->''"I'm a professional beach bully. I pretend to steal your girl, you punch me, I go down, she swoons, you slip me 50 bucks."''
-->-- '''Beach Bully,''' ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''

So, there's someone that you need to impress. Maybe it's a pretty girl that you'd like to date, or maybe it's someone that you need on your side. What's the best way to get their attention? Show off your hero cred, even if you have to fake it.

Basically, this trope is for when a character sets up a situation that seems like a spontaneous feat of derring-do, but is actually a deliberately concocted circumstance, possibly with friends taking the role of a fake "aggressor". The situation can go horribly wrong if the situation becomes one of [[AndYouThoughtItWasAGame real rather than simulated danger]], such as [[MistakenForAnImposter a genuine aggressor showing up]].

This is the inverse of a WoundedGazelleGambit. Compare FramedForHeroism and MakeItLookLikeAStruggle. Supertrope of MonsterProtectionRacket.

Contrast HeroismAddict, a RealLife disorder where a villainous character puts someone in ''genuine'' danger (and occasionally kills them) to make themselves look "heroic" while trying to save them, and usually on a serial basis. Do not confuse with [[ScienceHero Heroic Engineers]].



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In the second chapter of ''Manga/{{Kinnikuman}}'', Kin wants to get the attention of famous singer Takahar Nana, so he hires a monster to pretend to attack her so he can "save" her and get some RescueRomance. The monster immediately decides that he doesn't want to take a fall for an idiot like Kinnikuman and decides to kidnap Nana for real, forcing Kin to actually work at his rescue. He succeeds, but Nana, having fainted and missed most of the action, believes that her manager Hitoshi saved her.
* In ''Manga/RappiRangai'', to get the main character accepted in a princess's kingdom, his party of {{Kunoichi}} had him pretend to beat them to become a bodyguard for the princess.
* ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'': Frost, Frieza's [[AlternateSelf Universe 6 counterpart]], is introduced as Frieza's polar opposite, being a benevolent emperor and a FriendToAllChildren who is well known for putting an end to wars and helping war orphans. As it turns out, it's all an act, and Frost is in fact a planet broker just like Frieza. A big part of his planet broker operation is that the wars that he and his army stops are started by him ahead of time so he can put an end to them and get good publicity. He also gets to buy the planets he ruins at a cheap price and sells them for maximum profit.
* One chapter of the ''Manga/YuGiOh'' manga featured a boy who loved superhero comics but wasn't strong himself. His father wanted to make him more self-confident so he hired some kids to pretend to attack someone while the boy was in a superhero costume. It worked, but then the hired kids turned it around and started really hurting the boy in order to get more money out of the father.
* In one episode of ''Manga/SgtFrog'', Paul runs Momoka through a VR simulation of various plans to get Fuyuki to declare his love for her. One such plan involves him saving her from some thugs, thus sending adrenaline to his brain and heightening his emotions. Paul forgets to take into account that Fuyuki is a Grade-A wimp, and the simulation ends with Fuyuki running away, [[LovableCoward albeit taking Momoka with him]], and calling for a police officer. Momoka points out that this is probably the wiser course of action. Paul then hypothesizes that [[AgentMulder Fuyuki]] would leap into action if it were an alien attack, and changes the simulation accordingly. However, after initially spazzing out over the alien, Fuyuki again runs away. Throughout all the simulations, ''someone else'' always saves them before Fuyuki can, until literally everyone in town is moved out of their way.
* One ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' case involved a house catching on fire when a girl was inside. It turned out the culprit set the fire so he could pull a {{Heroic Fire|Rescue}} RescueRomance. He didn't anticipate getting caught or that Ran rescued the girl before he could.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'':
** Done in conjunction with a FrameUp in the Dressrosa arc. A flashback shows that [[spoiler: Doflamingo came to King Riku Dold II, the former king of the country and tells him he'll sell the island to him (Doflamingo is a descendent of the former rulers that preceded King Riku you see). King Riku begs the citizens for the money fully intending to pay it back. But once he had it, Doflamingo used his string powers to take control of Riku's body as well as his army to attack the citizens. Once the people hated Riku for "tricking them", Doflamingo and his top lieutenants swooped in to "save the day".]]
** Done by the heroes in the Fishman Island arc, not for fame but to help undo the FantasticRacism between fishmen and humans. The New Fishman Pirates have captured most of the island's royal family, and call out a challenge to the Straw Hat Pirates. Luffy's all for it, but Jinbe stops him; if Luffy were to just beat up Hody Jones, it would merely be seen as "another human beating down a fish man". Instead, Jinbe plans for himself and the mermaid princess Shirahoshi be captured, and for Luffy to pull a BigDamnHeroes when Shirahoshi calls for him. It works, and the spectacle also buys the time for the rest of the Straw Hats to reunite.
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', Ginjo tricks Ichigo into trusting him by saving Ichigo's sister from a Hollow attack he and his partner Tsukishima arranged. For added verisimilitude Tsukishima [[MemoryGambit alters Ginjo's memory]] so that he'll even believe his own engineered scenario.
* Clembot from ''{{Anime/Pokemon}}'' gets framed for a rash of incidents. When Ash and friends investigate, it's revealed that the FrameUp was just Phase I of the true culprit, Belmondo's, scheme. Phase II is for Belmondo to use his own Clembot to "solve" those same crimes and be hailed as a hero.
* In one episode of ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'', Nanami continually finds herself in danger, only to be saved each time by a young boy named Mitsuru. He later reveals to Utena and Miki that he caused those dangers so he could impress Nanami and make her think of him as a [[BigBrotherInstinct big brother]].
* In chapter 5 of ''Manga/MissKobayashisDragonMaid: Kanna's Daily Life'', Saikawa defeats a massive beast in order to prove her karate skills to a group of adults that had insulted her. What she was unaware of was that the beast was actually [[{{Weredragon}} Tohru]] in disguise.

* One early Franchise/{{Superman}} comic zigzagged this trope like crazy when Clark Kent, bemoaning how Lois Lane never had the time of day for him because she was too focused on Superman, had a friend suggest to him that he should talk Superman into dressing up in his clothes and doing something heroic to impress her. Due to his super-senses, he noticed Lois Lane was eavesdropping on them and wisely dropped the plan, only to be forced into pretending he'd gone with it after all when she happened to catch him changing into Superman a bit later. By the end, this game of mistaken identities had her utterly befuddled, and he was not doing much better at sorting out the situation for himself.
* In ''ComicBook/TheTick'', there is a professional service that sets up engineered fights so fledgling superheroes can build up their reputation. The Tick stumbles into one of these fights and tries to help, never realizing that the villain is just an actor.
* ComicBook/BoosterGold has spent his entire career trying to redeem himself because of this trope. Traveling back through time with advanced weaponry, he set up a disaster to allow people to see his heroics. In an inversion, in his current time-traveling series, his real heroics are erased from history, [[TheGreatestStoryNeverTold and people rarely see him doing good.]]
** During ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'', he hired an out-of-work actor to stage a robbery so that he could intervene and raise his profile. It backfired after the check bounced and the actor publically confronted him.
* {{Deconstructed}} in ''ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog''.[[note]]Issue 112[[/note]] Antoine feels the need to impress his dad, so he and Sonic arrange for Sonic to dress up like Evil Sonic (long before [[NotSoHarmlessVillain his upgrade to Scourge]]) and have Antoine pretend to defeat him. Then the real Evil Sonic shows up, and Antoine ''knocks him out with one karate chop''. Antoine's so stunned when he finds out what happened, that he faints.
* In [[RockBottom one of the lowest points]] [[FreakOut of his superhero career]], [[ComicBook/AntMan Hank Pym]] attempted this in order to redeem himself in the eyes of ComicBook/TheAvengers, creating an indestructible robot to attack the Avengers Mansion so that he could blast its weak point, saving the day. He doesn't even manage to pull this off, as ComicBook/TheWasp defeats the robot after discovering Hank's plan, and his attempt at doing this gets him kicked out of the team until [[HesBack he eventually redeems himself.]]
* In ''ComicBook/AstroCity,'' the Conquistador's plan is to gather numerous criminals to simultaneously commit crimes across Astro City [[spoiler:so he can use his heroic identity to KillThemAll as part of his heroic debut.]]
** [[spoiler:Also, in his previous identity as El Hombre, he attempted the same stunt as Hank Pym above, teaming with one of his enemies to create a giant robot for him to destroy, boosting El Hombre's sagging profile. The enemy betrayed him and the robot ran amok, and when El Hombre's plan was revealed, he resigned from the Honor Guard in disgrace.]]
* The mini-series ''ComicBook/TheAmericanWay'' has a 1961 where America is protected by the Civil Defense Corp, a collection of heroes who save the day from various attacks. An ad man is brought in by his old friends the Kennedys and learns the truth: The whole thing was created in the 1940's, most of these guys have no real powers and all the "fights" with crooks are faked. He's set to try and spin the team more but it becomes problematic when one dies of a heart attack in a fight, another buys into his truly being an alien and the addition of a black hero nearly splits them apart.
* In ''ComicBook/BeforeWatchmen: Minutemen'', Silk Spectre's pre-Minutemen superhero career consisted almost entirely of staged heroics to raise her profile. Naturally, she resented teammate Silhouette, whose pre-Minutemen career consisted of hunting down pedophiles and rescuing children.
** Also done in ''{{ComicBook/Watchmen}}'' for a very different reason.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* Invoked in ''FanFic/RosarioVampireBrightestDarkness Acts V and VI''. Jenner Rythmore, the openly [[FantasticRacism anti-monster]] head of the [[MonsterHunterOrganization HDA]] founded in the wake of TheUnmasquedWorld, is firmly convinced that Tsukune and his friends deliberately set [[EldritchAbomination Alucard]] loose on the world just so they could kill him and make themselves look like heroes, which couldn't be any farther from the truth.

[[folder:Film - Animated]]
* A variation occurs in ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'': [[spoiler:in her pursuit of Rapunzel, Mother Gothel strikes up an alliance with the Stabbington Brothers. She tricks them into thinking they'll get Rapunzel, whom they plan to sell to the highest bidder, and when they advance on the girl, she knocks them both unconscious, making it look like an impromptu rescue.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', Syndrome's ultimate goal (aside from killing Mr. Incredible) is to be hailed as a hero, so he sets his own robot to wreak havoc on Metroville. He tries to destroy it by simply pressing buttons to disable it while faking that he's beating it up. The AI, being created to learn from defeat, [[GoneHorriblyRight quickly figures this out.]]
* Oscar and Lenny from ''WesternAnimation/SharkTale'' stage a public brawl, in order to give Lenny (a vegetarian shark) an opportunity to drop off the radar and start a new life, and to allow Oscar to keep up his charade[=/=]image of being a 'shark slayer' while scaring off any fear of retribution from TheMafia.

[[folder:Film - Live Action]]
* Johnny in ''Film/MyBoyfriendsBack'' tries this by having his friend gear up to pretend to rob the convenience store where his crush works, but is unaware that an actual robber shows up until it's too late.
* Marty [=McFly=] attempts to get George and Lorraine together in ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' with this, by telling George to find him "parking" with Lorraine in Doc's car, appearing to take advantage of her. He is to pretend to give Marty a vicious beating for trying to "hurt" Lorraine. It couldn't be simpler. But instead, it becomes a double subversion - the first subversion is that while Marty is planning to pretend to harass Lorraine so George could "save" Lorraine from Marty, the plan goes horribly wrong when Biff shows up, throws Marty to his friends, and begins to molest Lorraine. The second subversion is that the plan works ''anyway'', as George manages to find enough courage to punch Biff out cold when he does come by on his cue, which wins Lorraine's heart.
* Attempted by Ignacio in ''Film/NachoLibre'', but he ends up picking a fight with a random passer-by instead, who kicks his butt.
* Subverted in ''Film/MrDeeds'', where the girl stages the fake attack with one of her friends. The guy beats said friend up.
* Happens a couple of different ways in ''Film/FiftyFirstDates''. Among the ploys Adam Sandler's character uses to get Lucy (Drew Barrimore) to notice him are a penguin he places in the road (which she nearly kills), and his friend staging an attack on him (she beats him within an inch of his life with a baseball bat she keeps in the car). Basically, ''he's'' engineering chances for ''her'' to be heroic.
* Occurs at the start of ''Film/{{Hitch}}'', Will Smith entices a dog away from its owner so that his client can appear to have jumped in front of a car to save it, so that the client can get a date with the owner.
* ''Film/{{Maverick}}'' (1994, Richard Donner) beats several baddies in a fist fight to scare Angel, only to later pay them money for throwing the fight.
* A villainous version in ''Film/{{Thor}}'': [[spoiler:[[Characters/MCULoki Loki]] makes an arrangement for the Jotuns to enter Asgard and kill Odin while he sleeps. His actual plan is to sweep in and kill them thereby making himself the hero of Asgard with a good excuse to wipe out their entire planet.]]
* In ''Film/TheBeastmaster'', Dar has his tiger attack Kiri and then pretends to drive it off in an attempt to seduce her.
* In ''Film/GeorgeOfTheJungle'' a little capuchin monkey complains to George that the other monkeys bully him because he's a runt. In the next scene, the monkeys are attacked by a large lion; Little Monkey steps forward, [[PrimalChestPound pounds his chest]] and yells at the lion, fending it off and earning the other monkey's respect. The lion, hiding in the bushes, winks at George, implying that it was him arranging the whole scene.

* ''Literature/EncyclopediaBrown'' - Encyclopedia catches a guy in the act when he notices that [[spoiler: his glasses emerge unscathed]] despite putting them in a place that supposedly took a lot of punches. Encyclopedia whispered this in Sally's ear. She wasn't pleased.
* Happens in Creator/PGWodehouse's ''Love Among The Chickens'', but backfires upon the 'hero' when the guy he paid to upset the boat spills the beans.
* Played with in "The Case of the Discontented Soldier" by Creator/AgathaChristie, in which the situation is engineered by a third party playing matchmaker, and both the guy and girl are left with the honest belief that he genuinely saved her life.
* In Creator/ChristopherPike's ''Spellbound'', the heroine's boyfriend, who is suspected of killing his previous girlfriend, decides to rescue his reputation by setting the heroine up to fall in a river and then dramatically saving her. It doesn't work out; another character rescues her first, and then the heroine figures out what happened and reveals it in open court.
* One of the ''Series/BabylonFive'' novels features Garibaldi hiring a bunch of thugs to "mug" Talia so that he can step in and "save" her. It fails to impress her.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': In ''A Mage's Power'', [[spoiler: This is Plan A for the BigBad, Duke Selen Esrah. He's hoping a RescueRomance will rekindled the relationship between his son and his ex-girlfriend, Princess Kasile. He hires some rogues to do the kidnapping, infiltrates them with a couple of his own guards to guard against betrayal and then sends down his son. The problem is that his son is captured despite his efforts, and someone else gets the credit.]]
* In the children's book ''Literature/TheGruffalo'', the GuileHero mouse plays this trope brilliantly, fending off various predators by pretending that he's going to hang out with a [[BigBad bigger and more dangerous predator than them]], which he's invented, and which he says preys on each of them. When he then, to his surprise, meets said Big Bad, and realises that Big Bad wants to eat him, he succeeds in persuading it to follow him through the forest, in the course of which he meets all the predators he earlier scared off, and they are duly convinced that he really is the Big Bad's friend. [[spoiler: The mouse having thus demonstrated that he's the scariest creature in the forest, the Big Bad runs off in terror.]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In an episode of ''Series/FlightOfTheConchords'', Bret is trying to woo a lady who works at a pet store, and convinces Jermaine to pretend to mug them so he can impress her. Jermaine has his friend John, an actual mugger, help out, but he doesn't get the concept and actually steals her purse.
* ''Series/{{Monk}}'': In the episode "Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger", computer billionaire Sidney Teal apparently has a nervous breakdown, and tries to mug an ex-cop named Archie Modine with a knife, only for Modine to fatally shoot him, and witnesses see a uniformed cop running away from the scene, who soon becomes known as "Fraidy Cop". Monk is suspicious about why Sidney was wearing kneepads and elbow pads at the time, like he was expecting to be knocked down. Furthermore, a similar incident is described by Sidney in his autobiography about how in college, a mugger tried to rob him and his girlfriend in a parking garage. As it turns out, Sidney and Modine had been roommates, and Sidney, wanting to impress his girlfriend, asked Modine to pretend to mug him. It worked, and for a moment, Teal got to be Superman. In return, twenty years later, Modine begun to have an affair with Sidney's wife, and found a way to kill Sidney: he contacted him, reminded him of the first prank, and asked Sidney to return the favor, knowing Sidney would never refuse the opportunity to relive one of the best nights of his life.
** What further provides proof that the murder was deliberate is that Sidney always went the extra mile. In fact, he not only planned to get knocked down, but the so-called "Fraidy Cop" was an actor that Sidney had hired, who, after Modine "fought" off Sidney, was supposed to run up and congratulate Modine for his heroism.
* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/DrakeAndJosh''. Drake accidentally let it slip that a girl he was dating was part of a competition between he and his brother...only he actually liked her. One of his several attempts to show her that he's "honest" involves two nerd "friends" that he constantly takes advantage of to make it seem like he found one of their wallets and returned it to them. The girl clearly sees through this and walks off...and then one of the nerds come back and asks Drake if he stole his mom's credit card from the wallet. [[spoiler:He did.]]
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'':
** Dennis became the Subway Hero after pushing a woman in front of a subway car then saving her.
** Parodied a second time when Tracy has Kenneth kill a "Hero Cat" who saved his owner's life by dialing 911. When Tracy forgets the whole thing, Jenna ends up "rescuing" the cat (who then dials 911 to save Kenneth).
* In ''Series/MenBehavingBadly'' Gary hides behind a paper when his girlfriend is being threatened while driving and spends the whole episode worried about his reputation. So he rings up a agency to send over a big bloke in a leather jacket to his local pub for him to beat up. He finds a big bloke in a leather jacket who he quickly beats up. Then a much smaller, skinnier guy in a leather jacket appears wanting to fight Gary. He runs away shortly after.
* An inversion in the second season finale of ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' as Moriarty makes it appear that Sherlock has been setting up these crimes so he can "solve" them and look like a genius. It works thanks to how Sherlock has put down the police and reporters are being so stupid and people assuming it's impossible someone could really be so brilliant.
* ''Series/{{Batman}}'' had this when the Penguin was running for mayor of Gotham City. He'd send his mooks out to commit crimes so he could thwart them and come off as a hero.
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' deconstructs a version of this, where J.D. pays a hobo to fake a heart attack in front of his new girlfriend so he can rescue him. The hobo then proceeds to demand more money when J.D. tries it again and again.
* Sheldon tries to set this up in ''Series/TheBigBangTheory''. He pretends to be unable to open a jar in order to make Leonard seem like an alpha male. It then fails because Leonard can't open it, despite Sheldon having loosened the lid.
* On ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', Lucius Lavin goes into the engineered heroics business after his MindControl empire falls through. Then he tries to haggle on the payment ''after'' the hired villains did their part... When the protagonists show up, the hired villains, as their sworn enemies, perform some actual villainy.
* In ''Series/{{Frasier}}'', Daphne's dad had a money-making scam that involved him making crude passes at women in Manchester pubs, then getting pretend beaten up by their dates.
* ''Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir'':
** Subverted when Will has his friend hire a thug to 'rob' a store, and he'd beat the robber to impress his girlfriend. But then a REAL robber holds up the store, and Will nearly gets himself killed hamming it up before he does take down the robber. His girlfriend ends up ''pissed'' that he stood up to a man with a gun. When Jazz explains the guy Will took down was a crook with a real gun, Will instantly faints.
** Another episode had Will have a friend go to a girl and act like a total sleaze before he came in and dismiss him to impress said girl.
* Cyrus Beene of ''Series/{{Scandal}} is a master of this, either for others or occasionally himself.
** Thinking Frankie Vargas might be a good President, Cyrus gives the low-level Governor a boost by arranging for a troubled man to attack the state government building and Vargas seen on video confronting the man, offering himself up before the attacker is killed by security. Just as Cyrus had planned, Vargas' name is instantly all over the news, giving him a push for his campaign.
** Cyrus is forced on a trip on Air Force Two when it's hacked ands soon headed toward Washington. Cyrus gives a big speech to the passengers on how they might be shot down and that's a sacrifice he's willing to make. A reporter on board records it and manages to get it out online, supposedly on her own. But in the final scene of the episode, Liv confronts Cyrus who admits he was behind the whole thing to make himself look Presidential.
* ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' had an episode of Peg saving Al from a robber, and worse, having it caught on the news, which as you can imagine is a major embarrassment to him. Jefferson tries to help by having Al take Peg to a seedy bar, where a contact would insult Peg, Al would knock him out and Bud would get it on film. Unfortunately, when it comes time to deal the blow, Peg punches out the man herself just as Bud takes the photo. However, the end of the ep has Al successfully pulling this off using one Kelly's dates.
* This is the plan of the United States government in the second season of ''Series/{{Revolution}}''. Their initial step started with Randall's actions at the end of the first season. After that they pulled the same gambit on a smaller scale: put people in danger through an intermediary, then ride in at the last minute to save the day.
* In one episode of ''Series/DiagnosisMurder'', the VillainOfTheWeek is a mentally-unstable former Air Force pilot who was given a dishonourable discharge for disobeying orders and has been trying to find work as a commercial airline pilot. He drugs the flight crew of a plane he's travelling on, knowing that as the only passenger with cockpit experience, he'll be chosen to land the plane safely.
* The classic ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS5E4TheEnemyOfTheWorld The Enemy of the World]]" played this straight not once, but twice.
** To infiltrate Salamander's security, Jamie stages an attempt on Salamander's life so that he can save the man at the last minute, earning jobs for both himself and Victoria.
** Salamander's whole plan to sway public opinion in his favor hinges on [[spoiler:causing natural disasters so that he can "predict" them and save people by warning them and evacuating affected areas]].
* ''Series/BurnNotice'' pulls this in almost every single episode. With some exceptions, Mike's plans generally follow the same structure: First, Mike causes a problem (or exacerbates an existing problem, or creates the illusion of a problem) for the target. Second, he poses as someone who can solve that problem. Third, he uses this problem-solving persona to get closer to the target, usually while covertly making the problem worse the whole time, so that the target becomes more desperate for Mike's help. Finally, Mike uses his position to get what he wants, which is almost invariably either destroying the target's operation, making the target look like a traitor to ''their'' boss, stealing something, or blackmailing the target into doing something Mike needs.
* In the ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' episode "Splinter", Clark Kent gets infected by silver kryptonite and suffers from hallucinations and paranoia. When he is about to murder Lana for "cheating on him," Brainiac shows up, stops him, and cures him. Later, it is revealed to the audience that Brainiac sent the kryptonite so that he could save Clark and gain his trust.
* Deconstructed in an episode of ''Series/{{CSINY}}'' where the VictimOfTheWeek set up a mugging similar to one that happened several months beforehand with his buddy to impress his girlfriend only for the plan to [[GoneHorriblyWrong collapse in on itself]]. First, [[spoiler: the victim's gun was loaded with simulation rounds intended only to be shot at targets which he had stolen from a firing range. When the two 'struggled' for the gun it went off and the bullet struck the victim, disintegrating on contact but still causing a lethal wound.]] Second is the biggest problem with this plan - failing to properly predict what the [[DistressedDamsel patsy will do]]. [[spoiler: She attacked the mugger and ripped his mask off, forcing him to strike her over the head nearly killing her]]. Third is what happens when the scheme is exposed. [[spoiler: She is angry and upset that her boyfriend would do something so stupid. Had he survived she'd probably break up with him.]]
* In the ''Series/{{Supergirl 2015}}'' episode "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk", Mxyzptlk tries to woo Supergirl by summoning Parasite, having him rampage through downtown, then showing up in a Superman costume to defeat him. Supergirl is not impressed, especially since he freely confesses what he was doing.
* In the ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'' episode "Haunted," a character describes how her childhood nanny once baked cookies with ground up glass in them, so that she could discover them and be the big hero. Unfortunately, the character sneaked her dessert early and had to go to the hospital.

* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' includes a quest where you hire a bodyguard to escort you through a slum, in order to investigate said bodyguard's reputation as a badass. At one point, he runs ahead of you to take out a gang of thugs around a corner. Depending on your skills, you can out him as a fraud by either pointing out he only shot three times for the four thugs and then blackmailing him, or by examining the thugs themselves to discover they're still breathing (though, this being ''Fallout'', it's possible to [[BloodyHilarious brutally maim their bodies once the quest is finished]], while [[ScriptBreaking the game continues to tell you they're only pretending to be dead on examination]]).
* Central to the plot of ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankGoingCommando''. [[spoiler:Qwark, disgraced due to his actions in the first game, puts in motion a plan to provide cute pets to the galaxy that are really vicious monsters, with him saving the day after the pets go on the rampage (Qwark is in disguise as the head of the company that makes them). Since Qwark is an idiot, the device that's supposed to cure the monsters makes them grow really big instead, and the titular characters have to fight this supersized monster as the final boss of the game.]]
* If you get HundredPercentCompletion in ''VideoGame/McPixel'', you can get a scene in which [[spoiler:[=McPixel=] ships a bomb to one of the stages in the game, along with a business card offering his services to defuse the bomb]].
* In ''VideoGame/TheSimsMedieval'', the Monarch has a quest where they can try to court the Prince or Princess of Effenmont. Part of the courtship process involves recruiting one of the other hero characters to pose as a robber so that the Monarch can "rescue" the Prince or Princess from them.
* In ''VideoGame/InFAMOUS2'' [[TokenEvilTeammate Nix's]] plan to help Cole gain public trust has her attack people at a rally so that Cole can conveniently show up and stop her. Cole lampshades this on the opposite good side mission, saying that it sounds like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon.
* ''VideoGame/InFAMOUSSecondSon'': [[spoiler: With the DUP in danger of being shut down Augustine engineered Fetch, Eugene, and Hank's escape. Creating a crisis to prove its necessity and gain public support.]]
* Downplayed in ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'', where the Sith Inquisitor can introduce themselves to their future apprentice Ashara Zavros by rescuing her from a gang of thugs they themselves hired to harass her. She figures out that her savior is actually a Sith Lord soon enough, but the Inquisitor is firmly entrenched inside her mind by that time.
* In ''VideoGame/HometownStory'', Clarissa, the town self-appointed sole law enforcement worker, decides to do this to impress the town. She buys an expensive ring from the ShopKeeper PlayerCharacter and asks him/her to claim it was stolen so she can "find" it. [[spoiler:There happens to be actual thief in the town at the time, who steals a ring from a villager to pass as the "missing" one. Clarissa is able to catch the thief, thus subverting the trope and providing her with a genuine act of heroics.]]
* In ''VideoGame/Persona5'', [[spoiler:it turns out that KidDetective Goro Akechi has been doing this on a massive scale for two years. He possesses the unique ability to cause someone's ShadowArchetype to have a breakdown, making the real person act erratically and dangerously. He then "solves" the crimes that he made them commit, turning him into a legendary private detective. He tries something similar on the party, by framing them for a murder that he committed and then "catching" them. Unfortunately for him, the Phantom Thieves catch on fast.]]

* The [[spoiler:''entire'' Dragonslayer deal]] in ''Webcomic/DragonMango''.
* In ''WebComic/DarthsAndDroids'', during the "[[Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack The Enemy Let Slip]]" StoryArc, [[spoiler:when Han is about to be frozen in alcohol, he confesses that he is the traitor of the Rebellion, and that he kept selling it out for money]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* An attempt at doing this in ''WebAnimation/BrokenQuest'' results in an entire village being burnt to the ground.
* In the ''WebAnimation/DCSuperHeroGirls'' Season 1 finale, "Saving the Day", Cheetah falls while attempting to save Lucius Fox, and is saved by Wonder Woman catching her with the Lasso of Truth, resulting in her confessing in front of Principal Amanda Waller that she rigged his jet pack so that she could save him... [[KarmaHoudiniWarranty and then confessing to all the other things she did over the course of the season]].
* The whole point of "The Flanders Company" webseries' setting : The Flanders Company is an agency which rents Superheroes their necessary Nemesis, who is bound by a contract to lose fights in order to ensure the heroes' status - and their subsequent wealth, which is more than necessary to pay the Company's outrageously high fees. They need to pay their villains with all their equipment of mayhem, after all.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "When Aliens Attack" provides the current page quote. Fry and Leela are on the beach when a muscular, handsome man flirts with Leela. He explains to Fry that he's a ''professional'' beach bully who steals the girlfriend of some weak guy, then [[ThrowingTheFight goes down in one punch]] to make the weak guy look good in front of his girl, for a price. Fry says that Leela isn't his girlfriend so the bully is free to date her if he wants, but he says [[SorryImGay he's actually gay]] and walks away.
* On ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'', Sandy has Patrick dress as a gorilla and pretend to attack her in a ploy to get [=SpongeBob=] out of his house. [=SpongeBob=] sees through the ruse, but then a real gorilla appears (in a clever subversion of MistakenForAnImposter, the gorilla comes dressed as Patrick, while the real Patrick has on the gorilla costume) and [=SpongeBob=] has to come save them.
** In another episode, the "weenie" [=SpongeBob=], wanting to get into the [[BadGuyBar Salty Spitoon]], stages a fight with Patrick in front of the bouncer. Patrick somehow manages to telekinetically ''beat up himself''. The bouncer is duly impressed.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "Homer Goes To College", Homer plans to get his nerd friends unexpelled by having them save the Dean from being hit by Homer's car... unfortunately the nerds distract themselves considering the impact of wind resistance on their calculation and miss their cue, leaving the Dean to get run down.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' pilot, Stan stages a purse-snatching at the mall so that his son can save the day and be more attractive to the ladies. He unfortunately goes overboard, completely forgetting to let Steve catch him.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode "The Best Night Ever", Rainbow Dash tries to get the attention of the Wonderbolts at a crowded party by bucking a guest, and then rushing in to "rescue" him. It doesn't work.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' a superhero named Major Man setup some crimes so that Townsville would make him their new superhero. The Girls see his ruse and set up their own engineering, with a monster that Major Man can't handle.
** They pull off their own scheme in "Candy Is Dandy", when the Mayor promises them a piece of candy each time they stop a crime... only for a crime drought to ensue. Cue the girls breaking Mojo out of jail to commit more crimes for them to stop. Things go south when Mojo trolls them by stealing the candy from the Mayor.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987'', the Shredder approached the retired super-hero [[RetiredBadass Gadget-Man]], who was trying to make a comeback, and claimed to be a "Super-Hero Agent", promising to do something like this to help put him in the spotlight. (Naturally, it would also be a strike against the Turtles.) Unfortunately for the Shredder, he underestimated how clever Gadget-Man was; he caught on, and helped the younger heroes bring the villain down.
* ''WesernAnimation/FamilyGuy'' has an episode in which Peter's shenanigans cost Quagmire his pilot's license, so Peter hatches a scheme where he and his friends drug the flight crew of a plane, then Quagmire steps up to the controls, lands the plane safely and gets his license back. The plan works (though not in the way Peter was expecting), and [[RealityEnsues Peter is arrested for hijacking and thrown in prison]].
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/IronManArmoredAdventures'' has Stane creating two new "heroes" by outfitting a pair of ex-cons with counterfeit versions of the Iron Man armor, and then giving them some engineered crises to solve, all so that Iron Man would look obsolete.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats1985'' episode "Pumm-Ra", first the Mutants capture Cheetara and knock her out. Then Mumm-Ra shape shifts into a Thunderian called Pumm-Ra and Cheetara wakes up in relative safety with Pumm-Ra claiming he rescued her. It was ploy to gain entry to Cat's Lair.
* Pre Vizla and Darth Maul's plan to take over Mandalore in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' is to have the Black Sun invade and terrorize the capital so that the Death Watch can swoop in to save the day.