Follow TV Tropes

Please don't list this on a work's page as a trope.
Examples can go on the work's YMMV tab.


Bile Fascination

Go To

Razputin: If you hate the show so much, why don't you just leave?
Jasper: I just can't take my eyes off it! It's like watching the scene of a horrible car accident... A car accident where the victims can't act, and the paramedics forget their lines!

There's Hype Aversion, when numerous people's rabid touting of the latest masterpiece deter you from rushing out and buying it. And then there's the reverse phenomenon, when numerous people's rabid panning of the latest uber-stinker, complete with detailed lists on why you should never, ever, ever buy this piece of dung actually fill you with the masochistic urge to rush out and buy it just to see if it's that bad.

It's like hearing about the train wreck of the century: Your better sensibilities are repulsed at the thought of it, and yet part of you wants to see that wreck in all its magnificent destruction. You want to see just how gloriously terrible it must be for all the high-profile people to be expressing their horror over it.

Don't feel ashamed about it; it's the natural foil to our obsession with the best of the best. Just as we want to know how high in brilliance art can rise, we also want to know how low it can sink in sheer awfulness. Plus the fact that reviews spewing bile over the many ways something stinks tend to be far more entertaining to read than reviews extolling the virtues of the latest Oscar Bait.


Distinct from No Such Thing as Bad Publicity in that the criticism is concerning the quality of the work, rather than the content. Compare and contrast Just Here for Godzilla and Watch It for the Meme. Can make the film in question become a Guilty Pleasure for some and, if enough people disagree with the majority, a Cult Classic. Similar to but not quite Schmuck Bait.


    open/close all folders 

  • My Immortal is notorious for being one of the most pain-inducing fanfiction, even by the low quality standards of fanfiction to the point where some people have actually read it to verify whether or not it was a Troll Fic.

    Films — Animated 
  • About the only notoriety that's ever been received by Norm of the North is that people heard through word-of-mouth that the film is considered an absolute disaster and sought it out just to see if it's as bad as it's said to be.
  • Planetata na Sakrovishtata is a unique example of this trope, as its fascination isn't so much about how bad it is, but rather how bizarre it is. And it certainly lives up to the hype without question.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Deck the Halls: It has become a classic example of a "bad Christmas movie" among many moviegoers, which has naturally gotten a fair share of people watching to see why it's become so reviled.
  • The Last Airbender: Those who joined the Avatar fandom after the release of this movie can't help but be curious to know why it was panned to kingdom come.
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space: To a legendary degree.
  • The Room: This trope is the reason why this trainwreck has come to be considered an ironic masterpiece.

    Live-Action TV 

    Let's Plays 
  • The King of Hate: The primary reason Phil's haters watch his videos is because they are so fascinated by how incredibly inept he is at games that for some he falls into the category of So Bad, It's Good.


  • This trope was the major reason why the Cherry Sisters were popular during the 1890s: Because their act Something Good, Something Sad was so terrible, it looped back into being entertaining for audiences. This was also the reason why the Olympia Music Hall managed to save itself from bankruptcy: According to Willie Hammerstein in an interview, "I've been putting on the best talent, and it hasn't gone over...I'm going to try the worst.".

    Video Games 
  • Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing because it is considered one of the best examples (if not the best example) of an Obvious Beta.
  • CrazyBus: This is the reason behind why the "game" is so popular in the first place despite being something someone bored could've coded up one lazy afternoon. It's a tech demo, a sample application provided with a third-party compiler toolchain and you're supposed to study the game's source code and learn how to program using the toolchain from there. And yet all people are after is the "ROM" generated by the compiler.
  • Custer's Revenge for the Atari 2600: Despite having a very Audience-Alienating Premise where the player accumulates points by raping a Native American woman tied to a cactus while dodging arrow fire, the game still managed to sell a decent 80,000 copies approximately in its day, mostly because people first heard about it from the protests enacted by feminists and anti-racist activists, and were curious as to just how bad it really is. The general consensus reached, however, is that the game really is that bad, not only for its cringe-inducing premise but for its repetitively barebones gameplay, even by the standards of Atari 2600 games.
  • The NES version of Ghostbusters. While the original Commodore 64 game, as well as the Atari 2600 and Sega Master System versions, were all considered decent games in their time, the NES version has earned itself an overwhelmingly negative reputation for an unfortunate combination of being difficult and boring, leaving curiosity as to just how bad it is as the only reason to play the game. The only positive thing that can be said about this version is the unintentionally hilarious "Blind Idiot" Translation that is its ending, which has become memetic.
  • Ninjabread Man: The only reason most people have any interest in this game. That and the title.
  • The Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man: The Trope Codifier for Porting Disaster. Hilariously in Hindsight, the Atari 2600 ports of Ms. and Jr. Pac-Man were Polished Ports. Add the many re-releases of the original Arcade version on multiple platforms, as well as fan-favorite Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, and there's absolutely no reason to play Pac-Man on the Atari 2600 other than curiosity as to how bad it is.
  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star: Given its reputation as the weakest Paper Mario, some have played just to see if Sticker Star is really that bad.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): People who play this game today play it to see if it really is that bad.
  • The fact that people lick Nintendo Switch game cartridges just to see if it's really as bitter as social media puts it...

  • Billy the Heretic: Notable for being possibly the first webcomic made by neo-Nazis for neo-Nazis, pretty much the only reason anyone reads the comic is to see how bad it really is.
  • Sinfest: Following the infamous "Sisterhood" arc and subsequently increasing Filibuster Freefall to a virtually incomprehensible degree, the number of non-ironic followers of the series has dwindled to a tiny fraction it had prior note , with the majority of its readers nowadays only reading to see how nonsensical it's gotten.
  • Sonichu is this trope incarnate. There are many reasons why and we'll leave it at that.

    Western Animation 
  • Big Mouth has landed a spot on its page because of the controversy over its premise as an edgy, no-holds-barred comedy about puberty. Those who decided to take a chance and see for themselves are divided into two camps: those who have found it to be the funniest cartoon in years and those who were unimpressed by its unusual art style, crass humor and uncomfortable subject matter.
  • Viewers who lost their appetite while watching The Brothers Grunt were hard-pressed to imagine that this was made by the same minds behind Ed, Edd n Eddy.
  • Some people only watch Mega Babies just to see how strong their stomachs are.
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • After hearing about the universal hatred for the episode "A Pal for Gary", many people found themselves wondering just how awful it could be, watched it themselves and immediately regretted it afterwards.
    • "One Coarse Meal": Many watched it to see how bad it is, and many also regretted watching this episode. It says something when even many of the cast members of the show says they've regretted making this episode.
  • The South Park episode Stanley's Cup has received tons of backlash from many fans, often making it to many "Worst South Park Episodes" lists. Because of this, many people became curious as to why the episode was so bad, decided to watch it themselves, saw the point and immediately regretted it afterwards.

In-universe examples:

    Fan Works 
  • Ace Lives: In Chapter 19, despite the increasing amount of embarrassment and humiliation everyone is feeling, no one can find it in themselves to stop Whitebeard and Kaido from airing all the dirt they have on each other from their time together on the Rocks Pirates. It's explicitly compared to a slow-motion ship collision that you can't look away from, no matter how much you want to.

  • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Greg and his dad can't resist reading the dreadful newspaper comic Li'l Cutie (a parody of The Family Circus) just to see how bad it is. (One of the captions for a Li'l Cutie comic was, "Daddy, is rain just God sweating?")

    Video Games 
  • One of the sidequests you can tackle in Bug Fables involves finding three bad books to give to a wasp named Reeves. He wants them because of this trope.
  • In Psychonauts, the Straw Critic Jasper Rolls (who is Gloria von Gouten's inner critic) believes that Bonita Soilel's plays are this. He also sticks around to watch because he is the Phantom, and gets satisfaction from sabotaging her performances.


    Web Animation 
  • Zero Punctuation:
    • Yahtzee genuinely recommends buying Ride to Hell: Retribution since it's so bad it has to be played to be believed.
      "It's bad. It's explosively, apocalyptically bad, and you should totally buy it. I'm serious, you have to see this shit!"
    • He also claims the only reason Daikatana was released on Steam was so people could see how bad it is.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: