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Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like
Okay, that's a lawsuit!

"WORST! RESCUE! EVER!"
The Doctor, Doctor Who, The End of Time

Just because you saved their life doesn't mean they'll appreciate it.

Oh no, Alice and Bob about to be smashed to bits by a giant Robotic Ninja Dragon on a Muthafrickin' Plane, and it looks like nothing will save them now... until Carol comes to save the day!

Whew! That was close, but it looks like everyone is safe and sound. Now it's time for everyone to thank Carol for saving their lives and be on their merry way, right?

WRONG!

It turns out that, while Carol pulled the two away from certain death while simultaneously beheading the horrible mechanical beast, she committed the horrific crime of breaking Alice's nail and mussing Bob's hair. Never mind that Carol risked her life and saved their sorry asses, what's important is that she made them scuff their brand new shoes, and she must pay! Talk about lacking perspective.

Snippy remark made by Carol is optional. Makes use of the Law of Disproportionate Response. Compare to No Sympathy. See also Ungrateful Bastard, Think Nothing of It, Grudging Thank You and Entitled Bastard. Not to be confused with Unwanted Rescue or Embarrassing Rescue. A hero can get in on this if this Hero Harasses Helpers. Also note Hands Off My Fluffy. Can happen on a cultural level when Klingon Scientists Get No Respect. If the trope's subverted but the negative consequences of the rescue still happen, it's usually due to Hero Insurance.

Can sometimes be warranted in the case of a Terrifying Rescuer or Destructive Savior. If the rescuee not only complains, but actually harms their rescuer, you have The Farmer And The Viper.

For a possible inverse, people complaing about kidnappings they don't like, see Pity the Kidnapper.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Claymore, Clare rescues a hostage Galatea by chopping off Agatha's arm, and Galatea comments that Clare ended up cutting off some of her hair. Clare then apologizes, and takes care of the rest of Agatha. In this case it's a mutual joke, since Clair had just said the precision of her technique had improved.
  • Bleach
    • Ichigo pulls a Big Damn Heroes when he arrives at the Repentence Cell to save Ganju and Hanatarou from Byakuya Kuchiki. He turns to speak to Rukia, who immediately protests, though in actuality, she's concerned about his wounds. Ichigo then proceeds to tell her "All of your opinions are rejected" and cracks that she should just cower in a corner and tremble "Save me, Save me!" Hilarity Ensues.
    • Rukia also complains when Ichigo halts her execution, especially when he tosses her Eyeshield 21-style to Renji.
    • Subverted later, during the Hueco Mundo Arc. Orihime hadn't wanted them coming after her, but she didn't complain when they did.
    • Averted in the "Arabian nights" episode parodying the Soul Society arc. When "Chigo" goes to save "Rukiruki," she tears up and asks why he didn't save her earlier. Chigo then pokes at her and says that's not what what she's supposed to say.
  • In the Tenchi Muyo! manga series (it follows the first seasons of the OVA), Ayeka finds herself as the Damsel in Distress so the villain can lure Tenchi to fight her. Ryoko figures this is a bad idea and one suckerpunch later finds herself in the villain's ship. Ayeka complains about it until Ryoko outright slaps her for being selfish. Impressive not only in that this is Ryoko of all people, but that Ayeka is encased in a spherical, rubbery prison which Ryoko has previously had difficulty penetrating in her rescue attempt. And she still doesn't when she clocks Ayeka — she simply strikes so hard that the cocoon doesn't make a difference.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Mustang bursts in at the last second and manages to save Hawkeye and Fuery from Gluttony. As he sags in relief over the fact that they're still alive, Hawkeye promptly turns to him and practically rips his face off with the force of her anger. Bitchiness averted by the fact that she's mad not because he saved their lives, but because he came out and exposed himself as part of what was supposed to be a covert operation and now she's worried for him.
  • In Episode 7 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Fate saves Signum from a monster on a reflex. Signum tells Fate that she won't thank her, as because Fate destroyed the monster, she can't get its Linker Core. Fate remarks that in retrospect, "getting in the way of the bad guys is (her) job."
  • Spice and Wolf: When Holo is captured by the Medio Company, which threatens to turn her over to the Church, Lawrence talks the Milone Company into sending some of their own bruisers — men skilled in using violence — to rescue her. She is furious that he didn't come to get her himself... especially since she gave the first rescuer through the door a big hug (and maybe, she implies, said something a bit intimate) before realizing he wasn't Lawrence.
  • In Corsair, Canale does this to a degree when Ayace saves him from his former master but the best example is when Aura complains to Ayace about taking too long to rescue her at the end. Rather than genuine ungratefulness it's simply because they're in the habit of ribbing each other.
  • Subverted in Yaoi Genre Ai no Kusabi when Riki does this late in the story during an Unwanted Rescue. His ex-lover Guy "rescues" him by kidnapping him back from his captor Iason who had been keeping him as a sex slave. Only by this point, Riki has fallen in love with Iason and completely rejects Guy's attempt to save him but as a means to protect Guy from Iason.
  • England from Axis Powers Hetalia wasn't too happy when America got him out of Italy. Being suspended by a rope that was hanging from a plane in flight might have had something to do with that.
  • In One Piece, Robin complains when the Strawhats come to her rescue at Enies Lobby, and tells them to go away. Luffy and his crew proceed with their plan of rescuing her anyway.

    Comic Books 
  • "Spider-Man: Threat or Menace" has been the headline of every issue of the Daily Bugle for the last 40+ years, and it has been justified on maybe 2 occasions when Chameleon or Venom shows up, the rest of the time it just doesn't make sense, especially after big events like "Maximum Carnage".
  • In the Sonic X comic, after Sonic saves about a dozen or more people from getting killed by missiles, a Rich Bitch called Milan whines about him letting her father's limousine get stolen by Decoe and Bocoe.
  • In another Sonic the Hedgehog comic produced in England (Sonic the Comic) Tails would often get complaints from people who wanted Sonic to rescue them instead.
  • Batman. "'Thanks for saving my bacon, Robin.' Why, think nothing of it!"
  • Marvel Universe
    • To remind us that there is still prejudice against mutants, most 90s-onward comics with X's somewhere in their titles loved to make use of this trope to such an extent that it became a major theme of more than one comic. Almost never is any character seen thanking a mutant for their rescue, despite the alarming frequency with which those rescues occur. This is made even worse by the fact that most of the dangers that X-mutants save people from are caused by other humans, who the near-victims apparently don't hate quite so much as their rescuers. Say what?
    • Also subverted in X-Men in the character of Senator Robert Kelly. Although he started off a outspoken anti-mutant activist with honest concerns about the effect of mutants in society, but over the course of many rescues by various mutants his stance began to soften, saving the X-Men's bacon on at least one occasion (during Zero Tolerance) by seeking legal action against a government-sponsored Sentinel program.
    • One extreme example had Chamber saving the life of another mutant and being called a "monster". Admittedly, said mutant was a child and was nearly murdered in cold-blood by two particularly irrational mutant haters (they blamed the failure of their dot-com company on mutants), but still...
    • New Mutants vol2 opens thusly: Dani Moonstar is meeting a new boyfriend at an upscale ski lodge. Bad guys try and hold the guests hostage. Dani scares the bad guys into submission with her powers. Boyfriend breaks up with Dani immediately for being a mutant.
    • In Banshee's backstory, a Jerkass cop shoots out his future wife Maeve Rourke's motorcycle tire while she's giving Sean a ride, and they go careening off a cliff. Banshee flies them to safety. As soon as they land, she punches him in the stomach for her bike being wrecked, even though it wasn't his fault.
    Maeve: (after the punch) Well, how d'ye like that?! I save you from that brute McLanahan, and lose the best bike I ever owned in the process!
    Sean: Well, how d'ye think I feel? I save a body's life, and the only thanks I get is a punch and an earful o' grief!
    Maeve: ...Aye, that's a fair point.
  • Firestorm averted a particular disaster and much loss of life — and was promptly sued by a businesswoman who suffered significant property damage as a result of his actions. Compounding his woes, she was or became engaged to marry his father. She eventually dropped the lawsuit after Firestorm gave a version of the With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility speech. She also figured out he was her stepson-to-be.
  • Part of the back story of Mark Waid's Irredeemable is that the lead character, a Superman expy, got tired of people being ungrateful for his rescues. So he goes completely Axe Crazy.
  • After saving the planet half-a-dozen times, The Authority are betrayed and attacked by assorted national governments for being too powerful (and daring to have their own opinions). Once the Authority recovers, they decide to ignore the latest world threat, and order every superhero on the planet to do the same, in order to make the normal humans come up with their own damn rescue for once.
  • A brief moment in Detective Comics, Robin complains about Nightwing rescuing him from trying to make a major jump from a bridge after a major earthquake. Nightwing calls him out on not being appreciative of it, only for Robin to continue claiming that he could have made the jump. Nightwing ends the argument claiming that he was only trying to play it safe because he didn't want to have to explain to Bruce how he could lose yet another partner. Naturally, this ends up turning into an argument as to why Nightwing was there in the first place with Robin accusing Batman of having sent someone to keep an eye on him while he was gone. Nightwing responds that it was his idea and not Batman's and that Robin could use the help given that Gotham is hard to handle on a normal day without the added bonus of a natural disaster having just occurred. This further annoys Robin.
  • In Spider-Man: Noir, Spidey shoots the Vulture to save Aunt May's life. May's reaction is that by running around in a mask shooting people, all he's doing is perpetuating the cycle of violence.

    Fan Works 
  • In Oh God Not Again, Ginny was quite put out by the lack of heroics involved in Harry's defeat of the basilisk (which consisted of Harry pulling out a rooster and letting it crow, making the basilisk drop dead). She's further annoyed when Harry mentions that the book Lockhart's going to write about the experience is going to be, um, embellished.
  • In With Strings Attached, the four rescue 40 people from being shrunken playthings, but the people aren't happy because they were transferred to another universe in the process. Understandable, but still....
  • In Team8, Hanabi, after being rescued by Naruto's team, is completely ungrateful toward her rescuers, and mocks her older sister Hinata for being the first to get knocked out, even though her actions had been necessary to stop Hanabi's kidnappers from escaping.
    Naruto didn't say anything, but he could feel his upper lip curling. Hinata really had saved their butts… so why was her sister being such a brat about it?
  • In one story of the Facing The Future Series, Paulina allowed herself to be captured by Walker's forces so that Danny Phantom would save her. Much to her disappointment, Sam Tasma came.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the beginning of the The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible stops a train from flying off the tracks after a bomb explodes in front of it. Unfortunately, the sudden stop gives all the passengers whiplash, and they sue (jointly with the "victim" of an Unwanted Rescue). This sets off the plot; after that incident, people all over the country start blaming Supers for anything they can, and the government creates a "Supers Relocation Program" to hide them.
  • In Shrek, Fiona is initially impressed with her rescue, but becomes quickly petulant when Shrek refuses to take off his helmet and kiss her, denies being her true love, mocks her naivete, and finally disappoints her by turning out to be an ogre, rather than a prince or at least a knight. This is somewhat understandable, as her parents apparently viewed locking her up in a tower as akin to a dating service or getting an Mrs. degree from an Ivy League school. Her peril seemed to be more on the order of a professional hazard than a truly existential threat.
    Fiona: This isn't right! You're supposed to charge in, sword drawn, banner flying! That's what all the other knights did!
    Shrek: Yeah! (looking at some charred remains nearby) Right before they burst into flame!
  • In Justice League: War, Green Lantern rescues a woman in Gotham City from a parademon. After depositing her on a roof, she asks him how much her "rescue" is going to cost. When her show of ungratitude prompts the superhero to fly away, she shouts "And how am I supposed to get down from here now?"
  • In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, after Kovu has just saved Kiara from the wildfire:
    Kiara: Where am I?
    Kovu: You're safe, in the Pride Lands.
    Kiara: The Pride Lands? No! Why'd you bring me here? Who do you think you are?!
    Kovu: I think I'm the one that just saved your life!
    Kiara: Look, I had everything under control!
    Kovu: Not from where I'm standing.
    Kiara: Then move downwind.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: A New Hope. "Maybe you'd like it back in your cell, your highness." Though she was pointedly critiquing their lack of planning rather than something irrelevant. Interestingly, Han in turn gripes about the results of Leia subsequently pulling their fat out of the fire — granted, they're in a dianoga-infested trash compactor....
  • In Rambo, after Rambo mows down a group of pirates, one of the aid workers whose life he just saved tells him that it's not OK to take a life, even in self-defense. When his conviction is put to the test, the man beats one of the bad guys to death with a rock rather than let him kill him.
    • Notably the female aid worker (who is the only friendly one) insists what happened was horrible but necessary, and that they have to keep going.
  • Subverted in Hancock, when the eponymous jerkass hero saves a man from being hit by a train by flipping his car over onto the next and derailing the train. Most of the bystanders are irate, but the rescued man points out that Hancock just saved his life! Of course... he could have done a better job. Or a good job, even. It should be noted that by that point, everyone had a good damn reason to be irate at him, even without a rescue.
  • In Maleficent, the titular character meets her Dragon by saving him from getting beaten to death. She does this by turning him from a raven into a man, scaring off the farmer (who screams "demon!" and runs). What's his response to this?
    Diaval: (looks down at his new body in horror) What have you done to my beautiful self?
    Maleficent: Would you have preferred I let them beat and kill you?
    (Beat, as Diaval once again looks over himself)
    Diaval: (flatly) I'm not certain.
  • In Titanic, Rose DeWitt Bukater's mother, Ruth, wishes for the lifeboats to be seated according to class while the ship is sinking, and hopes they aren't too crowded. Rose understandably gets pissed and delivers a Crowning Moment Of Awesome that leaves her mother dumbfounded.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, Bumblebee rescues Sam and his family from every appliance in their kitchen (animated into feral Transformers) and for his trouble is essentially sent to his room — just because he happened to blow up part of the house.
  • Trashy Taiwan Indy Jones rip-off Ci Ling (Treasure Hunter) (2009): female lead resents being rescued by male lead, simply because her father does not come with the rescue party.
  • In Hudson Hawk, after the title character saves the blooming love interest from a falling stone horse, she tells him he didn't have to do that. "It's what any hero would do." "No, I mean you didn't have to knock me over like that and tear my dress." - but she was only teasing.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:
    Harry: Promise me something.
    Dobby: Anything, sir.
    Harry Potter: Never try to save my life again.
    • Very justified in that (A) Dobby's method of "saving" Harry was rather destructive, leading to a broken arm (followed by an arm with no bones thanks to a particularly incompetent teacher) at one point, and (B) it was said in jest.
    • This becomes Harsher in Hindsight when Dobby sacrifices himself to save Harry in Deathly Hallows.
  • Spaceballs:
    Vespa: I will not be rescued in such filth.
  • In Monty Python and the Holy Grail Sir Galahad stumbles into the Castle Anthrax where he's told: "Oh, I am afraid our life must seem very dull and quiet compared to yours. We are but eight score young blondes and brunettes, all between sixteen and nineteen-and-a-half, cut off in this castle with no one to protect us. Oooh. It is a lonely life: bathing, dressing, undressing, making exciting underwear. We are just not used to handsome knights. Nay. Nay. Come. Come. You may lie here. Oh, but you are wounded!" Then Sir Lancelot "rescues" him.
  • Both Lois and Jimmy do this in Superman
    Lois: The trouble with men of steel is that there's never one around when you want one.
    Jimmy: Thanks a lot Superman! You leave me in the middle of nowhere...
  • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Kirk and McCoy are on the verge of being executed after a staged escape when Kirk demands the name of whoever wants him dead. The Prison warden decides since they are both about to die, it wouldn't hurt to let them know. Cue transporters from Spock and the Enterprise.
    Warden: Well, since you're all about to die anyway, why not tell you. His name is—
    * cue transporter beam*
    Kirk: Oh! Not... SON OF A—-
    * Klingon prison guards fire wildly to no avail*
    Kirk (back on the Enterprise): —OF A BI... BI... BI... Dammit to hell! Of all the... Son of a — Couldn't you have waited two seconds?
    Spock: Captain?!
    Kirk: He was just about to explain the whole thing!!!
    Chekhov: ... You vant to go back?
    McCoy: ABSOLUTELY NOT!
    Kirk: It's cold!!!
  • Even earlier, in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Spock initially feels that his shipmates, being the illogical humans they are; made a huge mistake in sacrificing their good standing in the Federation and Starfleet, and suffered the losses of both the Enterprise and Kirk's son David just so they could get him back.
  • In Streets of Fire, Ellen Aim is furious that Tom only rescued her for money.
  • In Sherlock Holmes And The Secret Weapon, Holmes has been tied up, gagged and stuffed inside a sea chest to be thrown overboard. Watson and Lestrade chase away the henchmen who were carrying the chest.
    Holmes: You needn't have yelled at them so abruptly. They dropped me on my head. Moriarty would have been delighted.
  • In Forrest Gump, Lt. Dan Taylor doesn't take it well when Forrest rescues him, partly because he had a family member who died in every American war and felt it was his duty to follow suit, but mostly because his lower legs had to get amputated. He eventually gets over this.

    Literature 
  • R.A. Salvatore's The Legend of Drizzt novels:
    • In Streams of Silver, while Drizzt, Wulfgar, Regis and Bruenor are running from a bunch of trolls and Gaia's Vengeance, Bruenor trips and Wulfgar picks him up and starts running again. After narrowly escaping, Bruenor angrily asks Wulfgar where his axe is, followed by Drizzt sarcastically reprimanding Wulfgar that he should have taken the axe and left Bruenor behind.
    • In The Dark Elf Trilogy Drizzt has to run from his kind and was almost hunted down, shortly after (and because of) saving a young moon elf girl while participating in surface raid. He plausibly faked killing her to do so and even this bluff was very close to immediate failure. Ellifain Tuuserail turned out to be less than happy with it, especially because she remembered it poorly and was convinced that Drizzt had slain her mother. Later she tried to kill him (almost successfully).
  • Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. This happens every time. Every. Goddamn. Time.
    • There's at least one scene where some of the women are rescued and immediately chew out their rescuer.
    • Rand pulled one on the Aes Sedai.
      "Ah, I said only six of you could come!"
      "But you were being kidnapped, and so we came and helped you out!"
      "Shut up and kneel."
      "But—"
      "Ta'veren."
      "... crap."
      • Well Rand was at least somewhat justified in his treatment of the Aes Sedai. They came to him originally with nine before he got captured, meaning they had violated his edicts before they had any reasonable cause to. Not only this, but they were (in typical Aes Sedai fashion) being overbearing arrogant bitches to him, when (as it turned out thanks to the Asha'man) he didn't really need them to rescue him in the first place. Not only that, but he had just gone through an ordeal where he was locked in a box with his head forced between his knees for most of the day, taken out only to eat, relieve himself, and be beaten, before being shoved right back in for another few hours. I think we can forgive him for being a little short with them. Also his line to them was IMMENSELY satisfying to the readers who had watched everyone put up with Aes Sedai BS for far to long.
        "I forget nothing, Aes Sedai. I said six could come, but I count nine. I said you would be on an equal footing with the Tower emissaries, and for bringing nine, you will be. They are on their knees, Aes Sedai. Kneel!"
        -Rand al'Thor
      • Taim's response to them objecting to Rand's attitude was no less epic:
        "Kneel and swear to the Lord Dragon, or you will be knelt."
        —Mazrim Taim
    • Of course Aviendha calls out the power trio for being absolute dicks to Matt after he saved them from an impregnable fortress in a situation they had no chance of escaping from.
  • The Ruins has one incredibly long example of this trope. Never mind the fact that Jeff is trying to keep everyone alive. Amy whines CONSTANTLY about the fact that he occasionally needs her help to do things, that he's rationing food and water, that he tried and failed to save Pablo after the vine eats his legs, or that he doesn't always put her comfort first. At least Stacy and Mathias will do what Jeff tells them to and come up with their own plans and Eric has the vine in him, so he's kinda got an excuse, but not Amy. The endless whining makes her death a LOT less sad and depressing than say Stacy's, Eric's or Jeff's?
  • In Harry Turtledove's Prince of the North, Gerin the Fox rescues the oracle Selatre from monsters. Trouble is, she was unconscious so he had to carry her — and she has an extreme form of Virgin Power: merely being touched by a man is enough to strip her of her prophetic ability. When she wakes up, she's almost as horrified as if he'd literally raped her. In her defense, what distresses her isn't losing the power to prophesy, but losing the constant psychic connection to her god.
  • Present in Snow-White and Rose-Red. The girls repeatedly save the dwarf from certain death, but each time it requires that they cut off another piece of his precious beard. Guess which part of the rescue he cares about more. Of course, the dwarf's actually an evil bastard whose magic power is all in his beard.
  • Sometimes happens for no specified reason in The Knight in Rusty Armor. "You can't please everyone" thinks the rescuing knight.
  • The ending of The Paper Bag Princess.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Shadows In The Moonlight, Olivia talks of the dangers on Conan the Barbarian's proposed route, and he reminds her that she asked to be taken along; she admits it would be better than her fate if she stayed.
  • In the Ciaphas Cain novel The Traitor's Hand, Cain saves a regiment from an enemy ambush, only to have them complain because he damaged a holy temple's garden in the process.
    Asmar: We would rather have perished than have our survival bought at the price of blasphemy.
    Cain: We'll know better next time.
Of note is that Cain's regiment had already proposed their aid in replanting it, while Asmar's didn't.
  • Back when Alberich was a Karsite officer, he saved a village from being destroyed by bandits. The local priests realize that he knew the village needed to be saved because he had forbidden psychic powers and order him to be burned at the stake.
  • In The Light Fantastic Cohen saves a girl from being sacrificed at a tribal altar. Only afterwards does she tell him that now she's missed her chance to be with the moon goddess drinking mead out of a silver bowl, rather than dealing with Rincewind, Twoflower and Cohen's bad back.
  • Played for Drama in Jack Higgins' novel In The Hour Before Midnight. A team of mercenaries is hired to rescue a financier's stepdaughter from a Sicilian bandit. When the protagonist comes across her bathing in the stream without a guard, she pulls a gun on him. Is it a case of Stockholm Syndrome? Nope — her stepfather wants her dead for the inheritance and the bandits have been promised a cut if they protect her. The protagonist has an Oh Crap moment as he realises his own commander had to have known this, and he's also been set up to be killed.
  • The dwarves from The Hobbit complain bitterly about Bilbo shutting them up in barrels and floating them down a river as a means of busting them out of jail. Granted, that is a very uncomfortable (not to mention dangerous) means of escape, but Bilbo, who is at this point sick and cranky, is not taking any of their crap.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Smallville, there is a light-hearted example in Noir when Chloe is pushed off a balcony and Clark Super Speeds in just in time to catch her in a Bridal Carry.
    Chloe: You didn't have to wait until the last second, you know.
    Clark: What fun would that be?
  • The premise of one episode of Lois and Clark: Superman saves a musician from being crushed by a falling, oversized speaker... and the guy sues him for spraining his arm. The rest of the episode features a lot of people trying to cash in. At the trial, the court room is rigged with a C12 bomb, and Superman bursts through the ceiling to fly off with it, saving everyone... and the musician claims to have gone blind from getting plaster dust in his eyes. Finally his girlfriend gets fed up, reveals that he's just pretending to be injured, and tells him to lay off harassing the hero.
  • Red Dwarf
    • "Psirens": While fleeing from shapeshifting monsters, the crew, upon letting Lister(?) back on board Starbug, discovers another Lister outside. Rather than risk leaving behind the real one, they let that Lister in, as well, and perform a series of tests to determine which one is which. The test that brings conclusive results? Give them both an electric guitar. The one that can actually play well is blasted to death. Lister resents this.
    • Kryten trys to get Rimmer acquitted of a life sentence in a penal colony through a defence based around the idea that Rimmsy is an idiot chicken soup vending machine repairman with a Napoleon complex. Rimmer complains all the way through, which Kryten just uses as evidence of Rimmer's stupidity.
  • In the Season 2 premiere of Angel the titular character commits himself to protecting a woman. Every action makes the situation worse.
  • In an episode of MacGyver, Angus and this other guy are saved from being "processed" on a conveyor belt by being shunted... into a container of fish. The man's response? "Oh no! Fish! I hate fish!"
  • In one episode of Help Im A Teenage Outlaw, after the gang rescues the hostage from the guards, she complains about the fact she has to be running and complains "this is the worst rescue mission, ever!"
  • The Daily Show: Jon Stewart accused Wall Street of complaining about rescues they didn't like in reference to the trillion-dollar bailout, explaining the "rescuer-rescuee" relationship.
    Jon: I would suggest that you don't complain about whether or not you get a window seat on the rescue boat.
  • In the cop TV show The District, Ella Farmer, on her way back from a lunch break, sees a man fall from a ladder, and when his breathing stopped she moved him to perform CPR. The move paralyzes him, and in response the family files a lawsuit against Ella.
  • An episode of The Jeffersons featured a white man who was insanely racist, and who George obviously was not fond of. However, he suffers from a life-threatening ailment to which George reluctantly saved him. Upon regaining consciousness, he learns what George did, and says, "you should have let me die."
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Way of the Warrior", the Defiant saves the members of the Cardassian civilian government (Detapa Council), including Dukat, from a Klingon attack just before their ship dissolves into tiny little pieces. However, instead of being grateful for the rescue, Dukat rather complains about having to undergo bloodscreenigs to verify his identity as a solid (non-shapeshifter). Which leads to this amusing exchange:
    Dax: Looks like I won, Benjamin. You owe me dinner.
    Dukat: And what is that supposed to mean?
    Dax: Captain Sisko bet me that you would thank him for the rescue before you started complaining.
    Captain Sisko: I lost.
  • Doctor Who
    • The Doctor's response to being rescued in the story "The End of Time" is "WORST. RESCUE. EVER." Granted, he was tied to a wheelchair. Rather than untying him the rescuers opted to take him still tied to it and flee down a huge flight of stairs.
    • Also in "The Time of Angels", Amy fears she will have to be left behind because she believes her hand is turning to stone. The Doctor bites it to prove the sensation is all psychological, and with the angels advancing, they have this exchange:
    Amy: You bit me!
    Doctor: Yeah, and you're alive.
    Amy: I've got a mark, look at my hand!
    Doctor: And you're alive! Did I mention?
    Amy: Blimey, your teeth... have you got space teeth?
    Doctor: Yeah, alive. All I'm saying.
    • This reaction was somewhat helped by the fact that Karen Gillan was under the impression Matt Smith would only give her a stage-bite for the camera. He didn't. He actually bit her.
    • In "The Mind of Evil", the Doctor is saved at the last moment from being shot by Mailer, the Master's current henchman. The Doctor responds with the classic line: "Brigadier! Do you think for once you could manage to arrive *before* the nick of time?"
    • In "The War Machines", when another man is hassling Polly, Ben tells him to stop. The other man picks a fight, and Ben does not retreat; the bartender has to intervene. Polly starts complaining, but Dodo urges that he was only trying to help.
  • Misfits
    • Nathan complains after Super Hoodie saved him from the clutches of the Virtue Organisation, not because he didn't want to be rescued, but because he objected to being dropped unceremoniously on the floor afterwards (which anyone would be tempted to do after five seconds in Nathan's company).
    • In season 2, Nikki, after receiving a heart transplant that undoubtedly saved her life, decides that she hates her new heart ("take it out — I want a different one!")... because it teleported her right onto the corpse of it's previous owner! Understandable, but still a bit on the bitchy side.
      • Doubly so, since in addition to saving her life, the heart also (somehow) transferred it's former owner's ability to teleport to her. If it hadn't, she could have found her new heart randomly deciding to teleport itself out of her, which would have killed her instantly!
  • Gilmore Girls briefly mentioned that Trix (the "original" Lorelai Gilmore) was rescued from her house during a harsh winter, but rather than gratefull she was displeased that the rescueing team stained her carpet with snow.
  • Kate from the third season of BBC's Robin Hood was the show's Designated Victim and Token Girl. Constantly getting captured, injured or wandering into trouble, Kate's defining attribute was her inexplicable ungratefulness whenever the outlaws dared to rescue her from torture, rape and/or death. Her attitute problem was probably the result of the writers attempting to make her a Plucky Girl that didn't need the help of any big strong men to save her, a trait that was completely undermined by the fact that she was a rather bitchy Faux Action Girl who was utterly incapable of doing it herself.
  • On an early episode of M*A*S*H, a small electrical fire breaks out in the OR. Trapper John takes a basin of water and throws it on the fire, extinguishing it. When Hot Lips rightly points out that he couldn't have easily known whether there was water or sanitizing alcohol in the basin (both would have been in the OR at the same time, and the latter would have caused the fire to have grown exponentially) and was taking a serious risk by grabbing the first basin in reach, he retorts by quipping "Maybe you'd like it better with the fire?"
  • Being, as she says, a good person, Emma of Once Upon a Time doesn't hesitate to rescue Regina's ass from a fire, even though Regina fully expected to be left behind. No sooner are they safe (and in front of the press) than does Regina start yelling at Emma for not being considerate of her hurt ankle.
    Emma: Seriously? You're complaining about how I saved your life?!
  • In House, Cuddy's mother tries to sue the hospital after House saves her life. She claims it was over his methods, but it turns out she knowningly slapped them with a frivolous suit as part of a Machiavellian scheme.
  • In Saving Hope, Dr. Goran's first surgery at the titular Hope Zion hospital involves doing an experimental procedure that could (and ultimately does) save the patients arm, instead of amputating it like the patient wanted. Dr. Goran tries to talk the patient out of his survivor's guilt (he was injured in war) so he won't feel like he needs to be punished by losing his arm but is unsuccessful and the patient ungratefully sues the hospital (and wins.)
  • In House of Anubis Nina did this to Fabian. The rescue? Saving her from falling into a bottomless chasm. The 'crime'? Accidentally kissing a girl he thought was her. Granted, it wasn't the smallest accident in the world, but he still didn't deserve to be yelled at for saving her life.
    Fabian: I...I saved you...
    Nina: Yeah? Well why don't you save the other girl in this dress?
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Played for Drama on the two separate occasions when the Scoobies resurrect Buffy after she dies, only to find she's less than grateful to be returned to the traumatic life of a Slayer.
    • And for laughs in Halloween; Buffy saves Xander from getting beaten up by Larry, and in return he spends the next few scenes complaining that she undercut his masculinity
    Xander: A black eye heals, Buffy, but cowardice has an unlimited shelf life.
  • Stargate SG-1: Daniel and Vala are cornered by the bad guys and Vala is accidentally shot. Vala's daughter Adria (also the Big Bad) springs into action to heal Vala's wound...when Daniel takes advantage of Adria's distraction to stun her and ensure their escape. Vala's response "You couldn't have waited until she finished healing me?!"
  • In Blackadder Goes Forth, Blackadder crashes his plane behind enemy lines and is captured by the Germans, where they force him to teach home economics to German schoolgirls. The Germans, playing on the British Stiff Upper Lip stereotype, consider this a Fate Worse than Death for their captives, whereas Blackadder sees it as a fantastic opportunity to escape the trenches. So when Flashheart pops up to save him and bring him back to the trenches, he's less than pleased.
  • In the lead-up to the second season finale of Arrow, Thea ends up being rescued from the Deathstroke army her biological father, Malcolm Merlyn. Given that he's a villain responsible for hundreds of deaths and millions of dollars in destruction, she rather understandably doesn't want much to do with him, and ends up shooting him a few times.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In an Exalted supplement, a sidebar in the chapter about the conquered city formerly known as Thorns is entitled, "We Wanted To Be Saved... Just Not By You". Kind of justified, seeing as pre-conquest Thorns had been loyal to the nation that most demonized the default PCs.

    Theater 
  • Wicked
    • The Cowardly Lion's reason for joining the witch-hunting mob — this after she saved him from sadistic scientists. In all fairness, there's a giant crowd hunting for blood. Claiming to hate Elphaba equals not dying. And he doesn't make light of the fact that he's a coward.
    Tin Man: And the lion also has a grievance to repay, if she'd let him fight his own battles when he was young he wouldn't be a coward today!
    • And the Tin Man himself — being turned into tin saved his life. Of course, given that when he woke up she was gone and the nearest person blamed it on her, he might just not know the whole story.

    Video Games 
  • The The Phantom Menace game:
    • In the Mos Espa level, at one point someone standing outside their apartment asks you to deal with the thieves inside. You need to do this in order to get through the apartment and find your way to Shmi and Anakin's slave quarters. However, the person asking you to help them is ungrateful and offers you nothing in return, instead complaining "It took you long enough... hope you didn't break anything."
    • In the Theed level of the same game, you are charged with protecting Queen Amidala. Occasionally, you leave her alone for a while and she inevitably comes under attack. You hear her cry for help, return and swiftly dispatch her assailants. Her way of showing her gratitude for your service to Her Majesty: a stern rebuke, "You're stepping on my dress!"
  • Knights of the Old Republic
    • Your efforts to rescue Bastila for almost the entire Taris arc. She breaks out just as you are about to free her, insists that she rescued herself, before berating the player on the sloppy job they've done so far, like not having found transport off the planet yet.
    • The sequel has Atton Rand's comment on this whilst on the Harbinger, culminating in his declaration that the Jedi Exile and Kreia are the two worst Jedi that he's ever met.
  • In King's Quest IV: The Perils Of Rosella, Rosella rescues a prince from a lifetime as a frog by kissing him and breaking the spell. Despite the fact that she is a princess, he takes one look at her disguise (a peasant girl outfit) and complains that he's been rescued by the wrong person.
  • In Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon, has you saving those Two Guys from Adromeda, and after breaking them out of Prison, fighting a Death Match with gigantic Rockem Sockem Robots, AND fighting a space dogfight, they complain about the lack of light speed and in flight entertainment.
  • In Spyro: Year of the Dragon, the Sheila side-mission in Sunny Villa is to rescue a Distressed Damsel at the top of a tower. However, once you battle all the Rhynocs to get to the top, she promptly tells you that she has a restraining order against the guy who asked you to rescue her in the first place.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, Isamu rips you out for taking too long in saving him out of the Kabukicho Prison, making him look like an Ungrateful Bastard. There is a Dummied Out sequence which explains Isamu's attitude - the Psychologist Teacher he was fawning over had broadcast a message for the PC to come and save her from her imprisonment at the Obelisk - this making Isamu fall into Heroic BSOD as he realizes he was little better than a nobody in the Vortex World.
  • In Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon, the villains are performers who wish to turn Japan into a giant stage. After defeating them, Goemon and company are attacked by a mob of angry fangirls who liked the Peach Mountain Shoguns!
    Girl A: Hey! You guys! What did you do to Dancin'?!
    Girl B: The oh-so-beautiful song and dance of Dancin' and Lily...we won't be able to see them. Thanks to you! You little...
  • In Fallout 3, most of the science team act this way during the frantic escape from Project Purity, particularly Daniel Agincourt who accuses both the Lone Wanderer and their father of selling them out to the Enclave. The Lone Wanderer furiously replies that their father was one of the scientists the Enclave just murdered, causing him to hastily apologise and become marginally more helpful. The team do thank the Wanderer for saving them upon reaching the safety of the Citadel.
    • The science team were also guilty of this in the past. None of them trusted the Brotherhood of Steel, despite them being the only thing preventing the Project from being overrun with Super-Mutants on a daily basis. Naturally, when the Brotherhood withdrew their support for the Project, it was quickly abandoned and left to the Mutants.
    • Invoked in both directions during the Lone Wanderers first journey to the GNR building, with the Brotherhood of Steel insisting that they were rescuing "yet another idiot wastelander" from the Super-Mutants, despite the Lone Wanderer being equally as competent (if not more so) in the battle. Should the Lone Wanderer proceed to take down the Super-Mutant Behemoth with the Fat Man launcher, most of them are impressed enough to stop treating the Wanderer as a nuisance and finally admit that their help was invaluable.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, a rich businessman's kidnapped daughter trash-talks the player before she's even rescued. She changes her tune quickly enough when she's asked if she'd prefer to stay.
    Kiki: "Oh, I'm so impressed. What? Like, you want me to thank you or something? In your dreams, asshole."
    Player: "Close your food hole or you'll find yourself back in your cage."

    Visual Novels 
  • A big part of why Archer in Fate/stay night is so pissed off is because this is essentially every rescue for him. Nobody understands why he is helping people so he has very few friends and tends to make enemies when saving people. He is even put to death by someone he just saved because the disaster is blamed on him. At one point he rescues Shirou from Caster's temple; half of the rescue involves both of them telling the other to shut up.
    • That has shades of Hilarious in Hindsight because since Archer is future Shiro, even when rescuing HIMSELF he can't help but argue, and the two have the exact same reactions to things, albeit allowing for Archer's understandably more cynical take on things.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue, Sarge is shot in the head and is revived when Grif gives him CPR. When he's told that it was CPR that saved him, he thanks Simmons, thinking he was the one who saved his life. When Simmons tells him it was actually Grif who saved his life, Sarge immediately chided Grif about the idiocy of using CPR for a bullet wound to the head. "What would you do if I got shot in the foot? Rub my neck with aloe vera?" Guess how Doc tries to treat Caboose when he gets shot in the foot. Less successful results though, Caboose's toe falls off.
    • Also happens in season 9 where Church got pissed off that they rescued him from the memory unit after he'd finally found peace.

    Web Comics 
  • Bun-Bun from Sluggy Freelance, after falling unconscious during his fight scene in "Dangerous Days", doesn't even let Torg finish telling him that Kiki saved Bun-Bun's life or that Torg himself killed the Big Bad. As The Big Guy of the strip, he can't handle being saved by two of its wussiest characters. "My fragile little mind is on the brink here, understand?"
  • In Freefall, Mr. Kornada is upset about his rescue from a building being wrecked by a hurricane because his rescuers won't let him attend a meeting.
  • Nodwick and his group have to rescue people like this a lot. One example, they rescued one rather obnoxious noble who cussed Piffany out for it. (Really bad idea; simply making her cry - which is what happened - seems to be enough to make Artax and Yeagar want to beat the crud out of someone. In fact, threats - or heavens forbid - physical harm - directed at Piffany is one of the few things that will make the two of them risk their own lives in a fight.)
    • And in another brief storyline, they had the old job of rescuing a princess from a dragon; it was rather easy, because the dragon actually begged them to take her from him, saying she was such a nag, she was driving him crazy. They quickly found out exactly why this was the case, and it wasn't long before they wanted to give her back to him.
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella. In the guest comic ""Don't Fear the PEEPER", Wonderella pre-empts this trope by making her rescuees sign a non-liability agreement before she rescues them.
    Wonderella: Look, I'm doing you all a huge favor here, and I don't want to get sued cause one of you a-holes decides you didn't like the way I saved your life.
  • The Order of the Stick, Lien defies the trope when she is cornered by hobgoblins after she can't get her spear out of some goblins she killed. Durkon kills them with Thor's Lightning, and Lien gets singed a bit by accident. Durkon immediately apologizes for it, but Lien refuses to complain.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Monty of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers is given a cheese-attack-induced burst of energy by a fellow Ranger telling him they have cheese in order to get him to break out. Monty thinks that was a dirty trick.
  • In an episode of Gargoyles, the eponymous creatures save some civilians from some extremist terrorists. The civilians react to the Gargoyles with horror and tell them to keep away. Brooklyn adds, dryly, "Don't gush over us or anything. It's kind of embarrassing."
    • In all fairness to the civilians, from their perspective they've just seen a group of heavily armed men overpowered by winged monsters, and they have no idea if they're the next target.
  • In an episode of Samurai Jack, Jack and the Scotsman must rescue his wife from some robots. Upon their arrival in her cell, she begins berating them for being late. Then, due to a stubbed toe, she makes them carry her down the stairs, which is difficult, as she is almost twice as large as the two of them put together. On the way down, they must continually switch positions, as every method of carrying is either uncomfortable, embarrassing, or too dangerous. She manages to redeem herself somewhat by manhandling the entire army of robots "guarding" her all by herself after one of them calls her "the fat one". Of course, this begs the question of why exactly she needed rescuing in the first place...
  • After Green Arrow saves both himself and Black Canary from being hit by an oncoming train in Justice League Unlimited, Canary gets pissed over leaving her motorcycle behind, at which Arrow responds, "Gee, you're right. I'm sorry I saved our lives."
  • Kim Possible saves Bonnie. Bonnie complains. Repeat. Lucky for everyone, Bonnie is seldom in distress.
  • A particularaly frustrating one happens in Ben 10. Basically, the group was in space and was going to die upon reentry since they lost their ship when Ben changes into Cannonbolt and saves them. Gwen complains about the bumpy ride and the heat (ya know, the heat that would have COMPLETELY FREAKING INCINERATED HER if not for Ben).
    • Even more frustrating given that Gwen had plenty of legitimate things she could've complained about instead, like Ben being even more of arrogant than usual over the past couple of episodes.
  • A subversion in Static Shock occurs when, in attempt to move a car and its occupant out of danger, Static accidentally flings it into the air as a result of his powers being far stronger than normal. When Static manages to return the car to the ground safely, the frightened driver does berate him for a moment, but then asks him to do the same thing to get him to where he was intending to go, claiming the city's traffic to be 'even scarier'.
  • In the Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, Buster, Babs and Byron go over a waterfall when Superman suddenly flies in and catches them. The response:
    Buster: Hey pal, this is our story!
    Babs: Yeah, get your own video!
    Superman: It's your call! (drops them back down the waterfall)
    • Well, they were asking for it... Ironically, when they're in real danger:
      Babs: Where's Superman when you need him?
  • One episode of The Fairly OddParents has Timmy rescuing Trixie from an alien plant that he had gotten her as a gift earlier in the episode that has turned out to be not so harmless. Her response when he saves her:
    Trixie: Timmy, you killed my seemingly harmless plant! You are so not my boyfriend!
  • Lucius on the Superhero Episode Jimmy Two-Shoes. Justified, since Jimmy, Beezy, and Heloise were fighting over who got to save him rather than, you know, actually saving him.
  • From the Superman episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Lois Lane escapes Lex Luthor and while falling cries out for Superman. She opens her eyes to see Batman has caught her while Superman is fighting Luthor. She doesn't outright say it, so much as how she says it.
    Lois: Oh Batman... Gee thanks...
    • Also leads to Tornado Champion's Face-Heel Turn in "Hail the Tornado Tyrant!"
  • Young Justice
    • Cheshire is captured and imprisoned by Red Arrow. When Sportsmaster comes to rescue her, she immediately starts griping at him and wondering why he had to be the one to come get her. Fridge Brilliance kicks in a few episodes later — Sportsmaster is Cheshire's father, whom she hates and ran away from home years before to escape. No wonder she wasn't happy he came to get her.
    • Dr. Serling Roquette is also fairly snarky about being rescued by Red Arrow in "Infiltrator"; mostly it has to do with the lack of fancy gadgets and being rescued by an ex-sidekick.
  • From the first Family Guy Presents: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball episode when Chris (Luke Skywalker) tries to save Lois (Princess Leia):
    Lois (Princess Leia): Aren't you a little fat to be a stormtrooper?
    Chris (Luke Skywalker): Well, stay here and rot, you stuck-up bitch!
  • In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Full-Tilt Tails", Tails tries to rescue a man who jumps out of an airplane. The man tells Tails that he was in a skydiving competition and Tails' rescue made him lose. Justified in that Tails didn't know the man was in a skydiving competition until after he told him.

    Real Life 
  • This is why Good Samaritan laws exist. Not only do some people complain about being rescued, they sue their rescuer in court. While it is true that amateurs may not always succeed at emergency first aid, it is also true that in some cases Emergency Services simply cannot reach the victim in time. This does not even take into account cases where even successful treatment can lead to injury such as broken rib bones after administering CPR.
    • Don't forget the Heimlich when talking about life-saving procedures that also break ribs.
  • The best way to open a person's airway to deliver rescue breathing involves moving the head. In a situation where the patient may have spine trauma, however, moving the head carries a risk of paralysis. For this reason, rescuers are trained to try to open the airway by manipulating the jaw bone—unless that doesn't work, in which case "life over limb" kicks in. There is a distant possibility that the patient (or his bereaved family) could try to sue because one or the other method injured someone, or didn't work.
  • This can crop up in a military mileu due to "life or limb" decisions. When a major artery in a limb is severed (or worse perforated) the loss of blood can rapidly exsanguinate a soldier. The most common treatment is a tourniquet, which was long thought to guarantee the loss of a limb. There are those who would rather die than live as a cripple and sometimes it's the medic who has to make the call without any knowledge of the soldier's wishes. Fortunately, in the last 10 years research has shown that limbs can survive tourniquet treatment for up to 45 minutes, so these situations are becoming less common.
  • Naloxone is a powerful opiate receptor antagonist that is used to reverse the effects of opiate overdose, or, in plain English, instant buzzkill in a syringe. When EMTs administer it to people who have overdosed on heroin and the like, it's not uncommon to have to deal with one very pissed-off junkie.
  • EMTs are trained to expect situations where patients have signed DNRs, but the family is insisting that he/she had changed her mind. Most teachers advise that when in doubt, one should treat, because no one has ever won a lawsuit for being wrongfully kept alive (but people have tried).
  • Heck of a rescue, Mr. President. For extra irony, the one who was complaining about it was himself criticized for his slowness in responding, while his critique is that the response was too fast.
  • Something like this seems to be happening with insurance company AIG, who attempted to sue the Government for bailing it out only to later withdraw the complaint amid public backlash. In this case it's not the fact that they were bailed out so much as some of the specifics (which we will not go into here due to Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment). This incident in particular was mocked by The New York Daily News, which ran an editorial cartoon in which a lifeguard saves a drowning man with "AIG" on his belly. When the lifeguard asks the man how he feels, the victim says, "like suing you."


Complaining about People Not Liking the ShowComplaining IndexComplaining About Shows You Don't Like
The Complainer Is Always WrongExample as a ThesisConflict Ball
Come with Me If You Want to LiveIndex to the RescueConveniently Timed Attack From Behind
Because You Were Nice to MeGratitude TropesCrossing the Burnt Bridge
Badass FamilyImageSource/Animated FilmsMundane Utility

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