Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Throw The Dog A Bone: Live-Action TV
  • In the final season of The Wire, Bubbles finally sobers up and starts on the trail to a proper life, making him probably the only Woobie in the entire series to get a Happy Ending.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Xander of actually helped save the day in "The Zeppo", albeit he didn't tell anyone. Similarly, when Xander saves the world by cooling down Dark Willow just before she blows up everything. Season 7 shows that he's been telling everyone about this too much.
      • And yes, things went to Hell with a scoop of Eye Scream.
    • After getting beaten around pretty badly for much of season 4 and 5, Spike- most famous for his legendary Badass Decay- is kissed by Buffy out of gratitude when he endures torture (Played for Laughs, no less) at the hands of Glory to keep Buffy and her sister safe. He is also from this point on allowed back into Buffy's house. You can tell from his face that for him, it was totally worth it.
  • Married... with Children episodes usually end with everything falling apart for at least one of the main characters, usually Al. Occasionally, however, an episode will end on an upswing. In one episode, Al destroys Marcy's brand new Mercedes by dumping a load of wet cement on it after Marcy spends the whole show (and many other episodes before that) coming out ahead in their eternal conflict. To top it all off, Al manages to come out $6,000 ahead, when he usually ends up even deeper in debt than when he started.
  • Occurs, of course, at the end of Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, with Aeryn and John both finally together, their enemies off their back, and their child born and healthy. The series finale had teased this, but turned it into a Yank the Dog's Chain moment in the last minute.
  • One episode of The Muppet Show has Fozzie, the usual Butt Monkey, mock the snarky critics Statler and Waldorf with the help of the guest star; the masterful Bruce Forsyth, no less, is Fozzie's accomplice in this. The bear manages to out-snark Statler and Waldorf so badly that they end up hiding in their box waving a white flag.
    • Fozzie also gets revenge in another episode, in which that night's show is canceled as it was already scheduled for open auditions. One pair of auditioners are Statler and Waldorf; Fozzie goes up to their balcony to mock them.
    • Also, any Swedish Chef sketch that doesn't end with him being attacked by his cuisine or otherwise harmed.
    • And in the Muppet Labs sketches, any time Beaker comes off better than Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, or at least the doctor doesn't get off scot free. This especially counts for the Mac Davis episode where Beaker accidentally makes several clones of himself and spends most of the story chasing Honeydew around.
  • The Last Detective has its hero Dangerous Davies as The Chew Toy during the first season, with not much improvment during the next two seasons. However, he reconciles with his wife at the end of the third season and in the fourth is Happily Married. He also gets more respect from his fellow officers over time, which only makes sense since he is clearly a competent officer.
  • Ted from Scrubs is a sad loser who is only a lawyer because he took the bar in Alaska, where they have 5 laws (all dealing with when you can and cannot kill seals). He gets beat up, humiliated, and just seeing Bob Kelso will make him faint. Then he meets a nice girl who likes him.
    • Ted gets a few. His night with a terminal cancer patient comes to mind (she even calls him a stallion) as does his explanation to Kelso of the legal implications Turk could bring to bear if Kelso continues to use posters featuring Turk's likeness against his will.
    • He also helps the nurses on strike get the pay raise they want.
    • Another episode sees Ted stand-up to the Janitor over always telling the Brain Trust what to do. In the end, the Janitor relents - proposing they play cards, which was Ted's idea.
  • Occasionally, Jim Hacker gets to triumph over Sir Humphrey (most notably in "The Key").
    • Another example is "A Victory for Democracy" when Hacker, after being led around by Humphrey and the Foreign Office, manages to solve the pending international crisis and gets his Foreign Office liaison stuck in a posting which will end his career.
    • In "The Skeleton In The Cupboard": Hacker is ordered to proceed with disciplinary action against the most efficient council in the UK for no reason other than political bickering. Then he learns that Sir Humphrey was responsible for an administrative blunder back in the 50s that has caused the government to lose 40 million over a real estate deal. Hacker then proceeds to blackmail Humphrey with this information to avoid the disciplinary action.
  • The ending of Blackadder The Third. In the first and second series, and later the fourth, the title character and most or all of the main cast died in some way. Series three is different in that Prince George still died, but he was impersonating Blackadder at the time, which meant that Blackadder not only lived, but became the Prince Regent.
    • It's worth noting however that Prince George was probably not the sole casualty of the third series. MacAdder strongly implies that Mrs Miggins' days are numbered: 'I look forward to burying you in the old Highland manner.'
    • Along with Series Three, there's also the ending of Blackadder: Back and Forth, where Edmund is King, married to Maid Marian (played by Kate Moss) and Baldrick is Prime Minister. The end credits song even lampshades this with a line describing Blackadder as "a dog who's got his bone."
  • ''Red Dwarf has this for basically all of the main characters.
    • "Back in the Red Part 2" had Lister finally get Kochanski to kiss him while under the effects of the sexual magnetism virus.
    • "White Hole" has Kryten finally getting a chance to call Rimmer a smeg head.
    • The lost episode "Identity Within" would have had The Cat finally have intercourse.
    • "Queeg" has Holly earn the repect of the others.
    • Even Rimmer, the resident chew toy had on in the Series X finale "The Beginning" when he finds out that the father he always dissapointed isn't is real father, and the family gardener, someone who would be proud of him was, he gains the confidence to save the day.
      • "Out Of Time" and "Only The Good..." would've both been this for him, but both endings were changed to cliffhangers where He dies. Again. Ambiguously.
  • Extras: The last episode of the second series doesn't end with Andy's abject humiliation, which is no small victory for his character.
  • Friends in the first four seasons Chandler is an insecure Sad Clown, who hates his job and is screwed over by the few girls who notice him. Come Season 5 he gets together with Monica (whom its been hinted he's liked for years), a few seasons later they're Happily Married and her support gives him the confidence to find a job he enjoys.
  • Things regularly go horribly wrong for the two leads of Peep Show. The series 7 opener seems to be building up to things being worse than ever, with Mark dazedly walking out on the birth of his child and a subplot about the flat being flooded and Jez's unreliable junkie friend Superhans being sent to fix it. But Jeremy finds Mark before the baby's born, Sophie didn't realise he was gone, the baby's fine and the flat has "minimal water damage". It's the latter that seems to please Mark the most.
  • In Crownies, the resident Butt Monkey Richard gets two in episode nine: he finally impresses a judge who he has a terrible history with (mainly because of uncooperative witnesses) to the point where the accused is sentenced to 20-27 years (Richard's goal was 25, for the accused's impulsive murder of a postman, but the judge added two years for tampering with the mail). This is quickly followed by a passionate sexual encounter in his office chair with the psychiatrist whose testimony got the aforementioned conviction. (Though this does cause a hitch when it ruins Conrad's suit and Tatum comes close to letting slip that he's not really gay).
  • In Misfits Simon the nerd-turned-arsonist spends most of his time in the first season being abused by Nathan and ignored by the others, with the exception of Kelly; the fifth episode was particularly cruel, ending with him being emotionally manipulated by Sally the probation worker and accidentally killing her in a fight. However, things start improving for him in the second season:
    • In the first episode, he manages to make peace with his friend-turned-shapeshifter without killing her; then, the rest of the Misfits help him dispose of Sally's corpse.
    • In the second episode, he ends up being invited to a night out with the other Misfits, and even though he gets his drink spiked with the same party drug that the rest of the team are taking voluntarily, he ends up as the only person who enjoys it, because the drug reverses their powers: while Kelly is voicing everything that comes to mind, Alisha is repulsing anyone who touches her, Curtis is teetering on the edge of a building in the future, and Nathan has lost his immortality, Simon has become noticed and adored by everyone around him.
    • Third episode: Alisha actually apologises for how she treated Simon in the past.
    • Oh, and then there's episode five, in everything seems to go perfectly for Simon: he falls in love with a girl who ultimately returns his feelings, he ends up having sex with her, and he even manages to avoid getting killed by her overprotective father. And Nathan gives him a hug.
    • Finally, during the Christmas special, after the Misfits' community service is over and done with, Simon ends up living Superhoody's underground lair and spends his days trying to become a proper superhero while dating the girl of his dreams and the love of his life.
  • 24 does so for Jack Bauer at the conclusion of its second season. Generally, by the end of a 24 season, Jack is usually in a position much worse than he originally started from (emotionally, physically, or sometimes both). In season two, by the time it's over he's finally found a reason to live again following his wife's death and his very last scene in the finale is him reconciling with his daughter.
  • Despite his competence as a detective, Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach is primarily treated as the biggest joke in the police department. When he manages to solve a tough case and get a confession the entire staff is so impressed they actually begin to applaud him, and even Vic Mackey himself is amazed enough that he actually calls a truce with him that lasts for a couple seasons.
  • Person of Interest: Detective Lionel Fusco is generally the Butt Monkey of the show, and even the Team Pet doesn't listen to him. Then in "Prisoner's Dilemna", while Team Machine focus on breaking Reese out of prison, Fusco, all along, has to protect a supermodel. There are only flashes of what's happening, but it culminates in him going Guns Akimbo on Armenian mobsters and saving the girl, and getting a kiss and being told to call her.
    • At the end of the season two finale, Root, who has become slightly less unlikeable, loses both her God Mode connection with the Machine and any realistic chance of finding Her servers and goes almost catatonic from having this new purpose of life yanked away. Then, in the last shot of the episode, when she is in a psychiatric clinic, slowly shuffling forward, we hear a public phone ringing - cue her theme music Root of all Evil returning and finally the Machine's cut and paste voice asking if she can hear Her.
  • Robbie Shapiro from Victorious can be best described as the Meg Griffin of the Schneiderverse. However, in the Christmas Special, not only does he go on a date with a former bully, but also got a kiss from Cat for getting her a cotton candy machine.
  • Jerry Gergich on Parks and Recreation is the Butt Monkey for the office, but loves his home life. He is happily married to Christy Brinkley and has the largest penis one doctor has ever seen.
  • Eddie the barman is the resident Butt Monkey on Hustle, always falling for the grifters's scams. But in "Eat Yourself Slender" he ends up with the girl.
  • Rarely on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The whole Gang are usually Chew Toys for the universe, living generally horrible, pathetic lives, but sometimes they catch an honest break. In one episode, Dennis and Charlie succeed in getting to the charity event in Atlantic City and having a perfectly fun night with a couple of players from the Philadelphia Phillies. In another episode, Charlie gets to spend a fun night with The Waitress not knowing she's on ecstasy, leading to her being much more agreeable than usual while Frank and Mac get to spend the night on a party boat.

LiteratureThrow the Dog a BoneVideo Games

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy