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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Ronnie: I'd contest Invader Zim, as it does indeed have a sympathetic (arguably) protagonist character in Dib, though it otherwise fits.

Ununnilium: Not sure what makes this specifically an Animated Trope, other than all the examples initially given were animated. `.`

Tzintzuntzan: Pretty much it; I couldn't think of any live-action show that has this level of sadism. In Seinfeld, we do kind of root for Jerry in spite of everything, whereas the animated shows, with their Selective Continuity, make Jerry look lucky and saintly. Do you think it should be moved out of the animated section?

Ununnilium: At least, it should have an additional entry in the Show Genres section. *adds*

Daibhid C: I really question the presence of Black Adder, Fawlty Towers, Seinfeld (mentioned above as an example of what isn't a Sadist Show!), and Black Books.

Tzintzuntzan: When I wrote the initial entry, I envisioned the Sadist Show as something really, really nasty, like Sealab2021 or Invader Zim. The shows you listed don't qualify IMO because we still do root for the characters, as mentioned in the entry for the Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist. Compare Blackadder and Jerry to Captain Murphy, Zim and Dib, or the Aqua Teens — it's a whole new level of despicable.

Howver, it seems that the wiki has spoken in favor of a much broader definition, where the Sadist Show doesn't have to hit Aqua Teen levels — it just has to have despicable main characters who constantly fail. Maybe we should have a straw poll on which version we prefer.

Ununnilium: Mmmmmmm. I'm leaning toward the meaner version.

Daibhid C: Same here. Otherwise I'm not sure I see the difference between a Sadist Show and a show with an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist.

Ununnilium: Taking out:

  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
  • Seinfeld
  • The Venture Bros.
  • Fawlty Towers
  • All of the various Black Adder series
  • The Fairly OddParents can occasionally stray into this. As Cosmo puts it in one episode, "Timmy passed! And all he had to do was to get everybody else to fail!" In another episode, Timmy saves his hometown from an earthquake by diverting the quake to another town, and we see the whole town fall into a giant crack in the earth — but nobody cares, because their town is safe.
  • Futurama has overtones of this, but Fry and Leela, at least, eventually develop into sympathetic characters.

GMO: Took out "Black Books", as while it gives its characters some hard knocks, and the main character comes across as reasonably unsympathic at most times, it probably falls way short of the trope (certainly much less so than, say, Blackadder). A good example of a Brit Com that _does_ fit the trope might be Bottom.

Dark Sasami: I haven't seen it, but I am informed that Absolutely Fabulous goes here. And what about The Young Ones?

Sci Vo: As I remember it, Absolutely Fabulous just has jerkass unsympathetic comedy protagonists. It's not a Sadist Show IMO.

Zephid: I don't think The Young Ones counts as a Sadist Show. They're making each other suffer, it's not fate or the uncaring world punishing them.

Vulpy: What about the later works of Mark Twain, especially his short stories? I'm thinking, off the top of my head, of Pudd'nhead Wilson and Diary of a Dog, but you could easily add the one where Tom and Huck go back to their hometown as, for all intents and purposes, abject failures in most aspects of life?

Laota: Big thank for taking out Venture Brothers, but I complain of the reference to Brock Samson and VB in the discription. While VB was definitely a sadist show in the pilot, I think the show — especially Brock — evolved past that later, the show's central theme (the "beauty of failure") becoming more apparent over time. And despite others in his field thinking he's over-qualified for the "pointless dead-end gig", he's not only proven that's not the case, but the show with-holding the real reasons for him being stationed with the family, alluding that's it's not so pointless.

{{Professor Thascales;}} Maybe Malcolm in the Middle should be on this list? It always struck me as deeply sadistic. The logic of the show seems to be that whatever makes the characters, especially Malcolm, suffer the most is what will happen. The most common application is Lois emotionally putting Malcolm's nuts in a wringer.

Nybbler: I'm tempted to add the biblical Book of Job in here... but perhaps that's just flamebait.


Prfnoff: Removed these examples, as schadenfreude alone does not a Sadist Show make (the movies sound like they might be examples of Kafka Komedy):
  • A particular variation occurs in films such as Father of the Bride, Just Married, Meet the Parents and Duplex. Sure the "no sympathetic characters" isn't present. But practically all the jokes are based on everything going wrong and schadenfreude.
  • Avenue Q, which has been described as Sesame Street for adults, has to mention this: When Nicky, having humiliated his doting and closeted homosexual roommate, is forced to live on the streets, his former landlord, Gary Coleman, explains that he finds his situation funny, leading a song titled "Schadenfreude."