Created By: UnknownTroper on June 9, 2008
Nuked

Good Is Not Nice

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Some characters are unarguably on the side of Good and Right, wonderful to have around when needed. When not needed, you really do not to be around them. They're scary, disturbing, creepy, or just plain unpleasant. This trope rarely applies to anti-heroes, who tend to be only nominally or comparatively good.

Examples: Batman (except for the 50s/60s version). He's known as the Dark Knight, among other titles. Granny Weatherwax. She's a good witch, no argument. But she's definitely not a *nice* witch.
Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • June 9, 2008
    Meems
    Sam Vimes, also from Discworld, probably counts as well.

    Related to Light Is Not Good.
  • June 9, 2008
    Tabby
    • You're so nice
    • You're not good, you're not bad, you're just nice
    • I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right!

    -The Witch, Into The Woods
  • June 9, 2008
    Tabby
    Double post? What double post?
  • June 9, 2008
    VampireBuddha
    Sentinel Prime in Transformers Animated - he's a decent fighter, but takes the 'lawful' aspect of being Lawful Good rather more seriously than the 'good' part.
  • June 9, 2008
    Tera
    Rorschach from Watchmen.
  • June 9, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    I'm not so sure Rorshach is even good...
  • June 9, 2008
    Meiriona
    Coughsuperdickerycoughcough
  • June 9, 2008
    Heliomance
    Superman's clearly not good. The guy's a dick!
  • June 9, 2008
    EponymousKid
    How is this not common among Anti Hero guys? If Batman... Let's not even get into how many guys Wolverine has needlessly murdered...
  • June 9, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    A variation: Aslan in The Chronicles Of Narnia is not "safe" but he is "good". Three guesses as to what true theological figure Lewis was referring to.
  • June 9, 2008
    Kilyle
    Not sure "nice" is the right adjective here. Could go Good But Not Pleasant. Good But Creepy is too specific... Good But Not Nice To Be Around is too long. I'd vote Good But Not Pleasant or Good But Not Pleasant To Be Around.
  • June 9, 2008
    Octal
    You could make a case for Vetinari from Discworld, too.
  • June 10, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Isn't this Dark Is Not Bad, or whatever the name is?
  • June 10, 2008
    Bisected8
    @Unknown Troper 203.196.44.166: No, that's traditionally "evil" characters being good (or at least no worse than anyone else). This appears to be good characters being jerks (I think Light Is Not Good just refers to villains who resemble normally good character arcetypes).

    For example;

  • June 10, 2008
    Space Jawa
    This is closely related to Nineties Anti Hero, isn't it?
  • June 10, 2008
    Micah
    Severus Snape.
  • June 10, 2008
    Puck
    I seem to remember a recent proposed trope with a similar idea phrased as something like "Sure glad he's on our side". Did anything ever come of that?
  • June 10, 2008
    BobbyG
    Tachyon and Brother from the OpAphid ARG. Far from evil, but nevertheless dangerous and at times callous.
  • June 12, 2008
    Medinoc
    Isn't it lumpable with Chaotic Good?
  • June 12, 2008
    VampireBuddha
    No, Chaotic Good characters are often pleasant and charming. The character described here seems more likely to be Lawful Good, with most of the emphasis on Lawful
  • June 12, 2008
    Sunder the Gold
    Not convinced this is a trope.
  • June 12, 2008
    A Thousand Winds
    Not A Tame Lion?

    The characters are not anti-heroes because anti-heroes should blur the line between good and evil. These characters are unambiguously good, they're just not nice.
  • June 13, 2008
    Sunder the Gold
    Define "nice." Does it mean "always kind" or "always pleasant to be around" or "Good Is Impotent"?
  • June 14, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Kind, pleasant to be around, friendly. That sort of "nice."
  • June 14, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    The Doctor on Doctor Who, sometimes. Especially the 6th Doctor, most of the time.

    Other Doctors too, to a lesser degree. E.g. the Fourth in "Pyramids of Mars"--a nice guy has just been strangled and the Doctor doesn't show any feeling about it, because 1) he's an alien and 2) the universe is in dire peril.

    I was already thinking of proposing a closely related trope-- maybe partially overlapping--about heroes who avert Good Is Boring by being unambiguously good, but difficult to be around. The difference is that the ones I was thinking of aren't scary, just difficult to deal with in various ways. The Doctor, (mischevious, sometimes arrogant, usually doesn't follow rules, unpredictable). Spock (cold, condescending, sarcastic). Sherlock Holmes (cold, asocial, egotistical, but highly moral). The Prisoner (cold, solitary, abrupt, terse--would you want him as a roommate?).

    Should this be a separate trope, or part of "Good Is Not Nice", or "Pleasant" or whatever?
  • June 14, 2008
    Meiriona
    I think Glad Hes On Our Side is worth a trope, at the least. And that's more clear than using good/nice type lines.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=bjq24ut1&trope=GoodIsNotNice