"The Reason You Suck" Speech
One character delivers a speech to another character on all the reasons why that other character sucks or is a horrible person.
There are five basic contexts in which this can happen.
A Villain Addresses a Hero
Not only has the Big Bad
tried to kill your Love Interest
, slain the Team Pet
, and finally taken over the world
, he must grind your self worth into the asphalt and explain to you why you failed to stop his Evil Plan
. This is where he lists all the reasons you are a poor excuse for a hero
and never had a prayer of stopping him: you lack the skills, the weapons and the powers needed, you childishly
fight for outdated ideals
, your costume is ugly
and your mentor
always hated you.
Frequently a brand of Evil Gloating
and/or Break Them by Talking
. In a well done speech, the Bad Guy will state things that the hero (and audience) can't argue with and when the fight is done, the hero stays troubled because the Villain Has a Point
. On the other hand, maybe they're total BS, but it's delivered with such conviction it almost
makes the hero (and audience) agree that he was wrong to have dared challenge the villain in the first place.
Sometimes, it makes the point that the people the hero are trying to defend aren't worth the trouble
. An especially arrogant Big Bad
will use this to let the hero know he's just a lesser version of the Big Bad himself
and the only difference is he's not saddled with morals. A villain going for a low-blow might bring up some previous encounter between the two when he overpowered the hero, as to state that the same thing will happen again. What You Are in the Dark
can (and often does) follow.
A hero worth his salt might respond with his own speech along the lines of a "World of Cardboard" Speech
or a Picard
or Kirk Summation
, among others. If it's an action movie, the hero will usually say "Shut Up, Hannibal!
" and then declare what and who he is truly is
. Sometimes the hero survives only because they're Not Worth Killing
, in which case they'll invariably prove that they are later in the story. A Moment of Awesome
if the person of the receiving end of the speech is a Jerkass
who had it coming, double Moment of Awesome
if a Jerkass
gives this to someone and he or she responds with a better one.
A Hero Addresses a Villain
Heroes can also give defeated villains "The Reason You Suck" Speeches, often pointing out their wasted potential
, their sociopathic nature and a lack of any altruistic quality, or how their obsession with defeating the hero has ruined them
, or in the case of the Well-Intentioned Extremist
adversary, how they've become everything they've fought against
, or how their extremes in trying to bring a better world have done more to ruin it
. Heroic "The Reason You Suck" Speeches come out when the hero's not going to bother with the Kirk Summation
. Chances are they tried the diplomatic option, and it didn't sink in.
A Villain Addresses Another Villain
Villains can also give this to other villains on an Evil Versus Evil
stage. The content of this speech is usually along the lines of how they're Eviler Than Thou
and pointing out flaws and shortcomings in the other villain, like the Magnificent Bastard
chiding a Smug Snake
, a Card-Carrying Villain
mocking a Knight Templar
villain for employing the same methods but claiming to be morally superior to them
, a calculating practitioner of Pragmatic Villainy
berating a Stupid Evil
villain for being too sadistic to actually achieve anything, or in a conflict between the Evil Genius
and The Brute
, have the Evil Genius mock the Brute for using brute force to compensate for his low intelligence
and explain his simple-mindedness makes him predictable and as such easy to beat, or the Brute pointing out how the Evil Genius relies on his minions
and Humongous Mecha
to fight his battles and for all his vaunted intelligence
, he can't make any of his big schemes stick.
Alternatively, it could take the form of Even Evil Has Standards
if the other villain did something they find completely unnecessary and appalling
. If two or more Professional Killers
are hired to track down the heroes, a Psycho for Hire
can get this from a Hitman with a Heart
, who voices their disgust at the former's capacity for torture
and enjoyment of destruction and killing
, or a Consummate Professional
, who loses patience with how their psychotic tendencies
draw unwanted attention and their distaste for taking the simple approach
makes the mission needlessly complicated. If the Big Bad
crosses the Moral Event Horizon
, the Noble Top Enforcer
may drop one explaining how they were let down by their boss
and feel betrayed by the one they looked up to
before they quit
. A Defector from Decadence
may give one against their entire country before they leave, and if two villains team up to fight the heroes, one of them may eventually break off their partnership with one of these as a way of establishing them as the Lighter Shade of Black
This form often doubles as a way to explain
the reasoning behind a Villainous Rescue
without Leaning on the Fourth Wall
A Hero Addresses Another Hero
Speeches from hero to hero usually come up whenever a hero's Designated Hero
status becomes irritating to the other protagonist, or they feel that the hero being called out must be taken down a peg or more. This is also occasionally done in Good Versus Good
scenarios where a protagonist's morality is being called into question by another protagonist who doesn't agree with their methods. It usually takes place following a hero doing something particularly unheroic, or if their general unpleasantness
has gone past the point of acceptance. Often doubles as What Were You Thinking?
and What the Hell, Hero?
, and in particularly bad circumstances it may cause allies to turn against one another
An Acquaintance/Friend Addresses Another Acquaintance/Friend
Alternatively, the speech is given by someone who's just frustrated with the other person. This is not an attempt to bring down or break an opponent. This is not an exchange between heroes and villains (heck, they might even be friends). This is someone, tired of everything they have to deal with, giving a frank and brutally honest
assessment of the person they're dealing with, often in a What the Hell, Hero?
moment. This can be prone to backfire
with a suitably shallow, self-obsessed, and/or Genre Savvy
target, who typically responds with "You've just listed all of my best features!"
Will often provoke an attempted refutation or justification from the target; which, depending on the source, can be played for comedy, drama, or Wangst
. If the target is a Designated Hero
, this occurrence just might motivate him or her to become a real
One thing all five types of speech have in common is that the speaker has a point, even if they're villains. To give a speech about it, the speaker has to have thought it through and can usually have more than one reason why you suck. This is because the writer of the story has also thought it through.
Compare to Calling the Old Man Out
. Also compare Talking the Monster to Death
where this is meant to kill or redeem
a villain. Could also be a Take That, Scrappy!
where someone tells a hated character what the audience feels about them. Characters may want to be careful with giving this speech to the character who just Can't Take Criticism
Compare and contrast the "World of Cardboard" Speech
. See also Did You Actually Believe?
Contrast Minor Insult Meltdown
, where just the tip of the "you suck" iceberg can sink a character to tears.
Contrast You Are Better Than You Think You Are
and Grade System Snark
As a last note; no, this isn't the trope that's about the reasons that characters are bad at speaking. Neither is it a
for This Loser Is You
. Finally you'll find that some of these can be used to serve as Dare to Be Badass
speeches as well.