Created By: partner555 on June 7, 2014 Last Edited By: partner555 on June 22, 2014
Troped

Inspirational Insult

A character draws inspiration and motivation from an insult hurled at them.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
What? You think I'm not a good trope? That I should have been discarded while in the YKTTW phase!? Well, I'll show you! I'm going to be on as many work pages as possible and I'll be one of the most popular tropes ever!!!!

Normally, people gain inspiration and motivation from encouragement. Sometimes though, being insulted works better as a motivating source, as now the person is going to try and succeed in whatever task it is they are going to do just to spite the insulter.

There are two common variations of this trope.

i. The insulter did not intend for their target to draw inspiration from the insult given to them.
ii. The insulter did intend for their target to draw inspiration from the insult given to them.

The first variation is not to be confused with Insult Backfire, since that is about the insulted party getting flattered, not motivated.

The Compassionate Critic will give out lots of these, while The Trickster Mentor might give out only some of these.

Could be part of some Enforced Method Acting attempts.

Supertrope to Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!, which is specific to insulting a person's courage and often used to make the person do something against their better judgement.

Examples must note the insult part and the drawing-inspiration-from-the-insult part.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • in the first chapter of One Piece, Shanks gives a young Luffy a good-natured jab about how Luffy will never succeed as a pirate, which prompts Luffy to declare that we will succeed and be a better pirate than Shanks. Shanks gives his hat to Luffy in encouragement after that.

     Comic Books 
  • During Secret Wars while the Hulk is holding a 150 billion ton mountain up so the rest of the team can survive, when he starts getting fatigued Reed Richards insults him, inspiring him to hold the mountain up a while longer. Hulk calls Reed out on this later.

     Film- Animation 
  • In Cars, Doc tells Lightning who fell into the cactus that his driving is as lousy as his ability to fix roads, giving Lightning more motivation to do a proper job in fixing the road he damaged. Lightning even says "I'll show him."

     Film - Live Action 
  • In The Karate Kid 3 Daniel gets up to face Barnes again after Barnes yells, "Your karate's junk. You're nothing. Your slope teacher's nothing!" This gives Daniel more motivation to win.
  • Toward the end of Down with Love, Peter finally gets the courage to make a move on Vicki when she, upset with him over something else, slaps him and tells him that he's "just like every other man!" So he realizes that he needs to stop overthinking it, just "be a man", get out of his head and into her pants. So he does.
  • Occurs twice with Lola Bunny in Space Jam. During the tryouts at Schlesinger's Gym, Bugs Bunny puts the move on Lola, asking, "You wanna play a little one-on-one, doll?" Lola's Fireball Eyeballs signal that she severely dislikes being regarded as a pretty face and nothing more. She quickly leaves Bugs in a ridiculous knot at the foul line, and throws down an impressive jam. Later, during the Ultimate Game, the Monstar Pound challenges Lola, "Try to get by me, doll." After disarranging Pound's face, Lola throws down another strong jam. Notable in that these are the only times that Lola Bunny is seen scoring points.

     Literature 
  • Redwall: The Bellmaker, several of the heroes are trapped in a tower, with their only hope of rescue a rope brought to them by a shrike (aka butcher bird). Unfortunately, the rope is too heavy for the bird, so the hare starts insulting, a previously noted Berserk Button. The shrike makes it to the tower, fully intent on proving its name, but is convinced to leave instead.

     Live-Action TV 
  • The second variation was in play during an episode of The Love Boat. Jimmy Osmond played a novice actor shooting a scene, who just couldn't get it right. The director wasn't satisfied with his believability. He wasn't conveying enough anger and hurt. After repeated tries, the director called a break, during which the captain's daughter Vicki ripped into him about how he might as well give it up. He was a horrible failure of an actor, and he wasn't ever going to succeed. On the next take, he nailed it. Vicki had insulted him deliberately to make him angry and produce that result.
  • In an early episode of Breaking Bad, Jesse finds an old test paper marked by Walt, on which he's written "Ridiculous - apply yourself." Jesse takes the advice and applies himself to making meth.
  • Seinfeld invokes this in "The Cartoon," in which washed-up actress Sally Weaver takes Jerry's criticism (actually said by Kramer) of her acting abilities (or lack thereof) and applies it to her new stand-up rountine she calls Jerry Seinfeld is the Devil, in which she basically just mocks everything Jerry does or say to her to make him seem like a bigger Jerkass. Her new act launches her into celebrity status overnight.

     Western Animation 
  • In Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Vice Principle Crubbs tells Mr. Wright who wasn't going to try for the principal position anyway that he wouldn't make a good principal. This irks Mr. Wright and he decides to go and try for the principal position. This even gets lampshaded.
  • Invoked in an I Meant to Do That way on The Simpsons. In "The PTA Disbands" Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner have a heated discussion in the cafeteria during lunch.
    Mrs. Krabappel: Seymour, you have to think of the children's future.
    Seymour: Oh, Edna. We all know that these children HAVE no future!.
    [everyone stops and stares at Seymour]
    Seymour: nervous laugh Prove me wrong, children. Prove me wrong.

     Real Life 
  • This Tumblr post shows some women who chose a career in science specifically because people told them females can't be scientists.
  • This is part of the controversial and seldom used "attack therapy". Success is not guaranteed.
Community Feedback Replies: 52
  • June 7, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    If the person did intend for the insulted person to be inspired, might this be similar to Motivational Lie?

    In The Karate Kid III, Daniel gets up to face Barnes again after Barnes yells, "Your karate's junk. You're nothing. Your slope teacher's nothing!"
  • June 7, 2014
    partner555
    ^ Lies and insults are not the same thing, though there might be some overlap.
  • June 7, 2014
    DracMonster
    Real Life
    • The song "Yankee Doodle," considered a patriotic American song today, was originally sung by the British to mock colonial troops. They took a liking to it and started singing it themselves.

    Not sure if that counts since it's more a case of laughing off and coopting the insult.
  • June 7, 2014
    DAN004
    Sometimes overlap with Trickster Mentor
  • June 7, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Token Motivational Nemesis being related to this is overkill.

    That one often requires the nemesis killing someone. the milder examples do more than just merely insult someone.

    also, your Self Demonstrating joke only works within YKTTW. Making it pointless upon launch.
  • June 7, 2014
    partner555
    @ Drac: I think that's Insult Backfire actually.
  • June 7, 2014
    partner555
    @ Shanghai: I probably should have read Token Motivational Nemesis more carefully, and I'll alter the joke.
  • June 7, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    partner555, nice. it's better now.
  • June 8, 2014
    Chabal2
    Redwall: In The Bellmaker, several of the heroes are trapped in a tower, with their only hope of rescue a rope brought to them by a shrike (aka butcher bird). Unfortunately, the rope is too heavy for the bird, so the hare starts insulting, a previously noted Berserk Button. The shrike makes it to the tower, fully intent on proving its name, but it convinced to leave instead.

  • June 8, 2014
    Mr.Movie
         Real Life 
    • This can be a part of the controversial and seldom used "attack therapy"
  • June 8, 2014
    partner555
    ^^ "...but it convinced to leave instead"?
  • June 8, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^ I think that's supposed to be "but is convinced to leave instead".
  • June 8, 2014
    randomsurfer
    During Secret Wars while the Hulk is holding a 150 billion ton mountain up so the rest of the team can survive, when he starts getting fatigued Reed Richards insults him, inspiring him to hold the mountain up a while longer. Hulk calls Reed out on this later.

    see also I Shall Taunt You.
  • June 9, 2014
    partner555
    Did anyone see Karate Kid 3? I wasn't given enough context to know if the given example counts. The Daniel gaining more motivation part is merely an assumption on my part.
  • June 9, 2014
    SKJAM
    A noted tactic of the Compassionate Critic, when they're sincere about wanting their target to improve.
  • June 9, 2014
    BradyLady
    If I'm understanding the trope correctly, it was invoked in an episode of The Love Boat. Jimmy Osmond played a novice actor shooting a scene, who just couldn't get it right. The director wasn't satisfied with his believability. He wasn't conveying enough anger and hurt. After repeated tries, the director called a break, during which the captain's daughter Vicki ripped into him about how he might as well give it up. He was a horrible failure of an actor, and he wasn't ever going to succeed. On the next take, he nailed it. Vicki had insulted him deliberately to produce that result.
  • June 9, 2014
    bitemytail
    See also: The Reason You Suck Speech - The insult is not brief

    Heel Realization - Possible response to the insult

    My God What Have I Done - Possible response to the insult (again)
  • June 10, 2014
    Arivne
    ^^ That's also Enforced Method Acting, which should be mentioned in the Description.
  • June 10, 2014
    partner555
    ^ Description of the example or the trope?

    ^^ I don't think those are close enough to warrant inclusion in the trope description.
  • June 10, 2014
    Tuomas
    Real Life
    • Before forming Daft Punk, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter used to play in a rock band called Darlin'. A review in a 1993 issue of Melody Maker described the music of said band as "daft punky trash". Homem-Christo and Bangalter were then inspired to use that description as the name for their new house music project.

  • June 10, 2014
    partner555
    ^ Are you sure that isn't Insult Backfire instead?
  • June 10, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ it's an insult that inspires. Not sure why it's one that backfires.
  • June 10, 2014
    partner555
    ^ They took on the insult as the name of their band, which I thought was closer to Insult Backfire. Guess even I can get confused as to what does and doesn't count as this trope.
  • June 10, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ a backfiring insult doesn't have to be inspiring. Thus Insult Backfire is a Super Trope.
  • June 10, 2014
    partner555
    ^ I know that, I mentioned that in the description.

    As for Insult Backfire being a super trope, I don't think so since like I mentioned in the description, Insult Backfire is about the insulted party getting flattered while this is about the insulted party getting inspired.

    Both this trope and that trope might together have a Missing Supertrope though.
  • June 11, 2014
    Arivne
    ^ x 7: Both the example and the trope Description.

    In the example it could be either be stated directly or Pot Holed.

    In the Description, "Can be used in Enforced Method Acting to make an actor give a better performance."
  • June 12, 2014
    partner555
    Hmm, no one gave an opinion on which name they think is better. Is there anyone with an opinion?
  • June 12, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ either title is good. One canbe the redirect to the other.
  • June 12, 2014
    partner555
    Ok then, I'll make Inspirational Insult the primary page since that one has Added Alliterative Appeal while Motivational Insult can be the redirect.
  • June 12, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ change it then.
  • June 13, 2014
    partner555
    Slight problem, I found Nobody Calls Me Chicken, and going through the description and examples, I can't tell if it's an overlapping trope or a sub trope of Insiprational Insult.
  • June 13, 2014
    kenshinta
    A couple of groups got their names from critics, like Daft Punk and Garbage.
  • June 13, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^^ Not a problem, that's a Stock Phrase, a Sub Trope of this.
  • June 15, 2014
    partner555
    Are there any Discworld examples? I'm sure Terry Pratchett would have utilised this trope in some form in his world-renown series.
  • June 15, 2014
    surgoshan
    • Toward the end of Down With Love, Peter finally gets the courage to make a move on Vicki when she, upset with him over something else, slaps him and tells him that he's "just like every other man!"
  • June 15, 2014
    partner555
    ^ I see the insult part, but where is the drawing-inspiration-from-insult part?
  • June 15, 2014
    robinjohnson
    • In an early episode of Breaking Bad, Jesse finds an old test paper marked by Walt, on which he's written "Ridiculous - apply yourself." Jesse takes the advice and applies himself to making meth.
  • June 15, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    7x ^ Nobody Calls Me Chicken is also more often a negative thing, forcing the hero into doing something against his better judgment (see the Trope Namer, Back To The Future)
  • June 15, 2014
    surgoshan
    ^^^ He realized he was just like every other man, so why not go ahead and bang a woman without thinking about it.
  • June 15, 2014
    partner555
    ^ I haven't seen the movie, could you rewrite the example so it has the insult part and the inspiration part?
  • June 16, 2014
    partner555
    Bump
  • June 17, 2014
    partner555
    Anyone with any examples to give?
  • June 18, 2014
    partner555
    Bump
  • June 18, 2014
    surgoshan
    Rewritten DWL example.

    • Toward the end of Down With Love, Peter finally gets the courage to make a move on Vicki when she, upset with him over something else, slaps him and tells him that he's "just like every other man!" So he realizes that he needs to stop overthinking it, just "be a man", get out of his head and into her pants. So he does.
  • June 20, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • Occurs twice with Lola Bunny in Space Jam. During the tryouts at Schlesinger's Gym, Bugs Bunny puts the move on Lola, asking, "You wanna play a little one-on-one, doll?" Lola's Fireball Eyeballs signal that she severely dislikes being regarded as a pretty face and nothing more. She quickly leaves Bugs in a ridiculous knot at the foul line, and throws down an impressive jam. Later, during the Ultimate Game, the Monstar Pound challenges Lola, "Try to get by me, doll." After disarranging Pound's face, Lola throws down another strong jam. Notable in that these are the only times that Lola Bunny is seen scoring points.
  • June 21, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Invoked in an I Meant To Do That way on The Simpsons. In "The PTA Disbands" Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner have a heated discussion in the cafeteria during lunch.
    Mrs. Krabappel: Seymour, you have to think of the children's future.
    Seymour: Oh, Edna. We all know that these children HAVE no future!.
    [everyone stops and stares at Seymour]
    Seymour: nervous laugh Prove me wrong, children. Prove me wrong.
  • June 21, 2014
    DAN004
    Launch?
  • June 21, 2014
    partner555
    ^ Sorry, I was distracted with watching One Piece, reading Naruto, and my internship duties.

    I was also waiting for more examples.

    I'll launch it by Tuesday Australia time at latest.
  • June 22, 2014
    Alucard
    Lynyrd Skynyrd were famously told by a strict gym teacher in school named Leonard Skinner to cut off their long hair, which eventually got them suspended. As if in tribute to this, they named their band after him.
  • June 22, 2014
    partner555
    ^ Um, where is the inspirational part?
  • Live Action TV
    • Seinfeld invokes this in "The Cartoon," in which washed-up actress Sally Weaver takes Jerry's criticism (actually said by Kramer) of her acting abilities (or lack thereof) and applies it to her new stand-up rountine she calls Jerry Seinfeld is the Devil, in which she basically just mocks everything Jerry does or say to her to make him seem like a bigger Jerkass. Her new act launches her into celebrity status overnight.
  • June 22, 2014
    partner555
    I'm going to launch this in a few hours. If anyone has any last minute comments, now is your chance.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=rsi3jjt2gi0pu1f7f1emssy9&trope=InspirationalInsult