Everyone Has Standards
aka: Everybody Has Standards
"I wanted to see what you'd do. And you didn't disappoint... You let five people die. Then, you let Dent take your place. Now, even to a guy like me, that's cold..."
Whether someone is a weirdo, villain, pervert, jerkass
, geek etc. deviant from the customs of "normal" society — one often finds those things that can only go so far. These characters find that when they're in a situation where they would cross a certain line, they don't do it. Or they get disgusted at those who do cross that line.
A Super Trope
to Even Evil Has Standards
, Even Nerds Have Standards
, Even Beggars Won't Choose It
Compare Conscience Makes You Go Back
, Sudden Principled Stand
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Anime & Manga
- In Magi – Labyrinth of Magic, Ka Koubun's attempt to make King Sinbad marry Princess Kougyoku, by making it look like Sinbad had violated her, fails, because his henchmen can't stand seeing their princess crying and so sad.
- In Gakuen Babysitters, Chairman Morinomiya, who usually demands for Ryuuichi to work hard and to keep a punctual schedule, states this about herself when posed with the option of waking him up while he's sick.
- Anyone who has ever met and spoken to Uchiha Madara pretty much hates his guts, barring his brother Izuna, his former best friend Hashirama, and his protégé Tobi. Not even Kurama can stand him, and considering the shit he's probably had to put up with over the last few centuries, that says a lot. The people that can stand him? Izuna's dead, and Hashirama became his mortal enemy the moment Madara decided to attack Konoha, the village they built together. Even his long-time accomplice Tobi, aka Obito, reveals that he doesn't care for him all that much either.
- There's also Sasuke himself during the early episodes. Even before he and Naruto actually become friends, he is absolutely furious at Sakura when she confides in him that she believes Naruto is such an undisciplined prankster because he had no parents to teach him how to act and promptly chews her out for it. After all, he knows from personal experience that not having parents bites; because of this, Sakura has a Jerkass Realization and resolves to try to treat Naruto more kindly.
- The Allied Shinobi Forces was a result of this. The Moon's Eye Plan incited this reaction so much that it was enough to unite the entire shinobi world, which has been in a near-constant state of war for over a century. Trying to subject free will in general seems to incite this reaction.
- In Bakuman。, Eiji Niizuma follows his rivals' work so regularly that his refusal to read Tanto is treated as an OOC Is Serious Business moment that indicates that he thinks they're not living up to their potential.
- A Show Within a Show case becomes a plot point in and out of that universe. Mashiro and Takagi's Perfect Crime Party, a group of elementary school students who do harmless pranks called "perfect crimes", don't do anything that could cause trouble for others; they suggest that if they broke into a bank vault and left behind a note without stealing anything, the security company's reputation would suffer. In response to someone imitating PCP by breaking into a bank vault and leaving a note behind, Takagi writes a story in which Akechi, The Rival to PCP, tells some copycats that he knew it wasn't PCP because they wouldn't do anything like that, and ends with PCP themselves commenting about how not everyone can do things the way they do.
- In Death Note, L and Near are not paragons of justice, and only take on cases that they're interested in. However, they both disapprove of what Kira is doing and the mindset behind it, with Near having an especially strong hatred of Kira's followers.
- In One Piece, the Straw Hats, for the most part, care about their members and friends more than anyone else, even the entire rest of the world, in Robin's case. However, they're typically shown to be quite upset whenever their enemies callously harm their own minions, from Sanji and Franky's shock at Rob Lucci pulling a You Have Failed Me on Nero, to Chopper saving an Enforcer from Gedatsu's attack.
- As greedy as Nami is, she's willing to give up treasure for the sake of her friends, such as giving some of Thriller Bark's treasure to her friend Lola as a gift, or being willing to spend all the treasure to buy Caimie and set her free (unfortunately, she gets preemptively outbid).
- Luffy's usually a nice guy who can befriend and forgive nearly anyone, up to and including former antagonists regardless of morality. However, he drew the line upon seeing Crocodile in Impel Down. He did end up releasing him, at his ally Ivankov's suggestion, but unlike all the other former enemies he meets in the arc, Luffy does not befriend or forgive him.
- Nodoka, in Saki, has repeatedly expressed that she doesn't believe in the existence of superstitions, even when her opponents make improbable draws right in front of her. In a flashback in Saki Achiga-hen, she hears her old friend Kuro telling her that because her Missing Mom told her to value the dora more, she has chosen to draw dora over completing her hand, and believes that as a result, she is more likely to draw dora tiles. Ako asks Nodoka if she's going to say her usual thing about superstitions, and Nodoka says she can't believe what Kuro is saying, but doesn't want to tell her off, either, possibly because she realizes the personal significance of it to Kuro.
- In Nana when porn actress Yuri Kousaka reveals that her real name is Asami Matsumoto, she comments, "I may be a shameless woman, but even I don't make porn flicks under my real name."
- In Is This a Zombie?, Orito is a Casanova Wannabe who's always shamelessly hitting on girls, trying to peep on them, etc. When Ayumu gets possessed by Belphegor, he makes offensive Straw Misogynist remarks. Orito is horrified and quickly declares that he does not believe in that line of thinking.
- True, InuYasha is short-tempered, violent, and overall a bit of a prick, but there are plenty of lines that even he refuses to cross:
- In the "The Tragic Love Song of Destiny" anime special, he refuses to attack Kikyo for the Shikon Jewel when she's badly injured and can't fight back, explaining to her that he doesn't "play dirty"; he even personally saves Kaede from Mistress Centipede while refusing to take her hostage for the jewel as Centipede intended to do.
- When he fights Tōkajin, the latter demands that he eat some of the Ninmenka's fruit before their fight; given the source of the fruit, Inuyasha is quick to turn it down.
- When he meets Shiori, he adamantly refuses to kill a fellow half-demon, let alone a little girl.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Sanosuke admits that despite his disagreements with various antagonists and rivals (ranging from Saitou, Shishio, to Anji), they were at least people he could respect. Inui Banjin on the other hand, was merely an arrogant Blood Knight.
- Thunderstrike in Thor Corps #1: "There's an old cliche about not being in Kansas anymore that's too corny for even me to use!"
- Deadpool thinks Bloody Mary is too crazy for his tastes.
- Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin may be quite self-centered, but even he thinks starving people are nothing to joke about.
- Lampooned in Bloom County, where it was combined with an Evil Lawyer Joke and a dose of Self-Deprecation on the part of the writer. The strip's resident Amoral Attorney, Steve Dallas, was thinking about changing careers, because he wanted "an easier way to make a living than getting psychopaths and rapists off the hook". (Not that he cared about who they hurt; he just wasn't all-that good at it.) Then Opus suggested that Steve try getting into cartoonist art, to which Steve replied by jabbing him in the butt with a pen and angrily shouting, "I have some scruples, dude!"
- In Dilbert, even a pirate with a diseased parrot refuses to be spokesperson for the unethical company Dilbert works at.
- In Kage: While Jade is quite familiar with being a Combat Pragmatist and Guile Heroine, she is disgusted at the Guardians for framing Raythor and getting him banished to the Abyss of Shadows, feeling that there are some things a hero should not do, and that doing that to someone as honor-driven as Raythor is worse than killing him.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series: Socrates is noted to have very few standards when it comes to pranks, one of which is serious injury (as in broken bones).
- Ned Stark Lives: Tyrion Lannister has never gotten along well with Joffrey, who he considers an incredibly selfish and violent Royal Brat who would bring the Kingdoms down along with him; even so, he is disgusted and outraged when he hears that Joffrey didn't die from his fall into the Blackwater Bay at the Fall of King's Landing, but that he was slain in single combat by Stannis Baratheon, despite being crippled and half-conscious at the time. It's one of the few things he and Cersei can agree on by that point.
- In the Harry Potter fic Corvine even Mad-Eye Moody is disturbed by Dumbledore's growing delusions and paranoia.
- Molestia is very much the Anything That Moves type, as well doing quite a few that don't move, but she does have a few fetishes she doesn't engage in, such as vore or necrophilia, and won't violate those who are underage.
- The Originals of The Universiad are to a man Combat Pragmatists who cheerfully advocate There Is No Kill Like Overkill, but the results of deploying a Witch during the "Starkiller" Black Star incident were so brutal that even normally The Unfettered Gideon020 was forced to reconsider the morality of doing so.
- Teenage Jinchuriki Shinobi:
- Raphael smacks Michelangelo on the head everytime the latter says or does something foolish, but even the former is disgusted by how poorly Neji treats Hinata
- Similarly, Raph gets outraged when Itachi, while fighting Sasuke, tries to pull a Not So Different moment.
- In Boys Und Sensha-do, Anchovy doesn't think much of Miho and is desperate to win against her to prove that her school's "not a joke", but she's horrified when Miho accidentally gets shot.
- Colonel Yang from Halo The Art Of War is an eccentric Bunny-Ears Lawyer of an engineer and lenient with Spearhead's antics, but even he thinks Serena is too nuts to be allowed Spartan augmentation, and he also had Thom-293 taken off Noble for pushing his luck too many times.
- Turnabout Storm:
- For all the blatant cutesy-ness of Equestria and its inhabitants, they still consider that the pink heart-shaped Equestrian attorney badge is far too excesive in that regard.
- Despite Trixie's Jerkass tendencies, and not being the most honest pony herself, she shows a dislike for liars that lie to save their own hide. This shows when she abandons her own witness after a very long string of lies, and later when she helps Phoenix to further expose another witness despite having already done so herself, which only serves to give an opening for Phoenix's case.
- Necessary To Win
- Teru is a relatively cold and detached individual, but when her fellow vice-captain Erika chides Hisa for walking away from a tankery match three years ago, Teru tells Erika that certain people have parts of their pasts that they would rather not discuss, something that is very much true for Teru.
- In spite of treating her own sister coldly, Teru is shocked to hear that Shiho is considering disowning Miho if she fails to win the semi-finals, believing that no reason Shiho has could justify doing such a thing.
- In XSGCOM, X-COM is considered short a few marbles by almost everyone else... so "When the guys in charge of X-COM think you’re too nuts to be on a UFO Retrieval Team, then you’ve got some serious issues."
- In XCOM Second Contact, the Citadel races think Humanity Is Insane, but even Udina is stunned when the former talk of cloning fertile Chryssalids.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- In The Dark Knight, Joker thinks he can prove this wrong, but it turns into a Double Subversion, when neither the boat of convicts, nor the boat of innocent people, go for his blackmail to have the people on one boat blow up the other, lest they both get blown up; on top of it all, the boat of convicts are the first ones to refuse to do so.
- In The Distinguished Gentleman, a professional Con Man gets himself elected to Congress and discovers that he's small potatoes compared to the corruption that goes on in the Capitol. He then dedicates himself to exposing them.
- In Predators, the benevolent doctor and one of the few good people on the team is thoroughly disgusted by Stans's "rapin' bitches" comment. He's later revealed to have probably been faking it — he's a serial killer himself.
- Colonel Tavington in The Patriot inspires this among his countrymen. Cornwallis can be called an honorable British General who respects both the laws of warfare and simply wants to reestablish British rule. He wants to maintain good if temporarily not peaceful relations with the colonials. However, he is still appalled at Tavington's brutal tactics and rightly faults him for the increasing resistance against the British from the American militia. Also, one of Tavington's men complains that there's no honor in burning down a church full of civilians, and is clearly reluctant to follow his orders to do so.
- In Roustabout, the other carnies are clearly disgusted when Charlie Rogers leaves Joe Lean to spend a night in jail over a missing wallet.
- Carrie (1976) : Carrie's classmates and teachers either bullied her or ignored her plight, but almost all of them were horrified by the pig-blood prank. Tragically, Carrie was too traumatized to register this. You know the rest ...
- Mr. Curry may not like Paddington but he won't see him taxidermied (he just thought Millicent would send him back to Peru).
- In The Little Mermaid, the Mermaid fails to win the prince's love, but can return to mermaid form if she kills him with a magic knife. She refuses (this helps her earn the chance to gain an immortal soul).
- In Sourcery, Evil Vizier Abrim got rejected from Unseen University. They said he was mentally unstable. How do you manage to be too mentally unstable for Unseen University?
- This idea is consistently overlooked by Safehold's Grand Inquisitor Zahspahr Clyntahn. As he piles on atrocity after atrocity in his attempts to crush the schismatic Empire of Charis, it never seems to occur to him that he's alienating the various clergymen and world leaders who should by all rights be his allies. Various characters do things like defect to Charis rather than face his telling them You Have Failed Me, or Mercy Kill enemy soldiers rather than take them alive to face the tortures of Clyntahn's Inqusition.
- A rather dark take on this trope features in the later volumes of Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 series. The prison camp guards are perfectly happy to keep African-Americans in a horrific, inhumane concentration camp, but lining them up and machine-gunning them in cold blood is too much; some are Driven to Suicide, others driven to drink and a few end up in asylums. This prompts the Nazi Expys to think up gas vans as an alternative that's easier for the rank and file to cope with. This is in fact based directly on what led the real Nazis to implement the gas chambers.
- Patrick McLanahan from Dale Brown books is a major Military Maverick, but even he finds the National Guard pilots he's scouting out in Battle Born too lax and defiant for anyone's good. At least at first.
- Harry Potter: Everyone in Hogwarts, be it Snape, Harry, or Filch, wanted Gilderoy Lockhart gone. It's believed that the only reason he got the job as DADA teacher is because no one else applied (the position is cursed — no one lasts longer than a year) besides Snape. And the only reason why the far more qualified Snape didn't get the job is because Dumbledore still needed him — not only for his plans against Voldemort, but also as the Potions teacher for the school.
- There are a few in the Warcraft Expanded Universe.
- In Tides Of War, there is a double example. Anduin, a pacifist, realizes that Garrosh has gone too far and must be stopped in the wake of Theramore's destruction, but is glad that his more warlike father Varian isn't going as far as Jaina originally planned to.
- In Of Blood And Honor, Uther is willing to have Tirion exiled for helping an orc, out of the belief that all orcs must die and partly out of the belief that Tirion disobeying an order is unforgivable. However, when Barthilas, Tirion's arrogant subordinate, starts disrespecting Tirion during his trial, Uther gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, saying that Tirion, who fought alongside him and saved his life, deserves more than to be "harangued by an unseasoned boy" like Barthilas.
- In Beyond the Dark Portal, Turalyon, who has no love for the orcs (the epiphany he had in the previous book that cleared all his doubts was the realization that the orcs are not from Azeroth and not part of the Holy Light), is quite disturbed to see Alleria's obsession with killing the orcs to avenge her dead brother and all the people she lost in their invasion of her homeworld, which has resulted in a rift growing between them, and which causes him and the rest of their friends to become worried about her getting herself killed in her quest for revenge. Turalyon's also quite disturbed when he sees an orphaned boy playing with a sword and wanting to grow up and kill orcs.
- In the Gaunt's Ghosts books, even the utterly ruthless Rawne and his like-minded inner circle disdain Meryn for his unscrupulousness. This later turns out to be well-deserved.
- Child Bride:
- Subverted In the episode "The Scofflaw" of Seinfeld, Jerry finds out an acquaintance has been lying about having cancer for two months (doctors thought he had it, but surgery revealed he didn't).
Jerry: What kind of person is this? There's only one other person who might be able to do something like this, and that's you.
Jerry: I don't even think you could do it.
George: Oh, I could do it.
Jerry: Yeah, I guess you could.
George: [snorts] C'mon.
- Also Played Straight behind the scenes: there was a script written for one episode which would be about guns (known as "The Bet" or "The Gun"). Several members of the cast and crew thought the subject would be too controversial (even if the show had previously joked about many other things that could be considered as questionable), so the episode was replaced by another one.
- Community: Invoked Trope. The last security guard at Greendale, who is willing to tolerate the campus's safety hazards and getting paid in vouchers, quits when Dean Pelton enables Chang's insanity to avoid legal troubles, saying that it isn't funny.
- Dexter: Complete Jerkass Quinn shows up at a party thrown by his ex-girlfriend, Debra Morgan, and he has some anonymous slutty girl with him. He acts drunk and stupid enough to annoy everyone at the party, but the slutty girl doesn't mind, until she finds out that she's only there to make Deborah jealous. "You brought me to your ex-girlfriend's house? Have a nice life."
- On Friends, most of the gang avoid Janice like the plague for her Annoying Laugh and general annoyingness. Ross, though, dates her for an episode because he's in a down period in his life and feels he can vent to her. He takes it too far even for her, though.
You're saying that I've become so whiny that I annoy you. Janice. Janice:
Well, yeah. Ross: Oh. My. God!
- How I Met Your Mother: Barney, despite being obsessed with sex and advocating it on almost any occasion, considers it valid when one of Robin's boyfriends breaks up with her due to a bedroom thing she tried. Robin being Barney's own ex, he knows exactly what thing is and its implied it even made him uncomfortable...
- Impractical Jokers: The guys will say a lot of rude and insulting stuff, but every last one of them has a hard time talking that way to women. Especially pretty women.
- JAG: When Admiral Chegwidden was President of the Captains Promotion Board, Commander Lindsey's name came up. When asked about his views on the man, Chegwidden stated he would not willingly have the man on his staff as he breaks too many rules. The person who asked this just stares for a moment as he personally has dealt with Harm and his unorthodox methods.
- Revolution: In episode 11, Jason Neville decides that slaughtering groups of people with air strikes is completely unacceptable. His father does not react well to his son taking a stand.
- Two and a Half Men:
- Charlie is The Casanova, but on one occasion, he almost slept with a woman who may be his half-sister. They didn't know then, and their mothers told them barely on time. Charlie's reaction was to say he draws the line at incest, but his possible half-sister's reaction... she was willing to continue.
- In another episode, one of Alan's patients is paying him extra because she gets sexual pleasure from his chiropractic skills. When arguing with Charlie about it, Charlie retorts that he may have done some things he wasn't proud of for the sake of sex, but he has never taken money for it (that's not to say he hasn't paid someone else money for it).
- Will and Grace: Lionel thinks Karen is a hooker when he first meets her:
You don't have sex for money? Karen:
No, I do not! For jewels
, for furs
, for mixed securities, like a lady! But for money? How dare you!
- In The 100, even the strictly controlled dystopia of the Ark is reluctant to execute children, despite Population Control being a basic necessity. It'll lock them up until eighteen and then execute them if their trial doesn't go well, and it'll use them as lab rats to determine if Earth is habitable again, but they are at least given something of a chance.
- In All in the Family, Archie Bunker is notorious for his casually racist views, but he is mortified to realize that a white supremacist Brotherhood of Funny Hats he has joined, thinking it's a social club, is in fact The Klan. He tells them off and withdraws his membership on the grounds that, since he once had a blood transfusion from a black woman, he qualifies as black.
- In another episode, Archie and one of his friends think they are under surveillance from the FBI, and the friend goes into a rant about being a communist. Archie takes offense to calling Mike a communist.
- In an episode of Nip/Tuck, the show's Casanova Christian Troy hooks up with an attractive mother and daughter pair in a night club. When they go at it again the next morning, the daughter reveals that they started doing this when her mother caught her making out with her stepdad, disturbing even Christian. He eventually concludes "This is too screwed up, even for me", and throws them out of his apartment.
- They do a fake-out that smacks of this trope. In a first-season episode, they trot out the "poodle in the microwave" myth as if they're going to test it, and they even show the poodle they're (supposedly) going to run the test on. Just before they're "slated" to run the test, they reveal that "there are some myths even we, on MythBusters, can't do", establishing a long-standing rule against certain animal tests (Insects are fair game when it comes to experiments just as long they were breed for scientific research, like radiation).
- During the "Baghdad Batteries" myth, the producer thought it would make for good television if Adam touched the conductors. He got electrocuted (nonlethally, though it was a very violent shock), and no one even bothered to film his reaction. This is why they enforce the Don't Try This at Home rule: people who can do this sort of stuff tend to lean towards pranking. Access to these kinds of resources can lead to fatal jokes.
- America Unearthed: Scott Wolter espouses such theories as The Knights Templar coming to America in the 12th century with the Holy Grail and the existence of giants among other theories, but he scoffs at anything to do with aliens.
- Ménage à 3:
- Amber may trick Gary into giving her oral sex, and use her sexuality to scam herself a free apartment, but she's a nice person really, just very uninhibited; the idea of someone manipulatively withholding sex disgusts her.
- Zii objects to Gary attempting to "pimp her out" to Amber (it's a long story); she may be very sexually active and broad-minded, but it's a question of consent. Some readers have suggested that her standards there are a little ambiguous, given her own past behavior, but they do exist.
- In Motherly Scootaloo, Jet Set and Upper Crust may be jerks, but the only reason they accused Scootaloo of murder in the Trial was because their attorney had assured then Scootaloo was 100% guilty.
- In Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, while it should be noted Dweebly is an Only Sane Man compared to the other Fedorks we've seen so far, he takes one look at the shuttle schematics presented to him and burst out laughing, thinking that it's some kind of joke! Even his species, which flies around the galaxy in structurally flawed (they have something else holding them together) ships fueled by antimatter (which is obsolete in the title character's civilization), wouldn't rate the shuttle safe for flying above 1,000 feet, let alone space (this is due to the fact that there are no backups or spares of any kind, something that every good engineer includes), even saying that the Fedorks would consider this design suicidally insane! Cue an epic Oh, Crap when he realizes that it's not a prank, and that the shuttle actually exists!
- In Sonic the Comic – Online!, even Sonic is pretty disgusted when he gets a chance to see just how much of an ass he was in the past.
- Darths & Droids: Pete views killing NPCs as a chance to grab bonus XP, but even he finds Annie's sheer glee in killing them during the "Revenge of the Sith" intro to be unnerving, and views the plan to use their half-dreadnought's fuel and all its missiles as a braking method to be too insane even for them.
- One of the tentacle monsters in Ghastlys Ghastly Comic thinks it's wrong to sexually assault human women, although this is at least in part due to a personal distaste for them.
- A meta example for Homestuck. Hussie intentionally put the webcomic on hiatus before Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3 due to the events that transpired during it. He admits in the newspost after he put the update up that even he isn't that cruel.