"The best way to not get your heart broken is to pretend you don't have one."
— Charlie Sheen
The character acts like either a heartless bastard or otherwise obnoxious Jerkass when he really isn't.
His reasons might be because he is afraid to get intimate with other people because he simply assumes that the person will either die or betray him just like everyone else he has ever gotten close to. It might be because the person is being stalked by horrible demons, The Mafia
, The Government
, or some other dangerous and unstoppable entity and does not want to drag others into it. In more light-hearted media, maybe he just feels he has a reputation to uphold as a Jerkass. So rather than letting anyone get close to him, he behaves like a completely obnoxious douche bag to scare them all away from wanting anything to do with him.
See also It's Not You, It's My Enemies
, Defrosting Ice Queen
, Think Nothing of It
, Don't You Dare Pity Me!
. May secretly be a Zero-Approval Gambit
. Not to be confused with The Jerkass known as Fassad.
Compare with Jerk with a Heart of Gold
. The Jerk with a Heart of Gold
a jerk, naturally rude and maybe offensive, but also cares more deeply than it appears. A Jerkass Facade comes in when a character is not
a jerk, is naturally pleasant and friendly, but makes a deliberate decision to act in a (usually very) jerkish manner to achieve some sort of goal.
Contrast Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
and Jerk with a Heart of Jerk
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Anime and Manga
- In an early Spider-Man story Peter Parker started acting like a jerk around Betty Brant so that she wouldn't want to be in a relationship with him anymore. Betty had lost her brother who kept getting himself into danger, and Peter didn't want her to have to face a similar situation with her boyfriend.
- Spider-Man initially treated the X-Men this way too.
- Dr Allison Mann in Y: The Last Man maintains a cold façade to everyone she deals with (especially Yorick) after being dumped by her first lesbian girlfriend in college, and angrily denies that love is anything other than a biological reaction.
- Believe it or not, The Incredible Hulk is like this sometimes, but this is usually because of his multiple personalities.
- Night Thrasher sometimes came off as a Jerkass to the rest of the New Warriors and got kicked off the team twice as a result.
- Inverted after Civil War where his brother is somewhat of a dick but everyone loves him anyway, except Jubilee, who isn't liked by her teammates because she's the only who doesn't put up with him.
- In Legion of Super-Heroes, the Legion discovers that Ultra Boy hid a criminal past and set out to catch him. Only Phantom Girl objects that they should know him and that this is out of character. He flees and joins some pirates, until their plan comes to fruition and turns on them. He reveals that he had used his sight powers and learned their plans, and that they could not be overcome by a frontal attack, and so he had forged evidence to show he had been a criminal to get inside.
- One of the reasons Back to the Klondike became such a popular story was for establishing this aspect of Scrooge McDuck's character.
- Batman, occasionally. Though it's hard to tell whether it's a facade or just his pragmatic personality. He shows it much more with his adopted son Dick Grayson. He kicked him out twice, replaced him, punched him and frequently hurts his feelings but it is hinted in some issues that Bruce does that to hide his feelings and that he actually loves Dick (as a son) and that he is the favourite child. Also, he says that he intentionally amped up his coldness and jerkassery as Dick was starting to go out on his own, even though he know it would cause Dick to be bitter towards him (which he eventually gets over), so that Dick wouldn't end up like him and keep his humanity. Batman seems to use a Jerkass Facade because he is aware of his own mortality. The fewer people who are attached to him, the fewer people will mourn when he finally messes up. This is, after all, the guy in the bat-themed combat suit facing off against sadistic, intelligent psychopaths on his safest nights. You know, when he's not helping friggin' Superman deal with threats that Big Blue can't handle alone. Depending on the Writer. Several times over the last two decades Batman has been written as a genuine Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Nightwing can be a jerkass himself (guess where he got that from). However, he's pretty bad at it. He once tried that and started crying because, unlike Bruce, he is a lot more emotional. Probably the reason he is liked more than his mentor.
- Arsenal has the whole jerk facade but he does that to hide his insecurities and when he is a jerk he is still not that bad. Sadly, it seems that he's become a genuine jerkass in Rise of Arsenal in the wake of his daughter's death, the loss of his arm, and falling back into drug abuse.
- Usagi Yojimbo has Stray Dog, a hard ass nails Bounty Hunter who seems to be an underhanded backstabber, but he is secretly also a beloved supporter of an Orphanage of Love.
- Wolverine is a genuine Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but he sometimes ups the jerkass part for the benefit of others. When Spider-Man apparently died, he made a pass at the grieving Mary Jane. She slapped him and furiously swore to find a way to kill him if he ever did that again. When Jarvis tried to call Logan out on it, he explained that he wanted to give Mary something to focus on other than grief, like anger.
- One issue of Archie Comics had Reggie sit down beside a depressed Dilton, give him a pep talk, and offer to help him get the woman he had a crush on. When Dilton suspiciously asked what he wanted in return, Reggie only demanded he keep the entire thing a secret. He has a reputation to keep as a jerk, after all.
- Plourr Illo of the X-Wing Series is somewhere between this and Jerk with a Heart of Gold. She casually insults strangers and teammates alike, often called out on it, though the teammates are used to this and return in kind. She also hates incompetence and is suspicious of most people. But it doesn't take much to show that she does care - and in the setting she was born to she's more restrained and diplomatic, her harshness fading except when talking to people she genuinely doesn't like.
- In Peggy Sue Fan Fic The Second Try, Asuka invoked this trope in the original timeline to prevent people from getting close to her emotionally. After the Third Impact, she gradually got over the need to do so, but, back in the past, she was still forced to continue the charade, even though she no longer wanted to prevent anybody from finding out that she and Shinji were time-travelers. She found the act of acting this trope out to be emotionally distressing, and childish.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Ethan Edwards from The Searchers. Fighting in the US Civil War traumatized him so much that he sought solace in giving up his humanity and wallowing in his hatred of the Comanche - who have massacred his sister's family, gee, why do you think he'd hold that against them? But when he gets a chance to prove it by killing his niece who's been adopted by the Comanche, he doesn't do it. She's been kidnapped and raped by a Comanche warrior— in Ethan's mind it would be better to die rather than live with that shame. The fact that he doesn't kill her proves that he fits this trope. In fact he is infuriated that she has apparently gone native, adopting the ways of the people who killed her parents and brothers and raped and murdered her elder sister. What else could she have done? but to Ethan it feels like a betrayal.
- The Dark Knight Saga Christopher Nolan's Batman film reboot has Batman deciding Bruce Wayne should be an arrogant, lazy, alcoholic, philandering jerkass Rich Idiot with No Day Job (imagine Paris Hilton as a guy), both in order to deflect suspicions that he's really Batman, and to prevent long-lasting relationships from developing (which also helps keep suspicion down). Granted, this is all fairly downplayed. There was also an element of him "saving himself" for Rachel. He specifically invokes this to get the innocent party guests out of his house, and thus out of harm's way, calling everyone present a bunch of moochers and hangers-on. In hindsight, it's a wonder he was able to get them back for that fundraising party in the second movie.
- Constantine. John Constantine is extremely rude to Angela Dodson for some time after meeting her. He later tells her why:
"You don't wanna know what's out there, trust me... Your sister embraced her gift, you denied yours. Denial is a better idea. It's why you're still alive. Stick with me, that will change. I don't need another ghost following me around."
- Stepanak in Down Periscope actively tries to sabotage his Navy career and get kicked off the Stingray by being an unhelpful, snarky and insubordinate jerkass. Later, when given an opportunity to reveal their location during Silent Running Mode, he stays quiet. His CO actually calls him on it.
Cmdr. Tom Dodge:
You missed a hell of an opportunity. One peep outta you and we woulda been in a lot of trouble. Stepanak:
No, sir. That would've been unethical. I'm only out to screw myself. That would've screwed everybody.
- The Social Network teases that Mark may be this. Although he communciates to people rudely in the film, he genuinely seems like he just wants friends and for Facebook to succeed, and cares for his friend, even though he might have screwed him out of a deal, he still realized what he done and tries to friend Erica after being somewhat rude to her throughout the film.
- Grouchy Smurf in The Smurfs confesses to a green M&M plushie that he only uses his grouchiness to hide his true feelings.
- The Waterboy: Although extremely overprotective of her son Bobby, Mama Boucher actually isn't a Fundamentalist Evil Matriarch, she's been pretending to be one due to the pain of her husband deserting her and Bobby.
- Both Mike and Dexter in The Philadelphia Story:
- Mike is a disillusioned poet who puts toughness on "to save [his] skin".
- Dexter lets Mike think he's blackmailing Tracy for revenge, he jokes about his drinking problem, and half his dialogue consists of snarky remarks. This might seem like Jerkass behaviour, but the truth is he's trying to save Tracy from blackmail, he's given up drinking, and his snarkiness covers a lot of genuine feeling. At the end of the movie, when Tracy is feeling ashamed and miserable, she turns to Dexter for comfort, and finds him surprisingly sympathetic.
- The 1943 comedy The Meanest Man in the World stars Jack Benny as a kindhearted lawyer who finds he must adapt one of these to land clients.
- The Distinguished Gentleman: The protagonist cons his way into Congress and, at first, treats being there as a lark and happily acts like what he thinks a stereotypical Congressman should be, voting frivolously, dissing constituents, and sucking up to lobbyists. Then it starts to hit home that he's toying with real people's lives.
- Rand al'Thor pulls this trick a few times early in The Wheel of Time, to distance himself from his friends out of fear he may harm them. Unfortunately, as time goes on, events conspire to make this much less of a facade. Also, it doesn't help that the women that love him can see right through the facade.
- This pops up in Discworld from time to time: most of the main characters fall into this, including the witch Granny Weatherwax (a gruff bitchy old woman with biting sarcasm who's too proud to admit how much she likes her friends, but who is never mean to anyone who can't fight back or doesn't deserve it), and pre-Men at Arms Sam Vimes (Captain of the Night Watch, a sarcastic pessimistic alcoholic who lived a pauper's life to provide for widows and children of men who'd fallen in the Watch).
- In Dean Koontz's Hideaway, the character Regina does this briefly. She is afraid that Hatch and Lindsey will only adopt her for a little while before they get sick of her and bring her back to the orphanage, which will hurt her deeply. So instead of going through that pain, she tries to scare them off from adopting her in the first place.
- In Spider Robinson's novel Very Bad Deaths, a main character is a natural telepath whose perceptions of others' minds are extremely painful to him. Fortunately, his perception has a limited physical range, so he just needs to keep his distance from others. In college he repels company, not by jerkass behavior, but simply by never bathing. Later in life that isn't enough, his range has grown longer, so he lives alone on an island off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia.
- Puck from The Sisters Grimm is the perfect example of this trope. He pulls gross and disturbing pranks on Sabrina, calls her rude names, and insists that she is the worse thing that happened to him. Yet, despite all of this, he's always there to save her life and teared up when Sabrina nearly fell off the platform while battling dragons. They are married in the future. He also cried at his father's funeral
- Carnival from the Deepgate Codex series, so goddamn much. She tries her very hardest to act as though none of the people she knows mean much of anything to her, even after she nearly gets killed trying to rescue one of her best friends—but by then we all know better.
- Francis Crawford of Lymond in Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. Every book starts out by presenting him as a heartless and obnoxious bastard before slowly revealing the Jerk with a Heart of Gold underneath.
- This trope is Dante from A Rush Of Wings. He's completely justified, too.
- An unintentional version appears in Brewsters Millions and its various adaptations; Monty Brewster is a decent and good-hearted man, but because he can't tell anyone why he has crazily spend a huge amount of money within a short period of time (it's so that he can inherit an even larger amount when he's done so), he frequently comes across either as insanely reckless or an irresponsible, feckless jackass.
- From World War Z, Paul Redeker, who penned the eponymous Redeker Plan in response to the zombie outbreak. He was utterly reviled as the worst of South Africa's apartheidists who revised that government's "Plan Orange", the plan to insure the survival of the country's white minority. Then apartheid ended and he went into political exile. Then the zombie outbreak occurred and men kicked his door down and, rather than kill him in a fit of last minute vengeance, asked if he had a plan. He did. Being the ultimate in uncaring dispassion, his plan called for the government to save those who mattered and leave behind those who didn't, specifically as zombie bait to relieve pressure on the beleaguered government. It involved deliberately sacrificing a significant chunk of humanity to a prolonged, gruesome death in order to save those who could fight the menace. Each government official at the meeting hearing his plan reviled him and said nothing. Except the book's stand-in for Nelson Mandela, who said that "This plan, this man, will save our people" and embraced him. Then it turns out that Redeker was not dispassionate. He was so passionate, so empathic that he had to block off all emotion so as not to feel others' pain. That hug broke him, rendered him psychopathic, with a split personality. His plan was implemented, and it saved humanity, and he ended up in a hospital, writing his own biography, believing himself to be a man who had worked intimately with Paul Redeker.
- Raymond Shaw of The Manchurian Candidate is three things: stoic, haughty, and aloof. The narrator calls him one of the most unlikeable men in America. It's a convincing act that's taken a life of its own. Deep down, Raymond is a fragile Man Child who mainly acts this way to deal with his terrible mother.
- Trapped on Draconica: Kalak feels compelled to act like a jerkass to compensate for inner toughness. He's actually an Adorkable self-deprecating Momma's Boy.
- Subverted in Battle Royale: it turns out that one character's jerkass facade is in fact a facade, and she really is a heartless bitch after all.
- Edward Cullen early in Twilight was a jerk to Bella to push her away from him because he didn't want to be tempted to drink her blood. How he resisted the temptation to do the same to the other students is a mystery, though Bella's blood being Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious is definitely a factor.
- Edward does this again in New Moon; when he decides to leave in the belief that Bella will be safer without him and his family around, he claims that he never really loved her, and that she was just a distraction to him, in the hope that she'll move on if she has no hope of him ever coming back.
- Artfully demonstrated in Starship Troopers, with Sergeant Zim and the rest of the instructors at Camp Currie. They are complete jerks to the recruits, but know when to try to help them rather than continuing the pressure. The narrator overhears a conversation between two of them that explains just how much they care for the young adults who will eventually be sent out to fight. In the book, all support functions are done by civilians; soldiers fight.
- Will Herondale in The Infernal Devices. It's to stop people from caring about him too much - because of his curse, they'll wind up dead eventually. After he finds out that there is no curse, he mellows down.
- Kev in Derek. Although he seems to be little more than a sex-crazed alcoholic at first, it is shown in later episodes that he genuinely cares about the people he's around.
- Oliver Queen in Arrow, in an attempt to help keep his identity as the vigilante 'Hood' a secret (his reasoning being that no one could suspect a real douchebag of being a hero).
- Oliver Queen from Smallville, has shades of this trope. However, Hawkman calls him out on it.
- In Dark Angel, Alec's defense mechanism is to act like a total jerk. It's a survival trick he learnt during his years at Manticore to hide his true feelings and bury his past.
- Sawyer in LOST, mainly due to self-loathing. His life was destroyed by a con man so when he ended up as one himself he began to feel that he deserved to be treated like crap (though considering all the stuff he did prior to arriving on the island, he does kind of deserve it). Kate does call him out on it once she realizes what he's doing, though:
Kate: You try too hard, Sawyer. I ask you to help a woman who can't breathe, and you want me to kiss you? Nobody's that disgusting.
- May apply to Torchwood's Owen Harper, since what got him into Torchwood was the death of the love of his life by alien tumor... which he dealt with at one point by nearly date-raping a woman. Torchwood needs therapists.
- Jordan is the clearest example. She acts like she couldn't care less about everyone, including Cox. However, in later seasons she's genuinely supportive of Cox in his darker moments and acts as a mother figure to the other characters on occasion.
- Dr. Kelso sometimes hides behind a facade of Jerkassdom. Many would just write him off as being a Jerkass with maybe a heart of gold somewhere. But as shown in "My Jiggly Ball," (where it's shown that he puts on a happy face when walking around the hospital, but the moment he steps off hospital grounds he's just as saddened by death and sickness as anyone else) the choices Kelso makes actually affect him deeply - he just finds it a better working environment if his colleagues don't know. This is also proven in "My Chopped Liver," when Kelso's dog dies and he refuses to leave his office out of fear that others in the hospital would see him crying.
- In "His Story IV," it's revealed that when interpersonal strife starts to make the hospital staff less effective, Kelso deliberately goes out of his way to do something blatantly Jerkass-worthy so as to unite the staff in common hatred of him.
- Perhaps Dr. Cox (if not just an elitist Jerk with a Heart of Gold). He will verbally abuse even those closest to him for the tiniest of slights and faults, is a borderline alcoholic egomaniac and refuses to show affection to anyone. However, he's only this way partly because of his past (abusive parents) and that over the years any optimism he had left has been thoroughly beaten out of him. But even after all of this he cares about each patient he sees. He's tough on others because it's the only way he knows to teach the younger doctors and motivate his patients. In his softer moments, he'll show that he's just a broken man that keeps struggling on day after day, and that he does care about those around him but he's just too afraid to show it.
- Barney from How I Met Your Mother. His selfishness and womanizing are just a cover up for his insecurities.
- ER's Doug Ross
- L.A. Law's Arnie Becker.
- Yuuto Sakurai from Kamen Rider Den-O comes off as rude, overly serious, and quick to anger (especially with his partner Deneb). As the series progresses, however, we learn that his ability to become a Kamen Rider comes with a hefty price: each time he transforms, some of the memories people have of him are erased, meaning that the more he fights, the fewer people know he even exists.
- Lester from Primeval is in reality a fairly Benevolent Boss but Whitehall power politics (and that he is a bit of a snob) force him to hide behind his facade of a classic Obstructive Bureaucrat.
Abby: You know underneath it all you are really quite nice.
Lester: Repeat that disgraceful slander and you'll be hearing from my lawyers.
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek: The Original Series: Dr. McCoy's thin, crumbly veneer of grumbles and sarcasm hides (badly) what is quite possibly the most compassionate character on network television.
- Star Trek: McCoy's counterpart in the new movie hides it a bit better. Maybe he'll soften up after working in Starfleet for awhile.
- In "Mirror, Mirror" Kirk had to adopt one of these in order to keep the crew of the I.S.S. Enterprise from getting any more suspicious of him than they already were. After the guard who foiled Mirror Chekov's effort to assassinate Kirk mentioned that Chekov had been promising to make him an officer, Kirk hired him to his personal guard, telling him that now he was on the officer track and might even get promoted to Captain. When the man agreed to this rather over-enthusiastically, however, Kirk then punched him out and said "Not on my ship."
- Emin Maritza from the classic DS9 episode "Duet." And how!!
- Counselor Troi was forced to adopt one for TNG's "Face of the Enemy", while she impersonated Major Rakal of the Tal Shiar, the Romulan Secret Police.
- Doc Cottle from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. The man is a walking, talking, last-cigarettes-in-the-known-universe smoking Crowning Moment of Awesome
- Degrassi The Next Generation offers up Holly J who thinks people want her to be mean, and that she's doing it for her friends, and as her favorite defense mechanism. Given she learned social order from her borderline evil older sister Heather, it's not much of a surprise.
- Major Charles Emerson Winchester on M*A*S*H appears to be one in a Christmas episode when he receives numerous packages of what appear to be chocolates from a Boston confectioner and refuses to share them with anyone. He's later shown donating them, in the middle of the night, to a local orphanage and explaining that his family has a tradition of doing acts of kindness and charity at Christmas, but with an insistence of remaining anonymous. At the end of the episode Klinger learns of what Charles has done and agrees to keep it a secret.
- The Inspector Lynley Mysteries' Barbara Havers - while she is genuinely brutally honest - is so deeply insecure that she developed this front as a defense mechanism. Lynley calls her out on it, and as time goes on, she's been able to let go of it more and more.
Lynley: You don't have to do that.
Lynley: Push me away.
- Better Off Ted: Veronica could be the poster child for this trope. Although she comes off as uncaring and borderline sociopathic at times, occasionally the facade will drop, usually with Ted who becomes her confidant (such as in the second season premiere when she discusses her desire to have children).
- Eliot Spencer from Leverage. In their Christmas episode:
Kid: I don't get it. Are you nice, or are you mean?
Eliot: (Passes him a present and puts a finger to his lips)
- Elliot rarely acts like a actual jerk (except to Hardison). More of a Scary Tough Guy Facade.
- Rudy Wade from Misfits is probably THE definition of this Trope. His 'superpower' is the ability to split into two people. The only catch being that one of them is his true, emotional self while the other is his facade.
- Derek Hale on Teen Wolf has a Dark and Troubled Past that has left him with trust issues and a justified sense of persecution. He compensates by trying to seem as mean as possible, but is really just a somewhat dark Anti-Hero.
- Dr. John Becker of Becker is certainly this to an extent. Sure, he's really grouchy and kind of a jerk, but cares about his patients, especially in the pilot when he uses his own money to buy needed medication for a boy with HIV.
- Rex Evans on Necessary Roughness put up the façade back when he was still in the closet, both because he was miserable about having to hide his partner, and because he was afraid that making friends would lead to someone finding out his secret. It didn't help that the team's rising star, Toes Kitteridge, was a virulent homophobe.
- JAG: Admiral Chegwidden is a mild version of this trope. Even though he often hides behind military protocol and the authority that comes with being an admiral to distance himself from interpersonal relationships beyond the strictly professional, he deeply cares for the people that work under him.
- In Act III of La Bohème, Rodolfo pretends to be cruel and jealous so that Mimi will leave him. In reality, he is concerned for her worsening consumption, and, knowing he cannot take care of her, tries to reject her so she can find a lover who isn't a Starving Artist.
- In Shakespeare's Henry IV Part 1, Prince Hal monologues about how he's acting like a jerk so that
When this loose behavior I throw off
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will.
- In Henry V Hal goes on to become, to everyone's surprise, a great king who trounces the French in battle through the sheer power of his epic monologuing.
- This is a common theory to explain Hamlet's assholish behavior towards Ophelia; that he was pretending to be horrible, despite loving her, in order to distance her from the horrors that were to come.
- Tomoki in Canvas 2. In fact, she's so used to it that she's scared people will hate her if she gets the surgery she needs and refuses to get it.
- The princess Lesteena in Eien no Aselia hides the fact that she's actually one of the nicest people in the cast by acting cold, callous and dismissive towards everyone. When the king is assassinated, she drops the callous and dismissive parts and most of the coldness.
- Rin Tohsaka from Fate/stay night. Her personality in the early parts of the game is a Jerkass Facade. It's especially obvious in Heaven's Feel, although there it's for a good reason.
- Archer also uses a jerkass facade on Rin and Saber, as he plans on killing his past self and then disappearing.
- Yaginuma in Kara no Shoujo acts like a jerk to keep people from getting too close to him as he can't bear a repeat of what happened to his sister. At first, this is an Informed Attribute but then during one of the endings we get to see him meet with Kuchiki Chizuru and he's actually fairly nice to her.
- Umineko: When They Cry:
- Eva Ushiromiya, as a part of her plan to not let her niece and ward Ange know that her parents were Ax-Crazy murderers.
- In EP5 it's revealed that Beatrice has this as well. Her "sadistic troll" personality was actually part of an act that was meant to guide Battler towards understanding her.
- Hugh O'Conner from Ace Attorney. He acted like a jerk because of his reputation as a genius. Also, because he believed his friends abandoned him after finding out he wasn't a genius and was getting perfect scores thanks to bribes. Drops the facade and proves he might be pretty skilled after all at the end of 5-3.
- Abel from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures has a magical Jerkass Facade - which doesn't work on the Muggles he's stuck with now.
- The genesis of one of these, courtesy of Awkward Zombie.
- Diane of El Goonish Shive has a very convincing facade. It's only when one of her friends dissolves into tears that we see that she's really a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. In filler, we see her praising her friends' A- on a test.
- Eugene Greenhilt, or at least when Roy was 8, when he refuses to try to get Xykon with Right-Eye, because he reckons that Xykon would go after his family if things went South.
- Lucy of Bittersweet Candy Bowl puts of a harsh facade, but when she is around her pets (or really distressed) it falls away from her, showing her true (much sweeter) nature.
- Karkat Vantas of Homestuck. Types in all caps, insults every one of his friends relentlessly, and also does his best to help them and blames himself for every death.
- This is a common comical persona for many YouTube Poop makers, most famously Deepercutt.
- Sasha Hunter in Greek Ninja, and as it turns out, Hashimoto Daichi.
- The Nostalgia Critic is legitimately a dick, but emphasizes that side as best as he can with newbies, mostly because he doesn't want to be seen as the pathetic weakling he really is. They always eventually see through him.
- Fiearius Soliveré of "Caelum Lex" emits a jerk persona to appear strong to his crew, worthy to his criminal allies and indestructible to his enemies.
- Played for Drama in To Boldly Flee, where he goes Martyr Without a Cause Death Seeker on everyone's ass and pretends to be a Dirty Coward so nobody will notice or miss him when he commits Suicide By Plot Hole.
- In The Gamers Alliance, Ronove, Dreadlord of the Northern Horde, acts like a generic cruel overlord in front of his peers and enemies, but also occasionally shows a quirky side which most accept as remnants of his former goofy, amnesiac personality (most notably him munching on cake and sand gnome legs). He has shown a less evil persona recently but quite subtly. He let his caught human friends, with whom he had been travelling with during his amnesiac days, flee a demon-occupied city alive while weaving a convincing enough tale to his superiors for the seemingly "evil" reasons he let the escape happen. He takes over the torturing of his former, captured master Omaroch seemingly because he enjoys the cruel act, but in fact it's because letting others torture Omaroch would be far more severe than what he ends up doing to him. He openly manipulates Refan, Omaroch's son, but does it for Refan's own good because he sees Refan's demonic side useful and allowing the man to grow into a warrior who doesn't have to fear for his life anymore. However, Ronove harbors more complex plans than most people think, and the one person who realizes that things don't quite add up as far as his actions go is still being manipulated by him into believing one thing while the truth is actually quite different. It's thus clear that he has some sense of honour and he still feels sympathy for his former travelling companions, but he's also capable of acts of Cruel Mercy by twisting seemingly benevolent acts into something far more sinister.
- Theodore Tugboat, of all characters, in the episode "Bumper Buddies". Foduck playfully bumps him, not realising that it hurts so Theodore avoids him. When Foduck asks if they're still friends, Theodore's answer is "Foduck, I am not your friend anymore." The Narrator then says "I'm still not sure if Theodore meant it, he just didn't want Foduck to bump him anymore.".
- In Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show, it's revealed that Eddy's greedy and selfish attitude was all an act to impress his brother, who is a bigger Jerkass then he (or anyone, even Kevin and Sarah) could ever hope to be.
- One episode of The Fairly Oddparents brought this up for Trixie, but it was never brought up again.
- In the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Prince Zuko sometimes puts on a mighty show of acting like a Royal Brat in front of his men, effectively earning their resentment... before risking his own life to save the ship's helmsman during a terrible storm.
- In the King of the Hill episode "Bobby Goes Nuts", Bobby is tired of being picked on by the bullies at school, so he goes to the gym in order to get tougher— but the only class that isn't full already is a self-defense class for women, where he learns that a man's weak point is his groin. He beats the bullies with this technique, but then continues to do it to anyone who bothers him in the slightest, becoming a bully himself. Eventually, he goes too far and kicks Hank, who gets Peggy to bully him until he kicks her— which, since she doesn't have testicles, doesn't work so well. This finally jars him out of meeting all his problems with the same unthinking response.
- Moe Syzlak, from The Simpsons, tries to hide his good deeds with a protectiveness normal people would reserve for hiding evil deeds.
Ned: I know you! You're the guy at the hospital who reads to sick children?
Moe: ... if this gets out, the next words you say will be muzzled by your own butt.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Babs Seed. She only acted like a bully to avoid being bullied by Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, and that she was bullied back at Mainhattan.
- Cindy Vortex from Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius reveals that she acts this ways because she slowly became more and more jealous of Jimmy for being smarter than her, thus explaining why she's such a hardass on him. This was ultimately carried over into the TV series, abit in a different manner.
- In the Goof Troop episode "Puppy Love," Jerkass Pete, with purer intentions than usual, at least, advises the typically very Nice Guy, PJ, to dress like a tough redneck and be as obnoxious and rude as possible because the ladies love it. PJ's crush responds negatively to the facade, and in the process he becomes a repeated target of a school bully.
- It's implied that Marceline of Adventure Time plays up her vampirism both to protect others (because she sees herself as evil), and so that no-one can ever get close to her and then leave her, which unfortunately has happened to the poor girl far too often (as in, in every one of her onscreen relationships).
- In Littlest Pet Shop (2012), Wiggles McSunbask doesn't want to be a bully, but his fearsome appearance (he's an alligator) scares everyone around him so he just embraced that image.
- Inverted with the Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "Sappy New Year." The boys give up practical jokes as a New Year's resolution, but their attempts to do good deeds are haphazard and are misconstrued as more troublemaking.
- Drill Sergeants usually are like this, due to their occupation demanding them to toughen up their recruits, and this usually by degrading them as much as possible without mercy so they will set their goal higher and become stronger because of it. Their occupation is to train the recruits, not to make them mentally ill, so it is vital for the drill sergeant to recognize when one of his recruits is obviously affected in the wrong way by the training, and try getting said recruits help instead of more drilling. After all, since almost every drill sergeants have lives outside the military, most are actually nice people, and will notice when something is wrong with the recruits.
- Many Internet forums have their Resident Freaks and Jackasses. On average it's a total facade because no normal person is that stupid, that perverted. Sometimes the facade slips.
- John Lennon until The Seventies, where he started to deal with his problems and admitted that part of his bitter unhappiness was that he wasn't actually that badly off and he was still unhappy, and acted like a Jerkass to push people away.
- For some people, this is a response to sadness or anger. They push people away because they either don't want help or don't want to be a burden.