BlueCaper on Jul 30th 2017 at 6:27:14 PM
Last Edited By:
BlueCaper on Jan 23rd 2018 at 6:32:33 PM
Page Type: trope
Some voices of authority will break the rules to seek their own ends. Others will do it for the perceived greater good. And then there's the Lawful Pushover, who defies protocol because some random layperson asked them to.
It has very little to do with undermining an Obstructive Code of Conduct, or even being a Reasonable Authority Figure (though they may very well aspire to be one). The Lawful Pushover just shrinks back at the tiniest perception of assertion. They may have had a Knight Templar Parent or two, or maybe they were bullied growing up; or maybe they're still just the rookie in their profession. They simply cannot say "no" in the moment.
This pushover knows they will be in trouble. They are already anticipating the big chew-out. Or perhaps they hold a teaching position, or they are the boss, and they are left to decide how they act towards their students or underlings. Either way — there will be consequences, and this doormat is used to facing them.
More developed Lawful Pushovers may also apologize a lot, or kick themselves afterward for not growing a spine. Compare Shrinking Violet, Extreme Doormat; see also Police Are Useless. Contrast Bothering by the Book and Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help.
- Nichijou: High-school English teacher Izumi Sakurai is a prime example of this, buckling in the face of any small adversity from students, or even from an unexpected reaction. Despite her numerous attempts to fight through the pressure, the only student she has successfully chastized is her live-in younger brother...once.
- Dungeons & Dragons: In the module OA7 Test of the Samurai, the player characters arrive in the mysterious realm of Qui, only to be immediately confronted by its current Officer — an indecisive, panicky oriental unicorn named Chanii. She initially orders them to leave, but when they insist on seeing Za-Jikku, she backs down and leads them to see his statue. Should they return to Qui later, she will again ask them to leave; however, if they continue to press her, she will let them stay for up to four hours.
- The Tragic Flaw of police officer Cole Phelps in L.A. Noire is his refusal to confront morally objectionable behavior from his fellow officers (e.g.: bigotry from his partner; people who defend drug abuse), despite his prerogative to do so. His reasons for inaction are sympathetic, however, since refusing to indulge in anti-Japanese sentiment in the war lost him the confidence of the men under his command, and ultimately got him shot.
- Silent Hill: Officer Cybil Bennett seems to exude assertion at first, but she doesn't take much convincing to let the civilian protagonist go first through a newly-uncovered hole in the wall.
- Monika in Doki Doki Literature Club!. Despite being the club president (and a Manipulative Bitch), she cannot assert herself towards her club members. This changes in the second half of act II, presumably from a combination of frustration and a desire to present herself to the player as the Only Sane Man.
- The Simpsons: Seymour Skinner, principal of Springfield Elementary School, is an Extreme Doormat to many forces of humanity, and his school regularly reflects that. A bout of Political Correctness Gone Mad, and he segregates the students by gender. Evil schemers in need of a Home Base? Principal Skinner turns a blind eye to it all. Insubordinates conquering and inappropriately renaming parts of the institution? Expect him to honor the name change with a wince. A teacher turning one of his top students into the target of a bullying campaign that has turned her life into a living hell? As long as the bullying doesn't involve physical contact, he doesn't give a crap—otherwise, the Teachers' Union will be on his ass.
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