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Draco In Leather Pants: Live-Action TV
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has Agent Grant Ward, whom in the episode "Turn Turn Turn" is revealed to be a double agent working for Hydra. He outright murders Agent Hand in this episode and spends the next five episodes storming S.H.I.E.L.D. compounds and killing his former allies willy-nilly. There's pretty much no wiggle room for this character to come back from their horrific deeds; regardless, there is a massive fangirl outcry to give the character a chance to redeem himself.
  • LOST: Ben Linus. Or as one Youtube commenter put it:
    "Intelligent, sexy, and fights for what he wants".
    • Said commenter curiously failed to mention: "Sociopathic, manipulative, self-centered, and homicidal".
  • Adelei Niska from Firefly. This elderly sadistic crime boss is known for torturing his wife's nephew to death in one episode, and Mal and Wash nearly to death in another episode. But his wince-inducing torture techniques are contrasted by a unique personality and accent.
  • Daniel Grayson from Revenge. Many fans encourage a serious pairing between between Daniel and Emily, despite the fact that Emily only initially dates him to destroy his family and vindicate her father. Admittedly this desire was justifiable during the beginning of the series when Daniel was portrayed as a misguided but ultimately good guy who wanted to distance himself from the Grayson name. However, after Daniel finds out the truth about David Clark's framing and continues to cover it up, usurps his father as CEO from his own company via nepotism, steals majority share of Nolcorp for the fun of it, blackmails a man to get his vote and participates in framing Amanda for Helen Crowley's murder, considering his character someone Emily would ever genuinely date seems ludicrous.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Spike. Inadvertently lampshaded in the episode "Crush" when Dawn lists "he wears cool leather coats and stuff" as a reason she likes him.
    • The vampire fan club in "Lie To Me" is a good in-universe example.
    • There's another small example in "Crush", in the form of a female Watcher who has a crush on Spike.
    • After two seasons the main cast had become Shell Shocked Veterans, and that's when Faith is introduced, which turned out to be a much needed breath of fresh air after the Angelus plot. She was sassy like Buffy, not afraid to have fun, looked like a million bucks, even when she was with the good guys had a dark streak that she wasn't afraid to show, and her fight scenes were among the best in the series. Even when she turns into a killer she still had a large fan base, to the point where some fans blame Buffy for Faith turning the way she did.
  • Billy Mitchell was introduced to Eastenders as an abusive bastard who beat the living hell out of his nephew Jamie. For some unfathomable reason, fans liked him. He was slowly turned into a gentle, nice, and weak man who was given all the "touching" plot-lines about a nice man with a hard life, reducing the earlier child-abuse plotlines to being occasionally mentioned by his family and himself as a warning not to let his temper get the better of him, especially after he winds up with custody of a child, again. Still, that last bit means that he gets a little of this In-Universe, even if he's mostly reformed out of it in ours.
  • Veronica Mars:
    • Sheriff Donald Lamb, whom some fans loved even though he was a petty, self-absorbed himbo slacker who ignored heroine Veronica Mars when she attempted to file a report on being drugged and raped. Series creator Rob Thomas and actor Michael Muhney acknowledged that they went overboard in the pilot in order to make Lamb an unlikeable jerk, and they even gave the character a sliver of sympathy by revealing that Lamb was abused as a child by his father; but Thomas refused to humanize Lamb or negate the events of the pilot (as many fans of the character had done via fanfictions). He had Lamb tell Veronica that he still didn't believe her claim of being raped and taunt her over the issue during season three. Thomas then had Lamb largely absent from season three's rape storyline and had his head bashed in during season three's second arc at the hands of a crystal meth addict (that last possibly because Lamb's fans wouldn't leave him alone).
    • Duncan Kane, who raped the protagonist. This was not only overlooked by the majority of fandom, but the narrative. The fandom even goes so far as to blame Logan for it for getting Duncan high. The narrative goes even further by having Veronica and Duncan get back together 2 episodes after the reveal
    • Dick Casablancas encouraged his brother to rape Veronica, and yet the fanbase seems to adore him. The cast and crew have outright admitted to only keeping his character around for love of the actor that plays him, Ryan Hansen.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Master, particularly in his Anthony Ainley and John Simm incarnations. In fan fiction, he's usually not portrayed as the murderous psychopath he is, but as just a mischievous, quirky, sexy guy who just wants to have some Foe Yay with the Doctor. "The End Of Time" which revealed that the drums which apparently drove the Master insane were planted as part of The Plan by the Time Lords has only made it easier for those inclined to ignore or handwave his lengthy list of evil deeds with the "it wasn't his fault, they made him do it, he's really a sweetie!" card. The Ainley version is also walking around in the body of Nyssa's father. Thus, every time the Doctor battles him, he's facing the man who murdered the father of a close friend (along with her entire race) who is also in that same man's body, which gets creepier the more you think about it.
    • A weird example is with the Daleks. You'd think what are essentially tentacled flesh-lump space-Nazis in salt-shaker-shaped mechanical bodies wouldn't have fangirls, but there is an inordinate amount of fanart portraying said fangirls hugging, kissing, and/or stalking Daleks. Most are played for laughs, but some seem quite serious. Hybridized Dalek Sec having fangirls is a bit more understandable since he is at least humanoid and played somewhat sympathetically, but he isn't really what most would define as a hottie. You can hear the audience making a sort of 'awww' sound (at around 1:17), as the Dalek is sent to be exterminated. This phenomenon was occurring as early as the First Doctor.
  • There's an odd heroic version in Torchwood. The majority of fans cannot forgive Gwen having an affair or Owen date-raping a couple. Yet, Ianto hides his Cyberman girlfriend in the basement. Because of this, two people are killed and the planet is put in danger. After Jack kills the Cyberman girlfriend, Ianto calls him a monster and swears to make him suffer. However, fandom's reaction to this was to declare Ianto The Woobie, possibly because of the traumatic experience that led to Ianto's actions.
    • A non-heroic example is Jack's murderous, psychopathic ex John Hart who, despite manipulating everyone for his own gain, bringing Jack's brother Gray to have his revenge, and setting off a chain of events that kills Owen and Tosh. Yet the fandom adores him and often claims his arguable love for Jack as a redeeming quality. Possibly a case of Evil Is Sexy as well.
  • As Gaius Baltar has his cult of rabid, beyond-reason believers in the new Battlestar Galactica, so does he have his cult of rabid, beyond-reason believers in the real world. It helps that no one on that show is cut-and-dry good or evil; but as evil acts go, Gaius has performed many of the most shamelessly selfish ones.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Weyoun. More subtly evil than the overshadowing Dukat, but to squealing fangirls (and boys), Weyoun is absolutely adorable. After all, he's not necessarily evil: he was programmed that way, and is capable of overcoming his programming. (We even see one such "defective" Weyoun in one of the episodes). Also, he's played by Jeffrey Combs.
    • Gul Dukat was rather too well-liked by fans, given that he was essentially a Space Nazi. For all his villainy, he is quite convincingly a charming character both in-universe and out. The writers desperately kept trying to give him Kick the Dog moments (such as his siding with the Bajorans' demonic Pah-Wraiths against their angelic Prophets) to cement his villainy once and for all, but even after they tried to send him past the Moral Event Horizon in "Waltz" by having him raving with insane fury about how much he hates the Bajorans and is convinced he should have turned their world into the biggest mass grave in the galaxy when he had the chance, he still had his admirers and defenders. It probably didn't help that the show was about Black and Gray Morality and deconstructing The Federation.
    • Section 31, which, granted, gets the Ron the Death Eater treatment as well. It's a shadowy black ops organization intended to show that even the Federation has to get its hands dirty with black ops, introducing a deliberately complex moral question for the characters and fans. However, there are some who berate anyone who doesn't approve of every single thing Section 31 does, including their attempted genocide against the Changelings, ignoring the inherent He Who Fights Monsters question in favor of lauding all their actions as right and necessary and decrying anyone who disagrees as naive fools.
  • Alex Krycek from The X-Files. Krycek has betrayed (and tried to kill) Mulder and Scully on numerous occasions, but some fans think he and Mulder make a cute couple. Non-slash fans of the "Rat-boy" desperately tried to find excuses and claimed that it's all just a part of his elaborate plan of outsmarting the conspirators.
  • Kamen Rider:
  • Guy of Gisborne in the BBC's Robin Hood prior to his Character Development. It doesn't help that he actually wears leather on the show.
  • The character of Detective Ronnie Gardocki, on The Shield, developed a major cult following amongst fans of the show in spite of not receiving much screen time or character development during the first couple of seasons of the show outside the occasional nerd moment and Butt Monkey-style physical abuse moment. As such, many fans of the character began promoting the notion/belief that Ronnie was a nerdy and all all-around good guy who simply fell in with the wrong crowd at work and not a rotten to the core corrupt cop whose soul was as black as the rest of the team. Needless to say, even when Ronnie is hauled off kicking and screaming for his crimes committed as part of the Strike Team (which has to be spelled out to him by Dutch, when he reacts in a confused fashion when he's arrested) at the end of the series, fans of the character argue that Ronnie was the victim, having been screwed over by Vic Mackey, who ratted out Ronnie for immunity for all of his crimes (including murdering a fellow cop) and a cushy new job with the Feds. Ironically, even David Rees Snell is aware of the trope that his character suffers from, as seen in the following interview.
  • Heroes:
    • Gabriel Gray (a.k.a. Sylar) is a ruthless serial killer who murders many people (including fan-favorite Ted) so as to take their powers, by taking their brains. He feels no remorse for his actions (usually) and has a soul that is truly blacker than a moonless night, but look at that wet, delicious shirtless chest!
    • Noah Bennet - legitimately loved as a Badass Normal and Magnificent Bastard - is nevertheless often happily excused of abducting and experimenting on people (including children) for about 17 years. And what convinced him to stop was essentially an extreme case of Protagonist-Centered Morality focused on his daughter Claire. Bennet's moral ambiguity is an unquestionable part of the character's appeal; the Draco in Leather Pants-ing comes in when fans use "but he's morally gray!" to handwave away any suggestion that Bennet might have crossed any ethical lines, or suggest that Bennet "didn't know any better" (this is especially odd coming from fans who love Bennet because he's one of the smartest and most competent characters on the show).
  • Charmed:
    • Cole Turner/Belthazar. Let's see. He's a demon, but "Cole" is his human half so, hey, he's not all that bad, right? He repeatedly plots against, deceives, considers killing, and attempts to kill the Charmed Ones, but he's really just misunderstood, see. Even when he was possessed by The Source, essentially Charmed's version of Satan, he's still just a big ol' softy to some viewers (and Phoebe, whose intelligence could be questioned to be perfectly fair she was being manipulated by the Seer who used her love against her then went through some fairly well scripted angst). Part of the dangers of casting Julian McMahon for your villain.
    • Cole's girlfriend Phoebe is a bit of a Draco herself as the above text demonstrates. The relationship with Cole going wrong is almost equally her fault as well yet her faults are easily ignored by fans. Cole tried to give up the Source's powers only for Phoebe to step in and kill the wizard who was willing to take them. When Cole returned, some fans treat her as perfectly justified in her treatment of him, ignoring that the reason he came back with new demonic powers was because she refused to bring him back to life when the alternative was him going to demonic hell. Add that to how she spends a lot more of the series abusing her powers, stringing guys along and fawning over her own beauty and you have yourself a DILP.
  • Appears in-universe in Lie to Me, where a serial rapist locked up in jail has a bunch of fans who attend his trials and parole hearings and act like they're witnessing the second coming of Jesus.
  • Scorpius from Farscape, despite his numerous Kick the Dog moments. It doesn't help that wears a bloody full body leather suit and is the embodiment of Affably Evil (until you really annoy him). In fact, he became so popular, that by the end of the third season he'd gotten his own sympathetic background and eventually joined the main cast as a pseudo-protagonist.
  • Todd Manning from One Life to Live. Gang-rape, terrorizing a blind woman and beating his teenage daughter's friends without any provocation aven't stopped him from becoming favorite among some aggressively protective "He's so hot!" fans. It's very much a case of Perverse Sexual Lust and the show doesn't help as Todd is almost inarguably this show's main character and they tend to load him up with humor and charm.
  • Stringer Bell from the The Wire. Despite being Avon Barksdale's right-hand man in crime, he was portrayed as intelligent, insightful, clever, and determined to learn how the legal business world worked, so that he could expand into honest projects. He's even shown taken community college courses. Because of this, fans saw him as a sympathetic character. They conveniently forget how he was the one who setup and got D'Angelo Barksdale killed off in prison, while at the same time, having an affair with his woman. They forget how he did this behind, Avon's back. They forget all the other backstabbing and under handed things he did. Which is why in the end, it caught up with him.
  • In Stargate SG-1, Ba'al is perhaps the best example of this. He kidnaps and tortures Colonel O'Neill, kills thousands of people, enslaves the human race (or tries to, anyway) and is generally a Manipulative Bastard, yet he's still so loved by even the most loyal fans. Why? To put it quite simply, he's hot. He also has a huge amount of charm and is quite funny, so despite being evil at heart, is still able to woo the audience into loving him.
    • It doesn't hurt that Ba'al is, while ruthless, nowhere near as despicable as most of the other Goa'uld in the show such as Apophis or Anubis. He has aided the good guys in the past against Anubis and the Replicators and has generally acted in an Affably Evil manner. Also, his stance on the Ori conflict, that the Ancients should be destroyed along with the Ori actually has a lot of merit given their aloofness and refusal to help even when problems they create (e.g. Anubis) threaten to destroy all life in the galaxy. Finally, even though he manipulates the timeline to become ruler of the galaxy in the Continuum movie, his intentions to form an alliance with Earth instead of enslaving it and grant freedom to the Jaffa seemed genuine. All in all Ba'al is a villain, but a nuanced one with many reasons to like him beyond his attractiveness and charm.
  • Stargate Atlantis:
    • Anyone who attempts to turn you from a person who eats sentient beings into a person who does not is interfering with your civil rights, right? Michael Kenmore thinks so, and it appears much of the fanbase agrees. Obviously, anti-Wraith genocide, Wraith worshiping, or living like a cow herd is the better way to go. Keep in mind that at this point, the replacement food research was going absolutely nowhere. Being brainwashed and lied to is reasonably enough to make a person cranky and get some sympathy, but a lot of fans act like the Atlanteans did this to prevent Michael from performing his favorite folk dance out of spite. Why, yes, Michael, we DO think being a Wraith is a disease-how many people have died from you being a Wraith so far? Could we get some sympathy and righteous indignation for them?
      • Sympathy for Michael comes not from him being turned into a human, but from the criminally insane manner in which the Atlanteans treated him after his Heel-Face Turn against his own Hive to help *them*. Admittedly this was after the hive betrayed and ostracized him, however he genuinely believed the hive Queen wanted an alliance with the Atlanteans. His repayment for his aid? He was forcibly turned into a human and memory wiped AGAIN. This being after he technically forgave the Atlanteans for doing it to him the first time. It was only after this that he became a megalomaniacal sociopath hellbent on revenge.
    • Also, Todd the wraith. Yes, we know he fed on Colonel Sheppard. Yes, he's a wraith and eats people. He's also funny, gave John back the life he took from him and does in fact help them out several times, even if he's generally a jerk about it and winds up only doing it to further his own goals.
  • Gossip Girl: Chuck Bass. Attempted rapist? Meh, still a pretty cool guy.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation Lore, Data's Evil Twin, has received this treatment in fanfics. Apparently, people think that the love of a good woman is all it takes to redeem Lore, when he wouldn't even be redeemed for his own brother. One fanfic out there was, in its entirety, a "Lore For President" flier.
  • True Blood:
    • Eric Northman. He kills people left and right,runs a Torture Cellar holds humans in contempt, magically forces a woman to be sexually attracted to him and outright states he's fed on children and was a Viking, and not the kind that trades or explores. But somehow he's just misunderstood. You should see the contortions fangirls go through to excuse the fact that he idly stood by and watched while someone tried to murder the woman they chiefly pair him with. It's a bit worse than one might think: His fans try to brush that off with how different the times were back then. Yeah, try telling that one to all his victims. Then after getting literal Laser-Guided Amnesia and then regaining his memory, he becomes genuinely heroic when the Authority turns into a Cult for the Evil God Lillith. Bill, who up until this season was a 'hero' fully went villain due to seeing Lillith, while Eric experienced a My God, What Have I Done? after Godric breaks through the blood haze.
    • Franklin. On one hand he's a psychopath, but on the other he's handsome and has some funny one-liners. Compared to most of the other characters, he's surprisingly intelligent and capable of well thought out schemes, and was the only one of Tara's partners who called her out.
  • Darken Rahl from Legend of the Seeker. He commits mass infanticide, horribly tortures people to death in order to gain magical power, tortures them after death for information and for the heck of it and even beside that is an oppressive tyrant in slightly less Kick the Dog methods. But fangirls insist he had the good of the land at heart because of his self-aggrandizing speeches to the woman he was torturing.
  • Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It, despite him being an utter, utter, utter bastard.
  • The villains of Smallville. Lex Luthor, when he finally became evil around season 5/6, Davis in season 8 and Zod in season 9. Tess Mercer is a definite example in Season 8.
    • Lionel Luthor. Affable, witty, cultured and the Magnificent Bastard he may have been, but he was still emotionally abusive, self-centered and sociopathic for at least four seasons. Must have something to do with being played by John Glover.
  • Zero from Tin Man is a coward that gets his kicks torturing — well, lots of people, but notably children. And yet fangirls swoon over.
  • Julian Sark from Alias is amoral, killing people left and right to further his own goals, and yet he still has a horde of infatuated fangirls ready to throw themselves at his feet without a second thought. They tend to swoon over his Pretty Boy looks, fashion sense, posh English accent, dry wit and keen intelligence.
  • Lyle from The Pretender.
  • Furio in The Sopranos kind of falls into this, even canonically, as many fans (and Carmella Soprano) saw him as a cultured and sensitive Nice Guy. The issue is that while he kind of is in private life, on the job, he's a totally vicious and brutal thug.
  • Gene Hunt, the "overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding" DCI in Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes has somehow become a huge sex symbol.
  • Andy in Weeds who goes onto his nephew's computer and talks dirty to his sixteen year old girlfriend while jerking off.
  • Alec in Dark Angel somewhat. While he's a good guy by the end, the fangirls are far too forgiving of/willing to overlook his beginning on the side of evil or his time as an egocentric lawbreaker in the middle of the season. Likewise, Jensen Ackles' other character Ben (Alec's twin brother, the Serial Killer) is a lost and vulnerable puppy.
  • Degrassi has some low-key versions of this:
    • Craig gets excused for cheating on Ashley and stringing Manny along due to his Dark and Troubled Past. Not to mention, both of the girls get hated on more in the fandom than Craig is - either Ashley's too stuck up or Manny is a slut.
    • Jay pretty much ruins every life he touches by introducing drugs and alcohol into their lives, but he is still well liked by the fandom and it doesn't help the actor is a good-looking guy and good actor. He does get better though.
    • Peter has this invoked, twice he does something really bad to two girls (filming Emma's best friend's naked breasts while she's intoxicated and getting Darcy in a situation where a sexual predator comes to her house) and they both end up dating him. He too gets better.
    • Eli is the latest example, along with Fitz. They both had an Escalating War where the both of them did pretty terrible things to each other, but the fangirls still love them — even more egregious with Eli considering his Crazy Jealous Guy tendencies towards Clare.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Khal Drogo is shockingly popular and beloved. Despite being quite badass, people seem to love his speech where he brags about killing people, raping women and selling their kids into slavery. He is not bluffing either. He also obliterated a peaceful people and didn't much care if the women were raped until his wife objected. And let's not forget that in the first episode, he raped Daenerys just moments after their wedding; yet, and oddly enough, they are made to love each other as the series goes on... A lot of people seem to make him a saint rather than the brutal bastard he is.
    • Sansa Stark has this sentiment towards Prince Joffrey Baratheon in-universe, refusing to see him for the bully and Dirty Coward he is... until he gets crowned king and orders her father's execution on false charges of treason and makes her watch, and then states he's going to rape her once she starts menstruating, and then also has her beaten when her eldest brother Robb causes Joffrey's armies no end of grief. She is summarily broken of this illusion.
  • Dr. Gregory House does have a decent Freudian Excuse and is a genuinely skilled doctor. But people go to insane lengths to excuse the crap he's put his subordinates and friends through, and portray the others as horrible jerks to poor little saint House. In example, when Cuddy broke up with him for apparently good, House completely trashed her living room... and people blamed Cuddy for it!
    • Oh, House did worse than merely trash Cuddy's living room - he drove his car into it. Cuddy and several other people, including her toddler daughter, had been sitting in that room moments before. From his vantage point, House really couldn't be sure no one was still in the room, and for all he knew someone might have walked back in at a fatal moment. It's pure luck he didn't kill Cuddy, her child, or one of the others.
  • Rather disturbingly Morgan from Camelot. There was even a post on IMDb claiming that Arthur deserved everything Morgan did to him. Well Arthur is a bit of a skirt chaser and slept with a woman on her wedding day (to another man) but Morgan has murdered innocent people, plotted against her brother, raped two men (including her own brother), manipulated her own citizens and imprisoned her stepmother while she walked around pretending to be her. Fan Dumb indeed.
  • The most famous of soap opera romances, Luke and Laura on General Hospital, began with Luke raping Laura. But the fans liked him.
    • Find one mobster on General Hospital who isn't adored by fans, and also by the characters. Sonny Corinthos came to town 20 years ago as a sleazy nightclub owner who very quickly lured young and naive Karen Wexler into working as a stripper, ultimately seducing her and getting her addicted to amphetamines—a watered down version of him being a pimp and her being a prostitute, right down to him threatening to kill her when she finally found the nerve to walk away. Jason Morgan treated all of his loved ones like garbage—his behavior toward his girlfriend bordered on abuse, ultimately shunning very trace of his old life (in all fairness, he didn't remember any of it) to become Sonny's errand boy/hitman/partner. Yet they both have a HUGE following, and their fans often ignore their crimes. Anyone who doesn't like them is often villified. In the past, the writing team also contributed by writing the mob as heroes, and the people who oppose the mob as the ones in the wrong.
  • An In-Universe example: On the How I Met Your Mother episode the Stinsons it's revealed that Barney apparently does this for every movie he watches. For example, he thinks Johnny Lawrence was the titular Karate Kid, thought Hans Gruber was the star of Die Hard (because he was "the only character in the movie in a suit" and "he died hard") and thought the Terminator was the protagonist of his film, even going so far as to cry when he was crushed in the hydraulic press ("they didn't even try to help him!").
    • Barney himself is this: By no means is he a villain, or even a straight Comedic Sociopath, since he is genuinely very sweet sometimes, loves his friends and has gone to insane lengths for them, and has gotten lots of character development over the course of the show. But his fans treat him like a saint, with many males thinking that his "awesome" qualities, which in the show are treated in a ridiculous, ironic way that would be pathetic if they weren't so ballsy they Cross the Line Twice, are actually awesome, and many females thinking that he's actually just a sad, lonely, tormented soul who's mentally messed up from his horrible childhood. While the latter actually is true, it doesn't stop the fact that he's also a lying, misogynistic womanizer, an insensitive, selfish jerk, and an unapologetic Manipulative Bastard who almost never shows a conscience and is heavily dependent on Ted as a Morality Chain while at the same time being a Poisonous Friend with hints of Crazy Jealous Guy towards him. However, fanfics have gone so far as to portray his friends as being in the wrong for making disparaging remarks about his more assholish actions or daring to judge him for them.
  • American Horror Story: Murder House's Tate Langdon. He's an Ax-Crazy school shooter, who also murdered the last inhabitants of the house and impregnated his girlfriend's mother while impersonating her husband, but he's also attractive, portrayed fairly sympathetically, and a passionately protective boyfriend to Violet. Fangirls tend to swoon over the latter qualities and forgive his crimes, portraying him as redeemed by love or as a misunderstood and troubled soul who did everything he did to try to help others.
  • Arnold Rimmer in Red Dwarf gets some of this treatment. He's thoroughly unlikeable, slimy, cowardly, arrogant, self-pitying and weaselly — and yet, if the show could be said to have a sex symbol, it's him. This is helped by his rather Woobie-ish backstory (even though the series often takes pains to point out that he is at least a Jerkass Woobie, with the 'Jerkass' part firmly emphasized) and some scenes in series 5 involving the actor with his shirt off, which makes it a bit easier for those inclined to downplay the fact that he spends 99% of the series acting like an insufferable asshole. It also helps that in another timeline, he's The Ace, meaning that deep down he's got the potential to be a decent person and a great one. However, this means it also tends to be forgotten that merely possessing the potential for greatness and decency does not automatically make one great or decent.
    • Also, Ace Rimmer is used by the show writers to prove that Arnold Rimmer is definitely the source of his own flaws. Ace Rimmer had Arnold's life mostly, but not being let off the hook for something at a time when Arnold was is what made Ace seek to better himself.
  • Regina Mills from Once Upon a Time is a perfect example of the trope. She's a fan favorite, who, ironically and in spite of her epithet "The Evil Queen" and knowledge of her actions (past and present), gains a multitude of sympathy and excuses galore for her acts from her very large fan army who is always ready to act on the defensive any time someone dares to bring up one of her many terrible crimes and think she may have to pay for them or at least should not be easily forgiven for what she did. Also be prepared to stumble upon or be given 40 page dissertations on her character that present her as a tragic heroine and the characters on the good side being the real faces of evil or at least cruel jerks who unjustly abuse and brutalize her or cry about how she deserves forgiveness no matter what and should not be thrown into prison or executed, but say Character X deserves to burn in hell for sneezing the wrong way. Regina gets the Leather Pants treatment for these reasons: 1) she's played by the beautiful and talented Lana Parilla, 2) the character is given a few Freudian Excuses such as: being repeatedly abused by her controlling mother, and her father not coming to her defense, having her lover killed by her mother right in front of her eyes, and having to marry into the family of the girl who is sort of responsible for having her lover killed, 3) she is portrayed sympathetically, and, 4) because of the show's once oft repeated phrase and theme: "Evil isn't born, it's made". These do explain a lot, but are just that: an explanation, NOT an excuse.
    • Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold is another fan favorite who also gets this treatment. Actually, it's pretty entertaining to sit back and watch his fans argue with Regina's which of the two deserve redemption and more forgiveness and paint their idols as being complete angels who are absolutely justified in everything they do, meanwhile point fingers at each other of being (bigger) apologists. Anyway, this poster digresses. Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold is (literally) a baby-snatcher, a skilled manipulator, has killed people, and, according to Henry, is actually worse than Regina, but that doesn't stop him from gaining a huge fanbase, and certainly doesn't put a stop to him gaining a buttload of apologists who give him a break for his deeds, but crucify other characters for less.
      • Again, a massively sympathetic backstory - being born the son of a coward, being forced to fight in a war, crippling himself to avoid a prophecy saying he'd die in battle and leave his son fatherless, spending his entire pre-Dark One life being abused by his entire village as the reviled town coward, finally turning to magic to try to keep his son from being taken away to fight in the same war, being tricked into assuming the mantle of the Dark One, and then losing his son anyways - goes a long way to explaining the Fan Dumb. So does his undeniably genuine love for Belle, as his interactions with her prove that he is capable of acting unselfishly and putting someone he loves above himself.
    • Jefferson aka the Mad Hatter is another character who gets this treatment, thanks to him having a sympathetic backstory, being played by Sebastian Stan, and knowing how to dress to the nines. The fact that Jefferson kidnapped Mary Margaret, held her against her will, and then drugged and tied up Emma goes ignored by certain fans. Usually in favor of shipping him with Emma. Worse, Emma even gets bashed for knocking him out with a telescope for the sake of escaping with her life and not believing him. Because what sane woman would resist a hot guy who kidnaps and drugs her and puts a gun to her head and not believe a word he says?
    • Season 2 brings us Killian Jones, aka Captain Hook, who gets excused of a lot by virtue of being played by the extremely attractive Colin O'Donoghue. His most egregious offense to date is removing the heart of Princess Aurora while she was unconscious and promptly handing it over to the Big Bad, Regina's mom Cora. Then, in the following episode, he coldcocked Belle (who was already locked up in a cell) after she refused to help him, and would've killed her had Regina not walked in. While some make the argument that he's a victim of Love Makes You Evil, there remains the fact that the woman he loved and lost was someone else's wife, and that regardless of whether or not he's a villain (he is), violence against anyone (not just women) should be rightly called out as not cool no matter what the reasoning behind it is.
    • He also shot Belle, causing her to lose all her memories, and she has no alternate identity, in Storybrooke. He and Emma also undergo a romantic arc after somewhere along the line in Season 3 when he seems to undergo a legitimate Heel-Face Turn (albeit with some of his not-so-heroic qualities still intact). Killian and Emma eventually end up starting a relationship at the end of season three.
  • Sebastian Smythe from Glee. He stalked Blaine, bullied and teased Kurt and generally was a menace to everyone for weeks, yet people still love to ship him with Blaine, Kurt, or both. Fanfiction with Seb in them tend to portray him as a slightly arrogant Deadpan Snarker and leave it at that. Forget the fact that he almost destroyed Blaine's eye with a slushie full of rock salt or that he turned all of Kurt and Blaine's Dalton friends against them for no discernible reason.
    • Both Santana and Karofsky, who are bullies, get treated as repressed gays, ignoring some of the awful things that they did. At least with Karofsky they manage to craft a storyline of redemption, where the character recognizes all the wrong things he's done and apologizes sincerely, not to mention tries to make amends by participating in his beard's Anti-Bullying Watch... but go tell that to his fans, who take the Jerk Ass out of Jerk Ass Woobie and run away with it.
    • It's easy to forget at this point, but Puck started out on Glee as a straightforward bully who harassed the Glee Clubbers and knocked up his best friend's girlfriend, and dude only really completed his Heel-Face Turn in the second half of the first season. He had fangirls all over him long before any of that happened, though.
  • From the BBC series Sherlock, James Moriarty. He orchestrated an explosion that killed an old, blind woman and several others; kidnapped and threatened to kill three other people, including a child; fed poisoned candy to two children; "sponsored" a serial killer merely to test Sherlock's mettle; threatened to blow up John and shoot Sherlock; and, as of the season 2 finale, has single-handedly ruined Sherlock's career, relationships, and credibility amongst the public. He is a "consulting criminal" who has aided scores of thieves, smugglers, blackmailers, foreign spies and murderers, thus being directly or indirectly responsible for many of the worst crimes in Britain - and likely most of Europe as well. At the beginning of the first episode of the second season, he threatens to make shoes out of freshly-removed human skin; and most viewers have no trouble believing him capable of it. Still, he's intelligent, relatively-harmless looking, and reasonably attractive, and the fandom will ship him with anyone: Sherlock, John, poor Molly (though there is some in-canon justification for that), Mycroft, Irene, and especially his right-hand man Sebastian Moran from the original ACD stories, who has yet to even appear in the BBC version.
  • Supernatural:
    • Fangirls give a number of villains the Leather Pants treatment. Lucifer is probably the least deserving character who has earned this treatment, but Crowley, Balthazar, and Gabriel have done a lot of sociopathic things.
    • Lately, Evil!Castiel has been getting this treatment, as has Dick Roman for some reason. Dick is probably even less deserving of leather pants than Lucifer. His name even tells you how much of a horrible person he is!
    • Amy Pond, the Kitsune from "The Girl Next Door" murdered at least four people and lied to the heroes. Some fans tend to overlook this due to the fact that she was a Girl of the Week for Sam, specifically targeted Asshole Victims, and had a sympathetic motive (she needed live brains to cure her sick son) for doing so. The fact that she was played by Jewel Staite probably didn't hurt, either. So when Dean killed her, much debate ensued both in-universe and amongst the fandom as to whether he had done the right thing or not. After much angst, the show decided that he did, but the subject remains a sore spot for the fandom to this day. However, in Real Life, a mother who had done what Amy did for the same reasons would not be let off the hook for it.
  • Beverly Hills 90210 has Kelly Taylor, who could be the page image for Broken Base. Some see her as The Scrappy, others are fans of her but identify that she's a Troubled, but Cute flawed human being with reasons for why she turned out how she did, and then there's the third category, every mean comment she makes, every bad thing she does, anything she does is justified to them by her Freudian Excuse. And woe be unto any character (or fan) who says anything bad about her, they end up a permanent Ron the Death Eater. Some fans even do this with the actress, Jennie Garth in a weird inversion of X-Pac Heat, which is actually easier to do than with Kelly because Jennie Garth is a very sweet person in real life, it only gets ridiculous when people start calling her twitter updates a "life changing experience".
  • Tony DiNozzo from NCIS. He's a good person deep down and isn't by no definition, an actual villain, but his beyond-reason fans have no problem excusing/blindly accepting his moments of nosiness, obnoxiousness, sexism, rudeness, occasional self-serving, and some of his cruel taunts/pranks, because of his dysfunctional childhood and daddy issues, his good looks, and sense of humor, but watch them foam at the mouth and unleash hell when other characters (especially McGee or Ziva) give him a dose of his own medicine (taunting and/or playing a prank on him). And don't hold out hope on these fans recognizing what they're saying, because they'll just argue until Judgment Day why Tony gets and should get a pass for his behavior while other characters don't and shouldn't.
  • Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant from Scandal. No matter what he does to his self-professed true love, Olivia, his wife Mellie, or any other character, many fangirls will band together and be united in their cause to defend him, wave off his actions as forgivable because he is such as a sad, repressed, and confused man who just wants to be with the love of his life, but Life and other people just keep getting in his way.
  • Cold Case has oneshot villains Cameron Coulter and Neal Hanlon, because apparently getting picked on and working dead-end jobs at the mall justifies messily slaughtering everyone there whether they were involved or not, including children.
  • Walter White from Breaking Bad still retains a hardcore fanbase who still sees him as an unambiguous hero, when the entire point of the show is seeing him do a long, gradual Face-Heel Turn. To some, this involves wanting to murder the actress who plays his wife.
  • Jay from The Inbetweeners is more often than not seen as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and Woobie by the fans, though in the actual series, he is usually a full-blown Jerkass (with a very few Pet the Dog moments). He is also a compulsive liar and a coward. However, his selfishness and especially lies are so over-the-top and Played for Laughs that you will be more busy laughing at him than hating him, which may be why he has become this trope (and the fact that he is at least more amiable than the series' main "villain", Donovan). The woobie thing comes from how he may have a Freudian Excuse: That his father is constantly picking on him. But we don't know if he started to act unbearably and attention-whoreishly because his dad treats him like that, or if he has always been like that and his dad just tries to bring him down to earth. At any rate, Jay is amusing, but he isn't a guy most people would want to hang out with in Real Life.
  • An in-universe example on Frasier. Martin and the boys talk about Hester as if she were a saint, but from what we know about her: She cheated on Martin at least once, she egged on the rivalry between Frasier and Niles that continues to affect them in adulthood and that's not even counting her manipulative, shrewish behaviour on Cheers. On the other hand, they wouldn't exactly be the first grieving sons/husbands to ever decide to Never Speak Ill of the Dead when it comes to a deceased and clearly much-loved-and-loving-despite-her-flaws mother/wife, so this is perhaps understandable.
  • Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries has a very vocal fanbase despite the fact that he is a rapist, serial killer and unapologetic jerk.
    • Klaus Mikaelson fits the bill as well.
    • With this show, it helps that after a while no one's hands are clean, so your favorite characters are less about any kind of morality than who's more fun to watch.
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