Throw the Dog a Bone

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Charlie Brown's finest hour.

"Waspinator happy at last."
Waspinator, giving the very last line of Transformers: Beast Wars. It didn't last.

So they've been constantly injured, the butt of every joke and misfortune, much to the audience's amusement, and it seems the universe itself just likes screwing with him. So what's happening now? Huh... he's happy?

Yes, it seems that fate/God/the writers finally decided to Throw The Dog A Bone. It can be them ultimately coming out ahead, or just having a break for once, but it's generally very satisfying to whoever it happens to and any fans that had felt sorry for him.

One way this can happen is if the "Dog" character gets into a relationship. This can be very irritating to fans of the other character if it comes across as a reward and objectifies - in particularly bad versions of this; they might come across as - by this trope's very metaphor - a "bone." (Even "better", listen to fans complain if this doesn't happen.)

If the bone is thrown only to be cruelly snatched away later, then this becomes Yank the Dog's Chain, a set-up for the writers to further toy with the hapless character.

Compare Karmic Jackpot, Earn Your Happy Ending. Contrast with Team Rocket Wins.


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  • The Trix Rabbit is occasionally given a chance to actually try the cereal depending on the outcome of a poll. People vote for him to get it every time, and by now you would think the company would get that people really feel sorry for the guy and hate those greedy kids.
    • They probably do and know that sympathy for the rabbit makes people remember the commercials more.
    • Of course the audience is supposed to sympathize with the rabbit—they're supposed to want the cereal as bad as he does.
      • The message seems to be that the audience is supposed to sympathize with the kids, and feel ridiculously entitled to their cereal, thus becoming more insistent on buying it. Unfortunately, most kids seem to have a moral core that rates "don't be a jackass animal abuser" above "I deserve cereal because the kids become jackass animal abusers for it." Score one for basic human decency.
      • There have been a small number of ads where he did actually get to eat the cereal — One of them is found Here. In another, he tastes it, goes into his usual "description" monologue, and looks up to see that the bowl is now empty.
  • One Christmas-themed Cocoa Pebbles commercial ends with the real Santa showing up, and Fred and Barney for a change sharing a bowl of the cereal as friends.
  • After attempting to get back together with the woman who rejected him for a Swiffer Wet-Jet (buying flowers, dedicating radio songs to her), the broom finally found a new girlfriend - the rake.
  • A priceless Super Bowl Coke commercial where Macy Balloons of Stewie and Underdog are fighting (aka bumping into each other) in order to get that balloon of a Coke bottle. Eventually, the bottle starts to float away. Both characters turn and see a round shape on the horizon. It's CHARLIE BROWN, who then wins the prize. Watch it here.
    • Even better, he gets it in full view of a little girl in a blue dress and carrying a football (hint hint).

    Fan Works 

    Magazines 
  • MAD's Monroe is occasionally thrown a bone, though they often Yank the Dog's Chain in the very same comic. Two examples:
    • Getting to make out with his Irish cousin. When his parents find out, they force him to sleep in his roofless tree house in the pouring rain.
    • Having the school bully steal his date at the cinema, but then getting him to eat a rotten hot dog he found on the floor of The Rocky Horror Picture Show screening next door.

    Music 
  • "Even the Losers" by Tom Petty.
    Baby, even the losers get lucky sometime
    Even the losers keep a little bit of pride
    They get lucky sometime...
  • Averted with "At Seventeen", Janis Ian's 1975 pop classic about teenage elitism and being shunned, where the narrator is not even so much as thrown a bone while all of her popular classmates get all of the attention, accolades and the cream off the crop of boys.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • A Blondie comic showed everything going right for Dagwood, like the inversion of a Humiliation Conga: Mr. Dithers praised him and gave him a raise for some particularly skilled work, Blondie prepared his favorite meal and then smilingly waved him off to poker night, where he can't seem to get a bad hand.... The final panel shows Blondie, sitting up in bed, smiling out at the reader (and looking hot in her nightie) and saying something to the effect that "after X years in this comic strip, he deserves a day like this!"
  • In Garfield, Jon is finally now dating Liz the veterinarian, after crushing on her without success for, what? Thirty years?
    • Before that, he actually managed to get a real date. Granted, the woman in question was a bit of a Gonk, but despite that she had a lovely personality, and they both had a wonderful time.
  • One strip of The Born Loser had the protagonist having a moment of good luck for once. Once.
  • In Peanuts, Charlie Brown had some success in the '90s after decades of constant failure; he managed to hit a home run and win the game for his team not once but twice; he defeated a bully named Joe Agate in marbles; and he might even kicked the ball for once.
    • In You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown winds up winning a motocross race despite every force in the universe seemingly indicating that he wouldn't. Goes into Shaggy Dog Story territory when the intended prize—Pro Bowl tickets—is replaced by five free haircuts. His hair is not very plentiful and his father is a barber.
    • It's Magic, Charlie Brown throws two bones at Charlie Brown after Snoopy makes him disappear. When Charlie Brown sees Lucy playing with her football, he takes the opportunity to kick it from her and then taunt her about it. Later on after Snoopy brings him back, Lucy tells him he can't prove that he kicked the football. Snoopy retaliates by suspending her in midair and leaves, happily skipping away with together with Charlie Brown.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Howard Finkle, WWE's ring announcer during the 90s and early 2000s, was a Butt Monkey almost any time he had any role in any storyline. However, during a feud between the mutually mulleted X-Pac and Jeff Jarrett, Jarrett bullied Finkle (who was bald) as part of the buildup. After X-Pac won the hair versus hair match, Finkle got to help him shave Jarrett's head.
  • Stacy Keibler was a Designated Monkey for almost the entirety of her WWE career, despite being (mostly) a face: stripped, spanked, bullied by both men and women, beaten to within an inch of her life on several occasions, and constantly negatively compared to more "traditionally" beautiful Divas such as Torrie Wilson and Trish Stratus. And to top it all, she won only three matches over the course of a four-year run. But there was a brief period late in 2004 when she Took a Level in Badass, ascended to main-event status, and - arguably her proudest moment - entered a Divas' Battle Royal at that year's Taboo Tuesday and managed to stay in the ring for most of the match, outlasting every other face Diva.
    • WWE actually had a much bigger bone planned for her: Stacy was originally booked to win Taboo Tuesday and become Women's Champion. However, the day of the match, she told the WWE brass she didn't deserve to be champion, as she was not a wrestler. Instead, they did a half-hearted Status Quo Is God by letting Molly Holly (the woman Stacy pinned three weeks in a row going into Taboo Tuesday) be the one to eliminate her. Stacy fully reverted back to her Faux Action Girl status shortly afterwards, losing a bra-and-panties match to newcomer Christy Hemme.
  • Zack Ryder had been WWE's Butt Monkey for years, but at WrestleMania 32, he won the opening ladder match to become Intercontinental Champion. He lost it the next day on Raw, but no one can take away his WrestleMania moment.

    Role-Playing Games 

     Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • After years of being the game's Butt Monkey, shown dying in droves in the fluff, getting saddled with unplayable units, and being to some extent incompatible with the current core rules, around the transition to 4th Edition the Imperial Guard finally got a decent codex. Their 5th edition update brought such treats as support gunships and the ability to field more tanks than any other army, pushing the guard into full Who's Laughing Now? territory. They are the largest unified military force in the galaxy and get to act it.
    • The Dark Eldar went over a decade without an update to their extremely limited and increasingly dated model range and notoriously unforgiving rulebook, before finally getting not just a codex packed full of background fluff and viable units, but some of the most detailed models Games Workshop has ever produced.

     Real Life 
  • Whitney Kropp, a bullying victim at Ogemaw Heights High School, was nominated for homecoming princess by her tormentors as a Carrie-inspired prank. The prank backfires and it got the town to support Whitney and Whitney ends up winning the crown for Homecoming princess! Take that, bullies.
  • The DC Extended Universe has been helpful to actors and characters.
    • Henry Cavill was infamous from getting snubbed on getting major roles from various studios in favor of other actors, most notably by Robert Pattinson for the role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight film series (which even surprised series creator Stephenie Meyer, who initially thought that Cavill fit the bill better). That all changed when Zack Snyder hired him to play Superman in Man of Steel.
    • Wonder Woman finally getting to appear in a live-action film after years of the movie project going nowhere - especially considering that Warner Bros. executives were on the fence about letting her have a movie, leading to the now infamous Tweet from Brett White about how DC didn't want to do Wonder Woman because it was too confusing, while Marvel was working on Guardians of the Galaxy, which has a raccoon using machine guns. Taken even further once it was confirmed that she would be getting a standalone film before Marvel could release a female-led movie.
    • The story goes that Ben Affleck was vying to be Batman during the period between Batman & Robin and Batman Begins, but because of the Development Hell he took on Daredevil as the closest thing. His career tanking from Gigli didn't help, either. Even after rebuilding his career by being both actor and director, he admitted to being surprised when he was approached to be Batman because he was getting older and couldn't play a 20-something or 30-something Batman, and was delighted to learn they were going in the Dark Knight Returns direction for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
  • Michael Bell, who voiced Prowl and Swoop among others, in The Transformers, expressed interest in returning to the Transformers franchise for years, auditioning to reprise the roles of Prowl and Swoop for Transformers Animated, and for Ratchet and William Fowler for Transformers Prime, but these never panned out (Animated!Prowl went to Jeff Bennett, Animated!Swoop was The Speechless, and Prime!Ratchet and Fowler were voiced by Jeffrey Combs and Ernie Hudson respectively). This was until he was cast as High Tide in Prime's sister series Transformers Rescue Bots. Along with Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Gregg Berger, Dan Gilvezan, he also returned for Transformers: Devastation, reprising the roles of Sideswipe and Scrapper.
  • Scott Cawthon was a troubled game developer who could never quite be a success. His then-most well known game, Chipper and Sons Lumber Co., was slammed and mocked for its unintentionally creepy character designs, devastating Scott and prompting him to make one last game before finding a new career. That game was Five Nights at Freddy's, and his life was never quite the same afterwards.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio was, for the longest time, victim to a legendary Award Snub, having never won an Oscar despite many well-received roles. Come the 2016 Academy Awards, however, and the unthinkable occured - he finally got the Oscar his fans feel he deserved.
  • Australian Rules Football: Going into the 2016 season, the Western Bulldogs had only won one premiership, way back in 1954, and hadn't played in a Grand Final since 1961. During that time, they had lost seven Preliminary Finals between 1985 and 2010, narrowly avoided being merged in 1989, and suffered near-constant financial troubles. Then, in round 3, captain Bob Murphy injured his knee and was out for the season. They finished seventh after the home-and-away season, and were underdogs (pardon the pun) all through the finals - against the West Coast Eagles in Perth, then reigning three-time premiers Hawthorn, then Greater Western Sydney in Sydney, before finally making it to the Grand Final against the top-placed Sydney Swans... and they won. Even injured captain Bob Murphy got a happy ending, with coach Luke Beveridge calling him up during the presentations and giving his premiership medal to him.
  • For the 2016 All-Star game, the NHL opened voting up to the fans to select some of the team members. An online campaign made a push for nominating John Scott as captain of the Pacific Division. Scott was a 33-year-old enforcer who had five goals in his entire career and who generally played a few minutes a night on the fourth line (on those nights where he wasn't relegated to the press box or sent to the minors) - he was much slower and less skilled than the All-Stars he would be playing alongside and many of the organizers thought it would be hilarious to watch him try and keep up. Scott was reportedly embarrassed at the campaign initially but, as it gained steam and he rose to the top of the fan polls, he decided to make the most of it and attend with his family, publicly reasoning that it was an opportunity he otherwise would never get. The league, upset at the mockery of what they saw as one of their premier events, quietly fumed but stated they would abide by the poll results (publicly at least - Scott would later reveal that league officials approached him in private and asked him to either decline the invite or fake an injury so that someone else could take his roster spot). However, two weeks before the All-Star game, Scott was abruptly traded from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Montreal Canadians (with some rumours indicating that Scott's inclusion in the trade had been encouraged or facilitated by the league itself), who signalled that they did not plan to use him on their team and sent him to the minors instead, potentially rendering him ineligible for inclusion in the All-Star game (as he was no longer technically an NHL player). Fans - including many who had not initially supported the campaign - were furious that Scott would not even get to attend the All-Star Game after he had been put through the campaign and, as an added kicker, Scott was being sent to the opposite side of the continent from his family when his wife was pregnant with twins. After several days of outrage from the fanbase, the NHL relented and announced that Scott would still be allowed to participate in the All-Star Game after all. The game wound up being a highlight reel for Scott - he received the loudest applause at the player introductions, scored two goals in the semi-final game, got in a mock-fight with Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks, captained his team to victory in the final game, and was voted tournament MVP despite the fact that his name was not included on the initial ballot. Scott was hoisted on his teammates shoulders while giving an interview and was approached with several sponsorship deals and a movie deal after the tournament. He would eventually retire from professional hockey at the end of the season.

Alternative Title(s): Give The Dog A Bone

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ThrowTheDogABone