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This trope is Germans Love David Hasselhoff crossed with Actually Pretty Funny (or with Misaimed Fandom, depending on your perspective): when people of a particular ethnicity or nationality embrace an unflattering caricature of them concocted by another. This is occasionally a case of Insult Backfire, though it happens most often when the caricature in question is clueless rather than intentionally offensive.

It is often a case of Refuge in Audacity. It may help if the allegedly offensive characters has strong sides (Speedy may be somewhat stereotypical, but note that he almost always wins), or at least if the other characters aren't better. Compare Germans Love David Hasselhoff, Americans Hate Tingle, Cross Cultural Kerfluffle, Affectionate Parody, and This Loser Is You.

See also and compare Opinion Override.

Examples of Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales include:


Anime & Manga

  • Axis Powers Hetalia, for example, being made of exaggeratedly stereotyped anthropomorphic personifications of countries, has plenty of fans all over the world. A lot of the characters are well-loved in the countries they represent (probably because they can see those stereotypes and know how to laugh at themselves) - however, there are definitely American fans who aren't that fond of America, despite him being the second most popular character in the United States, etc.
    • Finland in Axis Powers Hetalia, a Moe boy with a close relationship with the big and scary Sweden, is actually quite indistinguishable to Finnish audience, save for maybe the fact he's said to be surprisingly strong in the cold, a Shout-Out to Winter War (of which Finns cannot seem to get enough). They still like him.
    • The usual Russian reaction to Ivan Braginsky is "Fuck, yeah! Two please."
  • In the Gundam franchise there are two "American" characters who stand out, Duo Maxwell of Gundam Wing and Chibodee Crockett of G Gundam. Both characters are the Boisterous Bruiser of their show and have their own fair share of Eagle Land tendencies, but are both highly popular characters in the United States. Duo because he's a Badass and one of the sharpest characters in the show and Chibodee because he's so damn Crazy Awesome.
  • Bandit Keith... in America! Although he's actually Canadian.
  • In Getter Robo, Texas Mack has too much high popularity, man! To explain, the Cowboy Robot and its pilots from the original TV anime were seen as offensive stereotypes even in Japan while it was airing. Years later, the Shin Getter Robo vs Neo Getter Robo OVA included a portrayal that was less offensive and more endearingly goofy, which won the Texas Mack the affection of Western fandom.


Eastern Animation


Film

  • The Tom Cruise movie, The Last Samurai, despite taking many, uh, "liberties" with Japanese history, is beloved over in Japan because they think it's really cool.
  • Many Russians enjoy inaccurate portraits of Russia and the USSR in Hollywood movies. They affectionately call it klyukva (cranberry).
  • Many Puerto Ricans like West Side Story, despite its rather unflattering portrayal of them, and one of the songs describing Puerto Rico as a backwards Banana Republic.
  • In spite of (or, more likely, because of) its relentless mockery of rednecks, NASCAR, and NASCAR-loving rednecks, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby became a box office smash in middle America, beloved by the very demographics it was (lightheartedly) making fun of.
  • Many rock fans and rock stars either really love or really dislike This Is Spinal Tap for being a close-to-the-bone Affectionate Parody of rock excess and culture, especially as the "Spinal Tap" analogy has become synonymous with such behavior and art. Some of that may have to do with how deeply involved with their own excesses they were at the time they viewed the movie; Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, fueled by drug-induced paranoia, allegedly thought the movie was specifically mirroring the Aerosmith story and hated the movie as a result.
  • A possibly apocryphal story says that the late Kim Jong-il found Team America: World Police to be hilarious, despite himself being the movie's villain.
  • Many Asian-American critics dislike the Charlie Chan franchise because of its Ice Cream Koans, Yellowface, misrepresentation of Chinese culture (At one point it is said that Scorpio is part of the Chinese zodiac), broken English, and the title character's subservience to whites. However, he's also a smart, law-abiding detective in a time where most Chinese characters were villains and some of his Ice Cream Koans are Actually Pretty Funny. Also, while Chan is a stereotype, his children are shown as being all-American kids and were played by actual Asian actors. This has earned the franchise a few Asian-American defenders, including actor Keye Luke.
  • American History X has its share of neo-Nazi fans. Though the movie is intended to show that racism is wrong, the neo-Nazi main character has some admirable qualities. He is strong, fierce, proud, and a good leader to his gang.
  • Borat is quite popular in Kazakhstan, despite the title character being a deliberately absurd Funny Foreigner who acts nothing like a real Kazakh, and the general portrayal of Kazakhstan as a dirt-poor backwards country inhabited by ignorant racist buffoons. This mostly comes from the fact that the movie helped reintroduce Kazakhstan to the public eye after The Great Politics Mess-Up left it without a real national identity.
    • Despite the ridiculous amount of anti-Semitism, many Jewish people often find it hysterical as well (it helps that they're in on the joke that Sacha Baron Cohen is Jewish).
  • Don Bluth's Anastasia was actually well received in Russia and a box office hit, since its distributors took care to market it as not history but a historical fairy tale, letting the audience watch it with a fair dose of MST3K Mantra.


Literature

  • In Quidditch Through the Ages it is mentioned that Quidditch isn't particularly popular in America, as Americans prefer Quodpot, a game which is similar, except the Quaffle explodes. A typical American reaction to reading that passage? "They need to make a Quodpot World Cup videogame."
    • Incidentally, Quidditch [1] clubs are becoming increasingly popular in American universities.


Live-Action TV

  • The comedy show Goodness Gracious Me, which was largely written and performed by British people from Indian backgrounds, did a sketch called "Having an English", which sent up the attitudes and behaviour of white Britons in Indian restaurants. It proved to be one of their most popular.
    • The show's title also references a musical comedy bit by Peter Sellers as a very stereotypical Anglo-Indian doctor. They were originally going to be a lot harsher about Seller's broad use of Yellowface, but the character the played was actually a pretty decent, intelligent guy, so they decided on an Affectionate Parody instead.
  • English comedian Russ Abbott's character of "See You Jimmy" is on the face of it a really insulting caricature of Scottish people in general, and Glaswegians in particular. Sales of "See You Jimmy" hats and wigs in Scotland soar every time there is a national event though, and the character was voted the third best Scottish person in a poll by the Glasgow Herald newspaper.
  • In spite being yet another one of countless American works that tend to focus on the Nazi era when it comes to featuring Germany and/or Germans, Hogan's Heroes did nevertheless become popular in Germany, due to massive Woolseyism in its treatment of the German characters, giving them different regional accents and adding various other cultural references which were played for comedy.
  • The Swedish Chef of The Muppets is well-received in Sweden. Or as a Swede would say, skoode moode bork bork bork.
  • Mind Your Language is now generally viewed as a xenophobic, racist and utterly cringeworthy piece of TV - yet at the time of airing, it was popular with many non-white viewers who found the exaggerated national stereotypes funny and appreciated that the show was providing greater visibility for actors of colour.
  • German series Der Popolski Show involves a none-too-bright, heavily drinking, simplistically religious Polish family with a persecution complex. For some reason, it's apparently liked by Poles living in Germany.


Music

  • The song "Yankee Doodle", so the legend goes, was invented by the British as a means to demean American troops during the Revolutionary War. Nowadays, the song is considered patriotic in America, and often sung unironically by children. Definitely a case of Insult Backfire, as shown by George M. Cohan's much later "Yankee Doodle Dandy," which is a Shout-Out to the older ditty.


Newspaper Comics

  • Hagar the Horrible, an American cartoon about a Horny Viking, is popular in Scandinavia, having been syndicated in major newspapers. Read more below about real Vikings.
  • Non-ethnic example: Gary Larson once thoughtlessly drew a cartoon for The Far Side in which a scolding chimpanzee wife finds a blonde hair on the fur of her chimp husband and snarls: "Conducting a little more 'research' with that Jane Goodall tramp?" Someone claiming to represent Jane Goodall sent an angry letter to Larson threatening him with a lawsuit for defamation. But then word came in from the Gambia that Goodall herself loved the cartoon, and was unaware that anyone had been offended by it. (For the record, Larson has said that he respects Goodall a great deal and did not intend to hurt her anyway.) Eventually they met in person, and Goodall ended up writing an introduction to one of the Far Side collections.


Professional Wrestling

  • El Generico is a Canadian white boy whose gimmick is a Masked Luchador parody. His catchphrase is "Olé!" This did not stop him from getting massively over with Mexican audiences in L.A. based indy promotions.
    • Well, the audiences were probably happy to see the luchador style at all, now that the big promotions (WWE especially) have largely phased it out along with the cruiserweight division.
  • Cryme Tyme were a pair of two African American thugs who talked slang and stole. Despite the massive stereotypes they ended up being one of the most popular tag teams during their time together, including with black audiences.
    • It should be pointed out that JTG and Shad Gaspard were Robin Hood-like face characters during almost their entire WWE run, and always got the better of their (somehow always deserving) heel victims.
  • This happens with all the Foreign Wrestling Heel characters, who become heroes in their home countries despite all of WWE's attempts to depict them as despicable and/or pathetic. Examples include Sylvan in Quebec (French Canada) and the Great Khali in India.
  • Eddie Guerrero fits this trope well because he ended having a Spanish-speaking fan based. Despite Guerrero’s gimmick being an unflattering toward Mexicans, WWE received some praises rather than criticism for acknowledging the existence Latino fans of wrestling.

Theatre

  • The Mikado, despite being a very broad caricature of Meiji-era Japanese society, has always been very popular with the actual Japanese people. During The Edwardian Era, at the height of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, a member of the Imperial Family visited London, hoping to see the play for himself, only to find that every production had been closed for fear of offending him! Today, the play (actually a satire of Victorian mores in the guise of Meiji ones) remains very popular in Japan.


Video Games

  • Most Brazilians love Blanka from Street Fighter, and a great number of Brazilian gamers felt disappointed after learning he's not native, after all.
  • Travis from No More Heroes is an extremely unflattering caricature of the violent, Machiavellian, ignorant, single-minded and culturally clueless American. The game is much, much more popular in America than it is in Japan. It might help that he's intended as a spoof of obsessive gamers first, Americans second.
  • Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! from Disgaea is a straight-up parody of American sci-fi hero characters. He is also much more popular in America than he is in Japan.
  • All the characters of Team Fortress 2 are ethnic stereotypes (except the Pyro) with bloodthirsty natures, unhinged mentalities, and unrealistic accents. They're also utterly hilarious, and meant as affectionate parodies. What Russian doesn't want to be a huge Nigh Invulnerable Heavy who wields a ginormous minigun? What American doesn't want to pull off Crazy Awesome stunts like the Eaglelander Soldier? Which Australian wouldn't want to live in a universe where their country is a World of Badass where everybody gets futuristic technology and amazing 'staches? Nobody, that's who.


Web Original

  • Finnish fans of Humon's Scandinavia and The World are quite fond of Brother and Sister Finland, although both are depicted as broody, Knife Crazy and practically unspeaking save for the frequent perkele. These are actually valid stereotypes and widely recognised within Finland.
    • Also helps that he's one of the most badass characters.


Western Animation

  • The Trope Namer: surprising to many, Speedy Gonzales of Looney Tunes, despite being an obvious stereotype of Mexicans, is actually quite a popular and beloved character in Mexico and throughout Latin America, where his cartoons still run to this day. From 1999 to 2002, the cartoons were banned in the USA by Cartoon Network, who had exclusive broadcasting rights, and discontinued by Warner Bros., but a massive fan campaign and lobbying by the League of United Latin American Citizens eventually led to this practice ending. Of course, the most offensive aspect of Speedy (his broken English and terrible Spanish) is not present in actual Spanish-language dubs of the shorts for export, so this may explain some of his appeal outside of the United States. Mexicans point out that Speedy is actually a positive figure - not only is he more physically capable than his opponents, he more often than not defeats them through cleverness than speed. Even Slowpoke Rodriguez, Speedy's audaciously ridiculous Erudite Stoner cousin, is "fast upstairs in the cabeza," and hypnotizes Sylvester in seconds.
    • Referenced in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, when Porky Pig meets Speedy at the Warner Bros. canteen and they talk about how having to be PC ruined their careers, since Porky has a handicap (stuttering) and Speedy is an ethnic minority.
  • Canadians seem to have taken the gibes at their accent and their country in the movie version of South Park with good humour.
  • An odd example would be King of the Hill. The series began as a jab at Southern, Bible-thumping, redneck, middle-class Americans. However, the show found itself to be a smash hit among that exact demographic. After the first season, the show became less 'look at this dumb white guy' and more 'laugh along with this hard working father and his loving family'.
  • One of the commentaries for Veggie Tales has the creators explain that when Canadians were shown the French Peas they thought they were offensive and they shouldn't have them. They then showed the show with the peas to some people who were French that thought it was hilarious.
  • French actor (although Spanish by birth) Jean Reno was asked whether he felt disgraced voicing a stereotyped French character in the animated movie Flushed Away (this being only shortly after the vicious Iraq War-fueled feud between France and the U.S.). His response? "No, this is humor."
  • Just about any Total Drama fan who was homeschooled seems to like Ezekiel. This includes Big Name Fan the Kobold Necromancer, whose fanfics played a huge part in rescuing him from the Scrappy Heap. (Well, the fandom Scrappy Heap, not the show's.)
  • Ned Flanders of The Simpsons is popular among conservative Christians despite being a caricature of them.
  • Despite being a stereotype, Boris and Minka Kropatkin from the Rugrats ended up being relatable to Jewish viewers of the series, especially those of Ashkenazi Jews.
  • Despite claims of ridicule by media watch dogs, The PJs was liked by the Black community for being brutally honest about the portrayal of the lower-class. In this case, Eddie Murphy knew what he was doing for the show.

Real Life

  • Comedian Paul Rodriguez says he likes Speedy's friend, Slowpoke Rodriguez, even more than Speedy, despite being a caricature of drunk Mexicans.
  • Horny Vikings: Viking is simply an old Norse word for "sailor" or "voyager". While most Scandinavians remained in farming during the Viking Age, some traveled overseas. Most of these Vikings were peaceful and cultured merchants and settlers; a minority of these were pirates or mercenaries. Since the Viking Age declined around AD 1000, the British, French and other Western Europeans remembered Norsemen only as Vikings, and Vikings only as savage warriors and bandits. This stereotype of Scandinavians has persisted until present day, and since the rise of nationalism in the 19th century, most Scandinavians embrace the caricature of the brutal, tough Vikings.
    • This was taken pretty far by Scandinavian immigrants to North America, to the point where the NFL team based in Minnesota (heavily settled by Norwegians and Swedes) is the Minnesota Vikings.
  • A non-ethnic example: The film crew of Angels and Demons was allowed to film on-site at the CERN research institute, and were even allowed in the underground cavern housing the state-of-the-art ATLAS experiment (though they didn't do the actual shots with actors there), and a large number of CERN scientists were allowed to go to an early screening of the movie. This despite the fact that the story details the theft of anti matter that CERN made and being used as a weapon of mass destruction. And the filming took place at the height of the LHC-black hole panic.

Notes

  1. or at least the equivalent for Muggles
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