Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Lindsay Ellis

Go To
"Thanks, I hate it!"
"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"

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.


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

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 Decay: In "Why is Cats", she explains that musical movies (such as the one in question), often suffer from this because directors mistakenly try to inject realism, which doesn't work because theatre and film require different levels of suspension of disbelief. Thus, movie adaptations of stage shows trying to be realistic only serves to highlight the unrealistic aspects. For example, cats singing songs and competing to go to cat heaven is kind of silly, but if the rest of the work embraces that, then the audience can easily roll with the experience and have fun. But if you try to make the cats realistic by having them occasionally walk on all fours, attempt to show them proportionally to human-size sets, etc, then suddenly the audience is actively thinking about it and realizes it doesn't make much sense.
  • 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.
    • She notes that this was probably necessary in the case of Cats, since the original musical's plot was pretty deliberately flimsy, but notes that the final result didn't so much fix the problem as it did add more flimsy plot.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: She theorizes that many of the more nonsensical plot points in the ending of Game of Thrones resulted from the fake Aegon Targaryen being Adapted Out. A legitimate challenger and pretender to Dany's claim with Varys backing him from the beginning would make her anger far more reasonable, and she even claims that when she first read about "Faegon", her first thought was "well, this is gonna make Dany do something stupid." But with no Faegon, the only pretender is the real Aegon, who doesn't want the throne and is all for Dany, but Varys is still backing him for spurious reasons and Dany still goes crazy.
  • 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.
  • All-Star Castinvoked: Discussed in "Why is Cats" as how this concept can go horribly awry. Not only was this symptomatic of a misguided push to make Cats into Oscar Bait, but the high demand of each cast member worked against the collective, revue-like nature of the story — instead of songs being groups of characters singing about each other, characters sing solos dedicated to themselves (often rearranging the music in the process), and the story had to contrive reasons for actors to minimize their time on set as to not eat into their busy schedules. In fact, she points out that one of the things that made the original Cats a success was that it didn't have any big stars, nor did it need them (why bother, when they'll be covered by thick makeup and lycra anyway?), which ended up giving it a long shelf life since performers could be swapped out at will.
  • 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:
      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!
    • "The enjoyment of experiencing a story should not be ruined by knowing how it ends." Is she talking about the Game of Thrones showrunners' complete obsession with "subverting expectations" because they believed that if anyone could successfully guess how the show would end then it would automatically ruin the story for viewers, and thus prove it's not a very good story to begin with if the only thing it has to offer is a twist ending? Or their making an ending that no one could see coming was so notoriously awful that it ruined many viewers' enjoyment of re-watching the series now that they knew how badly it would end? Either way, it fits.
  • Angst? What Angst?invoked: What she believes to be one of the main flaws of Jon Snow's character development. Despite the twist of his parentage effectively overturning his entire life—Ned wasn't his real father, but he was loved his entire life, the family drama that estranged Ned and Catelyn was steeped in a lie, and of course, the fact that he is a Targaryen—the only real thing to come out of it is that this means Jon is now in line to be king. Even his true family seem to care more about the question of whether Jon should be king, and as Jon immediately rejects the idea, it results in him feeling very static and having nothing to do.
  • Applicabilityinvoked:
    • This is the basis behind The Whole Plate, using the Transformers Film Series as a vessel or launching point to discuss various subdisciplines of film theory, from auteur to feminist film theory.
    • Discussed 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 open to different interpretations as social climates and attitudes inevitably evolve.
    • Discussed at length in the video about Bright, 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 societies 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.
    • 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.invoked
      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.
  • Ass Pull: Feels the later Game of Thrones seasons relied too heavily on these for the sake of "subverting expectations" and outsmarting viewers, but she feels what really takes the cake is Danaerys just snapping one day, burning a city of civilians alive, and becoming a fascist dictator after she'd been so consistently compassionate and pro-freedom.
  • 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 Avatar: She has a good time in her "Loose Canon" video on The Phantom of the Opera with pointing out that Andrew Lloyd Webber, a deeply talented but homely man working as a theater composer and, at the time, courting an ingenue with a beautiful voice who eventually left him, decided to adapt a story about a deeply talented but homely man working as a theater composer and courting an ingenue with a beautiful voice who eventually leaves him. She half-jokingly suggests that this is probably why the theatrical adaptation ends up playing up the romance a lot.
  • 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:
    • In her video essay on Phantom of the Opera, she talks about how the film world has trended in a realistic direction ever since one Michael Crawford starring musical. It seems apparent that she's referring to the titular musical, since Michael Crawford originated the role of the Phantom in the stage production. However, she is actually talking about the film version of the musical Hello, Dolly! which Michael Crawford also happened to star in as the clerk Cornelius Hackl.
    • "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.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Already didn't like how Game of Thrones treated Daenerys in later seasons, but learning that the showrunners literally put in the script that audiences should dislike and distrust her (along with the other characters, particularly Sansa) because she was pretty just drove her over the edge.
  • 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". The angriest she sounds on her videos comes from a long rant at the end of her video on it, speaking about RENT's naive, pointless and self-centered brand of "sticking to the man".
    • 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.
      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."
    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.
    • She's rather discouraged that Michael Bay's first Transformers film is feminist-friendly on paper, with Mikaela struggling to be taken seriously by male characters who look down on her because of her looks and gender, despite her knowing more about cars than all of them in a film about cars, only for the film's cinematography to undermine her struggle by framing her as the very disposable sex object men see her as, causing audiences to dismiss her as a disposable sex object too.
    • She comes down hard on Bright for paying lip service to "racism is bad" by using Fantasy Counterpart Culture Fantastic Racism against orcs... only to put in lots of in-universe justifications for racism against orcs and real minorities alike. Like revealing that orcs sided with The Dark Lord centuries ago (just as, apparently, racism against Mexicans stems from The Alamo?), and all orc characters apart from Jakoby being portrayed as ghetto trash or gang-banging criminals who shoot the heroes whether they help them or not, framing racism as a reasonable, logical, rational reaction to minority behavior.
    • War of the Worlds: Ray's culminating character moment is presented to be when he learns to let his son go to fight the aliens, but Lindsay argues this moment "came out of nowhere" since Ray is established to be an inadequate, neglectful father, and his son consistently shown to be a wrong-headed Too Dumb to Live Jerkass who needed proper guidance on how to be a proper man. So when the alien invasion hits, the film seems to be leading the audience to believe Ray will step up and "be a goddamn dad for once," and the son will learn not to be so blindly vengeful toward the aliens. Instead, the dad learns to "let his kid go" and his kid promptly (seemingly) dies seconds after. She compares it to Finding Nemo, where Marlin is overbearing and overprotective, so learning to let go makes sense. Whereas with War of the Worlds, it contradicts all prior character set-up, and has an emotionally unsatisfying pay-off.
    • Much of her disgust with the final seasons of Game of Thrones comes down to this, with her pointing out the show's abandonment of its prior messages. The greater threat of the White Walkers that overrides petty politicking is resolved by knife-wielding Arya just stabbing the Night King, the struggles of the smallfolk get sidelined in favor of Easy Logistics and the aristocrats doing everything, and the toxic patriarchy of Westeros is reinforced by having every female leader who isn't an emotionally dead abuse victim be driven mad or killed off.
  • 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.
  • Character Derailment: Created a two-part video essay (with part two being her longest film to date) lamenting this trope for the last few seasons of Game of Thrones. That is, in the later seasons most characters clutch the Idiot Ball and/or Jerkass Ball harder and harder until they shattered the whole series.
  • Chekhov's Gun: She has a video explaining the concept as "Planting and Payoff", pulling examples from Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Clueless Aesop:
  • Corpsing: At the end of her speech in "The Death of the Hollywood Movie Musical", she breaks into laughter after quoting Venom's dialogue.
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier:
  • 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."
  • Designated Hero/Designated Villain:
    • invoked Absolutely rips into the later Game of Thrones seasons for framing the Starks as heroic even though they become just as ruthless and "Fuck anyone who's not us" as the Lannisters, due to Character Derailment. Also, for vilifying Dany for being "too extreme" in her quest to free slaves and the oppressed people of Westeros, when (until she snaps and commits war crimes for no reason) Dany employed the same amount of Good Is Not Soft and Pay Evil unto Evil as the Starks.
    • RENT gets a lot of criticism about this. She points out that the main characters decide not to pay rent for no reason other than they feel like they shouldn't have to, and their conflict between choosing to "sell out" and stay true to their art not only makes them seem unrealistically naive in the real world, but also pretty petty and self-involved, as the movie had the plots about the AIDS crisis and homelessness, both of which they don't seem to care for enough.
  • 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. It promptly went back into this again after two more episodes, the reason being that the later episodes are into more controversial territory, planned to be held off for release until late 2019 to early 2020.
  • Disney Renaissance: Lindsay discusses this 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: She points out that the denouement of X-Men: The Last Stand and Game of Thrones where a noble pouting hero has to murder an emotionally unstable fallen heroine in narrative terms is not far from the logic of domestic abusers since the narrative is focused on the manpain of heroes who are reluctant but have no choice but to brutally murder women for the greater good. "Don't you see I had to do it? Why did you make me do it?".
  • 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.
      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.
    • Argues that the show creators of Game of Thrones similarly completely missed what makes A Song of Ice and Fire compelling for readers. Yes, it's a Darker and Edgier Deconstructor Fleet to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings with tons of Family-Unfriendly Violence and Black and Grey Morality, but she argues that underneath all the gritty realism are glimmers of hope and humanity as Sympathetic P.O.V. characters try to navigate through a Crapsack World and hopefully eventually Earn Their Happy Endings. However, the show creator's only takeaway seemed to be "cruelty, darkness, and violence = good. Kindness, hope, and optimism = bad," and not only did the show embellish the violence, rape, and mean-spirited cynicism in the books, but framed the Stark family's overall kindness as weaknesses that they needed to overcome, made the Starks no better morally than the Lannisters, turned Dany's noble goal to free the oppressed people of Westeros as an inevitable prelude to evil, and created invokedDarkness-Induced Audience Apathy. She also argues that the showrunners' only lesson from early seasons was "subverting expectations = good," even though in early seasons there was plenty of foreshadowing for the viewers that things might not go well for the characters. The surprise came from the characters themselves being Wrong Genre Savvy only for Reality Ensues to bite them in the ass, yet the showrunners went out of their way in later reasons to increasingly rely on Ass Pulls to "subvert expectations" for short-term shock value without understanding what made them emotionally satisfying for audiences in early seasons.
  • Edutainment: Lindsay aims to have her video essays be presented with a perfect balance of information and levity, so as to make 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 Roaring '20s 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.
    • Mentions at the end of her "Why Is Cats?" video that a lot of musical theatre fans are afraid that Cats being a Box Office Bomb will mean the end of big-budget film adaptations of Broadway musicals, and counters with a point of her own: GOOD. She feels that Broadway musicals are are doing just fine on their own and they don't need the "prestige" of Hollywood (which is a completely different medium, and headed by people that clearly don't respect or understand what makes stage musicals amazing to begin with) mucking them up by imposing gritty, realistic live action as Award Bait. She actually hopes this is the end of big-budget, Award Bait musicals like Les Misérables (2012) and Cats, both of which are directed by Tom Hooper.
  • Ending Aversioninvoked: Discussed as Lindsay's final point of critique in "The Last of the Game of Thrones Hot Takes", arguing that due to the show's infamously botched ending, it retroactively sinks the rest of the show before it, as it became a journey constantly building up to a payoff that was ultimately unsatisfying.
    Making a case not just for this tragedy, but the endurance of tragic stories in general: Romeo and Juliet, Orpheus and Eurydice, we tell and retell these despite knowing how they're going to end. I bring this up because knowing how the show ends... are you going to begin to watch it again? What is the legacy of Game of Thrones going to be?
    I think after the dust settles and all the hot takes are taken — and I recognize I'm probably at the end of this train — the answer is going to be "no". It's not going to be remembered for the journey we all undertook — it's gonna be remembered as a thing that was ruined by its ending, one of the greatest examples of that. Maybe ever.
  • #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:
    • "The Complex Feels of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" has a chapter addressing Peter and Gamora not getting together after two films, much to the confusion of some fans. Lindsay finds that the prevalence of "immature Manchild always getting the girl in the end" is because said Manchild is usually meant to be an Audience Surrogate whose immaturity isn't a character flaw that needs to be overcome, but an endearing trait that the filmmakers believe relates to and represents their audience. While the Guardians films have some trouble deciding whether Peter's immaturity is the former or the latter, both he and Gamora are ultimately portrayed as "radioactive spike-balls of defense mechanisms" who still have to come to terms with a lot of personal trauma before they can have a mutually healthy relationship.
    • Also discussed in her video of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, addressing the common complaint that Quasimodo Did Not Get the Girl, especially since the film also values disabled people as being equal to everyone else. Lindsay argues that A) Esmeralda is not a "sexy lamp" that only exists to be a reward, and B) Quasi valuing her friendship but also respecting her autonomy enough to let her go is the difference between him and Frollo, who would rather die and burn down all of Paris.
    • A huge part of why she loves the original Beauty and the Beast is how it averts this trope. She posits that the story is about two men (Gaston and the Beast) who both want to possess and control one woman (Belle). One learns his lesson, recognizes her humanity, puts her needs before his own and ultimately lets her go. The other... doesn't, and gets killed for it. This is another reason she hates the 2017 remake, which she argues completely misses the point of the first movie by having the Beast continue to act like an entitled prick, yet still get rewarded for it when Belle decides to settle and become his life coach.
  • invokedExecutive Meddling: She talks extensively about some infamous cases, be they Disney productions or others like The Hobbit. One of the most prominent is "How Aladdin Changed Animation (by Screwing Over Robin Williams)", a video essay about Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Lindsay goes into detail about how Williams was the first really big celebrity voice to be used in animated movies when he was cast as the Genie in Aladdin. Williams had Disney promise to not extensively promote him as part of his agreement to work on the film. When Disney extensively promoted him anyways, Williams parted on bad terms with Disney. However, in doing so, Disney inadvertently began a trend in animated movies. A lot of other animation studios started to Follow the Leader and cast A-list names for their own movies instead of experienced voice actors or character actors. The difference is that, rather than write the part around the character (as the Genie was for Williams), the studios just cast big-name actors and hoped it would bring in ticket sales, which it almost never does. Even Shrek, which had a number of Take Thats against Disney, used big-name celebrities for its cast. Lindsay thus argues that studios ended up learning the wrong lesson from Aladdin.
  • 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: Invoked, and discussed 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.
    [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.
  • Follow the Leader:
    • Discussed in "Dead Genres Tell No Tales" and how it leads to said dead genres. Hollywood assumes that movies live and die by their genre. When a successful movie comes a long, studios will pour huge amounts of money into other movies of the same genre, often without regards to quality, thinking that the genre will carry them. When this inevitably results in huge Box Office Bombs, the studios, applying the same reasoning as before, will assume that the genre was responsible for the films' failures, i.e. "dead", and stop making them.
    • In "Why is Cats?", Lindsay speculates this as being why the movie was finally made after languishing in Development Hellinvoked for decades, with the financial success of The Greatest Showman and perceived critical prestige of Les Misérables (2012) inspiring Universal to adapt a well-beloved musical in hopes that it could bring both. Unfortunately, they completely misunderstood why they were successes or what circumstances they brought onto themselves (including the hiring of Tom Hooper solely for his credentials in Les Mis despite of his shortcomings in directing musicals), and this single-minded pursuit for box office income and awards resulted in the polar opposites.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Deconstructed in "The Most Whitewashed Character In Literary History", which discusses Europe's history of conflicting fascination with eastern foreigners, treating elements of their cultures as exotic Forbidden Fruit and reducing them to reductive stereotypes. One of the consequences of this is illustrated with the namesake character: The Persian from The Phantom of the Opera, a popular, plot-critical character who Lindsay argues invokedis ahead of his time in terms of western depictions of ethnic characters, yet is almost universally Adapted Out and replaced, or — as is the case of Phantom — actively playing into those negative ethnic stereotypes to positive reception, representing how even in the present day, people still find appeal in that reductive angle.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Invoked:
    • She argues this in her discussion Cats, claiming that a lot of issues with the final product were present in director Tom Hooper's much more successful adaptation of Les Misérables, but weren't as evident to the general public at the time:
      • The big thing that killed it, she argues, was Hooper's insistence on "realism." Les Mis also had a heavy focus on realism—it's just that it was a fairly grounded concept that could at least look passable through a realistic framing, while Cats was already one of the most infamously gaudy, fantastical, and bizarre productions in all of musical theatre, and the Uncanny Valley naturally followed.
      • She also points out that Hooper tried to make the cast as comfortable as possible during filming, including recording their performances during their scenes rather than the traditional method of recording the songs separately. While, again, she found it resulted in some flawed performances, it was an interesting experiment that won the Academy's attention. But his attempt to repeat that feat in Cats failed miserably, because while they could have used mocap suits and had computers put the fur on, Hooper decided to have the actors wear simpler jumpsuits—meaning now, the fur had to be added manually by the VFX team, ballooning the budget out of control. Additionally, it led to some positively disastrous improv bits to break up the songs.
      • The difficulties of wrangling an All-Star Cast, used to draw the attention of the Academy, weighed down heavily on Cats, but Les Mis had one, too. The difference was that Les Mis was an epic narrative that rotated characters and cast constantly, and most of the songs are sung by characters about themselves—most of the actors didn't need to be on set for very long, so that made scheduling a lot easier, and they generally got their spotlight moment. On the other hand, Cats is a much smaller, more communal, and more insular story where the characters regularly participate in each other's songs and are often outright singing about each other. This caused the story and songs to be heavily rewritten to get characters out of the picture to avoid keeping expensive actors on-set for too long, and serve as bigger showcases of the stars (several of whom just could not sing), which hurt the final product.
    • In "Woke Disney" she argues that Disney has been putting "self aware" meta commentary into their movies since at least Aladdin, but while it started out as just the occasional throwaway gag in the Disney Renaissance (such as Zazu briefly singing "It's a Small World After All," much to Scar's disgust), by Enchanted it featured more heavily in their stories, and by The New '10s it's grown into the entire basis for why their movies are made, and to justify each film's existence. From main entry movies like Moana and Ralph Breaks the Internet constantly lampshading and lambasting their own tropes to preemptively appease every possible criticism instead of just telling a compelling story, to Disney's live-action remakes obviously having no point to their existence other than to make money, so the filmmakers throw in lot of faux "self-aware critical analysis" as a flimsy pretext to make the cash-grabbing live-action remakes.
    • "The Last of the Game of Thrones Hot Takes":
      • She explains how a lot of the problems with later seasons were present from the beginning: the showrunners embellished the rape and violence from the books, unfortunate implications regarding race and gender representation, dialogue not directly lifted from the books being pretty awkward, the showrunners not fully understanding the stories they were adapting, and so on. The difference was the early seasons were adapting George R. R. Martin's beloved books and had strong characters and stories to make up for it. However, by Season 5 they started to run out of book material, and from Season 6 onward the subtle problems that plagued early seasons became all that was left.
      • She also cites how the showrunners would keep the ending to character arcs despite changing their personalities leading up to it. She cites Tyrion and Shae's relationship in particular: The showrunners made Shae and Tyrion Adaptational Nice Guys with a genuinely loving relationship, yet still had Shae betray Tyrion to Tywin, and Tyrion still strangled Shae in a jealous rage, even though it no longer fit their characters. But while this could be overlooked in earlier seasons since the overall characters and stories were still compelling, after seasons of Seasonal Rot and Character Derailment, the Grand Finale keeping Martin's planned ending for the charactrs despite the showrunners changing the characters so much felt contrived at best, and a strong case of Ending Aversion at worst.
  • 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 commercial 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. "The Death of the Hollywood Movie Musical" greatly expands on the surrounding context and major missteps that made it less of a single major fault and more of a final nail in the coffin. Near the end of the video, she also points out how the root cause — Hollywood's mentality of throwing money at dying trends in an attempt to save them before they inevitably 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. Lindsay notes that 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).
    • Her video on Cats concludes by discussing the likelihood that the film's utter bombing could damage the idea of musicals, which she mostly rebukes, noting that the past few years have seen tons of successful and acclaimed musicals in both theatre and film. If anything, she argues that Cats might kill off the "serious Oscar Bait musical" subgenre... but much of the focus of the video is on the fact that she believes the subgenre was kind of plumbing a dry well to begin with, and musicals don't need the validation of the Oscars and can only harm themselves by trying to pander to them.
  • 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 Ghetto: Invoked:
    • Brought up in "Dear Stephenie Meyer", 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 invoked and discussed in her PBS episode "An Ode to the Romance Novel", where she discusses how romance is the only genre relentlessly shamed and mocked for not being "high literature". This is despite many other types of genre fiction not being "high literature" either (mystery, sci fi, fantasy, etc). Lindsay theorizes this is because romance the only genre predominantly made 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.)
  • Golden Mean Fallacyinvoked: Rips into later Game of Thrones seasons for basically pushing this as its core ideology. Tyrion is depicted as an Only Sane Man for taking a middle stance in every conflict, even though it leads to bad advice when you think about it for longer than two seconds. Tyrion also often condemns Daenerys for being "too extreme" in her stance on ending slavery, even though a) her means are no more brutal than her enemies or the Designated Heroes, b) most of the time she's only as brutal as she needs to get results (since being too nice often blows up in her face), c) how can you be "too extreme" in ending slavery? Does that mean "a little slavery is okay"? The show often seems to praise Tyrion and the Starks for their neutrality, even though they're Accomplices by Inaction for refusing to act on tyranny within Westeros, like refusing to do anything about Cersei or the White Walkers. It also presents opinionless, spineless, apolitical yes-men like Jon Snow and especially Bran as perfect candidates for the throne because they have no opinions or political stances, even though previous seasons have showed that rulers like this are ineffective at best, ample puppet kings to their more ambitious advisers at worst.
  • 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 apologia 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. It's a great movie!
  • Guilty Pleasures:invoked Actually discusses and deconstructs this in a number of episodes. On the whole, Lindsay firmly believes that liking something or not is purely an emotional reaction, not necessarily a reflection of the quality or "logic" of a work. Some people can articulate why they like something better than others, some works of fiction are more structurally sound than others, but at the end of the day all fiction is meant to scratch an emotional itch. Even the best quality works can fail to elicit a strong reaction in some people, and even the worst-made media will have people who love it. (And she'll admit when she's being biased about something too.) She also argues in a number of videos (especially her Transformers miniseries and the "Dear Stephenie Meyer" video) that, more often than not, media that people are made to feel "guilty" for liking are genres made for, by, and about women (or minorities, or "children", the lowest common denominator), whereas equally flawed media geared towards men or teenage boys get much less flak.
  • #HashtagForLaughs:
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?:
    • invokedShe theorized that the shoehorning in of Gandalf/Galadriel and Kili/Tauriel in The Hobbit might have been essentially a meta version of this. After The Lord of the Rings became famed for Ho Yay, the filmmakers created a pair of heterosexual romances from whole cloth in the hopes that they might overshadow Bilbo and Thorin, whose relationship is similarly central and Ho Yay-laden (and, for that matter, a lot more compelling and better-written). Indeed, Tauriel's grieving over the death of Kili is placed right after Bilbo grieving over the death of Thorin, as if to overwrite the latter in the audience's minds.
    • Another meta, slightly ironic example is presented in "Queering Michael Bay" of The Whole Plate. Lindsay posits that most action cinema, including Michael Bay films, exist to affirm dominant views of masculine values, hence the prominence of the archetypal heterosexual White Male Lead. Due to the fact Homoerotic Subtext can still be easy to read, queerness is invoked almost exclusively to be used as a punchline, as a way of going "no homo" and to reaffirm the "absurdity" of a queer action hero. This is present in many Michael Bay films, though the Transformers films avoid needing this due to the fact everybody is characterized by their distaste for one another, making such subtext almost nonexistent.
    • And again in Cats, where she points out that the musical has lots of homoerotic subtext (and substantially a large queer fan base as a result) between Mr. Mistoffelees and Rum Tum Tugger (which some performances even play up). The film, on the other hand, adds in a romance between Rum Tum Tugger and Victoria, and some Ship Tease between Mistoffelees and Victoria, which seems to be going out of its way to insist that the former two are Just Friends. She remarks a bit on the baffling futility of trying to pull the "not gay" card with Cats, a Broadway musical with a disco-inspired soundtrack about flamboyant dancers in animal-themed jumpsuits that occasionally often featured actual rainbow effects or glitter in its performance.
  • 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.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Doesn't dispute the writing merits of Game of Thrones (or at least the early seasons), but argues that the main reason George R. R. Martin's adapted A Song of Ice and Fire cracked the mainstream the way most other fantasy stories didn't is because, compared to The Lord of the Rings, it's Darker and Edgier, and "Hot Fantasy, That Fuuuucks!"
  • Hulk Speak: The YouTube thumbnail for "The Last of the Game of Thrones Hot Takes" bears the message DRAGON LADY BAD.
  • 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.
  • Informed Ability: One of her most common critique points of later Game of Thrones is that characters like Sansa, Varys, and Tyrion, who are meant to be brilliant manipulators and strategists, end up being written like self-satisfied idiots. This causes their Character Shilling to fall on deaf ears, and makes their contribution to the Daenerys subplot all the more problematic—the viewer is meant to take their distrust of Daenerys and her growing distance from them as ill signs, but it instead seems like they're being dumbasses as usual and Daenerys is being unusually patient with characters who are functionally The Millstone.
  • 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.
  • Irony: In "The Last of the Game of Thrones Hot Takes," Lindsay notes the irony that in the last episode the showrunners have Tyrion fetishize storytellers as the most important people in existence, when they show utter contempt for what makes good storytelling (Foreshadowing, Character Development, Central Themes, which they dismiss as being "for eighth grade book reports", etc), while increasingly relying on Ass Pulls, Fanservice, and Character Derailment (especially having characters grab the Idiot Ball to facilitate Idiot Plot after Idiot Plot) just to "subvert expectations" and make an unpredictable ending.
  • It's Not Supposed to Win Oscars: invoked
    • 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!"
    • Brought up in a fairly literal context in her analysis of Cats, where she argues that, in fact, musicals shouldn't try to win Oscars. By her account, the Academy tends to overwhelmingly favor a gritty and realistic style unless it deals with very specific topics Hollywood likes, and said style is anathema to what musicals need; trying to build musicals along the Oscar Bait model can only create problems, and the genre is better off doing what it does best without having to seek validation from people operating in a completely different medium.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: Her thesis of "The Last of the Game of Thrones Hot Takes." She posits that humans love retelling popular stories invokedeven knowing how they end (like Romeo and Juliet), because humans love experiencing the emotional journey of a story more than being surprised by the ending. She argues that the showrunners being obsessed with creating Shocking Swerves and a (notoriously awful) ending that no one could have seen coming ruined most people's enjoyment of re-watching the series and re-experiencing the journey with the characters.
    "The enjoyment of experiencing a story should not be ruined by knowing how it ends."
  • Lady Drunk: Lindsay retains this trait from her days as The Nostalgia Chick. Empty bottles of various alcohols tend to accumulate behind her in videos where she discusses particularly awful films.
  • Lost Aesop:
    • She isn't a fan of Captain America: The Winter Soldier due to this, finding that it sets up a very topical examination of government transparency and loyalty to a constantly-changing nation in the face of terrorism, only to drop any pretense of realism with The Reveal that nearly all the bad things that happened in the modern world was because Hydra infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D.
      Lindsay: Kind of nice to be able to stop blaming all of our problems on misfortune, bad people, and short-sighted international policy made in America's own self interest when we can just say it's all Hydra's fault! (beat, then gestures) Hang glider!
    • 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.
    • She points out in Transformers that the film's Arc Words are the Witwicky motto ("no sacrifice, no victory"), but this doesn't make a lot of sense when the main character of the story is Sam, who... doesn't really sacrifice anything. This is part of the reason she prefers to interpret Mikaela as the real protagonist, because she actually has sacrificed things in her life.
  • 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 what's more, Victor Hugo would probably have been 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. This enables its producers to position themselves as cool and rebellious while not actually scaring away the predominantly middle-class theatregoers that the producers rely on to buy tickets. 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.
  • Master of None: One of her chief arguments in her Phantom of the Opera video (which recurs in Cats) is that the most successful modern musicals can fit into two categories: deeply realistic ones that avoid the classic approach through non-diegetic framing or the presence of actual stage performances (i.e. Chicago or Cabaret), and unrealistic ones with an offbeat and romanticized tone where the audience can just go along with the ride (Moulin Rouge!, Mamma Mia!, most Disney animated films). She argues that the reason films like Phantom, Cats, and Hooper's Les Misérables don't work is that they end up in the middle: they're too realistic for the audience to accept that the characters act this way, but they don't go far enough in the realism and maintain the classical musical framing, creating an experience where the framing screams "grim and gritty", but the characters still break out into song for no reason. She compared it to "trying to combine a glitter-sprinkled cupcake with filet mignon."
  • Mathematician's Answer: In "How To Get A Book Deal in Ten Years or Less," as she discusses the vagaries of publishing:
    "Was the novel I sold the first novel I wrote? No! I'd argue that it wasn't even the second. But it was also kind of the first. I, cuz it was the first in, well, anyway."
    • (On Twitter, she elaborated that, according to a website that compares manuscripts to find plagiarism, her novel fails the Theseus' Ship Paradox: between the first draft and the final draft, she had rewritten no less than 100% of the novel.)
  • 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.
  • Mood Whiplash: She cites this as an issue with the film adaptations of The Hobbit, noting that the movies don't seem to be sure if they want to be like the book (charming and lighthearted stories you could read to your kid) or the prior Peter Jackson films (epic, battle-focused, and laden with grit), which leads to some really weird tonal problems. For instance, Desolation of Smaug has the dwarves engage in a slapsticky barrel-riding sequence where they bounce against rocks and rapids like beach balls and take down orcs in all kinds of silly ways... and then a few moments later, Kili gets shot in the leg with an arrow, and this is treated as a mortal wound that he could die from and his survival is played as very dramatic.
  • Moral Luck: Discusses the poor use of this trope in Game of Thrones, especially the last season.
    • For Dany: She points out how Sansa treating Daenerys with suspicion and hostility, and Varys and Tyrion randomly deciding to betray her to support Jon Snow for the Iron Throne instead, rested on the fact that the writers knew that Dany would eventually snap and become "Super Hitler" around the last episode, so their use of this trope to "justify" the Jerkass behavior toward her doesn't work since based on her actions in the story the other characters had no reason not to like or trust her, or think she would make a bad queen.
    • For Jon: Likewise, it doesn't make sense for Varys to think Jon Snow would be a good candidate for the Iron Throne. Yes, we the audience know how much Jon has accomplished and grown as a leader in the Night's Watch since we've followed his journey for several seasons, but from an in-universe character's perspective, Jon's track record doesn't look that good. He's only led the Night's Watch for a short time, and had to deal with mutiny and disaster that left half the Night Watch dead. She argues that from Varys's perspective he shouldn't think Jon Snow would make a good king, thus it's only dumb luck that he's proven right.
  • Moral Myopia: Her view on the claims that Dany's prior actions were "foreshadowing" her incoming lunacy, as she believes that the show up to that point had treated Good Is Not Soft or Pay Evil unto Evil as normal or even laudable in the Crapsack World of the series, but was now treating it as the oncoming signs of a murderous psychopath.
  • 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.
  • Musical World Hypothesis: Often brought up in her videos on musicals, with notes on some of the prominent modern examples. She believes that musicals going for a realistic setting should definitively mark down their status as Diegetic or All In Their Heads, while musicals with a more outlandish or flamboyant tone can get away with Adaptation or Alternate Universe.
  • 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.
  • Non Sequitur Fallacyinvoked: Voices her displeasure at the writers of Game of Thrones paraphrasing the famous "First they came for..." poem to liken Daenerys' rise to power as that of Adolf Hitler. Tyrion more or less states "First she killed slavers and abusive nobles, and we did nothing because they were evil men..." implying that since she killed abusive tyrants who hurt the innocent people, of course it was only a matter of time before she killed innocent people too. Lindsay points out how ridiculous this is, since all series Daenerys consistently targeted only oppressors, so it's ridiculous to imply that logically she would go after the oppressed next. Not to mention they completely miss the point of the poem, which was that fascists always went after innocents. Nazis would scapegoat society's problems on rivals and minorities to persuade the masses to give them power to "take care of" them, then would go after anyone who threatened their ill-gotten power. However, Daenerys consistently toppled oppressive power structures that were actually hurting the common folk.
  • 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. She also discusses how Oscar Bait applies to movie musicals in the video on Cats - with adaptations going for "hyper realism" (despite that being quite difficult when adapting a musical) to garner favor with the Academy.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: invoked Dedicates quite a few reviews to discussing this trope.
  • Overtook the Series: Created two video essays venting about how this trope ruined the Game of Thrones series. She posits the first four seasons were great because they adapted the first four books, then season five dropped in quality as they struggled to find fringe material to work with, then seasons six through eight nose-dived and ended in a train wreck since they had to make up new plots wholesale.
  • Pandering to the Base: invokedCredits many issues in later Game of Thrones to this, such as Tyrion being turned from morally grey to an attempted voice of reason because his actor was too popular to be made unsympathetic. She also discusses "Cleganebowl", a fan-theorized confrontation between the Hound and the Mountain, which became an Ascended Meme in the series, even though by the time it happened, it was a guy with no desire for revenge fighting a mindless zombie for absolutely no reason.
  • 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.
  • Public Medium Ignorance:
  • 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 does.
    • She also largely lambasts the use of this trope with Daenerys, believing that the creators chose to invoke Nazi imagery and anti-Nazi rhetoric as an easy shorthand for evil and extremism without thinking about whether it made any sense.
  • Reality Ensues: Argues that the showrunners abandoning this trope is another reason that later Game of Thrones seasons plummeted in quality. Being a Deconstructor Fleet to High Fantasy, part of what made earlier seasons so compelling was Wrong Genre Savvy characters making choices expecting things to go their way, only for reality to bite them in the ass, with following episodes or seasons to explore the consequences of their actions. A prime example is Joffrey executing a powerful and beloved noble For the Evulz, which sparked a huge civil war that lasted for several seasons. However, later seasons tried to up the ante by having characters commit even more reckless or brutal actions for shock value, only to not want to follow through with exploring how these actions would affect the world around them. A key example is Cersei wiping out the entire powerful and beloved House Tyrell and blowing up the Sept of Baelor, both far more extreme acts of brutality and political suicide than Joffrey beheading Ned (and would have fueled several seasons of story in its own right), yet her actions are quickly ignored and forgotten.
  • Reality Subtext:
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Not a fan of how Game of Thrones handled this trope in later seasons. Female characters who shed their femininity and show disdain for traditionally feminine traits (like Sansa and Arya) are depicted as "empowered," but female characters who retain their femininity but also want to rule (like Daenerys and Cersei) are at best depicted as God Save Us from the Queen!.
  • 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:
  • 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.
    • This is also her opinion in "Woke Disney", where she discusses many Disney films of the late 2000s and 2010s in relation to this. Most of them do express liberal ideas, but also consistently show the problems in society to be unnatural outliers rather than inherent to the system, introduce sympathetic characters on the other side in an effort to show that Both Sides Have a Point (which undermines the resulting message), avoid bringing up things that could frame Disney or corporations in general in a negative light, and mainly poke at things that invokedpretty much everyone has long since agreed are bad (i.e. animal abuse). She describes the resulting message as "we need more female CEOs."
  • 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. Her opinions on the movies tend to range from "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 points 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.
    • She also takes this view of many latter-day Game of Thrones characters, especially Cersei, whom she noted had nothing to do after her destruction of the Sept. In a sane world, an already unpopular and dubiously legitimate ruler blowing up the equivalent of the Vatican should have had massive consequences for her, and had the people of King's Landing rallying en masse around any alternative. Cersei being forced to deal with the fallout of her actions could prove fascinating, give lots of material for one of the show's strongest performers, and fall perfectly in line with the series's themes. But since the logical consequences of her actions would have been the people siding with Dany and made her fall from grace even more nonsensical, Cersei avoids dealing with anything and is actually played as remorseful and sympathetic at the massacre.
  • 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."
  • Uncanny Valleyinvoked: She discusses the infamous case of this in Cats in her video on it, which by her observation was merely one result of a misguided attempt to make Cats seem "realistic" in an attempt to gain critical respect.
  • Undermined by Reality: invokedDiscussed and explored in detail during her The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Studios mini-series.
  • Unfortunate Implications: invoked Points out several from across the series in her Game of Thrones videos:
    • Season 4's plot point of Tyrion murdering Shae still happening the same way as in the books despite the massive changes to both their characters, and altering the direction Tyrion's arc went in afterwards results in a scene where a man smothering his girlfriend in revenge is still meant to be sympathetic. She also cited in part 2 the denouement at the end of the final season with Jon Snow and Tyrion framed as morally correct for killing Daenerys as mirroring the narrative of domestic abusers, "You made me do it...don't you see I had to do it", especially since Daenerys' own narrative is about a girl in an abusive relationship overcoming that and gaining agency for herself.
    • The finale has the unfortunate side effect that the only living non-white characters are all for Daenerys's plan to unleash a reign of terror on the world. So the white characters have to stop an army of barbarian non-white characters from making the world even worse. Her second video noted that Tyrion's speech about Jon Snow which was intended to invoke You Monster! on the audience for cheering Daenerys' Pay Evil unto Evil, while also being a paraphrase of Martin Niemoller's famous poem about gentile indifference to Nazi anti-semitism, morally equates Daenerys' slaveowner victims with the victims of the Holocaust, which she notes is even more tone-deaf as a comparison.
    • A point Ellis brings up in her second video is that the later seasons seem to imply that Sansa's earlier compassion and empathy for others is a sign of weakness and childishness, and that acting like a stone cold Manipulative Bitch, who is frequently openly hostile to anyone who isn't her immediate family is a sign that she has become mature and empowered. Ellis argues that Sansa’s true flaw that she must overcome isn't that she's 'too kind', but that she's too naive and needs to learn who is genuinely worthy of her compassion and who is just trying to manipulate her.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: invokedShe rips into Love Never Dies mostly for this, pointing out that while the Phantom in the original play was certainly a violent, self-centered jerk, he was sympathetic because his life emphatically sucked, and therefore it made sense that he was a jerk. However, the Phantom in Love Never Dies has tons of friends, wealth, and success, and the musical tries to frame him as a good guy and Christine's real true love... and yet he still comes across as a violent, self-centered jerk.
  • 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 Dissonance:invoked A recurring trend of works that came out in The '90s, most notably RENT and Reality Bites, is that she believes the characters in those works tend to look very unsympathetic to audiences since then. In her view, their focus on Clinton-era middle-class ennui merely makes the characters seem whiny when people in the modern day would kill for the "dead-end jobs" and "art for profit" that those characters disdain.
  • 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.
    • Also discussed in "The Most Whitewashed Character In Literary History", a video surrounding the chronic adaptational removal of The Persian from The Phantom of the Opera, making a case for better treatment not just because he was important to the plot, but because his positive depiction as an ethnic character was greatly ahead of his (and Lindsay might argue, our) time. At the end of the essay, Lindsay notes having delayed its release due to real-world tensions between America and Iran, but suggests that during such times of stress where people are more drawn to looking back at familiar, but potentially regressive and hostile narratives, it should be worth challenging them and looking more critically at what can really be done.
  • 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 (2018) 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. Some of her points, however, got woven into her two "postmortem" videos on the series.
    • 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.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Discussed in her videos on The Phantom of the Opera (2004) and Cats as specifically pertains to stage musicals and film, and how both mediums have different thresholds. With both cases, Lindsay points out how generally speaking, unreality on a live stage is inherently much easier for audiences to accept than on a live-action screen aided by all kinds of technology, but that good movie musicals can get around it through broader stylism. Where the film versions of Phantom and Cats fail is in part due to their insistence on playing into the inherent realism of film, creating drastic tonal dissonance with their decidedly unrealistic source material that breaks disbelief (while still failing to capitalize on their new format).
  • Woman Scorned: She has a lot of issues with Oz the Great and Powerful, but finding out that this is why the Wicked Witch is wicked really drove her up the wall. She also complained about how X-Men: The Last Stand reduced Mystique's motivations to this trope.
  • 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.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: