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Minion with an F in Evil

"You're quasi-evil. You're semi-evil. You're the margarine of evil. You're the Diet Coke of evil. Just one calorie, not evil enough."
Dr. Evil (to his Genre Savvy son Scott), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

No, he doesn't kick himself by accident when trying to Kick the Dog. He's a henchman to a Card-Carrying Villain who can't quite wrap his mind around card-carrying villainy. As such, they often get confused and do "good" things like saying please or thank you or being kind to the heroes in some way by mistake — and get yelled at for it by their superior if caught. This character type tends to be predicated on the assumption that Rousseau Was Right; theoretically, this so-called "villain" hasn't properly learned how to be bad. Very much Played for Laughs, and most commonly used in children's shows. They often get a Mook-Face Turn at the end of the series, or earlier if their boss is particularly mean with a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal. They may also get a The Dog Bites Back moment to go along with it.

Not to be confused with Affably Evil characters, who are evil but polite about it. Certain versions are relatives who the villain is obliged to keep around despite their incompetence, or horrific monsters that turn out to actually be Gentle Giants.

Contrast Harmless Villain, Worthy Opponent, Punch Clock Villain, Reluctant Monster, and Obliviously Evil. See also Surrounded by Idiots, Token Good Teammate, Poke the Poodle, White Sheep, Merciful Minion, and Good All Along. Compare and contrast with Hero with an F in Good. Frequently hold back a truly terrifying boss due to the Conservation of Competence.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Jama-P in Wedding Peach takes this to its logical extreme. He becomes a Sidekick to the good guys.
  • The entirety of the Gedou Otome Tai from Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge. While they're daughters of low-ranking mooks from an evil organization, their ability to actually do anything evil is zero. And those that actually DO gets turned around very quickly.
  • Shia in Pita-ten is the epitome of this trope; as demon she's not only supposed to do evil, she *has* to do evil, but she always seems to wind up baking cookies for everybody, or cleaning up the apartment she shares with Misha (an angel almost as bad at doing good as she is at doing evil), or just in general being polite, soft-spoken and helpful, much to the exasperation of her demon-adviser in cat form, Nyaa.
    • In the manga When she dies Nyaa admits that she may have been a far more successful demon than he realized by making everyone love her then dying and leaving everyone sad.
  • DojiDevil, a one-shot character in the Hot Springs Episode of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, always on cleaning duty as punishment. She was trying to find whoever was fated to die at the springs (it ended up being a Self Fulfilling Prophecy) so she could steal a soul and gain recognition, but was so touched by them that she spent most of her time cheering them on and trying to help them. She finally sets up a plan to kill them all so the family won't be separated but regrets this almost immediately.
  • Shiyu Kusanagi in the X/1999 manga, CD Drama and TV series. What is a Gentle Giant who goes out of his way to help other people (including his enemies!) doing in the humanity-destroying Dragons of the Earth group?
  • Demon God Ifurita in the TV series version of El-Hazard: The Magnificent World.
  • Chachamaru on Mahou Sensei Negima! is technically a villain because she's trying to kill Negi, but that's only because she's following her programming. When she's not doing that, she can be seen retrieving lost balloons for little girls, helping old ladies across the street, and rescuing stray cats. And later has a Heel-Face Turn.
  • All of Florsheim's evil minions in Tentai Senshi Sunred. To put it in perspective, their most fiendish and evil-tempered minion is probably Usacon, who came up on the brilliant idea of tormenting our hero by turning off the water to his apartment and then removing all the tasty soft drinks from the vending machine closest to it (they bought the soft drinks legally... They're not monsters after all. Well, OK, they are monsters. But not very evil monsters). They all work for a Harmless Villain anyway.
  • In Ratman, the minions of Jackal, who wear spooky skeleton outfits, in the first chapter forget they were supposed to kidnap Shuto. So they instead played with and fed stray kittens.
  • Antylamon, the last of the 12 Devas in Digimon Tamers. While the other Devas would usually attack humans on sight, Antylamon doesn't attack or threaten Suzie, the first human she meets, at all. Suzie even makes her do a Heel-Face Turn, as she not only defends Suzie from Makuramon, but becomes her partner.
  • Anzam from Ore ga Akuma De Aitsu Ga Yome De is a demon who is incapable of lying, cheating, or stealing human souls. When he finally winds up in a contract with a human girl, she asks him to be her husband... And is a pretty good one, too.
  • Android 16, in Dragon Ball Z. He was created for the sole purpose of destroying Goku, and refuses to fight anyone but him. He also takes an interest in birds and squirrels, and loves the world so much that the only character in the series he does try to kill is Cell.
    • Probably a Shout-Out to Android 8 from the original series (note the math), who was ordered to attack Goku but refused because he actually had a conscience and instead did a complete Heel-Face Turn. The only difference between them essentially is that 16 has that compulsion.
  • Sky-Byte, of Transformers: Robots In Disguise. He started off as a Noble Demon, but after Villain Decay set in, his evil deeds became endearingly pathetic. The most famous example would probably be "Sky-Byte Saves the Day," in which he rescued an entire building full of people after he forgot he was supposed to be holding them hostage. By the end of the series, the kids of the city think of him as a hero. Word of God is that he eventually managed a Heel-Face Turn, and a Redemption Promotion to boot!
  • Italy can sometimes be this to Germany in the World War II arc of Hetalia Axis Powers, though somewhat subverted in that Germany himself isn't really evil either.
  • In Bleach, among the members of the Espada, the ten most powerful members of Aizen's Arrancar army, the one who holds the title of 1st is Coyote Starrk... who is a lazy bum of a person who needs to be kicked around by his Fraccion Lilynette, would rather pretend to fight his opponent, and even apologizes to the protagonists several times before doing something that opposes them. The only thing that makes him really a villain is that he chose to side with Aizen out of gratitude for a past action. When he starts fighting seriously though...

    Comic Books 
  • It may never be known what insane reason Priscilla Lyons had to join a bunch of cold-blooded killers who murdered super-villains like the Scourges of the Underworld, but she flunked the "evil test" when given her first mark, that of Daredevil's old enemy the Matador. She simply couldn't bring herself to pull the trigger. (And the fact that Matador was no longer a villain, living in poverty in Los Angeles, helping his sister take care of her children no doubt helped her decide.) In fact, this is what brought the organization down, due to their strict Resignations Not Accepted policy; Priscilla was Genre Savvy enough to know they'd be after her; prior to this, every would-be defector (or failure, or even members who were in danger of being caught) had been killed by the others before they could spill any of the groups secrets. But she was smarter than the others, and quickly called the Avengers hotline, and got in contact with the USAgent, and as a result, they both brought the entire organization down.

    Films — Animated 
  • Whitey, the large albino rat from Flushed Away, who comes across more as a Gentle Giant than anything.
  • Dug in Up before his Heel-Face Turn
  • Hopper's brother Molt in A Bug's Life. While Hopper is malicious, cunning and depraved, Molt is... not.
    Hopper: (to Molt) I swear, if I hadn't promised mother, on her death-bed that I wouldn't kill you, I would kill you!
  • Jenner's best friend and minion Sullivan from The Secret of NIMH isn't really a bad guy at all, he just didn't choose his friends wisely. When Jenner plots to kill Nicodemus and Mrs. Brisby's children he objects to this, which leads to his Heel-Face Turn. Unfortunately, before he can officially join the heroes, he is stabbed in the back and mortally wounded by Jenner for interfering with his plans... but before he expires he pulls a Redemption Equals Death when he throws a dagger into Jenner's back and kills him... with his last dying breath.
  • Tiger from An American Tail makes his appearence as a member of the Mott Street Maulers, a gang of cats that Fievel runs into. However, he quickly proves to be a goofy lug of a cat(A vegetarian, for one) and Not So Different from Fievel himself. After the big musical number that allows Fievel to escape from his cage Tiger is quickly fired but doesn't mind, and when all is said and done helps Fievel's family with the search.
  • Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove doesn't quite get the villainy thing. Not so useful, since he's Yzma's only henchman.
  • Bartok in Anastasia. For being the minion of such a dark and evil master, he himself is not particularly evil. Or competent, for that matter; he almost kills Rasputin when he tries to break his phylactery on a whim. He ultimately bails on Rasputin just before the final battle, finally realizing the depths of the man's insanity.
  • Plenty in Coraline after Coraline learns the truth about the Other World. The Other Father and the Other Wybie truly cared about Coraline and helped her escape, but died in the process.
  • Batso from Happily Ever After.
  • Peter Pan: While there's no doubt Mr. Smee could kill the Lost Boys if he wanted and slaps them around, none of them can actually take him seriously as a threat and find him lovable. Since Smee wants to be a real villain, Hook actually considers it "too cruel" to tell him what children really think of him.
  • Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles from The Boxtrolls are this, starting out as convinced they're keeping the streets safe from "monsters" but growing increasingly concerned with their and Mr. Snatcher's actions as the movie progresses, leading to a Heel-Face Turn. On the other hand, their colleague Mr. Gristle is an A-student.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Mean Girls, Karen seems to be remarkably lacking in actual meanness per se; in nearly all respects she comes across as a good natured ditz. In fact, her only real defining characteristic, besides being The Ditz, is that she remains a loyal friend to Gretchen even through Gretchen's Villainous Breakdown.
    • Gretchen isn't all that malicious either, just desperately insecure and hungry for attention, which makes her extremely prone to gossip and over dramatize things ("Pusher? Like a drug pusher?"). Makes more sense if you consider that in the original script she was described as ugly.
  • Superman movies tend to depend on at least one of Lex Luthor's henchmen being this; Eve Teschmacher (Superman) and Kitty Kowalski (Superman Returns) especially.
  • Fezzik and Inigo from The Princess Bride are both Punch Clock Villains in need of money. They're both quite dismayed to find out that their boss Vizzini intends to murder the girl they had kidnapped, and they each insist on giving the Man in Black a fair chance to defend himself against them in a one-on-one duel. Eventually they pull a true Heel-Face Turn, while Vizzini gets a Karmic Death.
  • Zangief from Street Fighter probably fits this. He has a Heel-Face Turn when someone informs him that Bison is the bad guy.
  • The Muppets films:
  • Administrative Assistant Bob from Demolition Man isn't actively evil... he's just trying to help out whoever is in charge. (It's his job to help, after all.) This is why he can go from working for Doctor Raymond Cocteau to working for Simon Phoenix to working for Edgar Friendly without once ever batting an eye.
  • From Tombstone: Sherman Mc Masters, Texas Jack Vermillion, and Turkey Creek Jack Johnson don't mind robbin' and stealin', but don't like messin' with the women for the evulz. Also Deputy Billy Breckinridge thinks there has to be some law.
  • From The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Drake Stone, an arrogant Morganian turned celebrity illusionist, is recruited by Horvath to release Morgana, but he never does anything that evil. It's pretty clear that Drake starts to feel incredibly uncomfortable with the consequences of his actions, especially when Horvath implies that children will die for his cause.
  • Evil's assistants in Time Bandits are all pretty dim and full of useless suggestions.
  • Paul Dooley's incompetent and inarticulate Claude Elsinore in Strange Brew
  • Javier in Kick-Ass 2 is borderline, since he's possibly a bit too competent a criminal (Minion with a C in Evil perhaps), but he genuinely likes Chris, and tries several times to persuade him that he should go to college or something and not be a super villain. He also is appalled by the ethnic stereotyping.
  • Skunk in Dadnapped. He's not really bad; he's just trying to succeed in his writing career.
  • In the Holocaust drama Conspiracy, this is deconstructed by Heydrich to Kritzinger:
    "Well then, this is the moment to be... practical, until such time as Germany can afford your philosophy, which is what? Hound them, impoverish them, exploit them, imprison them - just do not kill them, and you are God's noblest of men. I find that, uh, truly remarkable."
  • Steve Finch's kids from Deck the Halls.
  • Iggy and Spike from Super Mario Bros. are this due to their bumbling stupidity. Needless to say when they get an intelligence boost from Koopa's machine, they very quickly pull Mook-Face Turns.

    Literature 
  • Smee, Captain Hook's bosun in Peter Pan, as well as its many adaptations.
  • The Mistmantle Chronicles has this in the form of the female squirrels Crackle and Gleaner. To quote, "Crackle seemed to go out of her way to make trouble, while Gleaner seemed to do it naturally." Crackle quickly becomes part of the supporting cast and one of their friends after she comes to work at the tower as a cook, also partially upset that Gleaner has forgotten about her while serving the Big Bad's wife, Lady Aspen.
  • The children's book Which Witch? features Belladonna, who tries her hardest to be an evil, hag-faced black witch like all the rest. Unfortunately her natural tendency is that of a Purity Sue-level white witch that makes all the other witches feel sick.
  • A Star Wars Expanded Universe book mentions Porcellus, Jabba the Hutt's chef. He felt sorry for Leia, and secretly fed Han Solo because he knew she was in love with him. Unfortunately for Porcellus, Jabba found out, and threw him in his dungeon, delaying executing him because he had more important things to concern himself with at the moment. Seeing as Jabba didn't survive in the end, he was luckier.
    • There was also Malakili, the Rancor Keeper (seen briefly in the movie after Luke was forced to kill the beast) who was a close friend of Porcellus, coincidentally. Malakili befriended the Rancor, and was the only person it wouldn't attack. He pleaded with his boss to give it a better diet, but Jabba insisted on keeping it hungry so it would be more ferocious when he needed to execute a prisoner. When Luke killed the creature, Malakili blamed Jabba for it, having known that if his warnings had been heeded, it might not have happened.
    • Another Star Wars example was Atour Riten, an Imperial Officer serving on the first Death Star (Who is featured prominently in the novel Death Star.) He saw the destruction of Alderan as beyond cruel, and silently swore to devote his life to fighting his employers. He later helped Luke Skywalker and Han Solo rescue Leia by lowering the security systems on her cell block, although he doubted they would succeed. (As he told them himself, "Good luck, you'll need it.") He later aided a team of other defectors in escaping the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin. And ultimately, to ensure that they would escape, he forfeited his chance to do so himself, dying when the Death Star was destroyed as a result.
      • In fact, the whole novel is full of guys like this.
  • Some of the mooks in the Redwall series.
  • Aftran 942 from Animorphs.
  • Played for Drama with Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter. For the first five books, he was a Jerkass who never got closer than Red Herring to being a real villain. When he was finally given an important job by the bad guys in Half-Blood Prince, it quickly became clear that he couldn't do real evil; he tried to kill Dumbledore indirectly but all of his attempts failed. When he finally had a golden opportunity to kill him on the spot, he couldn't go through with it, and only disarmed him. The only reason he tried to go through with it was fear of what Voldemort would do to him and his family. Oh, and Dumbledore was perfectly aware of what he was up to the whole time, but didn't approach him for fear of Voldemort catching on through Legilemency. Also in Deathly Hallows, when the trio are caught and brought to Malfoy Manor, and Draco is asked to take a look at them to see if they've got the real Harry Potter, he clearly knows it's them, and is clearly reluctant to identify them, since he knows that doing so will ensure that Voldemort will come and kill them.
  • A variation of this theme occurs in the satire The Screwtape Letters, with the apprentice devil Wormwood. He wants to be an evil tempter of mortals, but he's really bad at it. He keeps making mistakes, getting both him and his uncle (the veteran tempter Screwtape) in trouble, and failing miserably in the end.
  • In the Honor Harrington novels, many of the State Sec Citizen Commissioners appointed to watch over the Havenite military officers are portrayed as being reasonably lenient when enforcing the Committee of Public Safety's decrees. The Havenite officers fall even deeper into this trope, thus having the State Sec officers babysitting them to begin with.
  • Shitmouth, a man-at-arms in Ser Gregor Clegane's party, in A Song of Ice and Fire. Gregor is a Complete Monster, and most of his party are sadists and torturers. Not Shitmouth, his only vice is swearing a lot.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who has plenty of examples.
    • Most recently Luke Rattigan in "The Poison Sky", who thinks the Sontarans killing people with his inventions is cool, but lacks the nerve to get his own hands dirty and ultimately sacrifices himself so the Doctor won't have to.
    • Davey in the pilot of The Sarah Jane Adventures. This is the guy who refuses to follow Maria and Luke into a womens' bathroom, because "That room is designated for females only. We are males... this culture says we must never go in."
  • Garry and Grahame in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men. They're inept to the point Marian and co quite like them when they're not pursuing them on Nottingham's orders.
  • The guards in Robin Hood, meanwhile, turn out to have a C- In Evil. They won't obey orders to strike down unarmed peasants during a sit-in, but as soon as it turns into a proper fight they're right back in the game, even though it's still mostly a proper fight with unarmed peasants.
  • Sgt. Schultz from Hogan's Heroes is often seen a a bumbling underling to Colonel Klink, and unlike most of Those Wacky Nazis, he is willing to turn a blind eye to Hogan and his crew's antics. In his backstory, he made toys for children.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess
    • Joxer's first appearance had him working for the villain Callisto. Gabrielle pointed out that he just wasn't cut out for evil. He later pulled a Heel-Face Turn, becoming an earnest (and somewhat less incompetent) hero.
    • Ares' bumbling sidekick Strife, despite being a god, was a similarly incompetent character who never really caused trouble or meant anyone harm, and was constantly bullied and insulted by Ares for it. Ares did mourn for Strife, though, after Callisto killed him with a god-slaying weapon...
      Ares (visibly shaken): He wasn't so bad. He tried hard. He... he was just no good at his job.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Post-vamping, Brainless Beauty Harmony wanders into this trope a lot. Most famously when she deeply apologizes for not noticing a "No Smoking" sign. She wants to be evil, but like everything else, she's just really bad at it.
    Buffy: Harmony, when you tried to be head cheerleader, you were bad. When you tried to chair the homecoming committee, you were really bad. But when you try to be bad? You suck.
    • Jonathan was never as evil as the other two of the Trio, he joined them because...well, because what nerd has not dreamed about becoming an Evil Overlord and being the arch-nemesis of the beautiful Slayer? He is constantly objecting to their more needlessly cruel ideas and distracts them when they begin to get sidetracked into random violence, and, since Buffy had helped him and saved his ass on more than one occasion, he is not particularly willing to kill or hurt her. When Katrina explains that brainwashing a person for sex is rape, he is visibly disturbed, and when Andrew and Warren are happy that they have managed to get away with murder, he stares blankly forward and numbly mumbles agreement. At the end of their career, when he sees what power has revealed about Warren's true character, he actually turns on the Trio and tells Buffy how to defeat Warren. In Season 7, he makes a complete turn and comes back to Sunnydale, having let go of the anger and depression that sprang from his youth, and hopes to redeem himself by helping Buffy stop the First, even if nobody cares about him or what he has become. Unfortunately, Andrew has a few things to say about that.
  • Rusty the Tow Truck in the preschool series The Big Garage. In fact, in every single episode, he always joins the cast for the final song of the episode, and leaves the garage just before the credits roll.
  • My Name Is Earl: Despite Joy's best efforts, Darnell is too much of a Nice Guy to shore up the household budget with petty theft like Earl used to. He tries to snatch a little old lady's purse and run away, but he barely makes it ten steps before he starts feeling guilty and goes back to return it and apologise. She is so charmed by his guilty-puppy-dog look that she offers him a candy bar. Even when Joy is plotting against or yelling at Earl, Darnell and Earl always exchange a friendly hello.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Deputies Enos and Cletus are more friendly with the Dukes than their bosses.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The sidekicks of Dr Forrester (TV's Frank) and Pearl (Professor Bobo and Brain Guy) are just silly lackies who are browbeaten into servitude.
  • In Power Rangers in Space, there was Waspicable, a bee-like Monster of the Week working for Astronema who could not be evil no matter how much he tried. He was a depressed creature, who thought that his reluctance to do evil made him a bad monster. When he had Cassie dead to rights, aiming a laser gun at her point-blank, he instead chose to shoot a Quantron behind her. Cassie actually felt bad later about hurting his feelings. His ultimate fate is unknown, but more than likely, his kind heart spared him from being destroyed by Zordon's energy wave in "Countdown To Destruction".
  • In the 1985 TV movie Family Ties Vacation, the Keaton family goes to England and unknowingly gets possession of important microfilm sought by a sinister foreign spy. The spy's less sinister henchman helps out the Keatons in the end because they're "such nice people".
  • Many of the German soldiers in the Britcom 'Allo 'Allo!, but especially kindhearted Lt. Hubert Gruber, as typified by his disastrous attempts at interrogation.
    • It also helps that he was practically sobbing the whole time, as he conducted the firing squad to execute René.
    • And slapping someone in the chest with a pair of gloves in order to intimidate them has never looked so ineffectual as when he once did it to René.
  • Played straight on Roots. A poor white man is hoping to be hired as an overseer on a slave plantation. A couple of the slaves teach him how to sound and act right for the role. (They find it hilarious when he actually says "please" to a slave.) Their reasoning is, an overseer who has to remember to be brutal is much better than one who does it naturally.

    Radio 
  • Scumspawn in the BBC Radio 4 comedy series Old Harry's Game. He is a demon, one of Satan's chief minions, and much is made of his disgusting physical appearance. He also donates to donkey sanctuaries, is a supporter of Friends of the Earth, is often exceedingly kind to the damned, and has a chaste but touching love for his master.
  • When Harry Biscuit becomes Mr Gently Benevolent's evil minion in Bleak Expectations, he does things like insult someone's tie. When Pippa Bin follows him to the dark side, Mr Benevolent has to keep explaining that "bad" might be a synonym for "evil", but there is a difference between doing something evilly, and doing it badly.
    Washing up badly is not the same as washing up evilly, it is merely unhygienic. Washing up evilly involves crying children, smashed plates and at least two dead dogs.

    Theater 
  • In Damn Yankees, Lola fails miserably at playing The Vamp when it comes to Joe. Nothing disgusts Applegate more than having her sympathize with the man she is supposed to seduce.
    • Although it's implied that she is usually far more effective. Her first few lines involve her mentioning very off-handedly that she drove a man to suicide and asking quite eagerly if she should make the next one jump off the Empire State building. She even has a song devoted to several past, successful exploits. Lola only took to Joe because he was the only guy faithful enough to his wife to not succumb to her seduction.
  • Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd (alias Robin Oakapple) from Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore. Despite hiding from his inheritance of the title of Bad Baronet of Ruddigore (and the related curse that would force him to commit a crime a day or perish in terrible agony), he is discovered and pushed into the role. The problem is, he's not really very good at committing crimes and many of his attempts end up being more rude than fiendish. When the disgusted ghosts of previous Bad Barons exhort him to at least carry off a lady or something, he protests that he "isn't that kind of Bad Baron!" They have to give him a taste of the terrible agony to prod him into it.

    Video Games 
  • In fandom, Demyx, the magical sitar player of Organization XIII is either an example of this trope or an incredibly scary and evil Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass. In the game itself, he carries cue cards with his mission on them, and his first line is "Run! Run away!"
    • 358/2 Days expands on this. He now bribes Roxas to do his missions for him and chats gleefully about how being lazy saved him from getting killed at Oblivion.
  • Johnny Sasaki in Metal Gear Solid 2 and his identically named and voiced grandfather in Metal Gear Solid 3. While just incompetent in 1, he progressed to the point of making friendly conversation with the people he's on patrol for in 2, and his grandfather even shows family pictures to the people he's guarding. Oddly enough, becomes a major character and Took a Level in Badass in 4.
  • The Koopa Kids from the Mario Party games do this from time to time. One would take coins from players, but occasionally would give coins instead, then realize his mistake and leave anyway.
  • Balrog from Cave Story is only a villain because the Demon Crown compels him to obey the Big Bad. When nobody's looking, he's cheerful, helpful and saves Quote and Curly Brace from the Load Bearing Bonus Boss Ballos.
  • E-102 Gamma of Sonic Adventure was for the most part an emotionless droid just trying to follow his master Dr Eggman's orders. Then he meets up with a little pink hedgehog and her pet bird. We'll leave it at that..
  • In the final case of the Phoenix Wright trilogy of the Ace Attorney series, there is a character who receives instructions to help with a murder and is so innocent as to misinterpret them as instructions to throw gravy onto a portrait. The same case also involves a Purity Sue who is absolutely committed to helping protect both a Complete Monster and a Sympathetic Murderer and following any instructions from them regarding how to help them avoid being caught.
  • Bianca of Spyro the Dragon spends most of her first appearance acting as the Sorceress' meek and clumsy underling, badly attempting to intimidate Spyro out of taking back their stolen colony of dragon eggs (which gradually breaks down into her practically begging him to go back so he spares himself her abusive master's wrath). She eventually pulls a Heel-Face Turn after finding our the Sorceress' plans for the eggs were far less well intentioned than she expected (as well as gaining a crush on Spyro's ally, Hunter).
  • Hien from Strider. Other than the fact he revived the Grandmaster and is on his side is pretty bad at being evil.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Monster in the Darkness, who manages to spend most of an epic battle scene having a tea party, and constantly fails to grasp the main plan of the villains. He even gets a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming with a captured paladin which causes one to wonder if he's even trying to be evil. It's made clear that he should be incredibly dangerous, on account of his massive strength and durability, along with vague but powerful other abilities, but his personality renders him (in the words of Redcloak) "about as scary as musty styrofoam." He later saves said paladin (named O-chul) and Vaarsuvius from death via ingested meteors. He teleports them away and Xykon doesn't even realize it was The Monster in the Darkness who did it.
    • Lampshaded by the imp Quarr when Therkla saves the heroes because she has a crush on Elan.
    Quarr: No wonder you people need us to tell you how to be Evil, you'd just screw it up on your own.
  • 8-Bit Theater features so many subversions of standard hero and villain roles that this trope inevitably shows up, most notably with Garland, who can't seem to grasp that offering the goodguys cupcakes is not proper behavior for a wannabe Evil Overlord. It's so bad that his captive, Princess Sara, has to help him be evil. The rest of the Dark Warriors are hardly any better: Bikke makes Ralph Wiggum look bright (his worst "crime" is getting his entire crew killed by being too cheap to feed them), Vilbert is a Goth vampire who thinks he's in a LARP, and Drizz'l might be a threat except that he's forced to play Only Sane Man for the other three idiots.
    • This is also inverted, as the most effective villains in the entire story, by atrocities committed, are the Light Warriors, of whom Fighter is the only actually good member (maybe). He fails to be evil so thoroughly that he genuinely believes that he and his murderous, sociopathic friends are the good guys.
    • The Light Warriors fall into this a lot—not because they're not evil enough, but because they're too stupid to do it right.
    Fighter: Why are these people on fire?
    Black Mage: Uh...
    Red Mage: You are the worst mass murderer I have ever met.
    Thief: Seriously, hiding the bodies is as important as the murder.
  • The minon in this Super Stupor comic; not so much an F in Evil as U for "Ungraded".
  • Inverted with Khrima of Adventurers! who despite his Big Bad status keeps forgetting to act villainous. Sometimes his Evil Minions have to remind him.
  • During the "That Which Redeems" story arc from Sluggy Freelance, the Dimension of Pain demons start turning people in the Dimension of Lame into demons as well. However, as one demon puts it, "When you start with wussie mortals you get wussie demons."
  • Neeg, one of the aliens from A Game of Fools, who is terrified at the very sight of humans and is repeatedly abused (and, it's implied, much worse) by his Depraved Bisexual superior Gloog eventually ends up betraying him and helping the heroes. Ironically, he then comes to closest out of any of the aliens to actually killing the main characters, but that was more due to his own cowardice than any actual malice.
    • Much later on, a journey to the Earth's surface to rescue Gloog from the main characters instead results in him being forced into helping and then being beaten senseless by a senile old woman.
  • Jurinjo from Emergency Exit is amazing at this trope. He helps Eddie buy groceries, delays reporting back from a mission until he eats ice cream and sees a dancing monkey, shows the heroes the location of a Plot Coupon, has doubts about continuing to work for the villain, doesn't want to attack an opponent who seems to be less well armed then he is, is upset when another villain attacks one of the heroes , offers to heal the hero and has to be reminded that villains usually asks for payment, and actually holds up his end of the deal and seems to be making friends with one of the heroes.
    • To a lesser degree, Orulla.
  • Dr. Kinesis' minions in Evil Plan, who seem to think that Kinesis' cruelty is simply the way their leader shows them he loves them. Hint: It isn't.
  • Fuchsia from Sinfest gradually became this after crushing on Criminy. Now, instead of tormenting the souls of the damned, she reads them stories and sings comforting songs to them.
  • Wilson and especially Pickett, Notfunny Cartoons' resident mad scientists. Examples include the Killbot 5000, who works as a kindergartener because he couldn't bring himself to hurt a soul, or the genetically engineered werewolves, which would be fine if they didn't keep on coddling rather than killing. At one point, Wilson accuses Pickett of not being serious about this whole "evil science" thing. Pickett quickly pulls out a remote with a big red button, saying he's not sure anymore what it does, but if he recalls correctly, it should be something very bad. So Wilson presses it. A split second later, the phone rings. When they pick it up, the response is "Something very good just happened. Thank you."
  • Evil Diva: The title character. Even when the school sends home a letter to alert her parents to how good she is acting, she can't help herself but help a kitten caught in a tree.
  • Dr Virginia Lee in Skin Horse, the Government Conspiracy's resident Mad Scientist ... except she's actually a Motherly Scientist who isn't at all mad and can't even manage an Evil Laugh. The cast page says the trick is to never let her actually think about what she's doing.
  • Richard from Looking for Group got hauled in front of a court of his (evil) peers because he'd become a minion to protagonist Cale. Eventually he got bored and, shall we say, opted out of the proceedings.
  • Inferno of APT Comic. A henchmen of Eggman, and loyal unlike, say, Shadow. But he's not exactly doing anything worse than making pouty faces.
  • Homestuck: The Courtyard Droll, and by extension his troll's session counterpart Clubs Deuce. He gets close to John, who creates for himself an Infinity Plus One Hammer, and what does he do? He high-fives John. Being incredibly moe and something of a Shrinking Violet doesn't help his case in the slightest.
    • He does try though: after being sent on a mission by John with the uberbunny and WV, he gets the idea to steal the wallet John gave WV. He then escapes and contacts his superior, Jack Noir. Unfortunately for him, that wasn't his mission in the first place, so he gets barked at. He then goes and actually does his mission, which was to kill Jade. Because of Jack Noir's feelings for Jade he inherited from Becquerel, he kills the Droll and sets up Jade's resurrection. Poor Courtyard Droll.
    • Clubs Deuce as well, as seen here.
    • Grimbark!Jade plays with this trope. While she is dangerous and won't hesitate to do evil acts, nobody takes her seriously and although she is being controled by Her Imperious Condescension, her personality still remains.
  • Metacarpolis: Max was one until he got laid off. Now he's wondering what to do with his life.
  • Slightly Damned: Demons are supposed to punish the dead (usually by torture) for the sins they committed during life. The cruelest thing the demon Buwaro has ever done on purpose was stomp on Rhea's tail. He even asked Death (who was actually a disguised Angel) if this was ok before he did it. Rhea proceeded to beat him up in return.

    Web Original 
  • Heartbreaker and Jello of The Masterminds, in the Whateley Universe. They seem a lot more interested on protecting their friends than in actual villainy.
  • Anni Hilator from Coyle Command. Doesn't help that so far his most useful action has been getting shot to test a gun.
  • Odion Ishtar from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. Despite being The Dragon and impersonating Marik Ishtar, he summons such horrible monstrosities as the Easter Bunny and Gummi Bears during his duel with Joey.
  • Red vs. Blue: Played with in an odd way. Caboose has to pretend to be evil in order to be useful in a fight. He does this by imagining kittens with spikes on them, and declaring a hatred for babies. Nonetheless, he utterly destroys the mooks he was fighting.

    Western Animation 
  • In the League of Super Evil, Red Menace's tendency in this direction gets so noticeable that the others outfit him with a Pavlovian reward-punishment hat.
  • Mr. Beastly from The Care Bear Family would often talk his mind into knots in trying to remind himself that "good is bad and bad is good and...".
  • Reeka and Draggle from My Little Pony: The Movie. Due to their too-nice bumbling, their mother had a musical number in which she basically asked Why Couldn't You Be Different?
  • Sonata Dusk from My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks, while she is happy to use her siren song to control people, seems to be more interested in food than world domination, unlike her fellow sirens, and too ditzy to be seriously malevolent.
  • Lurky, Murky's flunky, from Rainbow Brite.
    • Now say "Lurky Murky's flunky" five times fast.
  • Some of Zurg's henchaliens in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
    • The Grubs are too dim to be properly evil-when quizzed on what they hate most about Buzz, they say, "I donno. He seems like a pretty nice guy." The Brain Pods are better at it (since their purpose is to be smart) but the thinking aspect is all they're good for.
  • Stormer on Jem; a few episodes even dealt with the fact.
    • The best known being the one where she and Kimber form their own duo group; Stormer only returns to the Misfits because she cares too much to let her friends utterly fail, which they would without her.
  • Hack and Slash from ReBoot, who are dismayed when Bob is lost in the Web and unable to keep them from doing anything really bad, like killing others. Though, considering their level of competence following their Heel-Face Turn, they also have an F in Good as well.
  • Is there a grade lower than F for Silverbolt before his Heel-Face Turn in Beast Wars?
  • Senor Senior Jr. on Kim Possible. His father, Senor Senior Sr., took up villainy as a hobby after retiring and often ropes his son into acting as an accomplice in his schemes. Senior Senior Jr. has no interest in villainy and would much rather be a boy-band singer. For your ears' sake, it's probably best he stick with crime.
  • Wingnut, Grizzle's robot minion from Oopsy Does It. Eventually he stands up to his master, as the movie was one big Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal.
  • Nazi Mook Schulz from Daffy the Commando.
  • Guild henchmen from The Venture Bros. (except for the Guild Blackout squad sent to assassinate the Venture family under orders from Phantom Limb) In fact, the typical henchman is more along the lines of a Punch Clock Villain than a true servant of evil. Guild henchmen are portrayed as ordinary civilians who just chose an atypical line of work, and thus most of them can't really comprehend their boss' schemes. They can and are used as deadly tools of the supervillain's mastery, but are more typically comfortable with engineering or secretarial positions, or just tag along with the supervillain as he or she live their own lives.
    • Numbers 21 and 24, employed by the Monarch, especially fail at evil. If they took an evil test, they would not likely get more than a 10%. They are generally useless in combat, have little strategic ability, and they spend their time bickering over fantasy fistfights instead of actually participating in villainy. Their Genre Savvy ability is beyond compare though, making them in the words of the Monarch, "That special mix of expendable and invulnerable", which is how they survive for so long; they know being evil/loyal is the fastest way to die by Brock's hands.
      • 21 subverted this in season 4 after witnessing 24's murder/accidental death when he Took a Level in Badass by completely whipping his body and selfdiscipline into shape and becoming "General 21", a highly trained, merciless supersoldier. However he still does not fare very well in the evil department, as he completely fails to torture Hank and Dean and openly admits to them that he cannot tap into his inner hatred the way the Monarch can.
      • Their own boss The Monarch has his own incompetent moments as well. When discussing his arching plans with Monstroso, he suggests "coating the Venture compound with honey so he's devoured by ants and jiggers" and then "stick him in a bag and beat him with a rake." Monstroso shoots down both plans as being stupid.
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Foxglove. Not only does she fall head over heels for Dale and helps the Rangers beat her boss, but Foxy even says she only worked for Winifred because she was the only one to take her in.
  • Smeck, the Devil's henchman, from God, the Devil and Bob.
  • Sammy from The Little Flying Bears.
  • On Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the Weeper nearly managed to destroy a city once, but couldn't when he realized how many innocent lives that would actually take. After thirty years in jail for the attempt, he gets out and The Joker helps him Take A Level In Badass. (This is a stark contrast to his comics counterpart, where his MO was "inflict a Cruel and Unusual Death on anyone he felt was happier than him, but then "mourn" for them.")
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: The first time the Space Bikers appear, Tammy lets out a rather nonthreatening Battle Cry during their Big Entrance.
    Letta: She's new.
  • Lindsay and Beth to Heather in Total Drama Island. Eventually, both betray Heather epically.
  • Muttley, Dick Dastardly's canine co-hort on Wacky Races, has been described as villainous but has been known to bite the hand that feeds him.
  • Pinky from Pinky and the Brain. He's just too ditzy and sweethearted to realize that hanging around someone who wants to Take Over the World doesn't put you on the side of good.
  • GIR from Invader Zim. The one time he became a competent villain he nearly killed Zim.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, the pirate Stickybeard had a hechman named Dumb John Silver. (Give you one guess how he got that name.) Of course, maybe he wasn't too dumb... He was smart enough to quit after Stickybeard insulted him for not being evil enough.
  • Mr. Sunshine, Rancid Rabbit's assistant from CatDog.
  • Miss Warthog serves this to Principal Pixiefrog from My Gym Partner's a Monkey.
  • Subverted with Candy Wife from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. She got successful making Flapjack miserable with help from the Bigger Bad, Peppermint Larry.
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants: Spongebob can sometimes be one when Mr. Krabs has him go along with a scheme.
  • Percival the Pig from the Tuff Puppy episode, "Law and Odor" was once Stink Bug's intern. However, his repeated incompetence caused Stink Bug to fire him. He became T.U.F.F.'s intern at the end of the episode.
  • Bernadette "Mina" Beff, Katrina "Trina" Riffin's best friend from Grojband.
  • In the "Henchman" episode of Adventure Time, Marcelline the Vampire Queen manipulates Finn into agreeing to become her minion. It turns out, though, that she's simply playing a joke on him by ordering him to do things that seem evil but actually aren't.
  • In the "Fallen Angel" episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), there was Angel, a young girl from Casey's neighborhood who he tried to be a Big Brother Mentor to, wanted to join the Purple Dragons because she thought Evil Is Cool, despite Casey's attempts to talk her out of it. She changed her mind quickly when his attempts led to him being captured by the Dragons, who obviously intended to kill him in as the finale to their violent initiation rites. Fortunately, Casey told her where to get help. (Of course, Angel may never have even qualified as a "minion" in the first place, seeing as she bolted in the middle of what was supposed to be her initiation.)
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), Kobra Khan has about a "C" in evil, it seems, at least compared to the other Snake-Men. He's okay with fighting the heroes and other races in general, and is perfectly okay with the plans of enslaving the other races of Eternia that King Hsss pursues, but having spent most of his life away from his species has made him very reluctant to do some of the things they are most notorious for, like feed on sentient beings. (A few of the others try to push him towards those ends, calling this reluctance a sign of being "soft", but he's very nervous whenever the opportunity comes up.)
  • The Fixed Ideas from Cyber Six are simply too stupid to be evil. They'll do whatever horrible thing they're ordered to do, but when they're not following orders they basically act like toddlers. They're so easily distracted by card-tricks and cats that it's actually hard not to pity them when the titular cyber beats the ever loving crap out of them.
  • By the standards of most of the cast of Wakfu, Rubilax is a legitimately dangerous (if occasionally funny) and evil demon. By the standards of his fellow Shushu, Rubilax is a soft-hearted fool. After one insult too many, Rubilax gets fed up with the Shushu and sides with the heroes. Ironically enough, this actually earns Rubilax a bit of respect from the Shushu King Rushu who interprets Rubilax's Heel Face Turn as an act of ultimate treachery against the Shushu.


Laughably EvilNo One Respects the Spanish InquisitionPeek-a-Bogeyman
Hero with an F in GoodIndex FailureHoist by His Own Petard
Mook PromotionVillainsNight of the Living Mooks
Memetic PsychopathAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Monster Misogyny
Defecting for LoveHeel Face IndexMook-Face Turn
Goldfish Poop GangSliding Scale of Antagonist VilenessWorthy Opponent
Harmless VillainSliding Scale of Villain EffectivenessCrazy Cat Lady
Merciful MinionImageSource/Web ComicsMinor Injury Overreaction

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