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Basic Trope: A character has poor cooking skills, often to comical extremes.

  • Straight: Everything Julia tries to cook tastes bad.
  • Exaggerated: Julia can't even microwave...or make Cup-O-Noodles.
    • Everyone pukes and runs screaming from the house when it's announced that Julia will be cooking dinner tonight.
  • Downplayed: Julia's food just looks bad. In reality, it's actually very tasty.
  • Justified: Julia is just plain bad at cooking.
    • Julia is dyslexic, so she has a hard time reading and comprehending the recipes.
    • Julia is a stoner and/or Cloudcuckoolander and comes up with her culinary experiments while high or in one of her "wacky" moods.
    • Julia was never taught how to cook at any point in her life, and had to make do with what she gleaned from television and watching others.
    • Julia is an alien from another planet (or a Funny Foreigner from another country) where the standards of what's tasty and what isn't are very warped.
  • Inverted: Julia is a Supreme Chef.
    • See "Downplayed"
  • Subverted: A famous chef declares Julia's bad cooking as culinary genius.
  • Double Subverted: The famous chef only said that to Julia because (a) he's a Jerkass who likes to raise people's self-esteem before crushing them, (b) Julia has a crush on him, he knows it, and was innocently trying to spare her feelings, or (c) everyone else's cooking sucks so bad that hers looks good in comparison.
  • Parodied: Julia's culinary "experiments" have caught the attention of the Center for Disease Control and after her latest attempt at dinner, the CDC come in and quarantine her kitchen.

  Julia: Oh no! Not again!

  • Deconstructed: Julia's inability to cook makes it hard for people to take her seriously as a useful member of the household.
    • Julia starts a fire with one of her cooking disasters.
  • Reconstructed: The rest of the family doesn't mind, since their taste buds are so shot, they'll eat anything.
    • The fire is put out quickly, so nobody gets hurt.
  • Zig Zagged: Julia's cooking ability depends on what ingredients she has in her house. When she has enough money for groceries, she makes great food; when money's tight, it's time to break out the Tums and the airline barfbags.
    • Julia sucks at cooking actual dishes (appetizers and main courses), but is a whiz at baking and pastries.
  • Averted: Julia is too lazy to cook and has never tried.
    • Julia's cooking isn't terrible, but it's not Cordon Bleu quality either.
  • Enforced: "What better way to paint Julia as a ditzy Cloudcuckoolander than to have her completely unable to cook? Brilliant!"
  • Lampshaded: "Is it even POSSIBLE for chilled tomato soup to DISSOLVE THE FLIPPIN' BOWL unless it's made by Julia?"
  • Invoked: See "Enforced"
  • Exploited: The hero finds out that Emperor Evulz needs a new chef. They have Julia apply for the job so she can assasinate the Emperor with her cooking not-skills.
  • Defied: Realizing Julia doesn't know the first thing about cooking, her friends ban her from the kitchen.
    • Julia knows her cooking sucks and tries to get help for it (or says, "Fuck it!" and orders take-out food).
  • Discussed: "Why is it that there's always one character in these ensemble sitcoms who can't even put ice cream in a bowl without setting fire to the kitchen?"
  • Conversed: "Hey, Laika! Dinner at Julia's tonight! Don't forget the first aid kit, fire extinguisher and silver bullets!"
  • Played For Laughs: Julia's boyfriend hides from Julia whenever she tries to feed him to avoid hurting her feelings. Wacky chase scenes ensue.
  • Played For Drama: Julia's lifelong dream is to become a great chef, but her inherently terrible skills and inability to improve make it hard for her to succeed.
    • Julia's cooking causes a fatal case of food poisoning and she vows never to set foot in a kitchen again.
    • "Justified #2" and "Justified #4" if done as a Very Special Episode of a sitcom. For "Justified #2," the focus is on learning disabilities and the importance of literacy. For "Justified #4," the focus is on how living in a dysfunctional family can and will screw a person up -- especially if that person is/was designated an Only Sane Man (or woman) who spent every waking moment of his or her life trying to justify their family members' insane behavior or get them out of their many moral, legal, and ethical jams.

Back to Lethal Chef, before she makes you actually eat it!



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