History Main / HistoricalVillainDowngrade

13th Jun '16 12:24:11 AM 10-13-2
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Compare LighterAndSofter, PoliticallyCorrectHistory. Contrast HistoricalVillainUpgrade.

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Compare LighterAndSofter, PoliticallyCorrectHistory. Contrast HistoricalVillainUpgrade.
HistoricalVillainUpgrade. If a villain indulges in ''self''-downgrading within the story, that's EvilIsPetty; if downgrading is ''all'' a villain does, that's PokeThePoodle.
13th Jun '16 12:22:37 AM 10-13-2
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[[folder:General Media]]
* In-universe, cross-media examples abound when supervillains from more adult media are adapted for kiddie or family fare. DependingOnTheWriter, for example, the worst thing TheJoker has ever done is either [[ComicBook/TheKillingJoke shoot a woman in the spine (leaving her permanently crippled), strip her naked, tie her to a roller coaster and take pornographic photos of her]]...or simply [[Series/{{Batman}} turn all of Gotham City's drinking water to red jelly]]. Sometimes this will be done [[RuleOfFunny for humor]] and/or as part of a promotional campaign aimed at a younger audience. In a commercial hyping the "special editions" of the original ''StarWars'' trilogy in 1997, for example, Darth Vader demonstrates how evil he is by BreakingTheFourthWall and using the Dark Side to crush the cup of soda being sipped by a boy watching the movie in the front row.
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31st May '16 8:06:20 AM thatother1dude
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* UsefulNotes/RichardNixon has shown up in ''Series/DoctorWho'' on a couple of occasions, generally coming across as a reasonably sensible, personable type, although no more than usually progressive for his era. The matter of his being crooked as a bag of snakes is conspicuous by its absence.
-->'''Nixon''': Doctor, dare I ask, being a President at the beginning of his time... will I be remembered?
-->'''Doctor''': Oh, Dicky, Tricky Dicky... they are ''never'' [[ExactWords gonna forget you]]. Say hello to David Frost for me!
** [[RealityIsUnrealistic This actually has some basis in fact]], as Nixon has undergone significant {{Flanderization}} in popular media portrayals.
26th Apr '16 2:30:02 AM jormis29
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* One episode of ''Series/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'' has [[MadScientist Doctor Blight]] [[MyFutureSelfAndMe and her future self]] go back in time to sell a nuclear bomb to UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler, who is [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep only called "the Fuhrer"]]. The good guys react to him with horror, and he's so hateful that [[DeadlyGaze his gaze actually hurts Captain Planet]], but the show never explains to its young viewers who exactly he is or what makes him so evil.

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* One episode of ''Series/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'' ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'' has [[MadScientist Doctor Blight]] [[MyFutureSelfAndMe and her future self]] go back in time to sell a nuclear bomb to UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler, who is [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep only called "the Fuhrer"]]. The good guys react to him with horror, and he's so hateful that [[DeadlyGaze his gaze actually hurts Captain Planet]], but the show never explains to its young viewers who exactly he is or what makes him so evil.
24th Feb '16 2:09:58 PM Shadowgazer
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** Caesar is a rather complex case in this comic. On one hand, this being a comedy most of his crimes against Gaul are downplayed-there are Gauls who seem to be no worse for wear, living in Roman land and he often makes peace with Asterix as [[PragmaticVillain it is in his best interests]]. One the other hand, he is often played as a vindictive and hateful BigBad who would love nothing more than turn the Gauls to toast, a BadBoss who will reward any failure with a free ticket to the Circus Maximus and a megalomaniacal whose ego will never accept the village's independency.
20th Feb '16 10:51:44 PM thatother1dude
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* ''Series/{{Deadwood}}'': The real Al Swearengen's whorehouse was a sexual slavery racket in which he lured young women and then [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil forced them into prostitution through abuse]]. The Swearengen on the show is a cutthroat and at times abusive to his prostitutes, but he isn't nearly so systematic about it, and he gets several PetTheDog moments.

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* ''Series/{{Deadwood}}'': The real Al Swearengen's whorehouse was a [[SexSlave sexual slavery slavery]] racket in which he lured young women and then [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil forced them into prostitution through abuse]].abuse. The Swearengen on the show is a cutthroat and at times abusive to his prostitutes, but he isn't nearly so systematic about it, and he gets several PetTheDog moments.
10th Feb '16 8:10:52 PM 10-13-2
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* There's an in-universe example in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' Halloween episode in season 1, arguably a parody of this trope as well. Cartman dresses up in a UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler costume for Halloween, so the principal shows him a classroom video about how Hitler was a bad person. Because it's made for 8-year-old American children, it only says that "Adolf Hitler was a very, very naughty man!" and merely shows him speaking to a bunch of parading soldiers, which Cartman can't understand because of the language barrier. Based on that, the children are supposed to learn AnAesop that dressing up as Hitler to school is not acceptable. Things like the Holocaust and other war crimes couldn't be shown of course, because it's directed towards children. [[ComicallyMissingThePoint Cartman finds Hitler very cool instead, and imagines being in his place]].

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* There's an in-universe example in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' Halloween episode in season 1, arguably a parody of this trope as well. Cartman dresses up in a UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler costume for Halloween, so the principal shows him a classroom video about how Hitler was a bad person. Because it's made for 8-year-old American children, it only says that "Adolf Hitler was a very, very naughty man!" and merely shows him speaking to a bunch of parading soldiers, which Cartman can't understand because of the language barrier. [[note]] Ironically, a later episode, "The Passion of the Jew", revealed that Cartman ''could'' speak German, but he blatantly mispronounced every word beginning with a ''j''. [[/note]] Based on that, the children are supposed to learn AnAesop that dressing up as Hitler to school is not acceptable. Things like the Holocaust and other war crimes couldn't be shown of course, because it's directed towards children. [[ComicallyMissingThePoint Cartman finds Hitler very cool instead, and imagines being in his place]].
10th Feb '16 8:06:25 PM 10-13-2
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* ''Film/BirdmanOfAlcatraz'' portrayed Robert Franklin Stroud as orders of magnitude gentler than his prison records show.

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* ''Film/BirdmanOfAlcatraz'' portrayed Robert Franklin Stroud as orders of magnitude gentler than his prison records show. Of course, [[RealityIsUnrealistic it would be very hard to buy the idea of a world-renowned bird scholar also being a murderer and child pornographer]], even if you did want to vilify him.
10th Feb '16 8:02:22 PM 10-13-2
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Basically, this trope occurs whenever an historical villain's evil actions are either glossed over or reduced in severity, in order to make them palatable, [[ButNotTooEvil even as a villain]], to mainstream television audiences. Sometimes it's because RealityIsUnrealistic -- there are a few cases of real people displaying such pantomime levels of evil that if you put it in a movie script, the audience would just roll their eyes at your ''obvious'' exaggeration.

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Basically, this trope occurs whenever an historical villain's evil actions are either glossed over or reduced in severity, in order to make them palatable, [[ButNotTooEvil even as a villain]], to mainstream television audiences. Sometimes it's because RealityIsUnrealistic -- there are a few cases of real people displaying such pantomime extreme levels of evil that if you put it in a movie script, the audience would just roll their eyes at your ''obvious'' exaggeration.
22nd Jan '16 6:48:27 PM Katsuhagi
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* ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'''s aunts met UsefulNotes/{{Caligula}} in one episode.

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* ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'''s aunts met UsefulNotes/{{Caligula}} in one episode. While the true extent of the real Caligula's madness is debated it's generally agreed that he was at least rather unstable, but the ''Sabrina'' version appears a bit quirky but harmless.
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