is a character who has the most slippery slimy personality imaginable. Usually motivated by petty personal gain, the Slimeball is always trying to manipulate events around him in his favor and the people around him into viewing him in a favorable light. A defining characteristic of the Slimeball is a lack of class or sophistication. While some Slimeballs erroneously believe the opposite is true, there are an equal number who accept their crass nature. Above all and whether he consciously knows it or not, all of the Slimeball's actions are ultimately taken out of self-interest.
The Slimeball can appear under the guise of friendliness and the desire to help others, however depending on the story he can also be the Card-Carrying Villain
with no attempt to conceal the fact. Sometimes the Slimeball is an Obstructive Bureaucrat
introduced to harass the protagonists - his slimy nature will often be confirmed by some subtle attempt to manipulate the protagonists into doing what he wants them to. Only very rarely will he be above attempting Sexual Extortion
against female protagonists if he happens possess something they desperately need.
The Slimeball's motivations and actions are usually directed towards the goal of personal gain, often monetary or of a sexual nature. While a Slimeball can also be a Magnificent Bastard
villain or a Smug Snake
, not every Slimeball has such grandiose ambitions, some preferring to simply make quick easy money or to influence others to like and trust them. The Slimeball who only harbors petty ambitions is almost always a Small Name, Big Ego
and a Dirty Coward
. When dealing with just about any person in authority with the strength to back it up, he will default to being a Professional Butt-Kisser
. When his ambitions are sexual, he is usually a Casanova Wannabe
. In many romantic comedies, the romantic rival for the protagonist will usually end up being recognized as the Slimeball by the end of the film. The Slimeball may also be a Miles Gloriosus
, using tall tales of alleged courage and adventure as an attempt to be charismatic. The most common reaction from a protagonist after dealing with the Slimeball is the intense desire to take a shower.
Because most female antagonists are portrayed as either attractive
or tough and aggressive, the instances of female Slimeballs are extremely rare.
open/close all folders
- Burke from Aliens is the embodiment of this trope.
- The school guidance counselor in Pump Up The Volume make the enormous effort to convince students that he is looking out for their interests while really being the school principal's lackey, assisting her in expelling all the undesirables. The film's protagonist "Hard Harry" even describes him as "slime" on his pirate radio signal for so deeply betraying the students who came to him for help.
- Jack Vincennes from L.A. Confidential starts out as a complete Slimeball, arresting people set up by his equally slimy associate, the tabloid owner Sid Hutchens, so that he can look like a hero cop while Hutchens gets prime gossip material. Jack manages to wash the slime off and become a real cop when his shady operation backfires and gets a young man killed.
- Gríma Wormtongue as portrayed by Brad Dourif in the film adaptation of ''Lord of the Rings''. He's slimy to the core, subtly influencing King Théoden against his own kingdom. Even his appearance is disgustingly greasy.
- Peter Sellers as Clare Quilty in the 1962 adaptation of Lolita oozes slime from every pore.
- In one sense, the titular character of Citizen Kane is revealed to be something of a slimeball by his best friend after Kane's failed election campaign, who observes that: "you just want to persuade people that you love 'em so much that they oughta love you back!".
- Richard Gaddis in Criminal is self-admittedly one of these. He's a con artist motivated solely by greed. The film deconstructs this type of character by showing what a loathsome and pathetic human being he is.
- In Othello, Iago manages to be the Magnificent Bastard, playing off the other characters against each other for his own gain while pretending to be a close friend and counsel to all of them.
- House Frey in A Song of Ice and Fire. Even before the infamous Red Wedding, nobody else liked them. Walder Frey was a spoiled little brat since the age of four whom time has not improved one bit, and most of his family takes after him. They look the part too: Walder Frey has a weasel-like appearance that most of his family inherited.
Live Action TV
- Ashes to Ashes: DCI Keats is an example of the Obstructive Bureaucrat version and is completely covered in slime throughout his tenure on the show, at least until the end when the gloves come off and he reveals his nature. None of this is surprising anyway, as it is all but stated directly that he's really Satan.
- Babylon 5:
- An episode introduces us to the very rare female Slimeball in the form of the station's first political officer, Julie Musante. She even tries to seduce Sheridan to influence him.
- Alfred Bester is the biggest Slimeball of the series, who tries to convince all of the protagonists that he's on their side, that they should welcome him with open arms, and that he loves working with them. It also happens that he is a Magnificent Bastard, committing a whole parade of unspeakable atrocities behind the scenes throughout the series.
- The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper counts, because just about half of everything he says is either about him, or how he is smarter than everyone.
- You can practically see the trail of slime behind E.B. Farnum as he skulks around town, engaging one poorly thought-out scheme after another.
- Likewise, Cy Tolliver appears to be coated in a sickly layer of slime.
- Hannibal: Dr. Chilton, a colleague of Doctor Lecter, is a smarmy creep who manipulated a patient into confessing to a series of unsolved murders so that he could boast that he had a famous murderer in his asylum. It backfires when both the real murderer and the patient figure it out and decide to make sure he won't do it again.
- Merlin: Lord Agravaine, particularly toward Morgana and Guinevere.
- Revolution: "Sex and Drugs" introduces Drexel, a drug lord who might as well be coated in slime. He tries to act like he's such a good chum, but it becomes clear early on that the man has no class or sophistication to speak of. He has two goals: first, he wants to get rid of Bill O'Halloran, the patriarch of the Irish cop family, for burning the poppy fields he has to make heroin with; finally, he wants to get back at Miles Matheson for tarnishing his reputation when Miles betrayed Monroe. To obtain both goals, he decides to send Charlie Matheson to go kill off Bill, which will result in Charlie's death and hurt Miles. Both of these goals are clearly for personal gain. Fortunately, he fails at both objectives in the end.
- Stargate SG-1: Robert Kinsey, the Sentator who alternates between trying to shut down the Stargate program or seize control of it in his ambition to become President. He later briefly serves as Vice-President under President Hayes, who finally has enough of his antics and accepts his "resignation", after he attempted to flee during the Battle of Antartica.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- The Ferengi are a Planet of Hats of Slimeballs, always trying to suck up to anyone who they think they can profit from. It's always raining on their home planet Ferenginar, thus the planet itself is always muddy and wet - making it a literal giant ball of slime.
- In the expanded universe, the most popular soft drink on Ferenginar is Slug-o-Cola, a disgusting drink that looks and tastes like slime. The Ferengi are an entire race of Slimeballs who live on a giant Slimeball and even drink slime.
- Darren from season nine of How I Met Your Mother definitely counts. Charming, affable, friendly... and a total suck-up Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who wants to ruin your closest friendships. Why? Because he can.
- Satan himself may be the trope codifier as his role in the Christian religion is to tempt humanity and convince us that we should be on his side.
- Captain Raems T. Quirk of the fifth installment of theSpace Quest series begins as the standard figurative Slimeball before becoming a literal one due to a mutating virus.
- Fallout 3 has Ronald Laren, who is trying to get into the pants of his painfully naive neighbor.
- Likewise, Fallout: New Vegas features Benny, the leader of the Chairmen gang of New Vegas. He is the Smug Snake first and foremost, but what makes him truly slimy is that as a female protagonist, you can seduce and sleep with him towards the end of the game, and this is after he shot and buried you at the beginning! Benny is so enthusiastic about getting laid that only once does he consider that you might be trying to get close to him to take revenge, and all it takes is your assurance to the contrary to persuade him otherwise.
- Almost everything Daimyo Kubota from The Order of the Stick does to try to usurp Hinjo's position is just plain hateful, culminating in him ordering the assassination of a pair of former commoners who were promoted to nobility. The wife is pregnant. When the plan fails, he murders his own number two with poison just to give himself time to escape.