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.
While once the most popular subgenre of internet reviews, this became a Discredited Trope by around the late 2010s/early 2020s. Many viewers started to see the sketches as getting in the way of the supposed main focus on reviewing and thus drifted away from the style, with the decline roughly coinciding with the rise of the more analytic video essay format in the mid-to-late 2010s. The phasing out of the sketch show also happened around the time the Caustic Critic persona heavily associated with it became discredited as well, and a number of long-time creators have adjusted their content to match these changes. It has gotten to the point where even Trope Maker/Trope Codifier The Angry Video Game Nerd has largely abandoned it in his modern videos. The only major internet shows who use it anymore either do so because of a Grandfather Clause or, when it comes to newer creators, only do it in a fraction of their videos. In both cases, there is also now a conscious effort to intentionally try to separate the review and sketch content as their own entities.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- CJ DaChamp: After going over a disrespectful moment in his anime recaps, CJ will frequently play it back, but overdubbed with his own voice as if it's taking place in a Hood Film.
- 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.
- Economy Watch: The show often features additional sketches or skits that develop into a larger plotline or arc, often tying into the theme of the episode. For example, when discussing failed/dead cryptocurrency projects, a zombie apocalypse is accidentally triggered.
- 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).
- Chris Bores' The Irate Gamer naturally does these frequently, seeing as his format is a wholesale carbon copy of the Nerd's format.
- 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.
- 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. Once Lindsay Ellis dropped her original series, this format was completely abandoned.
- The Nostalgia Critic indulges in these constantly (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).
- Phantom Reviewer feature footage from old The Phantom of the Opera films to represent The Phantom Reviewer and Christine in the sketches.
- 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.
- Professor Shadow Often subplots and bits of narrative can be found between episodes, as well as scenes of characters interacting.
- 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.
- 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.
- While most Scott The Woz episodes are mostly about the games or other gaming-related phenomena that Scott reviews, some episodes have a much greater focus on an overarching narrative, with plot and other characters besides Scott. This includes the season finales and episodes such as "Game Stores", "The Great Mysteries of Gaming", "Memory Cards", The Dark Age of Nintendo mini-series, and "Borderline Forever". Some episodes skip the "review" part entirely in lieu of original sketches, such as "Homecoming", "The Trial", and "Speed Dating".
- Some Jerk with a Camera, who frequently uses this, lampshaded this style in his Halloween special.
Jerk: Wow, this might actually be a one-part episode! If I can keep my hilarious digressions to a minimum. Speaking of which, I read the most fascinating article on Lithuania today...
- 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: A Puzzle of Flesh 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.
- Nash's What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?, while not a review show per se, always ends with a sketch.
- Wiiviewer does some of these, especially when showing just how silly some aspects of the games are.
- Parodied in this video.