Horrible Judge of Character

Jafar: I don't trust him, sire.
Sultan: Nonsense! One thing I pride myself on, Jafar… I'm an excellent judge of character.
Iago: Oh, excellent judge, yeah, sure… not!
Aladdin

Real Life manipulators appear convincing and interested in your own good, and soothe one in by being nice, kind, getting your sympathy and if that doesn't suffice for them to get everything they want, they begin pushing buttons as they lie whenever they can get away with it. All of that is so subtle that it usually escapes the people who it is happening to.

But in fiction, manipulation is usually just the result of the victim carrying an Idiot Ball. Everyone else, especially the audience, can and will immediately identify the manipulator as evil, but the manipulated is simply a Horrible Judge of Character. Compare to when only the protagonists see through the manipulator and everyone else holds him in high regard, in that case it's a Devil in Plain Sight. Compare to The Alpha Bitch who is quite often also transparently mean, abusive and treacherous to everyone (who doesn't have the authority to punish her for it), yet inside her clique (read: "popular" and/or upper-class people), magically everyone likes her.

When the plot requires for this Horrible Judge Of Character to regularly make Card Carrying Villains his most intimate confidants, they're The Ingenue—or Too Dumb to Live. Innocence and helplessness may attract guardians and friends, but will also make them vulnerable targets to get romantically involved with Troubled, but Cute or The Vamp.

On the extreme end, the Friend to All Living Things will also be intensely loyal to their friends, so they'll ignore all evidence that the Manipulator means them harm. When true friends try to point them to suspicious behavior or even show outright damning evidence, they will get a pouty "You're just jealous of our friendship!" and be blown off as The Cassandra, probably earning an earful about how Baron Bloodlove is a wonderful human being who just happens to be around whenever someone's bloodless corpse is found.

It usually takes a point blank Evil Monologue from their "friend" over the True Companion's corpse to even faze them into considering the possibility they might not be as hug-tastic a friend as they thought. If it doesn't break them, then they'll just turn right back around and follow their "friend" around, say he forgives them for killing off thousands and betraying him completely, and insist the Power of Trust and Friendship will redeem them.

This may or may not work.

Hero with Bad Publicity is the reverse of this, where a character who is considered evil is actually good. If it's romantic, expect a Love Martyr, Love Makes You Dumb or Mad Love. If the "friend" is a Chessmaster, then they're an Unwitting Pawn. If the horrible judge of character causes a horrible plot development by doing this, they are an Unwitting Instigator of Doom. Related is Pacifism Backfire, where someone chooses not to act violent against someone else; one reason is that he still believes that someone is still good. Contrast Evil Cannot Comprehend Good. In larger numbers, expect to get Gullible Lemmings.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Gankutsuou, Albert is a Horrible Judge of Character. He ignores the strange coincidences when the count arrives in Paris, the horrible turns of events, the letters to his father. Even when his childhood best friend pleads with him that he be careful around the count, all he gets are tantrums. The count, being a Magnificent and Manipulative Bastard counted on this, and systematically destroys Albert's remaining confidence in him by slowly spelling out how he was a piece in his schemes for revenge… and does so precisely in the most heartless manner possible to get him to challenge him to a duel and get a legal excuse to kill him as a revenge against his parents.
  • Dragon Ball
    • Goku frequently underestimates just how evil some people can be, and is all too willing to assume they aren't lying to him when he has them at his mercy. He is shocked that Raditz was lying after he pleas for his life, claiming that he will leave Earth peacefully if his life is spared. The moment Goku let go of his tail, Raditz kicks him, crushes his ribs, and calls him an idiot for believing him. He also spares Frieza's life on two separate occasions (in Z and Resurrection 'F') out of a misguided act of mercy, and both times Frieza took advantage of it. Finally, in Super, he completely misreads Zamasu, seeing him as a good Kai and not believing he has anything to do with Goku Black, despite Zamasu showing open hostilities towards him during their visit and even trying to attack Goku after losing a sparring match. It isn't until Goku sees Future Zamasu helping Black that he realizes what a scumbag Zamasu will become.
    • Dragon Ball Super has Gowasu, the Supreme Kai of Universe 10. While his apprentice Zamasu is firmly convinced that mortals are Always Chaotic Evil and the gods' inaction in their affairs is a sin, Gowasu is willing to look past this and teach him because, in his words, Zamasu is pure-hearted with a strong sense of justice. Even after Zamasu cuts down an inhabitant of Planet Babari rather than just walking away, this being right after Zamasu openly suggested that they just wipe out all of the Babarians and be done with it, Gowasu is still willing to believe the best in him and believes that after their visit and his subsequent lecture over the Babarian's death, Zamasu has finally learned his lesson. It's only when Goku, Beerus, and Whis save him from being murdered by Zamasu and expose his plans to wipe out all mortal life that Gowasu is forced to acknowledge just how evil Zamasu really is. Even then, he genuinely believes that going to the future to scold Zamasu and give him a Last-Second Chance will actually work; one would think that after everything he's heard about the atrocities Zamasu has committed in the future and even seeing the results with his own eyes, Gowasu would know that Zamasu is beyond reason. Once the crisis is resolved in Episode 67, Beerus advises Gowasu to choose his disciples more carefully in the future.
  • Gundam:
    • the Earth Federation from the UC is this.
      • In 0083, they give total power over the colonies to Jamitov Hymen and Bosque Ohm, who at the very least failed miserably to stop Operation Stardust and at worst ACTUALLY ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN.
      • Jamitov himself is one of these in Zeta Gundam. He chooses Bosque as his Dragon, Jerid Messa as his disciple, and recruits Paptimus Scirocco from the Jupiter Energy Fleet, giving him the best ship in the fleet and allowing him to accumulate a great deal of power under him. The thing is, Bosque doesn't care about Jamitov's agenda and just wants to kill every Spacenoid he can catch, Jerid plans to eventually supplant Jamitov, and Scirocco plans to supplant Jamitov without the 'eventually'.
      • By Char's Counterattack they show no signs of improvement in spite of all this. The deal they cut with Char basically amounts to: "In return for not dropping your space rocks on us, we'd like to give you a giant space rock! And as an extra bonus, it's loaded with nukes!"
      • Really, after a certain point it stops being humorous and becomes worrying. One has to wonder if the Earth Federation has a terrorist insurance policy on the planet Earth and is desperately trying to cash in on it.
      • Gundam Unicorn says "YES". According to various Zeon scholars, Moar Terrorists = Moar fascist defense funding for various Federation bureaucrats! And the ones that are smart enough to realize they're giving too much backing to the terrorists are usually killed by the series' protagonists.
      • This eventually comes to a resolution in Crossbone Gundam, where it's revealed that the Jupiter Energy Fleet has been manipulating both the Federation and the various incarnations of Zeon, with their stated goal under Fonse Kagatie being to weaken the Feds enough to where they can eventually overthrow them and establish total hegemony over the Earth Sphere.
    • In G Gundam, there's Chairman (later Prime Minister) Karato. Though that could be somewhat explained by how much of a Manipulative and Magnificent Bastard his Treacherous Advisor Urube is.
  • Mazinger Z: In one of the last chapters of the manga penned by Gosaku Ota we were introduced to Yumiko Shiozai—The Hero Kouji's grandmother. She met Hell in college when she was a student, and she thought despite his quirkiness he was a good person. Dr. HELL. As well known as the Big Bad. His sanity was already slipping, he was beginning to look Obviously Evil and he was troubled and paranoiac and prone to Kick the Dog. Oh, and he stalked her. Obsessively.
  • From Doubt, we have Yuu. A nice guy who is stuck with his friends in an abandoned place and one of them is killing the others. And despite one of their members being a delinquent with a Hair-Trigger Temper who was willing to beat him up after Yuu accidentally bumped into him and another is an aloof, mysterious guy who seems to know more than he lets on, he still thinks it's all an outside job. Though he eventually does wonder in later chapters whether one of them did kill everyone in their group.
  • Lithuania from Axis Powers Hetalia. His boss Russia is a male Yandere, his crush Belarus is Russia's sister and a Yandere as well, his best friend is the often selfish Poland (though in Poland's defense, he does attempt to help him with Russia more than once, and clearly stands up to Russia in Meeting of the World). However, this trope only applies to his one-sided crush on Belarus, as he expresses frustration in dealing with Russia and Poland, and deals with them because he has to, and he makes the best of a bad situation.
  • In Fate/Zero Kirei Kotomine seems to simply inspire trust. Risei trusts him unconditionally (though this is kind of justified as Kirei is Risei's son) and Tokiomi Tohsaka notes that he seems more nihilistic than faithful or religious… yet he also trusts him immensely and it never occurs to him that Kirei might not be the most loyal person on earth. Even Assassin believes that Archer (aka Gilgamesh) is no problem at all when Assassins are implied to never get into direct fights. Bazett also trusts Kotomine a bit too much.
  • Tsuna from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is this, somewhat. He does realize that the villains aren't the nicest people on earth, but is very naive about wishing to believe the best in people (namely, Rokudo Mukuro). It's lampshaded by several characters in the series (yes, even by the villains themselves).
  • For most of The Twelve Kingdoms' first Story Arc, Yuka Sugimoto swears complete loyalty to the King of Kou despite several indications that he is simply using her and cares for nothing but himself. Even after being abandoned on a remote, barren farm, she makes up an excuse for it herself and remains eager to do his bidding. Sure, the girl is desperate to be the heroine, but still!
  • Prince Diamond of season 2 of Sailor Moon refuses to hear anyone question the motives of his adviser Wiseman. A skeleton with glowing hands and eyes. Who wears a Black Cloak. Who had previously appeared before them very suddenly offering them his wisdom and the power of the Evil Black Poison Crystal. In his defense, he's also the ruler of a planet of people exiled by the kingdom of Crystal Tokyo, so he's not stable. This all only applies to the anime, because in the manga, the Black Moon Clan were evil and Demand was pure evil, so nobody really cared much about Wiseman since they were all after the same goal.
    • In the same story line and also in the anime, Cooan is revealed to be in love with Rubius, who is completely evil and clearly using her. Learning the obvious is what leads her and the other three Ayakashi Sisters to their Heel–Face Turn.
  • A cynic could very well consider Akane Tendo of Ranma ˝ to be one of these. She is convinced that Ryoga Hibiki is a sweet, gentle, kind-hearted person and her best friend. While he does make some good character growth, Ryoga is very flawed as well: petty, melancholic, obsessive, childish, and obsessed with wooing her, and her blindness to his romantic intentions is one of the things that upsets him the most. She blatantly ignores things like the fact he was once part of a plot to kidnap her because he does things like choke down her repulsive food and lie that it tastes delicious, immediately leaps to assault Ranma when Akane gets angry or upset, and otherwise goes out of his way to stroke her ego. In fact, it's possible that this is the keystone behind her apparent inability to realise he is really her pet pig P-chan: she thinks so highly of him that she can't conceive he would abuse her trust and stain her honor the way that pretending to be an animal so he can, among other things, sleep in her bed.
    • Given her trust levels for Ranma, the same could be applied there. While Ranma is hardly a model citizen, Akane is generally willing to accuse Ranma of all sorts of immoral actions that he would never take, or has shown any sign of taking. Most notably is her insistence that Ranma is a pervert, despite the fact that Ranma never shows any kind of lust and never abuses his Gender Bender curse to go peeping. Ranma is guilty of many things, but he is all but immune to lust.
  • Elmer C. Albatross and Graham Spectre from Baccano!!. Elmer is thoroughly convinced that even the biggest monster secretly has a heart of gold and happens to be best friends with Mad Scientist/terrorist Huey Laforet. As for Graham? Well, he Hero Worships Ladd Russo.
    • Though in Graham's case, he isn't that different from Ladd personality-wise. It's just as likely that Graham is well aware of what kind of man Ladd is, but is so violently insane himself that he likes it!
  • Catherine Gregory from the manhwa Burning Hell. Okay, so she led a sheltered life and can't understand Korean or Japanese, but the two guys she's stuck with are Ax-Crazy and make no bones about it and look her in the eyes with Slasher Smiles, and she even compared their fighting a common foe to a two-headed demon; and she still considers them to be kind-hearted saviors! When you think that about a guy who wants to eat you and another who considers you prime material for a Body Works-type "work of art," you're getting pretty close to Too Dumb to Live.
  • Kaito from Yu Gi Oh Zexal may not have completely trusted his father, Dr. Faker, but the fact that he believed him at all or that any of what he was telling him was the truth was likely Kaito's biggest fault.
    • Of course, Dr. Faker himself was an even bigger example. Believing Vector's promises to help Haruto—which were obviously lies—caused him to commit numerous atrocities that may have made him an accomplice to genocide. (And technically still might, unless the heroes are victorious.)
  • Bear Walken of Gungrave trusted Harry McDowell with both the fate of Millenion and his daughter. Bear Walken was a good Mafia boss but apparently terrible with people.
  • Bleach's Momo Hinamori is an especially unlikable example of this, although her denial is partly caused by the trauma of having to recognize that her trusted mentor is actually a murdering, tyrannical rebel bent on warping your mind for his own convenience.
  • In Weiß Kreuz, Ken Hidaka is quite convinced that his childhood friend Kouichiro Kase can't possibly know what his evil boss is up to. One murder and an attempt on Ken's own life later, he wises up to Kase's conniving ways, but it takes another attempt on Ken's life before he actually does anything about it—which, for those of you playing along at home, would be the third time Kase's tried, and failed, to kill him.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist.
    • May thinks Yoki and Scar are good guys long before Character Development hits either of them. She also mistrusts the Elric brothers for a while, probably because she thought Ed had "lied" to her about being tall and handsome as opposed to short (in reality, she just thought this up herself and took her disappointment out on him). There's also the fact that they were Scar's enemies... Things don't work out so well for her when she decides to trust Envy, though.
  • Sakura Gari: Masataka. Honestly, there are all these horrible rumors about Souma, Souma himself acts really weird, strange events keep occurring, and... he just thinks Souma is a nice master. Right.
  • In Naruto, there are a few cases of this:
    • The main character himself is a rare justified example. He's rather clueless regarding normal human interactions due to his isolation by the villagers and peers until he became a ninja, so he tended to trust people who showed an outward facade of friendliness (he was very starved for positive attention). His former teacher Mizuki, appeared to be the nice teacher to Umino Iruka's Stern Teacher, tricked Naruto into steal the Forbidden Scroll and then planned to kill him, and Kabuto, who was an agent for Orochimaru for years and only pretended to be a friendly upperclassman. Ironically, Sasuke was the only one from Team 7 who realized there was something off about Kabuto before his second encounter with his brother.
    • The biggest example, however, would be the Third Hokage, who actually allowed Shimura Danzo to reform ROOT after the Fourth Hokage had disbanded the shadow group, because he felt he needed someone to take care of the dirty deeds that couldn't be linked to the village. The Fourth ended up being right in not trusting ROOT; Danzo schemed for years to oust Sarutobi to become Hokage himself, going as far as seeking assistance from foreign powers to do so, enabling Orochimaru's experiments, and even forced the Uchiha coup to be unable to resolve peacefully by removing the eye of Uchiha Shisui, who planned to use it to pacify his clan, only to transplant it to himself so he could use it's superior hypnotic capabilities to get his way.
  • Ayase of Okane Ga Nai: his cousin sold him to the Yakuza and he thinks it was just a "misunderstanding." This is also the guy who surrounds himself with "friends" who - without exception - are trying to get in his pants. And he keeps thinking that it's also just a "misunderstanding" when one of his "best friends" tries to rape him. Twice. And then chain him to a bed post in his room. Aaaand he lives with the loan shark who bought him from said cousin. For more details just look in the Too Dumb to Live entry. He's there too.
  • Araki of Hana to Ryuu (prequel to Kizuna) doesn't seem to notice that his most trusted employee has all the qualifications of psychopath, rapist, murderer and torturer, despite the fact that he tried to drive his boyfriend to suicide, is constantly trying to kill him, and murdered Araki's wife who was pregnant with his unborn child. Yeah, he's just a great guy.
  • Asuna's father Shouzou in Sword Art Online thinks Sugou is a friendly, bright little protege, and arranges a marriage between the two without noticing that his daughter hates the evil bastard. Later, after it becomes clear that Sugou is the reason Asuna and a hundred others stayed in their comas a few extra months, and that Sugou was planning on brainwashing/raping her, he resigns from his position as CEO, and Asuna is only barely able to convince him not to retire outright. Of course, Sugou made sure to act like an honest, kind man to his boss, and only let the facade drop in front of Kirito, whom he believed wouldn't be able to do anything about the marriage.
  • Like the game it's based off, the XY arc of Pokémon Adventures has Professor Sycamore praising Lysandre despite the fact that Lysandre is obviously insane. What makes it worse here is that everyone else can see it and reacts accordingly, whether it being with fear or suspicion, while Sycamore continues to defend him with light and sparkles in the background.
  • When the Pokémon gang first meets Barry, he admires Ash's rival Paul, and consider Ash (and Dawn) inferior trainers compared to Paul. Barry cast this opinion after watching the Hearthome Tag Battle Tournament Arc on TV, the very same competition where Paul blatantly quits in the middle of a battle for petty reasonsnote  leaving his tag-team partner, Ash, to win the fight for their team on his own.
    • In the Kalos arc, Alain is this to Lysandre. Lysandre gets Alain to help his goals to use Mega Evolution for peaceful purposes, when in reality he's been the mastermind behind almost everything that happens in the Mega Evolution specials and eventually the main series once Team Flare makes their appearance.
  • Sonic X: Despite being sworn enemies with Eggman, Knuckles is always fully prepared to believe his latest lie about wanting to change his ways and help him out, and no matter how many times he realizes that Eggman lied to him, he'll always fall for it again. It's even lampshaded in the Season 2 episode "An Enemy in Need," where the others flat-out call him out on falling for Eggman's latest claim that he'll reform if they give him the Chaos Emerald; even then, Knuckles adamantly refuses to even consider the possibility that Eggman is lying until Decoe and Bocoe show up and Eggman himself lets it slip that Knuckles fell for it.

    Comic Books 
  • Betty Ross actually fell for Glenn Talbot, a Jerk Ass at best, and a sociopathic Smug Snake at his worst.
  • Susan of Candorville has made some pretty bad decisions, such as trying a bit of Operation: Jealousy on her oblivious friend Lemont (it doesn't work; not only does he want her to be happy, it leaves him open to pursue an online relationship with his college crush, who happens to be Susan's married ex-best friend) or adopting a dog that's obviously a wolf that might be Lemont's vampire baby mama in disguise.
  • This is pretty much King Max's defining trait in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog. He trusted the original Dr. Robotnik to the end and never suspected his true colors until it was too late. Issue 233 reveals him to have a history of this; Harvey Who explicitly warned him not to trust Warlord Kodos, not to let Ixis Naugus remain in the kingdom, not to exile Nate Morgan, and finally not to take the original Robotnik in, but Max ignored him every single time. There's a reason he's been given the title of Maximilian the Cursed.
    • This is actually justified. Way back in issue 58 Max explained that every ruler would bathe in the Source Of All and receive it's guidance in times of crisis. Though why the Source manipulated Max the way it did was never explained.
  • Subverted in Fables. Ambrose, who up until the 8th book had been a not too bright Nice Guy sets out to restore his kingdom in the homelands. He recruits dead fables in the Witching Well, promising them a physical body and a chance at redemption for their sins. This includes Shere Khan and Bluebeard, both of whom betrayed the fable community and plan to betray him for control of his kingdom. Not only does Ambrose know, it's all part of his plan.
  • Spider-Man: examples:
    • The idiot who authorized giving Norman Osborn the authority he had during Dark Reign fits the list, plain and simple. (It was at first assumed to be President Barack Obama, due to the shade of the hand presenting Osborn, but it was later retconned that Obama's predecessor was the one holding the Idiot Ball.)
      • And although even his son Harry told him off during that mess, after the events of Superior Spider-Man, Harry's former wife and Peter's former friend Liz Allan has been seen in a new alliance with Norman Osborn as he attempts to establish a new identity and corporation (now that his identity as the Green Goblin is no longer a secret). Whether she is doing this entirely out of free will is unknown, but it's very possibly that the biggest reason is to ensure a better future for her own son.
    • Aunt May was played like this a lot in the 1960s, especially with regards to "that awful Spider-Man" and Doctor Octopus (who charmed the socks off her and almost married her). That she liked to tell Peter that bohemian party-girl Mary Jane would make a good future wife for him seemingly was another instance of this, but in the 1980s it turned out that she was actually right. It was also later stated - in her backstory - that she almost married a murderer named Johnny Jerome. (How did that end? Long story short, it was right before she met Ben, who was quite the chivalrous type way back then, especially when he saw a Damsel in Distress.)
    • A minor example involving Spider-Man: When Joe Robinson was in legal trouble for withholding evidence in a murder involving Tombstone, Joe's attorney Cynthia Bernhammer starting dating Nick Katzenberg, a sleazy tabloid paparazzi with no morals who specialized in making celebrities, including Spider-Man, look bad. In fact, she was the only person who didn't hate him, and even she wondered at one point why she was attracted to a "lowlife worm" (as she put it) like him. Although, it's not known what became of their relationship, as Cynthia stopped appearing after Joe was pardoned, and Nick was eventually killed off.
    • Of course, that was nothing compared to Glory Grant, J. Jonah Jameson's secretary at the Daily Bugle. Her one-time lover Edwardo Lobo was a Mexican mobster and a mutant werewolf; she didn't know at first, but even after she found out, she was okay with it! She continued to love him until the very end, when a gang war between the Lobos Syndicate and The Kingpin's organization concluded in a violent and bloody melee, which resulted in Spidey grappling with Edwardo in werebeast form. Glory grabbed a gun that had been dropped by the Kingpin's Number Two, and actually tried to shoot Spider-Man to save Edwardo; but she missed, hitting Edwardo instead and killing him.
  • In Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Supergirl thinks that murderous, egomaniac, xenophobic, jerkass and Manipulative Bastard Lex Luthor is "the most wonderful man in the world" . To be fair, he was a master manipulator who deceived everyone but Batgirl and Bruce Wayne, and after discovering his true colors, Kara turned on Luthor at once.
  • Superman: The braintrust in charge of the cloning programs in Superman: At Earth's End decided to pass over the likes of Elvis Presley, Lex Luthor, and John F. Kennedy, to clone Hitler. Twice.
  • Iznogoud: The Caliph has Iznogoud - a man who tries to carry out an evil scheme to get rid of him on any day ending in "Y" - as his grand vizier and most trusted adviser. You do the math.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Vale Whitaker, the heroine of the Hunger Games fanfiction Some Semblance of Meaning, is awful at discerning the true alignments and motivations of others. Even in the arena, she wants to trust others, which leads to her allying with Phlox, who tries to kill her and her other allies. However, the one person that she consistently distrusts is Obsidian, who is quite kind to her, all things considered, and even saves her life on multiple occasions.
    • Later on, during their alliance, we learn that Vale also misjudges Obsidian by thinking that, as a well-trained and strong Career, he must not have any problems, while he is simultaneously plagued with constant questions about the morality of his actions, as well as the fear that he is Not So Different from Amber and the other Careers. Obsidian also misjudges Vale by mistakenly assuming that she is a Purity Sue type who could never hurt anyone and therefore lacks the kind of worries that consume him.
  • In The Prayer Warriors Jerry, the main character, qualifies on no less than three occasions in "The Evil Gods Part 1". In the space of a single chapter, there are two cases- when he believes Ethan when he repents his sins, but kills Thalia when she tries to do the same on the mere chance that she's lying- the former turns out to be a traitor, while the latter joins the Prayer Warriors in "The Evil Gods Part 2", and is retconned into being one all along. He also doesn't realize that his own wife is a traitor, and that he's not the father of her unborn son. Interestingly enough, he has (so far) not ended up regretting deciding to trust the canonical traitor Luke.
  • In Gensokyo 20XXV, we have Reimu, who is noted, in one chapter, to be someone who can bullied one minute and still go back around trust them the next", which is true seeing that she trusted Paintbrush Bitch, when the latter let her outside, knowing full well that could place her in danger and it did. Naturally, one of the kids thought of her as a moron for doing that, to which Alice did bring up the fact that she could have thought of it as being nice by doing something the other adults wouldn't do. In that vein, Ren gave his brother a thinly veiled threat about what could happen if Baka dared to betray said trust.
    Ren: On a note and you had better get this through your thick skull and make clear note of which it is I am saying to you now, you can bully Reimu one minute and, yet, she'll still trust you the next, so, in no way, are you to violate that trust or place her into harms way and, if you do, well, we will never at all hesitate and will act as we see best, be you my older brother or not.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • In Act III, Akua and Kahlua helped Kiria in his plan to use the Chrono Displacement spell to rewrite history, going so far as to steal said spell from their father Issa's archive for Kiria to begin with, because they genuinely believed that the extent of Kiria's plan was to send Tsukune's ghoul back to the Battle of Kahdaln so as to turn the tide of the battle and change history in favor of the monsters, thus ensuring that monsters would rule the world. In chapter 52, upon their defeat, the two are completely shocked to discover that, in addition to that, Kiria also planned to send out Blackheart-infected monsters to the dark lords themselves, as well as any other being powerful enough to oppose him, so he would be the top monster in the revised timeline, and he would have had Akua and Kahlua, and possibly Moka and Kokoa as well, infected with Blackheart as well and sent back to kill their father Issa and destroy the Shuzen empire from within, all of which is anything but what they wanted. Kahlua and Akua spend the entirety of Act IV as The Atoners.
    • Tsukune's mother and cousin fall into it during Act IV, automatically trusting Jovian and Jacqueline, Hokuto's Psycho Lesbian Co-Dragons, simply because the two claimed to be Tsukune's friends. They realize just what a mistake that was after Jovian holds Kyouko hostage and rapes her, and after Jacqueline blows up the Aono house and levels most of the neighborhood to the ground for laughs.
    • In Act VII chapter 3, the new Complica decides to trust Routier right off the bat. While Routier did save her from a group of human pedophiles, she did so by ripping them to shreds with a chainsaw and laughing about it.
  • Bart Simpson Attorney At Law: Teenage Maggie toward Gina. Her idolization of Gina leads her to ignore the damage she has done toward Bart, and gets an earful from him and Marge for reintroducing Gina to him. Gina joins in a plot to kidnap Bart on behalf of Jessica Lovejoy. However, she does end up redeeming herself by testifying against Jessica, thanks to Maggie's never-ending faith.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Sultan from Disney's Aladdin. The movie even lampshades this when the Sultan provides the above page quote about priding himself to be an excellent judge of character, and Iago grumbles his sarcastic "NOT!"
    • Of course, Jafar had a hypno staff that he used to manipulate the Sultan, might have been doing it for years, so it's not clear how much of the fiasco was due to the Sultan's naivete and how much of it was because Jafar just hypnotized him into compliance that much.
  • Pinocchio, both in the Disney film, and in the Filmation unofficial sequel, Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night. He seems to think he can trust absolutely everyone he comes across. Worse yet, he often trusts people that he's well aware have double crossed him before. In the latter, he willingly makes deals with a boatman with glowing red eyes aboard a ship referred to as "The Empire of the Night."
  • A Goofy Movie. Goofy is convinced that his Toxic Friend Pete is "good with kids," despite Pete more-or-less mentally abusing his son for ''years. When Pete hears of Max's aloofness, he presents as a concerning issue that Max may end up becoming a criminal. Goofy initially shrugs it off, but the notion returns when he is called by the very neurotic principal over the stunt Max pulled. The principal rants in extreme hyperbole, leading to Goofy taking Max on the fishing trip. Then later Pete convinces Goofy that the way to keep your kids good is to "keep 'em under your thumb", demonstrating at least partially without reason that all that does is make your kids miserable. Overall, it fails as Goofy tries being more assertive, which doesn't work. This leads to more problems when Pete discovers Max editing the road trip map.
  • Aunt Sarah from Lady and the Tramp is this to an extreme degree. Throughout her scenes, she's constantly mean to Lady and considers her a danger to the baby. Things don't get better in the climax where the rat gets into the baby's open window and Tramp is able to kill it before it hurts the baby. She assumes that Tramp tried to hurt the baby, locked him in the closet until the pound arrived and threw Lady in the basement.
  • The Emperor's New Groove: Emperor Kuzco: Not only does he agree to have dinner with Yzma after he both fired and flat-out insulted her, kicking off her scheme of killing and usurping him for control over the empire, but he also believes that she and Kronk are trying to locate and bring him home rather than kill him, as Pacha attempted to warn him. Also, it never seems to occur to him that Yzma could be the one behind his transformation into a llama, even when he knows full well that she has a "secret" laboratory where she would be able to create a potion that could change him into a different creature. It takes him overhearing Yzma berate Kronk for botching the poison attempt to break him out of this trope. Of course, before character development set in, Kuzco was an arrogant, selfish jerk. It's likely he was just so full of himself that he couldn't conceive of Yzma betraying him because of his ego.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • During his brief appearance in Van Helsing, Victor Frankenstein acts shocked, shocked! that Count Dracula had ulterior motives in financing his scientific experiments other than for the science of it... even as said patron uses horror movie teleportation to saunter calmly around his laboratory as peasants with Torches and Pitchforks storm the castle.
  • In the mystery film After the Thin Man, Nora Charles's cousin Selma chooses one man over another to marry. The "winner" proves to be a cold-hearted philanderer while the "loser" is finally revealed to be a raving madman. Selma's mother: "You sure can pick 'em!"
  • Before the beginning of Sanjuro, a group of young samurai incorrectly identify the corrupt official in the clan, and plan to root him out. This would have played out perfectly for the actual corrupt official if a certain nameless ronin hadn't been eavesdropping.
  • The live action How the Grinch Stole Christmas! embellishes Cindy Lou Who's encounter with the Santa-disguised Grinch as he's stealing her home's Christmas trappings. She tells him that the Grinch isn't a bad person, just lonely. The Grinch remarks to himself that she's a "nice kid", but a "baaad judge of character". Given his later change of heart, it turns out she was spot on after all, and it's actually he who falls into this trope.
  • Alan Garner from The Hangover is dumbfounded when he finds out that he was sold roofies instead of ecstasy because the drug dealer "seemed like a real straight shooter". He also remains friends with Leslie Chow in the sequels, despite knowing full well that he's an international criminal.
  • In Fallen Angel, June Mills is an intelligent woman, but she still falls in love with and marries a man who she knows conned her hometown of Walton.
  • James Bond:
    • Diamonds Are Forever has Professor Dr. Metz, who builds the diamond-encrusted satellite for Blofeld out of the insanely stupid belief that SPECTRE's dedicated to global disarmament, rather than the blackmail-for-profit schemes they'd committed in all the previous films up until now.
    • Frederick Gray, the British Minister of Defense from The Spy Who Loved Me to The Living Daylights pretty much embodies this trope throughout the Bond films. Pretty much all of his appearances has him doubting the film's Big Bad is anything other than an ally of Britain or an Honest Corporate Executive, only to be proven wrong by Bond's subsequent investigation into them. Special mention has to be given to his final appearance in which not only he, but also M and practically all of MI-6 except for Bond, believe that the film's Big Bad is a genuine KGB defector, rather than a fraud seeking to play the British and Soviets against each other while he uses the distraction to accomplish his own agenda.
    • Licence to Kill gives us a rare villainous example in Latin American drug lord Franz Sanchez. Because he believes that Bond saved him from a botched assassination attempt by Hong Kong narcotics (really, it was the other way around), he believes Bond's (false) suggestions that his henchmen are in fact, plotting against him, prompting Sanchez to go Bad Boss on his loyal employees.
    • Pretty much all the good guys get hit with this trope at least once in The World Is Not Enough: Bond and M believe that Elektra King is the grieving daughter of an old friend of theirs, rather than the mastermind behind her father's death, Russian mobster Valentin Zukovsky from Goldeneye has his bodyguard The Bull turn out to be in the employ of The Dragon Renard, and Colonel Akakievich mistakenly believes Bond is behind the plot to steal a bomb from the nuclear test site he's overseeing, allowing Renard to take control of the situation, a move that ultimately costs the Colonel his life.
  • Ralphie, a five year old kid from Storm of the Century, who insists that Andre Linoge, who has been responsible for five deaths so far and is heavily implied to be The Devil, isn't a bad guy because he gave Ralphie a present, and "bad guys don't give kids presents."
  • Guest House Paradiso: Gina Carbonara thinks the pervy, condescending Richie is a sweet man, and believes she can trust Eddie with her identity, only moments after meeting him. (Compared to her Bastard Boyfriend, however, those two are saints).
  • Mick in Idiot Box looks up to his friend Kev, unaware that Kev is a sociopath. He remains unaware even as he starts to move beyond Kev's influence and realize he can make more of his life than Kev ever could.
  • In Byzantium, what's with nice guy Darvell later thinking Ruthven might be a good, noble recruit for the Brethren? Ruthven raped and forced Clara into whoredom and then abandoned Darvell, robbed his corpse, and stole his estate. WTF?
  • The Hunger Games: One of Katniss Everdeen's biggest flaws. Quite simply, she has a nasty habit of always assuming the worst of everyone she meets when these people ironically often end up saving her life and or genuinely caring about her. Her trust issues mostly stem from her childhood trauma of never having anyone to be there for her and in turn having to be there for her younger sister.
  • Caliph Pahn in Sinbad of the Seven Seas completely trusts his vizier Jaffar, who of course betrays him at the first opportunity.

    Literature 
  • Pinocchio in The Adventures of Pinocchio is far too trusting in people he shouldn't. This is most notable with the Fox and the Cat, who are really interested in stealing the money Mangiafuoco gave to Pinocchio. Before they do the theft, there are too many clues that they are not the good guys they pretend to be: they clearly keep feigning handicaps, call Pinocchio in a pretty suspicious way, tell Pinocchio that school is the reason for their handicaps, kill a blackbird that tries to warn Pinocchio, leave Pinocchio to pay for all the food they ate, arrange a meeting in midnight and almost kill him (they were disguised, but Pinocchio managed to bite off the Cat's paw and could have discovered all). But Pinocchio still believes their lies until the theft. Later, Pinocchio trusts the worst students in his class, even if his teacher and the Fairy advised him not to. For that, those students trick him to skip school and when one of them gets hit and faints, the rest scapegoat Pinocchio.
  • The elder princesses of the country where A Brother's Price takes place seem to have been this. They and the husband they chose are already dead at the beginning of the novel, but the trauma caused by said husband is still very alive. Because of the polygyny practiced in their culture, all their sisters suffered from their bad taste in men.
  • This is very much true of the character Squire Allworthy in Tom Jones. He's supposed to be a Reasonable Authority Figure, but throughout the novel, he always makes the wrong judgments, trusting bad characters and assuming the worst about the heroes to the extent that his reasonableness is Informed Ability.
  • In both The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons Robert Langdon unwittingly helps the villain achieve his goal while running scared from the guy who is trying to warn him about it.
  • Wuthering Heights. Lockwood originally describes Heathcliff as "a capital fellow". But then after storytime with Nelly...
  • In the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant The Lords of Revelstone gave a seat on their council to the being that would later become known to them as Lord Foul the Despiser (Also Satansheart and Soulcrusher, Corruption, the Gray Slayer, etc etc). They did give him gifts they thought should have revealed any ill intent but he was too powerful for them to work. Still a horrendously bad judgment on their part.
  • In The Book of Esther, Ahasuerus didn't realize that his vizier Haman is an Evil Chancellor, even when he tried to wipe out all the Jews in Persia, until Ahasuerus realized that this would also include his wife, the titular Esther. He trusted Haman so much that all Haman had to say was "let me take care of this group of non-law-abiders", and he got the king's signet ring to use.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Given how completely blind she is to the villainy of both her cousin, and later, Reynard himself, the Countess Persephone is an excellent example of this.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Mara Jade is typically a decent judge of character, but not necessarily when it comes to the Emperor. In Allegiance, while in his presence Mara thinks of him as a "wise and good man", for all that there are all kinds of little hints that she knows very well that he's not. She is an Emperor's Hand, a Force-Sensitive agent who can hear his commands from anywhere in the galaxy, and it's not hard to imagine that he messed with her head. Five years after his death, she's more angry at Luke for killing Palpatine because this destroyed her way of life and because his last command still echoes in her head. Not so much because a good man wisely leading the galaxy was killed, and in fact between the evidence and his waning influence she's rather messed up. In Survivor's Quest she finds herself working with the Aurek Seven stormtroopers and gets a little nostalgic for the Empire until she goes into the storage core of Outbound Flight and sees all of these supplies stacked up, on Palpatine's order, for fifty thousand people he was arranging to kill.
    • She wasn't exactly on the ball concerning Jacen either, although the level of her uncharacteristic obliviousness in that series seemed to vary from book to book, depending on what the author at the time needed in order to get away with the plot.
  • From Harry Potter:
    • Snape in regards to Harry. Snape views Harry as arrogant, attention-seeking, and selfish, whereas nothing could be further from the truth.
    • Cornelius Fudge in regards to Lucius Malfoy.
    • Percy Weasley - if calling Dolores Umbridge a "delightful woman" doesn't make him a Horrible Judge Of Character, it's hard to imagine what does.
    • The Sorting Hat is a good judge of character, but lets itself be swayed by students who have a strong preference for a house other than the one the Hat would have chosen. We see this expressly with Harry, but it's hinted with Snape (on the train to Hogwarts he expressed a strong preference for Slytherin, even though he had a lot of Gryffindor traits, to the point that Dumbledore wonders whether the Hat might have placed him differently if it were given the chance to reconsider). And it doesn't take too much Wild Mass Guessing to imagine the Hat also considered James Potter (arrogant rulebreaking prodigy that he was as a youth) in Ravenclaw, but granted him his strong wish (also expressed on the train) to be in Gryffindor. (It's worth mentioning that while the Hat stood by its earlier opinion that Harry would have done admirably in Slytherin, Dumbledore disagreed completely in The Chamber of Secrets, claiming that only a student who Godric Gryffindor himself had favored could have drawn his sword out of the Hat.)
  • Eddard Stark in A Song of Ice and Fire.
    • Sansa is this at first with regards to Joffrey and Cersei, but she eventually becomes disillusioned. Other than that, though, she's generally a pretty good judge of character—she's one of the few people who immediately recognized Littlefinger as being a dangerous creep—and this has only been improving as she acquires Jade-Colored Glasses.
    • Theon Greyjoy. No, Theon, this is not a helpful Igor. This is the master of said Igor, who wants to give you a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • David Sedaris claims in one of his essays that all his closest friends are horrible judges of character.
  • At the start of The Count of Monte Cristo, the young Count himself is a terrible judge of characters, trusting as friends the same men who will completely ruin his life and get him started on the quest for revenge that will occupy the rest of the story. In fact, he will never realize, by himself, the reason of his downfall: only with the help of old Faria will he be able to finally get a clue.
  • Cheryl from Atlas Shrugged is a young woman who believes in her author's philosophy of hero-worshiping. As a member of the villainous faction of Looters, James Taggart believes in a philosophy which is the exact opposite of Cheryl's. And yet, Cheryl manages to misunderstand Taggart so badly that she thinks he's a heroic man who believes in heroism, and marries him. Naturally, the marriage goes badly for Cheryl.
  • In Death series: Peabody sure acted like this in Holiday In Death. Eve had warned her that Brent Halloway was the wrong guy to get attracted to, due to his It's All About Me attitude. Peabody still got gooey-eyed over the guy, and as a result got his fingers being stuck into her crotch, and in one of Roarke's bars on a date, no less! At least Peabody gave that pervert a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
    • Eve's mother in New York to Dallas proves to be this. Both Eve and Melinda Jones try to warn her that Isaac McQueen is just using her and will kill her off like so many of his "partners". She doesn't listen. Guess what happens to her later on.
    • Roarke in Innocent in Death, believe it or not. Usually, he is anything except this trope. However, an old lover named Magdalana comes back and has him fooled. It took considerable effort on Eve and Summerset's part to get Roarke to see that Magdalana was just a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Bobby Harcourt in Sweet Revenge was apparently this with regards to Rosemary Hershey, according to Isabelle Flanders's recounting of past events. Fortunately for Bobby, the lust he felt for her wore off by then, he had come to see Rosemary for what she really was, and decided to divorce her. Roland Sullivan is Lethal Justice is very much this. He felt such lust for Arden Gillespie that he cheated on his wife, and essentially became Arden's puppet. Even when the consequences finally start hitting him, he refuses to leave Arden. He even figured out at a very late date that Arden had no conscience, and she confirmed it when he asked her. He still did not leave her. This just shows that Roland is a real piece of work!
  • Mister Poe in A Series of Unfortunate Events has a tendency to fall for Olaf's Paper-Thin Disguise of the day that's part this, part Captain Oblivious, with maybe a dash of not caring.
    • In general, whenever Poe expresses an opinion on someone or something, it's pretty much the opposite of what the Baudelaires (and by extension, the audience) are thinking. Though at times it can be unclear if it's this trope, or he's just trying to put on a brave face.
  • In the Young Adult novel Rosebush by Michele Jaffe, this is a huge factor in the plot, as it's the protagonist Jane who doesn't know which of her friends is the one who tried to kill her.
  • Senex in The Book of the Dun Cow unwittingly makes a Deal with the Devil with the evil Wyrm, never realizing who he is actually talking to until it's too late.
  • Tash Arranda, a Force-Sensitive protagonist from Galaxy of Fear, is very hit or miss when it comes to her friends. Thanks to their shared aptitude for The Force, immediately after meeting Luke Skywalker she feels like she can trust him. Similarly she's quickly able to sense that Wedge Antilles, Lando Calrissian, Fandomar Nadon, and Dash Rendar are good people. However, the Force doesn't give her Detect Evil powers unless the people in question are also Force-Sensitive, and she's quite susceptible to friendliness and flattery. Her brother, remembering the times she's picked up on the people who are the most helpful, once assumes that anyone she likes will be similar and it backfires.
  • The title character of Josephine Tey's Miss Pym Disposes is an amateur psychologist (formerly a teacher of French, now a bestselling author), inclined to be proud of her work in psychology. She spends some days at a women's college and at the start reflects that she's never seen such fine specimens of English women. Well, not only do all sorts of not-so-fine things turn up, but the first woman she'd taken an instant liking to turns out to be a murderer. The book ends with Miss Pym reflecting bitterly that "as a psychologist she was a pretty good teacher of French" and vowing to stop lecturing on psychology.
  • Mr. Boddy in the little-known Clue book series is surprisingly never actually killed, but a lot of attempts are made on his life by the same six people he consistently invites over either to show off this new tomb he bought to put in the back garden complete with tour, have a nice dinner, afternoon tea... he even lampshades this. He always escapes, somehow, and talks about it in the next entry.
  • George Denbrough, the first victim of the Monster Clown in Stephen King's IT. Yes he's six years old, but you'd think he'd still sense something not right about a clown who suddenly appears in a sewer grate.
  • Julia Valerian of The Mark of the Lion series is this in regards to her romantic relationships, consistently choosing partners who are abusive, invariably selfish, or who don’t love her back and are merely playing her like a fiddle for their own ends, only to drop her when she is no longer of use. Given her romantic Wide-Eyed Idealist nature in the beginning of the series and where this vicious cycle eventually lands her, this is a little bit heartbreaking.
  • Both the king and queen in The Kingdom of Little Wounds place complete faith in people they really shouldn't trust. Both of their most trusted advisers are plotting against them.
  • Played with in Divergent. Four has no problem identifying Marcus as a bad person or Tris as strong or brave, but becomes the Unwitting Pawn to multiple characters in the series. In the cases of Evelyn and Nita, they try to make it up to him, however.
  • Pharaoh - Ramesses is a bit of a loose cannon, but quite easily manipulated. Partially due to being so changeable.
  • The Hunger Games: One of Katniss's biggest flaws. Quite simply, she has a nasty habit of always assuming the worst of everyone she meets when these people ironically often end up saving her life and or genuinely caring about her. Her trust issues mostly stem from her childhood trauma of never having anyone to be there for her and in turn having to be there for her younger sister.
  • Brambleclaw in the second Warrior Cats series believed that Tigerstar was trying to redeem himself for his evil ways, and that Hawkfrost wasn't evil. He was wrong.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: When Darla shows up pregnant with Angel's child, Cordelia readily defends her from Angel and tries to keep her comfortable, which comes back to bite her (literally) when Darla attacks her. After Angel comes in and saves her, Cordelia even acknowledges that she blew it.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In spite of all his other mistakes, Eddard Stark could have succeeded if he had not trusted one particular person despite that person hating him for marrying their childhood crush (and that's not even going into their whole duel with his eldest brother which humiliated them). What Could Possibly Go Wrong? This comes partially from his wife's equally horrible misjudgement of the same character precisely because he was her Unlucky Childhood Friend. But of course, unlike the audience, neither of them were privy to his Sexposition Info Dump on his motivations.
    • Sansa is this at first. This may be a family trait; "I trust her, even though she tells me not to" could almost be the words of House Stark. She completely fails to see the parts of people she doesn't want to see, especially with regard to Joffrey. While the life in the court makes her a bit more wary and she becomes disillusioned about Joffrey, it remains to be seen if her trust in Shae, and Tyrion by extension, is a good call. This trait has pretty much vanished by Season 5 — such as the way she interacts with Myranda, not fooled for a second by the latter's Bitch in Sheep's Clothing act and she is also one of the few people who always seems uncomfortable around Littlefinger and sees the inner good in the Hound. Although she, and Littlefinger apparently, seriously misjudge how crazy Ramsay is and Sansa only sees his Mask of Sanity crack just before the wedding.
    • Catelyn is actually quite astute, warning Robb about crossing the Greyjoys (she turns out to be absolutely right about Theon) and the Freys. But she makes several terrible errors of judgment with dangerous consequences (usually, in her defense, not without some good reasons).
      • She fails to see Tyrion as the Token Good Teammate of House Lannister at least partially because she completely trusts Littlefinger, which is an even greater mistake.
      • Speaking of Littlefinger (the aforementioned Unlucky Childhood Friend) she has absolute trust in him, but he is behind pretty much everything bad that happens in the series. She vouches for him before her skeptical husband, leading directly to Ned's capture and execution.
      • Even though she doesn't fully trust Walder Frey, she has absolute faith that Walder Frey would never let any harm come to her. However, breaking Sacred Hospitality is practically unheard of in Westeros so it's not unreasonable that she would never dream that he would stoop that low, though her book counterpart is fully aware of his sneakiness.
      • Also of her sister. Catelyn seemed to trust in her absolutely when she blamed the Lannisters for Jon Arryn's death and believed that Tyrion would receive a fair trial if brought to her. In her defense, she hadn't seen her in quite some time. It's not until they meet again does she realize how crazy her sister has become.
    • Notably averted with Arya, despite it being her family's Fatal Flaw early in the series. In contrast to her father, mother and older brother and sister who all trust the wrong people (Ned and Catelyn - Littlefinger, Sansa - Joffrey and Cersei, Robb - Theon and to a lesser extent the Freys) Arya is savvy from the get-go and immediately dislikes the Lannisters, particularly Joffrey. She's also suitably guarded while surviving on her own, the only person she does trust with her identity — Gendry — is one of the rare good people in Westeros and her suspicions of people like Melisandre are quickly justified.
    • Grand Maester Pycelle invokes this trope for any eavesdroppers in "Fire and Blood" when he describes Joffrey as the most promising king he's served. He also did this in the backstory when he advised Aerys II to open the gates for his true master's Cavalry Betrayal.
  • In Happy Endings, this is slightly inverted and played with-Jane states she has pretty solid "bitch-dar" and then quietly remarks to herself "You are not fooling me one-armed surfer girl."
  • Liz Lemon of 30 Rock has this in spades. There's her long list of horrible dates and trusting the wrong men. There's the fact she counts Jenna as a friend despite the fact the woman is a hopeless narcissist. There's continuing to fail to realize the depths of Tracy's stupidity and insanity until it causes trouble. And there's her failure to realize that yes, Jack really is that amazingly selfish and shallow sometimes.
    • Most notably, Liz is a horrible judge of her own character. She talked in high school of being the picked-on nerd only to discover she was the horrible bully putting everyone down. For example, she constantly talked to a "friend" on his being gay and such but he saw it as horrible insults. When she says at the reunion she just wanted to give him the courage to come out, he asks "come out of what?" and introduces his wife.
  • All My Children: Lily Montgomery. Out of four crushes she's had in the last two years, two were murderers and a third was a pedophile. (The fourth was just really whiny; she dumped him for a murderer.)
  • The Big Bang Theory: Penny. She's gotten better, but for the first two seasons, the list of how many jerks she fell for was pretty long. Penny knew they were jerks but just didn't care; it was only after dating Leonard that she couldn't put up with them anymore. She then blamed Leonard for this, accusing him of "ruining dumb guys" for her.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Genevieve thinks that Roden actually cares for her.
  • Dexter: Dexter, while constantly acknowledges that he's a monster, is way too willing to trust people like Trinity if he thinks he could learn something about coping from them.
  • Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor is unrelentingly idealistic towards his enemies, no matter how blatantly evil they are. This is especially true regarding the Master, whom the Doctor once said was beautiful and said he'd be honored if he were to travel with him ... this same guy who has tried to take over or destroy whole planets (or even the universe), not to mention trying to kill the Doctor in horrific fashion over and over again. For whatever it's worth, the Doctor and the Master were pretty close in their youth in Gallifrey, and the Master did appear to be generally pleasant if a bit shy as a child... before he gazed into the Untempered Schism and was turned by the Time Lords into the lunatic we all know and fear.
  • Gossip Girl: Serena van der Woodsen judges a person's character based on one very simple criteria: Whether or not they like Serena. If somebody claims to like her she is convinced they must be a genuine, nice person even if they've admitted to purposely seducing her to con her mother and her mother's friends out of a lot of money. People she has previously hated, like Carter Baizen, are suddenly wonderful people once they show interest in Serena. This way of judging the world does come back to bite her in the rear on more than one occasion.
  • Heroes:
    • Dr. Mohinder Suresh possesses the uncanny ability to always somehow manage to make the absolutely worst possible choice in any given situation, a talent that has him repeatedly end up siding with and helping the bad guys (frequently without even realizing it). There's an increasingly popular Fan Wank that says this ability is his real Hero Power.
    • Sandra Bennett gets a moment like this when first meeting Sylar. This a man who is creepy, with the eyes of a killer, made all the creepier when he adopts a southern accent. Even when he's being sweet he's still creepy. What does Sandra say to him? "Well, aren't you sweet!"
    • Peter Petrelli also counts. He trusts almost everyone he shouldn't, whether it be Nathan, Adam, his mother, whoever. It's usually because he naively thinks people are good, but it gets a bit ridiculous.
    • Maya may be worst of all, though: she is flat out told that Sylar killed his own mother, but continues roadtripping/making out with him anyway. Later, when she finds out Sylar has murdered her brother, she's completely shocked and devastated.
      • In her defense, he was the only person aside from her brother who treated her nicely since discovering her ability. And when he's called on it and admits it, he words that situation to appear that it was an accident, and makes no mention of the rest of the body count he's racked up. While it doesn't sound convincing to the audience, Sylar's good enough at lying for her to buy it as well as making his situation similar enough to her own. She does eventually wise up to his true intentions in "Powerless" after he threatens her.
  • iCarly: Carly, Sam and Freddie all suffer from this, falling for or befriending jerky guys and manipulative girls.
  • Lost: John Locke is so frequently blinded by his need to be special and needed that he ends up getting duped both off-island and on by anyone who tells him that he is important.
  • Merlin: A genetic trait for Pendragons, apparently. Uther and Arthur are completely clueless that Morgana is plotting against them in season three, despite the fact that sinister smirking has become her default facial expression. Happens to Arthur again in season four when his uncle Agravaine becomes his most trusted adviser, despite the fact that Agravaine is VERY Obviously Evil.
  • NCIS: Kate suffered from this to an extent; it only happened a few times, but it is especially notable in her case both because it was the negative side of her trusting nature, and because it was probably her Fatal Flaw. Since she was unable to shoot the man who would later kill her because of his 'kind eyes'.
  • The O.C.: Marissa, in the Oliver story-line of Season One. Her later dalliance with Volchok doesn't count because she is fully aware he is bad for her. She is aware that he is "bad" by most people's standards, but actively defends him as misunderstood to everyone, until he cheats on her, humiliates her and uses her to steal money.
  • The Office (US): Michael Scott has two means of judging a person's character: by their appearance, and/or their willingness to be his friend (or even have lunch with him).
  • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive: Norg the Yeti. One of the bad guys barges in and takes over his arctic home, and Norg is just so happy to meet a new friend and would you like a snow cone? This dynamic lasts all season until the villain finally orders his Mooks to "take care of" both Norg and a Distressed Damsel - said damsel has to spell out the Trouble Entendre to Norg before he gets it.
  • In the Mega Man 1 episode of Retro Game Master, Arino says that Dr. Wily seems like a nice guy.
  • Smallville: Lana Lang. Even the usually savvy Chloe Sullivan does this on occasion towards Ian and Davis Bloome. Maybe Love Makes You Dumb.
  • Neal Caffrey, so much so. He prides himself on being good with people, and for the most part, he is, but sometimes he makes really stupid decisions about who he should trust. This is the man who fell for the woman he conned, lied to her in order to get information, told her the truth, entered a serious relationship with her, and worked with her to find a legendary diamond, only to find out that she had been playing him the entire time.
    Mozzie: You, women, and business do not mix well!
  • Young Dracula: In one episode, a friend of Vlad's grows into a full vampire and undergoes a Face–Heel Turn that causes Count Dracula to say Even Evil Has Standards. Vlad is completely oblivious to this, even after an Evil Monologue or two. He has his reasons, since he's very worried about turning evil when he becomes a full vampire, and desperately wanted to believe that his friend had gone through the transformation without any personality change.
  • Sharona Fleming in Monk, to the point where she willfully ignores evidence of the person in question's bad character. In the first episode alone, she went on a date with a guy who was pretending to be a lawyer, until Monk deduced that he was lying, and she got mad at Monk. She's of the opinion that lying about yourself is the normal way to start a relationship, which might explain why she's a single mother.
  • Real and Chance's mother during every appearance on VH-1's Celebreality series to the extent that you'd lose a liver in a drinking game over it. Liked "New York" because she was pretty, liked Rabbit because she was Christian, was wary of MILF not because she had a laundry list of emotional baggage she'd bring into a new relationship, but because she was White... until finding out she has a half-Black son. About the only good advice she ever gave during her TV time was warning her sons not to let a woman come between them.
  • Chakotay in Star Trek: Voyager has this problem. He laments that he had not one but two double-agents on his Maquis ship (one being Tuvok and the other Seska, a deep-cover Cardassian spy), and while Seska had duped Tuvok as well, Chakotay still acts out unwisely over his inability to detect her. Later on he shows a general propensity to trust aliens that he ought not to, being too optimistic that rational conversation can bring the adversary of the week over to his side. This happens with the dreamer aliens that trap the crew and later with Annorax, a time-erasing villain who tries to make Chakotay his apprentice.
  • Weyoun on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Despite claiming to be The Profiler, he repeatedly misreads The Federation in general and The Sisko in particular. This includes underestimating the fact that Humans Are Warriors.
  • Possible inversion in X Company as Franz Farber thinks that Forst is trying to undermine his position as commander. It's hard to tell if Forst is trying to be his friend and is just spectacularly bad at it, or if Forst is actually trying to sabotage him. In the mind of a Nazi, arranging to have your commanding officer's child sent to a camp for defectives would actually be an act of kindness, not malice. Which is chilling, to say the least.
  • The Defenders:
    • Daredevil
      • Matt Murdock has a shade of this when it comes to Elektra Natchios. Matt nearly ruined his future because of how much of a bad influence Elektra was on him, with her trying to make Matt a killer by presenting him with Roscoe Sweeney, the man who ordered his father's death. Matt broke it off then, and when she returns seeking for Matt to help her and Stick fight the Hand, she proves to be as negative an influence as before, causing Matt to self-destruct his firm and strain his friendships with Foggy and Karen. Foggy is aware of how Elektra was a negative influence on Matt. As a result, when Matt and Foggy are offered Karen's case in the season 1 premiere, and Matt insists Karen is innocent (because he can read her heartbeat) despite the orgy of evidence against her, Foggy worries that Karen is going to turn out just like Elektra.
      Foggy Nelson: All right, I'm just gonna say this once, and we can move on. You don't necessarily show the best judgement when beautiful women are involved, Matt.
      Foggy Nelson: I don't know. It's kinda spooky, actually! All I know is that if there's a stunning woman of questionable morality in the room, Matt Murdock is going to find her, and Foggy Nelson is going to suffer.
      • A misjudgment of character is what gets James Wesley killed. After the whole fiasco with Union Allied, Wesley makes the mistake of thinking that Karen can be silenced by bribery. It instead further motivates her into going after Fisk. When Wesley finds out about Karen's visit to Fisk's mother, he drugs her, takes her to a warehouse, and threatens her with a loaded gun that he leaves on a table between them. While he keeps the gun closer to him than to her, he focuses on her friends and family rather than the immediate risk of her killing him. He also makes the mistake of thinking that like everyone else he's ever strong-armed into doing something, she's afraid of Fisk, which she isn't. He's also completely oblivious to the fact she's been drinking so heavily recently, as alcoholics are more resistant to sedatives, and Wesley is relying on Karen's diminished state to protect himself. When Wesley is distracted by the sound of his phone ringing, Karen grabs his gun from the table and points it at him. Despite knowing the gun is loaded, Wesley maintains his poker face because he thinks Karen is a scared little girl who's too afraid to pull the trigger. She proves him wrong.
      Karen Page: I don't know. [pulls back the hammer] Do you really think this is the first time I've shot someone?
      James Wesley: Miss Page— [Karen calls Wesley's bluff and shoots him in the right shoulder. He stares at her with a look of "What the fuck?" just in time for Karen to empty six more rounds into his chest, killing him instantly]
      • The whole reason Karen takes an interest in Frank Castle during the second half of season 2 is because she's trying to convince herself that she was justified in killing Wesley. She believes that deep down, Frank was a good man, albeit heavily troubled and traumatized, despite everyone - Matt, Foggy, even Frank himself - telling her that he legitimately ENJOYS killing people. Her reaction to witnessing Frank using her as bait to lure two of the Blacksmith's men to a diner so he can brutally kill them is the realization that she's horribly wrong about her assumption that Frank is a good person.
      • Leland Owlsley believes that Wilson Fisk's attachment to Vanessa Marianna is clouding his judgment and distracting him, causing him to act illogically. Later, after trying to have Vanessa killed by poisoning, he approaches Fisk trying to blackmail him. Leland's ploy relies on the same 'questionable judgment' Fisk reacting logically to being blackmailed...right after Fisk noticed his tells and poked holes in his excuse using logic. It ends with Fisk throwing him down an elevator shaft.
      • Nelson & Murdock gets a case of this as a whole in the start of season 2 when they run into Grotto, a low level Kitchen Irish grunt who just escaped a Punisher attack. Grotto greatly downplays his role and convinces them all that he's little more than a low-level thug who simply does some delivery work. He does it so well in fact, that Matt's lie detector abilities fail him. Matt is appropriately horrified when Frank Castle makes Grotto admit he has murdered under orders from his superiors and killed an old woman when she wouldn't keep quiet.
    • Luke Cage:
      • Before Luke Cage was framed, he had no idea whatsoever that Willis "Diamondback" Stryker was his half-brother. Nor did he know that Willis resented him so badly that he would eventually ruin his life. He also didn't know that Reva was a willing participant in everything that went on at Seagate, and pleaded with her to escape before she got dragged into his problems. Everything with Willis leads to him having trust issues after escaping, and everything to do with Reva makes him realize it is time to move on with his life.
      • Mama Mabel Stokes allowed her brother-in-law "Pistol" Pete in her household and didn't realize he was betraying the family and sexually abusing Mariah until it was too late.
      • Misty Knight has complete and utter faith in her partner Rafael Scarfe, and doesn't believe he's a Dirty Cop until it's too late to save him. She also jumps to the worst conclusions as far as Luke is concerned (although this is somewhat understandable given that the first she knew of Luke was that he worked as a bartender at Cottonmouth's nightclub, and as a result may have thought he worked for Cottonmouth). She only accepts that Luke is a good guy after she learns who Willis Stryker is. After roughing up Claire in custody, her commanding officer makes her sit down with a therapist to talk her problems out, and he calls her on her misjudgments:
      Misty Knight: I apply foot to ass. And match lead for lead. I put murderers in handcuffs. I don't just seek justice. I stalk it. And that much should go in my record!
      Dr. Gabe Krasner: With your resume you could of been downtown years ago. Hell, you could've been a Fed! You chose to stay in Harlem.
      Misty Knight: I know this place. I know the players, and I can make a difference here.
      Dr. Gabe Krasner: Or use some of those old-school connections to make a little money on the side, like your partner.
      Misty Knight: I didn't know anything about Scarfe, or anything he was doing. He didn't buy new clothes, no new watch, no new girlfriend, no loose cock, nothing!
      Dr. Gabe Krasner: But he'd been working for Cottonmouth for years.
      Misty Knight: And I trusted him! So I didn't see it, and neither did anybody else in this damn department! So why do I get singled out for it?
      Dr. Gabe Krasner: Because you're the closest to him. [Misty shakes her head] It's written all over your face. Not seeing it bothered you, didn't it?
      Misty Knight: 'Cause seeing is my thing, right? That's what made me such a good point guard. 'Cause I could see everything in my head. I knew exactly where people were gonna be, so I put the ball right where it needed to go.
      Dr. Gabe Krasner: But you couldn't see Scarfe for what he was? Or were you blinded by your emotions?
      Dr. Gabe Krasner: Oh, that is not true.
      Misty Knight: Bullshit! Male cops can screw cop groupies in the back of their unmarked RMP, and you guys cheer. They get drunk, they fight each other in the parking lot and it's called "blowing off steam." There's always a double standard.
      • Mariah Dillard initially goes into business with Diamondback by rationalizing that as Luke is their common enemy, they'll make good partners. She quickly gets buyer's remorse as Diamondback shows a habit of using bloodthirsty tactics that lead to unnecessary carnage. After Diamondback kills a police officer, and then improvises a Hostage Situation when trying to kill Luke and Misty at Harlem's Paradise, Mariah and Shades decide that he is out of control, and turn against him.
    • Iron Fist (2017)
      • Danny has utter faith and trust in Harold Meachum from the moment he finds out Harold is alive. However, Ward cautions Danny to be careful as Harold only cares about himself. And sure enough, after Danny helps drive The Hand out of Rand Enterprises, Harold has Danny framed up for their activities to get him out of the way.
      • Colleen Wing is under the impression that the Hand are a force of good, who provide a safe place for runaway and orphaned minority kids to live, and helps them get good jobs in society. For a while, she tries to convince Danny that what he's learned about the Hand in K'un-L'un should not be seen as fact. She is devastated when Bakuto proves Danny's suspicions right and has her own students attempt to kill her.

    Myths & Religion 
  • From Greek Mythology, Aphrodite. Seriously, her husband Hephaestus may not have been a prize catch, but falling for Ares, the homicidal god of war? The fact that she was likely the only one who even liked him should have tipped her off that he was bad news. She really could have done better. Though depending on the myth, Aphrodite might not be any better than Ares. All Girls Want Bad Boys, plus "All's fair in love and war."
  • Another example would be most of the city of Troy; it was pretty obvious that the Trojan Horse was a trap. In fact, some residents of the city were not fooled. Possibly the dissenter who could have had the best chance of making them reconsider was the Trojan priest Laocoön (the phrase, "I fear Greeks, even those bringing gifts" can be attributed to him), but after he and his sons were attacked and strangled by serpents, the Trojans paid his warning no heed. (Depending on the version, the serpents were sent either by Poseidon or Apollo, who both held grudges against Laocoön.) Helen also guessed the plot, and tried to expose it by mimicking the voices of the wives of some Greeks she suspected were inside the device to convince them to come out. (And Anticlus almost fell for it; the plan would have failed if Odysseus had not covered his mouth with his hand.) King Priam's daughter Cassandra, the soothsayer of Troy (the Trope Namer for Cassandra Truth) predicted the Horse would be the doom of the city and its royal family. But all these warnings went ignored.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000, arguably, The Emperor of Mankind counts as this. Despite numerous warnings from various sources, he still failed to see Horus' betrayal coming. I guess you don't expect that sort of thing from your favourite genetically engineered son...
    • His trust in some of his other sons who turned to chaos and all the Chaos Space Marines who were, putting it lightly, horrible, horrible people.
    • The one son he did decide not to trust, Magnus the Red, was the one who tried to warn him about Horus, and who was pushed to Chaos as a result.
    • The Horus Heresy was mostly caused by the Primarchs being miserable judges of character. The loyal Primarchs refused to believe their brothers would betray the Emperor, allowing them to be blind sided. The Traitor Primarchs that started the Heresy believed the Emperor was a power hungry jerk that was betraying them. In reality, while the Emperor was undoubtedly a jerk, his goal was ultimately pure - a golden age for Mankind, not the God-Emperor of Mankind.
    • There are some stupid, stupid Imperial nobles who hire Dark Eldar to act as mercenaries, and as a deniable asset. Said Dark Eldar usually go in, kill/torture/enslave/unspeakable act their unfortunate victims, get paid, and then turn on their stupid, stupid employer. What's funnier is the Tau fell victim to this as well; they got Dark Eldar assistance during a particularly ruthless Tyranid invasion. Of course, the Dark Eldar were manipulating them and taking advantage of them right from the very beginning, and the clueless greyskins only clued in when they realized that the the "cultural exchange" party they sent over to meet them never returned, and some of the Dark Eldar's nightmarish flesh-hulk creations had a very familiar grey skin tone...
  • There's also every Elven Noble thousands of years ago, from Warhammer Fantasy. Not only electing Bel-Shanaar as Phoenix King, but also being blind to Malekith's evil intent for so long. Come on! His name is MALEKITH!

    Theater 
  • Creon in Sophocles's Antigone. Basically, every single character he meets, he utterly fails to spot that they have good reasons for acting the way they do, and wastes an inordinate amount of time accusing people of being selfish, corrupt or (in the case of Antigone herself) just plain female.
  • Frequent in William Shakespeare's works.
    • King Duncan from Macbeth is the Anthropomorphic Personification of this trope, as he blindly trusts both the traitorous Thane of Cawdor and his replacement Macbeth, who kills him.
    • A downplayed example in Othello, Othello is mindlessly trusting of his ancient, "honest Iago," a character thoroughly devoted to ruining his life. This is more due to Iago being a Manipulative Bastard than Othello being a Horrible Judge Of Character. It still doesn't excuse some of Othello's idiocy, such as saying he refuses to believe Iago's words about Desdemona's infidelity and then, two seconds later, believing what Iago says. Othello also refuses to believe people who are honest with him, such as Desdemona and Emelia.
    • This was also King Lear's problem when he was unable to distinguish between the genuine love his daughter Cordelia had for him and the shallow flattery offered by her wicked sisters. He also failed to see that giving away all his land and power to his daughters was incompatible with wanting them to treat him as though he still had it.
    • Also in Hamlet everyone but the titular character is too sycophantic and unintelligent to see that their new king Claudius is a usurper of the throne.
  • Siegfried in Der Ring des Nibelungen, which proves to be his Fatal Flaw. Everybody around him lies to him and uses him to their advantage, and this leads to his tragic and ignoble death.
  • Played with in The Importance of Being Earnest: Cecily claims that her "first impressions of people are never wrong" when really they are consistently wrong.

    Video Games 
  • Seere in Drakengard (a small child) willfully invites himself into a party consisting of a child-killer, a child molester, and a child eater. He's got a stone golem to protect him, but still.
  • Luke fon Fabre from Tales of the Abyss, the poor bastard. Trusting his mentor Van has severe consequences when, following his plan that will supposedly cleanse Akzeriuth of the miasma actually ends up destroying the city and advancing Van's plans. Though his trusting nature and idolization of Van comes about from his extremely sheltered upbringing and his overall many other issues.
  • Proving that Evil Overlords, too, can fall prey, Emperor Gestahl of Final Fantasy VI gets stabbed in the back by two out of three of his most trusted subordinates, with Celes doing s Heel–Face Turn and Kefka out-and-out murdering him before going into full-on Omnicidal Maniac mode. On the flipside, the third subordinate, General Leo, falls under this as well, as he actually trusts Emperor Gestahl despite his mad plans for world domination and the enslavement of the Espers used for magicite research as well as the mind-controlling of Terra...he still believes him right up until Gestahl decides he's outlived his purpose and has Kefka wipe him out. There's a lot of it to go around.
  • Neverwinter Nights: Fenthick's horrible judgment and political ineptness in trusting Desther conspire to get him executed at the end of the first chapter of the main campaign. It's okay, as his only reason for existing in the first place was to give Aribeth something to angst about before her Face–Heel Turn.
  • Lucrecia in Final Fantasy VII had a romantic relationship with Hojo, who could not be more of an evil depraved Mad Scientist if he tried. It's even worse that Dirge of Cerberus shows that he makes no effort to disguise what an awful person he is even right from the start. "Ah, so you have come to your senses and chosen me." The reason she didn't choose Vincent was her lingering guilt over her part in his father's accidental death. Starting a relationship with Hojo was her way of punishing herself.
  • Where to begin on Fallout 3? Well, how did Simms not see the evil in Burke? I mean, between the voice, the suit, and just the plain weirdness of him, Simms must have had brain damage! Oh, and Eden sounds so nice. Clue 1 that he's evil. And a machine. Also, Roy Phillips, with you, Tenpenny, and everyone else being the bad judges, and Burke again, with Tenpenny being the bad judge.
    • Clue 1 that Eden was evil wasn't that he sounded nice. It was that he's voiced by Malcolm McDowell.
    • In Burke's case, I guess that Simms was easily fooled, but Tenpenny is so senile and barely grasping reality, that would anyone really expect him to see a difference between a polite well-dressed gentleman and a polite, well-dressed evil assassin?
      • And it does seem unusual that the Lone Wanderer gains Karma from killing Tenpenny...
    • Caesar from New Vegas is one for the player. Even if the Courier had good karma, was an NCR loyalist, and had killed hundreds of Caesar's mean, Caesar will still try to earn your assistance, invite you to his fort, and put some trust in your actions.
  • Otacon of Metal Gear Solid is shown to be attracted to the murderous Sniper Wolf, whom he claims is really a nice person since she likes dogs. Snake actually lampshades this by claiming that Otacon has Stockholm Syndrome (hostage attraction to one's captors).
  • Mori Ranmaru in Sengoku Basara is a kid who knows nothing except that Oda Nobunaga is the coolest guy ever. And let's see what Nobunaga's portfolio contains... Card-Carrying Villain, Obviously Evil, Evil Overlord, Take Over the World? Er... kid? You may want to reconsider —
    Ranmaru: How dare you in insult Nobunaga-sama! Ranmaru'll kill you!
    • Motochika Chosokabe is another example in the third game. In Motonari's blue path, Motochika believes that Ieyasu was the man behind the attack on Shikoku. And THIS is despite that they were on friendly terms. He also thinks that Motonari and Mitsunari are on good terms with each other, which leads to his surprise reaction to Mitsunari's death by Motonari's hand. When Motonari confronts Motochika, he lampshades the latter's terrible judge of character in his speech to him.
  • Dr. Light from Mega Man (Classic) seems curiously willing to trust Dr. Wily when he claims to have gone straight (3), to have his lab ransacked by a renegade robot (Mega Man & Bass), or to be searching for the cure to a mysterious robot virus (10).
    • Arguably justified, as Light has been skeptical of Wily before (particularly in 10, when Mega Man expresses disbelief that Wily is being the good guy, Light wholeheartedly agrees with Mega Man's plan to investigate the Wily connection behind Wily's back), but, in defense of Wily's plan, he actually did have a cure for the robot virus (which it is implied he did not create), he was just planning on charging obscene amounts of cash for it.
  • Although it's not a theme throughout the whole series, in Mega Man Battle Network 6 Lan shows an incredible ineptitude at differentiating friend and foe. He looks up to and almost idolizes two members of the quirky miniboss, and is indifferent to a third, only correctly identifying one villain before he strikes for the entire game (and that villain is the one who thinks it is shameful to try to hide your villainy and chastises the others for being discreet). He also only learns that the mayor is a villain by walking in on a conversation while going to ask him for help. Meanwhile, he is instantly suspicious of two figures who turn out to be Chaud and Protoman, his longtime allies throughout the entire series, nor does he connect the two even after the first reveals himself. The writers never seem to notice this trend.
  • Earthbound: Ness is the only person in Onett who will willingly hang out with Porky Mitch, who is described as "the worst person in the neighbourhood". When Porky begins to escalate From Nobody to Nightmare and repeatedly insults and fights Ness, Ness still considers Porky to be one of his good friends.
  • Chatot from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon has a major problem with this. When he finally learns that the Terrible Trio he's repeatedly lauded as some of the finest Pokemon he's ever had the privilege of working with are actually — GASP!! — evil, he does not take it well.
    • It's worth noting that the first clue he gets that Team Skull aren't the exemplar of Pokemon-hood he thought they were is when they start sounding less refined. In the original Japanese, this would mean that they had just downshifted their speech to a less respectful level. In other words, all they had to do to gull Chatot was use the Keigo he assumed he merited. He was taken in by his own overblown self-image!
  • Prince Pelleas from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn sees absolutely no problems with trusting Izuka to be his primary strategist. Izuka, for the record, is a stunted, cackling, yellow-eyed little troll of a man who invented a drug that turns people outside of his race into rampaging psychopaths for use as pawns in battle and openly brags about this invention. And to top things off, he's not even a very good strategist! It should come as no surprise that this inexplicable trust comes back to bite Pelleas's entire country in a big way as the game progresses.
  • Xander from Fire Emblem Fates. In the Revelation route, he's the very last of the Avatar's siblings to come around, as he's thoroughly convinced that Garon isn't evil. Also justified, as Garon was in all respects a model parent for Xander before the in-fighting and assassination occurred as a consequence of Garon's womanizing ways, and is fighting the war because he believes that Garon will return to who he was if they manage to conquer Hoshido, and is, like most Nohrians, Locked Out of the Loop in terms of Garon's passing and return as a corpse-familiar of Anankos. He will only go directly against "Garon" if he gets undeniable proof that the real Garon's gone: In the Conquest route, it happens in the second to last level, when he sees "Garon" as a slime monster, and on the Revelation route, he, alongside Leo, defects to the Avatar's side when they visit Corpse-Garon, who says to them that he wants to destroy not only Hoshido, but also Nohr, something that would be unthinkable for Garon in his pre-corpse-familar life.
    • It's also partly reflected in regards to his retainers. Despite his faith and confidence in Laslow, he seemed initially unaware of the latter's womanizing ways (or at least if the way he reacted in their C Support is any indicator). And with Peri, he picked her purely because of her immense potential to excel in fighting and seems to ignore her bloodthirsty nature and casual murdering of her own servants (though as the Prince and her boss, he might have learned about her past and feel sympathy for her). Even with Charlotte, it was less that he could see through her act and more that he seemed to honestly believe her a complete flirt.
    • However, he easily can tell that the Obviously Evil Hans is someone not to trust, is unsurprised by Iago's acts of cruelty, could tell Kaze in their supports had gained a stronger conviction by looking at him and, like the other siblings, was rightfully put off by Zola disguised as Izana in Conquest - although it turned out the real Izana was just as flamboyant. Therefore, it could be argued that in the case of Garon, Xander is more blinded by family obligation and loyalty rather than being unable to tell his father is a monster.
  • Terra from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep could be the king of this trope. The same way some blind people keep a seeing-eye dog to make walking around safe, Terra should really be keeping an Evil-Detecting Dog around to make heroics safe, because there's being bad at noticing bad guys, and then there's needing someone to order you to kill an innocent to realize they don't have your best interests at heart. Names to Run Away from Really Fast, Obviously Evil appearance with horns, flames, Glowing Eyes of Doom; temptations to The Dark Side... it all swooshes right over his head as he assumes them to be perfectly nice people.
    • All of the main cast fall under this with regards to Master Xehanort. The guy is one of the most obvious villains around, and without the benefit of sitting behind the fourth wall the cast should be able to at least guess that Xehanort's Bald of Evil, gold eyes (a sign in series that someone has been taken by the darkness), Beard of Evil, Slouch of Villainy, the Spikes of Villainy adorning his Keyblade (which is a frakking battle ax) and nearly constant Psychotic Smirk are signs he's not all love and rainbows. Even the character who has been physically wounded by Xehanort using the darkness in the past shows absolutely no signs of worry that he might be up to no good (a lot of the game's problems could have been avoided if he had just given them a heads-up). And yet everyone acts surprised when it's revealed that he's actually the bad guy.
    • This seems somewhat justified. The heroes' experiences make them out to be severely unknowledgeable about the outside world, and being trainees they were probably not even allowed to leave the Land of Departure without Eraqus's discretion. Since they could trust each other and they were the only people they knew, they never went outside thinking people could be deceptive.
    • Riku in the first game following Maleficent and believing her words that Sora is unworthy for daring to help other people in his journey to find Kairi, and that Maleficent would let him rescue Kairi and leave.
  • Knuckles the Echidna from the Sonic the Hedgehog series is so gullible that it's become a joke both in the fandom and in the series itself. He's such a bad judge of character that, even though he's been fully aware for years that Dr. Robotnik doesn't say anything that won't get him closer to the Chaos Emeralds and world domination, he still takes everything the corpulent madman says at face value, and follows up on things Eggman says better than things that people he trusts with his own life tell him. The other characters have been riding him about it for years; if he does something even subjectively stupid, the knee-jerk assumption is that he's been talking to Eggman again. Sonic The Hedgehog 3 was the only time Knuckles completely believed him since it was their first meeting. In Sonic Adventure Eggman only makes Knuckles confused and suspicious about Sonic's actions (and considering the Master Emerald was destroyed, Knuckles probably wasn't in the best frame of mind at the time). Sonic X Eggman plays on Knuckles's rivalry with Sonic, and again Knuckles isn't in the best frame of mind, being pissed that he's stuck on Earth. In Sonic Advance 2, Knuckles ends up being tricked somehow by Eggman into fighting Sonic with the Egg Saucer, which, after Sonic destroys it, Knuckles chased him covered in soot. The cutscene afterwards reveals that he was tricked by Eggman once again, with Knuckles being upset at this revelation, and Sonic deciding to leave him to sulk until Knuckles decides to get his act together.
  • Bianca of Spyro: Year of the Dragon. Like Knuckles, she's basically a good character working for the Big Bad because she assumes that the villain has good intentions. Unlike Knuckles, she still believes her employer is trustworthy in spite of how The Sorceress bullies and browbeats her at every turn, and repeatedly sacrifices her hapless, unwilling minions to create mutant abominations to send after the heroes. Bianca only figures out she's on the wrong side once The Sorceress reveals her plan to kill the baby dragons they've been kidnapping, and she pulls a Heel–Face Turn immediately afterward.
  • The Urbz: Sims in the City has a minor character, Lily Gates, who apparently means well but is a terrible judge of character.
  • According to Nathan Drake of Uncharted, Sully is this when it comes to women.
  • In the 1st Degree: Poor Zachary Barnes. He truly believed that James Tobin was a good guy, despite him making mistakes. Too bad he didn't realize until he got shot in the throat that his business partner was a greedy, jealous Jerkass with no redeeming qualities, who had threatened Barnes with bodily harm several times and had threatened to kill him a week before the murder.
  • Conrad Marburg from Alpha Protocol is apparently so bad at judging character that his dossier feels justified in devoting a paragraph to it. His boss, Leland, also mentions it. In-game, it takes a very short time to learn how to manipulate Marburg, as he responds consistently positive to one attitude and consistently negative to the other two.
  • Red Dead Redemption:
    • Luisa Fortuna, a relatively bright but naive Mexican peasant girl who is a fanatical follower of local Rebel Leader Abraham Reyes. In her eyes, Reyes fights for the people and loves her just as she loves him. In the eyes of John Marston and the player however, Reyes is an egomaniac with a talent for getting peasants to listen to him whose only concern is personal glory and can barely remember Luisa's name. Similarly, Luisa has problems seeing that John cares nothing for the fate of Mexico and helps her and the rebels only because he's got a soft spot for her and that they're a means to an end.
    • Marston himself in most of the side missions.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The player character will accept quests from anyone with shiny punctuation over their head, including crazy, skeevy-looking old men hiding in a shack in the haunted, zombie-infested woods, with mysterious bloodstains all over the shack and a pile of cadaver innards out back. And then the player's all surprised when the old man unleashes onto the town the abomination that you helped him build. Normally, we'd say that Player Characters just don't care, but given that you have to fight Stitches at the end of the questline, you unquestionably made it worse for yourself there.
    • This is Thrall's biggest character flaw. Sylvanas, Gallywix, and Garrosh have all joined the Horde because of him. While Gallywix hasn't done anything post-joining (though he was pretty awful beforehand), Sylvanas and the Forsaken have developed biological warfare and disgust everyone else by raising undead, and Garrosh was a raging patriot and warmonger, who in the Pandaria expansion turned into a Evil Overlord.
  • Jade Empire can play it straight or put an unusual twist on it. A surprising amount of people seem to think that the impeccably polite young warrior who radiates unearthly calm and has a halo of heavenly light around their head is the perfect person to approach with offers of criminal collaboration.
  • Jak II: Renegade we find that Keira has a crush on Erol, Commander of the Krimzon Guard and the man who tortured Jak for two years with Dark Eco experiments. When informed that he's a bad person, she refuses to believe it.
  • In Shin Super Robot Wars, Shakti explains that she was in the Angel Halo because she had to be put into the machine in place of her mother the queen. Londo Bell fills her in on how Char deceived her into thinking she could stop the fighting and put her mother at ease. Amuro kindly tells her that she needs not apologize for cooperating with an apparatus intended to brainwash mankind - it's all Char's fault for leading her into it.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Bryce Cousland considers Rendon Howe to be his best friend. Nearly everybody else in Ferelden thinks Rendon's a terrible human being, and they are right. Bryce's misplaced trust in Howe gets him and his entire family (except for the Human Noble Warden if that origin is chosen) killed.
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Lamar according to Franklin. Franklin calls him out on this and mentions that he's always had to bail Lamar out of trouble for as long as he's known him (Sometimes when switching to Franklin, you see him stop a fight between Lamar and someone else). Reaches Too Dumb to Live levels when after Franklin travels all the way to Blaine County to save him from Stretch's plan to kill Lamar, Franklin pulls a Sherlock Scan on Lamar explaining the entire situation with Lamar happily holding the Idiot Ball, still believing that Stretch is "His nigga" much to Franklin's anger and exasperation.
  • Pokémon X and Y has Professor Sycamore, who after listening to Lysandre's speech of how the world must be cleansed of those he considers filth praises the man for his passion. Subverted in that he later admits that he had an idea on how far Lysandre would go, but was never able to confront him about it, making his earlier praise look more like denial than being oblivious.
  • Double Dealing Character kicked off when Shinmyoumaru Sukuna heeded her friend Seija Kijin's plan to place the weak on top of the strong. The fact Shinmyoumaru trusted Seija while knowing full well that she's an amanojaku, a youkai species of pathological liars and scammers, should tell you all you need to know about her.
  • Prior to the start of Super Robot Wars BX, Ranka Lee falls out of an airlock off-screen and is magically rescued by the Vagans, even though this takes place in outer space (the Battle Frontier is on Arst). Ranka essentially becomes a Vagan sympathizer for having been rescued by them.
  • The bouncer of the Tasteful Club in PAYDAY 2 will let you and your crew inside the club, noting that you "seem like class acts". Never mind that you're a group of criminals topping the FBI's Most Wanted list, here on business (read: robbery), armed to the teeth with weapons, and possibly clad in highly-visible military-grade body armor. Zero points for guessing what happens next.

    Visual Novels 
  • From the Ace Attorney series:
    • Will Powers from the first two games has trouble believing who the real culprit is in both cases 1-3 and 2-4, because they are people he trusted as coworkers. He's not very good at seeing the bad in people.
    • Iris from Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations is thought of this way by Edgeworth after she calls Maya 'strong and reliable' and Larry 'sincere and hard-working'; however, they can be described as these under certain circumstances. She also trusts her murderous twin sister Dahlia despite the numerous examples of Dahlia abusing this.
    • Klavier Gavin, brother of his psychotic older brother and Big Bad Kristoph Gavin has a hard time grasping that Kristoph and his bandmate Daryan could be criminals and murderers. Though when he finds out, he prosecutes them. Given Klavier is an idealistic young man that was mentored by Too Good for This Sinful Earth Constance Courte, it's not hard to imagine why he sees the good in everyone.
  • Fate/stay night: Hi I am Kirei Kotomine. I am emotionless except when amused by the discomfort of others. I'm a jerk, I make fun of you, and I act really suspiciously. Yet everyone just seems to believe that he has nothing to do with what's going on, except Tohsaka. Even she just knows that he's not a nice guy. In "Heaven's Feel" up until the end Shirou doesn't really think of him as an enemy where he's quite blatant about not being on Shirou's side or even neutral or pretending he doesn't have a hidden agenda having to do with widescale destruction.
    • By that point in "Heaven's Feel", Shirou just doesn't care. Kotomine is on his side for that battle, and he needs him to help save Sakura and Ilya. That's all that matters.
    • Poor, poor dear Bazett...
    • The prequel has both Tohsaka's and his own father become guilty of this in regards to Kotomine.
  • In Hate Plus the Councillor of Security Old *Mute completely underestimates the danger Councillor Ryu poses, considering him a mere pawn and believing the real threat to security to be the peasantry. Justified in that he only became dangerous as a result of his contact with and due to the influence of of Oh Eun-a, something Old *Mute wasn't aware of.
  • A more lighthearted variant of this trope appears in Super Dangan Ronpa 2 when the students are discussing why Byakuya dove under the table. Keep in mind that Byakuya is far from being the class clown.
    Akane: Obviously he was hidin' so he could surprise us. That dude was always a big jokester.
    Kazuichi: The hell he was! You seriously couldn't tell what kinda person he was!?

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Nicholas Schnee, Weiss' grandfather, allowed his son-in-law Jacques to take over the Schnee Dust Company because of his business acumen. Sadly, he overlooked Jacques' serious lack of moral fiber; Jacques turned out to be a Corrupt Corporate Executive, and has turned against everything Nicholas stood for by, among other things, using shady business practices to maximize profit, driving rival companies out of business, exploiting his workers, and keeping the people of Mantle in poverty, all while hiding his unsavory dealings with aggressive PR.

    Webcomics 
  • Fighter from 8-Bit Theater insists that Ax-Crazy Black Mage is his "bestest [sic] friend" and will protect the Squishy Wizard against attacks from others, despite the fact that Black Mage hates Fighter's guts, and has said so, and has repeatedly tried to kill Fighter (not that it works, because Fighter is practically indestructible). Fighter, being the Cloudcuckoolander that he is, will insist that this is merely Black Mage being "such a kidder."
  • In Earthbound webcomic The Chosen Four, Monotoli describes Pokey like "such a nice boy, but a bit troubled". Seriously. It is not a wonder Pokey was able to exploit him.
  • Gordon Frohman of Concerned is a Black Shirt who utterly supports The Combine who have enslaved his race and is utterly against La Résistance of the humans, Gordon Freeman as well as the Vortigaunts, the alien allies of the humans. His hatred of Vortigaunts ends up making them choose to let him die rather than save his life.
  • Ryan Beckwith is way too trusting for his own good when it comes to Ralph, Tackleford's local occultist. Even though Ralph's advice has come back to bite him in the ass time after time, he still defends him and goes back to get his spiritual advice. This may have changed now that Ralph has been exposed as the devil.
  • Joey from A Game of Fools, who doesn't seem to realise that the aliens that have abducted him mean to kill and rape him, can't see anything weird about an insane naked man whose "backpack smelt like dead people" and thinks the Ax-Crazy hitchhiker they've picked up, who openly admits to multiple murders, bizarre sexual fetishes and necrophilia, is a perfectly nice guy.
    • There's also the fact that he still considers Sylvester one of his best friends despite the absolutely goddamn horrible things he manipulates him into doing.
      • Sylvester can be pretty bad himself, particular when it comes to his friendship with Tomato (and the majority of his other friends too, if this is any indication). Although in his case he does at least seem partly aware how horrible they are - he just doesn't really care.
    • Joey's rather poor choice of gym probably counts too.
  • Otacon comes up again in The Last Days Of FOXHOUND, where Liquid is able to convince him to install a nuclear launch program on Metal Gear by telling him that he wants to shoot down meteors like in Armageddon (however, there's evidence that Otacon's in denial about Metal Gear's true purpose at this point, and Liquid did threaten to feed him to a largely-unfriendly-to-him-wolf).
  • In The Order of the Stick:
    • Poor, deluded Tsukiko. Do you honestly think that just because you think the living are jerks, the undead Card-Carrying Villain Xykon is going to be any better? Even the Monster In The Darkness has worked this one out. This ultimately proves to be her downfall when her beloved Wights turn against her when Redcloak uses Command Undead on them, with her last words asking why they won't love her as she loves them.
    • For that matter, the Monster in the Darkness himself is convinced that Xykon and Redcloak are his friends because they give him food and toys to shut him up. Somewhat more justified in his case, though, as he has a rather childlike personality. And after finding a real friend in O-Chul, he might be growing out of it.
    • Ian Starshine has so far concluded that Chaotic Good Elan is evil to the core because of his father, but Chaotic Evil Belkar has some good in him. While his assessment of Elan is completely off the mark, his assessment of Belkar is a bit more reasonable, as Belkar had recently learned the value of actively deceiving others that he was good, or at least willing to play along with society's rules. However, this is exactly the kind of deception a master thief should be aware of, so it still counts. May also be foreshadowing as Belkar's development seems to be turning genuine.
    • Elan himself displays this behavior towards his father, General Tarquin when they first meet, being so desperate to see him as the father figure he's always wanted that he overlooks the fact that he's a scheming Lawful Evil general and one of the key players in an oppressive dictatorial empire.
    • Celia has a tendency to trust people who really don't deserve to be trusted, such as in "A Seller's Market," when she puts her faith in a thug despite knowing that he murdered his own brother, (wrongfully assuming that he's wracked by guilt over the incident), and in "A Dish Best Served with +1D6 Cold Damage," when she's lied to by Haley and accepts the lie without question.
    • Zig-zagged when one of the party members is brainwashed and vampirized: Belkar is Properly Paranoid about Vampire Guy deceiving everyone for his own purposes and the rational discrepancies, while Roy opposes this due to his knowledge of Pre-Vampire Guy and his current streak of acceptable actions. Roy's anger reaches a breaking point when he realizes just how stupid he was about the Obviously Evil guy (and is STILL unaware of his true identity).
  • Kiki towards Bun-Bun in Sluggy Freelance. She acknowledges him as being a little mean and grumpy, but thinks all he needs to get over that is more hugs.
    • Riff is certain Sam the vampire and Aylee the alien are threats to humanity, even after years of contradicting evidence. But he'd never suspect his girlfriends of sinister agendas, not 'too cool to be true' Sasha or 'Psycho Girlfriend From Hell' Monica. And he knows for sure that his father is not "a bad guy."
  • Hanna in Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name. Sure, you can make deals with vampires. They're trustworthy and never go back on their word; even when you're trusting them with your life and everyone else's.
    • Lee Falun. His best friend was a Jerkass whose son was always covered in bruises and whose wife plainly resented him. Did Lee do the math? Nope. Said best friend also murdered him.
  • In Bob and George, Dr. Light has problems with this in the Mega Man 3 story arc, completely ignoring every obvious sign that Wily doesn't have the amnesia he claims to have, taking the problem in the actual game and turning it way, way Up to Eleven. Then subverts it at the end when it is revealed he deliberately gave Dr. Wily faulty power crystals, which caused Gamma to fail.
  • In Homestuck, John decides to take advice on Sequence Breaking from a Troll while in the Medium, against the warnings of his closest friend. It doesn't end well.
    • In the alpha timeline where John does listen to his friend, he then starts taking advice from Vriska. That doesn't end well either, but it ended badly in a way that was actually ending well in disguise. On the other hand, trusting Karkat, WV, and the Consorts turn out to be pretty smart moves.
  • Nick in General Protection Fault is the one who most persistently defends Trudy, in spite of Ki and Fooker's justified suspicions about her. The Surreptitious Machinations arc involves the cast racing to help him realize that his "Project Velociraptor" is the keystone of her plans, and it ultimately results in him realizing her duplicity and refusing to help her. After that, he realizes that he can't always trust people blindly, leading to him seeing through Trish's story (ironically, as Ki decided to give her the benefit of the doubt like Nick used to) and noticing that the Ki who lured him into the Mutex is not the one he knows.
    • Mr. Jones of Goodman Rubber is one, as he, impressed with Fooker's skills, invites him to give a motivational talk (Fooker is every bit as good as Mr. Jones thinks and perhaps better, but he's also a Bunny-Ears Lawyer with a questionable sense of humor). He later laments how someone as nice as Trudy "fell in with that wrong crowd," and believes that Trent is far more competent than he actually is.
  • Kevin of Kevin & Kell is considered this as a result of being a fearless rabbit, which is implied to have been what led him to marry his first wife Angelique. By the time the strip begins, though, he's smarter about people's ulterior motives.
  • The entire faculty of Bumblebane's in Wizard School, with the exception of Prof. Evilmore. It doesn't help that Good Is Dumb is in Up to Eleven levels in the comic's universe. And probably all the students in Dragonbane House, with the exception of Celeste, who has Graham pegged for the utter asshole he is, but has been instructed to help train him, and What The Faculty Says Goes.
  • Flipside: It's implied that the cheating scientist's wife is one of the worst judges of character in the series; having failed to marry a good husband, she goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge trying to kill him, only to hire and strengthen her "honorable" bodyguards, the last of which is revealed to be a complete sociopath. It's implied that all she did in her life was find people she thought she could trust (because they were sociopathic and she incorrectly interpreted their hints as honorable traits), give them extreme amounts of power and skills (which they use to cause unfortunate collateral damage to bystanders), and in her last moments destroyed a vital piece of the puzzle for the Thin Man, who's less of a world conqueror and more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist.

    Web Original 
  • Tales of MU:
    • Amaranth. Friend to All Living Things taken to the logical extreme, or just an idiot? You decide.
    • Mack, who has yet to learn that an awesome rack does not a good person make.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Donut mistakes Blue Base for a convenience store; and still somehow manages to get the Blue flag when Caboose mistakes him for a general. Later on, Donut mistakes the Meta (An insane soldier who speaks exclusively in growls) as friends with Simmons (when in reality, the Meta is trying to kill Donut and Simmons), even mistaking the Meta's grenade launcher/bayonet combo as being a broom.
    • During the 12th season, Tucker, Grif, Simmons and Caboose are given their own squads, and Caboose choses one Ander-Smith as his lieutenant. During his formal introduction, Ander-Smith expresses his belief that Caboose is one of the wisest men on the planet, and misinterprets his ramblings as deep and meaningful predictions for the future.
  • A Very Potter Musical plays with Dumbledore's trust of Snape in this way. In one scene, he accepts a sandwich that has a pipe bomb poorly concealed in it, then gets annoyed when Hermione destroys it.
    I'm going to go make myself another sandwich, although I don't know how it can be as good as the last one. That one ticked!
    • It also takes Cornelius Fudge's refusal to believe Voldemort was back in the original series to the logical extreme. He denies it even as Voldemort walks into his office and kills him
  • The Nostalgia Critic is perfectly adept at pointing out Obviously Evil in movies, but fails in his own life. Not getting that The Nostalgia Chick wanted his power in Kickassia is a good example.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Abridged Series: Played for laughs with the King of Hyrule in Xana's Ocarina of Time Abridged Series, who is so utterly trusting of Ganondorf that he willingly ignores Ganondorf's Evil Gloating. He's convinced by Zelda to stop trusting Ganondorf only to instantly reverse his opinion when he loses his train of thought. Also, this trope applies to anyone stupid enough to trust Link. Especially Navi.

    Western Animation 
  • Beavis and Butt-Head:
    • The title characters. Even when they get their asses kicked by Todd, they still think he's cool and aspire to join his gang. In fact, every single hoodlum, criminal, and Jerkass they meet is "cool" by their standards. Then again, when you consider their priorities and interests, it's not that surprising.
    • In one episode they even "befriend" an escaped serial killer who is clearly deranged, is more or less openly planning on murdering them... and has the word "Killer" tattooed on his forehead (because they're both nearly illiterate, they read it as "Kyle-er" and think it's just his name).
    • Most of the citizens of Highland are horrible judges of character; otherwise, the show wouldn't find itself repeatedly using the Seemingly Profound Fool plot.
    • Mr. Van Dreissen seems to be on an eternal, hopeless quest to bring out the "good" he claims to see in B & B. He sees everyone in that way, so his horrible judgement is pretty severe.
  • In King of the Hill from the same creator, the citizens of Arlen seem to be in the same boat. A good third of the series' episodes start off with the characters taking anything and everything a complete stranger tells them at face value, while simultaneously refusing to believe anything people they've been friends with/married to/the parents of for decades say. Some episodes give a reasonable excuse for thisExample: ... but most don't.
  • Sparky's mother on Atomic Betty. She tends to date supervillains a lot, even the show's Big Bad on one occasion.
  • South Park:
    • Cartman's mom seems to think he's a "little angel" to the point where she doesn't even question his story about why he has a picture of him with Butter's penis in his mouth in "Cartman Sucks". She also lets him get away with murder and always takes his side, with the exception of more recent episodes ("Tsst!", "Coon 2: Hindsight" and "HUMANCENTiPAD").
      • The members of the Mel Gibson fan club in "The Passion of the Jew", who are unaware that Cartman wants to restart the Holocaust and instead think that he just wants to promote Christianity.
    • Played for Laughs in "Free Hat". The episode's titular character, Hat McCollough, is a serial murderer of 23 babies, but a protest group wants him freed from jail, claiming he killed the babies in self-defense.
      • Or maybe it really was self-defense...
  • The Transformers had its fair share of examples. Arguably the worst case happens in "Megatron's Master Plan", which revolves around the Decepticons' plan to make the people of Earth (or at least Central City) believe that they were in fact the good guys all along... after how many very obvious instances they are not? And everybody actually believed it! Then when they were proven complete morons, the enslaved humans all blamed Shawn Berger, who while not having a great reason to help the Decepticons at least had the most reason to trust them, as the second main cause of their misery.
    • "Enter the Nightbird" might be another case, depending how much sentience/sapience one reads in the titular character. Giant robot ninja armed with more weapons and powers than you can shake a stick at? Truly she is going to "benefit mankind, and not harm it".
    • Orion Pax was one of these in his backstory. He was a Megatron fanboy who thought old Megs had Cybertron's best interests at heart. That ended when Megatron nearly killed him and his girlfriend after duping them into helping him. Orion's a somewhat better judge of character as the Older and Wiser Optimus Prime.
  • Transformers Animated
    • When talking about the Elite Guard the Transformers Wiki noted that: "Sentinel Prime, the biggest jerk in Transformer history, and Longarm Prime, a double-agent, are both high-ranking members of the Elite Guard, while Optimus Prime, a true hero, is a washout and space bridge repairbot. Either Optimus Prime did one major screw-up, or Ultra Magnus is the single worst judge of character ever." Since Optimus Prime's screwup was taking the blame for Elita's death on a planet they shouldn't have been on in the first place, Magnus does have a tiny bit of leeway. No excuse for making Sentinel Prime practically his right-hand-mech, though. Apparently, once washed out, you can't be brought back in, at least according to Magnus himself when talking to Optimus. And he probably keeps Sentinel Prime at his right hand so he can babysit him. We've all seen what happens when he's not around to keep the glitch-head out of trouble.
    • Megatron doesn't get off Scott-free. Starscream was a high-ranking member of the Decepticon forces for eons, and has been trying to off Megatron for a good deal of them. But Megatron seemed genuinely surprised when he found out it was Starscream who planted the bomb on him. He learned his lesson after that, showing that, unlike most other Megatrons, he's not at all forgiving. Starscream shows up, and once he has his gun back, the first thing ol' Megs does is blast Starscream square in the face. He proceeds to wash, rinse, and repeat as necessary whenever the guy shows his face.
  • Dave from Dave the Barbarian constantly insists in a single episode that a princess named Evil Princess is not evil despite the fact she "says she's an evil princess, looks like an evil princess and has 'Evil Princess' stitched on her hankies."
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The Earth King unflinchingly trusts his slimy advisor Long Feng. It helps that he's voiced by Clancy Brown and has insinuated himself into the court since the King was a child, but the Earth Kingdom is pretty much a police state thanks to the King's blind trust.
      • To the Earth King's credit, he does defy this trope in that he is willing to listen to evidence and openly states that he hopes the gang are lying because the implications of their statements (not just his advisor's betrayal, but being the head of state in a 100 year war and being the last person to hear that such a war is going on) are very troubling thoughts. And while the first offered piece of evidence (a bite mark on Long Feng's leg from Appa, despite the claim that he's never seen a Skybison) doesn't flat out convince the Earth King, the King is willing to admit that the gang's story does have some leg to it.
      • And then Zigzagged when the King expresses his grief over being the victim of this trope to the Kyoshi Warriors... who at this point have been infiltrated by Azula and her friends.
    • Most people who trust Azula. This includes Zuko, who really should know better, but she's really good at telling lies he really wants to hear, and occasionally mixing just enough truth into it).
      • Toph, Living Lie Detector that she is, would have believed Azula if her lie wasn't Blantant Lie Up to Eleven.
      • Of course, once Ty Lee and Mai betray Azula, she falls victim to a version of this trope, seeing everyone as out to get her and banishing them, from an innocent handmaid who held the bowl that contained to a cherry that had the pit Azula almost swallowed, to the Dai Li agents (who's loyalty was very fluid), to her Advisors Lo but not Li (while pointing to Li when declaring them banished, leaving everyone confused as to who she was banishing).
  • Batman: The Animated Series: "It soon became obvious to me that The Joker, so often described as a raving homicidal madman, was actually a tortured soul crying out for love and acceptance..." Doctor Harleen Quinzel (aka Harley Quinn), welcome to the list.
  • Galaxy Rangers - King Spartos of Tarkon had a really bad habit of trusting advisers that told him what he wanted to hear, despite his daughter's objections and knowledge of the wider galaxy. It's only towards the end (and with the use of some Applied Phlebotinum from the Heart of Tarkon) that he's able to see his daughter and the Rangers are correct.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the book Angelica Button and the Dragon King's Trundle Bed, the snake Lord Evilton is the minister of niceness.
    • Zig-zagged with Lisa in the episode "Lisa's Date With Destiny" where she gets a crush on Nelson Muntz. (Even Bart thinks this is crazy, telling her, "I'll probably never say this to you again, but you can do better!") It's not that Lisa doesn't know that Nelson is a rotten kid, she just honestly believes that he might have a sensitive side, and she might be able to change him. By the end of the episode, however, she realizes that Nelson is rotten through and through, and they break up. Although, in a subsequent episode, she does a favor for him, and when asked why, she shrugs and says, "Well, we used to date."
  • Inspector Gadget would often confuse MAD agents for the good guys, and sometimes even assist them if needed. He took it to eleven in the Christmas special when he thought Dr. Claw was Santa Claus, and arrested the real Santa. Luckily for the good guys, Gadget is such a Walking Disaster Area that he is more liable to thwart the bad guys when trying to help them than when trying to stop them.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: In one episode in which the Gangreen Gang are forced to attend Pokey Oaks by a truant officer, Ms. Keane accepts them with open arms, and when the Powerpuff Girls counter their antics and attempts to torment the kids, Ms. Keane only sees the Girls assault them and punishes the girls while letting the Gangreen Gang get away with it. It's only when they brutally injure the other kids in a game of dodgeball that Ms. Keane realizes that the PPG were right about the Gangreen Gang all along.
  • Lois displays this in one episode of Family Guy when she learns that she has a brother, Patrick, who was committed to a mental hospital and has him released, and shortly afterwards a serial killer nicknamed 'The Fat-Guy Strangler' begins targeting Quahog's obese citizens. She's reluctant to consider the possibility that Patrick may be connected to the killings even though he plasters his bedroom walls with photos of himself strangling fat guys, and he has the corpse of a fat guy under his bed, next to a half-dead fat guy who claims Patrick tried to kill him.
    Lois: So he has a lot of pictures of himself strangling fat guys, that doesn't make him the Fat-Guy Strangler!
    Brian: Oh yeah? What about the dead fat guy under his bed?
    Lois: Coincidence?
    Brian: What about the half-dead fat guy in the corner?
    Fat guy: Patrick tried to kill me.
    Lois: Maybe it's a different Patrick.
    Brian: LOIS!
    Lois: Okay, okay!
  • Prock in The Awesomes is this when it comes to women he's interested in. Mostly relevant because of his blindness to Hotwire's fairly obvious double agent role, but it also shows three of his earlier dates: A normal looking girl who, on being introduced to his father, sprouted flames and attacked him. A woman with green skin and hair who, on being introduced to his father, turned into a Lizard Folk and attacked him. And a robot with buzz-saw hands and rocket launcher shoulders wearing crudely applied lipstick and a wig.
  • In the Squirrel Boy episode "Islands in the Street", when Andy teams up with the local jerkass Kyle to find Rodney and Salty Mike, Bob sees Kyle throw out his car's cup holder in disgust and declares "He seems nice."
  • Gravity Falls: The eponymous town seems to have made it a habit of celebrating the wrong kind of people.
    • Lil' Gideon is fawned over as an adorable child and a brilliant psychic. In reality he is a completely insane, attacking Dipper with lamb shears for "getting between" he and Mabel , and later summoned a demon so he could steal Stan's deed to the shack. The townspeople finally learn the truth when Stan exposes his illegal surveillance cameras, and cart him off to jail.
    • The Northwest family are the idolized founding family of Gravity Falls, but are pretty condescending toward regular people. And as turns out, they never founded the town, and have been scamming and screwing the residents for a century and a half.
  • In The Magic School Bus, this trope is usually restricted to Arnold's view on his cousin Janet. However the rest of the class joins in the butterfly episode where they think Phoebe must be sabotaging them by suggesting they make the school mascot a butterfly because the team they'll be facing is from Phoebe's old school on Janet's word alone.
  • Kaeloo: The eponymous character has some of the show's villains judged horribly. There's Mr. Cat, an Ax-Crazy psychopathic jerkass who Kaeloo thinks is nice (unless he tries to be nice to her for real, in which case she thinks he's being mean). Then there's Olaf, a Mad Scientist who wants to Take Over the World. She thinks he's a Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold, when in reality he is insane and evil.


Alternative Title(s): Poor Judge Of Character

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HorribleJudgeofCharacter