Waldorf: It hasn't started yet.
Statler: That's what I like about it!
Statler and Waldorf: Do-ho-ho-ho-hoh!
On paper, the job of a reviewer of any medium is to provide an evaluation of a given work in the medium, outlining its good and bad points and whether you should check it out. Useful, succinct, and an integral part of any entertainment industry.
And then there's the Caustic Critic.
This is a reviewer who not only savagely criticizes the work in question but also calls it names until it bawls. Why? Because it's funny, and the Caustic Critic is first and foremost out to entertain an audience. That said, the Caustic Critic is almost always rather divisive, especially when they take on a generally well-liked game / show / movie / album / book / manga / anime / webcomic / webcartoon / fanfic / lamp.
Most Caustic Critics belong to one of three types of reviewers: those who thrive on Bile Fascination and give only negative reviews, those who review both good or bad recent works but consider merciless panning the only honest way to criticize the bad ones, and those who don't really care about honestly reviewing anything (without necessarily only panning, either) and are doing the whole thing for Rule of Funny alone. They need not necessarily be reviewers; they might be essayists discussing trends, but the spirit is the same.
Also note that some (perhaps even many) of the below examples do have human moments where they admit some of the things they review aren't all that terrible. Some may even have special segments dedicated to positive commentary. And some genuine Constructive Criticism can be given. Moments where the snark is dropped to point out something legitimately, unacceptably bad or offensive hit all the harder, and moments when genuine praise is meted out are all the more precious for their rarity.
On the opposite end, some might go into Comical Overreacting.
Alternately, as the above quote implies, a usually constructive critic is tempted to bring out the sarcasm guns by an unusually bad work or product.
Compare Sturgeon's Law, which might either be the cause or the result of these critics (or both). See also Straw Critic, Harsh Talent Show Judge and Accentuate the Negative.
This trope tends to be cyclic in popularity. At times, it's considered entertaining, especially if the audience already agrees that the target of the caustic review probably deserves it. At other times, audiences will prefer a more educational, no nonsense, objective review of a product that they may consider purchasing or watching. This is why a lot of current Youtube reviewers have dispensed with comedic interludes, quirky deliveries, and other filler, thus being able to focus on informative content over stage persona. Or they might be offended by a caustic negative review of something that is considered Cult Classic of Fair for Its Day, especially if the caustic reviewer in question is obviously too young to remember when it was a new thing note .
If the critic says that they're accentuating the negative out of tough love to help their victim improve, that's a Compassionate Critic. They still can seem just as mean, but at least they (supposedly) have their target's best interests at heart.
Some Caustic Critics can be Played for Laughs. Their over-the-top reactions to everything from video games to sports to professional wrestling can be just as entertaining as anything they say about a given work, organization or event. Their reviews become Sadist Shows where half the fun is watching them suffer meltdowns at whatever they're discussing.
In-Universe, Caustic Critics are frequently portrayed as jaded washouts dumping their Sour Grapes onto younger versions of themselves, individuals with extreme Opinion Myopia who have declared themselves the ultimate judge of quality in a particular field, and/or attention whores mostly interested in drawing an audience by wiping their feet on the coattails of anything moderately popular. This can occasionally be Truth in Television.
Contrast Constructive Criticism, which actually aims to be useful to a creator rather than entertaining to an audience. Unfortunately, many people confuse one for the other, due to the popularity of the Caustic Critic trope.
Caustic Critics tend to be more inclined to apply a Critic Breakdown to underscore when they really do feel that a work is So Bad, It's Horrible, as opposed to simply something they would pan for other reasons.
A darker variant is Bad Review Threat, when someone leverages the threat of a caustic review in order to get some sort of special treatment. (This would in fact be considered unethical by journalistic standards, but that doesn't stop the Bad Influencer.)
When their targets decide to repay them in kind, you get the case of Take That, Critics!.
Not to be confused with Complaining About Shows You Don't Like, though some Caustic Critics do admittedly indulge in it at times.
Here's the guide for those who want to be one of them.
- Jamie Kennedy's documentary Heckler takes aim at caustic critics, equating them with annoying hecklers at a comedy show. He confronts a few internet critics who wrote particularly vitriolic critiques of his films and demands to know why they needed to be so mean.
- German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno is probably the patron saint of the caustic critics of popular culture. He is slaughtering popular culture as a whole in one of his most notorious essays.
- Ellsworth Toohey of The Fountainhead. Ayn Rand was one herself, which becomes obvious if you've ever read her denouncing anyone who didn't think like her in her essays.
- Dorothy Parker made her living as a literary and theatre critic, as well as writing several books of poetry and short stories. Famous for her acerbic wit, she's one of the most quoted writers in US literature. She's also known as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, the most prominent New York literary circle prior to World War II. In 1920, she was fired from Vanity Fair, because her savage theater reviews offended powerful producers too often.
"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be hurled with great force."
"It is at that word 'hunny', my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader fwowed up."
(on Katharine Hepburn) "She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B"
"There must be criticism, for humor, to my mind, is encapsulated in criticism."
- One classic literary examples is Mark Twain's "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses", ripping into a then-popular series of adventure novels:
"Wasn't it remarkable! How could he see that little pellet fly through the air and enter that distant bullet-hole? Yet that is what he did; for nothing is impossible to a Cooper person. Did any of those people have any deep-seated doubts about this thing? No; for that would imply sanity, and these were all Cooper people."
- When not writing himself, Edgar Allan Poe was a well-known literary critic that tore apart everything, to the extent that he was known as "The Executioner". Such was his reputation that when other authors, as critics, reviewed Poe's work when he was active, they gave him retaliatory negative reviews, diminishing Poe's chances at lifetime success as an author.
- Theatre critic George Jean Nathan unabashedly described himself as a destructive critic. For one week in 1912, he went so far as to review several plays in the person of Satan judging whether they were fit for inclusion in Hell, remarking on one musical: "I wouldn't even let it cross the threshold of my place. I've got to draw the line somewhere!" He ended his disapproving review of the big-budget patriotic pageant The American Way (1939) by saluting Hitler, Mussolini, Goering, Goebbels, Ribbentrop, Stalin, the Chicago Fire, and the San Francisco Earthquake. When he was caricatured with other reviewers in a sketch in the 1945 revue Seven Lively Arts, he disapproved of it as being much too gentle.
- Leo Tolstoy, like Poe, is more famous for his own fiction, but he also mounted some scathing assaults on Der Ring des Nibelungen and King Lear.
- Discussed in Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love. See the quotes page for details.
- Nicolas Slominsky, who is almost as famed for his sly sense of humor as his considerable contributions to musicology, compiled an entire book of bad reviews: A Lexicon of Musical Invective. It is absolutely hilarious, especially if you have even a cursory knowledge of the music in question.
- In the 1980s and 1990s, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had Joe Pollack, who seemed to hate nearly every film that was released and came off as a bitter old man most of the time. He would especially pick apart films on small details (for example, he trashed Reservoir Dogs and Total Recall (1990) because of their violence and nothing else) and hate for the sake of hating.
- The now-defunct horror 'zine Gore Gazette was this towards just about everything, to the point where the reviews were less reviews and more attacks towards people they didn't like (victims included Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Stephen King and Roger Ebert). They also hated anything that wasn't a low-quality Z-grade gorefest and trashed Hollywood fare for being crowd-pleasing blockbuster fare, making them an early form of the hipster in a way (despite all of the racist comments they made in their reviews).
- Ambrose Bierce was one, his most famous example being a review that consisted of only one sentence:
The covers of this book are too far apart.
- The late German Cool Old Guy Marcel Reich-Ranicki was called Literaturpapst (pope of literature) in Germany and made himself a name for his television reviews as a Cultured Badass Large Ham. Boy howdy, he was a master of Accentuating the Negative, especially when he already was well beyond 80 years old.
- Kenneth Tynan had this reputation in British theater circles through the '50s and '60s. Many felt that his reviews could make or break a play, and he didn't hold back in excoriating works he didn't like.
- S.T. Joshi is known largely as biographer and editor of H. P. Lovecraft, as well as a firm believer that, with a few exceptions (W.H. Pugmire and Thomas Ligotti among them), the horror/weird fiction field has been a steady drop downhill since the Gentleman of Providence. His vitriolic responses to Lovecraft critics such as Daniel Jose Older and Charles Baxter are proudly displayed on his blog.
- He did not take the World Fantasy Convention's retiring of its Gahan Wilson-designed Lovecraft image for its major award well, mailing back his own and promising to boycott the convention from now on, even calling the decision "fascist."
- He doubled down when the Necronomicon convention invited Nalo Hopkinson (the author who first decried the use of Lovecraft for the WFA) as a guest of honor, refusing to do any more official programming for the convention holders for giving a platform to "Lovecraft Haters".
- At least one writer (Stanley Sargent) almost quit his craft after a particularly caustic review by Joshi.
- Deconstructed in Richard Wolkomir's autobiographical story "The Best Criticism I Ever Received" published in a 1986 Reader's Digest issue. Wolkomir, as a young man, thought that imitating the Caustic Critic style of his school newspaper editor was the best way to write his own reviews and completely savaged a theater production in spite of recognizing that the actors were sincerely doing the best they could with their limited experience and budget. He felt smugly proud about how creative his insults in the review had been, until the manager of that theater production told him bluntly, "You hurt a lot of people." This incident motivated him to avert this trope in his later professional reviews by being more constructive and positive in them.
- An Older Than Radio example: the Victorian critic, politician and historian Thomas Babington Macaulay's classic kicking of the then-popular poet Robert Montgomery pointedly demonstrates Montgomery's incoherent thought, garbled imagery, and occasional outright plagiarism, and has been described as "an annihilating so Jove-like that the victim automatically commands the spectator's rueful sympathy." Can be read here. He is also infamous for being this towards the entire Indian civilization.
- An Older Than Feudalism example: Zoilus of Amphipolis was a Greek philosopher and critic from 4th century BC infamous for his venomous critique of Homer. His infamy reached Flanderization level, as despite his writings being lost to time, his name became a synonym for this trope and he was still called a "slanderer" as late as 16th century AD by the Spanish poet and playwright Miguel de Cervantes.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the Trope Codifier as far as the application of this trope to film and other entertainment media goes. The premise is that the evil Dr. Forrester has forced a hapless man to watch all manner of bad old movies in order to find a film so bad it will drive people insane and let him Take Over the World. Said man (Joel Robinson, then later Mike Nelson) stays sane by making fun of the movies with some robot friends.
- Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: The show looks at people like mediums, the war on porn, anti-video game crusaders, people who are hoaxes scammers and liars, PETA and the like and viciously tear down and tear apart those they think are frauds, extremists and dangerous. The more sensitive and important the issue is to them, the more personal they get in the name of entertainment: certain issues such as chiropractic surgery on children makes Penn legitimately upset and calmly states how wrong it is.
- Room 101 does this for everything people bring in and complain in a lot of detail how said thing annoys them.
- Top Gear does this, particularly the modern incarnation and to older cars. Jeremy Clarkson has related a story about car manufacturers getting angry and retaliating by threatening to "take all our advertising off The BBC". The BBC doesn't have any advertising. For example, Jeremy Clarkson (and presumably the rest of the Top Gear team) passionately hates the Toyota Prius and went out of his way to prove how absolutely terrible the car was in every way (including the obvious, but even fuel efficiency).
- Adam Sessler of X-Play
- "I'd rather french kiss my grandma than play this game."
- Charlie Brooker, of TV Go Home, Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe and "guy who inspired Zero Punctuation" fame.
- The judges on Chopped have received this reputation for being very picky; although they have lightened up significantly compared to in the earlier seasons. Their harshness is justified - in that the contestants on Chopped are all professional chefs and have completed Culinary Arts school. On episodes and series with non-cook contestants such as a few Celebrity Edition episodes, Junior, as well as Cooks vs. Cons & Bakers vs. Fakers, the judges are much more forgiving and give more Constructive Criticism.
- On most of his various series (Kitchen Nightmares, Hell's Kitchen, Hotel Hell) Gordon Ramsay is absolutely vicious to the chefs and creators he interacts with, tearing their ideas and work down in fits of rage. But he only does this to those who present themselves as professional chefs and hoteliers, and repeatedly harps on how mistakes in these professions can put customers at risk of illness or (in the case of undercooked shellfish) death. By contrast, he's gentle and supportive when he's dealing with amateurs or kids, who aren't claiming to possess skills they don't have.
- John Taffer of Bar Rescue has careened into this territory. Early seasons dealt much more with the "bar science" aspect of the show, with Taffer explaining more or less calmly how particular decisions the bar owners made negatively affected the business and how hi changes resolved the issue. Later seasons devolved into Taffer screaming into the faces of owners over even the most trivial of problems.
- Robert Christgau is a music critic renowned for often harsh and controversial reviews. He freely admits that there are some entire genres that he is not partial to. Sonic Youth wrote a song about him entitled "I Killed Christgau With My Big Fucking Dick" after he labelled their music, pigfucker music. Also, Lou Reed ranted about him on a live album. Christgau will toss out cheap insults toward the musicians he's reviewing, even in positive reviews (see his review of The Traveling Wilburys Volume 1).
- Italian neuroscientist and spare-time cultural critic Piero Scaruffi is well-regarded for his insanely comprehensive ''knowledge base'', that features biographies for 8,000 bands and artists, and that's just the musical department. His most (in)famous biography is this essay on The Beatles in which he calls them out as "overrated", much to the displeasure of the Beatles' fans. He even compares the fandom to religious fundamentalists.
- The essay starts with the now iconic claim: "The fact that so many books still name the Beatles "the greatest or most significant or most influential" rock band ever only tells you how far rock music still is from becoming a serious art." Any more questions?
- Besides being viewed as an eccentric composer, Hector Berlioz was infamous for being this trope. His reviews have been said to be unnecessarily abrasive and often outrageous.
- Lesser-known critic George Starostin has some really brilliant moments of caustic reviewing. His best moments are his reviews of Uriah Heep (on the first site) and 10cc (on the second).
(on 10cc's "Ten out of 10") "It's just a bunch of mid-tempo, mid-volume, mid-relevance, mid-everything mid-pop songs written by two mid-aged gentlemen that seem to be but mid-knowing what they're mid-doing."
- Bob Lefsetz, known for his nonsensically elaborate analogies and love of the caps lock button. Taylor Swift's song "Mean" was rumored to have been directed at him.
- Jess Gulbranson's work at Crappy Indie Music: The Blog, now in online coffee table book format! Taking ownership of the blog seems to have softened him somewhat towards the indie bands themselves, with the vitriol being reserved for PR companies and David Bowie's most recent graphic designer.
- Get a critic to talk about stadium music and his snark will get beyond the scale.
- Tim Minchin's song For Phil Daoust is a satire on the entire concept of how Caustic Critics affect artists and how the artists react.
- The Viennese music critic Eduard Hanslick was extremely conservative in his tastes, and thus hated the more innovative composers such as Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. He condemned Anton Bruckner's music as 'stinking of hellish sulphur' and similarly condemned Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's later works. He was instead a huge fan of Johannes Brahms, and contributed to the Flame War between Brahms' fans and Wagner's, despite the two composers respecting one-another. Wagner parodied Hanslick as the annoying, talentless critic Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and more ominously used Hanslick's Jewish heritage as a negative example in his anti-Semitic essay Jewishness in Music.
- The late Polish music critic Robert Leszczyński was so infamous that he wound up as a target of a Take That! in songs twice, with the same "unpleasant fish" allusion - once by punk rock band Pidżama Porno, and another time in a collaboration between Hey frontwoman Katarzyna Nosowska and punk rocker Kazik. The latter song, "Zoil" (titled after the infamous Caustic Critic from Ancient Greece), is one big Take That against Leszczyński.
- In an example of how this trope is Older Than Television, the writer Edgar Allan Poe first gained prominence as the editor of a Richmond-based periodical, the Southern Literary Messenger, where he established himself as an especially harsh reviewer of literary works submitted to the magazine.
- Private Eye's "Literary Review" (by "Bookworm") and "Eye TV" (by "Remote Controller"). On one occasion when Bookworm quite liked a book, the letters page was filled with complaints that this wasn't like him at all.
- Lucius Shepard, who writes film reviews in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Blockbusters are analyzed as representing problems with American culture.
- The 1920s humor magazine Judge shows us that caustic critics were nothing new. In Don Herold's "A Criticism of the Theatrical Criticism in this Morning’s Paper", he wonders (with tongue firmly in cheek), "When shall we have dramatic critics who will condemn ninety-five plays out of 100? (It makes little difference which ninety-five. They all need it.)"
- Stuart Campbell built up a reputation for scathing game reviews in Amiga Power. He gave a 4% score to European Champions in a partial-page review, a 2% score to International Rugby Challenge in a three-page review, and, in the magazine's final issue, a 1% score to Kick Off '96 in a four-page review where he argued before a Kangaroo Court that games like this, not reviewers, were responsible for the death of the Amiga.
- Rex Reed of The New York Observer fame is rather infamous for mixing this trope together with ablest, sexist, and racist rhetoric. As an example, Reed spent the entirety of his review of The Master personally attacking several modern directors and actors and declaring new films as utter tripe. In fact, most of his negative reviews contain personal attacks on the actors and directors. He's also had a weird habit of hating foreign films based on cuisine alone (saying Spirited Away and The Host (2006) were garbage, as expected of countries that make sushi and kimchi, the horror), and said Koreans were too ignorant to make good movies. In 2013, he had another firestorm of controversy as he bashed Melissa McCarthy's performance on Identity Thief (and the film as a whole) for being fat, and refused to recount his statements in a later interview. His 2017 review of The Shape of Water also saw him referring to people with disabilities as "defective creatures", and he claimed that Sally Hawkins' mute character in the aforementioned film was actually mentally handicapped. Funnily enough, Reed himself had something of an acting career on the side, and two of his credits are in films that have almost universally appeared in numerous "Worst Films of All Time" lists — Myra Breckinridge and Inchon.
- Bosley Crowther of the New York Times fell into this habit later in his career. After decades as one of America's most respected critics who regularly championed foreign movies and spoke out against The Hollywood Blacklist in his column, by The '60s he had grown into the role of "crotchety old man completely out of touch with trends and developments in Hollywood." Most notoriously, Crowther hated Bonnie and Clyde so much (mostly for its graphic violence) that he wrote three separate reviews trashing it. His reviews were so forcefully negative that they nearly crushed the movie's box office chances until Pauline Kael's long-form essay defending Bonnie and Clyde reversed critical and public opinion. Watching it become a smash hit regardless turned him into a Moral Guardian late in his life, campaigning against violence in cinema.
- Even Roger Ebert has been in on the act; he said that in many cases it's more fun to write a review of a bad movie than it is to write a review of a good one (a sentiment voiced by several other critics). Many of his most negative reviews have been collected in his books, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie; Your Movie Sucks; and A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length.
- Pauline Kael, longtime critic for The New Yorker in the sixties and seventies. She had a specific academic habit where she would come up with an interesting-but-flawed idea, seemingly spur of the moment, and then over-commit to it because she's confident in how good her ideas are, and that confidence is ultimately rooted in her academic position.
- John Simon spent decades as a critic for various New York publications up until his death at age 94 in 2019. He long had a reputation as a very hard-to-please Deadpan Snarker with ultra-snobbish tastes and a take-no-prisoners nature. For his part, he claimed that he was no more negative than most reviewers, he just came up with better quips — usually involving the actor's physical appearance (Carol Burnett, Liza Minelli, Wallace Shawn). In this respect, Barbra Streisand has been the perennial giant to Simon's Don Quixote. Even other critics seemed to dislike him, and Simon has boasted of doors being slammed in his face. (“But who cares? It’s wonderful to be hated by idiots.”)
- Michael Riedel, aka the Enfant Terrible of the New York Post. A cross between Tim Gunn and Karl Rove, he mostly writes gossip pieces about Troubled Productions and makes no bones about his search for "juicy" column fodder. He made waves for his one-man crusade against Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (which he spent two years pillorying, but ended up being a smash nonetheless). Unsurprisingly, Reidel's mentor is John Simon. He also co-hosts a public access show, Theater Talk, where he and a co-host interview actors and producers. In the off-season, Reidel devotes a few episodes to chatting with critics from other New York magazines, creating an Event Horizon of snark.
- Armond White of the New York Press is the anti-Kael (e.g conservative hack as opposed to liberal blowhard), though he considers her a role model. He is notable for comparing every film to some black & white production from the distant past — specifically, his past, spent watching old movies with his father at the local cinema. Suffice to say, he has a long memory, so watch out. He is also known to go against the prevailing critical views for most films, such as giving Toy Story 3 a negative review and Jack and Jill a positive one. Rotten Tomatoes no longer features him among its reference pool — officially, because the New York Press didn't renew a license with Rotten Tomatoes, but most people say that it's because he gives contrarian reviews to whatever was highest rated on the site.
- The Onion parodies this with the article "Awful Man Offers Witty, Acerbic Take On Everything He Sees", portraying the said critic as a jerkass killjoy who claims to get away with everything he says just out of how funny he does it.
- The New Yorker's film review section, particularly Anthony Lane's reviews. Like this one.
- Will Self compared Love Actually, a fluffy Richard Curtis Christmas romcom, to Triumph of the Will, based on the "emotional manipulation" of mentioning September 11th in the opening narration.
- New York Times food critic Pete Wells is normally actually quite reasonable, but this memetically caustic review of Guy Fieri's restaurant in Times Square will cement him a reputation for being venomous (when warranted).
- Bryan Alvarez from Wrestling Observer Radio/F4W can best be described as tough but fair. Though when he sees something stupid he lashes out at it like a shark smelling blood.
- Chris Hyatte from Scoops Wrestling and the early days of 411 Mania was a mixture of this and a rare example of a malicious Cloudcuckoolander. From placing a bounty on the daughters of Tony Schiavone's Daughter to turning the Villanos into an infamous crime family Hyatte's columns were a mixture of Non Sequitur and Refuge in Audacity. Sadly the end of Scoops and his falling out with several websites, have made his body of work hard to find.
- Bill & Doug (RVDTito4Life) and Kent Jones, who claimed to be the first YouTube "shooter", which is a misnomer since he's not in the professional wrestling business. Bill & Doug, meanwhile, actually became shooters when they were hired by TNA to host their online show, TNA Addicts.
- Noah Antwiler from The Spoony Experiment, his short-lived spin-off Wrestle! Wrestle!, and a sister series It Came From Beyond Midnight (in which he played a fictitious cardigan-wearing critic, Leslie Styker).
- Jim Cornette. The emotion of "vague or minor but tolerable dislike" does not seem to exist for this man.
- The World Famous Flea Market. If you're a decent wrestler to good wrestler, it won't save you from being cut down anyway but they will acknowledge your strengths and skills, because the main focus of the show is people they think have neither, and these people are torn down so hard they feel a need to save the reputations of the merely flawed. They're affiliated with Bad Wrestlers Exposed and You Are Not Getting Booked, in case you wanted more criticism.
- Mark Kermode of The BBC has a (deserved) reputation for this (especially regarding Pirates of the Caribbean) including some suggestions that everyone involved with the film hang their heads in shame, that a film be buried in an underground bunker filled with toxic waste, and that a film was akin to the experience of smashing one's head into a glass door elongated to ninety minutes. See also his rants, er, opinion of all Transformers films, Sex and the City 2, Angels and Demons, etc.
- In 2007, WWE's "revival" of ECW made Bryan Alvarez of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter so angry he actually directly messaged and emailed WWE personnel to complain to them directly. He said the resounding response could be summed up as "Yup, it sucks." That said, WWE did spend the next three years trying to improve the program before giving up.
- In 1964, Israeli critic Khayim Gamzu wrote a review about a play named Sammy Will Die At Six O’Clock. The play was praised and glorified by pretty much every critic, except Gamzu, whose entire review was, ‘As far as I’m concerned, he could have died at five o’clock.’ This review was a huge surprise to many, and Efraim Kishon coined the word ligmoznote , meaning ‘to criticise brutally’.
- Movie Rehab: Played straight in earlier episodes, but got parodied in his Meet Dave and Religion Inc. review. Up to that point, he became calmer and laid down.
- Gregg Easterbrook, who is not a film reviewer, but a loquacious ESPN commentator who sometimes slags off movies. (The man makes Dennis Miller sound like Larry the Cable Guy.) He made headlines when he accused "Jewish movie executives" of somehow promoting Neo-Nazism by distributing Kill Bill. Since then, GQ/Deadspin writer Drew Magary has made it a personal mission to haunt Easterbrook in his own column, titled Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit.
Gregg: But how many times in the real world has a single small object controlled the fates of millions?
Drew: Never! Totally ruined the movies for me. And to think, I cared about this magic “ring” when no such magic rings occur in nature! And that spaceship in Close Encounters! How many times have YOU seen a spaceship in real life? Laughable.
- The column was retired in 2015 after Easterbrook was fired from ESPN. Like Dracula, he is sure to rise again.
"WHOA! No more haikus? No more cognomen? No more lectures about going to church? I’ve been goofing Gregg Easterbrook for so long that I feel a tremendous sense of … Nope. Nope, I don’t feel anything."
- The column was retired in 2015 after Easterbrook was fired from ESPN. Like Dracula, he is sure to rise again.
- Cinema Bums features Statler and Waldorf in a meta-example, providing caustic criticism to caustic critics in this comic.
- Maddox of The Best Page in the Universe in his heyday, thrashing the second and third Matrix films
- Being a collection of caustic critics is the stated mission of Pajiba. Their tagline is "Scathing Reviews. Bitchy People."
- Professor Otaku of the DesuDesBrigade, with anime.
- In the same fashion: Klaus Von Hohenloe, anime and game reviewer… who literally despairs when he has nothing to complain about. Nor does he know what he should rate a good anime with.
- Jontron, as of late. Though in his earlier days he was rather non-caustic, with rare examples. Jontron's videos that aren't video game reviews are not so full of complaints, though!
- Mr. Cranky. Rather than scale his ratings with stars, where more is better, he uses a scale of 1-4 bombs where more is worse (with a bundle of dynamite and then a mushroom cloud when needed in extreme cases). One bomb stands for "Almost tolerable", and it just gets worse from there.
- Although they are not official critics, some gamers readily give games a complete 0/10 on MetaCritic, despite not having actually played the game in question. Some have even been known to downrate games on principle, because of a vendetta against a certain publisher or company, or because of popular opinion. Since there are very few games that deserve an absolute zero, and Metacritic users generally don't vote between 1 and 10, the "User Score" is generally not the most reliable barometer of game quality.
- Before that, Lemon64 had similar users. They ended up getting categorized under 1 term (downvoters). The behavior has only increased since they organised a list of the "top 100 best Commodore games", which has made some users give the competition a 1 out of 10 (the absolute minimal score that a game can have) to make their favorite game look better. As you can imagine the situation quickly escalated and since then lemon attempts to prevent those type of users from using their sites.
- The Filthy Critic, who applies his withering criticism and wanton misanthropy not only to movie reviews but episodes from his (mostly fictionalized) daily life as well. Well-known for his obsessions with porn, beer, and at times disturbingly graphic metaphors, perhaps used most eloquently in his Jeepers Creepers review.
- The Necro Critic. He reviews both bad movies AND bad videogames. And, as of recently, is even reviewing anime.
- Many of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Disaster Movie ended up like this.
- Screw These Comics was a site that did this for sprite comics, and had a group of characters review a given in dialogue. Eventually, the creator quit after realizing his own reviews had degenerated into the same kind of things that he criticized bad sprite comics for overusing. Where once the team would look at a comic's points legitimately while making fun of it, toward the end many reviews consisted solely of variations of the exchange:
Nes: Well, I think the comic is—
EvilNes: SHUT THE FUCK UP NES YOU STUPID FAG THIS COMIC SUCKS!
- Retsupurae is this for Let's Play.
- Seanbaby was one of the original online personalities to do this.
- Comixology's Tucker Stone, he is well educated and uses the full extent of his thinking power to utterly take apart mainstream comic books.
- Something Awful's reviews of movies and older videogames go here.
- Noah Antwiler, also known as The Spoony One, of The Spoony Experiment, who has given many movies, Video Games (including the later Final Fantasy series and some old FMV games) this treatment. He has reviewed Professional Wrestling in his spin-off series Wrestle Wrestle, as noted above.
- Erik Olund, aka ShogunGin0, of Infamous Animation. He's not afraid to deliver punishing reviews of horrid Western Animation movies (such as Delgo and Titanic: The Legend Goes On).
- Television Without Pity
- The Sturgeon Awards. The blogger will review anything he hates. However, he has written a positive review of Genetos.
- Despite repeated claims from TwoSet Violin that they're not a roasting channel, when they get down to reviewing fake/cringy musical performances in movies, TV shows and talent contests, they are quite capable of scathing, rapid-fire snark and pointing out Artistic License – Music everywhere, even in the most minute details, thanks to their being trained classical violinists.
- The FireBlog gives text reviews of overrated TV shows, and is currently working on The Middle. It will also make fun of idiots on IMDb. Apparently, nobody is safe from the Fire Blogger.
- YouTuber Smudboy has gained a(n in)famous reputation of being a virtually unpleasable snob. His channel focuses heavily on story analysis and is known for critiquing Bioware games, especially the Mass Effect series.
- That Guy with the Glasses has many such reviewers
- The Nostalgia Critic did this to old kids’ shows and movies till the show ended in 2012. With its subsequent reboot in 2013, he started to include more modern films as well. Also deconstructed, as his job has made him miserable, and he only did it so that people would like him.
- The Nostalgia Chick started out as the Critic’s Distaff Counterpart, though she later broke out of the Girl-Show Ghetto and started criticizing whatever she wanted. Since then, however, the Chick's creator Lindsay Ellis has turned against the style, seeing it as having popularized a toxic brand of online media discourse in the 2010s. With the exceptions of her episodes on Freddy Got Fingered and the Lord of the Rings films, she's made all of her old Nostalgia Chick videos private and accessible only to her Patreon subscribers, while her videos since 2016 (first on YouTube and then on the streaming service Nebula) have been less caustic and more analytical video essays about pop culture.
- The Cinema Snob.
- The Snob himself is the most direct comparison: He actually is modeled on snobbish film critics who refuse to adjust their standards, even when reviewing schlock. He has made frequent jibes at the hypocrisies of real-life critics, as well.
- In Midnight Screenings, Angry Jake is the most caustic of the bunch, since he has to review sloppily made kiddie flicks.
- Linkara, who reviews old comic books that suffer from poor writing, bad artwork, and various other problems. Though not unusually vitriolic for this trope (he's notably the only Channel Awesome member who doesn't use "hard" swear words in his videos), Linkara is somewhat more dedicated to it than others listed here, having initially rejected fan requests to review good comic books stating that the whole point of his regular feature is to rant about the bad stuff. Though he has increasingly toned down the vitriol in recent years in favor of a more balanced approach, but can still get incredibly caustic for truly awful works.
- JesuOtaku, who normally reviews anime, can be seen as one both in and outside of his target medium. He is infamous in otaku circles for his outspoken and harsh opinions of moe culture. Other victims included such shows as RWBY, The Legend of Korra, and Young Justice, among several others. In fairness, most of these opinions were expressed through his Twitter account, but it has soured his relationship with Western Animation fans who had previously deemed him One of Us.
- The Distressed Watcher, a former contributor, is even more of a caustic critic than anybody on the website, covering trailers specifically. Also known as The Amazing Atheist, he has made a number of caustic videos on religion and politics on YouTube.
- Oancitizen, during his slow slip into a Heroic BSoD during his review of Melancholia, ended up discussing this trope, talking about how the internet is a great medium to hate things, and how you're almost expected to not enjoy anything without riffing the hell out of it.
- Bennett the Sage, who reviews anime from the 80s and 90s on Anime Abandon, savagely dissecting the bad and pointing out the flaws in the good. He also lampshades the negative reactions of fans when he professes his dislike of popular titles such as Perfect Blue or Grave of the Fireflies. Later on, however, he moved the show in the direction of analysis and dissection rather than pure criticism, and even talked a bit in some videos about how one eventually hits a creative wall when it comes to just crapping on bad stuff.
- Animerica's Phoenix, with a heavy emphasis on caustic, savagely eviscerating whatever shows he reviewed, and this even extends to his real-life actor Will Ryan. He is infamous in Otaku circles for his outspoken and harsh opinions of popular titles such as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Elfen Lied.
- PieGuyRulz very rarely gets really mad, but the last minute or so of his Awesomeness TV Rant must be seen to be believed.
I haven't gotten this angry in a really long time, guys.
I've never seen a show so disgusting, unappealing, ugly, not funny, weird, stupid, or SEIZURE INDUCING as this one. I'd rather go back to reviewing comic books than watch this show.
- His entire Problem Solverz Rant IS this.
- John Solomon of the now-defunct webcomic review blog, Your Webcomic Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad.
- Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of Zero Punctuation, with a heavy emphasis on "caustic", generally having this trope Played for Laughs through presenting his Author Avatar as a comically sociopathic Cloudcuckoolander Serial Killer. He has even joked that his job is to ruin the retirement plans of game developers, and he usually goes overboard on the negative things, even if they are minor, in his videos. His opinions are also in a frequent state of flux, which is why he often revisits old reviews while talking about a similar game. Further, Yahtzee has stated that he only tends to focus on the negative because that's what his fans want. When he has done the rare positive reviews, reception has usually not been that positive. Therefore, he says to freely assume that anything he doesn't rip on about a game is well-executed and not worth complaining about.
"You don't call a sewer technician to redecorate your bathroom, and you don't come to me to hear about how a game is good."
- Interestingly enough, he actually deconstructs this entire way of thinking in his review of the Resident Evil 2 remake, where he insists that just because he's a caustic critic that doesn't necessarily mean that anything he gives the slightest nod of approval to is a brilliant genre-defining masterpiece. When he's saying that a game is "just fine" or "good", he means it.
This is the part where all the cockthroats swoop down on the comments like flies to a dead dog and go, "Ooh, an 'alright' from Yahtzee is high praise anywhere else! Buzz, buzz!" Eat that dead dog's last panicky burst of diuretic shit, cockthroats! Resident Evil at its best is something I found electrifying, and this conflux of old ideas and slightly-less-old-but-still-old ideas is barely two licks of a 9-volt.
- Interestingly enough, he actually deconstructs this entire way of thinking in his review of the Resident Evil 2 remake, where he insists that just because he's a caustic critic that doesn't necessarily mean that anything he gives the slightest nod of approval to is a brilliant genre-defining masterpiece. When he's saying that a game is "just fine" or "good", he means it.
- Troy from Blogger Beware reviews the Goosebumps books. He... doesn't like many of them. The blog started out as an affectionate nostalgia site, as evidenced by the first few, relatively sedate reviews until Troy realized how bad most of the series is upon re-reading it as an adult. He was particularly infuriated by the Series 2000 books, which he didn't read as a child.
- Parodied in The Flash Tub's Furious Famicom Faggot.
- Parodied in this comic where the Ninja is being a harsh critic over a Valentine card saying there's no plot, feeling or charm and says he can do better, only to basically make a threat card rather than a Valentine's card.
- RedLetterMedia's Mister Plinkett. He's also a deconstruction and a satire of the stereotypical wannabe-critic Youtuber's usual online persona: what kind of person would be as devoted, nerdy and angry to actually write a 60 minutes long review of Star Wars Episode 1, carefully deconstructing all of its flaws? Answer: Not a nice one.
- Mike Smith went through the entire Harry Potter series, chapter by chapter, and gave detailed analysis as to why he thought they all stink (largely because of its padding to Door Stopper levels).
- The former WoW podcaster TotalBiscuit (aka TotalHalibut aka the Cynical Brit) loved the game back when he did podcasts. But he would not hesitate to rag on every perceived slip-up, and outright told anyone who didn't like his reviews "there's the door". It was his belief, indeed, that reviews had to be critical to be effective.
- Although not formal critics, pretty much every user at the RPG Codex forum is this for any video game even nominally considered an RPG. Generally they consider most modern games, especially ones by Bethesda, to be "bland, banal, boring, shit" and refer to them as 'popamole' (whack-a-mole with guns, referring to the modern tendency of games to have enemies duck in and out of chest-high cover, often requiring the player to do the same). Bioware fans are welcome, though. No, really.
- In FanFiction.Net, there are various fanfics that follow the initiative of The Nostalgia Critic. The Insane Critic and E350 are a special case because they review bad fanfics and they are the most known in their niche.
- Confused Matthew: He makes a point of targeting movies that were better reviewed and received than he thought they should be. He actually ends up playing devils advocate occasionally on movies that he feels got an excessive negative reaction. The common opinion he disagrees with is what has him confused.
- Wanna see someone try to be a caustic critic only to have the work he's harping on turn out to be a classic game which he never actually played? Here ya go.
- Mark of Mark Reads Twilight was this towards Twilight, but only because, in his opinion, it deserved it. He's noted himself that every other review of books he's made after that has been positive.
- Chuck Sonnenberg of SF Debris fame, although what he mainly seems to be caustic towards is poor writing and idiocy. When he reviews something that is actually good, Chuck tends to lapse into impassioned monologues about why the work is so good. Even in otherwise terrible works, he takes time aside to point out things that are done well.
- Busy Street represents a Meta example of this. Thrashing and picking apart other internet "Angry Reviewers".
- Filmtracks. When he doesn't give a positive review to an established composer, the sole writer of this site will mercilessly trash a score by a newcomer, a score that features guitars and scores by Hans Zimmer and his company (though the third one is done by most film score circles). He also infamously trashed Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score to The Social Network and suggested that the soundtrack would make better use as a frisbee.
- SorryWatch is very mocking when it comes to bad apologies, ripping them apart and throwing strongly-worded jabs at the elements of the apology that destroy any chance of forgiveness in their standards.
- The Bad Webcomics Wiki is an entire wiki based on this. Due to the fact that it has many people, most of whom aren't qualified critics, the quality, accuracy, and fairness of the reviews may vary, but it doesn't change the fact that a considerable percentage of the webcomics reviewed there are simply bad, one way or another. It got to the point where John Solomon of "Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad" actually demanded that they remove quotes of his, as he felt that the "nasty critic" schtick was overdone.
- The Editing Room: nitpicks, attacks on all your favorite stars and directors, and mocking alternate character interpretations of the main characters galore.
- In Warning! Readers Advisory!, Derek the Bard is caustic towards terrible books (and sometimes terrible movies based on good books).
- Mr. Coat and Friends, although to a much lesser degree than similar sites.
- Reddit, Hacker News, and Slashdot are full of programmers who love to rip their least favorite programming languages, coding paradigms, etc.
- They Made Me Watch This loves to tear into stuff his kids and other people on the web make him watch, particularly the kiddie Barbie films.
- Dan Schneider of Cosmoetica criticizes poetry, books, movies, other critics, and even his own readers. He primarily reviews materials that are considered "classic" and thus escape critical attention.
- The Fic Critic of Blogspot does this. Worth noting is his Cluster F-Bomb chain when Web of Shadows author Artemis Leige started character bashing Mary Jane Watson and the I Don't Want to Live on This Planet Anymore/Ten rating he gave Carolina and Penni.
- There are quite a few websites dedicated to bad movies; here are a just a select few:
- Mutant Reviewers from Hell
- Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension
- Ruthless Reviews
- The Bad Movie Report
- The Agony Booth, also throws in bad TV (such as Star Trek) in small doses. The site owner, Dr. Winston O'Boogie, is probably the most merciless of the critics, skewering Hollywood values in the Jabootu tradition. On the other side of the coin, you have Sofie Liv, who makes a concerted effort to find positives in anything.
- Spill.com occasionally falls into this category. Case in point...
- Le Joueur du Grenier (a.k.a.: The gamer from the Attic) brought the figure of the caustic critic to the French region (he's one himself, actually). He's openly inspired by the Angry Video Game Nerd.
- Sofie Liv of Movie Dorkness averts this most of the time, but is not above it, especially with Twilight.
- The Music Video Show is also this. The show is where one girl reviews one music video a week, points out the flaws in the video and, occasionally, the lyrics. In the end, she states whether or not she would watch it again.
- Bro Team Pill is very caustic with triple-A releases, and nonsensical with everything else. His The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review is a rap of the Obvious Beta state of the game, dumbed down mechanics, and short. The War Z review mocked the microtransactions in a paid-for game, broken mechanics, and so on - even calling it a scam in a frame
- Tasted's Noah Galuten and Ti, host and producer respectively of "Food Feeder", eat a lot of bad food and drink a lot of awful alcohol. When they actually eat something good, the viewers tend to complain the show is boring, sort of forcing the Caustic Critic thing on them. Ti herself gives movies the drunken Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment on sister channel Cinefix.
- mpn1990's now-defunct game review show Unlicensed Garbage, which parodied The Angry Video Game Nerd.
- Satirized by stanburdman's Angry Gamer persona.
- The Irate Gamer's reviews are peppered with emphasis of the flaws of the game.
- Third Rate Gamer, being a Stylistic Suck satire of The Irate Gamer, is a parody of these. He often nitpicks minor details that have little to do with the game.
- The Critique: he reviews bad My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics (although occasionally deviating to review something else, like the unproduced James Cameron script to Spider-Man). Even fics that are generally considered good are reviewed (although not as harshly as stories such as My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic), and the series does contain a meta plot about Bad OCs coming to kill the reviewer.
- The Review Reviewer of Those Dudes With A Hat.
- Stuff You Like: Inverted. Ursa usually does reviews on stuff she likes. Usually.
- While Sonic Gear, a fansite dedicated to detailing Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise, is usually positive when commenting on Sonic merch, it does not like bootlegs and mutants any bit and will be quick to bash them with heavy-handed words.
- C.T. Phipps of The United Federation of Charles went out of his way to avert it but has since developed a reputation which plays it straight. When he really dislikes something, which is frequent, he comes across as Damned by Faint Praise with hefty doses of passive-aggressive snark.
- Shana Festa of the The Bookie Monster is famous across the web for being one of the few reviewers to avert this in horror review websites. In a field dominated by Caustic Critic types who love savaging works, she's developed a reputation as the Nice Girl and Team Mom.
- The We Hate Movies gang.
- An Iranian Lemon64 user called Ali Pouladi became rather famous for his negative reviews. He also made positive reviews (even if he attracted controversy for the fact that he considered Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders to be average) and even managed to interview a few people who worked on Commodore 64 games he liked, but as you can tell from his review index, the majority of his reviews were negative.
- Brazilian website ZeroZen reviewed a bit of everything (film, music, games...) and badmouthed pretty much everything they ever reviewed, even if it received widespread acclaim. They even had a special section only for The '80s, which according to them, was "the worst decade ever". The page's still active, actually, but hasn't been updated since early 2012 (they came back in 2017, but updates since then have been very sparse).
- Per Arne Sandvik from Encyclopedia Obscura (active between 2001 and 2004). It contains reviews of basically any kind of media - from obscure NES games to crappy tie-in toys - most of them negative and full of snark, though sometimes he comes across genuinely good or interesting things.
- Dark Lord Jadow 1 on YouTube mostly reviews bad games, but will review a good game on occasion—usually when he wants to highlight a game that's not well known. His negative reviews vary in how caustic they are, depending on how badly they personally piss him off.
- Yuriofwind has a segment called Bullshit Creepypasta Storytime, in which he reads bad creepypastas. Odds are, when he's not MSTing the story, he's doing this. This is most notably what he did before he stopped reading Sonic.exe, to declare how bad the story was.
Yuri: Now I'm going to stop here for a second and say something; I can't read the rest of this. Do you wanna know why? This story is fucking terrible! I mean, Christ, we're only through what I'm gonna call, "The First Arc, The Tails Arc" and I already wanna kill myself!
- Alex from I Hate Everything hates "everything", from terrible movies to specific fandoms to entire websites, all while maintaining a deadpan, but still angry tone.
- Forbes online film critic Scott Mendelson tends to be this from time to time. In fact, user comments to his negative review of a critically acclaimed film (for example, one of the reasons why he gave a negative review of The Peanuts Movie is due to him personally not being a fan of Peanuts and that he loathed every time that Charlie Brown failed, which is actually a popular Running Gag in the comic strip) tend to be directed towards him. However, he is far more respected as a box office pundit.
- The Rageaholic reviews and critiques movies, videogames, and music with no hesitation to Accentuate the Negative to something he freely admits to not liking, with the added twists of a witty, fast-talking nature, a very large vocabulary, and a liberal usage of pictures to get his point across. He proudly lists Dennis Miller as his main inspiration, but woe betide to those who call him a clone of Yahtzee. He also has a chip on his shoulder towards large videogame publishers.
- Uniquely, he's also not afraid to mock, comedically or seriously, other Caustic Critics like Yahtzee, Jim Sterling, That Guy with the Glasses (specifically Angry Joe), and many others.
- The Happy Video Game Nerd: Inverted, as his reviews are (generally) positive in tone.
- Jim Sterling (back when they did reviews) would heavily tear into video games that were of bad quality and they had a gold mine of them back when Steam Greenlight (a service that helped indie games get exposure) existed. They also would mock developers that could not handle their criticism and attacked them. As Jim changed how they did their content, they cut back on the caustic side of their personality and only lets out in full force if a game is extremely bad.
- Sid Alpha is what if Jim didn't cut back on the caustic side, instead goes on full force with the caustic side. Mostly involving bad Steam games, bad Steam practices, and the so-called "Dirty Devs".
- Bob "Moviebob" Chipman has been known to unload on movies he hated (his scathing review of Pixels even went viral for the sheer vitriol he threw at it), but overall, he's not a fan of this trope, tries not to act as one, and has even been vocal in his criticism of it. While he likes some caustic critic shows, overall he feels that such reviewers, himself included at times, have fueled stereotypes of the Straw Critic who looks for any excuse to bash a work, specifically calling CinemaSins "a blight on movie discourse". He's even created the video series Really That Good and Good Enough Movies specifically to serve as a Spiritual Antithesis to this style, and even refused to review The Emoji Movie because he felt that it, while undoubtedly a bad movie, was only about as bad as Minions or The Boss Baby, not some groundbreakingly awful dumpster fire that could get him worked up into a righteous rage like so many people had been saying.
- MauLer is a Played With example: He will gladly make videos totaling several hours breaking down the nuances of movies and videogames with Deadpan Snarker tendencies sprinkled throughout, but his reviewing style "A Critique of X..." is focused on providing both the negatives and positives of a work, regardless of his personal feelings on it. This is because MauLer is a firm believer of "objectivity" (facts) being more important to assessing quality than "subjectivity" (feelings). Played Straight with his "An Unbridled Rage" series, however, where he purposely lets loose on both the negatives of the work and his negative feelings.
- Blogger and Goodreads user J. G. Keely has a reputation as a contrarian snob, due to writing long, negative reviews of well regarded books such as A Song of Ice and Fire, The Wheel of Time and The Giver. He has even written long explanations of why he has chosen not to read certain books based purely off of other's reviews.
- Youtuber DWTerminator might be one of the straightest examples in all of amateur game journalism. He's unabashedly posted negative reviews for a number of Sacred Cow games (such as Marathon and Fable II) and is particularly notorious for snarkily defending his positions when people angrily comment on his videos (sometimes even crossing into borderline Fan Hater territory). And even with games that he genuinely enjoys, such as The Witcher 2, he'll rarely gush heaps of praise and will happily lobby criticisms when he feels they're warranted. Needless to say, he gets a lot of He Panned It, Now He Sucks! accusations from fans of the games he posts negative reviews of.
- NC17 Productions: Kenny can't go a minute without swearing.
- Rerez invokes this in his "Worst Consoles Ever" and "Just Bad Games" review series.
- Jo Cat has his original creation "JoCrap", who is depicted as a musclebound loudmouth foul mouth in gear from Monster Hunter including his iconic wiggler head. He has guides to how to play (so far) Monster Hunter, Dungeons & Dragons and Final Fantasy XIV with useful tips, but saying it in the most unnerving (and hilarious) ways.
- Sarah Z started out making videos in this style, but has since moved beyond them to more analytical video essays. Much like the aforementioned Bob Chipman, in her video "Bad Media Criticism" she states that she feels that many critics on YouTube (including herself in her early videos) focus on negativity in order to get more views and mistake nitpicking for criticism, and that this has produced an unhealthy focus on stories not having plot holes over things like characterization and broader themes. It doesn't help that, in the lesser examples of this style of criticism, some of these criticisms can themselves run afoul of poor research, revealing that the critic doesn't know what they're talking about. Worse, she feels that this has started to bleed into storytelling, as stories made with an eye towards preemptively responding to critics on YouTube have taken to over-explaining every minor detail to their detriment.
- Todd in the Shadows started out like this. In his list of the worst hit songs of 2022, he noted that he'd mellowed out over the years to the point that he considered retiring his year-end worst list, only to see a music critic who he once respected for his caustic reviews reduced to writing clickbait for Rolling Stone's Twitter account, causing him to stick to it out of tradition and spite.
- Space Ice's bread and butter is making highly caustic summaries of Directo To Video action shlock (mostly Steven Seagal's)
- The Critical Drinker is usually pretty upset or confused if he doesn't like a particular work, though he is willing to actually say things to the credit of works he doesn't like when he feels it's due, like admitting Masters of the Universe: Revelation has gorgeous animation, and that The Last of Us Part II was ambitious and took a lot of risks in an era when most writers are terrified to step outside the box.
- John Kricfalusi was widely known for his rabid criticisms of other animators and cartoons that don't meet his very specific, exacting standards. The sheer amount of vitriol he threw at other people and their work, along with his own cartoons having had chronic Schedule Slip problems and a serious overall decline in quality, has led many people to believe that most of the success of his more beloved projects, like The Ren & Stimpy Show, could be attributed more to other contributors like Bob Camp and Ralph Bakshi. Before he got outed as a sexual predator,
- The Archies have had to deal with music critics once or twice.
- In one story, a 'Rap McNasty' demeans their style as nothing more than 'bubblegum rock'. The Archies fight back by making a music video of them surrounded by bubbles while chewing bubblegum, in a 'We're bubblegum and proud' manner. The video is a huge hit, and as apology Mc Nasty went to interview them while chewing bubblegum.
- In another, Veronica turns down a date offer from one Virgil Venom, and as revenge Virgil starts writing bad reviews of The Archies. (According to Veronica, her reply "Put a large hole in his ego") They get back at him by playing songs written by the son of Virgil's publisher, said to be a great songwriter, but keep that fact hidden until after the reviews are finished and about to be released. Sure enough, the idea that he's insulted his boss' 'baby boy' sends Virgil fleeing from town.
- Issue 4 of the My Little Pony Micro Series has Fluttershy forced to endure the scorn of Praiser Pan, a snooty Canterlot art critic who initially dismisses her knitted sculpture as mere "craft" rather than art.
- Fulliautomatix in Asterix is a variation. He is frequently described as a 'music critic', and is said in a promotional one-shot to be the ancestor of all music critics. In practice, this just means he beats up the village Dreadful Musician whenever he tries to sing.
- A Moon and World Apart: A food critic of this type is mentioned in Chapter 11, whose motto is effectively "The blander, the better". Word of God is that it's actually Zesty Gourmand from Season 6.
- Zig-zagged in Miraculous! Rewrite; while Annalise and Danielle are highly critical of the Ladybug movie, it's shown that their opinion is shared by almost everyone else that watched it, and they're friendly towards the main characters. The only person that sees them as this trope is the movie's director, and that's only because he's so egotistical that he refuses to acknowledge that his work has any flaws.
- Ash and Serena's Atomic Odyssey: The Contest Judge panel in the Tandor region includes Ambrose Reigns, an S-Class Connoisseur who never seems to have anything good to say about the Coordinators' performances.
- Crimson and Noire: Plagg becomes this once he gets access to the Internet; he has no affection for Alya or her Beetle Blog after she writes Lady Noire as a destructive menace or ex-villain, so his only motivation for getting an account is tearing her articles to pieces. Coincidentally, this happens around the time Alya was realizing that she needed to be less biased in her reporting, but that doesn't stop Plagg. He does note that it's harder to find points to criticize after he's banned from the forums 24 times but "he would find a way."
- Anton Ego from Ratatouille. His last name is apt, considering he expects any restaurant he gives a negative review to go out of business in short order - and given his opinion is very well-respected to the point he gave a chef a fatal heart attack upon being downvoted, the ego is enforced. When he finds out that the restaurant he previously panned is not only open but thriving, he considers it a personal insult. Then again, this trope is lampshaded to a T during his final review in the film. While he may be vicious in his criticism of substandard food, when presented with genuinely great work he is completely honest about it.
- Addison DeWitt in All About Eve.
- Cloud Atlas: Felix Finch. It gets him killed in the end.
- In The Dead Pool, one of the victims is Molly Fisher, based on Pauline Kael, who accused the first film of promoting fascism.
- Dr. Terror's House of Horrors has a very thought-provoking story that *ahem* criticizes critics who are more concerned with impressing others with their bitter wit, rather than doing any objective evaluation of an artist's work. Christopher Lee plays the main character who embodies this to the extreme and completely tears apart and degrades a painter's work, until the painter humbles him by making him review another piece of incomprehensible art which the critic compares favourably to the painter's work for its taste and quality... and then sees that the creator was a chimp. He doesn't respond well to being on the receiving end of criticism...
- History of the World Part I couples this with Take That, Critics!, as the birth of the first artist is followed by "the inevitable after-birth: the first art critic." Said critic promptly pisses on the newly-made painting, expressing his disapproval.
- Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders features a caustic critic as the husband of a main character — bizarrely, he seems to review everything, including small magic shops located in non-descript strip malls. He publicly dictates his blistering reviews into a tape recorder. The movie was riffed in a final season episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and Mike and the bots are incredibly amused by the guy, with Crow at one point shouting, "My reviews have destroyed whole cities!"
- One scene in Scream (2022) has Richie watching a pair of YouTubers (played by James A. Janisse and Chelsea Rebecca of Dead Meat) who host a show called Film Fails where they rage against the movies they hated. In this episode, they're bashing Stab 8, which they believe ruined the franchise.
- In You Can't Take It With You, Kolenkhov's dour criticism of everything, to the point of a Catchphrase, is, "It stinks."
- The Cat Who... Series: Book #1 (The Cat Who Could Read Backwards) features the art critic Mountclemens, who is very much this. He has managed to offend just about everyone on the art scene in town except for a select few artists he's propping up, but is kept because his columns draw huge readership. His targets include a wealthy donor whose work he describes as "drugstore art". Of a sweet old butcher called "Uncle Waldo", he comments that "age is no substitute for talent". He also targets private collectors who are "less dedicated to art preservation than tax avoidance". Even his full name, George Bonifield Mountclemens III, pisses off some people, as it must be set line-by-line in the type on his byline and he insists on no abbreviations.note
- In the Illuminatus! trilogy, the character of literary critic Epiciene Wildeblood, who frankly admits to his editor that he hasn't read the book as such, but has given it a "thorough skimming", and who then proceeds to destroy it on every level he can think of. The fact the in-universe book is clearly the Illuminatus trilogy itself is probably Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson's Take That! at insensitive and incompetent literary critics in the real world.
- In the last novel of the Babylon 5 Psi-Corps Trilogy, Bester, now a wanted war criminal, ends up in Paris and gets a job as a literary critic, who makes a point of never giving a positive review to anyone. After Garibaldi tracks him down to Paris by tracking purchases of a medication that treats a telepath-only condition, he identifies "Claude Kaufmann" as Bester when he recognizes Bester's particular style of insults in the reviews (one notable quote being "The plot is revealed on a need-to-know basis. You don't need to know.")
- A Twist of the Knife: Taken to the extreme with theater critic Harriet Throsby, a mean and vicious person who takes pleasure in writing nasty reviews. Her husband Arthur says she liked it better when the plays weren't any good.
- Alice: An early episode, “The Last Review,” sees a newspaper restaurant critic with a nasty reputation review Mel’s chili, making none-too-flattering comments about the diner, the service he receives, Mel's crusty character, etc. … only to suddenly become ill and then non-responsive at his table shortly after finishing his meal. EMTs pronounce the critic dead at the table; after his body is removed, Mel worries that it was his food that caused the critic’s sudden illness and that he’ll surely face a lawsuit by his family and forced to close. Good news: Alice later gets a call regarding the autopsy: The critic had a congenital heart defect and it was a sudden heart attack that killed him, and Mel’s cooking had nothing to do with it.
- Hannah Montana has music critic Barney Bittman, played by the legendary Gilbert Gottfried.
- Castle has a theater critic who wrote a very negative review of the title character's mother, who is a Broadway actress.
- The second tie-in novel centered around the murder of one, to the point where the Castle expy's suggestion on how to find people who might want her dead was to take the Manhattan phone book and start with A.
- Malcolm in the Middle: In "Malcolm Films Reese", the dude ranch Francis works at is savaged by Charles Cutler. He comes back, supposedly to give them a second chance, but starts smugly dictating another mean-spirited review within seconds of being greeted. Upon being told that Francis and Piama are married, Cutler sneers about how his hosts aren't content on ruining the experiences of one generation of vacationers and insist on breeding. Francis and Otto give the guy a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in response. As he's taken away on a stretcher, Cutler insults the color of the ceiling, as well as the sloppiness of the beating he just received. He also proceeds to write a nasty review of the hospital that treats his injuries. All of this backfires on Cutler, as his bad reviews have made him Hated by All. All of the other local hoteliers and merchants to whom Cutler has given bad reviews are delighted by his misfortune and either send Otto and Francis gift baskets or recommend the dude ranch to the guests they don't have room to accommodate.
- The Nanny had Frank Bradley in "Sunday in the Park with Fran", who pans virtually all Broadway plays. C.C. Babcock tries to curry favor with Bradley by making Maxwell Sheffield's youngest daughter, Gracie, go on a play-date with Frank's son, Frank Jr., despite Gracie's insistence that she doesn't like him and Fran supporting her. During the play-date, Frank Jr. is bullying Gracie, so Fran stops him by (gently) hitting him with a baguette. When C.C. and Maxwell learn about this, they try to make Fran apologize to Frank Sr., though it becomes obvious that winning over Bradley is a lost cause, and as he gets hostile towards Fran, Maxwell tells him off about him and his son.
- Saturday Night Live: Recurring Weekend Update character Jedediah Atkinson, the critic who panned Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in 1863 (calling it "silly"), comes on to pan other things.
Fourscore and seven yawns ago... let's be "Honest," Abe, you dropped a real Lincoln Log. Do you know what the real Gettysburg Address is? 115 West Boring Street.
- The Murder, She Wrote episode "Deadpan" had a theatre critic played by Dean Stockwell, who was known for dismissing everything - although Jessica would be the first to admit that in the case of Maine-ly Murder, the play very loosely based on her Murder Comes to Maine, he had a point.
- The Twilight Zone (1959):
- In "A Thing About Machines", Bartlett Finchley is a misanthropic critic for a gourmet magazine who never misses an opportunity to denigrate people to their faces or humanity in general. He is ultimately destroyed by the very machines that he hates.
- In "A Piano in the House", the drama critic Fitzgerald Fortune is a cruel, callous man. He takes delight in humiliating his much abused wife Esther, his friends Greg Walker and Marge Moore and his butler Marvin by using the piano player to force them to reveal their most private thoughts and feelings. The tables are turned when Esther uses the piano to force Fitzgerald to admit that he is essentially a frightened little boy who lacks emotional maturity.
- The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The Misfortune Cookie", a nasty food critic named Harry Folger delights in writing awful reviews, which can make or break local restaurants. He's so cruel that he starts writing negative reviews of new eateries before he goes to them, often immediately following a glowing review by his rivals. He meets his match at Mr. Lee's Chinese Cuisine, which provides magical fortune cookies which predict the future. Mr. Lee warns that the cookies will give "due fortune" to those who read them, but Harry refuses to change his ways, even after getting a cookie that reads "You're going to die". As he storms out of Mr. Lee's, he is suddenly overcome with a horrible hunger, and finds himself on a street surrounded by Chinese restaurants: he eventually realizes he's dead, and is going to spend eternity eating the food he derided in life, but still starving.
- 100 Things to Do Before High School In the episode Always "Tell the Truth (but Not Always) Thing!", Crispo becomes one of these in his cooking class. His teacher initially liked his Brutal Honesty but Crispo went overboard.
- SCTV has Bill Needle, played by Dave Thomas, who doesn't like anything.
- The Big Leap has Mallory Jansen, a mean Australian and former ballerina who demands the same perfection from her cast of amateur dancers that was demanded of her.
- Frasier: An early episode is called "I Hate Frasier Crane", and details Frasier learning a Seattle columnist has written a scathing review of his show (along with a side-attack on Roz while he's there). Frasier being Frasier, he decides to respond with an attack on the critic on air. Then it turns out the critic is listening in, and he challenges Frasier to a fight.
- Sister Boniface Mysteries: In "My Brother's Keeper", one of the suspects is caustic art critic Dicky Whitfield, who was involved a very public feud the Victim of the Week, egocentric artist Gerry Ardwell.
- The Muppet Show:
- Hecklers Statler and Waldorf added a grumpy (and extremely popular) streak of critical humour to the show.
- One episode sees the Muppets plagued by the Phantom of the Muppet Show, a malevolent ghost of a performer whose work was "killed" by the critics.
- In Rival Restaurants, the "Negative Critic" action card allows you to send one of these to an opponent's restaurant, knocking a victory point off their score in the process.
- Cyrano de Bergerac: Cyrano critiques your artistic work without any pity, and given the play is a Period Piece, Cyrano is always right in his critiques: Montfleury was a "An actor villainous!" (and then Cyrano kicks him out the theater), les Précieuses could "Inspire our verse, but—criticise it not!", playwright Baró’s "verses are not worth a doit! I'm glad to interrupt" (Baró’s play). Cardenal Richelieu (famous politician, wrote plays as a hobby) "is an author. 'Twill not fail to please him that I should mar a brother-author's play". Cyrano also is fair, of his own talent he thinks: "Not to mount high" and about Moličre, Cyrano thinks he’s a "genius".
- Mortimer Brewster of Arsenic and Old Lace seems to be one of these, from the descriptions of his typical reviews.
- Blair Daniels, from Sunday in the Park with George, is an subversion of this trope. She does offer some unpleasant comments about George's latest Chromolume—largely that he's stagnating by repeatedly doing the same thing—but she's also knowledgeable about art (it's mentioned that she's written "a piece on Neo-Expressionism"), has supported George in the past, and makes it clear that she sees potential in the young artist—if he was simply bad, she wouldn't bother with him at all. George ends up agreeing with her remarks.
- In Critic's Choice by Ira Levin, Parker Ballantine prides himself on writing the most devastatingly worded play reviews of any New York drama critic. At his house, with some paid assistance from John (his son by a previous marriage), he keeps a white box full of phrases to be used in glowing reviews and a black box full of phrases to be used in scathing reviews; he makes a habit of taking a slip from each box whenever he goes out to watch a new production. Much of the drama revolves around the question of whether or not he will review the play written by his wife Angela (who at one point accuses him of playing "God and George Jean Nathan rolled into one"), after he makes numerous disparaging remarks at home about it and its director and producer. At first he agrees to her demand that he should refrain from reviewing it, and gives up his opening night tickets. Later he has a dramatic change of heart, empties the black box and stuffs every pocket he has with the hundreds of slips in it before leaving for the Forty-fourth Street Theatre. He then writes the most damning review of the play without using any of his previously written phrases.
- Psychonauts: Jasper Rolls from Gloria's Theatre, a mental construct that represents her inner critic who is constantly mocking the construct of her inner beauty and muse, Bonita Soliel. Bonita remarks that Jasper's always been around, but he's become too gigantic (literally and metaphorically) to ignore ever since Gloria's mother was Driven to Suicide. Raz eventually discovers that Jasper is secretly the Phantom, a shadowy figure who's been sabotaging the plays Gloria stages (and thus her memories and sense of self), making him the Anthropomorphic Personification of extreme self-doubt and guilt. The young Psychonaut defeats Jasper by bathing him in light (which represents positive power and joy), eventually reducing him to a tiny, squeaking nuisance that everyone ignores.
- Psychonauts 2 has the Gluttonous Goats in Compton's Cookoff, who are Compton Boole's perception of how Hollis, Ford and Otto see him as filtered by his anxiety. They serve the role of food critics in a cooking show who are constantly berating him, putting him under intense pressure and whose compliments only go as high up to "Moderately Pleasant". Their defeat reveals that they're ultimately just hand puppets controlled by Compton's own hands, showing how he's his own worst critic.
- One of Hitman (2016)'s elusive targets is an influential and notoriously harsh food critic infamous for not even eating the food he's supposed to review, as he considers rating a meal by such "vulgar" attributes as taste or flavor to be "too plebian". Instead, he judges the restaurants he reviews clinically by their overall presentation, grousing over tiny, nitpicky details and punishing any small deviation from his perfectionist standards with full-length, relentlessly scathing reviews. He's already driven one chef to suicide for being served some slightly over-chilled ice water, which is why he's been marked for death by the ICA. Notably, when the briefing shows various comments about him, there's a quote from an earlier Elusive Target (a sadistic, short-tempered chef modeled after Gordon Ramsey), stating that he would "F*CKING SH*T MYSELF" if the critic set foot in his restaurant.
- Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: The food critic Tommy Flayton shows up for a Sidequest where the Player Character must convince him to give a restaurant a bad review. Despite — or perhaps because of — his insufferable pretension, he's quite easy to manipulate, even just by insinuating that he's going soft. The game gives you no end of ways to screw with him, just for kicks - everything from convincing him he's eating maggots to, if you're playing as a Nosferatu, walking up and introducing yourself as the chef.
- Dragon Quest V: A knick-knack critic is spawned on the top floor of the knackatory in the third act. Put any knick-knack on the stand and talk to him. Then party chat, and laugh.
- Jaques Huseau from Hell Pie is a haughty food critic that, by simply being in Flavor Peaks, attracts a crowd.
- Hypnospace Outlaw has The Dumpster, a page dedicated to making fun of Hypnospace and its users. It's somewhat akin to Something Awful. That said, the person running the page does have some standards, as they have a rule not to mock any kids, only breaking that rule for Zane because he's such a Jerkass.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd reviews old console (primarily NES) games in this fashion, critiquing such things as poor (for the time) sound and graphics, badly thought out gameplay and tremendous difficulty. Many of his reviews culminate in profane rants and him physically assaulting the game cartridge. He pokes fun at his own status in one of his videos, where he finds a video game he actually likes and reacts with utter bewilderment.
AVGN: I...like this. ...I like this?
- Pittsburgh Dad rips the first Twilight movie to shreds in his spoiler-laden review.
- Sonty Mick from These Web Comics Are So Bad is a Stealth Parody of caustic critics, particularly of John Solomon's Your Webcomic Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad. Sonty dislikes everything he reads, and he has completely illogical reasons for every single one.
- Funny Or Die: Alfred Molina as Arthur H. Cartwright, children's theater critic. He proceeds to tear apart each show and child as though they were performing live on Broadway. He actually does end up liking one show, but only because it runs on True Art Is Incomprehensible.
- Peter Pilbeam, the resident hotel reviewer of The John Dredge Nothing To Do With Anything Show. Although some of his criticism is rather outlandish, it has to be said...
Well the first thing I noticed, when I got to the hotel, was the awful stench. This later turned out to be the result of a sandwich that had been left in my pocket for several weeks, but nevertheless it did not bode well.
- 17776 features the podcast Garbage Football, where two hosts relentlessly mock bad football matches.
- Criticized: Darian Stonehall is one and even discusses this, saying he writes his reviews that way to entertain. He tries to explain to Arthur Lemments that he never meant to cause him embarrassment.
- Halloweenie (starring Halloweenie and his various temporary replacements) is a show that reviews Halloween stuff.
- Amphibia: Albus Duckweed is the Wartwood newspaper’s restaurant critic, and takes a particularly sadistic glee in writing scathing reviews of local restaurants to drive them out of business. In “Lily Pad Thai”, he shows up at Stumpy’s Diner to leave one of his usual negative reviews. While Stumpy’s become too jaded to care, Anne, herself the daughter of restaurant owners, demands a chance to earn a better review. In her effort to impress the critic, she prepares a meal that turns out to still be alive, which nearly kills the critic; however, Duckweed finds the experience to be so avant-garde that he gives the place his best review ever.
- Bob's Burgers: In "Moody Foodie", Bob gets a bad review from the eponymous food critic (voiced by Patton Oswalt, amusingly enough), whose scathing reviews have caused trouble for Bob's fellow restaurant owners. Hilarity Ensues when Bob, in a moment of desperation, barges into the critic's house to force him to give Bob a "do-over".
- Jay Sherman of The Critic, whose catch phrase is "It stinks!" (Although most of what he was reviewing really did look absolutely terrible.) In one early episode, a little girl gets mad at him because he didn't like The Lion King, and in another, he mentioned that the highest rating he gives a movie is 7 out of 10.
- One episode of Bonkers involved such a critic of cartoons having his life threatened. In fact, this critic criticized everything; when Lucky interviews anyone with a motive, he ends up talking to every Toon who had gotten a bad review ("We must have spoken with every Toon in Hollywood"). And as it turns out, the attacker was the only Toon whose show was being cancelled because of bad reviews.
- Venomya from the second season of World of Winx is a nasty sort who seeks to sabotage the Winx' concerts. She is actually a witch called Baba Yaga.
- In The Simpsons, when Homer Simpson became food critic he was at first the opposite of this and praised everything, but when another critic told him to be more critical he took it too far and started giving negative reviews to everything. The food critic he replaced was herself an example, as evidenced by her retirement party where she criticized the cake.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the episode "Spice Up Your Life", Rarity and Pinkie Pie try to help a failing ethnic restaurant, the Tasty Treat, impress Zesty Gourmand, a super-snooty food critic with very particular tastes in food (in short, she thinks that if it has any real flavor, it's automatically bad) and decor. Ultimately, though, they convince the citizens of Canterlot to give the Tasty Treat a chance and reject Zesty's strict, cookie-cutter ideas of what a fancy restaurant should look like.
- In another episode, "Honest Apple," Rarity plans a big fashion show for some up-and-coming designers, and invites Applejack to be one of the four judges, believing that getting an outsider's opinion will help keep the contest grounded. Unfortunately, Applejack quickly becomes a Caustic Critic, openly deriding everyone's work and calling fashion itself silly, even though she knows absolutely nothing about designing clothes. She tries to defend herself by pointing out that Rarity asked her to be a judge for this kind of opinion, but Rarity counters that it's possible to offer sincere criticism without being a Jerkass by acknowledging the hard work and talent demonstrated in creative projects.
- Percival in The Proud Family episode "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." He is an obvious Expy of Simon Cowell of American Idol fame, voiced by Tim Curry, who often shuns tweens who are auditioning to be in "Tween Idol", leading Michael to conclude that he's evil. To be fair, though, one of the tweens he sends out the door, Dijonay, really is Hollywood Tone-Deaf. Even so, when he hears Agatha Ordinario sing in the finals, he cries Manly Tears as he says to her, "You, Agatha, are perfection."
- Chloé's mother Audrey Bourgeois in Miraculous Ladybug is a renowned fashion critic who's infamous for being impossible to please and uncompromising in her criticisms. She's also just a thoroughly malicious and unpleasant person all around.
- Emma Glamour from DuckTales (2017) is a notoriously hard-to-please critic who hosts a gala every year in order to determine what trends will make it onto her "It" List. She also doesn't let up on her criticisms when it comes to kids (as demonstrated when she gives a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Louie over the unoriginality of his plan to get the Caballeros on the list) or her own family (with the implication that her parenting is what turned Mark Beaks into the Attention Whore he is now).