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Writers Suck

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"You think I've sold out?
Dead right I've sold out!
I just keep waiting for the right offer
Comfortable quarters, regular rations
24-hour Five Star room service
And if I'm honest, I like the lady
I can't help being touched by her folly
I'm treading water, taking the money
Watching her sun set... Well, I'm a writer!"
Sunset Boulevard, from The Musical of the same name

Any portrayal of Hollywood in TV or film is going to feature a lot of jokes at the expense of the writers of the Show Within a Show, or writers in general.

Note that this doesn't apply to the product (which may or may not be any good); merely the people writing it, who will be portrayed as undercompensated butt monkeys laboring in dismal quarters under a lot of Executive Meddling and perhaps a touch of Writer's Block.

This partly stems from a perception that in Show Business, writers really are frequently at the bottom of the creative totem pole; they might write the words on the page, but the executives will tell them what to leave in or take out before the work even gets to the production phase, the director (often, in the world of film, considered the "auteur" ultimately responsible for everything) will freely re-write, rework or drop material when filming, the actors will ad-lib or creatively reinterpret the lines, and so forth. This, naturally, tends to produce both self-deprecating humor and bitter resentment on part of the writers, which tends to consequently crop up in their work. Some of this was Truth in Television in The Golden Age of Hollywood, though since the start of The Hays Code demanded a complete script to be submitted for approval, producers generally backed writers and their vision over other suggestions, and directors and actors generally struggled to invest emotional truth in hackneyed lines and cliches which they couldn't change even if they wanted to.

A subtrope of this, somewhat frequent in literature especially, pokes fun at actors, artists or, yes, writers — basically anybody whose primary means of support comes from the "production" of creative expression rather than a truly tangible, practical product. The effect can be anywhere from genuinely humorous, satirical or simply a light-hearted jab to full-blown anvilicious, especially if one stops to think of how on Earth the author got rich and famous in the first place, or indeed the very medium and method said anvilicious message is sent across. Bear in mind also that Most Writers Are Writers and within Hollywood then and now, screenwriters at times to be ignorant or dismissive of the more technical aspects of film-making and the work done by actors to prepare for their parts. There is a reason why this trope generally focuses on the frustrations of writers rather than that of the art director, cinematographer and the editor or other people involved in the collaborative work of theatre and radio.

Sort of a reverse version of This Loser Is You. Compare Biting-the-Hand Humor and Who Writes This Crap?!; contrast Take That, Audience! and Straw Critic. A form of Self-Deprecation, obviously — the writers wrote that writer-bashing script, of course. That also makes it Creator Career Self-Deprecation. Harpo Does Something Funny is what happens when writers concede that part of the script is best served when left in the hands of actors or artists. In the music world, it's bass players and drummers who get a similarly bad rap.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the anime version of Excel♡Saga Excel is given the mission of killing the creator of the manga the show is based on. While sneaking up on him he cheerfully sings to himself "La la la, manga artists are the scum of the Earth".
    • In the first episode, no less. The living Reset Button gave Excel quite a lecture afterward. This didn't stop her from doing it again.
  • Shigure in Fruits Basket. His poor editor is the real Butt-Monkey, though.
  • Sana's mother in Kodocha

    Comic Books 
  • The first book of Górsky & Butch starts with a SWAT team arresting the authors (most of them getting re-drawn into ducks in the process). It turns out the comic lacks sense and the heroes spend the rest of the comic looking for it.
  • In Preacher there's a one-off joke about Amy's ex-boyfriend, a writer, who wrote a horror novel called Razorville based on what she told him about the puberty and sexuality of girls. She hates it so much that she dumps him, and advises Tulip never to date a writer, because Writers Suck. And yes, that phrase actually IS included.
  • Example from Metal Men: Douglas, Robot Hunter (actually a brain-damaged TV star) muses about writers: over-weight, bearded, foul-smelling men (and one really cute girl with glasses) locked away in a cramped little room, writing overblown dialogue and preposterous storylines.
  • The Free Comic Book Day 2015 Doctor Who comic had a story about a free comic that took over people's minds. The Doctor deduces that the story itself is an intelligent life form invading the Earth, and forces it into a corporeal form, where it pleas that it has to be read or how will it know if it's any good?
    Alice: Doctor... underneath all the world-conquering, he's...
    The Doctor: The most pathetic, pitiful creature in the universe. A writer.
  • Ex Machina has Author Avatars of writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Tony Harris appear in the comic. Harris and another character talk about how a comic writer's only contribution is "putting words in the bubbles," yet gets top billing because "it's political."
  • The Mickey Mouse Comic Universe has Mortimer Mouse as a script writer for in-universe tv series and films. His scripts are horrible as his personality:
    • When Moffetta, the writer of the long-running detective series "Bolton", disappeared, the producer, unwilling to renounce to his Cash-Cow Franchise, searched for replacements and ended up hiring Mickey as the main writer and Mortimer as his assistant-except Mortimer never watched an episode and needed Mickey to explain him what the series was about. Mortimer then uses his influence on the producer to alter Mickey's scripts in nonsensical ways until Mickey quits and decides to go searching for Moffetta to save the show, the main actor leaves the show after reading Mortimer's first solo script (Mortimer promptly casts himself as Bolton and gives the character superpowers), and the target audience (adults to whom the sponsor sell watches, aftershaves and other adult products) to leave and be replaced by kids who love his nonsensical plots. Too bad for "Bolton" that Moffetta had faked his disappearance because he, the main actor and the director were sick of the series and were trying to kill it and replace it with a new adventure show, resulting in Mickey and friends helping them shoot the pilot and stream it at the same time Mortimer's first episode is broadcast, stealing his audience-and finally getting the already furious sponsors to cancel the series after the last episode paid-in which Mortimer's Bolton is exposed as an impostor and accidentally kidnapped by a Martian robot previously introduced by Mortimer.
    • The "Darkenblot" saga has him as the writer of the movie retelling the events of the second story. The movie is a terrifying Cliché Storm that prompts Mickey to repeatedly ask Minnie who was the writer (she had said it was a friend of hers) and, once he found out, remark he recognized his style... And Phantom Blot to swear revenge for his portrayal in this movie (something he had not done with the first one). Still, most people liked it because it was that bad, and Minnie loved it-because Mortimer accepted her suggestion to add her to the story as an Action Girl, and turned police officer Neve, the main female character in the actual story, in an evil robot as extra ass-kissing.
  • The Marvel Comics supervillain Thundersword was originally nerdy TV writer Stewart Caldwell, whose design was based off Steve Gerber. Caldwell was angry at Executive Meddling with his scripts when he was imbued with power by the Beyonder. The pretentious Caldwell was turned into a "hero" of his own devising and set out to crusade against the "mediocrity" of the world, leading him to fight against Captain America and Iron Man.

    Eastern Animation 
  • In Film, Film, Film, the writer gets several writer's blocks and then his writings are edited so much that these are unrecognizable compared to his original intentions. Later he attempts to commit suicide but is ultimately saved by the film's positive reception.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Federico Fellini's (which is co-written by him), shows how directors see writers. Directors will come up with fantastic ideas and characterization but the writer will tell him it's not as interesting as he thinks, it's too cliche, and it makes zero psychological sense. Eventually Guido has a fantasy of the writer being hanged.
  • Played with in Adaptation.. Yes, there are a lot of meta elements and oddities, but none of those make the on-screen Charlie Kaufman any less pathetic.
  • In Bowfinger, the writer is at the very bottom of the lead actress' campaign to sleep her way to the top. It's an old Hollywood joke: "There was an actress who was so dumb, she slept with the writer."
  • In Shadow of the Vampire, the vampire Max Schrek eats the cinematographer for Nosferatu. The director yells at him ("We needed him!"), demanding that Schrek not eat the rest of the crew. Schrek then muses, "I don't think we need the writer." The director dares him to, saying that Schreck would have to explain how his character gets to Bremen if he does so.
    Roger Ebert: Schreck muses aloud, "I do not think we need . . . the writer . . ." Scenes like this work as inside comedy, but they also have a practical side: The star is hungry, and because he is the star, he can make demands. This would not be the first time a star has eaten a writer alive.
  • In King Kong (2005), Jack Driscoll is quartered in a cage on the ship to Skull Island. Although this is at least partly because he was tricked into the voyage by the director and they didn't have any other accommodation for him.
  • In Shakespeare in Love, William Shakespeare (of all people) gets this treatment. He starts giving the actors a rousing speech on how great his new play Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter will be, when somebody asks the theatre owner who he is. The owner replies, "Nobody. Just the writer."
    • The DVD commentary track reveals that what made the character of Shakespeare really come together for the scriptwriters was the realisation that he was, first and foremost, a writer and could therefore be assumed to be exactly like themselves: "broke, horny and desperate for an idea."
  • In 2012, the lead character is depicted as a total loser living in a house filled with thousands of copies of an unsold novel. His wife left him and his kids hate him, but he is completely vindicated after the End of World partly thanks to his book being the last novel on Earth, and partly because his ex's new husband got himself killed trying to save his family.
  • In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Harmony ignores a writer who says his work was all fiction, because, "What did he know? He was just a writer."
  • Ben Geisler from Barton Fink thinks so. He once advised Barton Fink to find a writer to consult by throwing a rock hard; he will hit one. Barton Fink himself is an arrogant, self-righteous writer who is very far removed from the "common man" he supposedly admires.
  • Twice Upon a Time features a sympathetic version. Synonamess Botch treats his head nightmare writer, Scuzzbopper, like garbage, constantly belittling him. At one point, he introduces him with "That's Scuzzbopper. He's nobody, he's a writer." On top of all that, Botch drives poor Scuzzy to attempted suicide (and later a Heel–Face Turn) by throwing out the manuscript for the "great A-Murk-ian novel" he was writing.
  • Christian in Moulin Rouge! is hopelessly naive and excessively romantic — the perfect sap for the worldly Satine's hustle, except that she harbors a softer side of her own. Since the whole film is an extended flashback written by Christian himself, the audience can see him despising and pitying his younger self's innocence.
  • Inverted in Deadpool (2016). The Credits Gag pokes fun at the actors, the characters they portray, the director, and even the producers. It treats the writers with respect, though, calling them "The Real Heroes Here." Even better, this gag didn't come from the writers, it was the special effects team who were just using this as placeholder credits until they knew who was going to be involved, but when people saw it they decided what was written for each one was perfectly on-point for Deadpool.
    • Played straight in the credits for Deadpool 2 where the writers are listed as "The Real Villains" as part of an extended gag where the credits are a series of outraged reactions to Vanessa being killed off in the pre-credits scene.
  • Played for Laughs in The Man Who Invented Christmas, as Charles Dickens argues about his own importance in the writing of A Christmas Carol. The argument is with his own characters. And he loses.
  • In The Squid and the Whale, the two parents are both writers as well as selfish, neglectful jerks. Their teen son Walt seems to aspire to follow in their footsteps, as he often airs pretentious, Know-Nothing Know-It-All-type opinions about literature and is a jerk to his girlfriend.

  • Isaac Asimov:
    • In his Black Widowers mysteries, Asimov loves to have the character Emmanuel Rubin insult him, mocking Asimov's conceit. One of the stories also had a mention of Lester del Rey, and Rubin says, "Never heard of him." Rubin was based on Del Rey.
    • In the George and Azazel stories, George spends much of his time running down the (unnamed) narrator's profession. The narrator is a writer (and in the introduction to the anthology, Asimov admits that the unnamed author is indeed himself).
  • Don Quixote: Gines de Pasamonte: An ungrateful galley slave whom Don Quixote frees. Gines is a cynical bandit, thief, swindler and picaresque writer. Also, he's a Master of Disguise
  • In The Dark Tower, the characters meet Stephen King himself. The man is portrayed as a lazy, drunken jerk. Subverted in that the Stephen King writing the current novel is older, and has gotten over his alcohol and drug problems, though he's still portrayed as dangerously lazy to the main characters, who need him to keep writing so they can save the multiverse. Much Mind Screw ensues.
  • P. G. Wodehouse never quite ventured into "writers suck" territory, but he made several jokes at their expense, mostly references as to how loony all writers are.
    • In one instance he noted that poets were the most carefree, happy-go-lucky fellows alive... in contrast to their writings, which were invariably somber or morose.
    • In one of his short stories about Hollywood, "The Castaways", screenwriters are portrayed as random people who were tricked into signing a contract; the process is compared to impressment.
    • The short story "The Clicking of Cuthbert" features narcissistic Russian novelist Vladimir Brusiloff, who has this to say of his competitors:
      "No novelists any good except me. Sovietski—yah! Nastikoff—bah! I spit me of zem all. No novelists anywhere any good except me. P.G. Wodehouse and Tolstoi not bad. Not good, but not bad. No novelists any good except me."
  • In The Lost Fleet series, Captain Desjani remarked once that she considered becoming a literary agent rather than a Fleet officer ... but "taking that job would have meant I had to work with writers, and you know what they're like."
  • The major sub-plot of Dan Simmon's Drood is seeing just how much of a jackass Charles Dickens can be to the people around him.
  • In The Godfather an author of a best-selling novel visits Hollywood, expecting VIP treatment. He is promptly humiliated.
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pierre Gringoire is a total failure as a writer, and also weak and cowardly (though still sympathetic.)
  • British statesman Lord Chesterfield wrote in Letters to His Son: "I do not find that God has made you a poet; and I am very glad that he has not". Of course, he had not exactly planned to publish these letters.
    • In a certain way, this: "What can be more adorned than Cicero's Philosophical Works? What more than Plato's? It is their eloquence only that has preserved and transmitted them down to us through so many centuries; for the philosophy of them is wretched, and the reasoning part miserable." (letter 200)
  • Arguably the main theme of The Silkworm - given how many grudges there apparently are in the London writer's community, it's a surprise there's only one murder. One such author notes that if you want a profession with lifelong camaraderie, you should join the army and learn to kill people; if you want all your contemporaries to hate your guts, write novels.
    Robin: We can't all be literary geniuses.
    Strike: Thank Christ for that, from all I'm hearing about them.
  • The Mark and the Void has a lot of fun with this one. One of the main characters, Paul, an unsuccessful novelist, is a loser and Con Man with almost no moral scruples. Meanwhile, his colleagues are incredibly pretentious and self-absorbed and are comically oblivious to Paul's schemes.
  • Slaughterhouse-Five has Kilgore Trout is a complete failure as a writer. His only fan, Eliot Rosewater (who introduces Billy to his work) says that Trout deserves his obscurity, because while his ideas are great, his execution is terrible. Also at the start of the book Kurt Vonnegut pokes fun at his many failed attempts to make his "famous Dresden novel".
  • Agent to the Stars: Tom explains the difference between net and gross points. "Gross" is a share of the film's income, "net" of its profits. However, creative studio accounting can make profits of almost any size disappear for tax purposes, meaning that net points are only ever offered to "the gullible, the desperate and the screenwriters".
  • Yellowface:. June Hayward, the protagonist, takes an unfinished draft of a novel from her deceased successful friend, rewrites it, and passes it as her own. On top of that, since the book is about Chinese laborers during WWI, her publisher repackages her as Juniper Song (her real first and middle names due to Hippie Parents). She does not claim to be Chinese-American, but she does little to correct whoever assumes she is.

    Live Action TV 
  • Averted in Californication, in which all the writers who appear as characters are at least successful, even if they're depicted as talentless hacks.
  • Averted awesomely in Friends. In the sitcom, Joey is making a lot of money in his acting job in the soap opera Days Of Our Lives - until he makes the mistake of giving an interview in which he says he writes all of his own lines. Needless to say, the real writers get pissed, and they kill off Joey's character in the Show Within the Show, and Joey loses his brand new apartment, all his expensive furniture, and is forced to move back in with Chandler.
  • Growing Pains: In an episode where Ben went to his room and was transported to a universe where he was an actor named Jeremy Miller. The executive producer was a god-like disembodied voice that everyone feared. When it came time to do his job:
    Ben: I can't act.
    Production Assistant: So what? The writers can't write.
  • Private Practice once featured a writer who beat her child when she was in pain or had trouble writing. Further, before this was proven, Sam tries to defend the lady and get this reply from Cooper: "Why, because she's a writer? There's a group of historically stable people!"
  • CSI Classic, in its Hollywood Sitcom episode ("Two and a Half Deaths") featured this.
  • Supernatural:
    • An early episode features the set of a Hollywood horror movie being plagued by ghosts, and features this trope. The cause of the haunting was the writer of the movie, who was really ticked off at the producer who tinkered with his script. No, really.
    • Another episode has them meet a man, Chuck, who has written trashy novel versions of all the episodes. When it's not attacking fangirls, the author is apologizing for the poor writing of some of the stories (which the brothers, and the audience, actually lived through).
    • Taking this even further, the season five finale (and could-have-been series finale) hints that Chuck is actually God, acting In Mysterious Ways. And then the post-script seasons reveal that yes, he is God, but he's still just a cosmically-powerful hack writer whose "failed drafts" are entire parallel universes. And he abandoned all of them once they ceased to entertain him. And all the misery the main cast has gone through is nothing but his idea of a gripping TV show.
    Dean: "God" writes paperback books. In his underwear.
  • In the Boy Meets World "Hollywood Episode", Eric finds himself on a set of what is clearly supposed to be Boy Meets World, and the writers are shown as small children.
  • The writers working under head writer Liz Lemon in 30 Rock seem to mostly be lazy, childish goof-offs (with the possible exception of Toofer). And Liz herself is a "socially retarded" neurotic mess.
  • In the short-lived series Action, the writer of the movie being made is portrayed as pathetic and wimpy.
  • In "Yes, Virginia, There Is A Hercules", one of the many Formula Breaking Episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys based on the idea that Hercules is currently living in modern LA under the name Kevin Sorbo, the writers were portrayed as twitchy losers who were expected to sleep in the studio. For added Self-Deprecation, they were actually named after the writers of the episode, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
  • On iCarly, the writers of the show that ripped off iCarly were portrayed very negatively.
  • The Monkees episode "Dance, Monkee, Dance" showed Micky going backstage to ask the writers of the show (portrayed as a group of ancient, bearded Asian men) to solve the problem the band was facing. He subsequently throws out the new script, complaining, "Man, this is terrible; those guys are really overpaid."
  • Averted in Castle; Richard Castle is charming, charismatic, in control and a pretty cool guy, all things considered. He is a bit of a vain, goofy milquetoast who tends to be the butt of the joke from the more down-to-earth cops he works with, but on the whole we're clearly supposed to find him a pretty likable and well-adjusted guy.
  • JAG: In season 4’s "War Stories", Admiral Chegwidden while on leave gets persuaded by a Hollywood producer to act as technical advisor on the movie “Fields of Gold” which is a navy-themed action adventure with a court-martial. Chegwidden tells the producer that he'd like to talk to the writer while we see that he's attached quite a few post-it notes to the script.
  • Red Skelton constantly took jabs at his writers on the air, which came off as playful, teasing jokes; but as it turns out, Red really didn't like using writers (the sponsors insisted on it, whereas he would have preferred to write his own material) and most were treated rather poorly. One exception was Johnny Carson, whose writing credits on The Red Skelton Show were among his earliest accomplishments. Johnny would later tell about writing jokes for Red's monologue with the characters of Gertrude and Heathcliff - two seagulls.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Act Break", Maury Winkler and Harry are a pair of middle-aged writers who have written 17 unsuccessful plays in 22 years. Each one took six months to a year to write but most of them closed after only one night and none of them got anywhere near Broadway. They are two months behind on the rent for their filthy, cramped office and the landlord is threatening to throw them out.
  • Mr. Mayor has Jayden Kwapis, who's supposed to be the political communications expert but is actually clueless about messaging, plagiarizes lines, and recycles speeches. He's also socially awkward and disliked by his colleagues.

  • Opening line of Indie-band Divorcee's song "Writer"
    "Hear you shacked up with a writer, have you lost all common sense?"

    New Media 
  • Deconstructed in a column by novelist and comic book writer Peter David, titled appropriately enough, "Why Writers Are Scum".
  • A Running Gag on The Post Atomic Horror, where the hosts, two comedy writers, express nothing but revulsion over Jake Sisko's writing career, characterizing him as a lazy and pretentious hack. They frequently admit they are projecting.

    Newspaper Comics 

  • An old joke about a Brainless Beauty who decides to sleep her way to the top in order to become a starlet... and fails, because she chooses a writer to sleep with.

    Puppet Shows 

  • In Old Harry's Game, Satan claims that all writers end up in Hell, as they not only lead bad lives but spend all their time imagining other ones.


    Theme Parks 
  • Amongst the Easter Eggs hidden around the gift shop outside Muppet*Vision 3D in Walt Disney World is a sign giving "The Five Laws of Show Biz". The first is that the star is always right; the second is that the audience is always right; the third is a Long List of everyone else who's always right (from the producer to "the guy with the green broom"); the fourth is that the writer is always wrong; and the final one is that there's no such thing as net profits, but don't tell the writers that.

    Video Games 
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, Deb of Night and one of her guests viciously trash another guest, who dared fancying himself a writer. Another amateur writer is the target of a side quest, which involves his screenplay (on which he worked all his life) destroyed and his "muse" either killed or chased out of town.
  • Team Fortress 2: The blog post detailing how the "Meet the Sandvich" video came about explains that their draft was the script of Predator with the script of Roadhouse 1989 in the middle. When this was rejected, the entire video was improvised by the voice actors, and the only lines added by the writers were stolen from those two films and The Simpsons. In another post, the writers had apparently gone missing, though it been a week before anyone noticed.
  • Averted in Dragon Age, where Varric is a popular writer whose crime serials are widely read across the entire continent. Not unlike the Castle example in television, Varric is depicted as suave, genteel, and almost universally well-liked, and his writing career is not mocked but generally admired. In Dragon Age: Inquisition, asking Josephine for her opinion of him leads to her confiding that he let her have a sneak peek at his latest story; "My friends would be sick with envy if they knew!"
  • In Pokémon Masters, whenever James hits maximum level, he will say, "No one can stop us now! Not even the writers!"
  • Skullgirls: At the beginning of Annie's Story Mode, Annie and her producer Florence are talking about how Annie's Show Within the Show's ratings are starting to tank. Annie complains that the writers are just "phoning it in" citing the last Monster of the Week, a coffee table monster. Florence points out that part of the problem is that Annie is no longer as involved in the show's production as she used to be.

    Web Comics 
  • Narbonic:
    Event Organizer: Finally, all our grant recipients in one room! Allow me to introduce you to one another! This is Arthur, the hypertext poet... Ruby is a physicist who does innovative work with lasers... and Mike is a cartoonist.
    Artie and Ruby back away from Mike
    Ruby: Um, no offense.
    Mike: 'Sokay. I get it all the time.
  • Penny Arcade: "The Parasite" features a Chatty Hairdresser surprised that you can write for a webcomic and yet still be considered as being employed. Gabriel (the comic's artist) agrees.
    Tycho: I make a webcomic.
    Hairdresser: I don't know what that is. Is that like a Webtoon?
    Tycho: In a lot of ways, yeah.
    Gabriel: He doesn't even make it. He just writes it.
    Hairdresser: What, just like, the words? That's a job?
    Gabriel: I know. It's crazy.

    Web Original 
  • "Nothing Like The Sun" characterizes the writers as pathetic, sexually frustrated creeps with an unachievable longing to become all-powerful, because they resent that as Puny Earthlings they lack any divine powers, and started writing fiction as a coping mechanism. They ultimately get what's coming to them by the hands of their own creation.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama, at an awards show:
    Bender: "They're giving out the minor technical awards. I think they're up to writing."
  • There were a few stabs at the writing team in The Simpsons episode where Bart and Lisa wrote episodes for Itchy and Scratchy with Grandpa's name on them.
    Roger Myers, Jr.: Alright, leeches! Listen up! I've brought in a new writer and he's got something you can't get with your fancy college degrees: life experience.
    Writer: Actually, I wrote my thesis on life experience and I found tha-
    • In another episode, a writer suggests that the viewers aren't morons and gets fired.
    • From the Poochie episode:
      Roger Myers: The rest of you start writers thinking up a name for this funky dog; I dunno, something along the line of, say... Poochie, only more proactive. [Leaves]
      Writer: So, Poochie okay with everyone?
      • The commentaries mention that the looks of the writers in that scene are all based on the show's actual writing staff.
    • Also from the Poochie episode, verging on Who Writes This Crap?!:
      Marge: It's not your fault, Homer. It's those lousy writers. They make me madder than a... yak in heat!
    • In general, a running theme in episodes involving Itchy and Scratchy is that the moment the writers can't rely on the Strictly Formula plot of "Itchy murders Scratchy in a creative way" (for example, adding a new character or not using over-the-top violence), the result is something completely unwatchable.
    • Earlier episodes enjoyed making fun of the fact most of the staff were Harvard Alums.
    • In another episode, Marge doesn't want Homer going out to the annual chili cook-off, because every year he goes, as she puts it, he gets "drunk as a poet on payday."
  • In an episode of Pinky and the Brain taking place in the mid-forties, Brain takes Pinky to the radio station, and teaches Pinky of the several Chekhov's Guns they will be using in the episode. When Pinky asks "And who are those guys chained to a wall nobody cares about?", Brain answers "Nobody important, just the writers".
    • In another episode, the Brain hires some Hollywood writers and tells them to write a movie in which he takes over the world, but this is because he's running out of ideas for Evil Plans and needs some inspiration. It turns out that the only ideas the writers can come up with are either completely moronic or things he's already tried before, not that these are mutually exclusive. The moral of the episode?
      Brain: "I am forced to conclude that there isn't a single original writer in Hollywood."
  • In Sheep in the Big City, a recurring character is the show's writer, who happens to be an obese bald man in his underwear, who is most commonly shown in an asylum on a tire swing.
  • The South Park spoof of Family Guy, where the jokes are written by manatees moving balls labeled with random words around in their tanks to create the cut-aways.
  • An entire episode of Sealab 2021 was based around the show's actual creators and the show's characters filming an episode. Both groups were portrayed as being ... special.
  • Seth Green, Matthew Senreich and the other creators/writers often appear in Robot Chicken, often being horribly abusive and/or abused. A Running Gag is for [adult swim] Vice President Keith Crofford to come on the show at the end of a season and cancel it for sucking.
  • Comes up a lot in season 5 of BoJack Horseman, mostly with Flip McVicker, an alleged auteur writer who creates the dark, complex, and powerful drama Philbert—except that Philbert is less gritty than it is sexist and melodramatic, not to mention frequently incoherent, and Flip is very clearly out of his depth from day one. Word of God is that the writers realised they'd satirised every other part of the television production process up til this point and thought it would come off self-congratulatory if writers were the only people spared. This also happens to be the season where Diane—one of the most generally reasonable members of the cast—ends up living on her own, and on a writer's paycheck, conditions are very not good.
  • The writers are a very easy target on Tiny Toon Adventures. In "Hare Raising Night", when Bugs Bunny gives Buster his assignment he tells him, Mission Impossible style, "And remember, if dis assignment isn't funny, Warner Bros. will disavow all knowledge of dis episode and blame da writers."