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Playing With: Pet the Dog
Basic Trope: A villain, Anti-Hero, or just general Jerk Ass shows that he's not so bad by doing something nice.
  • Straight: The Inspector Javert saves a kid, rather than capturing the Protagonist (who doesn't know about the kid, and thus is spared Moral Dissonance).
  • Exaggerated:
    • The usually violent and cold Inspector Javert saves a kid, makes funny faces to cheer him up, and even buys him candy.
    • Took a Level in Kindness
    • An irredeemably evil villain stops his evil plans just to help an elderly woman cross the street, rescue a cat stuck in a tree, give a million dollars to a homeless person, and buy an ice cream cone for a sad child.
  • Downplayed:
    • The villain sincerely thanks his minion for something, demonstrating that he's at least polite.
    • A Jerk Ass apologizes after he sees that he hurt someone's feelings.
    • During a footchase with the Protagonist, Inspector Javert slows down so he does not push over a kid, even if it risk him getting away.
  • Justified: The character may have flaws and bad traits but he is still capable of doing nice things and is not against doing nice things as long as they don't interfere with his ultimate goal.
  • Inverted: Kick the Dog
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted:
    • He lets the little girl go, but then shoots at her while she's running away. Why? Because some idiot on the other side of the line was pointing a gun at her, and that's who he was shooting.
    • Or he just realizes she was a demon in disguise.
    • Not only will he refuse to kill a child that he doesn't get anything from killing but he will actually save children that are endangered by other villains that he comes across as long as it doesn't interfere with one of his plans, making him A Lighter Shade of Black in the setting.
  • Parodied: The villain laughs maniacally as he watches a city burn by his own doing, and then abruptly stops as he sees a puppy dog and proceed to cuddle and feed him.
  • Zig Zagged: The villain lets the little girl go, but then shoots her. But then it turns out she was actually a demon in disguise. Then it turns out the demon was also a child and a Noble Demon to boot, so they're not evil. Then it turns out that the Noble Demon was being controlled by an Eldritch Abomination, but then that turns out to be Not Evil, Just Misunderstood...
  • Averted: The villain has nothing to do with any kind of dog.
  • Enforced:
    • "Given that this guy's going to do a Heel-Face Turn later, we need to set up that he's not such a bad person now."
    • They want to establish the villain has some good in him
  • Lampshaded: The villain sees the hero, and after seeing a puppy nearby, decides to pet it while the hero watches specifically so he can make the hero doubt that he's the bad guy.
  • Invoked:
    • "See? I avoid killing puppies. That makes me not a Complete Monster!"
    • "If you let me go, people won't be able to hate you, because it will show them you're not a Complete Monster."
  • Exploited: Emperor Evilz tips his valet every once in a while to avoid complete 0% Approval Rating
  • Defied: If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten.
  • Discussed: "Well, that guy stopped to save a kitten before he flooded the town, so he'd probably be easier to talk to about this even worse guy than the guy who burned down the orphanage.
  • Conversed: "I'm trying to find a way to show people that I'm not just about oppression. Should I adopt an orphan or something? Dictators with hearts in shows are always adopting kids or puppies or cute little kittens..."
  • Deconstructed:
    • This used to present the idea that absolute moral judgement is not possible, shifting the setting to full-on Grey and Gray Morality.
    • Alternatively, what the Doctor said about this sort of behavior and what it says about the villain in question: "You let one of them go, but that's nothing new. Every now and then, a little victim's spared... because she smiled, cos he's got freckles, cos they begged. And that's how you live with yourself, that's how you slaughter millions, because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind's in the right direction, you happen to be kind."
  • Reconstructed: He does little acts of kindness because if absolutely moral purity is not possible, neither is absolute moral evil. Alternately, using the Doctor's take on it, the villain in question really does feel conflicted about his actions and they may even lead to a Heel-Face Turn.

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