Follow TV Tropes


Web Video / Musical Hell

Go To
Greetings, mortals!
A Video Review Show created by Christi “The Diva” Esterle in 2012, Musical Hell is hosted by Diva, a demon With An F In Evil who has been shuffled off onto a small expansion shelf somewhere between the third and fourth circles of the Inferno. There, her job is to evaluate and punish the sins of the worst movie musicals ever created. The series posts once a month to RVT, RT Gomer Productions, and its own site.

Musical Hell runs in tandem with Know the Score, a Lighter and Softer companion piece that discusses soundtracks, film and stage musicals, theme songs, and any other form of “dramatic music” that happens to strike Diva’s fancy.

     Musicals on which Diva has passed judgement: 


Musical Hell provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accentuate the Negative: The series premise is identifying and punishing the “sins” of its subjects. Inverted with the “Saving Grace,” which highlights positive elements that shine out in spite of the rest of the film.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Diva will admit it from time to time. On a higher note, there are the "Saving Graces".
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The 2003 version of The Music Man gets sinned for failing to bring up a crucial bit of Marian's backstory that explains why she was willing to give Harold the benefit of the doubt.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The Lion King (2019) gets a sin for its depiction of Timon and Pumbaa - among Diva's other complaints about their portrayals, she notes that their cheerful hedonism is gutted in favor of a more nihilistic portrayal.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: In The Ten Commandments: The Musical, Diva implies she was cast out of Heaven due to participating in a rebellion while she was drunk.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Probably to be expected in this case.
  • All There in the Manual: In a response to a comment on her review of Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, Diva established that Musical Hell is located "on a small expansion shelf somewhere between the Third and Fourth Circles." Due to changing times, the Inferno has had to develop new space to accommodate modern sins like texting while driving, playing Face Hunter decks in Hearthstone, and of course, terrible musicals.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Before her review of Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, Diva justifies her "personal bias" with this trope:
    Diva: I'm a demon. I don't. Do. Fair.
  • Anachronism Stew: Diva notes this in her commentary of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Golden Films):
    Diva: Ahh, nothing says medieval Paris like mid-19th century can-can music... we're only one minute in, and already the costumes have gone through fifteen different time periods.
  • Anvilicious: Diva marked down Pennies from Heaven for this trope, noting that it hammered the contrast between the cheery 1930s popular songs and the backdrop of the Great Depression constantly, while noting that it said nothing of any substance about the era other than "everything sucks".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Diva doesn't take ripoff films very well.
  • Artistic License: In Phantom of the Paradise, when Swan is getting an inebriated Phoenix to sign a contract, Donna argues that the fact that Phoenix's aforementioned inebriation counts as being under duress, making said contract null and void. Diva counters that it's not like the movie would know that.
  • Ascended Demon: Donna implies at the end of the Portal 2 review that Diva might be able to go back to Heaven one day.
  • Badass Decay: invoked Diva cites Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street for this for adapting out Johanna's shooting Mr. Fogg.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Bigger on the Inside: From her Spice World review:
    "Even if these gals were Elvis, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Beyoncé and the opposition's kid all rolled into one, I still would not believe that's the inside of their bus, unless there's a Time Lord spice somewhere in the mix.
  • Big Red Devil: Diva is drawn as a female version of one. The Legends of Oz intro even notes all the characteristics that build the trope.
  • Bizarre Human Biology: In the review for Glitter, Diva makes the off-hand comment during the closing that the film "makes me sick to my three-and-a-half stomachs".
  • Broken Aesop:
    Diva: Also, the whole "violence is not the answer, music is the path to enlightenment" message is a bit incongruious for a franchise based on beating things up. I feel like this whole song was just a stop to the "Think of the Children!" crowd.
  • Broke the Rating Scale:
    • Diva admits that the pyramid scheme used to finance Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return was so heinous that "it was out of [her] jurisdiction" to sentence the producers the typical Cool and Unusual Punishment, instead sending them off to the Eighth Cirlce of Hell for a more "old-school" punishment.
    • Diva doesn't even dignify certain mockbuster films with a proper review, instead giving them a MST-style commentary. Why bother giving a thoughtful critique on something that isn't even trying to be good?
    • Home on the Range was the very first film to get a sin before it even began, due to its epic failure being a major cause of the decline of hand-drawn animation.
    • Arthur from Pennies From Heaven is the first single character to get two sins solely for sheer unintentional loathsomeness, and Diva straight-up calls him the most detestable lead character she's ever seen in a musical, including intentional Villain Protagonists such as the Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd.
  • Call-Back:
    • Diva brings up Pierce Brosnan's lack of singing talent, first touched upon in the Mamma Mia! review, a few times, notably in the Grease 2 review ("Ugh, it's like an entire chorus of Pierce Brosnans!"), as well as when she touches upon The Bee Gees' lack of acting prowess in the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band review.
    • During the Rock of Ages review, exactly ten episodes after her review of The Pirate Movie, Diva feels like she owes an apology towards the Pirate King and his attention-grabbing crotchpiece when she gets to Stacee Jaxx's introductory scene, in which he's seen with an even more outlandish crotchpiece.
    • Sometimes Diva will say something is the "worst * I've ever seen, and remember, I've seen this" Cue clip of a similar clip from a previous review.
  • Cast of Expies: Diva's second sin for Titanic: The Legend Goes On is for its cast of blatantly unoriginal characters.
  • Catchphrase: "Greetings Mortals, welcome to another session of the infernal court in Musical Hell~ I'm Diva, your judge, jury, executioner and— [title that relates to whatever musical she's reviewing]"
  • Caustic Critic: While she will give a musical credit in the form of Saving Graces if she likes something in it, and she's not as brutal as most, her angel counterpart Donna calls her out on being harsh towards certain musicals even if they're energetic and harmless.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: Well, infernal, not celestial - it is Hell, after all.
  • Christmas Episode: Six so far: Mame (though only one sequence/song in it involves the holiday, it's "Close enough for government work"), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — The Movie, The Swan Princess Christmas, The Nutcracker: The Untold Story, Christmas is Here Again and Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas.
  • Classically Trained Extra: One of the main sins of Spice World was its criminal misuse of a supporting cast far more talented than the leads, including Roger Moore, Richard E. Grant, Bob Hoskins, Meat Loaf, and Rocky Horror creator Richard O'Brien.
  • Cliché Storm: Burlesque jams in so many overused clichés that she lets the audience fill in the blanks.invoked
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Even outside the Infernal Court for Musicals - Diva says that High School Musical was only used in Hell to punish suicide bombers and texting while driving.
  • Creator Cameo:
  • Critical Research Failure: Diva points out that Pennies from Heaven tries to call the upbeat pop songs of the 1930s hypocritical due to being written amidst the hardships of The Great Depression, ignoring the quite obvious fact that many of them were written because people wanted some light relief to counterbalance those hardships.
  • Crossover:
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • The final line of Annie leads Diva to react with "Oh, for f" before "The Verdict" interrupts the profane tirade.
    • In the "crowd sourced recap of the original" in Tentacolino, DJ Soundbite ends it, and starts a "WHAT THE" before he is cut back to Diva.
    • At the beginning of the Portal 2: The (Unauthorized) Musical review, Diva wakes up with a massive hangover to discover Donna, her Musical Heaven counterpart, getting the review under way, and exclaims "WHAT THE F-" before Donna cuts her off with "Ah-ah-ah! Language, Diva darling!"
  • Dance Party Ending: At the end of the King and I episode, complete with Creator Cameo.
  • Dancing Bear: Diva accuses the 2013 stage adaptation of King Kong of being this, which she states "has one very large and impressive puppet to reccomend it, and absolutely nothing else."
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:
    • Diva marked down The Nutcracker in 3D for this, pointing out that the fantasy world was inexplicably more depressing than the real one... despite the fact that the film is set in central Europe right around the time the Nazis and other tyrannical governments were rising to power in real life.
    • She also looked down on Pennies from Heaven for this reason, calling it a "depressing, nihilistic slog" and even refusing to hand out her usual sentence at the end, reasoning that suffering through it was already punishment enough.
  • Dawson Casting: invoked Diva notes that Sextette tries and utterly fails to pretend that Mae West, who wrote the script and was eighty-five when it was released, is no older than her male co-stars. She calls the end results so disconnected from reality that it's painful to watch.
  • Deadpan Snarker: And how. Her MHTV videos shows Diva honoring this trope in full force.
  • Designated Hero:
  • Designated Villain:
    • Mentioned by trope name in respect to Benny the landlord from RENT, who is portrayed as a puppet of the corrupt establishment for wanting the heroes to pay him the rent they legitimately owe him.
    • Z-O-M-B-I-E-S features an example of this so blatant that it results in one of the few moments where Christi Esterle actually breaks character as Diva to call it out. After spending most of the film with zombie-hating humans as villains, the final antagonist ends up being a zombie-rights activist who plans to conduct a disruptive but by all appearances completely nonviolent demonstration in support of her cause; even the other zombies chide her for rocking the boat too much.
    • The Board of Governors in Jekyll & Hyde are treated as villains for being rich and snooty and cutting Jekyll's funding, believing his work to be dangerous. Diva is unamused; pointing out that their snobbishness is hardly their fault given that they've lived their entire lives in the elitist Victorian upper-crust, they're absolutely right that Jekyll's research is dangerous (we wouldn't have a plot if it wasn't!), and only one of them, a Pedophile Priest, actually does anything straight-up bad.
    • Keith in La La Land is treated as a sellout by his rival, the protagonist Sebastian (and seemingly the movie itself), simply because he prefers modern forms of jazz music, whereas Seb is a die-hard traditionalist.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Diva namechecks the former trope name, Twenty Minutes with Jerks in her review of Stage Fright, as an example of the trope done poorly.
  • Double Entendre: The ample use of it in Sextette annoys Diva so much she gives the film a sin.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male:
  • Downer Ending: Referenced in the De-Lovely review when Gabe asks Linda if she's ever seen a musical without a happy ending, implying the answer should be "No". An unamused Diva promptly cues a montage of the implication that the MC and several other characters die in Nazi concentration camps in Cabaret, Jean Valjean dying as Marius comforts a sobbing Cosette in Les Misérables, a grief-stricken Maria asking how many people she can kill with Chino's gun and still have one bullet left for herself in West Side Story, the crucified Jesus wailing "My God, why have you forgotten me?" in Jesus Christ Superstar, Christian crying over Satine's dead body in Moulin Rouge!, and Toby slitting a despairing Sweeney's throat as the latter cradles Lucy's dead body in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
    Diva: Ye-eah, I'm not exactly on board with your logic there, Gabey.
  • Dull Surprise:
    • Val Kilmer gets criticized for this in The Ten Commandments: The Musical, with Diva saying his performance is lacking the charisma and inner fire you'd expect from somebody like Moses.
    • David Hasselhoff receives criticism for this in Jekyll & Hyde, since he fails to give the emotional intensity that's pretty much required for the title characters.
    • In her review of The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Diva criticizes Emmy Rossum for failing to give Christine "more than two facial expressions".
    • Diva sins The Lion King (2019) for its CGI animals' lifeless expressions and minimal body language.
  • Ear Worm: The ones found in Mamma Mia! are especially vexing to Diva, as is “Wonderful Christmastime”, which turns up in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — The Movie.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Diva wasn't represented by her iconic Big Red Devil avatar in the earliest installments; instead, she spoke over a static image of John Martin's "Fallen Angels in Hell". She decides to make the switch in her review of Geppetto, and later lampshades this in her review of Tentacolino.
    • Diva is more haughty and superior-sounding in the first few installments, before her harried Punch-Clock Villain persona was established. Christi herself finds Diva being Ear Wormed with ABBA songs in Mamma Mia! a Establishing Character Moment for the way she wanted to go.
    • She notes in her commentary for Mamma Mia that this was before she introduced the "Saving Grace", otherwise she would have put "Slipping Through My Fingers" in that category.
  • Elvis Impersonator: Refers to herself as a copyright friendly Elvis Impersonator at the start of her Rock-A-Doodle review.
  • Ending Fatigue: Expect Diva to sin a movie if its ending goes on too long. She considers this the last and greatest sin of Can't Stop the Music as its entire last third consisted mainly of, to quote her, a "self-congratulatory victory lap" for the main characters.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: Frequent, noted by terse and at times profane sin cards ("SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCK?") and possibly Diva falling into Angrish.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Diva can get rather repulsed by some of her subjects, especially movies that are lazy, cynical cash grabs.
    • While acknowledging that his film adaptation of A Little Night Music was terrible, Diva couldn't bear to condemn Hal Prince.
    • The ending of Glitter features, for the first time, Diva getting genuinely angry at a film, arguably to the point of Christi Esterle herself breaking character. Specifically, she was incensed by the fact that the film blames the heroine's breakup with her psychologically abusive boyfriend (and his subsequent murder at the villain's hands) on her, with Diva stating it's in the running for the worst film she's ever reviewed due to this.
    • In her Annie (2014) review, Diva took a moment to call out those whose gripe with the film was the title character's Race Lift... before hammering it with a great deal of criticisms of her own.
    • Diva was shown to be disgusted with the producers of Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return financing the film using a pyramid scam. She delegated their punishment to the Eighth Circle.
    • Before said review of Legends Of Oz, she acknowledges that the people behind the films featured on the show (sans this particular one) were "just trying to make a good movie, or at least a movie popular enough to make money, and no true malice was involved in their actions." In later reviews, she's even spared creators from punishment when she deems them having suffered enough (Richard Williams for Arabian Knight) or not having had enough control of the project to bear responsibility for its problems (Don Bluth for The Pebble and the Penguin).
    • When confronted with Michael Jackson saying "is today the day you're gonna help me get down from here?" in The Wiz, Diva asks her bailiff if there's any joke she could make that wouldn't be overdone and/or "tasteless even by our standards".
    • At the beginning of the Z-O-M-B-I-E-S review, a poster is shown of Descendants 3, Diva points out that she's not reviewing that one yet, asking to let Cameron Boyce rest in peace for a while first. She later lays into the film itself for how it severely botched its attempt at making a racism allegory.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Yellow Submarine has Diva forgiving of the psychedelia, but not how the Beatles Failed a Spot Check (downright named as such in the sin card) - they walk by a hill of sleeping Blue Meanies to a hideout, but only when they look outside it they notice the place is surrounded by sleeping Blue Meanies!
  • Evil Is Petty: "I'm a demon. I don't do fair." Best example when Diva forced the guy who plays DJ Soundbite to review Glee as retaliation for the High School Musical crossover.
  • Evil Laugh: Mostly done by Diva in the crossovers, aside from when she sees The Phantom of the Opera (2004) is the next assignment.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: invoked If there's a bad guy in a weird and/or stupid outfit, you can bet she'll comment on it.
  • Fallen Angel: It's heavily implied at the end of Portal 2 that Diva may be one and that she may have a way back.
  • Filling the Silence: Diva cites Arabian Knight's first and greatest sin for giving Tack and the Thief, who were originally conceived as The Voiceless, ceaseless voiceovers, pointing out that they are annoying and unnecessary, not to mention insulting to the audience and the animators.
  • Le Film Artistique: Diva considers Nine to be an example of a bad one that aims for being deep and meaningful but just comes off as sleazy and pretentious.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: If she's feeling lazy, she'll just condemn those involved with the current offender to this.
  • Foil: Donna, the angel host of "Musical Heaven". Even the name, as Diva and Donna are both terms for opera singers.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the session for The Pirate Movie, Diva points out that Mabel "dresses like a reject from Xanadu", the same Xanadu she ended up taking on sometime later.
    • The second episode, Lost Horizon, shows posters for films in the 1970s "dark age of musicals", all of whom wound up reviewed (Mame, At Long Last Love, The Wiz and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band).
    • In the review of the 2003 version of The Music Man, Diva castigates the producers for remaking a good stage-to-screen adaptation instead of taking on one of the many bad adaptations of good musicals, accompanied by a montage of the posters for the big screen versions of Man of La Mancha, The Wiz, and A Chorus Line... all three of which later get their own days in the court of Musical Hell.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • Diva notes that some of the problems of Love Never Dies - particularly songs that draw out for too long and a number that uses out-of-place yet out-of-date rock instruments - had been seen in Andrew Lloyd Webber's previous, more successful works, but have become particularly egrigous by the time the musical had been produced.
    • She also admits in her review of The Phantom of the Opera (2004) that the original Andrew Lloyd Webber show "has always been more style than substance", but argues that "good directors can find emotional and dramatic truth even in superficial material". Joel Schumacher, on the other hand, "has no idea how to stage a song effectively", which in turn reduces the musical to "a series of lavish music videos" that "never rises above the empty spectacle its critics have always dismissed it as".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Twice, in the very first episode with a Long List of reasons the relationship won't last, and in Sunday School Musical with "the other side's" disavowed list (along with said movie, there is Jack Chick, al-Qaeda, "those Osmond fools" and "that weird bit in Ezekiel with the flaming wheel").
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Diva finds one in Yellow Submarine:
    Diva: Seeing John Lennon age into an old man is a bit awkward in retrospect...
  • Fun with Subtitles: Diva occasionally likes playing with how she names the sins.


  • Mad Libs Catchphrase:
    • "Greetings, mortals, welcome to another session of the infernal court in Musical Hell. I'm Diva, your judge, jury, executioner and [something pertinent to that episode's topic]."
    • "This is the most [superlatively illogical description of whatever is happening in the musical Diva's watching] I've ever seen, and remember, I've seen this. [cut to something such occurrences can be compared to, sometimes with a Call-Back to a previous episode.]"
  • Major General Song: Given The Pirate Movie is based on the source material, of course the episode ends with Diva singing a version based on herself!
  • Medal of Dishonor: In her review of KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, Diva described Glitter as "literally the worst movie [she has] ever seen".
  • Minimalist Cast: Diva's usually the only character featured on the show (useless you count her angel counterpart Donna, and even then, she's rarely in the show).
  • Minion with an F in Evil: She tries, but she’s not very good at it. She even identifies with a character in Happily Ever After precisely for this.
  • The Mockbuster: Her very first episode discusses on this, given The Legend of Titanic is one for the James Cameron movie. On "Musical Hell TV," she's done full-length commentary/snark tracks for four mockbusters, The Secret of Anastasia, The Secret of Mulan, The Secret of the Hunchback and Beauty And The Beast.
  • Monster Clown: Diva offhandedly comments in her Home on the Range review that "all clowns are demons in disguise", and that she attended clown college, receiving high marks in cannibalism.
  • Monster Delay: Diva sins The Mighty Kong for unnecessarily dragging out the title character's entrance compared to the original film. note 
  • Mood Dissonance: Diva cites Popeye its first sin for the clash between its dreary production design and its live-action cartoony character design and slapstick. The dreary music (which earns the next sin) doesn't help.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • "The Verdict" at the end of each review is accompnied by Dramatic Thunder, and so its not uncommon to see an upbeat ending number being interrupted by this ominous thunder clapping.
    • The Music Man get sinned for its uneven tone, in particular the abrupt transition to "Shipoopi" from a more somber scene of Hill being reflective.
  • MST: Musical Hell TV, which ranges from music videos to mockbuster animations.
  • Narm: invoked
    • Diva refers to the opening number of The Ten Commandments: The Musical as a "treasure trove of unintentional humor".
    • She criticizes the 2003 version of The Music Man for trying to portray Mayor Shin as a more serious and menacing character... while not changing his silly dialogue or the fact that he's fundamentally a pompous blowhard.
  • Necessary Weasel: In her review of Yellow Submarine, Diva notes how the very concept of musicals - characters bursting into song whenever they become emotional - is inherently "peculiar".
  • Noble Demon: Diva never fails to call out a movie for Moral Dissonance, especially regarding racism and sexism, or at Hi Tops for not living up to its Christian message.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: Diva has had to review several films starring recording artists, including From Justin to Kelly, Glitter, and KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. She even opens the review for the latter by discussing some of these films that she had previously reviewed.
  • Non-Singing Voice: invoked Expect Diva to sin a movie if a character's singing double fails to match their speaking counterpart. Quest for Camelot and Arabian Knight are two films sinned for this reason.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: In her review of the "Staller version" of Phantom of the Opera, Diva feels the need to clarify that none of Abe Hirschfeld's antics were jokes on her part.
  • No True Scotsman: La La Land earns a sin for treating Sebastian holding this viewpoint with regards to jazz musicians as a positive thing.
  • Obligatory Joke:
    • "Gaston" in The Legend of Titanic.
    • Defied in the Camelot review, as Diva finds too easy to use Monty Python and the Holy Grail clips... before being basically forced to use "GET ON WITH IT!".
    • Also on the topic of Monty Python, Diva lampshades her reference to the Spanish Inquisition sketch in her Man of La Mancha review in a similar manner.
  • Oh My Gods!: “Sweet Lucifer!”
  • One-Scene Wonder: invoked Diva gives Paint Your Wagon a Saving Grace for Harve Presnell's performance of the number, They Call the Wind Mariah, which is the only significant thing that his character, Rotten Luck Willie, does in the film. She still considers him the best singer and actor in the entire film thanks to that one number.
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending:
    • Diva points out in her review of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas that the film treats the two leads getting married as a happy ending, despite the fact that the Chicken Ranch Girls are now out of the job and the powerful men who utilized their "services" and then turned against them got off scot-free.
    • Similarly, she notes in Love Never Dies that the only character to get a happy ending is the Phantom, who arguably deserves it the least of anyone.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • We can tell something is wrong with Diva from the very opening seconds of the review of Sci-Fi High: The Musical when her usual "Greetings, mortals!" opening speech sounds much more harried than haughty. Sure enough, she breaks off halfway through with "I'm Diva, your judge, jury, and run, run while you still can!"
    • Diva gets so annoyed by the drawn-out Love Theme of Beauty And The Beast (which by this point went into its Truck Driver's Gear Change) that she breaks The Scottish Trope and imitates God, mentioning Him by name. Justified, because this was an unscripted commentary where she wasn't keeping in-character to begin with.
  • Overly Long Name: “Diva” is a pseudonym; her true name is apparently two hundred and sixty-seven syllables long.
  • Padding: invoked Expect Diva to sin a movie if it stretches out its runtime beyond a tolerable level. Doctor Dolittle and Camelot are two films sinned for this reason.
  • Painful Rhyme: In her review of Jekyll & Hyde, she complains about a song trying to rhyme "hard" and "facade".
  • Periphery Hatedom: Diva will sometimes review a musical she admits to not being the Target Audience for, such as The Wiz, Pokémon Live!, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out of Their Shells. She justifies the latter by stating that the Target Audience is a Fleeting Demographic that will hate it as they grow out of it anyway.
  • Pet-Peeve Trope:
  • Pinball Protagonist: Diva sins Dick Deadeye for keeping its title character on the sidelines, rather than having him do anything plot progressive.
  • Plot Twist: Each plot twist, no matter how sudden or forced it is, is highlighted with a clip of the Shyamalan Expy exclaiming "What a twist!" from Robot Chicken.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: In The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Diva notes that she sees very little difference in moral character between the Rabid Cop hero and the sleazy reporter villain.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Diva is ultimately just a demonic bureaucrat doing her job. As Christi explains she based the entire personality of Diva on that of the literal Punch Clock Villain of Ralph Wolf from the "Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog" fame.
  • Rage Against the Author: Once Diva finds out A Troll In Central Park is a Patreon request:
    Diva: Stupid high and mighty mortal, don't know where she gets off with her cheap editing software and her Jeopardy! money...
  • Random Events Plot: She sins Sextette for having a plot with, in her words, "a series of scenes barging through one after the other with no sense of coherency."
  • Really 700 Years Old: According to the intro to Rock of Ages, Diva is a "child of the '80s...well,'s close enough."
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: According to the Musical Hell site, Diva isn't sure if reviewing bad musicals is their punishment or hers.
  • Record Needle Scratch: Heard as Diva's attempt at watching the original The Music Man changes to the 2002 ABC remake ("OK, who is messing with my video files again?").
  • Review Ironic Echo: Her review of Love Never Dies gives us this gem:
    Erik: I want to know what you think.
    Diva: Heh, you asked for it.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Appears as chibi cartoon in a crossover with Miss Nightmare to review Shrek: The Musical.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Diva discusses the trope and its origins in Love Never Dies as she rips the plot for doing this to Raoul just to get Christine and the Phantom together.
  • Rule of Seven: As Christi notes in one of her commentaries, Diva usually tries to note seven sins per film, appropriately enough. However, films may rack up more sins, with particularly abominable works earning as many as ten.
  • Running Gag:
    • The review of From Justin to Kelly has Diva wrongly assuming the movie's over, only to be corrected by her bailiff.
    • In multiple episodes, Diva introduces a musical number from the case under examination by saying the characters explain a point of the story or their own personas...
      Tamatoa: In song form!

  • The Scrappy: Diva lists these characters as sins, and often subjects them to The Verdict at the end of each episode.
  • The Scottish Trope: God and Heaven are "the opposition", while Jesus is only referred to as "the opposition's child/kid/son". Satan is "The Boss."
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Spice World breaks Diva, who goes on to leave early and skip work the next day... Only for it to manifest anyway by shifting her screening of The Music Man with the remake.
  • Ship Tease: With her angelic counterpart Donna.
  • Shared Universe: Kinda. The show is set in Hell, which could be considered another dimension, but Diva does consistently interact with the Reviewaverse. It's more than likely the Hell of the Reviewaverse.
  • Shout-Out: Monty Python clips are brought up in abundance.
  • Signing-Off Catchphrase: "This session of the Infernal Court in Musical Hell is now adjourned." (With added words such as "thankfully" if it was a particularly terrible musical.)
  • So Okay, It's Average:
    • Diva was surprised when she found Rock and Rule to be this, and doesn't condemn the characters or production staff to anything, instead opting to order them to study self-help books.
    • She has this reaction to Repo! The Genetic Opera, concluding that it's neither as bad as its detractors say nor as good as it wants to be. It has one of the lowest sin counts on the show, and was awarded its first-ever Saving Grace.
    • Rinse and repeat with La La Land, which is the first film to lead off with a Saving Grace rather than a sin for the beautiful production design, earns only six sins (most of which relate to a single character), and is one of the few where Diva orders no punishments at the end. What Diva found to be an unsympathetic male lead and a bland, low-stakes plot, however, earned it a hearing if nothing else. This seems to have been a deliberate Breather Episode, as next on the agenda? Cats.
  • Special Effects Failure: Diva cites Cats for its notorious visual effects, and specifically, how Tom Hooper's Bad Boss attitude and Universal giving the effects team little time and money led to them being a mess.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Throughout the Rock of Ages review, Diva constantly mispronounces Julianne Hough's last name like "how", when it's actually meant to be pronounced like "huff".
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Diva calls out Cassie's expanded plot in A Chorus Line as its biggest sin, as it diminishes the screentime of the other auditionees and spits in the face of the show's message that everyone has an interesting story to tell.
    Cassie: Zach, we're all special.
    Diva: But some of us are more special than others.
  • Strangled by the Red String: invoked In her The Music Man review, she criticizes the lack of chemistry between the two leads.
  • Strawman Has a Point: invoked One of the things she sins Jekyll and Hyde for is setting up the hospital's board of governors as a bunch of stodgy, hidebound snobs who hamper Jekyll's research, even though they turn out to be completely right.
  • Stylistic Suck: Her review of Love Never Dies discusses this. When she sins "Bathing Beauty" despite its inanity clearly being deliberate, she explains that without something entertaining, deliberately bad is just... bad.
  • Subverted Catch-Phrase: Diva refuses to do the last part in Burlesque, feeling the movie doesn't deserve it, and is unable to do so in Sweeney Todd as everyone starts pushing her to do said movie. She also does a Blah Blah Blah version in A Troll In Central Park to get it over with quickly, and in "Tentacolino", after "Greetings, mortals!", she comments on the original episode, and how weird it looked after three years. She lets The Baker's Wife finish her catchphrase in David Copperfield with a baffled "what was that?" in reaction to the weirdness in that film.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: Expected from musicals who deserve an infernal judgment. A good indicator is whether Diva eschews the opening phrase or adds something to the closing one. The Sextette review downright starts with her saying "I'm not gonna lie, this review's gonna hurt".
  • Sudden Downer Ending: She sins Love's Labour's Lost for its abrupt bleak epilogue, which sees the characters of the otherwise upbeat romantic comedy struggle through World War II (including the death of Boyett), and the Foregone Conclusion of the War's end isn't enough to lift anyone's spirits.
  • Tempting Fate:
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The mob from The Phantom of the Opera (1925) comes after her as she tries to explain Shock Treatment's complex relationship with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, ultimately deciding that it's best described as a Spiritual Successor. It doesn't placate them ("Oh, you people are impossible"), but she soldiers on with the review anyway.
  • Totally Radical: Diva namechecks this as the first sin of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out of Their Shells, feeling that it hasn't aged well and is more prevalent than usual.
  • The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: If she sees something exceptionally good about a musical she's reviewing, she'll list it as a "Saving Grace."
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Diva gets exasperated when this appears in bad musical numbers, such as the intro song of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Golden Films) or the Love Theme of Beauty And The Beast.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Diva suggests this being the case of the titular character of A Troll in Central Park reacting inappropriately to being kissed by a toddler, with romantic "visual language" and "dialogue" being used for what was supposed to be an "innocent and platonic relationship".
  • The Unintelligible: Diva's bailiff, who talks like the adults from the Peanuts cartoons (albeit with vocal chirping rather than a trombone "wah-wah" noise).
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Diva's criticisms of La La Land focused mainly in the male protagonist, Sebastian, who is supposed to be a tragically under-appreciated genius, but whom she finds to be a pretentious Know-Nothing Know-It-All with a white savior complex.
  • The Unpronounceable:
  • Values Dissonance: invoked Diva sins The Mighty Kong for retaining the original film's Hollywood Natives and doing nothing to update them.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: invoked Diva points out the trope's double-edged sword in Arabian Knight. On one hand, she praises Richard Williams's animation as the film's saving grace, saying it's "some of the best cel-animation you're likely to see anywhere." On the other hand, she sins the movie for having several stunning sequences that never come together as a unified whole, pointing out that Williams didn't even create storyboards for the film until Warner Bros. got involved.
    Sin Card: Cool, and...?
  • The Voice: Artistic representations exist, and she’s been known to manifest as a burst of flame or inside an inanimate object, but Diva herself is never seen onscreen. Christi herself said the two recurring clips listed on Idiot Ball are to compensate how Diva can't use facial expressions.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: In Diva's opinion, Gene Kelly's Old Master character in Xanadu would've made a much more interesting protagonist than Michael Beck's wangsty wannabe artist.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Diva list several examples of this for Geppetto, mainly not exploring the town's reaction to a sentient wooden puppet boy in more detail and especially the town where the population's children are created by a machine to be absolutely perfect but that serves no other function than to teach Geppetto that having a kid that's perfect isn't what it's cracked up to be, despite being what Diva describes as a "speculative fiction gold mine".
    • Diva believes that Popeye would have otherwise been worthy of its cult classic status - with Robert Altman's improvisational Signature Style suiting that of the original Fleischer Bros. cartoons - had it not been a musical.
  • Waxing Lyrical: The very first instance of her Catchphrase is "Judge, jury and executioner here, far, wherever you are".
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: invoked Diva cites this as Annie's first sin, noting that the film tries too hard to appeal to modern viewers, even to the point of mocking the fact that it's a musical, and the end result is bound to alienate existing fans of the source material and new fans alike.
  • Wham Episode: The review of Portal 2: The (Unauthorized) Musical goes more in-depth about Diva's past and feelings towards her position than other episodes. It introduces Donna, head of Musical Heaven. Her interactions with Diva reveal that Diva used to have a lot more faith in musicals (and possibly that she is an Fallen Angel), implies that Diva wants to go back to that time but doesn't believe she can, Donna encourages Diva to rethink her chosen path.
  • What an Idiot!: invoked
    • Diva calls out Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera for letting the Phantom go instead of killing him or capturing him. For the show's sequel, Love Never Dies, Diva calls out the Phantom for insensitively singing to a suicidal Meg "we can't all be like Christine," which indirectly leads to Meg killing Christine, an act which she considers "the single stupidest thing in this entire stupid plot."
    • Diva calls out Evilene in The Wiz for having a sprinkler system in her factory, as it not only gives anyone an access to her Weaksauce Weakness, but as an evil sweatshop owner, "why would she care if her drones go up in flames?"
    Sin Card: (character), you IDIOT!
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: This is a common source of sins:
    • Diva points out Lucille Ball's performance in the title role of Mame as one of the most notorious cases of miscasting in history. Among her issues, she cites Ball's unenthusiastic singing voice, "phoned-in" Lucy shtick, and the egregious soft-focus on her closeups to disguise her age. Overall, her Mame comes across as an irritating and annoying eccentric, rather than a lovable one.
    • Diva sins the 2003 TV movie version of The Music Man for casting Matthew Broderick as Harold Hill, pointing out that he doesn't have the energy or singing voice for the role.
    • Diva agrees with Drew Carey that he was miscast as the titular Geppetto, noting that his snarky comic persona is better off as Marcellus Washburn or Pseudolus rather than a sentimental character like Pinocchio and that he is clearly uncomfortable in the role.
    • Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood are cited as the first two sins, in that order, of Paint Your Wagon. For the former, Diva admits that his voice suits the role of an old mountain man, but it's not a voice most might want to hear for long. For the latter, Diva feels that he's not comfortable playing the nice guy of the pair. Overall, their singing falls short of the score and comes off as flat.
    • Diva sins Diana Ross's performance as Dorothy in The Wiz, noting that while Dorothy was aged to an adult schoolteacher to accomadate Ross's casting, her behavior was not, which makes Dorothy much more irritating as a result.
    • Diva gets a few sins out of this in Peter Pan Live! Her first sin for the film is its eschewing the Acting for Two tradition for Captain Hook and Mr. Darling, feeling that Christian Borle, who played Mr. Darling, would've made a far better Hook than Christopher Walken, whose flat performance earns another sin. She also points out that Alison Williams, as Peter himself, is "too sophisticated and introspective" for someone that's supposed to be "thoughtless, arrogant, and self-centered".
    • She points out that The Antagonist of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is played by Dom DeLuise, who in any other work would be pigeonholed into a Big Fun Nice Guy role.
      Diva: Oh, there goes my last lingering shred of confidence in the film.
    • Rex Harrison as the title Doctor in Doctor Dolittle leads off Diva's sin count. She points out that his performance is a retread of Henry Higgins, which makes the Doctor much more of a Jerkass than the film intended. That's before Diva notes Harrison's real-life Prima Donna attitude during the production.
  • World of Weirdness: Since the show's setting could count as the Hell of the Reviewaverse, yes. The Reviewaverse is weird. For one thing, it frequently interacts with Hell.
  • Yellowface:
    • Diva cites Lost Horizon its first sin for casting John Gielgud as the Tibetan Chang once his name comes up in the opening credits.
    • Diva also sins Dick Deadeye for its racially insensitive character designs for the Asian characters.

Know the Score contains examples of:


Video Example(s):


Animated Titanic Cast

Diva lists off the multiple expies of Titanic: The Legend Goes On, (not counting Jack, Rose and Cinderella's family) ending on a very unexpected one.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / CastOfExpies

Media sources:

Main / CastOfExpies