[[noreallife]]
->''"'...and then Jack chopped down the beanstalk, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and trespass charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks inconvenient questions.'"''
-->-- '''Susan Sto Helit'''[='=]s "translated" version of ''Literature/JackAndTheBeanstalk'', ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', by Creator/TerryPratchett

A '''Designated Hero''' is a character in a story who, despite being presented as heroic, is actually a {{Jerkass}} at best and an arguable villain at worst. This is not the same as the deliberately morally ambiguous AntiHero. From the praise they receive from other characters and even the narrative, it is plain that the audience is expected to like and root for the Designated Hero; instead, they have problems that can even inspire pity or, on rare occasions, disgust.

They are often mean people with no redeeming qualities aside from some superficial virtues, and they do not undergo appreciable character development. They're generally [[KarmaHoudini given a pass]] by the writers, freeing them from the consequences of their actions.

An extremely common plot associated with this character is their riding the coattails of a [[AccidentalHero misunderstanding]] or undeserved reward until they finally feel guilty about it -- and are allowed to keep it at the end anyway. In so-called 'guy movies', this is sometimes associated with an implausibly attractive woman inexplicably respecting that he came forward with this information and allowing it to wipe away all fault for what he originally did, despite the fact that most reasonable human beings would never want to see him again. But hey, he learned to be a NiceGuy, right?

Note that ValuesDissonance can sometimes be a factor with this since the exact definition of what constitutes heroism has changed over time; a character that comes across as a Designated Hero to a modern audience might well have been TheParagon when the story was written in FeudalJapan or AncientRome. Of course even in modern society people will have [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation different standards of what constitutes heroism]].

On the flip side, there's the DesignatedVillain, who we're supposed to dislike despite the fact that he's [[StrawmanHasAPoint right about everything]]. This is often because [[SmugSnake everything he says gets accompanied by an annoying smirk]]. Another inversion would be the VillainProtagonist, who, while presented as the ''protagonist'', is in no way presented as a ''hero''; rather the opposite. (Ironically, a failed attempt at writing a VillainProtagonist can come off as a Designated Hero, though a work with a sympathetic VillainProtagonist can use this trope to their advantage by making the [[SmugSuper hero who opposes them this]]). UnsympatheticComedyProtagonist are usually given a free pass but this can be a result if one of their jokes comes across as [[DudeNotFunny offensive]] to the audience members.

Not to be confused with TheChosenOne, though they can occasionally overlap. [[AccidentalHero Accidental Heroes]] do accomplish heroic things, but not intentionally. If the character is publicly perceived as a Hero, but is still shown to be villainous within the narrative context of the work, then he's a VillainWithGoodPublicity. For a character who is an utter [=Jerkass=], but still ultimately heroic, see GoodIsNotNice. For a morally ambiguous character who is ''intended'' to be seen as such by the audience, see {{antihero}} and its related subtropes. Can also be related to BitchInSheepsClothing, where a character who seems like a nice person turns out to be a mean person deep down.

Also not to be confused with SupportingProtagonist, which is when the story just focuses on a character other than the hero. PinballProtagonist is for when a character doesn't do much that's "heroic" by dint of the fact that they just don't do much of anything ''important''. Do not confuse with VanillaProtagonist which is where TheProtagonist (not necessarily TheHero) is blander than the rest of the main cast so the spotlight can more easily focus on them.

See ShowDontTell. Almost always a result of being UnintentionallyUnsympathetic. Such a character might inspire RootingForTheEmpire when the villains are seen as more likable than the main character. Often, but not always, overlaps with NominalHero, though not on purpose.

The level of designation falls on a spectrum, in more minor cases it's where an AntiHero is treated as an Ideal Hero while a theoretically extreme case would be a character that a sensible work would treat as a Complete Monster being TheHero.

'''Note:''' InUniverse examples or {{Intentional|Audience Reaction}} ones go to NominalHero.

----
!!Examples
[[index]]
* [[DesignatedHero.AnimeAndManga Anime and Manga]]
* [[DesignatedHero.ComicBooks Comic Books]]
* [[DesignatedHero.FanFic Fan Fic]]
* [[DesignatedHero.{{Literature}} Literature]]
* [[DesignatedHero.LiveActionFilms Live-Action Films]]
* [[DesignatedHero.LiveActionTV Live-Action TV]]
* [[DesignatedHero.VideoGames Video Games]]
* [[DesignatedHero.WesternAnimation Western Animation]]
[[/index]]

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertising]]
* The Miller Lite beer commercials have a guy enjoying time with his girlfriend; he mentions it's been 30 days and he thinks he's found something special. Just when we think he's talking about his girlfriend, he opens up his refrigerator and reveals the Miller Lite home draft. He even moves her out of the way. (This is a parody of the E-Harmony dating service commercials.)
* The kids of "Trix are for kids" advertising campaign love to torment that poor rabbit with the fact that he will never ever get to eat the damn cereal. By far the most {{egregious}} example was when the rabbit legitimately purchased some Trix with his own money, only for the kids to take it away when he left the store, essentially mugging him. Nobody points out the sadistic glee the kids seem to take in excluding and denying the rabbit over and over.
** Both times the Trix rabbit scores some Trix was due to two separate popular votes overwhelmingly supportive of his goal to get the sugary cereal. By that point, even kids were like "just give him the damn cereal you insensitive jerk-offs".
** This made sense in the early commercials (1950s-60s), where the rabbit was actually trying to steal the Trix from the children. Later commercials lost this, probably as a result of ButNotTooEvil.
** It's gotten to the point where if the Trix Rabbit even DREAMS of enjoying Trix products, the kids come along and steal them away.
* Much like the kids with the Trix rabbit, we got the kids from the Lucky Charms commercials, who will incessantly hound and chase after Lucky the Leprechaun to take his cereal. It's not as bad as the Trix example since Lucky is clearly toying with them. [[FridgeLogic (Otherwise, he wouldn't always be singing "Try me Lucky Charms - they're magically delicious!")]]
* In some of the commercials for Golden Crisp, mascot Sugar Bear came across as this. He was always pursuing Granny Goodwitch to steal her cereal instead of getting his own, even though she never did anything to him except try to hide from him so she could ''finish her cereal'', and share it with him during the Christmas season.
** There were numerous Golden Crisp throughout the 90s where the Sugar Crisp bear would actively '''steal''' the cereal. One would have him break in the factory at night and rush off with its entire contents, another would have him hijack a delivery truck full of the stuff, all the while singing off his "Can't get enough of that Sugar Crisp" slogan, coming off much more as a {{smug|Snake}} addict than anything worth sympathy.
* Like the above examples there's Barney, who would constantly come up with scatterbrained schemes, just so he could steal Fred's Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles, instead of buying his own. Some of the earlier commercials even had him break the fourth wall, winking at the audience while bragging how he'd trick Fred and steal his cereal, as though the audience is supposed to find this funny and charming.
** In [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhOqikF9cic one ad,]] he went as far as to disguise himself as a villain called the Purple Phantom and told Fred that Barney was being held hostage. That's right, Barney uses the very friendship he has with Fred as a tool to get Fred to hand over a box of cereal. Jackass.
** Barney himself says in a parody: "Damn it, Fred, I just want some of your f***ing cereal." This parody is from Robot Chicken, where Barney kills Fred for his cereal, then kills all the animal appliances for witnessing the crime, then gets hung.
* You know those "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" commercials with the [[{{Adorkable}} dorky lovable]] PC and [[SmugSnake stuck-up]] Mac? Rumors abound that [[MisaimedFandom the audience is supposed to prefer Mac Guy]].
* The Alltel Wireless commercials have a similar problem. The audience is supposed to like Chad, even when he doesn't lift a finger to stop his supporters from doing terrible things to the avatars of the other companies. Besides that, Chad adopts a HolierThanThou personality to humiliate the other guys.
* The douchebag lies and gets the girl in the Twix "Take Your Time" commercials.
** One of the newer commercials features a guy staring at a bunch of "hot" women fooling around in the street. The guy's wife, with their presumably newborn daughter, yells at him, and asks what he's doing. The [[CatchPhrase "Need a Moment?"]] logo comes up, the guy eats one of the bars. He says, "I'm just looking at... potential babysitters!" The wife then KISSES his cheek, saying, "You are SO sweet!". What?
** Another has a girl finding the name Terry on her boyfriend's cell phone. After the Twix Time Freeze thing happens, he casually claims that Terry is his boss. The commercial doesn't say that cheating is okay, but doesn't say anything about it being wrong in any way, either.
* Aussie Haircare has a series of ads where a FunnyAnimal kangaroo is going about their business when Aussie products fall out of their pouch. Women nearby use them to get better hair. At no point does the 'roo ever get anything more substantial than a "thanks". This includes the meter maid who got the stuff when the 'roo was trying to get more change out to put in a parking meter about to expire. Yes, she stole her stuff and ''still'' gave her the ticket.
* Esurance has Frank [[TheMagnificent The Saver]], who spends all his screentime bragging about how great he is at saving people money and doing his best to undermine and downplay his coworkers' efforts. After all, [[SarcasmMode who]] ''[[SarcasmMode wouldn't]]'' [[SarcasmMode want to buy their insurance from somebody who only sees their accounts as another feather in his cap and another reason to rub his success in everyone else's face]]?
* Creator/AdCouncil:
** In one commercial, a dentist is going around a store humiliating people who are thinking of buying soda. He then attempts to ScareEmStraight by showing pictures of one soda user's teeth. The message may be clear, but the dentist is treated as the hero, [[WellIntentionedExtremist despite his borderline harassment of shoppers.]]
** Another commercial had an overweight guy waiting for an elevator. Someone comes up to him and says something to the effect of [[{{Jerkass}} "Maybe you should take the stairs?"]]
* A Skittles commercial has one guy eating Skittles from an hourglass that represents his friend's lifetime. The friend comes in as an old man and as he continues to age before the guy's eyes, the guy ''continues to eat the Skittles''. Apparently we're supposed to laugh as the guy is so addicted to candy he's dooming his friend to an early grave.
** A group of girls are talking and two of them mention a boy has skittles in place of teeth. So one of the girls goes over to the boy, who is smiling and looks excited, and french kisses him. Then it's not only revealed that she took his teeth into her own mouth but she promptly bites down on a skittle tooth with an audible crunch and smiles at the boy. What? She just made this random stranger toothless!
* Some of the worst offenders in commercials on the Website/{{Cracked}} article [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-ad-campaigns-that-prove-humanity-doomed/ 6 Ad Campaigns That Prove Humanity Is Doomed.]]
* Some of the latest Hanes commercials has a fan harass MichaelJordan while cruelly insulting another passenger on their plane for his "bacon neck" (a wrinkled collar on his undershirt). The fan is completely insufferable, though Michael Jordan himself regards him vague bemusement, so at least he comes out of this relatively clean (despite the inexplicable Hitler mustache he wears for it).
* According to their ad campaign, anyone with AT&T's 4G is entitled to act like a total {{Jerkass}} to anyone who DARES try to tell them the latest news: "That's SO Xsty seconds ago!" Not that these people ever see fit to share the information when they learn it ''first''; no, it's just an excuse to degrade and insult the 'uninformed masses'.
* A commercial for Kraft Mac and Cheese has a kid boasting how he took all the pans from home when he went over to a friends for a sleepover. Why? So he makes sure that his parents don't cook Macaroni and Cheese (Or anything else for that matter) and eat it when he's not there. Makes you want to throttle the smug rat.
** There was a similar commercial where a disgustingly bratty kid ''got their parents taken away/arrested'' for eating some of their Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''Disney/{{Pocahontas}}'', Meeko the raccoon and Percy the dog, the {{Empathy Pet}}s of the main heroine and villain respectively, are meant to be cast in the same positions within their conflict. Yet Meeko steals Percy's food while the latter minds his own business, and continues to do this throughout two movies. And the things that Meeko does would result in bodily harm were his opponent not MadeOfIron. To top it all off, [[KarmaHoudini the damn raccoon gets away with everything.]]
* Sinbad in ''WesternAnimation/SinbadLegendOfTheSevenSeas''. Aside from the obvious fact that he is sent because he's their only option, the general way Sinbad acts for almost the entire movie makes him little to no different then a villain. He starts the movie trying to rob a ship, not even caring when it's his childhood friend Proteus he's robbing. Sinbad is then set up to be executed for a crime he ''didn't'' commit, and Proteus decides to take Sinbad's place in exchange for Sinbad retrieving the Book of Peace. Oh, yes, did we mention that Proteus is a prince who is next in line to inherit the throne? That means his death would result in a SuccessionCrisis and doom his entire country. Yet despite this overwhelming amount of faith Proteus puts in Sinbad, the pirate responds by ''leaving him behind to die'', something he very well would have gotten away with had it not been for Proteus's fiancee stowing aboard the ship to make sure he keeps his word. When she saves the crew from a Siren attack, Sinbad actually has to be pressured into showing her any gratitude at all. But the two gradually warm up to each other and start to fall in love, despite Marina's prior engagement. [[BigBad Eris]] even calls Sinbad out on this, saying that even if he's not betraying Proteus by running away, he ''is'' stealing Proteus's girl. He does go back in the end, but it's very hard to see what goodness is in him that others are seeing. The worst part? He's the one who ends up with Marina in the end.
** His abandoning of Proteus was explained as him believing that Proteus's father would ''never'' let his son be killed, which would have been true had Proteus not suffered a massive case of HonorBeforeReason. And [[spoiler:when Sinbad does go back at the end, it's fully expecting the death penalty (he believed he failed to get the book back) and refusing Marina's offer for him to run while she went back and got Proteus off the hook by explaining that Sinbad did everything he could.]] Whether or not this is too little too late or not is another matter.
* ''BebesKids''. Seriously, they destroy a theme park and cause trouble for many innocent people there, yet they never get punished for it. Worse, the audience is expected not to think badly of them because they have a poor life and have "attitude." In the original stand up routine the movie was based on, they were clearly the antagonists. Robin Harris was criticizing irresponsible parents who were too selfish to raise and discipline their ill-behaved children. Also, Robin Harris' character in the movie ALSO qualifies for this trope; generally acting like a major [=Jerkass=] to everyone yet actually being praised as a good guy despite doing nothing good whatsoever.
* Stanley from ''WesternAnimation/ATrollInCentralPark''. Aside from just being a delusional idiot, his "perfect world" is filled with trolls who [[UnfortunateImplications look and think exactly like him]], he acts ''[[LoliCon waaayyy]]'' too happy when a toddler kisses him, and at the end of the film he ''[[spoiler: covers New York City in vegetation]]'', [[InferredHolocaust causing untold devastation and no doubt killing hundreds of people]].
* Jack, the protagonist from, well ''WesternAnimation/JackAndTheCuckooClockHeart'' is that, if only for the fact that at the very end of the movie, [[spoiler: he willingly throw the key that allow his heart to even function onto a cliff, [[StupidSacrifice with no real justification]], wich wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that, for one, his adoptive mother died trying to save his life, and two, that the girl he loved tried everything she could to be at Edinburgh in time to bring him this very key, and she came from Andalousia, no less, seemingly rendering both of their effort meaningless. The fact that he seems perfectly content with dying in front of a girl who loves him, as the final image of the movie is his ghost looking down on her and smiling doesn't help]]
** He also made the booth of an old ghost train's caretaker, whom he previously worked for, fall off, for seemingly no other reason than she was slightly rude to him earlier... [[DesignatedVillain Even though she had every reason to be]], since he didn't exactly worked really hard after she hired him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Opera and Theater]]
* Siegfried from Creator/RichardWagner's ''Theatre/RingOfTheNibelung''. The anti-Semitic connotations with his treatment of Mime don't help, even if Mime is a DirtyCoward. And the identification UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler had with him.
* Subverted as early as Creator/GilbertAndSullivan's ''Theatre/TheYeomenOfTheGuard'', their only tragedy. Colonel Fairfax is often treated by other characters as a great hero. There's nothing they wouldn't do for him. The audience is repeatedly told how great he is, but sees little real evidence. At the end, he is revealed to be an absolutely hateful figure. No wonder audiences treat Jack Point sympathetically as TheWoobie, despite him being something of a jerk himself.
* In ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'', Claudio was tricked into thinking that his fianceť Hero had cheated on him. Instead of asking her about it or even quietly canceling the wedding, he waited until the wedding ceremony was underway then publicly accused her of being a whore. Even after being (falsely) informed that Hero had died of shock afterwards, he showed no remorse.
* All of the Christian characters from ''Theatre/TheMerchantOfVenice'' can be seen this way, especially Portia, who ruins the DesignatedVillain / WellIntentionedExtremist Shylock's life, then decides to fuck with her fiance apparently just for the lulz with the whole stupid rings subplot.
** This is probably mostly due to ValuesDissonance. Shylock would most probably have originally been seen as the villain by its original audience and Portia and Antonio (who treats Shylock far worse than Portia who at least gave him what would have been a considered a happy ending) as the heroes. Over time this has changed with peoples attitudes as Shylock's portrayal has gone from villainous clown to tragic figure due to changing views of race and racism.
** There are those who believe that Shakespeare intended for the play to be taken this way, and that it was deliberately written to ''[[SubvertedTrope subvert]]'' anti-Jewish bigotry. There is basis in the text to support this interpretation, but it of course remains a matter of interpretation.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin was a NinetiesAntiHero during The Attitude Era and it worked because everyone was either a villain or an AntiHero, and the villains he faced in particular were into things like [[CorruptCorporateExecutive corporate corruption]], {{nepotism}}, and HollywoodSatanism. Ever since around 2003 he's presented as a {{face}} (and is still popular) but hasn't changed his act so he's a straight up jerk. He once stunned Wrestling/StacyKeibler simply because she didn't like the taste of beer and also Linda [=McMahon=] (a middle aged woman who is not a trained wrestler) just for the hell of it. If any other wrestler had done this, Wrestling/JimRoss on commentary would have villified them but with Stone Cold just said "[[DoubleStandard I may not like it but that's the way he is.]]" He also stunned Wrestling/BookerT at ''[=WrestleMania=]'' for doing a spinaroonie in the ring (apparently Austin doesn't like the attention being stolen from him) and also Josh Matthews for [[ShootTheMessenger simply reading a message from the Raw GM]] that Austin didn't like.
* The Wrestling/BellaTwins when they were faces. They would [[TwinSwitch switch with each other]] to win matches. Yeah that's right - faces would [[TagTeamTwins cheat to win.]] And it was presented as completely okay and their opponents were supposed to have deserved it somehow. This was reversed with their heel turn in 2011 where they continued to use it but commentators and other wrestlers would outline it as wrong.
* Wrestling/JohnCena frequently. One evening he hurled a hurricane of fat jokes at Wrestling/VickieGuerrero who admittedly used to be overweight but has since slimmed down considerably. He also frequently bullies his opponents, [[BlatantLies spins and distorts the truth]] [[BerserkButton to get into their heads]], and generally acts like a [[SmugSuper smug prick]] when he's called on his behavior, but is still presented as a role model and leads the B.A. Star Anti Bullying campaign as well as most (if not all) WWE's charity causes.
** As a specific example, when Zack Ryder got over with the crowd, Cena became Ryder's "Broski," did his damnedest to whore ALL of the attention, then stole Ryder's girlfriend and never bothered to lift a finger while Kane repeatedly assaulted Ryder. This wasn't a heel turn, he was still being treated as a face in-universe.
** Another example came with him, portraying the All-American Babyface against Alexander Rusev's ForeignWrestlingHeel, beating up Rusev because Rusev said disparaging things about America, not five minutes after Cena told Rusev he had the right to free speech in this country.
* Wrestling/{{Paige}} from ''[=WWE NXT=]'' is a subversion. She was a heel in FCW but [[EnsembleDarkhorse got insanely popular]] so appeared as a face on TV without a proper character change. However she was presented as more of a WildCard and the announcers don't imply that her behaviour is justified (or at least particularly heroic) at all. She appears to treat faces and heels equally.
* [[Wrestling/BrookeAdams Brooke Tessmacher]] in Wrestling/{{TNA}}. She unfortunately was pushed as a face but made it clear she wasn't able to portray herself that way. She came across as arrogant and full of herself in her entrance, bratty and bitchy in her promos and unnecessarily brutal in the ring. In her feud with her best friend [[Wrestling/LisaMarieVaron Tara]] she came across as the heel initially until the latter turned heel on her.
* Wrestling/{{Sheamus}} often comes off as these, and in 2013, had ''three straight'' feuds like this.
** First, he had a pre-Wrestlemania feud against Wrestling/WadeBarrett, which began when Wade started bragging about a movie he got to appear in. Sheamus, for no apparent reason, came out to answer this bragging by crapping all over the movie and Wade's acting skills. The odd part is that nothing ever came of this, partly because Sheamus was already in feuding with The Shield at the time, so it made his actions seem unnecessarily dickish.
** Secondly, he feuded with Wrestling/MarkHenry. This began when Henry attacked Sheamus backstage, during interviews, a couple of times. Sheamus paid these attacks back, then continued harassing him even after he seemed to lose interest in Sheamus. In two cases, Mark Henry challenged Sheamus to non-wrestling physical contests (tug-of-war and arm wrestling), which he clearly outclassed Sheamus in with superior strength alone. Sheamus came off as a massive dick by assaulting Henry in the middle of these just to keep himself from losing, or just to get the last laugh.
** His third feud is with Wrestling/DamienSandow, which consisted almost entirely of Sandow expressing intellectual superiority, then Sheamus attacking him for no particular reason. Even in cases where Sandow was legitimately acting like a dick (cheating at the shell game), Sheamus still ended up looking like quite a dick, such as completing the chess challenge by destroying the expensive computer for no apparent reason.
** Other than those feuds, there's that one time he straight up ''stole a car.'' And no, Wrestling/JerryLawler, "just borrowing it" is not a valid legal defense.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Roleplay]]
* ''Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG'' had it's share of Designated Heroes amongst actual heroes and {{Designated Villain}}s:
** Snake was supposed to be a likeable anti-hero [[Film/EscapeFromNewYork just like his inspiration]], but unlike his namesake he didn't have as much of a context to act the way he did (Snake Plissken at least had the excuse of living in a crime-filled post-apocalyptic future). As a result, he ended up coming off as a complete [=Jerkass=]. To add insult to injury, the guy who was supposed to be a low-life scumbag in comparison ended up being a DesignatedVictim, seeing as Snake's motivation for wanting to beat him up seemed incredibly weak.
** Trigger is a similar case. He kept being presented as though he was the OnlySaneMan, but every other second he was insulting other agents or accusing them of incompetence. The fact that other players' developments kept causing Trigger's "sane" opinions to be proven wrong didn't help.
** Dust would apparently be an example of this done right, given that despite his fanbase he spent most of his time in the RPG double-crossing or otherwise getting in the way of everybody.
** Firecracker was supposed to be an amusing comic relief. However, it turns out that apparently there's nothing funny about a man whose defining characteristic is an overt obsession with blowing things up.
** Duke... oh boy... Duke. This was a guy's primary character (and in this RPG all players are supposed to be on the same side, meaning he was supposed to be a good guy). His role was (thankfully) fairly brief, but the majority of his actions consisted of insane hate crimes against anyone in the team with the slightest idealistic beliefs. It came as quite a relief to players when Duke was finally locked up in a maximum security prison and there was actually a movement to ensure he ''stayed there''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}: The Grim Darkness of the 41st Millennium might as well be the poster boy of this trope. The only reason the Imperium of Man appears to be good guys is... well... because they are human. Beyond this they are xenophobic fascist anti-progress extremists that have committed just as many atrocities as any other faction. The closest thing the setting comes to actual good guys would be one of the more benevolent Chapters of SpaceMarines, such as [[SpaceRomans the Ultramarines]] or the [[ScaryBlackMan Salamanders]], just because they actually care about the lives of Human civilians enough to ''usually'' rate their defense of a world's population as being slightly more important than exterminating the enemy.
** The game's descriptions, however, tend to be self-parodies in many ways: all TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} fans accept that the setting is a zero-sum [[CrapsackWorld Crapsack Cosmos]] in which the cleverest strategists do not scruple to designate a planet of fluffy bunnies "acceptable losses." (Planets full of fluffy bunnies ''that breathe fire'' are a strategic asset, and might be worth defending.)
* Given the nature of the medium, anecdotes quite naturally circulate in tabletop RPG circles about both player and non-player characters like this. For a fairly basic example, the section "Confessions of a Hack and Slash Junkie" (which is ''actually'' about breaking out of that mold and creating memorable plots and villains) in the ''Fantasy Hero'' genre book for the 4th edition of the ''{{Hero System}}'' alludes to a slaughter of kobold children by the [=PCs=] of one of the author's past playing groups "because they aren't worth experience points alive".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* The Lego [[Toys/LEGOPowerMiners Powerminers]] theme officially involved heroic miners armed with Dynamite and heavy digging equipment fighting rock and lava men deep beneath the earth while collecting valuable crystals. However, the packaging often depicted the the "heros" as imperialists coming to exploit the rock-men's food supply and then dynamiting the rock men when they resisted. The 2nd wave talked about how the miners had gone deeper down, which sort of contradicts the idea they are defending the surface.
** Though this falls under AllThereInTheManual, initial comics showed that the rock men vibrate when they eat the crystals, and doing this in large numbers had caused major earthquakes further up. So the miners' objective was not so much to obtain the crystals for their own sake, but to keep them away from the monsters to prevent natural disasters. YMMV if that improves things or not.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Ariel from ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}''. As the narrator and viewpoint character, she considers herself a hero, in a [[CrapsackWorld world where nobody can decently be called such.]] Though the fact that she considers herself a 'hero' is toned down in the remake. She just wants to live, and some of her more [[KickTheDog dubious actions]] have been {{retconned}} or changed. Her [[spoiler:not really]] mother Quain'taina, is also portrayed as this {{in-universe}}, because to the Drow the definition of a great person is capability to great deeds; morality does not enter into the matter. Quain'tana's virtue is in her skills and charisma that allowed her to rise from a [[SatisfiedStreetRat homeless street rat]] to one of the greatest political powers in the city, while the fact that she's a horrifically [[AbusiveParents cruel mother]] is not particularly important to the drow. She isn't a sociopath, incidentally; it's more of a case of a cycle of abuse.
* Also occurs in the comic ''Webcomic/BlackTapestries''. The main star is a bitch. Also has Designated Antagonist, who manages to be a villain by a compulsive "Shoot the Dog" reflex.
* ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'' plays with this by putting the protagonists on the receiving end. A band of adventurers invade their home to clear them out with no other justification than that they were goblins and therefore AlwaysChaoticEvil. Most of the tribe gets wiped out and the survivors decide that they are sick of being walking chunks of XP and decide to become adventurers themselves to better protect their homes. Then one of their own gets captured and brought into a human city where so-called "monstrous races" are routinely captured and [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters tortured]] to better understand how to kill them. While it might seem that they slip into Designated Hero territory when they slaughter guards, they actually use the paladin's ability to detect evil to ensure only evil guards are killed. And Thaco's declaration of his intent to slaughter his way through the human civilians to get to his son is a bluff to scare away said civilians so that they aren't caught in the crossfire.
* All the "heroes" of ''Webcomic/{{Sonichu}}''. Many of the female main protagonists only exist solely for "{{fanservice}}", rarely, if ever, do heroics without their significant other and usually focus on shopping and having sex. Everyone takes the title with issue 10 and later AllThereInTheManual-type questioning. Issue 10 shows the AuthorAvatar for Christian Weston Chandler eradicating everything he hates - from [[CureYourGays homosexuality]] to simple Internet {{troll}}s with his fellow castmates cheering him on. Later questioning and written installments turn the characters into something of a private army for the city where they're granted immunity for any actions they've done and one of their more powerful characters is used as a sort of psychic security officer patrolling for anyone "gay". Chris continuously kept backpedaling after people kept complaining, leading to his big CreatorBreakdown.
* ''Webcomic/VampireCheerleaders'' has this with the main cast of five vampire girls who do some stuff that may cross the line for some viewers. Fortunately there's a good chunk of the fans that rages against this, not only unwilling to accept that having vampire powers simply means they just get to get away with things like that, but wishing the girls would be made to suffer and die. On the flip side there's the group of fans who accept the girls' good reputation InUniverse.
* Mora in ''Webcomic/LasLindas'' has a history of using [[http://laslindas.katbox.net/archive/shanghai/ sex, violence, and blackmail]] to extort people for cheap labor. Mora also throws [[http://laslindas.katbox.net/archive/breakdown/ childish tantrums]] and [[http://laslindas.katbox.net/archive/overdressed/ belittles her loved ones]]. Her occasional acts of charity often come as result of plot convenience or her boyfriend [[http://laslindas.katbox.net/archive/thatll-shut-her-up/ bribing her with sex]]. Yet, every story arc ends with Mora being labeled as the [[http://laslindas.katbox.net/comic/dianas-secret/ positive force]] everyone's life, despite her not really doing anything worthy of such praise. Even the ruler of the world shows favoritism towards Mora for no obvious reason, much to the chagrin of [[DesignatedVillain Alej]].
* Rhys from ''Webcomic/{{Teahouse}}'' is supposed to be a troubled and rude yet somewhat charming prince. Except that he's irresponsible (meaning he would be a terrible person to run the country - his sister points this out several times); he's uncaring (he left his sister, grieving over how their father is slowly dying in front of them (who he showed zero interest in), so he could go to a whorehouse and fuck a whore - there were plenty of people within the palace who he sleeps with so it isn't a matter of needing comfort/escaping his duties); he violently beat up the whore who, supposedly, slept with his sister after he suggested that she should go there; he's repeatedly raped a whore who is technically a slave and not allowed to say no (but he still fought back as much as he could before Rhys overpowered him and tied him down) and he only goes to said whore, who's straight, so afterwards he can mock and victim-shame him - meaning he only does it so he can feel better about himself. Not only is he supposed to be a good guy that whore/prince couple is supposed to be romantic.
* Makoto Yosue turned into this by the end of ''Webcomic/RedString.'' He started out as an obvious antagonist to the author's originally planned main couple and was a completely rude and unrelentless jerk to Miharu. Despite him knowing she's engaged and him knowing that he's also engaged to marry her ''cousin'', he continues to harrass and pursue her. The closest he ever comes in the comic to acknowledging this is apologizing...for still loving Miharu. However, as the author completely fell in love with him, she drastically changed the story to make him more of a protagonist and derail her original storyline to focus more on Makoto. This led to the original male protagonist getting written out of his own comic and Miharu's only concerns in the storyline being her ability to date Makoto. People in the ''story'' constantly tell the reader he's "changed" or blow off his continued bad behavior to everyone around him with handwaves. Other storylines not featuring Makoto rapidly dropped out of the comic as it blew towards its conclusion. The author herself declared him her favorite character because of his "self-sacrifice", a trait he never displays in the entire ten years of the comic's run. Miharu eventually winds up with him because the story expects him to have her. By the end of the story, he'd morphed into a complete KarmaHoudini and a CreatorsPet, but never actually a person who the reader would actually want to root for.
** To highlight the complete disconnect between Makoto's portrayl in the comic and how the author wants him to be seen, in one of the final scenes of the comic, [[spoiler: Makoto insults Kazuo for having an abusive home and for becoming so ill from it that he tried to commit suicide. Kazuo points out that Makoto entered his life by declaring the then-engaged Miharu and her family's business as his property, both of which he'd gotten his hands on with no actual effort, and pointing out that his life has been nothing but one lucky break or parental bail out after another.]] We are supposed to take Makoto's side. Oh, and his parents ''do'' bail him out once again, leaving him in a ''better'' position than he was before the argument...so [[StrawmanHasAPoint Kazuo was completely correct that Makoto is completely useless as a protagonist.]]
** Miharu devolves into this as well. By the end of the comic, anything about her that indicates she exists to be anything ''except'' Makoto's girlfriend has departed the comic and she can't even make the simplest decisions without relying on him to do them for her. Miharu's goal at the start of the comic is eating and being Kazuo's wife. All that changes in the end of the comic? [[spoiler: She just intends to be Makoto's wife instead.]] In the meantime, while the story tries to tell us that she's brave, thoughtful, and spunky, her actions come off as a spoiled bratty teenager that's never been told no. She's kicked out of high school (which is ''very'' hard to do in Japan and doubly so at her school in particular) due to her antagonism of her teachers and complete disregard for schoolwork. The story started to show her realizing that she was on her last chance at her new school...then dropped any pretense of showing her ever working on fixing her grades or having any plans beyond marrying [[spoiler: the guy that just threw his job away to date her full time and has shown no indication of actually planning on getting another one.]] In addition, she treats her parents like crap [[spoiler:when they rightfully point out her secretly dating Makoto could put her entire family (including Karen's family!) in serious peril if she isn't taking it seriously.]] Naturally, since Makoto just solved the problem for her, Miharu is never put in a position to admit she's wrong and the last scene of the comic is her mocking her parents. Oh, and Kazuo, the guy she was supposed to marry who she now knows had a physically and emotionally abusive home and who she claimed to still care about and that she'd "always be there for him?" even after his family pressured him (physically) into ending the marriage? Yea, she cuts him off entirely and can't even be arsed to tell him in person. She also seems to think she can magically solve his ''abusive homelife'' by manipulating him into participating in cooking contests and then gets angry and offended when he finally realizes she had convinced a woman to ''pretend to love him'' to convince him to cook. Only in that last scenario is Miharu ever shown to admit she did something wrong. The story still expects us to sympathize only with Miharu and be angry with Kazuo despite the fact that [[StrawmanHasAPoint he's absolutely right to be angry with her for treating his problems so flippantly.]]
* ''Webcomic/LighterThanHeir'' features a complete jerkass protagonist that deconstructs the Determinator Trope: sure, she's patriotic, optimistic, and never gave up when her instructor stacked the odds to break her jerkass. But she's UTTERLY anti-social, treating her squadmates like malfunctioning weapons, and ends up becoming the intolerable bane of her entire squad (to the ones who can tell the difference between comrade and sociopathic load). And then she proceeds to disown her father over NOTHING (she suspected that he was playing the war hero / cheating on her mother as a disappeared dad - she found out that he was tortured and murdered ForScience) and mass-murder a bunch of soldiers in her way, some of whom turn out to be decent people. It would be understandable if it were for revenge for her experimentation and her father's murder, but she's just utterly loyal to her country and willing to murder anyone who isn't part of her country. It's unknown if her power increase and constant PTSD will eventually develop into character development or full-blown sociopathy. Our Superwoman Expy, ladies and gentlemen!
* One of the most common criticisms of the Sisterhood in ''Webcomic/SinFest''. The author wants them to be seen as heroic and noble feminists who are fighting against "the Patriarchy," which is a tangible organization/conspiracy within the world of the strip. Instead, they come across as {{Jerkass}} [[StrawFeminist Straw Feminists]]. They brook no disagreement with their viewpoints and refuse to debate their opinions, perform morally questionable actions (like hacking into a Fembot factory and turning the androids against the staff), and even have a member who, when questioned about why she "hates men," ''doesn't disagree with the idea and labels men as her oppressor''. They are never called out on their more extreme behavior, and the author seems to want them to be seen as 100% in the right.
** Case in point: when the Sisterhood hack into the Fembot factory, they cause all of the Fembots inside to revolt against the staff working there and attack them. Later, another Fembot who's gained sentience comes across the abandoned factory and finds that the Fembots there had been destroyed. This is treated as a tragedy...except all of the blame is put on the Patriarchy. It's never once acknowledged that the Sisterhood, whatever their intentions may have been, are directly responsible for the violence that occurred there.
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* Jay Naylor, author of ''BetterDays'', actually created a porn series sold online called "Haukaiu the Hero". People have pointed out that the title character hasn't done ''anything'' heroic, by either the old use or the current one, but has in fact so far been so blatantly unheroic as to not really care that his brain-damaged mother is being used as a sex toy by the men of the village. It is a ''porn'' series, so it's not really supposed to make sense to begin with, and the series are still incomplete, but still...
* In the Online novel series ''Literature/{{Tasakeru}}'', Skunk mythology states that their death-goddess loved the male element of the god's love quadangle so much she offered to be sub-dominant to him. The other two, the goddesses of life and time, reacted by infusing her body with poison so whatever she touches dies. They more or less act like horror-movie style sorority bitches, rather than the kind and loving goddesses they're worshipped as.
* [[VideoGame/HalfLife Gordon Freeman]] is depicted as being like this in ''Machinima/FreemansMind''. Everyone hails him as a great hero, but really he just sort of bumbles around and saves the world by an accident, while at the same time trying to negotiate with enemy soldiers (it doesn't work), looting things around Black Mesa, and trying to find anything he can to get high (such as animal tranquilizers). A good example is episode 19: throughout the last few episodes, he had been randomly wandering around, pressing buttons because they looked shiny and shooting zombies who attacked him. Turns out he accidentally turns on a rocket engine that burns a giant monster to death (that he had avoided being crushed by due to sneaking and sheer dumb luck).
* WebVideo/TheIrateGamer himself. He blew up a harmless alien mothership because of E.T. on Atari, murdered the Kool-Aid Man for doing what he does... ON CHRISTMAS, casually pals around with Satan, blew up Ubisoft's headquarters because he couldn't get into their E3 conference, and we're supposed to treat him as the hero. If he was just an asshole that would be kind of understandable, except he has an EvilTwin [[HeroAntagonist character]] that hasn't even killed anyone or done anything remotely evil outside of stealing something.
* Mutants in the WhateleyUniverse. A number of the mutant characters seem to hold the opinion that mutants are just another minority, cruelly segregated and persecuted by 'normal' people... which, to be fair, is true, except for the fact that most mutants have powers that could easily kill a baseline, many at the school are living weapons of mass destruction, and the superheroes can be deadly- for instance, the case of the Flying Bulldozer, who tried to stop his long-time nemesis by throwing cars at him. It worked, while injuring dozens and causing over a million dollars of damages.
** Especially the main characters of most stories and any of the school staff.
* A lot of people felt this about Meridell in {{Neopets}}' Meridell/Darigan war: The shiny, pretty town of Meridell is threatened by the evil, ominous Darigan Citadel. Lord Darigan demands that Meridell give him their magic orb and makes it clear that he'll not take no for an answer. Obviously, we're meant to side with Meridell... except that the orb originally belonged to ''Darigan'', and was stolen from him by the people of Meridell, so he understandably wants his property back- and while it's true that Meridell stole the orb only because they were doomed if they didn't, apparently nobody realised that if having the orb will make your land prosper, then maybe taking it from somebody else is a dick move.
* Most of the protagonists in ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'' qualify, though [[NephariousPharaoh Yami Yugi]] is undoubtedly the worst offender.
** If one were to consider [[AntiHero Seto Kaiba]] one, then he '''definitely''' qualifies.
* WebVideo/MatthewSantoro is portrayed as a hero for locking up [[TheDitz Hugo]] in a cage for being crazy, and it's implied that it wasn't Hugo's fault that he's crazy.
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