These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Mark Does Stuff
Applicability: Everything seems to map to class struggle and/or Mark's personal experiences.
"Angel wanted to escape his horrific past, so why shouldn't he get to decide how to portray himself to others? It reminded me of my first year of college."
Big Name Fan: The site was brought to Neil Gaiman's attention while Mark was reviewing American Gods, and Gaiman read through a few pages and loved them.
To quote Mr. Gaiman, "I enjoyed your American Gods read so much. It was like getting to look through a reader's eyes & find out what worked."
And then he warned Mark on Twitter that he didn't think The Sandman really got good until volume 2.
J. August Richards Tweeted that of course Gunn would marry him.
Seanan McGuire alerted her Twitter followers in record time when he started reading Newsflesh.
And at the same time, Tamora Pierce was alerted that he was starting the Tortall Universe and quickly wrote back. She later said that Mark's reviews made her re-love the series in a way she hadn't for years, and sincerely thanked him for them. She's now a regular commenter on the site, under the name "Scrivener212."
NK Jemison managed to find him and become a fan before he even started reviewing her own work.
Broken Base / Hypocritical Humor: Some of Mark's discussions about social justice can cause heated debates in the comments of the posts. These tend to come down to violent differences of opinion between pro- and anti-social justice warriors, with the former defending Mark and latter attacking him.
On the Spoils site, a discussion about Beverly Katz being Stuffed into the Fridge on Hannibal went south, creating a very ugly meltdown that resulted in several people getting banned, including moderators, and more deciding to leave on their own rather than risk it happening again. And now the show is more or less considered off limits for discussion. It's essentially the Joel vs. Mike flamewar in miniature.
Ensemble Darkhorse: The commenter "enigmaticagentscully," actually a British woman named Alice, got a sizable fanbase of her own while writing her own thoughts on viewing Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel for the first time. Mark got several questions asked about her, and some even suspected they were the same person.
Growing the Beard: Noted about Farscape, where he says it feels like the show just needed to get "Jeremiah Crichton" (nigh-universally considered its worst episode) out of its system before it was able to leave its early issues behind and become a truly great show.
Harsher in Hindsight: While reviewing the Buffy episode "Blood Ties," he says that even as depressing as the show is at that point, at least Joyce was still alive. He quickly posted in the comments that he'd already seen "The Body," and rereading the review before posting it made him cry all over again.
It quickly happened again as during his review of "Spiral," he said the only thing he was sure of about the season finale was that Buffy wouldn't die.
His guessing that Woody Goodman is gay while watching Veronica Mars.
Quickly followed by "Everything is tainted in this episode, except maybe Mac and Cassidy."
Early in season 3 he did a rant about people who make light of rape in any way, to which anyone who'd seen the show thought "This is going to be ugly."
Praising John Spencer's performance in season 6 of The West Wing and saying he really looks like he had a heart attack, unaware that not only was this development inspired by Spencer's real heart problems forcing him to take a smaller role, but he would suffer a fatal heart attack a year later.
And then he says that he feels like he's going to have a heart attack after the "three years later" opening of the season 7 premiere, just seconds before Spencer's credit appears.
After finishing season 1 of Hannibal, he hopes Beverly Katz gets more development in season 2. This is doubly painful not just for what happened to her, but how it tore apart his own fanbase (see Broken Base above).
While watching episode 11 of Revolutionary Girl Utena, he notes that he had to get the episode with a bunch of "caged bird" imagery on the day that Maya Angelou died.
Hilarious in Hindsight: Many of the comments Mark's make during his reviews will be quite amusing to him upon later viewing, due to it inadvertently predicting or being ironic about something which will happen in the future of said book/show. Of course, to readers who know the work, it's funny in the present.
From his first reading of Harry Potter, his early comments in Philosopher's Stone about spiders and his readers' amusement about them became clear with the reveal of Aragog in the next book.
Also during Harry Potter, Mark frequently requested that certain characters he disliked "DIE IN ALL THE FIRES". This was quite funny in light of Crabbe's eventual fate.
In The Hunger Games review, Mark wonders whether Suzanne Collins will be able to kill off a character, especially children; he then read her kill off about half of her cast of characters in a single chapter.
Another common wish for particularly vile characters is that the earth would open up and swallow them. This paid off with the fates of Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter in His Dark Materials.
From his review of the last chapter of The Hobbit: "Would you let me walk into a volcano if you knew a certain path led straight into it?" Even better, the review is actually a Real Person Fic of Tolkien reading the book to his son Christopher, so you can easily read it as how he got a certain idea.
Plus, Tolkien insisting there are no ghosts in Middle Earth.
From his review of The Lord of the Rings Book II chapter 8 — and note that Mark read the books before watching the LotR films —
From Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the time he wrote an entire paragraph all about how Willow was straight but he still wanted to be big gay friends with her. For bonus irony, this all happened one episode before Tara was introduced.
...I refuse to be judged for projecting my big ol' gay life all over you Willow. I don't even care that you're straight, you are my big ol' gay best friend and this is all I want from you...
"Hush" was the one episode whose title had been spoiled for him as one of the most popular episodes, so he posted the notes he took while watching it, preceded by an introduction written before he saw it, where he worried that there wouldn't be any interesting dialogue to make the approach worthwhile. One of those notes is "WHY DID I SAY THAT? I REGRET EVERYTHING I'VE EVER DONE."
In his review of "Conversations with Dead People" he told Andrew to give up, as the Scoobies would never let him join them.
The epic Wendy Davis filibuster took place shortly before he reached "The Stackhouse Filibuster" in The West Wing.
And then the government shuts down shortly before he got to that happening in the show.
"SANTOS FOR PRESIDENT, PLEASE."
One that skirts the border between this and Harsher: One of his first comments about Alex Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist was to note how he seemed to be an exaggerated version of Mark himself. And from all we've heard, the relationship between Mark and his sister is rather similar to Alex and Olivier's.
Noted himself in his previous remarks about Selim in Fullmetal Alchemist that were wildly off course.
While watching the Veronica Mars episode "You Think You Know Somebody", he notes that he's regretting saying so much nice stuff about Troy
His very first comment about Aaron Echolls: "Much nicer than his son."
He wrote that nothing could possibly make him like Lamb, just one episode before the one good, decent thing that Lamb does in the whole show.
Upon Woody Goodman's first appearance in the season 2 finale, he shouts "Blow up!"
The very first thing he wrote about The Westing Game: "I feel like this is an elaborate prank."
Shortly after he started the book, "America the Beautiful" came back into popular consciousness thanks to Coca-Cola's Super Bowl ad.
And he read this book about a bunch of people snowbound in a hotel in the middle of one of the snowiest winters in recorded history.
While reading The Light Fantastic he comes quite close to calling the Librarian a monkey, then does a Last-Second Word Swap to "orangutan." Fans of the series know this is exactly what a typical in-universe character would do.
Early in the first episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, he predicts there's a ton of slash fic about it. This from the show whose fans invented the term.
About Gary Mitchell: "He looks kind of like Karl Urban, doesn't he?"
In "Return of the Archons" he theorizes that the only way to actually insult Spock would be to call him human.
His incredulous reaction to Harlan Ellison's writing credit on "The City on the Edge of Forever." Ellison himself would agree.
He watched the Supernatural episode "The End," set five years in the future at the time it was made, just one month before that setting.
The last Farscape episode he watched before a five week break for a tour was "Look at the Princess Part 2," of which he says he's glad he won't be leaving it on a cliffhanger. This story is actually the first instance of the show's fondness for three parters.
Ho Yay: It naturally comes up a lot, but reached particularly epic levels in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood with the meeting of the Armstrongs and Curtises. He declared Alex and Sig's flex-off "the gayest thing I've ever seen."
He decided to write about The Princess Bride as if the metafictional S. Morgenstern story was actually true. Inevitably, some people didn't get the joke, resulting in every single chapter getting comments telling him that it wasn't real.
During The Sandman, his inexplicable (even to himself) habit of calling the Endless "the Eternals."
After branching into video games, he quickly picked up a new one with his references to GLaDOS as "they."
Did you know Song of the Lioness feels so rushed because Tamora Pierce had to conform to maximum page limits of the time?
Calling rear attacks in Dragon Age "butt stabbing."
"I am not a villain created by Disney." Originally said by someone who got into an argument with Mark before being banned, and constantly parodied thereafter. From October 24 to Halloween, Mark and several long-term commenters changed their icons and usernames to those of Disney villains. Mark's was "Killer of Bambi's Mom" and had no picture.
"Jet is a cop?" Referring to how he managed to miss and/or forget the several references to this in Cowboy Bebop until Jet's past was explicitly part of the story.
Mixing up "buffet" (a self-served meal, where the "t" is silent) and "buffet" (to hit something, where it's not).
His complete inability to remember if the word "fief" is pronounced "feef" or "fife" (it's the first one).
The proposed alternate title for Supernatural: "Misty-Eyed Boy Talk."
Commenter Psyched180 popularized the nickname "Toast" for Duncan Kane, referring to how bland he is.
Narm Charm: He naturally finds a ton of it in Star Trek: The Original Series. Perhaps best exemplified by his reaction to the hand puppet plant in the very first episode: "That's so obviously a hand, I love it!"
Nausea Fuel: Before watching the Hannibal episode "Tome-wan," he notes that he was warned not to eat anything before watching it. And he does indeed gag a bit during the scene in question.
Never Live It Down: He managed to completely avoid meeting Leliana in his first time playing Dragon Age: Origins. Many commenters now love to bring up how awesome she is just to taunt him.
Mentioned himself while reading Deep Secret, where he mispronounces "rags" as...a certain word that rhymes with it.
The Princess Tutu reviews brought out the Ahiru/Fakir shippers in force. You'd expect that they'd call themselves Team Fakiru, but thanks to the fact that Ahiru is called "Duck" (a literal translation of her name) in the dub, they called themselves Team Fuck instead.
So Bad, It's Good: His opinion of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, "I Robot, You Jane": This is not the worst episode of Buffy. It's so awful that it loops around to becoming an abstract art piece about the archaic nature of human interaction. It's so awful that it's as if the people made it specifically to appear on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It's so awful that...well, it's a waste of time and energy to spend one second hating it.
His opinion about The Room. Its especially good if you're surrounded by thirty drunk friends while watching it.
Spoil At Your Own Risk: Mark's spoiler rules are very simple; if he's going to review it, and hasn't seen it yet, do not mention it. His fury shall be hard and swift.
Look at the number of comments on the Mockingjay chapters: They go down and down and down (or just say 'Can't talk or spoilers will fall out')... until the last two chapters, when people can finally talk about what happened.
Mark calls River Song his soulmate because of their similar attitudes toward spoilers.
It's now become general practice to write spoilery comments in rot13, as it's easy to just paste them into rot13.com and do it again if you want to read them.
There's also a Spoil Blog which acts as a "Place To Contain Yourself" if you want to discuss stuff. Also filled with lots of fan art and discussion related to the stuff Mark's reviewing.
This came back to bite him big time when he was commissioned for a video on the Band of Brothers episode "Why We Fight," featuring a horrifically realistic look at a concentration camp, with the person making the request afraid to give him any kind of warning thanks to how strict his spoiler policy is.
In the same combination, any time he brings up being abused as a child.
The Woobie: He'll occasionally go off on a tangent about his early life if a scene in something he's reviewing hits close to home. From all evidence, his first 20 years or so were ridiculously depressing.