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"Critical studies is not here to shame you for what you like — much as it apparently feels that way to some people — but rather to help give us the tools to question the media we consume and what it says about the culture that created it."
— Lindsay in "The Whole Plate: The Problem of Lady Bots"
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Lindsay Ellis (born November 24, 1984) is a Web Original producer on YouTube, who currently specializes in making video essays surrounding film theory and academia. Initially gaining popularity as The Nostalgia Chick on Channel Awesome in 2008, she departed in 2015, discontinuing the title, but continues to produce content on YouTube under her own name. She initially started with a Spiritual Successor series titled Loose Canon, though she has since moved onto producing miscellaneous video essays.

Lindsay's video essays are often very analytical, owing to her experience and Master's degree in film criticism. Her videos tackle various topics, from film technique, to feminist theory, to production history, and more, observing popular works including that of the Disney Animated Canon and Michael Bay's Transformers.

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In addition to her assorted essays, she has run a few series and mini-series:

  • The Nostalgia Chick, which ran from 2008 to 2015.
  • Loose Canon, in which she analyzes and compares various fictional characters' different adaptation incarnations throughout time and media, started as the last episode of The Nostalgia Chick in late 2014. The series has been put on hold since 2017, though Lindsay reportedly isn't finished with it yet.
  • The Whole Plate, a series exploring film studies and various fields of academia through the lens of the Michael Bay-directed Transformers Film Series. Started in spring 2017, currently ongoing.
  • A three-part duologynote  revolving around The Hobbit film trilogy. Completed in April 2018. Nominated for a 2019 Hugo Award for Best Related Work.
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  • It's Lit!, a series made in partnership with PBS Digital Studios as part of The Great American Read, discussing various topics surrounding Literature, from media adaptations, the evolution of genres like YA fiction and Romance Novels, the various depictions of death and food, and more.

Her blog is here, her official Facebook is here, her Tumblr is here, and her Twitter is here.


Lindsay Ellis' videos provide and discuss examples of:

  • Accentuate the Negative: Subverted; even with films she pans or outright thrashes, Lindsay tends to point out some positives within them, even if basically to say "there are elements to this movie that aren't the worst thing ever." With her video on Beauty and the Beast (2017), the fact that she's really struggling to find anything positive to say about it is an immediate sign as to how much she really doesn't like the movie.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Discussed as a bad thing regarding The Hobbit trilogy. While she believes making the original book into a single film would've made it feel too rushed, the last-minute decision to make it a trilogy instead of a duology caused a lot of problems, including a lot of needless padding. This includes the decision to introduce characters and lore from The Lord of the Rings in an effort to market The Hobbit as a prequel trilogy, despite it having very little consequence and involvement to the main narrative of Bilbo and the dwarves.
    • Also discussed in Beauty and the Beast (2017), where in order to reach its increased length, "it pads itself out with a bunch of crap that goes nowhere," introducing elements to an otherwise tight story and making certain aspects unnecessarily messy.
  • Adolf Hitlarious: Her video on Mel Brooks and The Producers examines their influential takes on this, as well as the general ethics and pitfalls surrounding satirizing Nazis and other taboo subject material in general.
  • Aesop Collateral Damage: In her video on Beauty and the Beast (2017), Lindsay deconstructs the film's attempt to address this trope in the original that only makes things worse. She's already uncomfortable from the film justifying the servants being cursed by openly framing them as regretful but accountable Accomplices by Inaction (which doesn't even make sense since what were servants exactly to do to stop a monarch?), but she's even more horrified by the fact the increased stakes of them turning fully inanimate when the last petal falls doesn't jive at all with Beast's decision to let Belle go, which the film never fully addresses as meaning he basically condemned them all to die.
    Lindsay: It turns the Beast's decision from a moment of personal growth into a trolley problem: whose life matters more? Maurice, or every living being in the goddamn castle?
  • Alien Invasion: "Independence Day vs. War of the Worlds" goes into the origins and development of the genre, as well as exploring the various ways in which they can be depicted, specifically pulling Independence Day and War of the Worlds as examples.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:invoked Loose Canon focuses on more canonical reinterpretations of characters, though Lindsay likes to add her own interpretations from time to time for humor. In her episode on Santa Claus, she interprets Jack Skellington as a cultural imperialist, being "a well-meaning idiot who uses his position of authority to impose his midlife crisis, willing or no, both onto his polity and of a sovereign foreign nation."
  • Ambiguous Syntax: In her Loose Canon on "Death", she briefly stumbles with this while introducing the character by the late Terry Pratchett:
    Lindsay: I saved the best for last because is I think few would argue that Terry Pratchett's deat—erm... the death of Terry Prat— oh my god, there's no good way to phrase that... Discworld!
  • Applicabilityinvoked:
    • This is the basis behind The Whole Plate, using the Transformers Film Series as a vessel or launching point to discuss various assets of not just film theory, but politically-oriented discourse, such as feminist or queer theory.
    • Discussed in her video in "My Monster Boyfriend," pointing out how not only depictions of the archetypal "monster" shift over time to reflect anxieties of the worlds that created them, but that said depictions can be just as much open to different interpretations as social climates and attitudes inevitably evolve.
    • Discussed at length in Bright video, where she dedicates a whole section to exploring Tolkien's famous quote on the subject, and how it applies to modern fantasy and sci-fi as a whole. That is, she argues that all fantasy and sci-fi stories will inevitably have some degree of Fantasy Counterpart Culture to real-world societies, cultures, and/or minorities, whether the author intends it or not, because authors have to write what they know and audiences will see some of themselves in the fictional worlds. But on the other side of that coin, just because audiences can read some real-world applicability in fiction doesn't mean it was intentional on the author's part, nor that it's a one-to-one correlation.
    • Discussed in "My Monster Boyfriend, in how monsters as sexual/romantic partners for Always Female heroines have always been popular tools in storytelling, due to the monsters being applicable to social anxieties, and the ever-changing way monsters are depicted reflect ever-changing social attitudes. In times of antiquity when Arranged Marriages were common, the monster could symbolize the "monstrous" husbands that women felt trapped with. In the early 20th century, as post-Imperial Americans felt anxious about formerly enslaved and "foreign" men of color integrating in society, monsters were kidnappers and attempted rapists who needed to be killed to save the (white) Damsel in Distress. During the Red Scare, monsters were invading enemies that had to be destroyed. Post-Civil Rights Movement, as society empathized more with minorities and outcasts, monsters as suitors were depicted more sympathetically, but tended to still be toned down to appeal to mainstream audiences. By The Shape of Water we've come full circle, with the monster now a critically and financially acclaimed darling, due to being portrayed as a lonely, misunderstood outcast who just wants to be loved and feel safe just like women, PoC, and LGBTQIA+ audiences feel.
    • Clarifies some misunderstandings fans have had regarding her use of this trope in her "Independence Day vs War of the Worlds" review. When she says "an alien is never just an alien," that does not mean the alien is a direct one-to-one correlation either. Stories where the alien functions as an amorphous symbol for general cultural anxieties, attitudes, phenomena, etc can resonate long after the work is released because the meaning audiences draw from the aliens can change with the times. Meanwhile, creators that go out of their way to make an alien into a direct one-to-one correlation not only limit the storytelling, but can make the work an Unintentional Period Piece - like how Steven Spielberg went out of his way to depict the aliens as an allegory for terrorists, and his movie quickly became a dated Post-9/11 Terrorism Movie.
    Dakota Fanning: Is it the terrorists?
    Lindsay Ellis: *winces*
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In her episode on Marxism on The Whole Plate, Lindsay ends with her rejecting the idea that the pro-capitalist culture industry is only capable of producing complacent trash, which she can't get behind since she does believe it can produce true art. Tabby attempts a rebuttal, but then...
    Tabby: No! The products of the culture industry are hollow and meaningless! Smash!
    Lindsay: Hey Tabby! Ya like jazz?
    (beat, where Tabby awkwardly notices a Miles Davis CD and pushes it under a pillow)
    Lindsay: Yeah, that's what I thought.
  • The Artifact:
    • She argues that one of the major reasons that Disney films of The New '10s tend to lack a traditional villain is that the old-school Disney villain became this in the Disney Renaissance — flamboyantly evil villains worked well in films like Sleeping Beauty because they were simplistic struggles of good versus evil, and when Renaissance films went a more character-driven route, it made those villains increasingly unneeded. Specifically cited are Hades and Doctor Facilier, who are entertaining villains on their own right, but add very little to the main conflict and themes of their films.
    • She also cites the framing device in The Phantom of the Opera (2004) as a case of this. In the original version, it doesn't really serve a narrative purpose (it doesn't tell the audience anything new or inform the story meaningfully), but that's because it's not meant to; it's a theatrical production and the play has a really lavish opening, and therefore the framing device is just a preamble meant to make sure that latecomers have time to get into their seats without missing anything, but early birds still have something to look at. The film maintains the framing device, but this preamble isn't nearly as needed in a movie, as its role is already filled by previews or opening titles. Consequently, the scene, and the various attempts to incorporate it further into the story, are just pointless filler.
  • The Auteur Theory: Not a fan. In Part 2 of The Whole Plate, she describes it as a "celebration of egomania", seeing it largely as an attempt to create an entire field of academia to justify the self-importance of a clique of Prima Donna Directors. She does admit, however, that it has some good points, most notably with directors having certain key themes that show up throughout their bodies of work, the idea that it's more important for a film to be interesting than just conventionally good, and with how its proponents led the way in trying to get film recognized as True Art.
  • Author's Saving Throwinvoked: Discussed and Deconstructed in "That Time Disney Remade Beauty and the Beast", which she asserts as creatively differing from the original "only to appease the pedantic f###s of Youtube with their decades of bad-faith criticism." She argues how in turn, most of the attempts to "correct" the "flaws" of the original only brought on by pedantic nitpicking actively made the story worse, occasionally offensively so.
  • Bait-and-Switch: "The Death of the Hollywood Movie Musical" opens with her talking about a big event movie in the summer of 2018 that everyone had been waiting for. It is accompanied by epic music and hints that she is going to talk about Avengers: Infinity War - but then she turns out to be talking about Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
  • Becoming the Mask: "YouTube: Manufacturing Authenticity (For Fun and Profit!)" has a long portion discussing the need to put on an affect of an accessible, engaging, and typically self-exaggerated personality in order to make a living as an online creator. While this is mentioned as being potentially damaging, Hank Green shares his thoughts on it as a creator during his interview with Lindsay:
    Hank: I'm trying to come to terms with the version of myself that I am on the internet. Ultimately I think that it's really hard to have that version of myself not also in fact be the real me, and so in this weird way where I've been held accountable to being a better person on the internet, I also just find that it's more comfortable for me to be a better person in real life, and to be really thoughtful and careful and aware of the impacts I'm having on other people. But there is no doubt that I am a different person on the internet than I am in real life and that I am very careful, and I don't think that there's anything inauthentic about that.
  • Berserk Button:
    • RENT, which she's discussed both as The Nostalgia Chick and herself, comparing it to Reality Bites and an unironic version of "Threw It on the Ground".
    • In her Loose Canon video on 9/11, Lindsay takes several jabs at 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and looks like she's struggling to contain her anger when she first mentions the subject.
      Lindsay: I don't know what your reaction is when the topic or image of 9/11 is mentioned. It could be grief, it could be indifference, it could be a... conviction that jet fuel can't melt steel beams, and if you're... anything like me, blinding, white-hot rage that that phrase is even still a thing that people... take seriously...
  • Best Known for the Fanserviceinvoked: Discussed and deconstructed with Mikaela Banes from Transformers, pointing out how because the camera is so focused on Megan Fox's body, viewers completely forgot her genuine but relatively out-of-focus character arc and personality and assumed that she was a purely mindless piece of eye candy. Lindsay even points out the scene where Mikaela snarks to Sam about not being taken seriously because she's a girl and recognizing something's unusual with his car... which is frequently remembered as just "Megan Fox bending sexily over a car."
    Lindsay: Mikaela Banes is the embodiment of what remains with the audience through cinematic language: Framing and aesthetics supersede the rest of the text. Always, always. Always.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: invokedLindsay discusses this in "That Time Disney Remade Beauty and the Beast", mainly how post-Iger Disney loves to not only repackage and recapitalize on their identifiable brand, but also make metatextual commentary on it, i.e. self-deprecatingly Lampshading and deconstructing the hell out of themselves. Lindsay is audibly annoyed by its prominent use in Enchanted and Frozen, and she's especially annoyed by its presence in Beauty and the Beast (2017), which she sees as only existing to satisfy overly-nitpicky pedants, consequently sucking out all of the imagination and magic of the source material and resulting in attempts to address perceived Plot Holes and Fridge Logic that only create actual, even bigger Plot Holes and Fridge Logic.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: "YouTube: Manufacturing Authenticity (for Fun and Profit)" is a video entirely about discussing the creation of parasocial creator/audience relations intended to market products, and the fact Lindsay says this while being sponsored by Squarespace is not lost on her, semi-jokingly interjecting her video with Enforced Plugs. It helps that she never tries to frame it necessarily as "thing bad," just "thing exists, and thing is part of a system that you may not even be conscious of."
  • Broken Aesop: Lindsay tends to frown on films that posit a socially progressive message while undermining it with their own script and/or cinematography.
  • But Not Too Gay: Not a fan of this trope.
    • She's livid how Beauty and the Beast (2017) portrayed LeFou, the first "out" gay Disney character. That is, the only gay thing about him that isn't strictly subtext is one blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene at the end where he briefly dances with another man in the closing ballroom dance number.
    • She notes in her RENT review that Chris Columbus clearly wasn't "comfortable" with the beta gay couple he was adapting from theatre, so he employed Positive Discrimination to make them more bland and down-to-earth than their straight co-cast, and their interactions in the movie as more friendly than outright romantic.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the Loose Canon episode on Death, she briefly mentions some of the translation issues discussed in a previous episode on Hades. She even lampshades it with "Continuity!"
    • In her video on Bright, she snarks at the film's use of "urban gangsta flava," a term she popularized years earlier during her review of Sister Act as The Nostalgia Chick.
  • Capitalism Is Bad:
  • Celebrity Voice Actorinvoked: "How Aladdin Changed Animation (by Screwing Over Robin Williams)" is a close examination of the casting Robin Williams as the Genie in Aladdin, what Lindsay argues is the Trope Maker (though not necessarily the most egregious or even codifying instance) of this publicity-driving trend in animated films which continues to this day.
  • Chekhov's Gun: She has a video explaining the concept as "Planting and Payoff", pulling examples from Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Clueless Aesop:
    • Another reason Lindsay detests Bright trying to tackle racism with its Fantastic Racism against orcs as a Fantasy Counterpart Culture allegory to real racism. It's a mindless action movie about two cops trying to keep a magic wand away from an Apocalypse Cult, so it can't give the topic the complex, nuanced discussion it deserves. Not only that, but the racism subplot is completely inconsequential to the main plot, themes, characters, and world-building (such as there are), so why bother having it to begin with?note 
      Lindsay: Racism is bad. Orcs are oppressed. Now here's a movie about some cops playing keep-away with a magic wand for 90 minutes.
    • While she still generally likes the film, Lindsay also finds this a significant problem with War of the Worlds. She finds that it begins strong as an examination of how in light of an apocalypse Humans Are Bastards, but didn't have a satisfying resolution in mind, suddenly going into a "The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People" scenario apropos of nothing by the ending.
    • She also cites this as a problem with Hercules. While its moral that "being a true hero is about self-sacrifice" is all well and good, she argues that it's a misplaced moral when dealing with the film's take on Hercules. Hercules isn't actually trying to find the true meaning of heroism, nor does he have the wrong idea about what it is; he's trying to find his place in the world, and being a hero was just a means to an end. Moreover, Hercules is pretty selfless to begin with, so you don't really get the sense he wouldn't sacrifice himself when given the chance (hell, he throws himself into death and danger multiple times over the course of the film). She contrasts this to Aladdin and Kuzco, which use "Be Yourself" and "be selfless" as their morals, respectively, but it works better in those films because Aladdin's lack of confidence and Kuzco's selfishness are their defining flaws.
  • Corpsing: At the end of her speech in "The Death of the Hollywood Movie Musical", she breaks into laughter after quoting Venom's dialogue.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer:
    • In the "Captain America" episode of Loose Canon, Lindsay says Marvel 1602 is set on the Roanoke Colony in Virginia. While the city of Roanoke is indeed in Virginia, the "lost colony" and therefore the setting of the book is in what is now North Carolina.
    • In the "Death" episode of Loose Canon, she misgenders Grell, referring to her with male pronouns.
  • Creator Backlash: Loose Canon has become this for her after having to deal with annoying fans asking her why she didn't cover specific incarnations of whatever character is the subject of the episode (Loose Canon is a broad overview of each character and only covers notable or important versions of them). The series has since been put on hold, though she reportedly still has future plans for it.
  • Creator Cameo: Co-writer and editor Angelina M. occasionally makes appearances in videos.
    • In "The Problem of Lady Robots" of The Whole Plate, she is shown as a newcomer to the Transformers franchise unaware of the raging debate over female Transformers and becoming more horrified by just how many results on this topic turn up on Google.
    • In "The Hobbit: Battle of Five Studios", she delivers the "studio" edict that they are now making three videos instead of two.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: invoked Her personal reaction to Beauty and the Beast (2017), which she finds detestable in part due to finding the characters and overall tone too cynical and mean-spirited.
  • Death of the Author:invoked She discusses this theory at great length in a video of the same name, touching on its history and the various shortcomings of actually practicing it.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • The section on the rise of the television in "The Death of the Hollywood Movie Musical" is in black and white as she explains the mindset of a housewife in the Fifties.
    • A few portions of "YouTube: Manufacturing Authenticity (for Fun and Profit)" repeat this for dramatic effect.
  • Depending on the Writer: The focus of Loose Canon, taking well-known characters throughout media and exploring the various ways they've been interpreted by various creators.
  • Depraved Bisexual: She dislikes Maureen from RENT as an emotional abuser who gaslights all her partners and will sleep with Anything That Moves, "because bi."
  • Development Hell: After consistently making episodes of The Whole Plate from April-September 2017, Lindsay put the series on hiatus due to "technical reasons", starting back up again at the end of June 2018.
  • Disney Renaissance: Lindsay discusses these A LOT in her videos, especially the years leading up to it, its rise in popularity, its decline (which she attributes to Pocahontas), and its downfall. She consistently posits that it started out strong but, due to being Strictly Formula, audiences quickly got tired of seeing the same movie over and over in favor of the more unique Pixar stories and subversive DreamWorks Animation.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The example of American History X gets invoked in her discussion of satire, pointing out that while the film does portray neo-Nazis as bad people, it does so using a lot of the same visual language as Nazi propaganda, which has the side-effect of making them look... well, kinda badass. On the other hand, one of the places where she undeniably praises the satire in The Producers is that it's impossible to look at the Nazi character and imagery in that film and find them worthy of emulation — the Nazi is a pathetic, delusional buffoon, and the imagery is campy farce and tacky costumes with a drugged beatnik playing Hitler.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper:
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: One of the core reasons she loathes Beauty and the Beast (2017) is that by making so many pointless and sloppy changes to pad the run time and appease pedantic nit-pickers is that by doing so it completely misses the point of the original story. She feels it takes what should be a simple story about love, forgiveness, redemption, and discovering your best self, and then turns out a sloppy mess that is so concerned with bowing to every scrap of criticism (no matter how nit-picky) that it completely loses sight of what the original story was even about.
    Lindsay: So on the one hand, there's this bid to make Gaston kind of more sympathetic by implying he has PTSD[...] Look, Gaston doesn't need damage. He's the high school jock everybody admires. He's a hunter. He doesn't need to be more than that. He just needs to be a big handsome dummy everybody admires because he's arrogant and good-looking, because that tends to be how it happens in the real world and that's kind of the point of the movie [...] [In this version] The town is more skeptical towards him[...] WHYYY add this? Why can't Gaston be genuinely admired by a small town who was taken in by a good looking guy who was secretly internally monstrous? Why do we need to make the town both more bigoted AND more sympathetic? They're a poor provincial town! They're basic! They take everything at face value, including Gaston, Belle, and the Beast, THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT! I hate it.
  • Edutainment: Lindsay's video essays are often presented with a perfect balance of information and levity, making them informative, as well as entertaining in their own right.
  • End of an Era: Being an film school graduate and avid cinema history buff, Lindsay likes to discuss these a lot.
    • In "The Death of the Hollywood Musical," Lindsay discusses the history of the big, lavish, lighthearted Hollywood movie musical popular from The Twenties to The '50s. As American society became more jaded (thanks in part to the aftermath of WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Cold War with Russia, as discussed in "Mel Brooks, The Producers and the Ethics of Satire about N@zis") people felt less invested in big, lavish, extravagant musicals catering to an emotional innocence no one felt anymore, and favored more edgy, revolutionary, counterculture films and anti-musicals (like Cabaret). The Box Office Bombs of Camelot, Doctor Dolittle, and Hello, Dolly! were the end of the Big Hollywood Musical Era.
    • In "Are Disney Villains Going Extinct?", Lindsay discusses the history of how big, iconic Disney villains lost relevance. In classic films from when Walt Disney was alive, most movies were simple good versus evil stories where the villains acted as the evil for the heroes to defeat. In the early Disney Renaissance, villains manipulating teenage protagonists searching for a coming-of-age sense of identity for their own ends also worked, but by the late Renaissance and early Revival, Disney villains had become The Artifact. By the early Disney Revival, Dr. Facilier and Mother Gothel were the last of their kind.
    • In a number of videos, Lindsay also discusses the end of Disney Renaissance, how audiences got tired of seeing the same good vs evil teenage coming-of-age musical over and over, paving the way for the more unique and subversive Pixar and DreamWorks Animation stories during the Turn of the Millennium.
  • #EngineeredHashtag: Lindsay in her video on Beauty and the Beast (2017) jokingly comes up with #BeastForShe (referencing the HeForShe movement), applying it to the film's shallow attempts at being progressive.
  • Entitled Bastard: How she sees the entire cast of Reality Bites and RENT.
  • Entitled to Have You: This concept is discussed a few times, mostly around films averting it:
  • invokedExecutive Meddling: She talks extensively about some infamous cases of exec meddlings, be they Disney productions or others like The Hobbit.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Argues in her Bright and PBS Fantasy video that this is present to some extent in all fantasy and sci-fi stories, whether the author intends it or not. Even if the world and races are all fictional, they're all made by an author who lives in our world and thus has to draw at least some inspiration from our world and how they see it. She again argues that this is not necessarily a bad thing, but just something that happens and something that creators and consumers alike should try to be aware of.
  • Female Gaze:
    • She has no qualms praising the perfect casting of Chris Evans as Captain America.
      Peggy Carter: Well, nobody's perfect.
      Lindsay: I beg to differ.
    • This term is briefly mentioned in The Whole Plate while talking about Male Gaze. In the academic Mulveyan sense, "Female Gaze" as a term isn't really a thing, as even if one's to invert the normal trend and fetishize male bodies as with the case of Magic Mike XXL, it's still using the same film language and techniques male filmmakers used to film female bodies, just substituting male bodies for female bodies, meaning it technically still counts as male gaze.
  • Female Misogynist: invokedDiscussed quite a bit in the "Dear Stephenie Meyer" video where she points out that a large portion of Twilight's detractors were other young women and how society and culture (and the Girl-Show Ghetto) play into it, and moreover, a "strong female character" that's written to be as "un-girly" as possible can be just as sexist as a Distressed Damsel.
    Lindsay: [As a] culture, we kinda hate teenage girls. We hate their music (shows a One Direction music video), we hate their insipid backstabbing, we hate their vanity, we hate their selfie sticks, we hate their make-up, we hate their stupid books and the stupid sexy actors they made famous and their stupid sparkly vampires, and then we wonder why so many girls are eager to distance themselves from being objects of societal contempt.
  • Feminist Fantasy: Discussed and deconstructed in "Dear Stephenie Meyer", where she makes it a point to illustrate that many so-called "strong female role models" can have many elements of internalized misogyny in them as well.
  • Femme Fatale: During her Loose Canon episode on Mystique, Lindsay takes the opportunity of examining a character heavily ingrained in traditionally feminine-associated evils to point out how there's an increased demand to see complexity in the archetype, demonstrated by the various ways Mystique manages to diverge from said archetype while still being recognizably her.
  • Flat "What": Her response to the Convection Schmonvection displayed in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as she's baffled at the narrative decisions of somehow melting a gold statue and then Thorin riding metal on it.
  • Food Porn: "Food & Fiction: Memorable Meals in Literature" from It's Lit details the various ways food can be a powerful symbol and tool in fiction, pulling several examples from literature to describe how it can be used to symbolize narrative, explore culture, or process abstract and complex concepts.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • She often sneaks in several interesting Google Searches in other tabs whenever she displays a website in a video.
      • For her first Beauty and the Beast video, when she first scrolls through the Cracked article to illustrate her point on how pretty much everyone has said that Belle has Stockholm Syndrome, to the tab's left is "lumiere x cogsworth".
      • In The Whole Plate episode 1, as she demonstrates how Star Wars has a large amount of academic papers devoted to it unlike Michael Bay's Transformers, the Google search on this window is "am i a jedi or a sith".
      • For her videos on The Hobbit, the first one has "am i sexually aroused" and "cosplay armor" accompanying her search results for Sauron/Melkior and the second one has "how strong is Thorin Oakenshield" and "i want thorin to hold me" with her displaying the Archive of Our Own page for Thorin/Bilbo.
    • In her video on Bright, she mentions the idea that commerical audiences generally liked the film but reviewers hated it, before claiming that this doesn't mean critics are paid off to give scathing critiques of mainstream films and television shows geared towards the general populace in exchange for prestige and the advancement of more complex media. In the next shot, she is seen hiding a check paid to her in the order of $50,000 to "Destroy Bright."
  • Fun with Acronyms: The B.B.N. (???) F. Genre, short for the "Big Budget Nostalgia based action Fantasy" genre which she states Bay's Transformers films and The Mummy (2017) fall into. After coining this, she shrugs and directly dares the audience to come up with something better.
  • Genre-Killer: invoked
    • Her full video essay on Phantom of the Opera touches on how the failure of Hello, Dolly! was the marked ending of lavish, big-budget live-action Hollywood musicals, though "The Death of the Hollywood Movie Musical" greatly expands on the surrounding context and major missteps that made it less of a single-handed killer and more of a final nail in the coffin. Near the end of the video, she also points out how the root causes — Hollywood's mentality of throwing money at dying trends nobody wants to see anymore in an attempt to save them until they die smouldering deaths — is still a pervasive modern attitude.
    • "Dead Genres Tell No Tales" points out some of the problems with this trope, as well, noting that often it's less that the genre is dead and more that the studio would rather blame an ailing movie on its genre than on its genuine issues. This also gets a reference in the former video, where she notes that a lot of the movies blamed as killers of the big Hollywood musical had massive problems that had nothing to do with being musicals (like Doctor Dolittle's Troubled Production).
  • Genre Relaunch: The topic of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Genres Tell No Tales", which discusses the first film in regards to resurrecting the pirate movie, considered to be a "dead" genre, as well as the context and production issues that created it.
  • Girl-Show Ghettoinvoked: Brought up in "Dear Stephenie Meyer" video, a look at the Twilight series with the benefit of hindsight, noting that a lot of the bashing directed at the books and movies is based in this line of thinking.
    • Also discussed in her PBS episode "An Ode to the Romance Novel", where she discusses how the Romance genre is the only genre relentlessly shamed and mocked for not being High Literature, despite many other types of genre fiction not being High Literature either (mystery, sci fi, fantasy, etc). She theorizes this is because Romance the only genre predominantly made up for, by, and about women. (Though she points out the Critical Dissonance that even though the Romance genre is the most sneered at, it's also by far the highest grossing.)
  • Gray and Grey Morality: Discussed at length in "The Revisionist World of Disney: Mary Poppins, Walt Disney and Saving Mr. Banks," particularly how Walt Disney strong-armed P.L. Travers into letting him adapt her beloved books and then made changes she hated, and how the film Saving Mr. Banks glossed over that unsavory history by implying she came to love them (she didn't).
    It is kind of poetic that the linchpin of [Saving Mr. Banks], its emotional thesis, is the least historically accurate thing in the movie. And also a big reason why people are kind of iffy about it because it reads as propaganda for pro-corporate [applause] for giving up one's intellectual property for the greater good of commodification and mass consumption. Which, you know... it is. And I feel like there is this sort of expectation where if you so much as admit that, you are therefore required to wholeheartedly condemn it, and, well... I can't. Because I think you can have that discussion about who owns ideas once they are out in the public consciousness, while still admitting that Mary Poppins the movie—even if it doesn't adhere to the books as strongly as Travers wanted... it's a net positive for the world. And I'm glad it exists.
  • Guilty Pleasures:
  • #HashtagForLaughs:
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?:
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: When it comes to animation. In "How Aladdin Changed Animation (by Screwing Over Robin Williams)" she argues that Robin Williams as the Genie (and early Disney animation in general) was so successful and enduring not because of celebrity casting or pop culture references (which countless other films have done and quickly became dated and forgotten), but because of the heart and sincerity that came from the role: The animators were genuinely inspired by Williams' comedic persona, and Williams signed on because he genuinely loved the art of animation, and wanted to leave something behind for his children. She argues that it is this sincerity, not corporate cynicism, that makes his character so successful and enduring long after the film's release.
  • History Repeats: Being a film studies graduate and cinema history buff, Lindsay likes to discuss these.
  • Hope Spot: invokedIn "The Death of the Hollywood Movie Musical", the rapid-succession financial and critical success of My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, and The Sound of Music are framed as this for the Hollywood musical during a time when it seemed like they were on their death knell thanks to television and the end of the epic roadshow. Unfortunately, this only incentivized studios to stick to "safer" projects, resulting in several financial disasters that — when combined with concurrent revolutions in other Hollywood genres — made any remaining mainstream hope for the genre dead by the 70's.
  • I Knew It!: The first video of Lindsay's miniseries about The Hobbit was advertised as part 1 of 2, but many fans were savvy to the idea that it would be suddenly extended to having a part 3, much like the films themselves. Lindsay would initially deny the idea, but those fans would be proven right, with part 2 ending on a sudden cliffhanger.
  • Innocence Lost: A focal point of Lindsay's The Hobbit trilogy is of people losing their sense of innocence through disillusionment in media resulting from real-life consequences, citing To Kill a Mockingbird and Kesha as other examples. This is paralleled through Lindsay's trip to New Zealand: she leaves hoping to reclaim part of her childhood innocence formed by The Lord of the Rings, but after realizing the sheer scope of damage The Hobbit resulted from as well as resulted in, she returns even more jaded than before.
  • In Spite of a Nail: She comes down hard on Bright for this, where despite its self-proclaimed importance of Alternate History regarding the Dark Lord and the war of nine races 2,000 years ago, the present-day world looks almost exactly like it does in real life, with Los Angeles, the Crips, the Alamo, and Shrek existing, even though they don't make any sense within the film's timeline. She argues that difficulties surrounding this trope is why Alternate History fiction is so rare, and why works like Bioshock Infinite and The Man in the High Castle diverge much closer to their present (only in the last few decades or so).
    Lindsay: You cannot include elements from our real world without importing the history that comes with them. (beat) Well, I mean you can, it's just, y'know, it's lazy and it sucks.
  • It's Not Supposed to Win Oscarsinvoked: In her episode on genre in The Whole Plate, she brings up this argument while discussing how directors can be considered a genre, as creators like Michael Bay have often been defended with "It's Michael Bay, it's not supposed to be good!"
    Lindsay: Would you say that about food? Like "Some food's not supposed to taste good, okay? Just... eat it!"
  • Lost in Imitation: invokedA good portion of "The Case for Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame" addresses the dominating criticism of the film changing significantly from Victor Hugo's original novel, pointing out how it's not the first successful adaptation that changed or straight-up invented story elements and themes not present in the novel, with Disney's version owing more to the 1939 film than the original book. She also argues that this isn't a bad thing, as not only can it correct or expand on newer concepts, it's pretty much necessary if the story is to remain relevant over time, and as well, Victor Hugo would probably be okay with it (having participated in adapting and altering his very work himself).
  • Male Gaze: She discusses the academic definition (that media is made in mind with a prominently male audience, or at least a certain view of one) as they apply to the Transformers Film Series, in three different varieties:
  • The Man Is Sticking It to the Man: Discussed in "RENT - Look Pretty and Do As Little As Possible". One of her main critiques of the musical in question is that it is one of what she calls "We Have Been Left Behind By The System: The Musical"; a production that, like Les Misérables, Jesus Christ Superstar and Hamilton, presents itself as vaguely rebellious but ultimately upholds the social values of the society that produced it, enabling its producers to position themselves as cool and rebellious while not actually scaring away the predominantly middle-class theatregoers they rely on to buy tickets and see the show. However, she notes that this isn't in and of itself automatically a bad thing — but the key difference with the others she cites is that, unlike RENT, they do not actually try to or claim to be directly challenging the contemporary system that they are produced in. RENT, however, does try to claim this without actually doing so — and what makes it even worse is that RENT only pretends to challenge a system that genuinely was oppressive, harmful and worthy of challenge.
  • Men Are Generic, Women Are Special: Lindsay's pretty annoyed by this, and has discussed it a few times:
    • In part 5 of The Whole Plate, she discusses how female Transformers are almost completely ignored in the Transformers Film Series, mainly due to the writers thinking female-coded Transformers "require an explanation," whereas male-coded robots don't. As a counterpoint, she occasionally Shouts Out the ongoing IDW comics and their lack of a need to "explain" gender, and how much better and more interesting they are for it.
    • Also discussed in "The Hobbit: Battle of Five Studios" regarding Tauriel. Lindsay argues that Hollywood often feels the need to justify women in films simply for being women, "or they might as well be men, am I right?", hence Tauriel being put in an inconsequential Love Triangle.
  • MST3K Mantrainvoked: While Lindsay often directly addresses major Plot Holes and poor storytelling, "That Time Disney Remade Beauty and the Beast" makes it clear she ultimately ascribes to this, and is very clearly annoyed by overly-pedantic internet critics that shoot right past Bellisario's Maxim and nitpick everything, including a self-described Fairy Tale, to a point where works have to pander to them and suffer for it.
    Lindsay: See, over-explaining everything in this case not only insults the intelligence of the audiencewhich is perhaps deserved because there is a certain sect of film commentators who have built careers off of complaining that their hands are not being held through the entire narrative — it also diminishes what should be a fairly simple but powerful story about love, forgiveness, redemption, and discovering your best self.
  • Never My Fault:
    • invokedIn "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Genres Tell No Tales," she posits that a number of "Dead Horse Genres" are really the result of studios throwing a lot of money at bad films, then blame the genre when it fails instead of the quality of the film itself.
    • That said, she acknowledges in her videos on The Phantom of the Opera (2004) and "Death of the Big Hollywood Movie Musical" that some movie trends are more lucrative than others, and if you're trying to release a film when its genre isn't popular (like a musical in a post-Hello, Dolly! world), you will have to work harder to make a better quality film and carefully stylize and market it so it appeals to a skeptical audiences.
  • Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used to Be: The subject of "The Upside-Down of Nostalgia", that looks at the popularity of Stranger Things and It (2017), both of which take place in The '80s. Restorative Nostalgia and Reflective Nostalgia are examined, and she adds her own: Deconstructive Nostalgia, which is more this trope.
  • One for the Money; One for the Artinvoked: "Hercules, Disney's Beautiful Hot Mess: a Video Essay" frames the creation of the film as this for co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker. Following their success in co-directing The Great Mouse Detective, Disney pushed them around for 16 years to direct The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and finally Hercules before they could work on their dream project, effectively "Treasure Island in Spaaaaaace".
  • Old Shame: She has no good memories of The Nostalgia Chick or her time associated with Channel Awesome. She pretty much says that no one should watch any of her work from before 2015 - although she says she still likes the Freddy Got Fingered review.
  • Oscar Bait: She has a Mini-Canon video detailing the history behind it, as well as the consequences it resulted in. Her breakdown of Bright also has a great deal of discussion on Oscar-bait, largely to put the film's own race-discussion into context.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: invoked Dedicates quite a few reviews to discussing this trope.
  • Parents as People: She considers this a major theme of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, as well as the sub-theme of abusive parenthood.
  • Please Subscribe to Our Channel: The nature of this as well as other "calls to action" is discussed to great length in "YouTube: Manufacturing Authenticity (For Fun and Profit!)". Lindsay brings up the channel "How To Cake It" as a mostly-positive example where despite its intrusive 11 calls to action per episode, she's able to forgive them because the show's business model makes sense and its content is engaging.
  • Plot Hole: She's not a fan of this term due to its excessive misuse on the internet, preferring to describe lazy writing hiccups as "contrivances," acknowledging that the story needs to get from point A to point B, but phoned the path in. She considers the two terms less as distinct, black and white flaws, and more of a gradient with lots of overlap.
  • Poe's Law: invokedDiscussed in "Mel Brooks, The Producers and the Ethics of Satire about N@zis" as "the satire paradox," pointing out how there isn't a definable line between Satire being a transgressive art that challenges harmful societal constructs to being too subtle and in danger of people missing the point, possibly even being interpreted as an endorsement of the societal constructs they critique.
  • Politically Correct History: Lindsay tends not to be the biggest fan of movies that gloss over the horrors of past discrimination just to make modern white gentile audiences feel more comfortable. She doesn't dig Pocahontas pinning centuries of colonialism and genocide on one Big Bad, The Princess and the Frog glossing over 1920's Jim Crowe Deep South, nor Captain America's Hydra and Red Skull existing to make Those Wacky Nazis seem more palatable to kids, and easy to sidestep the horrors of the Holocaust.
    Lindsay: The Princess and the Frog [goes] so far out of its way to portray the wealthy white family as so nice and well-meaning and "What systemic oppression? What Jim Crow? I'm just a nice wealthy white patrician here for some beignets from mah favorite black-owned establishment on the other side of the tracks."
  • Post-9/11 Terrorism Movie:
  • Product Placement: "Product Placement and Fair Use", appropriately enough, has Lindsay go over the modern motivations behind this, as well as the distinction between it and non-endorsed Fair Use.
  • Putting on the Reich: "The Ideology of the First Order" discusses this trope's use in Star Wars, exploring the ideological similarities (or lack thereof) between the First Order and real-world fascist movements, its increased narrative importance in comparison to that of The Galactic Empire of the original trilogy, as well as how Disney even gets away with marketing it to the extent it gets.
  • Reality Subtext:
  • Reconstruction: Lindsay has said that she was uncomfortable with her original reviews being "Like Doug Walker but a girl", and she has re-examined some of the films she did as Nostalgia Chick under her current review style - Pocahontas and Hercules for instance.
  • Retraux: Several segments of "YouTube: Manufacturing Authenticity (for Fun and Profit!)" and "Death of the Author", in which Lindsay presents critical theory imperative for the topic at hand, are made to look like an educational video from a 90's VHS tape recording.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: In "Is Beauty and the Beast About Stockholm Syndrome?", Lindsay concedes that Beauty and the Beast does have some troubling less-than-feminist undertones with its portrayal of Belle, but argues that it's not "whether or not she has Stockholm Syndrome" like the common talking point claims, but rather "Why does she have little agency or character development beyond learning to like and ending up with a guy?", while the Beast gets a much meatier and thematically appropriate character arc that ties into the movie's message and themes.
    Lindsay: This is a trend we see in a LOT of Renaissance movies: The heroine states a want—be it, you know, legs, or "adventure in the great wide somewhere", or love-marriage, or not being in service to Satan anymore—but the solution at the end always seems to wind up being... guys [...] And personally, I find that little trend of "Women's Self-Actualization being defined by what guy she ends up with" WAAAY more insidious than "Whether or not this movie is about Stockholm Syndrome."
  • Roadshow Theatrical Release: Her video on "The Death of the Hollywood Movie Musical" greatly discusses this, how it was the standard for big releases — including epic Hollywood musicals — until the threat of home TV came alone, pretty rapidly making them obsolete and tiring.
  • Rule-Abiding Rebel: Her video on RENT sees her discussing the phenomenon of "bourgeois theatre", specifically the youth-oriented "we have been left behind by the system" musicals that have proliferated on Broadway since The '60s. In her argument, while they purport to be countercultural and revolutionary, their values in practice tend towards validating the middle-class status quo and the views of their mostly Bourgeois Bohemian audiences rather than challenging them. She segues from there into Augusto Boal's Marxist concept of the "theater of the oppressed", which argues that, barring a genuine revolution to break the dominance of the ruling class over access to media, the Rule-Abiding Rebels are the only members of the counterculture who can possibly get their works disseminated to a mainstream audience. In addition to RENT, she also cites Les Misérables and Hamilton as examples, though she comes down substantially harder on RENT because while the other two were set in and critiqued different times and cultures, thus allowed to be more honest of what they were, RENT explicitly positions itself in direct opposition to the values of the culture it was produced in but fails to walk the walk.
  • Running Gag:
  • Sand In My Eyes: During "The Revisionist History of Saving Mister Banks," in the end when she adamantly defends Mary Poppins as one of the great films of cinema, not just for its technical achievements but also for its emotions and connection to the millions of viewers who grew up with the film, especially children, she shows a little girl during her Make-A-Wish trip to Disneyland meeting Mary Poppins, while the father speaks of her watching the movie over and over again during her stints in the hospital. Lindsay gets audibly choked up before stating "I'm sorry there's something in my eye."
  • Santa Claus: An episode of Loose Canon explores this character. Lindsay notes a duality in modern depictions, portraying Santa with or surrounding transgressive elements as a way of challenging the traditional innocent status quo, yet also preserving said status quo by the end.
  • Sci Fi Ghettoinvoked: In the "Genre" episode of The Whole Plate, she makes her annoyance of this trope brief, but clear, accompanied with images of Arrival and WALL•E.
  • Self-Demonstrating Article: invokedIn part 3 of The Whole Plate, Lindsay explains the difficulties caused by having more than one focal point the audience will have to pay attention to at the same time. Demonstrating this, she gives her explanation on the bottom half of the screen, while the top of the screen features a scrolling Starscream/Megatron High School A.U. smutfic.
  • Shout-Out: Due to the nature of her videos, she makes a ton of references to titles across different media, but she also makes references to other fellow creators and video essayists:
  • Sissy Villain: invokedBriefly discussed in "Queering Michael Bay" of The Whole Plate, going over the popularity of depicting effete villains via effeminate queer-coding, from Joel Cairo to various animated Disney villains including Scar, Governor Ratcliffe, and Ursula (a gender-inverted example explicitly designed after a drag queen). Lindsay also makes a point that queer-coded villains aren't always a negative thing, as some have been openly embraced by LGBT communities as a reclamation of power.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: "Designing the Other: Aliens on Film" discusses alien designs through multiple films that go all over the scale, exploring what information each individual design is imparting to the audience and what function they serve in the narrative.
  • So Bad, It's Goodinvoked: She herself has this reaction to a few works gone over in Loose Canon:
    • Regarding the 70's King Kong remake, Lindsay has a hard time deciding whether or not she hates the movie because it sucks, or loves it because it's such a "frankly wonder-terrible, awesome-nine addition to the entire Kong legacy."
    • In part 2 of the episode on Phantom of the Opera, she gives a shout-out to Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge not to really discuss the differences of its Phantom, but to share its sheer 80's-ness and hilariously ridiculous plot.
    • invoked Her reaction to the horribly fake-looking and over-the-top depiction of the 9/11 attacks in the Bollywood film Madhoshi says it all.
      Lindsay: What the fuck, India!?
  • So Okay, It's Averageinvoked: Her general opinion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, finding it exhausting, but not evoking any particularly strong feelings for most of the individual films beyond "Eh, it's fine" to "Eyeh, it's pretty good!"
  • Space Jews: The phenomenon is analyzed in her video on Bright.
  • Spiritual Adaptationinvoked: She considers Moana to be an extended "stealth remake" of Pocahontas, albeit a superior one due to it addressing several issues its predecessor had. "Pocahontas Was a Mistake, and Here's Why!" begins with an extended synopsis of effectively both movies, with their footage put side-by-side to show the similarities.
  • Stepford Smiler: "YouTube: Manufacturing Authenticity (For Fun and Profit!)" dives a great deal into "emotional labor," the need to maintain the potentially-exhausting affect of a certain job, specifically the need to be "authentic" in entertaining and engaging with an audience.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: She has a video going through the common accusation of Beauty and the Beast being about this. It's a thorough debunking, with Belle failing to properly meet any of the symptoms, never putting up with any of the Beast's shit, and only returning affection after he acts to improve himself of his own volition. Lindsay also makes a point that Stockholm Syndrome isn't even considered a diagnosable mental illness, with its status as an actual thing being contested among psychiatric and law enforcement communities, making the accusations even more sensationalist.
  • Straw Fan: invokedOccasionally featured in some videos is the Twitter account @what_is_nuance, run by Angelina M. as a parody of Fan Dumb audiences.
  • String Theory: She makes one for her third Hobbit video to explain the long-lasting consequences of The Hobbit on New Zealand and the various parties involved.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: The episode intro theme to The Whole Plate, using the namesake line from Transformers.
  • Take a Third Option: Lindsay often tackles controversial topics surrounding media (especially nostalgic or nerd media), where a number of people will condemn something wholesale because of something Problematic about it, while another portion will deny there is anything Problematic about it defend why they still like it. Lindsay consistently falls somewhere in the middle, admitting that something about it is flawed or unethical while still unashamedly loving it, and often posits that you can acknowledge something is flawed without having to condemn it.
    • She pointed out in several videos that she doesn't believe that no good can come from capitalist-driven art and media, nor that people can't enjoy media despite acknowledging its Merchandise-Driven roots. With regards to Transformers:
    Lindsay: There is a big problem in nerd communities with coming to terms with the fact that a product they kind of love is only exists for gross, hyper-capitalistic Reagan-y reasons. Personally, I do not care. I buy my Starscreams, I read my comics, and I can still talk about the fact that the series only exists due to deregulation designed to target children and benefit big businesses.
    • Discussed quite heavily in her Saving Mr. Banks video. Lindsay admits Walt Disney was unethical in how he strong-armed Travers into give up creative control over her own intellectual property, and it was unethical of the Disney Company to sanitize that history with Saving Mr. Banks, but she argues that Mary Poppins and Saving Mr. Banks are still artistically great movies in their own right, and one can acknowledge their unsavory histories without being required to condemn them wholesale.
  • Take That!: Her video on "The Time They Remake Beauty and the Beast" takes potshots of YouTube videos that exist to offer half-baked hot takes tearing down works, most explicitly calling out CinemaSins.
  • Take That, Audience!: An implicit, but firm one in "YouTube: Manufacturing Authenticity (For Fun and Profit!)". While discussing how on YouTube, the need to maintain a parasocial illusion of authenticity and availability for fans can be dangerous since if either falters, fans are often quick to perceive it as a breach of trust and revolt, Lindsay follows it up with this, said with a Kubrick Stare and ominous silence:
    Lindsay: ...but lucky for me, I don't have to worry about you guys. You're the good ones.
  • The Theme Park Version: Lindsay has repeatedly critiqued works that do this while directly trying to comment on political themes or conflicts, which she believes is mostly done to not scare away potential audience members, end ends up oversimplifying them to the point of insult.
    • This is among her biggest complaints about RENT, a work explicitly taking place during the AIDS crisis which encourages a self-righteous and nebulous mentality of rejecting "the system." Lindsay argues that this completely misses the point since that wasn't what actually solved the crisis — namely, the aggressively direct, active protesting to pressure the government into doing its job and save its people.
      Lindsay: RENT takes an inherently political issue and depoliticizes it to create something comforting and consumable. RENT looks pretty, and does as little as possible.
    • invokedShe comes down on Bright for its discussion on racism, not just for its nominal relation to the central plot and sloppy execution, but for the fact that while the film is trying to be topical and seek truths, it only explores exaggerated "cartoon racism" that is so unrealistic that no audience member could possibly see it in themselves, cheapening their own discussion.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: invoked She feels this way about Mikaela in the Transformers Film Series. She argues that Mikaela was the best-written character in the first movie and would've made a far better protagonist than Sam Witwicky, given that not only is her character the one in the whole film who displays an interest in cars (in a film that's very much about cars, albeit ones that are actually robots in disguise), but her arc lines up with the film's themes of self-sacrifice. Unfortunately, her framing in the films used her mainly as Ms. Fanservice, to the point where audiences largely forgot she even had a character.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • In “Wicked Witch Of The West” Loose Canon, when it comes to Tin Man, she just leans back in her chair and groans. And then when it comes to The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, she immediately facepalms.
    • In "Pocahontas Was a Mistake, and Here's Why!", she prefaces her discussion on cultural appropriation with an awkward, faltering smile and "RIP comments section."
  • This Loser Is You: Analyzes it a bit in The Whole Plate, comparing Guardians of the Galaxy to Transformers: both have a crude, jerkish, perverted, entitled manchild as their lead character and the presumed audience-identification character. However, what makes Peter Quill work where Sam Witwicky doesn't is that Guardians makes an effort to treat Quill's character flaws as, well, flaws, and has him genuinely go through hell or develop because of them. Meanwhile, Sam's flaws are treated as just wacky comedic stuff that's meant to make him relatable, and he's never really challenged or forced to change by this (if anything, he gets worse). Notably, she points out that Peter Quill Did Not Get the Girl, while Sam gets multiple girls. This makes Quill actually have a character arc and impresses a genuine moral upon the audience, whereas Sam impresses upon the audience that being an asshole is perfectly fine and comes across as static and unlikable.
  • Three-Act Structure: First discussed in her video on Hercules to lay out the film's rigid adherence to the formula. She did an additional, more thorough dive into the subject later on, also discussing its place in film theory and as a tool.
  • Throw It In!invoked: Discussed in "YouTube: Manufacturing Authenticity (For Fun and Profit!)", where silly mistakes or fourth-wall breaks that break down the idea of professional production lend themselves to a more casual and "authentic" feel, which sometimes increases their appeal and success. However, some shows try and exploit this idea, resulting in a manufactured facade of this sort of natural improvised authenticity, more prone to showing cracks (as is the case with "Man About Cake").
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions:invoked One of her biggest critiques of The Hobbit Trilogy is this. The movie, in the name of Adaptation Expansion, adds on a number of new scenes and plotlines, but they don't really go anywhere or inform the actual main story because they were haphazardly bolted onto a narrative that wasn't really meant to accommodate them. The result is "plot cul-de-sacs" that end up feeling like wastes of time and pull focus away from the actually important stuff.
  • Trolling Creator: Lindsay got married in June 2018 and invited lots of her YouTuber friends, fueling some confusion and speculation that her new spouse was one of them. While the actual truth is that her husband is simply a private person with no online presence, Lindsay fueled the rumors anyway by posting suggestive photos from the wedding reception, all with the garbled caption "MY BEAUTIFUL WIFE".
  • Tropes Are Tools: A recurring theme of her videos is that many tropes and conventions are not inherently positive or negative, even if they are perceived as such. For example, she refers to cultural appropriation as, strictly speaking, being a neutral tool, not inherently good or bad. It can be used harmfully, but it isn't necessarily the case.
  • Troubled Productioninvoked: Repeatedly mentioned in her miniseries on The Hobbit, most prominently discussed in its second part: "The Hobbit: Battle of Five Studios". It even features an interview with John Callen (who played Óin in all three films) providing a firsthand account of the increasing troubles it all went through.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible:invoked Not a fan of this mentality, and one she tears to shreds for Reality Bites and RENT.
    Lindsay: Their approach to documentaries is... shoot whatever and call it art because "it exists, and I made it."
    Mark: From here on in, I shoot without a script.
    Lindsay: To quote Nathan Rabin: "Last time I checked, those are called home-f*cking-movies and nobody thinks that's High Art."
  • Undermined by Reality: invokedDiscussed and explored in detail during her The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Studios mini-series.
  • Unreliable Narrator: An episode of It's Lit is dedicated to this, detailing the various reasons and means of execution for this to occur in fiction.
  • Values Resonance:invoked Discussed in "The Case For Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame," where Lindsay notes the film was not very well-received in The '90s due to its dark tone, but speculates that it's gaining more appreciation in The New '10s because its themes and issues resonate more with what's going on in the changing sociopolitical climate.
    Lindsay Ellis: I think [Hunchback] would be more appreciated if it came out today, because we need stories like this today. Fasci-y abusive Frollo, justice for the oppressed, the focus on how some men really loathe the objects of their desire, the wholesale demonization of ethnic groups... Maybe this movie wasn't appreciated in its time because it didn't resonate as much in 1996, but it does resonate now in 2017.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: She's really baffled by the attempts in Beauty and the Beast (2017) to "justify" this in Gaston, with the film feeling the need to make him more sympathetic by giving him backstory as a war hero suffering from PTSD, made even more confusing and questionable by the film also doubling down on his more violent aspects that the more skeptical townsfolk are shown to need bribes to look past.
  • Voodoo Shark: invoked She regarded the entirety of Beauty and the Beast (2017) as this trope in a nutshell, feeling that the film was just Disney attempting to respond to every criticism of the original film no matter how much of a nitpick it felt like, in the process creating something that utterly lacked the soul of its inspiration while raising all manner of new questions. For instance, the film tries to explain the servants being cursed by having them claim responsibility for not raising him better... but what, does that mean the child son of a tea brewer was somehow responsible for the decisions of a literal monarch?
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!invoked: In "The Death of the Hollywood Movie Musical", Lindsay posits that Hollywood studios have a recurring problem of hugely investing in projects following huge trends they consider commercially "safe" based on prior successes, but ignoring the fact their audiences have long moved past them, all while the projects themselves descend into farce. She cites films like Camelot, Doctor Dolittle, and Hello, Dolly! as examples of this for hugely lavish Hollywood musicals, while also citing Titans and Venom (2018) for edgy superhero media codified by The Dark Knight.
  • Wham Line: Two from the end of "The Hobbit: Battle of Five Studios":
    Tom Augustine: Just so you know, what the Hobbit actually did for New Zealand was... well it kinda fucked us.
    Lindsay: We've just been informed by the studio that this actually going to be three videos now.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Her Patreon patron-exclusive notes for "Loose Canon: Death" show that she originally considered including Marvel Comics' Death, Shinigami, and other personifications of death from global religions.
    • In a response to one comment, she said that she was considering doing a Loose Canon episode about Jesus, but found it impossible to condense the sheer glut of information about and interpretations of him into a twenty minute video, saying that it could have been a web series unto itself.
    • She was going to do a video discussing gender in Game of Thrones but got fed up halfway through and cancelled it.
    • Has said she would love to do a video explaining why she doesn't like Shrek - something she did touch on in her 'Dreamworks vs Disney' two-parter. But knowing how beloved it is by early 2000s kids, she compared the idea to "A Gen-Xer telling 90s kids why Aladdin sucks..."
    • She considered doing an essay on The Prince of Egypt - as she does not like the film or the idea of adapting organised religion for pop culture. But again she does not want to deal with the inevitable backlash it would get.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: Invoked, Deconstructed, and partially played for self-deprecating laughs regarding The Whole Plate, where she uses the Transformers Film Series as a vessel for various political readings, from The Auteur Theory to feminist and Marxist theory. As she points out several times in the series, the point of critical media studies is less to pin down a deliberate, intended political message in the work, but rather to raise questions about how audiences consume media and what it says about the culture that created and surrounds it, even if the subject she chose is considered "lowbrow." This is supported by the fact as pointed out in her episode on auteur theory, Michael Bay considers himself a deeply political person whose worldview seeps into his work, even if he doesn't like actively discussing what that means.
  • Woman Scorned: She has a lot of issues with Oz: The Great and Powerful, but finding out that this is the reason why the Wicked Witch is wicked is what really drives her up the wall.
  • X Meets Y: Invoked in her discussion of Hercules, which she considers to be more "Rocky meets Superman: The Movie" than anything to do with the actual Greek myth. She argues it's a misplaced effort, as not only are the references a little too obvious to work, but the themes don't mix well when you try to combine a sports film about a rough-and-tumble underdog with a superhero film about a Messianic Archetype. (The phrase "Go the distance!", for instance, makes very little sense in a movie that lacks the Second Place Is for Winners element in Rocky.)
  • You Sexy Beast: "My Monster Boyfriend" circles around the modern popularity of romances between women and monsters in media, explaining the long history of social evolution that eventually led into it, culminating in the mainstream and critical success of The Shape of Water.

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