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Hire the Critic

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George Steinbrenner: Nice to meet you. [Offers his hand]
George Costanza: Well, I wish I could say the same, but I must say, with all due respect, I find it very hard to see the logic behind some of the moves you have made with this fine organization. In the past twenty years, you have caused myself and the city of New York a good deal of distress, as we have watched you take our beloved Yankees and reduce them to a laughingstock! All for the glorification of your massive ego!
Steinbrenner: ...Hire this man.

Why would an author of a media work hire a guy who hated their previous stuff? Maybe the artist agrees with the critic and wants their help to avoid more story problems. Maybe they want an Honest Advisor who won't be afraid to tell them what's wrong. Maybe it's part of their campaign to show that We Don't Suck Anymore. Maybe it's to back up their Let's See YOU Do Better! challenge. Or maybe it's to nullify the critic because they'll be less likely to criticize something if they worked on it themselves, right?

Compare Cast the Expert, which a critic may technically be, an expert on story. Contrast Take That, Critics! and Promoted Fanboy.

Real Life Examples

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     Comic Books 
  • According to Keith Giffen, while working on 52, there were plans to feature Lobo for an arc set in space. Grant Morrison, who was the main writer working on that arc, admitted that "I don't know... I've never really liked Lobo." Keith Giffen, Lobo's main creator, became adamant upon hearing this that Morrison be the one to handle Lobo. Giffen had long developed a disdain for the character and felt his gag of over-the-top violence and Black Comedy had grown stale, and therefore asked Morrison to reinvent the character as much as possible.


     Video Games 
  • Luke Smith of 1UP got hired to Bungie after he wrote the article "Broken Halo", where he criticized Halo 2's multiplayer for being highly unbalanced.
  • Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw was once asked to write Duke Nukem Forever. But they turned him down because his script was parodying Duke himself, while the developers at the time wanted to make him the Straight Man.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, HotStuff was a user who had, among other things, discovered a bug that allowed him to generate infinite meat (the game's currency). The response involved him getting hired to the dev team, where he now looks for bugs in the code before it gets released.

     Web Original 
  • lonelygirl15: Gregory Austin McConnell was known for his outspoken remarks on the series before winning a contest through "The Show Is Yours" to make the Spin-Off LG15: Outbreak. He did enjoy the series and wanted to do right by it.

    Western Animation 

  • After publishing a book critical of Mother Teresa, The Missionary Position, Christopher Hitchens was asked by the Catholic Church to speak as the "devil's advocate" during the debate for beatifying her.
  • Not unheard of in various clubs and groups: If someone complains about how a given event was handled one year, the complainer is promptly thanked for volunteering to help plan the next year's event.
  • Team Four Star hired Grant Smith, an outspoken critic of their abridged series content, as a main cast member for their gaming side channel.
  • Martin 'Tantacrul' Keary, a composer and YouTuber with a background in software design posted this review of the open source music notation program MuseScore. While his overall thoughts on it were fairly positive, he also spent much of the review criticising its UX and visual design, as well as pointing out smaller issues that he felt would turn off more experienced users. This video was noticed by the MuseScore team, who appreciated the feedback, and this led to him assisting with further development. By the year's end, he'd been promoted to Head of Design.
  • When the Walt Disney Company announced their plans for Disney's America, a theme park built on actual Civil War battle sites, several American historians teamed together to denounce the project. Disney reached out to one of them, James Oliver Horton, and offered him a position as advisor. To the surprise of many, he accepted. As he explained, if you tell someone, "what you're doing is wrong", and they respond by saying, "teach us how to do it right", and you refuse, you come off as hypocritical. While Horton's input did bring some small improvements, the project itself was already too poisonous to go anywhere and it was shelved.
  • This is arguably the basis for a lot of democratic politics. Politicians who are trying to get elected will criticize the incumbent's performance and policies to try and convince the voters that they're better suited to whatever position they're running for. It's even baked into Westminster-style parliamentary systems based on the British model, where the Leader of the Opposition is expected to hold the governing Prime Minister and their Cabinet accountable and criticize them for screwing up. These critiques, in turn, can help the Opposition Leader make the case to become Prime Minister themselves in the next election.

In-Universe Examples:

  • In the spoken word piece "Moose Turd Pie" the Camp Cook is chosen not based on who is the best cook, or by drawing lots, but rather by appointing the person who complains about the food. The narrator, having gotten assigned to be the cook, decides to make a pie out of a moose turd in order to get someone to complain. In the punchline, one of the others in camp takes a bite and yells out "that's moose turd pie! It's good though."

    Comic Books 
  • In Ex Machina, during his career as "The Great Machine", Mitchell Hundred tries to establish a working relationship with the NYPD police commissioner. She ends up nearly beating him to death with a nightstick because his "heroics" had caused two of her officers to be critically injured. When Mitchell becomes Mayor, he still keeps the commissioner on since she was the first person to make him realize the effects of his actions.

  • The Tamul Empire from David Eddings's Tamuli likes to do this with revolutionaries who aren't too fanatical to be reasoned with. Clearly, there's some sort of problem, or else there wouldn't be revolutionaries. And since the revolutionary has made it their business to pinpoint the problem, clearly they're the person to fix it. How would you like a job as regional governor? As for actually punishing them for their rebellion, regional governor is such a lousy, unpopular job that the empire considers it to be punishment enough.

    Live-Action TV 
  • At one point in Seinfeld, George decides that his choices have been taking him in the wrong direction, and resolves to always do the opposite of what his instincts tell him. When he's interviewing for a job with the New York Yankees, he meets George Steinbrenner, the manager, for the first time. Keeping with his resolution, George greets him with a frank and brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how his poor management decisions have run the team into the ground. Mr. Steinbrenner responds with an emphatic "Hire this man!"
  • In the pilot episode of Spin City, the mayor commits a political gaffe that offends the homosexual community, earning particular reproach from Carter Heywood, a gay rights activist. Mike Flaherty, realizing that the mayor would be better served to have a gay colleague on the staff, decides to hire Carter as the head of minority affairs. Carter, despite initially promising to make things a nightmare, ends up settling in well with the rest of the cast and ends up serving the Mayor loyally for the entirety of the series.
  • In Friends, Monica writes a scathing review of a particular restaurant for a local newspaper. The restaurant owner angrily shows up at her apartment to confront her over it. Monica defends her review by telling him exactly what's wrong with the cooking at his restaurant and showing him how those particular dishes should be made. He promptly hires her as his head chef.
  • President Bartlet did this several times on The West Wing. The most notable would be Ainsley Hayes, the Trope Namer for Blonde Republican Sex Kitten who Bartlet hired in spite of the fact that she was registered to the opposing party.
    Leo: The President likes smart people who disagree with him.
  • Babylon 5: Upon becoming the new CEO of Edgars Industries, Michael Garibaldi rounds up the most vocal critics of the company to serve as the new board of directors because they certainly won't have any shortage of ideas on how to reform the company. If their idea works, they get a bonus; if it doesn't, he'll "eat them for lunch."
  • In the first season of American Crime Story, OJ Simpson's defense team specifically hire Alan Dershowitz because they were sick of him trashing them on the news, and it was the only way to shut him up. Apparently, this does reflect real life.

  • In the musical Leave It to Me! (1938), the main characters are Alonzo P. Goodhue, a Topeka washtub manufacturer unexpectedly appointed ambassador to Russia, and Buck Thomas, a journalist critical of his appointment. When they meet Thomas finds out that Goodhue didn't even want to be ambassador, and promises to connive a Zany Scheme that will get him recalled.

    Web Comics 
  • In PvP, Max Powers concludes that the company is going bankrupt, information he obtained by breaking into Cole's office to examine the finances. When he confronts Cole with his suspicions, Cole angrily fires him. Later, Cole comes to his senses. He rehires Max under the title of Chief Financial Officer and follows his plan to save the company.
  • Something*Positive: Davan is hired by the producer of Ollie's play after the producer cuts their funding, leading Davan to give a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech. The next panel is Davan telling Pejee he doesn't understand why he got hired.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Petey says that those who criticize how he runs things in the Plenipotent Dominion usually end up helping him manage things.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic is frequently pestered by the troll Douchey McNitpick, who is constantly pointing out all of the Critic's mistakes. At one point, the Critic decides to just hire Douchey as a fact-checker, but Douchey turns down the job "because then I wouldn't get to complain about [your mistakes]!" However, when the series gets Un-Cancelled, he does rope Douchey into replacing him as guardian of the Plot Hole, and pointing out all the mistakes in the universe makes the little troll miserable.
  • In season 5 of The Guild, Codex harshly criticizes a pending update to 'The Game' unknowingly in front of the game's creator. At the end of the season, he offers her a job.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons is no stranger to this:
    • In the episode "Beyond Blunderdome", Mel Gibson ends up hiring Homer Simpson after the latter gives a scathing review of his remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington because he believes Homer is the only man brave enough to tell him the truth.
    • In "Homer's Odyssey", Homer loses his job at the power plant, starting a chain of events that results in him leading a protest against the danger to the community posed by the plant. In order to silence the protest, Mr. Burns hires Homer as the safety inspector.
    • But inverted in "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner", where Homer gets hired as the critic to the local paper because he is not very scathing nor critical of the food (unlike the original, who was retiring, hence how Homer got hired so easily.)
    • In "Itchy & Scratchy & Marge", after Marge successfully gets The Itchy & Scratchy Show to tone down its violence, Roger Meyers Jr. calls her for advice on how to sanitize their latest cartoon.
    • In "Bart Star", Flanders becomes a children's football coach. When he is fed up with Homer heckling him constantly (despite his undefeated record), he resigns and surrenders the position to Homer in anger.
  • DuckTales (2017): The episode "The Duck Knight Returns" revolves around a big-budget movie adaptation of the in-universe TV series Darkwing Duck. It's helmed by a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Christopher Nolan, and the Darker and Edgier tone quickly turns off Dewey Duck. Since children Dewey's age would be the movie's primary demographic, the director reluctantly lets Dewey consult on the film.


Video Example(s):


"Hire this man!"

George, having decided to do the exact opposite of what his instincts say to do, harshly criticizes Steinbrenner's management of the Yankees while in an interview at the team's headquarters. Steinbrenner hires him on the spot.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

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