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Blessed With Suck / Western Animation

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  • Lampooned in a Cartoon Network ad starring the Wonder Twins from Superfriends. It ends with Zan complaining how his only power is to turn into "a wave or a puddle" and how he could easily be defeated by a sponge; wouldn't even have to be an evil sponge. After Jayna leaves, he is accidentally used to mop a floor by the janitor.
    • Cartoon Network invokes this on themselves for an ad a block of 70s Hanna-Barbera cartoons which had the line "At Cartoon Network, we know the difference between a funny cartoon (clip of Bugs Bunny) and a laughable one (clip of the Cattanooga Cats)."
  • Borderline in The Life and Times of Juniper Lee. As the Te Xuan Ze, June has extraordinary abilities... and is physically incapable of leaving her hometown, meaning that all of her life's dreams are out of reach. Fortunately, the show doesn't harp on this fact too much, preventing Wangst.
  • Both Terra and Raven of Teen Titans have incredible kinetic abilities. The downside of this is that the actual control of each character's power is directly tied to their current emotional state, so when rage or panic overtakes them, chaos inevitably erupts. This was such a large problem for Terra that she eventually opted for high school instead of heroism.
    • It gets worse for Raven... when she loses control, she's liable to turn into a reasonable simulation of an Eldritch Abomination (just ask Dr. Light, if you can get him to put his experience in words). And, oh yeah, she was born to be a tool through which her demon lord father can kill everyone on Earth, then take it over. Luckily, she gets better after that.
    • This trope seems to be the main reason Jinx picked villainy at first; with her powers of bad luck, at least as a villain she could be respected by her peers for destroying things. Considering the sheer, mindboggling amounts of collateral damage the Titans can do (Cyborg using a building as an improvised weapon, anyone?)...
    • To a lesser extent, Starfire's powers are also emotionally based and thus can fail to work at unfortunate times. There's been at least one instance where relationship drama has caused her to lose her ability to fly. While she was flying at a high altitude.
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    • And Red Star, from the episode "Snowblind", who's basically the Hulk, but a nuclear bomb instead of a rage monster. The more he uses his power, the more radiation he gives out, and the more dangerous he is to be around. He eventually experiences a Super-Power Meltdown and willingly throws himself out into space so his explosion wouldn't harm the earth.
  • The Spectacular Spider Man's Spider-Man, as usual, has always viewed them as a burden and responsibility, rather than a blessing, because of the bad guys who've been pulled toward his family and friends because of them, and the problems that have cropped up when he chooses not to use them.
  • Thunder Cats:
    • Cheetara actually states that she considers her clairvoyant ability to be more of a curse than a blessing, due to the physical drain it puts on her body.
    • During Lion-O's Anointment Trials, Tigra is shown as having the ability to make others see what is not there. The strain is apparently so bad we never see him do this again.
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  • The version of Metallo on Superman: The Animated Series gains super strength, immunity to disease, and Nigh-Invulnerability, but loses all his senses of taste, touch, and smell in the process. The constant detachment from reality gradually drives him insane.
  • In the 1990's X-Men cartoon Jean Grey was often unable to use her Psychic Powers. It was common to see her passing out after trying to use them, saying that "she can't do (whatever she is trying to do) because her powers aren't as strong as Professor. X's", probably an action from the writers to not let her be too powerful or the others would be rendered useless. Not including her Phoenix-embodiment form.
    • Hank McCoy's "Beastly" appearance often prevent most people from understanding his incredibly cultured and intellectual mind, as well as his good natured heart.
  • In Batman Beyond, one villain used a belt that induced intangibility to phase through matter, which, as an opportunistic reporter, he used to discover Batman's secret identity and thus gain fame. Unfortunately for him, the more he used it, the more it affected him, and, eventually, his body became intangible without the belt. So intangible, in fact, that he could not stand or hold onto things, and he eventually fell through the ground to presumably die of either a fiery death in the earth's mantle, or asphyxiation. Or not.
    • Blight gets this too. He is turned into a living pile of radioactive fallout who's very touch can gradually burn through even solid stone! The transformation also turned his skin green and translucent, making him look like a neon skeleton! Oh, and he's a big wig in a major world corporation, good luck keeping that a secret. As if that wasn't enough, the more stressed out he gets, the more volatile he becomes, until he risks having a personal meltdown.
    • And there's the Terrific Trio. While their powers are great, their DNA is slowly decaying codons at a time, at least one of them has been rendered so monstrous in appearance that everyone is afraid of him.
  • Given an unusual treatment in Batman: Gotham Knight, in which an anime-looking Bruce Wayne tests out a personal force-shield as part of his Batman gear. When it deflects a ricocheted bullet into the body of a gang thug, putting the man in the hospital, Batman decides that the shield is Blessed With Suck and discontinues using it, rather than risk having deaths on his conscience.
  • According to Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, Rudolph's glowing nose was caused by the magic of the northern lights and serves as a means to defeat the evil Winterbolt, though the glowing nose did cause him to have a crappy childhood... This turns out to be a feature rather than a bug.
  • Ace from the DCAU is one of the most tragic examples. Her incredible Psychic Powers accidentally drove her parents insane, she was treated as a government experiment her entire life, she was used by a madman, and to top it off, when her powers developed to the point of altering reality, they also caused her to have a fatal aneurysm.
  • Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sure, he's the Avatar, a godlike human being who can manipulate all four elements to balance out the world. Sure, he's the bridge between the Spirit World and the regular world. Yeah, okay, he's the spirit of the planet all rolled into one dude. His past lives worked out just fine being the Avatar. Unfortunately for Aang, he doesn't get to wait until his 16th birthday to be told that he's the Avatar. Nope, some grumpy old dudes tell him when he's twelve because they fear a war is soon to break out. They make plans to take Aang away from his guardian, so Aang runs away...and gets frozen inside an iceberg for 100 years while a war sweeps across the world while he's gone. Then when he gets out of the iceberg, he has to fix everything! By himself! With a bunch of scary guys trying to capture him! And he's 12!
    • Plus, the first thing he learns about the new world he's entered is that he is the only Air Nomad left since all of the others were wiped out by the Fire Nation in the opening moves of the war, who were the priority targets due to having the Avatar.
    • Finally, there's what comes with being the Avatar: the ability to draw on the power and experiences of all past Avatars. It seems good... But until Aang learns how to control it the Avatar State manifests when he's in grave danger or furious beyond control, has the power of an Eldritch Abomination and absolutely no care for collateral damage. There is a good reason why Aang had nightmares about the Avatar State for a while...
    • Additionally, whereas every other Avatar (that we know of) had years to learn how to bend all the elements (Roku mentioned taking roughly a decade), Aang has less than one year.
      • Oh, and even after he can control the Avatar State there's a downside (for the world, at least): if he dies while in it, the Avatar Cycle is broken. No more Avatar. And given he's the spirit of the world and that killing the spirit of the moon made the moon disappear until it was resurrected...
    • The Firebending used during the war had its own suck. Being powered by rage, it can only destroy (as Jeong Jeong complained) and is more difficult to control, and make the Bender much more violent. And if you lose your rage, you lose your powers. Thankfully, the original form powered by willpower and joy of life offsets most of these problems.
    • Azula is a genius tactician and strategist, a master manipulator, and a prodigy firebender, at the tender age of 14. All of this came at the expense of her social skills, and her perfectionism (as encouraged by her dad) ended up doing a real number on her sanity when she learns that Machiavelli Was Wrong. Which is why she's in the middle of the mother of all Villainous Breakdowns for the finale.
    • Aang's successor/reincarnation, Korra got it just as bad, for different reasons. She manifested as the Avatar far younger than normal, so she got even less of a normal childhood than Aang. Something that repeatedly bites her in the ass in Season 1, as she commits faux pas after faux pas in Repbulic City. Then, in Season 3, we find out that the White Lotus didn't just sequester her in a Southern Water Tribe compound because they misinterpreted Aang's final request to protect the next Avatar: Korra's abnormally young Avatar status emboldened an anarchist offshoot of the White Lotus (The Red Lotus) to try and assassinate her, so they locked her away for her protection, not knowing how many more potential assassins there were. Add to that the implication that Korra's prodigy status left her so reliant on her physical abilities that her spiritual ones atrophied to the point where she couldn't even activate the Avatar state out of fear or anger, not Airbend, nor contact the spirit of Aang or the other Avatars. note 
  • Danny Phantom and Vlad Masters have this. Unlike Danny, Vlad used it in rather unethical ways. Unfortunately for Danny, his parents want to kill his alter ego.
  • The Venture Bros. has Team Impossible, a very dark parody of The Fantastic Four. While Dr. Impossible has Reed Richard's stretching powers his wife Sally has invisible skin (making the flesh underneath visible), her brother Cody is combustible with oxygen and Ned is heavily callused (and retarded). Richard simply couldn't care less, being that he takes For Science! to the point that other people could matter less to him.
  • In Wakfu, Sadlygrove is a guardian of a sword possessed by a demon, but the demon can in turn possess him.
    • The Big Bad of season 2, whose motivation can only be summed up as "immortality and Photographic Memory is a terrible superpower combo". He has destroyed a world and ruined countless lives in search of anything new to do to stave off the sheer boredom of a man who remembers experiencing everything there is to experience.
  • One Static Shock villain gained the power to absorb non-living matter in lieu of eating regular food. Unfortunately, the mass just accumulates (without a regular digestion system, he body wastes nothing) without actually increasing his size, and he eventually becomes so dense that he's incapable of moving.
    • And while Static's powers are usually just fine, there's one episode where sunspots mess with his powers and make them particularly strong. First it's kind of cool, but then he finds that he can't control them and the extra electricity is causing problems. Then they go very weak. Then a bad guy needs a beat down.
    • There's also Time Zone. Her powers caused her to randomly slip back and forth through time. Gear built a belt that stopped the random travelling, and enabled her to mechanically control her powers -with a remote control. Time Zone was then at the mercy of whoever had the remote.
    • Permafrost was An Ice Person with the power to generate massive snowstorms and totally freeze over anything she touched...trouble is, she was a homeless teenage girl with schizophrenia ("the voices in the dark" gave her the name) and general mental health issues. And her powers were tied to her emotions—seeing other people happy and content while she starved on the street was enough to trigger a blizzard. Thankfully, she eventually seeks out the help she needs.
    • Talon has the powers of flight and a sonic scream...but they come at the cost of her looking like a bird-human hybrid.
    • Mirage, who has the power to manipulate light to create realistic illusions, lampshades this trope when her criminally-minded brother suggested that their abilities were a blessing: "You call this a gift? We're FREAKS!"
    • Some Bang Babies have interesting powers that come with serious physical alterations. Hyde has super-durable skin...that makes it look like a rhinoceros's back was grafted onto his body. Ferret has superhuman smelling powers...which emerge from his decidedly inhuman nose. D-Struct can generate powerful ionic blasts...but looks like a massive giant made of pure white energy.
    • Tying into the above, a quartet of bang babies became physically hurt by light at the cost of their powers in comparison to others who didn't have that drawback.
    • Heck, just being a Bang Baby has its own problems. Not only do people in general fear and distrust you (much like mutants in the X-Men universe), but the government is secretly working to experiment on you, and it's eventually revealed that the mutagenic gas which granted people their abilities has a tendency to make them go crazy, which is why so many of those exposed to it turn to a life of crime.
  • Mystique Sonia from Hero: 108 is cursed so that anyone who tells her they love her three times gets turned into a small hat-like creature called a Yaksha. While it comes in handy at times, it also means she can't really have a love life as no one can tell her they love her back.
  • Luxor the cat from Tutenstein was granted a voice and human-level intelligence by the magical Scepter of Was. The same magic also forced him to become an Extreme Doormat and Beleaguered Assistant to the title character.
  • In ReBoot, Bob's fusion with Glitch turns into this during My Two Bob's. His powers become a liability when they aren't needed anymore, are hazardous to his health, and lower his chances at winning Dot's heart over the "normal" Bob. This is because Glitch had been severely damaged when they fused together. There probably wouldn't have been any risk to his health if Glitch had also been healthy. Then again, if Glitch had been fully functional, the fusion wouldn't have been necessary in the first place.
  • In Gargoyles, it's eventually revealed that Owen Burnett is Puck in disguise. When Oberon decides to allow Puck to stay in the human world to be Alexander Xanatos's magic teacher, he slaps on the stipulation that Puck can ONLY resume his true form when he's protecting or teaching Alex—otherwise, Puck's stuck being a human.
  • On South Park, Captain Hindsight claims that his power of retrospect works this way—anytime something bad happens, he's cursed to realize how it could have turned out better. (His revelations are never particularly brilliant, like "they should have called the police earlier.") This also causes him to become incredibly paranoid, constantly question if the choice he makes is the right one or he will instantly know what he should have done. Mysterion (who is really Kenny in disguise) then retorts that his superpower (which is continually coming back from the dead, with everybody forgetting his death every time is far worse.
  • In one episode of The Smurfs, Smurfette is given a Midas touch power that enables her to turn whatever she touches into candy, but as in the case of King Midas turning his daughter into gold, Smurfette ends up turning Brainy into a Smurf sculpture of candy.
  • In X-Men: Evolution, a lot of the characters have this:
    • Rogue gets this trope as her power is to siphon off the powers, memories, life force, etc. of anyone with whom she makes skin-to-skin contact. Her downside is the same as the classic "Midas" example: can't shut it off.
    • Jean Gray is a remarkably powerful telepath, but in one episode, her powers get out of hand and she's overwhelmed by hearing everyone's thoughts and she can't control her telekinetic bursts.
    • Scott has his Eye Beams that are very useful as a crime fighter, but he's forced to wear his visor or glasses at all times. If he loses them (which tends to happen a lot), he has to keep his eyes closed, depriving himself of sight, or end up destroying everything in his path so he can see.
    • Blob and Toad are outcasts in school, thanks to their physical appearances that are tied into their powers.
    • Wanda's powers are so powerful that she was locked in a mental institution by her father to prevent her from destroying everything, though when she gets out it seems like she can control them just fine.
    • Kurt not only has his "Fuzzy Elf" real form (while it is cute, it freaks people out) - with that he can't touch people without them realizing he's uh fuzzy and two-fingered. It's revealed that his teleportation shunts him through what's best described as Hell to get from Point A to Point B and the one time they worked something to slow him down so they can figure how it actually works, the residents decided he looks tasty.
    • Every mutant is Blessed With Suck, in that once everyone finds out about mutants, just having special powers makes you instantly hated and despised by everyone.
    • The Morlocks are mutants whose powers give them non-human features.
  • The Family Guy fan mail episode wherein the Griffins receive superpowers. Peter develops Shapeshifting, Lois gains Super Strength, Chris becomes a pyrokinetic, Stewie wields telekinesis, Brian gets Super Speed, and Meg... can grow and shrink her fingernails.
    • And in a more recent fan mail episode, Peter gains the ability to turn people into Robin Williams by touching them with his hands. While delighted at first, he quickly regrets having this power after waking up next to Robin Williams instead of Lois. The episode ends with a world full of Robin Williamses and an insane Peter who has chopped his own hands off.
  • Max Steel:
    • Josh McGrath/Max Steel. While an accidental infusion of nanoprobes gives him abilities including super strength, super speed, invisibility, and the ability to change his appearance, he comes close to dying before resident genius Berto suggests experimentally dosing him with transphasic energy ("The Max Probes need transphasic energy to survive, and so does your son. I think."), and there was the chance that it would just kill him faster. Naturally, it's a success, but Josh/Max needs continued exposure to transphasic energy to survive (there are at least three instances where a lack of energy comes close to killing him) — and in a worst case scenario, if enough of the probes are badly damaged or destroyed, then Josh/Max will die.
    • The 2013 series follows tradition. Max McGrath can generate Turbo Energy, but he can't control it. An alien named Steel can control it, but he needs Turbo Energy to survive. Any lengthy separation will result in Max exploding and Steel starving.
  • One episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic introduced "Cutie Pox", a magical disease that causes whoever catches it to break out in cutie marks. Whoever has it gains the talent that goes with that cutie mark, but is also compelled to practice that talent 24/7, never being able to stop. (And the episode heavily implied that the disease was fatal.)
    • Applebloom catches it, and finds herself compulsively hula-hooping, spinning plates, tap-dancing, chiseling sculptures, taming monsters, sweeping chimneys, and more, all while she kept yelling for help and getting more and more tired.
    • When Troubleshoes Clyde gets his cutie mark, which is supposed to be a good Coming of Age event for a pony that means they've discovered their special talent, it turns out his is being incredibly unlucky and clumsy. As a result he spends much of his life alone and miserable, his "talent" bars him from his dreams of participating in rodeos, and he's ultimately branded as a criminal because his clumsiness is so destructive others assume it's intentional. The Cutie Mark Crusaders eventually teach him to use his clumsiness to be a rodeo clown where he can not only finally be accepted and liked, but also be a part of the rodeos he loves.
    • Princess Celestia and Princess Luna have this trope in spades; it's even the focus of "A Royal Problem," a seventh-season episode. Princess Celestia controls the sun and is beloved by all of her subjects, but pretty much has to constantly appear happy to keep up appearances and fears that if she loses control of her abilities even for a moment, she'll unleash her Superpowered Evil Side Daybreaker. Princess Luna, for her part, can enter dreams and has other incredible Psychic Powers which allow her to enter the minds of Equestria's ponies—at the cost of being up all night and completely alone for roughly twelve hours at a time (to the point where she has to talk to herself just to hear another living thing's voice) and everyone thinking she's anti-social and moody when she's really just exhausted. And on top of it all, the sisters serve as living Cosmic Keystones—if either of them are in trouble or can't perform their duties, all hell breaks loose almost instantly.
  • The Mask had two recurring characters, teenagers who intentionally exposed themselves to radiation to get super powers. One became a powerful shapeshifter akin to Clayface, while the other became...a fish. A fish that could talk, but a fish nonetheless. To top it all off, a later episode revealed that he couldn't even breathe underwater.
  • Though it may not seems like it, Futurama's Phillip J. Fry is, in fact, the most important person in the universe. Thanks to a time travel paradox involving copulating with his grandmother and thus becoming his own grandfather in the process, Fry inadvertently was born without a normal "delta brain wave", making him immune to the intellect-draining effects of the evil Brain Spawn race. Which he fights in a grand total of two episodes. The rest of the series involves him suffering from being a socially crippled, brain-damaged Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • Raven Queen from Ever After High has impressive magical ability... unfortunately, it's only in dark magic and she really has no interest in becoming the next "Evil Queen."
  • Fairy magic from The Fairly OddParents is shown to be this on numerous occasions. Though fairies have incredible powers that can alter the laws of reality itself, there are plenty of caveats. For instance, they have to grant every wish that their godchild makes within the bounds of Da Rules, regardless of how dangerous or destructive it might be (in the episode that reveals this rule, Cosmo and Wanda are shown as being physically forced to grant the wishes). They're also (at least, until recently) unable to have children on their own. But the worst part of being a fairy is more of a Tear Jerker: fairies are paired with unhappy children—but once those children either become happy or reach a certain age, their memories are wiped of ever having fairies, and their former godparents are reassigned. Most fairies genuinely love their godchildren, and since they're a race of beings that don't age, they're basically stuck with the knowledge that no matter what they do, the girl or boy they've come to care for is going to completely forget them, while the godparents themselves never forget.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Steven Universe is a human-gem hybrid who not only the powers that come with just being a gem (shape-shifting, weapon summoning and fusion) but also the powers his mother, Rose Quartz had (healing tears (healing spit for him) and floating) which seems cool considering until you realize that he had to learn how to control them first, he even lost his healing spit for awhile just because he wasn't self-confident in himself. Steven is also shown to suffer a lot of self-doubt from trying to live up to his mother's legacy.
    • Garnet has future vision, an ability to see different possibilities for how a situation can turn out. While this comes in handy for battle, it's stated that she sees all of the different ways her loved ones can be hurt or killed, and has to almost constantly steer the world around her to keep horrific futures from coming to pass. She's also limited by what she knows, Steven in particular being too much of an x-factor to properly predict at times, due to him being human, a species in a constant state of change compared to the very stagnant Gemkind.
    • Padparadscha has a malfunctioning version of future vision which only shows her the recent past, and she seems either incapable of turning it off or too distracted by the past too look at the present. In the exact reverse of Garnet's situation, this is such a hindrance that Padparadscha cannot survive without the help of others, but she couldn't be happier with her life.
  • The eponymous Lucky Lou from Jinxy Jenkins & Lucky Lou is Born Lucky, but she seems to feel her natural luck has made her life boring; she looks forward to a walk in a gentle spring rain only for it to immediately clear up, and her attempt to jump in a puddle is thwarted by it being covered by a sheet of wind-blown newspaper. Then she meets Jinxy Jenkins...
  • On Care Bears & Cousins, "Wishing Well" sheds new light on the powers of Wish Bear. First off, her power apparently forces her to constantly hear the inane wishes of everyone in Care-a-Lot, i.e. "I wish I had remembered to set that timer," "I have a stomachache; I wish I hadn't eaten that cake," etc. Furthermore, if someone actually makes a truly heartfelt wish right in front of her, then that's when the real fun starts. Her belly badge power will grant it, even if the wisher (and everyone else) may not really be ready for the consequences.
  • Wishfart: This is the consequence of a number of wishes Dez has granted, with a notable case being a yeti named Samuel who wished for infinite ice cream.
    Samuel: Well, I've been cursed with never-ending ice cream forever!
    Puffin: You say that like it's a bad thing.
    Samuel: Oh yeah! Well, imagine always having brain freeze, or fingers stuck together! I used to love ice cream! Now, I'd rather eat broccoli!
  • Having been chosen by the Amulet, Jim Lake Jr. from Trollhunters is forced to be the Trolls' champion at everything (even at the most menial of tasks), especially since dark forces of every shape and size want the Amulet for themselves. Being the first human Trollhunter doesn't exactly warrant much confidence in the people he is sworn to protect either. Even worse, he just can't get rid of it, since the Amulet refuses to be thrown away until he is dead (unless it is stolen, in which case he has to get it back the old fashioned way).
  • In American Dragon: Jake Long, Kara, one of the Oracle Twins, has the ability to see the future. But here's the catch; she can only see the good things that are going to happen. Sure, that doesn't sound too bad, but then she explicitly explains why it sucks.
    Kara: When you only see good things, nothing's special anymore. All the pleasant surprises are taken out of life.
  • Kaeloo: Quack Quack the duck is gifted with Nigh-Invulnerability, meaning he can survive any injury. Unfortunately, his Ax-Crazy friend Mr. Cat inflicts extreme violence on him as a means of stress relief because he knows he won't die no matter what he does to him.
  • Rick and Morty: One of the biggest running themes is Rick Sanchez despising his own vast intellect, since it ends up being the cause of many of the problems in his life. He knows there's an infinite number of parallel universes with an infinite number of other Smith-Sanchez families out there exactly like his own, which is a major reason why he struggles to form emotional attachments to them and doesn't really see them as unique individuals. This same awareness can be attributed for his cynicism and nihilism; nothing means anything and no one is special, this is just one universe in an infinite multiverse of infinitely chaotic possibilities, and it just so happens he's currently in this one.

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