->''"By all means, writers, let your story wander around the dank, twisty little passages. You may even permit that journey to come to a bad end. But without some light source, your story will be eaten by the [[VideoGame/{{Zork}} Grue]] of Indifference."''
-->-- ''[[http://deplumedimension.bravehost.com/rambles/doors.html The dePlume Dimension]]'', "Always Keep a Door Open"

It is often said that 'conflict is the soul of drama'; without some form of {{conflict}} to fuel things, there's no engine to drive the story and thus little reason to engage with it. However, we here at TV Tropes would like to propose an amendment to this phrase which includes something important but sadly all too often forgotten:

'''''[[TropesAreTools Meaningful]]''''' '''[[TropesAreTools conflict is the soul of drama.]]'''

Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy occurs when a conflict exists that simply lacks any reason for the audience to care about how it is resolved. This is often because the setting is extremely but meaninglessly DarkerAndEdgier, and/or all sides are [[BlackAndBlackMorality abhorrently, equally evil]] -- or at least, far enough gone that [[GreyAndGrayMorality any difference between the two is splitting hairs]]. As such, consumers of media affected by Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy tend to approach conflict between parties or factions with remarkable indifference; because no matter who wins, the [[CrapsackWorld universe will still suck]]. (And while it would be really nice to see them ''[[TakeAThirdOption all]] [[OmnicidalNeutral lose]]'', that likely isn't going to happen.) In other words, ''there is nothing at stake''. While there is a conflict happening, for all that the audience is concerned there might as well not be because they likely have little reason to care about who wins or loses. (And even when there ''are'' [[AntiHero clear-cut good guys]], they can be [[DesignatedHero so smug, priggish, hypocritical, unpleasant, or just plain annoying]] that it's hard to feel too sad if the bad guys defeat them, especially if [[AntiVillain the bad guys actually have a good reason for hating them]].)

This is basically the emotional result of [[ShadesOfConflict Black and Black Morality]]. Because the conflict between the equal evils is essentially meaningless, there is no dramatic tension. Maybe one EldritchAbomination eats you in a slightly less painful manner than the other one, but either way, you're still screwed. You can't support any factions or hold on to any ideals after this effect has set in. All you can do is sit agape as the writers apparently attempt to outdo themselves at making the setting [[FromBadToWorse even worse and more unpleasant and more nihilistic]] to the point where the media is a bland miserable monotone. This trope is not just about a CrapsackWorld, but about EvilVersusEvil and [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism too much cynicism]] producing this effect. A sure sign of audience apathy setting in is if [[RootingForTheEmpire they start rooting for]] the OmnicidalManiac - the setting is so bleak that no part of it is worth saving. When total oblivion looks like your best option, something is ''wrong''.

A variant is basically when ShootTheShaggyDog meets {{True Art Is|Angsty}} ''[[TrueArtIsAngsty Too]]'' [[TrueArtIsAngsty Angsty]]; a story is simply too bleak, hopeless, and... well, [[ShapedLikeItself angsty]] for the audience to really care what happens. Leaving aside how obviously and overly depressing this is to read, if [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption the characters are doomed to failure no matter what they do]], and it is ''too'' obvious that they are doomed and their every action to avert this is pointless and hopeless, then the ending is inevitable and can be seen a mile off -- so why bother continuing on with the story? (Especially if DevelopingDoomedCharacters is done badly [[EightDeadlyWords and you can't care about who's in it]].) This, of course, does not mean that all stories have to end happily -- but most of the time, a good {{Tragedy}} works because the characters involved are given a [[HopeSpot chance to escape their]] DownerEnding but, for whatever reason, fail to do so; take away this chance, and usually what will happen is that the story just ends up being a lengthy description of unremittingly unpleasant things happening to someone.

When applying to individuals, this is basically one of the reasons why the "{{Wangst}}" trope happens. Often results in readers saying the EightDeadlyWords, or concluding that the plot boils down to a {{Wangst}}-fest.

StatusQuoIsGod is usually the result of the trope when the audience knows that all and any changes that could have made a positive impact in the setting won't stick.

If the hero of the story openly {{lampshade|Hanging}}s their ''own'' apathy toward the outcome of the story, they might be a NominalHero.

Games that provoke this reaction may still get their player base, mostly consisting of players that are perfectly happy to [[PlayTheGameSkipTheStory play the game and skip the story]]. For example, if the game requires the player to pick a faction to play as, they would simply choose sides with no interest other than the technical or aesthetic interest of playing one side or the other (or, such as in [=MMORPGs=], the interest in teaming with real-life friends).

EarnYourHappyEnding can risk inducing this in the middle of the story, but ultimately all that doom and gloom and sacrifice and pain leads to victory for good people.

Compare AngstDissonance and OnlyTheAuthorCanSaveThemNow.

Contrast TastesLikeDiabetes, this trope's polar opposite, and also RootingForTheEmpire, but ''only'' when all sides involved are evil and yet the audience still likes them.

See also TooHappyToLive and TrueLoveIsBoring.

[[noreallife]]
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/ErgoProxy'' can, in its early stages, fall victim to this trope. Near the beginning of the series, there were a few moral dilemmas stemming from black and black morality. Stop the Proxy that's loose in Romdo and the fascist government regains total control over the city. Don't stop the Proxy and it'll continue a murder spree.
* ''Manga/DesertPunk'', albeit a comic series falls into this. Almost every single character is a massive JerkAss, and the few exceptions never prosper in this world. By the middle of the series, it's quite clear that none of the three major characters have a HiddenHeartOfGold. Pretty much summing things up is the comment by the LemonyNarrator in the last episode in respect to the AfterTheEnd setting, which is to the effect that "With people like this, it doesn't matter if humanity goes extinct."
* ''Anime/{{Gilgamesh}}'' has [[EliteMooks immortal monsters made from antimatter]] that want to create some sort of new reality. And on the other side, a {{Manipulative B|astard}}itch whose main reason for getting rid of the reflective sky (which gives the heroes their incredible powers by the way, meaning they probably shouldn't be serving her) is [[WomanScorned being dumped by the guy who engineered the future]]. And the children are such {{Wide Eyed Idealist}}s that they get used by both sides. It's actually a relief when EveryoneDies. And it somehow makes even that terrible because [=TeaR=] is killed by a Gilgamesh spawn from Kiyoko after it destroys everything, therefore everything is gone forever and can never be brought back potentially better.
* ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'', with Tomino's insistence that all Gundam takes place in the same verse, has become this as it requires multiple genocides, several apocalypses, archaeology completely failing to notice previous civilizations (let alone all the mobile suit storage containers) and all aesops {{broken|Aesop}} and [[ForgottenAesop lost]] with the passage of history. To put it another way, nothing that anyone does in any series matters in the long run [[spoiler:until ''Anime/TurnAGundam'', ten thousand years after the eponymous mobile suit destroys all but a tiny portion of humanity]]. Within specific series, ''[[Anime/MobileSuitVictoryGundam Victory Gundam]]'' suffers from this the most, with ''[[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Zeta Gundam]]'' following behind (at least, near the end).
* ''Manga/BlackLagoon'', especially in its early stages. The anime version tones it down JUST a little, but it's still very easy to not care about what happens to anyone in this series since they're all jerks, evil or psychotic.
* Done [[NarmCharm beautifully]] in ''Anime/MDGeist''. Our [[SociopathicHero hero]] '''really''' [[NotSoDifferent isn't any better]] than the BigBad and eventually ''[[spoiler:releases the [[ZombieApocalypse Death Force]]]]'' simply because he knows how meaningless his life would be with out [[BloodKnight something nasty to fight]].
** Let that sink in for a moment: [[spoiler: he ''obliterates humanity just to be an asshole.'' He '''''obliterates humanity. Just to be an asshole.''''']] [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.]]
*** An alternate viewing is that [[spoiler: it wasn't anything as human as to be an asshole or even to escape meaninglessness]] but [[spoiler: the man-made ultimate soldier simply being the ultimate soldier]]. The sequel further posited that [[spoiler: Geist literally physically thrived on continuous warfare, a trait unforeseen by his designers, so you can't really write him up as an insane man or a programmed machine]].
* ''Anime/{{Texhnolyze}}''. While there ''are'' characters who are noticeably better or worse than others, [[BlackAndGrayMorality no one is truly good]], with even the most sympathetic characters being {{Anti Hero}}es. A lot of viewers saw the show's DownerEnding coming a mile away, and were just waiting for [[spoiler: everyone to give up and die.]]
* The final episodes of ''Anime/ParanoiaAgent'', when a mysterious but solitary menace turned into a city-wide all-consuming biomass, destroying uncounted {{Innocent Bystander}}s amongst a handful of previously developed characters. Fortunately this was a brief enough period to avert EndingFatigue, and still got the [[AnAesop point]] across by changing scope.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': [[EvilvsEvil Sasuke versus Danzo]]. Sasuke just [[UngratefulBastard left two of his companions to die because saving them would've been inconvenient]] and joined a terrorist organisation to destroy the ''entire'' Leaf Village for having eradicated his clan (the Uchiha were planning a coup, which likely would have resulted in a civil war) even though only four people knew of it. Danzo is a true Konoha patriot... except his vision of Konoha is a vaguely fascist society which places almost no value on the individual. Danzo has also had a hand in murdering a group of peaceful activists in a foreign country [[spoiler: which ended up radicalizing the survivors into becoming the terrorist organization that Sasuke would join]], and was willing to let people in Konoha die so he could become Hokage. Not to mention the mind control he used at the ninja version of the United Nations. Many people felt that Danzo became a ''little'' sympathetic [[spoiler:when he has a HeelRealization just before dying]], which shows just how ''un''sympathetic Sasuke had become by comparison.
* ''Manga/CannonGodExaxxion''. The alien invaders are basically Nazi Elves. The boss of the defending humans doesn't give a crap about collateral damage and will basically kill and destroy at will. While Creator/KenichiSonoda had dipped his toe in this trope before, this was when he took a swan dive into it, and never really surfaced.
** Speaking of Sonoda, the ending of ''Manga/GunsmithCats'' Burst can trigger this. KarmaHoudini does not even begin to describe it.
* Season one of ''Anime/HellGirl'' in particular can get a little ridiculous. Every episode, you're introduced to a new villain with no real objective other than to prove his/her guilt in as many obvious ways as possible. Even when they get what's coming to them, it's not before they've completely ruined someone, or many people's lives, sometimes irrevocably. And you know the next episode is just gonna feature someone even crueler. The first season tries to rectify this by introducing the IntrepidReporter Hajime, who starts trying to prevent people from using the Hell Correspondence and getting Enma Ai to send their tormentors to Hell in exchange for their own souls. Problem is, Hajime ''never'' succeeds [[spoiler: until his own daughter Tsugumi gets {{mind rape}}d by Enma Ai, (she and her dad are descendants of a person from Enma Ai's DarkandTroubledPast), and then Ai tries to use it on him, and if ''anyone'' should know not to use the Correspondence, she should, so what she does basically makes her a monster only slightly more sympathetic than the villains in the series.]]
* ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'' features this in-universe with the main characters' reactions to Nanamine's "Classroom of Truth," in which [[KillEmAll everyone]], [[TheHeroDies including the main character]] [[DownerEnding dies]], with Mashiro saying that having the main character's efforts turn out to be in vain doesn't work.
* Don't bother getting attached to story arc characters in ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'' - they'll be dead in a few episodes.
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' can become this for viewers who have been unable to avoid spoilers thanks to the memetic nature of the show's fandom. Knowing that ''everything'' [[WhamEpisode after episode three]] is one long road of misery, suffering, and DeusAngstMachina [[spoiler:until Madoka rewrites reality]] kind of takes away from the impact.
** The spin-off ''Manga/PuellaMagiKazumiMagica'' devolves in this shortly before the climax. When all the girls start to fight each other due to their different view-points, it becomes hard to root for one or other due to the fact that they all (although to different degrees) are so morally rotten that several of them already spot a [[BlueAndOrangeMorality blue and orange morality]]
** And rounding it off is ''Manga/PuellaMagiOrikoMagica.'' The principal conflict is between [[spoiler: Oriko, who wants to murder an innocent fourteen-year-old and anyone else in the way, and Homura, who is all too eager to risk the [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption almost certain]] destruction of the world for the sake of said innocent fourteen-year-old.]] It doesn't end well for either.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. It's a show about [[DysfunctionJunction insane people]] fighting against {{Eldritch Abomination}}s in a post-apocalyptic world and gradually becoming more and more insane, all while [[spoiler:a top-secret organization pulls strings behind the scenes and plots to bring about a second, [[ApocalypseWow more impressive]] apocalypse]]. On that note, [[spoiler: the third ''Anime/RebuildOfEvangelion'' film has also turned into this for several viewers.]]
* ''Manga/HotGimmick'' is one of the few shoujo manga that fits this trope. Every character is a {{Jerkass}} or an idiot, and nobody receives any major character development (in fact the opposite seems to happen). The EsotericHappyEnding doesn't help, [[spoiler: not even when the novel ended up fixing it via having the girl ''finally'' get a chance to walk out on the BastardBoyfriend.]]
* It's more common than you think in shoujo and jousei manga, since those who have a BastardBoyfriend as a male lead have a tendency to cause this. It's the main reason why this shoujo/jousei sub-trope is so despised outside Japan: the guy is a total JerkAss and likely a rapist to his girlfriend (or boyfriend, if it's {{yaoi}}), said girlfriend/boyfriend either is too wishy-washy to leave him or is trapped in such a terrible environment that he/she ''can't'' take off, and almost everyone is unhelpful.
* The first episode of ''Anime/PsychoPass'' takes place in a run-down slum, where [[BlackAndGrayMorality some "enforcers," most of whom are criminals, are hunting a worse criminal]]. Said worse criminal rapes a woman ''slightly'' offscreen ForTheEvulz. Right after it's revealed that [[TraumaCongaLine he was a good person before a negative psychological profile sent him into a death spiral]], the enforcers reduce him to LudicrousGibs, and they almost do the same to the rape victim! With the strong implications that this is only the first few snowballs of an oncoming angst avalanche, some people found it hard to care about the situation.
** It's interesting to note in the case of ''Anime/PsychoPass'' that arguably the apathy is ''part of the point of the show''. As the series goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that the Sibyl System has nearly eliminated all crime for society but has removed almost all free will, passion and emotion from society leaving almost everyone emotionally dead but with a forced neutral look or slight smile. On the other hand, those who feel extreme emotions are hunted down and locked in asylums or killed. Due to this, in order to accomplish anything in the world of ''Psycho-Pass'' one must not feel any emotion towards others and fully believe in their own world view, essentially becoming a sociopath. [[spoiler:[[BigBad Makishima]] has been a sociopath like this since birth, but values the emotions and potential of humanity and wants to do anything to bring the Sibyl System down so people can live life by their own wills, even if he must create societal collapse. The Sibyl System itself is composed of sociopathic brains in a HiveMind, that want peace for Japan no matter what, even if they must destroy human individuality and emotion.]]
* ''Manga/ElfenLied'', for some. The lack of subtlety in the narrative, the BlackAndGreyMorality being taken UpToEleven, and the exaggerated emphasis on how 90% of HumansAreBastards to the point of being {{Card Carrying Villain}}s is often enough to make the viewers exhausted and angry instead of sympathetic to the Diclonius' plights. Granted, this ''is'' toned down in the anime and later on in the manga, making such characters as Bando, Mariko, Kurama, and even Lucy more... well, human in the end.
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' can cause this. The setting is so very {{crapsack|World}} and the AntiHero protagonist tending to be both [[SociopathicHero *really* morally questionable]] and hopelessly overpowered by the main villains, not to mention the arguably gratuitous rape and violence, means people can simply get ''bored'' of the darkness. It does [[WorldHalfFull get better]] later in the manga, though.
* In 'Anime/CodeGeass'', for certain viewers the WhamEpisode near the end of season 1 qualifies. The ending of the second season is also a particular point of contention among fans, with both ardent defenders and harsh critics. It's a conclusion that includes giving a seemingly happy result for [[KarmaHoudini a few people who got off lightly if not scot free for what they did]], while other more sympathetic characters had to settle for a bittersweet resolution at best. The matter of [[spoiler: Lelouch's death is especially controversial, with the man himself seeing his own orchestrated passing as a final victory and the fans being split on whether this is a satisfactory end or a source of apathy.]]
** The spin-off series ''[[Anime/CodeGeassAkitoTheExiled Akito the Exiled]]'' has also divided reactions among the audience, albeit for fairly different reasons. The cast includes some frothing racists, criminals and scoundrels as well as apparently psychopathic {{Blood Knight}}s, with a small number of halfway decent people thrown in. On top of that, a ForegoneConclusion seems likely since it's an {{Interquel}} set between ''Code Geass''' two seasons and focuses on a particular war...whose outcome was revealed at the start of the second season, which tends to limit some of the audience's interest in it.
* ''VisualNovel/{{AIR}}'': [[spoiler: The monks who cursed Kanna got away with it and caused Misuzu to break down whenever she gets close to someone, no one manages to break the curse, and at the end, Misuzu dies.]] Many detractors from Air will say that [[ShootTheShaggyDog nothing ever happens in the entire series]].
* ''Manga/{{Jormungand}}'': Most of the characters are all bloodthirsty bodyguards for a deranged woman with a god complex who claims to want to save the world by killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and that's not even getting into the logical fallacies her plan actually has.
* ''Anime/NowAndThenHereAndThere'': After the NonIndicativeFirstEpisode, the series pulls no punches in being grim-dark, complete with one of the most abominable villains in history and a main character who is [[PinballProtagonist near-powerless to change much.]] The main character's actions don't even affect the resolution of the series.
* ''Manga/{{Basilisk}}'': Both ninja clans have more than their fair share of {{Jerkass}}es. Oboro is incredibly naive and indecisive [[BreakTheCutie and boy does she pay for it]]. Any character you meet is going to be killed in a few episodes. And the whole contest is being held by [[AristocratsAreEvil corrupt nobles.]]
* {{Koizora}} definitely feels like this, with the main character Mika experiencing heartbreak, rape, unwanted pregnancy, then a miscarriage and even more stuff that seems like it just wants the audience [[TearJerker to dry up from reading the series]], when all it does after a while, makes you think what sad thing ''won't'' happen to this girl!
** This is also a complain levelled at Manga/BitterVirgin. The narrative piles up so much trauma, woobieness and weepy melodrama on the reader that, at times, it can be quite the chore to read.
* ''Anime/ValvraveTheLiberator'' has a WhamEpisode in episode 10 of its first season, in which the male lead Haruto [[spoiler: rapes the [[BettyAndVeronica Veronica]] of the LoveTriangle, Saki, while in a BrainwashedAndCrazy state.]] The entire scene is juxtaposed with Shouko, the Betty and Haruto's "default" romantic interest, announcing to everyone that she's [[spoiler: happy to be their president, and that she's going to confess her love when they reach the moon]].
* ''Anime/Fate/Zero'' is very much this. With pretty much all of the characters doing questionable things to each other. Even the main character, making this show fit this trope perfectly. Also compared to it's more popular first series, Fate/Stay Night which did a much better job at balancing out it's lighthearted and dark moments and actually makes you care about the charaters, this one is meaninglessly darker and edgier. Well it tries to be any way but it focuses on this so much that it results in darkness induced apathy until the point where you really can't care what happens to anyone anymore.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Over-reliance on CListFodder and StuffedInTheFridge in Marvel and DC comics for their various {{Crisis Crossover}}s can create a similar type of audience apathy in that while readers still care about the long running superheroes in the comics, any new superheroes introduced are treated with indifference as readers expect them to be killed off for cheap drama in a couple of years even if they received their own series prior. This creates a negative cycle as any new additions to the lineup are poorly received which causes them to be even more likely to be fodder which causes fans to not want to bother with any new additions knowing they will just be killed off.
* This is the most common criticism about the post-ComicBook/CivilWar Franchise/MarvelUniverse. The heroes are written as being horrible people at the very least, and no matter who wins the CrisisCrossover, [[FromBadToWorse it only gets worse.]] It looked better as of the ending of the ''ComicBook/{{Siege}}'' storyline, [[ComicBook/HeroicAge that things would improve]]. ComicBook/CaptainAmerica was alive again, and ComicBook/TheAvengers had stopped fighting each other and were actually allowed to be heroes. Then ''ComicBook/AvengersVsXMen'' [[{{Flanderization}} flanderized]] ComicBook/{{Cyclops}} into an even bigger {{Jerkass}} and derailed Captain America into being one as well. Not to mention, the only purpose of the crossover was to do an inverse of the aftermath of [[spoiler:''Decimation'']].
* Creator/AlanMoore's works often skirt the edge of this Trope, or dive right over it: ''ComicBook/VForVendetta'', for example, gives the reader the choice of fascist totalitarianism that keeps order and keeps the people fed or the chaos and violence of the post-revolutionary era which the comic makes overtly clear will lead to mass starvation (we're to understand that the eventual "voluntary anarchic order" will make things better in the ''long run''). ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' gives us the choice of "inevitable" nuclear annihilation or a Roman peace maintained by fear, mass murder, and a lie.
* ''ComicBook/TheWalkingDead'' is obviously not meant to be a light-hearted comic, being set in a ZombieApocalypse, but even for the genre it gets progressively darker over time. Every single gain the characters manage to find is always ruined, many characters continually die in dark and gory ways, and the ones who've managed to stay alive become more and more traumatized until Rick declares [[spoiler: "WE ARE THE WALKING DEAD!"]] And since the zombie apocalypse is global with no known cure, there seems to be no end in sight.
* Creator/MarkMillar
** ''ComicBook/{{Wanted}}''. In a fight between a group of nihilistic, mass-murdering, serial-raping assholes who want to continue ruling the world in secret and a group of nihilistic, mass-murdering, serial-raping assholes who want to rule the world openly, why should the reader really care who wins? Heck, you might as well root for the series' antagonist, Mr. Rictus. At least ''he's'' good for some BlackComedy (if you're amused by the slaughter of children). The YouBastard ending seems to indicate that the author himself hates both the story, and anyone who read it through to the end. One of the possible interpretations is that he's condemning anyone who could accept a universe so devoid of hope.
** ''ComicBook/KickAss''. Anyone who seems to be in the right is quickly revealed to be naive or secretly an asshole; the main character is a spineless worm who's deluding himself into thinking he can be a hero, while the primary hero character [[spoiler:is an utter tool who has turned his daughter into a violent criminal to live out his own dreams]]. And yet the people they fight against are even worse. There's a reason a ''lot'' of people prefer the [[Film/KickAss movie's]] significantly more idealistic take on the story.
** ''ComicBook/TheUnfunnies''-- {{Funny Animal}}s get raped and abused as [[FisherKing their world is transformed]] by a KarmaHoudini serial killer/child molester human. Um, yay?
* ''[[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal]]'' was responsible for destroying [[Comicbook/GreenArrow Roy Harper's]] character following his dismemberment at the hands of Prometheus and the death of his daughter in ''ComicBook/JusticeLeagueCryForJustice''. On the one side there is Roy, reeling from the loss of his only child, grappling with the fact that he may no longer be able to use a bow and arrow, and suffering from impotency and hallucinations (whose source was not clarified as stemming from grief, pain medication, or his infected right arm). He lashes out at his friends and family for trying to help, begins stealing pain killers from Dr. Mid-Nite, goes back on heroin, and turns into a murderous anti-hero after being goaded into killing Prometheus's ally the Electrocutioner (by a hallucination of Lian) then burning down his home. However, on the other side, his friends and family truly don't help the situation that much. They don't seem to have fully understood just what Roy has lost. Dr. Mid-Nite was completely oblivious to the fact that Roy was stealing pain killers, quite easily in fact. Comicbook/{{Cyborg}} designed him a shoddy mechanical arm meant to work around the infected nerve endings in Roy's arm, while simultaneously enhancing his pain and limiting whatever abilities as an archer he had left. [[Franchise/TheFlash Wally West]] does absolutely nothing to help, [[Comicbook/WonderGirl Donna Troy]] stops after Roy accuses her of "whoring around in space with Kyle Rayner" while her husband and son died in a car crash. Though, someone who's gone through everything Donna has should've understood Roy's suffering a little easier. And [[Comicbook/{{Nightwing}} Dick Grayson]] consigns to have Roy locked in a substance abuse center for super villains after he has a vivid hallucination while on heroin. Dick does so with the consent of Comicbook/BlackCanary, who washes her hands of Roy and considers him a lost cause. It's hard to root for Roy when he's acting like such an asshole, but given that his family and friends treat his loss with such negligence, it's hard to side with anyone in this comic.
* Franchise/TheDCU had a period like this, from approximately the ''Graduation Day'' storyline (the SuddenDownerEnding of ''ComicBook/YoungJustice'') to the Comicbook/SinestroCorpsWar. Creator/GeoffJohns (who wrote both the aforementioned storylines, though ''Graduation Day'' was mandated by ExecutiveMeddling) may have slipped a bit of meta-commentary on this into his ''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis'', as this trope is essentially the reason why the villains of that story want to destroy the universe and remake it in their image. And of course, there's more than a few people thinking that TheNew52 are at least toeing the line on this trope.
* Tischman's brief ''ComicBook/{{Cable}}'' run had a sound concept: averting the ReedRichardsIsUseless trope by exploring what would happen if a godlike superhuman intervened in real ([[SpaceWhaleAesop sort of]]) wars. Unfortunately, in execution, the cast consisted of 75% villains (including everyone on both sides of the various conflicts, even the side Cable ostensibly fights for), 21% helpless victims, 3% actually sympathetic characters who accomplish anything, and 1% Cable himself, who is a MightyWhitey played depressingly straight and who flat-out admits that even with all his phenomenal power, he can't really change anything, and that his goal is basically making things better for a handful of people for the immediate future. And that's before you get into the UnfortunateImplications: the main villains are all but stated to be essentially the embodiments of the baseless "conspiracy of {{Greedy Jew}}s that secretly controls everything bad in the world" theory from the bad old days. You'd think having an artist who was an actual veteran of [[TheYugoslavWars The Balkan Wars]] would allow them to handle subjects like this more tastefully, but apparently not.
* This is the attitude some people have had towards ''Comicbook/AvengersArena''. The promises that the series would feature a lot of deaths by the end has resulted in a heavily BrokenBase, with some people rejecting the book along these lines.
* Comicbook/UltimateMarvel. Just about everyone is a ''massive'' JerkAss, there's far more DysfunctionJunction than in the 616 universe (which already has plenty), dozens and dozens of major characters have been KilledOffForReal in a universe that prides itself on averting DeathIsCheap; the heroes are far more anti-heroic and aren't above doing some [[MoralEventHorizon nasty things]] on occasion, while the villains are just that much worse and S.H.I.E.L.D is a bigger and more imposing force to the superhuman community. It's a much more cynical version of the Franchise/MarvelUniverse (which many say went ''way'' too far after {{Ultimatum}}).
* A lot of Franchise/SpiderMan fans have this problem when his FailureHero status gets a little too out of hand. Howard Mackie's run featured Peter going through one KickTheDog moment after another, losing his job, his wife seemingly dying, and ultimately becoming homeless until fans were all too happy to finally have him off the title. The infamous ''Comicbook/OneMoreDay'' story had him give up his marriage, one of the real good constants in his life, to the equivalent of Satan to save Aunt May and alienated several fans. Dan Slott's run that's culminated in ''Comicbook/SuperiorSpiderMan'' may have topped it all, due to the fact that [[spoiler: TheBadGuyWins with Comicbook/DoctorOctopus successfully taking over Peter's body and effectively killing him. When your protagonist is a villain whose only good deeds are done while wearing the corpse of your hero, why bother reading?]]
* ''ComicBook/TheTransformersIDW'' has taken a darker tone on transformers; the Autobots before the war weren't saints as the ones in the present, who aren't always as nice as we use to know them. Their relations with the humans who fear and hate them aren't good, all thanks to the Decepticons who are as ruthless as ever. Even though the Autobots have saved Cybertron, their victory seems hollow. A band of Cybertronians who fled the war blame both sides for tearing Cybertron apart, Optimus steps down as Prime as part of a deal so that the Autobots can stay and goes into exile. Meanwhile an even greater threat looms, as an entire universe called the Dead Universe seeks to extinguish all life in normal space. ''More Than Meets The Eye'' has largely averted this trope by actually having the heroes succeed and keeping them sympathetic while not playing up the darker ideas as much (or at least toning them down significantly), but its sister series ''Robots In Disguise'' is steadily slipping into it. Some fans have started abandoning ''Robots In Disguise'' because unlike MTMTE it sometimes gets ''really damn depressing''.
** Season 2 seems to be taking steps to reverse this; ''[[CrisisCrossover Dark Cybertron]]'' left things in a ''much'' better state than at the start of MTMTE and RID, and RID has adopted a more humorous tone, making the mood a little more consistent for the two comics.
* The ''Borgia'' series by AlejandroJodorowsky has as its protagonists the notorious Borgia family, who kill, rape, and torture their way into power. You may better remember their patriarch, Rodrigo, as the final boss from ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreed 2''. They operate in a world full of other raping, murdering, torturing assholes. You know something is off when ChurchMilitant killjoy Savonrola is ''likeable'' compared to our heroes.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfiction]]
* ''FanFic/TheRoadToCydonia'' reveals itself as this soon after ''Fanfic/ReflectionsLostOnADarkRoad'' begins; ''Manga/InuYasha'' shows up as a more idealistic figure, but is revealed as AllJustADream of a schizophrenic psionic Kagome. [[spoiler: Or rather her mother]]. But even that pales before the introduction of the ''FanFic/DarkTitans'' - all are quickly neutralized by UNETCO forces, upon which they are repeatedly subjected to [[SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids intense, prosthelytizing cynicism]].
** Starfire runs right into Herb of the Musk, [[spoiler:who is so dedicated to JustFollowingOrders that despite realizing that she's desperately trying ''not'' to kill him, he just uses her hesitation to [[CurbStompBattle casually beat her unconscious]]. X-COM then {{Mind Rape}}s her to try to deduce her origins. Only the appearance of the other Titans proves her a non-combatant (due to voluntarily allowing their minds to be read), which leads them to instead cautiously draft her and return her to the rest of the Titans with the intention of turning her into an ally while they research the dimensional crossover. When most of the other Titans petition for national citizenship to register to fight the aliens, it is mentioned that according to UN legislation [[InhumanableAlienRights aliens have no rights]], and she's ''not'' an exception.]]
** Jinx makes a friend for the first time since she left both the HIVE Academy and the Titans, [[spoiler:a rogue alien clone of Akari Unryuu, only for X-COM to accidentally-on-purpose return her to alien control, rather than let her die, so they can [[PlayingWithSyringes experiment on her to discover weaknesses in human-ethereal hybrids.]]]]
** Raven gets a pat on the head by VideoGame/XCom psi researchers, who refuse to acknowledge her EldritchAbomination father as a "demon" rather than an alien, instead encouraging her to abandon her training and tap into her new-found MindControl abilities, as being in the X-COM dimension actually dulls Raven's darker emotions and demon power and allows her to tap into her human-side's powers instead. [[spoiler:This presents other dark temptations, however, and after a return to Azarath, she gets DrunkOnTheDarkSide, [[RelationshipResetButton bringing the Raven/Ryoga/Jinx love triangle back to square one]] (if not pulling a flat-out three-way ShipSinking) via [[MindRape mind raping Jinx into forgetting her love for Ryoga]] and (in Ryoga's eyes) crossing the MoralEventHorizon. Also Jinx starts to believe thanks to this [[HeelFaceRevolvingDoor that being a heroine just isn't her calling in life]].]]
** Titans!Ryoga efforts at bonding with his fellow Titans are at one time mocked by his militaristic counterpart, saying that pretending to be a NiceGuy will compromise his ability to command a team in the field. The two Ryougas spend much of the story unable to see eye-to-eye for a variety of reasons.
** Cyborg gets it the lightest - his courageous superhero act is typically less valued by X-COM, who want him to [[StayInTheKitchen Stay In The Lab]] building superweapons. He tried to skirt both areas, helping in the lab and in the field. [[spoiler: He decides to shut down the empathic parts of his mind to be more effective, [[CyberneticsEatYourSoul with the predictable backfire that follows]].]]
*** All in all, you don't read the fic wondering what will happen to anyone from the X-[=COM=]verse, as it's mentioned multiple times that they will likely all die in the titular assault on Cydonia. Some profess that don't care if they live or die, or [[AndThenWhat what happens to their civilization after they kill all the aliens]], as long as there is a civilization at all to return to, [[EightDeadlyWords so why should the reader?]] What you wonder is if Our Heroes the Teen Titans will make it out of the Waffen-XX dimension ''alive'', or if they'll even get to ''[[DyingAsYourself die sane.]]''
**** Though, conversely, many characters speak often about the end of the war and their desire to survive it, [[spoiler:for example, X-COM's Ryouga, who has slowly and painfully found a way out of his previous depression, and Ryu, who hopes to rebuild his family dojo and have a family, and the Amazons who want to rebuild their village after the terror site, but all have heard that Cydonia is likely to be a suicide mission and as a result of recent alien assaults on X-COM bases, morale is at a low point. Mental states are further stretched thin by efforts to investigate other dimensions and attempt to return the Titans to their home.]]
* A few readers feel this way about Fanfic/BackgroundPony. The story is pretty bleak and resolute about grinding Lyra into the dirt, with hope seeming so distant or unreachable at times that it's easy to simply become exhausted with the entire narrative. The final chapter is especially bad in this regard; though her decision in the end was utterly selfless, the focus on her loss from said selflessness adds one final bout of angst to the pile.
* Fanfic/AllHeEverWanted. Full stop. When almost every character is either an unlikable bastard/bitch or being constantly tortured, readers may not be sure who to root for at all. Of if there's any character worth rooting for. Specially considering that in the canon {{Hetalia}} verse, all nations are given at least some sympathetic and/or kind moments, even the worst {{Jerk Ass}}es... and yet the fic removes almost all of them; i.e., seeing Prussia as a megalomaniac, abusive, rapist [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazi]] CardCarryingVillain when he's at most a HotBlooded ButtMonkey in canon is all kinds of NO.
* ''[[Fanfic/DashsNewMom Dash's New Mom]]'' eventually runs into this. While most of the initial conflict stems from Rainbow Dash's inability to cope with her widowed father Blue Streak dating Twilight Sparkle, the latter two are eventually shown to be rather messed up and secretive as well. It appears about five or six chapters in that the trio have had the chance to at least start working through their issues, then [[spoiler: [[PrimalScene Dash walks in on Blue and Twilight about to make love]] on Dash's mother's old bed, resulting in much louder rehashing of prior arguments, Twilight walking out, and Blue throwing his daughter out]], after which several readers either expressed confusion as to whom they're supposed to sympathize with, expressed a desire to [[DopeSlap knock some sense into all three]], or just [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere dropped the story altogether]].
* ''Fanfic/FalloutEquestriaProjectHorizons'' goes out of its way to make everything as dark, grim, and painful as possible, to the point that it makes the world so depressingly, over the top cruel it's a miracle anypony is even still alive.
** Which is somewhat ironic, since one of the overarching themes of the original games, as well as the original FalloutEquestria, is that you ''can'' triumph and make things better in the Wasteland, and life in general (at least in the more peaceful and less raider-infested regions) is far more free and optimistic than the totalitarian state of Pre-War America. Doubly ironic given that the lead programmer of the original games ''hates'' the later ones for this focus, insisting that the setting should have gotten steadily darker and more hopeless... kind of like ''Project Horizons''.
* It's a problem with many, MANY ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' fanworks. It ''is'' true that this particular game has a very dark phase, and yet the fanworkers focus TOO much on said dark phase and use it as the bread and butter of their fanwork -- to the degree of making their art/fic ridiculously melodramatic, {{wangst}}y and overall '''boring.''' It also tends to be parallel with the rather creepy tendence of some fans to take VideoGameCaringPotential centered on the [[spoiler: Second Generation]] characters to the extreme of viewing them almost as if they were ''the fans's real life children'', focusing only on their difficult backstories and reducing them to {{woobie}}s to coddle and adore and project issues on. (Often while [[HypoCrite ignoring/handwaving]] the [[spoiler: First Generation]] characters's also rather harsh problems.)
** A good example was the now LostForever "Future of Despair" webcomic, based on said dark phase [[spoiler: alias the BadFuture]]. [[http://feanons.dreamwidth.org/992.html?thread=275168#cmt275168 Some]] [[http://feanons.dreamwidth.org/1266.html?thread=853746#cmt853746 fans]] used to criticize it for its [[OscarBait contrived]] {{melodrama}}, its portrayal of the female characters [[{{Chickification}} as weaker or weepier than they ACTUALLY are]] in canon [[spoiler: (and it at least one case, as downright TooDumbToLive)]], the ClicheStorm and how it [[FanonDiscontinuity downright ignores/handwaves some parts of the canon itself solely to force sympathies out of the readers.]]
-->Random commenter: "I like drama, don't get me wrong. But there's drama... and well, '''there's drama'''."
* ''FanFic/DumbledoresArmyAndTheYearOfDarkness'' and its sequels ''want'' to be a "serious" take on the ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' series. Unfortunately, the author has mistaken gratuitous gore and bloodshed for seriousness. People die en masse even when canon insists they lived, morally ambiguous characters are transformed into pure evil, ''nobody'' gets out without severe injury (physical or mental), and if it looks like something good is about to happen, the heroes will destroy it with their own stupidity or selfishness -- and yet the narrative expects us to sympathize with them, specially in the case of [[GodmodeSue Neville]] [[FixerSue Longbottom.]] Once hailed as a work of art, it's now seen as a mass of potential buried in overdone "drama".
* [=KnightMysterio=], the author for ''Fanfic/WakingNightmares'', is aware of this and has mentioned in [[http://knightmysteriolibray.tumblr.com/post/73693935391/knight-do-you-know-of-the-trope-called this tumblr post]] that he is attempting to make sure that this does not happen. (Given that the story has '''''[[Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos Slenderman]]''''' as the main villain.)
* Fanfic/TheNuptialverse gradually veers away from the character-focused vignettes of ''Post Nuptials'' in favor of arcs such as Scootabuse and an anti-Celestia movement which seems far more effective than any of the characters or situations involved would allow, diverging wildly from canon in both content and tone. A number of readers objected to the point of ''forcing the addition of a [[DarkFic Dark]] tag'' to ''Families'', and when the sequel ''Direction'' was posted with that tag from the start, they rather vocally [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere swore it off]]. (Ironically, the author only added that tag to ''Direction'' as a preemptive response to these objectors and has since removed it.)
* The increasing focus of Fanfic/TheDearSweetieBelleContinuity on foreshadowing/setting up [[AStormIsComing a coming cataclysmic conflict]] which portends doom for Equestria, and, apparently, unhappy endings for most characters involved, has [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere driven off some commenters]]. Some also find the behavior of the royals who receive much of the focus to be extremely unpleasant, especially considering that their [[BaseBreaker divisive]] behavior is implied to be at least partially responsible for said conflict.
* While the original ''InnerDemons'' was fairly dark, it still ended up being a case of EarnYourHappyEnding, avoiding this trope... until the sequals, which pulled some downright ''brutal'' HappyEndingOverride, especially where [[spoiler: Rarity]] is concerned, which turned off many readers. To put it in perspective, both sequels have the '''Tragedy''' tag, which is basically just an advance warning that a story ''cannot possibly end happily.''
* ''Fanfic/WhatHaveYouDone'' and its sequel ''Even As...'' have garnered this reaction, postulating that if [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E25ACanterlotWeddingPart1 Chrysalis had not bothered to banish Twilight Sparkle to the caves after her argument with her friends]], Twilight would have taken it badly enough to [[spoiler:free [[MadGod Discord]] from his imprisonment]] and [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere bugger off]], with much {{Wangst}}ing. Said friends, meanwhile, are [[spoiler:rejected by their Elements of Harmony]] for a momentary error (and WordOfGod is that [[spoiler:[[BlueAndOrangeMorality even the Elements don't really understand what they're doing]]]]), and with both them and Celestia cast in the wrong by the narrative, the only character available to root for is [[MamaBear Twilight Velvet]], a borderline OCStandIn JerkSue.
* After waiting over a year for the fifth episode, some viewers of ''WebAnimation/MyLittlePortal'' were turned off by the exponential increase in both gore and a sense of hopelessness, thanks to [[spoiler:the past fall of Canterlot and a great deal of character mutilation]].
* Some readers found the degree to which Twilight Sparkle is ground down emotionally and the overall sense of gloom throughout the first stretch of ''Fanfic/{{Asylum}}'', coupled with the story's [[{{Doorstopper}} considerable length]], ''very'' gradual plot development, and lack of {{Hope Spot}}s, to be more trouble than the OntologicalMystery at the center was worth.
* This can even happen with shorter stories, as seen with ''[[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/70359/i-am-not-the-actor I Am Not the Actor]]'', a study of what might have happened if one of Pinkie's clones had survived the end of [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E3TooManyPinkiePies "Too Many Pinkie Pies"]] instead of the real deal. In brief, it switches between the clone screwing up whatever Pinkie used to do (not at all PlayedForLaughs) and being mostly oblivious to how much everypony around seems to resent her, Twilight attempting to drown her guilt at dooming her friend ([[FridgeHorror and the thought that the other clones may have been as sapient as this one]]) by switching between trying to self-righteously [[ReplacementGoldfish iron out the clone's "imperfections"]] and being a mind-boggling {{Jerkass}} to [[ItIsDehumanizing "it"]], and the rest of the mane cast being too uncomfortable and indecisive to have any impact on events. It seems like this cycle would continue forever if [[spoiler:[[DeusExMachina the real Pinkie didn't get out of the Mirror Pool]] and [[JourneyToFindOneself send the clone off to find herself]]]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films]]
* This goes back all the way to the beginning of feature-length cinema - [[ValuesDissonance for modern viewers,]] [[SocietyMarchesOn anyway]] - with ''Film/TheBirthOfANation'' (1915). Admit it: you don't want ''anyone'' to triumph, because the conflict is between white supremacists who want to keep blacks from voting and ''[[NotSoDifferent black]]'' [[NotSoDifferent supremacists who want to keep]] ''[[NotSoDifferent whites]]'' [[NotSoDifferent from voting]].
* ''Film/MenaceIISociety''. The film itself invokes this trope. There is no point getting emotionally attached to any of the main cast of the film, as it is a dark representation of how dangerous the neighborhoods of Watts, California are. The main character (Caine) embraces the life of a criminal, his best friend O-Dog is a terrible person who has no justifiable motivation for his sadism and murder, the same applies to the other members of the gang. Given that, it is very difficult to truly sympathize with most of the main characters, [[EvilVersusEvil especially when you consider that they are all practically at war with gangsters like them.]]
* ''Film/ThePrestige'' suffered from this. Nolan didn't really give the audience enough clues about who the real protagonist was (the one we actually wanted to see win), because both main characters acted rather heinously at times. It isn't until the end when one character triumphs that the audience goes "Oh, I guess he was the good guy all along", and by then, we're not sure if we should be happy or angry about the outcome. This one is particularly tricky because [[spoiler:we don't know which twin was doing what throughout the movie. All we can really be sure of is that the brother that gets executed tried to save Angier from drowning. For all we know, the one that survives was responsible for all the worst things "Alfred" Borden did. About the only HopeSpot is that the surviving twin says he was the one who loved Sarah, which ''might'' indicate that he was Jess's real father and that he will work hard to give her a good life.]] It should be noted that the original which it was based on had two completely different protagonists who were the offspring of the magicians and were trying to reconcile why their families have been at odds for so long. The documents they find show that both men made a great deal of mistakes that led to being equally to blame. It also had a different ending.
* Two words: ''Film/TheRoom''. Johnny is a wuss, Lisa is incredibly stupid and callous, Mark eventually ends up fighting Johnny as a result, and Denny [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse may or may not have drug problems]]. The writing and acting don't help, either.
* Any movie that centers around drugs or drug addicts (such as ''Less Than Zero'') has a high chance of carrying this trope because there is no point in caring for a character who has doomed his/herself to begin with by becoming addicted.
* ''Film/LandOfTheDead''. HumansAreTheRealMonsters is taken to an extreme, and the alternative is to root for the zombies, who are quite obviously still dangerous undead predators that nobody sane would want to see receive anything other than bullets in the brain. However, the entire series was building up to this kind of setting.
* ''Film/BeingJohnMalkovich'' suffers from this; all the main characters are, at the very least, horrifically selfish human beings who don't really care who gets hurt in pursuit of their various wants. The only remotely sympathetic character in the movie is Creator/JohnMalkovich himself, and that's mostly because he's more of a plot device than an actual character. For the uninitiated, [[spoiler: Creator/CharlieSheen(!) has, by the end of the movie, very likely learned that John Malkovich is trapped in his own head while other people dominate him, and he is likely going to follow the puppetmasters who are possessing Malkovich into the next host, an adorable and harmless seven year old girl.]]
* A common problem in horror movies: [[DevelopingDoomedCharacters the cast of potential victims is presented]] as a bunch of [[JerkAss obnoxious jerks]], and/or [[TooDumbToLive complete idiots,]] to the point where it's hard to feel bad for them when they finally start dying. [[RootingForTheEmpire Although for many that's part of the appeal]]. Case in point: British horror film ''Cherry Tree Lane''. A dreary middle-class couple bicker. Yobs break into their house and torture them. Who cares? Even viewers who like this sort of film would be surprised if one of them was genuinely scary. On the other hand, if the horror movie has a sympathetic family as a victim it could have another negative effect ranging from ShootTheDog to CrossesTheLineTwice. Which could also turn off certain viewers as well, [[AcceptableTargets which possibly explain the constant obnoxious jerk characters as a substitute]]. Horror films (especially mainstream American horror films) like to be broadly appealing. You can't have a popular horror film where {{exp|y}}ies of Series/TheWaltons and [[Series/TheCosbyShow the Cosbys]] are brutally murdered by the Psycho/Demon/Werewolf/Vampire/Alien. By going in this direction (and invoking this trope), the writers and directors are missing the point of "horror." You can't truly feel horrified at a given situation if you don't give a damn about its victims. One way to sidestep all this is to have a horror film where the "victims" are basically sympathetic people ''and'' the monster is defeated in the end but [[JokerImmunity there's still a chance it could come back]]; everybody wins that way. (''Film/{{Leprechaun}}'', for example.)
* The genre of suburban/middle-class peril: films from ''Film/FatalAttraction'' to ''Cache/Hidden'' suffer from the fact that their heroes are smug and successful without any moral virtues or other good qualities to endear them to the audience.
* The third ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' movie had this problem, with ''everyone'' backstabbing each other and shifting alliances on a whim that it got hard to root for anyone by the end. Of course, such a thing should be expected, given that the protagonists are all pirates by this point, even Will and Elizabeth. Even so, the climax of the film had them cheer about how pirates represent freedom and such... [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop when they pillage and murder]]. Hardly heroic.
* ''Film/ThreeHundred''. The narrator described the Spartans as [[AlwaysLawfulGood the ultimate good guys]]. Because of his {{unreliab|leNarrator}}ility, though, it turns out the Spartans were just as [[AxCrazy insane]] and {{blood|Knight}}thirsty as their Persian enemies. Because of that, while the narrator described the battles between the Spartans and Persians as "good vs. evil" (or "order vs. chaos" if you prefer), to audience members, it seemed more like "[[EvilVersusEvil bad guys vs.]] [[BlackAndGrayMorality worse guys]]."
* Also based on Creator/FrankMiller, ''Film/SinCity''. Hartigan is the only guy who's close to good, Nancy is a NeutralFemale, and all the other characters alternate between "amoral bastards" (Marv, Dwight, The Girls of Old Town) to "amoral monsters" (the people they're up against).
* ''Film/LawAbidingCitizen''; at least for more sensible viewers who're not cheering Clyde on after he's murdering attorneys, judges and lawyers indiscriminately. He's initially seen as sympathetic, because Darby killed his wife, daughter and got away with it by paying off Clyde's attorney, but after the aforementioned slaughter during the movie's second half? Not so much. The members of the justice system come off no better, as they're unilaterally portrayed as [[StrawCharacter horrible individuals who couldn't care less about enacting true justice than do stuff that only benefits them]]. Well, except for Cindy, [[spoiler: though she dies too]]. [[EvilVersusEvil No side looks any better than the other near the film's end]]. Nick, very conspicuously, has ethical issues with his job. He's suppressed most of them by the TimeSkip, but Clyde brings them roaring back.
* The ''Film/FinalDestination'' series has this problem involving the second variant of this trope. There's no point in getting emotionally attached to them or rooting for them to make it, because the rules say death will not be cheated and they're all going to die. Even finding out the reason why the visions that allow the characters to cheat death happen can add to this trope. Hoping for some kind of BigGood to this series or something similar? [[spoiler: Nope. It was Death doing it all along, and then killing them later because... [[ForTheEvulz I dunno, he's a dick.]]]]
* Part of the reason the Creator/JamesCameron[=/=]Creator/GuillermoDelToro film of ''Literature/AtTheMountainsOfMadness'' was canceled (the other part was an out-of-control-budget) - it's an R-rated horror film about two races of fighting {{Eldritch Abomination}}s who pay no mind to the doomed humans, and unlike ''Underworld'' there isn't even a romantic plotline to root for. It's also possible the execs thought it was just ''Franchise/AlienVsPredator'' [[RecycledInSpace with tentacles and penguins.]] Besides, with the mentioned war between two alien species, the black semiliquid polyvalent stuff that shoggoths are made of, and a group of human scientists exploring eldritch ancient ruins, they wanted to avoid being labelled DuelingMovies with ''Film/{{Prometheus}}''.
* Some critics said ''America's Sweethearts'' had this problem. Among the main characters in the title, Eddie is a ticking time bomb ([[JerkassWoobie although it's understandable, given the headline-making breakup]]) and Gwen is an unapproachable, manipulative RichBitch [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking who can't even put ankle boots on right]]. Among the side characters, the agent played by Billy Crystal is mining all the drama for his own benefit. The only likable character is Gwen's sister mainly because she has to put up with Gwen and is just beginning to grow a backbone after losing a bunch of weight but her goal is to get together with Eddie so it doesn't really matter.
* This could be the reason why ''Film/WelcomeToTheDollhouse'' and other films by Creator/ToddSolondz have never gotten much mainstream attention. Everyone, seemingly without exception, is profoundly miserable, solipsistic, or sociopathic. Sometimes, they are ''all three''.
* An older example of this trope can be found in the Universal movie ''Film/HouseOfFrankenstein''. The characters aren't very likeable (with the possible exception of [[JerkassWoobie Daniel]]), the story is rather cynical, and in the end, [[KillEmAll everybody dies]]. Not even Svengoolie's SoBadItsGood sense of humor could save this one.
* Believe it or not, ''Film/TheBreakfastClub'' can have this effect on more cynical viewers. The {{crap|sackWorld}}piness of Shermer, Illinois, pretty much goes from being PlayedForLaughs (as in ''Film/SixteenCandles'') to being PlayedForDrama. Every adult [[spoiler: barring the janitor Carl and possibly Vernon]] is a viciously selfish scumbag of some sort, abusing the kids for their own benefit. The kids themselves, [[BlackAndGrayMorality while morally]] [[AntiHero better people]], are so deeply dysfunctional that one can't help but feel a bit nihilistic. "When you grow old, your heart dies" sums it all up '''perfectly.'''
* Ask a person who was around in TheEighties about this trope, odds are their answer will be ''Film/ToLiveAndDieInLA'' [[SociopathicHero Richard Chance]] is really not that different on the morality scale from his quarry, Rick Masters, and many of the characters are slimy or apathetic. John Vukovich is seemingly the only guy with some normal standards of goodness, but by the time the film's DownerEnding comes around, [[spoiler: he's become just as bad, if not ''worse'', than Chance himself.]]
* ''Film/TheCabinInTheWoods'' has an InUniverse example. [[spoiler:At the end of the film, it is well in the ability of the surviving characters to prevent TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt by way of HeroicSacrifice. It's just that they've gone through so much trauma that they simply ''don't care anymore'' and let the {{Eldritch Abomination}}s win.]]
* ''Film/KenPark''. We have a [[PosthumousCharacter dead title character]], [[IBangedYourMom a literal motherfucker]], a DumbJock, [[AsianHookerStereotype an oversexed Asian-American girl]], and a violent [[TheSociopath sociopath]] and sadist [[spoiler:who later kills his grandparents]]. The supporting cast isn't any better, leading [[WebVideo/BrowsHeldHigh Oancitizen]] to ask "Is every single character in the film a loathsome cad?!" And the only remotely likable characters in the whole movie? [[spoiler: They're the grandparents. And their grandson gets an erection from stabbing them to death. Yeah...]]
* ''[[Literature/TheSilenceOfTheLambs Hannibal]]'' and ''Hannibal Rising'' both suffer from this. Almost none of the main characters have any redeeming attributes (sans Clarice, but she's basically a pawn half the time, and in the novel ends up ''falling for Lecter'')- and those who do are mercilessly picked on or forced out of the action. Meanwhile [[ImAHumanitarian Hannibal Lecter]] himself, the murderous psychopath and villain of the past two movies, is practically presented as the hero now. Even Hannibal himself is why ''Hannibal'' falls into the trope. Even though he is a psychopathic murderer, the vital heart of ''Silence'' was the dynamic between Lecter and Clarice; Lecter comes to admire the doggedness and pure, honest nature of her and treats her as kindly as anyone in a crapsack world where seemingly every male treats her horribly. By turning him back into more or less a standard villain on the loose and severing that mutual respect, it throws ''Hannibal'' into this trope, as discussed in great detail by RogerEbert [[http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/hannibal-2001 in his review]]:
-->''It misplaces the reason why we liked Hannibal Lecter so much. He was, in the 1991 classic, a good man to the degree that his nature allowed him to be. He was hard-wired as a cannibal and mass murderer, true, but that was his nature, not his fault, and in his relationship with the heroine, FBI trainee Clarice Starling, he was civil and even kind. He did the best he could.''
* ''Film/ToEndAllWars'' suffered this, [[WordOfGod apparently,]] before the film was recut to lighten it a bit. The directors cut is even further lightened, cutting short the [[{{Bowdlerise}} most violent moments as well as the strongest language.]]
* ''Film/TheIdesOfMarch'' sets itself up as a movie in which an idealistic US presidential political campaign manager has his idealism destroyed by the paranoid nature of politics and corruption. Which might be interesting, except the character in question does some morally questionable actions from the beginning of the story. This makes it hard for the audience to like him or view him as the WideEyedIdealist the script insists he is. As a result, the entire plot just seems sort of pointless.
* From what can be perceived from some of Creator/OliverStone movies, it's as if he can't go a single movie without having at least one scene with this trope in play. The most particular would have to be ''Film/{{Platoon}}'' (which ironically won Best Picture in 1986), where in it, the American soldiers themselves were a bunch of {{Sociopathic Soldier}}s (with the exception of Sgt. Elias Grodin and Pvt. Chris Taylor), who made themselves out to be as bad as the Vietnamese soldiers they were up against. They finally crossed the MoralEventHorizon, when they raided the Vietnamese village and nearly attempted to massacre the villagers there. This leaves only the aforementioned Elias and Taylor as the remaining sympathetic characters left, and even then, there's no point in caring about the war they're in.
* John Singleton's ''Film/HigherLearning'', his follow-up to the Oscar-winning ''Film/BoyzNTheHood'' and to ''Poetic Justice'', was not a great success because not only did it contain an embarrassing amount of {{Narm}}, but almost all the characters were hard to like. (Like ''Film/TheBirthOfANation'', to which it has occasionally been compared, this is a movie in which the black characters are bad and the white characters are worse.) In fact, the only two truly sympathetic characters were a college professor whose role is fairly minor and a female student-athlete who is killed by [[spoiler: being shot in the stomach]] - extremely unfair, since [[TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth she has not hurt or even acted rudely to a single person throughout the movie]]. Everyone else is at best a {{Jerkass}}, InnocentlyInsensitive, or just generally irresponsible. Then there's the girl's murderer, a VillainProtagonist of sorts, who is not heroic by any measure; however, we're led to understand how [[JerkassWoobie he became extremely frustrated and then enraged]] by his CrapsackWorld environment. Life at the college campus is so miserable, in fact, that in the end [[DesignatedHero the nominal hero of the story]] [[spoiler: just gives up and runs away]], which is hardly a heroic thing to do.
* Although Paul Verhoeven's ''Film/StarshipTroopers'' is partly a comedy, it is very dark comedy that suggests that [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters humans are as animalistic as any other creature in outer space]]. Although the genocidal alien bugs are clearly the bad guys (although there are some hints that they're actually just scapegoats for human propaganda), [[HeWhoFightsMonsters the humans have become arrogant and brutal in the course of fighting them]]. Condemned criminals are executed on live TV, computer websites pump users full of [[PatrioticFervor overbearing propaganda reminiscent of World War II newsreels]], schoolchildren are encouraged to gleefully stomp on helpless insects in a form of FantasticRacism, people are denied citizenship rights if they do not serve in the military, the {{drill sergeant|Nasty}} at the infantry boot camp is a bully (okay, sometimes a JerkWithAHeartOfGold) who seems to enjoy [[EqualOpportunityEvil physically humiliating both male and female recruits]], [[DisproportionateRetribution soldiers are punched in the face for uttering mildly rude remarks]], and the protagonist is at one point stripped to the waist and [[ATasteOfTheLash receives 10 lashes across his bare back]] in full view of the entire camp as punishment for ''accidentally'' causing a comrade's death. It should be noted that the film is a horrible inversion of [[Literature/StarshipTroopers the original novel]], in which the only executed criminal is a serviceman who has shamed his unit by his actions, the drill sergeant is more inclined to lecture than to torture, and the protagonist was originally whipped for actions that COULD have caused the death of a comrade through his negligence. Which only emphasizes how this trope crops up with AdaptationDecay.
* Creator/TimBurton directed a few.
** ''Film/BatmanReturns'' failed to live up to the expectations set by its predecessor, and much of that was because all four of the main characters - including Batman himself - are murderous brutes. Some of them really are fighting for justice, but only occasionally do they do anything truly heroic - and the few characters that have no moral flaws, such as Commissioner Gordon and the Mayor, are [[StupidGood so ineffectual it's hard to see them as heroes]]. That leaves Alfred Pennyworth as the one character you can comfortably root for - and let's face it, an elderly man isn't going to be seen as a role model by most people.
** Besides the catchy tunes, ''Film/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'' is a movie about a [[VillainProtagonist guy bent on revenge who kills people on the path to the]] DirtyOldMan who arrested him without reason to take his wife and daughter, and a woman who uses the victims [[IAmAHumanitarian on her pie shop...]] [[spoiler:and who so as to get a chance at a romance with Sweeney hid the fact that his wife, the reason for the whole carnage, was still alive.]] The perpetually bluish-gray color scheme does nothing to lighten the mood, either.
** Inverted in ''Film/MarsAttacks''. All but a half dozen or so characters (and even they have pretty glaring flaws) are pompous, insensitive, immoral, or just plain stupid - but that's okay, because the whole point of the movie is [[ComedicSociopathy you get to see the Martians kill all these jerks in countless hilarious ways]].
* ''Film/EightHeadsInADuffelBag'': The [[DesignatedHero "hero"]] is a vicious criminal and all-around meanie, and everyone else is either a smart-aleck or [[TheScrappy so cartoonish that it's hard to view them as anything but annoying]].
* [[Music/RobZombie Rob Zombie's]] [[Film/{{Halloween2007}} Halloween remake]] and [[Film/HalloweenII2009 its sequel]] suffer from making almost every character an unlikeable {{Jerkass}}, even [[UpToEleven more so than the average slasher film]]. The few characters who aren't Jerkasses at the start either become one by the end of the second film or disappear from the plot as quickly as possible.
* Creator/LloydKaufman faced this problem when writing ''Health Club Horror''. He wanted to have the monster only kill bad people (which was an idea left over from an unfilmed script he worked on the previous decade with Creator/StanLee), but the monster was also basically a bad guy. His solution was to make the monster a hero, and make the movie a comedy. Thus, ''Film/TheToxicAvenger'' was born.
* ''Film/IronSky'': Okay, so on one side of the conflict we have [[StupidJetpackHitler Moon]] [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazis]] who want to either conquer or perhaps destroy the Earth (the movie isn't quite clear which). On the other side you have the people of Earth, a collection of {{Jerkass}}es and [[TheDitz Dumbasses]] so universally horrible they actually come close to making [[AcceptableTargets the Nazis]] look like good guys by comparison. The whole thing is so bad the fact that the movies ending with [[spoiler: both the Nazis' moonbase and most life on Earth being destroyed]] can be considered a happy ending.
* ''{{Film/Melancholia}}''. There's no point to the plot. Or the characterization. Or the dialogue. [[ShootTheShaggyDog Or anything else.]] Everyone just dies, after living a sad life. But it's okay; the film assures you that they were all complete {{Jerkass}}es. We never see anything happy in the movie or anything that implies their world is anything other than apathetic and depressing. TrueArtIsAngsty taken to its logical extreme.
%%* This trope was probably ''the'' reason why ''{{Film/Stoker}}'' didn't perform well at the box office.
* This is the ultimate fate of Gus Van Sant's ''Film/{{Gerry}}''. The movie really doesn't give the audience any motivation to care for the two, as what little dialogue is awashed by entire stretches of silence and the whole situation being caused by their incredible shortsightedness. In the end, the movie only serves as a test for patience until Damon!Gerry kills Affleck!Gerry and finds civilization just before the credits roll. [[WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob Brad Jones]] described the movie as being nothing more than "sand and walking".
* ''{{Film/The Tracey Fragments}}'', big time. Every single character is mentally disturbed, borderline-sociopathic, drug-addled, and/or completely selfish, so there's hardly any reason for an audience to put forth the effort to give a damn.
* The war drama ''Film/{{Conspiracy}}'' about the Wannsee Conference is a dramatization of a historical event that ended in the genocide of millions, which is [[ForegoneConclusion clear from the start]]. Every major character in the film is [[BlackAndBlackMorality a heinous war criminal so morally bankrupt]] that there's no one left to root for. The only one who somewhat maintains audience sympathy for [[EvenEvilHasStandards feeling they're crossing a line]] is blackmailed into submission by much scarier men. It concludes with the revelation that [[ShaggyDogStory the discussion was entirely pointless]] and Heydrich was going to carry out the Holocaust anyway. Finally, most of the Nazis [[KarmaHoudini never received any comeuppance]] and went on to live uneventful lives after the war.
* One possible reason why ''Film/TheCounselor'' received many mediocre reviews; There aren't many people to root for. Most of the characters are bad guys/girls, and the titular character is somewhat naive and foolish.
* ''Film/KickAss'' got this treatment from some (though not as much as the comic, listed above), particularly once a child (albeit [[LittleMissBadass a heavily armed one]] [[LaserGuidedTykebomb who kills people without mercy]]) gets brutally beaten. ''Film/KickAss2'', on the other hand, was straight-up described as "unpleasant" by many reviewers and viewers, for being DarkerAndEdgier, BloodierAndGorier, and making characters both [[HappyEndingOverride suffer after finishing the first movie well]], and behave more as jerks as a result (culminating in Hit-Girl [[spoiler:making a GirlPosse [[BrownNote vomit and defecate profusely]]]]).
* Discussed in [[http://www.businessinsider.com/the-monsters-are-more-important-than-the-humans-in-disaster-movies-2014-5 this article]] on ''Business Insider'' about ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'' and other monster and disaster movies. Anne Billson notes that the reason Franchise/{{Godzilla}} is a more interesting character than most of the humans is because we don't really want to get emotionally attached to people who are going to be killed later in the midst of catastrophe. We're willing to accept uninteresting characters who are either BornLucky when it comes to surviving the violent events or who don't get much development before their demises because we prefer that to being genuinely heartbroken by all the misery, tragedy and death.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Interactive Fiction]]
* Creator/AdamCadre's ''VideoGame/{{Varicella}}'' attempts to avert this by having its VillainProtagonist, while still amoral and self-centered and willing to murder people to claim the Regency, not as evil as his rivals for the Regency, nearly all of whom are truly horrible people who seem to enjoy their acts of abuse and {{rape|IsASpecialKindOfEvil}}. But Varicella is still a short-sighted person who can't foresee [[spoiler: just how horrible things become when the prince takes the throne and becomes even worse]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Robert Cormier wrote a lot of books that fit easily into this, and a few books that would have avoided this if the likeable characters hadn't died or been beaten into submission. The best chance his characters are ever given is that the next life might be better than this one (and his later works [[CessationOfExistence deny even that]].)
%%* ''HellsChildren'' by Andrew Boland, is this for most people.
* ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' seems like this at times, especially when [[spoiler:District 13's war tactics and overall militarism]] become morally questionable. Hell, forget [[spoiler: District 13]], a lot of people find Katniss horrible enough that this happens.
* Deliberately used in ''Literature/TheSoundAndTheFury'': the first brother is severely mentally handicapped, and although hard to hate, his section of the book (written from his perspective) is so confusing that it's hard for many people to identify with him. The second brother is completely insane and [[BrotherSisterIncest lusts after his own sister]] [[spoiler:which turns out to be a lie to protect her, but we don't find this out until later]], so you really want to turn away from him. The third brother already ''has'' turned away from him, and narrates in a completely comprehensible style, so at first you like him, but then he's a total JerkAss who hates everyone around him.
* While ''Literature/BloodAndChocolate'' is by many standards a good book, it suffers from this twice over. On a larger scale, HumansAreTheRealMonsters who hate and fear werewolves, while werewolves sometimes provide ''very good reason'' why humans hate and fear them. On a smaller scale, any of seven or eight different characters, including the main character and both love interests, could be argued to be the most repulsive character in the book for one reason or another, and of the two characters who're most likeable one's a StrawFeminist who's not treated very seriously and the other gets eviscerated by a supposed friend. The silver lining is that the werewolf female lead and human primary love interest could balance each other out--[[spoiler:except that humans really ''can't'' trust werewolves, so he winds up trying to kill her.]]
* Robin Wasserman's novel ''Literature/{{Skinned}}'' has a similar problem, since it initially discusses FantasticRacism against cyborgs, then applies CyberneticsEatYourSoul. Do you support genocide, or do you root for inhuman freaks?
* ''Literature/NightWatch'' is a debatable case. The eponymous Night Watch claims it wants to improve the world, but in practice this means [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill making everyone else think like they do]], and their actions include [[WeDidntStartTheFuhrer putting Hitler in power]]. The Day Watch talks of freedom of choice, but they're [[ItsAllAboutMe selfish]], [[TheHedonist hedonistic]], and frequently {{hypocrit|e}}ical. {{Muggles}} are [[ImAHumanitarian snacks]], and [[PunyEarthlings there's nothing they could conceivably do to influence the situation]]. On the other hand, it's only the upper ranks that are rotten--both the Night Watch and the Day Watch have good and honorable members in the field. This comes full circle when it is revealed that [[spoiler: at the highest levels, the Watches are actually working together; the conflict between them is mostly for the sake of keeping the Others away from normal people, and the Watches often deliberately sabotage their own efforts to overtly influence human society. Their ''real'' plans to improve the world are much more subtle and cooperative.]]
* Many Creator/TomHolt books suffer from this. The protagonists are sometimes just as cynical, ruthless, selfish, vapid, cowardly, and/or nasty as the erstwhile antagonists. ''Valhalla'' and ''Little People'' are particularly memorable in this regard.
* In "The Merchant's Tale" of Chaucer's ''Literature/TheCanterburyTales'', the merchant's tale of a wife's adultery is supposed to show women as dishonest, but the poisonous way all characters, including the wronged husband are portrayed makes it difficult to sympathize with any of them. This is almost certainly deliberate, as several of Chaucer's characters let their view color their stories and how badly they tell them.
* ''Literature/WutheringHeights'' can induce this reaction, in the 'too bleak and angsty and without hope' subcategory. (Creator/JasperFforde's ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' books parody this with an anger management class for the characters, who are warned that their drama has made the story more angsty and angry as time goes by, and they risk going the same way as ''Theatre/TitusAndronicus'': "Once a gentle comedy of manners, it's now the daftest, bloodiest tale in all of [[Creator/WilliamShakespeare Shakespeare]]!")
* ''Literature/EthanFrome'' can induce similar reactions as ''Wuthering Heights''. The utter hopelessness of the story has driven many an English Major to the bottle.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', particularly after what happens to the sorta-light-gray principal.
** If we're talking about [[spoiler: Ned]], he was definitely more on the side of strongly light with a bit of gray thrown in for texture. The closest character that comes close to him is [[spoiler: Jon Snow]], who still maintains his honor and dignity, to some extent or another, despite the crap he's put through.
** By the end of ''A Storm Of Swords'', so many of the characters had been killed off that some readers found it hard to care about the rest of the cast. [[AnyoneCanDie Others, however, love the series for precisely that reason]].
*** This has not gotten any better by the end of ''A Dance with Dragons''. Yeah, AnyoneCanDie and all that, but Martin is running out of protagonists that the audience cares about. Most of the ones left alive are all horribly traumatized.
** All the endless, gratuitous war crimes perpetrated by all factions - rapes, skinned children crucified for miles, burning women alive after raping them - begin to lose their shock value as the series goes on.
* Many of the critics and even some of the fans claim that ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' suffers this badly in the LoveTriangle the third book ''Eclipse'' is built around. Edward, Bella, and Jacob all come off as extremely possessive, selfish and emotionally manipulative {{Jerkass}}es to the point that some found all possible resolutions to the triangle equally repugnant.
** There's also the issue of the Volturi. They are built up as a corrupt government who ruthlessly murder vampires over any slight, forcibly "collect" powerful vampires, and look for excuses to destroy the Cullen family. The problem is, vampires as a whole are a bunch of murderous animals who do nothing but think about their next meal and who to kill to get it. Thus, not only are the Volturi the only ones trying to instill any sense of order into the vampire world, but they're the few actually ''keeping'' the vampires from slaughtering humans without restraint. Even the Cullens in no way condemn or try to stop this behavior, which makes their declarations that human lives are valuable come across as rather hollow. Meanwhile, in spite of the fact that they're supposed to be defending humanity, the werewolves apparently slack off a good bit (they do nothing to stop Peter and Charlotte in ''Midnight Sun'', even though there were werewolves transforming at that time), and actively go ''against'' their duties when Jacob imprints on Renesmee and puts her before his job as Alpha. This is all best summed up by their actions in ''Breaking Dawn''. The Volturi try to use Renesmee as an excuse to kill the Cullens and their allies, the allies are so kind as to go outside the city limits to slaughter people during their stay, the werewolves do nothing to stop this because the allies are needed to protect Renesmee, and the Cullens loan cars so the allies can find victims more easily.
** One problem ''Twilight'' has is that all of the characters that are jerks are pushed to the front of the story, often having incredibly fucked up backstories despite being portrayed rather positively (Jasper, Sam), while the ones that aren't are either pushed to the background as fast as possible (Bella's school friends), portrayed negatively despite not really showing any negative traits (Bella's school friends again, Charlie in the early books, and Leah, although her case is more that her negative traits exist but aren't really her fault so much), or made worse in an apparent attempt to make them less sympathetic (Jacob, Charlie again). About the only character in the book that isn't either a massive jerk or made one, but still stays roughly important in the story is Carlisle. And even his morals and motives are somewhat questionable.
* The works of Creator/BretEastonEllis can have that effect, as pretty much everyone in them is completely shallow, self-absorbed and stupid. Given that this is deliberate, you probably know what you're in for when you start one of his books. Clay in ''Literature/LessThanZero'' may be an in-universe example, as eventually he finds himself passively watching horrible things (like his friends [[spoiler: face-raping a drugged 12-year-old girl]]) while saying he just wanted "to see the worst".
* A number of Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse series are falling into this trope. Starting with Literature/NewJediOrder, the books have become progressively {{darker|AndEdgier}} and everything just seems to be getting worse. Came to a head in Literature/LegacyOfTheForce, which ended [[spoiler: with Jacen dying after being hacked to pieces and left in an incinerator, the galaxy under control of [[OmnicidalManiac Daala]], and the galaxy wrecked by yet another pointless war.]]
* ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' doesn't always do this, but it ''did'' creep up during ''Midnight Tides''. That novel depicts a war between the Tiste Edur (a nation that keeps humans as slaves and is ruled [[TheCaligula by an insane emperor]] who works for an EldritchAbomination) and Letharas (a [[TheEmpire brutal, expansionist empire]] that [[StrawCharacter takes the flaws of capitalism as far as it can]] without being PlayedForLaughs). You can't even blame one side for being the ones to initiate the war, since they're both pretty eager for it even before the first blow is struck. Sure, individual characters on both sides of the conflict can be quite sympathetic, but the outcome of the war isn't that suspenseful, 'cause you know you're gonna wind up with a regime of violent, oppressive conquerors either way.
** The continuation of this plot after the war ends only makes it ''worse'' because the victors lacked the finesse to control their new subjects, resulting in them slowly being undermined and torn apart by their supposed subjects. Things only improved after a lot of important character deaths when [[spoiler:the Tiste Edur gave up and left while Letharas got a decent ruler]].
* Both 'sides' in ''Literature/LeftBehind'' have exactly the same goals and use pretty much the same methods, [[BecauseDestinySaysSo everything that happens is part of God's plan]] and, as such, the characters have no free will and [[YouCantFightFate nothing they do at any point in the series makes any difference whatsoever]], so it's really rather difficult to root for them. Specifically, both sides of the conflict are more or less interchangeable morally and the only real difference between them is their goals. The only concrete reason why one side is specifically good and the other is bad is because the writers say they are.
* ''The Mayor Of Casterbridge''. Everyone is, without exception, demonically evil or flat. This is a common complaint about Creator/ThomasHardy. A contemporary reviewer of his work stated that, "[His work] is depressing because he himself is somewhat depressed" and boy does it ever show. ''Literature/JudeTheObscure'' and ''Literature/TessOfTheDUrbervilles'' are both unrelentingly depressing ShootTheShaggyDog stories. Hardy was to some extent trying to skewer the Victorian values of the day and make the point that it was impossible for good people to survive in such a system, but as the audience it's difficult to not just stop caring about these characters once it's obvious that any HopeSpot will only lead to another horrible disappointment.
* Donna Tartt's ''Literature/TheSecretHistory'' sometimes inspires this - it's not uncommon for readers to respond to the revelation that one of these unsympathetic characters will be murdered by thinking "Only one?"
* ''Literature/{{Dubliners}}'' by Creator/JamesJoyce is a book of short stories where every single one is about a disappointing, half-lived life that will probably end in isolation and ignominy. Hope spots are few and far between, and usually swiftly replaced by misery.
* ''Literature/TheChildThief'' falls into this at the beginning, and for some readers, until its end. The story is billed as a darker retelling of Peter Pan, and it shows - rooting for Peter is all but impossible given his bloodthirsty and careless ways. The real world is not much better in the book - because it focuses on ''Lost'' boys and girls, everyone has horrible stories in their past. Although there are a few characters the reader can identify with, they pale in comparison to the horrible people around them rather than providing a real contrast.
* Brought up in ''[[Literature/AliceInWonderland Through the Looking-Glass]]''. Tweedledum and Tweedledee recite the poem about The Walrus and the Carpenter. After hearing the poem, Alice wonders about who is the most sympathetic of the two. But the twins points it out that both of the duo ate as many of the oysters as they can. After much thought, Alice concludes that '''both''' of them were very unpleasant characters.
* ''Literature/TheClique''. The protagonists are an AlphaBitch and her GirlPosse, but the series does ''very little'' to make them seem likable or sympathetic, there's ''loads'' of ChronicBackstabbingDisorder, and it's heavily implied the main character is a sociopath. [[spoiler: And the series ends with ''[[KarmaHoudini absolutely none of them]]'' [[KarmaHoudini getting what they deserve]]]]. Plus the series is an IndecisiveParody, so it's never really clear what we're supposed to think of the characters. Later books added some {{deconstruction}} elements, but for many it was too late.
* ''Literature/TheCasualVacancy'' has a rather mundane premise and characters that, as one reviewer put it, are "fairly horrible or suicidally miserable or dead". Thus, some found it hard to care about the conclusion.
%%* Creator/ChuckPalahniuk's works definitely fall under this, which causes some to think of him as a nihilist and a shock writer.
* Literature/IronDruidChronicles can invoke this reaction in some people. The main character is an often jerkish, NominalHero who only gets involved if he is forced to, who is willing to let lesser crimes fall by the wayside in service to what he considers more significant goals, and who is willing to commit any number of those crimes himself if he deems it necessary. His "allies" include an (if {{Affabl|yEvil}}e) largely amoral vampire (who sells Atticus down the river as soon as it becomes clear that Atticus isn't backing his corner), a pack of werewolves (themselves guilty of a number of more mundane crimes, typically in service of keeping up the {{Masquerade}}), and a coven of witches who are of a similar mindset to Atticus, if not worse. Their enemies tend to be JerkAssGods at best, if not outright {{Omnicidal Maniac}}s.
* The Franchise/StarTrekNovelVerse is starting to have this effect after the two part novels ''Plagues of the Night'' and ''Raise the Dawn.'' The series had already gone through a completely legitimate rough patch with the Borg war of StarTrekDestiny, only for a new cold war with the Typhon Pact to occur. Which was fine until these two books: [[spoiler: which destroyed Deep Space Nine, the Bajoran Wormhole and KilledOffForReal about five really popular characters from the TV shows.]] The books following have increased the canon character body count, [[spoiler: and the Federation is starting to collapse]]. The story has already written themselves into OnlyTheAuthorCanSaveThemNow but the stories like the authors just want [[CrapsackWorld everyone dead or completely miserable.]] It's probably one reason why ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' basically cherrypicks from the novelverse.
** As an alternative view, the wormhole reopened, Bajor is a powerful and prosperous Federation member, [[spoiler: a second more advanced Deep Space Nine replaced the lost one]], the same devastating conflict in Destiny also liberated the Borg and freed billions from oppression, and in doing so removed the biggest blight to Trek 'verse civilization, the Federation has held together, rebuilt and reaffirmed itself in spite of everything, and inspired the Typhon Pact nations to start to overcome their histories of xenophobia and isolation on top of that, the Andorians are cured of their genetic problems, the Cardassians and Ferengi have the best governments they've ever had and are now official allies of the Federation, the Romulans have a moderate and diplomatically adept government, the Federation has slipstream drive and is penetrating all four quadrants, and Starfleet is starting to turn back to exploration again. So definitely a matter of opinion. Also, political instability and uncertainty isn't, others might say, anywhere near "Crapsack World" - especially when war has been consistently avoided (Borg aside, and they're more a force of nature than a nation).
* The ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series can feel like this if you're not used to its humour. Surely there are many examples of AWorldHalfFull within it, but the CrapsackWorld PlayedForLaughs setting of Ankh-Morpork (at the least) is just horrible, with HumansAreBastards not only being InherentInTheSystem so much as it ''[[VetinariJobSecurity is]]'' [[SurroundedByIdiots the system]], lots of [[HeroicComedicSociopath Heroic Comedic Sociopaths]] (and one MartyStu hero that is doing his damnedest to underachieve), the TheoryOfNarrativeCausality crapping on everybody's heads (and [[CosmicPlaything some]] [[ButtMonkey getting]] [[UnluckilyLucky it worse]] than others) for the sake of making things interesting...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Literature/HemlockGrove'': EVERY character is reprehensible. Of the two main characters, one rapes two women (one of whom was a relative), and the other kills a supposedly beloved pet for essentially no reason and without a twinge emotion. Another character is supposed to be TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth, but shows little regard for other people.
* ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' is facing danger of this in the later seasons. Just about the entire main cast has committed acts so reprehensible that they're no better off than the villains of the show. This probably accounts for the popularity of BigBad Klaus and his family, who were granted their own spin-off series.
* This could very well be a reason ''Series/{{Damages}}'' never got a wide audience. The main character often seems to lack a conscience, as do her competition. Pretty much the case for most FX Network shows: they mostly feature awful people doing awful things to each other. ''Series/NipTuck'' was especially guilty of this, with the added bonus of graphic plastic surgery sequences. Deconstructed with ''Series/TheShield''; the writers went out of their way to reaffirm the black and white morality in the final season's resolution by having the Strike Team called out of their shit and pay a karmatic price for their crimes.
* {{Soap Opera}}s and {{Teen Drama}}s often fall into a variant of the trope. Instead of all sides of the conflict being evil, RuleOfDrama destroys all chance of lasting happiness. Thus, there is no point in rooting for a character you know is going to end up [[TraumaCongaLine suffering]]. In soap operas, both sides of the conflict can end up being completely unsympathetic despite not being evil. The heroes are usually TooDumbToLive {{purity sue}}s. The villains, while sometimes interesting, pick up the IdiotBall a lot and have inconsistent motives.
* Too many Creator/VH1 RealityShow series to count. Even the celebrities we're ''supposed'' to feel sorry for are complete {{Jerkass}}es. In fact, the only one we can stand the whole time is Dr. Drew himself.
* To some people, regardless of gender, any given LifetimeMovieOfTheWeek will create this, particularly those that don't involve a woman trying to save either herself or some kid(s) she knows (whether it's her's or a friend's) from being abused.
* ''Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined'' slid into this trope as the series went on. Helo is the only character who doesn't at least skid on the edge of the MoralEventHorizon at one point or another. (Well, Kacey, Nikky, and Hera never did anything reprehensible. They were also all under 5 years old.) And speaking of ''Battlestar Galactica'', this trope is probably one of the biggest reasons for ratings failure and {{cancellation}} of its spin-off, ''Series/{{Caprica}}''. It's really hard to find someone to root for in its main cast.
* By the end of ''Series/TheSopranos'', every character with dialogue has proven themselves to be pretty hideous excuses for human beings.
* ''Series/{{Rome}}'' is full of ambitious, petty, and murderous "heroes".
* ''Series/SixFeetUnder'' features characters who are not exactly evil, but tend to be so weak, neurotic, or just apathetic that the events of their lives are at least as doomed as anything in a SoapOpera. The series drifted away from its quirky deaths and focused more on the Ficher's love lives, which took a lot of variety out of the show.
* ''Series/BabylonFive''. Can potentially occur early on with the Centauri and the Narns, on one side you have a bunch of pompous drunkards with a declining empire filled with scheming lordlings with a severe manifest destiny mindset, on the other side you have a bunch of ill tempered religious fundamentalists who seem to mostly be incredibly proud of just how proud they are and seem obsessed with settling old scores even to their own detriment. Ultimately though after the shit really hits the fan it becomes very involving as certain people learn something from the whole sad mess and others fail to. This even gets brought up in the first season. [[TheCaptain Commander Sinclair]] is talking to [[StarfishAlien Kosh]], who says "They are a dying people. We should let them pass." Sinclair asks "Do you mean the Narn, or the Centauri?" Kosh replies "[[MathematiciansAnswer Yes]]."
* Creator/JossWhedon's shows are sometimes in danger of falling into this, due to his [[TrueArtIsAngsty happy people = boring television]] SignatureStyle. This tends to be the reason some ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' fans call FanonDiscontinuity after season five. You had Buffy Summers {{Wangst}} throughout the majority of the sixth season, had a mutually destructive and degrading hookup with Spike, then became a complete bitch. It had gotten so bad that Buffy's close circle of friends would rather have Faith, a once AxCrazy rogue Slayer, lead the Potentials because she looked saner than Buffy around that point. The Scoobies themselves are no better, if they're not on a {{Wangst}} fest then they're doing something that makes them look unlikable to the viewers eyes and they are supposed to be the heroes of the series. Whedon has acknowledged this is an issue with [[SeasonalRot season 6]] of ''Series/{{Buffy|TheVampireSlayer}}'', as he signed off on a bunch of dark story ideas he liked, without considering that having them all happen ''at the same time'' might be a bit much. Also, Whedon's self admitted tendency to kill off the most beloved characters in his shows discourages many from getting too attached to any one character. His other family members' work don't differ much from this SignatureStyle, either.
* ''Series/TheShadowLine'' has this problem as even likeable characters are hugely flawed and AnyoneCanDie.
* ''Series/ThePractice''. At the beginning of the series, the attorneys are bright, fresh-faced and idealistic. By the end, they've completely sold out their standards and principles, end up representing drug dealers and undeniably guilty clients with money to keep the firm running, hire an anti-trust attorney who was fired from his previous job for embezzling money, and rely upon several questionable defenses (patriotism, doubt) in order to bolster their cases.
* ''Series/MadMen'' can get like this for some viewers. There's hardly a single character that isn't basically a selfish asshole. The first season is essentially just watching the main character drink and cheat on his wife without any consequences.
* ''Series/{{Ringer}}'' is full of awful people. Bridget is the protagonist simply because she's the one telling the story. The most likable character is a former drug addict who is aiding and abetting a fugitive, [[spoiler:accepted a bribe, and is covering up murders]], while everybody else is having affairs, lying and manipulating people, pretending to be somebody they're not, [[spoiler:running a Ponzi scheme]], murdering people (or at least hiring hitmen to do their dirty work), [[spoiler:falsely accusing a teacher of rape just so they can turn around and sue for defamation of character and split the settlement]], faking deaths, etc. Everybody is corrupt in one way or another. The situation is interesting enough, but it's hard to care what happens to any of the characters. It's fun to see how they make things worse for themselves by continuing to be such terrible people.
* One of the reasons British historical dramas of the 1980s (like ''The Borgias'' and ''Series/TheCleopatras'') flopped so badly was because they were trying to reproduce the success of ''Series/IClaudius''. But whereas ''Series/IClaudius'' had evil characters who were partly sympathetic and ''always'' entertaining to watch, the shows that came after it featured much weaker, less sympathetic villains. ''Series/TheCleopatras'' was especially bad in this regard, as it was essentially a drama about horrible rulers murdering their equally horrible family members. If a character started out decent, there was a good chance he/she would be forcing their subjects into costly wars for their own selfish benefit and dismembering several of their own children by the time their story arc was over.
* One of the problems with the ''Literature/{{Gormenghast}}'' miniseries was that the most sympathetic, proactive character (Titus) didn't appear until well after it was underway. Those unfamiliar with the books might have been turned off by the endless, unsavory antics of a weird, menacing royal family and the AffablyEvil man who was trying to exploit them. Only when Titus appeared did the audience really have someone to root for.
* ''Series/TheWire'', excellent show as it is, can get this way the further the series goes. The overall range of characters aren't entirely unsympathetic or irredeemable, but the circumstances that force most of them to commit reprehensible actions for the sake of getting up on the social ladder, or even simply to survive, will make even the most cheery optimists feel despair at some point. Not only that, the fact that the characters themselves have a tendency to act like complete jerks one scene after another, makes it hard to empathize with them. Although the series isn't entirely absent of happy endings for a few characters (and given their rarity, they stand out a lot), it's in such stark contrast with everyone else's {{pyrrhic victor|y}}ies and {{downer ending}}s, the show can be disheartening and occasionally ''very'' depressing. It was stated in one of the commentary tracks that part of the reason why the show has the genuinely funny scenes and entertainingly humorous dialogue to the extent that it does is simply because the show would be too soul-crushing to watch if it didn't have these moments of levity.
* ''Series/BoardwalkEmpire'' somewhat falls into this, in that nearly every character is corrupt or evil to some extent. It says something that by the third season, some of the more moral and sympathetic characters are a sensitive ShellshockedVeteran turned [[ColdSniper cold-blooded]] hitman, a friendly former IRA bomber, and ''Al Capone''.
* ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle'', to a tee. Virtually every character (the titular Malcolm included) is, at the very least, a horrible human being who either corrupts or screws over people for the most petty and shallow reasons, and by the time the show's inevitable BittersweetEnding comes along, [[spoiler: The EvilMatriarch reveals her plan to control Malcolm's life even after he leaves home, and her sadism continues unimpeded.]] Life is unfair, indeed´┐Ż
** ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' follows in a similar vein. All the principal characters and most secondary ones are selfish, unlikeable assholes. To its credit, both it and ''Malcolm'' are (very dark) comedies, so at least you're not expected to root for any of the characters. In fact, you are supposed to laugh at whatever situation they've wound up in.
* ''Series/DrakeAndJosh'' is an interesting example. While the show itself generally didn't suffer from this, one specific character seemed to be trying to instill it, and succeeded in some episodes. The titular duo's younger sister, Megan, who, by constantly humiliating and bullying her brothers (often using outright illegal means), was clearly meant to be a negative force in the show, almost always came out on top, no matter what the circumstances. A few episodes went smoothly with Megan only making a cameo appearance or two, then suddenly appearing at the end and getting the last laugh by humiliating her brothers anyway. This is especially true in any episode where Megan plays a central role, because you simply know that she'll be winning out in the end, even if she does a reprehensible thing. [[TheScrappy There's a reason why it's difficult to find people that really like her that much.]]
* This is the principal complaint aimed at seasons 4 and 5 of ''Series/BreakingBad'', as the characters on the show who haven't crossed the MoralEventHorizon are either dead, pushed to the sidelines, or TheScrappy.
* ''Series/{{Community}}'' is normally pretty good at keeping characters flawed, but sympathetic, but whenever Pierce gets an episode centered around him, it starts to fall into this, as no matter what he does he is always forgiven as soon as the storyline is over.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** This is a frequent criticism of Season 22, which dealt primarily with DarkerAndEdgier storylines about [[BlackAndBlackMorality various groups of horrible and selfish people tormenting each other]] with the Doctor stuck in the middle. It deserves to be said that this was not something new for ''Who'' - the very popular "Power of the Daleks", "Genesis of the Daleks", "The Deadly Assassin" and "The Caves of Androzani" all fit this formula - but in those stories the Doctor himself acted resolutely on the side of love and light, whereas the Doctor in Season 22 had [[TookALevelInJerkass Taken A Level In Jerkass]] after his last regeneration and tended to be selfish and abusive to everyone else, with Peri being [[TheChewToy a luckless]], [[PinballProtagonist powerless]] and arguably exploitatively-sexualised victim of the Doctor's bullying and all the murderous monsters.
** Sometimes veers dangerously close to this trope in the Russell T. Davies series. Almost every series [[BittersweetEnding ends with some sort of complication despite the day being saved]], and the Doctor is often forced to realize that [[HumansAreBastards humans can be just as bad and]] [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters sometimes worse]] than the monsters he fights, with the Series 3 ending taking it to what is probably the darkest extreme: [[spoiler:After the end of the universe, humanity cannibalizes itself to become a species called the Toclafane, who ultimately kill and maim [[ForTheEvulz because it's fun]]]]. While The Doctor and his companions generally remain sympathetic, the endings can make it rather tricky to care about what happens to them.
** While Eighth Doctor stories are mostly in the ExpandedUniverse, knowing that his life is just an extended BreakTheCutie doesn't exactly entice readers/listeners who don't believe TrueArtIsAngsty.
* ''Franchise/KamenRider'' during the Early-Heisei (that is from 2000-2008) was heavily criticized for this, partially due to the writing direction started by ToshikiInoue. This started out balanced with ''Series/KamenRiderAgito'', that while cynical still had moments of optimism within. Post-Agito however, the show got to the point where almost all main characters were either an anti-heroic jerk or an idealistic ButtMonkey, and nobody was willing to actually solve any personal conflicts they had with each other. This was later changed after ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'', when ToshikiInoue wasn't involved with the franchise anymore.
** Even Inoue himself starts to move away from it. 2008's ''Kiva'' has a lot in common with 2003's ''555,'' to the point of feeling like a SpiritualSuccessor or {{Remake}} at times, but it's also got more comic relief, more non-jerk characters, and it ends with [[spoiler: humans and Fangires coming to terms, and a wedding followed by AndTheAdventureContinues]] where ''555'' ended with [[spoiler: half the cast dead and the main hero's life expectancy quite low.]]
** With Creator/GenUrobuchi, aka "[[AnyoneCanDie The Urobutcher]]," writing ''Series/KamenRiderGaim,'' get ready to look back at the days when you thought ''Ryuki'' and ''Faiz'' were dark and ''laugh.'' Urobuchi has even made Tweets acknowledging this, saying (in reference to the series' [[HowDoYouLikeThemApples fruit theme]] in general and the main character's orange theme in specific) "By December, a lot of little kids will probably never want to drink orange juice again." That said, TheHero is still pretty idealistic and there's still a lot of light-hearted moments. However, that's the only thing kept unchanged after the WhamEpisode. We have a few deaths on our hands, almost no one is siding with Kouta, and if they are, expect that to go awry. And that's not getting into how TheRival and Kouta's friend evolved. [[spoiler:Both of them have grown villainous in some regard, though TheRival is more heroic due to his honor]]. Did we mention that the show, as early as episode twenty, begins to dip into Gen's more... [[CosmicHorrorStory familiar territory]]?
* ''Series/TheWalkingDead'': [[WordOfGod Season 3 showrunner Glen Mazzara]] cited averting this trope as the reason behind [[spoiler: Judith]] being SparedByTheAdaptation -That good things need to happen to the characters too, not just bad, or else the show will become too depressing and the audience will lose interest.
* Like the book series it's based on, ''Series/GameOfThrones'' is getting this reaction, especially after the violent penultimate episode of Season 3, where [[spoiler: the side that is closest to being 'the good guys' is decimated.]]
* This is becoming a frequent complaint with ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryCoven''. Nearly every character is selfish and abuses their powers for their own gain, and if they're ''not'' abusing their powers, they're whining about the ones who are.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' has become this; Sam and Dean are never, ever allowed to be happy. It's actually kind of a theme for hunters, but it eventually gets dead depressing to watch.
* ''Series/TheFollowing'' has always had issues with this, and it's only getting worse over time. The villains are AxCrazy homicidal maniacs who gleefully commit ''very'' brutal on-screen murders and we see a lot of the story [[VillainProtagonist from their point of view]]; by and large they are selfish, unrepentant and prone to MoralMyopia, and their competence ranges from {{Villain Sue}}s to {{Big Bad Wannabe}}s (Joe Carroll himself starts as the former and devolves into the latter). The ''heroes'', though, are not the most comfortable people to follow either: Ryan Hardy is a vengeful KnightTemplar prone to ProtagonistCentredMorality who allows the villain to dictate his moves; the FBI have many fair WhatTheHellHero critiques to make of him, but they tend to be incompetent and stupid in their own right as both they and Hardy get many minor characters killed; Agent Mike Weston and others become steadily more brutal due to Hardy's influence; and civilian characters (whether major like Claire Matthews or one-shoters) are out of their league and make dumb decisions to varying degrees. It becomes difficult to root for anyone the longer the story goes on, particularly since the series so often relies on FridgeLogic, {{Idiot Plot}}s and DiabolusExMachina to move things forward. As a result, the ratings, which were [[http://www.spottedratings.com/2013/01/spotvault-following-fox-2012-13-ratings.html high enough]] to make it [[http://www.spottedratings.com/2013/06/a18-49-2012-13-season-recap.html the only hit rookie of 2012-13]], took a [[http://www.spottedratings.com/2014/01/spotvault-following-fox-2013-14-ratings.html big knife to the gut in season two]], albeit no more so than anything else that aired on Fox in calendar year 2014, which is the only reason it got a season three.
* On ''Series/TrueBlood'', the humans opposed to vampires are invariably portrayed as nasty, mean-spirited, narrow-minded, bigoted, and unpleasant. But when it comes to vampires, [[VillainHasAPoint it all too often seems like they're completely right.]] The overwhelming majority of vampires on the show treat humans with ill-disguised contempt or don't even bother hiding their contempt, regularly murder humans for food or pleasure, and have their own laws and punishments they inflict on humans despite having no bearing on human laws and punishment (translation: they kidnap and murder people for "vampire crimes" and call that arrest and sentencing). Every character who started out on the show as human and later got turned into a vampire has murdered people, so there's now no vampire we can definitely say has never killed a human. Instead several of the [[DesignatedHero "good, sympathetic" vampires]] (Bill, Eric, Jessica, even "saintly" Godric) have been shown murdering humans who weren't trying to harm them. So that leaves us with a conflict where both sides are murderous assholes, while making the humans who support vampires and vampire rights as simply TooDumbToLive.
* ''Series/TwoAndAHalfMen'', good God. While having a genuine fanbase and funny moments, all the characters are selfish and the [[DesignatedHero supposed heroes Alan and Charlie]] really have no difference from [[ItsAllAboutMe Judith]], [[EvilMatriarch Evelyn]] and [[StalkerWithACrush Rose.]]
* TwentyFour was always dark, even from the beginning. However as the show went on, the writers seemed to go out of their way to make sure that every character suffered as much as possible, and then would [[DroppedABridgeOnHim casually kill them off]]. On top of that, [[AnyoneCanDie so many characters were killed off]], and that, for some, made it impossible to care about new characters, because you knew most of them wouldn't survive the season.
* GameOfThrones, which is natural given its source. The Red Wedding is simultaneously heralded as one of the greatest shocking swerves in the history of television and as the thing that may have made it all but impossible for viewers to ever completely like or trust the program in the same way again. The fourth season actually saw a huge number of villainous asshole characters killed off in satisfying ways, but several critics have pointed out that it never really makes up for all the wind the show took out of our sails in the past.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/JoyDivision. Ian Curtis' lyrics and low-key vocals make his [[DrivenToSuicide death]] of little surprise. Martin Hannett's spartan production adds to the effect; Even Bernard Sumner says in the "Joy Division" docu-film that ''Unknown Pleasures'' is almost ''too'' dark, and he prefers the more varied arrangements of ''Closer''.
* Music/HeavyMetal gets this criticism a lot, usually genres like {{Black|Metal}} and DeathMetal that are far down on the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism. DoomMetal and NuMetal especially so, because while people can sympathize with a [[LargeHam hammed up]], [[SmallNameBigEgo self-righteous]] OnlySaneMan complaining about a CrapsackWorld, the same being done by an [[TheEeyore Eeyore]] or JerkassWoobie also [[SelfDeprecation talking about how Crapsack he himself is]]... not so much.
* In a similar vein, this can also to apply to many overly pessimistic HardcoreHipHop and GangstaRap artists.
* Part of the reason for the widespread dislike of Music/IronMaiden's album The X Factor was because it is relentlessly dark from Fortunes Of War onwards.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/FunkyWinkerbean'': Very little goes right for the characters, jokes about death are frequent and everyone is just generally depressed from a melancholy in the air. Lisa's death by cancer is a good spot to mark when the strip moved into its darkness setting.
** ''ComicStrip/{{Crankshaft}}'', from the same creator, has this to a lesser degree. It's not as perpetually glum, but the main character is very hard to like as a person and the occasional death joke pops up now and then.
* This has happened with a lot of politically-oriented Mexican comics, like ''Franchise/ElSantos'' and ''ComicBook/LosMiserables'': After suffering decades of government censorship, the political comic industry experienced a resurgence with its gritty stories and DeadpanSnarker AntiHero characters praised as a welcome change from the rosy picture readers were being fed before. However, more than 20 years later, the BlackAndGrayMorality themes were turned UpToEleven, and several of their readers got tired of the CrapsackWorld themes, crude humor, irredeemable {{Jerkass}} protagonists and the overall message of ThisLoserIsYou.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Ignoring the insanity of Wrestling/VinceRusso's endless use of the ShockingSwerve, this trope was one of the main causes of Wrestling/{{WCW}}'s decline. While the Wrestling/{{n|ewWorldOrder}}Wo [[EvilIsCool were cool]] for a while, they were '''the {{heel}}s''', which meant that they ultimately needed to suffer defeats, and meaningful ones. This, however, was a fact seemingly lost on everyone there (especially those members of the [=nWo=] who were involved in booking the stories - funny that). After years and years of watching the villains run roughshod over absolutely everyone, gloating and laughing, the whole thing just became pointless and depressing - they were '''never''' going to be defeated, and that was that. So people just changed the channel. In the end, the one saving grace was that the group's leader, "Hollywood" Hogan, reverted to being Wrestling/HulkHogan and returned to being a face - but that in itself could be considered a KarmaHoudini. Most people would probably argue that the New World Order storyline should've ended at ''Starrcade '97'', after Wrestling/{{Sting}} finally defeated Hulk Hogan (albeit in controversial fashion), thereby proving that, if nothing else, the nWo wasn't invincible. Of course, that arc itself came close to resulting in DIAA, since Sting was early on [[{{Frameup}} made to look as if he were secretly working for the nWo]], and his immediate reaction - [[AchillesInHisTent abruptly quitting WCW and entering into semi-seclusion for a time]] - didn't exactly allay suspicion. Indeed, Sting's enigmatic, smiling declaration of [[LogicBomb "The only thing that's for sure about Sting... is that nothing's for sure"]] - the last words he ever spoke before [[WhiteMaskOfDoom completely whitening his face]] and refusing to speak publicly for more than 14 months - kept people guessing for quite a while.
* The ''inVasion'' angle of the summer of 2001 also suffered from this. Wrestling/{{WWE}} fans, WCW fans, and {{Wrestling/ECW}} fans had hated each other for years, so when [[EnemyMine WCW and ECW unexpectedly decided to team up against the big bad WWE]], it looked like a battle for the ages. Except... the WWE writers sabotaged the whole concept by casting ''every'' WCW and ECW representative [[DesignatedVillain as a heel]], even though many of them had done nothing wrong. Worse, the leader of the WWE team was Wrestling/VinceMcMahon, hardly a likable character; his opponents were his children Wrestling/{{Shane|McMahon}} and Wrestling/{{Stephanie|McMahon}} and ECW chief Wrestling/PaulHeyman, all of whom were likewise {{Jerkass}}es. Finally, at the actual pay-per-view event WWE [[CurbStompBattle trounced the WCW/ECW Alliance so thoroughly]] that when [[spoiler: Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin]] defected to the Alliance and helped them pull off an unexpected victory, it was hard not to see this treachery as WWE getting its just deserts. (And all the Alliance members ended up joining or rejoining WWE shortly afterwards anyway, so what was the point?)
* Wrestling/TripleH has been responsible for this at times, most tellingly during 2002-2004, when he basically made a career of '''burying''' {{face}}s so completely that even today (coupled, it has to be said, with WWE's almost decade-long refusal to properly build new stars), WWE has an extremely small amount of top card {{face}}s, as there are so few people left for fans to take as credible threats. Granted, the HeelFaceRevolvingDoor makes it possible to turn a top heel into a top face at the drop of a storyline, but the top heels tend to spend most of their careers as heels for a reason: they're better at it.
* Looking at the entire history of the business, it's understandable that one would see sports-entertainment itself as this. Due to the Heel Face Revolving Door described above, almost everyone has been a heel at some point in his or her career. Even worse, many of these heels are unrepentant for their past actions ''even after turning face'', simply laughing along with the audience or just resorting to the HandWave whenever anyone [[RememberWhenYouBlewUpASun tries to bring up the crimes they committed in the past]]. So with the exception of Wrestling/JohnCena (who's been a face for so long now that all of his past evil deeds have been effectively erased from memory) and a few others, it's hard to truly care for any of these characters. Particularly true when they exhibit {{Jerkass}} behaviors even while playing the face, or when one realizes that they're just one ShockingSwerve away from becoming heels again.
* This trope is why {{heel}} [[EvilVersusEvil vs. heel]] matchups are typically undesirable from a booker's point of view: the audience would have no one to cheer. When there ''is'' a heel vs. heel feud, it's usually a sign that [[EvenEvilHasStandards one of them is about to turn face]] (for example, Wrestling/{{Sheamus}} versus Wrestling/RandyOrton in January 2010).
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Role Playing]]
* Abusing TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed trope is a surefire way to get players to not care what happens to the world or even take on the role of an OmnicidalManiac to quickly destroy everything just to have something different happen. Shock value goes out the window if there's always a monster or some other force threatening the state of the world every week.
** Having most of the characters act like total jerks is also a quick way to cause heavy disinterest in the setting, especially if the setting is in a CrapsackWorld. If there are no such thing as good people or the people that try to do good are always punished, then players will become extremely disinterested knowing that [[StatusQuoIsGod nothing will change]] and that [[WretchedHive everyone only thrives in being a prick to one another]].
** Having a balance between good characters/factions and evil characters/factions is tricky to obtain. Favoring the role play too much to the good guys will cause GoodIsBoring among players and favoring the bad guys too much will make players believe that EvilIsCool for the wrong reasons. The conflict between opposing factions can also turn off players if the reason behind the conflict isn't interesting or meaningful.
** Constant conflict of any kind is also a guaranteed way to make players feel bored because there's no rest or times of peace to alleviate all the near endless fighting.
* ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'' can either avoid this one or play it straight, depending on the character and scene. The setting essentially means that [[KillEmAll most of the cast will die in some way or another]], [[CruelAndUnusualDeath occasionally in horrific ways]] and often at the hands of each other. While with a bit of skill handlers do avert this one entirely, there still have been moments where it feels like this trope in practice. Fortunately, there have been a fair amount of avoidance with specific examples.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/WraithTheOblivion'' is a game where upon death your soul incarnates in Creator/HRGiger's worst BDSM nightmare, is taken in by a society whose repressiveness would embarrass a fascist, finds that there is no happy afterlife for him, and then must struggle to survive as a mad force of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s and their howling-mad servants of Oblivion seek to unmake the world. One source book went so far as to deal with the ghosts born of the ''Holocaust''. The bleakness drove it straight into AudienceAlienatingPremise and it was definitely one of the less popular games. This is the game where your character's sweater is made out of the soul of another person who is experiencing AndIMustScream.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' is too diverse a system to fall into this generally, but several of its AlternateUniverse Earth settings fell into this for gamers; most notably, Reich-5 was retooled into a new villain for crosstime campaigns because your options there consisted of "Nazis, Nazified Americans, Imperial Japanese, and the inevitably doomed resistance". Reich-2 was this in-story for Americans after the British signed a truce with the Nazis--no one much cared whether Hitler or Stalin won the war.
* With the revelations in the last two Horizon adventure packs that the only four major factions (The Draco Foundation, the Great Dragon Hestaby, Buttercup, and Horizon) that could still be said to be in any way 'good' (or even anti-heroic) are really as expedient and guilty of atrocity and terror as the rest, and only differ in the nature and scope of their self-rationalizations but are as mired in the basest of motivations as every other setting villain, some fans believe that the TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}} universe has finally hit this threshold.
** The part where several of the writers openly expressed scorn [[WordOfGod on forums]] at the idea of shadowrunners having any kind of ethics (even antiheroic ones) instead of just being people who gladly do horrible things for money, and the promotion in storylines and flavor text of several NPC shadowrunners who exemplified that utterly amoral attitude from 'the runners even other shadowrunners look down on' to 'well-respected and widely admired figures of their professional community' isn't helping much either. One of them (Haze) is canonically a serial rapist who uses drugs to incapacitate his victims. Another (Clockwork) is a {{Fantastic Racis|m}}t who makes money selling fellow runners with technomancer powers to megacorporate vivisection labs, and openly admits to anyone who asks that he'd cheerfully sell out anyone, including other team members, to the authorities in return for money (something that's normally considered an unforgivable sin among even the most depraved criminal community, and yet is entirely ignored in-setting). Another (Kane) has been the reigning world champion of excess collateral damage and carelessness with the lives of innocent bystanders for two editions. All of these characters have been promoted to ''signature NPC status'', instead of their prior canonical treatment as cautionary tales/shadowrunner antagonists.
* In the view of some of the current authors, large chunks of second edition ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' fell into "shitdark", defined by Holden Shearer as "a setting so relentlessly shitty and miserable and hopeless that it becomes impossible to emotionally invest in it or care what happens to it."
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' skirts this, as a setting based on unending war and horror that runs on [[EvilVersusEvil Black and Black Morality]] (well, maybe Black and Very Dark Grey Morality). However, most fans accept it as part of the basic premise of the setting, and most stories are told from a smaller scale perspective where there is good and evil, and good can indeed triumph despite the bleakness of the setting as a whole. Other bits of source material turn things up to 11 and use the bleakness as a source of black comedy.
** Literature/HorusHeresy novels in particular can fall into this range after enough DoomedByCanon, unpleasant people on both sides, obligatory war crimes scenes, and downer endings.
** The ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'' series avoids this by presenting the 40k universe through the lens of the eponymous regiment, detailing how ordinary human soldiers deal with the horrors of the setting and yet still managing to triumph via ingenuity and sheer determination (and a bit of luck), though not without loss.
** Literature/CiaphasCain outright defies the grimdark setting by pointing out a lot of the grimdark depictions - such as Commissars who execute willy-nilly and use Imperial Guard as little more than fodder - tend to get fragged, and depicts the Imperium as willing to negotiate with the Tau over an unimportant colony that's already been half-swayed to the Tau cause (because {{realpolitik}} means their military resources are better employed against the tyranids and necrons), something that wouldn't fly in stereotypical ''[=WH40k=]''.
* TabletopGame/UnhallowedMetropolis takes this trope to an extreme. It is set in a world where a ZombieApocalypse has warped most of the earth, resulting in barely-surviving societies which are surrounded by blighted, polluted, unholy hellscapes. The default setting, Victorian-esque England, takes inequality to such extremes that for every [[AristocratsAreEvil stuffy noble using the blood of the poor to stay young while enjoying macabre orgies,]] there are thousands who die for want of a gas mask. Speaking of gas masks, the air is so polluted that one is essential for survival. What few leaders remain are all invariably corrupt and decadent to a level that cannot be exaggerated, while bomb-throwing anarchists and worse are ready to dismantle the system. Of course, anarchy would only lead to a failure of the few systems stopping the ghouls, vampires, mad-scientists, and other evils from visiting horrors on the populous. Nation states have fallen - there is no world system, and all the people of this new society know of other peoples is that France is even worse off. Even the heroes are inherently corrupt, and draw power by accepting further corruption. Finally, all the undeath of this setting is hinted to be a symptom of the world being fundamentally wrong on a far, far more terrible level, as observed through the unspeakable behavior of its human inhabitants.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* SweeneyTodd pits a barber who murders innocent men and sends them to his PsychoSupporter to be baked into pies, against a corrupt judge who drugged and raped a woman and then holds her daughter hostage with the intent to [[WifeHusbandry marry the girl he brought up]]. There's a TokenRomance (or RomanticPlotTumor) between a couple of flat characters, but other than that it's a revenge story between a mass murderer and the monster who wronged him.
* ''Film/RepoTheGeneticOpera'' in both a musical and the film of the musical. The basic premise is that a company controls the supply of organs needed to live, and they remove them by force if you are late making payments. The characters include a drug-addicted heiress addicted to surgery, a mass-murdering heir, a man who wears the removed faces of women, a CorruptCorporateExecutive who sends hitmen out to remove the organs of those who fail to pay him, and the titular Repo Man. There's only three characters with a shred of decency - the tragic opera singer, the IncorruptiblePurePureness IllGirl, and the grave-robbing, drug-dealing MemeticSexGod GreekChorus. It just keeps getting worse.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' it sometimes becomes hard to say why you should ''care'' whether Kratos kills that god/saves himself/kills that other god and all the rest too. It's not as though Kratos being in charge would be an improvement given how he acts. [[spoiler: As it turns out, the game does manage to make them all lose, leaving the victimized humans as the ones left. Shame Kratos messed up the sun, sea, seasons, and sky before he died. And even then, [[SequelHook OR DID HE?]] The only consolation is that he decided to release Hope into the world, hope to give humanity a reason to continue on. The ending ''slightly'' implies that the world can start getting back on its feet.]]
* ''[[VideoGame/KaneAndLynch Kane and Lynch: Dead Men]]'' was this for quite a few people. On one hand, Kane's trying to save his family. On the other hand, he's a bastard who betrays people, takes people hostage, and does generally bad things to accomplish his goals. In fact, the only reason that the bad guys captured his family was because he betrayed them and they wanted revenge. And let's not even get started on the AxCrazy Lynch.
* Every faction in ''VideoGame/{{Geneforge}}'', with the possible exception of the [[TakeOverTheWorld Barzites]], has some supporters who'll argue in favor of it on the Internet. Every faction also has some haters who argue that the misdeeds it commits render it unworthy of power. But given that the only one that doesn't cross the MoralEventHorizon at least once is the faction of {{Wide Eyed Idealist}}s who canonically get massacred by the fourth game, this trope probably sums up the setting best.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', the [[VillainProtagonist "hero"]] is a sociopathic, people-eating, viral monstrosity driven by little more than a desire for [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge revenge]] on those he thinks made him into a monster. The only ''possibly'' redeeming feature he has is his desire to protect his [[MoralityPet little sister]]. His enemies are a military splinter cell comprised entirely of {{sociopath|icSoldier}}s and an ''even more'' destructive [[EvilCounterpart viral monstrosity]]. None of the above are all that concerned about the civilians or sane military personnel caught in the crossfire. [[spoiler: And then you find out that the ''real'' Alex Mercer was so bad that even his viral doppelganger is disgusted with him.]] But, this is up to the player via GameplayAndStorySegregation. Canologically, Alex is much more redeemable; he's not specifically shown killing any {{innocent bystander}}s in the story, including there being an achievement for going throughout the game without doing so (the eating innocents part is entirely up to the player). He's shown to be ''very'' caring over New York, as shown by the final mission [[spoiler: where Mercer ends up performing a HeroicSacrifice (but [[UnexplainedRecovery he survives]]) to stop a nuke from destroying the city]]. Note that "eating civilians" is something that isn't compulsory - you can solely consume Blackwatch and not have major problems with the game, but [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential players ignore this.]]\\
\\
[[VideoGame/{{Prototype 2}} The sequel]] takes this to its logical conclusion, with Alex Mercer as the villain. The new protagonist isn't any better as far as the GameplayAndStorySegregation goes and he'll still eat half the population of New York before game's end, but the plot tries to construct a sympathetic backstory for him to show EvenEvilHasLovedOnes and paint him as the lesser evil out of the five or so evils running around in total. How well it works is matter of personal taste.
* Many players and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_Ex:_Invisible_War#cite_ref-gsptrvw_23-0 critics]] felt this way about ''VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar'' (and almost certainly about [[VideoGame/DeusEx the original game]] as well, considering [[spoiler: two of the options are largely the same]] as in the first game, and one [[spoiler: of the two remainders]] goes along the same lines). All the factions have questionable goals and are willing to [[KickTheDog kick a few dogs]] to achieve them. It's telling that you're [[TakeAThirdOption given the option]] to KillThemAll [[OmnicidalNeutral and let God sort them out]]. [[spoiler:Which [[PlayerPunch backfires]] [[EndOfTheWorldSpecial dramatically]].]]
* The lore of ''VideoGame/EVEOnline'' can be summed up with: "Everything sucks." It's so bad that the writers ''have to tell the readers when the ending is not a bad ending''. The second book especially is a perfect example of this trope. Gameplay-wise? A perpetual HopelessWar for territory between pilots who can never die eventually becomes hard to tell apart from a PerpetuallyStatic galaxy.
* On one side of the central conflict in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', we have {{Knight Templar}}s led by an iron-fisted extremist. On the other, we find blood mages and demon consorters. [[EvilVersusEvil A lot of players have ultimately found it difficult to find much reason to support either]]. Combine that with the bleak fates of several characters: Hawke loses one family member after another and there is no way to prevent it; no matter what you do, [[spoiler:Anders blows up the Chantry and everything goes to hell]]; and any potential {{Reasonable Authority Figure}}s are either killed off, annoyingly passive or turn out to be batshit insane hypocrites.
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' can suffer from this. Mr House is very efficient and competent, but only cares about Vegas and it's unclear whether he can implement his plans for the city. Caesar's Legion are very effective at bringing order and safety to the untamed wastelands, but their kind of order is brutal, unforgiving, technophobic and misogynistic. The NCR means well, but its bureaucracy and military overexertion mean it couldn't effectively govern or protect the Mojave. You could go Wild Card, but can you forge a Vegas that's any better than what was there before?
* ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}''. Dear God, ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'' (the first game, at least). Between the incredibly bleak world and characters who have few, if ''any'' redeeming characteristics, it's practically impossible to find hope or optimism in it. Similarly, the sequel, ''VideoGame/NieR'', which has the strangest ending of ''Drakengard'' cause an apocalypse, and all four endings of which involve the extinction of humanity.
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' invariably invokes and subverts this whenever you encounter the [[OrderVersusChaos Law and Chaos]] factions. The [[ChaoticEvil Chaos faction]] is full of demons and 'evil' spirits, led by [[{{Satan}} Lucifer]], personifies {{Jerkass}}, and seeks a world where MightMakesRight. The [[LawfulEvil Law faction]] is led by [[GodIsEvil YHVH]], populated by StepfordSmiler [[OurAngelsAreDifferent angels]], and regularly employs MindRape and ColonyDrop. (And its goals? DespotismJustifiesTheMeans ''at best'', and AssimilationPlot or WorldOfSilence at worst.) This is subverted because you're usually allowed to TakeAThirdOption and choose OmnicidalNeutral instead.
** This is most notably subverted in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'', in which the chaos faction is good, and the game ultimately provides little reason as to WHY the player should oppose them after meeting [[SatanIsGood Lucifer]], who in the game genuinely desires to save both the demons opposing YHVH and humanity.
*** Though this is a case of depending on games, as some later games (especially ''Strange Journey'') show that Lucifer is barely--if at all--better than YHVH. Lucifer's ideal vision for the future resembles something straight out of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' in the best scenario. There was even a time where he planned on unleashing a Z-class ApocalypseHow, but considering God had already wiped out humanity and countless others it's basically just him putting an end to a corrupt system. There have been other games like Majin Tensei, ''VideoGame/DevilChildren'' series, ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIf'' cell phone adaptation Hazama's Chapter, and MegamiTenseiII where Lucifer has been heroic and not a villain.
*** It can be argued that in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' Lucifer is even worse character-wise. In this game, he has the chaos hero Walter sacrifice himself to Lucifer so he can regain his Demon Lord powers. This results in Walter suffering horrendous BodyHorror as he becomes nothing more than a twitching, tumor/parasite-like appendage on Lucifer's arm. He also callously disregards Isabeau's sacrifice when she fought him and the MC to stop the demon invasion of Tokyo and destruction of Mikado and its inhabitants; even the judgmental [[KnightTemplar Merkabah]] feels a little sympathy for her, in a dismissive way, blaming the "Unclean Ones'" manga for "corrupting" her. It doesn't help that even in the neutral path, Lucifer is more condescending and insulting towards humans than he ever was in prior games.
*** Of course Merkabah is this too along with the Angels, who have people sell out their family and loved ones without a second thought and blame Tokyo and [[FantasticRacism filth]] for what people do, all while having them blindly follow like mindless slaves. Especially when Isabeau opposed them on the fact that ''genocide'' is just plain wrong, yet had the audacity to ''blame manga'' for her opposing them. Along with the Angels being humongous hypocrites who had the Gate to the Expanse opened 25 years ago and then nuked the world, blaming the humans for it.
** Actually invoked in-universe in ''IV'', at the hands of [[spoiler:the White, a quartet of spirits implied to be born out of humanity's grief and rage at the ViciousCycle of Law and Chaos as they believe it all falls into [[GodIsEvil God's plan]]. About three-quarters of the way through the game they show up and transport Flynn to two different {{Alternate Universe}}s, one where Law won and the other where Chaos won, both of which are equally crappy, in an attempt to drive him across the DespairEventHorizon and get him to agree with their plan to MercyKill [[PutThemAllOutOfMyMisery the entire danged universe]]. ''You can agree to help them do this'', and the resulting ending is, if anything, even more Nightmare Fuel-inducing than the Law and Chaos worlds. Thankfully, there's the Neutral ending, which is among the rosiest conclusions in the franchise and ensures the White, Merkabah, and Lucifer all get theirs. Accordingly, however, it's really hard to get, almost at GuideDangIt levels]].
* One of the big flaws with ''VideoGame/{{Mercenaries}} 2''. In the first game, each playable character had their own distinct personalities (Chris was the closest thing to TheHero, Jennifer was the LadyOfWar, and Mattias was the {{Comedic Sociopath|y}}). In the sequel, all three are written as if they were Mattias [[SerialEscalation taken a step further]], going on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge and tearing Venezuela apart because... the BigBad shoots him/her in the ass. On top of that, while the factions in the first game were a mixed bag, in the sequel all of them are completely selfish {{Jerkass}}es; even the Allied Nations, who were the good guys in the first game, ran humanitarian operations, and were very reluctant to hire a psychotic mercenary, loses whatever noble intentions they had in favor of [[StrawCharacter "We want that oil, dammit!"]] for no real reason other than [[RippedFromTheHeadlines the developers had an opinion about what they saw on the news]].
* Niko Bellic in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' moves to the United States for a fresh start at life, but it goes down the toilet when his cousin, Roman, gets him roped up in his debt and antics. The entire story shows Niko doing nothing but trying to please his selfish cousin who always seems to get himself into trouble while Niko always bitches about it as he continuously helps his cousin out. It eventually leads to Niko being hunted down by a mobster throughout the game but it doesn't build up from there as Niko just continues doing side jobs for random people while still complaining about his cousin's gambling habits and debt. On top of this, nearly every person Niko meets is either a backstabber or suffers from attachment issues, making nearly everyone unlikable and leaves the player wondering why they should care about a bunch of crazy people or even care about the main character who always bails out his cousin from his own problems instead of just letting his cousin suffer from his own stupid mistakes.
** One of the selling points when the game was released was that you could make choices that would impact the story. The problem was [[LyingCreator this wasn't the case]]. Almost every choice you made did nothing to the plot, and the choices as to who to kill always had an obvious "right" answer (from a gameplay standpoint if nothing else). The only choice you made that actually changed anything was the Deal or Revenge choice that set up your ending, [[spoiler:and someone at Roman's wedding would still die either way]]. Basically, the player was given the illusion of free will and then had it yanked out of their hands. Even the ''player'' was getting screwed.
* It has been said that ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' is even worse in this regard, with some players stating that they found no sympathetic qualities to the protagonists, who do their job mostly to get paid, as opposed to Niko committing crimes due to circumstance.
** The supporting characters are just as bad. Almost everyone the three heroes encounter are some combination of selfish, stupid, abrasive, and violent.
** There's a meta-example in this game as well. Outside of the heists, very few missions offer satisfying rewards. Financial rewards are slim for most missions, gameplay rewards (such as unlocking guns, vehicles, new modes of play) are rare outside of the main story missions and the ones that do show up in side missions tend to be [[spoiler:jokes at the player's expense, which means that the missions aren't rewarding in a third way: from a dramatic or gameplay perspective. Examples of this include unlocking an antique tractor for [[StylisticSuck a long string of intentionally mind-numbing missions]], or a joke car for collecting 50 hard to find spaceship parts hidden all over the largest sandbox GTA's had to date. After completing just a few Side Jobs or Random Encounters, going out of your way to undertake a new one will begin to feel like an exercise in masochistic futility.]]
*** What makes it worse is that at least part of this was intentional. The game is a big {{Deconstruction}} of DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster, showing how petty, self-destructive and selfish anyone would have to be to behave like a [=GTA=] protagonist, along with how ultimately futile the lifestyle itself is. It also deconstructs easy money and the "American Dream." The trouble is, it's doing all of this in a video game series known for playing most of those tropes straight, so it comes across as [[ThisLoserIsYou condescending]] towards the very people who buy the [=GTA=] games. Couple that with a few blatant stereotypes about people who play too many video games, and you've got a game that almost feels like it's trying to make its audience mad.
* The ''VideoGame/LauraBow'' games involve a large cast of characters, all of which are nasty egotistical stereotypes. The main goal of the game is to spy on all of them to learn their little secrets, such as who is blackmailing who and who has had an affair and such. And then they all die like mayflies, slaughtered one by one by a serial killer, which you cannot prevent. So why exactly should you care about any of these characters?
* The trailer for ''VideoGame/DeadIsland'' has a little girl thrown out of a hotel window by her father after she becomes a zombie and bites him when her parents are fighting a losing battle against zombies. The trailer for the quasi expansion\sequel ''VideoGame/DeadIslandRiptide'' has a loving couple blow themselves up just as zombies are about to tear them apart. TheVirus stems from the very real kuru disease that stems from cannibalism, which can lead to a zombified state, making it if not a true RealLife threat then more plausible than other portrayals of a ZombieApocalypse. Creepy voodoo type imagery is strewn through the games. Death, despair and suicide are very much a focal point of the games, there are not really any type of HopeSpot. Most of the characters are fairly unlikeable. [[spoiler: The proposed BigBad is simply tragic and set up, and when you complete the games it's a mix of DownerEnding and TheBadGuyWins.]] The games themselves are good, enjoyable, if flawed, but they are dark dark dark and can be too depressing for some gamers.
* ''Franchise/DeadSpace'': Even if the player succeeds in any of the games the endings seem bleak, as somehow more markers keep popping up in each game. Very few of the characters in the game are helpful, and most are either driven insane, or are StupidEvil. ''[=DS3=]: Awakened'' hammers the final nail in hope's coffin with the awakening of the Brother Moons.
* ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'': Throughout the game everything the protagonist does doesn't do much to help anyone, but only make things worse, culminating in the player [[spoiler:accidentally killing a bunch of civilians]]. On top of that the game itself has many TakeThatAudience lines that point out the horrible things you've done ("How many Americans have you killed today?" and "This is all your fault") or mock you for enjoying the game itself ("Do you feel like a hero yet?" and "To kill for yourself is murder. To kill for the government is heroic. To kill for entertainment is harmless"). Making matters worse is the strict linearity. Your options are artificially restricted (try as you might to hold off the enemies, the game will just keep endlessly spawning them until you're forced to do something horrible), but you're constantly talked down to as if they weren't.
* A direct example of this in action can be seen with the ''Franchise/PrinceOfPersia: Sands of Time'' series. The [[VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime first game]] had great reviews but sold poorly; the sequel ''[[VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaWarriorWithin Warrior Within]]'' aimed a little more mainstream, making every character a violent JerkAss, darkening the settings, and replacing the Arabian-inspired soundtrack with heavy metal. Fans responded negatively, particularly to the Prince going from a charming GuileHero to [[WebComic/PennyArcade smoldering with]] [[DarkerAndEdgier generic angst]]. Ubisoft pulled an AuthorsSavingThrow for the third game, ''[[VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheTwoThrones The Two Thrones]]'', bringing it more in line with ''Sands of Time'' and explaining away the Prince's mood shift by giving him a SuperpoweredEvilSide.
* ''VideoGame/FarCry2'' can be seen this way. Both the UFLL and the APR, as well as the PrivateMilitaryContractors working for them, are complete bastards. Even the PlayerCharacter and his buddies are pretty reprehensible people. Ironically, [[BigBad The Jackal]] can be seen as the most sympathetic character in the game by some, if in a WellIntentionedExtremist way. [[spoiler: Every one of them is dead by the end of the game, though the player's fate is left open to interpretation if the player chooses to take the case of diamonds to the border.]]
* ''VideoGame/MaxPayne3'', due to abandoning the HeroicBloodshed tone of the previous games. From the beginning, the vast majority of the characters are excessively shallow and materialistic, while Max himself [[{{Wangst}} won't stop whining]] about how ''terrible'' his life is while making little effort to change it. Most of the characters he saves die horrific deaths soon afterwards. It's hard to care about anybody when they're one-dimensional and it's likely that they'll get killed with little fanfare. And it only gets worse when the villain's scheme is revealed as [[spoiler:exploiting the poor for an organ-harvesting ring]]...
* ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'' & its DLC get this way from [[spoiler: the end of the main game to the end of the last DLC. Ken Levine can't end a story without having Elizabth's actions cause the death of whoever the protagonist is at the time even if she is the protagonist.]] The main game [[spoiler: ends with several Elizabeths drowning Booker causing nearly every Booker & Elizabeth to disappear from existence.]] Burial At Sea Episode 1 [[spoiler: ends with its Booker turning out to be a Comstock & then getting killed by a Big Daddy as a result of Elizabeth's plan to get revenge on him.]] Burial At Sea Episode 2 [[spoiler: reveals, early on, that the main Elizabeth was killed by the big daddy after the end of the previous episode & ends with the last remaining Elizabeth getting herself killed by Atlas to save the little sister she abandoned at the end of the previous episode.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'' has many likable characters, but with the way that minor characters get introduced just to get killed later on and major characters are made to suffer as long as possible before being killed, it's nearly impossible to remain attached to anyone and you might roll your eyes as a new character is introduced.
** The game has you make very difficult decisions that will never have a good outcome. It seems that no matter what you do, someone is going to die or someone else will get very pissed off at you for the choice you made. For example: [[spoiler: Season 1, episode 2 has the resident {{Jerkass}} Larry suffering a heart attack and his daughter, Lilly, desperately pleads with you to help her administer CPR to her father. Kenny feels that Larry should be killed right now while they have the chance because he fears if Larry dies from his heart attack, he'll reanimate as a zombie and having to deal with a 6 foot tall and 300 pound monster in a tiny room isn't the best of ideas. If you side with Kenny, he'll crush Larry's skull with a heavy block and Lilly gets pissed off at you for letting her father die. If you assist Lilly, then Kenny kills Larry anyway and gets pissed at you because you didn't take his side and he remains mad at you for the next episode]].
* ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'': The JigsawPuzzlePlot leaves some players... a bit dismayed. The good Lords who founded the Age of Fire have all [[DrivenToMadness lost their minds]], [[TragicMonster become horrible monsters]], [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere given up all hope]], (or, in [[spoiler: Gwyn's]] case, ''all three'') long beofre the events of the main game, leaving the world they've build to rot in their absence. The worst part? ''It's no one's fault. [[DeathOfTheOldGods This is just how it is]], and [[YouCantFightFate nothing can stop it]].''
** ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsII'' is perhaps even worse. You, along with a legion of other [[WhoWantsToLiveForever undead]] have come to Drangleic to find a cure for your condition before your memory fails. Or, barring that, at least some ''answers'' as to why this is happening to you. [[spoiler: ''You never find these answers.'' Instead, you're manipulated into joining a conflict that has nothing to do with you, and it's implied that by the end, the character has none of his/her original memories left from before s/he came to Drangleic, likely forgetting his/her original purpose in coming there in the first place. ([[GameplayAndStoryIntegration As, likely, has the player]].) And there's no guarantee that this won't just keep happening in this accursed land either.]]
* The 2012 reboot of ''TwistedMetal'', in which all three characters you control in Story Mode are mass-murdering psychopaths. With no sympathetic or AntiHero characters to play as like in previous games, always playing as a Complete Monster tends to make the story too bleak to really care about the outcome.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comic]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Prequel}}'''s Katia just keeps losing everything, leading to many readers quitting the strip after [[spoiler:Sigrid takes almost everything she has.]]
* Webcomic/{{Homestuck}} has pretty much the exact same problem; too many characters' motivations and goals removed from their overall goal, too many actions drawn against the success and total defeat of the heroes with no avenue for escape they or the readers can see, characters who should have no problems working together after all this time with their petty grievance or physical/mental shortcomings preventing such a thing. No impartiality-the heroes are the only ones fucked with, and the villains get to make great strides.
* The protagonists are unrepentant and hypocritical murderers, there's no point in the people who die learning last-minute lessons, and everyone else is apparently so stupid they never put two and two together to figure out the protagonists commit such horrible acts, and so they are never stopped. Congratulations, you just read everything wrong with ''Webcomic/SuicideForHire''.
* The main reason a lot of people consider Season 8 to be ''Webcomic/SurvivorFanCharacters'''s [[SeasonalRot worst season]] is that it became hard to root for anyone in the later stages of the game with the most positive character in the finals having devolved into a huge liar and easily-manipulated idiot and the other two finalists being an arrogant, smug [[SmallNameBigEgo Ted Baxter]] and an emotionless demon who backstabbed her best friend and rubbed many readers the wrong way about [[VillainSue how the author and everyone else seemed to practically hand the victory to her]]. The rest of the cast having a lot of characters that were either one-dimensional caricatures or people who practically exulted in being obnoxious to others didn't help.
** Season 10 went ahead and topped that with an even more unlikable cast. To start off, the author brings back hated characters like [[AttentionWhore Chloe]], [[StrawMisogynist Frank]], [[TheLoad Quadratic]] and [[VillainSue Bonnie]]; former well-liked characters like [[JerkJock Jackie]], [[UndyingLoyalty Phil]] and [[DumbBlonde Ryuia]] suffer massive {{Flanderization}}, when their not OutOfFocus like Emilee or Kris; [[CreatorsPet Bonnie]] [[EliminationHoudini surviving over much more likable characters, such as Ventious and Starr]]; and having an overall mean-spirited feel to it.
* Ever since the [[WhamEpisode December]] arc, ''Webcomic/BittersweetCandyBowl'' has basically become solely about grinding the characters (''Especially'' Lucy and Mike) into the dirt. Friendships are destroyed, characters are given bleak, depressing backstories, every storyline since December has ended in tragedy, and any happy moments the characters experience are [[YankTheDogsChain quickly and cruelly shattered]].
* ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'': Every time something happens in the comic, more tragedy will result than happiness.
** The Brassmoon arc kicked off because a party member got imprisoned there, [[SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids through his own idealism no less]], and ended with the party recovering him in a catatonic state after he'd been tortured by the sadistic BigBad. And one of them got half their soul destroyed during the events.
** The Well of Darkness arc started because the characters involved were enslaved and forced to enter a dungeon and retrieve a magical item for the BigBad. In the aftermath, [[spoiler:two are dead, two characters are forced to cut a limb off, and a new terrifying monster has been created.]]
** Perhaps the grandest example of all in the comic; [[spoiler:the romance built up between Minmax and Kin over a long period is absolutely destroyed in ''two pages'']].
* ''WebComic/DraconiaChronicles'' is about a genocidal war between two races, Dragons and Tigers, which are full of horrible, horrible people ranging from genocidal madwomen, racist jerks, and just plain incompetent fools. Many of the participants of the war are involved for purely selfish reasons. The madwomen, jerks and fools are constantly rewarded and have good things happen to them, while the few characters who are in any way decent either get [[BreakTheCutie broken]], [[DroppedABridgeOnHim die]], or get broken ''then'' die.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Brought up in ''[[WebVideo/ImAMarvelAndImADC Marvel and DC: After Hours]]'' by [[Comicbook/NormanOsborn the Green Goblin]], in which he states that SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker's plan to make all the superheroes DarkerAndEdgier {{Nineties Antihero}}es is just plain stupid since without LighterAndSofter heroes for contrast, not only will comics get boring since all the heroes are the same, comics will just get so depressing that the audience might as well just [[DrivenToSuicide kill themselves]].
* Some readers of ''Literature/{{Worm}}'' fall into this state as it becomes obvious just how outmatched humanity is by the evils that assault it. The series is essentially a long chain of bad things that directly result in even worse things happening. Things ''always'' get worse. In the end, though [[spoiler: [[SurprisinglyHappyEnding humanity does manage to survive the impending apocalypse and even take down the entity responsible for it.]]]] As a general note, newcomers can have a hard time having any ''fun'' reading a series that's full of characters that do horrible and horrifying things on both sides. The protagonist for example, feels justified in committing torture, kidnapping, and murder. And she's one of the nicer characters.
* The ''WebVideo/{{Jimquisition}}'' episode "Crying Through The Laughs" is about how video games are becoming too dark, and how they fail at tragedy and are simply depressing, because they don't know how to do happiness. Jim talks about ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', which is about imminent death, and stars Lightning, a character who seems totally apathetic from start to finish; if anything bad happens in the game it has no impact because the game was bleak to start with. ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' started out much more upbeat, and starred Zidane, a happy-go-lucky rogue; when he suffers a HeroicBSOD partway through, it has a lot of gravitas because of how sharp the contrast is between happy Zidane and sad Zidane.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' is a BlackComedy and also subsequently a SadistShow and have the entire cast full of obnoxious jerks, with the main characters being GoodIsNotNice at best and [[TheSociopath Sociopathic]] {{Enfant Terrible}}s at worst. The closest to a completely likable character is Leopold "Butters" Stotch, and even then, he's not a completely good role model. Cartman himself borderlines on the trope. He can be a complete jerk to everyone, including his own mother, but [[LaserGuidedKarma he rarely gets away with his actions.]] Cartman, however, never learns his lesson.
** There are two episodes with InUniverse examples. "Douche and Turd" involves Stan Marsh suffering a case of this, [[FelonyMisdemeanor refusing to vote]] in a school mascot election owing to the fact that one is (quite literally) a giant douche and the other is a turd sandwich. The lesson he learns from a member of PETA is that all elections involve either a douche or a turd of some sorts and one must simply choose the lesser evil. This happens again in "[[Recap/SouthParkS16E5Butterballs Butterballs]]" where he believes he's trying to do the right thing, but Kyle Broflovski argues that the real right thing to do is to let Butters find the courage to confront his grandmother himself. In the end, [[Awesome/SouthPark Butters tells his grandmother off]], which means Kyle was in the right all along, while [[ItMakesSenseInContext Stan is the one to learn his lesson the hard way]].
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' suffered from {{Flanderization}} to the point where the main characters were almost unlikable for being overall jerks to each other and other people while getting away with it. The later seasons toned it down, though not by a whole lot; the family are pretty much used to the dysfunction and just roll with it like it's another everyday occurrence. This also has the unfortunate side-effect of making all the show's attempts at being dramatic/emotional either fall flat, come across as hypocritical and insincere, or head straight into {{narm}} territory.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'', the planet is essentially already dead and taken over before the first episode and the protagonists - the surviving cast of ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' - are so flawed that watching them tends to provoke nihilism rather than attachment.
* ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' [[PlayedForLaughs plays this for laughs]], but you can still grow to feel bad for the characters. This is also why a lot of episodes focus in some way on Foxxy Love or Xandir, or at least acknowledge them as the voice of reason (or as close to reason as the show allows), as they are the characters that get closest to relatable. Which says a lot about how the rest of the cast is, considering the former is a highly promiscuous SassyBlackWoman and the latter is a scantily-clad highly [[AllGaysArePromiscuous slutty]] version of TheTwink, and both of them are racist, vulgar, murderous and bigoted.
* Some episodes of ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' tend to float around this trope, mostly after SeasonalRot started taking affect. Episodes focused on the Plankton/Krabs rivalry and episodes focused on Squidward tend to fall into this the most.
** 'Little Yellow Book' is the epitome of this trope as none of the characters are even remotely likable from Squidward being a massive Jerkass to Spongebob by reading his diary and bragging it towards everyone, the citizens of Bikini bottom giving Squidward a DisproportionateRetribution for reading it and being massive hypocrites throughout the entire episode and Spongebob being an idiot for leaving his own diary unguarded.
* This trope led to ''WesternAnimation/AllenGregory'' getting cancelled after just seven episodes. The main character and his father were both completely unsympathetic.
* ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' is said to suffer from this in some circles. While the heroes are definitely likable (some of them anyway), almost nothing they do ever matters. FailureIsTheOnlyOption if they try to do something against the BigBad (to the point it's almost a MandatoryTwistEnding that The Light got some benefit out of the episode's mess); even the ending of the first season ultimately turned out to make little difference. [[spoiler: The show ends with the incredibly strong implication of TheBadGuyWins even after so much sacrifice. Several members of The Light were captured, but Vandal Savage (the guy who orchestrated the whole thing) just [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomps]] the Justice League, takes War World, and confirms his pre-existing alliance with Darkseid, while Wally West, the guy who was supposed to be the third Flash, gets killed in the most ineffectual manner imaginable, that it smacks of ShootTheShaggyDog.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'', if you consider Dib to be the ''real'' hero. Neither he nor Zim have any friends or moral support, both suffer from FailureIsTheOnlyOption, but Zim is a LoveToHate nimrod whose [[EpicFail SPECTACULAR failures]] are not only hilarious, but well-deserved. Dib, on the other hand, is trying to save everybody and repeatedly puts himself in harms way to do so. The fact that the series ended without him getting any real acknowledgement (minus a brief pat-on-the-back moment in one episode) and the rumors that the unproduced GrandFinale would have given him a Kafka-esque fate only make it worse.
* WordOfGod is that ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'' going LighterAndSofter is due to this reaction happening because of ''WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien''. The basic problems were with the first arc, which featured the protagonists being totally unable to do ''anything'' to defeat Aggregor until his (currently last) appearance... And replaced by an AxCrazy mutated Kevin, which results in the characters running into the exact same problems as earlier, but Ben decides, [[ConflictBall for whatever reason]], to ''kill'' Kevin. The second season had a little less of this, but many, many subplots and arcs ended without resolution (due to the [[AuthorExistenceFailure unfortunate passing]] of Dwayne [=McDuffie=]), which resulted in some characters being worse off than before.
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' abuses AesopAmnesia so heavily that it makes the characters look like they're just pretending to learn their lesson so that they can get away with everything they did in the episode. Nearly every character has some ulterior motive to get what they want and when they're called out on it, they just apologize and are EasilyForgiven.
* This was probably one of the reasons why ''WesternAnimation/TomGoesToTheMayor'' was such a flop. Seeing Tom constantly suffer at the hands of every other character is fairly amusing the first few times, but after several episodes of it non-stop it can get incredibly tiring.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'': Almost every human Timmy knows is a {{Jerkass}} who makes his life a living hell; his so-called friends are less than helpful and his parents are selfish jerks who forget his birthday and leave him with a monster of a babysitter. Even fans of the SadistShow genre find this show to be a bit too harsh sometimes. Butch Hartman's other show, ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'', can occasionally go into this territory whenever Danny gets unfairly mistreated.
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' also can cause this. Very few of the characters are genuinely likable; the most sympathetic character, Double D, gets abused anyway; Kevin and Sarah, the worst of the bunch, often get away with what they do... It's just a mess. [[spoiler:[[EarnYourHappyEnding The movie at least finally makes everything they've been through amount to something.]]]]
* ''WesternAnimation/WolverineAndTheXMen'' could be accused of this -- the world the X-Men live in is so unpleasant and the title characters are either so unlikable or so flat that it's hard to care what happens to them.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS8E23HomersEnemy Homer's Enemy]]" is a dark, bitter {{Deconstruction}} of the show's mythology, [[BlackComedyBurst which was so shocking to fans]] that some think [[JumpingTheShark it forever tainted the series' legacy of being biting but lighthearted, not outright sick and twisted]].
** The movie attempts to address the issue regarding Homer. Homer, as everyone knows, is a bumbling idiot that always causes problems for himself, his family, and the town. When Homer dooms the town to die, Marge takes the kids with her to some place safe after she wonders why she even puts up with him after so many years, Lisa declares she has no father, and Bart finds Ned Flanders, a slightly overbearing religious nice guy, to be a better father to him than Homer ever was. Homer took this event as a wake up call to [[EarnYourHappyEnding change himself and take responsibility for his actions]]. Of course, Homer goes right back to his usual antics on the television series.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats2011'' sometimes gets this from fans; in the premiere, the Cat society is depicted as being highly prejudiced towards other races, and its downfall is partly due to that. Some fans complain that because the Cats are so bad they don't want to root for them, but in that case they're CompletelyMissingThePoint of the theme of ending the cycle of hatred. The main characters themselves are (mostly) not prejudiced, especially not Lion-O, and a major part of Lion-O's quest is to atone for the actions of his people, not just rebuild their society, but redeem it.
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