History Main / VillainyFreeVillain

19th Nov '17 11:42:54 PM Vir
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Meet the Villainy-Free Villain, the very personification of a FelonyMisdemeanor. To make sure that viewer sympathy is still squarely on the protagonist, the Villainy-Free Villain is an antagonist who compensates for their completely socially acceptable aspirations by being as much of a {{Jerkass}} about them as humanly possible. S/He's not a villain, but s/he sure acts like one. It's as if they don't care about their own well-being, but sees their actions as a wonderful opportunity to crush the protagonist's hopes and dreams.

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Meet the Villainy-Free Villain, the very personification of a FelonyMisdemeanor. To make sure that viewer sympathy is still squarely on the protagonist, the Villainy-Free Villain is an antagonist who compensates for their completely socially acceptable aspirations by being as much of a {{Jerkass}} about them as humanly possible. S/He's They're not a villain, but s/he they sure acts act like one. It's as if they don't care about their own well-being, but sees their actions as a wonderful opportunity to crush the protagonist's hopes and dreams.
17th Nov '17 10:10:35 PM MasterN
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* The sequel to ''FanFic/AngelOfTheBat'', ''Times of Heresy'' actually uses this to increase the threat of one of its characters. Cameron Gram is an abrasive, bigoted, HolierThanThou radio evangelist... And is threatening to Cassandra precisely because he ''isn't'' doing anything illegal or physically violent. Cassandra notes it was easy to write off the previous story's religious antagonist because he was so violent and clearly mentally unstable. Gram, while a major jerkass, is perfectly sane, successful and has been a practicing Christian much longer than she has. According to Cassie, Gram embodies her fear that she is the one being EgocentricallyReligious, not people like Gram.

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* The sequel to ''FanFic/AngelOfTheBat'', ''Times of Heresy'' actually uses this to increase ''[[PlayingWithATrope increase]]'' the threat of one of its characters. Cameron Gram is an abrasive, bigoted, HolierThanThou radio evangelist... And is threatening to Cassandra precisely because he ''isn't'' doing anything illegal or physically violent. Cassandra notes it was easy to write off the previous story's religious antagonist because he was so violent and clearly mentally unstable. Gram, while a major jerkass, is perfectly sane, successful and has been a practicing Christian much longer than she has. According to Cassie, Gram embodies her fear that she is the one being EgocentricallyReligious, not people like Gram.
17th Nov '17 10:08:42 PM MasterN
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On the other hand, if he is evil but barely even does anything to fill the "antagonist" role, then he's a PlotIrrelevantVillain. If he isn't necessarily unpleasant--heck, he can be even downright nice--yet his actions are the cause of unpleasant effects for other innocents without his knowing, he's ObliviouslyEvil. Compare HateSink, who isn't the main conflict-maker but acts nasty so the audience has someone to root against. Contrasts AntiVillain, a sympathetic and generally likable villain who isn't outright villainous. For the {{Fanon}} version, see RonTheDeathEater, where a character is good in Canon, but the fans treat him or her as evil.

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On the other hand, if he is evil but barely even does anything to fill the "antagonist" role, then he's a PlotIrrelevantVillain. If he isn't necessarily unpleasant--heck, he can be even downright nice--yet his actions are the cause of unpleasant effects for other innocents without his knowing, he's ObliviouslyEvil. Compare HateSink, who isn't may not be the main conflict-maker but acts nasty so the audience has someone to root against. Contrasts AntiVillain, a sympathetic and generally likable villain who isn't outright villainous. For the {{Fanon}} version, see RonTheDeathEater, where a character is good in Canon, but the fans treat him or her as evil.
13th Nov '17 1:08:36 AM Shadowgazer
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In any work of fiction in which the protagonist is a LovableRogue or JustifiedCriminal or [[ClearMyName an innocent person who has been framed for a heinous crime]], the law enforcers chasing after him are inevitably going to appear unsympathetic to the audience, even if their motives are beyond reproach. The hero may even end up fighting them as much as the villain. Authority figures who have to control children (teachers, especially) also make fine default antagonists even without being a SadistTeacher. So do any authority figures [[GoodIsNotNice whose job requires them to be harsh]]: police officers, judges, and [[DrillSergeantNasty drill sergeants]] are all especially prone to this.

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In any work of fiction in which the protagonist is a LovableRogue or JustifiedCriminal or [[ClearMyName an innocent person who has been framed for a heinous crime]], the law enforcers chasing after him are inevitably going to appear unsympathetic to the audience, even if their motives are beyond reproach. The hero may even end up fighting them as much as the villain. Authority figures who have to control children (teachers, especially) also make fine default antagonists even without being a genuinely malicious SadistTeacher. So do any authority figures [[GoodIsNotNice whose job requires them to be harsh]]: police officers, judges, and [[DrillSergeantNasty drill sergeants]] are all especially prone to this.



'''Note that a character cannot qualify to be a Villainy-Free Villain if he participates in unethical activities. As the name suggests, this antagonist has all the aspects of the villain except the actual villainy. Also, for a character to qualify, he has to actually be as unpleasant as a normal villain, enough so for the viewer to not sympathize with him. Otherwise, he's just a DesignatedVillain.'''

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'''Note that a character cannot qualify to be a Villainy-Free Villain if he participates in unethical activities. As the name suggests, this antagonist has all the aspects of the villain except the actual villainy. Also, for a character to qualify, he has to actually be as unpleasant as a normal villain, enough so for the viewer to not sympathize with him. Otherwise, him, otherwise, he's just a DesignatedVillain.'''
'''

The character needs to keep a balance and be unpleasant without doing [[KickTheDog anything too unpleasant]].
11th Sep '17 1:13:22 PM Theriocephalus
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* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' has plenty of these -- though, admittedly, they also have plenty of ''genuine'' villains, too. Jet Set and Upper Crust from "Sweet and Elite" are snobby elitists who walk around with their muzzles in the air and disparage Rarity because she comes from a rural town -- the moment that they go from admiring Rarity's hat design to dismissing it as worthless because they just found out she comes from Ponyville is the moment they get revealed as "the bad guys" of the episode. Prince Blueblood in "Best Night Ever" is a RoyalBrat - but if you think about it, he may actually just be trying to shake off a clingy unwanted woman he reasonably could have suspected of being a GoldDigger. Trixie, who is often regarded as one of the show's more memorable villains, was only guilty of showboating and humiliating three of the protagonists in "Boast Busters" (who actually ''started the fight'' by heckling and then challenging Trixie to best them). When a giant bear trashed the town, Trixie's only real involvement was that she had made claims of being able to stop such a threat.
** The later episode "Magic Duel" subverts this at first, when Trixie returns to Ponyville armed with immensely powerful magic, boots Twilight Sparkle out of the town and reigns as a tyrant over the city. However, her newfound evil is revealed to be the doing of the ArtifactOfDoom she used to obtain power. It is not hard to surmise that Trixie got the Amulet in an attempt to simply show up Twilight, but TheCorruption took it from there. By the end of the episode, [[spoiler:Trixie is remorseful for the horrible things she has done under the Amulet's influence, and makes amends to Twilight]].

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* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' has plenty its fair share of these -- though, admittedly, they it also have has plenty of ''genuine'' villains, too. too.
** Prince Blueblood in "Best Night Ever" is a RoyalBrat, and although genuinely unpleasant he is never anything more than a self-centered snob who probably would have never approached Rarity if she had not done so first.
**
Jet Set and Upper Crust from "Sweet and Elite" are snobby elitists who walk around with their muzzles in the air and disparage Rarity because she comes from a rural town -- the moment that they go from admiring Rarity's hat design to dismissing it as worthless because they just found out she comes from Ponyville is the moment they get revealed as "the bad guys" of the episode. Prince Blueblood in "Best Night Ever" is a RoyalBrat - but if you think about it, he may actually just be trying to shake off a clingy unwanted woman he reasonably could have suspected of being a GoldDigger. episode.
**
Trixie, who is often regarded as one of the show's more memorable villains, was only guilty of showboating and humiliating three of the protagonists in "Boast Busters" (who actually ''started the fight'' by heckling and then challenging Trixie to best them). When a giant bear trashed the town, Trixie's only real involvement was that she had made claims of being able to stop such a threat.
**
threat when this was not actually true. The later episode "Magic Duel" subverts this at first, when Trixie returns to Ponyville armed with immensely powerful magic, boots Twilight Sparkle out of the town and reigns as a tyrant over the city. However, her newfound evil is revealed to be the doing of the ArtifactOfDoom she used to obtain power. It is not hard to surmise that Trixie got the Amulet in an attempt to simply show up Twilight, but TheCorruption took it from there. By the end of the episode, [[spoiler:Trixie is remorseful for the horrible things she has done under the Amulet's influence, and makes amends to Twilight]].
31st Aug '17 6:54:43 AM Korodzik
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* John D. Rockerduck was this in the only story Creator/CarlBarks ever used him. All he did was enter a boat into an upcoming race to prove his gasoline was better than Scrooge's.

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* John D. Rockerduck was this from ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse is Scrooge's main business rival, but while he often uses underhanded tactics, in some stories he competes entirely fairly (or at least, doesn't cheat any more than Scrooge himself does), but is still unsympathetic due to his smug attitude. In the only story Creator/CarlBarks ever used him. All him, all he did was enter a boat into an upcoming race to prove his gasoline was better than Scrooge's.Scrooge's.
17th Jul '17 12:59:24 PM Fireblood
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** In the episode "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson", the Investorettes weren't really doing anything wrong by kicking Marge out of their investment group (Marge herself admitted she didn't like "the whole idea of 'investing'"), and they were well within their rights to compete with her when they both started up mobile snack businesses. But they're such ''jerks'' about it that you're not sad at all when Marge's Mafia goons blow up their truck. Keep in mind, Marge ''didn't'' know that Homer had gotten the Mafia involved for her. The Investorettes on the other hand, ''knowingly'' hired the Yakuza to compete and take down Marge.
** In the episode "Mr. Plow", Homer starts his snow removal business and gets a lot of money for it, but Barney comes with a bigger plow and takes all of Homer's clients, he is presented as the episode villain, but the only wrong thing he ever did was shoot one of the tires of Homer's plow and make a commercial defaming Homer. Aside from that, he is just being a competitor, even at the end when Homer saves him (From the danger that Homer put him in the first place), and he decides that from now on they will be partners as his HeelFaceTurn. One flashback scene shows that Homer is the one that presented alcohol to Barney, ruining his life.
** When Homer returns to college to complete a nuclear science class, he immediately assumes that the Dean is [[DeanBitterman automatically a student-hating villain]] while in fact the Dean is laid back, friendly and the most understanding man you could ever meet.

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** In the episode "The "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS8E11TheTwistedWorldOfMargeSimpson The Twisted World of Marge Simpson", Simpson]]", the Investorettes weren't really doing anything wrong by kicking Marge out of their investment group (Marge herself admitted she didn't like "the whole idea of 'investing'"), and they were well within their rights to compete with her when they both started up mobile snack businesses. But they're such ''jerks'' about it that you're not sad at all when Marge's Mafia goons blow up their truck. Keep in mind, Marge ''didn't'' know that Homer had gotten the Mafia involved for her. The Investorettes on the other hand, ''knowingly'' hired the Yakuza to compete and take down Marge.
** In the episode "Mr. Plow", "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS4E9MrPlow Mr. Plow]]", Homer starts his snow removal business and gets a lot of money for it, but Barney comes with a bigger plow and takes all of Homer's clients, he is presented as the episode villain, but the only wrong thing he ever did was shoot one of the tires of Homer's plow and make a commercial defaming Homer. Aside from that, he is just being a competitor, even at the end when Homer saves him (From (from the danger that Homer put him in the first place), and he decides that from now on they will be partners as his HeelFaceTurn. One flashback scene shows that Homer is the one that presented first gave alcohol to Barney, ruining his life.
** When Homer returns to college to complete a nuclear science class, he immediately assumes that the Dean is [[DeanBitterman automatically a student-hating villain]] while in fact the Dean is laid back, friendly and the most understanding man you could ever meet. Homer ''still'' treats him as a villain, though, since he needs one to fulfill his college fantasy.
17th Jul '17 12:51:01 PM Fireblood
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* ''Franchise/LesMiserables'' has {{Trope Namer|s}} InspectorJavert, who pursues JustifiedCriminal Jean Valjean because...he broke his parole. How sympathetic he is depends on the adaptation, but as Valjean acknowledges [[spoiler:when he saves Javert's life]], Javert's actions are completely in accordance with the law.

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* ''Franchise/LesMiserables'' has {{Trope Namer|s}} InspectorJavert, who pursues JustifiedCriminal Jean Valjean because...he broke his parole. How sympathetic he is depends on the adaptation, but as Valjean acknowledges [[spoiler:when he saves Javert's life]], Javert's actions are completely in accordance with the law.law, even if he's cruel in doing so.



* Skyler on ''Series/BreakingBad'' only wants to know what her sick husband was up to while she was at home struggling with a disabled son and another kid on the way. Her notable offences include returning an unattractive piece of jewelery she got from her sister, faking labor to avoid being arrested (for something she didn't do), and being luke warm to her husband's sexual advances. She later becomes a typical shrewish, visitation-denying, ex-wife [[spoiler: and an adulterous white collar criminal]], but her main function from early on is to put more pressure on Walt's already stressful double-life, making her somewhat unsympathetic by default. Vince Gilligan has stated that he's disturbed by the level of hatred some of the fans have for her, and if they're still keeping it up by season three it's probably just pure misogyny. Then subverted, as she starts getting involved in Walt's business and proves to be far more level-headed than he.

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* Skyler on ''Series/BreakingBad'' only wants to know what her sick husband was up to while she was at home struggling with a disabled son and another kid on the way. Her notable offences include returning an unattractive piece of jewelery she got from her sister, faking labor to avoid being arrested (for something she didn't do), and being luke warm to her husband's sexual advances. She later becomes a typical shrewish, visitation-denying, ex-wife [[spoiler: and an adulterous white collar criminal]], but her main function from early on is to put more pressure on Walt's already stressful double-life, making her somewhat unsympathetic by default. Vince Gilligan has stated that he's disturbed by the level of hatred some of the fans have for her, and if they're still keeping it up by season three it's probably just pure misogyny.misogyny (Creator/AnnaGunn has defended the character from the {{hatedom}} as well for the same reasons). Then subverted, as she starts getting involved in Walt's business and proves to be far more level-headed than he.



** Captain Edward Jellico could be considered a subversion of this trope. He is given command of the ''Enterprise'' during the "Chain of Command" two-parter and obviously doesn't get along well with the crew. His brusque and demanding style of command makes him easy to dislike, both for the crew and the audience, he appears to lack diplomatic savvy, and he even relieves Riker of his position. Despite this, Jellico is vindicated by his success in resolving the crisis of the day, saving Picard from the Cardassians and averting an armed conflict.

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** Captain Edward Jellico could be considered a subversion of this trope. He is given command of the ''Enterprise'' during the "Chain of Command" two-parter and obviously doesn't get along well with the crew. His brusque and demanding style of command makes him easy to dislike, both for the crew and the audience, he appears to lack diplomatic savvy, and he even relieves Riker of his position. Despite this, Jellico is vindicated by his success in resolving the crisis of the day, saving Picard from the Cardassians and averting an armed conflict. Perhaps an example of GoodIsNotNice by the end.
17th Jul '17 12:42:46 PM Fireblood
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* ''Film/TheJudge'' has Dwight Dickham, the prosecuting attorney, goes after the Judge ruthlessly. In his first appearance, he seems like an asshole because he's got a metal, retractable water cup with a pin-up girl on the lid that he [[MundaneMadeAwesome dramatically extends]] with a loud "THWANG!" sound in court. It's also implied that he's taken a [[ItsPersonal special interest]] in the case because of his feelings of moral superiority to the Judge's son and counsel, Hank. In spite of all that, he's still just an honest prosecutor doing his job.
* Max Baer in ''Film/CinderellaMan'' is just the boxer who happens to be opposing our hero, and happens to be a very good boxer. He's made the villain by seeming to take a perverse pride in having killed opponents in the ring, and publicly warning that Braddock may not survive his bout. (This [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade contrasts the real Baer]], who was apparently a nice guy who felt terrible when one of his opponents died, to the point of donating money to his family.)

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* ''Film/TheJudge'' has Dwight Dickham, the prosecuting attorney, goes go after the Judge ruthlessly. In his first appearance, he seems like an asshole because he's got a metal, retractable water cup with a pin-up girl on the lid that he [[MundaneMadeAwesome dramatically extends]] with a loud "THWANG!" sound in court. It's also implied that he's taken a [[ItsPersonal special interest]] in the case because of his feelings of moral superiority to the Judge's son and counsel, Hank. In spite of all that, he's still just an honest prosecutor doing his job.
* Max Baer in ''Film/CinderellaMan'' is just the boxer who happens to be opposing our hero, and happens to be a very good boxer. He's made the villain by seeming to take a perverse pride in having killed opponents in the ring, and publicly warning that Braddock may not survive his bout. (This [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade contrasts the real Baer]], who was apparently a very nice guy who felt terrible when one of his opponents died, to the point of donating money to his family.family. He also beat a Nazi champion boxer while wearing the Star of David on his boxing shorts.)



** "Pretty" Ricky Conlan in ''Film/{{Creed}}'' is extremely abrasive and deliberately anatagonises Adonis at a press conference, almost to the point of being a [[{{Heel}} wrestling heel]]. However, he is also a clean fighter and, after narrowly winning on points, tells Adonis that he is [[WorthyOpponent the future of the division]], and his abrasiveness is somewhat justified by the fact that he's being forced into retirement in his prime, and that Donnie is getting a title shot on his second professional bout off the strength of his name, while Conlan had to scratch and claw his way up from nothing.
* The Sovereign fall into this trope as they fulfil the role of secondary antagonists in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2'': they have every reason to be angry that the Guardians stole their batteries, given that not only are those batteries incredibly valuable, but the Guardians were actually hired to ''protect them''. But they're such absolute pompous ''{{jerkass}}es'' that we really don't care.

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** "Pretty" Ricky Conlan in ''Film/{{Creed}}'' is extremely abrasive and deliberately anatagonises antagonizes Adonis at a press conference, almost to the point of being a [[{{Heel}} wrestling heel]]. However, he is also a clean fighter and, after narrowly winning on points, tells Adonis that he is [[WorthyOpponent the future of the division]], and his abrasiveness is somewhat justified by the fact that he's being forced into retirement in his prime, and that Donnie is getting a title shot on his second professional bout off the strength of his name, while Conlan had to scratch and claw his way up from nothing.
* The Sovereign fall into this trope as they fulfil fulfill the role of secondary antagonists in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2'': they have every reason to be angry that the Guardians stole their batteries, given that not only are those batteries incredibly valuable, but the Guardians were actually hired to ''protect them''. But they're such absolute pompous ''{{jerkass}}es'' that we really don't care.
17th Jul '17 12:37:36 PM Fireblood
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* Inverted with Sheriff Teasle (Brian Dennehy) in ''Film/FirstBlood'' (the first ''Franchise/{{Rambo}}'') movie, who actively antagonizes Rambo almost from the beginning, yet is ultimately portrayed as an AntiVillain at worst, and even though he's a {{Jerkass}} about it, he's ultimately just doing his job. His deputy Galt was the one who started the whole mess by abusing Rambo while he was in custody.
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