorites like "Five Insane Celebrity Conspiracy Theories (That Make Sense)" and "Five Days Undercover as a Justin Bieber Fan", he's also responsible for articles like "6 Famous Wusses That Would Own You," the overly-nasty "7 Least Anticipated Albums of 2012", and the just plain weird "5 Great Song to Movie Adaptations Hollywood Would Ruin."
      • His "5 Supposedly Fun Activities Nobody Actually Enjoys" series of articles are also worth mentioning. Apparently many people do actually enjoy these activities, if the comments section is any indication.
      • It has gotten to the point where Adam Tod Brown articles usually end up with the top comments bashing him or something he said in the article.
    • In general, Adam Tod Brown has a tendency to, much like Christina H before him, write his opinions as if they were facts, or at the very least as if they were vast majority/unanimous opinions and nobody was simply pointing it out before, and does this even if his opinion is an extremely unpopular one.
      • Given that his columns are called "The People vs. Adam Tod Brown" it could be argued that writing contentious articles meant to generate a response is actually his intent.
    • Webcomics in general tend to suffer from this. Most readers still flinch every time they hear the words "White Ninja." Fatawesome is equally hated, and many readers don't care much for Basic Instructions either.
    • Luke McKinney. Starting with an article about sexism in comics, he's been writing articles akin to those found on social justice blogs, then dedicating articles to sniping at the comments sections of his previous writings. Though actually, he mainly made fun of the sexist comments.
    • Winston Rowtree typically get flack for his comics, but none more so than 4 Superhero Reboots We'll See Next, which also qualifies as Critical Research Failure. Rowtree's willingness to shoot back at critics makes also him a popular target for trolls.
    • Gladstone is often seen as this, due to his tendency to write highly divisive, often politically charged articles.
    • John Cheese and David Wong are quickly becoming this for the members in the comments section, thanks to a certain incident. (See Internet Backdraft, above.)
    • JF Sargent. He wrote a poorly researched and condescending article on video game prejudices. After the comments pointed out the pure number of errors present, he responded by calling all the readers "privileged nitwits" and "virgins". Needless to say, this didn't get him any fans. This also earns plenty of "you're deeply misunderstanding this work" comments.
    • Kristi Harrison, for her article 5 Life Lessons From A Former Mean Girl. The comments bashed her for fishing for proof that she's a good person, not actually apologizing to those she's wronged (and making flimsy justifications for her behavior), and making bullying seem like it's not that big a deal (and ending up defending Chris Brown in the process). She also got hate for making fun of the mother of a special needs kid.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Almost everything written by David Wong. Just go see the Moment of Awesome page.
    • Most of Cheese's 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.
    • 6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying 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.
  • Squick:
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: For something that started out as a cheap MAD Magazine rip-off, the Retool to being a humor website helped them in their favor by quite a bit.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The site's redesign that was introduced in late June 2013 enacted this response from some 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.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Their article on retarded supervillain schemes included the line: "Marvel's relationship to the Spider-Man Clone Saga is like Germany's relationship to WWII: They like to pretend they never did anything so horrible, because its the only way they can continue living." All very funny, adequately sums up how mind-bendingly idiotic the Clone Saga was, except for one thing: Germany doesn't "pretend" that it never did anything so horrible, rather facing up to its atrocities and donating billions of Euros to Jewish groups and to Israel in "we're really sorry" aid. In fact, a huge part of German culture and national life is Vergangenheitsbewältigung (lit. "coming to terms with the past"), and it's something of a Berserk Button for Germans to suggest that Germany has denied its crimes under Adolf Hitler, as the article seems to imply.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The 10 Most Perverted Old School Video Games.
  • The Woobie:
    • John Cheese.
    • Alf is considered this.
  • They Just Didn't Care: The Top 8 Video Games of 2012. Eight different Cracked writers chose a game they feel represents 2012. Almost every entry admits they either aren't gamers or they haven't actually played the game they chose. Some games on the list didn't even come out in 2012 (One came out in 2009, and another came out in 2013.)

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.


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