History Main / KicktheDog

16th Nov '16 1:11:12 PM Koveras
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What separates this trope from a character's other evil or cruel acts is that this bit of evil is gratuitous. It doesn't net the character anything or even advance the plot. The sole reason for this story beat existing is to place one or more characters squarely on the wrong side of the RuleOfEmpathy.

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What separates this trope from a character's other evil or cruel acts is that this bit of evil is gratuitous. It doesn't net the character anything or even advance the plot. The sole reason for this [[NarrativeBeats story beat beat]] existing is to place one or more characters squarely on the wrong side of the RuleOfEmpathy.
22nd Sep '16 2:50:48 AM Morgenthaler
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Added DiffLines:

For bad people who ''literally'' kick dogs, see BadPeopleAbuseAnimals.
3rd Sep '16 4:42:49 PM Luc
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What separates this trope from a character's other evil or cruel acts is that this bit of evil is gratuitous. It doesn't net the character anything or even advance the plot. The sole reason for this story beat existing is to place Bob squarely on the wrong side of the RuleOfEmpathy.

to:

What separates this trope from a character's other evil or cruel acts is that this bit of evil is gratuitous. It doesn't net the character anything or even advance the plot. The sole reason for this story beat existing is to place Bob one or more characters squarely on the wrong side of the RuleOfEmpathy.
27th Aug '16 8:05:50 PM Luc
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Why this trope works could be expressed in the words of William Cowper: I would not enter on my list of friends (though graced with polished manners and fine sense, yet wanting sensibility) the man who needlessly sets foot upon a worm. In other words, a cruel act, no matter how trivial, establishes someone as a cruel person. Conversely, the creator may show Bob [[PetTheDog being kind for no apparent gain]], to demonstrate that Bob is a nice person and someone the audience is meant to cheer for. Both devices are used to help the audience become emotionally invested in the story.

What separates this trope from Bob's other evil or cruel acts is that this bit of evil is gratuitous. It doesn't net Bob anything or even advance the plot. The sole reason for this story beat existing is to place Bob squarely on the wrong side of the RuleOfEmpathy.

to:

Why this trope works could be expressed in the words of William Cowper: I would not enter on my list of friends (though graced with polished manners and fine sense, yet wanting sensibility) the man who needlessly sets foot upon a worm. In other words, a cruel act, no matter how trivial, establishes someone as a cruel person. Conversely, the creator may show Bob a character [[PetTheDog being kind for no apparent gain]], to demonstrate that Bob the character is a nice person and someone the audience is meant to cheer for. Both devices are used to help the audience become emotionally invested in the story.

What separates this trope from Bob's a character's other evil or cruel acts is that this bit of evil is gratuitous. It doesn't net Bob the character anything or even advance the plot. The sole reason for this story beat existing is to place Bob squarely on the wrong side of the RuleOfEmpathy.
22nd Jun '16 2:55:55 AM Morgenthaler
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If the evil act ''is'' directed toward an animal, however, a dog is usually the victim of choice, partly out of connotations of blind loyalty, partly from tradition. Arguably, however, substituting a cat can be even ''more'' shocking. After all, [[RightHandCat even bad guys like cats]]. So, the argument goes, if Bob goes out of his way to harm one, he must ''really'' be a bastard.

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If the evil act ''is'' directed [[BadPeopleAbuseAnimals toward an animal, animal]], however, a dog is usually the victim of choice, partly out of connotations of blind loyalty, partly from tradition. Arguably, however, substituting a cat can be even ''more'' shocking. After all, [[RightHandCat even bad guys like cats]]. So, the argument goes, if Bob goes out of his way to harm one, he must ''really'' be a bastard.
7th Jun '16 1:32:34 AM Dravencour
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Needless to say, this trope can be enacted without harming any dogs. Any act or statement that shows the character's [[{{Jerkass}} meanness]] will do, such as a boss demanding an employee come in to work during Christmas when the employee's kid is [[LittlestCancerPatient in the hospital]], or a passer-by stealing from a blind beggar's coin dish, or TheDragon inflicting a vicious NoHoldsBarredBeatdown on the hero or one of his TrueCompanions or {{Protectorate}}. A PoliticallyIncorrectVillain can kick the dog by showing gratuitous racism, sexism, homophobia, or some combination of such non-PC traits. If the event happened off screen in the past, just have Bob [[ReminiscingAboutYourVictims fondly recall the incident]] and make it clear that he has no remorse whatsoever. Bingo, mission accomplished.

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Needless to say, this trope can be enacted without harming any dogs. Any act or statement that shows the character's [[{{Jerkass}} meanness]] or outright evil will do, such as a boss demanding an employee come in to work during Christmas when the employee's kid is [[LittlestCancerPatient in the hospital]], or a passer-by stealing from a blind beggar's coin dish, or TheDragon inflicting a vicious NoHoldsBarredBeatdown on the hero or one of his TrueCompanions or {{Protectorate}}. A PoliticallyIncorrectVillain can kick the dog by showing gratuitous racism, sexism, homophobia, or some combination of such non-PC traits. If the event happened off screen in the past, just have Bob [[ReminiscingAboutYourVictims fondly recall the incident]] and make it clear that he has no remorse whatsoever. Bingo, mission accomplished.
7th Jun '16 1:31:13 AM Dravencour
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If what is supposed to be a character's Kick The Dog moment is excessively horrible, cruel, or otherwise despicable enough to make an audience lose all sympathy for him, then he's crossed the MoralEventHorizon, if he's not on the other side of it already. If the Dog in question is someone the character cares about and discovers BeingEvilSucks, then they've KickTheMoralityPet and ''might'' be in time to avoid a FaceHeelTurn. If the dog belonged to a minion, expect it to help cause a MookFaceTurn because EvenMooksHaveLovedOnes. On occasions, if karma works in the dog's favor, [[TheDogBitesBack he'll manage to get a last laugh]]. On even rarer occasions, after being pushed around too many times, the dog may decide to [[TheStarscream plan against the Big Bad for his own ambitions]], because BeingTorturedMakesYouEvil. When the dog-kicking is done in a way that (usually inadvertently) increases sympathy for the villain, it becomes StrawmanHasAPoint. If the character ''appears'' to be likable or sympathetic when introduced and the dog-kicking proves that he is actually evil, that is BaitTheDog.

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If what is supposed to be a character's Kick The Dog moment is excessively horrible, cruel, or otherwise despicable enough to make an audience lose all sympathy for him, then he's crossed the MoralEventHorizon, if he's not on the other side of it already. If the Dog in question is someone the character cares about and discovers BeingEvilSucks, then they've KickTheMoralityPet [[KickTheMoralityPet Kicked the Morality Pet]] and ''might'' be in time to avoid a FaceHeelTurn. If the dog belonged to a minion, expect it to help cause a MookFaceTurn because EvenMooksHaveLovedOnes. On occasions, if karma works in the dog's favor, [[TheDogBitesBack he'll manage to get a last laugh]]. On even rarer occasions, after being pushed around too many times, the dog may decide to [[TheStarscream plan against the Big Bad for his own ambitions]], because BeingTorturedMakesYouEvil. When the dog-kicking is done in a way that (usually inadvertently) increases sympathy for the villain, it becomes StrawmanHasAPoint. If the character ''appears'' to be likable or sympathetic when introduced and the dog-kicking proves that he is actually evil, that is BaitTheDog.
5th Apr '16 4:47:30 AM MinisterOfSinister
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Kicking the Dog is also done for no practical reason (apart from demonstrating the dark side of the kicker); if the perpetrator does it because they care about their victim and want to help them somehow, they're being CruelToBeKind; if their actions have a broader purpose à la [[IDidWhatIHadToDo doing what had to be done]], they're trying to ShootTheDog ([[MercyKill that's what you do when Old Yeller has rabies, after all]]).

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Kicking the Dog is also done for no practical reason (apart apart from the meta-reason of demonstrating the dark side of the kicker); if kicker. If the perpetrator does it because they care about their victim and want to help them somehow, they're being CruelToBeKind; if their actions have a broader purpose à la [[IDidWhatIHadToDo doing what had to be done]], they're trying to ShootTheDog ([[MercyKill that's what you do when Old Yeller has rabies, after all]]).
12th Mar '16 3:20:09 PM eroock
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-->--'''Creator/AlfredHitchcock'''

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-->--'''Creator/AlfredHitchcock'''
-->-- '''Creator/AlfredHitchcock'''
26th Jan '16 6:36:59 PM AsForMyHandle
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->''"In the old days villains [[DastardlyWhiplash had moustaches]] and kicked the dog. Audiences are smarter today. They don't want their villain to be thrown at them with green limelight on his face. They want an ordinary human being with failings."''
--> -- '''Creator/AlfredHitchcock'''

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->''"In the old days villains [[DastardlyWhiplash had moustaches]] moustaches and kicked the dog. Audiences are smarter today. They don't want their villain to be thrown at them with green limelight on his face. They want an ordinary human being with failings."''
--> -- '''Creator/AlfredHitchcock'''
-->--'''Creator/AlfredHitchcock'''
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