Volus: Shepard! Shepard! A moment of your time!So, you're a hero who's a fair way through your quest. You've slain fire-breathing dragons, or assassinated mob bosses, or torn apart an army base filled with hostile aliens. You've cut a swath through the land, slaughtering anything or anyone who gets in your way and spit in the face of impossible odds. You're well on your way to finishing the job, when you need a favor. Anybody who knows who you are should be too grateful or too scared to turn you down, right? Wrong! "Go clean out my stables." "Go throw around some Cuccos." "Go collect some apples from my garden." "Go beat up this guy that's been hassling me." "Don't you know who I am? Where's my respect?" Of course, you've got no choice but to debase yourself and comply with this humiliating request, even though you've probably gone From Nobody to Nightmare and by rights you should just kill them and take what you need. Is a little empathy so hard to muster? Also, don't expect merchants to give you a discount or something because you're a known hero and benefactor. Hell, some will even try to charge you more because you're famous. An Ideal Hero will fetch cats from trees all day long, but then again they're probably either a Slave to PR or just plain have nothing better to do between beating the tar out of villains. Expect villains, rivals, and some civilians to act like Ungrateful Bastards in part because of this; in extreme cases they may say "Then Let Me Be Evil." The Glory Seeker hates this. Conversely, the Humble Hero will receive praise, but brushes it off saying, "Think Nothing of It" or "All a Part of the Job." Particularly nasty ones are Impossible Task. Compare No Fame, No Wealth, No Service, Hero with Bad Publicity. Often crosses with Hero with Bad Publicity. Contrast Famed In-Story, 100% Heroism Rating, and The Player Is the Most Important Resource. See Entitled Bastard, who usually delivers this. On the other hand, someone may have this attitude when they've actually done no more than the bare minimum. Granted, if he's a Jerkass making an effort to do something nice for a change, he may have exceeded expectations, but this still has shades of believing It's All About Me. See also Dogged Nice Guy. When this happens to the heroes over the course of multiple stories, the culprit is usually Status Quo Is God. In order to keep the setting and its characters consistent from beginning to end, or at least without huge changes, it's necessary for the characters other than the heroes (and often the heroes themselves) to behave much the same as when the series got started. Please restrict Real Life examples to people who have been Vindicated by History already. As Truth in Television as this is, it's normally too personal to be considered.
Shepard: Can it wait? I'm trying to ensure the survival of every sentient being.
Volus: I heard about that. And I think it's really cool. Anyway. I was thinking you could go and get me some artifacts.
Shepard: Can it wait? I'm trying to ensure the survival of every sentient being.
Volus: I heard about that. And I think it's really cool. Anyway. I was thinking you could go and get me some artifacts.
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Anime and Manga
- The Rising of the Shield Hero: It doesn't matter how Naofumi saves Melromac- The three other heroes and the ruling family still find reasons to hate him. (Although it's also kinda averted because people like Raphtalia are grateful for the things he did.)
- The Survey Corps in Attack on Titan are the most active and experienced in the war against the Titans and has a higher kill count than the other two divisions combined, but the Military Police and some civilians look down on them, calling them a waste of resources and a bunch of lunatics and weirdos. It's all propaganda from the Military to make the Survey Corps lose face.
- Guts went through some pretty damn far lengths in order to help Griffith achieve his dream, up to and including doing some dirty work that had a pretty deep emotional impact on Guts. Despite all that he did, Griffith never really had the nerve to consider Guts a true friend, since in his eyes a true friend went after their own dream and wouldn't be a lackey to someone else's (which is a stab at the entire Band of the Hawk). After hearing this, Guts eventually gets fed up with Griffith looking down on him and up and leaves the Hawks, ironically having to defeat Griffith after he was acting very yandere-ish toward him. The sad part in this was that Guts was going to come back someday in the hopes that he and Griffith would become true friends. That would never to be.
- Oh Casca. She went through so much for the sake of the Hawks (having the responsibilities as the second-in-command, being the only woman in an all-male environment, putting up with sexism and threats of sexual violence routinely, etc.) and asked for very little in return. She only really wanted some emotional recognition from the two men that she held dearest to her: Guts and Griffith. But they seemed to be too preoccupied with their own dreams and "feelings" toward one another than with her, and she eventually allowed her feelings to be known. Through all of her efforts, things did not end kindly for Casca by the end of the Golden Age Arc concerning her relationship to Guts and Griffith - or her mental health.
- A Certain Magical Index: Touma Kamijou has saved countless numbers of lives, saved Academy City in a few instance, and saved the entire world on more than one occasion. Despite this, the second the trouble is over, he's back to being luck's Butt-Monkey. Usually signified when Index shows up and gives him the usual bite on the head. The President of the United States once appeared on national TV and radio and praised Touma as the hero who ended the conflict against Othinus and convinced her to pull a Heel–Face Turn. Touma still doesn't get any respect.
- Code Geass uses this trope for drama, as well as being probably the only series in existence to give a name to the reason this happens to certain characters: Schneizel el Britannia.
- The first victim is Li Xingke, who has been in the service of the Empress for years. Then comes Schneizel to propose the marriage with his brother. Xingke even points out what a horrible mistake it is to let the guy that conquered half a continent run around in a country they're currently in at least diplomatic tensions, and knowing Britannia's expansive ideology... (not to mention letting some Knights of Rounds accompany him, too). Well, moving on, Xingke is sent in their strongest armor after Zero kidnaps the Empress. After a battle in which he risks his life, what do the Eunuchs do? They forget all his contributions and still want him executed! No wonder he ends up siding with Zero to defend the Empress from them, and from here, they get their just desserts. Ultimately, it is revealed that the eunuchs WANTED the marriage to go through so they would gain Britannian royalty, and that they were willing to kill off and replace the empress, who they saw as nothing more than a figurehead. When Zero publicly reveals the plan to the masses, well, let's just say they don't take it too well, and now it's the eunuchs who are being left to dry by Schneizel, who sees that they no longer represent the nation without the support of their public.
- Then, the icing on the cake, Schneizel asking a discussion with the Black Knights, after knowing Lelouch would be too emotionally damaged by the supposed death of his sister, with a nuclear bomb pointing at their collective meeting place, threatening to blow it up if anything happens to him. So in just 5 minutes of on-screen time (couldn't have been more than 30 minutes in their time), the Black Knights suddenly forget how much Lelouch helped them and take Schneizel's word for it, although he has little proof on the matter except his word on it and some tapes that could have been fake. This is made worse by the fact that Schneizel is just using his charisma and has not, nor will he ever have, power of Geass, or even sufficient actual knowledge of it, leaving him to take any plausible liberty in order to sow the seeds of discord between the core knights and their leader.
- Before any of this though, we have Suzaku, who spends most of the series trying to work within Britannia to change the system. Problem is, he's a low-ranking Honorary Britannian, which has him sent for cannon fodder missions for much of season one.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Goku is seen as the Hope Bringer among his family and friends. Outside that circle, however, no one knows or cares about him. This is mostly because Goku purposely keeps himself under the radar, preferring to live a peaceful and calm life when fighting is not involved. However, Goku has helped a number of people and he was actually known as the person who beat King Piccolo and his son, saving the world. He is also a winner of the World Martial Arts Tournament and runner-up two years in a row with matches that are consider legendary. Also, thanks to Babidi's magic, the entire world saw him fight Buu at Super Saiyan 3 and cheered him on. Yet, when Goku asked for help to form the Spirit Bomb to kill Buu, only a few people cared. Only the people who knew Goku throughout his life or met him personally offered anything. Dragon Ball Super averts this, however, with Mr. Satan giving him the reward money he got as the world savior as his way of thanking him as well as keeping him quiet about things.
- While widely considered to be non-canon and to have no bearing on Dragon Ball Z, the finale of Dragon Ball GT finally does away with this and has the world acknowledge Goku as a hero, with there being a statue of him still standing at the site of the World Tournament 100 years after he was last seen.
- Despite being a god and overseeing of the entire northern galaxy, King Kai gets little respect from Goku and the other lower Kais. Goku treats King Kai like an old buddy. He eats all his food and often uses his planet for training without any regard towards him. To the other lower Kais, he's the Butt-Monkey because he's dead.
- Goku is seen as the Hope Bringer among his family and friends. Outside that circle, however, no one knows or cares about him. This is mostly because Goku purposely keeps himself under the radar, preferring to live a peaceful and calm life when fighting is not involved. However, Goku has helped a number of people and he was actually known as the person who beat King Piccolo and his son, saving the world. He is also a winner of the World Martial Arts Tournament and runner-up two years in a row with matches that are consider legendary. Also, thanks to Babidi's magic, the entire world saw him fight Buu at Super Saiyan 3 and cheered him on. Yet, when Goku asked for help to form the Spirit Bomb to kill Buu, only a few people cared. Only the people who knew Goku throughout his life or met him personally offered anything. Dragon Ball Super averts this, however, with Mr. Satan giving him the reward money he got as the world savior as his way of thanking him as well as keeping him quiet about things.
- Amuro Ray, the original Gundam pilot and hero of the One Year War, gets this in later series. What's his reward for winning the OYW and taking out lord knows how many enemy pilots (both Mooks and Aces)? The Federation confines him on Earth (in a nice mansion, but still), watches him all hours of the day, and won't let him go anywhere. Most of this is because he's a Newtype and the Federation leadership doesn't trust them as far as they can throw them. It still happens in the novelization of Chars Counterattack, where the Federation denies Amuro's request to bring the Zeta Gundam out of storage because they don't trust such a powerful weapon in a Newtype's hands. Bear in mind, now he's not only an active Federation soldier, but the second-in-command of the special ops force that stands the best chance of defeating Char, who wants to Colony Drop the planet into a new ice age—and they still treat him like he's going to kill them all.
- In Heavy Object Quenser and Heivia are famous for the uncanny ability to destroy Objects on their own, a task previously thought impossible. However within the military they are still given grunt work and receive no official recognition for their work due to being a civilian and private who regularly violate orders and regulations.
- Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: For all of Miko's hard efforts to keep order in the school, she's constantly mocked behind her back and thought of as an annoying try hard. It's heavily implied that she wants some sort of validation for her work, given that she listens to encouragement CDs in her spare time and her most precious middle school memory being the mysterious "thank you" letter.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Negi is treated as a kid by much of his class (with the exception of maybe four or five out of thirty-odd students). Asuna is a particularly annoying example, downplaying his accomplishments constantly while giving her classmates credit for lesser achievements. (Even acting at multiple points as if she were a stronger combatant, despite her power being awakened by him in the first place.) He finally gets the respect he deserves (from the nations of Magicus Mundus, at least) after he stopped Fate from erasing everyone. And although a lot of his students still call him Negi-bozu, it seems to have become a friendly nickname rather than a deliberate show of disrespect.
- Boss from the Mazinger trilogy (Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer) is treated as a joke by almost everyone. Even Ashura underestimated him, so much so that at one moment, he/she says that he is not a problem at all. This is someone saves Koji's life so many time during the series, and is ridiculously helpful during Koji's fight against the mechabeast. Naturally, Koji is the only person that treats him the way he should have been. And in the Great Mazinger VS Getter Robo movie, after destroying the monstrous Gilgilgan, Tetsuya and the Getter team shook their robots' hands, congratulating themselves for their victory... and then Boss Borot's head — the only body part remaining! — stumbled between them and reminded them, angrily, that he also took part in the battle. Tetsuya and the Getter team laughed, followed by the former admitting that their plan worked thanks to him. Boss smiled, stating it was about time someone acknowledged his talent.
- One Piece: The Straw Hat Pirates fall to this quite a bit. It's granted that they ARE pirates, and most of the time the people don't even know it was them in the first place, and if they do it's usually because of their wanted posters. Chopper, in particular, when he gets his first wanted poster, is appalled to find that the Marines have classed him as the Straw Hats' pet, and given him a bounty of 50. (Even currently, it's only 100, and that's just because the bounties of the whole crew went up.) To compare, the second-lowest bounty in the crew at the time was 16,000,000. Though when they get to Fishman Island the Fishman Princes are looking for them, not to arrest them, to deliver a message from their mutual friend Jinbe and invite them back to the Royal Castle. This all changes after the Impel Down Arc, where Luffy and his crew are either respected or feared, thanks to the incident in Sabaody Archipelago, the mass-breakout in Impel Down - the World Government's "unbreakable" prison, and Luffy taking part in the War in Marineford just a day after. Two years later, entire legends spread around them implying their ruthlessness, and Luffy being barely human.
- In One-Punch Man, Saitama joined the Hero Association just to avert this trope, due to the fact that he was fighting monsters, but no one recognized him. He ends up throwing it away during the Sea King Arc when citizens watch in total awe that he struck down the titular Sea King in one punch where even S-Rank heroes had difficulty beating him. He tells them that they weakened him so he could finish them off so they are the real heroes. Thankfully, a few people DO realize he's a real hero and treat him with respect.
- In Oreimo, Kyousuke goes through great lengths to help Kirino's secret hobby become accepted by their father and her best friend Ayase. He also helps her to meet Saori and Kuroneko, which she forms a strong bond with and would never have met on her own. And even though he didn't really want to, he plays the gal games and eroge that Kirino dumps on him. Despite this and more, she still treats him like dirt for the most part.
- Pokémon: Ash is still treated as an average trainer by new trainers that he meets despite the numerous accomplishments he has achieved. You would think that a guy who won against 36 Gym Leaders in 5 regions and got up into at least the top 10 in the league challenges that followed, beat the Orange League champion, defeated the Battle Frontier, has befriended and caught numerous Pokemon over his years of traveling, won numerous conventional battles and even those he lost against ended up respecting his talent, has helped out countless people who were in trouble, and on at least a dozen occasions saved the world from the wrath of legendary Pokemon would get a little recognition now and again. It seems extremely implausible that he hasn't at least gotten a few reporters asking for an interview or entered a town or two that has heard about him. It doesn't help that how good Ash, along with how strong his Pikachu is, depends entirely on what the plot requires. He might vary from coming off as an average trainer, simply because if he was kept consistent after each season there would be no tension. The only humans who ever really respected him were Gary after the two reconciled, his mother, and Prof. Oak. Pokémon themselves, however, respect him immensely, with many Legendaries regarding him as a Chosen One at various points (particularly in the second film and Best Wishes).
- In an episode of Sun and Moon, Mallow, one of Ash's classmates at the Pokémon School in Alola, quits her father's restaurant because she feels she doesn't get the respect she deserves for her contributions to the restaurant.
- The Jersey Club in Rinne no Lagrange spends most of their time wandering around helping other clubs, rescuing drowning children, and...what was that last thing? Oh, right: repeatedly saving the town and/or planet from annihilation at the hands of alien invaders. But, despite knowing all of this, the student council tries to take their teensy clubroom away because they're technically not an official club. They try to recruit a fourth member because 3 is too few for a club—rules are rules, apparently—but most people dismiss them as weirdos (even though the clubmembers are usually very popular), and they only manage to get one prodigious klutz who quits by the end of the episode.
- Sailor Moon:
- Minako/Sailor Venus. She's the Sailor Senshi active for the most time, stops bank robbers in her free time and single-handedly freed London from Dark Kingdom monsters (where the other Sailor Senshi were nearly killed many times, once being saved by Venus who had just returned from London). Comes second season and we find out that Sailor Venus has apparently been overshadowed by Sailor Moon and forgotten. At least in the manga she's still famous... It didn't help that her Sailor V persona was presumed dead after one mission back in England.
- Subtler, but she gets the same treatment in the Dream Arc of the manga... From her own teammates, who are so in awe of the Outers they completely forgot her role in training them in the first arc, rescuing them from the Black Moon in the second, and generally putting a performance as good or better than the Outers in the third, something she eventually call them out on-before going on what under the circumstances is a suicide mission just to prove she still has it.
- Usagi throughout the entire first season and parts of the second. As Sailor Moon she's mock and put down constantly by Luna and Sailor Mars. Although she is a crybaby and clumsy, she is literally the only thing that can kill the Monster of the Week. She also have the least experience out of all the Sailor Soldiers since she is a reborn princess and not a warrior, so her being scared while fighting makes a lot of sense. Things actually get worse for her after they learn she's the Moon Princess and is often compared to her past self. It does gets better in later seasons, but by then, Sailor Uranus and Neptune are the ones constantly putting her down and calling her naive, despite being right more often than them. And she gets almost no respect from her future child, Chibi-Usa, who she saved on countless occasions. At least the public loves her.
- Minako/Sailor Venus. She's the Sailor Senshi active for the most time, stops bank robbers in her free time and single-handedly freed London from Dark Kingdom monsters (where the other Sailor Senshi were nearly killed many times, once being saved by Venus who had just returned from London). Comes second season and we find out that Sailor Venus has apparently been overshadowed by Sailor Moon and forgotten. At least in the manga she's still famous... It didn't help that her Sailor V persona was presumed dead after one mission back in England.
- Saki and her teammates on the Kiyosumi mahjong team often gets this, despite having advanced far in the tournament. The media tend to focus on Nodoka who, despite her accomplishments in the middle school tournament the previous year, isn't as good as Saki, and there are those who would claim that Nodoka's breasts are the only reason she gets attention. In the first round of the quarterfinals of the tournament, one reporter gets chewed out by his colleague for even considering giving an interview to Yuuki, and he's told that Nagano is a weak prefecture.
- Probably because he appears as a stuffed toy, no one in the office gives Kenzou, the manager of Servant × Service's welfare office proper respect.
- In the first season of Tiger & Bunny, this is somewhat a Running Gag for the main character Kotetetsu T. Kaburagi, aka Wild Tiger. Despite being a veteran Hero whose only wish is to save people, he tends to get little to no respect from the citizens of Steinberg or his fellow Heroes for being a Destructive Savior and is very low on the Hero food chain. Whenever he does do something impressive, most people tend to credit his partner, Barnaby Brooks Jr. Lampshaded at one point when Barnaby is receiving all of the praise for killing Jake Martinez, despite the fact that it was Kotetsu who figured out that Jake had the second ability of mind reading and tricked both Barnaby and Jake with a flash bomb, which caught Jake off-guard and gave Barnaby the opening to defeat him and then it was Kotetsu who caught Jake during his attempted escape which led to Jake's accidental death:
Barnaby: Don't tell me you actually want some praise, too!
- Ataru Moroboshi from Urusei Yatsura saved the world in the first episode. Everyone but Lum tend to treat him as an idiotic parasite, and his girlfriend Shinobu went back on her promise to marry him if he succeeded (and later broke up with him).
- Jonouchi has had several amazing victories over cheaters, put up a tremendous fight against the duelists he lost against, and helped save the world several times. Yet, everyone treats him like a joke or has no idea who he is. He even defeated Marik before anyone else did (taking a direct hit from Ra, something even he doesn't know how he survived), he technically lost the duel because he succumbed to exhaustion at the last second from the shadow game, but he was literally one move away from ending the arc on his own. (That may have been the one time Kaiba said anything about him may have come close to a compliment.) He does get a little respect, just not much that he knows about, with Pegasus himself in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX saying in a flashback scene that he considered Jonouchi the third-best duelist he had encountered. (Pegasus invented the game, so a guy can't help but trust his opinion here.)
- Kuriboh. Seriously. From Kaiba onwards, it's hard to find a rival, antagonist, or villain who is willing to describe the little guy with an adjective better than "worthless", despite the fact that, time and time again, it and its many variations have protected its owners from monsters with godlike powers, saving them and the world as a whole from certain doom each time. (The worst part about this is, some of these folks use monsters that are, if you compare the numbers, even weaker than a Kuriboh, showing incredible hypocrisy in their words.)
- The title character of Empowered often finds that her moments of saving her Super Homeys' butts are often ignored for their chance of taking yet another potshot at her fragile suit.
- Used as Character Development in Astro City. Confessor's Kid Sidekick Altar Boy holds his father in contempt because he worked as a doctor despite being stiffed by his patients and died with no respect, and wants to be a superhero because they are respected. After watching Confessor through a period where superheroes do not get any respect, he realizes his warped priorities and that his father had acted nobly.
- The heroic El Hombre got hit with this in both his civilian and hero identities. As community organizer Esteban Hidalgo, he never felt accepted by the Latino community no matter how much money and time he spent improving the neighborhood. As El Hombre, he was disappointed to learn that he was the least popular member of Honor Guard — and disgusted with himself to realize that he actually cared about that.
- The Junkman is a villainous example; he pulls off a bank heist so perfect that no one has any idea who did it, and then retires, secure in the knowledge that he outsmarted everyone. His joy is short-lived when everyone assumes that the robber must have been caught anyway, simply because the heroes always win. This makes him realize that his victory isn't worth anything if no one knows about his deed.
- One of the (many) complaints against the Marvel Civil War series: superheroes had been saving the world for over a decade. Then when ONE questionable incident happens, the public turns against ALL of them and the government is happy to hunt them down.
- The Amazing Spider-Man, from the very beginning, as he was conceived as the first hero with everyday problems. This is so frequent that some (including other superheroes) joke that it's one of his superpowers. Luckily he does have a number of fans (how often they show up depends on the writer however), and most of the other heroes, at least nowadays, do show him considerable respect. Enough respect to make him an honorary member of the Richards family and put him on two teams of The Avengers!
- The DCU reboot of Aquaman turns him into this. Every person he meets has apparently watched the Superfriends and taken it for a documentary, and his abilities are constantly and openly doubted and he's asked insulting questions about mockable aspects of the character that, in the comics universe, have now never been the case.
- Sonic from Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog has occasionally run into this, where despite his numerous acts of heroism, King Charles and Geoffrey St. John treat him with no respect and have no interest sending him out on missions, despite that he has list of heroic acts that would take too long to list.
- The younger members of the Freedom Fighters pre- and post-Super Genesis Wave have been hit with this. Tails was the first, where he had a number of major victories or assists against Dr. Robotnik, they kept treating him as a ten-year-old. It wasn't until he defeated Crocbot that they made him a major member. Amy Rose was next - tired of being on the sidelines, Amy aged herself up so that she could join them. It wouldn't be until Amy held off an army of Badniks following Sonic's return from space that Amy was made a member herself. Currently, the role of "No respect" is going towards Cream and Cheese; though while she is a member of the Freedom Fighters already, it's just that they don't want her to go off fighting creatures from the planet's core because her mom would get VERY worried.
- Excalibur: Captain Britain, despite being the UK's most well known superhero, leader of Britain's biggest superhero team, and basically in charge of policing the multiverse, a position of responsibility to make the Green Lantern Corps look like a bunch of mall cops, he's often finding himself a punchline to mean-spirited jokes by some of the more Jerkass Avengers.
- Subverted in Irredeemable—this is supposedly the reason why the protagonist goes Ax-Crazy. However, he had the love and adoration of (bare minimum) 98% of mankind, it's just that the tiny amount of people who criticized and didn't appreciate him over the years slowly drove him nuts out of sheer pettiness.
- Despite the fact that for years, they were the only superhero team in Los Angeles, the Runaways were constantly threatened with forced dissolution by Tony Stark and the other Avengers. During the events of Civil War, Maria Hill, presumably acting with Tony Stark's approval, actually authorized plans to use deadly force on Victor Mancha and send the alien members of the group to a brutal prison. This treatment continued until the two-part "Homecoming" arc in Avengers Academy, in which the Runaways won enough sympathy from the Academy students that Hank Pym decided it would be better to make a deal with them instead of trying to force them to dissolve.
- The comic book version of Donald Duck. He often shows remarkable skills, regularly saves the day or is an important part in it... And is often treated as a lazy fool and humiliated and belittled by Scrooge and Gladstone. Revenge for this is what prompted the birth of his Paperinik the Devilish Avenger persona.
- It's made even worse when you take into account the fact that for every adventure that his Uncle Scrooge undertakes Donald is right there with him doing just as much heavylifting, if not more, and furthermore tends to have just as many of his own amazing adventures apart from his uncle. Then also note that for all the times he's called lazy it's noted time and again that Donald has had multiple jobs and is constantly shown to be looking for a new one. Admittedly, it is something of a flaw that he can't hold down a job, but the fact remains that he still always attempts to find another one. Not for himself, but for the three children at home that he's responsible for. This can't be seen as anything less than admirable (something the Raider, a villain, points out in the "Might and Power" of the Paperinik New Adventures relaunch. Then again, he too works to make the money to raise his son as a single parent).
- Amazingly enough, Paperinik himself gets hit with it from time to time. It usually takes the form of a new superhero showing up and the people of Duckburg worshipping him and forgetting Paperinik because the new guy is cooler (never mind that the new hero is invariably revealed as a screw-up or a supervillain trying to make Paperinik retire in disgust at Duckburg's people), but in one rather annoying occasion it was because he had become too good and the people of Duckburg were envious.
- Ginko from Diabolik gets this from time to time, as his many failures against the titular Villain Protagonist sometime make people forget he's the only one who can reliably give Diabolik a run for his money (and has arrested him multiple times), reflected by him being still an inspector and never being promoted. That said, he has the respect of all the main and important recurring characters (including Diabolik himself, who considers him a Worthy Opponent and gets offended if someone dares to insult Ginko's skills), most of the police force and even the Minister for Justice, resulting in him having far more authority than one would expect from a lowly inspector and reporting directly to the Minister.
- In Jesper Who Herded the Hares the king invented more tasks for Jesper to avoid fulfilling his promise to marry him to his daughter, stopping only when Jesper has some dirt on him.
- In Dapplegrim, the king orders the hero to perform many tasks because his fellow servants falsely claimed he said he could do them, and then in an attempt to keep him from marrying the princess; in the end, he gives in.
- In Grimms' Ferdinand the Faithful, after being slandered, Ferdinand must get a bride for the king and then all the things she demands before she will marry him. However, in the end, the bride tricks the king into letting her kill him, and then marries Ferdinand.
- In "The Grateful Beasts", the king orders Ferko to perform three tasks at the incitement of his brothers; his own daughter the princess argues with him until he imprisons her in a tower. However, the last task is to summon all the wolves in the kingdom, the wolves then proceed to kill all the court, and Ferko frees the princess, marries her, and becomes king.
- In Esben and the Witch, whenever Esben succeeds in a task, his enemy at court incites the king to give him another, and the king is only too willing to listen.
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, ProtoMan calls Mega out on this in episode 11; despite the heroic things he's done, he gets no respect and little trust for it.
- In Death Note AU Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything Prime Minister Light Yagami wants to know this. Also L doesn't get the respect that he deserves (i.e. absolute best at his job with a 100% win record / never lost a case) because he's openly gay.
- Referenced throughout The Twilight Child. Rainbow Dash and Rarity get the worst of it though. Rainbow Dash gets snubbed by Spitfire a day after saving her and the rest of the Wonderbolts from Changelings. Rainbow Dash takes this one pretty hard, though Spitfire's lecture on how she's "not a team player" doesn't help. Rarity, meanwhile, buys a magazine after Shining Armor and Cadence's wedding to see what it says about her work... and it doesn't mention her in the slightest. Just to add insult to injury, this magazine was focused entirely on the royal wedding and everything involved in it.
- Alexander from the Crossover Cruel to Be Kind probably counts. After liberating Earth from the Espheni in the Falling Skies universe, Alexander was returned with bickering distrust from the natives over his technological field advantage, and including Tom Mason (acting as advisor for the American delegation) who has a hardon for democracy and was quite critical over how Alexander was running things on Terra Prime.
- In Imperfect Metamorphosis Kotohime gets nothing but flak for running Gensokyo's first police force. The youkai hate her because the GPF largely protects humans from them and tries to involve themselves in youkai affairs, when they've always handled things amongst themselves, and the humans hate her because they also protect youkai from humans and hire some youkai. Even Yukari, who enabled her to start the GPF in the first place, treats Kotohime as a disposable lackey.
- Aveyond fanfic Uncertainty Principle has Rhen return to Veldarah after her epic journey to become a teacher in Shadwood Academy, only to find that no-one was even aware of the perils she just saved the world from, an she spent her early period of her Ahriman-free life as an unpopular assistant teacher whom the students and her superior think very little of.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, the four attempt to have an audience with an important wizard. They are rebuffed:
Majordomo: Only the bravest and most puissant individuals are worthy of his attention. You must prove your worth to him by doing something heroic.John: Of course we do, just bein' chosen by the gods to fight the Black Tower's not enough to prove anythin', is it.
- Discussing the matter with Mana in Neon Metathesis Evangelion, Asuka realizes that she doesn't really receive the respect she is owed as multiple saviour of the world. Everybody seems to just take it for granted that the pilots will enter painful life and death battles for their sake. Nobody thanks them, nobody really respects them for it. They still have to be normal school kids living in a normal apartment. Following that realization, Asuka begins to aggressively demand respect.
- Shattered Reflection: Robin and Rose work their tails off to win battles for the Shepherds and do everything they possibly can to keep as many people alive as possible. Nonetheless, due to their Plegian origins, none of the Shepherds save Chrom ever offer them the approval they've earned, with the rest either being blatant and unironic racists, or just showing utter indifference to their efforts and the troubles they're going through. They have, for the most part, just gotten used to it.
- Most of the Shepherds do eventually get better about it.
- The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: In the sequel Picking Up the Pieces, it's revealed that Sweet Surprise feels that every single Guard has been laughing at her and questioning her competence since the skimmer incident (when the new Bearers managed to escape Canterlot, leading her on a wild chase in the process) in the first story and has been working overtime to try and prove herself ever since... on top of that, she fears that others, once they found out about her husband and wife, would treat them with the same lack of respect as they're treating Sweet, and doesn't want that to happen.
Film - Animation
- This is actually the driving force behind Wreck-It Ralph's plot: Ralph, the villain of Fix-It Felix Jr., is constantly snubbed by the NPCs of the game, the Nicelanders, on account of that he's the bad guy, even though that's just his job and it technically makes him the second most important person in the game. And having this done to him for thirty years starts to wear on him, to the point where he's willing to take on a dare and game hop to win that respect.
- A significant part of Monsters University, where Mike works hard to search for appreciation for his Scaring intellect despite lacking ability.
- This is Private's goal throughout Penguins of Madagascar — he wants to be treated as a valued member of the team, but everyone else (especially Skipper) just sees him as the Tagalong Kid.
- The sequel to The Secret Of NIMH completely ignores everything that Mrs. Brisby did in the first movie (ie the one that people actually like) in favor of giving a massive amount of praise to her late husband, Jonathan Brisby. Sure, Mrs. Brisby is arguably too modest to bring this up herself and would probably decline a statue built in her honor but the fact that nobody else in the sequel even so much as points out that Mrs. Brisby saved everyone and is AT LEAST as deserving of praise as Mr. Brisby makes the movie seem far more sexist than it should have. Oh, and the opening of the movie only refers to her as a widow.
- Tony Toponi complains briefly at the end of An American Tail for not being thanked for his efforts to reunite Fievel with his family, but he recieves a kiss from Bridget and all is well again.
- In the beginning of The LEGO Batman Movie, The Joker hijacks a cargo plane full of explosives as phase one of his evil plan. However, the pilot isn't too upset, because, "[Batman] always stops [Joker]." much to Joker's annoyance. This turns out to be a plot point; Joker's furious that Batman doesn't see him as his greatest nemesis, but as "Some guy I fight"
- Reality Trip: Upon seeing the Danny merchandise and the Sam merchandise, Tucker becomes upset at the lack of Tucker merchandise.
- Inverted by Kabane, the protagonist of Kemono Jihen. While others are very grateful for the things Kabane does for them, he's incapable of perceiving how meaningful his actions are, insisting that he didn't do anything useful when he does things like walk into a room full of flesh-eating bugs that can devour a human in minutes to save a mother and her child.
Film - Live Action
- Played for Drama by Salieri in Amadeus; Salieri is insanely jealous of Mozart and fears that his own musical contributions are being forgotten. In reality Antonio Salieri was famous in his own time as a highly-regarded composer whose contributions to music are still recognized today. In addition to introducing opera to the Viennese court and setting the stage for the development of German opera, Salieri was responsible for teaching (among others) Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt. Even Mozart himself acknowledged Salieri's talent.
- Rachel/Ellis in The Black Book is deemed a traitor and collaborator after World War II despite being a Jewish member of the Dutch Resistance, mostly because in her work as The Mole, she worked for the Nazis and became chummy with a sympathetic Nazi officer.
- Die Hard: No matter what adventures McClane may go on, by the start of the next film he'll be back to being a Jerk Ass with a miserable home life. Seriously, this is a man who has now single-handedly thwarted four major terrorist attacks on the country (well, only one was actually terrorism, the other three were robberies disguised as terrorist acts), but still McClane should seriously be invited to train Delta Force in urban combat and anti-terrorist tactics.
- The second film was the only one in the series to suggest McClane has achieved any level of fame from his actions, with various people scoffing at his media appearances. In real life, the passengers on United 93 are lauded as heroes, and they didn't survive their counterattack on their hijackers. If McClane was a real person, his face would have been added to the U.S. flag by now...
- "You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin'. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can't remember your last name. Your kids don't want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy."
- It actually sort of makes sense. He was fairly well known in the second, mostly because of the reporter forcing Holly's maid to give an interview or be deported. The reporter who he worked with in the second clearly had ethics, so she probably downplayed his involvement. The third movie: You are a reporter. Are you going to focus on the little kids who were saved by cops or some bank robber? And by the fourth, it had probably been 10-12 years. And one can easily argue that his involvement in the fourth would be downplayed for national security reasons, leaving him as somewhat known to law enforcement, but largely anonymous by the fifth.
- Forrest Gump:
Lt. Dan: They gave you the Congressional Medal of Honor.
- Lt. Dan wanted to die in combat, so naturally, he doesn't take living with amputated legs too well. And watching Forrest receive a Medal of Honor from the President himself sure didn't help.
Forrest: That's Lt. Dan [turns around and sees Lt. Dan] Lt. Dan!
Lt. Dan: They gave you the Congressional Medal of Honor!
Forrest: Yes sir, they sure did.
Lt. Dan: They gave you, an imbecile, a moron who goes on television and makes a fool out himself in front of the whole damn country, the Congressional Medal of Honor?!
Forrest: Yes, sir.
Lt. Dan: Well, then, that's just perfect! Yeah, well I just got one thing to say to that. Goddamn bless America.
- Forrest himself has been in so many historical events and done so much, from winning a Medal of Honor to being a millionaire tycoon, yet no one recognizes him ever and tv reports just call him "a gardener from Greenbow, Alabama". That being said, it really isn't like he goes around asking or demanding respect.
- Fredo's problem in The Godfather Part II. It gets him killed.
Fredo Corleone: I can handle things! I'm smart! Not like everybody says! Like, dumb. I'm smart, and I want respect!
- In Groundhog Day, Phil notes that one kid that he has saved multiple times in the "Groundhog Day" Loop has never thanked him.
- In The Hebrew Hammer, the title character has saved Hanukkah, and has dinner with his stereotypical Jewish Mother, who's been berating him the whole film for not being a doctor. She actually is proud, just playing it up.
Mrs. Carver: So you saved Hanukkah! It's not even one of the High Holy Days!
- In Heroes for Sale, WWI veterans sacrificed a lot for their country but are treated badly by society. Sadly, this is Truth in Television.
- In Inglourious Basterds, Private Zoller, German National hero and star of a propaganda film introduces himself to the owner of Parisian cinema, and waits for her reaction. She looks at him like, "Who the hell are you?"
- I Shot Jesse James: The main character Robert Ford often feels frustrated by how everybody treats him as a filthy coward and sneak for shooting Jesse James in the back, even though he is legitimately trying to contribute to society.
- Juice: Bishop boasts on, about tiring of the harassment by police, gangs, and a local bodega owner.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
Natalie Portman: Everyone thinks she’s on the fringe of science and that she’s this kook, so this is her opportunity to prove herself.
- Regarding Jane Foster's motivation in Thor, her actress, Natalie Portman, explained that her theories about connecting dimensions have her being looked down by the scientific community. If the post-credits scene is anything to go by, she finally got it.
- In My Fair Lady, after all the hard work and training from Hell Eliza went through to make her success at the Embassy Ball a possibility, Professor Higgins takes all the credit for himself and completely ignores her until she lashes out at him in a fit of very justifiable rage, and even then, he's still confused by her anger.
- The titular character of Nixon, is embittered by the lack of credit he is given for ending the Vietnam War and improving the peaceful relations with Russia and China.
- Director Krennic has this going on something fierce in Rogue One. He oversees the construction of the Death Star, the most powerful weapon in the galaxy—and Governor Tarkin takes control of it as soon as it's operational. He asks Darth Vader to put in a good word for him to the Emperor—and gets a (non-lethal) Force-choke. He then goes to Scarif to make sure the Death Star hasn't been compromised—and is ultimately killed by his own superweapon.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), it's clear that Raph doesn't respect Leo's leadership at first, but it's also clear that Leo is in charge because no-one is able to keep the team together like he can. Raph eventually realizes that following Leo's orders is the only way for them to win.
- Part of Newt's rant in Pacific Rim: Uprising as he reveals himself to be the Big Bad is about how people never gave him any respect. Although due to the level of alien influence he's under, he keeps shifting between first- and third-person pronouns.
- Janine/Giannine from Heir Apparent is a victim of this: in order to advance in the virtual world game, she has to go on quests and help everybody to win their approval; and even though she eventually succeeds in winning the guards' and her half-brothers' respect, she just can't seem to please the queen.
- Benjamin Weaver from A Conspiracy of Paper also suffers from this as well. He helps his clients retrieve what has been stolen from them and all he gets in return is racist remarks and scorn just because he's a Jew.
- The Great Gatsby. In a subversion, the narrator eventually realizes that for all his faults, Gatsby is still better than the Upperclass Twits who dismiss him as nouveau-riche.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe:
- Luke and Leia get accused many times of trying to take over the government they helped create. No matter how many times they (or their families... or Jedi in particular...) save the galaxy, whoever's in charge blames everything on them or the Jedi. Leia has actually been accused of trying to seize power just like Darth Vader. This is the same woman that originally didn't want to have children out of fear that they'd become Sith.
- The Jedi entirely, who throughout the ages have saved the galaxy countless times, maintain peace, and take down evil empires by the dozens. Even still everyone in the galaxy are quick to blame and abandon them when the next empire comes up, while they are sitting on their hands, and Jedi are out there stopping the new threat.
- Both of the above happen so often that it honestly may as well fall under the entire galaxy suffering from Aesop Amnesia.
- The White Council of The Dresden Files, towards the title character. No matter how far backwards he bends, they still think he's going to go warlock on them without a second's notice. Ultimately, Harry is a maverick at best, hardly the way to win the respect of a very conservative organization. Honestly though, wouldn't you be a little paranoid about a guy who can control an undead T-Rex?
- Played straight and then later subverted: Sherlock Holmes was treated like this by the official police in the early part of his career. Gradually, however, his track record won them over and they began according him respect. In one story ("The Adventure of the Six Napoleons"), Inspector Lestrade even tells him that they are extremely proud of him at Scotland Yard, and every officer in the building would be glad to shake his hand if he came to visit.
- In The Clone Empire by Steven L. Kent, the main character had previously rescued an entire planet from a race of hostile aliens who had occupied it and were on the verge of rendering it uninhabitable, thus killing everyone. The locals are not very grateful. "Yeah, good job saving us all from certain death, then committing your engineers to rebuilding our cities, restoring power, and giving us food and water. Now would you kindly get the hell off our planet, you sick, violent brute? Oh, and we're taking your engineers too. Toodles!"
- In the Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch, Chakotay gives a truly epic one to Counsellor Cambridge, accusing Starfleet Command of almost criminal negligence in its treatment of the Voyager crew. Despite everything they did and their loyal service throughout their time in the alpha quadrant, Starfleet still doesn't trust them (or so Chakotay suggests) simply because they didn't participate in the Dominion War. Instead, they're given ridiculously easy missions like escort duty, and viewed with suspicion by the admiralty. Chakotay bitterly insists that they've never been appreciated and that he's tired of people who are only alive because he bled for them judging and harassing him.
- The title character of Harry Potter is turned on by Hogwarts students and the wizarding world in general at the drop of a hat, despite Harry having saved both several times.
- Goblet: Harry gets attention as the fourth Triwizard champion, but people are suspicious of him and refuse to believe he didn't do it. Including his best friend. At the end of the book, he tells Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge and several others that Voldemort is back, but Fudge doesn't believe him.
- Order: Fudge spends a lot of effort trying to smear Harry as a dangerous, paranoid, attention-seeking lunatic, and people still look sidelong at Harry because he showed up with Cedric's body. In the climax of the story, Voldemort has a big, public battle with Dumbledore in the Ministry of Magic.
- Prince: The Ministry is forced to publicly admit it was wrong, and Fudge is run out of office in disgrace, and the new Minister For Magic comes to Harry, metaphorical hat in hand, to beg him to support the Ministry. Twice. Harry refuses.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Out of literally hundreds of named characters, here is a list of those who respect Tyrion Lannister: Jon Snow, Bronn, Jaime Lannister, Garlan Tyrell, Varys, Maester Aemon... and that's it. This is a very intelligent man who is directly responsible for protecting King's Landing from Stannis, schemed his way out of captivity (multiple times), survived two battles despite being a dwarf, and is basically one of the most intelligent, decent people in the whole damn series.
- Downplayed in the case of Davos Seaworth. During Robert's Rebellion, he slipped past the siege of Storm's End and relieved Stannis Baratheon and his bannermen. Stannis rewarded Davos with a lordship, but still punished him for his previous life as a smuggler by chopping off the last joint of all the fingers on his left hand. Davos finds this rather reasonable, and has served Stannis loyally ever since, keeping the his fingerbones in a bag around his neck.
- Stannis perceives Robert giving him Dragonstone as a slight, but Word of God is that it was meant as an honor (particularly since Dragonstone was seen as the heir's lands), and Robert could have been well in his right to keep that and the Stormlands for his children.
- Jaime Lannister. He saved King's Landing from being burnt to the ground by Aerys Targeryen, but everyone felt that breaking his oath to protect Aerys was more important (not that he helped it, since he never told anyone about the "being burnt to the ground" thing). Ever since, he's been dubbed the Kingslayer and is treated with mildly concealed contempt by everyone.
- Monstrous Regiment has an especially cruel one: The Ragtag Band of Misfits has managed to survive in the wilderness for days, evaded capture by the enemy multiple times, break into the Keep and free the imprisoned Borogravian soldiers, thus turning the tide of the war... but none of it stops them from being arrested and thrown in the same dungeon they freed the soldiers from, just because they were all women and women aren't allowed to be soldiers.
- More Than This: Tomasz gets annoyed that Regine and Seth treats him as the Funny Foreigner/Tag Along Kid even after he saves them from certain death multiple times.
- In The Underland Chronicles, the Underlanders will spend centuries meditating on the possible meanings of Sandwich's prophecies, but they won't give a second thought to whatever Nerissa says. Sure, Nerissa is not all there but her visions are accurate.note Gregor at least gives her the respect she deserves.
- In Shaman Blues, Witkacy notes that despite being one of very few people with abilities that let them deal with often-malicious ghosts, the Council that hires him seems to think that he doesn't need to be paid and the satisfaction from being a hero is enough for him to live on.
- Downplayed and justified in David Drake's RCN series. Due to his penchant for pulling off decisive victories with few resources, Daniel Leary is rapidly promoted to captain from his starting rank of lieutenant and earns an array of military decorations that would make many long-serving admirals jealous (including the Cinnabar Star with Wreath, the equivalent of earning the Medal of Honor twice). However, he also comes in for a fair amount of guff from officers jealous of same: They typically think he's either a Glory Hound or well-connected. (They're about half-right on the latter: he's the son of a former Cinnabar head of state and the original head of the Navy Board in the series, Admiral Anston, took a liking to him, but Anston was medically retired in The Way to Glory and Daniel and his father haven't been on speaking terms for over a decade.)
- This is justified in Worm in the case of Weaver, a villain-turned-hero who finds herself relegated to menial tasks and forced to keep from using her powers at their full effectiveness. When she brings this complaint to her superiors, it's pointed out to her that her Heel–Face Turn involved murdering two people in a psychotic breakdown, and they need to know that she can be trusted to work for them.
- Luther in The Candidates (based on a true country) feels, with some justification, that he damn well deserves some respect as a decorated war veteran and community leader. Sadly, he's surrounded by outrageous racists who assume that he's a thug with Sticky Fingers.
- Game of Thrones:
- Stannis, commander of the terrible siege of Storm's End and conqueror of Dragonstone, resents Robert for giving their ancestral home and sub-kingdom to their kid brother Renly, who was too young to take part in the fighting.
- After a brief stint as The Good Chancellor who did his best to hold the fort for his family, Tyrion's request for some recognition is rewarded with a devastating "The Reason You Suck" Speech from his father. He brings this up again in his own vicious "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the entire court in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
- Theon expects a thank you for saving Bran, but gets a What the Hell, Hero? speech instead. Later, he expects a welcome homecoming but is greeted with scorn, neglect, and cruel pranks. Still later, he expects at least grudging respect from the people he conquered with 20 men and a Batman Gambit, but nope, everyone from old men to crippled children give him scorn and snark. He's a Butt-Monkey, though and through.
- The Night's Watch has defended the realm for generations, but are frequently dismissed as a gang of outcasts guarding against make-believe monsters.
- Almost no one at Castle Black believes Sam's story about killing a White Walker because the only witness was a wildling girl.
- Sansa after the Battle of the Bastards, where, as Jon acknowledges later, she was the one who saved the day, leaving her the legitimate heir to Winterfell, she is completely ignored by the Northern lords at the council, and Jon is praised as the avenger of the Red Wedding and then crowned King in the North. Sansa is unhappy at this turn of events.
- Tommen might be a child king but he is still supposed to be the king. Yet no one consults him about his new decrees and he doesn't even have the power to let his mother attend Myrcella's funeral. There is a difference between surrounding yourself with wise councilors and surrounding yourself with assholes, and Tommen has not learnt it.
- Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation works harder than one might find humanly possible to ensure maximum effectiveness in any plan she conceives to improve the city and government of Pawnee, Indiana. While she's gained unadulterated respect from her co-workers, her eventual position as a city councilwoman is spent improving the town in ways that the citizens dislike (taxing sodas, teaching sex education to seniors, etc). This ultimately ends with her getting recalled.
- In Veronica Mars, Veronica overcomes or utterly humiliates the Rich Bitch, Jerk Jock, or local idiot sheriff every single episode, but they're right back to acting completely dismissive of her the next day, often reaching the point of Bullying a Dragon. It's like they want her to dig up their deep personal secrets. Lampshaded by Veronica in the series finale: "After all these years, do you not instinctively fear me? Maybe you should write yourself a note."
- In Rome: when Titus Pullo leaves the XIIIth legion, and come back to participate in Caesar's triumph, he is rejected because he does not work anymore with them, and they start calling him "citizen" in order to show him that he is not part of the military elite anymore. For a man who participated in the war of the Gauls and saved Caesar's ambitions a couple of time, that is, to say the least, a little rude. Averted later when Mark Antony, who became the de facto ruler of Rome, treats Pullo with respect when he meets him.
- Psych: Every week Shawn solves, or helps the police solve, seemingly intractable cases using strange methods. And every week, he gets identical hostility from Lassiter, firm skepticism from Da Chief and complete reluctance from Jules. This is especially bad coming from Lassiter. Yes, he and Shawn constantly needle each other, but every time Lassiter offhandedly dismisses Shawn's methods in favor of "real police work," somebody should remind him how Shawn got him off the hook for a murder charge (exposing a Corrupt Cop in the process). Gus points this out in the season four finale after Da Chief points out on Shawn's theory of Mary Lightly being Mr. Yin being outlandish (though she has a point; Mary was actually a Red Herring set up by the real Mr. Yin), saying their track record speaks for themselves.
- It's what motivates Jimmy Ford in Leverage.
- Gets a little frustrating in NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS, JAG and NCIS: New Orleans. Nerds like Eric, early season McGee, 2nd/3rd season Bud, and Sebastian get teased a lot by the Action Hero main characters. All very funny, but they seem to forget the nerds showing loyalty and sacrifices for the other characters. In LA, Sam calls Eric and asks him to show up in the middle of the night to analyze a dead body, no questions asked—and proceeds to mock his pajamas.
- Additionally, whenever NCIS helps a fellow law enforcement agency on a case, they will typically receive zero credit for it. Either the agency they helped will take all the credit for themselves, or NCIS will simply be referred to as "federal agents." Tony in particular gets annoyed by this.
- This comes up a lot in Merlin, where the eponymous character is a powerful warlock who has saved Camelot more than once and saved Arthur more times than we can count, but since magic is banned on pain of death, he has to keep it a secret. He's Arthur's manservant, and the two share a very vitriolic friendship, so he gets plenty of humiliating tasks on a regular basis. Though it's usually Played for Laughs, it can be surprisingly poignant at times.
Merlin: I just want Arthur to trust me. And to see me for who I really am.
Gaius: One day, he will.
Merlin: When? Everything I do is for him, and he just thinks I'm an idiot.
- On The X-Files, every time Mulder presented Scully with his theory for what was going on in their current case, she would automatically dismiss it, even after he'd been proven right nearly every time. Most of the time Mulder was OK with this, saying that Scully's skepticism kept him on his toes. Sometimes, however, he'd get fed up with it and say something like "How often have I been wrong?" To which Scully just gives him a look and implied "Do I have to remind you?" question, because he would be wrong at times or it wasn't all that clear what had happened.
- Criminal Minds has a combination of this and The Greatest Story Never Told as the motivation of the UnSub in "Painless". Held hostage by a mad gunman, he was the only one who looked him in the eye and survived... but got knocked out by an explosion. When he woke up, he discovered another one of the others had stolen their story and found fame. This, combined with the formation of a clique of media-darling survivors, fuels his transformation From Nobody to Nightmare.
- The original Doctor Who series has this to the point of nausea. No matter how many times the Doctor would save planets, galaxies, and even the very fabric of reality, no-one thought of him as anything other than a meddling madman, if they had even heard of him at all. Even UNIT, who have extensive knowledge of the dozens of times the Doctor has pulled their butts from the metaphorical fire, treat him like a walking hazard (which he is, but still), while his fellow Time Lords consider him to be just as dangerous as renegades like the Master. One of the major ways the new series departs from the original is going in the precise opposite direction, with the Doctor regarded throughout time and space as a Shrouded in Myth Person of Mass Destruction who can make a sapient, carnivorous swarm retreat simply by telling it who he is. And even then the Time Lords still firmly embrace this trope, with the Time Lord General treating the Doctor and all his past selves' arrival during the Daleks' siege of Gallifrey with equal parts disdain and contempt.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Faith: [while holding the Scythe] It's old, strong and it feels like it's mine. [pause] I guess that means it's yours.
- No matter how many times Buffy saved Sunnydale High from not just vampires, but bug people, evil robots, invisible people, fish monsters, nightmares come alive, ghosts, reanimated corpses, werewolves, and ancient evil abominations, most of the school populace treated her as a Cool Loser at best. However, this was subverted toward the end of the third season at the prom, where the entire graduating class gave their thanks to Buffy for saving them multiple times. And this was right after saving them from some hellhounds, too.
- Seems to be a major factor in Faith's decision to turn evil. Despite being a Slayer just like Buffy, Faith often felt like she was the backup and that she didn't matter as much as the other slayer. This, coupled with her low self esteem and the fact she was blamed for a lot of mistakes (which in retrospect where just as much Buffy's mistakes as they were her own) caused her to snap and join the Mayor's side. In contrast the Mayor often treated her with respect, gave her a nice apartment and shiny new toys, and often praised her abilities as better then Buffy. Despite the fact that the Scooby's probably didn't intentionally snub her their relationship wasn't nearly as strong with her as it was with Buffy which does make it understandable why she would feel this way.
- Eureka's Sheriff Carter has to solve dozens of life-threatening, town-threatening, and/or world-threatening scenarios before people start taking him seriously. And he once he gets blamed for the frequent near-disasters.
- Michael Bluth from Arrested Development gets this in spades from his own family. This is probably to be expected given how immature and self-absorbed they are. You can hardly blame him for taking his son and abandoning them in the series finale.
- Porsche in 2011's Big Brother 13. The first week, they look for someone to get rid of so the veterans (A minority alliance) can take a majority. They offer Porsche a golden key if she votes with them. And she takes it, knowing that people will assume she's not a threat and she's likely the last person to be targeted. And she is. When the time comes in the final two, what do the Entitled Bastard veterans who make up the majority of the Jury do? Deride Porsche's game of being a "Floater" and using the twist that THEY OFFERED HER to get further, acting like her giving the Veterans an early majority never happened.
- Fabian from House of Anubis. Despite the fact that he does much of the research and saved most of this friends from danger on numerous occasions, he has been continuously pushed around by everyone, most notably his own crush and (ex) girlfriend, Nina Martin. It gets to the point where he struggles to be more assertive and demand his respect for the things he does for the others, resulting in this one line:
Nina: [looking at the formally lost artifact/cube Fabian brought back] Where did you find it?
Fabian: Jasper said he found it at the school. Good thing as well, other wise we might have lost it for good.
Nina: But how did it get from here to there?
Fabian: I... I don't know. [pauses] Why don't you ask the cube? Maybe it speaks and answers questions since you have so many!
Nina: [glares at Fabian]
Fabian: I... I'm sorry. It's back now... that's the important thing. You could have said thank you, at least.
- Three different characters have this in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Batiatus, despite being very cunning and having some of the best gladiators around, is still seen beneath standing. Ashur faithfully serves Batiatus' ludus and brings it to glory, but is treated with contempt by the gladiators because he's a weak combatant and the gladiators only respect fighting skill (Batiatus at least recognized his skills). And Glaber learns that despite being a Preator with a powerful army, he is not liked or respected by anyone (but he's a dick, so it's understandable). This leads to Ashur doing a Then Let Me Be Evil, and all three tend to react the same way to this: murder whoever did it.
- Crichton of Farscape fame gets this quite a bit early on, even though he saves the day at least Once an Episode. Eventually, though, the members of Moya's crew become close friends and respect each other more. Even after the crew have become True Companions by the end of the first season, Crichton still gets this treatment. A good example occurs mid-season 2 when Aeryn is giving John a flying lesson:
Aeryn: (mildly annoyed) Would you like to learn how to do this, or are you content to continually display your ineptitude?
John: (mildly annoyed back) My ineptitude? You mean my improvisation - the kind that bails your sorry military—
- In Sherlock, while Sherlock is something of a celebrity to the general public, most of the police don't exactly like him, since his successes are literally incredible. That, coupled with his abrasive and condescending personality. Watson strongly implies that he would have more success with them if he chose to be a bit less of a bell-end.
- On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Gul Dukat becomes head of the Cardassian government and expects that Sisko will show him the respect appropriate to a head of state. Sisko refuses to recognize his government and tells him to shove it.
- And before that, Kira is very annoyed that the Cardassian files on Bajoran terrorists refers to her as little more than an errand-girl.
- As his actor laments on the quotes page, Star Trek: Voyager's Harry Kim. During Voyager's journey through the Delta Quadrant he is repeatedly captured, beaten, tortured, diseased, killed and otherwise traumatized in the line of duty yet remains one of the ship's biggest champions of Starfleet protocol; co-designs the Astrometrics Lab with Seven of Nine, which becomes a focal point of important sciencey stuff on the ship; and personally saves the lives of multiple crewmembers as well as newborn Naomi Wildman (whom he manages to protect from angry Vidiians swarming the ship). For all that, is he ever promoted above Ensign? Nope. Instead, he gets a formal reprimand for... having sex with an alien.
- The Wire:
Security Guard: The fuck! You think I dream of comin' to work up in this shit on a Sunday morning? Tell all my friends what a good job I got? I'm workin' to support a family, man. Pretend I ain't talking to you. Pretend like I ain't even on this Earth. I know what you are, and I ain't steppin' to, but I am a man, and you just clip that shit and act like you don't even know I'm there.Marlo Stanfield: I don't.Security Guard: I'm here. [Marlo moves closer] Look, I told you I wasn't steppin' to. I ain't disrespectin' you, son.Marlo Stanfield: You want it to be one way.Security Guard: What?Marlo Stanfield: You want it to be one way.Security Guard: Man, I don't...Marlo Stanfield: You want it to be one way.Security Guard: Man, STOP! Stop, sayin' that.Marlo Stanfield: But it's the other way.
- Herc and Carver get a case of this in season 2. Carver gets promoted to Sergeant at the end of season 1. When he gets recruited to the Sobotka detail at Herc's request, Cedric Daniels' only condition for Carver is that he won't be treated as a sergeant in the detail, as he feels that Carver had only earned his promotion as a result of spying on the detail for Burrell during the Barksdale investigation, and instead reports to Kima Greggs. Like with the Barksdale investigation, Herc and Carver again are relied upon to do the leg work for the detail, and while they are instrumental in planting trackers on many of the smuggling ring's vehicles, they're the ones stuck with menial jobs like installing an air conditioner in the home of a judge approving the detail's wiretaps. The final straw for Herc and Carver is when they're left out in the rain waiting for Nick Sobotka to return home, despite his having already turned himself in. Daniels attempts to convince them to stay, pointing out that surveillance is part of the job, but Herc and Carver aren't having it. Seeing that Major Colvin is looking for a DEU Sergeant posting in the Western District, Carver jumps at it, feeling that Colvin will at the very least recognize his rank. Herc goes with him, not wanting to do the menial work with Daniels either.
- In "Refugees", Marlo Stanfield, having a bad day after losing at poker, deliberately shoplifts lollipops in front of a convenience store security guard, who confronts him about his blatant lack of disrespect. It ends badly for the guard, as Marlo dispatches Chris and Snoop to kill him and put his body in a vacant.
- Captain Rip Hunter from Legends of Tomorrow. He's the only one experienced in time travel, responsible for recruiting the team, directing their missions, treating their wounds and giving them their time-appropriate clothing/weapons. While often played for hilarity, the other characters tend to argue with him and dismiss his concerns.
Rip: I'm in charge, in case any of you had forgotten.Cold: No I remember, I just don't care.
- In Arrow Season 3, Laurel decides she wants to be a vigilante and asks Oliver to train her. He refuses making it clear he doesn't think she's capable of doing it. So she does it anyway, and while Oliver is missing and presumed dead works with the rest of his team. When he comes back, he kicks her off the team once again indicating he doesn't believe she's capable of this life. Fed up, she finally calls him on it.
Laurel: I know what you're going to say, but I risked my life for this city while you were gone. That should earn me some respect.
- 3 Doors Down 's famous career-making single "Kryptonite" features a narrator who uses the character of Superman as an allegory for how he feels like someone in his life or perhaps the people in his life in general make him feel this way by taking everything he does for granted. The narrator points out that he works hard to do things that the person/people he is addressing want him to do, essentially becoming their Superman despite their lack of acknowledgement. He notes that he really doesn't mind the work, but it's the lack of appreciation that leaves him extremely frustrated. Still, he will always stand by the song's subject with all of his might. He also wonders if when he's doing well and being strong whether the person(s) will still be there for him, as Brad Arnold says:
"It's not just asking, If I fall down, will you be there for me? Because it's easy to be there for someone when they're down. But it's not always easy to be there for somebody when they're doing good. And that's the question it's asking. It's like, If I go crazy, will you still call me Superman? It's asking, If I'm down, will you still be there for me? But at the same time, If I'm alive and well, will you be there holding my hand? That's kind of asking, If I'm doing good, will you be there for me? Will you not be jealous of me? That's the basic question that song's asking, and maybe throughout the years of singing that song, I might have come up with more meanings for it than it actually might have originally had."
- "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" by The Smiths:
If you're wondering why
All the love that you long for eludes you
And people are rude and cruel to you
I'll tell you why
You just haven't earned it yet, baby
You just haven't earned it, son
You just haven't earned it yet, baby
You must suffer and cry for a longer time
Mythology and Religion
- Greek Mythology:
- Hercules was originally sentenced to ten labors, but the king ruled out two of them and sentenced him to two more. Most of the Labors were designed in the first place to kill him, humiliate him, or just make his life miserable, and the guy would use any excuse he could find to prolong the thing. Though some versions have Hercules aware of this and get back for it, like bringing a barely-restrained, giant three-headed fire-breathing Hell Hound to the guy's palace. In other story, the Trojan princess Hesione was Chained to a Rock to appease a sea monster set loose because the king of Troy had cheated the gods of their payment for building the walls of Troy. Hercules rescued her, whereupon the king of Troy tried to cheat him. Hercules, however, did not take it quietly and sacked Troy.
- A fairly common trope. A king would try to kill a hero, either out of personal vendetta, fear of a prophecy, or as a favor to another king. But the king would learn of this need after receiving the hero into his household, and the code of Sacred Hospitality (xenia) of the time forbade him from killing a guest. So the king would set the hero on some Impossible Task (usually "kill this monster"), which the hero would feel obligated to complete because of the responsibilities of a guest under the same code, hoping the hero would die in the attempt. He usually didn't.
- So many troubles in Greek myth got their start with somebody not paying proper respect to somebody else (a deity, somebody they knew, even a chance-met stranger) that it could almost be read as a collection of cautionary tales against this trope. The Odyssey in particular started because Odysseus didn't perform the necessary sacrifices to Poseidon for a safe voyage (granted, tormenting the guy for twenty years was a bit much).
- God invokes this trope with Himself in the Book of Malachi from The Bible:
A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My fear? says the Lord of Hosts to you, O priests, who despise My name. (Malachi 1:6, Modern English Version)
- Even Jesus gets hit with this one: "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household." (Matthew 13:57) He also tells His followers not to do good deeds for praise, Earthly rewards, or recognition, but rather for the sake of doing good, and not to expect even so much as a "thank you."
- Circa-2006, The Undertaker might have been a powerful, otherworldly demon mortician with a Wrestlemania win streak in the double digits, who once led a demonic cult, nearly crucifying the Chairman's daughter, and frequently sending other wrestlers (including his own brother) to hell, but did that stop General Manager Theodore Long from utilizing him to attack and injure other wrestlers who had petty squabbles with Teddy? Nope.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- The Imperial Guard make up the vast bulk of the Imperium's war machine and are responsible for most of its defenses and conquests; it's said that if the Space Marines are the tip of the spear of the Imperium, then the Imperial Guard are the rest of the spear head, the spear shaft, and the guy holding the spear. But both in- and out-of-universe they are forever forgotten and pushed aside by the Space Marines.
- The Fall of Medusa V global campaign of 2006 provides a meta example. The results of various worldwide tournaments were submitted to determine the fate of the planet Medusa V. The Space Marines and Imperial Guard lost a good majority of their battles; the former due to Space Marines being the usual go-to army for novice players, and the latter because they were consistently bottom-tier. However, the Space Marines were (and still are) far and away the most popular army of the game, and seeing a Space Marine defeat as a serious setback to the brand's image, Games Workshop declared that even though the Space Marines and Imperial Guard lost the majority of their battles, they were still the canon winners of the campaign on moral grounds note . Understandably, the players of the other factions were less than pleased.
- In the backstory, Perturabo suffered heavily from this, due to him and his legion being typecast as siege experts. They would get assigned either brutal meat-grinder sieges or garrison duty, with the latter featuring such madness as ten Iron Warriors guarding a planet with a population of millions. This was so prevalent that prior to the Drop Site Massacre, traitor marines constructing fortifications for Horus' forces were heard asking why the Iron Warriors weren't doing the work.
- In the Kingmaker adventure path for Pathfinder, the player characters can be the rulers of a small country, and yet their subjects will still give them fetch quests.
- In Ajax, the main character's anger is slightly more understandable relative to his culture where self-worth is based on publicly received respect. Odysseus wins Achilles' armor through persuasion, but Ajax, the greatest warrior on the Greek side, has reason to think he deserved it more. He goes on a rampage over this issue.
- In My Fair Lady, after having convinced all guests at a high society ball (including a linguistics expert) that she is a foreign princess, former flower seller Eliza Doolittle is very disappointed when all the credit is given to Professor Higgins.
- In Spamalot, Patsy faithfully follows and serves King Arthur for the entire journey... But that doesn't stop Arthur from singing a song about how alone he is.
- James Daley in That Championship Season works hard as a junior high school principal, but makes barely enough money to support his wife and five children, and the students at the school regularly scrawl graffiti on the walls insulting him. He is managing his former basketball teammate George Sitkowski's mayoral re-election campaign, but is distraught to discover that George is considering bringing in a new management team from Philadelphia to give the campaign a much-needed a shot in the arm. He has spent a large part of his adult life trying to prop up his alcoholic brother Tom, and has never been so much as thanked. Late in the play, he tries putting himself forward as a mayoral candidate instead of George as a way to get the respect he feels he deserves, but no-one is interested, and when he objects to the way he is treated by everyone, he is dismissed as a whiner.
- Roger Wilco in Space Quest saves the universe not one, but several times, thwarting alien invasions and evil corporations, but he often gets some minimal praise at the end of each episode, only to find himself again as a humble space janitor, still treated as crap, in the next one. Space Quest 6 starts with Roger getting demoted from Captain back to Janitor Second Class. Why? Because, in the course of saving the universe from "pukoid" monsters, he was forced to destroy a StarCon ship, commandeer the StarCon flagship, and get together with a StarCon ambassador (who's destined to be his wife anyway). The only reason he's not Thrown Out the Airlock is because he's a very good janitor. Even the Interactive Narrator doesn't like him, constantly making rather mean jokes at his expense.
- People should learn that messing or inconveniencing Kazuma Kiryu, protagonist of the Yakuza series, is a bad idea, but they still do it anyway. It takes a measure of suspension of disbelief to swallow that so many gangsters are willing to pick a fight with him considering his reputation. The only gangster to admit how badass Kazuma is is Nagahama in Yakuza: Dead Souls, who freely admits that he may be a gangster and he may be tough... but he's no Kazuma Kiryu.
- Nowhere is it more obvious than in Fallout 3. A DJ will constantly tell tales of your exploits, along with giving you a nickname or title based on your level and karma. Now, if you have good karma, it makes perfect sense for people to bother you with whatever problem they have: They know you've helped others, why wouldn't you help them? The joke comes when you have bad karma, no reason is given why people will come to you for help, or why the guards don't simply SHOOT YOU on sight, knowing all too well that whatever business you have in town, it's not going to be good. And of course, 90% of the people will treat you like a bag of shit, no matter if you are the best thing that has happened to them or a dangerous, homicidal nutso who could snap from the slightest insult and bash the insulter's head in without a bit of remorse (at least with the Brotherhood of Steel, this is perfectly in character). Finally, with the Broken Steel DLC, after the final story quest, you become an honored member of the BoS after the activation of Project Purity and, a few hours later, they celebrate you as a hero after blowing up the Adams Air Force base, where the remaining forces of the Enclave were stationed. There's also the fact that the ending narration will basically call you a coward if you have Fawks or Charon turn on the water purifier at the end of the game, even though that's pretty much the smartest thing to do since they're immune to radiation.
- While Fallout: New Vegas downplays this (the major factions are willing to go as far as pardoning all your crimes against them just for the opportunity to offer you a job), this is played to the hilt for minor factions and independent NPCs until you do their quests, with the exception of the Powder Gangers (a gang of ex-cons turned raiders), who will alternatively send a messenger offering a ceasefire between you and their gang if you kill enough of them.
- Once again played straight in Fallout 4. You might be named General of the Minutemen, but that won't stop your alleged second-in-command from telling you to go kill a nest of ghouls every five minutes. The Brotherhood of Steel and Institute aren't any better. At least in the case of the Railroad it's justified in that you end up as one of their few remaining senior operatives, so they have to keep leaning on you for support. And then there's Marcy Long, a civilian who does nothing but bitch at you about how terrible everything is no matter how hard you've worked turning Sanctuary into the best settlement in the entire Commonwealth.
- Very much present in Black & White, where, despite being a god, you must perform fairly menial tasks like finding someone's sheep or throwing rocks - which stands to reason, as an agrarian society probably would mutter a quick prayer for aid over even the tiniest of things.
- In Blazing Angels 1 and two, over time, your service record indicates hundreds of aircraft destroyed, thousands of vehicles blown up, and dozens of ships sent to Davy Jones Locker, and stopping entire enemy offensives single-handedly, and in the endgame, your final objective, destroying an elite German jet squadron, has them taunting you. You've destroyed a twentieth of the Axis air force, a Panzer army, and a quarter of the Japanese Navy, and they STILL INSULT YOU? Granted, in the sequel, the game makes up the excuse that you are in a top secret elite squadron who has experimental equipment, and you get all of the nation's top awards, but that doesn't cover up the fact that you destroyed enough enemy units to make up the campaign record of an air force.
- There's a rather annoying, if minor, example in Kingdom Hearts II. On the prologue, you had to battle Seifer as a tutorial. Even though he's supposedly the town's bully and is also supposed to be pretty good in combat you'll probably kick his ass once you're given the chance to (you don't get to battle him on the semi Tournament Arc so that you can see him at his best). He also has the habit of mocking you everytime you talk to him. After the end of the prologue, you discover that the whole Twilight Town was just a virtual simulation made for keeping Roxas away from Organization XIII and you take control of Sora. You may think that Seifer may get a chance to really show his worth after knowing that little fact. However, it only gets worse from there. As with Roxas' story, he also tries to mock you every time he can, but this time it doesn't help the fact that the Struggle host thinks he's the hot shit on the matter, preventing you from fighting him unless you defeat Heiner and Setzer 20 TIMES IN A ROW. After finally doing all of this, you'll think that he'll actually be a competent boss fight to compensate for all the shit he put you through, but no. He's actually weaker than the time you fought him as Roxas. Even then the Struggle host still treats you like a retard by saying that you're finally ready to fight him and Seifer won't even change his NPC dialog.
- In Grand Theft Auto III, by the time you reach the third section of Liberty Island, you've assassinated the heads of The Mafia and the Yakuza, you've completely obliterated the Triads, and you've severely damaged the drug smuggling operation of the Colombian drug cartel. You've also probably killed hundreds to thousands of people and caused millions of dollars' worth of damage to the city. In Real Life, you'd be the most notorious criminal ever to set foot in the country, but that doesn't seem to hold much sway with the Red Jacks street gang, who want you to join them in drive-bys and street brawls.
- Golden Sun:
- The Lost Age has this trope in the beginning. In the Tower of the Sea God next to the first town, a boy is trapped on a high ledge and his friend cannot get him down. Even though you save the kid with the Lash Psynergy, both boys coldly thank you and are more concerned about eating something instead of being grateful you didn't leave the kid to starve to death.
- In Dark Dawn, TLA's hero Felix is a Hero with Bad Publicity, if he's mentioned at all, while Isaac is a celebrity for triggering the Golden Sun event and saving the world... which was Felix's mission alongside the Mars Clan. Who are likewise never mentioned. It's clearly an in-universe case of Unreliable Narrator.
- Meanwhile, Matthew and his friends apparently invoke this trope by being low-key about being the children of the famous Warriors of Vale (and Kalay and Imil). Amiti only finds out who they are after he's been traveling with them for a while, and his reaction is rather amusing (especially since he's no stranger to celebrity himself).
- In the Pine Valley level of World in Conflict, Captain Bannon begs for your help in repairing one of his damaged vehicles. When you do so, he berates you for taking too long, no matter how fast you do it, thanks to his Jerkass personality.
- Mass Effect, despite being the inspiration for the page quote, handles this far better than most. Yes, Shepard can do a lot of menial, unethical and even sometimes illegal tasks for little reward, but most of the time they just ask, with the player able to tell them to go away at any point, or Shepard approaches them offering their assistance. The only people who actually order Shepard around are either Shepard's superior (e.g. Hackett in the first game), Shepard's close friends (e.g. Anderson) or a famous powerful badass on Shepard's level (e.g. Aria, who still obviously respects Shepard). Still, the Citadel Council falls into this headfirst, as no matter how often you are proven right they still refuse to believe anything you say; it takes you saving them from certain death for the second time for them to finally take you seriously.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- If you complete the main quest and then join one of the factions, you'll still need to do that faction's beginner level quests while being treated like "new meat" by your new superiors and comrades even though you're a world-saving hero who defeated a foe three other gods couldn't defeat. At least you can use the "Nerevarine" dialogue option to increase their disposition a bit so they'll be more pleasant. In other words, they do not give you the respect you deserve, but they do, at least, tend to react to you as a friend rather than as scum.
- A big offender is being the head of the Imperial Legion. Imperial soldiers, who now technically report to you, will still treat you like you're a new recruit.
- Likewise for Great House Telvanni, though at least it's Justified as completely in-character for them, seeing as how they're a group of magical Mad Scientists with Insufferable Genius and For Science! traits.
- In Oblivion:
- You can be the freakin' Archmage and everyone in town will still treat you like J. Random Peasant. And even if you helped the emperor's heir save the world or something, you still have to start as an Apprentice in the Mage's Guild or an Amateur in the Fighter's Guild with others treating you like crap. Later averted, though; when you complete the main story, people will shower you with praise when they see you. And if you are the Arch-Mage, the mages at the Arcane U show proper respect.
- Played with in Knights of the Nine, the expanded content mission, where you require the approval of a prophet before going on a crusade for the gods. Boast of doing good deeds and he'll just mock you and refuse to help you; you have to either be humble, or confess to (i.e. boast about) evil you've done to gain his help.
- Doubly subverted in the Shivering Isles expansion pack. After taking the mantle of the Madgod, most of the realm's populace, including the haughty guards, will express their respect/reverence to you, and you cannot be arrested for crime (though you still have to pay the fine or be booted out of the city until you do). Unfortunately, you are still forbidden from entering the Saint/Seducer sanctuaries, Zealots will remain hostile toward you, and do not expect anyone in Cyrodiil to believe you.
- After closing the Oblivion Gate outside a city and completing a minor side quest for the countess (which she delegates to you because "you seem like the trustworthy type"), you approach her to buy a house in a city, only to be told, "I don't trust you enough to talk about that." And a nobleman in Cheydinhal throws weekly parties for the city's up-and-comers, which never includes you, because "If you were somebody, I'd know. But I don't, so you aren't." That some of his guests are low-level members of guilds you might command, plus the Count whose son you rescue from Oblivion while saving his city, makes this a bit jarring.
- The biggest offender is quite possibly Vilkas of the Companions. If you first attempt to join the Companions after successfully defeating Alduin (legendary Beast of the Apocalypse), becoming The Archmage, Listener of the Dark Brotherhood, Master Thief of the Thieves' Guild, Thane of every city, pretty much single-handedly winning the Civil War, and completing countless other side quests, you'll walk into Jorrvaskr with the intention of becoming a Companion, only to be refused by him, with him telling the Harbinger "I've never even heard of this outsider".
- The Companions can lead to a lot of humorous instances of this trope. Like the second-newest member (after you) boasts about killing a bear yesterday, asking what *you* killed the day before. Unfortunately, there is no way to respond with "two dragons, a draugr deathlord, and an entire bandit encampment." And some of the more senior members will still openly tell you that they think you're a wimp, even if you're now the Harbinger.
- This can be quite jarring if you're a Legate in the Imperial Legion, just happen to encounter a few Imperial soldiers escorting a prisoner (Stormcloak) along the road, and will tell you to get the hell away from them and not interfere with "Imperial business." Bonus points for, following that line, they warn you to get the hell away from them before they draw their swords and attack you.
- Dirge, a member of the Thieves Guild, definitely takes the cake. He's the guild's muscle and spends the entirety of the game hanging around in their hideout. Practically every time you pass him by (and he's conveniently placed right in your path, too) he'll mutter that even if you're one of them, you better not try anything or you'll have to deal with him. He's say this even when you're the guild grandmaster who's the greatest thief in the land and has done more for the guild than all of its other members for the last fifteen years. Respect, nothing; how about not hassling your boss?
- The randomized guard dialogue can get schizophrenic about this — various achievements do add suitably respectful comments. The problem is that it doesn't remove the comments that were for achievements that were overriden later on, so a guard can speak insultingly about you being the newbie Companion and immediately afterward praise you as the Companions' Harbinger.
- In the Dragonborn DLC, Master Neloth (of the aforementioned House Telvanni) returns as a major player in the DLC storyline. Being the world-saving Dragonborn doesn't get you an iota of respect from him. Archmage of the College of Winterhold? Still condescending. One way the Dragonborn can impress him is to have read the Oghma Infinium before meeting him, due to having done something that Neloth himself tried to do for years without success.
- The case for majority of protagonists in Harvest Moon; despite their great actions, nobody seems to care. Hilariously noticeable in Harvest Moon: A New Beginning, where you arrive in Echo Village and kickstart the village that has been stagnant for likely decades, get more people to move in by building their houses for free despite the time and money you spend on materials, cause their economy to boom by buying from shops and shipping produce, fulfill increasingly difficult goals to aide the town's restoration and while doing all of this, you also run a pretty successfull farm on the side! But woe betide you if you dare to lose a festival and those townspeople who should be grateful that you gave them a roof over their head will berate you.
- In Quest for Glory IV the character is magically teleported halfway across the planet to a small, isolated village that's highly distrustful of strangers and has no way of knowing all the amazing stuff you've done (like, oh, saving the entire world from total destruction twice over). Only three characters in the entire game respect your abilities, two of whom are returning Big Bads (Baba Yaga and Ad Avis) and the other being this game's Big Bad, who is the master of the latter. The people do greatly warm up to you once you do some notable good deeds. It gets downright heartwarming with comments like "I never believed true heroes existed until now."
- Rather strange case in Final Fantasy X. Auron is supposed to be 'The best guardian there ever was' and 'The Legendary Guardian', but guess how many characters except the party acknowledge his pure Badassery and reputation? Two! Canon says he is one of the men guardians look upon in respect, but does he get any of said respect or has he influence to any of the events? Little or completely none. Damn, being famous in Spira must suck! Granted, most people presumed him to be dead, and Auron is not the type to take advantage of fame.
- Final Fantasy XI has players build up their reputation in cities to staggering amounts, and be lauded as a hero... and go to an NPC in said town to discover that they have no damn clue who you are. Could you stir up any trouble... like everyone who didn't do this quest in the first place.
- In Final Fantasy X-2, your exploits in the previous game are well-known throughout the entire world, and you even get a cool title to go with it. But that doesn't mean you can expect any actual respect for bringing about a global renaissance. In one particularly egregious case, you can get run out of your own birthplace for being on friendly terms with a rival faction.
- In Tales of Vesperia, no matter how much crap Yuri Lowell goes through, people will always treat him as a dangerous outlaw and attribute his guild's good deeds to the Imperial Knights. Amusingly inverted, as Yuri is perfectly happy with not being celebrated, but it really frustrates his knight friend Flynn who gets all the credit for Yuri's heroics.
- In Tales of Eternia, no one in Inferia gives the heroes trying to stop the Grand Fall any credit (trying to execute them several times instead!) until they absolutely must acknowledge them (begrudgingly, because there's absolutely nothing else that can be done but to trust them) because the very idea of the Grand Fall is heretical. People in Celestia are much more helpful and grateful.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link the protagonist is the SAME Link from the first game. You can understand that people might ask him to save a kidnapped child or help the citizenry; after all, that's what he is supposed to do. But to refuse to let him cross a bridge, or to ask him to fetch some water? Not only did this guy save the country from the local Evil Overlord, but he is the envoy of the ruler of said country.
- In Majora's Mask, if you bring the Couple's Mask to the Happy Mask Salesman, he acknowledges that while he didn't see it, you probably did a lot of frustration-inducing stuff to get it, and even says he wishes he was looking for that mask so your efforts would be for a little more than (as far as he knew) nothing. For the rest of the game, however, you spend countless hours helping people out, slaying monsters, and reliving the same three days over and over via "Groundhog Day" Loop until the Big Bad is put down, but no one even acknowledges that you saved the world. Even the Happy Mask Salesman doesn't really acknowledge that you stopped the moon from crashing and is only happy that you managed to recover the titular mask.
- Skyward Sword can get pretty bad with this sometimes. Granted, virtually none of Skyloft's denizens know Link is risking life and limb to save the entire world each time he heads off on his Loftwing, but quite possibly the only people in the entire game that show Link anything approaching proper respect for a good portion of the play time are Fi, who acknowledges you as her master from the get-go, and Zelda's father. Pretty much everyone else gives Link no end of crap; Faron the dragon doesn't care that you killed a scorpion the size of a school bus and crossed swords with a demon lord, she still questions what the goddess was thinking choosing you, while Scrapper contrives to be a condescending Jerkass to you at any available opportunity, even though you're the reason he's operational at all. Faron is particularly bad; it's not enough that you have the Scale that's supposed to be obtainable only by the chosen hero of the Goddess, you have to prove yourself by fetching magic water for her before she'll let you into the temple containing one of the Sacred Flames. And later on, you have to learn part of a song from her; despite having gotten her scale, proving yourself worthy of entering the temple, AND getting the Flame from said temple, you have to prove yourself AGAIN before she's convinced that you're the real deal.
- Played a little too straight in the Wii game Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King. Once you've set your minions (ahem, "adventurers") their tasks, the only thing you can do all day is run around the city, talking to the citizens or building buildings to allow even MORE citizens in. Talking to them allows you to stay up later in the day (extends the game clock), so that your minions can actually complete their tasks. To add insult to injury, once your city gets to a certain point, some of your citizens will begin offering fetch quests. Doing these quests involves issuing a "bequest" - tasking your minions to find something in the town - which costs you money. Only reward is a morale gain - which lets you stay up late at night.
- In Ōkami most people only view you as a wolf, a lovely white wolf that brings good luck, but a wolf all the same. Up until halfway through the game you won't get much if any respect for the deeds you've done by most of characters in the game. And there still is a rather long side quest where you have to prove to a Flat-Earth Atheist that you're god. Ultimately the game subverts this during the Final Boss: with Issun's help, every character in the game realizes that you're really a deity and prays for your success and to thank you for all you've done. And since respect equals power, their prayers give you the power to defeat the Big Bad.
- The main character of Rhodan: Myth of the Illochim is a 3,000-year-old immortal hero and the head of government for Terra (Earth) and its colonies. He spends the entire first level of the game trying to escape his own home after being confined there by his best friend (his own security minister) for unexplained reasons. At a later point in the game he's arrested on suspicion of murder and thrown straight into a filthy cell, with no opportunity to try and explain what happened - even though he was found unconscious after being attacked at the crime scene.
- World of Warcraft:
- This is especially prevalent in the second expansion, where by level 80 your character has probably slain multiple dragons, Eldritch Abominations, demon lords, and more monsters than should logically exist, but will still be treated like dirt by NPCs, rarely acknowledging your exploits, and if they do, its just to say "I don't care about them, go kill some animals and bring me their meat. I'm hungry". Admittedly if you do enough notable things NPCs will start to sing your praises, and once you've helped somebody their dialogue will generally be friendly to you, but that won't stop everybody else demanding you fetch them 20 Bear Asses.
- Not as bad in the Cataclysm zones from the third expansion. Characters will generally recognise you as a great hero and faction leaders frequently show up and make it clear that they know who you are and what you're capable of. They still want you to collect bear asses, but they have more flattering ways of justifying it. The rewritten early quests also tend to try to make you feel less anonymous.
- John J. Keeshan in Burning Steppes will treat you like an ordinary soldier unless you finished the Redridge zone. Then he'll greet you as an old friend.
- This is invoked again heavily in 'Mists of Pandaria', where the native Pandaren are often invited to join the Horde or Alliance - sometimes boasting of their exploits in the process, only for the Pandaren to immediately rebuke them, often reasoning that the factions messed with their once peaceful lives by bringing their ensuring warfare into the Pandaren's homelands. Meaning, you often end up either cleaning the mess your faction has made and/or you go around doing menial chores once again. And that big, black dragon from the last expansion that you narrowly defeated when it tried to destroy the world? Never heard of it.
- A fairly amusing case happens with one Shrine of Seven Stars draenei NPC who's in an argument with a pandaren. If you try to convince him of what the pandaren is arguing, he will say "What do you know? You act like you're the savior of Azeroth!" even if you have the "Savior Of Azeroth" title (from defeating Madness of Deathwing on Heroic).
- During Escalation, players are given a quest to help an old seer retrace the steps of Emperor Shao Hao, who appreciates that despite being a powerful warrior, you are willing to help an old man climb a mountain. When it's done, the seer commends you for your humility, then reveals that he is the ghost of Emperor Shao Pao, and tells you how Pride was his one great vice.
- Warlords of Draenor puts your character in charge of a military garrison for your faction; this is specifically because of your past deeds. You still end up doing some rather menial tasks for quests, but these are generally to establish relations with the locals who don't know you as well, or else because you've gained a reputation for "getting things done". An amusing sidenote: Your job as a commander comes with the duty of dishing out missions for your followers, among whom you'll find a mix of new characters, famed badasses and their AU counterparts. While some missions are tuned for geared followers and definitely count as respectful, there's nothing stopping you from sending the restless ghost of Admiral Taylor to collect Twenty Bear Asses or clean the latrine. Putting battle-eager characters like Lantresor on permanent mining duty also counts.
- In Neverwinter Nights 2, random City Watch will still be all "I'm busy. Find another people to chat up." Wonderful thing to say to a Knight and member of Nine, you bastard. It's worse if you sided with the City Watch instead of the Shadow Thieves in Act I since Captain Brelaina promotes you to the rank of Lieutenant to replace the late Lieutenant Kyton (who was the ranking City Watch Officer in the Docks District).
- Intentionally used in Divine Divinity, after you've poisoned the orc army/discover the origin of ravaging disease/discover the former king's death (or any combinations), you are then taken into the court as Lord Protector to the current king, who gives you all sorts of stupid, menial task that should have been given to a servant. Also averted because quite a few characters will also mention on your reputation after you do certain main quests. Also? You DO get hero discounts from merchants.
- Rand's mother in Breath of Fire II has no problem with setting you with the duty of cleaning up her fields. Of course, the obstacles are really monsters, but come on...
- Ace Attorney:
- In any of the first three games, you are respected by almost NOBODY except your friends/assistants (and even then they may make fun of you), even though you've solved cases that were unsolved for years, gotten EVERY SINGLE ONE of your clients a Not Guilty (except Matt Engarde, but he really was guilty so it was all good) in your entire short career. The prosecution (understandable), witnesses (also understandable, especially if they did it), the police, and even the judge respects every prosecutor in court (even the ones that whip him and insult him), and they never cease to tell you that the only reason you win is because of luck or your old mentor helping you. This eventually reaches a head in the fourth game where this is one of the reasons Kristoph set Phoenix up to lose his badge; he thought Phoenix was beneath him and used the forged evidence to frame you. Ultimately averted for Phoenix in Dual Destinies, where he has been elevated to living legend in the legal world.
- This seems to have been passed onto Apollo Justice as well since almost everyone seems to put him down for being a loud rookie with two "horns"/spikes on his hair.
- Edgeworth himself, who has been praised by many people in game, got roughly the same treatment when he played for the Defense (he even wondered if there was a "Kick Me" sign on his side of the court). And in his own spin-offs all the witnesses and potential suspects go out of their way to be unhelpful as possible and Edgeworth's sidekick, Kay, seems to try and be annoying as possible to Edgeworth in public. It's even worse in the sequel, when, despite DISMANTLING A CRIME SYNDICATE that had been evading police for 10 years over the course of TWO DAYS a mere two weeks earlier, Edgeworth spends the entire game dealing with the Prosecutorial Investigation Committee, which seems determined to get his badge revoked so that he can be replaced with a 17-year-old who resident idiot Larry Butz considers stupid. Somewhat justified though because said 17-year-old is the son of the Chair of the PIC and former Chief Prosecutor, who hates Edgeworth's guts and is directly responsible for the whole PIC mess.
- Ironically, despite dealing with a literal Witch Court, Phoenix actually does a lot better in Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney after winning his first witch trial (he was severely mocked in the first). At the beginning of the second one, the Judge and the prosecutor acknowledge his skill out loud, as he'd, well, gotten basically the only Not Guilty verdict in the history of Witch Court. They don't go easy on him, but they admit that he knows what he's doing, which is more than he ever got in real court.
- Subverted in Scarface: The World Is Yours. Initially, Tony will be unrecognized by the citizens, but as he rebuilds his reputation they will recognize and respect him; at high levels it is possible to talk people into giving him their cars.
- The Ace Combat series generally averts this, though there are some instances where it's played straight:
- Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception plays it mostly straight. Though your own side worships the ground you fly over, the enemy still seems to see you as a punk kid, just a very lucky punk kid. "Aaah, there he is. There's Nemesis. Stay away from him, he's allll mine." *shot down in 10 seconds* Although you become renowned throughout the entire enemy military, as either The Southern Cross or Nemesis, Gryphus 1 just gets no actual respect from them, not even after shooting down the Invincible Superweapon.
- This is an inversion from the case in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, where the player character quickly becomes renowned by the enemy for their skill, even being nicknamed the "Demons of Razgris" after destroying both of the enemy's giant burst missile-launching submarines. The actual soldiers you interact with and defend from enemy attack likewise show the reverence you'd expect for the player character's skill; at one point, a group of tired and dismotivated soldiers that have failed twice to take over an enemy fortress are quickly motivated into a third, ultimately successful attempt simply because one of them mentions that you'll be flying support for them. The higher-ups, however, hold next to no respect for you, especially after another squadron frames yours for an attack on civilian structures in enemy territory; immediately after the above fortress mission the player and his squad are labeled as traitors solely on the word of that other squadron, who turn out to be Belkan infiltrators attempting to prolong the war.
- The Ace Combat series also provides the grand champion of subverting this trope with Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, wherein the protagonist, Cipher, quickly goes from nobody to nightmare, receiving the title of "Demon Lord of the Round Table" and being accredited as the reason several fights are won. By late game, merely identifying Galm Team in the IFF is enough to turn around an entire battle and lifting morale from the ground all the way to the top. In contrast with the above example, your superiors in this game consider you an indispensable asset in the war and a briefing tells you as much flat out.
- Air Force Delta Strike plays this straight. Lilia treats the pilots with the same condescending tone all the way to the last mission.
- Perfect Dark. Despite being the trusted Golden Girl of the paramilitary outfit, the lackeys and scientists still treat Joanna like garbage in the training areas. Of course, once you get to the level where they are hostages, they are happy to see you, and at least once you've beaten that level they'll stop insulting you whenever they see you. Apart from that guy in the basement, anyway.
- City of Heroes. "Oh, what's that? You just saved the entire city from a devastating plague? Wow, you're a hero! Now go deliver my mail. And defeat a few cultists. Just think, in five more levels we'll let you wear a cape!" Though at least the citizenry start to sing your praises as they pass by.
- Fable I is built around averting this trope, with people praising you if you're good and cowering if you're evil. Then you meet Briar Rose, an experienced heroine who mocks the Player Character early in the game. It's a scripted event, so even though it's possible to go through a large chunk of the game's world thanks to its open-endedness and gather much experience and fame along the way, she'll still call you out for being a greenhorn. There's also the fact that people will, no matter what, call you a chicken chaser (after the Hero's initial title) and laugh at you until you buy another title. Thunder, another hero in Bowerstone shows even more contempt towards you, although some of that is due to kicking his little sister's ass during hero training beforehand. His sister, Whisper, is even worse; sure, when you first arrive at the Hero's Guild a bit of arrogance on her part is understandable (though ironically, that's when she's at her nicest), but she will then spend the rest of the game mocking you and telling you just how much better than you she is, regardless of how many times you beat her in a fight, completely outmatch her in a quest where you directly compete against her, or otherwise demonstrate that she is literally nowhere near in your league. She will eventually admit that its only because she's jealous of you for being so much better than her.
- Justified and then averted in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. At the start of the game, you play a fledgling vampire who's just been introduced to undead society and is sitting firmly on the bottom rung. A fair number of your quests involve trying to curry favor with various political leaders and sects, and some of the older vampires actually have freaky powers that force you to obey them. The aversion comes later in the game—as you get stronger, carving through hoards of enemy vampires and even vampire hunters, the elders of the city start treating you as someone they want on their side, or else as someone they want to dust before you become a threat. Lampshaded (sort of) at one point where the player has the option to tell some uncooperative NPCs "I've got to get a publicist. You two obviously aren't aware of my reputation."
- In Chrono Trigger, most of what you do goes unnoticed because... well, you did it centuries ago. That's the drawback of Time Travel. Thing is, in the individual time periods where you did the incredible thing (particularly 65 Million BC and 600 AD), certain townspeople do recognize you and praise your accomplishments.
- Terranigma has got to be one of the most extreme examples of this trope. Thanks for reviving the world, defeating all the villains and monsters who were threatening it, and sealing away the very spirit of darkness, Ark! Now go ahead and die, we're done with you.
- My World, My Way features the princess of the land moonlighting as a hero. She averts this because everyone immediately recognizes her as a hero (because the king's agent is paying them to, against her knowledge), but they still play it straight and give her meaningless Fetch Quest and With A Herring jobs, because "That's what heroes do!" Lampshaded particularly well in Oasis Town, where the heroine directly asks what quest this town is going to give her, and the response is to 1. Collect 5 cough grass to make cold medicine, 2. gather 5 mountain grapes in a forest you have to plant, 3. kill 10 venombugs eating the mayor's garden, 4. Go pick 10 birthday flowers, 5. Light bonfires to attract firepigs, which are a nuisance, so kill 10 of them after you bring them here, and 6. collect 10 Magic Fellworts. This is just the stuff the mayor spat out at you before the princess interrupted him screaming that she's not his maid.
- zOMG! can invoke this. Once your level reaches a certain point, the NPCs who give you the repeatable quests say "I should stop wasting your time here, you probably have better things to do. I'll handle the rest myself." But then you can suppress your level and they'll get right back to bossing you around.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas:
- You can increase your respect (which, in game play terms amounts to how many fellow gang members you can take to assist you in a mission) by working out, dressing nice, doing missions and driving out the gangs from the city. However, after a certain mission, you are suddenly dumped without warning into the countryside and the gangs retake the entire damn city, including your home street.
- Played straight with CJ's brother Sweet. No matter what he does, CJ is nothing more than the family black sheep to him even though he's actually more "put together" than Sweet. What's worse is that Sweet tends to lord the fact that Brian (CJ's other brother) died on CJ's watch and knows he feels extremely guilty about it. Their sister Kendal even stays away from that topic but at one point outright tells CJ she knows it's not his fault. Even when CJ is pretty much leading a successful life with his True Companions (Woozie, Truth, Kendal, Cesar), Sweet still calls him a "buster".
- Lampshaded in Jak II: Renegade when Daxter asks Torn why they get all the crummy missions:
Torn: Because I. Don't. Like. You!
- In the Overlord games, especially the 2nd one, most people don't show you the respect an Evil Overlord deserves. In the first game you can try to earn their respect or slaughter them. In the second game you don't even pretend to be nice; you can either brainwash them or again slaughter them.
- In the Eye of the North expansion to Guild Wars, 'faction' mechanics toyed with in previous installments reach the point where some items are only possible to acquire through earning a reputation-based title with that faction, with characters lacking that title being rudely informed that the items in question aren't available to just anyone. Nevermind that for three of these factions, it is perfectly possible to have single-handedly rescued the organisation from their greatest enemies or to have destroyed the entity that serves as their greatest nemesis without having achieved sufficient reputation to "earn" these services.
- In all of the Monkey Island sequels, no one is inclined to believe Guybrush's claims that he is the Mighty Pirate who defeated LeChuck (four times!). Most of the time, he can't even convince people he's over twenty-one. In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge this is particulary ironic, as he tells everyone about his exploits enough that people who know him are sick of hearing about them. He's also penned a trilogy of books about his killing of LeChuck.
- Drawn to Life. Holy cow the villagers are selfish for so much stuff. In the beginning of the game, the town is in ruins and covered in shadows, and everything that ever existed is disappearing due to damage to the book of creation. After the hero brings back the sun, food, weather, time, and other necessities, the hero is told to get things like beach toys to make the beach more lively.
- Both played straight and averted in Baldur's Gate. During the first game, much of what you do is (presumably) actively kept secret by the Iron Throne, as it would do their plans no good for your actions to come to light, so it's understandable that people haven't often heard of you. Averted by the Big Bad, who does give you 'respect' by sending ever stronger assassins, and by circles who have access to first-hand information. In the second game, you're in a different country, so your actions in the first game are obviously not as widely known, although the quests you actually do in Athkatla don't have much effect on people's responses to you. Even after becoming known as the killer of a whole nest of vampires, you will still be asked to find a missing gong. Hilariously lampshaded in the original; at one point, you will get the option to say this:
Main Character: OK, I've just about had my fill of riddle asking, quest assigning, insult throwing, pun hurling, hostage taking, iron mongering, smart arsed fools, freaks, and felons that continually test my will, mettle, strength, intelligence, and most of all, patience! If you've got a straight answer anywhere in that bent little head of yours, I want to hear it pretty damn quick or I'm going to take a large blunt object roughly the size of Elminster and his hat, and stuff it lengthwise into a crevice of your being so seldom seen that even the denizens of the Nine Hells themselves wouldn't touch it with a twenty-foot rusty halberd! Have I made myself perfectly clear?!
- In Diablo II: Lord Of Destruction, the expansion pack for Diablo II, this is how you are treated by the Barbarians (and especially by the corrupt Elder Nihlithak) in the fifth and final Act of the game. You have just defeated the Lord of Terror himself, Diablo, not to mention previously defeating his brother Mephisto, and what do you get? Qual-Kehk says, "You have the look of a warrior. An extra soldier would be useful, but don't expect anyone to mourn if you get yourself killed." Nihlithak is a lot nastier. "After so many have died, who are you to think you can accomplish what our warriors could not?" And, "Ending the siege [will] not earn immediate respect, outsider. Respect only comes with sacrifice — something I'm sure you know nothing of." The worst from Nihlithak? "What are you still doing here? I thought you were going off to die. Go...Be quick about it."
- In RuneScape, your character is verbally trodden upon regularly by computer characters. Many of the quests involve menial tasks with lots of time-consuming running around, to the point that the game develepors (Jagex) treat it as an in-joke. In some of the quests, your character will say things along the lines of "Let me guess, you want me to run around all over Runescape to get some easily-obtainable item?" And some of the computer characters inspire true hatred with their constant refusal to recognise your contributions/good work/single-handed saving of everyone.
- Reimu Hakurei of Touhou has saved Gensokyo from everything from minor annoyances to potentially apocalyptic destruction multiple times, yet the humans ignore her (at best), the youkai mooch off of her (at best) and she has no worshippers whatsoever at the Hakurei shrine. Indeed, most residents genuinely don't know that Reimu has stopped most of the regular incidents, and those that do are either too stupid to recognise they should give her respect or too powerful too even bother. This is most apparent in Forbidden Scrollery, where despite being Gensokyo's top youkai hunter none of the humans know who she is and have no confidence in her solving the current youkai problem (expect for Kosuzu who is a blatant Reimu fangirl, with Reimu having no idea how to react to someone genuinely praising her).
- During the ending sequence in Dragon Quest VIII Prince Charmles does not allow the protagonist to attend his royal wedding, despite having saved the world, being close friends with the bride, being captain of his father-in-law to be's royal guard and having personally helped the prince in an earlier part of the story, on account of the hero and his friends being "commoners." Weirdly this is averted most of the time, as people acknowledge that you and your friends have helped them in the past. This behavior also bites him in the ass, as no matter which ending you get Medea runs off and marries the main character. It's worse in the ending for completing the New Game+ dungeon, where not only does he lose his bride, but also the throne to the person who he just banned from his wedding. Guess the lesson is 'treat people with respect when they help you'.
- Somehow, the fact that the player eventually becomes the League Champion, the hero who liberated the region from a criminal syndicate and saved the world does not impress many of the game's NPCs, who treat you pretty much the same as any other eleven-year-old Trainer. Made worse by how your own mother has absolutely nothing to say, ever, about you beating the best Trainers in the entire region (though that's not to imply she's not proud of you). Some people will recognise you, but for the most part you're still often treated like the average trainer. Starting with Gen 5 there is more of an effort to make you Famed In-Story but there are still numerous points where the protagonist is treated like anyone else.
- None of the in-game trainers even bat an eye when you send out Pokémon thought to be long extinct or urban legend, legendary Olympus Mons Pokémon that are the only one of their kind in existence, or even Pokémon that are believed to be God. They have no qualms about attacking these wonders either.
- In Heart Gold and Soul Silver your lead Pokemon will follow you around. Wild Pokémon will still attack you even if they're a level 3 rattata and you have a level 100 Legendary following you.
- In the Gamecube Custom Robo title, after defeating an Eldritch Abomination intent on destroying the remainder of life on the planet everyone treats you the same because the government covers your involvement up. Allegedly to allow you to live peacefully.
- Mega Man Battle Network: Each game ends with Lan saving the world from criminal organizations that have made everyone paranoid and scared and as such is heralded as a hero... until the next game, when everyone seems to have forgotten everything and suddenly he's just another kid.
- In Little Big Adventure II, you have a museum dedicated to you and your heroic deeds from the original game... which you are forced to pay for entering, because the ticket vendor is an idiot who doesn't recognize you (he does note that you "look like the guy in the picture" after you don the Ancestral Tunic — and that's it). If you talk to the museum owner, Twinsen will complain about that. Subverted with the School of Magic: they know that you have saved the world, but it just doesn't give you the right not to pass the exams.
- It's lampshaded in Ys Seven, when a man asks you to go find some earrings for him after the village elder already told him (and everyone else in the village) about you and how important you are: "Strange men with weapons are the best at finding lost earrings, right?" It's typically justify Adol getting no respect, with him usually getting stranded in the middle of nowhere and being saved by people from a small village that may not have gotten any news for decades. Consequently, the few people you meet that are actually well-traveled will either hold you in the highest regard or... give you no respect, because you couldn't possibly be the legendary Adol the Red!
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords:
- The Exile, despite being a Jedi and a war veteran, a surprisingly large amount of people you encounter think you're puny and incompetent next to them, such as when you spar with the handmaidens or the Mandalorians. Admittedly, you do get to gradually build up their respect with your accomplishments, but there are still a few who look down their noses at you.
- Jedi in general. While a Jedi Knight certainly isn't invincible, and they've been getting thrashed by the Sith for years, only an idiot wouldn't respect their power (we are talking about a group of people who can lift heavy object with their minds, heal wounds instantly, possess lightning quick reflexes and swords that can cut through almost anything), yet most people you encounter in the game will think of Jedi as absolute pushovers. You encounter a pair of women on Dantooine who look like nothing more than simple farmers, who seem to seriously consider taking on a Jedi to collect on the bounty.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic class storylines play this straight first and slowly avert it later. For instance, when playing as a Sith Inquisitor (who starts off as a recently-freed slave), you get treated like crap by pretty much everyone except your Affably Evil future master until about the time you finish the Prologue. Throughout Act I, you receive more and more recognition (especially from the Imperial Intelligence, who know everything about everyone) and most quest givers approach you primarily because of your reputation as an unstoppable, lightning-flinging death machine. By Act II, you are already firmly entrenched in the Imperial noble caste, with all due benefits.
- In a meta-example, Ultima V. Called to Brittania in response to a major crisis, the Avatar defeats the Shadowlords, subverts Blackthorne's regime, journeys deep into the depths of the underworld to free Lord British, and paves the way for his return to the throne. His reard? He returns home to earth to find that his house has been robbed while he was out. Being the Avatar apparently makes you the universe's Chew Toy.
- In Ultima VI you are the Avatar, most likely Britannia's most legendary hero ever, and some people who recognize you do sing your praises. And your first order of business is to reclaim the shrines and purify them, for which you'll need the eight runes. The runes which you spent the fourth game tracking down everywhere, and which should now be locked up as national treasures. Except people apparently pass them around everywhere, and has lost or hidden or dropped some of them. The Rune of Sacrifice in particular is held by the guild leader of Minoc, and he'll give it to you... when you become a member. Which you can only become by performing "Stones" on a set of pipes. Which you need to have someone make for you. Who will need you to provide the wood. And so on. Yes, you're a legendary hero who is busy trying to stop an invasion and save the world for the sixth time now, but this guy still expects you to jump through hoops for no reason beyond propriety.
- In Ultima Underworld you are suspected of kidnapping a baron's daughter. Though you claim you are the Avatar the baron doesn't recognize or believe you with the only explanation being that several years had passed since you were last in Britannia. Again, you are the Avatar, the man who not only saved the world six times by this point but is also the Messiah of the only organized religion in the world. You'd think that everyone in the entire planet would know what the Avatar looks like. The baron then sends you to the Abyss on a mission to rescue his daughter. He notes that if you are really the Avatar, this is your thing, and not only should you be able to get her back, you should feel obligated to do it. If you're lying, you'll get what you deserve.
- In Mega Man Legends, the title character spends the entire game in the same city (and the nearby dungeon). When the Bonne's show up and start destroying the city, the Mayor asks Mega Man to go out and stop them. He does so, and instead of medals or parades, they ask him to donate money to rebuild the city. The entire city would be a smoking ruin several times over without Mega Man's intervention, and he never gets so much as a "thank you."
- Dark Reign 2, in the JDA mission you have spent the last 10 missions fighting the Sprawlers, and evacuating civilians. Then you are ordered to stay behind to destroy the artifacts, which will destroy Earth itself, while the JDA go on to become the Imperium.
- In the Ravenhearst Story Arc of Mystery Case Files, you play the Master Detective, a sleuth who has extensive experience in dealing with the paranormal and supernatural in order to solve mysteries and crimes. In 13th Skull, you travel to Louisiana to investigate a disappearance, and run into a slew of characters who have chunks of information you need to solve the case. In spite of your badge and authority, almost none of them will tell you much of anything until you've performed a Fetch Quest for them. (The lone exception requires you to beat him at checkers before he'll help you, but after that he's perfectly friendly and useful.)
- In The Game of the Ages, you'd think your status would change after lifting the town's curse. Not particularly.
- A Running Gag in The Spellcasting Series, as hero Ernie Eaglebeak saves the world on a yearly basis and gets nothing but a trophy for his troubles. With his name misspelled on it.
- While the first The Godfather subverted this by causing you to become increasingly respected as you advanced through the plot and ranks, the sequel plays this particularly straight. Both Michael and others belittle you even when you've proven yourself capable of mowing down whole enemy Families.
- Overlapping with being an Unpopular Popular Character, Laharl from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is treated as a joke in every cameo appearance he makes. Granted, he heavily suffers from Aesop Amnesia and Flanderization, but, he always appears as a Bonus Boss, i.e, threats faced during the main game that are played seriously are nowhere near as strong as he is, but he's always treated as a joke. The exception is Disgaea 2, where he serves as a Hopeless Boss Fight that's generally impossible unless playing on a New Game+, but despite easily defeating the game's entire cast when he first appears, he's still treated as a a joke in the game's sidequests. This continues even into Disgaea Dimension 2, a direct sequel to the original game, where half the Netherworld seems to be unaware of his status as Overlord, and the group trying to instate their own Overlord doesn't consider him to be a threat.
- Standard fare for demons and particularly overlords who, for all their power and ability, are incredibly childish, petty and stupid. In Makai Kingdom, practically everyone made fun of Zetta even before he's crippled by being bound to the Sacred Tome, and it gets worse after that. This is the guy who claimed the title of Most Powerful Overlord In The Entire Cosmos, and whose footsoldiers can, with a bit of creative leveling and tactics, beat the snot out of other overlords and draft them into service.
- Assassin's Creed:
- Early in Brotherhood just after Ezio returns to Monteriggioni he meets a young woman who asks him to carry her things up to the mansion for her. During the walk she is very flirtatious and talks at length about Ezio's faults, not realizing that the handsome young man carrying her things is Ezio. This is especially odd because A) Ezio is essentially the Lord of Monteriggioni, and B) the young woman is best friends with Ezio's sister Claudia. It might be explained by the fact that during the events of the previous game (which ended minutes before the start of this one), Ezio apparently spent months or even years at a stretch in Florence, Venice, or Rome, not in Monteriggioni. If there wasn't a family portrait on the wall somewhere, it's entirely possible that the woman in question has never seen Ezio's face before - though many other NPCs in the town appear to recognize him on sight.
- In Assassin's Creed III James Barrett calls Connor a boy and initially asks him to get out of the way of the fighting. And when talking about going after Pitcairn, Sam Adams doubts Connor's ability, saying that a thousand troops stand in the way. You should have cut down hundreds by now...
- Played various ways in the Persona series. For example, in Persona 4, your uncle (the police chief) is very suspicious of your seeming involvement with the murders and kidnappings, whereas your friends frequently praise you for your work in saving the victims. You get very little respect outside that, but for a good reason; no-one else knows that you're saving people's lives. Your protagonist also tends to get praise for helping others in social links, and their gratitude turns into energy for Personas.
- Deconstructed in OFF: Japhet, guardian, creator and sovereign of zone 2, only wanted his citizens to acknowledge him and be thankful for making them and their abodes. They, in response, proceeded to forget who he even was. The result? One very pissed off phoenix trying to raze the entire area with an army of ghosts.
- In Freelancer you actually get an example of this from yourself. Your journal speaks in awe of Herr von Claussen, a Rheinlander ace who's scored over 500 kills and never lost a wingman. By the point that entry is written, a typical player's kill count is in the mid-400s, and thanks to Gameplay Ally Immortality you've never lost a wingman either!
- In L.A. Noire, it doesn't matter how much goodwill Cole Phelps builds up over the first few sections of the game. As soon as he's caught visiting Elsa Lichtmann at the end of his time on Ad-Vice, he gets suspended and is forced to completely rebuild his reputation.
- Final Fantasy XIV has many people sending you on quests doing menial and tedious tasks, such as fetching wine for someone or slaying some monsters, even though your character tells them that he/she defeated Ifrit already and needs to find the group of people that defeated a god so that you can learn how to beat it yourself. You eventually find out the trope is subverted when all the people you been doing the boring side quests for are actually the group that defeated the god you're trying to defeat yourself and they tell you that they were testing you to make sure you were just not another adventurer trying to make a name for himself. The trope is played with and explored further in the Dark Knight quests in Heavensward where you get to see how ungrateful the people of Eorzea can be when you do menial tasks for them. As a Heroic Mime, you naturally can't express how you really feel. With Fray, your job trainer, s/he eventually vents out their anger and annoyance at everyone who seemingly takes advantage of you and offers nothing in return. However, you find out that Fray is actually a part of your psyche that represents all of your negative emotions that were building up since the end of the 2.5 story, so it was actually you expressing your disgust towards everyone.
- Star Trek Online ties Character Level to your player character's military rank in Starfleet, the Klingon Defense Force, or the Romulan Republican Force. This is tolerable up to level 39 (Captain or equivalent and below), but after that, not only are you an admiral running around in a ship, but by the time you hit the level cap at 60 (Fleet Admiral), you actually outrank every mission giver in the entire game giver except Fleet Admiral Quinn, Chancellor J'mpok, and Admiral Kererek, and have probably seen more combat in the last year than some of them have in their entire careers. And yet O-7s and below still love to order you around like you're a totally green ensign and in some cases force you to personally complete tasks more suited to junior enlisted personnel. (One major exception is Captain Harry Kim in the Delta Rising expansion, who makes a point of treating the PC with the respect due his superior officer.)
- Grand Theft Auto V goes back and forth with this. Each of the major characters has someone in their life that treats them this way, be they spoiled brat kids that don't understand the realities of dad's life, chronically inept best friends that keep making deals with people who have actively tried to get them killed, or a mother that still treats them like a worthless, snot-nosed toddler. That's to say nothing of Steve Haines who actually knows how much of a psychotic killer each of the three playable characters are, but also knows full well that he's got each of them by the balls and can blackmail them to do whatever he wants. He suffers from this himself, though, as he completely snaps if he feels he's not being paid enough respect. Despite all of this, anyone who ISN'T an explicit asshole just using you for their grungiest of work shows you the amount of respect you rightfully deserve, and some of the biggest violators actually get over themselves by the end of the game, notably Micheal's family (mostly.)
- Played with in Last Dream. Through most of the game, the various quest-givers and NPC's either disregard the main characters or treat them with contempt, even after they've done things like rescue the King of Doria or defeat the Kraken using the normal method (using Medusa's head to turn it to stone). However, doing certain sidequests or taking alternate paths result in NPC's throughout the game world treating you with awe or respect. Notably, during the Hunter's Guild quests, the guild leader(s) become so impressed with your skills that they dispatch you to start fighting urban legends, and if you beat all four of them, the Guild Correspondents and guild leader admit that you are the greatest warrior to ever live.
- Blazblue: Ragna the Bloodedge is a man who has destroyed entire NOL installations all by himself and become The Dreaded to a government that practically rules the planet. He really doesn't get the kind of respect that his reputation implies from the rest of the cast, with practically everyone who isn't Taokaka having something snarky and derisive to say to him. Justified due to the fact that a) most of these characters are perfectly capable of kicking his own ass, and b) he himself is nothing but confrontational and snarky to these people besides.
- Being a Support or Jungler in League of Legends (and, by extension, the same or similar role in most MOBAS) is likely to tug on your nerve strings as you set up kill after kill for your team and very often don't get a simple "thank you" for your play. However, your team will be all praise for the ADC, Toplaner and Midlaner (again, the roles might have different names in other MOBAS) while you sit behind your screen getting no praise at all. In recent times, at least in League, it got better and many people watching others play (on Twitch for example) pay their respects to well-played supports/junglers, but it was a hard way there.
- Luigi in the Super Mario Bros. games tends to be hit with this on numerous occasions. In Super Mario 64 DS, he gets told by numerous Toads that he's neither as brave nor as charismatic as his more famous brother (though some Toads on the upper floors do praise him) and in the Mario & Luigi games, it's pretty much a Running Gag that his name is forgotten or he's trying to copy Mario somehow. The worst offender is probably Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. Once the bros have defeated the main villain and get back to the present-day Peach's Castle, Peach, in front of all the Toads, thanks Mario and their baby selves but not Luigi. Yes, the princess, who was helping them out in the final battle up to a point and has known them her whole life, thanks Adult Mario, Baby Mario and Baby Luigi but not Adult Luigi! Not until Mario & Luigi: Dream Team does Luigi finally get some proper respect and his name remembered.
- This kicks off the plot of Transistor. Lack of respect for Royce Bracket's avant-garde, static architectural designs in a society based around change is what causes him to seek out the Transistor, ultimately leading to The End of the World as We Know It via Grey Goo when he loses control of it.
- Wonderland Adventures. More so in the first game than in the second, but NPCs in both games will ask you to take a break from saving the world for a bit in order to help them do stuff. Somewhat averted overall in that very few NPCs actually demand the player's help, instead requesting it if they're not busy. Zig-Zagged in PoTZ – while everyone in-game is more or less aware of what the player's busy with, they'll sometimes recommend taking a moment to relax (in the form of either playing games in the arcade or solving puzzles that have been put together for them). Only one NPC in the game actually asks the player for help that's unrelated to the main quest.
- Alternately played straight and averted in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. If you imported your character, you can have a nine-foot list of achievements including ending the Blight, slaying multiple dragons and dragon-shaped entities, helping to recover the Chantry's single most sacred artifact, resolving two different succession crises, saving more or less the entire population of Ferelden, being the effective Arl of Aramanthine, and depending on your choice of character origin being the King or Queen of Ferelden. While many people will at least pay lip service to your being possibly the worst person to piss off in the entirety of Thedas, you still get quests like random nobody smugglers asking you to scare the local innkeeper into opening his end of the secret passage again. Pleasantly enough, you can at least tell the smuggler in question to go and stick it up his jumper.
- Else Heart Break suffers from this due to the complexity of its underlying system. If you already know some programming (or if you are just curious and learn about it yourself in sandbox play) you can become ridiculously powerful and bypass many obstacles, but the Lodge will never acknowledge this and will send you on simple missions and even make plot points of hazards you have already disabled. No matter how well you do, it's always implied that the Lodge are better hackers than you, even though if that's the case they should literally be able to do anything they want utterly unopposed - because you can.
- In The Witcher games and books, the titular witchers are often treated with mistrust and fear by the populace, if not outright scorn and hatred, due to a combination of superstition, genuine fear of things that aren't human, religious fanaticism, and a reputation tarnished by an ugly history. That being said, witchers are also viewed as heroes by many where they've saved lives and villages by slaying monsters. Geralt of Rivia himself is a paradox of loathing and respect; in one town he'll be hailed as a hero and dine with a king for helping reverse a curse on his family, and in the next he'll be openly threatened by the guards and denounced by the priests for being an inhuman mutant.
- In Civilization, the leader of a rival civilization will give you very little respect. They will offer trades that grossly favor them, and even demand you simply give them things. This even if you've conquered every other civilization in the game, your empire occupies a swath of land five times as big as theirs, your army is ten times as large, and your technology is decades ahead of theirs.
- Gaige in Borderlands 2 built a bionic arm and quickly-digistructable robot for a high school science fair, and came third because the school Alpha Bitch's family bribed the judges. In play, Hyperion engineers will mock her robot, Deathtrap...right up until Deathtrap butchers them, anyway.
- Pick nearly any online game with a support class, and they'll likely be treated like they're taking up space, especially if they're a healer. Two great examples are Mercy and The Medic, despite being poster children (and one the unwanted trope namer) for Shoot the Medic First, due to being healers in games all about killing people. One noticeable subversion are The Eniripsa, who are known to use their own teammates as explosives, or turn people into zombies, earning them a bit of fear and/or hatred by others.
- Used for humor in Cheer!, when a military enthusiast finds herself in her RPG-obsessed friend's dream.
- Tales of the Questor: WHAT'VE I GOTTA TO DO TO GET SOME RESPECT AROUND HERE!
- Impure Blood: It's their duty to arrest him for his blood after he fought their battle for them.
- Dominic Deegan has done a number of quite impressive things including—most notably—saving the universe as the Champion of Balance. He is a really good seer. But he still gets this when he tries to give warnings.
Administrator: Your friend with an arrest record, no job, and a history of breaking down in front of students.Szark: That happened once.
- Girl Genius : Gilgamesh Wulfenbach struggles with that a lot. He is a generally nice fellow, who tries hard to be even-handed and fair even though he's the heir of The Empire, and is surrounded by a lot psychotic badasses, including his father. The result is, no matter what he does, everyone but his father and his friends dismiss him and refuse to treat him like anything more than a kid. This does occasionally work to his advantage because nobody expects him to be as dangerous as he actually is (remember, his father Baron Wulfenbach, whom everybody else including the Other fears, strongly respects him and considers crossing him unwise).
- This strip from Penny Arcade, about Mass Effect.
- Invoked and parodied in a (work-safe) Oglaf strip, where a farmer asks Mighty Finn to plant potatoes for him. When Finn angrily refuses, the farmer notes that now people will talk about how the Mighty Finn couldn't even plant a few potatoes. Cue Finn working on the farmer's fields.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: In Chapter 8, Lalli put himself in a Power-Strain Blackout induced Deep Sleep that would last two days to secure a camping site for the crew. During the Deep Sleep in question, an unforseen problem causes the crew to move camping sites. Just before waking up, Lalli dreams of everyone being happy to see him back on his feet and praising him for his work. Reality has him wake up alone in the tank's dormitory, the tank very obviously in a different place than the location he found and everyone else outside ignoring him in favor of cooing over the team's newly acquired Cute Kitten. The person who brought Lalli his breakfast later ended up covered with the meal.
- Red vs. Blue: Agent Washington falls prey to this. Throughout the course of Reconstruction, Wash selflessly puts his life on the line, getting beaten, blown up, shot and incredibly annoyed by his team mates all in the name of bringing a corrupt military program to justice. For all his efforts, he gets arrested. For the lack of his team's efforts, they get brand new bases. It seems this may have turned into a Beware the Nice Ones, as in Recreation, he appears to have pulled a Face–Heel Turn and proceeds to shoot Donut and Lopez.
- In The Spoony Experiment's Ultima Retrospective, it seems that the player character gets a lot of flack, especially in the later games when it makes the least amount of sense. "I'm the goddamn Avatar!"
- In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, other Custodes have no respect for their Captain-General, even going as far as to call him Little Kitten. Until season finale they didn't even know who their Captain-General is, and even in second season, they treat him as competition at best. He's starting to get annoyed with this.
- Mikami in Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv):
Mikami: ...and I was class president. I like to think I was tough but fair and respected by all...
Bullies: Nerd! He's wearing glasses, kill him! Burn the Witch!
Mikami: Of course people showed respect differently back then...
- Also when Matsuda solves the Kira case and everyone ignores him.
- Ultra Fast Pony: In spite of saving the world multiple times, Twilight Sparkle is one of the most-hated ponies in Ponyville. Even her friends frequently snub her. Of course, when Twilight isn't saving the world, she's usually being an insufferable know-it-all—that probably has something to do with it.
- In the last video of the PONY Dot MOV series, SWAG.MOV, Applejack/Jappleack finally returns from the alternate dimension she was warped to during the events of the spinoff blog "Ask Jappleack", fresh from defeating an apple-shaped Eldritch Abomination and eager to tell the other ponies about her exploits. Everyone in the room, even Rainbow Dash who has just saved her own dimension from Discord by traveling into the past and changing history, just tells her to shut up and that nobody cares.
- In Dino Attack RPG, Andrew "Pyro" Jackson felt this way during the Final Battle. After helping the Dino Attack Team retake LEGO Island and Gold City, he is rewarded by his teammates telling him to shut up and put some clothes on. Given that he was running around in his underwear and shouting loudly into the radio, while his daughter was posing as him so no one recognized him as agent Pyro, the lack of respect was justified, though.
- The Amazing World of Gumball: In the episode "The Pizza," Larry Needlemeyer gets hit with this hard; he holds down countless jobs and works very hard at all of them, to the extent that his continued employment is required to keep Elmore's economy and society from spontaneously collapsing... and despite it all, everyone in Elmore, particularly the Wattersons, are nothing but Ungrateful Bastards to him, to the extent that they barely acknowledge him as a person.
- On on Animaniacs, this happens to poor Chicken Boo all the time. He's held numerous jobs, and always does excellently at them. But sooner or later his disguise fails, and someone realizes he's a big chicken - and nobody likes chickens, (well, except Santa Claus) leading to him being fired or worse. (Probably why he disguises himself in the first place.)
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Zig-Zagged with Aang. On one side a lot of people just think he's a kid, dangerously naive or blame him for neglecting his duties, accidentally or not. On the other side being the Avatar itself is a respected position and even the most important people in the country will speak with him. Even the Fire nation also have a great respect for him... so they send their best soliders to kill him.
- This gets somewhat egregious in the followup comic, The Promise. Sokka and Toph are trying to calm a crowd of angry Earth Kingdom villagers who want the Fire Nation out. So what happens when Sokka speaks up for them to chill out? He gets nailed in the head with a rock and called a "Water Tribe savage". And to think, one year ago he was instrumental in keeping the entire Earth Kingdom from being incinerated, taking out an entire dirigible fleet.
- In The Legend of Korra this is a constant problem for Korra whom none of the authority figures of the world respect for being the Avatar. This is at first understandable given her habit of bad first impressions where she tended to do more harm than good, combined with being secluded from the world for her entire adolesence and the world's changing views on politics and opinion of needing an Avatar. But after at least two seasons of saving the world, you'd think world leaders would at least consult with her in a respectable manner but most leaders tend to outright look down on Korra, dismiss her requests for aid, and sometimes outright work against her. Even during the final season, if Korra can't immediately solve a problem, she'll be ignored. Most egregious in the episode "Beyond the Wilds" where a conference of world leaders included Prince Wu who was invited although he had literally nothing at all to contribute aside from his claim to the throne, but they left out Korra, the Avatar and the Keeper of Balance. Even her mentor Tenzin accidentally treats her rather poorly. Apparently, Prince Wu was the only one who actually thought Korra should have been invited.
- The title character of Dexter's Laboratory is by no means "Mr. Popular" and is obviously cut off by everyone around him, his family included, mostly due to his vast intellect. He also mistakenly gets into trouble that are beyond his contol or he didn't do in the first place.
- In the Futurama episode "Godfellahs'', even God himself (or at least a Cosmic Entity whom Bender identifies as God) claims that mortals rarely appreciate him for what He does, and always want more. What God says probably sums up this Trope pretty well: "When you do something right, people won't think you've done anything at all."
- Kim Possible:
- Ron gets no respect from his peers or enemies, despite his key role in regularly going to Save the World with Kim. Even she doesn't get much slack from people on the home front for all the times she's saved them all from doom.
- Ironically, Drakken gets this as well. Despite the fact he's probably come closer to succeeding than any other villain, he has trouble getting people to take him seriously and is sometimes mistaken for Professor Dementor. This is lampshaded in a couple of Post-Script Season episodes in which other villains break Shego out of prison while leaving him to rot.
- Looney Tunes: "Dripalong Daffy has Daffy as a would-be western hero who does have the cajones to challenge the hulking brute Nasty Canasta to a duel. It's Comedy Relief (Porky) and his toy soldier that brings the beast down, so as the townsfolk laud him:
Daffy: Hey, what's going on? Put down that Comedy Relief! I'm the hero of this picture! Give me the applause! Give me the cheers! Give me...(running out of steam) give me one dozen roses.
- Both Jem And The Holograms and The Misfits are supposedly two of the most popular bands worldwide but are constantly treated like B-tier celebs, if not people are outright ignorant of who they are. Even Stormer's brother was oblivious to the rivalry between the two bands when he tried out to be Jem's new drummer.
- A villainous example from Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures. The Dragon, Lorenzo, is fairly competent and unflinchingly loyal; his only flaw is being Book Dumb. The Big Bad, Jeremiah Surd, and the Dark Action Girl, Julia, never give him the time of day. In one episode, after he saves Surd from cardiac arrest, Julia goes, "Jeremiah! Thank the stars that you're alive!" Lorenzo retorts, "The stars had nothing to do with it", but they ignore him.
- In the animated version of The Legend of Zelda, Link suffers from this in a different way than described in the video game section. In the cartoon, it's Zelda herself who refuses to accord Link any respect. She's often nasty to him; she compares him unfavorably to another wandering hero; she almost never thanks him for his protection; and when things are quiet in the kingdom, she forces him to earn his keep by doing chores and maintenance around the castle. To add insult to injury, her father the King genuinely likes Link, but can't seem to remember his name.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic being about the everyday life of the cast intersected with Saving the World arcs, this comes up in quite often: for example, it's much harder to make a plot about learning to Be Yourself despite social pressure when social pressure is nearly inexistent because everyone considers you a hero.
- All six of the mane cast (and Spike) are essentially living superweapons, having fought against Nightmare Moon, Sombra, Discord (then being very publicly knighted by Celestia for that one), and the entire changeling army. Rarity is quickly becoming a well-known fashion designer, Fluttershy had brief but successful careers as a model and singer, Rainbow Dash is the fastest pony alive and won the Best Young Flier's competition (saving three ponies in the process) after performing a Sonic Rainboom (another feat only she can perform), and Twilight, in addition to being the protege of the princess is also part of the royal family through her brother. All of them had star roles in the biggest performance of the "Hearth's Warming Eve" tale in Equestria. Still, no one even seems to recognize them, and upperclass ponies are exceptionally snobby around them, dismissing all six because of where they live.
- Even the residents of Ponyville fall into this, as while they hold the mane six in very high esteem it's "only" for their far more mundane day jobs and not, you know, saving the town from a rampaging Ursa Minor, being choked by dragon smoke, or Cerberus.
- Fluttershy seems to get this harder than anyone else, since she's such a quiet-voiced shrinking violet. As said above, she's a national hero, was a famous model, and shows compassion to just about every pony she meets. The one time she's seen mingling with ponies in town to do shopping they treat her particularly nasty, going far enough to actively scam her on the price of goods and even butt her out of line. No wonder she tends to prefer the company of animals over other ponies...
- Played for Laughs for Spike. He tends to do a lot of menial labor for the mane 6, without any hesitation, and yet they hardly thank him, he's never invited to Pinkie Pie's parties, and generally order him around or ignore him. While in spite of it all, they do on occasion give him some respect (though it never lasts long). Averted in the season four episode "Equestria Games", where he discovers that he's known throughout the Crystal Empire as "Great and Honorable Spike the Brave and Glorious", having become a Living Legend due to his help in saving the Empire well over a season prior, making him the sole character in the entire series to be acknowledged by the masses for their world-saving actions.
- This is briefly averted for Twilight in season four's opening. Being a princess in own right, she's well respected and looked to for advice during a crisis, and the guards are prompt to ask for her command. This is further shown in Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell, which reveals that stories of her magical ability have been spreading throughout Equestria. Then comes "Rarity Takes Manehattan" where she can't even get Rarity a taxi, and "Daring Don't", where Daring Do still doesn't seem to recognize any of them. And the rest of the Elements of Harmony besides Twilight are supposed to be Equestria-wide heroes, so why do they have to sit way down in the stands below Mayor Mare, Fancypants, Fleur Dis Lee and Cherries Jubilee?
- Twilight et al. spend "Slice of Life" saving Ponyville from a monster called the Bugbear. Of course, this is the kind of episode where they're not the focus, and when everyone in Ponyville is gathered for Cranky Doodle Donkey's wedding, the six ponies ended up being accidentally locked out of the chappel, leaving them forced to watch through a window.
- Deconstructed in the Season Five Finale. The Big Bad of the Season, Starlight Glimmer, time travels and breaks up the Mane Six. This results in various timelines where different villains have won and are ruling the world. When she's confronted with one of these timelines (the destruction of Equestria was not something she wanted), she is unable to wrap around her head how breaking apart the bond of six ponies could cause so much death and destruction. In other words, even the Big Bad forgets how important they are and she nearly ends up paying for that mistake.
- Averted and deconstructed in the Season Seven episode "Fame And Misfortune". The Mane Six decide to publish their Friendship Journal (kept from Season 4) and give it to the other Ponies in Equestria to read, hoping they would take their lessons and use them to better themselves. The Mane Six become instant overnight celebrities. They are famous far and wide, and everyone knows them. Unfortunately, the ponies miss the point of the journal entries and start harassing them to no end. After being put through the wringer several times over by their adoring "fans", it would be safe to assume the Mane Six wouldn't mind going back to being widely ignored.
- Played absolutely straight in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls. The girls had a full week of baddie stompin', city savin', and other matters that involved super heroines. However, the citizens get more and more demanding, each task more menial than the next, until the girls took no more and went on strike. Said tasks included carrying groceries, opening jars of pickles, and cleaning cat litter. Ironically, a monster attacked at that moment of the strike. The girls had to coach the town in defending themselves...and was responsible for pre-party cleanup afterwards.
- Regular Show. Sure, Mordecai and Rigby are the embodiment of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!, but they still clean up their own messes, save the park, and on some occasions, Benson's life. He usually repays them by threatening to fire them if they don't get back to work. This is because Benson suffers this to a larger extent from his boss, Pops' dad and the owner of the park.
- This and Ungrateful Bastard comes up frequently in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. The people of Crystal Cove berate the gang in unmasking monsters, because they believe the monsters make good tourist attractions, even if the monsters endanger their lives.
- In The Simpsons the core family was at least tangentially responsible for every major event in Springfield, and while other characters might remember them for some specific thing in a previous episode, that's all that they're known for. They might even be remembered in another episode by the same character for something completely different. That being said, they are the cause of just as many problems as they are of good deeds, if not more, so the townsfolk may be justified by not giving them the time of day. Always Played for Laughs, there are some specific cases where one character calls out another for not remembering a Simpsons family member:
- The second time Bart meets up with Krusty the Clown, Krusty dismisses Bart as a nobody and brushes him off until Bart has to remind him that he saved Krusty from an attempted murder by Sideshow Bob. Even then, Krusty only reluctantly agrees to listen to Bart. This had become a Running Gag, that Krusty never remembers Bart, and a character trait of his, that Krusty doesn't remember or care who helps him.
- There was one instance where Mr. Burns asks Smithers about Homer Simpson's identity, and Smithers points out that everything important that has happened to Mr. Burns in the last several years was tied to Homer in some way. This does not change Mr. Burns's outlook on Homer in the slightest, though it does disappoint Smithers slightly. Smithers seems to be an aversion though: He is genuinely aware of what Homer has done and remembers it, trusting Homer enough to substitute as Mr. Burns's assistant in "Homer the Smithers" when Smithers goes on vacation.
- Sonic Boom: No matter how often Sonic saves them from Eggman, the inhabitants of Bygone Island always seem prepared to believe the worst in him and turn on him at the drop of a hat over anything, no matter how large or small. In "Just a Guy," it reaches a point where Sonic goes off on a rant over it and goes into a 10-Minute Retirement:
Sonic: You know what I think is "compassionate?" Saving the village from Eggman! Like, every week! But do I get any props for that? No! Everyone just goes around gasping at me whenever I call a guy a "guy," or people "people!"
- "Free Hat" from South Park had Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Tweek being invited to a ceremony. They believed it was for their cause to prevent George Lucas Altered Versions of movies (having survived the premiere of a version of Raiders of the Lost Ark with unnecessary changes), but it turns out they were being thanked for their other, less important cause of pardoning a proven child murderer (which they had reluctantly adopted to keep members of their club around). The boys leave with the mindset that what doesn't matter now would matter later.
- Teen Titans:
- Deconstructed in "The Beast Within", where it's clearly shown during the fight against Adonis that Beast Boy has deep anger issues because of the lack of appreciation from the other Titans, and during the fight all of his repressed anger goes out and he totally curb stomps Adonis, much to the shock of the other Titans.
- Played for laughs at the start of season 5. Cyborg rescues Elasti-Girl, only for her to refer to him as "whoever you are". Cyborg is quick to show annoyance, noting that he's saved the world several times already.
- The Doom Patrol, Beast Boy's former team, seem to view the Titans as bratty rebel teenagers who don't know what kind of trouble they're getting in to. They really don't seem to know that the Titans fought villains just as dangerous as their arch enemies, the Brotherhood of Evil, including one maniacal demon that was very close to taking over the world.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Despite proving again and again that he's the only one who has what it takes to be a good leader, Leo notes that his brothers only seem to follow his lead when they feel like doing so. In "New Girl in Town," it reaches the point where Leo gets sick and tired of constantly being second-guessed and not getting any appreciation for his efforts that he decides to let Raph be leader for a change.
- Played with in Lenny Bruce's Thank You Mask Man (both the cartoon and the stand-up comedy routine it was based on). The title character initially disdains expressions of respect and reward, but once a little boy thanks him he decides he likes it and demands more respect from the townspeople.
- Harold from Total Drama Island. He has helped his teams in numerous occasions and even saved a part of the campers from near-certain death. And yet, he hardly gets any respect, especially from Duncan, and to a lesser extent, from almost anyone else. Oh, and he is most likely the cause of a lot of the lack of respect towards him, but that's another story.
- Optimus Prime in his incarnation on Transformers Animated, despite managing to survive several encounters with Megatron and the Decepticons and preventing them from getting their hands on the All Spark with his Ragtag Bunchof Misfits, rarely has his great deeds acknowledged by his superiors on Cybertron due to his position as an Elite Guard washout and being assigned to the unglamorous position of the leader of a Space Bridge repair crew. It is only at final episode that he and his crew get the kind of respect they deserved.
- Raimundo of Xiaolin Showdown is constantly on the receiving end of his peers' (and occasionally his mentors') disrespect, despite the numerous times he's proved himself/been completely right. At first, it's deconstructed when it goes far enough that it drives Raimundo into making a Face–Heel Turn. Then it gets reconstructed later when Raimundo uses that attitude to convincingly pretend to pull the same thing again as part of a Batman Gambit for the good guys. And finally, it gets fully subverted at the series finale, when Raimundo's accomplishments get recognition, culminating in him being appointed leader of the Xiaolin Dragons, over the more traditional hero Omi.
- In Russia, this has been the case for veterans of the Great Patriotic War (World War II as experienced by the Soviet Union), which are rapidly forgotten for now and get only formal respect. Frontovichka ("front-line girls") especially were Soviet Union women who participated in WWII, who came home to public scorn and were erased from history and the name frontovichka became a terrible insult (on the level of "whore"). Many women who fought had been granted medals, but were forced to hide their accomplishments to protect themselves afterwards. And Russians and other former Soviet states as a whole feel that the rest of the world neglects or undermines their contributions and hardships during the war, despite numbering the highest in civilian and military casualties and contributing more to the downfall of the Nazis than any other single nation.
- Nikola Tesla. Mostly due to actions of Thomas Edison his reputation was ruined, and never got the Nobel Prize for Physics he deserved even though his research was the basis of much of 20th century electricity-driven technology. Until a popularity surge many decades after his death, he was barely mentioned in history books.
- James Clerk Maxwell was a British 19th century physicist who laid down the foundation for Einsteinian Relativity and basic quantum mechanics by demonstrating that light is formed of electromagnetic waves, but few people have ever heard of him. Some scientists believe that if he hadn't died of cancer at age 48, he might have beaten Einstein to the theory of Special Relativity by around 4 decades. In fact, Maxwell's Four Equations are a solution to Einstein's Special Relativity's equations, so in effect Einstein proved Maxwell correct (as far as his equations went, but disproved him in terms of requiring an ether).
- Benedict Arnold was one of the best U.S. generals and in particular his victory at Saratoga (in which he displayed both great skill and extraordinary bravery) was the turning point in the war, but was constantly passed over for promotion and generally treated like shit by his superiors, so him becoming a turncloak is quite understandable. Arnold probably didn't help his case by being generally unpleasant to his fellow officers and openly claiming to be the best general on either side of the war (even though a good case could be made that he was right). Ironically, after his defection Arnold was rewarded by the British with a commission of brigadier general, a reduction from his Continental Army position of major general. He was treated with contempt by his superior, Sir Henry Clinton, and mistrusted by his subordinates because they considered him a traitor—both to Great Britain and to the colonists. In other words, he received a lesser version of Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves...
- During the golden era of heavyweight boxing, the now late boxing legend Joe Frazier had to struggle and earn the heavyweight championship the hard way. However, he was always in the shadow of Muhammad Ali whom many people believed was still the true champion. Frazier, at first, still liked Ali and even gave him some money during his boxing exile and helped him get his boxing license back, so the two can finally fight. How was he thanked for this? Ali went on a bashing campaign, calling Frazier some of the worst names he'd ever call an opponent. To make matters worst, the boxing fans and even the media, mostly took Ali's side and joined in ridiculing Frazier. After the two fought for the first time and Frazier won, the crowed still chanted for Ali. When Frazier fought and lost his title badly to George Foreman, the most played back clip of the fight, was the one where Howard Cosell said "Down Goes Frazier!." It's still a well known statement today. Over time, however, people began to feel sorry for Frazier and even got on Ali for his cruel ways back then, forcing him to apologize. Today, Frazier is considered just as great as Ali, but for different reasons.
- Rodney Dangerfield made this his main schtick. Ironically, his "I don't get no respect" Catch-Phrase is precisely what has made him so popular and renowned by the public.
- Ringo Starr apparently suffered some of this (being just the drummer), to the point where he walked out on The Beatles during their infamous White Album sessions. They got on without him by getting Paul McCartney to fill in, but ultimately sent him a telegram telling him how much they needed him. George even decorated his drumkit with flowers when he came back, and before the band performed their final concert on the rooftop, Paul left him a card saying "You're the best drummer in the world."
- Rafael Nadal has more French Open titles than anyone in the history of tennis but is usually The Un-Favourite when he plays the French Open with many people, the French crowds included, deriding him for being a Boring Invincible Hero there.
- Meanwhile, his countryman David Ferrer has become more well-known for the alleged lack of respect he gets from tennis pundits and fans than anything about his actual gameplay. The Indian Wells tournament organizers even forgot to put his opening round match on the schedule once — and this was when he was the fifth-best player in the world!
- Jackie Gleason had lots of fans, but he was snubbed every year at the Emmy Awards. Supposedly, his friend and co-star Art Carney (who won six Emmys in his career) was upset that Gleason had never won the award, and locked up all of his statuettes whenever Gleason visited his house.
- Jobs that are in the public sector (retail, police, teachers, etc.) rarely get thanks for the hard work they do for the people they serve. Many war veterans that returned home alive and well can also get the same treatment from their fellow countrymen.
- The discovery that the Earth orbits the sun has been attributed to Copernicus for many centuries, at least among laymen. In truth, the idea was conceived and partially proven almost two thousand years earlier by Aristarchus of Samos, whose texts were studied by Copernicus. Have you ever heard of him?
- Italy about the World Wars:
- In World War I the Italians fought the Austro-Hungarians, a far superior enemy, they had bled, and ultimately annihilated the enemy army and forced Austro-Hungary to an armistice that included full right of passage through their lands, forcing the Germans to choose between letting the Italians waltzing up to Berlin without opposition, try and stop them by moving enough troops from the Western Front that their enemies would break through and invade from there, or surrender immediately and hope the enemy was merciful... And outside Italy this is pretty much forgotten. This was even the reason for the rise of Fascism: due Wilson opposing their claims to various Austro-Hungarian territories promised them by France and Britain in exchange for entering the war on their side (admittedly he had a point, what with many of the inhabitants preferring to stay Austrians...), the Italian delegation at Versailles stormed out and missed the partitioning of Germany's colonies, and this and Wilson actually succeeding in stopping the Italians from annexing Dalmatia riled up the government enough they didn't stop Mussolini, while enough people were riled up about having fought for nothing and the city of Fiume (now Rijeka) possibly being handed over to Jugoslavia that they followed him.
- In World War II the Italians fought almost as hard as in the previous war against an enemy (Britain) much stronger than Austria-Hungary, even sinking a pair of battleship in harbour and getting a measure of respect from such people as Rommel (his is the quote "The German soldier has impressed the world, however the Italian Bersagliere has impressed the German soldier") and even the Red Army note . After switching sides, the Italian partisans were so feared by the German troops in Italy they didn't dare to attack the strongholds they would periodically establish, sending in the remaining Italian troops loyal to Mussolini. Yet, this tends to be forgotten, with many saying that Italy was only The Load to the Axis. While they have somewhat of a point (Italy wasn't ready for the war, the government had made a few bad choices in terms of weapon development, the Italian officer corps tended to promote mostly the incompetents and most of the soldiers and the population still saw Germany as the enemy and Britain as an ally), this idea conventiently forgets that, when motivated, the Italians fought like devils, and even saved the Afrika Korps from annihilation at El Alamein (the British broke through the German lines, and the Afrika Korps only escaped annihilation because a number of Italian divisions, including the elite Folgore parachute division and the armoured Littorio and Ariete divisions, stopped retreating and fought until they exhausted their munitions). In addition, the huge Italian surrenders in North Africa were actually a ploy to get as many people as possible over to the Allies and to sap German strength.
- Although some factions of the Norwegian resistance movement got their due after World War II, several others did not. Thus, the communist resistance, who had fought the German occupation with a fervor like any others, ended up under surveillance, and their leaders even got arrested (after 1950). The Norwegian "war sailors" got it even worse. The navymen had suffered heavy losses in the convoy business, constantly being shelled by German submarines and planes, securing a life line to the British Isles. The Norwegian flotilla was almost solely responsible for the shipment of crude oil and petrol to the UK, without which the R.A.F. never would have gotten off ground (with disastrous results). This unit also, under great peril, managed to secure a route for resistance and refugees across the North Sea. Due to some shade agreements with the shipping elite in Norway, the sailors got nothing out of it, no economic compensation whatsoever, and they even had to pay for treatment (many of them lived as Shell Shocked Veterans the rest of their lives. If any particular group in this country ever invoked this trope time and again, it was the war sailors.
- Irregular troops such as militias and paramilitaries get this treatment very often all because they aren't part of some official army with a leader who gets to call themselves president. Asymmetrical warfare, which really heavily counts on these kinds of guys, has been pretty much the norm rather than the exception since the end of WW2. Worse for militias, because these are people who really are only trying to protect what is nearest and dearest to them, only to at best be given little grudging respect, and at worst ostracized as triggery-happy nuts. Needless to say, guys like the American militiamen who've seen battle against criminal gangs and drug cartels, are not at all happy with their unappreciation by the public and even their own families and friends.