Faith: Thanks, sugar daddy!
Now, Faith, I don't find that sort of thing amusing. I'm a family man. Now, let's kill your little friend.
Some villains have standards
. They might have no problem gunning cops down in cold blood, but they aren't going to do anything to children
. Or they might be willing to blow up a city for a holy cause
, but not for money
. Somewhere they have to draw the line - because, if that line doesn't exist, good and evil cease to have any meaning at all
And for a handful of villains, that line is, "Anything the Brady kids
learned An Aesop
about." Yes, these are bad guys who believe in good old fashioned family values. Being a kingpin in the international drug trade might be fine, but giving alcohol to minors, most certainly not! It's their duty as a loyal citizen to show respect and admiration for the local police, but nothing says they can't do that and
bribe the cops into murdering their enemies. And, of course
, sexual intercourse outside of marriage is strictly prohibited ... unless it's non-consensual, then they can just go wild.
Not all examples of this trope are as self-contradictory as the ones above, though. In some cases, promoting family values may be the reason
the villain is doing all these horrible things, making them a Knight Templar
. And in other cases, the family (wo)man routine might simply be an act, designed to ensure that they remain a Villain with Good Publicity
. A third case might be that they display acute symptoms of Moral Myopia
, putting "family" and "everyone else" into two completely different categories as far as the standards of moral behavior are concerned.
But then again, some just don't seem to see anything odd about speaking an arcane ritual to summon horrific demons into the mortal plane
, then lecture some kids about saying "darn
" instead of "damn." note
Needless to say, the trope carries its own dose of Unfortunate Implications
, especially in a society that is still learning to accept non traditional gender roles and relationships. When used badly, it could lead to the conclusion that supporting family values is a bad thing
. Unless that is the author's actual intention
Compare Straight Edge Evil
, Evil Virtues
, and Churchgoing Villain
. Contrast with Moral Dissonance
or Values Dissonance
, where an ostensibly family-friendly character can unintentionally
appear villainous to some.
Anime and Manga
- Claude "Torch" Weaver, one of the Carnival of Killers in Black Lagoon is a religious man who won't touch alcohol and is the only person in the cast who never swears. He's also a completely insane pyromaniac.
- The Joker, believe it or not. During the No Man's Land story arc, he kidnapped all of Gotham's newborn babies to further drive the city to despair, but did not harm any of them. (He did shoot Commissioner Gordon's wife when she tracked them down.). Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum suggests that the Joker is just as likely to dote on children as he is to jab pencils in their eyes — it all depends on what you expect will happen. (He'll do the opposite.) In Legends of the Dark Knight: Duty, surveillance footage from a fair shows the killer clown blending in by handing out balloons and performing tricks for children.
- In contrast to his mostly depraved and foul-mouthed supervillain colleagues, the Doll-Master in Wanted is very much a Family Values Villain. He's always polite and well-spoken and never swears, and to his family, maintains the image of a normal and wholesome suburban father. Granted, his wife interprets his absences for villainous activities as signs of adultery, and he actually did cheat on her in an expedition to another dimension, but his wholesome persona is genuine. Shame that he's a ruthless criminal who kills without remorse.
- While their styles of parenting range from hands off to strict/abusive, the supervillain parents in Runaways maintain normal upper middle class lives when not involved in villainy and have typical expectations of their children being successful and want to make the world a better place for them, and believe they are doing what is best for them... by letting the Gibborim destroy and remake it so their kids can live in paradise. The series is practically the poster child for Even Evil Has Loved Ones / Evil Parents Want Good Kids.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, this is pretty much what makes 4Kids so evil, and all the jokes about the dub are pretty much based on this trope.
- In Under the Dome Second Selectman Big Jim Rennie is a born again Christian who has refused to swear or drink since his conversion, and believes highly in family unity. That doesn't stop him from plotting a hostile takeover of the town, filling the police force with rape-happy Mooks, setting up the largest meth lab in the country, and killing members of his family. It's for "the good of the town," after all.
- Dolores Umbridge of the Harry Potter novels seems to be this type of person. No lying, no swearing, and so on. It's okay for her to lie and so forth because then it's for the greater good.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer villain Mayor Richard Wilkins III is really the pinnacle of this trope. He's made deals with dozens of different demons, founded a town specifically so he could lure in people to be killed by monsters, orders numerous thefts and assassinations (including against newborn infants), and his master plan is to become a giant demon that will devour everyone in sight. But he still believes in setting a good example for the children, is disgusted by "immoral liasons" at the local motel, and his last words to his vampire army before the final battle are, "And boys? Let's watch the swearing."
- Really, what makes the Mayor interesting is that there's never really any hint that his personality is the mask—it remains consistent throughout, except for a brief, understandable Villainous Breakdown after Buffy puts his Morality Pet Faith into a coma. Unlike many examples of this trope he's not really a Knight Templar or a hypocrite—he's just a generally nice guy whose chief ambition, incongruously, is turning into a gigantic demon snake.
- In one episode he celebrates an evil scheme well done with a hearty "Gosh I'm feeling chipper! Who's for a root beer!?"
- When he realizes his plan's gone amok after ascending to demonhood and finding himself face-to-face with a room full of high explosive, his last words and only response is, "Well, gosh."
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, this is the Cardassians' Hat, best exemplified by Gul Dukat.
- René Benoit in NCIS is an international arms dealer who considers himself a businessman.
- Gustavo "Gus" Fring in Breaking Bad is this to a T. Since nobody save for a select few even knows that he's the biggest meth kingpin in the Southwest, it allows him to put on a perfect Villain with Good Publicity act.
- The Addams Family aren't really villains (though they do enjoy torturing, and allude to lots of rather nasty things) they are just dark and WEIRD (and kooky and spooky...), but they are very big on family values in almost all media in which they have appeared (values like family, friends, love, mayhem, manslaughter...)
- In the Japanese series Kamen Rider Double, this was the Nazca Dopant's redeeming quality. He was perfectly willing to sell self-destructive and addicting superpowers to greedy and corrupt adults, but was horrified to find them being given to children as test subjects! Despite being The Dragon at the time, he teams up with Double to save the children. However, Redemption Equals Death his own wife, who remains evil throughout the whole series, kills him.
- While there is some serious variability in how good they are at it, most of the mobsters in The Sopranos at least attempt to do this.
- In The Straits, Harry is fine with drug-dealing and creative murder, but draws the line at arranged marriage for his daughter, and dealing in sex-slaves.
- In the first season of Leverage, a gang boss is very angry when he learns one of his men took a job beating up a priest. He gets the guy to give the heroes the information they want before saying this man's path to atonement is about to begin.
- Omar Little from The Wire isn't really a villain, but despite the fact that he's a violent criminal, he can't abide swearing.
- All of Baltimore's gangsters can be taken into consideration since they all abide to the "Sunday Truce" in which all beef is put aside so the people of west Baltimore (gangsters and citizens alike) can attend church with no fear of violence. When the truce is violated, the two shooters are chewed out and ridiculed mercilessly for such a shame.
- Azazel from Supernatural. In season one, two particularly evil demons turned out to be his children. He was not happy that Sam and Dean killed one of them.
- The Alpha vampire has shades of this as well. He views all vampires as his children and even his Stockholm'd snacks call him "daddy".
- The Governor from The Walking Dead is this. He hides his villainy behind a facade of Southern charm, and seems at time to genuinely care about the people living in the town. He is, however, not averse to committing acts of violence.
- Livia Soprano (of The Sopranos) seems at first to merely be a grumpy old lady. She is very insistent that nobody swear or smoke in her presence. Then she all but encourages her brother-in-law to put a hit out on her own son.
- When they're not on the job, many of the mercenaries of Team Fortress 2 try to be this, handing out human molars and inordinate amounts of blood money to trick or treaters, defending Snissmas shoppers from inhuman monsters, escorting unarmed noncombatants through deadly robot hordes, and helping children to conquer their fears through teaching them to commit murder. Moral Dissonance is invoked, lampshaded, and played for laughs, especially in the case of the Pyro.
- General Tarquin of The Order of the Stick. He puts a "Baby on Board" sign on his war chariot, offers heartfelt apologizes to his partner in crime Malack when Tarquin upsets him, is unfailing polite, and a devoted father. But he also leads a militaristic nation, burns escaped slaves alive. In a comic that sums up his relationship perfectly, he is laughing heartily eating ice cream with his son, while walking past a statue of Tarquin beheading someone.
- The "Red Hood" from Batman: Under the Red Hood, upon taking over the local drug trade, informs the mobsters that they are NOT to sell their wares to kids... or he'll kill them.
- The Simpsons had this in Hank Scorpio, a power-mad super villain... who wanted to make sure all his employees and their families lived safe, comfortable lives.
- Black Manta from Young Justice deserves a place here for using a terrorist mission to teach his son a lesson about honesty.
- Father from Codename: Kids Next Door IS this trope. He hates the Kids Next Door and will do everything in his power to wipe them out, sometimes through some rather family-unfriendly horrifying means. However, since he is a father, he dotes on his own kids, the Delightful Children From Down The Lane, and tells them to mind their manners while they carry out acts of villainy, and behave in the presence of adults while they carry out acts of villainy.
- Mob boss "Diamond Jim" Colosimo had no problems running prostitution rings and illegal gambling in Chicago, but when Prohibition went into effect he refused to have anything to do with bootlegging. (Within five months Colosimo was shot to death and his second-in-command Johnny Torrio had moved into alcohol smuggling, but that would be another trope.)
- A lot of mob bosses are like this. Little Italy in New York used to be one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, because people knew what would happen to anyone dumb enough to knock down a little old lady and steal her purse. Joseph Profaci, the namesake of the Profaci crime family, once allegedly had a man strangled to death with a rosary for stealing a chalice from Profaci's church.
- La Familia Michoacana could be the best Real Life example. One of the most brutal drug cartels, obsessed with control of the Mexican state of Michoacán, fond of beheadings, and headed by "El Mas Loco" ("The Craziest One" or "The Maddest One"), they forbid their members from doing drugs themselves and heavily promote (their atypical version of) Christianity. El Mas Loco is also a fan of John Eldredge from Focus on the Family.
- Mob hitman Richard "Iceman" Kuklinski, who claimed to have committed more than 250 murders over the course of his criminal career, hated working on holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving because he felt it was important to spend them with his family.
- Then again, he would occasionally beat his wife and scared the ever-loving piss out of his children, so this trope was "played with" to say the least.
- Fulgencio Batista was very close to his family.
- Actor Neal McDonough is an interesting partial example. He has absolutely no problem playing psychopaths and violent murderers and villains of all stripes and leaving teethmarks all over the scenery - but he's lost more than one job out of a refusal to do sex scenes. (The logic appears to be that that he's an actor and not causing any actual physical harm to his co-stars with a villain role - but getting in bed naked with an actress is still getting in bed naked with a woman who is not his wife, even if it's in front of a camera.)
- Joseph Goebbels was Adolph Hitler's chief propagandist and spin-doctor; as well one of his most devoted followers and, briefly, his successor. He was also well known as a devout family man and husband* , as well as a model father to his children, including Harald, his wife's son from a previous marriage.
- Hitler himself was fairly Puritanical.