%% Image removed per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1302671288031604600
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->'''Thief:''' Dragging his limp body around will impede us less than when he does things.\\
'''Red Mage:''' That had not escaped me.\\
'''Thief:''' Of course, leaving the body would be even better for us.\\
'''Red Mage:''' That had not escaped me.
-->-- ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'', [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2007/07/14/episode-870-but-where-would-we-find-one/ But Where Would We Find One?]]

Things tend to go wrong in drama; this is how drama persists. And when something goes wrong, it's usually the fault of The Millstone.

The Millstone is the character, usually TheDitz, who is specifically responsible for the failure of every {{plan}} that the heroes carry out. It's because of them that FailureIsTheOnlyOption. For some reason, they're usually given the linchpin of this week's plan... which they will then botch, forcing the heroes to try again next week. If the main characters could just get rid of the Millstone, they'd be home free... but then the show would be over; see JustEatGilligan. Can border on the character being TheScrappy depending how much they get away with week after week.

Frequently, the villains [[ConservationOfCompetence have a Millstone on their side as well]], which is how the heroes can stand their own against them. Odd if the same villains invoke YouHaveFailedMe to [[TheBlofeldPloy other people]] but not the Millstone.

The trope name comes from the phrase "millstone around my neck". For those not versed in agriculture, a millstone is a large stone disc (often two or three feet in diameter and weighing several hundred pounds) used by mills to render things well pulverized, such as grinding grain into flour. Imagine carrying one of those around your neck -- you'd be hard-pressed to do much of anything. The expression originates from [[Literature/TheBible Matthew 18:6]] ("...whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea"), which in turn may be a reference to a form of capital punishment practiced at the time.

Compare to TheLoad, who doesn't ''cause'' failure but is still of little or no worth, and is nothing as entertaining. LeeroyJenkins is a subtrope of this. GeneralFailure is when the guy who's [[PointyHairedBoss supposed to be in charge]] suffers from this. NiceJobBreakingItHero is when a good character causes a problem once but doesn't cause them regularly. Such a character could also turn out to be the SpannerInTheWorks or UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom. A common additional flaw of this character is to be TheKlutz. They are also frequently TooDumbToLive or LethallyStupid. Compare and contrast DamselScrappy. A BlackSheepHit would be this for musicians.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Nearly every bad thing that has ever happened in ''Franchise/{{Naruto}}'' was a result of actions taken by someone from the Uchiha Clan. The most primitive examples are [[spoiler: [[TheLeader Fugaku Uchiha]], who attempted a coup to take over the Leaf Village, which provoked Danzo into ordering Itachi to execute The Uchiha Massacre, [[AloofBigBrother Itachi Uchiha]] whose desire to protect his younger brother led him to place Sasuke on the path for revenge, only to shield him from the truth of the coup, but ending up making things worse once Sasuke found out about it and the added burden Itachi carried. [[GreaterScopeVillain Madara Uchiha]], who manipulates events that throw the ninja world into chaos and war, and [[BigBad Obito Uchiha]], who kills the main character's parents and forms a terrorist organization that goes out to kill even more people to create a doomsday genjutsu. And of course, there's [[{{Deuteragonist}} Sasuke Uchiha]], who not only abandons his friends and comrades, causing more problems for the heroes, but also decides to kill off the world leaders, the tailed beasts, and his friends to take over the world for himself.]] At this point, anyone with a Sharingan should be put on a blacklist.
* Excel Excel from ''Manga/ExcelSaga'' is an example. Granted, most of Il Palazzo's plans are rather silly to begin with, but she ensures that they have [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption no chance of success]].
** Near the end of the [[Anime/ExcelSaga anime series]], Il Palazzo realizes this and fires her [[spoiler:by shooting her through the chest and leaving her to die]]; he conquers the city two episodes later (though the city's destruction might have helped with that a little).
** In the manga Excel is so much of a millstone that [[spoiler:when Il Palazzo finally gets off his ass and does something (such as exploring outside of the lair), he only rescues Elgala and Hyatt, and leaves Excel behind, replacing her with a disguised Roppomatsu 1 he also captured, and almost immediately succeeds in taking over the city]]. Interestingly, manga Excel is considerably more intelligent than her anime counterpart, even though her hyperactive attitude tends to make it hard to tell. [[spoiler:Il Palazzo's success doesn't seem to be so much due to Excel's absence than it is from his own memory and competence returning to him -- which was also the reason he ditched Excel.]]
* In ''Manga/AxisPowersHetalia'', comically ditzy Italy spends most of his time dragging down the Axis powers.
* Mihoshi in ''Anime/TenchiUniverse'' definitely counts, in contrast to the OAV where she is a GeniusDitz.
* ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' has the protagonist, Tsunayoshi Sawada, at least in terms of sports. Any team that picks him for a game loses. He ''does'' [[TookALevelInBadass take a level]], though.
* Tonpa in ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' actively ''tries'' to be one during one part of the Hunter Exam when he's forced to team up with the protagonists, voting opposite the others whenever they're forced to take a vote, immediately forfeiting his match in a best 3-out-of-5 battle, and encouraging dissent between the other members of the group. He even states that he has no desire to pass the exam, and only took it so he could crush the hopes of everyone else taking it.
** Ironically, Tonpa forfeiting his match actually ''helped'' the protagonists. The convicts they were up against were encouraged to delay the group for as long as possible until the time limit ran out, getting a year off their sentence for every hour they succeeded in doing so. Kurapika points out that if Tonpa hadn't forfeited, his opponent probably would've crushed his trachea so he couldn't speak and then just tortured him for the remainder of the time limit.
* In ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', a villainous example in Team Rocket. In any episode where they are not the primary antagonists, they will do something to screw up the other villain's plan. Somewhat ironically they usually subvert this on the heroic side. Not only are they usually [[RedemptionPromotion far more efficient doing good than bad]], but a lot of their bumbling schemes ultimately end up [[NiceJobFixingItVillain resolving a crisis or personal conflict]] between the current cast.
* The second season of ''Anime/{{Shirobako}}'' introduces one in the form of Shinsuke Chazawa, the editor for the InUniverse ''Third Aerial Girls' Squad'' manga that the main characters are trying to adapt to an anime. Given the lengths he goes to hinder [=MusuAni=] in producing the series, up to [[spoiler: deliberately doing everything he can to prevent the director from communicating with the manga's author]], it'd be understandable for a viewer to think that he was deliberately being paid to sabotage production (he's not; he's just resentful of anything that gets in the way of his leisure time). A conservative estimate would be that at least half of all the problems in the second season are his fault.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'': Silver, to an extent. In his efforts to SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong by tracking down and stopping a traitor in the Freedom Fighters, he has repeatedly [[InspectorJavert jumped to conclusions]] and accused Rotor, Antoine, and Sonic himself of being said traitor, every time with very little to go on. He later began to suspect Bunnie of being the traitor based on the information that she had left without telling anyone, but Sonic, who was already about to strangle him for accusing Antoine, finally blew a fuse and dished out a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech to Silver, telling him that there ''was'' no traitor and that his friends were all better heroes than a "flake" like Silver could ever hope to be before finally ordering him to just pack up and go home because all he's doing is screwing things up; upon discovering that Silver is currently TrappedInThePast, Sonic just flat-out tells him to GetOut.
** Silver did turn out to be right about a traitor of sorts being present... [[spoiler:it's Sally Acorn, who has become Roboticized (prior to the universe reset). Naturally, since Sonic still throffed at the mouth at the sight of him, he had trouble explaining this.]]
** Averted the ''[[ADayInTheLimeLight Sonic Universe]]''. In ''Mobius: 30 Years Later'', his intervention in [[AlternateTimeline Light Mobius]] and saved Sonic and Sally from being killed and helped stop [[EldritchAbomination Tikhaos]], but despite hints that [[BadFuture his future]] was the future of Light Mobius during Tikhaos' rampage, his actions had no effect on his future, so he fell back to his plan to find a traitor in the Freedom Fighters. In his own story, ''The Silver Saga'', he manages to save [[BadFuture Dark Mobius]] from its [[PhysicalGod Enerjak]], resolving a BadFuture that had been briefly touched years earlier and not mentioned till this point.
* Chase Stein is often a millstone to the other ComicBook/{{Runaways}}. His LeeroyJenkins tendencies often end up making things harder for the rest of the team. Case in point: on two occasions, the Runaways have tried to flee from more powerful or better-trained opponents, and in both cases, Chase decided to lay down covering fire, compromising the stealth advantage conferred by the Leapfrog's cloaking systems.
* [[OurElvesAreDifferent King Aspen and his deer]] from ''ComicBooks/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW''. They never stop to realize that, had they ''not'' decided to [[RevengeBeforeReason attack all of Equestria]], leaving Princess Celestia and Princess Luna (literally) too tied up to come and help, that the entire conflict of the comic would have been settled in time for lunch in about four pages.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}''
** The RunningGag of Charlie Brown losing baseball game after baseball game is possible only because his team doesn't know better. Even a [[PutMeInCoach 51-50 loss]] never stopped him from pitching. (Indeed, there's a sub-RunningGag that the team wins when Charlie Brown is at camp or some such.)
** Lucy could easily be considered one as well. Even from left field, her bungling has ruined more games for Charlie Brown than seems statistically plausible. Of course, [[NeverMyFault Charlie Brown always gets blamed.]] (That, or Lucy keeps reverting to her stock excuse of "The [X] got in my eyes!")
** Around the time ''Peanuts'' ended, ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'' ran their ideas for the final strip, one of which was the revelation that Charlie Brown had been taking bribes to throw all the baseball games.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''FanFic/RosarioVampireBrightestDarkness Act VI'' has one in the form of Arial Kuyumaya. While she ''does'' help Moka and the gang escape from captivity in the [[CreatureHunterOrganization HDA]], due to her stubborn obsession with Dark, as well as the {{yandere}} tendencies that come with said obsession, the group openly state on more than one occasion that Arial has caused ''nothing'' but trouble since she met up with them.
%%* Berlioz in ''FanFic/TheAristocatsIsland''.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsFriendshipGames'', Twilight Sparkle excels during the academic portion of the titular Games, but is completely hopeless in the athletic portion. She [[FaceFault faceplants after trying to do a simple jump]], takes ages to swing on a rope, and misses every shot with her arrows in archery. It takes one of Twilight's rivals from the other team giving Twilight advice before she even hits the target, and by then, Twilight's team is hopelessly behind.
* ''Disney/LiloAndStitch'':
** Lilo tries to get Stitch to be like Elvis with every lesson she teaches him blowing Nani's latest chance of getting a job after she lost her previous one, which was ALSO a result of her little sister bringing home a pet that looked absolutely nothing like a dog.
** To be fair, Pleakley and Jumba don't help much either as their attempts to apprehend Stitch resulting in Lilo being put in danger and her house getting blown up, which ends with Lilo getting kidnapped by Gantu.
* ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'': Nick deliberately tries to be this to Judy at first, purposefully delaying her after she conscripts him to help her track down Mr. Otterton. Thankfully, he cuts it out once he realizes what's at stake.
* In ''WesternAnimation/InsideOut'', any of the 5 emotions who are not Joy messes up control over Riley one way over the other. Anger is the biggest offender in this regard, as every action he takes to control Riley results in the destruction of her 5 core personality islands. Sadness WAS responsible for interfering with Riley's core memories that caused her and Joy to be sucked out of headquarters, but it was also important to the story as it's revealed that [[spoiler:Sadness helps Riley open herself up about her disappointments, which eventually turns into happiness.]]
* The Minions in ''WesternAnimation/{{Minions}}'' want nothing more than to serve the biggest baddest badass there is. Unfortunately, they aren't very ''good'' at it. They're klutzy and accident-prone even on good days, and on ''bad'' days they're a hazard to life and limb. In the first part depicting their past, the Minions accidentally sent a T-rex into a volcano, got a caveman eaten by a bear, crushed a pharaoh and his subjects with a pyramid, exposed a vampire to sunlight during an ill-planned surprise party, and accidentally shot Napoleon with a cannon. That last one forced the Minions to flee and hide for centuries. They have somewhat better luck in modern times -- Scarlet's working relationship with them only falls apart because she mistakenly thought they were traitors (though accidentally dropping a chandelier on her head was the final nail in the coffin), and Gru has (somehow) survived working with them [[WesternAnimation/DespicableMe through]] [[WesternAnimation/DespicableMe2 three]] [[WesternAnimation/DespicableMe3 movies]].
* Flik in ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife'' is this to the ant colony at first, more interested in doing things in a BrilliantButLazy way, so much so that he never pulls his own weight.. He gets better after some character development, as well as showing true bravery by standing up to the grasshopper army.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Harold in ''Film/HaroldAndKumarGoToWhiteCastle'' would have a much more hassle-free life if Kumar wasn't always looking for weed.
** The plot of the sequel is kicked off when Kumar tries to smoke some weed on an airplane that is heading for Amsterdam. As Harold points out, all Kumar had to do was wait a few hours.
* Ed in ''Film/ShaunOfTheDead'' repeatedly endangers everyone else through simply being TooDumbToLive. The worst instance occurs when the group is attempting to sneak past dozens of zombies. Ed's cell phone rings, and he answers it and begins cheerfully and loudly talking on it. Later, when they are attempting to hide from the zombies in a pub, he turns on the fruit machine. He also gets a bit too caught up in the excitement of dealing with the zombies violently, thus needlessly endangering everyone else several times for the thrills. Unlike many examples here, however, Shaun actually twigs on and angrily berates Ed for it (thus, rather amusingly, becoming something of a Millstone himself, since his spleen-venting unfortunately occurs right in front of the zombies).
* Mary Goodnight in the Film/JamesBond film ''Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun'', especially while Bond was trying to retrieve the Solex Agitator in Scaramanga's lair. She [[spoiler:accidentally hits the [[BigRedButton giant, candy-like button]] with her ASS, almost setting off the doomsday thingy while Bond is inside it trying to disable it]]. Holy crow, maybe not the dumbest Bond girl ever, but a contender.
* ManChild Alan from ''Film/TheHangover'' causes every situation he and his friends are in to go from bad to worse. He does, however, come to the rescue in the end of both films.
* Zack Galifianakis's character in ''Film/DueDate'', who not only plagues Peter with his stupidity but eventually reveals that [[spoiler:he's had his wallet the whole time and forced him on a cross-country trip due to a desire to be his friend]].
* ''Film/TheBigLebowski'': Walter Sobchak is a cross between this and a total [[{{Jerkass}} asshole]]. Everything goes completely wrong for the Dude the moment he opens his mouth or comes up with a plan of his own. The kicker? [[spoiler:Walter's was right all along.]]
* Virtually every bad thing that happens to the protagonists in the second half of ''Film/DantesPeak'' can be laid at the feet of Ruth, who endangers everyone. And then, after an attempt to rescue her and everyone else at her place, she heroically [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifices herself]] to save everyone from sinking into the acid lake they would never have been on if she'd evacuated when she was supposed to.
* Peregrin Took in ''[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings The Fellowship of the Ring]]'', where he's responsible for, among other things: drunkenly revealing Frodo's identity to everybody within earshot, starting a fire at Weathertop that attracts the Ringwraiths, waking up The Watcher which forces the Fellowship to flee into Moria, and finally waking up everything ''in'' Moria when they're knee-deep in it. He does eventually [[TookALevelInBadass grow out of it]], though.
* ''Film/{{Lockout}}'': The AxCrazy Hydell is one for the other villains, in spite of being the one who made their escape possible in the first place. [[BigBad Alex]] tries and fails to teach him PragmaticVillainy and is constantly exasperated by how StupidEvil he is. Hydell's Millstone feats include killing a guy whom Alex was interrogating, shooting down a rescue ship that could have taken everyone to safety, and trying to rape and kill their hostages. When Alex is asked why he doesn't just kill Hydell, he says it's because Hydell is his brother and he loves him.
* Francois Pignon is usually The Millstone or TheLoad in films by the French director / screenwriter Francis Veber. His first appearance was the title character in ''A Pain In The Ass.''
* ''Film/{{Casino}}''
** [[TheMafia Made Man]] Nicky Santoro is sent to Las Vegas to make sure no-one interferes with the money-"skimming" operation the mob are running in the Tangiers casino-hotel. His own [[HairTriggerTemper psychotically volatile nature]] and arrogance ends up screwing things up for everyone. [[spoiler:The bosses eventually get tired of him throwing his weight around and make an example of him]].
** Before [[spoiler:Santoro's [[BuriedAlive live burial]]]], the Mafia bosses notice that the profits from the Skim are actually being skimmed, so they send in Artie Piscano to try and get the situation under control. Unfortunately, he's even more disastrous than Nicky: not only is he an incompetent, but he ends up giving the police evidence by keeping detailed financial records of just about everything relating to the Skim.
* Vicki Vale in ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' went from being a fairly competent character to being TheLoad to finally being this trope. She makes things more difficult for Batman when they flee the museum simply by not running when she had the chance. Some minutes later, she almost gets Batman killed -- and then almost publicly unmasked -- by lying to him about her weight when he tries using a motorized cord to pull them up to the roof. She does manage to rescue him, but what happened was still her own fault and Batman feels compelled to scold her afterward.
* ''Film/PulpFiction'': Vincent Vega manages to make things infinitely worse for himself and everyone around him in almost every situation because of his [[WhatAnIdiot profound stupidity]]. Him [[spoiler:[[IJustShotMarvinInTheFace shooting Marvin]]]] turned a simple mission into a long series of grief and stress for him and Jules.
* The causal viewer may not notice at first because he's the closest to a "main" protagonist, but every major problem the team face in ''Film/{{Ghostbusters 1984}}'' is caused by Dr. Peter Venkman. The Dean at Columbia U specifically cites his smarmy attitude and freewheeling approach to the scientific method as the reasons for kicking the team off campus, his overly-forward attempts to hit on Dana almost cost them their first customer, and his antagonizing of EPA agent Walter Peck backfires horribly when Peck turns out to be a petty tyrant who orders their containment grid shut down, freeing hundreds of trapped ghosts and speeding along the BigBad's plan. Despite this, Venkman can be considered a subversion of the usual Millstone, since it's his cleverness, resourcefulness, and silver tongue that always end up fixing the problems he causes.
* Mina in ''Film/BramStokersDracula''. Because she is in love with the Count, she serves as a heavy burden to the vampire hunters trying to kill him and they use her psychic-connection with him to track him down. She fully transitions to this trope during the climax, when she casts a spell to bring down the sunlight and summon nightfall earlier, which would allow Dracula to come out in full strength and place all the hunters in danger.
%% Jimmy from ''[[Film/{{Neighbors 2014}} Neighbors]]''.

* Talked about in ''Literature/AroundTheWorldInEightyDays'' where Aouda fears she was Fogg's Millstone delaying him on his trip so he missed the deadline. However, Fogg firmly denies she was any problem and any concerns she may still have are dispelled by the fact that she is then instrumental instead in saving the day.
* In ''Literature/TheDarkswordTrilogy'', LovableTraitor Simkin cheerfully ruins his companions' plans at every opportunity. The other heroes scream at Joram to JustEatGilligan already, but Joram insists in violation of all [[HonorBeforeReason reason]] and [[ViolationOfCommonSense common sense]] on trusting Simkin. [[spoiler:In the end, Joram's faith proves to have been the right choice.]]
* ''Literature/TheTwelveChairs'': Ippolit Matveyevich "Kisa" Vorobyaninov first is an employer to his MagnificentBastard companion Ostap Bender, then becomes TheLoad... and then, when they almost buy the titular jewel-stuffed MacGuffin, not only does Kisa get drunk and spend all the cash, he completely screws ''any possibility'' of them buying the chairs ever and causes the chairs to be sold separately. Throughout the story, he degrades morally and ends up ''[[MoralEventHorizon killing Ostap in his sleep]]'' (luckily, he got better) right before going for the final chair, only to discover that the treasure was already found and taken away due to his own stupidity.
* ''Literature/LegacyOfTheDragokin'': Benji's over-eagerness combined with his incompetence cause a great deal of trouble. [[spoiler:It's his fault that Final Shield was destroyed and [[AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs its city was invaded.]]]]
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' has so many characters in it, it's unsurprising to find a few Millstones in the lot; some straighter than others.
** [[WhatAnIdiot Merrett]] "[[MeaningfulName Muttonhead]]" [[SmugSnake Frey]] is a wonderful example of the breed, for instance: almost any venture he's touched hasn't gone well, dating back to being a young teen. As is [[FatBastard Ryman]] [[SmugSnake Frey]]... given that he is one of the heirs to the House, it's almost a relief for readers to learn that the vastly more competent and ruthless Black Walder is widely considered by the other Freys as being likely out to kill him (and others) to gain the lordship. Politically smooth and savvy the gormless twerp ''isn't''. Which explains why no other Freys are moving to defend him against Black Walder.
** However, even those two Freys' dunderheaded drives to be pains for their Family is massively eclipsed by the walking [[StupidEvil disaster-zone]] [[VillainBall that is]] [[RoyalBrat Joffrey]] [[TheCaligula Baratheon]]... Thanks for the stellar job raising him, Cersei: [[spoiler:[[MommasBoy like mother, like son]].]] His decisions cost almost ''everybody'' in the Seven Kingdoms dearly.
** Subverted[=/=]deconstructed ones come in the shapes of [[LeeroyJenkins Lord Edmure Tully]] and [[DumbBlonde Lancel Lannister]]: others treat them with varying degrees of contempt, having pre-judged them to be Millstones. Which becomes clear is ''the'' actual root cause of problems they get blamed for when they are put in [[MortonsFork situations they just couldn't win]] even if there were cheat codes available.
** The absolute and undisputed star of the Millstones, however, is a BigFancyCastle rather than a person. Almost every Family given [[AwesomeButImpractical Harrenhal]] since its fall to the Targaryens has gone under primarily thanks to its weight. Those that haven't completely died out have become, at best, poor, divested, bit-part players in the Game as a direct result of [[RealityEnsues trying to run the best-used-as-a-quarry-of-ready-dressed-stonework as a going concern]].
*** The current lord of Harrenhal is Littlefinger: he owns it, but is smart enough to neither stay near it, nor waste resources refurbishing it until he has the gold to tear it down. He is currently staying in the Vale, while letting other people take the immediate fallout.
** Joffrey "Baratheon" is as completely evil as a 13-year-old RoyalBrat can be... but it's NOT his family's biggest problem. It's his [[StupidEvil utter stupidity]] which first causes a war and then places a constant thorn to the Lannisters' politics several times. All of his family members around, who vary in terms of both intelligence and conscience themselves, spend half of their energy trying to knock not even some morality, but some sense of PragmaticVillainy into him, to no avail. In fact, Joffrey's very life ends because someone finally decides that working around him is impossible.
** Cersei picks up where her son left off, and it beomes perfectly clear where he got it from. While Joffrey at least had Tywin and Tyrion ''attempting'' to run interference, Cersei doesn't have anyone keeping her in check. Her tendency to fill her council with [[YesMan Yes Men]] and her petty feud with her daughter-in-law Margaery Tyrell end up [[spoiler:delivering King's Landing to armed zealots who lock her up in a cell and the creation of a brand new pirate fleet (consisting of ships she bankrupt the Seven Kingdoms to build)]]. Even Littlefinger is shocked by her incompetence. He expected her to run the Seven Kingdoms into the ground, but not that quickly.
* In George R.R. Martin's first novel, ''Literature/DyingOfTheLight'', this role could actually be used to describe the ''protagonist'' at best, or almost ''all of the named characters'' at worst. The plot is largely driven by the main characters inadvertently making things worse for everyone around them as well as themselves, with first place going to the Protagonist, and second place going to his love interest whose jaw-droppingly bad [[PoorCommunicationKills lack of communication]] sets up their backstory and prolongs the plot. It also doesn't help that there's a character that seems to be an early version of Littlefinger pulling some strings, but at least he's ''trying'' to cause issues.
* Manny Heffley in the ''Literature/DiaryOfAWimpyKid'' series is often shown screwing things up for Greg and sometimes even the entire family across the entire series. This came to a head in ''Literature/DiaryOfAWimpyKidTheLongHaul'' where he's a hindrance to the family's vacation plans and road trip at many points throughout the book. (Forcing the family to skip several stops they wanted to make because he throws a tantrum whenever his naps are interrupted, constantly trying to run away to find a pig they had won at a fair and were forced to give up, etc.) [[spoiler:It isn't until the end of the book that he finally manages to vindicate himself by getting the family out of trouble by way of his surprisingly fluent Spanish...even if it was just to go back to a petting zoo where the Heffleys had left the aforementioned pig.]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/GilligansIsland''
** If the other castaways had [[JustEatGilligan resorted to cannibalism and eaten him]], they could have gotten off the island the next day. He's so much an embodiment of this trope that it was almost titled "The Gilligan".
** Also, the episodes that ''didn't'' center around their latest attempt to get off the island (and these made up about half the series) instead focused around the latest danger on the island, and Gilligan was always the one who saved them in those cases. So no Gilligan and maybe they'd have gotten off the island -- or maybe they'd have been fried by the volcano or blown up by the mine that washed ashore.
** In one episode, they find a gold mine on the island, as well as a salvageable life raft from the Minnow. Everybody except Gilligan tries to sneak a bag of gold onto the raft, after being explicitly warned by the Professor not to. The raft sinks as soon as they shove off. Gilligan proceeds to [[LampshadeHanging lampshade the fact that he's usually the one to screw these things up]].
** Basically, Gilligan goes through life with a near-total lack of self-awareness. When this means that he doesn't think about the consequences of his actions, things turn out bad. When it means that he doesn't worry about his personal safety or waste effort on inconsequential things, things turn out well.
** Though Gilligan was the most consistent example, the rest of the castaways all had their moments of becoming this to one or more of the others as well. (Oftentimes if it wasn't Gilligan, it was either one of the Howells or Ginger.)
* ''Series/TheMole'' is a RealityTV show built entirely around this trope. The players add money to a jackpot by performing tasks, which The Mole tries to sabotage. Every so often, there is a quiz that asks about The Mole (which, naturally, The Mole aces every time), and whoever knows the least is eliminated. Somewhat subverted in that the players, in order to screw with each other's knowledge and extend their own games, don't always give it their all, and thus the entire team becomes The Millstone.
* Dr. Zachary Smith from ''Series/LostInSpace''. Especially when you compare the original pilot (before Smith was introduced) with the remade version.
* Kate sabotages the outlaws' plans at least five times on ''Series/RobinHood'' for reasons ranging from "I can do it by myself!" to "I'm in a bad mood today!" to "Robin isn't paying enough attention to me!" to absolutely no logical reason at all. On at least three different occasions, her presence among the outlaws also turns several ''other'' characters into Millstones when they mess up the plans after getting distracted by whatever stupid mess she's managed to wander into.
* Hank in ''Series/CornerGas'' is one, thanks to him being that show's [[TheDitz ditz]].
* In ''Series/TheMightyBoosh'', Howard and Vince take turns. Which is the true Millstone is too close to call, as they'll occasionally switch in the same episode. (see The Nightmare of Milky Joe) Their millstoning gets more prevalent when they leave the Zooniverse after season one, as Bob Fossil is no longer instigating episodes.
* [[TheDitz Kelly]] [[BrainlessBeauty Bundy]] continually fell into this role on ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' occasionally. It's eventually {{Lampshaded}} by Peggy in one episode while the Bundys and the D'Arcys are being arrested by the police, when she realizes that it probably wasn't a good idea to let Kelly in on the plan of the week. Later seasons have her repeatedly teaming up with Bud, and her involvement typically turns things into an EpicFail of Biblical proportions. (Except for that one episode where she invented [[AppliedPhlebotinum Bleen]].)
** A purer example would be her mother, Peg. Although Kelly does on occasion come through and become successful (only for the Bundy curse or her own stupidity to cause her downfall), Peg is the lazy, snarky, selfish, [[HopeCrusher hope crushing]] {{Jerkass}} that usually ruins things for everyone, especially poor Al. An episode even [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] her uselessness and calls her the laziest person in the ''world''.
* A typical episode of Ricky Gervais's ''{{Series/Extras}}'' would involve his character Andy divulging an embarrassing secret to his friend Maggie, who would inevitably spill the beans to someone in a position to humiliate him over it. Yet as Millstone-ish as Maggie could be, it is eventually Andy who is considered his own worst enemy, considering ''he never learns to keep his mouth shut.''
* This type of character is parodied in ''Series/ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'' in the "Get Me Hennimore!" sketches, where Hennimore inevitably screws up after his boss gives him two mutually exclusive and dangerous schemes and fails to properly explain which is which, such as denoting one room with the letter I and another with the number one, rendered as the Roman Numeral I! How can Hennimore ''possibly'' misunderstand that?
* Con man Alexander Fitzhugh in ''Series/LandOfTheGiants.'' He tends to panic and act selfishly and often ends up drawing the attention of the title giants when the humans could have readily escaped notice. Fitting in that he was an attempt to replicate the success of Zachary Smith from ''Series/LostInSpace''
* Morgan from ''Series/{{Chuck}}''. He grows out of it.
* Inverted in ''{{Series/Merlin}}''. Merlin plays this role in his more GenreSavvy moments to keep Arthur's ill-informed plans from going through. For example, ''Aithusa'', where Arthur decides to seek out and smash the last dragon egg[[note]]Dragons in this series are intelligent and this could be considered infanticide, but because Arthur's father raised him to hate magic, Arthur is convinced they are mindless monsters who need to be exterminated[[/note]], Merlin decides to go on ahead and nearly kills himself when the tower collapses, so they can't search through the ruins for it. Well, at least the egg is probably destroyed... or it would be, if it wasn't in Merlin's backpack.
** Played straight by many of the series' {{Muggles}}. The show's DrinkingGame page goes thusly: take a shot whenever Merlin could solve a problem in five minutes if A) [[BanOnMagic Magic wasn't banned on pain of death]], B) [[SuicidalOverconfidence They didn't just assume that they can kill anything and that any history that says only magic can kill something is just superstition]], and C) [[IgnoredExpert They didn't keep ignoring Merlin, despite the fact that he is always right]].
* Neelix from ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' caused nothing but trouble for Janeway and her crew. He destroyed a diplomatic gift Voyager gave as a way to please some violent natives, the Kazon (causing them to seek revenge and chase Voyager for several seasons), failed to find food and got a crew member killed when he was placed in charge of food gathering (this was by having the crewman do a useless task, collect sun dried bones for food use, alone without any thought about his safety) after the crew was marooned (even though Janeway found food in the cave ''they were sleeping in''), since he said he was a [[BlatantLies survival expert]]. [[EpicFail Poisoning the]] ''[[EpicFail ship]]'' (not the crew, the actual '''ship''') with his [[LethalChef cooking]]. At one point, he even committed bona-fide, premeditated ''treason'', with not even a slap on the wrist. Janeway not only made him morale officer, ship cook, but also a DIPLOMAT.
* Jesse from ''Series/BreakingBad'', at least for the first few seasons.
* Lori and Carl Grimes from ''Series/TheWalkingDead'', particularly during the second season. Lori, with eventual shades of LadyMacbeth, serves as the third member of a LoveTriangle with Rick and Shane, shows no interest in learning self-defense, and eventually takes out one of the group's cars alone and proceeds to crash it. Carl, meanwhile, frees a zombie that ends up [[spoiler:killing Dale.]] Both are ''much'' more competent after the TimeSkip at the beginning of season three. [[spoiler:It's up for debate as to whether Lori survived long enough to be RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap.]]
* In ''Series/DrakeAndJosh'', the episodes sometimes play out with the formula of Josh having to suffer because of some scheme of Drake's, and Josh is treated as the ButtMonkey because of it. However, the later season episode "Josh Is Done" deconstructed this trope by demonstrating how much of TheMillstone Drake really is. Josh is finally pushed past his limit and states that he is "done" with Drake as a brother and firmly cuts him out of his life. Drake isn't too bothered by this initially because he thinks Josh needs him, but as the episode goes on, things in life proceed to improve for Josh while they deteriorate for Drake. Josh's relationship with his boss improves, a stress rash he's had for years suddenly goes away, he starts doing better in school, and has more time for friends and dating. Drake turns into a basket case who is unable to function because it turns out he relied on Josh for a lot of basic necessities in his life, is unable to focus on his music, and starts getting acne. It all culminates in Drake getting humiliated in chemistry class so badly he ends up running out, but not before apologizing to Josh for everything and for being a bad brother, and admitting he needs Josh way more than Josh needs him. Josh accepts Drake back after his apology.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' had Rygel, and later, Noranti -- both of whom were remarkably likely to cause serious trouble for the crew. The episode "Lava's A Many Splendored Thing", for example, had both of them take turns -- Rygel got them trapped by trying to rob the crates, and Noranti repeatedly got them into trouble because she was convinced the bad guys were in fact the noble Tarkan freedom fighters, and nearly got them shot several times. While both of them could be useful in the right circumstances, using their diplomatic skills or potions and illusions respectively, they were also prone to setting off the plots of entire episodes through greed, apparent senility, or other forms of poor decision-making.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Dodo, if she's remembered at all, is mostly remembered for all the plans she ruined over her tenure. In "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS3E6TheArk The Ark]]" she nearly wipes out the remnants of humanity by giving them her cold (which they have no immunity to). In "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS3E7TheCelestialToymaker The Celestial Toymaker]]" Steven reminds her of what her plan is three or four times and she still forgets it at the crunch time. In "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS3E8TheGunfighters The Gunfighters]]" she nearly shoots Doc Holliday before the gunfight at the OK Corral.
** Adric qualifies. In the Fifth Doctor's first story, "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS19E1Castrovalva Castrovalva]]", he allies himself with The Master after being captured by him, and in "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS19E5Earthschock Earthshock]]", the whole plot is kicked off by him arguing with the Doctor over wanting to return to his home planet [[spoiler:which eventually results in his death]].
* ''Series/StepByStep'': Karen seems to fill this role often.
** In one episode of the first season in which the family had gone camping, Karen says she had found a rock that would make a perfect "pedicure stand". Too bad that rock had been holding the truck they had all ridden to the campsite in place -- and it ended up falling into the water.
** In another episode, when the family gets an answering machine, Karen only listens to the first message of two (that was for her) before leaving immediately. The second message is for Frank -- telling him to not come to a site, that it would be demolished instead. Frank could have gotten injured -- or worse -- had he not gotten out in time. If the message had been relayed, this would not have happened.
* ''Series/{{Community}}'' has Pierce, particularly in Season 2. He discovers Jeff and Troy's "secret trampoline" and manages to expose it in a matter of minutes, getting it removed from campus, and [[LaserGuidedKarma breaking both his legs in the process]]. His ego leads him to go off-script during an anti-drug PSA, [[HarmfulToMinors getting a room full of middle-schoolers excited for drugs]] (until [[TheMentallyDisturbed Chang]] fixes it simply by taking his place). The rest of the main cast is occasionally GenreSavvy about this, not inviting him to a TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons game / suicide intervention due to his insensitive manner (and they are proven right when he crashes the game and nearly short-circuits the whole thing). During one of the paintball episodes, Jeff exploits this in order to use Pierce as a decoy:
-->'''Jeff:''' Hey Pierce, ''don't'' come over here, okay?\\
'''Pierce:''' Screw you! I'm comin' over there! *gets shot*

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Jin in ''VideoGame/DeadIsland'' is a complete and utter liability. After reaching Morseby, she steals the truck and threatens you until you agree to gather supplies for everyone, resulting in a number of survivors being killed. Then she gets kidnapped by the gangs when she tries to help them, and you have to go rescue her, resulting in the person who went with her dying. Then, in a rage, she releases Ryder White's infected wife, and he shoots and kills them. But, not before taking the cure which actually transforms him into a monster. All in all, the party might've lasted much longer had Jin not been around.
* Stross from ''VideoGame/DeadSpace2''. He might start off helpful, but aside from one moment of telling Isaac where to find the Marker, he's completely useless. This is thanks to Stross going slowly insane over his [[NeverMyFault refusal to accept responsibility for the deaths of his wife and child, as well as most of the people on his ship]] when he picked up the IdiotBall and unleashed a necromorph outbreak. [[spoiler:He eventually pulls a FaceHeelTurn by attacking Ellie and [[EyeScream taking out one of her eyes with a screwdriver]], and then tries to kill Isaac with the same, but Isaac [[HoistByHisOwnPetard drives the screwdriver into Stross' brain]], which finally kills him.]]
* In the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' series:
** ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity'':
** Lance Vance. The only helpful thing he ever does is [[spoiler:betray you so you can finally shoot his dumb ass]].
** While he's like this in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity Vice City]]'', he's even worse in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCityStories Vice City Stories]]'' -- most of his brother Vic's problems are due to his screw-ups.
** Hilary King is even worse. You have to beat him in a race for the story to continue, which is extremely hard. Not because he's so fast, but because he keeps getting himself killed due to game bugs that are triggered by his erratic driving. At no point does he have any use, he doesn't even drive you ''to'' the bank for the robbery. When he finally needs to show his worth in the robbery getaway, he [[TooDumbToLive gets out of the car]], [[LeeroyJenkins starts shooting at the SWAT team]], and is instantly killed when they return fire.
** ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'' has Jeffrey Cross, better known by his gang name of OG Loc. He thinks he's a rapper, but is not shown to have any quality as a rapper (or any other profession, for that matter). Exactly why he deserves your help is unclear. The missions you get from him (none of which earn you any money, only an increase in CJ's respect stat) involve: helping take revenge on Freddy, a Vago who [[BlatantLies "supposedly" stole his rhymes as opposed to buggering him in prison and leaving his "macho pride" in shambles]]; steal the rhyme book from Madd Dogg, an actual rapper, then a van with a sound system at a beach party[[note]]between Loc being a complete joke and the people at the party just having a good time and doing no harm, you might actually feel bad when you ruin the party[[/note]]; [[CripplingTheCompetition kill Madd Dogg's manager]][[note]]although he turns out to be involved with the Ballas, so he's a more acceptable target[[/note]]... and after all this trouble, he just decides to violate his parole so he would go [[AllForNothing back to jail]]. In this case, revenge is a dish best served cold: after CJ finds Madd Dogg again and helps the ''true'' rap star back to his feet, they crash one of Loc's music video premieres and eventually his whole career in [[CrowningMomentOfFunny one of the game's funniest missions]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'':
** ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}}'' has the Pariah Dog, a random encounter that can join over the party limit, drops your luck to 1, and gives you the Jinxed trait. The only way to fix this is to get the dog killed, but the damn thing has loads of HP and runs away the moment a battle starts.
** Joshua Graham was to be this in ''VideoGame/FalloutVanBuren''. A tough but evil guy who would piss off almost everyone if he were recruited. As opposed to what he became in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas''. The closest thing in New Vegas would be [[ColdSniper Boone]], but only if you planned on allying/being friendly with [[TheHorde Caesar's Legion]], since his response to them is to [[BerserkButton shoot on sight]]. Boone at least will let you know beforehand if you're entering Legion territory and asks if you still want him along or if you need to dismiss him.
* In the original ''Franchise/MassEffect'' trilogy, the Council serves as this for Shepard. Despite the fact that Shepard is a Spectre, ostensibly with carte blanche from said Council to break any law and do anything s/he feel is necessary to complete his/her mission, ''any'' action Shepard takes is second-guessed by the Council, and vital information or resources are often withheld. [[spoiler:At one point in the first game, Shepard has to steal his/her own ship back because the Council put it on lockdown. Even after a galaxy-wide invasion in the third game, the Asari councilor delays telling Shepard about a Prothean beacon until its location is all but overrun with Reapers]].
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'', EVA actually lives up to the quote at the beginning of the page, since knocking her unconscious and dragging her limp body is both possible, and usually preferable to having her follow you while constantly eating up your rations. Also, if you are spotted, she often chooses to stand her ground and engage the limitless army of enemy troops, rather than attempt to hide like a good agent.
* Claptrap from the ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' series. His complete inability to do anything right most of the time greatly annoys both the characters and players alike. Taken UpToEleven in the Claptastic Voyage DLC for ''VideoGame/BorderlandsThePreSequel'', where it reveals his most disastrous accident to date. It's even made into a gameplay mechanic, wherein his ability may cause the other Vault Hunters to start randomly jumping or otherwise lose control.
* ''Any'' EscortMission where a TooDumbToLive escortee jumps in your line of fire, walks instead of running (or runs so fast you can't catch up with them), or even attacks every enemy in sight to guarantee mission failure.
* The ''Franchise/SilentHill'' series has a few of these, [[{{Hatedom}} often to the irritation of the fandom.]]
** ''VideoGame/SilentHill2'' has [[SarcasmMode everyone's favorite]] [[AlphaBitch manipulative]] [[{{Stripperiffic}} stripper]] Maria. ''Not only'' does she not carry a weapon or help [[{{Everyman}} James]] in any significant way, she seemingly ''goes out of her damn way'' to jump in front of your attacks, or stand immediately next to the attacking monster. So, of course, after all that hard work keeping her safe on that great big EscortMission, she [[spoiler:gets herself killed. [[TheyKilledKennyAgain THREE TIMES]].]]
*** Did I mention that Maria's untimely demise [[spoiler:(as in "before she's killed in a cutscene")]] results in a NonStandardGameOver?
** Not to be outdone, ''VideoGame/SilentHill4'' has [[TheWoobie Eileen Galvin]], who you spend [[EscortMission the latter half of the game guarding from danger]]. If you give her a weapon, she will flail at the nearest enemies, [[ImplacableMan no matter how killable]] [[OurGhostsAreDifferent they are.]] To [[RageQuit many a first-time player's chagrin]], the more damage Eileen takes, [[spoiler:the faster she dies during the final boss battle, and when she dies, you have a greater chance of getting the DownerEnding where EverybodyDies.]]
* In ''VideoGame/GhostRecon'', your own teammates tend to get themselves killed, by getting themselves shot by the enemy, moving themselves out in the open, or getting in your line of fire.
* Ben from ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'' shows this to such a degree that he even ''realizes'' his status as one.
** First, [[spoiler:he made a deal with bandits to trade them supplies in exchange for not hurting his friend -- when he realized they didn't ''have'' his friend, he ''continued'' giving them supplies because they'd threatened to kill him]].
** Second, [[spoiler:his not confessing to the paranoid Lilly about his guilt winds up getting either Doug or Carley killed, depending on who survived the encounter in the drug store]].
** Third, [[spoiler:as a result of his pissing off the bandits to such a degree, Duck winds up getting bitten by a walker during a bandit raid, and Katjaa is DrivenToSuicide as a result of being unwilling to MercyKill Duck]].
** Fourth, when he and [[MoralityPet Clementine]] are cornered by zombies in Savannah, he ''[[DirtyCoward runs away]]'' rather than stay and help her, [[spoiler:which ends up getting Chuck killed when he comes in to save her instead]].
** And finally, [[spoiler:he removes an axe ''keeping zombies out'' from a doorway to use to open another door]]. TooDumbToLive barely begins to ''describe'' the guy, but lord knows he tries...
*** Though it's worth noting for the last one that the zombies had stopped trying to break through the door he took the axe out of and the windows were completely covered in blood by that point. You actually walk past the doors on your way back to where everyone else is before Ben shows up with the axe that was used to keep the door shut.
** And then there's what happened when the group finally found a boat. It turns out, while everyone else was out doing something else, and Ben was left guarding the boat, another group of survivors, who are essentially made up ''of a doctor and elderly cancer patients'', are able to steal the boat. Everyone else is very rightfully angry at him for this.
* ''VideoGame/{{Daikatana}}'' has your two teammates, who cause a game over if they die, but are unfortunately [[ArtificialStupidity completely rock-stupid even by dumb AI standards.]]
* Rico from the ''VideoGame/{{Killzone}}'' games. Especially the second game in the series, where his actions caused many fans of the series to hate his guts from that point onward.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica'' features Steve Burnside, who seems to go out of his way to be either completely useless or an active hindrance in every circumstance.
** Right after you're released from the prison, Steve opens fire on you with a mounted machine gun. (To be fair there, he did think Claire was a zombie.)
** Claire needs some Gold Lugers to open a door, but taking them starts to set off a trap. Putting them back disarms the trap. After leaving the area, Steve tries to take the Gold Lugers, but is too dumb to put them back, forcing Claire to save him. As thanks for saving him, he then keeps the Gold Lugers and refuses to give them to you unless you give him "something fully automatic."
** When Claire finally finds something fully automatic for him, Ashford dumps them into a trap. Steve then uses all the ammo the guns have to kill about ten zombies and shoot a wall.
** Steve pops in when Ashford ambushes Claire, getting shot for his troubles and hitting Ashford with a wild shot. When they close in for the kill, Steve has Ashford at gunpoint for about twenty seconds before Ashford just runs away -- and apparently the only reason Steve didn't shoot is because he was weirded out by Ashford being a transvestite.
** Since Ashford got away, he's able to both arm the self-destruct system and release a Tyrant to kill Claire and Steve.
** When that fails, Ashford takes control of the plane Steve's piloting to crash-land into ''Antarctica''.
** While in Antarctica, Steve operates a drill, but gets distracted by Claire's butt. This causes him to lose control of the drill and forces Claire to find a gas mask to continue.
** Finally, Steve gets kidnapped and Claire has to deal with his monstrous form -- and she can take any weapons she wants from the item box, forcing Chris to use the leftovers for the real final battle instead of the glorified cutscene battle.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue''
** Grif from the Red army fits the trope perfectly. Being a conscript, he is unwilling to work, has terrible stamina, and practically is Red Team's ButtMonkey. More to the point, he regularly shirks his duty -- during one battle, he forgot to bring the spare ammo. In another scenario, he sold all the spare ammo to the Blues. In Grif's own defense, he's intentionally The Millstone; he's trying to get discharged by any means possible, up to and including criminal negligence. In the rare occasion when he's actually trying, he's a lot more useful. Still, you begin to understand after a while why Sarge makes a point of trying to get Grif killed when he makes battle plans.
** Donut is arguably worse than Grif in this regard, as evidenced by the time Donut and Grif were sent out on a spying mission together. Donut treated it like a game and wound up getting himself captured almost immediately.
** Caboose is definitely the millstone of the Blue team. He has a tendency to kill his teammates (especially Church, whom he has killed in some fashion at least three times) and is otherwise unable to function in battle (in one scene, he manages to get a grenade stuck to the wall his team is hiding behind). In fact, he is best directed to fight the team's enemies by asking him to ''help the other side''. Luckily (for him), he's lovable enough that he's turned into something of a TeamPet.
* The famous ''Machinima/LeeroyJenkinsVideo'' plays this trope for laughs, but actually subverts this on further inspection: in this video, the ''entire party'' -- or at least the leader -- is a Millstone. The overly complicated plan made ''no sense at all'' and was not appropriate whatsoever for this encounter. Leeroy did nothing but speed up their demise. He even followed one major part of the plan exactly[[note]]Use the ability Divine Intervention on the mages to protect them as they cast their area spells[[/note]], but it didn't work because the leader of the group apparently ''[[ReadTheFreakingManual did not even read]]'' the description for the ability he asked for[[note]]It plainly says the protected player ''cannot attack'' while under the effect[[/note]].

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''
** Villainous, borderline example: [[WordOfGod Rich's commentary]] tells us that Nale often needs Thog because of his sheer power, but his stupidity foils his plans half the time.
** Originally, Roy considered Elan to be this, and when the latter was kidnapped, Roy was hesitant to go and save him. However, he later decided abandoning him would be a jerk move and goes to rescue him. Elan eventually TookALevelInBadass in a class that lets him use his GenreSavvy more efficiently, though he still occasionally had his moments. Combined with (modestly) improved Int, several new skills and spells, and with better ability to use his existing ones, he has become a valuable [[TheFace Face]] and a reasonable asset in a fight.
** The real Millstone of the Order is certainly Belkar. His sociopathy and frequent refusal to listen to orders ruin the party's planning several times -- for example, leaving the spellcasters undefended to kill goblins, putting the bandit camp on fire because he couldn't wait, or killing the Oracle. If it weren't for Belkar, would Miko have reported an imminent hobgoblin invasion in time to prevent it, or would she still have slain the leader while he was conspiring with the apparent allies of those invaders? If he hadn't pursued Miko to torment her over his childish grudge, would Azure City not have fallen and Soon's Gate remain intact? After a VisionQuest, fake character development, and then some real CharacterDevelopment, he seems to be growing out of it.
* Eridan from ''WebComic/{{Homestuck}}'' is significantly less helpful to the trolls and kids than he thinks he is. He continually provokes allies, tries to keep the worst parts of their dead civilization alive, kills the angels on his planet in spite of it being difficult and yielding no reward, tries to do everything himself even though the whole point of [[AbsurdlyHighStakesGame Sburb]] is for the players to work together, and constantly hits on people to the point of turning off ''Equius'' of all people. His abrasiveness and refusal to help others culminates in an unnecessary duel with Sollux that blinds the latter and leads to Eridan murdering Feferi and Kanaya. Kanaya [[DeathActivatedSuperPower gets better]], but Eridan also destroys the matriorb: the linchpin in the trolls reviving their race.
** The [[spoiler:Post-Scratch Kids]] play with this, especially [[ThePollyAnna Jane]] and [[EvenTheGuysWantHim Jake]]. They both have the most powerful abilities among the kids -- healing more powerful than any other Life hero shown thus far and the ability to make anything imaginable real by believing in it -- but spend a good amount of their session having TeenDrama. Even when Jake's powers are tapped to the fullest, his constant shouting of "corny old man" stock phrases makes him more of a minor nuisance than an asset.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Tales ''abound'' of the one player in a roleplay group (usually referred to as "that guy") who thinks random actions like "kill the quest-giving NPC" or "betray the party at every turn" are funny. Like the saga of [[http://bad-rpers-suck.livejournal.com/tag/commander%20dumbass%20saga Commander Dumbass.]]
* Gavin Free of Creator/AchievementHunter can undoubtedly claim this title. While his screwups most of the time only hurt himself, numerous times in team games, his stupidity has cost his team big in too many examples to really list. As such, what's known as his biggest screwup is one of the last few Cops and Crooks videos from their GTA 4 Let's Plays, which actually ended with him getting kicked out of Team Lads for several Let's Plays afterwards after he 1. Actually ''got out'' of the escape helicopter and tried to shoot Michael because he thought he'd get more money (leaving Michael to fly off and leave him to be killed by the opposing teams and also causing his team to lose due to them having more deaths), 2. Was too busy fooling around with the escape boat that he didn't pay attention to where he was going and let the other team win because he ''drove the boat onto the beach'', causing them to lose because the getaway vehicle was now unusable, and 3. the last straw being when he drove the car off of a ramp that took them into an enclosed space where there wasn't any space to drive, allowing the other team to simply roll up and hose them with bullets.
** Jack undoubtedly filled this role for Team Gents during the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C05UMkZkH5k Madden 25 Superbowl Special]]. As Quarterback for the Denver Broncos, Jack threw ''seven'' interceptions [[note]]Actually eight, but one was called due to penalty. And then later he switched controllers with Ryan, who threw three more.[[/note]], ensuring that the Broncos never get an offensive play and becoming Team Lads' greatest weapon. Even Gavin, returning from last year as the Lads' Quarterback and retaining his weak grasp of the controls and ''weaker'' grasp of American Football in general, outperformed him.
* "[[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/shut-the-fuck-up-carl Shut The Fuck Up, Carl!]]" is a meme in which pictures of soldiers doing their jobs are captioned with an idiotic comment (usually the lyrics of SuspiciouslyAproposMusic) by Carl and the exasperated squadmate's response. "[[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/moon-moon Moon Moon]]" is a similar concept with dogs/wolves.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
%%* Dog in ''WesternAnimation/CatDog''.
* Muttley is usually in this position on ''WesternAnimation/DastardlyAndMuttleyInTheirFlyingMachines'', as he always wants more medals for catching the pigeon.
* The TagalongKid in the ''[[http://www.platypuscomix.net/interactive/kongcartoon2.html Donkey Kong Junior]]'' cartoon. In the example linked to here, watch as he screws up Junior's plans quite a few times.
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckDodgers'': The title hero is a bit of a subversion. While he often causes the trouble of that particular episode (or makes it worse), he's also usually the one who saves the day in the end, and can be quite competent when he's ''not'' screwing up.
* Uni in ''WesternAnimation/DungeonsAndDragons''. It's sometimes so blatantly obvious that she is the only reason for the heroes' [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption inability to go back home]] that [[EpilepticTrees some crazy theories]] about the [[MissingEpisode missing last episode]] depict her as being an evil servant of [[{{Satan}} the Devil himself]].
* While all of the Eds of ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' screw things up throughout the series, Eddy seems to fill this role the most often. Many of the Eds' failures come from Eddy's [[FatalFlaw impatience, arrogance, and greed]] taking the scam far beyond their capabilities. Many of the scams [[CutLexLuthorACheck would actually be legitimate business ventures if not for him trying to be dishonest]], and there were several times when Eddy's ideas would have been highly successful if he wasn't so [[MoneyFetish obsessed with making as much money as possible]].
** Deconstructed, harshly, in TheMovie, in which Eddy admits that he is nothing but a selfish loser and that Ed and Edd are pretty much his only friends. [[spoiler:All three Eds are eventually accepted by the other kids after they learn that Eddy's behavior stems from being abused by his utterly cruel older brother.]] In other words, Eddy being The Millstone in the movie is rather important to his CharacterDevelopment.
** In fail of that, usually Ed's stupidity or clumsiness will end up tearing the whole plan apart. A long overly-elaborate scheme to get an egg is destroyed in one fell swoop by Ed immediately afterwards trying to manually "hatch" the chick inside. In less common instances, Edd's conscience or finickiness will lead him to lose focus or even intentionally hinder a scam.
** And then, every once in a great while, the Eds will do something right without any one of them screwing it up. In those cases, one of the other kids screws it up. Most commonly [[{{Jerkass}} Kevin]], [[SpoiledBrat Sarah]], or [[AbhorrentAdmirer the Kanker Sisters]], but [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Johnny]] and [[FunnyForeigner Rolf]] do it a lot, too.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'': Timmy tends to be this, to himself. A lot of the wishes he makes that go wrong are actually pretty decent wishes, but usually it's something he does in his own stupidity that brings out the bad sides of the wishes and sets up the plot of the episode. This is occasionally {{lampshade|Hanging}}d, as some episodes feature Wanda confronting Timmy about his thoughtless, reckless, fundamentally flawed wishes.
** Cosmo, as well. Many of the problems that occur in the series are due to his sheer stupidity. Granted, he is a loving godfather and he means well, but that doesn't excuse the number of problems he's caused, including [[spoiler:essentially being the one who caused Mr. Crocker to lose both him '''and''' Wanda as a child but also indirectly causing Crocker to become the fairy-obsessed lunatic he is today.]] Oh, and he does this ''twice'' (due to Timmy time-traveling to ''prevent'' said incident).
*** A whole episode even centers around him helping Timmy with his homework. His "help" includes [[EpicFail creating super-intelligent cockroaches that want to take over the world]].
* ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends''
** Single episode example: "Berry Scary": Berry convinces Bloo that Mac is The Millstone in his attempts to set a world record at something, and he actually falls for that, even though it's her who's been sabotaging Mac and Bloo's efforts.
** Which is ironic, as [[{{Jerkass}} Bloo]] is generally The Millstone for everybody else at Foster's in just about every other episode. That is, for every episode not involving Cheese, the show's resident [[TheDitz Ditz]].
* Although he does prove useful now and again, one could wonder ''why'' Zim of ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' kept giving GIR such a crucial role in his plans to conquer Earth. Most likely because Zim is his own Millstone. When he finally fixes GIR, the robot declares almost immediately that Zim's the Millstone to their mission and tries to kill him, forcing the alien to [[FlowersForAlgernonSyndrome revert him back]].
** Invader Zim being the Millstone on his home planet is actually what sets off the whole plot; his leaders send him into deep space (unwittingly, to Earth) simply to get him out of their hair. He's such a Millstone to the planet [[MeaningfulName Irk]] that his introduction has the population ''literally'' groaning in horror at his arrival. His tendency to singlehandedly foil entire military ventures is [[UpToEleven so extreme]] that the Armada thanks him every time they succeed at something -- for "being so far away" while they did it.
* Alexandra in ''WesternAnimation/JosieAndThePussycats [[RecycledINSPACE in Outer Space]]''. Whenever the group figured out some way to get back to Earth, she'd invariably muck it up, ensuring that they'd have to continue wandering the galaxy and saving the universe one planet at a time.
* Mikey Simon in ''WesternAnimation/KappaMikey'' is the source of any number of bizarre and inexplicable predicaments. Of course, [[BunnyEarsLawyer he's also wildly popular]], and most of his castmates seem rather fond of him, so this one's [[JustifiedTrope got a reasonable explanation.]] It didn't stop a pretty nice LampshadeHanging, though...
-->'''Ozu:''' You make a good point... Perhaps we should start holding Mikey accountable for his actions?\\
''(brief pause, then Ozu, Guano and Yes Man all burst into riotous laughter)''\\
'''Ozu:''' That will be the day...
* ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain''
** Pinky always manages to screw up Brain's plans to TakeOverTheWorld. This is partly averted in that frequently Brain's plans fail of their own accord or due to bad luck, and not through any fault of Pinky's. The Brain is sometimes too stubborn to listen to the plan's legitimate flaw that Pinky points out, which naturally occurs at the climax.
** Subverted in another episode when Brain builds a device to increase Pinky's intelligence, so that Pinky will no longer impede the success of his plans. Pinky then reviews all of Brain's plans and points out that they were all flawed to begin with. Thus Brain is really his own Millstone.
** WordOfGod points out that the theme song only says that "one is a genius, the other's insane". [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation It never says explicitly which one is which...]]
** Also played for laughs in one episode where Brain gives up and decides to let Pinky make all the decisions for the next plan. This results in actually going through with several of Pinky's crazy comments (opening up a clam petting zoo, requiring everyone to wear shiny pants) which put them much closer in taking over the world through sheer luck (one of the clams had a valuable pearl, the shiny pants blinded a pilot whose famous passenger thought it was a religious breakthrough and proceeded to give everything to Pinky, etc.). Brain realizes that Pinky had just been incorporating elements of his old schemes, and thinks he can handle it from there. The plan almost immediately goes to hell when Brain takes back the reins.
* ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'': Rigby, who is almost always the cause of all the bizarre stuff that happens to everyone, and getting him and Mordecai into trouble. If Rigby is part of something mundane he would slack off, or do something that would escalate it to something beyond weird and life threatening.
* Heffer is this to the title character of ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife''. Most of Rocko's problems are usually Heffer's fault, who only ends up exacerbating the situation when he tries to help. The most prominent example is the whole episode of "Hair Licked" where Rocko wakes up with a bad hair day and Heffer comes over to fix it, only to butcher it even worse than it already was. So Rocko goes to a hair salon and gets a great hair style right before he and Heffer go to Filburt's trailer for Rocko to get his picture. Filburt snaps a lot of great photos of Rocko, but has to start over because he forgot to fill up the camera. Right when Rocko is about to get a great photo of him snapped, Heffer ends up ruining it when he accidentally causes a fan to fall right on top of Rocko's head.
* Ashi from Season 5 of ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' is an assassin whose sole purpose in life is to kill Jack. When the two are swallowed by a massive creature, she goes out of her way to push Jack into a position where he can be killed (either by her or an environmental hazard), and when she ends up chained to Jack's back she spends most of her screen time making Jack's life hell by ranting about Aku's glory rather than trying to help them escape. Jack is normally even tempered, even with his enemies, but Ashi's constant annoyances are one of the few times he's ever snapped and yelled at someone.
** Once her HeelFaceTurn is complete, she [[spoiler: averts this gloriously, from aiding Jack in saving the children to going so far as to snap Jack out of his suicidal despair!]]
* ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo''
** Subversion: Shaggy and Scooby always botch the plan to catch the MonsterOfTheWeek... and in the process of botching it, ''succeed'' at catching the monster.
** Daphne is a straighter example, with some LampshadeHanging from [[TheGenericGuy Freddy]]. She is the one who is constantly tripping traps, or getting kidnapped -- usually getting an exasperated "Danger-prone Daphne's at it again!" when it happens. What makes her a Millstone rather then a DistressedDamsel is that it's usually her own vanity that causes problems.
** And, as much as we may want to, we can't forget about [[TheScrappy Scrappy-Doo.]] He would constantly make things worse by trying to fight the monsters himself and need Shaggy and Scooby to go back and rescue him.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode that parodies ''Literature/LordOfTheFlies'', Milhouse. Pretty much every bad thing that happens after they get stranded on the island happens because of Milhouse.
** He's even the primary reason they got into the accident that left them on the island in the first place.
** Homer also invokes this when he's in the jury for Quimby's nephew's trial: he opposes the otherwise unanimous guilty verdict so he can stay for longer at a hotel with all expenses covered. Amusingly, [[RightForTheWrongReasons he turns out to be innocent.]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Crippled Summer", Mimsy is the villainous version of this trope. He screws up all of Nathan's plans, mostly by interpreting the instructions too literally.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'': Electro is this for the villains. Every time Doc Ock plans out a clever scheme, Electro is responsible for it falling apart. He's so insane and readily prone to rage that invariably, Spider-Man will piss him off and he'll start recklessly throwing lightning bolts around and will destroy whatever phlebotinium Doc Ock was relying on.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{SpongeBob SquarePants}}''
** Patrick fits more than the usual. Whenever [=SpongeBob=] or anyone has a plan, Patrick is sure to screw it up, or do something stupid to make it worse. UpToEleven [[SeasonalRot post-movie]].
** [=SpongeBob=] himself can be this. Mr. Krabs lampshades this in "Krabs vs. Plankton"; when [=SpongeBob=] tries to tell Mr. Krabs he can be a good witness, Mr. Krabs tells him he is more of a liability.
* [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Scratch and Grounder]] are the villainous variety in ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog''. The two are so LethallyStupid that typically, when Robotnik's {{Evil Plan}}s fail, it's because of their bumbling. Ironically, the two were intended to be super-effective soldiers who could beat Sonic ''easily'', but they turned out to be the exact opposite.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Chowder}}'': The TitleCharacter tries to be helpful, but whenever he does try, it's almost a guarantee that he'll either screw it up or do something stupid to make the current situation even worse. Most of their problems happen because Chowder is so LethallyStupid that he constantly ignores Mung Daal's warnings and teachings about the potentially dangerous foods they deal with. It's gotten to the point that Mung has started to blame ''himself'' for the trouble that Chowder causes because he should know better than to expect Chowder to listen.
* Bebop and Rocksteady from the old ''[[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'' cartoon are a classic example of the villainous variety.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/WackyRaces'', it is Dick Dastardly (and his {{Expy}}, [[JekyllAndHyde the Phantom Phink]] from ''WesternAnimation/YogisSpaceRace'') who is his own Millstone; if he had simply driven on without [[DickDastardlyStopsToCheat attempting to cheat]], he could've easily won all his races.
* Quite a few of the plots in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' stem from Peter doing something incredibly stupid, ruining things for everyone in the process.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'' plays this up whenever he is on a mission with Lana. He will usually do stupid things like leaving their weapons and equipment behind for beer, make outdated assumptions on their objective (he thinks Italy still has a King, and the Swiss Guard actually use halberds instead of MP-5s), or go trigger happy and start shooting everyone wildly.
** Also Cyril when he's promoted to field agent, pulling such stunts as wearing bright orange in the snow (in a misguided application of hunting-safety knowledge, as in this case the bright orange makes him an easier target). And never, ''ever'' [[LethalKlutz let him handle a firearm]].
** Pam is a total loud mouth who shouts out everyones secrets, and tells criminals about what they're doing, and where they are.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}'', Toki and Murderface are often this to Dethklok's recording process, as highlighted in "Dethsiduals". However, [[{{Reconstruction}} their hindrance turns out to be an essential influence on the band's creative process.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'': Numbuh 13. So much so that the possibility of him being Soopreme Leader is enough to cause many operatives to forgo their [[TheChainsOfCommanding fear of the job]] and dogpile him immediately (the position was being decided in a game of tag), with someone explicitly shouting out "Anyone but him!"
* Stan Smith of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' This is most prominently shown in the hurricane episode, in which his attempts to save the family just keep making things worse and nearly get everyone killed. Francine even flat-out tells Stan to his face that, while his crisis-based decisions may ''seem'' reasonable at first, they ''always'' end badly.
** Roger is much worse, mostly because he often intentionally causes bad things to happen. In the 200th episode, he even [[MikeNelsonDestroyerOfWorlds accidentally caused the apocalypse]]. One episode did in fact have him leave the house and things were actually ''worse without him''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfJimmyNeutronBoyGenius'': The title character himself tends to cause most of the problems in Retroville as the result of his inventions backfiring. In one episode, it's revealed that most of the Neutron extended family views him as a BlackSheep, pointing out that, while Jimmy may have saved the day quite often, he's typically the one who ''caused'' the problem to in the first place.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MiloMurphysLaw'', the titular character's bad luck tends to be the source of all the conflict in each episode. It's to the point where, in the episode "Sunny Side Up", he helps keep their project intact by not helping.
* Subverted in several episodes of ''WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget''. The title character is often an IdiotHero and UselessProtagonist, but there are multiple examples of his screw-ups either helping his {{Hypercompetent Sidekick}}s save the day, or simply destroying the villains' plans outright.
* In recent years, Riddler's position in the LegionOfDoom in ''WesternAnimation/{{Superfriends}}'' has been [[MemeticMutation described as this]]. Basically, Riddler's only [[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway "power"]] is [[CriminalMindGames leaving puzzles at crime scenes]] that the Superfriends inevitably figure out, ruining the Legion's current EvilPlan. In the comic books, this is described as a manifestation of his SuperOCD and malignant narcissism (he ''needs'' to leave riddles to prove that he's smarter than other people--it's how he defines his whole sense of self), but the show never got into the underlying issues, so it seems as though the Riddler's whole purpose is to muck up a perfectly good scheme. ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' parodied this by showing the Legion voting to [[NukeEm detonate a bomb]] to take out all of the Superfriends at once--with the exception of Riddler, who eagerly announces that he'll send a few cryptic clues about the plan to give the heroes just enough time to defuse the bomb.
* The titular ''WesternAnimation/BojackHorseman'' is considered this by the end of Season Three, as described by [[spoiler: Todd and Ana Spanikopita]] [[TearJerker/BojackHorsemanSeason3 as quoted on its Tearjerker page]].