Informed Niceness
Others say that the character is nice, although he really isn't.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-10-14 11:53:59 sponsor: 313Bluestreak (last reply: 2014-07-29 20:53:09)

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Let's say you're meeting two characters for the first time and you find out that one character is nice, but you find out the other character is kinda rude and unfriendly. Then the nice character (or other characters who have known the rude character) will tell you that the other character is really a nice person, often following up with explaining his rude behavior.

This is an Informed Attribute of a character who is said to be nice, although actions show that he is shown to be anything but. This can be justified in many ways. The character may have a turbulent, yet healthy relationship with the rest of the characters. Maybe the character isn't too keen on socializing with others. Or maybe the character appears to be nice, but does have moments of anger. Whatever reason it may be, this trope can show that the story is focusing on the good of the character instead of the bad.

On the downside of things, characters believing that the character is nice will appear to be too naive, especially if the rude character has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Should the character be called out for his rudeness? Shouldn't the rude character apologize for his abrasive behavior? In a strange sense, however, the character who was taken aback of their rudeness will find out that he does have a nice side. Of course, that's only between those two.

A form of Show, Don't Tell. This can be a way to best describe a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, a character with a Sugar and Ice Personality, a Good Is Not Nice character, or other characters who can be socially unapproachable at times. Often a Na´ve Newcomer will become confused as to why people keep telling this Jerkass teammate "nice". This can be shown how the character is a Jerk Sue if the other characters ignore his/her mean qualities.

Contrast Beware the Nice Ones. See also Horrible Judge of Character for those mistakenly believing this. Compare Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. Can be a form of Character Shilling. Can be Truth in Television.

Examples

Anime & Manga
  • Parodied early on in Hayate the Combat Butler: The mafia loan-sharks bent on enslaving Hayate as setllement for his parents' debt are redundantly, near-exclusively and emphatically being referred to as "Exceptionally kind people".

Film
  • The Room's protagonist, Johnny, is ostensibly an emotionally fragile Nice Guy. This shilling is kind of undermined by his laughing at spousal abuse that landed someone in the hospital, his covert taping of Lisa to determine whether or not she was having an affair instead of coming out and asking her about it, and destructive meltdown toward the end of the movie.

Literature
  • Discworld's Nanny Ogg will insist that her incredibly mean and evil cat Greebo (which one raped a she-bear), is "a big softie, really". Only once did she confess "between you and me, he's a fiend from Hell".
  • Subverted with Raymond Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate. The novel repeatedly states "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life." Keep in mind that this is because his squad has been brainwashed into saying this anytime they're asked about him. In point of fact, he's something of a cold jerk and No Hero to His Valet.

Live Action TV
  • In Breaking Bad, characters have a tendency to say that Walter White is nice, a good, decent person, etc. If you pay attention, however, from the beginning, you'll notice that all of Walt's kind-seeming actions are either forced for the sake of manipulation or for that of a facade, or him trying to fulfill his role as a parent. Never does he go out of his way to do anything nice for anyone. As the series advances, he goes downhill from there, both retroactively as we discover his backstory, and by Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.

Video Games
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: The bounty hunter Ghor is said to be nice most of the time, but turns more violent when in his mecha suit. While he certainly does sound mean while in it, the "normal" Ghor doesn't really act that nice, sounding irritated when going through security screenings and referring to a killed Berserker Knight as having "stopped bothering us". Admittedly, we don't get to see him much outside of combat before he's infected by Phazon and turns evil.
  • In Sonic Rush, Cream introduces Blaze to Knuckles, and says he's a good guy, but isn't all that bright. This made Knuckles scream as well as Cream, causing Blaze to leave a remark that Cream isn't all that bright either.

Western Animation
  • In The Proud Family, Dijonay reunites with her old friend Lacieniga for the first time in years. Dijonay tells her current best friend Penny that Lacieniga is the best person ever, but Lacieniga only proceeds to do nothing but selfishly disrespect Penny. Penny calls Dijonay out on her judgement saying that it's possible her old friend has changed, but Dijonay doesn't see any of it.
  • In the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode, "Giant Squidward", the townspeople ask Squidward if he is a friendly giant like the one in a little boy's storybook. When SpongeBob and Patrick tell them that he is and ask him to name instances, Squidward yells at them.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine
    • In a "A Bad Day for Sir Handel". Peter Sam and Sir Handel arrive to the Skarloey Railway with Sir Handel complaining about leaving the railway they previously worked at and insults Skarloey. Peter Sam rebukes him and tells Skarloey that he's a nice person, he's only a bit homesick. The narration then states that Skarloey felt sorry for Peter Sam.
    • Peter Sam says the same about Duncan in "Home At Last" supposing that he probably does mean well, but is rather rude and careless. While we do see shades of his softer side in the following episode, the current story has Duncan act like a thoroughly arrogant Jerk Ass.
    • In the episode "Kevin's Cranky Friend", Salty reminds Kevin that despite Cranky's nature, he has a heart of gold, and he was good as his word when Cranky took the blame for causing Kevin to fall off the sea.

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