-> ''"You know what? [[TropeNamer You've got spunk!]]"''
-> ''"Well...."''
-> ''"[[ItsXIHateX I HATE spunk]]!!!"''
-->-- ''Series/LouGrant'' ''in'' ''Series/TheMaryTylerMooreShow''.

-> ''"A little fight in ya... I like that."''
-->-- ''SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker'' ''in'' ''Film/TheDarkKnight''.

In fiction, most villains are used to dealing with the DamselInDistress. They scream, they're easily subdued by grasping their StandardFemaleGrabArea, they're generally easy to dominate. This can get rather dull if it goes on for long enough.

As a result, the villain tends to be pleasantly surprised when he captures an ActionGirl and she puts up a fight. Oh, he'll still hold her hostage. He'll still kill her when the time comes. But when she spits in his face, [[GroinAttack kicks him in the crotch]], and insults him with a witty rejoinder, he can't help but shake his head (perhaps smirking as he does so) and say, "[[SympathyForTheHero I'll give you this]]. You got spunk."

That last word tends to vary, since "spunk" is [[HaveAGayOldTime nowadays]] used as slang for... a certain substance, and unless the line is a build-up for a cheesy joke ("And you're about to have even more in you! Hoy-oh!") the double-meaning is just distracting. "Moxie" is a good substitute, as are "fight" and "spirit". This is meant to be a compliment, because hey, we all "love a woman with spirit," but it usually comes off as a condescending StockPhrase.

These days, this isn't strictly a man-to-woman trope. It has a much darker and creepier connotation when used in the middle of [[SexualHarassmentAndRapeTropes a rape scene]]. It may also be used in less extreme situations by someone who's not a villain, merely a GrumpyBear, in which case they'll make it a backhanded compliment by adding "[[ItsXIHateX I hate spunk.]]" Not that real villains can't hate spunk, too.

For the non-rapey version, please see "ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou". "You got spunk" is more "''I '''will''' love you because it is hard to control you''", and [[CaptainObvious unsurprisingly]], has the [[UnfortunateImplications less pleasant implications]]. Compare WillNotBeAVictim (for the ActionGirl's perspective) and IHaveYouNowMyPretty (for the villain's perspective). Compare AmazonChaser for when "spunk" is an attractive quality in a girlfriend. Also compare DefiantCaptive. Contrast NoGuyWantsAnAmazon and NoGuyWantsToBeChased for when it is a deterrent. When meant sincerely and in non-rapey terms, it overlaps with SympathyForTheHero.

----
!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Shikamaru in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' when commenting on Temari: "I forgot: this girl is a spunky one. I ''hate'' spunky."
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'': Shmion to Rika: "Oh you still got some strength left? Well, it would be no fun if you didn't!"
* At some point late in the ''{{Gravitation}}'' manga, Mr. K says to YaoiFangirl Rage as they have each other at gunpoint: "Heh. I like your spirit... '''spattered across the pavement!'''" His wife stops him from hurting anybody by hurting him. She's that kind of woman.
* The {{Hentai}} series ''Spunky Knight'' manages to use ''both'' definitions of spunky for its main character.
* ''RanmaOneHalf'' says Akane has spunk.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Said word for word by Jade of Twilight in ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyMicroSeries'' Issue #1. Of course followed quickly with "I hate spunk."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In [[DisneyAnimatedCanon Disney's]] ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'', a centaur tells a captured Megara, "I like 'em fiery."
* In ''Disney/TheJungleBook'', Shere Khan says to Mowgli, "You have spirit for one so small."
* In the ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' sequel the Return of Jafar, Jafar tells a captured Jasmine who's face he has grabbed: "Mmmm such spirit." In response Jasmine tries to bite him.
* Disney's ''{{Disney/Tarzan}} 2'' has Zugor parody the TropeNamer quote. "Kid, you got pluck. I hate pluck."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheDarkKnight''
** SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker. "A little fight in ya... I like that." (Followed by "[[HeyYouHaymaker Then you're gonna love me]].")
** A bit of a variation occurs with [[http://leahy.senate.gov/biography/ U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy]] who stands up to him: "You know, you remind me of my father. I ''hated'' my father!"
* In ''Film/BatmanBegins'', a young Bruce Wayne was told this by mob boss Falcone.
* Happens near the end of ''Film/{{Leprechaun}}: Back 2 tha Hood''; while trapped in an elevator with the Leprechaun the FinalGirl smashes him with a dislodged light fixture and proceeds to electrocute him with one of the cables. Afterward the Leprechaun, pretty much unfazed, states "I like her" while she flees the scene.
* Though not specifically voiced, the villain in ''Film/LiveFreeOrDieHard'' is obviously impressed by Lucy when she uses the phone call to her father to calmly inform him how many men he has left to kill.
* In ''StuartLittle 2'':
-->'''Snowbell:''' ''(to Stuart)'' You've got guts, kid! Guts, and... and ''spunk''! Not to mention moxy! You got guts, spunk and moxy!
* ''Film/EverAfter'': Le Peu, as he tells Danielle more than once, likes a girl with spirit.
* In ''TheSting'' Kid Twist is interviewing people to be in on the con that they are pulling when the guy he talking to is one that he saw get beat up by a cop for keeping his mouth shut. Twist asks him if he got the banged-up nose from the cop, when he says yes, Twist says, "You got Moxie, Kid" and hires him.
* In ''TheShawshankRedemption'' , the leader of the "sisters" (homosexual prison gang) is encouraged by the spurn resistance of Andy Dufresne, the protagonist : "Hard to get, I like that"
* In ''BlackSwan'', this is the reason why Natalie Portman's character is given the lead role in ''Swan Lake''.
* Played for laughs in ''Film/JohnnyDangerously'', where the eponymous character is humorously direct with it.
-->'''Lil''': You realize your last name is an adverb?
-->'''Johnny''': You got spunk, kid, I like that. [''points to her breasts''] You've got those. I like those.
* In ''ThorTheDarkWorld'', Jane walks up to Loki and flat-out slaps him. He smiles in response.
--> '''Jane:''' That was for New York.
--> '''Loki:''' I like her.
* In the ''Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs'' film, Scowler says something like this during his argument with Patchi.
-->'''Scowler''': You stole my herd, you stole my girl, and now you're gonna get it. You crossed the line.
-->'''Patchi''': YOU crossed the line when you nearly got everyone killed!
-->'''Scowler''': Tough words for a little guy. Let's see if you can back 'em up!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''TheAssassinsOfTamurin'': Lale gets a response of this nature when someone tries to rob her at knife point. He's so amused, he practically jokes he would like to rape her after all, as she originally thought. The results are not pretty... for him.
* A minor RunningGag in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' involves generically villainous thugs claiming to like "a girl with spirit", with footnotes informing us that these men will very shortly prove to be mistaken.
* Happens in ''TheGoodGuy'' by DeanKoontz when the hitman, Krait, [[spoiler:kidnaps Tim's mother, who spites him, hides her fear and despair as best she can, and generally does everything in her power to foil her captor's plan. Krait is very amused by this.]]
* The ''Literature/DarkestPowers'' trilogy
** A werewolf says this to Chloe when she asks about his leg, which she stabbed with a switchblade a few days earlier.
-->'''Liam:''' Don't worry. I forgive you for the leg. I like a little spirit in my fillies. Makes them more fun to break.
** And reiterates, when she tries to block him from finding (and killing) her [[LoveInterest friend]] [[HugeGuyTinyGirl Derek]], who is currently completely defenseless.
-->'''Liam:''' You ''do'' have spunk. We're gonna have fun, just as soon as I take care of your boyfriend.
* Mariel of ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'': The title character is cornered by three searats and kicks one in the throat, killing him. The others don't use the exact usual words of this trope, but they come close. "A warrior maid, eh?"
* In the second ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'' book, Polyphemus says this to Clarisse, before trying to force her to marry him.
* ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'': Ges Vorryter mentioned that women with spirit (meaning Cordelia) should be more fun to break. Fortunately for her, [[OffWithHisHead he never got to test that]].
* The goblin kings of the ''Literature/HollowKingdomTrilogy'' admire a [[AbductionIsLove kidnapped bride]] who utterly detests them and tries her best to escape, because it shows that she has the strength of spirit to carry a strong king for the next generation.
** In the first book, Kate manages to one-up them all by outwitting Marak repeatedly, agreeing to marry him ''on her own terms'' (a previously unheard-of occurrence), and then getting past the heavy enchantments to keep the King's Wife bound to the kingdom in the second half. Marak is of course delighted, and not just because [[AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther she did the last to rescue him]].
** Averted in Literature/BelisariusSeries. Venandekatra the Vile was to cowardly to like spunk. He had no idea that Shakuntala would have killed him if he had been allowed to try to rape her.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats: Into The Wild'', after Yellowfang insult's Firepaw's kittypet blood, Firepaw snaps at her and says that she just finds being helped humiliating...and calls her a spiteful old bone bag. Yellowfang chokes a bit, worrying Firepaw...but she was laughing and says she likes his bravery. Firepaw...had no reply.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The most famous usage is arguably EdAsner in the pilot for ''Series/TheMaryTylerMooreShow'', when his character, Series/LouGrant, gives Mary the aforementioned compliment, only to follow it up by saying, "I ''hate'' spunk." This exchange was also used when Asner appeared on ''Series/TheColbertReport''.
* ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' ("Borderland"). T'Pol and other crew members are captured by Orion slave traders, one of whom is played by enormous wrestler Paul "Big Show" Wight.
-->'''Orion Slaver:''' ''(with his hand around T'Pol's neck)'' You've got spirit. I might just keep you for myself.\\
''(T'Pol delivers a well-aimed kick to a [[GroinAttack sensitive area]])''\\
'''T'Pol:''' I'm not for sale. ''(she's beamed away)''
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
-->'''Ken:''' That... was not permitted.\\
'''Buffy:''' Yeah, but it was ''fun''.\\
'''Ken:''' You've got guts. [[{{Narm}} I'd like to slice you open and play with them]].
** Also:
--->'''Glory:''' ''(grinning)'' Ooh, I like her. She's sassy! ''(pauses, tone turns serious)'' And I'll kill her.
** Maggie Walsh's response to Buffy telling her off in "The Initiative" is "I like her".
* In an episode of ''Series/FawltyTowers'', the incompetent builder O'Reilly speaks of Sybil Fawlty, "I love a woman with spirit! I do! I do!" She beats the shit out of him.
* Played straight by the script and yet subverted by the performance in ''Series/RobinHood'': Kate has been captured (again) and is flailing about in front of Prince John who comments that she's "fiesty". However, Prince John was played by Toby Stephens, and therefore he comes across as bored rather than impressed at Kate's "spunk".
* ''Series/PushingDaisies'': Aunt Lily absolutely abhors the shady and manipulative Dwight Dixon. Dixon, on the other hand, is fairly amused by her hostility and refers to her as "my spicy cocktail."
* ''Series/TheWestWing'': Senator Lloyd Russell is attempting to soothe his just-fired adviser, Mandy Hampton. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it doesn't help:
-->'''Russell''': You’ll bounce back. You’ve got spunk.\\
'''Mandy''': I could kill you with my shoe!
* ''VideoGame/DinosaurKing'': Dr. Z says this to the heroes Max and Rex after they wreck his Alpha Bots.
* Done without a great deal of subtlety in ''Series/DoctorWho'', "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship". Solomon, who's already kicked about five dogs in the space of one episode, takes Queen Nefertiti of Egypt hostage (go with it) and mentions that he likes his "cargo" to have spirit. It makes breaking them that much more fun. Naturally, he pays for this.
-->'''Doctor:''' Don't mess with Egyptian queens, Solomon. I hope you've learned that now.
** It was done earlier in a slightly less sinister way. When Nefertiti is arguing with Riddell, a big game hunter from the early 1900s (keep going with it.) Since he has time-appropriate views on gender, during an argument, he threatens to put her over his knee and spank her. When she retorts that she'll snap his neck if he tries, he responds, with a lot of admiration, that Ancient Egyptian women were firecrackers.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* Possibly Lampshaded in ''TeamAmericaWorldPolice'', where, after Gary Johnston stands up to a terrorist, the terrorist responds, "I like you. You have balls. I like balls."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Volgin from ''MetalGearSolid3'' says about the captured EVA: "She's got spunk."
* There's also a woman-to-man example in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid 1'' from Wolf to Snake:
-->'''Wolf:''' Would you like to die now? Or after your female friend?\\
'''Snake:''' ''(resisting)'' I'll die after I kill you.\\
'''Wolf:''' Is that right? At least you've got spirit.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'': "I tell ya, Kairi, you got a lot of ''guts'' jumping straight into the darkness like that."
* In ''TalesOfMonkeyIsland Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal'', after Guybrush completes the three pirate newsmaking tasks, Davey Nipperkin becomes impressed and says:
-->'''Davey Nipperkin:''' You know, Threepwood, you've got spunk. Pirate spunk.\\
'''Guybrush:''' [[{{Squick}} Ew.]]
* ''VisualNovel/TogainuNoChi'': Shiki becomes interested in Akira when he doesn't run, scream, or beg for his life like other participants. [[spoiler: On his route, [[LovingForce this doesn't end well for Akira.]]]]
* ''VideoGame/WingCommander III'': At the end of a mission briefing, after [[PlayerCharacter Blair]] enthusistically says to consider an enemy transport convoy destroyed and leaves to go to his fighter, [[TheCaptain Captain Eisen]] comments to [[CommunicationsOfficer "Radio" Rollins]] "God I love that boy's spunk!" The sound clip is also used for the sound test, when configuring the original DOS version of the game for digital sound.
* In ''LollipopChainsaw'', right before Juliet faces rock 'n' roll zombie Lewis Legend:
-->'''Lewis:''' Ah, cocky little whore. I like that.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* [[http://concessioncomic.com/index.php?pid=20090616 This]] episode of ''{{Concession}}''.
* Though an outright example hasn't occurred in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' (yet) [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20080509 this fashion spread with accompanying speech bubbles]] shows that the Foglios are well aware of this trope and perfectly willing to inflict it on their paper dolls.
** A {{Mind Rape}}y variant shows up in [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20100702 vol. 10]]
-->"[[EvilLaugh AHAHAHAHAHA!!]] Oh, I do so ''love'' a defiant subject! What ''fun!''"
* ''TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' Riboflavin [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20091110.html says this to Galatea]] when she threatens his {{BFG}}-toting {{mooks}} with her petite little claws.

* ''JoyToTheWorld'' Joy herself is a spunky little girl who doesn't really conform to her role in life and is constantly fighting with everything [[http://www.joyslittleworld.com/joy-to-the-world/01-thug-life/ taking no for an answer isn't always her thing]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}''
** Hudson, who was voiced by Asner, said the "I hate spunk" version once, as well. Asner said that while auditioning for the show, he knew he had the part as soon as he saw that the description included "Hates spunk."
** During a battle in Paris, Thailog grabs Angela by the back of her belt while commenting, "Well, aren't you spunky?"
* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'': Taurus Bulba mentions how full of "spirit" Gosalyn is both times he captures her.
** A bit of a running gag: In her first appearance in the pilot episode, Gosalyn chafes at being called a troublemaker: "I'm not a troublemaker, I'm just spirited!" Later when Darkwing saved her from Bulba's henchmen and brought her to his secret headquarters, he commented kindly on how "spirited" she was, which helped set up the father/daughter dynamic between the two of them.
** Negaduck does the same thing in the episode "Darkwing Doubloon", only to say "[[ItsXIHateX I hate that!]]" afterward (the second time, the Liquidator says it).
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'': Adonis purrs at a pinned Raven, "You're feisty." She is not amused.
* ''{{Transformers}}''
** Arguably seen in the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'', where Rhinox finds Dinobot to have "[[GettingCrapPastTheRadar ball bearings of chrome steel]]."
** A more definitive example in "[=TransWarped=]" of ''TransformersAnimated'', as Megatron fights Optimus. "You have persistence, Autobot. I hate persistence."
* ''TotallySpies'' The video game-themed villain, Lady Dragon, says, "You girls have spunk. [[ShoutOut I hate spunk]]!"
* In the MirrorUniverse episode of ''CodenameKidsNextDoor'', Negative Number 3 says this to Number 4 in her WeCanRuleTogether speech: "Listen up, shorty! I don't like you, but you've got spunk, so I'm gonna make you an offer you'd be stupid to refuse!"
* Lobo does this to Lois Lane in ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''--since he's NighInvulnerable, he in fact ''encourages'' her to slap him.
* ''JohnnyDangerously'':
-->'''Johnny:''' You got spunk. I like spunk. ''(points at her breasts)'' You got those. I like those.
* In Disney's ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'', a gangster mouse says this followed by "I hate spunk."
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'', "Two of a Kind": SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker brings Dr. Harleen "Harley" Quinzel back to his lair, were she proposes writing a tell-all book. He responds, "You've got moxy! I feed moxy to the hyenas." He sics the hyenas on her, only to have her yell "SIT!", causing them to... well, sit.
* On ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', the villain tells Zatanna, while holding her at knife point, "You are most ''engaging'', my dear -- beautiful, impetuous... I could be persuaded to spare you if ''properly implored''..." ''CRUNCH'' Cut to Zatanna's heel crushing his foot.
* ''Ben10UltimateAlien'': When Captain Nemesis arrives to kidnap Julie, she (futilely) whacks him in the head with her tennis racket.
-->'''Captain Nemesis:''' That's good. Fight back. I like that.
* Angelica from ''{{Rugrats}}'' was told she had spunk from a mafia-esque restaurant owner.
-->'''Angelica:''' I got spunk? [[IsItSomethingYouEat Is that good?]]
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'': This is invoked by Eddy in the episode "They Call Him Mr. Ed" and by [[spoiler:his brother]] in TheMovie.
* One rhino in ''{{Babar}}'' had "You got spunk...[[ItsXIHateX I hate spunk!]]" as his CatchPhrase.
* ''MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'': In the episode "Puppet Bride" Little Acorn says about Jenny after falling in love with her and she attacks him "A women with spirit! I like that!"
[[/folder]]

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