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1->''"For an amateur production, the color came out very well...perhaps by scrapping the soundtrack and running it with subtitles or dubbing it in Esperanto, it could be promoted as a foreign art film of some sort or other."''²-->-- [[ Opening night review]] of ''Film/ManosTheHandsOfFate''²²Sometimes, we can't just say something is bad. Perhaps we are being nice, or perhaps we are in a situation where negative comments are frowned upon. It could be that we are expected to give a positive response. Or maybe we’re just {{Troll}}s or {{Caustic Critic}}s who feel like being clever with our insults. Break out the faint praise!²²To damn something with faint praise is to point out that something is mediocre or worse by praising it in ways that make its weaknesses clear. To say that a computer "looks sleek" as the primary point of praise would indicate that it is not that amazing when you actually use it as a computer, for example. To describe a person as punctual when asked about how they perform at work carries the heavy implication that this is their only valuable trait.²²An alternate version of the trope (frequently used in CausticCritic reviews) is to condemn something by praising it in comparison to something else that's widely accepted as being not at all good. For example: "This movie has a more coherent plot than ''Film/Plan9FromOuterSpace''."²²Related to many InsultTropes; can be the result of a ComplimentBackfire. May take the form of an OverlyNarrowSuperlative or a TriviallyObvious statement. May also, in a [[FuneralTropes funeral]] setting, result from NeverSpeakIllOfTheDead if the deceased is [[AndThereWasMuchRejoicing not particularly missed]]. The FourPointScale may result in this, as high scores are given to things that are just okay so that fans see a [[EightPointEight 7 or 8]] as a "bad" score. ²²Compare DamnedByAFoolsPraise. See also WantsAPrizeForBasicDecency, SoOkayItsAverage, NotLikeOtherGirls, and YouAreACreditToYourRace. Contrast with StealthInsult, which also damns people through "praise" - in that case, though, the praise is illusionary rather than merely weak. SarcasmMode is also a sister trope. Those who confuse faint praise with actual praise will claim that ItsNotSupposedToWinOscars.²²----²!!Examples²²[[foldercontrol]]²²[[folder:Advertising]]²* Chevrolet runs a TV commercial where it shows all of the cars it makes that get better EPA estimated mileage than the equivalent Honda. At the end of the commercial, the announcer says, "There's one thing Honda makes that we can't compete with. It's even self-propelled," and the camera pans down to show a Honda lawnmower.²* The jargon used by real-estate agents effectively does this by trying to turn everything into a compliment. "Cozy" just means too small, "a good fixer-upper" means it's a dump, an "efficient" kitchen means it's only big enough for one person. Specific examples include:²** ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': "That house is on fire!" "'Motivated seller'!"²%%** French [[StandUpComedy comedian]] Patrick Timsit had a field day with this.²** The Dutch Comedy show ''Koefnoen'' did a similar sketch where two obnoxious yuppies "translated" every selling point a real estate agent gave them, ("Good access by car and public transport." "Highway through the back yard, foundations ruined by the subway line.") turning into a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech. As they walked away satisfied, they decided they were going to buy it anyway.²%%** ''Webcomic/OwMySanity'' mocked this as well in [[ this page]] and [[ the next one]].²%%** [[ Spoofed]] in ''{{ComicStrip/Dilbert}}'' as well.²** Fred Dagg on the subject: "Like so many other jobs in this wonderful society of ours, the basic function of the real estate agent is to increase the price of the article without actually producing anything, and as a result it has a lot to do with communication, terminology, and calling a spade a delightfully bucolic colonial winner facing north and offering a unique opportunity to the handyman."²** ''Freakonomics'' includes a whole chapter on real estate listings, pointing out that, unless it's an objective, physical description of the house itself, everything should be taken as faint praise. Eg: "granite countertops" is good, "cozy" and "cute" are so vague as to be meaningless, "good neighborhood" means the house is terrible but there are nicer houses around. If you see an exclamation point, stay far away (it means the agent is faking enthusiasm to cover for a total lack of real qualities). ²** ''The Lying Ape'' says an apartment described as "cozy" meant you could cook a meal, watch television and answer the front door without getting up from the toilet.²%%** Author/Betty [=MacDonald=] discusses this in ''Onions in the Stew''.²* The Finnish government ran a study of the quality of all spectacles on sale in the country. The results concluded that they were all as good as one another. Newcomers to the market ''Specsavers'' ran a front-page advert congratulating a rival optical chain on being just as good as them. Specsavers' products are about a third of the price.²* The [[ DVD Verdict review for]] ''Film/BattlefieldEarth'' comments that "You know you have a stinker the size of Texas on your hands when the best review quote they could find for the box was '...great scene transitions and some of the better special effects of the year...'" The reviewer himself takes it even further in "The Evidence" part of his review (where praise of a film's good qualities normally goes) by going, "Umm...lemme see...the DVD itself is a picture disc. And there are end credits. See, I can spot the good in everything if I try."²* The box of the film ''Dragon Kingdom'' lists a review quote claiming that it has "more dragons than ''Film/TheHobbit'' films combined!" Ignoring that the presence of lots of dragons isn't exactly a universal standard of quality, those remotely familiar with ''The Hobbit'' will tell you that there's a grand total of ''one'' dragon that appears. So basically, the most positive thing they could say about the film is that there are at least two dragons in it.²* A review quoted on the back cover of a ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' novel by E.E. "Doc" Smith reads: "Fine for science fiction addicts." It's like an endorsement for methadone.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Anime and Manga]]²* In ''Manga/DoujinWork'', when Najimi shows Tsuyuri and Justice her first story, the first thing they compliment is the quality of the paper.²* In ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'', after Einhart easily defeats Vivio in their first sparring match, Vivio asks if she thought she did poorly. Einhart replies that Vivio did well for someone who does not take Strike Arts seriously. Vivio gets Einhart's drift and asks for a rematch after she's had time to prepare herself enough to make a better showing.²* In ''Manga/SilverSpoon'', when Yugo looks at Aki's grades, the only thing he finds to say is that she is better than [[BookDumb Tokiwa]]. It doesn't do much to cheer her up.²* In ''Manga/AssassinationClassroom'', Okajima reassures [[UsefulNotes/{{Pettanko}} Kayano]] that "someday, somewhere" her body type will be considered desirable.²* In ''[[LightNovel/YoujoSenki Youjo Senki: The Saga of Tanya The Evil]]'', Tanya, who hates German food, but has [[ItMakesSenseInContext the misfortune of being reincarnated in an alternate WWI era Germany]], tells a general she's dining with that the fresh and hot German cuisine she's being served causes her to remember, her time on the front-lines "fondly." As in she would rather be eating cold army rations than the high-end slop she's being served. Though luckily, the general and the other officers present take it as a sincere compliment. ²* ''The Useless Senpai and the Talented Kouhai'' has Hiromi Tsukioka (the kouhai, who's TheAce at basketball) tell the Shiori Ochiai (the senpai, who likes playing, but is terrible) the following when Tsukioka sees Ochiai trying to skip out on practice after some bullying from her kouhai. That said, [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Tsukioka]] says what she does because she doesn't want Ochiai to give up on the team. ²-->'''Tsukioka''': When I asked the teacher what your strong point is, senpai, she went silent for five minutes. Then she said that your strong point is that [[HighHopesZeroTalent you]] [[{{Determinator}} never skip practice.]]\²'''Ochiai''': [[LampshadeHanging I'm not happy to hear that at all... Don't I have any other strong points]]?²* A chapter of the ''Anime/OsomatsuSan'' manga has Choromatsu start off comforting a pair of ugly girls who were insulted on Valentine's Day with an apology for it stinging more than it ''usually'' does.²* A subversion occurs in chapter 17 of ''Manga/DeliciousInDungeon'', when Marcille says Laios' sister Falin said good things about him when they were in school together. Cue a flash-back thought bubble of Falin telling Marcille that "he does a fantastic impression of a dog!" It seems to a one-off joke at the time, [[ChekhovsSkill but later]] [[spoiler: he uses his dog impressions to intimidate a shapeshifter into revealing itself, frightens off a pack of dire wolves, and when rescuing Marcille from the grip of nightmares, his dream-form is a dog (a majestic wolf from his perspective, a dopey mutt from Marcille's perspective)]].²* In ''Manga/BloomIntoYou'', Sayaka's ex-girlfriend meets up with her by chance, and apologizes for getting Sayaka interested in girls and hopes she's back to normal (i.e. heterosexual), since she believes that the RomanticTwoGirlFriendship is merely a phase. Sayaka, while upset by the older girl's apology because she's still a lesbian, [[StealthInsult tells the other girl that she doesn't know how she ever developed feelings for her in the first place]], and says that "Still... I suppose I'm grateful to you- in a way."²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Comic Books]]²* In ''WebAnimation/DCSuperHeroGirls'' graphic novel "Space Out", ''Franchise/GreenLantern'' Jessica Cruz botches her first combat simulation. Coach Wildcat tries to reassure her: "Don't worry about it, kiddo. It wasn't the '''worst''' first try I've ever seen."²* In a ''ComicBook/JosieAndThePussycats'' comic, all the Pussycats can say about a band that wanted to open for them is "Um... they have nice hair."²* Knives Chau takes this route in ''ComicBook/ScottPilgrim's Finest Hour'' when telling the newly formed Shatterband what she thought of their first performance ("You guys have so much potential!"). Young Neil opts for BrutalHonesty instead.²* Starscream exploits this a bit in ''ComicBook/TheTransformersRobotsInDisguise'', noting that he is "the best leader in the history of Cybertron." In a vacuum, this would be pretty high praise, and seem rather gracious to his reign (which was seriously corrupt, marked by constant disasters and scandals, and ended with him being given a life sentence), but everyone else was a warmonger, an imperialist, a segregationist, or a downright supervillain, so "best" is more like "least awful" - and all he had to do to earn that was to not try and kill everyone at any point.²* The ComicBook/LegionOfSuperHeroes normally explain to tryout members why they aren't accepted, whether it's poor temperament, weak powers, or lack of control. In the case of Arm-Fall-Off Boy, they forewent any criticism and just thanked him for being willing to show up.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Comic Strips]]²* In a ''ComicStrip/{{Calvin and Hobbes}}'' strip, Calvin reasons that Santa will deem him nice [[WantsAPrizeForBasicDecency because he hasn't committed any heinous acts such as murder]].²* One particular ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' strip went thusly:²-->'''Garfield:''' Odie, you're smarter than you look.\²'''Odie:''' ''[begins panting happily]''\²'''Garfield:''' ''[to audience]'' Although he's still dumb enough to think that's a compliment.²* A meta-example involving both of the above strips: ''Calvin and Hobbes'' creator Bill Watterson once "complimented" the ''Garfield'' strip as "[[StrictlyFormula consistent]]."²* In ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'', at the PrematureEulogy for Steve Dallas, Portnoy pompously begins a speech "about the finer qualities of our good, deceased friend." After two {{Beat Panel}}s, Opus (who in the previous strip makes a quixotic effort to NeverSpeakIllOfTheDead) suggests, "He could spit forty feet." Portnoy quickly and loudly wraps the speech up: "For which we loved him like a brother. Good night."²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Fan Works]]²* In ''Fanfic/TheStalkingZukoSeries'', Teo says that sea prunes are not the worst thing he's eaten, and considering that he's had to eat grass as a refugee, this isn't saying much.²* ''FanFic/MyDarkKing'' features an inversion, with Supreme King Judai claiming to be "a fair bit weaker" than the Crimson Dragon. The Crimson Dragon is a 5,000-year-old Mesoamerican deity that regularly matches and exceeds entities of world-destroying power, so the fact that Judai is even ''comparable'' is practically a BadassBoast.²* ''Fanfic/TheSecondTry'': Rei resorts to this to critique a drawing of her. It works because the artist is only three.²-->"How you like it?" she eventually ended Rei's wondering.\²Taken aback, the teen didn't answer immediately. Being honest was likely to hurt the girl's feelings, and Rei didn't want that. But wouldn't she also do the same by lying to her?\²"The... shade of blue is well chosen," she eventually settled for.²* ''[[ The Kiss]]'':²-->'''Harry:''' Oh man, I forgot all about classes. Excuse me while I go find Neville or Dean and see what I missed. You think Ron will help me with my homework?\²'''Ginny:''' I thought you wanted to pass? Get the twins to help you, instead.\²'''Mrs. Weasley:''' Ginny! Show your brother some support. He might not be the student Bill was, or the athlete Charlie was, or a scholar like Percy ... at least he's quieter than the twins.²* ''Fanfic/AManOfIron'': When civil war breaks out in Westeros, Jonos Bracken initially supports [[SmugSnake Renly]], but later clarifies it was only because he was "the best of a bad lot," with the alternatives being[[KnightTemplar Stannis]] and [[TheCaligula Joffrey]].²* In ''Fanfic/BleachFanWorks'', Oshikko says that Jolene Meyers' fanfic is "trying to mimic [[TakeThat that shit]] Literature/{{Twilight}}." He then says she's successful, but that isn't exactly hard.²* In ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' fanfic ''Fanfic/EverybodysGottaLeaveSometime'', as the gang is saying their goodbyes to Charlie Brown, Violet praises Charlie by telling that, all things considered, he is kind of a nice guy.²-->'''Violet:''' Yeah. For a round-headed kid with no potential at all, you're kind of a nice guy. Kind of, I mean.\²'''Charlie Brown:''' (awed) Gee, girls, that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Films -- Animated]]²* ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'': Eric is presented with a large, extremely gaudy statue of himself and raises his eyebrow, less than pleased, while his dog Max snarls at the statue in complete disapproval.²-->'''Eric''': Uh, gee, Grim. It's''s really something.²* Parodied in ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove'', where Kuzco insults a row of girls with offhand remarks, most of which are directly insulting, but to the final one he says, in very sarcastic tones, "Let me guess, you have a great personality?" Even better is the fact that ''they all look identical''. The fact that the other girls have to physically restrain the last one to keep her from attacking Kuzco shows that she's well aware it wasn't a compliment.²* In Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', an unintentional example of this nearly trips up our hero.²-->'''Aladdin:''' Princess Jasmine, you're\²'''Genie:''' ''(whispering suggestions in his ear)'' Wonderful! Magnificent! Glorious!... Punctual!\²'''Aladdin:''' ''(blurts)'' Punctual!\²'''Princess Jasmine:''' ''(bewildered)'' Punctual?\²'''Genie:''' Sorry.\²'''Aladdin:''' Uh... uhh... ''beautiful!''\²'''Genie:''' Nice recovery.²** A lot of the things Jasmine says about Jafar in the ShowSomeLeg scene are TriviallyObvious, i.e. he's tall and dark or his beard is twisted. Her tone of voice just makes them sound like compliments since by then, [[DistractedByTheSexy he isn't really paying attention.]]²* ''WesternAnimation/{{Anastasia}}'':²-->'''Vlad:''' Well?\²'''Sophie:''' Well, she answered every question.²* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek 2}}'', Fiona's parents are shocked that she has married an ogre, and she is asked where she lives.²-->'''Fiona:''' Well... Shrek owns his own land. ''(nervous laugh)'' Don't you, honey?\²'''Shrek:''' Oh, ''yes''. Heh-heh. It's in an... enchanted forest. Abundant in... squirrels, and... cute little duckies, and...\²'''Donkey:''' What?! ''(laughs)'' I ''know'' you ain't talkin' about the swamp!²* The trailer for ''WesternAnimation/BebesKids'' ends with the line "It's animation..." Gives you an idea of the overall quality if this is the best they can say about it. To be fair it's actually supposed to be "it's animation... with an attitude" but a technical glitch caused it to cut off. This was later fixed, but most (including ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic'' who popularized the glitched version) would agree the original glitched trailer [[NeverTrustATrailer was a lot more accurate than the fixed one]].²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]²* In ''Film/{{Amadeus}}'', this trope practically defines Mozart's relationship with Salieri. In one scene he says to Salieri, "I did some variations on a piece of yours. A funny little tune, but it yielded some good things."²* In Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/EdWood'', the only positive thing found in any review on one of Creator/EdWood's plays is ''"The soldiers' costumes are very realistic"''. The director, being [[ThePollyanna Ed Wood]], desperately tries to spin this into something positive later on: ''"Victor Crowley himself praised its realism"''.²* In ''Film/KillBill'', Bill, when asked for his opinion about the Bride's fiancé (whom he later more honestly describes as a "fucking jerk"), says "I like his hair."²* In Creator/RobertAltman's ''Film/{{Popeye}}'', Olive Oyl sings "He's Large," which is faint praise for her fiancé Bluto. The only positives she can come up with are his large stature and the fact that "he's mine." Her friends giggle, "You can have him!"²* ''Film/ThisIsSpinalTap'': Spinal Tap is described as "England's loudest band." The band themselves [[InsultBackfire don't find this particularly faint]], of course - after all, they are the {{Trope Namer|s}} for UpToEleven. Because it's ''one louder''.²* Apparently the best that whoever designed the DVD case for ''Film/BeverlyHillsChihuahua'' could come up with was "The Greatest Chihuahua Movie of All Time." [[OverlyNarrowSuperlative Considering that the only real competition for that title are the sequels, that's not a difficult feat.]]²* In ''Film/{{Chaplin}}'', Charlie admits that he's marrying his [[TheDitz very young lover]] because [[TheBabyTrap he thinks she's carrying his child]]. When he insists "she's really not that bad", his friend quips [[SarcasmMode "Spoken like a man madly in love."]]²* In ''Film/TuckerAndDaleVsEvil'', Tucker's not great at pep-talks.²-->'''Tucker''': ''You'' are a good-lookin' man... more or less. You got a damn good heart. [''{{Beat}}''] That's two things right there.²* Familiarity with this trope causes confusion in this scene from ''Film/WhenHarryMetSally'', in which Harry tries to set up his friend on a blind date with Sally:²-->'''Jess:''' So you're saying she's not that attractive?\²'''Harry:''' No, I told you she's attractive.\²'''Jess:''' But you also said she has a good personality.\²'''Harry:''' She has a good personality. ''(pause)'' What?\²'''Jess:''' When someone's not attractive, they're always described as having a good personality. [...] So which is she?\²'''Harry:''' Attractive.\²'''Jess:''' But not beautiful, right? ''(gets a death glare from Harry)''²* In ''Film/OfficeSpace'', Tom has an idea for a fad toy he calls the "Jump to Conclusions Mat." Peter flat out tells him it's a terrible idea. Later on in the film, Tom is showing off a finished prototype of the mat. Peter, trying to be kind, says "It's...exactly as you described."²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Literature]]²%%* ''Literature/RedDwarf'': The Least Worst Scripts.²* In the Literature/{{Boojumverse}}, Christian Cultists are known for being eager to speak well of everyone. Thus, when the only praise they can give Station Master Lee is to say that she doesn't actively persecute them, Izrael knows that Lee must be a very terrible Station Master indeed.²* In ''Literature/TheCaineMutiny'', the protagonist, Willie Keith, is horrified to find that he has been rated as "Above average" (meaning generally useless, despite it [[FourPointScale actually being a 3/5 rating]]) on his service testimonial. Lt. Commander [=DeVriess=] adds that Keith "[...] seems to have the potential for becoming a capable officer [...]."[[labelnote:*]]I'm back-translating from Swedish here, maybe someone could provide the exact quote[[/labelnote]] It doesn't take a genius to realize that he is being disparaged.²* For lack of anything better to say, Jack Ryback from [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 Mike Nelson's]] ''Death Rat!'' at one point earnestly praises his literary agent as "the most well-groomed man I've ever met."²* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':²** In ''Discworld/{{Maskerade}}'', Agnes Nitt is tired of being described as having "a wonderful personality and good hair", as if that were all there was to her.²** In ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'' Captain Carrot is writing home and struggles to find something positive to say about Nobby, eventually settling for "is still Nobby, only more than he was."²** Similarly in ''Discworld/MenAtArms'', when discussing who might be promoted to captain of the guard, Carrot says he's too inexperienced, Colon absolutely doesn't want the job and Nobby... "is more suited in his current role" is the description he eventually settles on.²** In ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'', Vetinari tells Leonard of Quirm to tell [[ThoseTwoGuys Colon and Nobby]] they've been selected for his top-secret mission to Klatch because of their "special qualities." While Colon thinks of it as an honor (though he's actually scared out of his mind the whole time) Nobby's the one who figures that this trope is in play. "What's so special about 'special qualities'? ''Limpets'' have special qualities."²* ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'': Dante starts a conversation with his guide by referring to him as "My master, you who can defeat all things except for those tenacious demons who tried to block us at the entryway," reminding his master of a damning failure in a conversation that has nothing to do with that.²* ''Literature/TheDrownedCities'': Mahlia informs soldier-boy Ocho that she saved his life because "you act almost human," in contrast to his even more sadistic comrades.²* In one ''Literature/ElephantAndPiggie'' book, Piggie plays the trumpet for Gerald but the sounds she makes on it are so horrifically screechy and discordant that they can in no way be described as "music". When she asks Gerald what he thought, he tactfully says that her trumpet is loud and shiny and that she holds it very well.²* ''Literature/{{Emma}}'': Emma really resents Mrs. Elton. Her close friends know about her opinion and they quite agree because Mrs. Elton is really obnoxious. However, Emma doesn't want other people to know about it, so she might mention that Mrs. Elton is "very pleasant and very elegantly dressed."²* {{Trope Namer|s}} is ''Epistle to Doctor Arbuthnot'' by Creator/AlexanderPope:²-->Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, \²And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer; \²Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike, \²Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.²* In ''Literature/TheHalfMadeWorld'', the Engines of the Line clearly do not believe in unduly flattering their minions. At one point they authorize a character's FieldPromotion on the grounds that he is "not significantly less adequate" than the man he's replacing.²* The tie-in book for ''Series/FistOfFun'' includes a spoof academic article that accuses the hymn ''All Things Bright and Beautiful'' of doing this to God himself in its last lines:²-->He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell\²How great is God Almighty, who has made all things well.²** "Well", it insists, is an insulting understatement, and suggests this alternative:²-->He gave us eyes to see them, and then he made elastic\²How great is God Almighty, who has made all things fantastic.²* In ''Literature/TheIliad'', and many other Greek poems, most of the characters are given "epithets", descriptors that refer to their titles, feats, or skills. For instance, Agamemnon is referred to as "brilliant Agamemnon", "wide-ruling Agamemnon", or "Agamemnon son of Atreus." In general, you can tell how important or skilled a character is supposed to be by the kind of epithets they receive - characters like Achilles or Hector get a new and impressive one pretty much every time they're mentioned, while lesser characters tend to have only a few epithets that border on TriviallyObvious. Paris, though, is probably the biggest example of this trope, as his two epithets are "son of Priam" and "godlike" (meaning he looks like a god) - even though they're compliments, they're basically saying that being Priam's son and looking pretty are the only things Paris has ever accomplished. On the other hand, many of Agamemnon's listed epitaphs can be just snark (especially those voiced by Achilles) because Agamemnon was often shown as speaking and/or behaving exactly the opposite of those epithets (i.e. in a mean, petty or dumb manner) either just before or shortly after being thus addressed. There can be genuine praise, conventional salutations or hidden sarcasm embedded in how those characters (and the poem reciter) may address each character.²* Reversed by Creator/DorothyLSayers in ''[[Literature/LordPeterWimsey Murder Must Advertise]]''. At one point, describing one character's comments on another, our detective protagonist Lord Peter uses the phrase "...praise him with faint damns."²* The victim in the sci-fi murder mystery ''Literature/TheNakedSun'', Dr. Rikaine Delmarre, is consistently praised by those who knew him as "a good Solarian" (Solaria being the planet on which the story is set). What the audience comes to realize is, while his devotion to civic duty was indeed above reproach, that's the only good thing anyone can think to say about him. In truth, [[WhoMurderedTheAsshole a lot of people actively hated him]].²* ''Literature/TheNameOfTheRose'': During a conference when they're surrounded by monks and church dignitaries, William credits the Inquisitor Bernard Gui with the biggest decision of his (William's) life. This is a compliment to everyone but Bernard and William's student Adso, who both know William's biggest decision was ''leaving'' the Inquisition...²* In Creator/JaneYolen's historical novel ''Queen's Own Fool'', when Queen Mary is about to marry Darnley, she asks her friends' opinion of him. They don't want to upset her by pointing out that Darnley is a {{Jerkass}}, so they dodge the issue by praising his other qualities.²* At the beginning of ''Literature/ReservedForTheCat'', Ninette Dupond is chosen to fill in for the star, La Augustine (who has sprained her ankle) for a matinee production of the ballet ''La Sylphide''. She has done a good job, but the following day, she and the other ''sujets'' (soloists) are reading the reviews and most of them are about the star's injury and her performance rated only, "''Sujet'' Ninette Dupond was called upon to replace the ''etoile'' and managed a credible, if sometimes naïve, interpretation." One of the other ''sujets'' laughs and comments, "You are damned with faint praise, Ninette." (It's the one good review from ''La Figaro'', the newspaper thought to be for artists and thinkers, that causes trouble for Ninette.)²* ''Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerillas 1939-1945'' by Creator/MaxHastings contains an inversion: he is generally unimpressed by the wartime spooks but describes the British secret services as "the least ineffective in the world." ²* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'':²** Sansa is unable to think of any honest compliments for young king Joffrey except that he is "comely." It's pretty much the only good thing about him.²** The only honest compliment that Ned can give Robert about his reign was that he was a better king than [[TheCaligula his predecessor]].²** Griff says that Ser Rolly Duckfield is a "solid" man, but disagrees with him being raised to the Kingsguard. He worries that, at this rate, the illustrious order will be filled with men "each more blindingly adequate than the last."²* ''The Sprightly Companion'', a musical instruction book published by Henry Playford in 1695, describes the oboe as 'not much inferior to the Trumpet.'²* In ''Literature/WolfHall'', after Thomas Cromwell returns from a trip he tells his wife Liz that she's sweeter to look at than Cardinal Wolsey was. She laughs and tells him "that's the smallest compliment a woman ever received", which he jokes is a shame because he was working on it the whole way home.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Live Action TV]]²* In ''Series/ThirtyRock'', Liz explains that whenever Jenna performs in a horrible production she always finds some small point to legitimately compliment so that it can seem like she enjoyed it. When she tries it in "The Rural Juror", however, Jenna describes it as Liz being mocking by highlighting some small point. [[RashomonStyle There are two sets of flashbacks in the episode, one from each of their perspectives]]; Liz's depicts her as attempting to be kind, while Jenna's emphasizes the condescension and insulting aspect. ²* In season one of ''Series/{{Angel}}'' Angel and Wesley describe Cordelia's acting as having "good projection" and said that she had "taken the role and made it her own."²* On ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'', Leonard and Penny pull this on themselves while trying to write a Christmas letter. As they try to list their accomplishments over the previous year, they end up with items like "still married" and "still employed."²* ''Series/BigWolfOnCampus'' episode "That Swamp Thing You Do!", possibly combined with StealthInsult:²-->'''Tommy''': So, what did you think of my acting skills?²-->'''Merton''': I think you combined the articulation of Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger with the emotional range of Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme.²-->'''Tommy''': Thanks, man!²²* An episode of ''Series/BlackBooks'' has Manny, suddenly missing his job at the bookshop, trying to find a nice thing to say about the place. He eventually concludes that there was no love, freedom, or largeness of heart, but "I was not contractually obligated to have sex with foreign businessmen, and that's not nothing!"²* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':²** Willow's excited to hear that since Angel came to our fair shores about eighty years ago, there are no reports of him hunting ("[[{{Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS1E7Angel}} Angel]]"). She reads this as proof that he is a ''good'' vampire. "I mean, on a scale of one to ten, 10 being someone who's killing and maiming every night, and 1 being someone who's... not."²** In "[[Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS1E12ProphecyGirl Prophecy Girl]] ", Xander takes the plunge and asks out Buffy. She's at a loss for words. "Well, you're not laughing, so that's a good start."²** In "[[Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS2E3SchoolHard School Hard]]", Joyce wonders what Buffy's teachers will have to say about her scholastic performance. "Well," Buffy declares, "I think they'll all agree that I always bring a pen to class, ready to absorb the knowledge."²** Willow congratulates Buffy from moving on from Angel... then makes the mistake of asking the Scoobies if they approve of the new guy, Scott. "He didn't try to slit our throats or anything," quips Cordelia. "It's progress." ("[[{{Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS3E3FaithHopeAndTrick}} Faith, Hope, and Trick]]")²** Buffy concedes that she's not popular. But she's not exactly '''un'''popular! ("[[Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS3E5Homecoming Homecoming]]")²---> '''Buffy:''' A ''lot'' of people came to my Welcome Home party.\²'''Willow:''' But they were eaten by zombies.²** In "[[Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS3E18Earshot Earshot]]", Hogan feigns excitement at Percy's improved verbal skills. "I actually heard him complete a sentence," he tells Willow. "It had a clause and everything."²** At a pep rally in the same episode, Oz muses that the cheerleaders' spelling has improved.²** In "[[Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS3E22GraduationDayPart2 Graduation Day pt. 2]]", Snyder congratulates the Class of '99, saying that they were "more or less adequate." ²* An episode of ''Series/{{Dexter}}'' has the Trinity Killer receive faint praise from his family on Thanksgiving. He catches on, which goes poorly for his family.²* ''Series/DoctorWho'':²** In "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E5FleshAndStone Flesh and Stone]]", River arguably gives one about the Doctor. The army captain asks her "Do you trust this man?" She replies, "I absolutely trust him." "He's not some kind of madman?" In the ''exact'' same tone as before: "... I absolutely trust him." He catches on, though, and warns her that he doesn't like it.²** In "[[Recap/DoctorWho50thPrequelTheNightOfTheDoctor The Night of the Doctor]]" the Eighth Doctor tries to convince Cass that he's not one of those Time Lords, who have wrought destruction upon the universe during the Time War, by saying that he's "one of the nice ones." This doesn't work, and she chooses to die rather than trust him. He refuses to leave her side and dies too.²* ''Series/FamilyMatters'': When Carl is asked to testify during an in-school "court session" about Steve's destructive tendencies, the only positive thing he can say is, "... I still have my health!"²* From an early episode of ''Series/{{Frasier}}'':²-->'''Frasier''': Niles, you're a good brother and a credit to the psychiatric profession.\²'''Niles''': You're a good brother too.²* ''Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir'':²** In one, Ashley is afraid that she won't make any friends at her new school. Phil says that she has a great personality. Her response? "Great! Now I'm ugly."²** In another episode, the characters are arguing over who is Phillip Banks' favorite child and will inherit his fortune. In the end, Phillip tells each one that he loves them equally and the reason why. When he gets to Hilary, he can't think of anything better than "Nice earrings!"²* ''Series/{{Friends}}'':²** The characters argue over what faint praise they could offer Joey's awful T.V. show: "The lighting was O.K."²** Ross promises to play rugby. Rachael reassured him that he was the toughest ''paleontologist'' that she knew.²** In "The One With The Butt," the friends struggle to give Joey's play faint praise before Chandler breaks the ice by bluntly declaring it "awful."²* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':²** Catelyn agrees for one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters to marry her son Robb. She relays that Lord Walder said that several of them would be suitable for marriage. When asked to describe them she starts "One was..." and stops, apparently unable to think of a compliment and settling for confirming she's "suitable."²** Jaime Lannister ends up being forced to undergo an extremely painful surgical procedure in order to prevent an infection from spreading. For extra creepiness, the doctor presiding over this treatment is Qyburn, [[MadDoctor a mildly-psychotic Maester]] stripped of his rank and chain of study for [[MadScientist immoral experimentation]]. Fortunately, the treatment works, and Jaime eventually compliments him on being "far better at this sort of work than Grand Maester Pycelle." He actually meant this as a genuine compliment, but Qyburn clearly doesn't think much of his [[TheyCalledMeMad former colleagues among the Maesters]] and even less of the [[YesMan admittedly corrupt]] Grand Maester, and only replies: "Faint praise, my Lord."²** Shae mentions in "What Is Dead May Never Die" that every man she cooks for compliments what a good whore she is.²** In "Mockingbird", Jaime praises Tyrion's epic TheReasonYouSuckSpeech from the previous episode as something all of King's Landing will be talking about for ''days'' to come.²** After Tywin's death, Loras has to give his condolences to Cersei and he painfully struggles to say something nice about her father. He finally calls the deceased lord 'a force to be reckoned with', then pauses for a moment, then rephrases it, then pauses again and finally repeats the original phrase. While the moment is awkward, the departed would find the words highly praising because that's precisely the image Tywin cultivated and relished.²** Varys notes that the main thing Robert had to recommend was that he wasn't as bad as Aerys II and Joffrey, being neither mad nor cruel. He simply didn't want to be king.²* ''Series/{{GLOW 2017}}'': After Ruth directs an opening sequence for the show, cameraman Russell hits on her by saying she has a "decent eye." Ruth makes a sarcastic comment about the faintness of the praise. ²* The main premise of an ''Series/{{iCarly}}'' episode: Carly's webshow lands a sponsorship from a new type of wonder shoe. When the shoe fails to deliver, the team piles on "faint praise" to fulfill the contract without lying to their fans.²* In the ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' episode, "The Gang Dines Out", Mac forces Dennis to say something nice to him. This is the best Dennis could come up with:²-->'''Dennis:''' ...Your hair looks small.²* In ''Series/{{Jessie}}'', while seeing a horrible performance by officer Petey and being asked for an opinion. Zuri says that he is a "better actor than [[PoliceAreUseless policeman]]."²* In the Quebecois ''Series/LeCoeurASesRaisons'' - also known as Sins Of Love - the two main characters Brett and Criquette play a couples game called the Ball of Complicity: they must throw the ball at each other and say a quality of the other every time they receive it. This being a parody of the genre, the two members of this OfficialCouple quickly run out of ideas and the throws get more and more violent.²--> '''Brett:''' Pretty.²--> '''Criquette:''' Polite.²--> '''Brett:''' Punctual.²--> '''Criquette:''' Clean.²--> '''Brett:''' Always gives the exact change when shopping.²--> '''Criquette:''' Ow! Makes noise when eating.²--> '''Brett:''' Farts in bed!²--> '''Criquette:''' Frustrated!²--> '''Brett:''' Harpy!²--> '''Criquette:''' Cheap!²--> '''Brett:''' BIIIIITCH! ²* ''Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse'':²** ''Series/Daredevil2015'': Irish criminal Elliot "Grotto" Grote is killed by the Punisher despite Nelson & Murdock's best efforts to protect him. [[LonelyFuneral Only]] [[OfficialCouple Matt Murdock, Karen Page]] and Foggy Nelson show up for his funeral. Father Lantom doesn't sugarcoat Grotto's life or attempt to avoid [[NeverSpeakIllOfTheDead speaking ill of him]]. The most positive thing he can say about Grotto is that he went to and donated to the church with whatever loose change he had on hand and explains to Matt afterward that if they ignore his criminal past, there was no learning from it. ²** ''Series/JessicaJones2015'': Trish tried to become a pop singer at one point, with a song called [[ "I Want Your Cray Cray"]]. The one good thing Jessica has to say about [[StylisticSuck this terrible song and its equally terrible music video]] is that it takes the ''It's Patsy'' theme song out of her head. ²* ''Series/MrShow'':²** In one sketch, the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) [[ attempts to bolster their public image with an ad campaign]] reminding the public that they're not serial killers. When presented at the Awards for Advertising American Ads, it wins the award for Best Improved Image. The audience is so disgusted with the pro-NAMBLA PSA that even a member of NAMBLA takes offense.²** Some of the vox pops reviewing ''Coupon: The Movie'' include "We saw the shit out of it!" and "It was a movie!"²* The opening of ''Franchise/TheMuppets Go to the Movies'' includes hilariously-vague faux reviews saying things like "One of the T.V. programs ever made" and "Even better than that."²* In an episode of ''Series/MurphyBrown'', Frank, Murphy, and Jim attend the premiere of a movie made by Corky's husband, and come out having utterly hated it. Frank then tells Murphy and Jim that in these circumstances he usually complements the movie's cinematography. Phil then walks in:²-->'''Phil''': So how was the movie?²-->'''Frank''': The cinematography was excellent!²-->'''Phil''':...that bad, huh?²* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' gave us this gem in regards to the film adaptation of ''Literature/TheLandThatTimeForgot''.²--> '''Jonah:''' This is my fourth-favorite submarine movie. ²--> '''Servo:''' Really? ²--> '''Jonah:''' Well, I only know of three others, so it's also my least favorite submarine movie.²* In ''Series/TheNanny'' episode "Deep Throat", C.C. wants Maxwell to be her date at a sorority reunion:²-->'''C.C.:''' (''enthusiastically'') I just can't wait to show you off to all my old friends, (''becoming embittered'') with their handsome doctor husbands and their 2.5 perfect children they juggled while earning multiple [=PhDs=]...²-->'''Maxwell:''' C.C., there's no need to be jealous. You have a successful career and, uh... a successful career.²-->'''Niles:''' [[DeadpanSnarker Yes, how do you balance them both]]?²* In ''Series/{{Newsradio}}'', a whole episode is devoted to the news staff getting angry over a review describing their station as "adequate." When Jimmy James hears about it, he admits that the reviewer is on his payroll and he wrote the review himself, believing that "adequate" is a good compliment.²* ''Series/OurMissBrooks'': In "The Model Teacher", a Snap magazine reporter "compliments" Miss Brooks' clothes: "That's a very nice suit...One can tell at a glance that it's worn you for years."²* ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'': Inverted when Ron moves [[NiceGirl Anne]] to tears by matter-of-factly telling her that interacting with her had not always been entirely unpleasant. This is due to Ron being extraordinarily spare in his praise.²* In ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'', after being informed that she's been cold to the Rangers, K turns to each in term, gives them ([[NoSocialSkills incredibly awkward and unintentionally backhanded]], but well-meaning) compliments, calls them by name (which she previously hadn't done much), and gives them an (equally awkward) hug. Then she turns to Ziggy, the one character most likely to accept this, and all she does is nod and say "You too, Series Operator Green," and walk off. Ziggy is outright insulted by this. [[spoiler:Implied to be a subversion, at least in intent; she actually seems to have a crush on Ziggy and has no idea how to express it.]]²* ''Series/RedDwarf:'' When an amnesiac Lister asks Kryten to describe something laudable about himself, Kryten pauses for a moment, and states that Lister ''sometimes'' turns his underpants inside out, allowing him to go without washing them for another few months.²* ''Series/{{Roseanne}}'': [[MyBelovedSmother Beverly]] used this trope often. When Roseanne disapproves of her daughter moving into a trailer park, she intentionally sends Beverly in with the directions to "[[ComplimentBackfire be as nice as possible]]."²-->'''Beverly:''' Well, it must be nice being able to vacuum the entire home without having to change outlets.²* ''Series/SixFeetUnder'': Russell, Claire's then soon-to-be boyfriend, complains to Claire that nobody ever considers him "hot." At best he gets "cute", and it doesn't help that most people think he's gay, and he's constantly hit on by guys. ²* Of Oliver's production of ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'' in ''Series/SlingsAndArrows'', the janitor diplomatically says, "The production values are very high." And they are; it's just a shame that half the actors are crap and the blocking means you can't actually hear the delivery of the good ones. In the audience, the minister of culture is listening to the hockey game on a portable radio - and in the tech booth, the stage manager and ''Oliver himself'' are watching it on TV.²* In ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'':²** "[[{{Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS6E14Tapestry}} Tapestry]]" has Picard changing the past and not getting involved in the fight that caused him to need to get his heart replaced with an artificial one. Without that brush with death driving him, [[ForWantOfANail he became a Lieutenant Junior Grade paper pusher instead of a legendary starship captain]]. When he goes to Troi and Riker asking about his performance, they end up falling into this.²--->'''Riker:''' You're a good worker, reliable... punctual.²** In the episode "[[{{Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS6E18TheChase}} The Chase]]", Picard's old archaeology professor describes one of his papers as "informative", to which Picard himself replies "[[LampshadeHanging Damning with faint praise]]."²** Played with in the episode "[[{{Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS3E23Sarek}} Sarek]]." After the Vulcan Sarek has reviewed Picard's history, he deems Picard's Starfleet service record "satisfactory." Picard is pleased, recognizing this as high praise coming from a Vulcan.²** Faint praise is considered a grave insult in Klingon culture as it implies the recipient is too weak to handle criticism. In "[[Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS3E17SinsOfTheFather Sins of the Father]]", visiting Klingon officer Kurn berates the crew but is dismissively polite towards Worf, resulting in a confrontation. It turns out this was a SecretTestOfCharacter to see if Worf is still [[ProudWarriorRace Klingon]] enough to avenge the insult.²* ''Series/{{Succession}}'': When people make cracks about Shiv's unexceptional boyfriend Tom, she defensively protests, "He's a nice guy!" On their wedding night, her toast to him is limited to, "You're a great guy and I like hanging out with you." ²* In ''Series/StrangersWithCandy'', Teacher Chuck Noblet to protagonist Jerri Blank's stepmother Sara: "Jerri certainly is one our of students."²* Former ''Series/TopGear'' host Jeremy Clarkson lampshaded this trope reviewing a minivan. "This is a Renault Espace, probably the best of the people carriers. Not that that's much to shout about. That's like saying ‘Oh good, I've got syphilis, the best of the sexually transmitted diseases!'"²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Music]]²* ''Music/FlightOfTheConchords'': ²** The band bills itself as [[OverlyNarrowSuperlative New Zealand's fourth most popular digi-folk duo]].²** "The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)" is all about this. The speaker hits on a girl by telling her that she's the most beautiful girl in the "whole wide room" and that when she's walking down a street, she'd probably be among the top three hottest girls on the street (depending on the street).²* One review of [[Music/PinkFloyd Pink Floyd's]] album ''Music/{{Ummagumma}}'' (acknowledged even by the band itself as being part of its DorkAge) called it "an admirable record to fall asleep to."²* The Music/{{Soundgarden}} album "Ultramega Ok." (The band were dissatisfied with the production but happy with the songs themselves)²* In their stage performances, veteran Irish folk group Music/TheDubliners would often credit their late member Barney as being "probably the best banjo player in the whole of the Dubliners."²* Keith Moon, Music/TheWho's {{Cloudcuckoolander}} drummer, once made the bold claim that he was "the best Keith Moon-type drummer in the world."²* On at least one of his album covers, Music/TomLehrer cheerfully included lines from a brutal series of newspaper reviews, ending with the ''Oakland Tribune''[='s=] "Plays the piano acceptably."²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Podcasts]]²* It crops up when the party of ''Podcast/InterstitialActualPlay'' encounter Merlin in Twilight Town. He thinks the dropout from Yen Sid's class is Edith rather than Criss, and Criss defends her by claiming that she doesn't have nearly the potential Yen Sid looks for in a student and would never be taught by him.²** Again near the end of the first season. While trying to brag about his companions, Criss gives impressive images of Edith and Roxanne and then implies the most interesting thing about Marche is that he can drive a car.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]²* Wrestling/MickFoley tells a story in one of his books about Wrestling/OwenHart's feud with Wrestling/DanSevern. Evidently, when Mick asked Owen how his match went with Severn, Owen replied with "He's a nice guy." When Mick repeated the question, Owen responded again with "He's a nice guy."²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Radio]]²* ''Radio/CabinPressure'': ²** Martin responds to Arthur's Christmas gift with "Thank you, Arthur, it's just what I... least expected."²** Douglas gives Martin a job reference stating that "other than myself, there is no one at MJN whose skills as a pilot I rate higher." [[OddlySmallOrganization They're MJN's only two pilots.]]²** [[ThePollyanna Arthur]] thinks pretty much everyone is, in his words, "brilliant", so when he's asked to describe his father and the best he can come up with is "he's all right", Martin's immediate reaction is "God, he must be awful!" Later in the same episode, Carolyn greets Arthur's father (her ex-husband) with "Hello, Gordon. How necessary to see you."²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Tabletop Games]]²* An infamous [[JokeItem Community Chest Card]] in ''TabletopGame/{{Monopoly}}'' will inform you, "You have won second prize in a beauty contest!" This dubious distinction will award you a whopping $11. Although in some newer versions of the game, [[{{Nerf}} you only get $10]].²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Theater]]²* The book Theatrical Anecdotes speaks of a producer who, when invited to a friend's show that really sucked, would congratulate them with the phrase, "My dear! Good is not the word!"²* In ''Film/{{Hairspray}}'', Tracy's mother thanks Velma Von Tussle for letting Tracy appear on her TV show (she didn't, actually; the decision had been made without her and she protested vehemently). Velma diplomatically replies, "Well, Tracy has certainly... redefined our standards."²* ''Theatre/{{Ruddigore}}'':²** Robin is talking to Rose about Richard, beginning by saying he'll "stand up for Dick through thick and thin!" However, every single thing Robin says about Richard, although masquerading as a compliment, is, in fact, nothing of the kind.²** When Rose asks Robin whether Richard is like most sailors in that he is "worldly", he says, "And what then? Admit that Dick is not a steady character and that when he's excited he uses language that would make your hair curl. Grant that -- he does. It's the truth, and I'm not going to deny it. But look at his good qualities. He's as nimble as a pony, and his hornpipe is the talk of the Fleet!"²** When Rose asks if Richard drinks, Robin says, "Well, suppose he does, and I don't say he don't, for rum's his bane, and ever has been. He does drink -- I won't deny it. But what of that? Look at his arms -- tattooed to the shoulder!"²** Finally, when Rose wonders whether Richard would cheat on her while he was away on a sailing voyage, Robin says, "Granted--granted--and I don't say that Dick isn't as bad as any of 'em. You are, you know you are, you dog! [[ReallyGetsAround a devil of a fellow--a regular out-and-out Lothario]]! But what then? You can't have everything, and a better hand at turning-in a dead-eye don't walk a deck! And what an accomplishment that is in a family man!"²* ''Theatre/ThePiratesOfPenzance'':²** Frederic worries if Ruth is not as beautiful as other women are, and the pirates struggle to say good things about her:²--->'''Pirate King:''' Oh, Ruth is very well, very well indeed.\²'''Samuel:''' Yes, there are the remains of a fine woman about Ruth.²** The Major-General unknowingly does this to himself in [[MajorGeneralSong his song]]. His military knowledge includes impressive things like being able to "tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a javelin" and knowing more about tactics than "a novice in a nunnery". Several of his other boasts are [[GeniusBonus unimpressive if you know what he's talking about]]--for instance, he knows "the croaking chorus from ''Theatre/TheFrogs'' of Aristophanes." The Croaking Chorus in question is just the Greek onomatopoeia for "frog noise." So it's basically "ribbit."²* In ''Theatre/TrialByJury'' the Judge's ex-wife is described by her father as being able to pass for forty-three, in the dusk, with the light behind her.²* In ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'', Doctor Frank-N-Further asks his servants on their opinion of Rocky, his latest creation. While Riff Raff and Magenta offer lavish praise, Columbia enthusiastically says "He's okay!" The doctor doesn't appreciate that.²* An excerpt from Veronica's diary in ''{{Theatre/Heathers}}'':²-->''Kurt Kelly. Quarterback. He is the smartest guy on the football team, which is kind of like being the tallest dwarf.''²* ''Theatre/MrPuntilaAndHisManMatti'': After Puntila, while drunk, has said about the attaché, fiancé of his daughter Eva, [[InVinoVeritas that he "isn't a man"]], Eva defends the attaché in conversation with Matti as "an intelligent and kind man whom you can't judge by his appearance, or by what he says or what he does."²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Video Games]]²* In ''[[VideoGame/KatamariDamacy Beautiful Katamari]]'', if the King of All Cosmos isn't impressed with your rolling results, but still turns it into a star, he'll observe "At least it doesn't take up much space..." Of course, he doesn't shy away from ''straight insults'', either...²** The [[ReplacementGoldfish RoboKing]] in ''Katamari Forever'' is even better at this, in part thanks to his [[HeroicSelfDeprecation tendency to]] [[ItsAllMyFault blame himself]].²* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'', the ''Rafiq'' in charge of the Assassin Bureau in Damascus will tell Altaïr that he deeply envies him. Well, except for the fact that his arrogance got Altaïr stripped of his rank and equipment and got him stabbed in the gut, and every other Assassin hates his guts now.... or rather, are able to ''openly'' hate his guts now.²* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', The Warden is offered a vote on how to dispense with a magical criminal responsible for poisoning a nobleman. The Warden can give a response like "He did agree to help us... though he didn't have much choice", to which the Arl calls the trope out by name.²* In ''JustForFun/PokemonVietnameseCrystal'', the second gym leader, oddly enough, does this to ''himself'' when he says, "IF IT'S WORM ELF, I'M NOT DEFEATED BY EVERYONE."[[note]]The original line, through the filter of BlindIdiotTranslation, is " I never lose when it comes to bug Pokémon!"[[/note]]²* ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'''s character bios list Karis, an overbearing and easily-annoyed {{Tsundere}}, as the "most levelheaded" of the starting three characters. This speaks volumes ([[HeroicMime or not]]) about Matthew, ''the hero''.²* The introduction to ''VideoGame/ShadowrunReturns'' explains that you are currently living in an apartment that has four walls, a roof and isn't on fire. Also there are no cockroaches because they have higher standards.²* The Disciple, from ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicII'', will give you a laundry list of complaints he has with the Jedi if you ask him: they're arrogant, they're out of touch, and [[TheParagonAlwaysRebels their greatest Knights keep on falling to the dark side]]. But he ''will'' concede that people are wrong to conflate them with the Sith, and they do have symbolic value. He supposes.²* ''VideoGame/TalesOfXillia'' has a moment of Alvin and Milla discussing her getting some training in her swordsmanship in, though she is less than adequate at fighting at this point. Cue Alvin giving her faint praise.²--> '''Alvin:''' If nothing else, you know how to swing the pointy end.²* This little ditty from [=IGN's=] review of the horrendous budget game ''Extreme [=PaintBrawl=] 2'': "There is one good thing I can say about Extreme [=PaintBrawl=] 2: it doesn't cause cancer, bursitis, or scurvy -- at least according to the Surgeon General."²* Played for laughs in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' regarding the engineering profession which at high levels allows characters to "make fantastic devices and explosives that very often work as intended."²* There is a rare {{inver|tedTrope}}sion of the trope in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV''. Gigi's, an NPC in the Goldsmith's Guild, initial criticism of the player's work ("Not fit to make a chamberpot" "an affront to the gods themselves") is so ridiculously over-the-top that "I've seen worse" is treated as high praise.²* Shows up during one of the MultipleEndings of ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 3}}'' when [[LoveFreak Flonne]] is pressed to find something good to say about [[RoyalBrat Laharl]]. Flonne, after some hesitation, manages to say that she could like [[ItsAllAboutMe how everything revolves around him]], [[ManChild how he has the heart of a young boy]], and how [[{{Pride}} sticks to his beliefs even when it causes people to get hurt]]. Laharl is altogether less than pleased.²* In ''[[VideoGame/ShadowrunReturns Shadowrun: Dragonfall]]'', if you accept a particular assassination job, choose to spare the target, then have a change of heart and kill him anyway when the client's goons show up to check on you, you'll receive your payment along with a note from the client that your performance was "satisfactory"... and that you shouldn't expect to receive any more contracts from them.²* The demo for ''VideoGame/TheStanleyParable'' features a "compliments room", where pushing the button will earn you a shallow compliment from the narrator. He's only able to praise the player's ability to eat uranium, then place them in the top 5000 of people playing the demo at this exact moment, before running out of nice things to say.²* In a guide (fanmade or official) for a character seen as a TierInducedScrappy or JokeCharacter, a common refrain is "good in the right hands." Sometimes this means the character has some hidden trick or high skill floor, to make them DifficultButAwesome or a LethalJokeCharacter - but more often, it means "this character can only be played proficiently if the user is already really good at the game, at which point playing as this character is basically a SelfImposedChallenge."²* In ''VideoGame/Persona5'', near the end of Haru's Confidant, [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Takakura]], [[spoiler:the new president of Okumura Foods after her father's death]] asks her what she thinks about her fiancé, Sugimura. Haru, still a bit guarded around Takakura, politely describes Sugimura as "an intelligent man," but says she has no interest in being his wife. In reality, Haru had previously called Sugimura a "creep," and had decided to steal her father's heart so she wouldn't have to go through with the ArrangedMarriage with Sugimura.²** In ''VideoGame/Persona4'', Kanji does his best to not insult Yukiko's cooking. He ends up with "[[ItTastesLikeFeet It tastes really... boneless?]]", then notes "It's pretty impressive that you put so many ingredients into a dish and it came out tasting like nothing." Granted, it apparently turned out slightly better than Chie or Rise's cooking, the latter of which causes Yukiko to pass out after a single bite.²* In ''Mutant Football League'', if the Leaveland Burns manage to eke out a win, "Brickhead" Mulligan will congratulate them on how, "...for one glorious night, they weren't the worst."²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Visual Novels]]²* In ''VisualNovel/ShinyDays'' Sekai tries to defend her work ability by saying she didn't break a plate one day recently. She's so bad that when Setsuna takes over for her she manages to be a far better employee almost instantly despite her poor social skills and initial problems, eventually earning even the praise of difficult customer Manami Katsura.²* ''VisualNovel/KatawaShoujo'':²** When discussing grouping with Misha and Shizune, the former being the least academically gifted of all the main characters, [[FirstPersonSmartass Hisao]] says that Misha's handwriting is nice.²** Akira says the best part about visiting her parents' house in Scotland was that it was by the beach. She hasn't forgiven them for [[ParentalAbandonment leaving them behind in Japan years ago]].²* In ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyJusticeForAll'', near the end of "Farewell, My Turnabout," the Judge does this to [[spoiler:Matt Engarde]], when it seems as though the person's guilt can no longer be proven.²-->'''Judge''': To be honest, I can't think of you as a truly innocent and good person. You have done enough evil to [[spoiler:drive a woman to suicide]]. But... At least on the charge of murder, it would appear you are innocent.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Web Comics]]²* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' inverts this neatly with [[ the UNIX 2038 problem.]]²** [[ Online Communities 2]] does this with its AltText by way of OverlyNarrowSuperlative.²* In one ''Webcomic/BoyMeetsBoy'' [[ strip:]]²-->'''Tabitha:''' So I'm a hideous old evil bitch from hell?\²'''Flash:''' Um, I never said hideous.\²'''Tabitha:''' Oh, ''that'' helps!²* The doctor's announcement after Webcomic/DominicDeegan's physical exams.²--> '''Doctor:''' [[ Well, um, at least your hair's healthy.]]²* From ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', regarding [[KnifeNut Jack Noir]]²--> GC: [=K4RK4T, H3S 4 J3RK!=] \²GC: [=H3 H4S ST4BB3D YOU ON MOR3 TH4N ON3 OCC4S1ON!=] \²CG: SOME OF THOSE STABBINGS WERE ACCIDENTAL! \²GC: >8| \²CG: OK, WELL I KNOW FOR A FACT THE THIRD TIME WAS ACCIDENTAL.²** Another one from Jane, [[ comparing build grist to the fruit Gushers they look like:]]²--> But unlike Gushers which serve many practical purposes like inducing vomiting and simulating the experience of eating plump insects, these things are totally useless!²* A prison tattooist in ''Webcomic/SomethingPositive'' has the slogan "Come see Edna! You won't get hepatitis!"²** [[ This strip]], though Davan [[ComplimentBackfire probably meant it as a compliment]].²--->'''Davan:''' That's not a half bad idea.\²'''Rory:''' Wow, thanks. As long as we're offering limp compliments, you're a passable parent.\²'''Davan:''' Thanks! I almost try. ²* The Elusive Dr. Bowman of ''{{Webcomic/Freefall}}'' [[InvertedTrope inverts this.]] He remarks that the Ecosystems Unlimited chief at his facility is "Dumber than [[ von Neumann,"]] and that he can't think more than five moves ahead in chess. Given that the former was one of the most brilliant men of the twentieth century, and the latter is well beyond most amateur Chess players, most humans would take those as backhanded compliments. Of course, given the doctor is a brilliant Neurologist and AI specialist, it's possible he still ''means'' them as insults.²* In ''Webcomic/CinemaSnobReviewsFrozen'' (a fan comic where ''WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob'' reviews ''Disney/{{Frozen}}''), Snob says that ''Film/{{Dogs}}'' is still a step up from a zombie confederate film (which he considers some of the worst films he ever reviewed).²* In one ''WebComic/DumbRWBY'' comic, Weiss is writing to her sister about Ruby. However, because Ruby is, in order, playing with her PreciousPuppy with chicken by the scythe and then stuffing a cookie up her nose, all Weiss can say is that Ruby's "Interesting" and "A person." This would explain Winter's "How appropriately underwhelming" remark when she met Ruby in the series' Volume 3.²* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' has Soon Kim's final appraisal of Miko's deeds as "You have done... adequately. By destroying my Gate, you have ensured it can no longer be used for evil purposes. You have fulfilled your oath to defend this one gate... technically." As Miko considered her deeds to be the carrying-out of a divine higher destiny to save the world, it's pretty obvious this wasn't what she expected... and as they were the result of paranoid delusions and directly led to the BigBad escaping, it's similarly obvious that Soon is trying to be as nice as possible about it.²* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'': When Martellus usurps the throne of the Storm King from his cousin Tarvek (mostly by [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority killing anyone who tries to take it from him]]), numerous factions scheme to put Tarvek back in power. Nobody really has any idea what kind of king Tarvek would be or expects anything particularly impressive from him, but everyone agrees he can't possibly be worse than Martellus.²-->'''Agatha:''' Am I the only one who actually ''likes'' Tarvek?\²'''Krosp:''' ''I'' like him. [[YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame He thinks like a cat]]!²* ''Webcomic/StandStillStaySilent'': Sigrun, trying to describe Mikkel's accuracy with a gun as nicely as possible, goes for "not too bad for a blind person."²* In ''Webcomic/GeneralProtectionFault'', after Ki recalls how her former fiancé Sam had apologized for [[spoiler:[[AttemptedRape trying to rape]] her]], she says, "I'll give him credit for seeming sincere," but mentions that she couldn't forgive him and that she called off the engagement.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Web Original]]²%%* The "Still a better love story than Literature/{{Twilight}}" meme falls into this trope, as it's used by Twilight's hatedom on love stories that they find less than impressive.²%%* This [[ tourism ad parody]] describes UsefulNotes/{{Cleveland}} this way:²%%-->It could be worse though, at least we're not Detroit!²* ''WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd'' has only one good thing to say about ''VideoGame/{{Back to the Future|1989}}'': At least it fits in a toaster. For even more horrendous games like ''VisualNovel/PlumbersDontWearTies'', the closest he could get to complimenting it is to say it's almost half as bad as ''VideoGame/DrJekyllAndMrHyde''. Even on Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde itself, the nicest thing he is able to say about it is that, for what it is, it's at least a finished and functional game, unlike unfinished "things" like ''VideoGame/BigRigsOverTheRoadRacing'' and ''VideoGame/HongKong97''.²* ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'': After watching Wonder Woman brutally take down a suspect and take his blood without the legal right to in [[Series/WonderWoman2011Pilot the 2011 pilot]], Linkara says, "At least she used a sterile needle."²* ''WebVideo/TheAutobiographyOfJaneEyre'': When Jane asks Mr. Rochester's personal assistant Grace Poole about their boss, specifically what he is like and whether he is easy to work for or if he is generally liked, Grace starts talking about his company and family. She also says that he's... ''a man''. Eventually, she manages to say he's great, but it doesn't sound too convincing. But one thing was really nice — Mr. Rochester is a dog-lover.²* A number of video games featured in ''WebVideo/GamesDoneQuick''[='=]s Awful Games Block have been described as fun games to play...if you're speedrunning. In other words, playing the game ''completely differently'' from how it was intended to be played.²* Creator/BishopBarron's Youtube review of ''Film/LastDaysInTheDesert'' opens with him praising the movie for a massive accomplishment: managing to make the most captivating human in all of history, [[UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} Jesus Christ]], "colossally dull."²%%* WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob has a moment in ''Film/ViolentShit III: Infantry of Doom'':²%%-->'''Snob:''' "Well, at least it's not CG gore..." ''[winces visibly]'' "What a fucking sad state we're in when modern-day computer-infested horror films could learn something from '''THE ''VIOLENT SHIT'' MOVIES!'''"²* ''WebVideo/CinematicExcrement'':²** In his review of ''Kiara the Brave'' (a direct-to-video mockbuster of ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}''), he states that the animation looks great... when compared to the animated sequence in ''UHF''.²** The Smeghead considers Poison Ivy to be the best villain in Batman & Robin...while also noting how her competition is an obnoxiously exaggerated DumbMuscle character and a comically underdeveloped character with a penchant for horrible puns.²* In ''WebVideo/CounterMonkey'' episode "TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}: The Code", Spoony begins to describe a break-in that goes horribly wrong thanks to StupidCrooks shenanigans:²-->'''Spoony''': So they start off and- and thank God they went at night! At least they got one thing right. ²* Online newspaper [[ The Daily]] describes talking-point-turned-politician Samuel “Joe The Plumber” Wurzelbacher in their roundup of bad candidates of 2012:²-->''"Joe The Unlicensed Pipe Fitter wrote a book, which was hailed by critics as 'consisting of words” and “something that now exists.'"''²* The ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'' song "[[ So They Say]]" features numerous characters praising [[SmugSuper Captain Hammer]] and his relationship with [[WideEyedIdealist Penny]]. When it's her turn to describe him, she says "I guess he's pretty okay."²* ''Website/{{Gamespot}}'' has pros and cons for every game. ²** For ''[[ Hour Of Victory]]'' the pro is "Thankfully, no one is forcing you to play this game."²** For the ''Series/DealOrNoDeal'' [[ adaptation]], the "pro" which also shows up in the cons section, is that " There are voice samples from Howie Mandel"²* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'': ²** Strong Sad's character bio on an old character page (which can still be found in the museum) goes like this:²---> ''"Strong Sad has been disowned by his brothers Strong Bad and Mad. On the plus side, he has good handwriting!"''²** In the ''WebAnimation/StrongBadEmail'' "rock opera", an Easter egg shows the "rave reviews" for Strong Bad's rock opera include reviews like "SBEMAIL! is a triumph ''of'' some sort!" and "SBEMAIL! is better than a goat!"²%%* From an episode of the Dread Central Podcast regarding ''Film/TheApparition'':²%%-->'''Matt Fini''': I asked a friend of mine in LA if I should bother go seeing it and he said "Eh. It's well-meaning."²* WebVideo/IHateEverything in his review of ''Film/CoolCatSavesTheKids'' said it was "the greatest thing he's ever seen."²-->'''IHE''': Notice how I called it a 'thing', though, because I'm not sure it can be classified as a movie.²* [[ An episode]] of ''WebVideo/LasagnaCat'' makes this into a RunningGag with the two live-action ''Film/{{Garfield}}'' movies, by using selected [[QuoteMine quotes]] from various reviews of said movies, both by professional critics and random internet users, starting with backhanded compliments, then moving on to more bland statements, before finally going into ones that downright bizarre. ²* ''WebVideo/TheLizzieBennetDiaries'':²** Lizzie isn't too pleased to hear that Darcy considers her "decent enough"... His lack of social skills and tact is really astounding, considering how witty and pretty Lizzie actually is.²** Lizzie challenges her incredibly kind sister Jane to say ''something'' nice about Darcy. The only thing she can give? "He's so... ah. Eeh. He's um- no, no no... He's tall."²--->'''Lizzie:''' Okay! For the record, when the nicest thing ''Jane Bennet'' has to say about you is "tall", you have personality problems.²** It happens again when Caroline is trying to describe Darcy, also asked by Lizzie. And Caroline actually ''likes'' Darcy. Her struggle may not have been in finding something to praise about him, but in figuring out how to praise him without making it obvious she likes him. Either way, she never ends up spitting anything out, so the effect is the same.²* When Maple Leaf {{LetsPlay}}s ''VideoGame/MetroidOtherM'', he tells Olive Branch that "the game itself is fine. The ''game'' itself is fine" and "very acceptable." (The story, and the ways that the story interacts with the game, however...)²* An {{inverted|Trope}} version of this trope is {{discussed|Trope}} in ''Film/TheLegendOfHercules'' (2014) episode of ''WebVideo/MidnightScreenings'', in which Creator/{{Brad|Jones}} and Brian overhear two men talking about the film after seeing it. The first man unfavorably compares the film to the show ''Series/SpartacusBloodAndSand'', stating how "much better" the show is, before adding at the end that the movie was still "pretty fucking good, though."²-->'''Brad:''' He liked it! He just had to shit on it first.²* In [[Creator/BobChipman Moviebob]]'s review of Music/RobZombie's ''Film/HalloweenII2009'', he says that it's the best ''Franchise/{{Halloween}}'' film since Creator/JohnCarpenter's original, though he admits that given the standards of all the ''Franchise/{{Halloween}}'' movies released in between, that's not saying much. {{Subverted|Trope}} in that he enjoyed the film anyway in spite of its flaws.²* ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick'':²** The Nostalgia Chick labels ''Film/{{Dragonheart}}'' the best of the "dragon" movies, and acknowledges that it isn't saying much.²** While reviewing ''Film/MenInBlackII'', she complains that ItsTheSameNowItSucks, and says that ''Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen'' of all sequels tried something different.²--->''"...I'm making a positive comparison to ''Transformers 2''. That's like making a positive comparison to backne."''²** When rating the Disney sequels, she admits that she can't quite make a "best" list since that implies "good" or "warrants existing." Instead, she makes a list of the "Least Awful." She does the same thing later when rating female superhero movies. ²** Likewise in her review of ''WesternAnimation/TheLorax'' she calls ''WesternAnimation/HortonHearsAWho'' the "least awful" Creator/DrSeuss movie, and notes that, like the best of Chris Meledandri's movies, it's "[[SoOkayItsAverage okay]]."²** From her ''Film/SisterAct'' review: "Well, 'funny' is a strong word, as neither movie [is] particularly funny. They're ''easy to watch.'' [[TriviallyObvious They will hold your gaze for ninety minutes]]." At the end, she sums things up by saying that "they're not funny, but they're ''fun!''"²* From the TGWTG files: ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic'':²** From his review of ''Film/{{Steel}}'' when describing the casting choice of Shaquille O'Neal:²--->'''Critic:''' But give him some credit, though. ... He's tall.²** He does some lampshading of this during his review of ''Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen'':²--->''"Greatest adequately satisfying movie of all time! And I liked it, too."''²** In one that he even feels a bit ashamed: as much as he hates ''Film/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas'', Creator/JimCarrey's performance is better than Creator/MikeMyers in ''Film/TheCatInTheHat''.²** In his review of ''Film/YogiBear'', he gives the film credit where it's due: "it's short."²* ''WebVideo/OutsideXbox'' has an episode in which host Luke is served a cocktail recreated from a recipe in ''VideoGame/Hitman2016''. His verdict on it was: "If you added poison to it, it wouldn't ruin the taste." ²* Creator/CTPhipps and Blog/TheUnitedFederationOfCharles more or less run on this. You can tell when he really hates a game by the almost-passive aggressive way he brings up the minor-minor details which he liked.²* Frequently used in WebVideo/Rank10YGO's archetype reviews, often combining it with OverlyNarrowSuperlative. An early one was "Well, it sure can give [[JokeCharacter Shapesnatch Turbo]] a run for its money!" or handing The Empress the honorable title of "better than Magician", but one of the most common is some variant of "[[OverlyNarrowSuperlative If you were playing this card]] in [[{{Scrub}} a rundown locals]] [[PowerCreep about five years ago]] against a six-year-old [[TierInducedScrappy Genex player]], then it should help you out."²* Website/RottenTomatoes' critics' consensus for the film ''Film/VampiresSuck'' by the Creator/SeltzerAndFriedberg duo, who are notorious for making unfunny spoof films, reads: "Witlessly broad and utterly devoid of laughs, ''Vampires Suck'' represents a slight step forward for the Friedberg-Seltzer team."²* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'': ²** While Ruby is grumbling to Yang on their first night at Beacon that "it's weird not knowing anyone here", Yang replies, "How about Jaune? He's...nice!" There is a short but distinct pause as she visibly searches for a positive descriptor she can use with sincerity.²** The protagonists are talking about a [[FantasticRacism Faunus]] criminal. Weiss makes disdainful remarks about him, to which Yang replies, "They're not ''all'' bad!"²** When Nora is espousing her team's achievements, she mentions "[[SternTeacher Glynda]] barely yells at us any more!"²* ''Creator/{{Seanbaby}}'' parodies this when talking about ''WesternAnimation/{{Superfriends}}''. He praises Lex Luthor for his ability to try to make every member of the Legion of Doom sound cool when he makes a roll call.²--> '''Seanbaby''': Sure, it's easy to compliment Bizarro and Sinestro, but what the fuck would you say about Toyman? '''"The amazing Bizarro! And next to him, the pretty-good-at-ping-pong Toyman! The... talking Grodd! Followed by the... the... followed by SCARECROW!"'²* ''Website/SFDebris'': has come up with everything from recommending ''Film/StarTrekInsurrection'' as a ''Franchise/StarTrek'' film for being the ''shortest'', to praising the episode "Human Error" for being less awful than "Unimatrix Zero."²-->'''Chuck''': But then, so's a test pattern.''²* Website/{{Smogon}} is fond of this, when dealing with JokeCharacter Pokemon. Particular examples include noting Telepathy Wobbuffet to be "easily the best death fodder in the tier", the reason to use Castform being that it is "the PU Pokemon with the most diverse colors and coolest STAB move", or Luvdisc with Charm becoming "a very sturdy physical wall able to survive two Caterpie Tackles."²* Creator/{{Tobuscus}}' [[ "2nd Hottest Girl"]] is a parody love song about ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: The ''second'' most attractive girl on a web reality show. The joke, of course, is that the singer doesn't realize that he's insulting her.²* WebVideo/ToddInTheShadows's review of "Turn Up the Music" is actually 90% just a rant about how much Todd hates Chris Brown [[DomesticAbuse as a]] [[NeverMyFault person]]. Partway through he remembers that he's supposed to be reviewing the song, and says that yeah, it's okay, before moving on to more hate. ²-->'''Todd''': As a singer, Chris Brown is a really good dancer.²* ''[[Franchise/TheMuppets Muppet]]'' fan site ''[=ToughPigs=]'' [[ reviewed]] the Creator/RichLittle episode of ''Series/TheMuppetShow'', and they clearly didn't enjoy the guest star, saying that the episode's best joke is Kermit calling Rich Little a "master impressionist." ²* ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony.'' In the episode "The Pet Games", the caption writer comes up with a variety of subtitles for [[TheDitz Rainbow Dash]]. These alternate between overt insults like "Professional Idiot", and more subtle insults like "Knows Her Own Name" and "Smartest Mare In Her Family" (In ''UFP'', Dash is an only child and an orphan.).²* The ''Blog/UnshavedMouse'' refers to child voice actors who did less-than-stellar work as "very nice young ladies/gentlemen doing their best."²* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', Gregor the Snail has [[ this]] to say about Cauldron, a group of {{Well Intentioned Extremist}}s who have explained that they plan to save the world.²-->''I would never question your morals. I know you have none.''²* Yahtzee of ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation'' reviews video games, and despite the AccentuateTheNegative theme of his reviews, tries to come up with a few compliments. For FIFA 2013, though, he just had this to say:²-->"It's certainly a game."²** After spending a lot of time complaining about the story for ''VideoGame/MetroidOtherM'', he [[InvertedTrope praises the gameplay with faint damnation]]:²-->'''Yahtzee''': The gameplay's infinitely stronger in that it's merely bad.²** From the same review, on the topic of the box blurb proudly announcing "Features Fully Voiced Movies!":²-->'''Yahtzee''': If the only selling point you can think of for the cinematics is that they have voices, like every film made since 1927, then it's like saying "you have nice hair" when forced to compliment the appearance of a squinting, bucktoothed hunchback.²** His ''Judging By The Cover'' series discussed this when [[ critiquing the poster]] for ''Film/FantasticFour2015'', along with PolishTheTurd.²-->"I love it when film marketers have to fall back on 'from the studio that brought you'. The usual starting point in the quality-by-AssociationFallacy is 'from the director that brought you', followed by 'from the producer that brought you', which is desperate in itself, and this is the final resort: a small handful of the guys involved in the creation of an unrelated good thing work in the same building as us, and you never know, maybe we caught some talent off the toilet seats."²** One of his categories in "Games of the Year" is "Top 5 Blandest" (reflecting SoOkayItsAverage titles). In 2017, he handed the #3 spot to ''VideoGame/Destiny2'', noting that "[[BackhandedCompliment sorry you couldn't be higher on the list,]] but hey, there is something appealingly ironic about coming third in a mediocrity contest."²* The Wikipedia page for ''Film/{{Gotti}}'' claims "''Gotti'' was panned by critics, who lamented the writing, aesthetics, and performances, although its use of makeup received some praise."²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Western Animation]]²* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':²** In the pilot ChristmasEpisode, "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS1E1SimpsonsRoastingOnAnOpenFire Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire]]", Marge is penning a letter to be included in the family's Christmas cards. Talking about the kids, she writes, "Maggie is walking by herself, Lisa got straight [=As=], and Bart... we love Bart."²** A similar thing happens in "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS2E11OneFishTwoFishBlowfishBlueFish One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish]]." When Homer goes see his children sleeping for (what he thinks is) the last time, he tells Maggie to "stay as sweet as you are", tells Lisa "I know you'll make me proud" and after hesitating a moment he tells Bart "I like your sheets."²** [[RuleOfThree With Bart again]], in "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS7E14ScenesFromTheClassStruggleInSpringfield Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield]]", after realizing how much she's changed by trying to impress the women at a posh club, she decides she doesn't like how she's turning out and that she likes Homer's in-your-face humanity, she likes the way Lisa always speaks her mind and she likes Bart's... {{Beat}} "...I like Bart!"²** In "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS8E14TheItchyAndScratchyAndPoochieShow The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show]]", after showing his friends and family the "Poochie" which he's voice acting for, Homer's guests all leave muttering incoherently and Carl says "You should be very proud, Homer... you have a wonderful home."²** Also, in "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS9E9RealtyBites Realty Bites]]", when Marge becomes a real estate agent, Lionel Hutz sits her down to teach her the jargon.²--->'''Hutz:''' There's ''(ominous)'' "The Truth" (''shakes head in disapproval''), and there's ''(smiling)'' "The truth!" Lemme show you. ''(opens a brochure)''\²'''Marge:''' It's awfully small.\²'''Hutz:''' I'd say it's awfully ... cozy.\²'''Marge:''' That's dilapidated.\²'''Hutz:''' Rustic.\²'''Marge:''' That house is on fire!\²'''Hutz:''' Motivated seller!²** In "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS6E10GrampaVsSexualInadequacy Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy]]", Grandpa Simpson apologizes to Homer for horribly insulting him. The best compliment he can come up with? "I was always proud... that you weren't a short man."²* ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'': In "Nicked by a Name", after Brain gives the other soccer teammates cool nicknames, when Arthur presses him for a nickname, Brain comes up with Average Arthur.²* In the ''WesternAnimation/OKKOLetsBeHeroes'' episode "T.K.O.", after K.O. has a sub-par day compared to Enid and Rad:²-->'''K.O.''': Why can't I be strong like Rad and Enid? And how could I call myself a hero when I can't even shoot a power fist when I need it?\²'''Enid''': Hey, power isn't everything, brush-head. You've got your own heroic qualities, like ... being cute! At least you're cute.²** Shortly afterward, when Mr. Gar commends the heroes:²--->'''Mr. Gar''': Good work, employees! I'll now praise your acts of heroism one by one: Enid, very impressive foot-eye coordination, as always; Rad, well done saving that small child with your finger beam. Great improvements from you both!\²'''Rad''': Yes!\²'''Mr. Gar''': K.O.! [''eagerly awaiting what Mr. Gar has to say about him''] Ehh, uh... good hustle out there, now get this cleaned up.\²'''K.O.''' [''dejected as Mr. Gar hands him the broom'']: Oh.²* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'':²** In "[[Recap/FamilyGuyS6E4And5StewieKillsLoisAndLoisKillsStewie Stewie Kills Lois]]", one of Peter's cutoff gags had Music/RingoStarr showing the rest of Music/TheBeatles a song he had just written. Their response? "Very good! We'll put this right on the fridge, right here where everyone can see it."²** When Brian made Stewie say something nice about Creator/DiabloCody, he said, "I . . . envy the tattoo artist who had that huge canvas of arm fat to work with."²* ''WesternAnimation/TheClevelandShow'' episode "Gone With The Wind", which dealt with the sudden death of Cleveland's much-reviled ex-wife Loretta, took this trope UpToEleven. The pastor officiating at Loretta's funeral opens the eulogy by saying that he never knew her personally, but if he'd been told anything about her beforehand, it apparently wasn't pretty, because the best he can do is ''list the accomplishments of other women who happened to share her name.''²* On one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'', [[{{Geek}} Beth]] has to come up with a haiku highlighting one of [[AlphaBitch Heather's]] positive attributes. The first line is "[[TriviallyObvious Heather has ten toes]]," and the rest summarizes how that makes swimming easier.²* ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'' subverts this when Aunt May tries to set [[TheHero Peter]] up with ComicBook/MaryJaneWatson, saying she has "a wonderful personality." Peter shudders, quite certain it means she's ugly, and the phrase "wonderful personality" becomes a RunningGag. [[HelloNurse Then Peter actually meets her]]. [[StrangeMindsThinkAlike The Green Goblin says the same]] of the Master Planner when discussing New York's crime bosses [[BrickJoke one season later.]]²* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': After seeing an absolutely horrendous MetaEpisode play about them in "The Ember Island Players": "The effects were decent." Ironically, the episode aired not too far apart from the film ''Film/TheLastAirbender'', causing people to use the same faint praise to describe ''it''.²** One of the final scenes in the series finale has Sokka drawing a picture of the entire team, and [[TerribleArtist failing miserably]]. Everyone except Sokka shares a laugh after Toph says she thinks said picture is "perfect"... which isn't saying much, considering that she's ''blind''.²* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':²** This happens in "Lesson Zero." Twilight Sparkle, [[SanitySlippage (literally) madly desperate]] to find a friendship problem for her weekly report to Princess Celestia, tries to ''make'' a problem by getting the Cutie Mark Crusaders to fight over her favorite childhood toy, Smarty Pants. The Crusaders aren't interested in the ratty old doll, however, but are trying to be polite about it. When pressed to compliment it, the only thing Sweetie Belle can come up with is "Um, I really like her... mane?"²*** This comment is later played for laughs later in the episode, when Sweetie Belle says it with complete sincerity and excitement, albeit under a hypnotic spell that makes her (And others) obsessed with the doll.²*** As they're wont to do, the fandom has turned this into a meme, and it's now the stock response when you're commenting on someone's poorly designed pony OC.²** Happens again in ''Read it and Weep'', where the only thing Rarity can think of to comfort the just-hospitalized Rainbow Dash is that the hospital gowns match the curtains.²** "Suited for Success" has this happen a number of times. First, when Rarity reveals the dresses she made for the other five, they can't think of anything better to say than "it's something." Later, when Rarity has Fluttershy in her dress and asks what she thinks she says "it's...nice" and similar until Rarity browbeats Fluttershy into telling the truth. Finally, when their revised dresses are shown to them, Rarity's best compliment on the new designs is "I'm happy that you're happy." ²* ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}:''²-->'''Jake:''' ''(on Daria's school photo)'' Wow, that's really sharp focus!²** Also in the episode "Too Cute": everybody is gushing about a minor character's new nose job, which Quinn politely says is "cute." Everybody acts as though this minor praise is a tremendous insult.²** Daria responds to a less-than-inspiring reading from Shakespeare with "Creator/LaurenceOlivier, in his present state[[labelnote:*]]dead[[/labelnote]], could not have done better."²** In an aversion, [=DeMartino=]'s comment that Daria is "making me want to kill myself a little less than the processed sausages who call themselves your classmates!" was actually a show of affection by his standards. ²* In the ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' sketch ''Ebert and Roper at the Movies'' (where Roper is replaced by Creator/MNightShyamalan after Roper comes down with a case of who-gives-a-[bleep]), the ''only'' movie Creator/RogerEbert isn't openly scathing in reviewing falls under this trope:²-->'''Roger Ebert:''' ''Rudy'' was about a man who overcomes obstacles to fulfill his dream of playing football. ''Rudy II'' is about 90 minutes long.²* ''WesternAnimation/APupNamedScoobyDoo'': In the episode "Horror of the Haunted Hairpiece", the pizzeria owner offers Shaggy and Scooby free samples of his breadsticks ([[DontExplainTheJoke literally, they're sticks]]), and Scooby says that they were "crunchy."²* In the ''WesternAnimation/GoofTroop'' episode "The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy," [[NiceGuy Goofy]] decides to give [[{{Jerkass}} Pete]] a compliment. The compliment in question is "Pete's a swell kinda guy, once you get past his personality!" What makes this even funnier is that Goofy himself believes this is a meaningful compliment.²* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'': Hank Hill has so little in common with his son Bobby he has difficulty even ''faintly'' praising him. When Bobby is suffering from feelings of extreme stress, Peggy tells Hank to compliment him, then when Hank is speechless, she has to provide him with one; "He has nice hair." Which Hank only proceeds to turn into even ''fainter'' praise.²-->'''Hank:''' Your mother likes your hair.²* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':²** Whenever the [[NoodleIncident accomplishments]] of Zapp Brannigan are listed, they're usually something that sounds both pathetically easy and morally repugnant. To whit: a carpet bombing of Eden 7, a "bloody triumph" against the pacifists of the Gandhi Nebula, and single-handedly defeating the Retiree People of the Assisted Living Nebula. This is to instantly show that Zapp's [[GeneralFailure tactical skills]] are only matched by his [[GeneralRipper morality]]. One particularly cringe-worthy "accomplishment" is shutting down a rampaging group of Kill-Bots, which sound impressive, until he goes on to tell you he did it by [[WeHaveReserves throwing wave after wave of his men at them]], overflowing the robots' kill-counters and causing them to explode.²** In the Christmas episode, Leela sings of the toy-making Neptunians, "You did the best you could I guess, and some of these gorillas are okay...." The Neptunians, not used to even this much, cheer, "Hooray! We're adequate!"²* WesternAnimation/{{Garfield|AndFriends}} once pointed out that when your boss tries to set you up with his daughter, the more praise for things like her personality, the fatter she is. ²* In ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' episode "A Tale of Two Stans", the principal of Stan's high school compares Stan [[spoiler: and his twin brother]] to his parents thusly; [[spoiler: "You have two boys. One is very gifted, and the other is sitting outside this room and his name is Stanley."]]²* ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'': In "The Fatlands", Bloaty and Squirmy are in the middle of a CowboyEpisode when they run into some bandits, who decide to show off the half-assed "dancing" act they've been working on. Not wanting to provoke the bandits any further, Bloaty and Squirmy describe the act as "interesting", but the bandits immediately see through their "back-handed compliment" and decide to go ahead and drag them into the desert and shoot them dead.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Real Life]]²%% * Creator/StephenColbert at the [[ White House Correspondent's Dinner]].²* UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln reportedly asked Congressman Thaddeus Stevens about the honesty of Stevens' fellow Pennsylvanian Simon Cameron, who was being considered for the position of Secretary of War. Stevens replied that "I do not believe he would steal a red hot stove."[[note]]One report claims that Cameron demanded an apology from Stevens for this quip. Stevens "apologized", saying he took that back, i. e. implying [[BackhandedApology Cameron might well steal a red hot stove after all.]][[/note]] (Lincoln ended up appointing Cameron anyway, as he was too important - as a Senator for the powerful state of Pennsylvania - but [[ReassignedToAntarctica punted him to the post of Minister to Russia]] as soon as it became clear he was no good.)²* Rick Perry, long-time and quite an unpopular governor of Texas, became known as "Governor Good-Hair" for this very reason. Due to the myriad of reasons he was disliked, he had no one great negative epithet, but everyone agreed that his hair was his finest point.²* There's a proverb in German that goes "Nice is the little brother of shitty."²* In Germany, where negative employment references are not allowed, employees' flaws are carefully phrased in the form of "compliments": an employee "has a special empathy" (sexual harassament), "contributes with social kind to the working atmosphere" (alcoholism), and "successully delegates tasks" (laziness).²* Inspired by the above example, British reporter Hugh Messingberg decided to use unusual workplace euphemisms: "Didn't suffer fools gladly" (a complete bastard), "gave colorful accounts of his exploits" (liar), "powerful negotiator" (bully), and "tireless raconteur" (crashing bore).²* If a bad employee lists a previous employer for a work reference, they might use such double-edged comments like "I cannot recommend this person too highly", "He has made immeasurable contributions to our firm", "There is nothing you can teach a man like this", and "You’ll be lucky if you can get this person to work for you" as coded warnings to future employers.²* A [[ lawsuit]] against Apple's iPad by Samsung was decided in Samsung's favor by the judge due to Samsung's Galaxy Tab product being "not as cool."²* In a review of a train set in a modelers' magazine, the author spent two paragraphs of a two-page feature describing the ''cardboard box'' that the set came in, praising its corrugated walls and high crush strength. The actual model got no such commendation. ²* Comedian Lee Camp has pointed out Oklahoma invokes this trope ''on themselves'' with the saying/motto "Oklahoma is OK."²--> ''"That's all you've got? It's a whole state. Something there has to be better than 'okay'."''²** [[ This article]] talks about the Oklahoma House Republicans on the Common Education Committee that voted to ban advanced placement US history courses, because they think it shows [[PatrioticFervor “what is bad about America”]]. The author warns them: If they insist to make an OrwellianRetcon on Oklahoma's story, they will UnPerson the entire state because they have very few things to be proud about":²-->In its ''“good”'' history, ''Oklahoma can boast [[{{Theatre/Oklahoma}} being the basis of]] a [[Creator/RodgersAndHammerstein Rogers and Hammerstein]] musical and the home of Oral Roberts University' '''. But if Oklahomans were to purge all their local stories which reflect “what is bad about America”, their history pages would be [[UnPerson wiped as white as a Tulsa klansman’s hood]].²** Comedian Anthony Clark also mocked Oklahoma's motto, acting out the hypothetical meeting during which it was voted on, where "[[DeepSouth Billy Bob]]" read out a list of candidates such as "Oklahoma: ''Some'' people say we don't suck!" and "Oklahoma: Trees are made of wood!"²* According to [[ The Other Wiki,]] Kvass is "a non-alcoholic drink [[VodkaDrunkenski by Russian standards]]." Of course, Kvas done the Russian way is actually just 1% ABV -- so you'd have to hammer down damn near two liters to get the same alcohol as in one weak beer, and that's even if they make it the traditional way -- if not, it may be completely nonalcoholic. That doesn't stop it from tasting like a really neat combination of soda, beer, and rye bread.²* A fairly popular anecdote from the final days of UsefulNotes/{{Soviet Russia|UkraineAndSoOn}} talks about a group of Japanese businessmen being given the grand tour. As they are shown each sight, their only comment is "you have wonderful children." Factories? "You have very beautiful children". Grand new buildings? "Your children are very well behaved." Brand new cars? "J-Just wonderful children in general." When finally cornered and pressed to comment on something besides the children, they go "You really have absolutely wonderful children here. But everything you build using your hands is TERRIBLE." The Russian guides really should have been satisfied with their faint praise. ²* In the preface to his short story collection ''EastAndWest'', Creator/WSomersetMaugham lampshaded this trope by commenting that a disconcertingly large number of critics described his stories as "competent."²--> "Now on the face of it I might have thought this laudatory, for to do a thing competently is certainly more deserving of praise than to do it incompetently, but the adjective has been used in a disparaging sense...There is evidently something that a number of people do not like in my stories and it is this they try to express when they damn them with the faint praise of competence."²* When UsefulNotes/HardangerFiddle players tried to compliment each other, faint praise might occur when the master fiddlers had to say something nice to the less gifted. "The Miller Boy", reckoned to be the greatest fiddler of the nineteenth century, made this one a classic:²--> You are pretty good. In fact, you are much better than a person who never touched a fiddle.²* The {{Jerkass}} practice of "negging." The idea is to shake the confidence of the negee (usually a woman one wants to pursue sex and/or a relationship with) enough to get her to seek his validation and approval. This can also be done with advertising: play on the potential consumer's insecurities (about their looks or status or whatever else)... and imply that your product will make everything better. ²* When he first hit the campaign trail in 2015, UsefulNotes/DonaldTrump's opinion on Mexican immigrants, in which he criticized them for several crimes committed by the more vicious among their ranks, included the assessment "And some, I assume, are good people."²* Probably unintentional, but John Gummer said this about UsefulNotes/MargaretThatcher after her death:²--> "She had beautiful hands and lovely ankles, and she knew precisely how to use both."²* In a 2014 interview, Music/ArethaFranklin was asked her opinions about several contemporary female pop singers:²--> Music/{{Adele}}: "Young singer, good singer."²--> Music/AliciaKeys: "Young performer, good writer-producer."²--> Music/TaylorSwift: "Okay... great gowns, beautiful gowns."²* In sports, coaches and management praise the "character" and contribution to "dressing room culture" of athletes when they have nothing positive to say about the athletes' contributions to the actual game.²* A {{tearjerker}} example: in 1939, the great New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig had been experiencing periodic weakness and loss of muscle coordination but tried to ignore it. One day during a game, he fielded a routine grounder and flipped the ball to the pitcher covering first base, ending the inning. As Gehrig made it back to the dugout, his teammates showered him with praise, patting him on the back and congratulating him. Realizing how badly he must have been performing if such a routine play earned so much praise, he quit the game. Soon after, he was diagnosed with ALS, a disease now commonly referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease." It would kill him two years later.²* A common tactic used by bosses or supervisors when writing a performance review or a reference for a bad employee if they're not allowed to say anything overtly negative is to praise the employee for being "punctual" or "always on time". It's positive enough, but if the main thing they're being praised for is managing to get their butt out of bed and haul themselves to work on time (in other words, the easiest and most minimal basic obligation of any employee), then you're also making it clear they were mediocre at absolute best.²* This happens when you try to PolishTheTurd. ²** Real estate examples: it's not small, it's cozy. It's not old, it's well-maintained. It's not the ugly house in a decent area; it's in a great neighborhood. It's fantastic!, not lacking in specific positive qualities.²** You might do this to yourself on your resume; any experienced hiring personnel are looking for objective measures of your skills and achievements. If you are calling yourself a hard-working people person, well, everyone is a "hard-working people person."²** Letters of recommendation can follow similar tactics to the performance review mentioned above. ²* Most comments about the quality of the pizza from the Little Caesars chain will revolve around how cheap it is.²[[/folder]]²----


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