Created By: 313Bluestreak on October 14, 2013 Last Edited By: 313Bluestreak on July 2, 2015
Troped

Informed Kindness

Others say that the character is nice, although he really isn\'t.

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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. Compare Villain with Good Publicity for another meaning of "informed kindness".

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".

Comic Books
  • In The Sandman, the Furies are not to be referred as such, it's better to call them the Kindly Ones: a Hecate Trio of witches who swore to get revenge on Orpheus for making them cry, which they acheived by having hi killed by his father.

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.
  • Played deliberately in Lewis Carroll's long poem "Peter and Paul" from Sylvie and Bruno, in which the rich Paul agrees to lend his poorer friend Peter some money, never actually gives it to him, then starves him by calling in the loan. Paul is referred to as "noble", "kind" and "honest" throughout.

Literature
  • Discworld: The last king of Ankh-Morpork was known as Lorenzo the Kind, a pedophile and child murderer.

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, Knuckles accuses Blaze of stealing the Chaos Emerald when she was holding a Sol Emerald which led the two to fight briefly (with Blaze winning). After meeting with Knuckles again, Blaze and Cream got away. Then Cream tells Blaze not to take it the wrong way and that Knuckles is really a nice guy.

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 SpongeBob SquarePants 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.

Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • October 14, 2013
    CaveCat
  • October 14, 2013
    313Bluestreak
    The lampshaded version of this trope to be precise. This is when a character is introduced to another.
  • October 14, 2013
    DAN004
    Needs a mention of Informed Attribute or Show Dont Tell in the description.
  • October 15, 2013
    Arivne
    Corrected an improper Example Indentation.
  • October 15, 2013
    DAN004
    Informed Niceness? (Whether the nice is true or not is not the point)
  • October 15, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    • 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.
  • October 15, 2013
    TheHandle
    • 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".
  • October 15, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Can't think of the show right now, but I remember on something a pair of cops doing a Good Cop Bad Cop routine on a suspect. After one of them stopped yelling, the other tells the perp "he's the good cop."

    EDIT: Oh, I see on that page that that's called Bad Cop/Worse Cop.
  • October 16, 2013
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "Giant Squidward", the townspeople ask Squidward if he is a friendly giant like the one in a little boy's storybook. When Sponge Bob and Patrick tell them that he is and ask him to name instances, Squidward yells at them.
  • October 24, 2013
    Psi001
    • 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.
  • October 25, 2013
    DAN004
    Often a Naive Newcomer will become confused as to why people keep telling this Jerk Ass teammate "nice".
  • November 1, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    • 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.
  • November 20, 2013
    DracMonster
    If this isn't limited to intentional In Universe examples only (where the characters acknowledge it,) it's an Audience Reaction and therefore YMMV. "Not nice enough" is automatically a subjective judgement.
  • November 20, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ I think it never mention "not nice enough" in the description, sir.
  • November 24, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
  • November 25, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Informed Attribute has a lot of subtropes to it, sir, to prove that it's really damn broad.
  • December 4, 2013
    robbulldog
    From The Manchurian Candidate, repeatedly... "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life." (Mind you, this is because his squad has been brainwashed into saying this anytime they're asked about him...)
  • December 22, 2013
    Earnest
    ^ in point of fact, he's something of a cold jerk and No Hero To His Valet.
  • January 20, 2014
    MorningStar1337
    Okay I'm certain that all examples of Used To Be A Sweet Kid would qualify.
  • January 25, 2014
    DAN004
  • January 25, 2014
    DAN004
  • January 26, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    • 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 fa├žade, 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.
  • April 1, 2014
    Earnest
    See also Horrible Judge Of Character, for those mistakenly believing this.
  • April 13, 2014
    DAN004
  • April 14, 2014
    partner555
    Character Shilling might be relevant.
  • April 27, 2014
    Folamh3
    The Manchurian Candidate example wouldn't qualify as an example of this trope, since it's established in-universe that Shaw actually isn't a nice person, and even his fellow vets don't believe so despite having been brainwashed to think so.
  • April 27, 2014
    Earnest
    ^Not a straight one, but possibly in universe or at the least it's a Discussed Trope by the characters. They do, in both movies, note the surrealness of the situation.
  • April 27, 2014
    Folamh3
    Yes, that's fair enough. It's almost like the audience thinks it's a straight example until they learn about the brainwashing, at which point it becomes a subversion.
  • May 11, 2014
    NemuruMaeNi
    • 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".
  • July 22, 2014
    Arha
    I don't see what sets this apart from Informed Attribute.
  • July 22, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ it's a very broad supertrope.
  • July 29, 2014
    StellarBlitz
    I suggest a rename to Informed Kindness, because "Niceness" sounds clumsy. Also, Bump.
  • July 29, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ well that reminds me...

    Compare Villain With Good Publicity for another meaning of "informed kindness"
  • December 5, 2014
    robinjohnson
    • Played deliberately in Lewis Carroll's long poem "Peter and Paul" from Sylvie And Bruno, in which the rich Paul agrees to lend his poorer friend Peter some money, never actually gives it to him, then starves him by calling in the loan. Paul is referred to as "noble", "kind" and "honest" throughout.
  • July 1, 2015
    Chabal2
    • In The Sandman, the Furies are not to be referred as such, it's better to call them the Kindly Ones: a Hecate Trio of witches who swore to get revenge on Orpheus for making them cry, which they acheived by having hi killed by his father.
    • Discworld: The last king of Ankh-Morpork was known as Lorenzo the Kind, a pedophile and child murderer.

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