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Draco in Leather Pants
Were they playing the same game I was?

"I tell you, Satan's gonna have no trouble taking over here 'cause all the women are gonna say: 'What a cute butt.' 'He's Satan!' 'You don't know him like I do.' 'He's the Prince of Darkness!' 'I can change him.'"
Bill Hicks, Arizona Bay routine

A form of Misaimed Fandom, when a fandom takes a controversial or downright villainous character and downplays his/her flaws, often turning him/her into an object of desire and/or a victim in the process. This can cause conflicts if the writers are not willing to retool the character to fit this demand.

In fanfiction, they are frequently the love object of the local Mary Sue, who uses the power of love to redeem the character. "I can fix him" is a commonly expressed sentiment among fans of Dracos in Leather Pants. In extreme cases, the affection these characters receive from fans can lead them to forget that they're actually still supposed to be villains. Or, on the flip side, even the worst crossings of the Moral Event Horizon can be rationalized, while any insult from the hero towards the villain is cast as deplorably mean. The writer's attempt to make the villain more "sympathetic" will likely causes them to remove everything that made the character so cool/well liked in the first place.

Common reasons for this include the character being wicked in a classy or cool way. A physically attractive villain is much more likely to be subject to this trope than a physically ugly one; Beauty Equals Goodness, after all, and shallow as it may be, it seems that, for some fans, this is the case even when the character's beauty only extends to their appearance. All Girls Want Bad Boys may be a factor with male villains getting a female fandom that views them through this lens.

Some villain archetypes, such as the Smug Snake (because of their off-puttingly arrogant personality), female villains (because it's mostly Fangirls who invoke this trope), and the Complete Monster (because of the severity of their evil deeds and absence of redeemability) are rarely susceptible to this, but it can still happen.

Jerkass Dissonance usually plays a part in this trope; it is much easier for people to forgive and overlook the negative qualities and stress the Freudian Excuses that form a sympathetic back-story for fictional characters than it is to do the same for people in real-life, because the actions of the fictional character have no real-world effect.

Expect also for fans to make excuses for the character not getting any comeuppance for their sins, and, for bonus points, gloat if one of their hated and/or villainized characters gets the short stick instead, especially if the latter is the victim of the former.

Named for a term in the Harry Potter fandom, for the mostly sympathetic Fan Fic portrayals of Draco Malfoy, who, in Canon, is a petty, smug, elitist, Spoiled Brat. (The term originated in Hurt/Comfort Fics, where Draco was the comforter and Ron was the abuser, usually with Hermione being the victim. Not coincidentally, the Inverted Trope Ron the Death Eater also originated from such fics.)

Disturbingly, sometimes Truth in Television - but we won't go into that.

Related Tropes:

    Character tropes in danger of becoming Dracos in Leather Pants 

    Compare 
  • If the audience seems to have a fairly good reason for preferring the bad guy over the good guy, you may have Unintentionally Sympathetic (or Unintentionally Unsympathetic in the possible case of the hero they're against).
  • When the audience embraces or admires a villain more because of his or her chutzpah and/or Break the Haughty potential than out of actual admiration, and are still perfectly fine with them receiving their ultimate defeat in the end, then it's Love to Hate.
  • Rooting for the Empire is doing this while acknowledging that the villains are evil.
  • Jerk Sue is when the writer does this, with a character who is revered by other character in the story despite acting like a total prick to them.

    Counterparts 


Examples:


DrabbleFanfic TropesDramatic Reading
Deus ex MachinaPt/Índice de TraduçãoDrowning My Sorrows
Unintentionally SympatheticSliding Scale of Character AppreciationAffably Evil
Distress BallBad Writing IndexDull Surprise
Designated HeroJustForFun/Tropes of LegendEar Worm
Do Not Do This Cool ThingUnexpected Reactions to This IndexDude, Not Funny!
Badass DecayHeel Face IndexEasily Forgiven
Dork AgeAudience ReactionsEnding Aversion
DominatrixEvil Is SexyEvil Costume Switch
Disability as an Excuse for JerkasseryAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!The Dragon
Double StandardProfessional WrestlingEarly-Installment Weirdness
Doomed HometownImageSource/Video GamesGuns Are Worthless

alternative title(s): Villain White Washing Service; Paint The Villain White; Dracos In Leather Pants
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