"Every skool hav a resident buly who is fat and roll about the place clouting everybode."
The Super Trope
of Jerk Jock
, Alpha Bitch
, and other bully characters. This is the Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up
in his heyday. The guy who gave you wedgies and tied you to a flag-pole. The girl who humiliated you in front of the entire school and broke your self-confidence on your first day in. In Western Animation
, it is required by law for the bully to refer to his victims by last name only
, because, well... you're not exactly their friend.
A bully is simply defined on wiktionary
as "A person who is cruel to others, especially those who are weaker or have less power." This sums this character up in a nutshell. They will target anyone who is less popular than they are, those who are unable to fight back, or anyone who won't fight back
. Comes in different flavours as listed below.
Because Adults Are Useless
, frequently students have to take matters into their own hands to deal with these characters, leading to a Bully Hunter
. Alternatively, the bully may not get his comeuppance from his victims or their protectors, instead falling foul to a bigger Villain
and having to be rescued by the very people he used to torment.
Can lead to a reformed bully
, if the bully is willing to admit to it.
Otherwise the status quo returns to normal
despite past events.
bullies will often try picking on
the (currently) pacifist
superpowered or extremely strong kid who simply isn't very sociable
. This is called Bullying a Dragon
, and it always
ends badly, unless the dragon ends up saving the bullies
and thus shutting the bully right up. This doesn't always happen
It should be noted that a lot of social stereotypes that are not necessarily true in Real Life
are commonly associated with fictional bullies: the bully, as a stock evildoer, is typically a Dirty Coward
in the face of real danger, always dumb, and comes from an unhappy and problem ridden family background
. (Real life will tell you that often the opposite of these is true.) Also, in real life, school bullying is not a Rite of Passage
. Lastly, while many movies and television shows portray bullies as being enormous in size and physical strength (probably so that we feel more sympathy for their victims), bullies in real life come in all shapes and sizes. So the giant football player who sits to your left in homeroom probably isn't much more likely to be a bully than the scrawny nerd that sits to your right.
Related character tropes:
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Anime and Manga
- The kids at the orphanage who torment a young Lucy in Elfen Lied. It ends badly. Very badly.
- Mazinger Z has Onimaru, a secondary character who attended Shiro's high school and was a Jerkass who bullied weak kids who could not defend themselves. He picked on Mitsuo, a nerdy, weak, shy kid and tormented him frequently, insulting him, beating him and making him a fool of himself. It did not end up well for him, though, and he started to reconsider his attitude.
- Narutaru has Aki Honda and her Girl Posse, who torment the main character's friend in horrifying ways. When she snaps and releases her Bond Creature, they die in even more horrifying ways.
- Doi from Wandering Son, and Oka to a more mild extent.
- Takeshi "Gian" Goda from Doraemon is probably the most well-known bully character in Japanese anime society. His victims are every boy in his neighborhood, though he picks on Nobita the most.
- In Daily Lives of High School Boys, Habara, known as the Archdemon, was the menace of all boys eight years before the current events. She needed ten Bully Hunters to barely make a draw with her, which forced her into retirement.
- In Saint Beast, Kira acts as one to Rey, possibly because he always gets a reaction.
- Being a deconstruction of the Fighting Series, Muteki Kanban Musume offers a deconstruction of The Bully by Miki and Megumi’s relationship:
- Miki, despite being a beautiful young adult who uses Waif-Fu, not enormous in size, and not a Dirty Coward, fits the traditional depiction of a bully (dumb and enormous physical strength, caused Kankuro's Hilariously Abusive Childhood and she doesn't remember any of that).
- Megumi, Miki’s lifetime The Rival, fits the Real Life description of a bully: A Hypocrite who is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, destroys Miki’s work, uses Malicious Slander, Wounded Gazelle Gambits, is adept to Break Them by Talking against Miki, and whose only motivation to make friends is force a Let's You and Him Fight with Miki. Oh, and always refers to Miki as Onimaru.
- Kankuro shows the deconstruction of the You have to stand for yourself attitude in dealing with The Bully Miki. After four years of college, he comes back to his old town to fight the Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up and defeat her, deleting all those horrible memories of his Hilariously Abusive Childhood. To achieve that, he must do it the honorable way, to win her respect. However, if Miki would be capable of respecting someone weaker than her, she would not have been The Bully in her youth: Miki treats him as the Unknown Rival and doesn’t even remember his name. Kankuro is trapped in a Cycle of Revenge, incapable of leaving his old town and starting his own life because he simply Can't Catch Up to Miki.
- Ishida Shouya, protagonist of Koe No Katachi, bullied a young deaf girl in his class constantly, usually alongside his fellow classmates. When they are finally forced to deal with it, the whole class, including the teacher use him as a scapegoat and shift all blame onto him, from then on tormenting and ostracizing him. After five years, the situation and the extremely guilty conscience he still holds for his actions have left him near suicidal.
- In the original both Honda and Jonouchi acted this way towards Yugi. What finally made them stop is when they were antagonized by Ushio, a worse bully, and Yugi tried - very ineffectively - to defend them. (Not coincidentally, this altercation happened right before Yugi completed the Millennium Puzzle, and Yami emerged for the first time, Ushio being the first target of his vindictive Shadow Duels.)
- And there were lots more jerks like this in the early manga, such as the upper classman Goro Inogashira from the infamous "Griddle Ice Hockey" story and the Hollywood Tone-Deaf singer Sozoji. There were plenty of Evil Teachers too. (Yeah, Domino High seems like a pretty terrible place to go to school back then when the stories are all grouped together...)
- Flash Thompson of Spider-Man. (He mellowed later.)
- The Ultimate version of Flash is even worse. He has none of the depth as his mainstream counterpart. And takes far more pleasure in seeing Peter humiliated and picks on him for no reason.
- Quasim of Minimonsters.
- Cruncher Kerr, a character in Roger the Dodger, a strip in the Britsh Anthology Comic The Beano.
- The Red Skull. Worse, he thinks that everyone is a target.
- Sabretooth loves making life miserable for Wolverine. Killing Logan's loved ones, eating food he just ordered, stalking him on his birthday and beating the crap out of him, manipulating Logan into killing his own son...it's all fun and games to Victor Creed.
- Another X-Men example with Hellion, though he mellowed out considerably in the wake of Stryker's attacks on the school following M Day, after many of his friends were killed.
- The unseen antagonists discussed in Bully, the critically acclaimed 2012 documentary film that became a rare box office hit of the genre. The five subjects of the film – including those who had revealed themselves as homosexuals, or had Asperger's – were all severely tormented by bullies. (The alleged bullies were not interviewed for this film.)
- Biff Tannen of Back to the Future. Also a Jerk Jock.
- Conny of Let the Right One In.
- Bullies fight Goku in the movie version of Dragon Ball. Also Bullying a Dragon.
- Scut Farkus in A Christmas Story - with yellow eyes, so help me God!
- Butch, in the The Little Rascals shorts.
- In Key Largo, there is a grown-up example. Rocco is this way to everyone, even to his own mooks and alcoholic girlfriend Gaye.
- Buddy Revell from Three O'Clock High.
- Vanessa of The Grudge, who doubles as the Alpha Bitch.
- Napoleon Dynamite features a somewhat-odd bully who always starts out by offering to trade something to other kids in exchange for letting him have or use something of theirs that he wants. Whenever they refuse, he switches into full-on bully mode and makes them comply.
- All of the gang members in Dead Mans Shoes, but especially Sonny.
- Joe and Jake from Song of the South are Big Brother Bullies to little sister Ginny, but they also antagonize Johnny. Notably, Joe and Jake's personalities are analogous to Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear, the antagonists of Uncle Remus's Br'er Rabbit stories.
- Shane Hawkins from The World's End, in the group's schooldays, with consequences that echo through to the present-day plot.
- In X2: X-Men United, Mitchell Laurio uses what little authority he has to screw with his prisoner(s).
- This one captures the essence of bullying, so to speak.
Fox: "I've got an idea! We beat up the hare!"
: "Yeah, great idea!"
Fox: "But we can't beat him up for nothing, we need a reason... I've got it: If he wears a cap, we tell him 'You have a stupid cap', and if he has no cap, we tell him 'Why don't you wear a cap, you want to get a cold?'"
: "Yeah, great idea!"
(They go, meet the hare, he has no cap, they beat him up. Continue next day:)
Fox: "Bear, I'm bored."
Bear: "Yeah, me too... can we beat up the hare again?"
Fox: "Yeah, but we need a reason... I've got it: We ask him for a cigarette
. If he offers us one with filter, we tell him 'Don't you know the filter kills the taste?', and if he offers us one without, we tell him 'Do you want to poison us?'"
(They go, meet the hare.)
Fox: "Hey, do you have a cigarette for us?"
Hare: "With or without filter?"
Fox: "Bear, have you noticed he still doesn't wear a cap?"
- Harry Potter:
- Harry's cousin Dudley, at least until his Heel-Face Turn.
- Draco Malfoy
- Harry's father James was one when he was in school, as was his best friend Sirius Black.
- Snape as a teacher definitely qualifies.
- Tom Riddle when he was young. Though he was mainly seen as a good student by most of his teachers.
- Edmund Pevensie, in the first book of Chronicles of Narnia, liked to bully and torment his younger sister, Lucy.
- Bugs Meany of Encyclopedia Brown.
- The cyberpunk novel Otherland could be interpreted as something of a Fantastic Aesop about bullying. The antagonists are all bullies of one sort or another; the most developed of whom, Corrupt Corporate Executive Felix Jongleur, describes a upbringing in a Boarding School of Horrors where he was the victim of the resident Gang Of Bullies. In revenge, he became a bully himself, meting out vicious summary punishment to anyone who dares offend him. His use of pain to control his subordinates comes full circle when Psycho for Hire Dread pulls an Eviler than Thou on him and the Other, his quasi-AI computer system, finally snaps under the constant torture and tries to kill him.
- Tortall Universe
- Ralon in Song of the Lioness enjoyed picking on and beating up Alanna and other smaller boys in his classes, even breaking Alanna's arm at one point while getting away with it. Alanna put up a good fight and eventually beat him at his own game.
- Joren and his crew in the first two Protector of the Small books, using the excuse of routine hazing to pick on first-years relentlessly. Keladry and her friends eventually get them to stop entirely through force of numbers.
- Sonny Singer and Heck Bast in The Talisman.
- Henry Bowers of It. Later becomes a Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up.
- Officer Felix of Outsourced is very much bullying Isaac Fisher. His introduction to the reader is him absently aiming his gun at Isaac, before asking him some questions.
- As seen in the page quote, Nigel Molesworth is more than happy to share his "grate thorts" on the subject with his readers. He goes on to explain that bullies come in two varieties: fat bullies who can run, who are trouble, and fat bullies who "can't run for tofee", who may safely be taunted from a distance. Sadly Grabber of st. custards is of the former type.
- In Robert Westall's The Machine Gunners this role is filled by Boddser Brown, the Garmouth Grammar School bully and Chas McGill's most avid rival in the great game of collecting war souvenirs.
- There are a fair few bullies in Tough Magic, with the three that stand out the most being Nist, Brath and Rungar.
Live Action TV
- Four of them feature in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Pack".
- The brother on Strangers with Candy. To be fair, he bullies his sister, who at times can be something of a bully herself.
- Harley Keiner of Boy Meets World.
- Whitney Fordman in the first season of Smallville. Slowly gained some Character Development over the season, and when he left to join the army, he and Clark had a grudging respect for each other, and he even asks Clark to keep Lana safe for him. Then he is pretty quickly revealed to have been KIA.
- Eddie McDowd
- Sam on iCarly. Also Jocelyn from "iMake Sam Girlier".
- Reese from Malcolm in the Middle.
- Bulk and Skull from the early seasons of Power Rangers are particularly mild examples of this trope, though as Linkara points out, they "weren't particularly good bullies since it was obvious any ONE of the rangers was capable of kicking their asses." However, they acted more like comic relief by cracking jokes than anything. They were more or less on friendly terms with the Rangers (in their own way) and Skull even had an obvious crush on Kimberly. And when real bullies showed up they fled in terror. However, by season three they'd grown out of the bully/class clown persona and became junior police officers and would hold down various jobs in later seasons. Each had major Pet the Dog moments beginning in season two.
- Hutch was this to Kip in the original season of The Joe Schmo Show, messing up his photo album, teasing him about not wanting to go in the pool and threatening to shove him in the pool and such. Part of the appeal of Matt was him standing up for Kip and saying that he understands about phobias and such.
- Tony and Gibbs can be considered this toward McGee, regularly insulting him, forcing him to do demeaning things, and otherwise doing things that are considered 'bullying'.
- Greg from Kid Nation.
- Played straight, then Inverted in an episode of Supernatural. One episode had Dean and Sam return to one of several High Schools they'd attended while travelling cross-country with their father. Sam has Flashbacks to a boy who had bullied him for being small, until Sam turned the tables by beating the tar out of him. They moved again shortly afterwards, and in the present, Sam discovers that after the beating, the rest of the school started to bully the bully, to the point that his ghost became a vengeful spirit that killed other bullies.
- Fans who have tried to analyze "Particle Man" by They Might Be Giants have interpreted Triangle Man this way, noting that he hates Particle Man and Person Man, and fights them because he wins, but never messes with Universe Man.
- The Big Shot on Dr. Dude, who constantly taunts the player. Naturally, hitting him yields big points.
- In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Nick Busick (a state law enforcement officer from Georgia) used a "bully" gimmick as a heel in both Georgia Championship Wrestling and later, the WWF. His 1991 WWF run was his best known, where he was known as simply "The Bully." To sell the gimmick, he'd commit various acts such as hassling ring announcer Mike McGuirk when she got his name wrong, or popping a child's balloon with a pin. After bullying several jobbers, he moved to the mid-card and had moderate success against wrestlers like "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka and "The Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich, but never got higher as – after a well-publicized match where he was completely squashed by Sid Justice – the "bully" gimmick was effectively destroyed and Busick left shortly after that match.
- South Park:
- Although all children in are, to some extent, bullies, later this trait is accentuated on Craig and Cartman.
- Lessened for other kids however, as the show aimed for more sympathetic Character Development and restructured most of the kids into Only Sane Men. Most of the bullying traits have been placed and exaggerated onto Cartman (to monsterous levels), with even Craig acting as little more than a Deadpan Snarker in later seasons.
- In "Butterballs" Butters is secretly bullied and beat up by his own grandma. She even follows him to school and bullies him in the bathroom. It's a running gag in the episode where people go to the bathroom to find a bully there waiting there for them.
- Even more so when Butters attempts to find inner strength by donning the costume of Professor Chaos, only to have Grandma show up in a costume of her own, complete with black cape.
- Nelson, Jimbo, Kearny and Dolph of The Simpsons.
- There's also Francine Rhenquist in "Bye Bye Nerdie"
- Buford of Phineas and Ferb. However, he's actually a Punch Clock Villain who spends far more time hanging out with the main characters than bullying them, falling somewhere between a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and a low-grade Token Evil Teammate.
- In some ways he could be considered a major subversion of the trope. His first appearance plays out much like a traditional "bully episode" ending with them coming to an understanding. Unlike most examples, where said bully is never mentioned again, he immediately became part of the core cast.
- Roger of Doug. To be fair, Roger is a very mild example. Sure, he isn't the most pleasant person, but he's more like the neighborhood jerk than an actual bully. He holds no ill feelings toward Doug, and is even commonly included in group activities as a friend.
- Mr Bone's nephew Percy on the other hand was definitely a bully, and tormented both Doug and Roger as often as he could a day. He physically threatened them both.
- Bully Koopa in The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World.
- Hip and Hop play this role straight when they attend school in an episode of Super Mario World.
- Beef Bonk, the resident Jerk Jock from Galaxy High.
- Jerk Jock Dash and The Alpha Bitch Paulina from Danny Phantom.
- Gelman from Recess. Also a Jerkass.
- Lawson tends to alternate between this and being The Rival.
- Bonnie Rockwaller from Kim Possible. Also an Alpha Bitch.
- Brit and Tiff from My Life as a Teenage Robot. Also Alpha Bitches.
- Portia (and her sidekick) from The Mighty B!. Also an Alpha Bitch.
- Francis / F-Stop / Hotstreak from Static Shock.
- Foxy Loxy from Chicken Little
- Wolfgang from Hey Arnold!!.
- Harold starts off this way, but as the show develops he becomes too ineffectual and soft hearted to really pull it off anymore. Helga similarly keeps up this role with great enthusiasm, but only to hide her real personality.
- Brent from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
- Francis on The Fairly Oddparents
- Boog from Fanboy and Chum Chum. Also a Jerkass.
- Binky Barnes on Arthur was originally conceived as one, but his Real Men Wear Pink tendencies have been played up so greatly that nobody takes him seriously as a bully anymore, when he even still tries.
- Pete from Mickey Mouse and other Disney cartoons. The extent of his bullying tendencies varies.
- Sperg from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy... to an extent, Mindy.
- Hilda the cat and her two unnamed friends provide a very rare all-female bully clique in Lenny & Sid's debut video "Love Thy Neighbor".
- Another all-female example are the Gross Sisters from The Proud Family.
- Kevin and the Kanker Sisters from Ed, Edd n Eddy.
- Multiple examples from King of the Hill. Bobby has dealt with three in the form of Dooley, Clark Peters, and Chane Wassanasong. Dooley is able to make everything he says an insult with his monotone voice and emphasis on the last word, and at one point harassed substitute teacher Peggy so badly (to the point of her pantsing her in class) she actually spanked him. Dooley's parents had no ill will towards Peggy and a good idea that Dooley probably did something to deserve it. After that Dooley and Clark are similar to Roger Klotz in that they're just a couple of local jerks. Chane, on the other hand, is an egotistical jock and honors student who refers to himself as "The Chane Train" and is something of an Abhorrent Admirer to Connie, much to her revulsion and her parents' delight. At first quite willing to inflict physical abuse on Bobby, Chane has stuck to verbal abuse ever since Bobby kicked him in the groin.
- Hank Hill once had to deal with a bully of his own, who was in fact a young child named Caleb. Said child was a totally spoiled brat whose parents wrote off everything he did as being "precocious and high-spirited" while he went about harassing Hank and calling him weird names like "White Shirt" and "Dusty Old Bones". All the while, there was little Hank could actually do since Caleb wasn't his child and Hank was a much bigger adult. When Hank had taken Caleb's bike after he tried to wreck his lawn, Caleb's parents called the police and Hank was depicted as the bully. Hank finally managed to get Caleb's parents to punish him by asking Bobby to act towards them the same way Caleb acted towards him.
- Both Family Guy and it's sister show American Dad! have episodes where the main character (a Bumbling Dad no less) turns into a bully to their own kids (cliche childish mannerisms and attire included).
- Butch Magnus on The Boondocks isn't just a bully to little kids. He's a bully to adults as well. He was actually expelled from a catholic school for assaulting a nun while getting punished, and he managed to beat up a Drill Sergeant Nasty on the Maury show. Any attempts by adults to controlling him always results in failure.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode, "One Bad Apple." The Cutie Mark Crusaders meet Applebloom's visiting cousin from Manehattan, Babs Seed, who quickly turns on them when Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon start taunting them. After weeks of endless torment by Babs, the CMC plan their retaliation only to learn during its execution from Applejack that Babs is visiting to get a respite from terrible harassment she herself is suffering at home. Realizing that Babs was acting as she is to prevent being a target again, they save Babs. Afterward, the CMC make it clear that they understand Babs' situation and she is so moved at their generosity of spirit that they reconcile and even gives Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon what for when they keep harassing the CMC.
- Joe on Moral Orel. He's a brat and a jerk to Orel, often taking advantage of him, as well as teaching him to beat up two kissing boys.
- Dragon Tales had "Bully for You," in which Spike is a bully because he's scared and doesn't have any friends. Cassie befriends him by fixing his broken yo-yo. There's another about a dragon-basketball team that bullies Emmy.
- Red Herring from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. He doesn't do much apart from confront the gang (mostly to Freddy) while they're on a case, only he's brushed aside as no more than a nuisance.
- Codename: Kids Next Door takes the Trope to the extreme in "Operation Z.O.O." with a school bully that is supposedly a cannibal. (Oddly enough, the same character appears later in "Operation: P.O.P., as the bouncer in Lime Ricky's, a Good Guy Bar, and seems harmless.)
- In a much later episode, "Operation: M.A.T.A.D.O.R.", more dangerous bullies appear, running a Blood Sport called the Bully Fights where they trap adults and drive them into a rage with coffee, and then fight them bullfight style. This cruel sport sickens even most of the Kids Next Door (who are usually no fans of adults).
- The episode "Operation: B.U.L.L.I.E.S.'' depicts bullies as dinosaur-like creatures.
- Heavyweight wrestler Potato-Patato Jr from ¡Mucha Lucha!. (He had a sister who appeared in one episode named Tomato-Tamato; she was just as bad.)
- Gary from Dexter's Laboratory was a very nasty one. He wanted to beat up Dexter and two of his friends because, well... He hated "kids with funny accents", as he claimed.
- Eva and Duncan on Total Drama Island. Heather is also the Alpha Bitch.
- Littlest Pet Shop (2012) has had at least two: Wiggles McSunbask, a more stereotypical type who aggressively asserts himself upon everyone he knows and does so because he thinks this is how he should behave; and Tangier, a more realistic type who puts on a nice-guy act but psychologically disrupts Russell in secret. Russell and Zoe don't even attempt to get through to Tangier because they know it's impossible; they humiliate him instead. Both of them, however, do try to make themselves appear harmless and friendly when in the presence of authority figures so they don't suspect a thing, Tangier even going out of his way to show he's helpful so they side with him instead of Russell.