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Hypocrite: Live-Action TV

General Examples

Specific Examples

  • All My Children: In 1997, Erica Kane kidnapped Maria Santos' baby out of vengeance (she believed the child was the result of an adulterous fling between Maria and her husband Dimitri) before finally returning her out of remorse and guilt. Already a demonstration of Erica's hypocrisy—many of Erica's relationships, including that with Dimitri, consisted of her being the other woman and/or cheating on her husband/boyfriend—Erica conveniently forgot what she did to Maria when she repeatedly blasted Babe for doing the same thing to her daughter Bianca.
  • Ally McBeal / The Practice: In a two-part crossover episode, one of Cage & Fish's clients is arrested for murder. Deciding that the case is out of their firm's league, John Cage enlists the help of Bobby Donnell and his firm. However, after seeing how wacky the Cage & Fish lawyers are, Bobby secretly goes to the client and advises her to discharge Cage & Fish and hire Bobby's firm as her sole representation. When Bobby asks the client to trust him, she raises an eyebrow and points out that Bobby is asking her to trust him at the same time that he is betraying somebody else's trust. Bobby has no real response to this, and later goes to Cage & Fish and admits what he'd done.
  • Angel: The Scourge are an organization of demons dedicated to wiping out other demons who are part human. However, pure blood demons are at least 60 feet tall, not even remotely human looking, and are known to have possessed abilities like soul-eating, time manipulation, interdimensional portal opening, and plant speaking. Whereas the Scourge pretty much look like humans with skin nailed to their faces, and demonstrated maybe slight super strength. Seeing as they're all the same race, it appears as though they arbitrarily decided that their race were true demons and went after demons known to be Half-Human Hybrids. If the Old Ones ever did show up the Scourge would undoubtedly have found themselves lumped in with all the rest.
    • However, the Beacon, a weapon that caused anything with any trace of human DNA to disintegrate, didn't effect them.
  • Arrow: A recurring element of Oliver Queen's character. He criticizes Thea for her partying despite having done the same thing himself, and she at least has the excuse of acting out after the apparent death of her father and brother, while he was just young, rich, and stupid. His attempt to tell Helena what she's doing is wrong fails utterly because they're both murderous vigilantes, and he was actually going to kill the same man she killed for the same reason (In Season 2 after adopting Thou Shalt Not Kill he tries again with a little more success, as he actually has a leg to stand on that time). He's furious at Moira for not telling him about Thea's real father, but not only is he keeping much more dangerous secrets from his family, but he doesn't tell Thea either, even though she arguably has a much greater right to know than he does.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined):
    • The Cylons have the distinction of being one of many "alien"/Robot races in Sci Fi who engage in Cultural Posturing over their superiority to humanity while engaged in genocide. They got called on it a few times too, with their assertions of humans deserving extinction for being flawed, sinful and evil being refuted with "you call us evil? You committed genocide on my race!" (paraphrased). To their credit, the hypocrisy of their endeavor hits them around the end of season 2, culminating in a disastrous military occupation to "make amends" over their crimes. It helps to understand the situation that it was not their creators' intent to do so, but the result of a Psycho Prototype getting control of things. That said, in BSG Humans Are Bastards is an understatement, which goes a long way to explain why it keeps happening.
    • The Cylons are hypocrites in an even worse manner, actually. Cylons rebelled against man to punish them for their enslavement and the crimes committed against them. The humanoid Cylons promptly improved their ability to enslave Centurions and even went so far as to lobotomize their own brethren to keep them under control.
  • Lampshaded in The Big Bang Theory. Leonard complains about a co-worker and stating how his achievements aren't so impressive. Said co-worker then comes over and asks if Leonard wants to help him with a project that Leonard is completely excited over. After the co-worker walks away his friends look at him.
    Leonard: What? Haven't you ever seen a hypocrite before?
  • Big Brother 12 has Hayden and Kristen. They thought it was bad that Brendan and Rachel were in a relationship, but they thought it was okay for them to be in one.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy, dear god, Buffy.
    • Willow as well.
    • Or Xander for that matter. This is the guy who stuck it in Buffy's face how angry he was at her for withholding information after the gang discovered she'd been hiding a recently revived Angel, even though he infamously lied to her about Willow's message at the end of the previous season.
    • Glory constantly goes on about how much she hates being human and considers human things beneath her, and yet she adores silk and has quite the shoe collection.
    • Twilight (aka Angel) is trying to bring about the end of magic, but employs several witches, wizards and demons alongside the military to do so. This is pointed out by one of the soldiers under his command. There is a reason for this. Angel is bringing all of the Slayer Organization's enemies together to slow them down and take them out.
    • Simone blames Buffy for all the Slayers killed during the Twilight crisis, but is feeding her own loyal Slayers to Zompires, trying to find a way for them to be turned but still have their mind so she can become one and kill Buffy.
  • Charmed:
    • The sisters, especially Phoebe, towards Cole. She and her sisters turn evil because of some magical factor or some manipulation of their powers, it's just a Halliwell thing. The love of her life turns evil because of some magical factor or some manipulation of his powers, she's contemplating his murder. Seen at least twice.
    • And then there's the thing about whether powers can be inherently good or evil or not. One second the sisters are reassuring a young boy whose power is basically being groomed to be used for the Source that powers have no inherent morality and it's just what you do with them. The next they're mistrusting Cole for his demonic half, and after his possession by the Source, which truly burned Cole more than anyone else, they're downright detesting and fearing Cole, to the point Phoebe pretty much desensitizes herself to him, for the simple fact of his having demonic powers. This only serves to expedite his Sanity Slippage, to the point some fans see his character as little else but Phoebe's Yandere and some others decided in disgust that the show had jumped the shark.
      • In 'The Witch is Back' Melinda Warren explicitly states that the power of 'blinking' (basically teleportation) that the bad guy of the episode has, was stolen from another witch. Then, in 'Bride and Gloom', Piper claims that blinking is something only the evil guys do. Warlocks are outright stated to be known for stealing witches' powers, so if anything, there should be no such thing as evil powers at all, only good powers that were stolen.
    • Their tendency to assume anyone acting as the antagonist is evil gets wonderfully lampshaded by the Angel of Death, who points out to Prue that some supernatural entities aren't good or evil, they just are.
    • You know how Prue was quick to speculate that Cole was playing Phoebe into a trap after finding out he was Belthazor and never really trusted him since? Turns out she was the one who felt Phoebe and Cole's love for each other and convinced Phoebe to get with him about a month earlier while she was cursed with a massive dose of empathy.
    • In "Wrestling with Demons," Prue finds out Cole is still alive. She constantly criticizes Phoebe for lying to her and for supposedly risking them all, as well as refuses to listen that the half-human demon could have any good in him. However, in the earlier "When Bad Warlocks Go Good," Prue risked everything to help a half-human Warlock because she sensed good in him. Not to mention how this is the episode where Prue is actively trying to save an ex-boyfriend (who never appears in the series again) from a contract with a demonic trainer while he's only one kill away from becoming a full demon. Unlike the other examples here, Prue is called on this hypocrisy by Phoebe (obviously well-before her own hypocrisy became evident).
      • Although it's later hinted in the final scene of the same episode that Prue was more angry by Phoebe's lying about vanquishing Cole than the non-vanquish itself.
    • Another Prue one, this overlapping with Protagonist Centred Morality. In "Sleuthing With The Enemy" she stops a demon from torturing an innocent for information and gives a big speech on how there are other options. Two episodes earlier she tortured a demon for information without a second thought - rather than use a truth spell or other options.
    • Throughout Season 5, the sisters blamed Cole for becoming the Source. This despite the fact that he was possessed against his will, in the process of saving their lives from the previous Source, was fighting against the possession the entire time, suffered more than anyone else and ultimately died from the entire ordeal, and would have given up the Source's powers if Phoebe hadn't vanquished the wizard who was going to receive the Source's powers, all specifically to force Cole into staying the Source. Predictably, Phoebe never bothered to acknowledge that she was the one who forced Cole to stay the Source.
    • In the second episode of Season 5, Cole decided to pack up and leave after Phoebe rejected him. However, Paige browbeated him into staying to help save Phoebe by casting a spell that forced him to feel Phoebe's love for him, which ended up convincing him to stay for good. In both Seasons 4 and 5, Paige is even more vehemently against Cole than Prue ever was and repeatedly tries to vanquish him or help Phoebe vanquish him, despite that he was going to leave peacefully before she cast that spell.
    • How about the girl who felt herself get executed in an alternate future timeline where she used her powers for vengeance against a human being and came back realizing before her older sisters that everything that led up to that execution started with the spiteful use of magic to punish a man for his dog's defecation, being the same girl who years later was met at gunpoint by a mortal she used to be friends with in high school and could've easily told her younger sister to orb the freaking gun away so they could subdue him but instead had said younger sister glamour him into their future nephew so he could get killed by demons? Easily goes under both this, Took a Level in Jerkass, and crosses the Moral Event Horizon. All at once.
      • Additionally, remember the example from "Sam I Am." Phoebe condemned Cole for killing those two criminals in the bar, who threatened to rob it and then shot up the place. Phoebe certainly didn't think he was in the right. She went as far to threaten to vanquish Cole over that - which makes this later event more suspicious.
      • When Charmed Ones were put on trial for revealing the existence of magic to the world, prosecuting Barbas brought up those two criminals and argued that it was Phoebe's fault for driving Cole to this. Strawman Has a Point, indeed.
    • Likewise in "Sam I Am", Phoebe starts complaining that Cole hadn't contacted her in a few weeks, before immediately jumping to the conclusion that this means he clearly must be up to something evil! Do you want him to leave you alone or not?!
    • In "Soul Survivor", Paige decides that individuals who have decided to sell their souls for wealth and power, will full knowledge that this will come at the expense of causing misery and suffering to others, are still considered Innocent. This is despite this making the "victims", actually very little from the villain of the episode, who trades these ill-gotten souls to increase his own wealth and power!
  • Community:
    • In the episode Basic Genealogy Amber points out that Pierce is a hypocrite for saying who she can and can't have a relationship while having left Amber's mother for another women himself.
    • Both Britta Perry and Shirley Bennett are the two more self-righteous members of the study group, Britta because she's the liberal Soapbox Sadie Granola Girl and Shirley because she's the saccharine sweet Holier Than Thou born-again Christian. While both are ultimately likeable and sympathetic people regardless, over the course of the series it's made quite clear that there's often a gulf between their perceptions of themselves and who they really are, and that both tend to use their respective beliefs more as a way of feeling superior over others than any other reason.
  • CSI:
    • A suicide cult leader is found murdered outside the compound with his dead followers inside. It turns out that he was a con man, and that this was not his first suicide cult. He was murdered by a devoted follower when she discovered him loading up the cult's collected possessions in preparation for fleeing. He'd planned to simply drug the followers so they'd wake up in the morning, but the follower went all the way but lacked the conviction to kill herself.
    • In another episode we see a pimp giving a speech about breaking the bonds of slavery, where in the same episode the prostitutes are kidnapped, raped, emotionally and physically abused, branded as cattle, traded and "cattle rustled" and then either killed or thrown out on the street with no means to support themselves.
  • Degrassi The Next Generation: Emma Nelson has done so many hypocritical things during her years on the show that she could be the Trope Namer.
  • In the Doctor Who serial "The Daemons", the Brigadier says he's planning to blast his way through a forcefield. Jo criticizes him for always thinking of blowing things up. The Doctor then berates Jo for not showing the Brigadier due respect - even though he's always saying the exact same thing.
    • In Journey's End, Davros plans to obliterate the whole cosmos with a reality bomb. At the end of the story, when the Daleks are all being destroyed, Davros blames the Doctor and brands him "The Destroyer of Worlds", which really just makes Davros look like a sore loser.
  • ER: Kerry Weaver and Mark Greene, who frequently made people's lives hell if they even thought about bending or breaking the rules, yet never had any problem bending or breaking the rules themselves. Kerry also made people's lives hell for the slightest of screw-ups, making sure that they were punished as severely as possible, yet almost always acted as if her own screw-ups were no big deal and did everything she could to avoid being reprimanded.
    • Mark's first wife as well, who was guilty of everything that she always gave him grief about—being unsupportive, being unwilling to compromise—and was cheating on him the entire time she was complaining about his friendship with another woman.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond:
    • The same point could just as easily be made about the wife from ELR, Debra. An example: during the Italy episode, a couple of men start flirting with Debra and making kissy noises and she is clearly enjoying it, as she stands there giggling, smiling back at them, and tries to strike up a conversation. When her husband Ray (quite rightly) gets upset and hurries her away from the men (as she turns back and waves goodbye to them), Debra chews him out and makes Ray out to be the bad guy. Then in another episode, Ray is at the airport when an attractive woman tries to flirt with him, but as soon as Ray realizes what's going on, he quickly informs her that he's married and sends her away, out of loyalty to Debra.....but when Debra finds out what happened, she goes into jealous banshee mode and decides to punish him anyway, and throws Ray's clothes out the window...even though Ray did the right thing (y'know, the thing that she herself was unwilling to do in Italy'). The moral of the story: When Debra disrespects Ray by soaking in flirts from other men, and he gets upset...he's somehow in the wrong; and when Ray gets hit on by another woman but rejects her out of respect for Debra...Ray is still somehow wrong. Debra apparently has the right to feel jealous and take any revenge she likes, but if Ray ever feels jealous then he's a horrible, horrible person who needs to sit back and let Debra have her fun. Definitely serves as an example of Debra's Mary Sue status on ELR (as well as of Ray's Informed Wrongness).
    • The way Debra treats Raymond throughout the course of this show could turn the show's very name into an example of hypocrisy.
  • Friends:
    • On a third-season episode, Carol expresses disapproval when she finds out that Ross cheated on Rachel (although Ross insisted that it wasn't cheating because they were "on a break" at the time). This, despite the fact that Carol actually slept with Susan while she was still married to Ross. Nobody, not even Ross, seemed to find it hypocritical that Carol was taking Ross to task for doing something that she had previously done to him.
      • Actually, Ross does call her on this, quite beautifully in fact:
    Carol: I can't believe you slept with another woman.
    Ross: You're one to talk.
    • Rachel in many episodes. She dumps Ross for sleeping with someone else while they were on her poorly defined 'break', (which he fairly enough thought was a break up). When he gets a new girlfriend, she kisses him and tries to have sex with him.
    • When Kathy is appalled that Chandler thinks she's cheating on him with her co-star Nick, he replies that it's logical for him to think that given that they got together after they kissed while she was dating Joey. She's so angered by his distrust, she leaves in a huff...and promptly cheats on him with Nick.
  • General Hospital:
    • Carly Corinthos Jax. Slept with Jason for weeks without even knowing his name. Seduced her stepfather, then later cheated on him and spent nearly a year pretending that the baby she conceived that night was his when she knew there was a chance it wasn't. Cheated on her husband—she has probably never been faithful to any man that she's been married to or involved with—and tried to pull the same pregnancy stunt with ''him'. But she verbally and physically assaults any woman who dares to so much as say "hello" to a man she's interested in, branding them as a "slut" or a "tramp".
    • Sonny Corinthos also counts. A mobster, yet claims to be better than most people he despises and makes excuses for ''all'' his crimes, from his abusive childhood to his bipolar disorder and berates women if they lie or cheat, despite his history of infidelity, despite having fathered more children than anyone else on the show.
    • Brenda spent the entirety of her relationship with Sonny acting very improperly with her friend Miguel—gushing about how gorgeous and sexy he was, hanging all over him, provocatively dancing with him—but the two of them would go ballistic if Sonny so much as talked to Miguel's fiancee Lily. It was also somehow perfectly okay for Brenda and Miguel to jump into bed within days of her breaking up with Sonny, but horrible for Sonny and Lily to begin dating, even though they had the sense to take their time getting involved. The most glaring example of this hypocrisy had to be Brenda making snide comments about this—as she's sitting on Miguel' s lap, and then when the towel-clad, post Shower Of Love Brenda and Miguel reacted with disgust and anger at the sight of the fully clothed Sonny and Lily returning home from their date.
  • Glee:
    • While it isn't done on purpose, Kurt is a huge hypocrite. During the first season, he comes out of the closet and starts to get used to living as an out gay man, and he begins to assert that he was born gay, and that he can't change who he is for someone else...but at the same time, he tries to seduce Finn, who happens to be decidedly straight. Despite his own opinion that he is who he is and that that can't change, he constantly tries to get close to Finn and keeps telling Finn that girls are all catty and troublesome, and that he should go out with boys instead - in other words, he tries to turn Finn gay. The second season has Kurt act like a hypocrite as well - Despite Kurt's talks about how important LGBT rights are and gay visibility, the second that Blaine confesses that he might be bisexual, Kurt has a huge rant about how bisexuals don't exist, and how they're all "gays who are too afraid to come out completely".
    • Blaine makes a big deal of having a sexy performances for Regionals (to the point of forcing Kurt to make sexy faces in the mirror) in Season 2's episode "Sexy", yet in "Hold onto Sixteen" he slut shames Sam for suggesting that they do the same thing
  • Gossip Girl:
    • Serena. Standing there saying "My entire life I've been bending over backwards to avoid hurting your feelings!" to Blair when two years before she'd slept with her boyfriend and then abandoned her without a single word for a year while Blair's parents went through a public, traumatic divorce. And before that, Serena regularly showed up at Blair's house wasted and had to be taken care of by her.
    • Compounded as of Season 4. In S1, it took Blair two-and-a-half episodes to get over the fact that her best friend Serena had slept with her boyfriend of five years, and Serena acted like that was too long. In S4, it took Serena longer than that to forgive Blair for kissing her ex-boyfriend. Way to be worse than the Alpha Bitch, Serena. Did we mention Serena's supposed to be the nicest girl on the show?
    • The Gossip Girl character who really takes the cake is Dan Humphrey. "Humphrey levels of hypocrisy" is an actual term among the show's fandom. He's a serial cheater who judges other characters if they cheat. He's always critical and judgmental of the UES characters when they plot and scheme even though Dan himself does so every other episode. He judges the UES characters for their lifestyle yet happily lives off their money and enjoys the benefits of their riches. The list goes on and on and on... Basically, he's the guy who claims he has high morals and constantly judges the other characters when they fail to live up to those morals even though Dan himself is just as bad as the rest of them.
    • Dan Humphrey and Vanessa Abrams. They spend half their time judging the UES kids for the things they do and the other half of their time doing the exact same things as the UES kids. In season four Dan even told his sister Jenny she would be better off leaving Manhattan because she sunk to Chuck and Blair's level by scheming against them, and in the very next episode Dan himself schemed against Chuck and Blair.
  • One reason the Tritter arc was so hated in House was because Tritter was such a grade-A example of hypocrisy. His rationale for hating House, at first, is that House is a bully who always gets whatever he wants and don't care at all about the regulations of the hospital. Tritter repeatedly breaks the law trying to railroad House into a conviction, including offering deals in return for confessions and withdrawing them or coercing testimony from House's team. He's also a major bully himself and when insulted by House, returns the favor by kicking his cane.
  • iCarly: Aired the episode iStart A Fan War, which ended with a dual Author Filibuster (as it was directed against a group of in-universe fans but also aimed at the real life fandom by the writer Dan Schneider) against Shipping. The very next episode began a 5 episode romantic Shipping story arc, completely obliterating the intended message of iStart A Fan War.
  • Merlin: A deliberate and fascinating example is King Uther. After enlisting the help of a sorceress in order for his barren wife to conceive, he set about killing and terrorising everyone who practised sorcery (even those who did so for perfectly innocent reasons) even though he had no one to blame for his wife's death except himself. The real kicker is when Morgana gets sick in series 3, and he actually coerces Gaius into using magic to save her. You'd think this act of blatant hypocrisy would make him decide to ease up on the sorcerers a bit from then on, but you'd be wrong...
    • Later on in series 3, there was a sorcerer going around healing people miraculously who was Gaius's former lover. Uther wanted Gaius to see if sorcery was involved in the healings and it is implied he would have executed whoever did it. The fact that he was willing to use magic to miraculously heal Morgana is made even more hypocritical because of that in retrospect.
    • The reason he hates magic in the first place is because he made a deal with a sorceress to concieve a son with his barren wife. Furthermore, he describes his deceased wife as "my soul" and yet we later find out that he had an affair with his best friend's wife, and that (as he says to his son) "I know about the temptations of serving girls."
  • Noah's Arc: A notable example is when Noah enters a sex party to try and find Ricky, and a guy tries to aggressively flirt with him. Malik immediately steps in and tell him to back off, and that no means no. He then immediately proceeds to flirt with Noah even more aggressively, as Noah says no.
  • The Office (US): Angela has a habit of calling out people for their faults and failing to see them in herself. Most notoriously, cheating on both Andy when she was engaged to him, and then later the senator, but then trying to take a hit out on Oscar upon finding out he and the senator were having an affair.
  • Pawn Stars:
    • Pretty much everyone is guilty.
    • It usually involves someone calling another out for buying something without getting it checked out something pretty much everyone is guilty of doing.
    • Corey once bought a Samurai sword. His sword expert was gone so he bought it as cheaply as possible. It ended up paying off, but not before being chewed out by everyone else.
    • Rick once bought a book signed by Shoeless Joe Jackson for $13,000 it ended up being fake and Corey wouldn't let Rick live it down.
    • Another example involves someone treating the shop as their personal store.
    • Rick once bought a incurable, a book printed in the first 50 years of the invention of the printing press. Naturally he wanted it and was going to keep it for himself after paying the middleman brice instead of the buyers price Corey calls him out and makes him pay about $1500 more than what the shop payed for it.
    • After buying a classic car Rick has a buyer lined up only to find Corey has taken it for a joy ride. Corey lampshades this trope saying that if someone were to go to any one of their houses they's find a bunch of stuff that belongs to the store.
  • Revolution:
    • The preacher Nicholas in episode 3, for all his preaching, condemns Miles to death the instant he finds out that Miles is one of the founders of the Monroe Republic. This could be taken as an indication of the Crapsack World the characters live in, because anybody who tries to be a good person in such a world is doomed to be this. Charlie, ironically enough, proved to be more forgiving than the preacher on the matter!
    • Rachel is definitely this by episode 18. She accuses Miles of being the "Butcher of Baltimore", even though her invention is responsible for the butchering of billions. In fact, she could have tried to turn the power back on at any time, but she was more content to sit on her rear and do nothing. She shot a hungry man for trying to steal food from her family in episode 2, but she turns around and steals food out of hunger, and she shoots the man who confronts her and tries to shoot her over that in episode 16. She wanted to keep her ill son Danny alive and went to extremes to ensure his survival in episode 7, but when she comes across another ill boy, she decides to just leave him to die without even trying to save him in episode 17. She urges Aaron to leave her behind when her leg gets broken, but the minute he saves her life thanks to his hard work, she repays it by threatening to abandon Aaron if he doesn't help her get revenge on Monroe, and stating that nothing else matters to her now that Danny is dead. This trope is a big reason she is The Scrappy.
  • Robin Hood:
    • One of the main reasons why Kate was so hated. She would complain loudly whenever Allan or Much went out of their way to save her life, at one stage yelling at them: "I'm sick of you two trying to protect me! You have to concentrate on the mission!" Yet in the very next episode, she interrupts not one but two missions in order to pursue her romantic interest in Robin, first by bestowing a Forceful Kiss on him, and later by asking Much to act as a proxy for getting her and Robin together. Much is so upset by this that he's distracted during combat and loses the treasure that the outlaws were trying to steal. So it's not okay for Much or Allan to endanger missions in order to bail Kate out of trouble, but it's perfectly fine for Kate to do so just because she has the hots for Robin.
    • There's also the fact that her Clingy Jealous Girl personality makes her immediately dislike Isabella and insist that she's not trustworthy, when in her first appearance Kate deliberately betrayed Robin in order to secure the safety of her brother. To make matters worse, Isabella was fully on the outlaws' side until Robin breaks up with her on Kate's insistence that he shouldn't trust her.
  • The Secret Circle: Eben, leader of the witch hunters, employs a witch thought to be a former member of the old Circle, but it's actually Nick and kills witches with magic even when they're defenseless.
  • Smallville: The worst example has to be Lex Luthor (which is actually intentional, since this is one of Lex's defining attributes in the comics), who constantly bitches about Clark keeping his secret from him, while simultaneously keeping an army of skeletons (all of them far, far darker than Clark's) in his own closet.
    • Lana complains constantly about Clark and Lex hiding things from her, but the minute she has a secret (the black spaceship, the fact that Lex is still alive, etc.), she goes out of her way to hide it from Clark.
      • Which also makes her Too Dumb to Live, since in those situations Clark is probably the first person she should be talking to, as he actually has a proven track record of saving her from these situations.
    • In "Nocturne," Clark peevishly comments that Lana's Secret Admirer sounds like a stalker. This, from Mr. Peeping Telescope. The characters point this out in-universe.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand:
    • Crixus. When Spartacus attempts a (probably suicidal) solo attempt to assassinate Glaber, the man ultimately responsible for Spartacus' enslavement and the death of his wife, Crixus intervenes. He chastises Spartacus for trying to kill a praetor, an act that would surely provoke a severe reaction from Rome and endanger their group. Crixus then proceeds to drag them all along raiding the villas of Roman aristocrats in order to seek information about the whereabouts of his own lover Naevia. This naturally causes the Senate to demand that action be taken to crush the rebel slaves (ironically assigning Glaber to the task).
    • Upon discovering that Naevia has been sent to the mines, Crixus leads his followers among the rebels on a Suicide Mission to rescue her. Most of them do indeed get killed.
    • Crixus, who always insisted that the Gauls were his men, not Spartacus', is angry and tries to inspire mistrust in Spartacus when Agron opts to liberate a group of German warriors to swell the depleted ranks of the rebels. Never mind that their ranks were running low because Crixus got so many of them killed in his quest to rescue Naevia and he never showed even the slightest remorse about the high cost in lives her rescue entailed. But he treats Agron's recruitment of the Germans as a selfish power play and tries to convince Spartacus of this.
    • It gets even better, in the final season Crixus splits the rebel forces and leads an army to Rome's doorstep. Crixus' final mistake.
  • Star Trek: Vulcans blame humans for being so emotional and illogical, yet, as demonstrated in episodes like "Amok Time" and "Take Me Out to the Holosuite", there is nothing logical about their own contempt for humans.
    • Klingons are brave and honourable. Except when they're not. Later seasons of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine made it very clear that "honour" among Klingons was the exception rather than the rule: most of them were nothing more than thugs or bullies, many of them were deceitful and treacherous, their leadership was riddled with corruption and they were more than happy to cover up acts of extreme dishonour out of political expediency. We can only hope that Martok made some significant changes.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Captain Picard is thoroughly appalled when a scientist seeking vengeance against the Crystalline Entity uses the Enterprise to kill it with a continuous graviton pulse. He notes that communication between the Entity and humanoids was possible and they may have been able to negotiate with it, but didn't seem to want to extend this courtesy to the parasite queen in "Conspiracy", who he destroyed while displaying as much or more disgust. Keep in mind that the Crystalline Entity destroyed two entire planets that we know of, while the extent of the parasite invasion only seemed to affect a few dozen or so people.
    • Troi gets called out on her hypocritical attitude regarding use of betazoid empathy during the third season episode The Price by her love interest of the week, Ral. When she complains to him about his use of empathic abilities to gain an advantage at the negotiation table, he flatly points out that people have done such things for thousands of years without anyone calling foul while he simply happens to be slightly better at it. He then goes on to point out the real hypocrisy as he sees it: Troi uses her empathic abilities every bit as much to aid her 'client:' the crew, the captain and Starfleet, often at the expense of whatever opponent they're dealing with at the moment. As Ral states, the difference between them is that when Troi manipulates and spies on the opposition without their knowledge or consent, people very well might die rather than simply fail to acquire some property. Troi's arguments are supported however, by the implication that Ral is directly influencing his opposition during the negotiations, and using his empathy to manipulate them into dropping out of the race entirely.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • The Cardassians led a brutal occupation of Bajor, and are later themselves occupied by the Dominion. It leads to this exchange between Damar (a Cardassian) and Kira (a Bajoran) when Damar learns the Dominion has executed his family:
    Damar: To kill her and my son... the casual brutality of it... the waste of life. What kind of state tolerates the murder of innocent women and children? What kind of people give those orders?
    Kira: Yeah, Damar, what kind of people give those orders?
    • Doubly hypocritical given Damar himself has casually murdered an unarmed woman (Ziyal). She might, by her own admission, have been an enemy of the state, but at the time she was no threat and could have easily been subdued.
    • Notably, this is actually part of his character development. Damar toed the line under Dukat and the Dominion, slowly being driven to rebel after seeing his people be pushed to the sidelines and sacrificed needlessly. It is this quote which helps him to realize what Cardassia was, and why it needs to change.
    • Gul Dukat became a leader of a Pah-Wraith cult, and tried to lead them in a mass-suicide. While holding their suicide pills, Kira tried to stop them and bumped into Dukat and the pill he was holding became scattered with a few hundred others. The cult got Kira under control but Dukat was frantically looking for the pill he had. Everyone realized that his pill was a fake; he wasn't planning on committing suicide at all. Needless to say, his influence on the cult fell apart pretty quickly.
      • Though one cultist did take the pill anyway even after Dukat's lies had been exposed. Dukat claimed that the Pah-Wraith's had told him to take a fake pill and get everyone else to kill themselves, and the cultist in question decided to believe him, even if he didn't seem to like it. It should be noted, also, that this might not be hypocrisy at all- the Pah-Wraiths are essentially the Legions of Hell, posing to the cult as misblamed fallen angels when in actually they are Omnicidal Maniacs- it is strongly implied that they really ''did' order him that which would mean he isn't actually a hypocrite (in this particular instance, at least).
  • Star Trek: Enterprise:
    • Archer's actions in "Fortunate Son" where he tirades against Ryan for seeking revenge against pirates who have repeatedly attacked his ship and nearly fatally injured one of his crew, compared to "Silent Enemy" where Archer seeks revenge against unknown aliens who have repeatedly attacked his ship and nearly fatally injured one of his crew. Bad enough already, but the latter takes place only two episodes later!
    • On a more broad scale, Archer is always advocating open-mindedness and embracing other lifeforms, and yet as the series goes on, we find that he falls into the occasional habit of being suspicious, paranoid and almost hostile upon first contact with truly alien forms of life or humanoids that are very different from the human norm for absolutely no good reason (except maybe his "feelings"), while he is warm, welcoming and forgiving to more familiar humanoids for the exact same lack of reasoning. Sometimes his paranoia ends up being justified. He really edges onto What Measure Is a Non-Human? in his interspecies treatment.
    • Hoshi also falls into the same trap in "Exile" - when a telepathic alien appeals to her and assumes a very human shape, she is eager to meet him and have him help them out, but when she finds out that he is a far less handsome and more alien humanoid, she becomes outright hostile and cold, despite how kind and compassionate the alien is.
    • In "The Breach", Phlox points out that Denobulan Medical Ethics prevent him from treating someone who does not want to be treated and that he must respect his patients wishes, even if they lead to their death. Which makes his actions in "Dear Doctor" even more shocking in retrospect, since the Valakians most certainly did want to be treated!
    • Purposefully invoked and deconstructed in "Damage", where Archer realises that in order to reach Azati Prime in time to prevent the Xindi from destroying Earth, he must engage in piracy and steal a replacement warp coil from the Illyrians. In other words, become no different from the Osaarian pirates from "Anomaly" that he so despised.
    • John Paxton, the leader of the xenophobic Earth organization Terra Prime. He had unwavering dedication to his cause, and was willing to scorch half of San Francisco to make his demands known. Considering this was after a devastating alien attack, their concerns about an alien alliance had some validity. T'Pol deduced from a trembling hand that Paxton had a genetic disorder, one that should have killed him when he was a teenager, but didn't because of "freely given" alien medical technology. Paxton will only admit that he's not the first leader to fail to live up to the standard of an idol (in his case, a mass murderer from Earth's post WW 3 period), and refuses to back down. This fact exposed him as a man who was just racist.
  • Supernatural:
    • In Season 5, Family is a major theme with the Winchester brothers choosing family over God, good, evil and everything else contrary to brothers Michael and Lucifer who want to duke it out to determine who controls the Earth. Proving the importance of family was what God was going for the whole time. Never mind God's blatant favoritism of Lucifer, later humanity, and abandonment of his own "children" the angels are the source of most of the problems throughout the latter half of the series. Michael is forced to choose between his brother Lucifer and father God. Lucifer values his siblings the angles, but is disgusted with his Father favoring humans. God himself is often said by the main characters to just be another deadbeat father with a list of excuses.
    • There's also the case of Adam, the Winchester's half brother, who fell into the void with Michael, Lucifer, and Sam. Sam's soulless body was quickly retrieved, and Dean made a deal with Death to save their souls, who offered him the choice of saving either Sam or Adam from the infinite torments of the frustrated Michael and Lucifer. He picked Sam, and then apparently neither of them thought about Adam ever again. Way to focus on family there.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Elena tries to convince Anna and Jeremy to stop seeing each other by arguing that she can't age or have children and so their relationship can't have a future ( Anna's a ghost, so there are other arguments she could have made, but those are the ones she went with). She then immediately returns to work on getting her eternally 17 vampire boyfriend back. To make things worse, Elena explicitly doesn't want to become a vampire, while Jeremy has previously been open to it, making the immortality issue more of an issue for her.
  • 24: Andre Drazen tells Ira Gaines "when plan A fails, you move onto plan B. You don't do plan A recycled". What is the Drazens' plan for assassinating David Palmer later on if not "plan A recycled"?

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