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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, to the point that the "tribute" article to him following his suicide in 2014 seems to go out of its way to avoid mentioning Williams himself too much and instead talks much more broadly about the subject of comedians and suicide, which is an important subject, but still just screams "if you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything at all".
    • 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.
      • For that matter, they seem to make a point of painting Boba Fett as a loser no one should like to the extreme.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • Any time Boba Fett or Star Wars' Expanded Universe are mentioned, expect the writers to go on a rant on why they suck and no one should like them.
    • Articles talking about sexism/feminism, racism, or other social issue will often be accused of being anvilicious.
  • 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. 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.
    • This article about life in South Korea attempts to make a point about plastic surgery, showing a picture of a group of girls with highly identical faces. However, that picture was actually photoshopped to make all of the girls look similar, and in reality they actually look completely different. Which was explained on a page that the Cracked article put a link to, directly underneath the picture.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Estrogen Brigade: Soren has a MASSIVE one.
  • Freud Was Right: We can't count how many dick jokes there are.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
  • 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:
    "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.
      • 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.
    • Cristina 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 mentioned that she's an Asian woman unnecessarily). She became much more accepted later on.
    • 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. (For the response, it's the third and final post.)
    • The already-infamous Zoe Quinn wrote an article for the site, and the management is apparently refusing to allow people post counterpoint articles relating to the accusations of affairs and/or corruption within video game journalism. Users were not happy, to say the least, and the article gained one of the largest comment sections on the site (most of which criticized Quinn). It got so bad, it turned from a normal internet gang war to all-out, brutal trench warfare. David Wong's unprofessional way of reacting to such criticism (such as cutting content from a post to keep the "relevant" part, and practicing Orwellian Moderator methods) has particularly drawn ire from readers.
  • Magazine Decay: Not so much "decay" as a shift, since the content is still good, but the website seems to get less and less humor-based 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 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.
  • Memetic Badass:
  • Memetic Loser: Boba Fett and the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
  • 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.
  • OOC 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 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Seasonal Rot: Sometime in 2013, a lot of articles stopped being humorous lists of factual information (like bizarre animals, or legends, or suchlike), and started becoming 'things I learned about X job' or simply lists of things that are way more opinionated instead of actual facts.
  • 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.
  • 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) limbsnote , backward-bending knees, and a rat-like tail. This causes them both cute and unusually creepy at the same time.
  • 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: 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.)
    • The 6 Most Baffling Video Game Spinoffs gets a solid majority of the information presented wrong, most of which could easily be fixed by a simple Google search
    • 6 Sexist Video Game Problems Even Bigger Than the Breasts, among its many errors, says that Ellie from The Last of Us has "daddy issues". Thing is, she doesn't, really. If anything, her father figure, Joel, has severe issues related to the loss of his daughter.
      • It also fails to mention that she's pretty bad-ass and able to take care of herself and one time she breaks down in Joel's arms is because she had just violently killed a man that was attempting to rape her..

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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