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Bullying A Dragon: Live-Action TV
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Viserys, in a fit of madness, thinks he can push the barbarian warlord Khal Drogo around by violating his sacred laws and holding his wife hostage with a sword, while surrounded by Drogo's soldiers. It ends about as well as you'd expect, with a nice heap of Be Careful What You Wish For on the side.
    • The season 2 finale has a literal example. Pyat Pree has captured Daenerys's dragons and taken her hostage. Unfortunately for him, her dragons are just learning how to breathe fire on command.
    • In the backstory, this happened to the Mad King. He executed Ned Stark's father and brother, pissing off half his kingdom and leading to the rebellion that would kill him and end his family's dynasty. He gets extra credit for insulting and demeaning Tywin Lannister, calling him a "servant" and saying that Tywin hadn't earned the honor of his daughter marrying the crown prince. Tywin Lannister, the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms, who has been known to wage wars of total extermination against his own vassals over smaller insults.
    • Catelyn does this by taking Tyrion Lannister hostage on her own authority, pissing off the most powerful family in the continent.
    • Brienne of Tarth admits that lots of men mock her and have even tried to force themselves on her for being a big, strong fighting woman. She's been "knocking them in the dust" for years.
  • Veronica Mars demonstrates over and over that a) she's very helpful to have on your side when you're in trouble and b) she can and will mess you up if she feels like it. Doesn't matter; everyone at Neptune High continues to mock her and treat her as a scorned outcast. Lampshaded in season three when Veronica asks Dick how after all he's seen her do, he still doesn't fear her. The guy she goes to after Dick tries to get tough with her, but runs after her to give her what she wants. The third guy stands tough. On a date that night, his credit card is declined and the tires are stolen off his car, then he walks into his unlit dorm room to find Veronic waiting for him with a taser.
    Veronica: Wanna find out how far I'll go?
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In early episodes it was known to all that at the very least Buffy had burned down the gym at her previous high school, yet people like Cordelia and Harmony picked on her anyway.
    • Then there's Glory in season 5. When Willow attacks her in revenge for what she did to Tara, Glory not only shrugs it off for the most part, but even takes the time to taunt Willow over brain-sucking Tara, declaring that it was "something to treasure."
  • In the third series of Blackadder, two foppish actors learn about this trope the hard way. They spend the better part of the episode insulting the title character, and then a misunderstanding leads Baldrick to believe they're traitorous anarchists. Blackadder investigates, immediately realizes what's going on, and confirms Baldrick's suspicions.
  • In Volume 5 of Heroes, Edgar the Knifethrower deliberately starts a feud with amnesiac arch-villain Sylar, not only despite but even because of Sylar apparently having a well-known reputation amongst the superpowered community as an unstoppable brain-stealing murder machine. Sure, Edgar is Darth Maul and amnesiac Sylar is quite mild-mannered, but it still looks like Edgar is just asking for trouble.
  • In Dexter, it's really not a good idea to threaten the title character, or especially his family, but most people don't know that he's a serial killer. There are the occasional exceptions, like Lila, and Miguel Prado
  • Many episodes of The A-Team have some incredibly small and weedy-looking men attempting to push an angry-looking Mr. T around, and then actually looking surprised when they get thrown through a window. Possibly they're surprised at the lack of injury.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, "The Man Trap", Spock slaps around an alien that has previously shown the ability to overpower him. It was justified in that he was trying to prove that it wasn't who it looked like and was therefore willing to take the risks involved.
  • In The Twilight Zone episode "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank", a dead man revives in the middle of his funeral, which leads the townspeople to believe that his corpse was possessed by a demon. As the episode progresses, these people decide to attempt to force the young man out of town. He gets them to back down by invoking this very trope by stating that if he really is a demon, then they would have more sense to treat him nicely because he could really mess up their lives if he decided to.
  • Gossip Girl: Surprisingly often someone tries to hurt or annoy Chuck Bass. They never learn that it's a big mistake to do so. Blair as well. And if you take on both of them, well...
  • Kamen Rider Gaim Taunting a short tempered leader of the team Baron that can take on monsters from another world sounds like a good idea? And especially when he doesn´t deserve it? What the hell is wrong with you people?!
  • Smallville:
    • Clark Kent was often bullied on despite that fact that even without powers, he is still very buff and capable of punching people out.
    • In the episode "Rogue", a Dirty Cop who sees Clark using his powers uses that knowledge to blackmail him. Sure, Clark's Thou Shalt Not Kill philosophy prevents him from easily killing the guy with said powers, but he doesn't know that. All he knows is that Clark is tough enough to stop an out-of-control bus by stepping in front of it and strong enough to toss a generator across a room like a wad of paper. And yet, he keeps on provoking him and even threatening his family. Karmic Death took care of him.
    • In "Infamous", Linda Lake is dumb enough to try doing this to Davis Bloome a.k.a. Doomsday. The latter is quick to Kick the Son of a Bitch.
  • On Chuck, this happens more often than not with Casey in a comedic sense, like when he's filled his daily quotient of stupidity from the Buy Morons, but every so often this trope come into play on a serious issue. In "Chuck vs. Operation Awesome", an old oriental woman is bitching at Chuck about the Buy More's lack of customer service, while Chuck is just concerned with wanting to tell someone outside the loop about his being a spy, worrying for Devon's safety (since he's been kidnapped), and his feelings toward Sarah. He finally snaps, flashes on how to speak Korean, and yells at the woman in her native tongue to more-or-less Shut the Fuck Up, surprising everyone around him, including Jeff, Lester, and more importantly Sarah, because he's always been so pacifistic. It's made even more apparent when Chuck Intersect-kicks Lester for trying to mess with him, Bruce Lee-style only moments after telling off the Korean lady, which drops everyone's jaws even further.
  • Benjamin Lennox's first meeting with Hyde in Jekyll is made of this trope. It starts off with him interrupting Hyde while he's having sex, and it just goes downhill from there... in retrospect, claiming to own the superpowered psychopath was probably a bad idea.
  • The Addams Family. Most people are just terrified, but there are some who are more antagonistic. They don't see the problem with being offensive to people who consider torture a nice activity for the whole family. Fortunately for them, the Addamses are very nice people. But then, there is their family motto... "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us."
  • In The X-Files episode "Schizogeny"" everyone believes that a sixteen-year-old murdered his stepfather. Some of his classmates get in his face and make fun of him for being a "psycho killer". They apparently thought there was no way this could backfire on them.
  • True Blood:
    • Common humans feel the need to pick on vampires, even though vampires are superhumanly powerful and like to eat people. One notable example is when a back-country sheriff deputy harasses Bill Compton for being a vampire and calls him "boy," drawing very clumsy and illogical parallels to Jim Crow.
    • The Brotherhood of the Sun are religious bigots who decide that kidnapping Godric is a good idea to show the vampires that they mean business. They don't seem to think about the fact that Godric commands some very nasty and violent Texan vampires who are only kept in check because he is now a pacifist. Godric is also over two thousand years old and commands the loyalty of some really powerful vampires like Eric.
    • The Vampire Queen of Louisiana tends to bully her subject vampires and order them to do things that they find distasteful. She seems to forget that some of them like Eric are actually older than her and only follow her out of feudal loyalty.
    • She herself is shocked when Bill does this, claiming that, as someone twice his age, she can kick his ass without breaking a sweat (not that vampires sweat). She proceeds to curb-stomp him... before Bill reveals that he was just keeping her busy, so that she doesn't notice a squad of well-armed men entering the house, whose fully-automatic guns are loaded with wooden bullets.
  • One episode of iCarly had a newcomer bully who liked to pick on Sam. Sam didn't retaliate as she wanted a boy she liked to see her as normal. However near the end, when the trio are at their local hangout waiting for said boy the bully arrives and starts hassling the three. Said bully finally goes too far when she pushes Carly (who was keeping Sam back) who promptly orders Sam to "rip her head off!" Sam gladly goes to town on her.
  • On Night Court, Dan Fielding is a big jerk who tends to insult everyone (even people who have the authority to fire him, which has happened a couple of times) and one frequent target of his insults was Bull Shannon, the 6'8" baliff who in one episode proved strong enough to crush a bowling ball in his bare hands. Fortunately for Dan, Bull was usually a nice guy, but if you did make him angry, it wasn't going to end well...
  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • Why don't people learn that annoying Damon Salvatore isn't a good idea...?
    • Damon himself just can't seem to get in through his head that Katherine is stronger than him, much nastier, capable of using most of the town as weapons, and can enter his and his love interest's home anytime she wants. A lot of Damon and Stefan's conversations in the second season include Stefan reminding him to 1) stop letting her manipulate him, and 2) stop trying to make her angry.
    • Damon seems to have a major problem with this trope. He also tried to intimidate Pearl, who had a few hundred years on him and responded by gouging out his eyes, Jules, a werewolf, during the full moon, and Elijah, who's an Original vampire and could decapitate him with one punch.
    • Klaus. Anyone trying to use/play/betray Klaus or any of the other Originals has to have a death wish.
  • Subverted on Angel. Gwen is a young woman who can electrocute people by touching them with her bare skin; as a child she was sent to a boarding school and is approached by a boy asking if she's "a freak." The audience braces itself...but he's not bullying her, just asking her an innocent question, and follows up with "you don't look like a freak." Unfortunately, he offers to share a toy car with her, and when she reaches out to take it, she ends up electrocuting him to death anyway.
  • Glee's Santana Lopez - a tallish, bitchy but light cheerleader who can hold her own in Cat Fight against most girls in the school - picks a fight with Lauren Zizes over her developing relationship with Puck. Unfortunately for Santana, Lauren is the Ohio state champion in greco-roman wrestling, and a big, confident girl with a bad attitude to boot. Calling the resultant fight a Curbstomp Battle is possibly longer than the actual fight.
  • Power Rangers:
    • From Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers we have Bulk and Skull, who (as Linkara pointed out) regularly bullied a group of six classmates, all of whom could easily beat the crap out of them (even though they mostly seemed to pick on Billy, the weakest of the group). Luckily for them, the Rangers were far too nice to ever do anything. It is shown in Tommy's introduction, though: they go to harass the new kid, only for him to pull off an impromptu demonstration of his martial arts skills (never actually touching either bully), which causes them to run away in wide-eyed terror.
    • In Turbo, Justin Stewart, who is a child-prodigy in Angel Grove High School as well as the Turbo Blue Ranger, got faced with a similar situation when a duo of teen bullies tried to threaten him for refusing to help them cheat on a test as well as telling on them for when they pulled the fire alarm as a class prank. The bullies here, however, were played considerably more serious, to the point where Justin was shown to have been tempted to use his Ranger powers to fight them back (though even if he didn't, he's a skilled enough martial artist that he could likely still mop the floor with them before it's time for lunch). Fortunately (for them), Justin, with Catherine's encouragement, found a more peaceful way of dealing with them.
  • Airwolf: Don't mess with Stringfellow Hawke's friends. He will personally send you straight to hell.
  • Doctor Who:
    • As a villain in a new-series episode learned, trying to chain up and experiment on a Dalek is a bad idea. Deciding to capture and torture the Doctor is an even worse one. In fact the episode "Dalek" is a sort of Take That to various people who have in a sense bullied the dragon in real life by not taking the Daleks seriously. Characters continually mock the Dalek's seemingly ridiculous appearance including a plunger-like attachment and seeming inability to climb stairs and subsequently end up getting their face sucked off by said plunger or finding out that Daleks can in fact fly.
    • According to Dorium the black market dealer in the episode "A Good Man Goes to War", this is what the bad guys are doing by trying to pull one over on The Doctor. Dorium even all but says they are bullying a dragon — specifically he tells them they've pricked a beast but haven't been smart enough to run away from it afterward.
  • Sherlock:
    • Anderson and Donovan seem convinced that Sherlock is a psychopath who will one day commit murder in order to assuage his boredom. This doesn't stop them from endlessly taunting and hassling him, which only leads to him humiliating them by utilizing his Sherlock Scan.
    • The CIA agent who not only threatened John, but hurt Mrs. Hudson in front of Sherlock, and then let his guard down while frisking him. As Sherlock puts it, he "fell out of a window".
      Lestrade: And exactly how many times did he fall out of a window?
      Sherlock: It was a bit of a blur, Detective Inspector. I lost count.
  • Suits often features people who really should know better than to try taking on Pearson Hardman. Usually it ends with Harvey or Mike calmly explaining just how badly they're about to be steam-rolled. Season two starts with Mike calmly reciting Trevor's Social Security Number he had read as a child. He then warns that Trevor may have thought he was safe from Mike in the past, but now that they're no longer friends, he should really just back off.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In the episode "Profit and Loss", Gul Toran decides to manipulate Garak into doing his dirty work for him (killing the dissident fugitives that are on the station, an act Garak disapproves of) by dangling the carrot of ending Garak's exile in front of him. Once Garak has coralled the dissidents (and Quark who was helping them), Toran intervenes intending to take the sole credit and mocks Garak with the news that Garak's exile will never end and certainly not with any trivial act such as this. Considering Garak was one of the highest ranked agents of the Obsidian Order prior to his exile, which made him one of the most powerful and dangerous men in the whole of Cardassia (and Toran knew this), Toran's attempt to manipulate and then betray Garak was the most foolish, suicidal act of his life. Not only does Garak promptly kill Toran for his audacity, but he then helps the dissidents secure their escape and freedom from Cardassia.
    • In the episode "Chrimera", two Klingons tried to stab a Changeling. Not only were they attempting to stab a giant amorphous liquid being, the Changeling summoned a sword much larger than knives. Even worse, directly before this incident, the changeling had taken the form of fog which covered the entire promenade. You think he might be a little out of your league, guys?
  • In the first episode of Wolfblood, Rhydian loses control and violently attacks Jimmy, demonstrating extreme strength and the willingness to use it. This doesn't stop Jimmy and his friends spending most of the series teasing Rhydian, taunting him, framing him for crimes and, at one point, blackmailing him.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand
    • A loan shark makes several attempts to harass and threaten Batiatus, but Batiatus is usually flanked by one or more famous gladiators who kill on his command.
    • Similarly, you don't try to extort Oenomeus.
  • Merlin:
    • Normally, nobody knows that Merlin is a warlock, so this would be Mugging the Monster. However, in his alter-ego Dragoon, everyone knows that he successfully escaped imprisonment and has fought knights before. This doesn't stop the knights from surrounding him and poking him with their swords. He knocks out Gwaine, disarms the rest, and then uses Leon, Percival, and Elyan as stairs to get on his horse. Unsurprisingly, the knights never speak of this again.
    • A baffling example occurs in the series finale. In the previous episode, Morgana had been so scared of Merlin's power that she'd trapped him in a cave without his magic. Now that he's visibly recovered his magic, is furious with her, has demonstrated dominion over actual dragons, and he's wielding a sword, she decides to stand a foot away from him, unarmed, and taunt him. That goes about as well as she deserves. It was somewhat justified as Morgana has been slowly slipping into madness over the course of the entire series, and by that point she's far past the point of Villainous Breakdown. Plus, she probably thought Merlin had brought his own sword, and not Excalibur, in which case she would have survived the stabbing.
    • Likewise, Nimueh has to trade a life for Arthur's. Naturally, instead of killing some random person in a faroff land whom Merlin would not even know, she picks his mother, and then, when he tries to take it back, his mentor Gaius. She manages to absorb a shot in the resultant Wizard Duel, so naturally she just mocks him and sticks a fireball in his chest. Cue Merlin blowing her up with lightning.
  • In Last Resort Julian Serat is a (very) small time warlord of an island. When a nuclear submarine and a team of Navy SEALs arrive on the island, he decides they're disrespecting him and starts making threats. James King, one of the SEALs, is displeased, and lists the order he will kill Serat and his men, where he will shoot each of them, and how many bullets he will use to do so. Serat backs off, but continues to harass them. It's made clear over the course of the series that the crew of the submarine haven't killed Serat because they can't fight his men on the island and the various Navies off the island. King, who isn't with the submarine crew, apparently hasn't killed Serat yet because he doesn't particularly feel like it.
  • In the Haven episode "Lockdown", an abusive husband learns that his wife has a dangerous Trouble, the ability to infect others with a dangerous toxin, and he still terrorizes her. Once she gains the courage to stand up to him, he doesn't live much longer.
  • In MST3K's Sci Fi Channel seasons, Pearl Forrester kept Bobo (an ape man who considered ripping lions apart a hoot) and Observer (a quasi-omnipotent Reality Warper) — two people who could easily end her if they wanted — through sheer force of will. The fact that neither man is particularly bright and it's funny helps.
  • The Winchesters are often guilty of this in Supernatural, such as in the episode "Folsom Prison Blues" (S02, Ep19) when Dean starts making fun of Tiny, a very large prisoner, the day after his friend died.
    • Interesting example, as Dean was actually banking on this reaction at the time as the plan was to start a fight, so to give his brother a distraction long enough to get rid of the ghost that was killing the prisoners. As Dean is a very tough man himself, who regularly tangles with super strong monsters and demons only to come out on top its fair to say he could have probably killed Tiny if he needed to, this is more an example of a dragonslayer bullying the dragon.
  • Sons of Anarchy: It's amazing how many people seem to think that manipulating, abusing or otherwise pushing around the members and loved ones of a biker gang with enough military-grade hardware to equip a decent-sized mercenary force is a great idea.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A frustrated Charlie sees the newly paroled Mc Poyles drinking at Paddy's:
    Charlie: Hey, Liam, sorry I sent you and your brother to jail, but anytime you want to stab me would be great for me!
    (Liam stabs him)
    Ryan: That's what you get, Charlie! You get forkstabbed!
    Charlie: I just got stabbed!
    Mac: Well, whose fault is that?
    Dennis: You had to make a scene, didn't you, Charlie.
    Mac: You had to run your mouth in front of psychopaths.
  • In the first episode of Martial Law, a racist cop thought it would be a good idea to mock and insult Sammo despite hearing that he was the top cop in Shanghai and the senior training officer in martial arts and hand-to-hand combat. Sammo politely showed him how he earned those titles.
  • While this trope is common in many classic westerns, The Rifleman is one that plays the trope the straightest. See that big sodbuster over there with the kid? The guy with the rifle in his right hand and multiple bags of feed over his left shoulder? That man is Lucas McCain, a Civil War veteran reputed to the point of legend for being faster with that rifle than most men with a six-shooter. Once an Episode some bandit or ne'er-do-well would try to bully this man, often by using the people of North Fork or his son Mark against him. The lucky ones lived to wish they hadn't.


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