main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Can't Take Criticism
"A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent."
Proverbs 15:5, King James Version

It's hard to listen to criticism, whether it's being put down in a blunt manner because we aren't doing certain things correctly or it's being criticized for our decision making, especially if it's moral. Instead of taking heed to it, some would break down miserably and are unable or unwilling to make themselves better. Then there are some would go as far as to become unexpectedly enraged by it.

This character hates being criticized in every way possible. At best, they often mistake the criticism for an insult more than Constructive Criticism, or maybe the criticism was too unpleasant and harsh for them to handle. At worst, the character just naturally hates criticism period and would rather listen to something they want to hear. Even gentle criticism will cause the character to dish out Disproportionate Retribution. Not even a Compassionate Critic or a Honest Advisor can deal with this character.

In moral situations, a character who resents being rebuked for taking a dark turn (usually a hero bordering to Anti-Hero territory) can make him worse than ever. If the character is a villain, showing displeasure in criticism for his wickedness can demonstrate how they cannot comprehend good, although Good Is Not Nice. This can be seen as a character getting revenge on those who had a justifiable reason to criticize them, which makes them petty.

This encompasses narcissistic characters like the Insufferable Genius, Entitled Bastard, and The Prima Donna. It is also the hallmark of a Small Name, Big Ego character. Can easily make the character a Wangst.

Compare Fragile Flower and Minor Insult Meltdown if they are shaken by the criticism instead of being enraged. Often overlaps into With Due Respect. The trademark method of ensuring a Bad Boss will be set on destroying you is to commit this trope. Can be a response to a complainer who actually is right for once. Contrast Heroic Self-Deprecation. A Straw Critic character might stem from this flaw on part of the author. This is unfortunately Truth in Television (and got many messengers shot).


Anime & Manga
  • Suggesting what Kira of Death Note is doing is wrong is a very good way to end up dead. He also walks out on a family meeting where his father is calling him nothing but a murderer and later he looks visibly upset when the taskforce begins to (rightly) doubt his innocence again.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it is implied that Isabel the Artist Witch was once a magical girl who didn't like criticism. Like what her card description says, "In order to defeat this Witch, remember to bring a critic."
  • Played for Laughs In CLANNAD. Sanae runs out crying when anyone says her bread is bad.

Comic Books

Fan Fiction
  • At the end of Eugenesis Rodimus Prime asks Ratchet a question deliberately intended to upset him just to stop Ratchet from lecturing him about doing something that would cause debilitating psychological harm to a group of badly traumatised patients.

  • In Theatre of Blood Vincent Price plays an actor who kills the critics who gave him bad reviews, each murder in the theme of a Shakespeare play he was in which the reviewer panned.
  • In the film adaptation of The Lorax, when the forest is nearly wiped out, the Lorax asks the Once-ler if the sight of him makes him feel guilty or remind him of "the man you used to be?" The Once-ler responds by aggressively driving him back down a staircase and snarling at him that he's done nothing wrong.

Live-Action TV
  • In American Horror Story: Coven, Madison was criticized by her director for her performance of a music video, which resulted in her killing the director.
  • The Big Bang Theory: This is often Played for Laughs. A lot of the cast have moments of this to some degree, but Sheldon Cooper absolutely cannot abide it. When Stephen Hawking corrects his work, it's like a Logic Bomb: as he can't accept that he made an elementary mistake, but he can't contradict the great Stephen Hawking... so he faints.
  • Breaking Bad: In "Say My Name", Mike Ehrmantraut massively chews out Walter White for his Pride and ego getting in the way of the meth business. Walt's response? He gets pissed off and shoots the hitman inside the latter's car.
  • Kitchen Nightmares:
    • The series have owners in this trope frequently when Ramsey tries to tell them their faults.
    • The final episode of the US version sixth series has Gordon Ramsey actually give up on the owners of Amy's Baking Company, because they were unwilling to listen. This is notable because this is the first episode he has ever done this. Their craziness went viral.
  • The Mighty Boosh: Howard Moon is so bad at handling criticism that he punches Mrs. Gideon when she begins criticising his book. He can only be calmed down with a photo of some kittens in a barrel.
  • Revolution: General Monroe (episode 12, episode 16, and episode 17) and Tom Neville (episode 2, episode 5, episode 11, episode 13, and episode 16) have shown more than once that they respond very poorly to criticism. The sort of response that involves death threats, attacking or killing the critic.
  • Akashia, Shannel, and Sharon Needles of Ru Pauls Drag Race:
    • Akashia would always argue with the judges when they said anything negative about her. However, she matured a bit between her elimination and the reunion episode, where she surprisingly became the voice of reason when the other queens were taking the judges to task for criticizing them, reminding the girls that it's a competition and critiques are bound to happen.
    • Shannel didn't like criticism so much that she decided to leave the competition for it.
    • While she was performing, Sharon argued with producer Max Mutchnick and professional dancer Candis Cayne, much to the horror of the other queens.
  • In Supernatural, Lucifer didn't like it when Gabriel, his brother, tells him that he was acting like a whiny, spoiled child and that he needed to grow up. In response, Lucifer kills him.

Newspaper Comics
  • From the Dilbert series:
    Catbert: So you want a job here, Tubby.
    Recruit: It's Toby.
    Catbert: Did you just correct me?
    Recruit: Er...
    Catbert: I ALONE WILL DETERMINE YOUR NAME!!! ...Now what is your name?
    Recruit: Tubby.

  • The Bible: The Book of Proverbs has some verses that imply that those who resent reproof and correction are labeled as fools, in contrast to those who are wise (see page quote above). It also insists that we should avoid this trope and just take heed to the criticism.

Video Games
  • BioShock: In the middle of the Fort Frolic mission, Sander Cohen decides that you are a doubter. Keep in mind you literally said nothing to him, and launches a four wave splicer assault on you set to a Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky.

Web Original
  • In Wisenheimers, Max can be extremely touchy and self-conscious when it comes to his work in animation or his physical appearance. At one point he officially forbid people to draw fanart of him because people were drawing him ugly on purpose or just got his physique completely wrong.
    Yotam: You have to understand that a lot of people are gonna like your stuff but it's never gonna be everybody!
    Max: This is the last show...
  • deviantART has sadly gathered a rather nasty reputation of being full of people, artisticly talented or not, who are unwilling to take negative reception in a mature manner.

Western Animation
  • An episode of American Dad! revolves around Stan deporting his entire neighbourhood (including his own family) because he heard them criticizing him.
    • Another had Roger trying to kill the Smiths for roasting him, something which he wanted them to do.
  • In one episode of Ben 10: Alien Force, Cash wants to humiliate Ben by beating the crap out of him for it. How? By stealing an adaptale suit of armor and going crazy with power. This is all because Ben calls him and JT out acting so immaturely after all these years and telling them to grow up.
  • The reason the main character was put in charge of the company's new project in the Dilbert Animated Adaptation is because he dared to suggest the Pointy-Haired Boss got the steps to making it mixed up on the slideshow (whether or not he did is undetermined, but either way he is vehement the name is the first and most important part of the project).
  • Rose from Hip-Hip and Hurra is usually the most calm character on the show, but she gets hysterical (if not paranoid) by the mere thought of the art critic (the Peacock) not liking her art, to the point of having nightmares about it.
  • Painter Smurf in The Smurfs is this way, particularly from Brainy when it comes to his work. In one episode, Painter can't take that Brainy won't make any criticisms concerning his work when Brainy's essence has been sapped away.
  • In an episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants during his review at work, Spongebob insists on being given some form of critcism to improve upon. Eventually, despite being assured he is doing perfectly, his boss relents and suggests to put less sauce in the burgers, leaving SpongeBob in a deranged whimpering BSOD.

Broke The Rating ScaleCriticism TropesCaustic Critic
Burning with AngerAnger TropesComical Angry Face
Bratty Teenage DaughterComplaining IndexCity Mouse
Break the HaughtyPrideful TropesCarload of Cool Kids
Break the CutieHeel Face IndexCharacter Derailment
Cannot Tell Fiction from RealityAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Card-Carrying Villain
Can't Hold His LiquorCharacter Flaw IndexChild Hater
Bury Your GaysThe Only Righteous Index of FanaticsCategory Traitor

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy