Showing when someone is wrong can be a powerful tool for an author. It can characterize the villainous or misguided, it can lead to An Aesop
, and it is vital for strawmen
in Author Tracts
. It's even easier for an author to just tell
us that someone is wrong rather than go through all those boring complicated fact things. Unfortunately, this often means that when you think about it
, they aren't wrong at all
. The fact that we're supposed to be dismissing their opinions is because the writers are telling us to more than any actual logic.
Can be a center point in The War on Straw
. See Strawman Has a Point
for this trope when used with the strawman archetype. See The Complainer Is Always Wrong
for one situation where this often comes up.
Compare And That's Terrible
in which characters are clearly shown to be villainous, but this detail is outright explained, anyway. Contrast the sometimes overlapping Never My Fault
, when the character responsible completely deflects blame onto someone else.
If taken to the extreme, these characters can become the Designated Villain
who will commit a Designated Evil
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Anime & Manga
- In the Pokémon anime episode "Challenge of the Samurai", Ash Ketchum spends much of the episode being berated by the titular character for not finishing what he started (not stopping a Weedle from escaping, thus letting it summon a swarm of Beedrill). However, the only reason the Weedle escaped was because the Samurai surprised him as he was about to capture it, because he didn't have the courtesy to wait until Ash was done catching it. Yet Ash is meant to accept responsibility for what went wrong, even though nothing was his fault, and though he defeats the Samurai, he's still short one Weedle which would someday evolve into a Beedrill. All of this is hilariously lampshaded in the Pokemopolis review of the episode.
- To an extent, this was partially inflicted upon Lelouch, late in Code Geass R2, when he is betrayed by the Black Knights on accusation of using them as pawns and abandoning them, giving him no opportunity to defend himself. To be fair, Lelouch did carry out several questionable or repugnant acts that both the characters and the viewer might rightfully consider wrong, but the evidence against him was brought by Schneizel, the most notorious of the Britannian royal children, who took several liberties with the truth. In addition, the Britannian spy who watched over Lelouch happens to have been secretly romantically involved with Ohgi and she also supported the case against Lelouch, but this bit of hypocrisy is never pointed out. Whether or not Lelouch himself deserved to face Laser-Guided Karma can be debated, as well as what would be the appropriate punishment. However, his rebellion was the lesser of two evils and had led to the formation of a legitimate international front to fight Britannia for the liberation of all numbered areas, which puts his record as Zero in more of a positive light than how it was presented during the betrayal scenario.
- In WORKING!!, Souta is repeatedly made the bad guy for complaining when Inami punches him. Except, you know, she's punching him, with super-strength, and whenever she gets close, for no reason other than her illness. To be fair, he does get kinda rude sometimes, but it's hard not to sympathize with his plight.
- In the third Naruto movie, Hikaru spent the first thirty minutes bullying Naruto, but it's Naruto that's the bad guy when he hits him. To make matters worse, Sakura punishes him by starving him and taunting him until he apologizes. It was explained in the movie. Hikaru was the son of their client, who was paying them handsomely, and thus Naruto was obliged to put up his bratty antics, lest they not get paid. Over time, however, Hikaru becomes more tolerable and Naruto becomes more willing to tolerate him.
- Knuckles would frequently fall victim to this in Sonic X. While he was usually the most serious and vehement on getting the job done, the others were more than willing to turn everything into a game. He would often question the ethics of a plan the team made, only to be bullied into following it through. Most times the plan would fall apart, but he would never call them out nor would the team be remotely apologetic for ignoring him. In one case the team outright steal the Master Emerald from him for their mission (keeping in mind the established importance of the emerald to Angel Island). When Knuckles is rightfully angered by this, the team label him selfish and inconsiderate and outright beat him up.
- In spite of his knack for Anvilicious strawmen, Jack Chick still manages to create some that present better arguments than his "heroes". Especially when Chick's counter argument consists of someone saying nothing more than "That's a lie!"
- The anti-reg side of Marvel's Crisis Crossover Civil War. Especially egregious given that for decades, Marvel's been giving us storylines where the same argument the anti-reg side used were treated as unambiguously right.
- Another Marvel example. Skarr, Son Of The Hulk, was hit with this really hard throughout his entire miniseries. The narration and tone constantly informed us that he was pure evil. And while he certainly did a few morally dubious things in his quest to stop the slavers and slaughterers rampaging across the planet, they were phrased in such overblown ways to make them seem worse than they were that it just seemed melodramatic (with one of his "worst" offenses being a bluff of Pay Evil unto Evil). This culminated in Skarr being wrong for not wanting Galactus to eat his planet because, apparently, Galactus eating the planet was for the greater good... keep in mind, Earth superheroes regularly bluff Galactus with destroying the entire universe to make him leave Earth alone, which means he just goes off and eats someone else's planet.
- The Spiritual Predecessor to X-Men vs. Avengers, Schism, concerning Cyclops and those who sided with him. The whole situation comes down to Wolverine deciding that Cyclops shouldn't be in charge because he's allowing young students to fight, and Wolverine doesn't want that. Essentially, its a conflict of idealism and cynicism: The idealistic Wolverine wants the students to stay out of the conflict and keep them safe, while trying to build peaceful ties; while the cynical Cyclops wants to train them to defend themselves. While Wolverine has a point that they're essentially child soldiers, he's completely ignoring that the X-Men have been training teenagers to be superheroes since their inception, and Wolverine himself regularly takes young teenage girls on dangerous missions with him. Wolverine goes so far as to rig Utopia to explode in order to destroy an approaching Sentinel; Cyclops points out that Wolverine will be leaving the mutants with nowhere to go because of it. Things deteriorate from there, as Cyclops uses the memory of Jean Grey against Wolverine in an attempt to shame him, claiming she was always frightened of him. When Wolverine asks who she'd be more scared of if she was there at the moment, Cyclops attacks him, and they end up being so busy fighting, they don't notice the Sentinel bearing down on them, driving the kids to attack and destroy it. Although the immediate menace has passed, Wolverine, disregarding the kids part in their victory, ends up separating the X-Men into two groups, thereby endangering them all. He comes off as something of a hypocrite and an idiot, yet it's Cyclops who's supposed to be the badguy in the conflict (Although Cyke was the one who struck first, on top of playing the Jean card). It's especially bad when you remember that, at the time, there were around 200 mutants left worldwide.
- Not surprisingly, this trope tends to find a lot of use in fanfiction, especially when people invoke Draco in Leather Pants and Ron the Death Eater to change the social dynamics of a story's cast to fit their own story. This is egregious when done in a series with a lot of Comedic Sociopathy (such as Ranma 1/2) where the entire cast is playing a gigantic game of catch with a multitude of Idiot Balls, Distress Balls, Hero Balls, and Villain Balls. In such stories, it doesn't matter how much attempted murder and bastardry have happened in the past, the NEW instance is suddenly the breaking point.
- In My Immortal, being a "prep" or a "poser", rather than a "goff", is bad because... the story says so!
- Harry Potter in the new timeline of In This World and the Next wastes no time in running around acting like an absolute Jerk Ass, and Snape is supposed to be a bad person for pointing this out.
- In The Prayer Warriors, most of the things that the Satanists and other people do wrong is seen in this light, as Dumbledore is revered by the students of Hogwarts and reviled by the Prayer Warriors for letting his students take drugs, and stay up late at night. Sometimes, the "satanic practices" and "wrong things" that people are doing when the Prayer Warriors happen on them and kill them aren't even elaborated upon, leaving them to readers' imaginations.
- In The Stalking Zuko Series, as well as other Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfics, Aang defeating Ozai without killing him gets this treatment, with the narrative failing to consider that Aang was able to save countless lives by doing so, and that it's possible to neutralize Ozai as a threat without killing him, especially once Ozai no longer has his bending. Opponents of Aang's decision typically can't come up with arguments that are much stronger than the (largely unsupported) idea that doing it will have consequences down the line, or that "everyone else told him not to do it".
- In Showgirls the main character Nomi works in a strip club and aspires to be a topless dancer in a Las Vegas show. At one point she gives a man a lapdance that amounts to sex with a denim condom, she was perfectly willing to do what came down to live, on-stage lesbian sex, screwing her boss to get a higher position, and pushing the lead dancer down the stairs to get her job, but when she's asked during an audition to use ice cubes to make herself more *ahem* "perky", her angry refusal is treated as a display of strength of character. Why the line of moral compromise is drawn at that exact point is perhaps the only thing the movie leaves to the viewer's imagination. Furthermore, her later use of ice cubes after she joins Goddess is intended to be a sign that she's "losing herself."
- In Surrogates - and, for that matter, almost every movie about virtual reality - it's taken as a given that using artificial means to lead exactly the kind of life you want is inherently morally inferior to actually going out and leading your own boring life. Even though the users feel and experience everything their surrogates do (so it feels just as real as doing it in person except you won't die if, say, your parachute doesn't open), and actually are interacting with other people (they just don't see what they really look like), and the movie tells us in the opening that the use of Surrogates has almost completely wiped out racism and sexism. Yeah, but ... it's not real, man!
- Similarly, in The Matrix. Cypher is the only one to see matrix life as preferable. Granted, he killed almost all of his allies and also handed over Morpheus so that the machines could get the codes to Zion to finish off the rest of the free humans, all for a chance to return to the matrix, (with the possibility of him being Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves), but still. The matrix is treated as a horrible prison, and the machines as monsters for treated humanity that way. When in fact, the people who live in the matrix are living content lives and people in the real world struggle just to survive. The real world planet has been turned into a total wasteland that can barely support life. Also, in order to get recruits, Morpheus deceives them by sparking their curiosity through extremely vague descriptions, no mention of a war that they are now obligated to be a part of, and also no mention of the fact that life in the real world completely sucks. Yet freedom is treated as the ultimate goal because, um, it's real or something. Cypher puts it best when he says "If you'd [Morpheus] told us the truth, we would've told you to shove that red pill right up your ass!" Made worse when it's mentioned that the Matrix originally was a perfect paradise for people, but human minds just wouldn't accept a perfect world, so the less perfect current version of the Matrix is essentially as good as they could do. The movie never actually says his points are wrong, except for the part where he's willing to kill people in cold blood to achieve them, and to give up Morpheus. And the first part isn't that different from how Zionites treat redpills.
- Ed Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off is depicted as a Jerk Ass Dean Bitterman who's going overboard with trying to discipline Ferris (admittedly, he broke the law and committed animal cruelty), though that doesn't change the fact that Ferris is skipping school, has done so at least nine times prior (he hacks into the school computer to change the records), and does so by blatantly exploiting the good will of everyone, including his parents. Some reviewers, particularly Dr. Insano, have regarded Rooney as the movie's true hero, and Ferris as the true villain.
- A movie called Women Obsessed shows a man physically beating his new wife and menacing his stepson. At one point he seemingly rapes the wife, (which is a case of What Happened to the Mouse? since we don't see what happens after he closes the door). She gets pregnant by him and ends up losing the baby. He carries her six miles to the hospital. At the doctor's house, she tells the doctor that she wants to leave him because he's abusive. The doctor then chastises her because of his heroics last night. She's portrayed as wrong in this situation and the movie ends with her begging him for forgiveness. This is also a case of Values Dissonance, since the movie was made in 1959, a time when attitudes towards spousal and parental abuse were in several ways very different.
- Mickey in She's The One falls out with his new wife Hope for assuming he would go to Paris with her without discussing it with him first, which seems like a reasonable point, yet he is blamed for it and says himself that he ruined the relationship. The only reason given for him being to blame is that he "didn't fight for her" but Hope didn't fight for him either and was in the wrong in the first place.
- The Wizard has an antagonist whose job is finding the missing children and bringing them home. He might occasionally Poke the Poodle and be a Jerk Ass, but the bad guy's job is locating missing kids for their parents. The movie tries to sell him as a villain. When he is hit with a false accusation of sexual assault by an underage girl, The Wizard portrays this as heroic cleverness on the girl's part.
- In the Ed Wood-penned The Violent Years, Villain Protagonist Paula's parents are painted as neglectful (explicitly so by the Jerkass judge who bookends the movie), providing for her physical well being and ignoring her emotional needs. Though every time we see them, they're either talking to or about Paula. They're also both shown as being up to date on her life and interests give her anything she asks for. So, apparently, "neglectful" meant "not tending to your spoiled, rebellious daughter's emotional needs at all times."
- The Lifetime Movie of the Week Cyber Seduced: His Secret Life informs us so about internet porn. It's something that's so wrong it causes Justin to suddenly suck at swimming, get rejected by the cool kids, end up beaten up and suicidal and get addicted to energy drinks. And this is just from looking at the softcore stuff the movie is able to show...
- School of Rock depicts Ned's girlfriend Patty as being pushy and hypocritical because she "forces" him to demand Dewey actually get a job and pay his massive rent debt. Even though this is a rather reasonable demand, since Dewey isn't terribly concerned with what a drag he is on Ned. She is also supposed to be seen as hypocritical by pointing out that Dewey steps all over him and manipulates him...even though he does exactly that to Ned. To the point of engaging in identity theft to get a job under his name and trying to beg that he not do anything about it when Ned finds out. She's later further villainized for convincing Ned to press charges over the identity theft. At no point in the film is Dewey ever truly sorry for what he pulls on Ned and how many laws he broke or even that what he did could seriously impact Ned's own career as a teacher. For starters, the income from the job that Ned technically lost out on since Dewey took it from him, or what would happen when Ned didn't declare income from a job unknowingly taken under his name on his taxes. Dewey does acknowledge that what he did to the kids was wrong, but he's not ever aware of how much he took advantage of his roommate either. The moment where Ned breaks up with Patty for Dewey's concert is supposed to be a triumph of assertiveness when her only crime is being kind of aggressive over Ned not ever standing up for himself and being taken advantage of.
- Along that line, the parents of the children in Dewey's class aren't exactly unreasonable for being upset that their kids are learning nothing but rock music, and no academics, for weeks or months on end. Even many rock-loving parents would be bothered by how this would set their kids up for some serious educational problems later in the area (for being behind all the other classes in their grade).
- In High School Musical, one of several mean things Sharpay does...is help the shy new girl at her school become friends with people who genuinely like and support her. Something Gabriella- the girl in question- openly appreciates. Admittedly, Sharpay only did that because she wanted to distract Gabriella from Troy, but it's still hard to take it as a malevolent act.
- The Inheritance Cycle is criticized for failing to actually show the informed Evil Empire doing anything much worse than collecting taxes and taking action against terrorists. The reader is informed of several evil things they apparently did, but they are all either part of the backstory, occurring far away from the action, or only vaguely connected to the empire. By comparison the heroes' war crimes and blatant moral failures are shown front and centre, which makes them a touch hard to sympathise with. Paolini does make up for it by showing some evilness in the last book, but by then the anti-fans' allegiance to Galbatorix was fairly well entrenched.
- The Michael Crichton novel Timeline reveals that the Corrupt Corporate Executive who owns the Time Machine at the center of the novel is planning to market it to the rich and powerful, to host tour groups to the past. And That's Terrible, so much so that the heroes use the time machine strand him in the middle of the Bubonic Plague as punishment. Except, as the novel repeatedly reminds the reader, this form of time travel doesn't cause paradoxes because the past can't be changed: instead, it's more like traveling between identical Alternate Universes that are out of historical sync with one another (this is presented a little inconsistently, since the heroes first got involved via a letter from the past, but the book holds to that explanation regardless). So, apart from an assumed Alien Noninterference Clause towards those other timelines that doesn't actually exist in the book (since it takes place in today's world), there doesn't seem to be anything really wrong with his plan. It's just confirmed as wrong by the horrified reactions of the heroes. This apparently wasn't lost on the movie producers: The Film of the Book instead has the villain accidentally stranding himself in the past while trying to kill the heroes.
- In The Host, Wanderer is treated as saintly and righteous by most of the humans after a very short period of mistrust, while Kyle is shown as wrong for continuing to want her dead just because she's a deadly parasite that participated in the destruction of his entire culture, and is still protecting the regime that perpetrated said destruction. Needless to say, this has given a few readers pause.
- Cho Chang and Marietta Edgecomb in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. While the latter attempting to rat out the DA was a dick move, she did it out of fear that her mother would lose her job at the Ministry of Magic (or worse, considering Umbridge's disciplinary methods). The former gets it even worse. Harry dumps her because she dared to call Hermione out on deforming her only friend after Cedric died, despite the fact that she had every right to. However, Harry's behavior is more understandable when you consider what consequences resulted from ratting out the DA, and those consequences were Dumbledore having to flee Hogwarts as a presumed criminal and thus giving Umbridge even more arbitrary power over all the students.
- The Babysitters Club had many examples of this trope.
- In one book Claudia meets a new friend who shares her interest in art, leading Claudia to skip a couple of the club's meetings. The rest of the girls are furious at this, and go so far as to short-sheet her bed and leave nasty notes in her home for her to find — keep in mind that they are at this point still using Claudia's bedroom and phone for club meetings. Yet by the end of the book, Claudia is the one who has to apologise for her behaviour in jilting them for another friend.
- In a much later book, Mary Anne goes to the mall with her father and gets herself a new short haircut and a range of new outfits. The rest of the club responds as though she's murdered one of them and are resentful and nasty over the fact that her new look has given her a boost in confidence. Once again, Mary Anne is the one apologising by the end. Dawn's reasoning behind her anger at Mary Anne is especially galling — she tells her step-sister that she felt left out by not being included in the father/daughter shopping spree. Because God forbid a teenage girl get to spent time one-on-one time with her only living parent for a single afternoon.
- Early in the series, when Lucy Newton is born, her parents decide to hire a new sitter for her as they feel that, no matter how mature the club members are, a 13-year-old may not be able to cope with a newborn. All the girls act like this is incredibly unfair and irrational and, even when they're finally allowed to sit for Lucy at the end of the book due to Protagonist-Centered Morality, they are still somewhat miffed that the Newtons continue to hire an older babysitter separately.
- When Stacey gets a boyfriend and starts spending more time with him, the other girls get angry with her for daring to have a life outside the club, yelling at her for wanting to spend time with other people or for doing things other club members have done (such as forgetting a babysitting job.) Stacey quits the club and her decision is presented as justified, yet a few books later her new friends turn out to be delinquents. The story presents it that Stacey is legitimately incapable of choosing her own friends or having a life without the other girls, and she ends up crawling back and apologizing.
Live Action TV
- In an episode of Psych, Shawn and Gus are chastised for helping a rogue agent escape the authorities. Said authorities opened fire on Shawn and Gus on a pier in broad daylight, while said rogue agent saved their lives.
- In Battlestar Galactica, the humans developed a virus capable of killing every Cylon that was linked to the collective, which was every Cylon in the universe except Athena. The writers obviously expect us to side with Helo and Athena against this genocide. The problem is that everything up to that point suggested that the genocide is justified. The Cylons had already killed countless billions of people, leaving a remnant of about 50,000 that they were still trying to kill. There was no indication at the time of any dissent within the linked Cylons towards killing humans. Note that because of the link, every Cylon except for a few deep undercover agents knew of the impending attack upon the humans ahead of time, and none of them attempted to warn the humans about that. And the odds of survival for the remaining humans without using the virus appeared infinitesimally low.
- A possible counterargument is that the genocide is not advisable because it would not be guaranteed to be total (there is a nonzero, and maybe nontrivial, possibility that the Cylons can get a warning out in time for the furthest away resurrection ships out of range to disconnect themselves and avoid the plague spread), and doing it and failing to get a 100.00% kill would motivate the surviving Cylons to absolutely exterminate the human race without the slightest possibility of reconciliation or even just eventually giving up on the pursuit, thus locking humanity into total doom (as the only possibilities for humanity are Cylons exterminate humanity, humans exterminate Cylons, or some type of eventual peaceful resolution... and a failed genocide attempts means #2 is not achievable and #3 is no longer possible). Unfortunately for the episode quality that's not the argument Helo made, so he still looks like an idiot.
- Dustin suffers from this, once in Power Rangers Ninja Storm. While working late at Kelly's store, some hardmen working for a Corrupt Corporate Executive that Kelly refused to sell her store to, break in, with the intention of trashing the store. Dustin morphs and scares them away. Next morning he gets a minor slap on the wrist for using his Ranger powers for "everyday problems". Although Dustin does have the good sense to point out that they fight bad guys all the time and there was nothing wrong with what he did. Later in the same episode, while Shane is skateboarding in front of a news crew, a monster attacks. Dustin goes to battle the monster alone. The camera men all forget Shane and go to film the fight. Afterwards Shane chews Dustin out for not calling him for help, which would have messed up his chance to get on TV anyway, and might have looked a bit suspicious. Later other Rangers join in lecturing him about doing the right thing. Apparently the right thing is not to steal Shane's limelight.
- Erika in Nip/Tuck is treated as venomous bitchy Mother-In-Law character in nearly all of her appearances, and is wailed on for aggravating Julia's sense of insecurity. The problem is, in most of her appearances, Erika is trying to get Julia to stand up for herself and be proactive instead of wallowing in a giant pool of Wangst over how unsatisfied she is with her life. Sure, she's a bitch, but a comparatively minor one considering Julia's husband regularly engages in in-your-face cheating as petty revenge. It's difficult to see her as a bad person for saying Julia wasted her life by not becoming a doctor when Julia herself feels the exact same way.
- In the TV series of Timecop, the tech guy is portrayed this way. In one episode, he chronically suggests that they not time jump right away and let him tinker with the time machine to figure out why it's acting weird, and is always dismissed out of hand for not doing things "the police way". And then the time machine screws up again. This happens several times.
- The Young and the Restless has had this with the larger Adam storyline. When Adam is confronted in the cabin he makes a point of noting the hypocrisy of the moral absoluteness the other characters are pulling on him. Part of the show's overarching plots, after all, are about the crimes the Newmans and Abbotts regularly pull against each other. While the tone is meant to be that the nature of Adam's crimes is such that the cabin event is justified, it's hard to escape the fact that everything he's saying about the Newmans and Abbotts is true. JT even calls Victoria out on this once she mentions this to him, angrily stating that regardless of what Adam did, the Newmans and Abbots have this disturbing habit of meting out their own brand of justice, usually without any regard to whether or not the target deserved it.
- This has been echoed by Detective Pomerantz, who has refused to consider the theory that Adam faked his death in large part because the Newmans and Abbotts have done such a fantastic job over the years of wriggling out of punishment for crimes quite similar to Adam's murder. It's hard to ignore the fact that, while in this specific case Pomerantz is wrong, there's a veritable laundry list of crimes that the Newmans and Abbotts actually did do which they were never punished for, and Palmerance even mentions several of them noting before he leaves that he could do so all night (truthfully).
- The premise of Gilmore Girls is that Lorelai Gilmore, after getting pregnant and dropping out of school, distanced herself from her parents as she felt they were being over-controlling and not letting her make her own decisions. Later in the series, her own daughter, Rory, goes through a similar situation where she drops out of school and feels her mother is being over-controlling and not letting her make her own decisions. The writing seems to imply that it was right for Lorelai to trust in her decisions re: her mistakes and that it was bad for her parents to resent her for her actions, but goes out of its way to present Lorelai's abandonment of Rory to be justified.
- The difference being that Lorelai was always trying to be true to herself and who she was rather than going along with what was expected of her. Rory was panicking in the face of her first significant rejection and letting that derail everything she had worked for. When Lorelai refused to support the decision to leave school and abandon her dream of being a journalist, Rory went behind her mother's back to move in with her grandparents (something of a Berserk Button for Lorelai given their history). The show may have portrayed Lorelai as being in the right in terms of their initial disagreement, but it also shows that both mother and daughter handled the situation poorly (because, for the first time in their relationship, they had really hurt each other's feelings), leading to months of estrangement. Rory is the one who ends up having to make things right, but they both apologize for how they acted.
- Most sitcom fathers are this, especially if their wife is a Jerk Sue. The most famous examples are probably Ray Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond and the infamous Sweetheart's Day episode of My Wife and Kids. Compare Parenting the Husband.
- The episode of iCarly, "iMeet Fred". Freddy simply and inoffensively states that he doesn't think that Fred from YouTube is funny. Fred then pulls a Rage Quit over the statement causing the entire Earth's population to rise up and turn against Freddy. At the end, Sam pulls Freddy into a room and physically beats him with a tennis racket until he takes his opinion back. Fred then admits that he did all of this just to get some publicity. If you noticed, at no point did anybody apologize to Freddy for their violent revolt against him and at no point was Freddy standing up for his own opinion shown to be a good thing in the episode.
- In addition to this, it completely ignores (even by RoF standards) the fact that Freddy's opinion isn't a minority opinion; in fact, it's a majority. IRL, Fred is widely derided by both the general public and (even more so) critics. In fact, if anything, the Fangirls are very much the Vocal Minority... as Nickelodeon themselves finally acknowledged after both his series flopped.
- An episode of Family Matters had both Harriet and Richie passive aggressively mock and chastise Carl, essentially for liking The Three Stooges. They paint Carl as being a childish sadist for liking a show about people being physically hurt, seemingly forgetting that the Three Stooges is one of the most famous series ever made and arguably set the ground for the sitcom genre and especially physical comedy after it, including Family Matters.
- Smallville: Dr. Chisolm sounds like just another 'alien-conspiracy' nutcase killing off helpless Kandorians who just want to live peacefully among humans but whom he fears are part of an alien invasion. Good thing the cruel and horrific experiments the 'peaceful' Kandorians performed on him and other humans to regain their Kryptonian powers so they could Take Over the World occurred offscreen or they'd seem more like asshole victims.
- Even Clark called them out on that one, saying that human beings are not their personal guinea pigs. Part of his agreement to help was because they were his people.
- Home and Away had a scene where Nick Smith is told off by his brother Will for having a new girlfriend, as this isn't being nice to his ex Jade. Considering that his new girlfriend isn't a friend of Jade and he isn't flaunting the relationship in front of her, it's hard to see exactly what he did wrong.
- Nathan, the love interest of Kelly in The Secret Life of Us, is depicted as having betrayed Kelly for getting oral from a woman at a party, even though it happened after Kelly and he had split up and despite Kelly kissing a man and almost having a threesome at the same party.
- Happens more often than not in All in the Family, in which the assumption that Archie is always wrong runs so strongly that the writers often don't even bother to try to justify Mike's positions. Norman Lear's Opinion Myopia was a large factor in the show's Misaimed Fandom.
- Star Carroll O'Connor (who exercised considerable creative control over the show from Day One) intended for Archie and Mike to be dueling strawmen: Archie representing the conservative working class, who held on to outdated beliefs to their own detriment, because they were taught to value conformity. Mike represented this kind of "pointy-headed liberals" O'Connor despised; young people with no real life experience, whose solutions to society's problems would be laughably naive even to the target audience. This put him into conflict with Lear, who had enough plausible deniability to convince himself that Archie (who was wrong more often than Mike was) was always wrong.
- Happens sometimes on Hoarders and similar shows, when the subject is merely an annoyance to friends and family, rather than at risk for illness or injury or legal actionnote , and their behavior, if not exactly reasonable, is at least defensible.
- In one episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, Stevie is considered "evil" because she leads a revolution against the law that says all children must battle their siblings and end up with only one having their powers. This isn't even argued about, no one mentions that Alex agreeing with Stevie might be because she just has a different opinion, and in the end Alex agrees that it's 100% evil. Besides that, Comedic Sociopathy is taken to new levels in that episode when they semingly kill Stevie off. Although according to Wordof God, the Literally Shattered Lives incident didn't actually kill Stevie and she was rehabilitated.
- Ted in How I Met Your Mother is portrayed as a jerk for still seeing his little sister Heather as an irresponsible teenager. However, Heather does have a long history of being irresponsible and the way she proved to Ted she was responsible was to have her and Barney undress in his office and pretend they had sex, get caught by Lily and then accuse Ted of being a jerk for making the obvious assumption that they had sex. What a great way to prove she was a smart and mature adult.
- On Glee, whenever a straight character comes in conflict with someone gay or bi, the show has an annoying habit of painting the straight party as wrong while the queer character's own wrongdoing is conveniently forgotten.
- Brittany dumps Artie after he calls her stupid. Keep in mind that he calls her stupid because she was cheating on him with another girl, Santana, who convinced Brittany that it's not cheating "if the plumbing is different." The breakup wouldn't be so bad but the episode in question goes out of its way to paint Artie as the wrong party, and neither Brittany nor Santana are ever called out on it.
- Kurt outright sexually harasses Finn, who had repeatedly and politely told Kurt that he wasn't interested, even going so far as to play matchmaker between their single parents. Once Finn's mom decides to move in with Kurt and his dad, Kurt fixes it so that the two boys shared a bedroom. Despite the inherent creepiness of all of this, Finn was portrayed horribly because he called Kurt's furniture "faggy." It wasn't until much later that Kurt was finally called out on his behavior, after viewers (gays included) complained.
- Kurt was pissy at Rachel and Blaine for dating, going as far as to claim that bisexuality is just a coping mechanism for closet cases. When the two decide to just be friends, it proves Kurt right and makes Rachel and Blaine out to be fools. At no point is he called out on his jealousy and biphobia.
- Finn accidentally outing Santana. While the aftermath was certainly unfortunate for her, it wasn't remotely intentional on his part, unlike the endless put-downs and jokes she made toward his weight that she never made amends for.
- In an episode of The Facts of Life, Tootie learns to play poker from Mrs. Garrett's estranged husband. The audience finds out how wrong that is by the reaction of the teachers when they find out the girls are playing poker. The teachers showed less disapproval at shoplifting, smoking marijuana, drinking wine, and pretending to put out.
- H2O: Just Add Water - apparently the girls using their mermaid powers to dive down and salvage a sunken museum artefact becomes an absolutely despicable idea the minute a financial reward is mentioned. Never mind that they'd be saving other people quite a bit of money spent on diving teams, equipment etc.
- On an episode of The Odd Couple, Oscar is treated like a complete heel for wanting to call the cops and report a seemingly abandoned baby. (As it turns out, the mother did intend to come back for the baby, but he had no way of knowing that at the time.)
- In Scrubs, Elliot gets a job in private practice, allowing her to earn double the money while having the right to drop everything the instant her shift ends. Dr. Cox and JD label her a sellout because she no longer goes the extra mile for her patients (a moral the two take seriously), instead choosing to pawn her patients off the instant she doesn't get paid to treat them. Elliot simply declares them jealous of her new money and focuses on that for the rest of the episode. By the end, JD is essentially bribed into saying he's wrong, and Elliot's treatment of her patients is never addressed again.
- In an episode of Good Times, a pregnant teenage girl from the projects decides to give up her baby for adoption. All of the regular characters treat it as the worst thing she could possibly do. None of them even consider that adoptive parents would very likely give the child a better life. At the end, she sees the baby after giving birth and starts having second thoughts, and the show leaves it at the possibility that she may keep the baby. This is treated as a wonderful thing.
- This story was recycled, note-for-note, in Jimmie Walker's TV version of Bustin' Loose.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "Let He Who is Without Sin", Worf is depicted as nothing but a big party-pooper throughout his trip to Risa. Yes, he should ease up a bit, but with how much Jadzia keeps shrugging off his requests to discuss their relationship, which was the reason they were going to Risa to begin with (which was also where she wanted to go, by the way), it's hard to blame him for finally losing his cool when he does.
- Mr. Neutron from the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketches of the same name is allegedly evil, and the narrator assures the audience that he plans to destroy the world, yet the most evil thing he's seen doing on screen is flirting with a married woman. By all appearances, he's a nice if somewhat odd guy. All of the (considerable) destruction done in that episode is done by the military trying to stop his alleged doomsday plans by launching preemptive nuclear strikes to various places he might be - but isn't.
- Season 3 of Necessary Roughness had an experimental medical procedure that was used as a performance enhancer for athletes. The good characters focused on how this was evil because of the cheating and breaking of rules. The bad guy responded by pointing out that the procedure allowed athletes to recover from career ending injuries and saved them from a lot of pain later in their careers. Based on these arguments alone, it is easy for the audience to agree with the bad guy even though we are told that what he is doing is extremely bad. There is no mention of possible side effects or the fact that the bad guy was essentially using young, impressionable athletes as guinea pigs and abusing the trust they placed in him as a mentor figure.
- Friends: Ross is treated as intolerant of Phoebe's beliefs when he wants her to return a stray cat she found to her actual owner, an 8 year old girl. Phoebe is reluctant to do so because for some reason she thought the cat was her Mom after it went into her guitar case.
- When Prime Minister Harriet Jones note orders the destruction of a retreating Sycorax warship in the Doctor Who episode "The Christmas Invasion", it's used for a rather heavy-handed Humans Are the Real Monsters message, with the Doctor immediately using it as evidence that she isn't fit to govern Britain. But her actions could definitely be seen as justified, considering the Sycorax had just come frighteningly close to killing a huge portion of Earth's population, and she lives in a universe where such extraterrestrial threats are a regular occurrence. Her argument in her defense—that the people of Earth can't always rely on the Doctor to protect them—actually makes a lot of sense, and it's hard to deny that humanity's elected leaders have to be willing to Shoot the Dog when dealing with aliens that would happily massacre civilians.
- In Little Orphan Annie, Mrs. Warbucks donates large amounts of money to charity. However, she doesn't care a bit about the poor, she just wants to be praised and give a good impression. Fact remains that the poor probably wish more people were like her. Motivation aside, she does help the needy, and that's a good thing.
- In Luann, Tiffany's desire to get into acting without any formal training is given the Ambition Is Evil treatment and she's all but told that she'll fail without the proper training. This is all despite the fact that A) Plenty of famous actors have had no formal training before getting into the business and B) at that point, Tiffany already had a modest professional resume.
- Dungeons & Dragons has spells that are designated "Evil," usually because they use necromancy and negative energy. The actual function of many of these spells, however, doesn't seem to be inherently evil. One example is Deathwatch, a spell that checks if people are alive, crippled or dead.
- During World of Warcraft's Rage of the Firelands patch, the Night Elf Druid Leyara switched sides with Fandral Staghelm and became a Druid of the Flame because her daughter had been killed in one of the Horde's attacks on Ashenvale, an attack she felt could have been prevented if Malfurion Stormrage had taken a more proactive stance against the Horde. When he learned of this, Malfurion seemed to believe she was being unreasonable, but many players felt her anger was justified (and perhaps even agreed with her line of thinking, at least right up until she jumped off the slippery slope).
- The funny thing is that Leyara was supposed to be a Take That, Audience! towards the Alliance players who'd been complaining about the Druids' neutrality, but the way she was presented made players sympathetic to her and caused them to view Malfurion as even more of a Jerk Ass than they had before.
- In the now-removed Battle for the Undercity questline, after killing Putress King Varian angrily confronts Thrall and Sylvanas, and after being ported out of the city by Jaina, declares war on the Horde. Everyone involved, including Jaina (who's supposed to be on the same side as Varian) thinks he overreacted. But Varian had just seen a laboratory full of dead Alliance citizens the Forsaken had been torturing and experimenting on, while the two factions were supposed to be at peace, in order to develop a superweapon that had just been used against the Alliance. How was he supposed to react?
- This isn't the only time Varian is portrayed in this manner. In the novel Wolfheart, Varian is the only Alliance leader to refuse membership to the Worgen of Gilneas. Why? Not because they're Worgen but because Gilneas stood by behind their great walls and let their former allies be destroyed by the Undead. Everyone tries to tell Varian not to be unreasonable, but what is so unreasonable about having reservations about giving help to someone who formerly refused to help you when you needed it? Naturally, Varian not only ends up liking the Worgen by the end of the novel but even leading them to counter-arrack the Horde. His original reservations are simply brushed aside.
- Valkyria Chronicles has the flinders of its moral lessons all over the place, but the Valkyria in general get the gold star for this one. We're told in no uncertain terms that Valkyria powers are Bad News, but we're never really given a good explanation for why that is; the closest we get is the fact that one guy in the entire world would want to exploit them for personal gain. One guy. Who dies at the end of the game after his homemade artificial Valkyria power-armor crapped out on him. But, since Ambition Is Evil and the Valkyria make tanks look like tinker toys, everybody who doesn't think that those powers are evil ends up crushed to death by raining anvils.
- In the Ar tonelico series, we're repeatedly given examples of Reyvateils being treated like trash...but we're supposed to assume the fault lies with them for "not trusting in others" enough, thus requiring the main characters to fix what's wrong with their heads. For the most egregious example that comes to mind, Misha didn't want to be locked up in a room all her life singing, and for this the game wants us to assume she's a whiny brat (and we're also supposed to assume The Hero was in the wrong for telling his father off for this, since it was his father's idea).
- Really, a lot of the "Social Links" in the video game Persona 4 could be viewed as this. For example, one of the two possible Sun Links, the drama club member Yumi, is upset because her father walked out on his family. But the Social Link's story is set up in such a manner that we're supposed to think Yumi is being a brat for not forgiving her father, and Yumi's problems are set up to be her doing. The idea that maybe her father really is a douche for abandoning her mother is not given any real consideration besides a psychological problem with Yumi's head that the hero needs to fix. Other examples include Yukiko (who doesn't want to be forced to inherit her family's inn, but then decides it was wrong of her to make that choice) and Rise (who got out of the idol business because she couldn't handle the stress, but then eventually goes back since Risette is "the real her" after all). Also, a lot of complaints about Japanese society are dismissed as crazy, because they come out of the mouth of a psychotic serial killer trying to justify murdering innocents. So apparently Persona 4 is about "reaching out for the truth", as long as "the truth" means becoming a doll and internalizing the worst perceptions others can ascribe to you, so you can change to please them. That those others might want to reach out for the truth evidently doesn't count.
- In Treading Ground, protagonist Nate was cast as a repressed asshole by his and Rose's circle of friends for not giving in to Rose's advances, up to and including Rose stripping in front of him. Somehow lost in all of this is that Rose was 17 and Nate was in his 20s. And the fact that Rose agreed to wait until she was 18 before they pursued anything more than Just Friends (an agreement they came to when she was 16). It was heavily implied early on that Nate came up with that pact hoping Rose would get tired of waiting and move on to someone closer to her age, but that line of thought seemed to have been dropped by the end. Possible intentional Moral Dissonance at work.
- It was brought up in-story that the age of consent in their state (South Carolina) is 16, and that neither Rose nor Nate - possibly intentionally on his part - were aware of this. Which still leaves the ridiculous idea that Nate was a jerk for not wanting to sleep with a teenager (even one as willing as Rose).
- Dominic Deegan refers to Alterism as unnatural and Alterists as creepy. We don't actually see any Alterists save for one student doing some amateur work on himself and one hairdresser who only used the magic to style hair and we are never shown how Alterism is any more unnatural than pumping your head full of "ecomancy", the "natural" equivalent, beyond some bad hairdos. This was eventually addressed in one arc where Dominic and Luna admitted their dislikes stem from Freudian Excuses and alterism is show to be akin to surgery, though with some more bizarre possibilities. It's still generally considered "wrong" in-verse due to a bad rap from its use by people more for physical enhancement than medical treatment.
- It was later revealed that a 'prank' as a young student resulted in him having over a week of visions of the worst horrors that could go wrong with Alterism FROM THE VICTIM'S PERSPECTIVE. So Dominic's treating it as something horrible is a result of not being able to get over that traumatic incident. Otherwise it doesn't seem to be treated as being that wrong (and allowed a trans female character to successfully undergo physical transition and be happy).
- Parodied in a Robot Chicken sketch entitled Twelve Angry Little People. A Rogue Juror insists they not convict a boy of murder because one of the witnesses must have been mistaken about her testimony, since she normally wears glasses and wouldn't have them on when she woke up and allegedly saw the crime (an obvious reference to 12 Angry Men). A dog on the jury points out that there is incontrovertible DNA evidence at the scene of the crime pointing to the boy. The Rogue Juror replies by saying- "why are we listening to you? You're a *BLEEP* ing dog!"
- Done rather frustratingly in Captain Planet and the Planeteers with Wheeler, who gets dismissed as an idiot even when he has a point. In at least one episode the others brought him around to their way of thinking, then arbitrarily switched sides and he was considered wrong again.
- The episode "The Numbers Game" takes this to bizarre levels—-at the beginning of the episode he opines that people shouldn't have children they can't afford to support, and the others call him out for being unsympathetic to poor people. Then he goes to sleep and has a dream where he and Linka are married with a whole bunch of kids, which leads to a horribly wasteful world since having more than two kids is bad for the environment, and his dream-friends chew him out again for being so irresponsible. He then wakes up and tells Linka that if they get married one day, he only wants two kids at most. The episode sets it up as if he learned a lesson... but by the show's own standards, he was right the whole time!
- At one point, they did the same debate, except in this episode Wheeler was on the exact opposite side of the argument, and was still considered wrong.
- Also a major trait of Eric from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. This is one of the most famous examples of The Complainer Is Always Wrong. No matter how reasonable his objections were, the other characters ignore him, and we're supposed to side with them.
- In Gargoyles, Goliath and Elisa help the Avalon clan defend themselves from Oberon, who wants to drive them out. One of the clanmembers points out that technically the clan is squatting on Oberon's rightful property, but her thought is quickly dismissed and we're supposed to side with the gargoyles. To his credit, Oberon was willing to settle the matter diplomatically at the end, so at least it wasn't a matter of him being completely wrong as the Avalon clan proving themselves worthy to stay on Avalon, and there's no question that Oberon is still top dog over the human residents.
- In Skunk Fu!, the Big Bad, Dragon, is mentioned to have been "punished for his arrogance". In his full backstory, it's said that the valley the characters live in was under an intense drought. When Dragon asked the Heavens if he could use his water powers to stop the drought, the Heavens didn't respond at all. So Dragon went ahead and ended the drought with rainfall. The Heavens then punished him by stripping him of his water powers and trapping him in a mountain prison. This is most likely based on a Chinese legend on how the four rivers were made. Four dragons of water went much the same way as Dragon did and gave the people water after being refused permission, and were punished by the gods by being turned into rivers. Seeing as China presents the afterlife as a Celestial Bureaucracy and deference to authority is taken very seriously, apparently the way Dragon was "arrogant" is that he thought himself above those that told him when he was able to use his powers.
- X-Men: Evolution: Joyride; Avalanche joins the X-Men, but only to be close to Kitty, who he's grown close to and has feelings for. Throughout the episode, he goofs off, destroys property, endangers others, and shows that he's way over his head, and when Cyclops tries to be friendly, he growls at him like a dog, then taunts him when he finds his car has been trashed by a joyride. So, when Cyclops starts to suspect he's responsible for the recent joyrides, he's presented as wrong to not trust the former villain, even though all the evidence points to him, and in the end Scott apologizes for not trusting him. While Scott shouldn't have embarrassed him by reactivating a machine to knock him over, that doesn't change the fact he's treated as an asshole for not trusting him despite his lack of any logical reason to. In the end Lance quits, not because of Scott but because he'd rather stay with the Brotherhood because the X-Men expect too much effort being put in.
- In one episode of Hey Arnold!, Arnold gets fed up with Helga's bullying and gets back at her by spilling paint on her. He gets in trouble and everyone treats him like he's crossed the Moral Event Horizon. He's told that he should just let Helga bully him because she's a girl.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Bats!", the main conflict is between Fluttershy and Applejack over whether Applejack should allow a swarm of vampire fruit bats to remain on her farm. Applejack wants them gone, because in the past they've caused massive amounts of damage to the crop and nearly wrecked the farm. Fluttershy wants Applejack to cordon off a section of the orchard for the bats to stay in because... she likes animals and thinks that Applejack is being mean note . The episode (and Applejack) ultimately end up siding with Fluttershy, even though Applejack's argument (that her farm might be ruined if the bats are allowed to stay) has perfectly valid points that are never addressed.
- In Recess Gretchen practicing with her yoyo all day is apparently a horrible habit that warrants Vince to angrily say "why don't you put that thing away!" and Spinelli to complain about it. It's presented as a sign that Gretchen is 'neglecting' her friends over her new hobby.
- The Rocket Power episode "Power Girl Surfers" has Otto and Reggie getting into an argument that starts when Otto is unexpectedly offered a cover story in his favorite surfing magazine, and Reggie is unable to convince the magazine editor that she deserves her own story more than her brother does. While the editor was undeniably a Jerkass to Reggie, we're never actually shown anything suggesting that she would have been a better candidate than Otto, and Otto is painted as a selfish jerk because he accepts the cover story, refusing to throw away his shot at fame because of his sister's jealousy.