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Website / The Onion

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The Onion is a satirical newspaper devoted to all aspects of American life and culture, frequently parodying tropes mentioned on This Very Wiki. It started in 1988 as a print newspaper by a pair of students at the University of Wisconsin, and originally distributed in Madison and Milwaukee. It has since branched off into the Internet, including video clips supposedly originating from the Onion News Network. Its final print edition was published in December 2013, but the website has carried on.

The Onion also has an entertainment/pop culture newspaper and website called the AV Club, which features pop culture news, reviews of almost every form of media (TV, albums, books, etc.) and interviews presented in a humorous but factual tone. The site's head writer was Nathan Rabin until 2013. The AV Club maintains a separate identity and has very little (if anything) in common with The Onion, mostly to avoid people mistakenly thinking that the AV Club presents fake news like The Onion.

The Onion has in the past extended into a movie (critically derided, even by its own AV Club), and most recently two TV series — OSN Sportsdome on Comedy Central and Onion News Network on IFC. In 2013, a pilot for Onion News Empire, a behind-the-scenes look at the ONN newsroom, was made for (It wasn't picked up.) There have also been three original Onion books — Our Dumb Century, a history of the 20th century told through fake Onion front pages, Our Dumb World, a Hollywood Atlas filled with stereotypes and Black Comedy, and The Onion Book of Known Knowledge, a mock encyclopedia of all existing knowledge.

In Summer 2012, the Onion's YouTube arm debuted Onion Digital Studios, producing parodies of non-news programming ranging from nature documentaries to reality television. In Summer 2014, the Onion launched another sister site, ClickHole, a Clickbait Gag parodying sites such as Buzzfeed, Upworthy, The Huffington Post, and Cracked, and in 2015, they launched StarWipe, a parody of celebrity tabloids like TMZ. StarWipe was discontinued in July 2016. In 2018, the Onion released the podcast A Very Fatal Murder, which parodies True Crime podcasts such as Serial.

It's like a Transatlantic Equivalent of Private Eye (except decades younger, without the investigative journalism, and as a website) and similar to the later NJUZ and Newsbiscuit (which was created on the model "a British Onion"). Similarly, Ministry Of Harmony describes itself as "The Onion for China". Two American-based sites are essentially twists on The Onion for different audiences — The Babylon Bee is essentially "The Onion for conservatives", while The Hard Times is "The Onion for punk rockers".

There's also the satirical Venezuelan news blog El Chigüire Bipolar,note  which uses a similar, Onion-like format to lampoon the country's political situation, and Le Gorafinote , a French website created during the 2012 presidential campaign. And, last but not least, there's also the good old Uncyclopedia, which is to Wikipedia what The Onion is to journalism. As of 2019 there also exists a Stellaris version called Xenonion News created by fans of the game, similar to The Onion but set in a loosely connected Stellaris universe.

The site can be found here.

Area Man Embodies And Parodies Tropes:

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  • The Alleged Car: Jim Anchower's perpetually abused Ford Festiva.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: "Irrepressible Bad Boy Slays Seven". Parodied to the point where it crosses over into Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!. The bad boy in question is a sadistic, sociopathic mass murderer, yet the media still swoons over him because he's a handsome film star.
  • All Issues Are Political Issues: In the article "Exhausted Noam Chomsky Just Going To Try And Enjoy The Day For Once", Chomsky tries to have a day off, but everything reminds him of oppression.
    Sources said Chomsky took what was supposed to be a refreshing drive in the countryside, only to find himself obsessing over the role petroleum plays in the economic and military policies that collude with multinational corporate powers.
    After stopping at a roadside McDonald's, Chomsky was unable to enjoy the Big Mac he purchased, due to the popular restaurant chain's participation in selling "a bill of goods" to the American people, who consume the unhealthy fast food and thereby bolster the capitalist system rather than buying from local farmers in order to equalize the distribution of wealth and eat more nutritiously.
    Chomsky also found the burger to be too salty.
  • Animal Metaphor: An article has an entire family attempting to use the family dog as a metaphor for their relationship difficulties—The father for example saying that the dog feels confined and needs to run free, while the youngest child says the dog just wants some attention...
  • Animal Wrongs Group:
  • Antiquated Linguistics: For example: "Per the Mysterious Congressman's directive, the debate will held in one fortnight's time on the shores of the Tidal Basin at day's first light. It will be broadcast simultaneously by all network and cable-news channels."
  • Apathetic Student: Played for laughs in "Patriotic Teen Fails Spanish", wherein a lazy student manages to rouse public support when he flunks his Spanish class so he can smoke cigarettes, which is misinterpreted by the right-wing lobby as a grand patriotic protest. The kid really is just obnoxious and stupid.
    Kyle: I just basically thought Spanish sucked, what's the point? I'm American, I speak American!
  • Appeal to Tradition: "Should The Government Stop Dumping Money Into A Giant Hole?" has this as a major focus: the reporters focus only on the Money Hole's status as a long tradition and a part of American identity (with a side note of "to stop now would be an insult to everyone who's dumped money in the hole"), and nobody elaborates on why destroying money is actually beneficial.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Played for laughs as the principles which are broken in desperation are really silly to begin with: "Libertarian Reluctantly Calls Fire Department"
    "Although the community would do better to rely on an efficient, free-market fire-fighting service, the fact is that expensive, unnecessary public fire departments do exist," Jacobs said. "Also, my house was burning down."
  • Be Yourself: Deconstructed in "Local Man Ruins Date By Just Being Himself".
    "I'm glad he felt comfortable being himself," said brother Chris Scanlon, 39. "But when you're in full-blown mid-30s-crisis mode with misogynist tendencies and a desperate, neurotic need for approval, maybe 'the real you' is not the best thing to put forward."
  • Bigger Than Jesus: Published an apology in their corrections section after purportedly making such a remark, consequently revealing Inverted intentions:
    "We would like to apologize for stating last week that The Onion is 'bigger than Jesus'. What we meant to imply is that The Onion is more important and influential than Jesus, not that our newspaper is in any way physically larger than He was. We regret any confusion."
  • Bilingual Bonus: The so-called founder's last name is Zwiebel, German for "Onion".
  • Break the Haughty: "Ask the Dauphin". While the Dauphin is an arrogant Royal Brat with an incestuous crush on his sister for the responses to the first three letters, in the fourth, he's completely broken as a result of being thrown in jail, and he's shown pleading for news about his family and asking for a fire.
  • Bulungi:
    • The Trope Namer on fictitious African countries originated in this article.
    • "U.S. Shocked Andorra Not In Africa", where the U.S. State Department accidentally sends aid to the tiny European principality of Andorra after hearing their vaguely African-sounding name and just assuming they were a famine-stricken warzone. It turns out that the map they use has only five countries — "Congo" (taking up most of the northern continent), "Mumbambu", "???", "South Africa", and a Madagascar-like landmass named "Claw Island".
  • Call-Back: One article makes reference to an online voting system that allows millions of masturbators to take part in the voting process. Two days later, the article "Nonvoter Knew It Would Turn Out This Way" ends with the nonvoter admitting he might start voting if the online voting for masturbators was up by 2012.
  • The Cameo: Ben Stiller, Rachel Maddow, and Mike Huckabee were all on the TV show. The last two were on the same episode.
  • Clickbait Gag: The article "How Internet Clickbait Works" describes the process of creating sensationalist content in nine steps, starting with nine days where the brain prepares to have an immediate reaction to "Check this out!" and ending with money mysteriously being earned.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    • "Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades", a profanity-laced faux editorial in which Gillette's then-CEO "announced" that the company would introduce a five-blade razor.
    • The I Fucked My Way Into This Mess, And I'll Fuck My Way Out article with both the title and content consists of 587 words, and of those words, 81 of them include an instance of "fuck", with a few (really, there's way less of those than fuck) other obscenities in the article as well. The article is appropriately capped off with the final sentence just being "Fuck."
    • "Our Dumb Century" has a story about one of FDR's fireside chats being a "long string of cuss words." Basically, "My fellow Americans..." were the only words out of his mouth that weren't an obscenity of some sort.
Falk: Why do you want to get out of here?
Wasserman: For my family.
Falk: Can you stack your family?
Wasserman: ...What?
Falk: I want to be in prison.
Wasserman: No, you don't.
  • Continuity Creep: The show on IFC had some recurring stories, such as the one involving time travelers trying to kill Suri Cruise and the FDA official yelling for everyone to start eating healthier.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Joad Cressbeckler, first introduced as an "even more grizzled and ornery" alternative to John McCain during the "War For The White House", now has his own series (The Cressbeckler Stance) parodying FOX News' primetime commentary shows.
    • Several stories about an "Area Man" visiting restaurants are about the same man (Don Turnbee of Erie, PA) with the same photo model.
    • Another couple of stories are about a veterinary assistant with some odd quirks; more recently, the same idiot showed up in two stories- the first one essentially said "this idiot shouldn't be allowed to vote", while the second one takes a potshot at Donald Trump's supporters.
    • One occured in the same issue; a Jim Anchower column has him helping a driver who then gives him her number, at which point presumably an ex of her's calls him up. It's implied to be fellow columnist Smoove B, and this column has his side of the story (he doesn't say Anchower's name, but the appearance is a dead giveaway).
    • While fact checking the third presidential debate, they claim to have already fact-checked Donald Trump's quote about the NAFTA. Indeed they previously had, while fact checking the first debate
    • In The Onion's Election Glossary, 8 of the definitions are lifted straight from The Onion Book of Known Knowledge.







Video Example(s):


Close Range

Close Range is a universally beloved first person shooter where all you do is shoot people point-blank in the face.

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