I Feel Guilty, You Take It
A character wins a contest or competition, and feels that the victory was undeserved for some reason, such as:
- The "winner" broke a promise or other personal principle to win
- The "winner" knows that the contest was biased or downright rigged in his favor
- The "winner" knows that his opponent was hobbled by circumstances beyond his control
- The "winner" made a mistake that should have cost him the competition, but the judges missed it
- The "winner" benefited from some random event that made it a matter of luck rather than skill
When this happens and the character finds out, they immediately have a sudden burst of conscience
and doesn't accept the prize
or gives it away (usually to the competitor he considers to be the "true winner").
Anime and Manga
- In the 1980s Transformers comic story "Afterdeath!", Optimus Prime and Megatron agree to settle their current dispute by battling inside a virtual reality. The loser will die. Optimus wins, but only by sacrificing his virtual minions. He feels so guilty about this, that he insists on being killed, and hands the victory to Megatron. (Seriously.)
- Saturday Night Fever: Tony Manero and his partner win a dance competition, but he thinks another couple was better and only lost due to being Puerto Rican, so he gives them the top prize.
Live Action TV
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, during the Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff, Cedric tried to call off his capture of the Golden Snitch because Dementors caused Harry to fall off his broom. Wood, the Gryffindor Captain, refused, and Harry didn't contest it, however miserable he felt.
- Harry and Cedric then do this back and forth over the Triwizard at the end of Goblet of Fire. It takes a while, since they'd both helped each other out and had just survived a run-in with a Giant Spider through teamwork. They end up taking it together, leading to the book's real climax..
- Harry gives the prize money from the tournament to Fred and George Weasley so they can start up their joke shop with it. His first instinct was to give it to Cedric's parents, but they wanted it even less.
- Scrubs: In the Season 2 Episode "My Big Mouth", Turk only gets to go to Mexico with Dr. Kelso (as a reward for being the best surgical resident) because he's a guy, and Bonnie isn't. So, feeling guilty, Turk gives the prize to Bonnie, and she turns him down, refusing his "charity", Since he isn't the rightful winner, he doesn't want to keep it so he gives it to Todd in the end (which also serves as a pseudo-punishment for the sexist Dr. Kelso who passed over Bonnie due to her gender and now has to put up with the obnoxious Todd for the weekend).
- Community: In the episode "Modern Warfare", Jeff gives his prize to Shirley so she can spend more time with her children. The whole team had agreed to this already (since she had the best reason to need a flexible schedule) except him. Played with in Britta's case; although she's the one who suggests they give the prize to Shirley, Jeff points out that she's only doing so because she was the only one who hadn't yet revealed what she'd do with the prize and was just trying to score points off Shirley's situation, making her look like a self-righteous and hypocritical phony. Britta later admits that he had a point.
- True Blood: Sookie gets a big inheritance—but A) she never liked that relative and B) she feels responsible for his death, because Bill killed him after she told Bill her uncle molested her as a child. She gives the money to Jason, and Hilarity Ensues.
- On the original season of reality-TV parody series The Joe Schmo Show, a sumo slam contest was rigged so that Matt Kennedy Gould would win a spa vacation. Matt, however, had no idea that the contest was rigged and got a little too into it, accidentally causing a head injury to "Dr. Pat" (Kristen Wiig) that required a brief hospitalization. When she came back that evening, he insisted on her taking the prize. At the end of the show, though, when it was revealed that "Dr. Pat" was actually an actress, the prize was awarded back to him, along with the show's big main prize of $100,000.
- The Proud Family: La-Cienega and Agatha enter an American Idol-style Music Reality Show, sponsored by Wizard Kelly, La-Cienega, being prettier than Agatha, wins due to a fix by Wizard Kelly, "Beauty sells, Ugly Repels, y'all" Penny finds out and tells La-Cienega that if she doesn't make things right, she'll have bad Karma. La-Cienega gives the prize to Agatha, who, in turn, shares it with her citing fairness.
- Timon & Pumbaa: Timon and Pumbaa find themselves on a farm, just in time for the "Mr. Pig" competition. For the first few challenges, Pumbaa is losing miserably, so Timon decides to cheat for Pumbaa and make the reigning Mr. Pig fail the rest of the challenges. When Pumbaa finds out, he admits defeat and gives the pig crown back to its rightful owner.