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    Straw Critic 
Basic Trope: An obnoxiously subjective critic.
  • Straight: Carl the critic only likes art films, and will dismiss everything popular aimed at a mass market audience as Lowest Common Denominator garbage.
  • Exaggerated: Carl only gives good reviews to art films that are incomprehensible and ridiculously angsty. He'll praise anything that meets this description even if it's just pretentious nonsense, and bash all other movies without even bothering to watch them first. If you dare to say that you like one of them because you prefer understanding what's going on and not getting Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy, he'll go on a long rant about how you're a low-life idiot who just wants power fantasies. On top of that, he doesn't even enjoy art movies — he just pretends to because he thinks it makes him look smart and classy.
  • Downplayed: Carl likes to nitpick small flaws while ignoring the big picture, but he's not that bad otherwise.
  • Justified: Some sleazy art film directors bribe Carl to write positive reviews.
  • Inverted:
    • Carl is perfectly objective.
    • Carl only likes popular stuff aimed at the Lowest Common Denominator, and dismisses everything else as garbage.
  • Subverted: In the first season, Carl consistently gives superhero movies low grades. It turns out that these movies really do suck.
  • Double Subverted: However, he later bashes well-written popular movies for stupid reasons.
  • Parodied:
    • Carl accidentally watches a popular movie he bashed without seeing firsthand. He gushes about it... until someone tells him what it really was and he suddenly tries to pretend his praise was sarcastic the whole time.
    • Carl judges movies based on something ridiculously arbitrary, like whether peanut butter appears in it.
  • Zig Zagged: Carl is sometimes fair and sometimes very biased.
  • Averted: Carl has a few biases, but doesn't let them impact his reviews.
  • Enforced: The series is popular among viewers, but not critics. The executives tell the writers to add a Take That, Critics! moment to make viewers feel better about liking the show.
  • Lampshaded: "Skip Carl's review of Super Trope-Tan. It's just a long rant about how everyone should watch those incomprehensible art films instead."
  • Invoked:
  • Exploited: Art film distributors send review copies to Carl because they know they can count on him giving glowing reviews.
  • Defied: Carl only reviews art films because he knows he's too biased against everything else.
  • Discussed: "Do you read reviews before going to the movies?" "Nah. I've heard that they're mostly pretentious hipsters complaining about our favourite movies not being 'avant-garde' enough."
  • Conversed: "Why do people on that show even read the reviews by that pretentious douche critic?"
  • Implied: Alice visits Rotten Tomatoes from time to time, and notices that Carl tends to give good grades to art films and low grades to mainstream films.
  • Deconstructed:
    • The newspaper Carl writes for fires him because they got a flood of complaints about his reviews: they're too biased to help anyone decide whether a movie is worth seeing, and too pretentious to be fun to read.
    • The show examines why critics are sometimes disliked, perceived as elitist, etc: Writers obviously don't enjoy it when a critic tears apart something they worked hard on. For audience members, watching some bash a work they enjoyed and maybe even meant something to them is not fun. Another factor is that the taste of critics doesn't always match that of the general public — critics tend to be more sensitive to clichés due to frequent exposure to them, and thus tend to appreciate experimental works. This can lead to them being seen as elitist — members of the general public who aren't tired of the clichés may think the experimental works are at best unnecessary "fixes" to something that wasn't broken, and at worst unfun, pretentious and self-indulgent.
  • Reconstructed: Carl finds a new job: writing for a magazine that caters to his fellow caricature snobs.
  • Played For Laughs: Carl's arguments are hilariously bad and frequently contradict each other.
  • Played For Drama: The main characters work at a film studio that's at risk of bankruptcy because people believe Reviews Are the Gospel and reject their perfectly fine films after reading Carl's biased reviews.

    Straw Editor 
Basic Trope: An editor who only exists to make a writer's life miserable.
  • Straight: Edith the editor rejects Author Alex's perfectly good ideas, forces him to dumb down his books to ridiculous degrees, demands absurd changes, and generally makes Alex's life miserable.
  • Exaggerated: Edith's "editing" ruins every book she touches, and somehow she still has a job.
  • Downplayed: Edith has made a few bad decisions and can come across as overly perfectionist, but she did have a positive effect on most of the books she edited.
  • Justified: Edith wants her publishing company to make more money, so she cares more about marketability than good stories.
  • Inverted:
    • Alex is a straw author who throws tantrums about his "artistic vision" being "corrupted" whenever Edith suggests reasonable changes that would make his terrible story less terrible.
    • Edith tries to minimize her meddling with Alex's ideas, and is portrayed positively for it.
  • Subverted: Alex releases a terrible book, and his fanbase is quick to blame Edith for ruining it with Executive Meddling. It turns out that she was Mis-blamed — the bad ideas were Alex's own.
  • Double Subverted: However, Edith's ideas for "improving" the book would've made it even worse.
  • Parodied: Edith clearly has no idea what Alex is trying to accomplish with his book, and tries to turn his Thriller into a Romantic Comedy. The result is So Bad, It's Good.
  • Zig-Zagged: Alex releases a terrible book and claims Edith forced him to add the unpopular elements. Edith says that the bad ideas were Alex's own, and that she just checked his spelling and grammar.
  • Averted: Edith is portrayed as reasonable, if flawed.
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: "How come Edith still has a job? The changes she makes are universally reviled."
  • Invoked: Edith deliberately sabotages Alex's book.
  • Exploited:
  • Defied: Edith is fired from her editing job.
  • Discussed: "I'd love to be an author, but I don't want to deal with editors ruining my stories..."
  • Conversed: (after watching a scene with Edith) "Gee, I wonder if the writers have had bad experiences with editors..."
  • Implied: The quality of Alex's books starts going downhill after Edith gets hired to edit them.
  • Deconstructed: The show examines and challenges negative views on editors — while it's true that they sometimes make mistakes, they're often right too. For every time an editor is rightfully called out for a change that worsened the story, there's at least one Small Name, Big Ego writer ranting about editors rejecting their unpublishable stories.
  • Played for Laughs: Edith contradicts herself all the time and keeps Moving the Goalposts. First she complains that the book is dull and needs more action. When Alex adds some action scenes, she complains that there's "too much mindless action". So Alex tries to add some Character Development, which makes Edith complain about the book having too much "sappy drama" and being "hard to follow"...
  • Played for Drama: Alex is an aspiring author who has just finished his first manuscript, but can't find anyone willing to publish it without completely butchering it first.


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