"You are a sniveling little suck-up sellout full of sufferin' succotash, son!"This character type appears in child-friendly works. They are supposed to be a supreme badass, but are unfortunately hampered by their target audience. They are as much John McClane as can be squeezed by the censors, and they are often much tougher than their companions. Still, they are usually not allowed to smoke, drink, bed numerous people, swear, or do too much fighting or killing, and that is quite a list of hurdles to making them a rough-edged Mister Falcon. Expect huge amounts of Gosh Dang It to Heck! and Never Say "Die", although they will use the worst euphemisms they can get away with and "curse" more often than their companions. Their favorite phrases are "kick some butt/tail" and "Shoot!" For some reason, this type of character tends to be Totally Radical. The Badbutt tends to use Family-Friendly Firearms. When they are wielding a sword, expect plenty of the Inverse Law of Sharpness and Accuracy. Expect them to sound like Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cagney, Joe Pesci, or one of many other "tough-guy" actors. (Occasionally it will be the genuine article, but more often they'll have a different voice actor do an impersonation.) Not to be confused with a Badass character who happens to be from a kids' show, movie, etc. (e.g. the cast of the Star Wars: Clone Wars shorts). Has nothing to do with Gasshole. Compare Clueless Aesop, another trope where being kid-friendly can get in the way. Rule-Abiding Rebel is when a character doesn't even try to come off as this. Rated G for Gangsta is when a genuinely edgy public figure turns themselves into one of these for marketing reasons. This character may also use Parenthetical Swearing and/or Unusual Euphemisms.
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Anime & Manga
- Seto Kaiba in the 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh!! suffered this, or at least to the degree that someone who plays children's card games can be badass. The heavy censorship in the show prevented him from beating people with his apparent martial arts skill or jamming guns with a card tossed in the air (among other non-gaming related badass deeds).
- Most, if not all serious characters of the Pokémon anime. List includes Giovanni, Cyrus, Hunter J, the Iron-Masked Marauder, Lawrence III, as well as Ash's rival Paul (to an extent).
- Mister Stuart in Sonic X. He is the teacher of Chris who can give a group of agents a beating. This was cut out by 4kids, but the Mister Stuart in the Japanese Version is an all-around badass.
- Whenever Marvel Comics does a family friendly book featuring Wolverine (such as Wolverine: First Class) readers are treated to the sight of a berserker with foot-long, razor sharp, metal claws that never sheds any blood. This is usually accomplished by having him only use his claws on inanimate objects like doors and cars, and punching living creatures instead (how robots fare depends on how family-friendly the book is supposed to be — i.e. "all ages" or "for kids only" — and how human-like the robots are). Having Wolverine constantly retract his claws during combat does have the side effect of allowing them to have Wolverine constantly extend his claws, which is his equivalent of dramatically cocking a gun. Wolverine also never drinks or smokes in "family friendly" books, though he rarely smokes in regular comics anymore these days either.
- Nova — sure, he can get quite violent with his powers (and there was that time he killed Annihilus by reaching down his throat and ripping his internal organs out), but it's acknowledged and even lampshaded that he hates swearing and doesn't seem to like smoking or drinking either.
Films — Animated
- In The LEGO Movie:
- Cranked Up to Eleven and Played for Laughs with Batman, as he desperately wants to be seen as a Darker and Edgier angsty, brooding figure but just comes off as trying way too hard. Justified in that the story is being told by an 8-and-a-half year old boy who is engaging in his play at home, and this depiction of Batman is likely based on his immature idea of what a real badass is like.
- Bad Cop is closer to an actual badass as the tough as nails Dragon to Lord Business, and yet he never uses anything worse than "Darn, darn, darny darn!" when voicing his frustrations at not being able to catch the heroes. Justified for similar reasons as Batman: he's played by an eight-year old who probably hit upon real badassery by accident while trying to make Bad Cop a legitimate threat to the heroes, but the kid still can't swear.
Films — Live-Action
- The Moopets from The Muppets. They're presented as seedy, lowlife thug types, but don't drink, smoke or swear (although we do see Miss Poogy sharpening a knife at one point, for unknown purposes).
- Courageous is an interesting example in that being a Christian film, the cops are often shown doing pretty spectacular things (even with both stun-guns and real bullet-guns), minus the profanity and the smoking, drinking, etc. Except at the picnic where they do drink, just responsibly.
- Kelly Leak in the remake of The Bad News Bears somewhat comes off as this, despite the movie being PG-13. In the original film he smoked cigarettes, drove a motorcycle, and initially bullied some of the Bears. In the remake, however, he doesn't smoke, doesn't really have much of a bad attitude towards anybody except his former coach, that which is understandable, and his motorcycle is even replaced with a dirtbike.
- Latin American dubs of North American movies tend to turn out this way because those countries have stricter censorship standards than the United States or Canada when it comes to profanity. The Spanish-language dubs can't have the characters blurting "Jesus Christ" whenever they get flustered— partly because of the strongly Catholic culture of those countries, and partly because it's just not a common idiom in Spanish. Instead you'll hear really bad dudes shouting "Cielos!" ("Good heavens!") Even "Jiminy Christmas!" sounds too close to the real thing for some Latin American censors, and tends to be replaced with something even more absurd.
- Machete in the Spy Kids movies was about as badass as Danny Trejo could be allowed to be with the PG rating. This was later turned around, though, once Robert Rodriguez gave Machete his own, very R-rated movie, where he was very much not this trope.
- The T-Birds from both Grease and Grease 2 come off as this somewhat. They smoke and drink, but in general act more like arrogant bully wannabes than actual tough guys. The most violence committed is the shoving match at the dance in the first movie and the T-Birds ''throwing pies '' at the Scorpions at the carnival. The only blood drawn in either movie is Frenchy piercing Sandy's ear.
- Leeroy Brown in Crocodile Dundee II. He has a reputation at the community bar for his tough-guy demeanor and for selling what the bartender maintains is illicit substances. Turns out the "heavy shit" he regularly sells is nothing worse than simple office supplies, and his gangsteresque persona is just an act to live up to the pop cultural reputation of his name. However, he does have connections with genuine tough guys who he enlists to help Mick rescue Sue.
Live Action TV
- Dean Moriarity on Wizards of Waverly Place wears a leather jacket, kisses lots of girls, and is a temporary tattoo artist. Real badass there.
- On the other hand, he gets eaten. Off-screen. For hitting on Alex. Not badass for him, but Disney was clearly not worried about "bad messages".
- The Fonz from Happy Days started out as a tough guy, but grew into this after he became a Breakout Character.
- Much talk was made of how Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World was such a badass in high school, but this was ultimately a kid who didn't lose his virginity until well into college, never smoked or did drugs, and got drunk like twice in his life.
- Most Power Rangers are this. Case in point, the entire original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers team - they're described in the opening sequence as "teenagers with attitude", but generally seem to be upstanding, rule-abiding citizens. Once in a while one will prove to be an actual (but still family-friendly) badass.
- There is a Disney XD sitcom called I'm in the Band that is constructed entirely from this trope. It's kinda like Van Halen starring in Full House.
- The titular character of ABC Family's The Middleman, although it's an interesting, tongue in cheek example of the trope. He's known for colorful euphemisms to replace swears (The saltiest he's been heard saying is "Coming in hotter than the devil's wedding tackle.") and in fact admonishes his sidekick for swearing. (It's censored with the tell-tale bleep and a censor box.) He also beats information out of a mook by repeatedly hitting the guy's head against a car... while reaching for a tall, cool glass of milk. It builds healthy bones.
- Jay and his group in Degrassi were supposed to be the school's dangerous crowd of at-risk teens, but when the worst thing they did was break into a vending machine in the school, Boycott the Caf (and the rest of the fandom) dubbed them "The Candy Bandits".
- The Disney Channel Original Movie Radio Rebel is a gender inverted, Badbutt re-imagining of Pump Up the Volume.
- Ace in Doctor Who. She was intended to be much tougher than the usual companion, but she wasn't allowed to swear (leading to some quite comic Gosh Darn It to Heck! and Curse of the Ancients) and only ever seemed to use her explosives on robots or Daleks.
- Hevisaurus, a Finnish metal band for children. Scary-looking dinosaurs in leather and spikes, playing Heavy Metal, with completely kid-friendly lyrics.
- "Young, Dumb and Ugly" by "Weird Al" Yankovic:
Raisin' hell, bendin' the rules just a little
We're livin' only for thrills
We squeeze our toothpaste tubes from the middle
And wait until the last minute to pay our telephone bills!
We're livin' only for thrills
We squeeze our toothpaste tubes from the middle
And wait until the last minute to pay our telephone bills!
- G.I. Joe The Dreadnoks are very much Badbutts. Despite being described in the file cards as a biker gang that is enough of a public menace that GI Joe, a military task force, has to deal with them, instead of local, state or Federal law enforcement, the crimes in their file cards often include offenses like "Passing Stopped School Buses at High Speed", their main criminal enterprise is operating a single bootleg gas station in the Florida Everglades, and their odious personal habits include brushing their teeth with grape soda (their trademark favorite food), eating one bite out of every donut in the box and putting them back, and never changing their socks.
- Star Fox 64:
- Falco Lombardi is as hardcore as a fighter pilot in a game with an E rating can get. His favorite pastimes include kicking some tail and sarcastically calling you "Einstein".
- Wolf O'Donnell with his dramatic "What the HECK!?". Star Fox Assault and Super Smash Bros. Brawl veer him more into legit badass territory, his vocabulary doesn't get any harsher than calling people idiots or weaklings however, and Never Say "Die" is in full effect.
- Spyro the Dragon and his sidekick, Hunter, both fall into this in the original trilogy. They get away with as much attitude as the game ratings will allow. Unfortunately, lines like "You kicked their darn butts!" tend to send their lines into narm territory.
- The titular character of Sonic the Hedgehog is famous for his attitude, though everyone got to go to swearing and a large body count, especially Shadow in his game. The reactions of the characters around Sonic seem to at least acknowledge that he is kind of a dork.
- Final Fantasy VII's Cid Highwind, when in the Kingdom Hearts series. In the original game he's a chain-smoking Badass Grandpa with the filthiest mouth ever burned to a CD-ROM. In the jump to Kingdom Hearts he replaced his cigarette with a strand of grass and spends his time tending a shop instead of killing people with phallic objects.
- In Kingdom Hearts, this is inverted for Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy when they appear in the series. Although they were no stranger to violence in their early cartoons, they started being known for being harmless characters that mostly appeared in Lighter and Softer kiddie fare (the preschool show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse being the prime example). With Kingdom Hearts geared towards an older audience (but still family-friendly), the trio was effectively allowed to not only return to violence, but to act as warriors/mages and genuinely kick some ass alongside Sora. The same goes for Mickey's appearance in Epic Mickey.
- Sharla Rae Norvell, the leather-jacket-wearing rebel from the Purple Moon games, is designed to still be sympathetic, so she couldn't really be that rebellious or the parents would have complained. Her Freudian Excuse is played up, her vocabulary seems a little strained, and when she's introduced in Rockett's New School cutting class, the locker feature emphasizes that she's only pretending to smoke cigarettes.
- Many of the racers in SSX Tricky possess potent levels of attitude, but they're in an E-rated game. In particular, there's Elise, who has a tendency to shout Gosh Dang It to Heck!-isms really loudly in the habit of one vocally using more potent vocabulary.
- Red Savarin of Solatorobo is a friendly mercenary with a huge ego. He goes around with a Stock Femur Bone in his mouth, yelling "Furballs!" and kicking butts with his custom made Mini-Mecha by grabbing and throwing everything he see.
- Marvel: Contest of Champions is a T rated game that features characters from across the Marvel Universe, including several from series that are definitely not family friendly, including Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Hence when those characters appear in the game they're noticeably toned down from their live action counterparts, especially Jessica Jones, whose has by far the foulest mouth of all the major characters in her own series.
- X-Pletive from Essay Bee Comics Presents Fusion is a parody of this trope - he is a badass minister with high moral standards. He especially hates swearing. But his powers come from stimulating anger centers of his brain and the best way to get the riled up is to swear, so he swears like a drunken sailor.
- Strong Bad from Homestar Runner is part this, and part Diminishing Villain Threat. An email short, "your edge", is devoted to the subject: a fan points out that Strong Bad seems to be less edgy than he used to be, then Strong Bad counters by pointing out that time he and the Cheat walked past a deflated basketball and consciously decided not to re-inflate it, and that time they threw feathers at Strong Sad, and that time they spread mayonnaise all over cardboard boxes and waited a full half-hour before cleaning it up... "Yeah, okay, we're losing our edge." Note that Homestar Runner, while family-friendly, is mostly marketed to twentysomethings; Strong Bad's Badbutt-ery mostly comes from the fact that he pretends to be Badass when he's pretty much an average joe who isn't.
- This guy raps about being "the baddest of them all", making out with girls, and having "four hundred scars and four hundred guitars".
- The Simpsons:
- Bart was conceived as a non-badbutt version of Dennis the Menace, but edgier animated shows make him look Badbutt by comparison. This was pointed out in South Park when a Bart Expy told Cartman he once cut the head off a statue, to which Cartman replied that he once tricked a boy into eating his parents.
- Dennis himself really was a terror as far as 1950s kids go (he is often forced to sit in a corner as punishment), but the black-and-white TV series sanitized him so completely that Jay North (the actor who plays him) comes off as grating instead.
- In Spider-Man: The Animated Series poor Spidey took quite a beating due to the heavy censorship not letting him punch anyone.
- The SM:TAS take on Punisher falls under this trope. "Next time, Spider-Man... I will use lethal force!"
- They also did a Story Arc with Carnage, who (as his name sort of implies) is a superpowered Serial Killer in the original comics. Since he wasn't allowed to kill anyone in a children's cartoon show, he kind of sucked (literally, he sucked the life force out of people). However, this restriction had an In-Universe excuse - Carnage was under the control of another villain trying to gather lots of life force, who stopped him whenever he wanted to "have fun" instead of doing his job. One line by Robbie Robertson about Cletus Kasady (Carnage's human identity) having done things "too horrible to be put in newspapers" when nobody talks about murder or death (remember, Serial Killer) makes this painfully obvious to any audience member over 10.
- The lack of violence in Superfriends hit the cast pretty hard, but especially Aquaman. The other cast members had something cool to fall back on: Superman's myriad powers, Batman's gadgets and detective skills, Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth and invisible jet. Poor Aquaman got stuck with "Talks to fish" and hasn't been able to live it down since.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles combine this with equal parts Totally Radical.
- This is especially blatant if you go back and read the original comics, which are much much darker.
- Let's kick shell!
- The fact that the theme song emphasizes the fact that Raphael is "cool but rude" and the coolest/rudest thing they could think of to showcase that fact was him saying "Give me a break!"
- The comic book turtles had no problem cutting up human foot soldiers, but they were replaced by robot ninjas in the first TV series.
- It especially got to be a problem when the writers decided that they couldn't show Mikey using nunchucks ever, not even in ways that caused no damage. They gave him a grappling hook that doubled as a magic lasso to tie up enemies, which made him look like The Chick on the team, even as Lighter and Softer as they already were.
- The Turtles from the 2003 TV series, on the other hand, are more flat-out Badass despite being from a children's show (a fairly dark one, at that).
- The SWAT Kats are also quite fond of this, although "Crud!" is the worst they can get away with. The use it liberally, however.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Toph has shades of this, especially while training Aang. She is fond of calling Aang "twinkle toes", which may qualify as a Parental Bonus.
- It apparently runs in the family. In the The Legend of Korra episode "Welcome to Republic City" her no-nonsense daughter Da Chief Lin Beifong is rather hamstrung in her dialogue while interrogating a perp.
Chief Bei-Fong: "That's ancient history. And it's got diddly-squat to do with the mess you're in right now!"
- Sokka is The Smart Guy, but still was able to occasionally hit people with his boomerang, but when he gets a Cool Sword in a later episode he's now has no chance to, since that would draw blood. Likewise, the skills of Knife Nut Mai are impressive, but the restrictions of children's television mean that she'll only be able to pin people's clothing.
- It parodies that Jet is this in Avatar: The Abridged Series, where Jet makes the comment that he is so badass, that if the show weren't TV-Y7, he'd instead have a cigarette.
- Wolverine in every Saturday-morning kids-show version of the X-Men ever (X-Men, X-Men: Evolution, Wolverine and the X-Men...).
- In the 90s series he was never able to land a single hit with his claws unless it was against a robot. Or his target was immune. Or his target could instantly heal it off. If he managed to pin someone and raise his claw to strike someone would convince him to stop or he'd be blindsided and the victim would escape unharmed.
- On the X-Men: Evolution series he always wore his motorcycle helmet while riding. Because having an unbreakable skull and healing factor wasn't protection enough. Possibly justified, as while he doesn't need a helmet for safety reasons, wearing one means he won't have to deal with the hassle of being ticketed for a safety violation.
- This was made even worse by the network Standards & Practices office, who further watered down Wolverine. One comment from the episode "Longshot" literally wouldn't even let Logan be a badbutt: "Please delete or substitute for Wolverine's 'we saved his butt from some of Mojo's goons.'"
- Gruffi from the Adventures of the Gummi Bears definitely has shades of this.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Link never actually uses his sword as a weapon (at least on sentient opponents). No slicing or thrusting whatsoever. He instead takes advantage of its beam-shooting properties and thus uses it more like a sword-shaped Boom Stick.
- In Stinging a Singer, he turns down a sword offered to him by a wandering merchant because it's useless for not firing beams. He later decides to get it due to supposedly having the power to make ladies like him, but turns out it's fake. When he tries to fight later, it turns out despite his skill with the beams, he's not actually a very good swordsman and gets disarmed before he tries to swing it.
- G.I. Joe: These men (and women) are supposed to be the best of the best of the best that the U.S. armed forces can offer. And yet, starting with the second season, they routinely find themselves run into the ground by their new drill sergeant: Sergeant Slaughter—a pro wrestler. And Snake Eyes, supposedly the baddest of the bad (a ninja, no less, who except for the lack of a healing factor and indestructible skeleton might even good enough to give Wolverine a run for his money), never even manages to land a single blow on his opponents. Fat lot of good all of those blades, small arms, and martial arts training do under the circumstances.
- Conan the Adventurer. It's Conan the Barbarian — FOR KIDS! Interestingly, was hailed by many fans as capturing the authentic feel of the novels and comics better than the movies, despite Conan not doing much in the way of kingdom-building, enslaving, and stamping-beneath-sandaled-feet. Mesmira defiantly straddled the line since most of her schemes would have killed somebody in a more mature-rated show. Instead they are Put on a Bus or rescued in the nick of time. Wrath-amon seemed on the surface to be more dangerous as the main antagonist, but in reality suffered from the same madman plan hangups as Cobra Commander, except with magic.
- Fowlmouth from Tiny Toon Adventures has, as his name would suggest, a problem with dirty language. In the early series he would curse constantly, which was censored with the classic BLEEP sound - his starring episode sounded like it was edited by a mouse dancing on a Morse Code transmitter. Apparently this was too suggestive, as in the Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation special he was reduced to saying "dad-gum" instead of his usual cussin', pretty much losing the character's (admittedly one-dimensional) point for existing in the first place.
- The whole team on Bureau of Alien Detectors would probably fit, but mostly Boisterous Bruiser Ben Packer.
- Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm was a Badbutt in the same way as the animated version of Wolverine, complete with silly one liners.
Nothing burns hotter than ice!
- From the same USA Network animation block: Wing Commander Academy's Maniac. His tactics were downgraded to merely 'unorthodox' and 'not by the book,' not the complete batshit insane mess he would later become.
- Highlander: The Animated Series. The kids version of a franchise about people chopping each others' heads off with swords for recreation.
- Jackie Chan Adventures:
- Jade and the "ancient art of butt-whoop." Jade is only supposed to be about ten years old, after all.
- Jackie's "yin" side, as brought out by the Tiger Talisman. In his first appearance, he was stealing and beating the crap out of people just for kicks and giggles. But as seasons went by, his actions became swayed by whether or not a small child thought he looked "cool." His Yin side actually drifted into Badbutt territory in his debut episode and from then on because Jade guilt trips him into being less of a jerk, and even Jackie's Yin side cares for Jade (and wants to look good for others), so the badass who restrains himself for the benefit of kids watchers is basically applied in universe.
- The Dark Hand itself. Supposedly an uber scary criminal syndicate with its hands in everything, and capable of giving the secret service organisation constant grief, they still don't use any guns and they'll only actually use weapons capable of drawing blood against Jackie who is capable of easily dodging them anyway. And this being a kids cartoon, the 3 most active henchmen resemble The Three Stooges more than professional criminal badasses. And of course they eventually hit massive villain decay, going from having a ton of members to just the three stooges henchmen, The Dragon (who went from nearly killing someone to being a strong yet bumbling opponent) and the leader who lost all his fighting skills and ended up a cowardly hobo.
- TJ is the most awesome fourth grader ever.
- The cartoon utilizes this trope often in combination with Mundane Made Awesome for some of the recurring characters, such as Hustler Kid, who sells things like contraband candy to the other kids. One episode revealed that other schools have their own Hustler Kids.
- Every Codename: Kids Next Door member and villain (except the Toiletnator).
- Lobo as he is presented in Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League. He drinks, but the drink is only implied to be alcoholic (it is highly explosive though), he uses only family-friendly swears (the exact same ones he uses in the comic, point of fact), only alludes to serious violence and never kills anyone on-screen, has a family friendly laser gun, only uses his signature meathook to grab things in a non-harmful fashion, and doesn't go much further than a few sleazy comments towards Lois Lane and Wonder Woman on the 'sex' front. He's also shown to have, if not a Hidden Heart of Gold, at least a Hidden Heart of Pyrite or some other almost-precious-looking metal.
- Adventure Time:
- Finn and Jake zigzag around this all the time. The show also uses idiosyncratic slang words and phrases. "Oh my Glob" is probably the most commonly used of these (in their universe Glob is an actual character and a Cosmic Entity seemingly equivalent to a god however). In the earlier episodes there was some usage of mathematical terms (and the word "mathematical" itself) as all-purpose expletives and/or intensifiers, though this isn't as common in the later episodes.
- Marceline is a half vampire who eats shades of red. The season 5 episode "Red Starved" establishes that she can drink blood, but chooses not to for moral reasons.
- Kim and Ron from Kim Possible, with a healthy dose of Totally Radical at times.
- This sort of thing crops up a lot in the more dramatic episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. While nearly every character has moments, Rainbow Dash and Applejack probably get it the most often, with the former often acting like a hotshot athlete/fighter pilot and the latter being a rough and tumble cowgirl. It's especially evident in the comic, which goes pretty much as far as it possibly can with the "Let's go kick some flank/rump/butt" style storylines as they can manage while still being an all-ages comic. On the antagonist side of things, you get characters like Gilda and Lightning Dust who fill this niche before folding over into Vile Villain, Saccharine Show territory (which FiM also covers).
- SheZow does this. A lot. There are episodes where an unexpurgated version would be a Cluster F-Bomb stream.
- The Punisher shows up in The Superhero Squad Show more than once. Since the series skews even younger than most superhero cartoons, his Badbutt nature is basically unparalleled. In his first appearance, his usual Badass Boast about crime is an Extended Analogy comparing criminals to Brussels sprouts.
The Punisher: I'm out here to keep those stinkin' sprouts off the mac and cheese! Keep them from leaving the store in the first place!
- Dan Vs.: Played With. Dan is often angry and stressed out. His tendency to put Revenge Before Reason leads to fight greater foes (the government, giant vegetable monster, etc.) over petty issues. You'd think he'd swear a lot. But it's a kid show. So he doesn't swear on screen. He doesn't kill people in his revenge schemes either and is disturbed whenever Chris mentions killing even when he just says he'd kill for bacon. But his actions are often played for Black Comedy and he himself does occasionally think about killing the person who angered him as revenge.
- Although Sam and Max from The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police are heavily curtailed from their original incarnation, they still manage to retain their Comedic Sociopathy humor thanks to the creative use of Family-Friendly Firearms. Out go the handguns, in come the flamethrowers and rocket launchers.
Now go find another trope, or we will be forced to verbally castigate you in front of your peers!