The Scrappy

Kill it!
Slowly and painfully!

"The more astute readers among you may have noticed that I haven't yet gone so far as to give anything an actual 'F'. That's not out of any kind-heartedness on my part, it's just that every time I got ready to give one out, I would ask myself, 'Is it really that bad, compared to the verminous, soul-tainting badness of Scrappy-Doo?'"
Lore Fitzgerald Sjoberg, The Book of Ratings

Popular characters have fandoms. But sometimes, there is a character who has a hatedom. We'll call this guy The Scrappy.

Scrappies come in many different forms. Some of the most commonly hated characters are those that are viewed as very flat, are Karma Houdinis, are unhelpful to the protagonists, Invincible Heroes, or are seen as overly annoying, arrogant, or abrasive. Characters who change a liked status quo will also often fall under this, as can characters who are seen as getting too much screen time.

Note that this is not the same as a Hate Sink, a character intentionally designed to be disliked for actual villainous actions, but who is not necessarily perceived to detract from the work itself — the audience just wants him to suffer. Thus, such characters as Joffrey Baratheon and Dolores Umbridge, as universally hated as they are, are not considered Scrappies.

Not all Scrappies are doomed to their status. If the writers notice what's happening, they may change the character in order to make sure they are no longer hated, give them a tragic death scene, simply send them away, turn them into a villain in a reboot or adaptation and have the more popular characters beat them up, or at the very least show that the other characters are as annoyed by them as the fans are.

On the other hand, if the writers take a shine to The Scrappy and add some elements of Mary Sue, or otherwise put more focus on them over more popular/liked characters, this will add gasoline to the flames—they've just turned The Scrappy into the dreaded Creator's Pet.

Of course, writers may also make a Scrappy character intentionally in order to spoof the concept. When this is taken to the point where the goal is to make you hate this character with every fibre of your being, such a character would be called a Hate Sink. A Temporary Scrappy exists to get on the viewers' nerves and then get thrown out at the end of the episode.

This trope is named after Scrappy-Doo from the Scooby-Doo cartoon. While popular in the 1970s, the character came to become the face of this trope as the Scooby-Doo franchise fell into decline in the 1980s, with fans pointing to the decline occurring as the franchise began to focus more and more upon Scrappy-Doo, who was intended to be a younger dog character for younger viewers to identify withnote  but ended up annoying them as much as the older fans. When the franchise was later retooled in the 1990s and the character had become particularly notorious, he was entirely dropped from every iteration of the franchise in animated form and the character had become so toxic that even attempts to market older material with Scrappy in it tried to reduce mention of his role. The 2002 Scooby-Doo movie (which is not considered canon with respect to any other Scooby-Doo series) was the last time the character appeared in the franchise, and this appearance was entirely intended to disparage the character and his perceived role in ruining the show.

This is an Audience Reaction, more based on the fandom than the character itself. The visceral response to The Scrappy can baffle other fans who don't take the character as seriously, or even sympathize with him or her. Please only post examples of the fandom hating a character; posting Personal Scrappies could get messy, especially if the Scrappy is in at the center of a Fandom Rivalry. Die for Our Ship entries should also be placed on that trope page only, though someone could be a Scrappy because of that reason.

The opposite of the Ensemble Dark Horse, an unexpectedly popular character, and Unpopular Popular Character, a character hated or disliked In-Universe but loved by the fandom. If the scrappy dies or suffers in some painful way where the audience actually starts to sympathize with the character, then it becomes Alas, Poor Scrappy. Not to be confused with Cute Bruiser which is the original meaning of the word scrappy.


Alternative Title(s):

Scrappy, Fan Unfavourite, Fan Unfavorite, Unintended Hate Sink