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Mid-Review Sketch Show

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"Well, time for a review. Ha! Just kidding! No, it's time for a boring sketch with our interns! What, you didn't think we actually reviewed games anymore, did you?"

So you're a Caustic Critic with your own Video Review Show hosted on your website, and you have a somewhat sizeable fanbase to your name, with thousands of viewers pouring in on your website to watch you shout a lot about games, movies or television shows both new and old and why they all suck so bad. That's all well and good, but you could still go that extra mile to grab some extra viewers, while flaunting your filmmaking skills over the course of a standard review.


This is the Mid-Review Sketch Show: a series of usually short cutaways from the actual review for the reviewer (with a possible host of extras by his side) to perform additional, usually humorous skits relating to the work being reviewed, and often to showcase the creator's opinion of the work being reviewed in a more visual format. Depending on the reviewer, these can be either very subtle or massively elaborate, with some reviewers taking weeks to script, film and edit their videos into twenty-minute-extravaganzas.

Compare Cutaway Gag and Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.



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  • The Angry Video Game Nerd more or less codified this trope: his earliest videos featured some short skits, but he got particularly carried away with these in his Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street (NES) reviews and hasn't stopped since. His format then become almost standard of just about any Caustic Critic with a video series of his own, and his own theatrical antics had evolved to the point where he could spend more than half the video goofing around in front of a camera instead of talking about the game.
    His more skit-heavy episodes could become so elaborate that he was often working on several reviews at a time, shifting between "classic"-style reviews with a bigger focus on the game itself, and more theatrical videos, the former kind taking less effort to make. (To show how the elaborate are complicated: in a "making of" special, he points out he listened to Iron Maiden's entire discography while editing his 100th episode!)
    At some point, though, he started to reel back on the theatrics and go back to a simpler and more analytical review format, thus somewhat distancing himself from a formula he popularized.
  • Chris Bores' The Irate Gamer naturally does these frequently, seeing as his format is a wholesale carbon copy of the Nerd's format.
  • Naturally, about half the contributors on Channel Awesome indulged in these constantly.
    • Especially the site's very own Doug Walker as the The Nostalgia Critic (who once decided that the best way to end a review of The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is a completely unrelated 2001: A Space Odyssey parody that lasts five minutes).
    • Atop the Fourth Wall: Linkara only uses these occasionally, usually in the Previously On… segments before each review, showcasing things that didn't actually happen in the last video while crossing over with other TGWTG contributors. He also has had at least one ongoing storyline, which was mostly cameos and foreshadowing that didn't take very much time away from the review — until it erupts into a major storyline turning point where there's more theatrics than review, such as the "Battle with Mechakara" and the "Linkara Is Lost" arcs.
    • Noah Antwiler of The Spoony Experiment frequently interjects subtle theatrics into his videos, but only rarely gets too carried away with them (such as the end of his Phantasmagoria 2 Let's Play and his Final Fantasy VIII review). He has mentioned in his commentary videos that there's been some backlash against characters like Dr. Insano and Spencer D. Bum, and understands that his viewers don't necessarily want to watch him goof around on-camera that much.

      Spoony subverts this formula in his review of Bloodwings: Pumpkinhead's Revenge, where he claims to have had an elaborate review planned out with sketches aplenty (with a guest appearance by Linkara), but cancels the whole thing because he wouldn't want to dignify the game with such an elaborate review.
    • Bad Movie Beatdown: Film Brain did this often in his early videos, but it's pretty much been dropped, and fans seem to prefer the more straightforward approach.
    • The Nostalgia Chick's later videos under that name seemed to be half this, half review. She did the review and either Nella by herself or with her other friends provided the sketch subplot.
    • Nash's What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?, while not a review show per se, always ends with a sketch.
    • Brad Jones' The Reviewers is an Affectionate Parody of internet reviewers who incorporate sketches and story lines into their videos, and even includes cameos from other video producers who use them.
  • Phantom Reviewer feature footage from old The Phantom of the Opera films to represent The Phantom Reviewer and Christine in the sketches.
  • RedLetterMedia:
    • Mr. Plinkett reviews feature the title character's exploits in his Creepy Basement and other psychotic behaviour.
    • Half in the Bag is essentially a review show with a comedic Framing Device of the two reviewers, Mike and Jay, pretending to repair Mr. Plinkett's VCR while instead drinking beer and talking about movies. Each episode generally begins with the continuing framing narrative before transitioning into the review and then closing on the narrative again. Due to the show's Anti-Humor style, the framing device and transitions into and out of the sketches are intentionally hackneyed, half-assed, and often rely on blatant Ass Pulls. The amount of focus the framing narrative received waxes and wanes through the show's run.
  • Professor Shadow Often subplots and bits of narrative can be found between episodes, as well as scenes of characters interacting.
  • Wiiviewer does some of these, especially when showing just how silly some aspects of the games are.
  • Eat Your Kimchi: During the Music Monday reviews there are short sketches based on something from the reviewed video that Simon and Martina noticed, or questioned, or think is odd.
  • Joueur du Grenier naturally does this too, since the formula is largely (and overtly) inspired by The Angry Video Game Nerd. The sketches usually happen at the end of the review, when the exceeded JdG is victim of the pernicious influence of the bad game he played — or when he tries to destroy it, and the game fights back (this one was mostly in the early episodes, though). The sketches are also getting more and more elaborate with time, a bigger cast having joined JdG and Seb for the most recent ones. Some like the third RPG episode or the Harry Potter episode in 2018 required an entire filming crew with dozens of extras, all shot in an actual castle in Britanny. In 2012 he also started the Papy Grenier series alongside his normal reviews, where an old bearded (and slightly sociopathic) man revisits old games as if they had happened in real life, sort of making them reviews and sketch-shows blended together.
  • Positively Dreadful started out more restrained with a few dry comments and gags here and there, but gradually came to embrace the comedy over the reviews themselves.
  • The Happy Video Game Nerd: There has been the occasional cut-away, especially with earlier reviews, but there is only one full-fledged instance of this trope: the Nightshade review (itself a blatant homage to Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout).


Video Example(s):


Space-Lancer Steve

Space-Lancer Steve was meant to be a spoof of the concept of the Mid-Review Sketch Show, the show drawing heavy emphasis on its plot-lines, filmed with No Budget and very sloppily throws in a justification for why he would review a movie (in this case, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday) in the situation that he's in.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / MidReviewSketchShow

Media sources:

Main / MidReviewSketchShow