Created By: 313Bluestreak on May 14, 2013 Last Edited By: 313Bluestreak on June 22, 2013
Troped

Can't Take Criticism

A character hates being criticized for his wrongs.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
"A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent."
--Proverbs 15:5, King James Version

It's hard to listen to criticism, whether it's being put down in such a blunt manner because we aren't doing certain things correctly or if it's being criticized for our bad decisions, especially if it's moral. Instead of taking heed to it, some would breakdown miserably and are unable or unwilling to make themselves better. They are some would go as far as to become unexpectedly enraged by it.

This character hates being criticized in every way possible. At best, he often takes criticism as an insult more than a means of guidance or maybe the criticism was so unpleasant and harsh for him to handle. At worst, he just naturally hates criticism period and would rather listen to something he wants to hear. Even a more gentle criticism will cause the character to dish out Disproportionate Retribution. Not even a Compassionate Critic can deal with this character.

In moral situations, a character who resents being rebuked for taking a dark turn (usually a hero bordering to Anti-Hero territory) can make him worse than ever. If the character is a villain, showing displeasure in criticism for his wickedness can demonstrate how they cannot comprehend good, although justifiably, Good Is Not Nice. This can be seen as a character getting revenge on those who had a justifiable reason to criticize them, which makes them petty.

This encompasses narcissistic characters like the Insufferable Genius, Entitled Bastard, and The Prima Donna. It is also the hallmark of a Small Name, Big Ego character.

Compare Minor Insult Meltdown if they are shaken by the criticism instead of being enraged. Often overlaps into With Due Respect. The trademark method of ensuring a Bad Boss will be set on destroying you is to commit this trope. Can be a response to a Jerkass who actually is right for once. Contrast Heroic Self-Deprecation. This can be often Truth in Television.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it is implied that Isabel the Artist Witch was once a magical girl who didn't like criticism. Like what her card description says, "In order to defeat this Witch, remember to bring a critic."

Film
  • In Theatre of Blood Vincent Price plays an actor who kills the critics who gave him bad reviews, each murder in the theme of a Shakespeare play he was in which the reviewer panned.

Literature
  • In The Railway Series, The Fat Controller threatens to paint James blue if he doesn't stop misbehaving. Upon hearing this, James was angry and banged the coaches so hard that he made a hole in one of their lead pipes, which requires a passenger's bootlace to fix it.

Live-Action TV
  • Kitchen Nightmares has owners in this trope frequently when Ramsey tries to tell them their faults.
    • In the final episode of the 6th US has Gordon Ramsey actually give up on the owners of Amy's Baking Company, because they were unwilling to listen. This is notable because this is the first episode he has ever done this.
  • Revolution: General Monroe and Tom Neville have shown more than once that they respond very poorly to criticism. The sort of response that involves attacking or killing the critic.
  • A lot of the cast in The Big Bang Theory has this to some degree, but Sheldon Cooper absolutely cannot abide it. When Stephen Hawking corrects his work, it's like a Logic Bomb: he can't accept that he made an elementary mistake, but he can't contradict the great Stephen Hawking... so he faints.

Religion
  • The Bible: The Book of Proverbs has some verses that imply that those who resent reproof and correction are labeled as fools in contrast to those who are wise (see page quote above). It also insists that we should avoid this trope and just take heed to the criticism.

Western Animation
  • The reason the main character was put in charge of the company's new project in the Dilbert Animated Adaptation is because he dared to suggest the Pointy-Haired Boss got the steps to making it mixed up on the slideshow (whether or not he did is undetermined, but either way he is vehement the name is the first and most important part of the project).
    • Here's another example from the comic series:
      Catbert: So you want a job here, Tubby.
      Recruit: It's Toby.
      Catbert: Did you just correct me?
      Recruit: Er...
      Catbert: I ALONE WILL DETERMINE YOUR NAME!!! ...Now what is your name?
      Recruit: Tubby.
  • In an episode of Spongebob Squarepants during his review at work, Spongebob insists on being given some form of critism to improve upon. Eventually, despite being assured he is doing perfectly, his boss relents and suggests to put less sauce in the burgers, leaving Spongebob in a deranged whimpering BSOD.
  • An episode of American Dad! revolves around Stan deporting his entire neighbourhood (including his own family) because he heard them criticizing him.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • May 14, 2013
    DracMonster
    You might want to expand this to a more general Cant Take Criticism trope rather than limiting it to What The Hell Hero situations. It could encompass The Prima Donna and some other snooty character types.

    We actually have this concept but only for Real Life author reactions (Lets See You Do Better, etc) not fictional ones as far as I can tell.
  • May 14, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    This little trope is a hallmark of the Small Name Big Ego kind of character. This is definitely going on the Berserk Button page once it gets launched.
  • May 14, 2013
    Psi001
    • The reason the main character was put in charge of the company's new project in the Dilbert Animated Adaptation is because he dared to suggest the Pointy Haired Boss got the steps to making it mixed up on the slideshow (whether or not he did is undetermined, but either way he is vehement the name is the first and most important part of the project).
    • In an episode of Spongebob Squarepants during his review at work, Spongebob insists on being given some form of critism to improve upon. Eventually, despite being assured he is doing perfectly, his boss relents and suggests to put less sauce in the burgers, leaving Spongebob in a deranged whimpering BSOD.
    • An episode of American Dad revolves around Stan deporting his entire neighbourhood (including his own family) because he heard them criticizing him.

    Often ovelaps into With All Due Respect. The trademark method of ensuring a Bad Boss will be set on destroying you is to commit this trope.
  • May 14, 2013
    spacemarine50
    Kitchen Nightmares has owners in this trope frequently then Ramsey tries to tell them their faults.
  • May 14, 2013
    Psi001
    Another Dilbert example from the comic series:
    Catbert: So you want a job here, Tubby.
    Recruit: It's Toby.
    Catbert: Did you just correct me?
    Recruit: Er...
    Catbert: I ALONE WILL DETERMINE YOUR NAME!!! ...Now what is your name?
    Recruit: Tubby.
  • May 15, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I agree with Drac, expand to Cant Take Criticism.
  • May 18, 2013
    GoldenDarkness
    Expanding on the Kitchen Nightmares example, the final episode of the 6th US season has Gordon Ramsey actually give up on the owners of Amy's Baking Company, because they were unwilling to listen. This is notable because this is the first episode he has ever done this.
  • May 25, 2013
    DracMonster
    If this is not straight out No Real Life Examples Please, it should be limited to people who are not currently alive and could potentially find their entry on the page. That would end with the servers exploding. This should go on the Character Flaw Index at launch.

    A few other personalities prone to this: Insufferable Genius, Entitled Bastard, Narcissist.

    Contrast Heroic Self Deprecation.
  • May 25, 2013
    WiseMan23753
    In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it is implied that Isabel the Artist Witch was once a magical girl who didn't like criticism. Like what her card description says, "In order to defeat this Witch, remember to bring a critic."
  • June 10, 2013
    eowynjedi
    • The Big Bang Theory: A lot of the cast has this to some degree, but Sheldon Cooper absolutely cannot abide it. When Stephen Hawking corrects his work, it's like a Logic Bomb: he can't accept that he made an elementary mistake, but he can't contradict the great Stephen Hawking... so he faints.
  • June 16, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the film Theatre Of Blood Vincent Price plays an actor who kills the critics who gave him bad reviews, each murder in the theme of a Shakespeare play he was in which the reviewer panned.
  • June 17, 2013
    MattStriker
    I'm not familiar with the source material myself, but the trope page of Irredeemable (discovered during a Wiki Walk) suggests to me that the Plutonian would make a good example.
  • June 17, 2013
    313Bluestreak
    Because I've never read Irredeemable, it seems to me that the Plutonian hates being called out for his immoral deeds, correct?
  • Real Life
    • Donald Trump is quick to dish out criticism to anybody he has issues with (Rosie O'Donnel, Barack Obama, you name it); but, if someone actually dishes it out on him for a change, Trump is even quicker to either start a feud with the other party, or even go as far as to sue them (ala Bill Maher).
    • Similar with Joan Rivers, she's always riffing off on other people, but you say anything nasty about her, or her daughter Melissa, she lets all hell break loose.
    • Taylor Swift's long string of boyfriends is no surprise to the general public; though if it's actually brought up, such as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler joking it about it, or the recent Abercrombie scandal of releasing a t-shirt that reads, "# More Boyfriends that T.S.", she is not going to take it very well at all.
  • June 22, 2013
    313Bluestreak
    ^I don't think any real life examples are necessary unless if examples are from those who are not alive.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=kjarydzga0hmx520je8eqzr6&trope=CantTakeCriticism