Created By: ryanasaurus0077 on January 18, 2013 Last Edited By: ryanasaurus0077 on January 27, 2016

Friends In Low Places

A seedy character who happens to be very influential outside of the underground.

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Clearly Needs More Examples. Needs a Better Description?

It's bad enough to have a President Evil or Mayor Pain running things, but if an elected official happens to have connections to an unsavory person or group (such as, say, The Mafia), that's just asking for trouble. The voters may have had no idea what they were getting themselves into, but either way, expect corruption to spread like the flu. Expect a lot of controversies to erupt. Especially expect at least one assassination to occur while this man's on the job.

Note that he doesn't have to work for the government, but can work for an influential organization, charitable or not, in addition to the unsavory person or group. Sometimes, he'll be the unsavory person himself.

Compare Double Agent, Mole in Charge, The Sneaky Guy, Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!, Friend on the Force. May overlap with President Evil or Mayor Pain (but never both at the same time).


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Rosario + Vampire has Kuyo, the Fascist leader of the student police at Youkai Academy and a Double Agent who's really working for Fairy Tail.
  • One Piece. Donquixote Doflamingo, both King of Dressrosa and the big cheese in the underworld (under the alias of Joker).

Comic Books
  • In Batman Eternal, Gotham's Mayor Hady is an old friend of the Falcone crime family, as is the new Police Commissioner he appoints.

Film
  • The Dark Knight Saga
    • Ra's al Ghul notes in Batman Begins that Gotham is so corrupt, its very infrastructure, including its government (e.g. Judge Faden), is full of them, and a bunch of them are members of the League of Shadows.
    • Lau in The Dark Knight is a CEO from Hong Kong looking to enter a business arrangement with Wayne Enterprises, but he is also a money launderer who is managing the mob's life savings, though he's quick to rat them out once Batman drags him back to Gotham.
    • John Daggett in The Dark Knight Rises presents himself as a respectable businessman, but he's had dealings with Bane and his radicals for years and is the one who brought them to Gotham City, a move he eventually comes to regret.
  • Captain Boone, the military governor's right hand in The Jungle Book, says this word for word when he and his thugs capture the governor and his daughter as leverage to force Mowgli to lead them to the treasure.

Live-Action TV
  • In Vegas (2012), The Mafia led by Vincent Savino helped the new mayor unseat the incumbent in hopes of getting more leeway in their casino operations. This mayor isn't so much evil and connected as he is naive and kinda stupid, and Sheriff Lamb is hoping to keep the mob from extending their influence any further.
  • Boardwalk Empire runs on this trope—it's an examination/character study of what happens when an already Corrupt Politician gets in over his head with the mob.
  • In Gotham, Jim Gordon, a heroic example, is paired with The Penguin in this manner, though it's clearly one-sided as even if a situation comes to the point where Gordon requires Penguin's services, he still doesn't exactly trust Penguin, especially due to the latter using clearly dirty tricks to get Gordon what he wants.

Tabletop Games
  • The Serenity RPG provides the trope-naming character trait "Friends in Low Places", which means you have connections with the criminal underworld and can call on them for help at your discretion. Whether or not they grant it is determined by dice roll.

Video Games
  • In Mega Man Battle Network 6, Mayor Cain (the mayor of Cyber City) is revealed to be the benefactor for the internet crime organization WWW.

Real Life
  • Lance Armstrong was this to both his cycling team and Livestrong (his anti-cancer organization) for over 15 years. Even when "coming clean", he still came across as this.
Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • January 18, 2013
    StarSword
    First of all, Bad Trope Namer. Secondly, how is this meaningfully distinct from Corrupt Politician?
  • January 18, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    Now that you mention it, this trope would better apply to corrupt stock villains that aren't the Corrupt Politician, Corrupt Hick, Corrupt Corporate Executive, President Evil, Dirty Cop, or The Don.

    That said, perhaps a good name for that would be Influential Bully (which Kuyo and Lance Armstrong, at least, certainly are).
  • January 19, 2013
    AgProv
    Dangerous potential for flame warfare here. Who is to say what defines "an unsavoury person or group"? This could degenerate so easily onto political argument and point-scoring - for sake of argument, former president G.W. Bush and his affiliation to a university frat group that has had allegations made against it; any group the current President Obama belongs to might be viewed as tainted by those who do not like or trust him; the British Prime minister David Cameron belonged to the British version of a socially exclusive and rowdy frat group while at Cambridge, et c. (I am trying to be neutral in citing these examples, which have drawn and continue to draw heated argument.)

    But if we were to insist on "no real-life examples", then as Berlusconi is real-life the whole trope would have to be ditched or re-named after a fictional example - possibly "The Quimby", after the corrupt Mayor in "the Simpsons"?
  • January 19, 2013
    StarSword
    We're not naming tropes after characters anymore.
  • January 19, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    ^We do, but in 99% of cases the name fails Naming A Trope criteria.

    I also point out that here in Switzerland, Berlusconi is better known for a) his sexistic approach to women and b) for him always returning to government than for any connection with unsavoury groups.

    Motion to rename

  • January 19, 2013
    Bisected8
    What about Friends In Low Places (too easy to mistake for Almighty Janitor?) or Friends In Dark Places?
  • January 19, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Friends In Low Places is nice, and it'd give Firefly another trope namer (it's the RPG trait for "has connections with the criminal underworld").
  • January 19, 2013
    Telcontar
    I do like Friends In Low Places -- an interesting spin off "friends in high places". The current, as has been said, needs changing.
  • January 19, 2013
    Tallens
    • Captain Boone, the military governor's right hand in The Jungle Book, says this word for word when he and his thugs capture the governor and his daughter as leverage to force Mowgli to lead them to the treasure.
  • January 19, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    ^^^ Nah, Garth Brooks would get the trope namer, for the song! (Although that song is more about having down-to-Earth "redneck" partying friends than having shady criminals as friends--so maybe not. But it's the first thing I thought of when I saw the title.)
  • January 19, 2013
    acrobox
    Also usually the function of The Sneaky Guy of any given team. Has connections to the underworld, but is still influential enough to be a trusted core member of the team he's on. Especially when it overlaps with The Smart Guy (helps in strategy or communication) or The Lancer (helps in leadership)
  • January 20, 2013
    StarSword
    See also Screw The Rules I Have Connections.

    TV:
    • In Vegas, The Mafia led by Vincent Savino helped the new mayor unseat the incumbent in hopes of getting more leeway in their casino operations. This mayor isn't so much evil and connected as he is naive and kinda stupid, and Sheriff Lamb is hoping to keep the mob from extending their influence any further.

    Tabletop Games:
    • The Serenity RPG provides the trope-naming character trait "Friends in Low Places", which means you have connections with the criminal underworld and can call on them for help at your discretion. Whether or not they grant it is determined by dice roll.
  • January 21, 2013
    Tallens
    A couple more from The Dark Knight Saga
    • Lau is a CEO from Hong Kong looking to enter a business arrangement with Wayne Enterprises, but he is also a money launderer who is managing the mob's life savings, though he's quick to rat them out once Batman drags him back to Gotham.
    • John Daggett in The Dark Knight Rises presents himself as a respectable businessman, but he's had dealings with Bane and his radicals for years and is the one who brought them to Gotham City, a move he eventually comes to regret.
  • February 20, 2013
    Tallens
    Bump.
  • February 20, 2013
    MokonaZero
    Indeed. Needs a rename, I read the title and immediately thought of a different meaning.
  • February 20, 2013
    Cassis
  • February 20, 2013
    robinjohnson
    Friends In Low Places is a great title for a trope about well-to-do characters who are on inexplicably good terms with lowlives (Sherlock Holmes is the first example to spring to mind). This isn't it, though.
  • February 20, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Friends in Low Places is a very good name. May need a change on the description if people are confused, though.
  • November 20, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    Well, another YKTTW of mine got axed; however, I'm not discouraged by that one failure at making a YKTTW, since at least I had one YKTTW success today.

    Back on topic: What are some good ideas on how to improve the description?
  • November 20, 2013
    DAN004
    The slang "low places" may not be good for non-native English speakers (like me :P) but it's a good title nonetheless.

    Compare Mole In Charge.

    BTW
    • One Piece: Donquixote Doflamingo, both King of Dressrosa and the big cheese in the underworld (under the alias of Joker).
  • July 20, 2014
    Tallens
    Bump.
  • July 20, 2014
    ryanasaurus0077
    Anyone want to help with the description?
  • July 21, 2014
    DAN004
  • July 21, 2014
    robinjohnson
    Dan: "low places" isn't really slang itself - the title is a play on the idiom "friends in high places", which means friends in positions of influence (within the establishment, I think, so it might mean police chiefs but not mafia bosses.)
  • July 21, 2014
    Arivne
    • Added blank line(s) for readability.
    • Examples section formatting
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Changed media section title(s) to our standard All Caps style and Blue Linked them.
      • De-Pot Holed Vegas 2012 because it would make the reader think the example was from the original 1970s Vegas series.
  • July 21, 2014
    DaibhidC
    Comic Books
    • In Batman Eternal, Gotham's Mayor Hady is an old friend of the Falcone crime family, as is the new Police Commissioner he appoints.

  • September 23, 2015
    DAN004
    • In Mega Man Battle Network 6, Mayor Cain (the mayor of Cyber City) is revealed to be the benefactor for the internet crime organization WWW.
  • September 24, 2015
    Arivne
    Capitalized the title.
  • September 24, 2015
    eroock
    How does this contrast against The Informant?
  • September 24, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ Those friends in low places can be The Informant, but their role are generally broad.

    But more importantly, the title only implies the "friend" without implying who have the friend; which, in the description, is someone in a position of high power.

    Ruler With Shady Connections is the clearest I can get.
  • January 27, 2016
    ryanasaurus0077
    Would Jack Thompson having one of the Council of Nine as a friend be an example?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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