Mayor Pain

"Oh, I'm quite tired of this lunatic
Why must we suffer 'cuz the mayor's sick?"
Rasputina, "The Mayor"

Mayor Pain (a trope about mayors who inflict grief upon the inhabitants of their cities) usually comes in two different flavors, depending on the question: Is s/he evil or simply unable?

  • The Evil Mayor Pain (The Wilkins): Wickedness over incompetence. The mayor does a relatively good work with the town and can even be a pleasant person, yet he or she has a secret Evil Plan to carry out, or more easily is A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. This is the kind of mayor that puts the "sin" in "sindaco".
  • The Incompetent Mayor Pain (The Quimby): Incompetence over wickedness. The mayor is openly incompetent and his/her actions are clearly due to a lack of judgment. On a darker note, this incompetence could cause (or have already caused) various disasters.

This Trope usually overlaps with Corrupt Politician or Sleazy Politician. Related to President Evil (which applies on a way larger scale). Expect some Permanent Elected Officials to fulfill this trope. No wonder if he (or she) gets elected in a Town with a Dark Secret, especially if ridden by Sunnydale Syndrome. If this is an Ultimate Authority Mayor, things aren't getting well for the town. The incompetent version may be an Authority in Name Only. The typical character, especially if he or she is an Evil Mayor Pain, who belongs to the Lawful Evil alignment.

Not to be confused with the movie Major Payne.


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     Anime & Manga 
  • An Orange Islands Pokémon episode had one of these. When a mystery creature is wandering the sewers on his island, he intends to kill it rather than capture it, as he's worried its existence will affect his status as mayor. Turns out it was his Bulbasaur he abandoned as a child. Poor thing was still happy to see him.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: the mayor of Daten City is Corset, a powerful demon with a BDSM fetish. Definitely the Wilkins type.
  • Mr. Heartland from Yu Gi Oh Zexal is an Evil Mayor Payne, and a Villain with Good Publicity and a Devil in Plain Sight. While only The Dragon during the time he's mayor (the first season) he proves worse than the apparent Big Bad of that season.
  • The Mayor in Little Witch Academia is mainly the Quimby type. He is more concerned about puffing up his own ego and earning tourist dollars than he is with things like good sense and reason. With incontrovertible proof that both magic and witches are real, he decides to remove a rock that is specifically labelled as a seal to a great evil to place a statue of himself. When the inevitable happens and a giant attacks his city, he blames the Witches and only backs down when he starts thinking of the tourist revenue. Even a Witch supporting him from a great height on her broom is not enough to dissuade him even when she gently tries to remind him exactly whose fault this whole fiasco is.

    Comic Books 
  • Hamilton Hill from the Batman comics was an Evil Mayor Pain; a competent politician, but completely in the pocket of crime boss Rupert Thorne. He was succeeded in office by Armand Krol, who was an Incompetent Mayor Pain.
  • In Batman: Earth One, Mayor Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin in the regular timeline) is Mayor of Gotham. He's also a crime boss who uses a Serial Killer named The Birthday Boy as his own personal hitman, supplying him with teenaged girls as payment.

  • The Mayor in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs starts off as just a jerk, but once the food starts falling, he will do anything to keep it coming, since his town is now getting notoriety and he is quite a glutton. He ends up pushing Flint to keep making the food, even when told it's not safe. And when the inevitable happens, he quickly shifts the blame to Flint.
  • Mayor Phlegmming in Osmosis Jones, is as incompetent as they come. Its his idiotic decisions that are the reason why Frank is such a slob and he cares more about his re-election than the lethal threat that would and almost did kill Frank. Unsurprisingly, he is fired from his job after the incident and later accidentally ejects himself from Frank's body.
  • Tortoise John in Rango is an Evil Mayor Pain.
  • The Mayor in Police Academy 6: City Under Siege is an Evil Mayor Payne, and is secretly the Big Bad.
  • In La Famille Belier, Lapidus despises deaf people and promotes industrial development, which harms the farmers.
  • Mayor Larry Vaughn in Jaws. He may have a point that the tourist trade from the beaches are the lifeblood of the town's economy, but order them open after being warned that there is still the danger of attacks from a man eating shark is inexcusable.
  • Ghostbusters (2016) directly references the above, as Erin calls out the New York mayor feeling the city hall obstructing their job makes him like the mayor from ''Jaws'. He gets mad at the comparison. (specially as he's an aversion of the trope: the mayor is just hiding his support from the populace because Plausible Deniability will help avoid panic)

  • Big Jim Rennie from Under the Dome definitely qualifies as the evil variant, though his title is "councilman" rather than "mayor". He's still essentially the acting mayor as he's apparently the only member of the town council, mayor included, who was in Chesters' Mill when the Dome came down.
  • Governor Grice from the Ciaphas Cain novel For The Emperor is incompetent, except that he's really an evil genestealer hybrid (the Evil Mayor Pain) who is disguising his treason as mere incompetence.
    • As there's no evidence he has any personal planning or administrative skills, and Grice's personal and family histories must be consistent, he probably really is an incompetent governor. They show up a lot in the setting, and tend to stay in place until they impede somebody important who can have them killed.
  • In After The Golden Age, the protagonist discovers evidence linking the mayor to the perpetrators of a crime wave in Commerce City. He turns out to be a supervillain.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has Mayor Richard Wilkins III, who provides the name for the Evil Mayor Pain. On the outside, he's a polite, organized and rather efficient politician. The truth, however, is that he plans to undergo the Ascension to become a demonic snake. He also planned to use this new condition to bring order to the town.
  • Desperate Housewives: Victor Lang, Gabrielle's husband for the first half of season 4.
  • Once Upon a Time: Regina Mills, aka The Evil Queen, is definitely the evil version.
  • Criminal Minds: Clark Preston from "A Thin Line" was going to become one, had the BAU not found out about the murders he had planned.
  • Big Jim Rennie is still evil in the TV adaptation.


  • Mayor Pamela Winchell from Welcome to Night Vale. She's a strange mix of both the "evil" variant and "incompetent" variant, although she's not stupid and it's difficult to peg her as out and out evil. Given the way she's described, it seems more like she's just totally insane. She eventually falls more directly into the "incompetent" category after she becomes obsessed with "emergency press conferences," and later steps down as Mayor; her successor is Dana Cardinal, that being former Night Vale Community Radio intern Dana, who is much more level headed, but allows Winchell to stay in "government" (and indulge her obsession) as Director of Emergency Press Conferences. Of course, the Mayor of Night Vale's powers are actually pretty limited, with affairs seemingly being mostly in the hands of the City Council (which has had the same composition since the city was founded over a century ago), the vague-but-menacing government agency, and the Sheriff's Secret Police. Oh, and the Glow Cloud, if the issue involves the Night Vale School District in any way.

     Video Games 

  • Leonard Zachary of the Shanafelt City Council from TRU-Life Adventures is this in all but title. Getting the city to restore the position of mayor is high on his list of priorities.
  • Albus Ivory of Colour Wheel is an interesting mix of the Evil and Incompetent variants. He enacts crazy plans to take over the city, even though he's already the mayor; these plans are ridiculous, ineffectual, overly complex, easily thwarted, and cause massive damage to the city. And in one case, possibly every city on the coastline.
  • In Daryl and Susie, Daryl the dragon has a town in his head, run by an Evil Mayor Pain (based loosely on the Mayor from Buffy). This Mayor incessantly tries to get Daryl upset, for doing so makes monsters appear from Daryl's head, and collaborates with Daryl's arch-nemesis Aosoth before becoming The Starscream.

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • Mayor Joe Quimby from The Simpsons provides the name for the Incompetent Mayor Pain. An outright corrupt, opportunistic, embarrassing, sleazy politician who couldn't care less for Springfield.
    • Sideshow Bob may count as the evil variant during his brief time as mayor.
    • When Springfield briefly split into two towns over area codes, Homer was elected mayor of New Springfield and ran it into the ground in a few days. The entire population except the Simpson family bandoned his side of town when he built a wall surrounding it.
  • Adam West would be the Incompetent Mayor Pain in Family Guy.
  • Vlad Masters/Vlad Plasmius eventually becomes this in Danny Phantom, abusing his authority to antagonize Danny.
  • Mayor from The Powerpuff Girls is so incompetent, he somehow managed to kill Navi when playing Ocarina of Time. It's safe to assume that the real mayor of Townsville is his much smarter assistant, Sarah Bellum.
    • The episode Impeach Fuzz sees him temporarily replaced by Fuzzy Lumpkins, a recurring villain.
  • After the events of the first season finale of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Mayor Jones is a definite Evil Mayor Pain. In that one episode we learn that he moved to Crystal Cove only to look for treasure, blackmailed the original Mystery Inc. into leaving, double-crossed Professor Pericles, dressed up as the Freak of Crystal Cove, and to top it off, concealed the true identity of Fred's real parents while raising him as his own son.
  • Clay Puppington from Moral Orel.
  • From The Oblongs, the town of Hill Valley is governed by Mayor Johnny "The Mayor" Bledsoe, a masked wrestler (talks like an American pro wrestler, wears a luchador mask with a nice suit). He's a good balance of evil and incompetence, like all authority figures in the series.
  • The Mayor of Tom Goes To The Mayor, who is so impossibly incompetent that he crosses a line and borders on being the evil kind of this trope.
  • The Mayor from Action League Now is plain card-carrying evil. In fact, we only ever see him doing evil things, rather than actually, you know, mayoring.
  • A lot of the problems of Griffin Rock in Transformers Rescue Bots can be lain at the feet of Mayor H.B. Luskey. A lot of problems in the town stem from his ego, blame-shifting, and total ineptitude at pretty much everything he does. He's at his worst in "The Vigilant Town", where his demands that an experimental computer meant to protect the town be turned on full power, even after it demonstrates that it's willing to violate civil liberties to perform its function. In Season 4, after the Rescue Bots reveal themselves as aliens, Chase runs against Luskey and wins—but Chase being The Spock, a Rules Lawyer, and a strict By-the-Book Cop didn't make him any better and he resigned, with Luskey resuming the post.
  • Mayor Spryman from Ozzy and Drix is a Quimby, a stuck-up bratty punk of a teenager that has no business being in charge of a city, though considering that Hector a teenager it's most likely a factor of his personality that Spryman is not only mayor but acts the way he is.
  • Mayor Manx from SWAT Kats is the incompetent type- he pushes all his work on his Deputy Mayor, Callie Briggs, and is mainly concerned with getting reelected. This caused some issues in one episode when it transpires he's the descendant of a famous "MegaWar II" fighter pilot named the "Blue Manx", and the Blue Manx's old nemesis, the Red Lynx, comes back as a ghost pilot to wreak havoc and settle his old score.
  • Mayor Bill Dewey from Steven Universe seems like the incompetent variety in the first few episodes with him, but it ends up being subverted. It turns out he does actually care about the townsfolk; he views his job as putting their wellbeing first- and he doesn't want a riot breaking out, especially considering what the Crystal Gems tend to do to the town.