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  • Angst Aversion: One reason why some don't give it a rewatching binge. Because at least with reviewers, the horrible stuff they go through is in part self-inflicted. Donnie, Tacoma and Rebecca were good people whose Earn Your Happy Ending got crushed and never got any respect they craved or deserved. The overwhelming amount of Reality Subtext (Hoffman being based on a real woman who killed herself, how much of Doug gave of himself to create Donnie, Rachel suffering abuse in the industry like Rebecca did etc.) doesn't help in the slightest.
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  • Angst? What Angst?: In "The Review Must Go On", Donnie fights it, but Rebecca, Tacoma, Quinn and Karl are uncomfortably serene about their whole lives turning out to be fake.
  • Ass Pull: After five episodes of getting to know Donnie as his own character, The Review Must Go On kicks all that aside and tells us that he's just Critic. Bet you feel stupid for crying over his mom now, huh? Possibly mitigated by it being explicitly a Cosmic Retcon; until that episode what was presented was true and reality was re-written to justify ending the series.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Replacing a comedy famous for making fun of movies with a comedy/drama that made genuine efforts to be serious. Most fans did not want to see Doug in a dramatic role and roundly rejected the heavy, overly serious and pretentious storylines.
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  • Better Than Canon: Doug believes the pilot is better than The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Broken Base: The announcement of Demo Reel and the end of The Nostalgia Critic broke the base between fans who did and did not want him to move on.
    • Once the show started airing, the base broke further between people who thought the show was underwhelming, a bit of a train wreck and people who thought that it was well written, had smart commentary with Hollywood/social justice matters and wanted it to continue.
    • Lastly the return of the old show and the end of Demo Reel has fans divided several ways in several combinations: ecstatic for the end of Demo Reel, ecstatic for the return of the Critic, and sad to see Demo Reel end. It then goes into worry over why Doug made this choice, as some are still unsure how sincere the events depicted are. Some say for money, some say a decline in viewership, while some believe Doug is being sincere in that it was reignited passion.
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  • Catharsis Factor: Donnie telling off the family who kept him hostage for taking something awful and turning it into their lives, attacking the Accentuate the Negative ideal in nerd culture as well.
  • Critical Dissonance: Professional reviewers and other sites were calling the show "something you'd see on mainstream television", and for obvious reasons the female/LGBT fanbase devoured it, but even Doug got that the comment sections/forums of his own site were calling for his head.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Karl Copenhagen.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Karl is gruff, morally ambiguous, and gets four girls in his con room.
    Karl: Take my advice Herr Director, grow an accent.
    • Critic's review of "The Review Must Go On" lampshaded Critic's evil confidence towards Doug as weird chemistry.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Fittingly for one just used as a Take That! against the Vocal Minority, Donnie = Critic. Donnie fans were grossed out by their character getting erased, Critic fans were upset about his Died Happily Ever After resolution got retconned, even Donnie and Critic (the former in his You Bastard! rant and the latter crying in the Paranoia review) railed against it.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Doug himself in the 2014 Anime Midwest Panel said he still gets Critic fans wanting him to be punished for even trying with the show.
  • Fanon:
    • As we'll never get an answer and he goes straight to flirting with everyone anyway, it's accepted Donnie ruined his already rocky marriage by having an affair. Whether it was man or woman is still up for debate though.
    • Coupled with He's Just Hiding!, people like to think Rebecca is making films in California and that she at least is okay. Jossed in the Resident Evil Demo, where they're all together still making films, but evil.
    • To go with the Everyone Is Bi-ness, fans assume that aside from the Threesome Subtext, Rebecca also has a girlfriend and it's whoever Tamara would have played in that world.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Like the fandom wouldn't honor Donnie's request for Slash Fic.
    • Wondering how on earth Donnie managed to convince Tacoma that he'd be his ticket into Hollywood. Their relationship and fangirl fandom being what it is, the answer usually involves blowjobs.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The show parts of "The Review Must Go On" for all the people who got invested in the characters and thought dumping them in the Plot Hole and making Donnie a punishment for Critic was an ending that was too cruel. Better to end on them toasting the future.
  • Foe Yay: The SWAG leader sounds a little too breathily excited about making Donnie suffer.
    • Was worse in Transformers as the Mood-Swinger threatening phone-call made him sound like the type of ex you'll file a restraining order against.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The “stunad” Bilingual Bonus but Rebecca thinking that's a good thing, is a lot less funny after we find out she has deep issues over people assuming she's a Brainless Beauty.
    • More with Rebecca, as at the end of "Blue Patches", she has a line of "all's well that ends well, that's what I always say". Cute and cheesy in the moment, but comes off as horrible Tempting Fate for her and friends' actual end.
  • Genius Bonus: Uncle Yo asks Donnie if he's Sisyphus, pushing the rock up the hill again and again. That was Sisyphus's punishment for lying, which Donnie has quite the familiarity with, only he's punishing himself through self-loathing.
  • Growing the Beard: Many think the show improved after the pilot, with more focus on character and arcs instead of intentionally bad spoofing.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Doug jokingly and exaggeratively predicted the overhype and the fan disappointment in the "No More Nostalgia Critic?" video, the very video in which Demo Reel was announced.
    • In "The Dark Knight Begins Rising", Donnie ashamedly admits that they're not making any money, "in fact you could argue we're losing money", but they're Doing It for the Art and that's all that counts. Unfortunately, Doug's real-life assertions of the same couldn't last, and the show was cancelled.
    • Touched by Donnie revealing four open endings to him, Uncle Yo tells him they should meet up again in April and Donnie agrees. As of January, that won't be happening due to the small fact that Donnie's Word of God dead.
    • Tacoma and Rebecca are forced to choose between giving up Demo Reel and having their best work destroyed. As they've developed to the point where there's no way they'd give up the show, they refuse and the “Blue Patches” sequel is erased. Guess what happens one episode later?
    • After "The Review Must Go On", every single line about moving on from the past and being excited for the future. Everything about everyone's painful backstory too, as it turned out to just be pointless.
    • In-show, Uncle Yo asking Donnie if it was his mother that told him not go into Hollywood. Ouch. No wonder Donnie went to throw up after.
    • Donnie's mother Elissa Hoffman is a tribute to real life actress Elizabeth Hartman, who committed suicide. Upsetting stuff. Then, after TRMGO, it's revealed that even that was just to "teach the Critic a lesson."
    • Rebecca's speech about how poorly actresses are treated (that was taken from Rachel's real life experiences in the acting/modeling industry) becomes much sadder later on in The Shining commentary, when Rachel stated that she'd partake in offensive sexism on the rebooted Nostalgia Critic as long as she got paid. She ended up leaving the site shortly after the commentary was posted. Also her angst at being considered a Brainless Beauty by everyone but the Demo Reel men. Doug says in The Wicker Man (2006) commentary that he'd tried to write Rachel in Critic as mean and brainless as possible.
    • At Youmacon, Doug talked about how so many people told him that they still wanted to support his work but hadn't bothered to watch the show, and he replied back happily enough “just watch it!” After the cancellation, a lot of people (including some producers) apologized for not watching and thinking it was doing fine without them because "everyone watches Doug's shows".
    • In a TGS interview, Doug squeed about the more he writes for these characters, the more he loves them. Not even a month later, he erased them all.
    • Donnie being an expy of Jake Lloyd (and how badly he got treated) gets worse after the man was diagnosed with schizophrenia and had to be transferred from jail to a mental facility.
    • With so much of the show being about Donnie's dead mother and how much he misses her, it became more painful to watch after Doug's mom (who he always thanked for loving him) passed away in September 2016.
    • Tacoma's family drama was he sent his father to jail for being a criminal, in the Resident Evil 7 LP all he does is drink about how depressing it is that he'll go to jail for being an accomplice to kidnapping.
    • Rebecca's speech about how horribly actresses are treated and "if you're hot and dumb that's even better cos you don't say anything" gets even darker in late 2017 where a lot of actresses came out about being sexually mistreated on sets.
    • In the wake of the release of the Not So Awesome document detailing grievances with Channel Awesome, the entire show becomes this. For all of Doug's rants about Horrible Hollywood, his own company was guilty of many of the same things.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Tacoma's In Medias Res apology to Donnie at the start of "The Blair Witch Hangover". We think he's apologizing for the argument in the last episode, which is sweet enough, but becomes all the more powerful when everyone finds out just what Donnie's damage is.
  • He Really Can Act: Brian really gets to show his skills as the doctor in the Blue Patches sequel.
    • It was Rob's first chance at non-ham acting too, and he didn't waste it. The mangst scene at the end of Transformers was especially good.
    • Those who were curious about the show after watching them in reboot usually have this reaction to Rachel as Rebecca and Malcolm as Tacoma, having plenty of scenes to show off their dramatic skills.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Given the Mind Screw cameo of Karl and Quinn in Critic's The Wicker Man (2006) review, and a Two-Faced Tacoma in a Hyper Fangirl vlog, fans are vainly hoping that Rebecca and Donnie are around somewhere too. Preferably not miserable like Karl/Quinn or mutilated like Tacoma.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: When Doug asked for Slash Fic in "Lost In Translation", he was probably expecting Donnie to be paired up with Tacoma and Uncle Yo the most. He certainly has, but what's the pairing with the majority of fics? Donnie/Carl. Considering Doug and Rob's penchant for teasing though, it's no surprise.
    • With the complaints that New Critic is much worse with social issues that he used to be, and the dudebro reputation of the fedora, fans do like to joke that maybe sweet and femmy Donnie shouldn't have been the one wearing it.
    • As Tear Jerker and Nightmare Fuel as the family scenes still are, it's amusing to see how much nicer they are in real life. The fictional family treat Donnie horribly, keep him helpless and there is much No Yay. The real family help Doug when he's struggling with a show, hug him when he's low on self-esteem and Jason/Jori kiss a lot.
    • In the "Dark Knight Rises" episode, Tacoma plays Two-Face as portrayed by Billy Dee Williams due to the fact that Williams never got to play Harvey Dent as Two-Face. A few years later, Billy Dee Williams was finally given an opportunity to play Two-Face in The LEGO Batman Movie.
    • Clipless episodes in Critic are usually recreations of scenes with a story attached, and Doug/company love doing them, and they get such big hits they can be released in theaters. So with a bit of reworking, looks like the Demo Reel format could be successful.
  • Hollywood Homely: As you can see in the AT vlogs, Jason is cute, Jori is really pretty and Bri is an adorable teenage girl. But because their characters are the bad guys here, they're made to look as creepy and awkward looking as possible.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Karl is a cold, grim war criminal who takes a while to give Tough Love to anyone, but once he respects someone he'll protect them fiercely, lost his family when the wall fell, and post-TRMGO he's made clear he misses Donnie very badly.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Rebecca if you want het ships and Donnie if you need a slash pony. With the Ship Tease flying around everywhere, the titles are more than justified.
  • LGBT Fanbase: They loved it for Donnie's Bi the Way being treated as normal to the point of having a gay Love Triangle parody of Lost in Translation.
  • Mis-blamed: The show itself gets used as a scapegoat for the people who complain about "too much skit/character" in reboot, but Doug and even Lewis have pointed out that Doug has always enjoyed using character/story to make a point, even in 2007 (though Doug has also said he wanted to do the show since then).
  • Moe: Donnie is sweet and vulnerable and Rebecca is Badass Adorable.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The leader of SWAG getting his associates to kidnap Donnie and leave him to die in the woods is seen as this by two saner members of his team. And after watching Donnie have a breakdown and eventually want a Together in Death with his mom, you're agreeing with them.
    • If that wasn't enough, he destroys Rebecca and Tacoma's Christmas gift for Donnie a good film sequel they'd made in his honor, which Rebecca also seems to consider as this In-Universe as she instantly attacks him for it.
    • Two choices for the family. Either laughing at Donnie when he reveals his tragic backstory, or when we find out they were planning to keep him by drugging him constantly with heavy narcotics.
      • In hindsight, the daughter crossed it an episode before when it's revealed she was following Donnie around, heard every broken thing he said and still had a good old giggle at his crying for his mom.
  • Narm Charm:
    • The Wreck-It Ralph speech would make you blind if you drank every time the word “friend” or “family” is mentioned, but Doug/Donnie completely sells it (even nearly crying), the music is awesome, and it's a stirring back-drop to Rebecca beating the turkey to death for making her guy sick.
    • Doug said in the “Dark Knight Returns” note commentary that he was really worried that an Arnold voice matched with a cloying child voice would ruin any emotion of the dead mom reveal, and was glad when people told him the bit of Stylistic Suck kept it from being too overboard with sad.
  • Never Live It Down: Even Rob (on the forums) Ron The Death Eatered Donnie for the scene where he manipulated Tacoma with bedroom eyes while his wedding ring was still in the shot, calling him Ask That Guy-like and a psychopath. While Donnie does have The Vamp qualities that aren't excused by people being abusive towards him, the strong reaction to a guy just homoerotically getting another guy to do what he wants shows some issues.
  • No Yay:
    • The yandere family towards Donnie. The parents are practically on the bed with him when they watch him sleep, plus there's the small fact that he couldn't move at all while being dosed with the narcotics.
    • Not everyone was into the Donnie/Karl Unresolved Sexual Tension, as despite how many times Doug and Rob had gone for the Incest Subtext joke in real life, they couldn't get past the fact that the actors playing them were brothers.
  • One True Threesome: Donnie/Tacoma/Rebecca shipping cropped up not too long after the trailer.
    • Solving the conflict of episode three with Uncle Yo/Donnie/Egoraptor is popular for reasons that should be clear.
  • Padding: The most common complaint about the pilot is that it could've been cut in half and been twice as funny, as a lot of the movie scenes drag on longer than they really have to. The behind-the-scenes segments don't suffer from this as often.
  • Pandering to the Base: One of the whole points of the show was to have Doug objectified in every way that fans who were attracted to him wanted him to be. Having Donnie kidnapped twice in two episodes, with him spending the entirety of “The Blair Witch Hangover” crawling around the forest crying and getting muddier was intentional fanservice.
  • Rewatch Bonus: While the pilot is still the least liked, when you rewatch you can pick up on Rebecca bristling when she's treated like she's stupid, and Donnie's nervousness regarding his marriage. There's also his gender feels, counting himself as a sister but slightly embarassed about wearing make up, and how much everyone drinks.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night:
    • Due to their similarities and how they'd undoubtedly clash, Rebecca/The Nostalgia Chick is gaining steam as a pairing.
    • Due to annoyance at the way they both died (and Rob on the forums for some reason comparing the two just because Donnie did Puppy-Dog Eyes at Tacoma), some like to think Ask That Guy and Donnie are together in wherever dead TGWTG characters end up.
    • Mostly because of anger at the Fan-Disliked Explanation, but there's fic and art of Critic/Donnie (being completely separate people) either hatesexing or cuddling.
  • Shocking Swerve: There was no sign of the Demo Reel studio being purgatory, or Donnie having anything in common with Critic, until The Review Must Go On. Even then, Doug only writes that after being tortured by a Critic that is nowhere near like his last appearance in To Boldly Flee (who again, showed no sign of being anything but 100% genuine about his desire to do better), and Donnie is furious at being the victim of a hack writer. Critic in his review of it makes fun of the Ass Pull, comparing it to the Lost finale.
  • Snark Bait: For those not on board with Doug's decision to move from comedy into drama, the whole show is this, mainly do to the sheer Mood Dissonance of the man who most people know from reaction gifs and screaming about bad movies moving into a serious drama.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The Horrible Hollywood angle is not the most subtle thing ever, but Donnie's and Rebecca's rants about it are partly based on real life. Doug originally went into film but found out the industry would eat someone like him alive so went the safer route of illustration, while Rachel half-improvised her speech on actresses because she says she has experience in that area. It also got her death threats as well as other such bile from people who couldn't deal with hearing it, thus proving her whole point.
    • Revisited in "Blue Patches" where the find out Donnie's actress mother killed herself because she was reaching middle age and the roles dried up while she was trying to raise a son.
    • Donnie's rant in Blue Patches about people obsessing over Accentuate the Negative and ripping into child actors, and how people need to move pass that to achieve what they really want to do could be seen as Doug's commentary on why he decided to retire the Nostalgia Critic.
    • The Walkers stuffed a record amount of Ho Yay into each episode, but it was treated as normal. No affectionate "that's so Takei", none of the fetishization of Ask That Guy, no using Nella's bisexuality for a giggle; Donnie flirted and had sex with boys, hard-ass men held hands, the third episode was a gay version of Lost in Translation and it all just was. Donnie also completely inverted gayngst; despite all his self-loathing about everything else he was always secure in his sexuality and non-manliness.
    • Both Donnie and Rebecca are rape victims (Donnie from an incident he connects to A Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Rebecca from her uncle and being made to do porn), but more focus is given to how they deal with it; Donnie by being shamelessly slutty and Rebecca going angry feminist who refuses to do fanservice not on her own terms. Survivors who had to find their own ways of taking control of sexuality again appreciated it.
    • The Transformers episode on the DVD is pretty clunky when it comes to talking about (white male) privilege, but works for three reasons. 1) The intersectionality. Donnie is bisexual and depressed for good reason, but still eventually realizes that he has advantages of being a white guy. 2) It sets up the Central Theme of just how badly minorities are screwed over by Hollywood. 3) The movie parody. If you're going to talk about privilege then Michael Bay is the perfect target to satirize.
    • "Lost In Translation" came around the same time the topic of "fake geek girls" was really getting talked about. In said episode, Donnie knows nothing about geeky interests and doesn't care a lot of the time, but is sinking deeper into depression, is very good at attracting people and so uses Yo's knowledge of Pokemon to get Ego in bed with him. Ego doesn't care, and when Yo is upset, Donnie calls him out on just wanting his ego stroked; the essential message being "even if a girl (or boy) fakes interest in nerdy things, they're probably lonely so lay off them and stop being a dick."
  • Squick: Finding out (from the AT vlogs) that Bri was twelve in the “Blue Patches” episode makes her/the family's scenes with Donnie just that little bit nastier to many people.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Quinn has a lot of great moments, mostly coming from fun line deliveries and his friendship with Rebecca and Karl, but has suspiciously less Hidden Depths than the other three and is mostly just an Irish stereotype.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: You know full well you wanted to see that Carmen Sandiego movie Rebecca and Tacoma were squeeing about doing. Even Critic admits it sounds cool.
    • The Twilight parody - with Rebecca as Bella, Donnie as Edward and assumedly Tacoma as Jacob - was only in the trailer, but with the show's feminist Female Gaze gayfest bent, how cool would that have been as an episode?
    • In an interview before it ended, Doug was saying that he wanted Lindsay and Lewis to appear in season two in main roles and not as Chick or Linkara. The former would have fixed the problem of Rebecca being the only main woman.
  • Too Cool to Live:
    • We'll miss you, Rebecca Stone, and your turkey-beating, terrorist-beatdowning, smarter-than-everyone-gives-you-credit-for ways.
    • And Karl Copenhagen, of course, will be missed as well.
    • And of course, the series as a whole. Doug finally getting to do what he wanted... and then being forced to cancel it after just six episodes.
  • Too Good to Last: While there are still plenty of people mocking Doug or Rachel whenever they miss it, there are also regular posts and comments apologizing for only realizing how good it was after it got canceled, or wishing it could have carried on.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Many people had reacted negatively to the show because it followed The Nostalgia Critic, but as the show went on people warmed up to it, leaving many disappointed when the events of "The Review Must Go On" unfolded.
    • Malcolm stated in an interview that the main reason the show didn't work was because people didn't want Critic to go (despite the love letter send off) and have a new different thing in his place.
  • True Art Is Angsty: It was not exactly a happy show even before the Sudden Downer Ending, but the willingness to go for drama instead of jokes is why its fans love it so much. When asked in Midwest Media Expo 2015 what their most emotionally draining role was, Doug, Rob and Malcolm all picked scenes from this series note .
  • Vindicated by History: A lot of cons have someone go "I watched Demo Reel and I really liked it" and Doug/Rob complain "where were you before?!".
  • Viewers in Mourning: Referenced in TRMGO DVD review, as Critic mentions the DR fans crying at their relatable characters getting retconned out, but complains that there's not enough of them.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: A few commenters got really angry at Donnie in episode four for "being a pitiful coward". Because getting kidnapped and abandoned in a creepy forest with every plan you try failing is totally a bad reason to cry a few times. Not only that, he's clearly never even been in the woods before, much less the middle of nowhere in the winter. Yes he has absolutely has no reason to be so whiny.
  • The Woobie: Tacoma for being the Only Sane Man Butt-Monkey surrounded by crazies. It helps that he's attractive and is actually a rare TGWTG-character Nice Guy until he gets pushed.
    • He also gets this for his backstory in "Wreck-It Ralph vs Angry Birds". He was an investigative journalist who uncovered a massive ponzi scheme and got the ringleader thrown in jail. Unfortunately said ringleader was his own dad, and now his whole family hates him and his mom won't even talk to him over the phone without charging him.
    • Rebecca too, considering her backstory: critical parents that make her feel like she can't live up to their expectations and missed [apparently many] of her school plays. Not to mention whatever happened with Uncle Frank.
    • Donnie starts slipping in episode two and falls headlong in the trope for episode three. Out of one many examples; his wife hanging up on him before he can finish saying "I love you".
      • Taken Up to Eleven in the episode "Blue Patches" where it was revealed he was once a child actor with a reputation of being the worst ever, his mother commits suicide while in the middle of production of what would be his last film and his family who constantly mocks him for being a failure. Not to mention he was caught by an extremely Yandere family obsessed with his bad films forcing him to re-watch those films which brings back all that sadness.
      • He practically went to Fantine levels in "The Review Must Go On", as all the friends he needs so much disappear, he's completely willing to get himself committed, and then he has to learn that he and his backstory is just a punishment for Critic always mocking child stars. It's shoot-yourself-in-the-head worthy. Even Critic acknowledges he went through hell, comparing him to Iron Woobie Atreyu in The Neverending Story.
    • Posthumously, Donnie's mom (based off Elizabeth Hartman, who really did commit suicide the same way and for the same reasons). Her husband left her and her child, she was struggling to make ends meet, her star was fading because Hollywood is awful to aging actress, and if Donnie's remembering right, she kept on a smile until she couldn't anymore.

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