Fan of Underdog
You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive.
—Spoon, "The Underdog"The fan of the Loser Protagonist (or mild equivalent) is almost always oblivious to that character's real troubles and failures. This is more amusing when the idolized character is already established as the show's ditz or Unlucky Everydude. When the idolized character becomes aware of this, it will prompt an embarrassed conversation explaining they're not anything special. And then his friends will chime in, a little too enthusiastically. Naturally, this only serves to make the fan more enthusiastic. Occasionally the fandom is impressed by this lack of Comedic Sociopathy, making them candidates for Better Than Canon pairings. See also The Knights Who Say Squee. Contrast Warts and All. For aversions in games where a character is instead hated by the audience for their ineptness, see the low-tier examples in Tier-Induced Scrappy. Not to be confused with the fandom of a certain cartoon superhero dog.
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Anime and Manga
- In Mari Mite, Kanako looks up to Yumi.
- Tamao looks up to "victim-chan" Nagisa in Strawberry Panic!, as does Chiyo.
- Shinobu Maehara in Love Hina seemed inordinately optimistic of Keitaro compared to other others. It makes a bit more sense if you consider *her* as a Loser Protagonist; many of her problems are feminized versions of the troubles he has.
- Hinata Hyuuga in Naruto is pretty much defined by her deep-seated crush on the titular character who eventually loves her back. . However the trope itself is subverted, because Hinata is completely aware of Naruto's short comings, and she admires him exactly because he has the determination and self-confidence to change them.
- Supporters of Hinata can also be considered under this trope.
- Ironically, Naruto is a fan of Rock Lee for being an underdog like him, as well.
- Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket could be considered a straight take on this, she's easily the cat of the zodiac's biggest fan (this includes Kyo). She's not so much oblivious of his faults as understanding that there are some serious underlying causes. When she heard the legend of the zodiac as it's usually told she explicitly declared the cat her favorite for exactly this reason before she even met him.
- One of the results of Yurika Misumaru's similarly obsessive crush on Akito in Martian Successor Nadesico.
- When Sora Naegino from Kaleido Star is shunned by almost all the performers and her mentor isn't sure she can make it, her only supporters were two new recruits (Mia and Anna), her stage manager (Ken), the dorms manager (Sarah) and the lead stagehand's daughter (Marion).
- Cesilee and Marcus in The Cyantian Chronicles.
- Pretty much half the cast of Katekyo Hitman Reborn! admires Tsuna for unclear or misguided reasons.
- In Deadman Wonderland, Senji (AKA Crow) is shown to take a huge liking to Ganta (partly because Ganta defeated him, but that was mostly by a fluke), even though Ganta showed himself as being quite a coward and weakling.
- In Detective Conan, Ai Haibara, despite being not a soccer fan, is fan of the player Ryusuke Higo of Big Osaka. He was transfer player from the rival team and was hated and unaccepted by both fanbases, and Ai can relate with him very well because of her backstory.
- Meiling of Cardcaptor Sakura acted as such to The Rival Syaoran. While Syaoran wasn't exactly undermined by the rest of the cast (especially not Sakura herself), he was the Butt Monkey and an unofficial candidate for Master of the Cards with the rest of the band rooting for Sakura. Meiling spent the entire first arc rooting for Syaoran and trying to help him capture the Clow Cards.
- Don Rosa's two Three Caballeros comic stories portray Panchito and Josť as idolizing hapless Chew Toy Donald Duck, in a nice contrast to all the comical abuse he takes from everybody in Duckburg.
- In Identity Crisis, Ralph Dibny recounts how he and his wife Sue met. He and The Flash had shown up at some fancy event and saved everyone there. A-lister Flash had nearly everyone's attention — everyone except Sue, who was immediately interested in B-lister Ralph. Ralph claims that's one of the reasons Sue is so special — despite being surrounded by superheroes with heroic builds and chiseled good looks, she's never had eyes for anyone but Ralph.
- Gaston Lagaffe's harebrained schemes never go right, and tend to annoy all the rest of his coworkers, but his girlfriend Jeanne doggedly believes he's a genius. In one instance, their car wound up stuck in a tree, and she wouldn't believe he didn't do it on purpose to get them a better view.
- Walter from The Muppets is the muppet personification of this trope. He loves The Muppets regardless if they have been out of the loop for 30 years and has an unbridled admiration for them. Case in point: he finds Fozzie Bear genuinely funny.
- The Hunger Games: President Snow explains to Seneca why he personally hates underdogs, because ruthlessly oppressing the underdogs is the only thing keeping Panem afloat.
- Practically the entire relationship between Rincewind and Twoflower in the Discworld novels The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Interesting Times. Twoflower is incredibly naive, and a few off-the-cuff bravado remarks by Rincewind have cemented him in Twoflower's eyes as a great wizard, despite the fact that he can do no magic whatsoevernote and his talents rely entirely on running away from things.
- Ron from Harry Potter is a fan of the Chudley Cannons Quidditch team, whose terrible losing streak (going on for about a century now) is a recurring gag of the series.
- Ron himself gains a "fangirl" in Lavender Brown in Half-Blood Prince.
- In Outlander Leander, Valli thinks of Leander as a brave adventurer, constantly asking him about places he's been even though he doesn't know the answers.
Live Action TV
- The Big Brother winner each year is the person at the biggest disadvantage: a transsexual, a Tourette's sufferer, Alex, etc.
- This is most likely related to how the British are famous for supporting the underdog.
- In the That '70s Show episode "Street Fighting Man", Eric invokes this as his reason for wearing a bears jersey among packers fans.
- Many Jobbers have their own devoted fanbases.
- In the World Wrestling League, Mr. 450 says that Puerto Ricans cheer for Sensational Carlitos because they like underdogs but the fact of the matter is he's the best wrestler in the world and would beat Carlitos no matter how much they wanted the underdog to win.
- Back when ABC was covering the Olympics, they would always make it a point of finding and highlighting the unlikely Olympians who, despite their shortcomings and their lack of ability, embodied the "Olympic spirit" by actually getting to the Olympics and giving it their all anyway because, damn it, that's what the Olympics is all about. These athletes had absolutely no hope of winning, but didn't seem to care because the point was showing up and trying.
- Unfortunately, the International Olympic Committee saw these sorts of "athletes" as an embarrassment rather than an embodiment, and changed the qualification rules. Its highly unlikely we'll ever see stories on Olympians like Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards again.
- In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Marta is this for Emil, in a more romantic way.
- In Fire Emblem, if you choose to have them support each other, Rebecca the Archer becomes this towards Lowen the Cavalier; she embellishes his 'daring rescue' of her village knowing full well that she's doing so, simply because she prefers to remember it that way.
- Aatrox from League of Legends is this...sort of. He sides with various underdog forces throughout history, inspiring them to fight with untold fury and revel in combat...until the Unstoppable Rage wears off and the victors think of what they did.
- Varric in Dragon Age is a storyteller who enjoys putting his characters through the ringer. In Dragon Age: Inquisition, he mentions to Blackwall that he likes the beaten underdog more than the flawless hero, as you want them to pull through that much more. It's also hard not to picture him thinking of Hawke, his closest friend, while he's saying this.
Varric: Scrappy is better than flawless. I like heroes who try their damnedest, even if they fail a lot. It's easy to be valiant when you always win and everything goes your way. There's nothing great in that.
- Ricky "Turtle" Tuttle in Pv P manages to be an even bigger loser than Francis while idolizing him to a fanatic level. He even kills himself by literally jumping off a bridge because he thought Francis would approve.
- Jareth in Roommates to a ridiculous extent. He roots for all people who aren't treated well / fairly in / by their story (no matter how ditzy or otherwise flawed they may be). The guy ended up with the "Unwanted" as court theme!
- One episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers had a boy named Jason idolize Wheeler. It would be a stretch to call Wheeler a "loser," but he is usually the least knowledgeable and biggest screw-up of the team.
- One episode of Hey Arnold! combines this with Warts and All. The chronically-unlucky geek Eugene discovers his favorite superhero's actor is really a Jerkass and abandons his usual attitude in order to "go bad." Unfortunately, there's a younger kid who looks up to Eugene, and suffers a similar sense of disillusionment at Eugene's change. (In the end, though, both get a happy ending after being rescued from near-death by the previously-nasty actor.)
- Milo of Pepper Ann only cheered for the school team when they were on a losing streak, his mantra regarding sports being "choose to lose." Once they started winning, he quickly lost interest.
- South Park has Pip, Butters and Dougie who are all "Melvins" prone to bullying at school, and so often act as their only friends. Stan and Kyle occasionally Throw the Dog a Bone as well (so long as no one else is around).
- X-Men: Evolution portrays Amanda Sefton as one of these, in regards to Kurt "Nightcrawler" Wagner.
- In one Tiny Toon Adventures episode, Acme Loo has lost every single football game of the season. Sneezer is the only fan, specifically of Plucky.
- The more outspoken, zealous fans of the character Lemongrab of the show Adventure Time tend to be this IRL, as they tend to overlook the painfully obvious fact that the character, though he is downtrodden, is a complete asshole to everybody around him.
- Recess had Gus (the underdog, and general Unlucky Everydude of the series) being idolized by a kindergartener named Hector who called him "Safety Man" and believed him to be the coolest of all the older kids on the playground. In a later episode when Gus does become "cool" in the eyes of his peers, Hector is the one who tells him he was more respectable before as "Safety Man."
- On Total Drama, Sam keeps switching between support for Cameron and Lightning during the season four finale, since "they keep trading underdog status! It's confusing."
- A general Real Life example in regards to sports. It's not too uncommon a notion that one will, given that their local/favorite team isn't doing well in most situations, cheer for whoever is the comparative underdog. Especially true in professional-level playoffs and collegiate-level rankings.
Seneca Crane: Everyone likes an underdog.
President Snow: I don't.