Follow TV Tropes

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


So Bad, It Was Better

Go To
The Uncanny Valley of writing.
"The Lamborghini; what you're saying is it would be better, if it were a bit worse?"
Jeremy Clarkson to Richard Hammond, Top Gear

A work that's So Bad, It's Good can be so popular that it develops a fandom. This is part of the magic of Camp; even if the writers aren't trying to be tacitly absurd, it's entirely possible to get legitimate enjoyment out of it. But if the writers notice this fandom and try to cater to it — either by improving the work or by deliberately playing up its badness — they often fail to recreate the magic. They end up improving the work from So Bad, It's Good to So Okay, It's Average — it's still not good enough to stand up on its own, but it's now not bad enough to be entertaining.

Usually, this happens when a creator tries to reboot their effort and try to hit where they missed before, only for the audience to appreciate the creator's target less than what they accidentally hit the first time. Sometimes, though, they might take the So Bad, It's Good bits and play them deliberately — and destroy the Narm Charm in the process, because a big component of So Bad, It's Good is the creator's honesty and commitment gone entertainingly awry, which cannot be replicated deliberately. In Video Games, this is often seen when cleaning up Good Bad Bugs; the bugs might have been more fun than the rest of the game was meant to be.

This trope is limited to situations where fans honestly felt that the original was So Bad, It's Good. If the fans didn't think the original sucked and think the "improvements" made the work worse, you're looking at They Changed It, Now It Sucks!. If they acknowledge that the new work is technically better but still prefer the old one on its own merits, you're looking at Nostalgia Filter. If their main objection is that their pet meme has become "mainstream", you're looking at It's Popular, Now It Sucks!. The fans have to acknowledge that the original isn't good; it's just that there's more to salvage from it than from its "improved" version. Naturally, there's a huge subjective component to this, and the examples you'll see here are very general public perceptions of the work's quality and reception.

Contrast, or in some cases, followed by Surprisingly Improved Sequel, where a bad work is followed by a sequel that has improved enough to be objectively good on its own — enough to be more enjoyable than its predecessor.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • With the switch from traditional to digital animation, it became much easier (and cheaper) for animation studios to fix mistakes. Nowadays, anime series will often have scenes — or on rare occasions entire episodes — cleaned up in the time between TV broadcast and the home video release. Fans usually welcome this — but not with a show like Musashi Gundoh, whose popularity is based entirely on how hilariously awful it is. When the animators go back and fix the mistakes, fans complain because they considered the terrible animation a big part of its charm.
  • The Latin American dub of Saint Seiya had a completely different (and worse, and much more fun) opening. When the series was re-released, the opening was changed to a translated version of "Pegasus Fantasy". Old-school fans didn't like it — it wasn't bad, but it could never compete with the original's Narm Charm. Compare the original So Bad It's Good Intro and the newer version (and the Japanese version). This reaction usually only stems from the more veteran fans though, as newer fans prefer the more faithful theme song over the old one. There's also a competing Portuguese version which was much better received (sung by Angra's Edu Falaschi).
  • The English dub of Angel Blade gives all the women rounded even tones... including Karin, which isn't ravingly bad per se, but it loses its narmy goodness in the process.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • The Ocean dub has a huge number of fans, despite being considered a bad translation with a strict adherence to Never Say "Die". Fans like it because of the background music and Vegeta's memetically hammy voice.
    • The Funimation dub, in its early days, was similar in quality to the Ocean dub note  and picked up a similar fan following. Those fans prefer it to Funimation's much more polished dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai.
    • The original German dub is better received than the more professionally done later versions for this reason — it particularly made a few heads explode by having Vegeta voiced by the same guy who dubbed Steve Urkel on Family Matters — in the same whiny, high-pitched voice.
  • At one time, Netflix had the Japanese versions of the first four seasons of Digimon, but they were soon removed, as most American fans prefer the cornier, Bowdlerized versions from Saban.
  • The Viz Media dub of Sailor Moon is victim to this from people who watched the DiC dub as children. Yes, the newer dub is a much more faithful translation, had professional voice actors, kept the original music, and wasn't edited. But it didn't have hammy voice acting, ridiculous American slang, clumsy censorship, and unfitting voices and accents, and even the DiC dub's biggest critics will admit that the replacement music was pretty awesome. The "purists" argue that the series is as much a comedy as it is a Magical Girl Warrior adventure, and the DiC dub, for all its flaws, captures the flavor of the series better than a more accurate translation would have, at least if you were to ask DiC's fans. This is also why Sailor Moon Crystal, which took itself more seriously than the original, gets the same reaction from fans no matter what dub of the original they prefer.
  • Some fans of the tamer, pun-laden dub of Pokémon were disappointed by the straight video game adaptation Pokémon Origins for not being cheesy.
  • The long-awaited U.S. DVD release of Transformers: ★Headmasters came with only subtitles. This is because the original dub was a Hong Kong Dub aired only in Asia and was god-awful. And the fans hated that they couldn't listen to it, even claiming that the show was dull and repetitive without it.
  • Polyphonica's DVD release fixed some of the issues with the Off-Model van scene, keeping the inflatable pool toy a shark instead of it morphing between shark and dolphin, and making the sky behind the domed glass blue instead of bright sunlight. Most fans greatly prefer the TV version for being hilariously bad.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica's original TV broadcast was pretty rough-looking—in particular, whenever the camera was in any kind of wide shot, the characters tended to drift into hilariously blobby-looking and underdetailed messes. This then created "Meduka Meguca", one of the fandom's most beloved running gags, which was based entirely off those blobby designs. Consequently, a lot of people were saddened to see them, along with a few other silly things like Mami's dramatic pose in the third episode, get progressively cleaned up in both the Blu-Ray versions and the Compilation Movie.
  • The first Astro Boy manga chapter written in 1951, Ambassador Atom, was published in Shonen magazine and quickly ended. The character was retooled into Mighty Atom the following year, that being the version fans know and love. When Astro Boy chapters were collected by Akita Shoten, Ambassador was rewritten and partially redrawn to fit into the continuity (the original chapters were considered to have been lost). Although the Akita Shoten version is better drawn than the crude early 50ies style of the original, fans are more interested in the original, since despite its flaws, it's the landmark first appearance of such a beloved character. A restored version of the original was eventually published.

    Comic Books 
  • The character of Frank Drake in 1970s Marvel comic The Tomb of Dracula was originally an emasculated neurotic and certified wimp when it came to women (and anything else). His more mature self, as seen in the 1990s Nightstalkers, is your typical sanest member of the group. But that's because he's a cardboard Ghostbuster clone without the comedy part and had no personality of any kind. Fans naturally preferred the earlier version.
  • Speedball was a '60s comic character created in the '80s, with all the Narm you could shake a stick at. His power was just being able to bounce really well, and the less said about his costume, the better. Mocking him was par for the course among fans. Then came the "Civil War" storyline, in which his inability to save a school full of kids led him to change: his powers were now activated by pain and he changed his name to Penance, complete with an Iron-Maiden-like costume, becoming a full-on '90s Anti-Hero. No one liked it, and after a while, the old silly Speedball returned.
  • Since the book's rediscovery, there have been a number of attempts to "revive" the cult-favorite public-domain superhero Stardust the Super Wizard. These attempts usually aren't very popular with Stardust fans, since when you take out the badly-proportioned artwork, nonsensical plots, and the protagonist's love of wanton murder and needlessly elaborate punishment, you just have a generic superhero story where the main character has a really ugly costume. Even writers who do try to recreate those elements rarely tune into whatever insane wavelength Fletcher Hanks was on, and just come across as trying too hard to match the original.
  • A funny case of this applying to an individual character's name: C-list Marvel villain Peter Petruski debuted under the name "Paste-Pot Pete". A few issues later, he changed his name to "the Trapster". The general view among fans is that "Trapster" is a better name, but it's not good, and it's also nowhere near as hilariously bad. It's a major reason the name is a Never Live It Down moment for ol' Pete, because "he used to be called Paste-Pot Pete" is pretty much the only memorable thing about him.

    Comic Strips 
  • After it underwent Cerebus Syndrome in the 90s, Funky Winkerbean became a frequent source of mockery for its overwrought melodrama, obsession with being as depressing as possible, and equally odd preoccupation with The Topic of Cancer. Then in 2015, Tom Batiuk turned into a major party-pooper by listening to the criticisms and lightening things up. It didn't make the strip actually good; it just sucked out a lot of the unintentional hilarity by replacing the Glurge with self-aggrandizing Author Appeal that wasn't nearly as much fun to read.
  • The Comics Curmudgeon and many others took up this line of thought sometime after Dick Tracy changed up its art and writing team in 2011. When the art cleaned up significantly and the writing became more coherent, it wasn't as amusing to try and make fun of it, and it didn't fit his interpretation of Dick as "the most efficient killing machine on Planet Earth." He ended up losing interest in the strip entirely.

  • Star Trek Fan Fiction writer Stephen Ratliff once wrote an update to his Marissa Picard story Time Speeder called Athena Prospects. Anyone who has read both stories knows that although Athena Prospects is pretty bad, it's a much better story than Time Speeder. But Time Speeder is also way more fun to read because of all the incredibly stupid stuff in it — it's set in a universe like ours but where Star Trek is an accurate foretelling of the future, Saddam Hussein takes over the entire Middle East in a throwaway line, and the two villains still manage to check into hotels as James Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard without drawing any attention.
  • The chapters of The Prayer Warriors written by Thomas are chock-full of embarrassing spelling errors, unbelievably awkward dialogue, heavy-handed and rather disturbing preaching, and just plain lazy writing. The chapters written by Ebony are... kinda okay, with a little less religious themes, slightly improved spelling, and actually listening to bad reviews instead of just screaming about the fires of Hell. The chapters written by Thomas are a lot more fun to read because of this.
  • The Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic Neon Genesis Evangelion II: DELTA Invasion is an honored favorite among the community for how nonsensical and shameless it is. When the author pulled it from the Internet and replaced it with Gates of Oblivion, it was just as poorly written and self-serving, except it no longer had the spelling and grammar errors and sheer audacity that made the original so much fun to read.
  • Transformers Beast Wars fanfic author William A. Renfield was quite popular for his early Echowarrior fanfics on the TF usenet group in the late 90s, mostly because they were horrible self-insertion schlock. He was also 12 years old at the time. Fast forward to his material six or seven years later, when he was a young adult, he had settled into mediocrity, and nobody cared anymore.
  • There's a side story of sorts to the infamous My Immortal, called I'm Not Okay and supposedly written by Tara's beta reader, Raven (whether it was written by a real person named Raven or the same writer as My Immortal is impossible to determine). It's very similar to My Immortal (obsession with goth culture, In Name Only characterization, short chapters, extremely obvious self-insert protagonist), but a considerable step up in terms of spelling, grammar, fidelity to the source material, and overall coherence. It ends up feeling a bit like the sort of story that My Immortal was intended to be. It's also nowhere near as famous or memorable, as said step up is only into the realm of "regular kinda-bad fanfic" rather than "incomprehensible failure". It didn't help that it became a Dead Fic only a few chapters in, while its counterpart made it past 40 chapters; one theory about its abandonment is that it simply wasn't as fun to write or attracting as much attention as My Immortal.

  • Birdemic is terrible to a legendary degree. Awful acting, awful scripting, awful effects. It's a disaster in every possible way, and it's perhaps the perfect movie for people who like movies that are the exact opposite of perfect. Then, a couple of years later, a sequel came out. Unlike many examples on this page, Birdemic 2: The Resurrection is actually really terrible, as well. However, Birdemic 2 is terrible on purpose. Now that he had an actual budget, James Nguyen clearly spent it all trying to make the sequel equally bad as the first one, but it just ended up feeling forced and overly self-referential, and it was a lot less fun to watch.
  • The Ang Lee-directed Hulk tried to be serious, but some people felt it had cheesy lines, poor acting, an awful pace, a jarringly bizarre editing style, and dodgy effects (such as bouncy tanks), which to them made the film become a humorous example of So Bad, It's Good for some. Then the second film actually didn't suck and was instead... watchable. Good if you're a fan of the film, not so good if you enjoyed laughing at it. Then again, a similar argument could be made for those who preferred the charm of the low-budget TV series over the first big-budget movie's excesses.
  • The original Death Race 2000 was great, schlocky, over-the-top Roger Corman-esque fare, perfect for MST3K-style ribbing. Death Race, the remake, was a watchable action flick (and featured the presence of Jason Statham) but felt like the soul had been ripped out of the concept.
  • The early 1990s Roger Corman The Fantastic Four film is considered So Bad, It's Good (and can only be seen on YouTube because it's an Ashcan Copy), whereas the two 2000s films are considered So Okay, It's Average. And all three are held in higher acclaim than the 2015 reboot, because that one took itself so seriously, while also taking a needlessly Darker and Edgier tone compared to how the other three genuinely tried their best to stay loyal to the fun, adventurous, and occasionally goofy tone of the source material, that the audience stopped caring entirely.
  • Neither Street Fighter nor Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li are considered good movies, but the former was clearly shooting for deliberate Ham and Cheese absurdity, and had going for it the near-universally beloved Large Ham performance of the late Raúl Juliá, while the latter attempted an uber-serious prestige drama with any camp kept to a minimum. Chun-Li is probably the better-crafted film, but it's nowhere near as goofy, and ends up being far less charming or fun to watch while also being nowhere near actual quality.
  • While in real life, Star Trek (2009) was a hit among Trekkies and layfolk, the new movie's slick production values combined with this to make a great Onion News Network piece about how fans of the original series hate it for not being as cheesy as the original:
    "Where's the heavy-handed moralism and political commentary? Why aren't the fights more like two out-of-shape guys in rubber suits doing lame karate chops at each other? The bridge is supposed to look like it's made out of cardboard and plywood!"
  • The notoriously trashy 1992 Hong Kong production Naked Killer originally sported hilariously badly-translated English subtitles (featuring such unforgettable lines as "When I saw Kitty, I had priapism!") which many viewers felt enhanced the delirious experience of the film. The "digitally restored and remastered" DVD featured newly (and apparently, more accurately) translated subtitles, which rather spoiled the fun for fans of the original version.
  • The film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey took a lot of heat for toning down the book's more outre elements, including getting rid of the book's awful internal narration, particularly the infamous "Inner Goddess" bits, entirely. Turns out that when you try to make this story more respectable, there's nothing of interest left.
  • The first set of chapters to R. Kelly's infamous hip-hopera Trapped in the Closet are about as gut-bustingly melodramatic as a feature-length R&B ballad music video gets, and are legendarily hysterical as a result. Then Kelly and the filmmakers became serious party poopers and made the second set of chapters a borderline straightforward comedy.
  • The Lost in Space movie toned down the Camp and replaced the cheesy special effects with CGI. The TV show was So Bad, It's Good, but the movie was just So Okay, It's Average at best.
  • When the trailers of Sonic the Hedgehog first dropped, Sonic's live-action design was so terrible and poorly received that the studio delayed the film to rework it. When new trailers dropped showing off a different Sonic design, the response was generally that the new design looked great. But this proved disappointing for a handful of people who thought the film didn't look promising otherwise and hoped a hideous, Unintentional Uncanny Valley protagonist would push it into So Bad, It's Good territory. This opinion ended up winding down a bit when the film was released to a generally positive reception among critics and fans alike (the fans slightly more so than the critics), but some still express a wish for the option to watch the movie with the original design, if only to see how the experience would differ their opinion of the film. This ended up getting invoked In-Universe in the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) film, where Sonic's original design (now dubbed "Ugly Sonic") cashed in on his So Bad, It's Good aspects and started doing the rounds at fan conventions, even getting his own reality show working with the FBI.
  • Dungeons & Dragons (2000) was an absolute train wreck, but it also had a lot of heart. It was the pet project and a true labor of love for director Courtney Solomon and it shows with some truly impactful moments and endearingly bad performances. If anything, the film's problems mostly come down to Solomon trying way too hard to make the best movie possible when it's clearly beyond his means. By comparison the sequel Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God was infinitely more competent but often considered So Okay, It's Average. The word there is "often" of course - there are some fans who prefer the sequel and would rather the first movie didn't even exist.
  • The 2006 remake of Black Christmas (1974) compared to the 2019 remake. The 2006 film is far from a good movie, especially compared to the original which is considered a Trope Maker of the slasher genre, but some horror fans still enjoy it for its over-the-top violence and campiness. The 2019 film, on the other hand, takes itself far more seriously, with very unsubtle messages about feminism, rape culture and misogyny that tend to overshadow everything else; the newer film also cut out or heavily edited most of the more violent scenes to earn a PG-13 rating to appeal to younger audiences. The end result is that the 2019 version is a lot less fun to watch, while still being vastly inferior to the 1974 film.
  • The theatrical release of Highlander II: The Quickening is generally considered one of the worst sequels ever made, which has resulted in many an attempt in various DVD releases to recut it to be somewhat more palatable. This includes removing or retooling many of the more hated ideas, like turning the reveal that the Immortals were actually aliens to them just being a race from the distant past. Consensus among the fanbase is that removing the worst bits from Highlander II doesn't suddenly make it a good movie: it's still a mess, it's just that now there's less things to get good and angry about. Both versions are Canon Discontinuity anyway, so you may as well go for the bigger trainwreck.
  • Godzilla
    • The rather professional, if not excellent, dub of Shin Godzilla had at least a chunk of people being very disappointed at the loss of the Hong Kong Dub tactics that characterized most of the prior Godzilla films.
    • While the original Godzilla (1954) is well-regarded for being a somber horror movie that served as a critique nuclear weaponry, the subsequent entries in the franchise deviated from the original serious tone in favor of Toku camp and over-the-top monster fights. The Showa era films, in particular, are fondly remembered in some circles for their goofy monster costumes and hilarious dubs that resulted in "masterpieces" like King Kong vs. Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Hedorah. As such, when Godzilla (2014) and Shin Godzilla returned to the franchise's gritty roots, some fans complained that those movies lacked a sense of fun and silliness.
  • While The Super Mario Bros. Movie is well-regarded by most fans of the games and considered a vastly Improved Second Attempt at bringing the brothers to the big screen over Super Mario Bros. (1993), some still lament that it's a relatively faithful and straitlaced adaptation, preferring the weird, corny, experimental Science Fiction aesthetic of the first Mario movie just because it was actively trying to be different and unique.

  • In La mestozia, an Italian short story by Achille Campanile, there's an in-universe example. A third-rate writer hires an incredibly incompetent typist, in the hope that her typos will turn his trite works into surreal humor masterpieces. It works, and in little time the author is hailed as a comic genius. That's when the typist, seeing her employer's success, decides he deserves better and takes typing lessons, leading to his downfall.
  • Tyra Banks's novel Modelland is so bad that even most positive reviews agree that it needed additional editing before being released. However, the parts that aren't horrible and confused are just... dull. The book is a mix of so-bad-they're-good parts and mediocre, forgettable parts.
  • Maradonia and the Seven Bridges was edited and split into two books. The new versions have a few improvements, such as removing some of the stupidest elements in the original. This ended up ruining much of the unintentional hilarity that made the book fun to read at times, and it didn't even come close to turning it into a legitimately good work. With that said, the new versions did introduce a couple of new stupid moments.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One of the (many) reasons that Battlestar Galactica (1978) fans were unimpressed by the re-imagined series was the eschewing of the cheesy storylines and character designs for a tone that was deadly serious. The silly names were now just callsigns. The Cylons had upgraded to look human, and even the foot-soldiers didn't speak, thus no "By your command!" And Baltar was a scientist rather than a scenery-chewing villain.
  • The Sci-Fi Channel original series update of Flash Gordon suffered from this as well, turning Ming (who is hardly Merciless) into a milquetoast Corrupt Corporate Executive IN AN ALTERNATE DIMENSION! and the Hawkmen into vagrants who only think they can fly. This from a franchise whose most recognizable entry was the most gleefully campy movie since Batman (1966) (not coincidentally, they have the same writer).
  • The Eurovision Song Contest is better when the acts are crazy, nonsensical, and generally bad. The 2009 contest failed in some respects because most of the acts were neither truly good nor so bad they were good.
  • Invoked in one episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, where Crow and Tom spend a segment complaining about the antiquated encyclopedias on the Satellite of Love (so old, in fact, that they include a picture of Stonehenge under "construction"), only for the encyclopedias to be replaced with a brand new set featuring an internet uplink for constant updates... which fails to satisfy Crow and Tom, who thought it was much more fun to mock the old encyclopedias.
  • Invoked by Doug Naylor when fans tell him that they preferred the first two series of Red Dwarf because of the dull grey sets and cheap props and costumes. He and Rob Grant never intended the show to ever look cheap but were stifled by a lack of money for anything better.
  • A lot of fans brought up on the original Doctor Who initially rejoiced that it was coming back, but then they were turned off by the vastly improved sets and glossy American-style production values. This massive Fan Discontinuity will happily accept that the original series was marked by low budget, unconvincing costumes and cheap wobbly sets, but will insist they preferred it that way, and that any reimagining that doesn't maintain that atmosphere makes it "not Doctor Who anymore".
  • Unsolved Mysteries ran from 1988-2002 and many fans feel that the reenactments from the earlier years were far better and spookier than the ones from the later seasons, even though the show's budget and production values improved as time went on.

  • The Portsmouth Sinfonia was an orchestra founded in 1970, made up of people who didn't know how to play their instruments (it was even one of the requirements — they would allow musicians to join, but on the condition that they were unfamiliar with the instrument they chose), as part of an experiment by founder Gavin Bryars to demonstrate that audiences could comprehend a song so long as all the right notes were hit, even if the musicians hit several other notes in the general vicinity. They were tasked to play well-known songs, and the results were hilarious. Nearly a decade later, everyone had learned to play those instruments, and the popularity of the symphony declined as it lost its novelty factor. The orchestra ceased performing in 1979. One wonders why the members wouldn't just periodically switch to other instruments they didn't know how to play.
  • The Shaggs were awful musicians when Philosophy of The World, their most famous album, came out. Later recordings show them to be much more experienced with their instruments, and actually listenable, if not quite good. The band was even booked to play at dances in their native New Hampshire. These later recordings are nowhere near as well-known as Philosophy is, owing to them being fairly non-descript and somewhat bland. The group wasn't particularly unique once they were able to play with some level of competence. Dot Wiggin in particular is a much better musician than when she was a teenager, and a few of her songs are actually quite good, but it's unlikely she'll ever make it out of obscurity on her own merits.
  • The Most Unwanted Song was created by surveying people on their most-hated musical genres and elements. The Other Wiki describes it as containing "bagpipes, cowboy music, an opera singer rapping, and a children's choir that urged listeners to go shopping at Walmart." Its flip side, the Most Wanted Song, contains "guitar, bass, piano and drums, and lyrics about love." Not only does the former have about seven times as many views on YouTube, but many people have judged it as much better to listen to: the Most Unwanted Song sounds genuinely unique and hilarious, while the Most Wanted Song just sounds like a generic mediocre love song straight out of the most boring parts of 90s easy listening. Which was, indeed, the entire point.
    • A similar case exists for a prior Komar and Melamid effort, the Most Wanted/Unwanted Paintings, which were created by surveying people in various countries. The Most Wanted paintings were invariably generic landscape shots dominated by seas of blue sky and water, while the Unwanted paintings tended to be a lot weirder and more memorable (just check out Italy's).

  • One episode of This American Life entitled "Fiasco!" explicitly discusses this. The interviewee describes seeing a catastrophic stage production of Peter Pan, and admits there was a tipping point after which the crowd had turned on the performers and wanted the show to continue to fail. As he admits, had the show gone off flawlessly from that point, he would have been extremely disappointed.
  • On BBC radio, the very early morning show was presented for years by Sarah Kennedy, a lady who could accurately and kindly be described as "erratic" in her presentation. Her haphazard and verging-on-amateurish style actually won her lots of listeners, despite its lack of professional polish. In many ways a distaff version of Alan Partridge, fans used to tune in hoping to be there for yet another Kennedy gaffe into unprofessionalism, political bias, racially insensitive jokes or those days where she was overwhelmed by her "medication". When the BBC finally called a halt to her show in 2009 and she was replaced by the more accomplished professional broadcaster Vanessa Feltz, people switched off in droves. It just was not the same any more.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This trope is the main reason that there still exists a following for the original Rogue Trader content of Warhammer 40,000. The game did not take itself seriously in the slightest, the art design was gaudy to the point of absurdity, and it couldn't have been more 1980s if it had Mr. T driving Optimus Prime. Future entries significantly smoothed out those rough edges, which made the game far more palatable to a wider audience, but at the cost of much of the genuine craziness. The original design for the Noise Marines, for instance, had them dressing like Hair Metal rockers and wielding sonic blast-shooting electric guitars; the modern version of them wearing chapter colors and wielding sonic blast-shooting cannons may be far more reasonable, but for many fans, the utter absurdity of the concept is the reason it needed to exist in the first place.

  • The Broadway musical version of Little Shop of Horrors got poor reviews. The most common critical opinion was that the appeal of most productions was their low-budget intimacy, and the crazy special effects and massive stage of the Broadway production just felt wrong.
  • The original run of the musical version of Carrie was best remembered for two things: the astronomical amount of time and money poured into it, and the spectacular awfulness that resulted. Twenty-some years later, a revival, which amended many of the original's shortcomings, was dismissed for being completely forgettable.
  • Some retrospectives of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark have described the show's later incarnations as this. The original Julie Taymor-directed incarnation was a genuine trainwreck, with a mess of baffling concepts and borderline-In Name Only alterations to the source material, in particular its tacky design work and focus on Canon Foreigner villainess Arachne. After Taymor was kicked out, a lot of efforts were made to try to streamline and refocus the production onto actual Spider-Man things, such as cutting the bizarre "geek chorus" and giving the Green Goblin a Villain Song. This made the show a lot closer to what you'd imagine when you think "Spider-Man on Broadway", and did improve the production's reviews, but not by much, as that's still not a great concept. It didn't help that many of the out-of-place elements from the older version (such as the flamboyant costumes and Arachne's presence in the narrative) couldn't be fully ditched due to cost reasons, becoming The Artifact in the process. Because of this, a number of people have noted that the Taymor version, though definitely not good, was at least memorable in its not-goodness, being a clear passion project of a creator who was given far too few limitations, while the later versions were just kind of bad.
  • The incredibly self-aware Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of the ironic classic Xanadu was dismissed by hardcore fans who felt that all the show did was explain the joke.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy:
  • A chunk of the original Resident Evil's fanbase was put off by the 2002 GameCube remake, which significantly "improved" the original's hammy acting and rather hastily translated script ("You were almost a Jill sandwich!") and replaced it with a more natural, sometimes genuinely scary script ("A second later, you would have fit nicely into a sandwich!"). Usually, for these fans, the choice between the PlayStation and GameCube versions comes down to whether you want cheesiness or actual horror. That said, the remake's voice acting isn't completely devoid of cheese, possibly even intentionally so because of this trope.
    • A repeat of this situation happened with Resident Evil 4 and its remake: both were critically acclaimed, but the remake notably slashed the campy mix of horror and over-the-top cheese of the original version in order to make it more of a sincerely dark and serious horror game, a change some fans lamented as Capcom missing the point, with the imperfect tone being what made the original 4 so special.
  • The House of the Dead series used to be known as a rich source of weapons-grade Narm Charm and Memetic Mutation. The quality of the voice acting improved dramatically in Part 3, and it's even within a hair's breadth of actually being good in the fourth game. Enough people missed the endearingly god-awful dialogue from Parts 1 and 2 that the next game, Overkill, employs Stylistic Suck and deliberately aims for a grindhouse B-movie approach.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is considered to have better dialogue than its remake Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles (and all subsequent ports based on it, such as Castlevania Requiem). The original dialogue was totally cheesy but also a rich well of Narm Charm and a Fountain of Memes. The new one has better dialogue, but it's not nearly as hammy or fun to listen to.
  • Chrono Trigger's original SNES translation had some glaring mistranslations and Woolseyisms, particularly Frog's Ye Olde Butchered English accent, which nobody else in the entire game had. When the DS port came out, the entire script was retranslated, excising Frog's accent entirely. While the retranslation in general is seen as positive, this particular loss has fans divided, as many thought his old way of speaking was part of his charm, even if it was inaccurate and inexplicable.
  • Some fans of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake prefer the hilariously poor fan translation of the MSX version, complete with Comic-Book Fantasy Casting digitised portraits of celebrities, to the official translation included on the Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence disc.
  • Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing series:
    • The original version of the game was entertaining solely because of how broken it was — among other things, the opponent racers never move from the starting line (so it's impossible to lose) and the victory screen includes the caption "You're Winner!" A patch was released that got the opponents to move (very slowly, and they refused to cross the finish line, so it's still impossible to lose) and replaces "You're Winner!" with "You Win!". Yay.
    • Big Rigs has a sequel, Midnight Race Club: Supercharged! It's barely remembered, mainly because there's actually collision detection and a moving opponent. It's mostly considered very mediocre.
  • Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon, the Western developed spin-off of the notoriously campy Earth Defense Force series, made many improvements to the controls, graphics, and framerate. They also hired top-tier voice talent like Steve Blum and Cam Clarke. Many fans disliked the changes, as they came at the cost of the cheesy B-movie absurdity and shoddy production values that gave the series its cult status.
  • Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric was patched to remove Good Bad Bugs such as the infamous Knuckles infinite jump glitch. It also fixed some actual gameplay problems, but it's still regarded as an unenjoyable game. Previously, Rise of Lyric was an Obvious Beta that was more fun to break than to actually play, then the game was patched, significantly cutting what entertainment value there was in it, and is now considered a resoundingly boring, mediocre game.
  • Among Japanese gamers, Hoshi wo Miru Hito is widely held to be the pinnacle of bad games, with its counter-productive game elements, severe glitches and essentially being blatantly unfinished leading to it getting re-released on the Nintendo Switch and earning the title of the "densetsu no kusoge", or "legendary shitty game". While it has two Fan Remakes, STARGAZER and Romancing StellaVisor, both agreed to be far more polished in both gameplay and aesthetics, neither of them have managed to rise above Cult Classic status.
  • There have always been bugs of all kinds in Minecraft, the most infamous ones being lighting and world generation bugs. As much as they sucked, fans came to grin and snark alike when they came across them — until they slowly began to be fixed. A lot of people were nostalgic about the loss of these hilarious Epic Fail bugs — so much so that some of them were put back in the game due to popular demand.
  • Princess Maker 2 was translated into English twice, due to the original publisher falling through. The original dialogue was a bit of a mess, but it was cheesy and fun to read. Many players dislike the new translation for fixing such mistakes as Wendy's fixation on "Magician Girls!"
  • The creators of Rainbow Six Siege have stated this of Tachanka. Widely seen as the worst character by a wide margin, he also happens to be the most popular, and much of this popularity comes from what an absolute joke he is; in a game all about mobility and flanking, his unique trick is to park himself in one spot and become a sitting duck. Add in his Husky Russkie personality and giant machine gun, and you have a recipe for being a Memetic Badass and a Memetic Loser at the same time. They could probably rework him to be more useful or more fitting in Siege's design, but then he wouldn't be LORD TACHANKA anymore.
  • The English names of the Maverick bosses in Mega Man X5 were changed to be references to Guns N' Roses members, which was a contentious decision back then — but the names, particularly the incredibly silly-sounding Duff McWhalen, grew on the fanbase. When the Mega Man X Legacy Collection changed their names back to the original Japanese versions, a subsection of the fanbase voiced their displeasure that Duff McWhalen was reverted to the more generic-sounding "Tidal Whale".
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Drakengard 2: A common appraisal of the game is that it's definitely quantitatively better than the first game in a lot of ways, but the first game being so bad was a lot of what made it appealing, and while 2 did improve, it isn't improved enough to be actually good. There's just nothing in Drakengard 2 that's half as utterly insane and player-hostile as every single weapon description being a ridiculously maudlin short story, or being able to control an actual pedophile in combat, or the True Final Boss turning out to be a rhythm game that ends with the protagonist being shot down by fighter jets.
  • This is much of the reason that, of The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games, Zelda's Adventure is by far the least well-known of the three. The Wand of Gamelon and The Faces of Evil used animated cutscenes with hilariously bad production values, bordering on Deranged Animation with their wild camera angles, ugly color palettes, Off-Model nature, frequent closeups, and imagery bordering on the disturbing. Zelda's Adventure by contrast, used live-action cutscenes, and they look about on-par with what you'd expect from a 1990s FMV game. They're certainly not good, with their clunky acting and low-budget costumes, but they're also not really bad enough to make for good joke fodder.
  • The original Death Crimson is one of Japan's most beloved kusoge with its atrocious graphics, delightfully amateur soundtrack and busted play mechanics inspiring a loving ironic fandom. Thanks to Bile Fascination, it was a minor success for its developer Ecole, enough to spawn a Sega Dreamcast sequel titled Death Crimson II and an arcade adaption Death Crimson OX. Death Crimson II is an immensely superior game with actually functional play mechanics and production values that aren't embarassing by the standard of the time - and as you'd expect from its presence on this page, it's much less discussed or remembered, as "immensely improved Death Crimson" means it's a fairly average Light Gun Game in a sea of great ones, while the original game is a truly one-of-a-kind trainwreck.
  • The first trailer for Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin was one of the most widely mocked in gaming history, owing to a Darker and Edgier tone that looked about fifteen years out-of-date and clunky dialogue that repeats the word "Chaos" in every other sentencenote , creating a rich well of unintentional hilarity and turning the main protagonist, Jack, into an instant meme. When the second trailer dropped, it showed off significantly less of the edgy parts and attempted to cut down on the use of the word "Chaos" (replacing parts of the Japanese script where they simply said the word with more oblique references). This proved a source of anguish for those who had fallen in love with the jokes.
  • In WarioWare, all of the series' original characters were voiced by random employees from Treehouse (Nintendo of America's marketing/translation team) until WarioWare Gold introduced full voice acting to the series, and thus recast the entire cast sans Wario with professional voice actors. While many fans legitimately liked the older voices better, a subset of the fanbase disliked the change simply because they found that the heavily compressed voice clips of the earlier games and unprofessional performances (such as Young Cricket's noticeable voice cracks) fitted the patchwork, surreal style of the series better.
  • Rise of the Robots is generally regarded as one of the worst fighting games ever made, being laughably simplistic, lacking in basic features, and incredibly poorly designed—among other things, in the two-player versus mode, Player 1 cannot select any character apart from the protagonist. Rise 2 fixed a lot of the problems of the first game, such as increasing the roster size, adding more features, changing some of the more idiotic design decisions, and making the gameplay less rock-stupid. This brought it up from "catastrophic failure" to the resounding level of "bargain-basement Mortal Kombat ripoff", and consequently, it tends to be a footnote in discussions of the first game.
  • Battletoads is an unabashed rip-off of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that takes itself weirdly seriously despite the bizarre premise and goofy characters. BattleToads (2020) went for a more irreverent and self-aware tone that fans criticized for sucking out some of the fun, particularly deeming the Self-Parody route as bordering on explaining the joke.
  • The English dubs of Armored Core 2 and Armored Core 2: Another Age are notoriously goofy with actors that were clearly not given the context for their lines, strange accents and voices (the main villain sounds like someone doing a bad Sean Connery impression), and performances that range from flat to overacted. Though the sentiment isn't universal, some fans see the dubs as fun and memorable for those reasons, and more soulful than the more professional but hardly-outstanding English voiceovers from Armored Core 3 onward.

    Visual Novels 

  • In 2017, the author of Tails Gets Trolled announced a sideproject called "Tails Get Troll Polished" that aimed to remake the comic up to that point with tightened up writing, better art and increased Foreshadowing and extra scenes to flesh many of the characters. Nevermind the inevitable Schedule Slip that would ensue or that many of the changes ended up being considered dubious on their own merits, most fans objected to the idea on principle because the copious typos, insane twists from nowhere and wildly inconsistent art were all huge parts of the comic's identity and entertainment value.

    Web Original 
  • This Very Wiki used to be filled with Natter, had YMMV tropes on the main page, and much less strictly enforced rules on Conversation in the Main Page. Some tropers prefer the older version of the website, as it had interesting pages filled with funny observations, unique references, and interesting factoids. The problem was that it wasn't sustainable — as the website grew (and people started to copy other people and try to be deliberately entertaining in this way), most articles became a slog to read through and had to be cleaned up. This is the pitfall with a trope like this.
  • Doug Walker:
    • He mentions this in one of his out-of-character The Twilight Saga film reviews: the first two movies were So Bad, It's Good, but Eclipse was actually pretty competent and thus not as fun.
    • Doug's own work came under this. After briefly retiring The Nostalgia Critic, he tried to make the original series Demo Reel, in an effort to flex his writing and acting abilities and improve the production value. The show ended rather quickly, in large part because it just wasn't as popular as the Nostalgia Critic, so he revived the character and show, but kept the production value of Demo Reel as well as the hired actors. There was a heavy Broken Base as a result of this, and many prefer when the show was just Doug sitting in his basement in costume yelling tirades at the camera.
  • Discussed by LAG TV's hosts when fans asked them to play more Minecraft after three years of silence. A large part of the fun was watching Maximus Black failing and dying in hilarious ways, all while Screaming Like a Little Girl; however, in the intervening time Jeff got better at the game, so he and Adam outright told the viewers that they wouldn't enjoy new Minecraft videos nearly as much as the old ones for this very reason.
  • Jerma985's video on Raven's Cry has him complain about a member of his ship's crew who spends the whole voyage screaming at everyone to "Be brave!", followed by an insult. While he was still editing the video, a patch was released that replaced the dialogue in the sailing sections with something less repetitive. The video ends with a clip showcasing this new dialogue, while Jerma complains he wants the "Be brave!" guy back.
  • Although DarkSydePhil’s content is still to this day considered a great and consistent source of So Bad, It's Good material, there are a few genuine improvements that he made to his content style which many fans feel took away the magic that he had in his earlier material.
    • The most notable is that he now has access to a stream chat. The content that he originally went viral for included absurd and extremely lengthy failures, including not knowing how to properly jump in Half-Life for at least twenty minutes, not being able to find the exit of the first room in Bayonetta for at least seven minutes, and running off of a cliff in Metal Gear Solid 3 when he talked over a cutscene’s instructions telling him that he needed to backtrack, leading to difficulty comprehending that the way was not forward and spending several minutes not knowing what to do. He usually avoids these kind of failures in newer playthroughs due to his stream chat being able to tell him what to do whenever he gets stuck. As one fan lamented, “I think Phil should play games on his own without a live audience sometimes... it’s pointless having people on hand to tell you what to do and where to go, most of your long term viewers prefer seeing you play games by yourself. This means that we can see you rage and struggle, that’s the reason I subscribed in the first place.”
    • Another style shift that disappointed some of his fans was his switch from filming his TV with a camera to properly streaming it. While it technically means better video and sound quality, it also takes away some of his more bizarre quirks such as putting up his middle finger in front of the game whenever he got mad, making the screen shake when he slammed his controller out of frustration, hearing the loud button mashing while shouting “I WAS BLOCKING! LOOK! I’M NOT PRESSING ANYTHING!”, and even just how well the low-quality footage matched his bad gameplay.
    • Finally, Phil has mellowed out quite a bit over the years. Early on he was extremely abrasive and unnecessarily antagonistic toward game developers (most notably Hideo Kojima), which got him flak from the several videogame fanbases that he angered. While he more or less Took a Level in Kindness over the years and is no longer as abrasive as he used to be, some fans loved to hate him for just how much of a Jerkass he was, and feel that it’s not as fun to hate him after he’s mellowed out. He still gets plenty of hate for being clearly Only in It for the Money at this point, but some feel that it’s a less fun reason to actively hate on him compared to when he was more actively antagonistic.
  • The first season of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series wasn't very good quality-wise, with incredibly slow voice acting, muffled audio, inconsistent lip-syncing, and relatively dull video footage. Season 2 improved some of these aspects, but Season 3 was the point where the quality was practically on par with the original anime; the voice acting became faster and less stilted, the audio more clearer, the editing more polished, and the video footage more smooth and refurbished. However, there are some fans who admit that they prefer the more shoddy quality of the first two seasons, feeling the improved quality of later seasons don't have the same level of charm to them.
  • Discussed by Yahtzee in Zero Punctuation in regards to two unrelated games with a similar premise, Ride to Hell: Retribution and Days Gone. He reflects that while Ride To Hell was a mess on a story and gameplay level with a protagonist you can not connect with because he's unlikeably psychotic, it comes out as mesmerizingly bad and is worth playing just to see it, calling it gaming's equivalent to Plan 9 from Outer Space. Days Gone on the other hand is a much more competently designed game with a more grounded protagonist but comes off as just another open world game and the protagonist is still unlikable but not in an interesting way.
  • To Super Eyepatch Wolf, Riverdale went through this in reverse, complete with an appearance of his version of the graph in the page image: he describes the first season, which is mostly just a teen drama with names taken from Archie Comics and has a fairly cohesive tone and a relatively grounded story, as kind of generic and boring, while the later seasons, featuring multiple Serial Killers, multiple Cults at the same time, a haunted Dungeons & Dragons book, mystery illnesses, a cult leader building a space rocket to escape the FBI, a teacher diving through a window, Archie becoming a vigilante, Jughead seemingly dying but actually not and the phrase "Cheryl Blossom, Queen of the Bees," are such an unhinged mess of disparate, incoherent elements that it becomes ironically fascinating to watch.
  • GmanLives's second review of the dating sim Together BnB.
    ...with a whole bunch of new features added in, which ironically has made the game worse. I mean, when you improve something that's so bad that it's good but not enough that it makes it good, well... then it just becomes bad.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens In-Universe in the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Wacky Deli". Rachel Bighead hires Rocko, Heffer, and Filbert to create the worst possible show ever (the aforesaid "Wacky Deli") in an effort to get out of her contract with the studio. At one point, Rachel just put a static jar of mayonnaise on-screen for ten minutes, and followed that up with an episode consisting of ten minutes of exposed film. All of her efforts to sabotage Wacky Deli just make it more popular. However, an off-hand suggestion from Rocko has Rachel employ some Reverse Psychology: Rachel decides to actually put thought and effort into "Wacky Deli", at which point the show is swiftly canceled and Rachel is freed from her contract like she wanted.
  • The original Biker Mice from Mars series' dub became popular in Finland because it was filled with Double Entendres and overall silliness. When the new series started airing in Finland, fans weren't happy with its new toned-down dialogue.
  • Super Friends is notorious for being, at times, aggressively anti-logical. The incoherent plots and ridiculously cookie-cutter nature of the characters is what makes it fun to watch. So when the show was retooled in the mid-eighties, well, it just wasn't as much fun anymore. The show was still bad, but now it was just generically bad like any other '80s cartoon. No more plots about Brainiac trying to steal the world's supply of credit. No more Aquaman accidentally destroying the entire Asian Pacific seaboard and using the same "Oh no!" tone of voice he uses when Gleek makes a stupid joke. No more crazy feminists mind-controlling all the women in the world into turning men into data on microchips. It just wasn't the same.
  • The original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! had bad dialogue, low quality animation, bad jokes, ridiculous plots and motivations for the "monster", and that memorable line "I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for You Meddling Kids." So even when aired years after the time it's set in, it was considered fun to watch. But then multiple remakes came along, removing those charming aspects and making subsequent series/features a lot less fun, though certain iterations of the franchise, namely Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island and Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, have managed to strike a good balance between Narm Charm and legitimately well-made aspects that fans generally appreciate.
  • This is considered the reason why the "Red Sky" Retool seasons for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) flopped. All the goofiness and stupidity of the '80s cartoon was removed... and what we got was a generic mid-'90s action cartoon that took itself too seriously.
  • A good chunk of Masters of the Universe fans take this view towards more modern interpretations. The 80s cartoon was a near-platonic ideal of the stupid '80s toy show, with its thick Ho Yay, flatly ridiculous plots, and lovably pathetic villains. The reboots, such as the comics or the 1990s series, remove as much of this as possible... and the result is a generic piece of Sword and Sorcery about a very serious generic muscle dude with a sword fighting a very serious generic Evil Overlord, only everyone still has names like Stinkor and Fisto. By comparison, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power manage to take elements of the original series and turn them into more character- and Myth Arc-driven series that aren't afraid to reinvent and have fun with their sillier aspects, and both were far more successful as a result.
  • The original 1984 Transformers features ridiculous plots like Megatron trying to knock the moon out of its orbit so that he can flood a canyon or Optimus Prime playing basketball, Megatron and Starscream act Like an Old Married Couple, and the animation is more frequently Off-Model than not. The end result is an absurd and often stupid cartoon that many remember fondly. Later works in the franchise that try to pull directly from the cartoon like the Dreamwave comics, Deviations, and Wings of Honor tend to get fairly lukewarm responses, as they usually end up bland instead of hilariously corny while also never getting mature, boundary-pushing, and dramatic enough to compare with other Darker and Edgier entries like the Marvel/IDW comics, Animated, or Prime.
  • The animation style of The Simpsons has evolved quite a lot over the seasons, with the early years marking a rough, experimental feel as they figured out what worked and what didn't, and streamline the process. Later seasons have much cleaner character designs and crisper animation, but many fans felt something was missing from the experimental charm of the series that had few rules.

    Real Life 
  • The takeover of Czech automaker Škoda by Volkswagen led to their cars becoming actually good. It was annoying for budding comedians, as suddenly Škoda jokes didn't work. (Well, other than the ones in the adverts that went "It's a Škoda. Honest.")
  • "Ken Lee", a mondegreen of Mariah Carey's cover of the Badfinger song "Without You", as sung by Valentina Hasan, was an Internet meme, almost in the sense of a reverse Buffalax. But much of the fun was lost as the singer worked to correct her pronunciation, as seen in the live performance. The So Bad, It's Good silliness was lost, and it became So Okay, It's Average.
  • This becomes a problem as cities gentrify and the longtime residents start to resent things like the higher rents and ridiculously yuppie-like newcomers — even though their quality of life has also improved and there is a lot more to see and do than there was before (provided they can still afford to live there at all). This is most evident with New York's Times Square, which was cleaned up in The '90s under Rudy Giuliani and became a tourist hotspot, but which in earlier days was a seedy haven for porn theaters in the mid-to-late 60s to the early 90s.
  • This is an occasional phenomenon in sports, as teams that have struggled for a long time which finally turn the corner attract new fans who know nothing of the charm (and masochism) of supporting the team in the old days. It's most egregious with European Football Leagues, as the relative lack of financial controls compared to leagues in, say, North America leads to a team that hits the absolute top echelon, tending to stay there for a long time. While most people today can't even remember a time when a club like Manchester United wasn't a contender, some fans do complain that "[t]hey've taken the uncertainty out of it," and it's just not as fun if most games are near-automatic victories.

This page was awesome... until everyone in this wiki started improving it. Now this page sucks.

Alternative Title(s): I Liked It Better When It Sucked