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From the website:

  • Acceptable Targets:
    • Depending on the Writer really, given that the site has so many writers, but usual subjects include teenagers, hipsters, Canadians, the song "We Didn't Start the Fire" (Billy Joel himself rarely is a target, however), or Phil Collins. It's pretty widely accepted that most of these are just running gags, and not really meant to offend anyone (except maybe hipsters).
      "[H]omeless, alone and dead. And ass-worm mouthed. Or worse. (You could be Phil Collins.)"
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    • Played for Laughs, but Nerds and Fandoms are common targets for quick jokes. Cue Flame War in the comments between people offended by this, Trolls, people who simply see it as a joke and others who legitimately hate nerds.
    • They also don't seem to be shy about letting Jenny McCarthy have it. Ever since she jumped on the bandwagon of "Medical Vaccines Cause Autism," the writers have had multiple articles calling her an untalented moron who's talking about subjects way out of her depth and potentially endangering a lot of people in the process. The commentators don't like her either, considering how any article with her in an entry will have 90% of the comments saying how stupid she is. It helps that a lot of them have some form of autism, thus finding her views insulting.
    • Half the time Japan is mentioned, the writers can't resist the urge to put "Japan" and "weird" in the same sentence. And that includes the times they mock themselves for the racism involved!
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    • Aquaman is considered a useless joke by most of the comic articles, particularly his Superfriends incarnation.
    • A lot of hate is directed at "Title Guy" or "the Title Editor", due to the horribly mismatching titles he/she uses for Photoplasties, and a gradual tendency towards click-baiting. In the plasties especially this has a tendency to render all of the entries complete nonsense since they rely on knowing the original prompt.
    • Some writers have a tendency to talk about contested sequels or other adaptations as if they are, or at least deserve to be, universally reviled. X-Men: The Last Stand and The Dark Knight Rises have recieved a lot of this.
    • The most consistent of the site's Acceptable Targets, by far, is Thomas Edison thanks to Tesla being a favorite of a lot of writers.
    • Complaining about Adam Tod Brown and his articles in the Comments section is less likely to get bombarded by dislikes than complaining/bashing the writings of other editors would be.
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    • Most articles that bring up men's rights will probably make fun of MRAs, and articles that discuss the Most Common Superpower will mock comic fans that get defensive about it. On that note, those that cry They Changed It, Now It Sucks! at every adaptation are also generally fair game.
    • The commenters consider both photoplaster Auntie Meme and the site's failure to properly indicate her solo articles (the last entry even declaring her the winner as if it was a contest) to be open targets. She even likes collecting angry responses.
    • The site isn't very fond of Donald Trump either, and were writing vicious articles about him even before his highly controversial bid for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.
    • 'Chad', who keeps showing up in articles as a hypothetical officer worker who continually slacks off, eats food that isn't his and generally gets on everyone's nerves.
    • Some writers appear to really hate The Force Awakens, as it has frequently been brought up in a negative context, something the readers have not appreciated.
    • They also pull no punches on the wealthy, painting them as Upper Class Twits and Rich Jerks. One article argued that Idiocracy would be a utopia for being pro-working class while all wealthy, successful people are Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. We will ignore the possible implications that the article brings.
    • David Wong will take any opportunity to take shots at atheists (even though by most definitions other than his own he is one himself) and the site's own comment section.
  • Adaptation Displacement: "Hey, that site with those funny lists used to be a magazine?"
  • Archive Binge: Those little "Recommended" links at the bottom of each page are diabolical. Even worse now with the "This day in Cracked" sidebar that shows articles released on that day, going back to the site's formation.
  • Anvilicious: Some articles have a tendency to come out as being poorly researched, reactionary, or just plain bashing the reader with over the head with an "X IS WRONG" message, and even to the point of mocking the people who disagree with them preemptively. Thankfully, since there are so many editors and writers on the website, this is uncommon, but sadly, not unheard of. In particular, a recent trend of articles talking about sexism/feminism, racism, or other social issues are often accused of lacking subtlety.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Cracked got in hot water with its fans over 5 Ways Society Is Sexist Against Men (and How We Can Fix It), which outright made fun of male abuse victims and male soldiers and employees who die in their professions, and has in general been accused of taking a Straw Feminist stance on gender politics. Three months later they published 5 Bizarre Realities of Being a Man Who Was Raped by a Woman, which treats Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male as a serious issue without a hint of sarcasm. No matter who you are, being raped is awful, and playing Misery Poker doesn't help anyone. Many readers were pleased.
  • Broken Base:
    • The Photoplasty contest, an old tradition of the site, as of late 2012 or so. The main reason for the divide is an increasingly large number of the contests being 'true fact' style contests that amount to posting some fact over a picture. Themes tend to run either into the pop culture spectrum (little known facts about movies or music) or shocking facts like statistics on corporations or social justice issues. Some people at first were divisive in that they prefered the contests made in its original style, that is, doing an humorous photoshop of a picture; but due to the information from the 'true fact' contests being genuinely informative, that reaction died down rather quickly. A significantly more divisive issue later arose when the fact-based ones started to feature facts that had already been mentioned previously in Cracked articles. A common comment in these contests is posting a list of the Cracked articles in which the facts were previously mentioned. The flames rekindled in February 2016, when Cracked staff announced that the older "traditional" photoplasties were losing views, and fast, prompting the staff to start thinking about retiring "traditionals" entirely and just run "true fact" ones.
    • There is a divide between the fans that come strictly for the humor, and the fans that come to be entertained and informed. Often, one set lambasts the other when they complain about an article's Critical Research Failures and misleading claims in the comments.
    • Luke McKinney and especially J. F. Sargent for their polarizing social justice articles, leading to frequent accusations of white knighting. Sargent also gets hate for his occasional lapses in research and frequent use of his columns to vent his contemptuous opinion of stuff he doesn't like: Contested Sequels, This Very Wiki, and all of their fans. Meanwhile, McKinney is often seen as trying way too hard to make obscure female superheroes look cool. Even some non-radical feminists think he's a bit of a tool, due to his contributions to feminism amounting to little more than reading comics and watching movies. Nonetheless, they have their fans, due to their bitingly sarcastic sense of humor and willingness to direct it at segments of the fandom many consider Acceptable Targets, and in Luke's case handling other topics much better, especially science ones.
    • Dan O'Brien is generally pretty funny, but he tends to recycle jokes, and as a self-admitted Fan Boy, has very rigid and narrow opinions about his franchises of choice (Die Hard and Spider-Man in particular), to the point of expressing sneering contempt for anyone who doesn't share them.
  • Browser Narcotic: The trope actually got its name from this XKCD's alt-text, which used the term to describe Cracked.com (although TV Tropes itself was used to illustrate the phenomenon). Now especially true with Cracked's Random Article button.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
  • Dan Browned: Enough for its own page.
  • Don't Shoot the Message: Some readers argue that Cracked's increasingly large number of preachy, poorly researched articles do more harm than good to the causes they purport to help. That anyone who brings this up in the comments will be angrily shouted down almost immediately doesn't help matters.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Numerous articles try to convince their readers that fictional villains were secretly more heroic than the actual heroes. More often than not, these examples usually rely on cherry-picked information that's quickly debunked in the comments section.
  • Ear Worm: "Sex as Understood by Adolescent Boys"
    We're gonna have some fun tonight, 'cause you can touch my boobies!
    Don't be shy, yeah, it's alright! 'Cause you can touch my boobies!
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Robert Evans is not a part of Cracked's official columnists, but his "insider" articles are one of the more popular contributions to the site, and most readers appreciate his ability to track down and interview people who has very interesting stories to tell, and edit them with enough gentle humor to overcome Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy for sometimes truly horrible subject matter.
    • Chris Bucholz and Felix Clay, for being consistently comedy-oriented even as the site underwent Cerebus Syndrome. Clay overlaps with Memetic Badass because he's proven to be willing to do a wide range of things (rarely pleasant) to write his articles.
    • Mara Wilson has only written a few articles for Cracked, but they've all been well-received by the readers.
    • "Roger", the Cool Old Guy that serves as the spokesperson of the "If X are honest" series. Many viewers say that they enjoy this series even more than After Hours and want to see him more often.
    • Seanbaby. A look at the comments on his increasingly-rare articles shows that quite a few readers show up just to read his work.
  • Estrogen Brigade: Soren has a MASSIVE one.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You A Better Person stresses that the world only cares about what you can do for it, and says, almost verbatim, that you are your job. Many readers see it as a valuable wake-up call, but others believe that it cynically suggests that people are only worthwhile if they have a good job and that personal values don't matter.
  • Fridge Brilliance: "5 Movie And TV 'Plot Holes' That Aren't Actually Plot Holes" is a list of examples of this.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • It was after the fact, but in a list of "5 Ways To Enjoy Terrible Winter Olympic Events", it mentions that luge and skeleton is easy, because it's like a sled, right after the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili during a crash while luging. It was probably an unfortunate coincidence that the article was posted at that time since it takes a while for them to actually post them. Which, in a ridiculously meta twist, was a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment itself, due to the same thing happening in Agents of Cracked, involving the death of Nicholas Cage.
    • The 5 Major Cities Most Likely to Be Spectacularly Destroyed was printed on the 15th April 2013 - just hours before the bomb attack in Boston. Cracked actually acknowledged this and pulled out the article hours after it was posted, for several days.
    • The 5 Worst Deaths Written for Great Characters (And Why), a 2010 article that features Corporal Hicks' death in Alien³ as one of the deaths, and includes an extra jab at Alien: Resurrection with the line "Don't worry, Michael [Biehn], we're pretty sure you got out of the [Alien] franchise just in time." Come 2013 where Biehn ends up reprising his role as Hicks in the universally loathed Aliens: Colonial Marines, which retcons the latter's death with an Ass Pull of epic proportions that was arguably much more disrespectful to the audience than his "original" death.
    • In The 10 Most Awesome Movies Hollywood Ever Killed, an article written way back in 2007, David Wong brings up the fact that M. Night Shyamalan was once in talks to direct the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and actually opines that, "Even those of you who don't like the director have to admit that he probably could have made a more interesting first film than Chris Columbus crapped out." This was, of course, several years before anyone had any idea that Shyamalan actually would get to direct the first installment of a movie series based on a certain other popular fantasy series. Said adaptation is now widely considered one of the worst films ever made, and is universally loathed by the fan base.
    • "5 Movie Romances That Won't Last (According to Science)" predicts that Han Solo and Princess Leia's relationship is doomed to failure, and that Han will never be able to give up smuggling since it's the only life he knows. As we learn in Episode VII: The Force Awakens, they actually do eventually separate after their son turns to the Dark Side, and Han actually does return to smuggling—where it quickly becomes clear that he's past his prime, and he's already swindled so many people that no one trusts him anymore. They also never get a chance to rekindle their relationship, as Han is killed just as they're on the verge of reconciling.
    • Overlaps with Harsher in Hindsight; One of the entries for a photoplasty focused on highly absurd potential twists in movies portrayed Captain America as a Deep Cover Agent for Hydra, the joke being that he's usually such a Ideal Hero that the idea of him being Evil All Along is ridiculous. Come 2016 where Nick Spencer would use that exact twist for 616!Cap in his run and the first issue alone has received near universal backlash from casual and diehard fans alike, it becomes much more uncomfortable than anything.
    • On July 24, 2017, After Hours introduces a new crew, but make it incredibly clear that the original crew will be around and doing just as many videos. Many jokes were made about how the crew will still be coming to the diner, forever, continuing their discussions. Except in two months, Soren Bowie announced that he's leaving Cracked, and in December, the rest of the original crew was laid off without any warning.
    • The final episode of Obsessive Pop Culture Disorder ends with its usual Couch Gag of a humorous fake preview of the content of the next episode, in this case, an episode about the show getting a sponsorship and how that would be a great idea for any large corporation. Turns out that would've been incredibly useful since in a few days Daniel would be unceremoniously laid off, along with almost all of the creators of video content.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The final entry in the "5 Heartwarming Stories to Restore Your Faith in Celebrities" article from 2013 is basically just gushing about what an all-round nice and decent guy Johnny Depp is. In 2016, during divorce proceedings from his wife Amber Heard, Heard alleged that Depp was frequently physically abusive towards her and posted pictures on the Internet that purported to be the injuries she'd sustained in a beating he'd delivered to her. .
    • How Companies Really Do Corporate Layoffs. Sixteen months after this was published, Cracked itself suffered this, and everyone featured in that video is gone.
    • J.F Sargent became a one-person Broken Base among the readership due to his vocal championing of social justice issues and feminism. While your mileage on the validity of his arguments overall might vary, they became a lot harder to take seriously when he was accused by various people of abusive behaviour towards women in his personal relationships.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In their September 2018 article "4 Ways Corporations Are Turning Us Into Jerks", Cracked criticized Disney's decision to fire James Gunn from Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 due to pressure from internet mobs, arguing that his jokes made before he was hired by Disney/Marvel were falsely equated with Roseanne Barr's racist tweets made during the short-lived Roseanne revival on ABC. In March 2019, Disney announced that they would be rehiring Gunn for Vol. 3.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Hype Aversion:
    • Cracked's in-article plugs for their De-Textbook (mostly added in by editors) became so common that, more often than not, the top comments for any given article utilizing them consisted of complaints about it.
    • Their article titles more and more frequently use certain phrases to entice a click, to the point that it's very easy to get sick of it. "6 Myths About X (You Probably Believe)" and "5 Things You Didn't Know About X" are huge offenders. Worse, sometimes the articles are actually funny and interesting, while other times they're just lazy and derivative.
  • Magazine Decay: Not so much "decay" as a shift, since the content is generally still good, but the website seems to get less and less humor-based every day.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Fuck you. Buy a butter dish. Explanation 
    • No shit, Sherringford. Explanation 
    • Title Guy: Explanation 
    • They both get affected by lava. Explanation 
    • Poor Man's Upvote Explanation 
  • Memetic Badass:
  • Memetic Molester: A Running Gag is that writing for Cracked can turn you into one.
  • Memetic Psychopath: Popsicle Pete. "NONE OF YOU ARE SAFE".
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • "5 Reasons Why Women Will Rule the Future." It's (hopefully) just a joke, but judging from some of the comments, not everybody saw it that way.
    • There's a large amount of people that take the writers' harmless (if sometimes a little mean-spirited) jabs at various fandoms seriously and agree. The most blatant example would have to be their various stabs at the Star Wars' Expanded Universe.
    • The writers themselves have fallen victim to this on occasion, like in David Wong's 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person, which uses Alec Baldwin's scene from Glengarry Glen Ross to describe how one might become a "better person", when David Mamet has openly said he intended that scene to show what was wrong with rampant capitalism and cutthroat sales tactics. More specifically: Wong's point in the article ultimately boils down to "You are only the sum total of the valuable skills that you can provide the world." A valid message, but he apparently missed the fact that Glengarry Glen Ross is all about salesmen knowingly selling worthless real estate to gullible customers, and Alec Baldwin's big speech is meant to inspire them to sell more worthless real estate. The whole point of the speech is that the salesmen only care about how much they can outdo each other, and never question whether or not their work is valuable. Sure, Death of the Author and all that, but it's still a fundamental misunderstanding of context. He also shows this towards the blog that he says he got the analysis off of; if you actually read it, the quote he provides in the article cut off the previous two sentences that Baldwin's character clearly doesn't believe a word of it and that if you take it seriously you've misunderstood the scene.
  • More Popular Spin Off: Of the magazine. The website is both more popular and well-known (see Adaptation Displacement and Surprisingly Improved Sequel).
  • Nausea Fuel:
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: On 5 Things I Learned as a Sex Slave in Modern America, they posted a trigger warning due to the disturbing material contained in the arcticle (the article was written after Cracked interviewed a woman who was a child sex slave and beaten severely for most of her childhood). They stated that they don't usually put warnings on their articles as a policy, but decided to make an exception in that case thanks to the exceptionally triggering subject matter.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
  • Periphery Demographic:
    • While Cracked is an American site, with much of its content revolving around American culture, a substantial number of readers are from other countries.
    • A fair number of people enjoy Cracked not for the comedic articles, but the more introspective and philosophical articles. And while they're never taken seriously, there are quite a few scientific and technology based articles which are actually rather informative.
  • Retroactive Recognition: A strange example: one Photoshop contest featured a joke ad made with a stock photo that featured someone who looked very much like Soren Bowie. A few days later, Soren made an article explaining that yes, it was him in the photo (he'd made it during one of his previous jobs).
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Many fans dislike the fact that the site has become less comedy-oriented over time. By 2013, a lot of articles were more like opinion pieces or philosophical treatises than humorous stories or lists of factual information (like bizarre animals, or legends, or suchlike) presented in a funny way. Accusations in 2014 that the site was becoming host to Soap Box Sadies with political axes to grind didn't help their case. By 2016, readers noted a sharp increase in political articles, all of them with a strong progressive bent that comes across as Anvilicious, even to those who agree with much of the content. Even articles on pop culture haven't been free of politics: Many writers will add in a jab toward gun owners, evangelical Christians, or social conservatives in an article about deconstructing Hogwarts or the Marvel universe. Not helping matters was the 2016 US presidential election; two days after the results were in, every single article that ran that day was about politics. For those who go to Cracked for a distraction from political issues, this did not bode well, and the mission since then seems to have become turning the site into a marginally lighter-hearted version of The Huffington Post (they've backed off slightly on the volume of political articles in 2018, at least to the point that a day or two can now go by without any polemics on the front page).
    • A lot of people accused many newer article titles of being clickbait.note  It doesn't help that many of the titles use attention-grabbing words/phrases like "Mind Blowing", "You Won't Believe", and "Horrifying" even if it isn't an accurate description of the article.
  • Snark Bait: Many of the more recent political articles have fallen into this, especially the ones that try to point out how your favorite works are racist or sexist or homophobic.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: It has its own page.
  • Squick:
  • Subculture of the Week: They've been accused of writing articles like this, most infamously when it comes to anime fans and Bronies. In fact, if you look at the Dethroning Moments subpage, you'll quickly see a pattern.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: For something that started out as a cheap MAD Magazine rip-off, the Retool to being a list-based humor website has really helped them a lot.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The site's redesign that was introduced in late June 2013 originally prompted this response from a lot of its users.
    • The site using subscriptions in mid 2017 for exclusive features turned off many people. Later on, even the simple ability to upvote and downvote comments were locked behind the subscription paywall, which pissed off a lot of people.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: The Choose Your Own Drug Fueled Misadventure series of stories by Robert Brockway involve plots on a lethal overdose of drugs. Literally.
  • Ugly Cute: The Jerboa as seen in 6 Animals That Look Like Drunken Combinations of Other Ones. It's a species of a tiny fuzzy things with bunny-like ears and big eyes. But they also look like they have only two (hairless, thin, long) limbs,note  backward-bending knees, and a rat-like tail. This causes them both cute and unusually creepy at the same time.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The 10 Most Perverted Old School Video Games brings this up a few times.
  • The Woobie: ALF is considered this in articles that discuss his show.

From the magazine:

  • Harsher in Hindsight: Take a look at the main page image. Back in 1975, that could easily be Played for Laughs (and was indeed a dig at the then-current big-budget disaster movie Earthquake). After 9/11? Try looking at the plane hitting what looks like the WTC, complete with the all-too familiar ring of smoke and fire around the tower's midsection, without cringing.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: A 1984 issue featured several parodies of recurring features in MAD, including two Don Orehek comics that spoofed Don Martin. Six years later, Don Martin quit MAD and started working for Cracked.
  • Magazine Decay: The constant Executive Meddling in the later days, followed by the switch to a copycat of Maxim, followed by the outright termination of the mag.
  • Nausea Fuel: The last few years of the mag were rife with bodily function jokes, including a whole article on different types of farts and another on different types of puking.
  • Padding: The 2000s issues were rife with this: repeats from classic issues, a second Godzilla parody more than two years after the fact, several song parodies...
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Bill Wray did some art for the magazine in the late 1980s. He would later do work on The Ren & Stimpy Show and illustrate the long-running "Monroe and..." cartoon for MAD.
    • Columnist and blogger Lenore Skenazy (World's Worst Moms) wrote for Cracked for a short time in the 1990s.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Let's face it, most of the "jokes" were lame...
    • Narm Charm: ... But the very same lameness that made you groan is also what made the magazine funny.
  • Ugly Cute: Sylvester P. Smythe evolved into this once John Severin started doing almost all of the covers.


From the TV show

For the audience reactions to the TV show that's unrelated but of the same name, click here.
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