Disappointed by the Motive

Holly Gennero McClane: After all your posturing, all your little speeches, you're nothing but a common thief.
Hans Gruber: I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite.

In fiction, most bad guys have a Freudian Excuse. Some may even go as far as having a Start of Darkness. Some, however, have neither. Or, at least, not a "good" one.

This trope occurs when the bad guy hits the good guys with the typical Motive Rant for their actions, and an observer dumbfoundedly proclaims, "THAT'S your reason?" with unabashed disgust or disappointment. To the bad guy, committing murder, Cold-Blooded Torture, or any other heinous deeds or crimes based on that motive made sense, or at least, they saw it as a legitimate excuse. The heroes and others who find out the truth, however, are utterly disappointed not only that so much evil happened for such nonsensical reasons, but that this loser has had them running around expecting an epic battle of wills.

This isn't the same as For the Evulz or It Amused Me. The character in question had a "reason", but as far as the good guys are concerned, it wasn't a very good one. Also, please no "Heroic" examples of this trope. If the character isn't doing "bad" or immoral things, it doesn't count for this trope.

Compare and constrast with Motive Decay, where the initial motive was actually a good one (or at least made more sense) than what it ended up devolving into. Also compare Tragic Dream, where the motivation can be very valid, but is in no way reachable, as well as Disproportionate Retribution and Comically Small Demand.

May overlap with Evil Is Petty. See also Anti-Climactic Unmasking, where the identity of the perpetrator is also disappointing, Humble Goal (which can affect hero or villain alike—people's reaction to hearing said goal and expecting something bigger could be this Trope).

NOTE: In-Universe Examples Only. The important part of this trope is other characters' reaction to the motive; the motive itself is secondary.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball, Commander Red, leader of the Red Ribbon Army (which has been an entire army made of Knights of Cerebus) initially says he needs the Dragon Balls in order to take over the world. However, he eventually reveals he wants them to wish to be a few inches taller. When his second in command, Adjutant Black, finds out, Black kills him and takes over the army.
  • One Piece
    • In the Fishman Island arc's climax, Hody Jones is a Fantastic Racist who utterly hates humans. However, it's revealed in an exchange that occurs between himself and Prince Fukaboshi that he was just raised to be a bigot. He's never had a bad experience with humans personally, but when in Rome.... Fukaboshi immediately sends out a mass-communication admitting that Hody's grief is "one without substance".
      Fukaboshi: What happened to you? Did humans enslave you? Did they hurt your loved ones? Answer me, Hody! What the hell did those humans do to you?
      Hody Jones: ...nothing.
    • One year before the story's beginning, the "Pirate Noble" Cavendish took the world by storm. One year later, Cavendish's fame was eclipsed by Luffy and several other rookie pirates now known as the "Worst Generation." Being the Attention Whore that he is, Cavendish has sworn vengeance on those pirates. Even Luffy is smart enough to realize this is a rather petty grudge. Cavendish eventually gets over it (kind of..) and even becomes the first commander of the Straw Hat fleet. Though he still wants to be the most famous of them....
  • Due of the nature of the work, this trope ends up happening quite a lot in Haiyore! Nyarko-san. For example, when Mahiro found out why the first villain in the series is trying to capture him (to be sold to be a star in a TV drama), he gets dumfounded and frustrated enough to ask Nyarko to kick the villain's ass.
  • In Sword Art Online, Kirito and Asuna, trapped in a game where losing all your HP means death in the real world, investigate a series of murders (two staged and one actual) that supposedly happened because of Loot Drama. While Kirito has enough experience with MMOs to be disgusted by that, the culprit's real motive is even worse. The guild leader's husband was disturbed by how much more confident and assertive his previously meek and submissive wife was becoming, and wanted to kill her while she was still his wife so that she didn't divorce him in the real world. Kirito and Asuna are appalled, and tell Grimlock that if he feels this way, he never truly loved his wife.
    Kirito: Your wife wouldn't listen to you... and that's why you killed her?

    Comic Books 
  • One X-Men story featured a mysterious new supervillain named Kaga who turns out to be just a bitter old Japanese man in a wheelchair who, as a Hiroshima survivor with deforming, debilitating mutations, was jealous of Mutants for having relatively benign and paranormal mutations (plus looking drop-dead gorgeous). He lampshades and defies this trope.
    Kaga: What were you expecting? A master plan? A scheme to turn off the sun? This is the real world. Hatred and disgust are good enough reasons to want to kill people.
  • In an issue of Monica's Gang set in the real-life theme park based on the franchise, the villain starts paralysing everyone in the theme park with a weapon he invented. When Monica and Jimmy ask his motivations, the villain reveals he just wants to play with all the rides in the theme park, he couldn't bear all the kids on the rides, and he hated waiting in line. Bonus points for the fact that the villain was an adult, and that the now-closed park was more like a deluxe playground with slides and ball pools, instead of things like roller coasters and a midway. Of course, Monica and Jimmy don't take this very well.
  • Issue #4 of Thunderbolts has the titular characters tracking down someone who has been kidnapping orphan children. That someone turns out to be Mad Scientist Arnim Zola, who has been using the children as test subjects for his experiments, resulting in all of them but one being turned into monsters. When they ask who he was working for, he reveals he had no client- he was just doing it to "keep himself busy". Jolt, the girl who wasn't turned into a monster, is understandably infuriated.
  • Teen Titans Go!: In Issue #41, Raven is disappointed that Kitten's evil alter egos were just a way to get her father's attention.

    Fan Works 
  • ...That's it? is all about Twilight Sparkle having this response (in contrast to her canon reaction) regarding Starlight Glimmer's Freudian Excuse, and proceed to explain how it's childish, petty, and selfish to Starlight, who listens.
  • And That Made all the Difference has Twilight Sparkle (both of them) outraged once they learn why Alternate!Princess Celestia abducted them and let their universe become a Crapsack World; she doesn't know. She's following her visions for the future despite having no idea what good would come of it.
  • When Naruto (accidentally) figures out in Reaching for a Dram that the biggest reason Madara wants to ensnare the world in the Infinite Tsukiyomi is because he had a crush on Mito, he's amazed by how pathetic Madara is, telling him to get over it.
  • In the second story of the Princess of the Blacks series, several students try to kill Jennifer because her mother Bellatrix Lestrange killed their family members. While Jen can understand and even somewhat respect their reasoning, she calls Cormac McLaggen pathetic because he wants to kill Jen for being chosen as the junior champion of the Triwizard Tournament the previous year.
  • Clash Of Marvels A Coreline Short Story: The reactions of Asuka (and her boss Misato on the debriefing done afterwards) at finding out that an Alternate of Georgia Sivanna was driven so desperate at wanting to have a fellow "super-criminal" friend (or just a friend, period) that she thought forcing a(n apparently) lethal example of Let's You and Him Fight on Asuka (who has the powers of the Marvel Family) in the hopes that the latter would get Drunk on the Dark Side from the "kill" and she could arrive later and offer her friendship is very much being flabbergasted (the justification... she is a character from a universe running on Silver Age rules and back on her 'verse such a blatantly nuts plan would have been Crazy Enough to Work).
  • Several times in The New Adventures of Invader Zim, Norlock expresses disappointment and disbelief towards Zim's actions and plans. He also doesn't think much of why the Tallest sent Zim to Earth in the first place.
  • Unlike canon, in Jaden's Harem: Return of the Supreme King Jaden is remotely sympathetic to Bier and Beauregard who became the Duel Giant and stole cards from Obelisk students due to being made fun of. He gives them a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how in the real world, people aren't required to be nice to you and they need to grow up already.

    Film - Animated 
  • In Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, Alternate!Doof's tragic back story is that he lost a toy train as a child. Immediately lampshaded by Prime!Doof who lists off tragic backstory after tragic backstory.
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker:
    • In a flashback, The Joker finally learns Batman's secret identity, and he isn't impressed.
      Joker: It's true, Batsy! I know everything. And I must admit, like a kid who peeks early at his Christmas presents... sadly anti-climactic. Behind all the sturm und batarang, you're just a little boy in a playsuit, crying for mommy and daddy! It'd be funny if it weren't so pathetic... Oh, what the heck, I'll laugh anyway! [mad laughter]
    • Invoked when Terry throws one back at the Joker during their final battle; Terry is in I Shall Taunt You mode and trying to piss the Joker off.
      Joker: Stop that!
      Terry: So you fell in a tank of acid, got your skin bleached and decided to become a supervillain. What, you couldn't find work as a rodeo clown?

    Film - Live-Action 
  • In the movie Falling Down, William Foster has been through a lot: losing his job, his family, and otherwise having things go wrong. But finally, he goes on a rampage around Los Angeles because... he wants to go to his daughter's birthday party (granted it's implied that he was going to do much worse but still); along the way he gets pissed at people for the pettiest reasons. Somewhat justified in that his ex-wife implies he needed professional help. At the climax in the movie, this exchange happens:
    Bill: I'm the bad guy? How did that happen? I did everything they told me to. Did you know I build missiles? I help to protect America. You should be rewarded for that. Instead, they give it to the plastic surgeon. They lied to me.
    Sergeant Prendergast: Is that what this is about? You're angry because you got lied to? Is that why my chicken dinner is drying out in the oven? Listen, pal, they lie to everyone. They lie to the fish. But that doesn't give you any special right to do what you did today.
  • Played for Laughs in Hot Shots! Part Deux. An important sub-plot concerns the fact that there is a mole who has provided information to Saddam Hussein and compromised several prisoner rescue missions already. At the end, it's discovered that The Mole is the Girl of the Week, Michelle, and that this girl has a vendetta against the previous Girl of the Week, Ramada, which drove her to treason. She gives a very Psycho Lesbian-sadomasochist-Girl-on-Girl Is Hot-laden Motive Rant.... which climaxes with her explaining that she's still holding a grudge because Ramada over-tightened her bungee rig back at college. Everybody else gets flabbergasted at that, and Ramada calls her out on her bullshit during the subsequent Designated Girl Fight.
  • From Who Framed Roger Rabbit:
    Judge Doom: Eight lanes of shimmering cement, from here to Pasadena. Smooth, safe, fast. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past.
    Eddie Valiant: So that's why you killed Acme and Maroon? For this freeway? I don't get it.
    Judge Doom: Of course not. You lack vision, but I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on, all day, all night. Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food, tire salons, automobile dealerships, and wonderful, wonderful billboards as far as the eye can see! My God, it'll be beautiful!
  • Die Hard has the above exchange after The Reveal about Hans' Evil Plan:
    Holly Gennero McClane: After all your posturing, all your little speeches, you're nothing but a common thief.
    Hans Gruber: I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite.
    • During the climactic showdown, John has a similar reaction, although he's stalling for time.
    • All but one of the following films (Die Hard with a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard and A Good Day to Die Hard), upon the reveal that the villains have done so much wanton terrorism in order to get richer (incredibly richer, but still), McClane is experienced enough to not care anymore, while his sidekick of the movie has one big "what?" moment. With a Vengeance even has the villain's henchman react this way to learning the real motive. Die Hard 2 is the odd one out: while at first it seems that the political issues are just a pretext for a robbery (or maybe just using the General they are retrieving to get a lot of reward money), it is subverted by the end - the film's villains have an actual political motive (pretty much patriotism gone wrong).
  • In 8mm, the motive of the killer is that he simply wanted to because likes to hurt and kill people. This enrages Tom enough to kill him.
  • A Gray and Black Morality version of this Trope occurs on Payback: Porter only wants back his seventy thousand dollars, his share of the heist that Val Resnick stole from him (leaving him for dead). Every single person who hears this (especially the bad guys) can't believe that Porter is willing to take on the entire criminal underworld of the city for such a low amount of money (they assume that, at the very least, it would be for the whole $140,000 that the heist paid off. Porter keeps correcting them that it's for just the seventy--a few times violently).
  • Hot Fuzz. After constructing an elaborate scenario involving a local supermarket-owner murdering various townsfolk to secure land that will soon have an expressway built through it, thus escalating in value, Nicholas Angel learns that Mr. Skinner and his associates actually killed those people for extremely petty reasons, such as having an annoying laugh, being a bad actor, building a McMansion or repeatedly spelling their names wrong in the newspaper. Their ringleader, police chief Frank Butterman, allows this and targets anyone who dissents or stands out (which included the slaughter of a large number of street performers and homeless people (not unsubtly implying that this latter act involved taking out whole families)), in order to win the annual Village of the Year competition. Angel's reaction to the NWA's Motive Rant is to be equal parts stupefied and horrified at such pettiness.

  • Artemis Fowl: Holly is not quite disappointed but very surprised when she finds out that the guy who kidnapped a fairy is only doing it to ransom her for a very large quantity of gold. Prior to that, she'd assumed his goal was to spark an interspecies war.
  • Ciaphas Cain: In "Traitor's Gambit", Tau sympathizers hijack and blow up a ship to take out the Lord General. After Cain discovers that the mastermind was just there to loot the ship, he calls her a common thief, to which she reacts pridefully.
  • In the Period Piece mystery novel Eater of Souls, an ancient Egyptian serial killer targets people for such "unforgivable crimes" as accidentally spilling his drink or beating him to the punch in hiring a prostitute he'd had his eye on. The sleuths who solve the case are, themselves, taken aback by just how petty the killer's motives had been for several of the murders. It's why they conclude that he hadn't been possessed by the demonic Anut, but was merely acting out his own self-centered vendetta: no self-respecting divine being, even a scary one, would've gone to the trouble of seeking payback for such trivial offenses.
  • Barry Trotter and the Unnecessary Sequel: Barry confronts the Big Bad (who works in Wizard/Muddle Relations) and learns that he was prepared to exterminate the entire wizard community just to cut down the amount of paperwork in his job:
    Barry: That's it? No World Domination?
    Niccolo: Nope. That'd be an even bigger hassle. Who needs it? I just want to retire. Do you want an evil cackle or something?
    Barry: It might be nice! This is only the denouement to the entire sodding book! Genocide as a paperwork-reduction method is kind of a letdown, yes!
  • In the story "Totally Trashed" by Roz Kaveney in the second Temps collection, after Lord Orpington is revealed as the evil mastermind behind the robotic attacks on the Marcias, Loric is disappointed to learn that his motive is not the crazed remnants of his love for the mother of the woman they were cloned from, but simply that he's been embezzling their DPR stipend and is worried this might come out.
  • In Wings of Fire the main cast is quite disappointed by Whirlpool's motivation for trying to kill Tsunami is that he didn't want to have to marry her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • CSI:
  • CSI: Miami:
    • One case where an entire family had been slaughtered except for the youngest daughter who had been hidden in the closet, and the father (who had the alibi of having been at work, so it was assumed at first that it had been the mother, who was suffering from postpartum depression) was revealed to have been this. The reason why he went and killed his entire family with a shotgun? He felt that they had become too stressful to deal with. Horatio is less than impressed.
    • A rare Defied example of this trope happens early on, when an ex-Marine Cold Sniper goes on a murderous rampage. Cold, calculating, and with no other evidence of what apparently made him wake up one morning with a desire to kill people than whatever the man will decide to say at the end...:
  • CSI: New York has Flack say "You killed a guy over a cockroach?" The guy actually did. A jewel-encrusted Madagascar cockroach escaped from its owner in a restaurant and the chef, understandably, tried to kill it, at which point the busboy, a Friend to Bugs, flipped out. The detective was dumbfounded that the killer wasn't even trying to reclaim or steal the jewels; he was just trying to save a bug.
  • In the Doctor Who episode Voyage of the Damned, The Doctor finds out that the only reason the villain is trying to crash the spaceship into Earth is to get back at the board that kicked him out of his own company. The Doctor calls him out on how pathetic he is.
    The Doctor: So that's the plan? A retirement plan? Two thousand people on board this ship, six billion underneath us, all of them slaughtered, and why? Because Max Capricorn is a loser.
  • In the final episode of Monk, Monk confronts his wife Trudy's killer at gunpoint, furious that the man killed Trudy just to cover up an affair and further his career.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Late in Season 5, this is Buffy's reaction to The Reveal that the extent of Glory's Evil Plan amounts to nothing more than just using Dawn/the Key to return to her home dimension:
    Buffy: That's it? That's Glory's master plan? To go home?
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the episode "Starship Mine", Picard battles a group of terrorists on the Enterprise after he's stranded on there when the ship is going through the middle of a decontamination sweep. When their leader Kelsey captures him near the end, he reveals his identity and offers himself as a hostage if she'll forget about the weapons-grade material she took. She admits that she doesn't have a political agenda, she's just a thief. This disgusts Picard even more.
    Picard: Profit. This is all about profit.
    Kelsey: I prefer to think of it as commerce.
  • Kamen Rider Drive: In the final arc, the Big Bad Professor Banno/Gold Drive reveals his ultimate plan is to convert all of humanity to data and rule over them as a god, with those who refuse to bow to him being denied physical form. Banno's son Gou (Kamen Rider Mach) snarks that he expected "the great and mighty Tenjurou Banno" to have a more grandiose Mad Scientist-type ultimate plan and not just some generic Take Over the World garbage. This actually pisses Banno off so much that he declares he's going to kill Gou first.
  • Motive: In "The Dead Hand", Angie is rather underwhelmed to learn that what set off a series of Disaster Dominoes resulting in a double homicide, a Miscarriage of Justice and a hostage situation (where she was the hostage) was a guy wanting to be with his new girlfriend without the hassle of a divorce.
  • The Flash (2014): Season 1 Big Bad Eobard Thawne, AKA the Reverse Flash, went through the trouble of going back in time so he could kill the Flash' mother and essentially ruin his entire life, all out of hatred toward him. In season 2, Barry, holding a time-travelling version of Eobard captive, finally confronts him and asks why he hates him so much. Turns out Eobard is an Ascended Fanboy Gone Horribly Wrong: he used to admire the Flash, to the point he found a way to replicate his powers so he could be him... only to find out through his ability to time travel that he was destined to be his worse enemy, and embrace it out of spite. Barry is understandably disgusted he caused so many people to die for such a petty reason.
  • Criminal Minds: In the episode 'Hopeless', the team initially assume that the perpetrators of several brutal home invasions were a group of disenfranchised, unemployed individuals with nothing left to live for taking out their rage on society at large. Morgan is disgusted to find out that the killers were actually fairly well-off men with a decent job who killed purely for the fun of it. This disgust is what likely fuelled the team's decision to let the unsubs get killed via Suicide by Cop.
  • In the NCIS episode "Detour", Ducky and Jimmy are abducted by people seeking something from the murder victim (he was a spy providing them with information). When the team finds the killer, Gibbs chews him out, threatening to have him in thrown in jail for murder and treason, until the thoroughly confused man insists that he's knows nothing about the victim's espionage and that he killed him in self-defense after finding out that the guy was sleeping with his wife. Gibbs' utterly annoyed "Geez" sums it up.

    Video Games 
  • Persona 4. When Adachi is revealed as the culprit behind several murders and attempted murders, he tells the Investigation Team that the reason he committed the first murder was because he found out a celebrity he was crushing on had a sexual affair with a married man, and he threw a temper tantrum. And the second one had a similar reason, when he spotted a high school girl talking to an older man, he accused her of being unchaste and murdered her for being "a whore". From then on, he fell headfirst into "some men want to watch the world burn" territory and committed the rest of the attempted murders strictly For the Evulz. The team is aghast that their entire adventure started because of one man's childish and perverted insecurities. The culprit hints that there might be more to it and that this was just the final straw, but by this point everyone is just sick of the whining.
    • Earlier on, when Mitsuo claims to be the culprit, (he may not have killed the first two victims or kidnapped the others, but he did commit a copycat crime.), the rest of the Investigation Team, particularly Chie and Yosuke, is fairly disgusted, as well as a bit depressed, to hear that he only did it to get attention.
  • Mass Effect 2:
    • In Jack's loyalty mission, they find out that someone is trying to rebuild the experiment that tortured and exploited Jack and other kids like her. At the end, she discovers that the person doing it is another victim like she was, who is trying to make sense of it and justify what happened to them by saying it must have had a purpose. His plan is to restart the whole thing with other children until he finds what the original scientists were after. Jack is extremely pissed when she hears this, and the Player Character, Commander Shepard, is likewise angry that he'd let other kids go through that kind of nightmarish Hell for such a ridiculous reason.
    • In Jacob's loyalty mission, it's discovered that Jacob's father, Ronald Taylor, had spent the past ten years marooned on a planet where the edible plant life degenerates intelligence. At first, the plan was to ration out safe food to the essential staff that could fix the rescue beacon while the non-essentials survived on the toxic stuff until help arrived. However, Taylor and several of the other officers started to enjoy the position of power this put them in - ruling over what amounted to a rape camp of docile, mentally-inhibited women - and as unrest among the crew increased, Taylor kept order by withholding food until his enemies went dumb, and rewarding those loyal to him by "giving away" women to them. In the end, Taylor - by this point the only "smart" one left - only activates the (long since fixed) rescue beacon because his reserves of safe food are about to run out, and the male crew members have grown violent and threaten to overrun his camp. Jacob flat-out calls it a "juvenile fantasy" when he finds out.
  • Subverted in Mass Effect 3, during the mission to stop the hanar diplomat from betraying his entire planet to the Reapers. The reason he tells you that he's doing it is because his race has always worshiped the Protheans as gods, but the Broken Masquerade has revealed that most accomplishments credited to the Protheans were actually accomplished by the Reapers, and that the surviving Protheans are now a Slave Race brainwashed to serve them. Thus, as worshippers of the Protheans, the hanar must also serve whom the Protheans serve. This is a subversion because it's also revealed that the diplomat is Brainwashed and Crazy, but that doesn't stop Shepard from having an epic reaction.
    Shepard: You big, stupid jellyfish!
  • Sly Cooper
  • Cole's reaction to Bertrand's motives for attempting to start a Conduit arms race in inFAMOUS 2 falls into this category. Though he doesn't explicitly state his disappointment, his tone of voice does it for him.
    Cole: I finally get it. You thought the Ray Sphere was gonna turn you into some shiny superhuman, but instead it turned you into a fifty-foot maggot.
  • Clank spends most of the first Ratchet & Clank believing Chairman Drek is the Well-Intentioned Extremist-type, out to create a new homeworld for the Blarg from the pieces of other planets after their old homeworld became too polluted for them. When he learns that Drek is actually a Corrupt Corporate Executive who deliberately polluted the Blarg homeworld in order to force the Blarg to pay him a fortune for the new one and is planning to do the same thing all over again to make even more money, he reacts with dumb-founded disgust.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, the party is disappointed to learn that the reason Vulcanus tried to start a war between Celestia and the Netherworld was so that he could become God... somehow.
    Etna: See? I told you it would be something selfish and stupid.
  • By the end of Lunarosse, Naamari's reason for throwing the story of Corlia's world into chaos wasn't a more understandable goal like getting home, but because he thought her story sucked (hey, it was only her first one) and he didn't like the role he was assigned. Channing gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech over how lame it was.
  • In Xenoblade, when Mumkhar explains why he did all he's done throughout the game thus far:
    Mumkhar: You're as blind as you were then! I've wanted you dead for years! I wanted to get the Monado so I could be the new hero!
    Dunban: Is that it!? That's the puerile reason you've killed all those innocent people? Ravaged our home?!
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, Luso's appalled to hear that the Lang brothers' crimes were the result of a a vicious spiral of vengeance... as the result of someone spilling a drink on one of them.
    Luso: You knifed nearly thirty guys over a spilled drink?! You're a threat to society!
  • In Trails of Cold Steel 2, everyone in the party is disappointed when Duke Cayenne reveals his real motives. His ancestor was the "False Emperor" dethroned by Dreichels in the War of the Lions, whose family now rules. Cayenne started a civil war just to setting a petty family feud that no-one but him cares about anymore.

  • In The Order of the Stick, Xykon murdered the wizard Fyron Pucebuckle and stole something from his residence, and Fyron's apprentice Eugene theorises that whatever was stolen must be an artefact of tremendous magical power if Xykon was prepared to kill in order to own it. It turns out that the only thing taken was an entirely non-magical crown, which Xykon only stole because he thought it looked awesome. Eugene's son Roy (who takes up the quest to destroy Xykon after his father's death) is utterly furious when he learns this.
    Xykon: Magic? The crown's not magic.
    Roy: What? Then... why steal it? Why kill Master Fyron and his son for it?
    Xykon: Well, because it looks cool, obviously. Here, check it out: [indicates his crownless head] Badass; [puts the crown on] REALLY badass. Am I right or am I right?
    Roy: Oh my GODS, I hate you so much!
    • Later on, Bandana is not pleased when she learns that the reason why Andi has so little respect for Bandana's leadership as acting captain that Andi would knock her out and take command, is that Andi's still bitter about taking orders from someone she baby-sat years ago.
    Bandana: Oh for the love of- that's what gets you so teed off, ain't it? You got no respect for me or my command because you used to be my babysitter like a million years ago. This whole thing is 'cause you're salty you gotta take orders from a "kid."
    Andi: Wrong! It's not that at all! It just so happens that all your decisions are wrong, and the other options are right, by default.
    Bandana: If you're gonna tie my hands up, at least have the manners to stop saying stuff that's begging for a facepalm.

     Web Original 
  • The Dragon Ball Z Abridged adaptation of Dragon Ball Z: Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan has Vegeta (who had up to that point practically been squeeing over how awesome Broly is) fall into this trope when he learns that Broly's entire motivation is that when they were babies, he and Goku had neighboring cribs and Goku's crying kept him awake. Then he's utterly stunned that the Legendary Super Saiyan is literally nothing more than a giant baby throwing a galaxy-destroying temper tantrum.
    Paragus: Broly hates Kakarot. Because he cried. A lot. For like, three hours!
    Vegeta: But... that's really dumb. But he's so cool! But that's SO DUMB!

    Western Animation 
  • In the The Powerpuff Girls episode, "Just Desserts", a follow-up to the episode, "Supper Villain", Mrs. Smith and her children join her husband in helping him eliminate the Powerpuff Girls, following his release from prison. After the girls defeat them in a showdown, Mrs. Smith explains that her motive for wanting to destroy the girls was not really because they drove her husband insane or sent him to prison, but because they ruined her dinner. As the girls point out, that's not a good reason for wanting revenge on them at all.
  • In an episode of Stripperella the bad guy creates a working paper mache volcano he plans to use to destroy the town because 'It's something he's just always wanted to do', when she tries to see if he has a Freudian Excuse, he again admits he's only doing it because he felt like it.
  • Justice League: Gorilla Grodd spends the final season being very secretive about his Evil Plan, which is later revealed to transform all people in the world into gorillas. Lex Luthor is quick to point out the ridiculousness of such plan, and no one in the Secret Society bats an eyelash when Lex shoots Grodd and usurps leadership.
  • A peculiar Running Gag on Totally Spies! is the Villain of the Week using some excessive Disproportionate Retribution for some absurdly simple and petty reasons (like one of them trying to destroy all of Beverly Hills with a Freeze Ray because people don't buy his ice cream, for example). Understandably, our heroines' reactions to the villain's Motive Rant is usually "...that's why you're doing this?!"
  • In Futurama, Professor Farnsworth reveals the reason he had campaigned against robosexual marriage is because his girlfriend left him for a robot. When Amy gets angry over such petty reasoning, he attempts to counter by pointing out his girlfriend was a robot herself, only to realize this makes his actions even less justified.