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[[quoteright:320:[[Series/AmericanIdol http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/simon_cowell_9959.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:"This article is absolutely [[{{Catchphrase}} dreadful]]!"]]

->''"Anne Robinson, Simon Cowell, and now me... proving once again that the British are a bunch of'' [expletive deleted]."
-->-- '''Creator/JimmyCarr''', on the trailer for the US version of ''Distraction''

[[TropeCodifier We can blame Simon Cowell for this]]. After his success on ''Series/AmericanIdol'', just about every American RealityShow has seen fit to cast a British guy as the [[DeadpanSnarker snarky]], [[CausticCritic ultra-critical judge]].

The Mean Brit will bluntly tell mothers their kid sucks and make two-year-olds cry if their talent isn't good enough for him. The flip side of this is that [[CompassionateCritic if he does compliment you, it means you must be really good]], and he's usually willing to stake his reputation on anyone who measures up. The other good quality some of them possess is that those who fall short of his standards but need help (or previously impressed him but have lost their way) can expect ''constructive'' criticism rather than just barbs. In the worst case, they come across as a bully with a media platform and a fortune picking on people who can't fight back.

Expect him to appear on any show that has an AmericanTitle. Call it subtle (or not-so-subtle) nationalism, but note that these people are seen as nasty at home too. Another possible explanation is that several of these reality shows originated in Britain, such as ''American Idol'' (from ''Pop Idol''), ''Series/DancingWithTheStars'' (from ''Series/StrictlyComeDancing''), and ''Series/AmericasGotTalent'', which was based on an unaired British pilot which would eventually become ''Series/BritainsGotTalent''.

Compare and Contrast EvilBrit.

!!RealityTV Examples:

* As mentioned, Cowell on ''Series/AmericanIdol'' and ''Series/BritainsGotTalent''. He's known for his "No... I won't send you home" approach, his cases of hitting his fellow judges' klaxons in ''Britain's Got Talent'' and his put-downs, usually to HopelessAuditionees. Granted, generally he's simply telling the truth, but does so in such a blunt way that it could only be taken as offensive. His curt demeanor is sometimes exaggerated into being a straight {{Jerkass}} outside the shows he appears in, but the interesting thing for being the TropeCodifier is that he often falls into a CruelToBeKind approach (he thinks it's a waste of both his time and that of the underqualified contestants he judges to entertain their false hopes), and ''will'' praise those who do have the chops. Some ''American Idol'' viewers took to saying "Paula will give you a pass if you're nice, Randy will give you a pass if you're black, but Simon will only give you a pass if you can ''actually sing.''"
* Piers Morgan, also known as [[PrivateEye Piers Moron]], on ''Series/AmericasGotTalent''.
** For extra fun, Piers Morgan ''and'' Simon Cowell are judges on ''Britain's Got Talent'' and often seem to compete to see who can be the cruelest to the contestants (though Piers will often deliberately go against what Simon said, and praise an act Simon hated, presumably to irritate him, since plenty of these acts really are awful). Admittedly he's far less nasty on ''Britain's Got Talent'' than its American counterpart, but he's still capable of some mean put-downs.
** In his previous incarnation as tabloid newspaper editor, Morgan was once punched out cold - in front of his mistress - by [[TopGear Jeremy Clarkson]], who objected to an article alleging he was being unfaithful to his wife. A Mean Brit punched by an Even Meaner Brit.
** Alex Jones once tried to start a petition to get Piers Morgan deported. Brits immediately fired back with one campaigning to keep him in America, declaring "He's your problem now".
* Australian Idol's answer to Simon Cowell was Ian "Dicko" Dickson.
** Germany has Dieter Bohlen, who manages to cause the majority of ''all'' complaints filed with the broadcasting commission.
* Peter Jones on ''American Inventor.''
* Len Goodman on ''Series/DancingWithTheStars'' isn't really mean, but he ''is'' much more demanding and less likely to hand out fuzzy, feel-good comments like "I loved your energy!" or "You are a smoldering sex goddess!" than either Carrie Ann or Bruno, and more likely to base his comments on the actual dance. Like Simon, if Len says it was good, it was ''very'' good, and his criticisms virtually always relate to something the dancer needs to work on. On the other hand, if a performance was genuinely ''bad'' he won't pull his punches, as during the second season when he told Master P essentially, "You don't care, you aren't trying, you don't belong here, it's time for you to go home," ''in the third week''.
** Whereas on the British equivalent ''Series/StrictlyComeDancing,'' his judging style is relatively lenient compared to Craig who, in an aversion of this trope, is Australian.
* Toby Young on ''Series/TopChef''. He started out as this trope in trumps, his comments about the contestants' food being incredibly snarky and including comparisons to [=WMDs=] and cat food. He admitted in his blog on Bravo that he had no idea what the show was about when he accepted the job, and assumed that what the producers were hiring him for was to be the Mean Brit. Once he realized that he was expected to actually critique the food, not just criticize it, he got a bit better. But not enough better to get the producers to keep him on for another season, though.
* "Nasty" Nigel Lythgoe (who is bringing his show to the UK) held the title before Simon Cowell.
* Red Symons, the main judge on the Red Faces segment (a segment similar in format to ''Series/TheGongShow'') of ''Series/HeyHeyItsSaturday''.
** Red Symons was born in England, true, but has lived in Australia since he was 9, speaks with an Australian accent, and considers himself Australian.
* Creator/GordonRamsay acts this way in his shows ''Series/HellsKitchen'' and ''Series/KitchenNightmares'', although it is arguable that the show's producers gave him directions to do so. At times his temper becomes too much to handle, pushing buttons and driving some contestants to lose control and lash back at him. On the other hand, any aspiring chef who makes it through his tutelage must have truly worked hard and honed their skills, and when praise and enthusiasm is deserved, Ramsay will give it.
** Ramsay's saving grace is that he keeps his temper relative to his expectations: screw-ups by culinary professionals -- restaurateurs, chefs, waiters, etc.(who frankly should know better) -- will get the full brunt of his wrath; non-professionals and beginners (like those who appear on ''Series/TheFWord'' or ''Series/MasterChef'') are treated much more patiently; and the man is downright cuddly when he's teaching children how to cook on ''Series/MasterChef Junior''.
** He'll also - after an initial collective dressing-down - give calm and fairly sympathetic advice to chefs or middle-managers who have been placed in impossible situations by the people they work for, such as being hopelessly under-trained or given inadequate time and materials.
** Ramsay's shows inspired a [[ShoddyKnockoffProduct cloned copy]] on a rival network. ''Series/RestaurantImpossible'' is a carbon copy presented by Robert Irvine, a British chef/entrepreneur who manages to be ten times more intimidating and meaner than Ramsey - without overly raising his voice or swearing ''once''.
* Absolutely all the dragons on the UK version of ''Series/DragonsDen''. Especially Peter Jones, Duncan Bannatyne and Deborah Meaden.

!!GameShow Examples:
* Anne Robinson on ''Series/TheWeakestLink''.
* Creator/JimmyCarr on ''Series/{{Distraction}}''. Some of his insults are just about as X-rated as his stand-up show.
* Steve Valentine on ''Series/EstateOfPanic''.

Not surprisingly, the 'Simon Cowell Effect' has left a mark on the Web, with many of the most popular critics - especially for video games - falling into this category.
* Video game critic [[Creator/BenCroshaw Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw]], of WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation fame, to the point of being a borderline [[HatesEveryoneEqually misanthrope]]
* Yahtzee's fellow (former) ''Website/TheEscapist'' contributor Jim Sterling, of WebVideo/{{Jimquisition}}.
* TotalBiscuit WebVideo/TheCynicalBrit goes so far as to incorporate the trope into his screen name.
* While eschewing the middle-to-upper class tones and furious screaming of most other British game reviewers, WebVideo/GuruLarryAndWez opt instead for low-brow jabs and dark chuckles delivered in an exaggerated version of Larry's Midlands accent. While generally lighter in tone, Bundy nonetheless is every bit as scathing and unrelenting as his counterparts.
* WebVideo/IHateEverything is pretty much ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, being quick to tear into any topic that strikes him.

!!Other Real-Life Examples:
* If you've ever watched Varney & Co. on the Fox Business Channel, Stuart Varney is this in spades.
* Creator/JonathanRoss
* This trend is brought up by John Cheese in a Website/{{Cracked}} [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18886_5-ways-television-went-crazy-since-i-quit-watching-in-2003.html article]], though instead of nationalism, he compares it to American viewers being in a sadomasochistic relationship with Britain.
* Creator/ChristopherHitchens and HOW!
* Music/JohnLydon (aka Johnny Rotten of The Music/SexPistols) sometimes falls in this trope too. He can be extremely assertive and confrontational at times, even when the host tries to be nice to him. He has also venomously criticized politicians and musicians he personally vilifies.
* UsefulNotes/MargaretThatcher famously belittled everything that stood on the left side of the political spectrum; she wasn't keen on unions either. During her final years she became increasingly hostile towards initiatives of the European Union and even towards her own cabinet.
* Creator/StuartAshen, who reviews various pieces of tat that cross his path, including the PopStation. Imagine Yahtzee, but with half the speed and half the spite, yet all the snark.
* [[Series/TopGear Jeremy Clarkson and James May]] can come across as this too at times. The former in particular was infamous enough for it that it got him airbrushed out of the history of ''Series/RobotWars'', which goes to show that even this trope has standards.
* Historical evidence suggests that there were copious examples of these in the [[DecadentCourt English royal court]] in past centuries. In this case, it was often a [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruction]]; some of them literally lost their heads as an indirect result.
* Music/RogerWaters of Music/PinkFloyd can come across this way with his DeadpanSnarker personality in interviews.

!!Fictional Examples:


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* The AnthropomorphicPersonification of England in ''Manga/AxisPowersHetalia'' is cynical, bad-tempered, and has a sharp tongue, but he does occasionally show a softer side.
* Joseph Joestar, from ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', was a punk in his youth who got into fights and loved to mock his opponents...[[GoodIsNotNice and the protagonist of the second story arc]].


[[folder: Film - Live Action ]]

* Simon Cowell as himself in the rap battle scene in ''Film/ScaryMovie3''.
* Lewis, the former SAS guy turned merc from ''Film/RamboIV''.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/TheOtherKindofRoommate'' gives us Terry Sheridan, a sophisticated art director both from Essex and - at first glance - a lighter version of this trope. The second Alex says he doesn't know the zodiac, though, those tea-drinking claws come out.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Begley in ''Series/NeuroticallyYours'' is British. He's also very mean, but so is pretty much everyone else.
* ''Series/ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'':
** David Mitchell's "incredibly posh and aristocratic" character. He takes a number of different jobs like waiter, clothes store clerk, or vicar. He always gets contrasted to "that friendly Australian girl" who used to work in his place.
--> '''Waiter:''' I saw you in here last week. I saw you drinking your soup. I saw you blowing and slurping and dunking your bread. We were watching you on the monitors in the kitchen, and we all thought you were a dick!
--> '''Store Clerk:''' I've seen you in here before. I've seen you slouching around the place in your slip-on shoes and your motorcycle jacket, looking like a mechanic who's won the pools. I've seen your tin earring and your black marketeer swagger. We've all seen you, and we all thought you were a turd!
--> '''Vicar:''' I saw you in here last week. I saw you reading the notices and talking about your views. and eating other peoples' biscuits. We were watching you from the vestry, and we all thought you were a bitch!
** Robert Webb gets a turn as the Mean Brit in the "Hole in the Ring" sketch, parodying Anne Robinson. The problem is that he's not very good at it - his insults degenerate into calling people "gay" and flipping off the audience.
* The ''Series/{{Psych}}'' episode "American Duos" parodies ''American Idol'', with Creator/TimCurry playing the Simon Cowell role.
* Spike in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''. Heck, even when [[spoiler: he's got a soul]] he's still mean to Angel.
* ''Series/{{Smash}}'''s Derek Wills.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' gives us Zaeed Massani: BountyHunter, SociopathicHero and borderline PsychoForHire:
--> '''Zaeed:''' ''"Walk it off, Commander. A little poison never hurt anyone."''
* Shaun Hastings throughout the ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' franchise, especially towards Desmond in ''[[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII II]]''.
** In ''Black Flag'', another character even scolds him with "Be nice, you limey!"
* VideoGame/SaintsRow allows this in regards to voice options for Boss.
* Jin Kisaragi of ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' fame was born in England and has precisely two modes: DeadpanSnarker StrawNihilist {{Jerkass}} Mean Brit [[FromBadToWorse and]] [[LaughingMad Cackling]] [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything Rapey]] [[IncestSubtext Incestuous]] AxCrazy {{Yandere}} EvilBrit. He does get better though. Ragna and Jin's future version Hakumen also qualify as this.


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* [[WebVideo/MikeJ Mike Jeavons']] British Bastard is a parody of this trope, acting as the EvilCounterpart to the in-universe Mike's QuintessentialBritishGentleman character.
* [[VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas The Courier]] in WebVideo/CouriersMindRiseOfNewVegas is one, being a cynical, easily annoyed JerkWithAHeartOfGold. However, unless you pay attention to his UsefulNotes/BritishEnglish vocabulary, it's [[WhatTheHellIsThatAccent not immediately obvious]] since his RealLife voice actor is a Chinese immigrant to Britain.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' got Simon Cowell to play a parody of himself as a staff member at an exclusive preschool in which Marge was trying to enroll Maggie. At the end of the episode, Simon's snark finally pushes Homer to violence...and he proceeds to ''criticize Homer's beating''.
-->'''"Simon":''' You call that a punch? I felt it, but it was like, "so ''what''?" ''(punched)'' Ooh, again with the nose. I have a chin, you know. ''(knocked out)''
** He also criticises [[CreditsGag the show's credits]] and makes special note of how [[LampshadeHanging unoriginal his own appearance is]].
** There's also a Simpsons short where he plays as a really hopeless contestant. An interesting role reversal, to be sure.
** Then Simon plays as himself in another episode, in which Moe Syzlak winds up as an ''Series/AmericanIdol'' judge after becoming a {{Jerkass}}. Simon convinces Moe that being the Mean Brit is [[LonelyAtTheTop a lonely life]] -- which is just a ploy to make Moe look weak and eliminate him as a potential threat for Simon's job.
* The ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' episode "Rappin' Drakken" features a rap battle on "American Starmaker". Kim realizes that something is seriously wrong when the Simon Cowell expy (under the influence of Drakken's mind-control shampoo) [[NotHimself acts much too nice]].