Brian: These starlets have got to stop making deals with magical creatures because it always gets them in trouble!
Angelique: I know absolutely, I mean we all saw when that genie granted Jennifer Aniston eternal youth, but then we saw that eternal youth would mean never growing up by having a lasting relationship or children.
Brian: Also, we saw when Christina Ricci asked a wizard to make her skinny, but the catch was that he could make her head as big as he wanted...
Generally speaking, a Literal Genie will make logical, if basic interpretations of a wish. Nothing more and nothing less than what the wishexplicitly states. This is so that when a wish backfires, we can laugh at the foolishness of whoever made the wish, as opposed to the genie, who's just doing their job.
Sometimes, though, the literal interpretation just isn't enough. Try as we might, there simply aren't that many wishes which can be literally interpreted to mean "Turn me blue." So when the humiliation really needs to pile on, the Jackass Genie has to make an appearance.
What differentiates the Jackass Genie from the Literal Genie is sheer malice. This creature has it in for whoever has the misfortune of being his master, and will make whatever bizarre interpretation is necessary to make the master's life a living hell. A Literal Genie will grant the wish as is, with no additional magic good or bad. The Jackass Genie will be the precise opposite of the Benevolent Genie, inserting the absolute worst, but still technically valid, version of any wish.
Wish for a hot girlfriend? The Literal Genie will give her a fever (or maybe hook you up with a fire demon). The Jackass Genie will set her on fire. Try to head it off and wish for an attractive girlfriend? The Literal Genie will make her magnetic. The Jackass Genie will make her attract tigers. Wish for a beautiful girlfriend? The Literal Genie will give you a Brainless Beauty. The Jackass Genie will give you a beautiful Ax-Crazy girlfriend who has killed all her previous lovers horribly. Wish for some long overdue social reform? The Literal Genie will create a stagnant society that lacks the conflict necessary for growth, while the Jackass will always opt for an oppressive dystopia where the fanatics who make your side look bad have won out. Wish for a million dollars? The Literal Genie will just give you a million banknotes, making you a counterfeiter. The Jackass Genie will give you one million Zimbabwean dollars (worth less than one U.S. cent) because you never specified which country's dollar.
In short, you just can't win; no matter what you wish for, the Jackass Genie will find a way to twist it so you end up worse off. Expect him to milk Exact Words and Metaphorically True for all they're worth. And taking the Literal Genie approach of making your wish very specific is nothing but a trap when dealing with a Jackass Genie. Unless you know a rule that he absolutely has to follow, he'll just move the goalposts and screw you over anyway. "Oh, the words you used mean something else in a very obscure dialect in Another Dimension." Even worse is when he grants your wish normally, and then sets you on fire because "You didn't wish not to be set on fire".
You can also expect a Jackass Genie to interpret anything you say as a wish, even if you didn't intend to make one. Never say "I wish I were dead" when this particular genie is within earshot. Your "wish" will be granted. Even the Literal Genie tends to have a tenuous grasp of the concept of hyperbole.
As you can plainly see, oftentimes the Jackass Genie just seems to be taking cheap shots at characters who are literally helpless before him. As a result, expect him to be the clear villain in when he appears. The Literal Genie can be excused somewhat if they're just naturally ditzy or are trying to teach you a lesson about being careful what you wish for, but the Jackass Genie can lay no such claim. If there is any lesson to be learned with them, it might be "if an offer seems too good to be true, it is" — after all, this genie acts like a supernatural Con Man, and you always had the option to walk away and/or wish none of this ever happened.
Genie jackassery is a natural repercussion of the original mythology, since most wish-granting djinn were demons imprisoned and enslaved by sorcerers (usually this specific one) and are rather unhappy with their servitude. As such, they will take every opportunity to screw over their master. Genies following this tradition are basically sending An Aesop that "you shouldn't consort with magical beings, full stop". Nowadays that might be because "hard work is good for you" or "Wanting Is Better Than Having", but originally it would have been the simple matter that only God is allowed to do magic.
Has nothing to do with fitting Johnny Knoxville in a bottle (Or the other way round, knowing him).
Compare with Deal with the Devil. Due to their common motivation, many of them are also Trolls.
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A lad called Tim wishes he was rich, cool and irresistible. The genie turns him into a packet of chocolate Tim Tams biscuits. Which then get eaten by his girlfriend.
The Toyota RAV4 genie. A family of four meets the genie and is granted wishes. The man wishes to get rid of his "spare tire"; the genie gets rid of a literal spare tire. The woman wishes that she could eat all the chocolate she wants; the genie gives her a medical condition that requires her to eat chocolate to survive. The boy wishes to be an astronaut; the genie launches the family car into space with the family in it. The girl wishes to be a princess; the genie makes her a princess in a setting similar to Game of Thrones. The man wishes for unlimited wishes; the genie mishears that as "witches". The man then rephrases his first wish; the genie has him chased down the street by a dog so he'll exercise.
An Energizer ad features a treasure hunter coming upon a magic lamp; for setting the genie free, he is granted three wishes. First wish: enormous wealth (he's surrounded by gold). Second wish: to be adored by women (beautiful ladies surround him). After the genie warns him to use his last wish wisely, he makes said wish: long life. To the genie's maniacal laughter, that is how the Energizer Bunny came to be.
Subverted in Tenshi Na Konamaiki. Megumi wishes for manliness, so the genie, just to be an asshole, turns him into a girl. The subversion? That's a false memory, planted by the spirit itself when it granted her wish to the best of its limited ability.
In Ah! My Goddess demons are like this in contrast of Benevolent Genies of Heaven. When it's just standard wish fulfillment, anyway. If the wish involved falls in line with the demon's desires as well, they'll pull out all the stops to get everything right.
In one of Devil May Cry: The Animated Series episodes there was a genie who offers to grant your wish, but he will not grant your wish to be rich or beautiful, because "it's impossible" or "I don't like the idea." Instead he will stalk you and wait until you say to someone: "I wish you die."
In a chapter of a Doraemon manga, Doraemon introduces a robot genie that is literally this trope. Incapable of magic, the robot goes out to rob and even abduct people to fulfill Nobita's wishes. Though in this case, the jackass part is that it's a jackass to the people it's robbing/abducting and not to Nobita.
Kameo from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fit this role to perfection (not surprisingly, as he was one of Dio's servants). He encountered Polnareff alone and promised him 3 wishes. Polnareff first wished for gold, and at first Kameo seemed honest, creating a glittering pile of treasure with no negative effects whatsoever. Then Polnareff remembered his guilt over not being able to save Sherry or Avdol and wished that they both be brought back to life. Kameo interpreted this as two wishes (giving Polanreff no way to escape the consequences), then leaded Polnareff to his newly-raised sister and ally...which were actually twisted simulacrums that promptly attempted to kill him.
Romeo from Make 5 Wishes. To make it even worse, the first, small wish that Hanna asks for, for her crush to finally notice her, is granted without any ill effects at all, leading to her becoming more bold and making bigger wishes that backfire on her horribly. For the fifth and final wish, she thinks he's screwed her over again, but he hasn't. She just doesn't realize that the fifth wish was granted exactly as she wanted.
The wish-granting devil in Dorohedoro prefers to grant wishes that are stupid or selfish. The main characters figure this out, and realize that he can be manipulated into granting selfless wishes if they're phrased in such a way as to sound selfish.
The manga Wish of Mia Ikumi (also author of Tokyo Mew Mew) revolves around the so-called Angel of Wishes, a mysterious entity looking like a woman in school uniform and witch hat that gives people cell phones to contact her and make a single wish she'll then proceed to screw over:
the first chapter features the three friends Rikako, Ai and Mai getting the cell phone. Rikako uses her wish to get Ai and her beloved Yamaguchi together, only for Ai to start ignoring them and Yamaguchi later admitting he liked Rikako. In a fit of rage, Ai wishes that Rikako and Mai will disappear while she was in contact with the 'Angel', who proceeds to summon an Eldritch Abomination to eat them until Yamaguchi gets the cell phone and wishes the monster away. Mai, finally, feeling betrayed by her friends, for whom she was willing to renounce to both the wish and Yamaguchi's love, makes an untold wish that is implied will kill them. The 'Angel' did all this just to show that friendship is a fickle thing;
in the second chapter, a girl named Misa, who has drowned to save a cat, wishes to come back to life. The 'Angel' gives her a temporary body, and will annul her death if she manages to kiss the boy she loves before midnight... But doesn't tell her that her friend Akio, who died with her and loves her, made a similar wish with the same condition. And Akio doesn't too, but decides to help Misa live. The only reason they don't get screwed up when Misa throws away her chance to live and kisses Akio is that his wish was to stay with her for the following year, and the 'Angel' decided it meant that they should both live;
in the third chapter, a girl named Kumi has a crush on a boy named Kisarazu, and wishes for him to become small so she'll be able to care for him in her home and he'll fall for her. The 'Angel' obliges, and enjoys the show when Reality Ensues: Kisarazu is terrified, and is utterly furious when he learns that Kumi is responsible for his condition;
the fourth chapter opens with a man lying in his own blood and an high school student crying she didn't mean that when she wished her teacher would disappear, while the 'Angel' states she fulfils any wish and that's the wisher's problem if she isn't happy with the result. She later states she'll screw up another wish upon sending a cell phone to a girl in need... And is happy when the girl ignores the cell phone: the 'Angel' screws up wishes on purpose, because she doesn't like when people cry for help at the first problem even when they can actually fulfil their wishes on their own (thus explaining why she didn't screw up Akio's wish: bringing people back to life is beyond Human abilities). And ends the chapter and the manga by preparing to screw another wish up.
The 1990s Marvel Comics series Sleepwalker had a demonic genie named Mr. Jyn who appeared to down-on-their luck losers and pretended to grant their fondest desires, but actually manipulated his "masters" into letting him cause more and more chaos until he would be free to roam the Earth.
Id, a JLA villain, started off as a Literal Genie, granting a child's wish that everything was made out of chocolate, or Superman's wish that the Leaguers didn't have to maintain two identities. When it reacted to a disfigured film star shouting "Don't look at me!" by turning everyone in the city blind, Green Lantern realised "It's getting creative."
In Michael Dialynus's short comic The Knight Who Would Be King a Knight Errant helps an old man in exchange for a wish. Naturally he wishes to be king so the old man turns him into a tree and carves a chess piece out of him.
The Bog Roosh, a mermaid-witch from Hellboy: The Third Wish. Three mermaids perform a task for her in exchange for a wish for each. The first wishes to be reunited with her lover. The Bog Roosh informs her that said lover is dead, then raises him as a zombie; he promptly attacks and kills the mermaid. The second mermaid wishes for legs and lungs, so she can be united with the human she loves. The Bog Roosh grants this immediately; as they're at the bottom of the ocean, the ex-mermaid drowns. The third mermaid wishes for a lost spear, so she can return it to the grave of her father. The Bog Roosh hands over the spear, and the mermaid safely swims away to deliver it. Apparently the Bog Roosh is a misanthrope who hates romance, but she respects someone who cares for their parents.
The third mermaid arguably suffers an even worse fate than her sisters. For no readily apparent reason, returning the spear to her father's grave condemns him to Hell, and when Hellboy kills the Bog Roosh, the mermaid has to take her place. What the hell?
It is more than likely the Bog Roosh knew the girls father would hate the fact that she sacrificed Hellboy for the sake of a lost object and would condemn her for it, his Hell being the shame and disgrace of his daughter's actions. So yeah, Bog Roosh is a jackass genie through and through.
In Babymouse: Beach Babe, Babymouse has an Imagine Spot where she finds a bottle with a genie that looks like Felicia. She wishes for ice cream and gets pickle flavor (since she didn't specify what kind), she then wishes for straight whiskers, only for the genie to make them straight, but so long that they touch the ground. Finally, she wishes for "someone cool" to play with, only to come back to reality, where she only has her baby brother for a companion.
When wishes are made of djinn in Fables, they haven't been seen to twist words. However, if the third wish isn't used to put them back in the bottle, they'll go running rampage instead. In a Cinderella spin-off, we even find out that Aladdin has a genie with one more wish, just to make life hell for anybody who's about to kill him.
Played with in G. Willow Wilson's Cairo. The jinn Shams can't make things appear out of thin air when granting wishes, he can only manipulate probability. This results in a surprise for protagonist Shaheed when he wishes that he didn't have to pay for his breakfast.
One Simpsons Comic story, "Ala-diddly-addin and His Magic Lamp", features Ned Flanders as Aladdin and Homer as a Jackass Genie. When Aladdin wishes for his dead wife to be alive again, the genie pulls the classic trick and brings her back as a living skeleton. He also interprets statements that are clearly not wishes as wishes.
During the InfernoCrisis Crossover in Marvel Comics, the current Hobgoblin followed a group of demons to their lair, where he met their boss and offered up his soul in exchange for power. After he finishes laughing, the demon tells the Hobgoblin that his corrupt soul is worth nothing, but since he got a laugh out of this, decides to indulge his request for power... by fusing Hobby with a crazy Knight Templar demon outcast.
In Archie Comics there is an old man that fits this: he had with wish-granting powers, and Archie receives wishes that turn out to amuse the old man when they turn out wrong. Archie is so warped by anger over this that in a moment of evil, he wishes that REGGIE receive the remainder of his wishes.
The moment of evil goes like this: "Are you kidding? I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy!" (Archie's eyes glow with skulls for pupils and hellfire for irises as he gets an evil grin) "Or maybe...I would!" Which the old man provides. The first thing it leads up to? Reggie getting run up a tree by Moose.
Mephisto, the closest thing to Satan in Marvel Universe, may sometimes wander into this. Recently he decided to play along with a popular Urban Legend that sometimes devil may visit a bar and, if bartender will provide him with good service, he will grant him a wish. When the bartender asked for immortality, Mephisto dragged him to Hell, extracted all his blood when grinding him like fresh meat, and used it as ink to write letters. Words are immortal.
The Suske en Wiske comic De perenprins features a genie that always grants the exact opposite of what you wish. For example, when Lambik wished for the genie to give them some allies that didn't have to be very tall, he instead gave their enemies three giants as allies. This is not because the genie is evil or malicious, but more that he is extremely clumsy. He always apologizes afterwards for his screw ups. Eventually both Wiske and Jerom get Genre Savvy enough to realize the genie's flaw, and exploit it by actually wishing for the exact opposite of what they really want. When Jerom defeated the giants, he wished for 3 more giants. The result: the genie screwed up again and accidently made the 3 already existing giants disappear, exactly what Jerom realy wanted.
The Candlemaker in Doom Patrol. He grants Dorothy Spinner two wishes without a catch, but when she makes her third one, he grants her wish and resurrects Joshua Clay as promised, but then escapes her mind and immediately kills him.
Japan in Axis Powers HetaliaDeconstruction fic Mistakes managed to Jackass Genie himself. He'd found out that his humans were doing unspeakable things to his brothers and confronted his Prime Minister. Nation-tans have to obey orders from their human leaders. Under normal circumstances, "forget about them, we have bigger problems" would have been dismissed as a colloquialism, but Japan really, really wanted to forget that he'd played a part in getting his own brother raped. So he did. China was not pleased.
The Nuptialverse: As shown in the flashbacks in Metamorphosis, Discord promises to fulfill then-pegasus Chrysalis' desire to obtain the powers of all three pony tribes. Chrysalis thinks it means she will become an alicorn, but Discord thinks just turning her into an alicorn would be boring.
Jafar in Aladdin: The Return of Jafar demonstrated this trope when Abis Mal asked for a legendary sunken treasure, he promptly brought him to the treasure, at the bottom of the sea, and forced Abis Mal to make a second wish to not die.
Jafar: That's two wishes. Take your time with the third... or you'll wish you'd never been born.
That particular scene also has a very interesting Call Back: In the original Aladdin, the Genie rescued Aladdin from drowning by accepting it as his second wish, even when he was incapable of wishing for it. In The Return Of Jafar, Jafar "rescues" Abis Mal from drowning by accepting it as his second wish, even when he was incapable of wishing for it.
Later in the movie, Abis Mal muses out loud about wishing for a famous treasure chest of some mythical king. Jafar (who is trying to pressure Abis into setting him free) traps him inside the chest, just to remind him what'll happen if he tries it.
Jafar, however, does give him a freebie regarding all the treasure to Abis Mal's heart's content in exchange for the third wish after Aladdin is believed to have died to set him free from the lamp. Abis Mal was going to wish for Jafar's freedom, but stops himself and wonders whether Jafar's going to actually keep his word about the treasure, or if he's going to ensure that the treasures "disappear" on Abis Mal once he is free, apparently having become Genre Savvy due to Jafar's tendency towards this trope.
Dr. Facilier in The Princess and the Frog. When reading Prince Naveen's fortune, he "predicts" that Naveen wishes for "the green" and to be able to "hop from place to place." Naveen never actually says anything like this, nor does he even acknowledge this as an accurate "prediction," yet Facilier transforms him into a frog anyways.
Naveen agreed to Facilier's deal when he shook his hand, tacitly giving him permission to make the wishes described come true. This was of course very stupid, as it meant giving to the "genie" in this scenario both the phrasing and the execution of the wish, which is just asking to get screwed over.
Films — Live-Action
The titular genie in the Wishmaster series is practically the poster boy for this trope. He deliberately interprets any wish he's given in the most negative manner possible. This Djinn actually takes Be Careful What You Wish For beyond its logical extreme, at one point rendering some poor guy blind simply for answering a question in the negative ("You don't want to see this, do you?") Depending on how vague the wish is, the Djinn can interpret it any way he wants. Near the end of the second film, the casino manager wishes "this nightmare would just be over" and the Djinn decides that means "kill everyone".
He also has to obey the Literal Genie conventions, though. When a security guard wishes for him to go away, he's forced to just that. However, he threatens the guard as he walks away, causing him to say "The only way you're coming through this door is through me. And that is something I'd love to see." The results are predictable.
When a guy wishes for "a chance to escape", the genie sticks him into a water-filled glass tank in a straitjacket and lets him drown, reasoning that "Houdini did it [escaped] in two and a half minutes." In greater detail, he asked the guy "would you like to escape?" after asking him if he'd like to escape to a more exciting profession. Together, that sort of adds up to "becoming an escape artist". Too bad he wasn't very good at it.
Despite the rule that his power can only be used in the service of granting wishes, at least once he simply screwed someone over without the slightest connection to their wish. A girl wished she could be somewhere he couldn't find her. He stuffs her head into a rat cage, where the rats promptly eat her face. Maybe he meant he couldn't find her in death?
The Devil in the remake of Bedazzled 2000, who twists all of Elliot's wishes. He wishes to be rich and married to his crush and the Devil makes him a Colombian druglord despised by his wife. He wishes to be emotionally sensitive, because chicks dig sensitive guys, so now he can't help but burst into tears if he even glances at a sunset. He wishes to be a great basketball player with a humongous body, and the Devil also makes him stupid and gives him a small penis for no reason at all except to make him waste another wish. He then explicitly asks to be erudite and witty, AND for a big penis, so the Devil makes him gay. He wishes to be President of the United States, so the Devil turns him into Abraham Lincoln on the night he's assassinated.
She also counts a demo wish for a Big Mac and fries he made before he'd even signed the contract. At least in that case, he got what he wanted (even if he had to pay for it.)
The original 1967 version does this too. The main character wishes to be a famous rock star, but he almost immediately loses his fans to a new, more popular singer who is, of course, the Devil. His last wish is to be living in peace with the object of his affection far away from the busy city. So the Devil turns them into lesbian nuns.
Near the end of Leprechaun 2 the Leprechaun is trapped in a wrought iron safe by Morty, who forces the Leprechaun into granting him three wishes. The Leprechaun grants Morty's wish for his gold by materializing it into his stomach. After the Leprechaun makes Morty waste his second wish by wishing him free of the safe, the Leprechaun grants the third wish (getting the gold out) by ripping Morty open. When Marty whispers "Help me" afterward, the Leprechaun leaves him for dead since he's out of wishes. Suffice it to say, this is the titular Leprechaun's MO in ALL of the films.
The titular pencil from the short film Pencil Face. The girl asked for (drew) a lollipop. The pencil materialised a black hole which sucked her in.
To be perfectly fair to the pencil, it did grant her two previous wishes with no strings attached, and the lollipop she drew had no stick and did resemble the classic depiction of a black hole, so this might be a case of Literal Genie. On the other hand, it was able to interpret a very vaguely cake-shaped drawing as a cake, so it might have been just luring her into a false sense of security.
The wish-granter in Interstate 60, O. W. Grant, will grant wishes this way if he doesn't like you or thinks your wish is boring.
In The Monkey's Paw, the first wish is for two hundred pounds. Which is received via the eldest son dying in a horrible accident at work and the corporation giving them a settlement out of pity because this story was written in an age where lawsuits for this kind of thing were unheard of.
Just to show how old this trope is, the characters in this story were aware of it and more worried one of them was going to be killed by the money falling from the sky in change and beaning them on the head.
It gets worse. The mother of their son is so distraught she forces her husband to wish the son alive again - but she didn't specify what shape she wanted him back in. It turns out he'd died in an accident that had horribly mutilated him, and they hear a knock on the door. We never do find out just what shape the son is in, because when the mother goes to answer the door, he rushes back in order to make his final wish, which is presumably to wish the son dead and back in his grave, because when the mother opens the door, no one is there.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Kreacher takes an "OUT!" shouted at him by Sirius as an excuse to leave Grimmauld Place and go to the Malfoys, giving Voldemort a source of information about Harry.
Also, Death, in the tale of the Three Brothers in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, pretends to congratulate the titular brothers for cheating death, and rewards them, with full intention of being this. Only the youngest brother sees through the ruse and has his reward tailored specifically to prevent Death doing this to him. The other brothers are not so lucky.
In Larry Niven's The Magic Goes Away universe, it is established that literal genies in a bottle do exist. They can only be coaxed out of the bottle with the promise to play the 'game of jynn', where they match wits with the human that freed them. So presenting the client human with three wishes, and placing some kind of sadistic twist to the request is their only motivation to grant wishes in the first place. Granted, the only persons that can gain possession of a genie are some very old and canny sorcerers, who believe they can outwit the genie. So at least there is sport in this contest. This genie was a cross between a Jackass Genie and a Literal Genie, in that he cannot change the original wish or add on to it, and that the game has a very specific goal: to grant the wisher nothing in the end. So one previous, not-so-clever, non-sorcerous player of the game wished for "wealth", so the genie granted enormous wealth on the spot, such that the wisher could not carry it away before bandits stole it. However, the genie had to rely on already nearby bandits, and the genie only partially won because the man grabbed some of the wealth and ran, since wish neither allowed for creating bandits from nothing nor sealing away the wealth so the man couldn't reach it.
In Castle in the Air, the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, Abdullah has the company of one of these who turns out to be Howl transformed by a Djinn. At one point he manages to actually outwit the Genie who claims he will grant every wish in the worst possible way by wishing for a friend who is running to go to the nearest castle that isn't in his home country. And even that is kind of twisted.
In the Discworld book Eric the title character attempts to summon a demon to make a Deal with the Devil for three wishes. Demons, needless to say, give people "exactly what they asked for and exactly what they didn't want", although Eric doesn't really make it that difficult.
For instance, the eponymous Eric wishes to live forever. He is promptly transported to the beginning of the universe, since that's when forever starts. Enjoy the next couple billion years...
He also wishes for the most beautiful woman and to rule the world. He gets a case of Values Dissonance and a country where people kill their rulers.
In Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost, a tablet that grants any wish written on it mostly acts as a Benevolent Genie. The wish "Make them worship me like a god" seems to leave it annoyed, though — the wisher turns to stone, and those nearby start to worship the statue.
Mat mistakes them for their answer-granting cousins, the Aelfinn, and when they won't answer his questions, he starts venting his frustrations on them instead, which they take as his wishes. They grant his wishes in the laziest way possible, and the wishes also come with a price that can be negotiated. Since he doesn't name a price and doesn't specify that he wants to leave their realm alive, they hang him. Though he did end up with a rather nifty Anti-Magic artifact and a cool spear.
Later, the readers learn exactly what happened when Moiraine and Lanfear passed into their realm in The Fires of Heaven. The Eelfinn grant both of them their three wishes. Then they torture them and drain them of their life-force, accidentally killing Lanfear in the process. Yeah, the Eelfinn are just assholes.
In Diane Duane's RihannsuStar Trek novels, Romulan starships are frequently named Rhea's Helm. The titular, legendary helm was the product of a sorcerer-smith who was asked to create a helmet that would make the wearer impervious to all harm. When the helm was donned, the demon he'd bound into it bit the wearer's head off—nothing can harm a dead person.
In The Bartimaeus Trilogy, "demons" such as Bartimaeus highly resent the magicians who summon and bind them (well-deserved. It's basically slavery), and actively search for any loophole in the magician's power or orders. In addition to usual malicious literalness, one popular method they use is to creatively interpret pauses for breath as periods, rendering commands completely worthless if the magician can't get them off in one breath. Some spirits are more creative with this than others. Usually they do follow orders as long as they are worded correctly without obvious loopholes, but it is mentioned that Nathaniel once encountered one who allegedly required a command half an hour long just to correctly fill his bath.
Also, that's not even getting into what happens if a demon learns the summoner's True Name, or worse if the summoner botches a summoning ritual. When trying to summon high-level spirits, even the smallest mistake can get one eaten alive.
Bartimaeus: One magician I worked for once called for my aid during an earthquake which was toppling his tower. Unfortunately for him, the precise words he used were: ‘Preserve me!’ A cork, a great big bottle, a vat of pickling fluid, and – presto! – the job was done.
A short story "Not in a hurry" by Sergey Lukyanneko offers an interesting subversion. A young occultist summons a demon and strikes a faustian deal with him: any amount of wishes in exchange for the guy's soul after his death. As a default clause of the contract the guy demands to be made immortal and invincible to any harm except for the effects of his wishes. Demon agrees and makes pretty clear that he will act as a Jackass Genie to his worst. Subversion ensues when the guy never makes any wishes at all, content with his immortality.
Dealing With Dragons features a genie released after over three hundred years of imprisonment, only to grant the protagonist, Princess Cimorene, the choice of how she would die. The immediate response, "Old age", turns out not to work because she has to die that day. After some questions, it turns out that the genie, having really been imprisoned in the bottle for only two hundred and seventeen years, was actually required to grant Cimorene three wishes — however, for the genie to return home without killing Cimorene would render him a laughingstock. In the end, Cimorene convinces the genie to go back into the bottle for eighty-three years, thus allowing the genie to return home with his pride intact and fulfill the "old age" request for how Cimorene would die.
He turns out to be a pretty good sport about the whole thing, though; in return for the brilliant idea, he grants Cimorene a wish, so she uses it to get the hen's teeth she's been looking for.
The sandestin in Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories. They do their best to subvert the orders of the Arch-Magicians that control them.
More the result of incompetence than malice, but the witch in the Goosebumps book Be Careful What You Wish For crosses the line when Samantha Byrd wishes her enemy would just disappear - and then everyone on the planet goes with her. At the end, Judith says "Why don't you fly away, Byrd?" for the thirteenth time in the book, and Samantha is turned into a bird.
The Nightwatcher from The Way of Kings. She is a magical entity of unknown origin who will grant anyone any wish- but at the same time exact an ironic curse she feels is appropriate. POV character Dalinar made an unknown wish some time ago- the curse was that he would lose all memories of his wife, and can't even hear her name spoken. It's possible that Dalinar's is actually the other way around: He may have lost the memories in return for a curse. It's unclear.
The Book of Lost Things: A greedy and gluttonous man requests that the Crooked Man pay him in gold the weight of everything that he has eaten at a buffet. The Golden Man complies...by pouring molten gold down his throat.
In one LazyTown episode, villain Robbie acquires a genie (by ordering it), and his first two wishes are for all the fruit and vegetables and all the sports equipment to disappear, but he forgets to specify a duration, and they return not 5 minutes later. Robbie then uses his final wish to get rid of Sportacus - but the Genie gets rid of Robbie instead because he found him "annoying".
"The Tale of the Time Trap" has Belle, who loves to make wishes as disastrous as possible. "Someone once wished for an exciting voyage; I gave them the Titanic. A kid didn't want to go on a camping trip; I exploded the volcano at Mount St. Helens. World War I? A reporter wanted an interesting story." The female genie trapped in the box also makes life hell for the protagonist, and for her own amusement, twists his every wish so that everything turns out wrong. He wants a book report that he forgot at home, but the one she gives him is about the movie adaptation. He wants superior athletic skills, but hits the coach in the face with a dodgeball and gets detention. She gives him a new car, but it's someone else's, and he's taken into custody by police for grand theft auto. He wants her to leave him alone, but he's placed in a dark, lonely dimension all by himself. He wishes himself "out of this nightmare", but is placed in a timeline where he never existed. He wishes himself back to the day before, when he bought the box, and ends up right in the middle of trafficnote Though this one actually works out, since he keeps his knowledge of the genie, and is able to avoid buying the box and getting stuck with her.
The Sandman in "The Tale of the Final Wish".
Buffy the Vampire Slayer's vengeance demons. Sometimes the wisher gets taken out (or is at risk of being taken out) by the wish at the same time as the subject of their vengeance, because the vengeance demon behind the wish didn't think about the potential consequences (or didn't think they'd be important). This can, occasionally, backfire on the demon in question... for instance, in one Season Six episode, Halfrek curses everyone at the Summers house to stay in the house forever, and then makes the mistake of dropping by the house to gloat, with the result that she gets stuck in her own curse and has to reverse it. Another example is an unnamed vengeance demon's head exploding after a wisher asked for the heads of every other female in town to explode.
Harlan Ellison's "Djinn, No Chaser", which was adapted as an episode of Tales from the Darkside in 1985 had a genie with this temperament because unlike the others he couldn't be freed via rubbing his lamp. Luckily for the lamp's final owner, she figured if the lamp couldn't be rubbed open she was going to brute force the damn thing with a can opener. She ended up with a grateful genie for a friend.
Mad Men offers a non-fantasy example. After Harry, who's looking for a raise, pulls off a mild coup and impresses a client, his boss Roger calls him into his office.
Roger: Well, you're in here. I'm smiling. What do you want?
Harry: There should be a Television Department and I should be the head of it.
Roger:(Waves his hands) Done. We now have a Department of Television consisting entirely of you...anything else?
Harry: I'd like a raise.
Roger: Hey, you've already gotten something big!
In later episodes, Harry is now considered solely responsible whenever something television-related goes wrong, but has no additional resources and still makes much less than people with fewer responsibilities.
In the Round the Twist episode "Santa Claws", when each member of the family gets two wishes. Bronson wishes to be bigger than his brother Pete. Instead of making him a few inches taller, Claws makes him about as tall as the lighthouse (how he does this inside the lighthouse without killing him goes unexplained). Bronson is forced to wish himself back to normal.
In The X-Files episode "Je Souhaite", the genie is a Literal Genie, but the genie who turned her into a genie seems to have been a jackass genie. She was living in medieval France, and had made 3 wishes — a stout mule, a magic bag full of turnips, and 'great power and a long life.' The genie decided to use that last wish to turn her into a genie trapped in his place. Jerk. She herself tends to be pretty mean also, but only when the wishes are stupid. Which, according to her, is 'all the time':
Mulder: You know, I think I'm beginning to see the problem here. You say that most people make the wrong wishes, right?
Jenn: Without fail. It's like giving a chimpanzee a revolver.
Most of the Imagin in Kamen Rider Den-O fall into Jackass territory. A particular example is the Jellyfish Imagin; its contractor wanted to find the time capsule he and his deceased fiancée buried a year before, but the Imagin simply finds some random time capsule and tries to claim it's good enough. When the man refuses, the Imagin starts physically attacking him and yelling at him to open the damn box. In this case, it springs from the Imagins' agenda: when they successfully complete a contract, they can then open a portal to the past using their contractor's strongest memory (in this case, the day the man and his fiancée buried the capsule), at which point they go on a rampage and try to alter history.
Most genies in Charmed are of the Jerk Ass type. They're tricksters by heart and will twist wishes in order to gain their freedom.
Special Unit 2 has a unique case. The genie in question doesn't actually have magic powers, other than being able to turn into dust and hide in small objects. Thus, when people make outrageous wishes, she has to fulfill them personally. For example, when a guy asked for a million dollars, she walked off, robbed a bank, then left him with the evidence and the cops on his ass while she disappeared. She still interprets such wishes negatively, though, because she wants to get through them as fast as possible. Once she reaches her quota, she'll have free will.
An interesting subversion on Once Upon a Time: All of the genie's wishes do in fact act like this, but not because the genie is himself horrible; it's the magic. The king who frees the genie is eventually killed by him out of romantic jealousy, and uses his dying breath to rue his act of charity. Then the genie, not wanting to be separated from his beloved, wishes them together, only to end up a prisoner of a magic mirror, which the Queen does in fact converse with often.
In Power Rangers, there have been two cases of evil genies appearing as the Monster of the Week. The first one was simply called The Genie, who was fought by the original team. The second was Wicked Wisher, who appeared in Power Rangers Turbo. These were inverted examples, however, because while they were villains, they were more than happy to obey their masters.
Atlantis: In the mountains above Atlantis lives a witch who grants wishes, when Hercules wishes that his girlfriend would fall in life-long love with him she gives him a potion that (a) causes her to fall in love with him, and (b) poisons her so that she would die within days. Hercules didn't specify how long life-long was to be after all.
A Planescape Blood War comic in Dragon magazine featured a cambion spy, whose girlfriend had cheated on him with a balor, but has managed to steal baatazu battleplans to assault their fortress. He then gives them to an aasimon in exchange for three wishes: "I want the tannar'ri to respect me as a hero, I want to show I'm better than that sodding balor. I want Alamanda to respect me. To love only me." The aasimon corrects the batttle plans, returns them to the baatezu, and then tells the cambion that time flows differently here, and the assault has already begun. When he returns he finds that he's a hero for stealing the plans, even though it didn't do any good. He's better than the balor because he's still alive. And Alamanda says she loves him ... with her final breath.
In an out-of-continuity story in Curtis, a nearly broke, unemployed man releases a mouse from a trap. The mouse turns out to be a shape-shifting "brengir" and offers him a wish. The poor man wishes for "worldwide peace on earth." The next morning the man finds that the brengir has granted the wish ... by making him the only person on earth. Months later, the brengir returns. The man asks for another wish, but the brengir refuses. The man says, "You will grant me another wish, or I'll wring your neck!" The brengir responds, "A threat against a brengir is punishable by death!", and kills the man'sdog.
Like the genie from the Wishmaster movies, the blue genie in Tales Of The Arabian Nights falls under this only because "Evil Genie" isn't available. He appears to be an unbound genie who kidnaps princesses and destroys towns just because he can, and can only be defeated with an enchanted scimitar.
Religion and Mythology
Iblis is a well known example. He refused to bow down to humans and saw humans as weak which is the reason Iblis is sent to Hell.
Nanabozho, the trickster spirit of Ojibwa mythology, was once visited by a group of humans. One wished for eternal life, and was turned into a stone. Another wished to be lucky at hunting, and was turned into a fox. The rest, seeing where it was going, asked to enchant their talismans with healing power. This time, Nanabozho granted the wish because they didn't ask for too much. Later, caught in an Orpheus plot, they ended up losing it anyway.
Most wish-granting genies in the Arabian tales are Benevolent Genies, but then, they didn't have to grant wishes, either. Some non-wish-granting genies would instead offer such options as "You may choose how you would like to die," or "Should I change you into an dog, an ass, or an ape?" Thus taking Jackass Genie to a whole new (old?) level.
The modern mythos of the genie is the result of the mythological equivalent of the telephone game. Originally the point of the wish-granting genie wasn't that it granted wishes; it was supposed to impress upon you how powerful some sorcerer or other was (since djinn were actually very powerful spirits that roamed about doing no more or less than whatever they damn well pleased) that he managed to trap a genie at all.
Aphrodite in the Trojan War. She promises Paris that the most beautiful woman in the world will fall in love with him and keeps her word but neglects to mention that the most beautiful woman in the world is already married - to a powerful king who won't be too happy and has all the kings of Greece bound by oath to defend their marriage with everything they have, and actually getting with her would mean breaking Sacred Hospitality.
In Dungeons & Dragons, when a Game Master awards a roleplayer a wish, this trope often results in the player taking twenty minutes to formulate their wish to ensure that it comes out as planned. "... and I want it to happen now and I don't want to lose it later and I don't want anyone to get hurt for me to obtain it and I want it to be accessible and..."
Interestingly, the Dungeons & Dragons rulebook flat-out states in its entry on the "Wish" spell (which, as its name implies, lets the caster wish for things, albeit with some restrictions) that the Dungeon Master should try to play Literal Genie in order to prevent players from abusing it. (It lists as an example a wish for an enemy to die instead just send the player character into the far future when the enemy is dead, removing them from the campaign)
And the spell "Speak with Dead", that allows a player to ask three questions of a corpse:
"How many questions do I get?" "Three." "How many now?" "One." "Are you serious?!" "Yes."
Be wary of wishing for game breaking powers, since most DM's already have a list of counters for them. Oh, you want to be immortal? CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU ARE NOW A MOUNTAIN!!! You want unlimited wealth? You are teleported to a vault filled with gold. An air-tight vault filled with gold that has no means of opening on the inside. You want women? Sure, here you go: a thousand soul eating succubi! You want to be a god? Congratulations, you are now one, but since God Needs Prayer Badly, and you have no worshipers, YOU INSTANTLY CEASE TO EXIST. You want to be invincible? You're turned into a lump of infinitely dense material that causes the entire universe to collapse into a super black hole created by your now invulnerable body. You want godlike magical powers? Great, but since your body isn't strong enough to harness them, your body explodes! The list goes on and on. You're better off just wishing for a cheeseburger, man...
It's important to note that the above-mentioned "free-form" version of the wish spell came from the old AD&D 2nd Edition rules. In D&D 3.0 and 3.5, wish and miracle spells have a set of specific game-mechanical effects that they're explicitly allowed to accomplish with no penalty. Additionally, the spell description also says that the DM should let wishes of a similar power level work the way the player wants them to— and because wish is, canonically, the most powerful spell a wizard can castnote At least, it's the most powerful spell a Level 20 wizard can cast., it ought to be capable of doing some pretty impressive things. It's only if the players go overboard that the DM is supposed to stop it, either by playing Jackass Genie with their phrasing or, if that isn't possible, by simply having the power of the spell be over-stretched and fail to get the job done. (The 3.0 Player's Guide has an example of the latter: a wizard wishing that everyone in the land consider him their rightful king ends up with everybody simply realising that the wizard tried and failed to magically control their minds.)
The D&D Rules Cyclopedia version of the wish spell recommended that not only should wishes be carefully worded to avoid poor interpretations, but that if the wish is carefully-worded but unbalanced the DM should go out of his way to come up with a negative interpretation. The given example, "I wish to immediately and permanently gain the gaze attack power of a basilisk while retaining all my current treasure and class features," was given an example result of the character growing a second, basilisk head.
And 4th Edition has done away with wish altogether, at least as a spell that players can cast. It remains in the form of a ritual available only to pit fiends (the highest-ranking type of devil, short of the archdevils) that allows them to grant a mortal's wish once every 99 years... but if you're going to trust the outcome of your wish to a freakin' pit fiend, you deserve whatever you get.
Dungeons & Dragons also has actual genies, though only the "noble" ones (about 1% of them) can actually grant wishes. The description of noble efreeti (the evil type of genies that come from the Elemental Plane of Fire) specifically says, "Whenever possible, an efreeti will twist the words of a wish to bring pain and destruction upon the wisher."
To prove that the game designers are evil, the only genies kept in the 4E Monster Manual are Efreeti... and the books specifically stress that they act like Noble Demons until someone presses them into servitude... like, say, to grant a wish.
The good news is that despite legends to the contrary, the 4e Efreeti can't actually grant wishes. The bad news is that they've cultivated enough connections and favors to perform a remarkable simulation. If you're kind enough to release one from servitude, it might grant a "wish" for you in thanks — and actually uphold the spirit of the wish as best it can due to its sense of honor — but it can also twist a "wish" or just generally make the rest of your (blessedly short) life hell if you try to force it into servitude.
The second Monster Manual brought back the actual Djinn (genies of air, described as "master engineers of the fabulous"), many of whom were sealed away in objects (like the traditional lamp) after the end of the Dawn War between Primordials and Gods. They don't grant wishes any more then the Efreeti do, but they are grateful to those who help them and will usually reward somebody who aids them considerably. Oppose them, however, and you're screwed.
The effects of a Jackass Genie DM are arguably removed with the Wish equivalent psionic powers Bend Reality and Reality Revision. They function the same as Limited and Unlimited Wish, respectively, but since Psionics is thought, the power would effect the way the manifester thinks. Intention over interpretation through the power of thought, no messy words to get in the way.
However, on that note, if you try to stretch these powers to far, it simply flat-out fails, and just wasted a bunch of psychic power and time to no effect.
On a related note, the Clerical version, "Miracle" is adjudicated by the caster's god- if they ask for too much, or something not following the god's philosophy, god says "no", and you waste time and a spell. and in the later case, the GM could reasonably have the god punishing the cleric for their temerity.
Of course, as this strip from Real Life Comics shows, even if the wish itself works out exactly as you want, the DM can still screw you around.
A wish that involves getting a massive pile of money, but not specifically wishing that this money did not cause him harm or attract unwanted attention, is not exactly airtight.
To be fair, however, if the dragon already had their eye on the person, then the money itself didn't bring harm or attract unwanted attention...
In the Binder of Shame, Ab3 of RPG.Net fame notes that some Killer Game Masters do this as their very style of running a game. In the RPG.Net rant, "A Night At the Inn, A Day at the Racists," he recounts the tale of Psycho Dave, one particular such Game Master:
As you can see I soon realized that Psycho Dave ran a game in roughly the same way that Warwick Davis in the film Leprechaungranted wishes. Everything you said your character did was scrutinized for some way to screw you over and the dice ruled all. He was the only guy I know who used a random monster encounter chart for Call of Cthulhu. You haven't lived until you've had a character go mad because he saw a nightgaunt sitting in a restroom stall reading a copy of the Necronomicon.
Ravenloft also has a monster called a Wishing Imp, a magical statue that you CANNOT get rid of, that will explicitly try to pervert anything even remotely possible to be interpreted as a wish... It DOES classify as a curse though, the idea is that you should want to get rid of it.
Similarly, the Dark Powers seem to spend a lot of time thinking up ways to give Darklords exactly what they say they want and take away what they actually want. Such as Strahd's desire to evade death bringing with it the deaths of everyone he cared about.
The Deal with the Devil usually goes this way too, with the D&D devils being malicious but always keeping their side of the bargain. And you'll have problems with that, as they have literal "Lawyers out of Hell."
Tomb of Horrors features a cursed gem that purports to grant wishes; when the wish is made, it will do an exact opposite or otherwise turn the wish against you (given example: when asked to bring somebody back from the dead, it'll instead destroy his remains, or even kill somebody else), AND then it explodes, burning everybody in the vicinity to death.
At one point Dragon Magazine dedicated an article to fleshing out a list of different types of wishes. Besides Benevolent and Malevolent, there were also Half wishes (Deliver half the wish, and cut it in half in a creative way), Misinterpretation wishes (guaranteed to always hear at least one word wrong in some way), and several more options for making the act of wishing that much more uncertain.
Genie: Let me get this straight. You want me to raze all your ability scores...?
One GURPS supplement offers a perk that causes any wish the character makes to err in his favor automatically specifically to avoid players writing out multipage wishes to avoid getting screwed over. Needless to say it's a tad over-powered for what should be a relatively minor ability.
In Warhammer, Daemons of Tzeentch love using this trope. It helps that most people are too terrified by their appearance to focus on wording the wish correctly.
Example: Warhammer spinoff game Mordheim features a character who made the mistake of wishing for a Lord of Change to make him the greatest mage in the world. The daemon did just that, making him 15 feet tall.
A story from the Tales Of The Ten Tailed Cat comic has three adventurers releasing a Lord of Tzeentch, who grants them all one wish. The first wishes to live forever, and is turned into a vampire and then killed by the dwarf. The second wishes for the power of flight, and is turned into a fly. Finally the dwarf wishes to be worth his weight in gold, and is turned into a gold statue.
Even worse, The Changeling (also a Tzeentchian Daemon): In Warhammer 40,000, he was "assisting" a rebellious governor who found himself standing on the wrong end of a Dark Angels assault. The Changeling bargained the souls of the man's daughters for a device that would bring the siege to an end. It turned out to be the Teleport Homer for a squad of Deathwing Terminators. Naturally, the siege quickly ended.
It should also be mentioned that Tzeentch and his servants have an infamous reputation amongst table top players and especially 1d4 chan for being Trolls, due to their Jack Ass Genie tendencies.
This is one of the side effects Mage: The Awakening suggests to use on mages who abuse the Fate arcana. Bend fate so you meet a friendly, cute girl in the bar? OK. Do it over and over again? Turns out she's a pyscho-stalker, or she has an STD and 'whoops' looks like you should have used protection.
In Exalted, Infernals powered by Cecelyne can be this and are encouraged to do so.
Demons, however, when summoned and bound with the proper rituals, are not — they're magically made loyal to their summoner, not just obedient, and will attempt to be a Benevolent Genie to the best of their ability. The catch is that they still have an alien mentality, and therefore may legitimately fail to understand concepts like 'babies die if you twist their limbs too hard.'
The Unconquered Sun also has the power to summon and bind the defeated titans who created the world. He's never used it, precisely because he fears that they would play Jerkass Genie with his commands.
This is something that you always have to be careful of when buying something at a Goblin Market in Changeling: The Lost. Market Law says that all products and services must work as advertised, but Ain't No Rule that says the merchant has to fully disclose all negative qualities and side-effects of a purchase.
Legend of the Five Rings suggests this as a possible way that the Nothing might grant "favors." One of the source books includes an example of a Shiba bodyguard who was being blackmailed by the Scorpion Clan and made a deal with an agent of the Nothing to get rid of the Blackmail. The agent did so—by telling everyone the Shiba's secret, eliminating the hold that the Scorpion had on him but ruining his life in the process.
In Skullgirls there is the Skull Heart, which can grant any young woman her wish. If, however, that young woman's heart is impure, it will corrupt even a completely selfless wish into something horrible, and turn the wisher into a Humanoid Abomination to boot. The thing is also alive and actually wants to make new Skullgirls to destroy the world.
The past Skullgirls' wishes are as follows: Selene Contiello wished to bring back her family, recently murdered by Black Dahlia. She became the Skullgirl, and her family was brought back as mindless undead minions. Queen Renoir wished to stop a massive world war. That wish was fulfilled by making her a Skullgirl so horrible and destructive that the countries had to stop fighting each other just to take her down. Ironically, the only Skullgirl whose wish seems to be fulfilled in a satisfactory way is that of the current Skullgirl, who wished for revenge.
In the story endings, some of the characters make wishes on the Heart. Fillia wishes to restore a normal life to Painwheel. Her wish is nearly pure, so she becomes a Skullgirl slowly, but Painwheel receives a normal life as Painwheel, and doesn't have any memory of her former life. Parasoul wishes that Umbrella will never become the Skullgirl, so she is made the Skullgirl in her place. The only wish that isn't corrupted in any way is Valentine's, because she wished to become the Skullgirl.
Stalker - Shadow of Chernobyl has various endings, two 'right' ones and five 'false' ones which involve the main character finding a large stone called The Monolith, also known as The Wish Granter. Depending on what the player has done in the game, he will make one of five possible wishes that will result in his demise.
If he says "I want to be rich", he will see coins falling. But what's actually happening is that the roof is falling apart and falls on him.
If he wishes "Humanity is corrupt and must be controlled". We see flashes of war, death and other atrocities, then we see him left alone in a void.
If he wishes "I want the Zone to disappear" we see him in a pristine countryside, but his eyes are blanked out.
If he says "I want to be immortal" he turns into a statue.
If he asks "I want to rule the world" he is disintegrated and absorbed into The Monolith.
In Twisted Metal, Calypso grants the winner one wish. Unfortunately, he is also a Jerkass. The character Axel wishes to become completely mechanical. So, naturally, Calypso turns him into a wristwatch. Angela wants to sit at home and watch TV all day, so Calypso ties her to a chair and forces her to watch nothing but infomercials. The cops want a crime-free world. OK great, now they're out of a job and destitute on the streets since there's no need for police anymore. One character wishes to party all night long, so he gets sent to Antarctica where nights last for 6 months.
Then again, these endings are from one of the two Twisted Metal games that doesn't exist, and for the most part, Calypso is a Literal Genie. In the first game, he even tries to warn some winners of the dangers of their wishes.
Officer Roberts, the driver of Outlaw in the first game, wished to be in a world free of the Twisted Metal tournament. Calypso responded to this by hurling him into space, a place where Twisted Metal wasn't held.
In the second game, the driver of Outlaw 2, the sister of the driver of Outlaw from the first game, demands to see her brother, and Calypso responds by hurtling her into space the same way he did her brother. This turns out to be a Batman Gambit on her part, as she was Genre Savvy enough to modify her police car for space flight. She rescues her brother and the two return to Earth, plotting revenge.
In "Twisted Metal: Black", Roadkill, an amnesic character, wants to know who he was. Calypso grants his wish and then shoots him, because he was an amnesiac FBI agent sent to arrest Calypso.
In Twisted Metal: Head-On, Krista, the ghostly driver of Grasshopper and daughter of Calypso, wishes to undo the car crash that killed her and her mother. The crash is erased from history... and Krista is put into a indefinite coma in a swingset accident to make up for it. With this it would even appear that Calypso is not in total control of his Jackass Genie ways, as even he is depressed by the outcome of this wish.
Hammerhead's ending from TM 2 is an odd example: The drivers wished to fly...and as soon as Calypso said "Wish granted", they jumped off the edge of the building and fell to their deaths, leaving him standing there dumbfounded with a pair of plane tickets in his hand. So while he was pulling a jackass interpretation of their wish, he wasn't actually going to harm them personally.
On the other hand though, there were a few characters where he honestly granted their wish. Endings involving revenge (such as No-Face's, Mr. Grimm's, Shadow's and Junkyard Dog's endings in Twisted Metal: Black) are usually granted with no strings attached.
Thumper from the first game explained how he's lived his whole life in fear within a neighborhood constantly torn apart by gang violence. He wished for all of that to end, and Calypso granted his wish. Thumper returned to his neighborhood to find that "... Calypso was not lying." note Though there is more than one interpretation for that ending — either Calypso brought peace to the neighborhood or he killed everyone so that there would be nobody left to kill and rob each other.
In Twisted Metal: Black, No-Face, a former boxer, had gotten his ass kicked in a boxing match and was then malevolently butchered and turned into a monster by a back-alley doctor who lost money betting on him, having his eyes and tongue removed and his eyelids and mouth sewn shut. His wish was for revenge against the doctor. The next scene shows the doctor Bound and Gagged while No-Face is putting on a boxing glove covered with knives and scalpels. The scene ends just as the the boxing glove is about to make contact with the doctor's face.
There are also cases where the driver really did get their wish granted, but it ended badly for them.
Mr. Slam's driver, Simon Whittlebone, from the second game wished to build the tallest building ever, and he got his wish. However, he then got worried that other people would break his record, and so kept building his tower higher. In the end, he accidentally fell to his death.
In the first game, the driver of Roadkill wishes to go back in time to undo the deaths of his platoon in the jungles of South America. Calypso tries to warn him of how dangerous this wish is, but grants it anyway. He is sent back in time and is almost immediately shot and killed at point blank range by an enemy soldier.
Warthog's ending in Twisted Metal 2 is a case of semantics. Captain Rogers wants to be young again and when he wins the tournament he asks Calypso to give him the body of a twenty year-old. One would assume that the head is included when one says "body", but Calypso doesn't.
In Black, Agent Stone wants to go back in time and spare an innocent family he accidently killed while staking out a terrorist cell. He gets to go back, and he makes absolutely sure to only shoot the terrorists. Only he's not thorough enough, and one of them pops back up and shoots him in the head, killing him.
Also in Black, Preacher has been possessed by a demon after performing an exorcism, and it causes him all kinds of mental anguish. Calypso promises to take away the demon if he wins. Only Calypso takes away the demon by informing Preacher that the demon was never real in the first place, and he's actually severely mentally ill. Preacher decides the only way to be free of the torment in his mind is to kill himself.
In Black, Sweet Tooth is a serial killer who's caught and given the chair. However, Preacher shows up at his execution and curses him, which results in the flames on his head that he can never be rid of. Calypso promises to get rid of the curse if he wins. Calypso delivers, but he says the curse will return if Sweet Tooth ever kills anyone. Sweet Tooth decides he likes killing too much to give it up and that he'd rather live with the flames. His first new victim is Calypso himself.
In the 2012 game Sweet Tooth's wish is to find his daughter Sophie Kane, who stabbed him in his left eye and is the only person to have ever survived an encounter with him. He ends up getting teleported into her casket; she shot herself ten years prior, as you would expect from someone who witnessed their serial killer father murder their family.
Baldur's Gate 2 has a Limited Wish (and TOB a full-powered Wish) spell. Just like the other D&D examples, it WILL twist your wishes if you are not careful. "I wish to be more experienced." makes it summon a horde of monsters for you to (try to) kill, for instance. "I want to go on an adventure like one I've never been on before!" sends you on a quest to track down someone's grandmother's gong from a variety of improbable characters... Wishing to be prepared against the undead makes it summon a group of hostile vampires while giving you no additional protection against them whatsoever.
In this game, "being careful" means ensuring that your caster has a high enough Wisdom score to word the wishes properly, or by using "bad" effects to your advantage. Having the genie "summon an army" nets you 50 rabbits. Needless to say, a bunch of harmless, completely ordinary bunnies won't do any damage by themselves, but they make for a very nice distraction: enemies tend to attack the closest target, so if the rabbits are between you and the enemies, the enemies will waste turns attacking the rabbits while you pepper them with arrows and blast them with magic. Similarly, the horde of monsters summoned if you wish for experience is always a group of golems (though the exact number and type are based off your level), and there are several magic weapons in the game that are extremely powerful against golems, so if prepared you can get a lot of experience points for very little effort.
TATARI, AKA 'Night of Wallachia' from Melty Blood does this. He manifests the rumors and desires of where he forms, but twists them all into his Omnicidal Maniac persona. A village hoped for good crops? He used their bodies as fertilizer. Two feuding villages desired peace? He killed them all, ending the conflict by proxy.
Comes back to bite the wish giver's ass in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of The Betrayer. A quest involves helping a wizard get his soul back from a Devil. The solution? Learn that an infernal contract is null if the Devil forces the signer to fulfill its conditions. One of the conditions is that the signer kill someone. The wizard got a wish as part of a previous part of the deal and accidentally wishes that his mentor was "gone," because the devil knew "gone" didn't mean "kill" but killed the master anyways, he is counted as having forced the Wizard to fulfill the contract, rendering it null.
Arguably happens with the magic box in Fable II. While not a "genie" as such, it grants your wish, but only after Your sister, family, and pet are all dead (possibly) and you've had to buy the place anyway for a million. Not to mention all the other horrible things that happen to your character on the way." Not a nice box, really.
However, since the exact wording of the wish was never given, you could see it as having been fulfilled when the two of them go to the castle, unless it included the word "live".
In Persian Wars your character will encounter a genie, and if he asks to never be thirsty, he will be turned into a fish. Later, on the same campaign, after a drought, you can ask a demon to make rain... resulting in him flooding the world.
Used benevolently in the ending for Jak 3: After granting Daxter's wish for a comfortable pair of pants, Daxter's human girlfriend innocently states that she wished she had a pair of pants like that. The Precursors grant her wish... and also turn her into an Ottsel so she can fit into them. Anywhere else, this would be a perfect example of this trope except in this case, the Precursors are Ottsels, too!
Earlier in the game the Precursors (while talking through their floating hologram thing) offer to turn Jak into a Precursor. However, Count Veger shows up with a gun and demands that he be turned into one instead. You can guess what happens. While this may be an example of Literal Genie at first glance, keep in mind that during this scene, NO ONE (not even the player) knew what the Precursors REALLY looked like...
In the backstory of Sacrifice, protagonist Eldred summoned a powerful demon called Marduk and charged him to destroy the armies of his political rivals, who were rebelling against the empire he was stewarding. Marduk obliged by destroying the entire world, forcing Eldred to escape into another dimension.
In the Interactive Fiction game The Djinni Chronicles you are a djinn who grants people's wishes. Apparently, due to the nature of the magic the djinn uses to grant the wishes, any wish-granting will inevitably carry something unpleasant with itself, no matter if the djinn wants it or not. The only exception are wishes free from 'San'—which apparently is best translated as 'selfishness'.
Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge features the titular Cosmic Forge, which allows one to rewrite reality. The titular Bane is its tendency to make what one writes happen in the worst possible manner. One minor character, for example, wanted to be loved by the queen and wrote as much with the Forge. He was promptly turned into a giant serpent because... the queen loves snakes.
Erazor Djinn, the Big Bad of Sonic and the Secret Rings. Ironically enough, the one time he actually does fulfill a wish, he does them perfectly, and every wish is exactly how Sonic wants it.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has this with Clavicus Vile. Want to cure your loved one of lycanthropy? He'll give you an axe. Want a cure to vampirism? He'll have someone kill you. Want to end the Civil War? He'll do nothing, letting the dragons run rampant until everyone on both sides are dead. Want to become powerful? He'll turn you into a powerful weapon. Want to just help his Morality Pet? He'll consider punishing you for your lack of creativity.
It's implied that he's gotten worse since his appearance in Oblivion, where the player gave him an artifact which he used to split himself and his conscience, Barbas the dog.
Shows up in Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader in the Crypt. Want to be stronger? Congrats, you're now stronger smelling, resulting in lowered Charisma. Want to be rich? Great, you can be renamed to "Rich" at no cost! Wish all nearby enemies were dead? Well, you're in a crypt full of undead, so that's another job well done! It is revealed that this genie is responsible for Jeanne's curse, because she wished for a way to eternally protect the relic from the undead. It is possible for the player to overcome the jackassery of the genie by wishing for a wish that is not twisted into something unintended, but this requires a fairly high Speech skill.
In Fate/stay night there's one of these. The Holy Grail itself. It will interpret every wish as a desire for destruction. One of the examples given is that a wish to be the wealthiest man in the world would kill everyone richer than you.
Fate/hollow ataraxia reveals that it was originally a Literal Genie until the Third Grail War, when Avenger was summoned. An ordinary villager who was chosen as the source of all humanity's sins, he was tortured his entire life and came to embody the wish for a single source to the world's evils. When his spirit was absorbed by the Grail, it attempted to grant that wish, transforming him into Angra Mainyu, a mindless curse. Any wish granted by the Grail will be tainted by his presence and will release him on the world.
In Hatoful Boyfriend's Bad Boys Love route, it's revealed that Doctor Shuu made a promise to Ryuuji Kawara that he would grant any wish his son Ryouta wanted. Ryouta's wish was for humans and birds to live in peace and Doctor Shuu, being DoctorShuu, decided that the best way to grant this wish was to exterminate the entire human race because humans and birds can't keep on fighting if one side is dead, after all. Oh, and his methods to bring about said end of the human race involve deliberately weakening Ryouta's immune system so he can infect him with a virus that kills any humans who come too close to him and then letting his childhood friend/love interest Hiyoko get fatally close to him to test the virus, which leaves Ryouta traumatized for life when he finds out about this. But hey, it was all done to grant a wish Ryouta made when he was a fledgling and didn't know how warped his mysterious benefactor's psyche was at that time! Isn't that so nice of Doctor Shuu?
In "Torg Potter and the Chamberpot of Secretions", the Djinn of the Chamberpot interprets every single wish someone makes as asking to be turned into a chocolate statue. The first two times it happens it's more a case of being a Literal Genie ("Could you make me some chocolate?" and "Make me irresistible to women"), but the third time, no one even really makes a wish, they just shout "Oh good bloody hell!" The genie claims this is Viking for "Turn me into chocolate." When it's pointed out that the Vikings didn't have chocolate, he retorts, "But if they did they would have called it 'bloodyhell'."
Incidentally, the reason this all is in the story is to parody the implausibility of how, in the original, a series of coincidences led to no-one ever being killed by the basilisk, even though just looking into its eyes was lethal. Time after time, the witness would happen to only see it in a mirror or similar.
Torg: "Wait a minute. You're saying all three guys just happened to wish something that had the same random result?"
And later, there are the demons Zefolas and Fezeel, who trick mortals to sell their souls for wishes. The first wish is always free, but the second will cost you... YOUR SOUL. You can imagine what the wishes they grant are like, especially the first wishes when they want you to make a second. They even like to grant wishes and make deals in their own realm, where they are almost omnipotent and can ignore any wish they like that might harm them, simply for sport. This allows them to take being Jackass Genies to the extreme, since they don't even have to limit themselves to twisting wishes asked for if it's not convenient. The only way to beat them turns out to be to ask for wishes that they don't realise can be used against them.
In Oglaf, we got the Wishing Dolly. When we first see it, it seems to be more of a Literal Genie (an ugly girl wishes to be beautiful and becomes so fancy that everyone thinks she's out of their league). In the next strip however, we get to see that there's more to it than just the wording of the wish.
Wishing Dolly: Awww! Are you sad? Tell wish dolly what you really want.
Later, the Wishing Dolly enchanted a man's penis so that it can cause whatever it enters to instantly have an orgasm and fall asleep; this is not only limited to women, but even affects his own hand. Needless to say, he's quite sexually frustrated nowadays.
There are plenty of comically sociopathic characters in Oglaf,This (link NSFW) Djinn makes no exception, being very clear on what you should wish for or else.
Aside from a few exceptions, the Djinn in The Wotch are all jerkass genies. There's also a curse genie bottle that forces any djinn summoned through it to grant wishes as if they were a Jackass Genie, even it they don't want to.
An early joke had Forgath ask the Game Master for a more difficult encounter, to be rewarded with one far above his group's party level. He then asked for a slightly easier encounter, and got a pathetically easy encounter.
The backstory of Mr Fingers, the Finger Horror involves a demon who accepts a farmer's plea to cure his son of nightmares. The demon successfully extracted the source of the nightmares from the kid's mind... then set the nightmares loose into reality, where they fled to the deepest darkest corners of the world they could find, and started to breed...
The Repository Of Dangerous Things had the main character open up an aspirin bottle, only for a genie to pop out. When asked to get rid of his hangover, the Genie simply explodes his head (he survives, and later has his head regrown with another Dangerous Thing).
This Loldwell strip on College Humor takes the cake for jackass genies. This one has the same general idea, despite the wishgiver being a leprechaun.
This◊ Genie manages to be an incredible jackass before granting any wishes.
A variant of this trope appears in a recent VG Cats strip, where Leo buys a magical wish-granting monkey's paw from a whimsical stranger. He first wishes for Duke Nukem Forever but finds that the nostalgia of his childhood has been tampered with in the form of modern game design. Accepting it anyway, he then wishes for a giant wiener and is granted a massive hot dog, complete with bun and ketchup. It also turns out the Duke Nukem Forever game case is empty.
The genies in Channel Ate seem to get worse and worse each time they appear. The first one gives the guy only two wishes on a technicality, the second monologues long enough that the two bomb disposal guys he was gonna rescue die when the timer runs out after 30 seconds, the third outright SHOOTS THE GUY FOR HIS THIRD WISH!
Shenron the dragon from Dragonball Abridged starts off as a Benevolent Genie, even pointing out the Loophole Abuse that the characters can use to take care fo their problems and offering to do that. They, of course, refuse so they can solve their problems with martial arts battles. In the Christmas Tree of Might special, Shenron turns into one of these when he finds that he's been summoned by the main cast again, lamenting that no one else seems to find the dragon balls. Then Krillin, who is standing in the middle of a burned down forest with terrified, homeless animals surrounding them, wishes for the best Christmas tree in the world instead of saving the forest. An angry Shenron responds by summoning a group of alien marauders who plant an evil version of a World Tree that sucks all the joy out of the world. The revelation from the end of Season 2 that Shenron is, in fact, a servant of Mr. Popo isn't winning him any points either.
The new remake of the Dead Zone abridged has Shenron answer Garlic Jr.'s wish for immortality simply with "I can't wait to see how you screw this one up".
The SCP Foundation has SCP-738: a usually-invisible man who makes offers. Anyone who accepts (or requests something else) gets their request granted, but incurs an equal amount of misery as the price. One of the experiments the Foundation performed was to have the best lawyer in the organization (and given the kind of things they get up to, they have some damned good lawyers) negotiate a beneficial deal out of the guy. Forty-one hours later, the lawyer passed out from exhaustion, leaving a half-written, 900 page contract on the desk. Next to it was a note that said "Please come back any time. I haven't had so much fun in years."
In Martin Mystery, one of the few villains to make two non-consecutive appearances was one of these. Normally resembling a beautiful woman, the Djinn's true form was a demon and it rivaled the Djinn from Wishmaster in its ability to screw people over - for example, when the crook who accidentally released it wished to be "the worlds' most infamous thief" the Djinn turned him into a Half-Human Hybrid, reasoning that no one could ever forget a burglar who looked like a rat monster.
The Wishing Skull, from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. Mindy ends up strapped to an exploding rocket to "Be a big star." Pud'n is left to an unspecified but probably gory fate at the hands of a pet rabbit. (He wished for a bunny that would love him, and the bunny he got says that "Love Hurts.") And as for everyone else... Skarr ended up suffocating in outer space, Billy's dad relived just how crappy his high school years were (although this is in no way the Skull's fault), and Irwin got beaten up by Mandy (again, he brought it on himself). Nergal Junior got what was technically the least horrible fate; he simply wished to know what to wish for, but since the skull can only grant a single wish for every person, it poofs away, leaving him to lament that he wished he had it back. When Mandy got it, instead of using it for a wish, she auctioned it off.
And in the credits, we see what would have happened if Grim had used it to escape Billy and Mandy and free the skull itself. The skull turns himself into the Grim Reaper, and turns Grim into a wishing skull. Technically, they're both free of their original curses. You could also argue that the wishing skull is the one you should be pitying...
An episode of Samurai Jack had a wishing well that followed this trope. A group of soldiers wished to be the best warriors. The well complied, but forced them to use their superhuman battle prowess to protect it for eternity. Jack killed it with his sword, freeing the world from its evil.
"Evil spirit of the well! You will not claim another innocent! I wish thee... destroyed!"
The Smurfs are plagued by a malicious Genie called Genie Meanie who makes the lives of the Smurfs miserable, and then dangerous when Gargamel takes control of him. Fortunately, Papa Smurf finds the special words to put him under his control, forces him to undo the harm he's done and finally orders him to stay in his container until he decides not to be mean anymore.
There was a Fleischer cartoon where an old man catches a leprechaun and forces it to take him to its pot of gold, which it does. The gold is buried under a tree stump, so the man hangs his coat on the stump and instructs the leprechaun not to move the coat or alter the stump in any way while he gets a shovel. When he returns, the leprechaun has obeyed his orders, and the stump is undisturbed. However, the leprechaun has added a few dozen identical stumps to the area. The old guy promptly dies of shock, probably to keep the writers from explaining why he couldn't just dig upallthe stumps.
Something similar happens to Scrooge McDuck in DuckTales, but Scrooge is savvy enough to insist that the wish-granting leprechaun not touch his marker. Of course, the leprechaun simply has someone else duplicate his marker. A subversion, however, in that the correct stump was booby-trapped.
Two leprechauns pull the exact same trick on Dick Dastardly in Yogi's Treasure Hunt. (Honestly, leprechauns seem to love this trick.)
This is how genies (or at least Norm) work in The Fairly OddParents. While Timmy's first wish from Norm counts as a Literal Genie moment (Timmy wished for an omelet, but not for it to appear on a plate), Norm gets immense satisfaction from the result of Timmy touching a burning hot omelet. Again, when Timmy wishes that "Trixie Tang [his Love Interest] loved Timmy Turner," he goes so far as to include the names to prevent this trope. As a result, his love interest is now in love with everyone else in the world named "Timmy Turner." Later on, though, he proves his status as a Jerkass by granting Timmy's wish for a million dollars by having Timmy's Dad counterfeit the money and be on the run from the cops as a result. Curiously, when Timmy wishes he had a lawyer, Norm (inadvertently?) summons up one who's highly competent and succeeds in undoing the damage Norm has caused, rather than following his normal tendencies and giving Timmy an incompetent lawyer.
Norm looked really confused when he granted the lawyer wish, so it's likely that his confusion resulted in him not really thinking about the wish, thus causing him to summon a competent lawyer.
When Crocker gets a hold of Norm, he wishes for a series of absurdly impractical deathtraps for Timmy, prompting Norm to act somewhat benevolent but only to suggest that Crocker is not evil enough and that "Mars is really nice this time of year." When Timmy defeats Crocker and asks Norm to send him to Mars, he's so delighted to have his suggestion taken that he provides Timmy with a spacesuit to enjoy seeing Crocker act out the ending of the original Total Recall (1990).
The series has fun with this trope in an episode called "The Mirror." Puck - the trickster fairy from A Midsummernight's Dream - is captured by Demona and forced to do her bidding. Puck, either out of a sense of mischief, annoyance with being enslaved, or a sincere desire to avoid harming others - possibly all three - deliberately misconstrues Demona's wishes, as follows...
Demona: If you can't get rid of all the humans, then at least rid me of that Human! Elisa Maza!
Puck: Did you say "that Human" or "that Human"? Oh, never mind, I'll figure it out. This just might be fun, after all.
Rather than destroy Elisa, Puck uses his powers to turn her into a gargoyle. Thus, as he puts it "The Human Elisa Maza is no more." Demona, still not getting the drift, then makes him do it to the entire population of Manhattan. Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues. Puck did say that the Mirror that was used to summon him wasn't Aladdin's lamp, implying even if he wasn't being a trickster, he couldn't kill all the humans like Demona wanted.
It was subverted when Puck tried it with David Xanatos, who, being THEDavidXanatos, screwed him up into becoming his Hyper Competent Sidekick Owen Burnett. Due the amusement deriving from this, Puck accepted this gracefully, and even acquired Undying Loyalty for Xanatos.
Desiree from Danny Phantom herself is a case of Literal Genie as her wishes can be beneficial if used right, but most of her wishes ends up screwing over the wishers. It's intentional; it's part of her vindictive personality — since her happiest moment was shot down, she'll be damned if others' wishes come true!
The Flying Dutchman from Spongebob Squarepants gives the main characters three wishes to save themselves from being eaten by him. After accidentally wasting the first two wishes, Spongebob wishes for the Dutchman to become a vegetarian. It works, but instead of being sent home, the characters are transformed into fruit for a smoothie (since he gets his own wish).
Oddly enough, there are 2 alternate endings in which Squidward asks for SpongeBob and Patrick to never have met him (except it just makes them forget Squidward, complete with introduction), and Patrick asks for chewing gum to have fresh breath. Both end with them being eaten.
Garfield and Friends: In Cinderella Cat, a Fairy Godfather who looks like an anthropomorphic cat version of Marlon Brando, uses all of Garfield's wishes against him for his own amusement. For example, when he wished he had a million dollars, he gives him the money that belonged to a nearby bank, forcing him to run for his life from the authorities. Garfield gets his own back by making a wish that causes the Godfather's wife to show up. She was aggressive enough to make him leave.
There aren't any Genies, good or bad in Phineas and Ferb, but a former page quote comes from "The Lake Nose Monster" when Doofenshmirtz, reeling from some hot wings he ate, lays back and discusses this trope to Perry.
The witch from the Teen Titans episode "Cyborg the Barbarian" is an odd case. She screwed her master over at every turn, but she was perfectly straight with Cyborg, even offering to send him home when her master clearly intended to kill him. Of course, her master was a complete Jerkass and she was obviously twisting his wishes on purpose.
On an episode of Super Friends, Gleek unleashes a genie that a baddie has been seeking. The genie disregards his simian master, and instead calls the baddie who failed to obtain him master, obeying his evil wishes.
A rare aversion in Timon & Pumbaa: The Series, where the two cause trouble to themselves after each wished for a million wishes from a genie they found near the watering hole and ended up fighting for each of them. Doesn't prevent the genie from acting like a jerkass the whole time.
Warren Plotnik from Cyberchase is apparantly an evil genie described by Hacker as the most evil being in all of Cyberspace, and actually wants to free him in one episode so he can overthrow the Mother Board and take over Cyberspace himself. Unfortunately, Warren's only weakness turns out to be his own mother.
In the Looney Tunes short "Duck Amuck" the mystery animator Bugs Bunny sometimes acts as this to Daffy Duck, removing the sound effects or backgrounds, knowing that an infuriated Daffy will blurt out a demand for "color!" or "sound!" and invite his own doom as he gets exactly what he demanded.
A weird variation of this is the apprentice wizard Fuddie from Filmation's Ghostbusters, who can grant Jake a wish on the night of every full moon. While he is sincerely trying to help, he seems to be hard of hearing, and always gets the wish wrong. (For example, Jake wished to be "invincible", but Fuddie made him invisible instead. (In fact, Fuddie seems to mess up a lot doing other things too.) Fortunately, the heroes can usually make do with what he gives them anyway.
In Adventure Time, Prismo is an odd example. His wish-granting magic works like this trope (he even uses the term "Monkey's Paw" to describe it), but Prismo himself is a really nice guy who goes out of his way to explain the whole thing to Jake. He even ignores a stupid wish for a sandwich Jake makes, and then a knee-jerk, not-well-thought-out one he made upon realizing just how bad a situation Finn got himself into, and finally outright tells Jake a wish he could make that would save everyone.
Aladdin: In "Some Enchanted Genie" Eden invokes this when Abis Mal steals her bottle. He makes a couple pretty impressive wishes but as Eden grants them, she builds in ways to stop them. And then there's the cockroaches.