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Designated Hero / Western Animation

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  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Nicole and Anais are generally good people, and when not, it's usually a case of Temporarily a Villain. However, they definitely become this in "The Hero". When Gumball and Darwin call Richard useless when they don't know he's there, rather than pointing out things Richard had done for them (like raising them), Nicole and Anais throw cupcakes made of cement at them and then Nicole denies them access to anything she provides, including food, until they apologize. They are portrayed as being in the right and never feel remorse or get punished, and no one ever points out that this is blatant child abuse.
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  • In American Dad! most of the cast qualify due to Depending on the Writer as they alter between Heroic Comedic Sociopath and Villain Protagonist in any ep or even within the same episode. Stan, Roger, Klaus, and to some extent Steve are at least deliberately portrayed as Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonists. Francine and Hayley however are designated into long suffering Women Are Wiser archetypes who have moral superiority 99% of the time, despite often proving to be equally hypocritical, self serving or outright sociopathic as the male Smiths.
  • Animaniacs:
    • Slappy Squirrel becomes a Designated Hero in the short "I Got Yer Can", where she torments Candie Chipmunk to the point of insanity all because Candie lectured her on disposing of her trash in other people's bins. While Candie is shown to be a rather conceited Neat Freak and keeps throwing the can on Slappy's head, it still doesn't justify the lengths Slappy goes to ensure that she's stuck with Slappy's empty soda can.
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    • Yakko, Wakko, and Dot themselves are usually depicted as Karmic Tricksters like Bugs Bunny in that they only torment and humiliate people if they're jerks and/or have done something mean to them, but they sometimes cause trouble for people who haven't done anything wrong.
      • "Toy Shop Terror" has the Warners wreak havoc in a toy store during closing hours. While the owner of the toy store is rather grumpy, he had every right to want the Warners out of his store, and you'd be pretty peeved too if some children were making a mess of your store while you were trying to sleep.
      • The Warners remorselessly cause Otto Von Scratchansniff to get injured and humiliated in "Fake" and "Anchors A-Warners".
      • "Back in Style" shows that during the 1960's, Warner Bros. Studios were desperate enough for money to loan the Warners out to be guest stars in parodies of cartoons that were popular at the time. Every single one of the 60's cartoon spoofs has the Warners do nothing but insult and harm the cartoon's main characters unprovoked, but the worst instant is in the Underdog parody, where they prevent Thunderdog from rescuing the Sweet Polly Purebred stand-in and cause him to suffer an injury that permanently deforms his lower body.
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  • D.W. in the Arthur episode "Arthur's Big Hit". She's portrayed as in the right, but the entire time she's annoying Arthur while he's trying to make a model plane and even blames him for supposedly making the plane wrong when she broke it. Her Karma Houdini status afterwards basically seals the entire thing.
  • It seems that the main characters in Ben 10: Omniverse have forgotten how to be heroes.
    • The titular Ben Tennyson himself becomes one thanks to Flanderization. His Chronic Hero Syndrome, his defining trait in the previous shows, is heavily toned down in favor of making him an arrogant, incompetent, and thoroughly obnoxious Jerkass who causes as many problems as he solves, takes next to nothing seriously, cares more about having fun than actually helping people, and as the series finale shows, apparently cares more about Mr. Smoothies than his friends and family. It has gotten to the point that many fans prefer either Rook or some of Ben's alternate counterparts such as No-Watch Ben and Ben 23 along with his future self Ben 10,000. Oh, and then he zaps Malware to death in his Feedback form. While Malware was a dangerous villain, he had a pretty good reason for targeting the heroes, especially since the supposed genius Azmuth couldn’t even remember to call off the A.I. drones who attacked Malware in self-defense, when he was about to reconsider his ways. This was also after being constantly annoyed at Azmuth for not exactly working hard enough to fix his corrupt conditions. And it all ends there, with Azmuth not even caring that the person who was like a son to him died. In short, Ben and the gang are portrayed as heroic for murdering an enemy in cold blood, even though they're kinda the reason he turned evil in the first place. At this point, fans have even resorted to rooting for the villains as Ben is just too unlikable. This is even lampshaded by Proctor Sevantis, who outright says that the Omnitrix is too powerful to be left in the hands of someone as irresponsible as Ben.
    • The Galactic Monsters arc is a prime example. Despite Zs Skayr being on Anur Phaetos and plotting to take over the galaxy, Ben's only concern is getting off the planet. Meaning that had he not been forced to stay on the planet longer than he wanted to, he would have left Zs Skayr undefeated and still scheming. This is thankfully rectified in the episode "It's a Mad, Mad Ben World", where after getting Dr. Psychobos to fix his and Ben 23's Omnitrixes, he opts to stay and help defeat Mad Ben.
    • Blukic and Driba to many fans. The many problems they cause by acting completely stupid and irresponsible don't exactly make them come out as charming, and their comments on Cerebrocrustaceans' intelligence just make them come out as flat-out racist.
    • Azmuth can also be one depending on the episode by virtue of being Unintentionally Unsympathetic. He is supposed to be the wise and benevolent ruler of Galvan Prime, but it's frequently shown that he can be just as much of a jerk as Ben. A prime example of this is at the end of the "Duel of the Duplicates" arc where he punishes Albedo by permanently trapping him in the form of 11-year-old Ben. While Albedo was clearly meant to deserve that, to many fans, it came off as a needlessly petty Kick Them While They Are Down moment. Especially since one of the reasons for Albedo's Start of Darkness was him being fed up by Azmuth's treatment of him.
  • In the Johnny Bravo and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! crossover, Bravo Dooby Doo, Mystery Inc are treated as the good guys when they leave Johnny tied to a tree in the woods at the request of his mean aunt who disliked him because he was an embarrassment to their family. Johnny might be stupid and a bit annoying, but that hardly justifies such a cruel action.
  • Much of the Warner Bros. animated stable have these characters as their leads:
    • Bugs Bunny was like this in his early shorts, where he was an obnoxious prankster and Karma Houdini. In the later shorts this was rectified, with Bugs becoming a Karmic Trickster who only targeted those who deserved it, though who "deserved" said retribution was still determined by Protagonist-Centered Morality. Bugs more often than not though works on the basis that he just likes being a jerk, he didn't earn "Ain't I a stinker?" as a catchphrase in an ironic sense.
    • Everything said about Bugs Bunny also applies to Woody Woodpecker, except for the charm.
  • Bubsy falls under this in his failed cartoon pilot. He is shown to be boastful, reckless, and obnoxious, and he often treats his armadillo sidekick Arnold like a lesser being. This is considered to be one of the main reasons for the pilot's universal hatred.
  • Caillou:
    • Caillou himself. He is always shown to be right, but he misbehaves in some episodes (most infamously "Caillou Joins the Circus). Even if something bad happens to him, things will always come out on top for him.
    • Caillou's parents. They frequently don't discipline their bratty son, and one episode even had Caillou's mom leave him alone with a man they didn't know too well, and is depicted as being right despite that being an extremely irresponsible thing to do.
  • The primary complaint about the classic Chip 'n Dale shorts is that, most of the time, they're the ones causing all the trouble and we're supposed to still take their side.
    • This is especially prominent whenever they're put up against Donald Duck or Pluto. At best, the two end up going with some case of Disproportionate Retribution, as in one short where Donald as a lumberjack unknowingly cuts down their house, or in another, where Donald the zookeeper is basically doing collateral damage in their efforts to steal peanuts from a rather annoyed elephant. At worst, they're the out and out villains, as in one infamous short where they come onto Donald's farm and start eating all of his apples, even just taking big bites out of them and then discarding the otherwise intact fruit.
    • Huey, Dewey and Louie also qualify in shorts such as "Donald's Snow Fight", where Donald makes a dick move by crashing his sled into their snowman and them, but ends up freezing alive and they don't show any remorse for putting him in that state, and "Soup's On", where after getting no dinner for not washing up, they use pretend to cry to milk Donald's sympathy, steal the food, and convince Donald he's dead.
    • To an extent, the "Disney mainstream character vs. mischievous cute animal" formula revolved around this. The title character would be pitted against a rambunctious creature that was usually disturbing them or victimizing them for a minor offense. For obvious reasons, the cute but abrasive little animal usually won.
  • Code Lyoko: During the first season, before the show completely found its groove, the heroes could be this (Example: In one episode, Sissi tricks Ulrich by writing a note pretending to be Yumi, and that's considered terrible. In a different episode, Ulrich and the gang trick Herve by writing a note pretending to be Sissi, and that's considered perfectly OK). Later seasons tone down this aspect, fortunately.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: This is taken Up to Eleven in the episode "Operation: A.R.C.H.I.V.E.", about the origins of the title organization, which states that children only created adults to be their slaves and generally treating them horribly, and not doing one actual heroic thing the entire episode. Justified because the episode is not canon, but just the ramblings and speculations of Numbuh One, who has no idea what he is talking about. Maybe. The episode ends on an ambiguous note (the teacher calls someone and says "They know."), and it may explain the origins of Grandfather. Numbuh One does seem to hint at both sides being at fault until adults usurped control (where the even tone began going maniacal).
  • Sam Manson of Danny Phantom is Danny's best friend and supposed true love and is favored by the creator, Butch Hartman. However, many see her as a Hypocrite and worse than his other love interest, Valerie. Throughout the show, Sam had a tendency to impose her will on other characters, from forcing the entire school to join her vegetarian lifestyle,to blackmailing her friends into releasing zoo animals, to scolding Danny for purposely getting rid of his powers without considering the stress and trouble he had been going through because of them (especially since she was the one who convinced him to do the deed that resulted in the Freak Lab Accident that gave him his powers to begin with).
  • The Dragon Prince: Much of the fandom feels this way about King Harrow. He's supposed to be an example of The Good King, but many of his actions within the plot simply don't align with this. He was perfectly willing to allow tens of thousands of his subjects to starve simply so tens of thousands of others from another kingdom might live, disregarding that he had a responsibility to look out for his people. When Viren found a solution to save the people, he foolishly refuses to leave his wounded behind to travel more covertly, which causes their party to lose valuable time behind enemy lines and results in the death of his wife, two queens from another kingdom, and the Dragon King. This causes elven assassins to attack Harrow's kingdom. Even worse, Harrow does not take responsibility for his actions and blames Viren and his magic for all these things, causing a rift between them and Viren's descent into villainy. No one ever calls out Harrow for these things and the main characters look back on him with fondness that doesn't seem wholly deserved given the circumstances.
  • The Land of Dreams in The Dreamstone is presented as a saintly community whose love for peaceful dreams are always under threat by Zordrak and his malicious Urpney army. They tend to ignore the fact however, that most of the Urpneys are Trapped in Villainy and only try to take the Dreamstone or ruin their dreams because Zordrak press gangs, abuses or executes those that refuse. The heroes were also often depicted with an excessively nasty zeal, brutally beating up or toying with the Urpneys, often as they begged for mercy. Some episodes even borderline conveyed the heroes as hypocrites, fine with bullying the Urpneys for petty slights but cowering and surrendering the moment they acted too much like the dastardly villains they touted them as. The later points of the show tried to make the heroes look more benevolent, but since the Urpneys for the large part remained the same unwilling non-threats, it was still a delicate dance for them to look provoked by them.
  • The Cul-de-Sac kids from Ed, Edd n Eddy. They may be Hero Antagonists, but their actions make them come off more or less like bullies. The Eds themselves are no saints either (this is especially true with Eddy), but they would torment them for little to no reason whatsoever.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, while Mandy is intentionally a Villain Protagonist, Billy is generally portrayed as a Kindhearted Simpleton and the Token Good Teammate. This is in spite of the fact that he is often just as much of a jerk, treats his supposed friend Grim like a slave, has been known to use Grim's control over death as a weapon to get rid of people he dislikes (or attempt to anyway), and has committed all kinds of evil acts for little to no reason, such as sacrificing everyone else in town to an alien creature for no reason other than that he didn't have anything better to do.
  • This is one of the many problems viewers have with Johnny Test:
    • The title character bugs most everyone around him, participates in his sisters' experiments only in return for favors (which doesn't sound that bad - you can't expect something for nothing - but what Johnny asks for in return tends to end up being really reckless), and is really just a textbook example of the bratty Kid Hero, which makes it extremely difficult to like him, let alone root for him. It doesn't help that he gets away with his behavior nearly 99% of the time. One infamous example of this is when Johnny unintentionally zaps his sisters with a ray that lowers their IQ. Rather than immediately trying to find a way to return them back to their genius selves, he takes total advantage of their stupidity for his own amusement initially. In fact, the only reason he turns them back to normal (with the help of Bling-Bling Boy) is because the school the girls go to would've gone through a nuclear meltdown (don't ask).
    • Dukey, despite being the more level-headed one, isn't exempt from this either. While he does point out when Johnny is about to do something stupid and/or irresponsible, he's perfectly willing to join in with his friend's antics (And, if not, he's easily bribed with meat). One episode even had Dukey blatantly distracting Johnny from getting his schoolwork done causing Johnny to have to do extra credit (so he wouldn't have to go to summer school). Another infamous episode featured Dukey acting like a Jerkass dog (Including chewing up the sisters' belts and eating their food) causing said sisters' to invent an obedience collar for him to get him under control (albeit using him as a servant). In the end, it's Susan and Mary who end up being punished and Dukey and Johnny mock them for it. Again, Dukey is portrayed as a Karma Houdini here. Not once is Dukey called out or punished for essentially putting Johnny in that situation in the first place (It's also Out of Character for Dukey since he's often the more responsible one of the two).
    • Susan and Mary are as likely as Johnny to put themselves, their family, and the world in danger with their inventions, and usually Johnny is the one who ends up fixing it.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Hank Hill is usually a well-meaning person, but at times he is shown to be laughably old-fashioned compared to a more modern family that it's not even funny. Other times, he shows total disregard to his family and friends (ex. "Texas City Twister", "Pretty Pretty Dresses", etc.). The most ludicrous example probably has to be “Hank’s on Board”. After Hank and Bill discover that Dale and Boomhauer take secret fishing trips every summer, Hank thinks that they have been trying to avoid Bill. But, when the guys open up a vacation to include their relatives he discovers that Boomhauer and Dale are trying to get away from Hank because he is too bossy. When Hank cuts loose, the guys get into big trouble just as Hank thought, stranded in the ocean next to their fishing boat with no way to climb back up to it. Hank's take-charge nature saves the four in the end, as he devises a means to summon help so they can be rescued. The problem is, as Dale said, it was Hank’s fault that they got in trouble as not only was he the last one to jump off the boat, but Dale and Boomhauer have been doing this four years without a problem. To make matters worse, it turns out that Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer faked the fabulous time they had without Hank even though he didn’t find out that they were trying to get away from him until after they did that.
    • Also, Peggy. She sees herself as the sensible, long-suffering one, but there are many, many different reasons why she's a Base-Breaking Character.
  • The Lizzie short "Fifty Shades of Green" has Lizzie grossed out by her parents constantly showing affection toward each other in front of her. She eventually deals with this by tricking her father into watching a home movie of her grandparents getting intimate on her parents' anniversary, which disgusts her father to the point that he never wants to express his love toward his wife ever again. It's real hard to side with the protagonist when their goal was to ruin their parents' anniversary for selfish reasons.
  • The Loud House: The Loud sisters fall into this whenever they're thrown the Jerkass Ball. Lincoln is by no means a saint either, but we're rarely if ever supposed to see him as being in the right when he does something selfish. When his sisters do so, on the other hand, they rarely if ever face repercussions for it. Quite a few episodes have them being completely oblivious and/or ignorant of the abuse they put Lincoln through and typically getting away with it. They also often meddle in Lincoln's life, sometimes to suit their own needs, which can have negative consequences for him and can be very intrusive, not respecting his privacy. "The Sweet Spot", "Sound of Silence", "Sleuth or Consequences", "Brawl in the Family" and "No Such Luck" are notable episodes that elicited this reaction (and it doesn't help the latter episode's case that Chris Savino himself chastised fans on Facebook for defending Lincoln). Thankfully, after Season 2 the writers seem to have finally stopped throwing Lincoln and his sisters the Jerkass Ball.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • The mouse in Canned Feud is apparently supposed to be the hero of the short, but it's difficult to see him as such. The short focuses on Sylvester's owners going on vacation and forgetting to put him out before they leave. He's understandably afraid that he'll starve, but as it turns out there's a huge supply of canned cat food in the house. Cue the mouse, who swipes the can opener and won't let Sylvester have it, then proceeds to spend the rest of the short tormenting Sylvester with it. And when Sylvester DOES get the can opener, the mouse improvises by locking the cupboard. Sylvester did nothing to provoke this mouse, nor does he even attempt to eat the mouse at any point in the short. And yet we're apparently supposed to cheer on the mouse as he torments Sylvester with the intent of making him starve.
    • In Lighthouse Mouse, we have another mouse who, thanks to a contrived Light and Mirrors Puzzle, is unable to sleep thanks to the lighthouse light and suppose to feel he's justified in trying to keep it off, disregarding the fact that by turning off the light, the mouse is putting ships in danger, as seen when a ship crashed into the island. Further contradicting the mouse's case is the fact that at the end of the cartoon, after Sylvester is forced to play the light after the mouse had permanently damaged it, the mouse is seen sleeping soundly underneath the light platform, proving that the mouse's problem could've been solved by simply finding somewhere else to sleep.
  • Vendetta, on the Nicktoons show Making Fiends, is technically the villain of the story, since she creates the monsters that keep the rest of the town under her thumb. But when "good girl" Charlotte moves to town, the natural order of things is turned on its head by the fact that she's completely immune to the antics of Vendetta's creations and is completely obnoxious to boot. As she progresses blithely through the series, bringing about her own destruction in the process, the townspeople find her even more terrifying then Vendetta. More than once, Vendetta is forced into the role of hero to undo Charlotte's reign of tyranny. Maybe the evil test was right after all. The irony of the show is that Charlotte with her absolute "ignorance is bliss" attitude makes Vendetta powerless because she can't see the reasons to be afraid and thus cannot be swayed by Vendetta's reign of terror. So in short, we have a messed-up insecure bully who cannot conceive of the idea of someone not fearing her and unknowingly annoying her with her friendliness, and a messed-up happy-go-lucky girl who lives in her own happy-go-lucky world and has obvious issues.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: Many of Sheldon detractors see him this way. While he does mean well and is a very kind and sweet admirer to Jenny, you can’t forget the fact that he ruined 2 of her dates out of jealousy and broke into her and stole her plans so he could figure out a way to get her to fall in love with him.
  • Many fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic feel that Princess Celestia is this, though this can be debated. She's usually portrayed as a loving, benevolent ruler who is kind to her subjects and extremely forgiving even by pony standards (while most reformed villains are Easily Forgiven, only Celestia and Fluttershy were willing to give Discord a chance, and even after redemption the others only forgave him after he helped them defeat Tirek following a temporary betrayal). But while some fans see her this way, as she is clearly meant to be, others have called her out for the following:
    • Many think she was too harsh in banishing Nightmare Moon for a thousand years, when, as Luna, she only turned against her because she didn't get the same love that Celestia got. This can be countered that Nightmare Moon declared her intent to murder Celestia, and that Word of God says that Celestia released Nightmare Moon so that the Mane 6 could purify her back to Luna - though this itself has sparked talk that this was no different from what Discord did in Season 9.
    • She makes no attempt to save Rarity when she has her Icarus moment and nearly falls to her death, though the Wonderbolts did attempt this immediately and by the time Rarity accidentally knocked them out, only Rainbow Dash, with her Sonic Rainboom, was barely able to save them.
    • She has Twilight make some friends, who share a powerful bond. This seems all well and good and had some wonderful results, but this, and everything Twilight goes through, eventually sets her up to become not only an alicorn princess, but the next ruler of Equestria so she could retire - without asking Twilight if she wanted to. Many fans feel Twilight was not ready based on the later episode A Trivial Pursuit; furthermore, she was freaking out so hard about this despite her friends' best attempts to help that Discord impersonated legendary villain Grogar, revived King Sombra, and united Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow as his legion to try to improve Twilight's confidence by having her defeat them - which went horribly wrong and nearly ended in disaster. While it is true that, after the battle with Sombra, she decided to let Twilight wait until she felt she was ready, and she seemed to know that Twilight would find a way to still be able to hang out with her friends, in the series finale, the other Mane 5 show signs of age where Twilight doesn't, and is the same size as Celestia with a flowing mane and tail, implying that Twilight is now immortal and will have to watch her friends die of old age and spend an eternity without them, after Celestia had her become friends with them in the first place. However, there are even ways around this; Alicorns may be long-lived rather than immortal (Word of God has said they don't know how long Twilight will live for, and, though more in relevance to Granny Smith, "nopony lives forever"; Discord may revive the other Mane 5 repeatedly like he did with Sombra; and Twilight has the freedom to retire when she wants to, as Celestia and Luna did.
    • In the process, Celestia let Twilight fight all the villains that threatened Equestria as part of her training (even going as far as "testing" Twilight against Equestria's most evil and dangerous enemy, King Sombra, counting on her making the right decisions and putting the fate of Equestria before her test results, which, admittedly, she did, and could simply be a symbol of Celestia's immense faith in Twilight, but Luna was iffy about it all the same); the only time she actively intervened was against Chrysalis, likely out of anger that she had deceived her into turning against Twilight, though she did decorrupt Twilight when it seemed Discord had won, allowing her to do the same to her friends. Some have compared all this to Discord's actions in Season 9, and called her a hypocrite for calling him out for it.
    • Many were also uncomfortable with the fact that she basically executed a filly, Cozy Glow, by permanently turning her to stone. Others have countered, however, that Cozy Glow may not have deserved special treatment for her age on account of being a murderous, manipulative, unrepentant psychopath every bit as evil and dangerous as Chrysalis and Tirek; furthermore, Word of God has said she is actually older than she physically appears, and even if she isn't, given her sadistic grin at planning to murder the other Mane 5 and Spike (which is G1 Tirek levels of villainy) and actually attempting to do the same to Twilight on more than one occasion, it is speculated the reason her parents do not appear is because she killed them, though others speculate that, given her origins are unknown, she may have had a tragic backstory that Celestia didn't bother to explore before throwing her in Tartarus the first time.
    • Non-Celestia examples: While Rainbow Dash still saves Equestria twice alongside her friends in Season 9, both the rest of Season 9 and most of Season 8, as well as the Season 6 episode "28 Pranks Later" (which begins with her playing a frightening prank on Fluttershy despite having agreed with Pinkie to never prank her five seasons ago), often portray her as an arrogant jerk who seems to forget about her character development. The most infamous of these episodes are Non-Compete Clause, where she regresses into ridiculous levels of competitiveness with Applejack that endangers the students nearly causing Yona to drown, and 2, 4, 6, Greaaat, where she repeatedly shows disinterest in teaching cheerleading and tries to get out of it. This is in contrast to earlier seasons which, despite having a more inflated ego and, at one point, cheating in the race, she has been shown to be more heroic and compassionate (particularly shown in Hurricane Fluttershy and two back to back Season 3 episodes). Although, her concern for Scootaloo in The Washouts (a Season 8 episode) still stands, though this is lacking when Sombra brainwashes Ponyville in Season 9.
    • In the Season 9 episode Daring Doubt, Daring Do is made out to be this, and her nemesis, Ahuizotl, a Designated Villain (with Ahuizotl being tasked to protect the artifacts that Daring Do "steals", though when she hears Ahuizotl's side of the story she agrees to stop). Caballeron claims the same but was faking it, though Fluttershy later reforms him. Many fans find this hard to swallow (given that Ahuizotl has threatened the land and Daring Do saved it from him, and he has tried to kill her, sometimes with elaborate death scenes often set up by Bond villains) and Fanon Discontinuity the episode.
  • The Powerpuff Girls can be this trope depending on the episode. Some episodes have the girls doing some things that are underhanded at best, un-heroic at worst and they are almost always portrayed in the right. Unlike other examples, however, this is balanced out in some episodes as the girls do learn from their mistakes and better themselves.
    • One of the more infamous examples happens in the episode "Mime for a Change". A freak accident involving a truck full of bleach turns Rainbow the Clown into Mr. Mime, who begins to drain Townsville of all color and sound. The girls managed to return the town and Rainbow to normal, but when he thanks them for bringing him back to his senses, the girls beat him to a pulp and send him to prison even though it was painfully clear he was Not Himself. Uniquely, this is a Justified Trope moment: According to Word of God, they originally wanted to give him the Pet the Dog ending everyone thought he deserved, but Executive Meddling refused to let the "bad guy" be a Karma Houdini (they evidently didn't know the meaning of Split Personality) — so the staff deliberately invoked Esoteric Happy Ending as a public Take That! against said executives. The issue apparently got cleared up as he is seen attending the girls' birthday party in a later episode.
    • In the episode "Major Competiton", a new superhero named Major Man stops crimes before the girls can, but they eventually discover he's a fraud who sets up crimes in advance. Their plan to expose him? Hire a giant monster to attack the town without him knowing and force him to confess. The girls managed to get away with it even.
    • One of the more egregious examples happen in the episode "Candy Is Dandy". The girls develop an addiction to candy and the Mayor will give them candy whenever they save the day. When crime in Townsville is slow, they decide to hire Mojo Jojo to attack the town, get defeated by the girls, and they would break him out on the next day to do it again. When the Mayor informs them that Mojo stole their candy, the girls give him a vicious What the Hell, Hero? that leaves the poor man in tears before confronting Mojo, who gleefully admits he stole their candy just to get under their skin. Cue one of the most vicious beatdowns in the series as they kick the everloving shit out of him. It was so bad that the girls themselves eventually saw how far they've fallen and apologize to the Mayor for their actions.
    • In the episode "Ploys R Us", the girls awake to find their room filled with toys and discover the Professor has been robbing the toy store while sleepwalking. Instead of trying to prevent it, the girls take advantage of his nighttime strolls and have him steal toys for them while pretending to investigate the thefts. Eventually, the professor catches on to the girls's scheme and with the Mayor's help, tricks them into confessing. The girls again apologize for their actions and, while they're offered to keep the toys as they were all paid for, they reject them as they know that they didn't deserve them, and the toys go to the Mayor instead.
    • In the episode "Slave the Day", The girls save Billy of the Gangreen Gang from being killed by an oncoming subway and to show his gratitude, he becomes their personal butler. With each well-intentioned feat, he causes horrendous collateral damage and eventally gets a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Blossom which causes him to go back to the gang. The gang tries to kill the girls by trapping them on a subway track, but Billy gets a change of heart and rescues them. Instead of gratiude, the girls beat the crap out of him along with the gang even though he had clearly turned against the gang.
    • Deconstructed in "A Very Special Blossom". On Father's Day, Blossom wants to get the Professor some very expensive golf clubs for a gift. So, after stopping Mojo Jojo's rampage, she finds the set and steals it, which causes the Professor to get arrested when he goes to a golf game. Blossom at first tries to lie her way out of it by saying Mojo sold her the golf clubs, but is eventually forced to confess that she stole them. She is then sentenced to Community Service.
    • Deconstructed also in the Buttercup-centered episode, "Makes Zen To Me". During a fight with Fuzzy Lumpkins, Buttercup uses way more force than necessary and is called out on her violent actions by the girls and Fuzzy's doctor, who outright tells her she is no hero as her actions have left Fuzzy with crippling injuries. She then seeks the help of an Old Master to help find inner peace and curb her violent ways.
    • Buttercup from The Powerpuff Girls (2016) is depicted as being right usually, but she's completely okay with beating up other people, even if they did nothing to bother her. She also calls Silico "messed up in the head" after he tells her and her sisters his sad backstory.
    • In "Little Octi Lost", we're supposed to be rooting for her when she loses Octi. She originally was going to just hide him because Bubbles lost a kickball game, but Packrat ended up stealing Octi. Bubbles had a completely good reason to be pissed at Buttercup for what she did, but Bubbles is presented as in the wrong, and Buttercup's presented as in the right for trying to hide her sister's most prized possession for a minor mistake.
    • In "Moral Decay", Buttercup suddenly develops an obsession with money and starts knocking teeth out of villains to get more of it from the tooth fairy. While what she does is pretty selfish, her sisters don't try to talk to her about this. They instead organise for every villain in Townsville to beat the crap out of Buttercup, gloat about it and then Buttercup's money has to go towards paying her dental bills. Blossom and Bubbles are presented like they are the good guys in this situation.
  • This trope is the main complaint fans have with Pucca. While the title heroine is a Nice Girl for the most part, she's also an Abhorrent Admirer, a Yandere, a Clingy Jealous Girl, and a Stalker with a Crush par excellence who torments Garu to no end and anyone who gets in between her and Garu is beaten senselessly whether they're right or wrong. The other characters in the show are fully aware of how ridiculously creepy Pucca can be around Garu, but they write it off as "Funny Love". Despite this, we're supposed to root for her because everyone in Sooga Village loves her unconditionally (even naming a year after her) even though she gets away with things that would get any other character arrested years ago. The fact that she's an Invincible Hero who can effortlessly solve her problems does not help her case.
  • This most certainly applies to Mindy from Ready Jet Go!. In most episodes, especially in Season 2, she's either bland as tofu or a major Bratty Half-Pint. She's especially mean to Sean; she's mocked him, forced him to go into space against his will, and most heinous of all, triggered his PTSD. And the cherry on top; she has an annoying voice. Despite all this, she's treated as a holy deity who can do no wrong.
  • The heroes of the show Redakai seem to be having some trouble with how to act heroic.
    • For example, they protect the Great Pyramids of Giza by leaping onto said monument and goading their enemies into firing at it.
    • In another episode, Maya, who is supposed to be The Smart Girl, leads the charge to protect the forest they're in by hurling flames everywhere.
    • One of the shows villain groups, The Imperiaz, are a trio of siblings working for the show's Big Bad reluctantly because he's holding their parents hostage. The heroes are aware of this, but rather than wanting to help or at least showing a little sympathy, they have no remorse making light of the siblings' situation to taunt them.
    • In the show, there exists something called "The Kairu Honor Code." So far, there are three parts of it. The Kairu must be taken from the object by the team that gets the rights to it. The second part is that Kairu Warriors must never attack ordinary people. The third part is that attacking your opponent even after they forfeit is forbidden. Even Lokar can't stand anyone who breaks the code and actually disbands the team that does. Team Stax, the good guys, attack normal people, and get away with it because they're the heroes.
    • One of those times, Team Stax attacked an ordinary person by stringing him by his ankles to a pterodactyl. And they're supposed to be portrayed in the right when they do this.
  • Regular Show:
    • Mordecai and Rigby fall into this trope a lot of the time, thanks to being lazy slackers who blow off their park-keeper jobs to spend hours playing video games. Since they get to live in a house provided for them by their job, it comes off worse, because there is no way either of them have the life skills to support themselves. When it comes to any job they're assigned, they usually do it halfheartedly and poorly. It's no wonder Benson comes off as an uptight Jerkass around them, and it's been shown when they actually do an okay job, he lightens up and becomes friendly towards them.
    • Rigby alone must get a mention for being incredibly childish, bad-tempered, petty and fickle. Much of the conflict in the show is caused by him getting mad over something trivial. Special mention to the episode where he learns the "Death Punch" and goes around beating everyone up. The reason? Mordecai made him be Player 2 in a video game.
  • An in-universe example on Sidekick is Maxum Man, who is hailed as the greatest hero of all time, even though he mostly just takes credit for the actions of his Kid Sidekick, who are rewarded by being maimed repeatedly, often by him. Also, many of the villains he faces became supervillains as Disproportionate Retribution for his being a jerk to them.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons with The Itchy & Scratchy Show; most of the time Scratchy is doing nothing wrong and Itchy brutally butchers or beats him for no reason. This is lampshaded a few times:
    Homer: Which one's the mouse?
    Bart: Itchy.
    Homer: Itchy's a jerk.
    • It's taken to such elaborate measures In-Universe that the show's interpretation of God once sided with Itchy killing Scratchy for fun and sent the latter to burn in the pits of hell.
    • Marge and Lisa. While the show generally enlists them into Straight Man roles against the former two, there are plenty of cases the girls can be just too priggish, hypocritical or self-serving in their cause to side with.
    • Frank Grimes from "Homer's Enemy". We're supposed to see him as a sympathetic character for having to put up with Homer, except that Homer, as incompetent as he is, spends the entire episode trying to be nice to Frank and yet Frank lashes out at him out of jealousy that Homer's life is, as far as he knows, better than his, claiming that he doesn't deserve his success and then attempting to humiliate him even after Homer attempted to make amends.
    • Lampshaded In-Universe in Tales From the Public Domain when the story of Joan of Arc is told with Lisa playing the part of Joan.
      Joan of Arc (played by Lisa): We must defeat the British. Their belief in individual rights will undermine the power of our beloved tyrant!
  • Skunk Fu!:
    • Rabbit certainly counts. He's supposed to be a hero, yet he spends most of the time acting like an arrogant Jerkass around everyone else. This is the same series in which the Big Bad got his Start of Darkness for being arrogant.
    • The Heavens themselves could be seen as this despite being the Big Good of the series. It's explained in the official source material of the series that when Dragon asked if he could use his water powers to save the village, The Heavens said nothing. This causes Dragon to use his powers making The Heavens take away his water powers (he originally could control fire and water). Not once did The Heavens simply tell Dragon he couldn't use his powers to save the village (which, by the way, was dying from a drought). Even worse is that they are said to have punished Dragon for his arrogance. Even if Dragon was acting haughty at the time, causing him to want to essentially destroy the same village he tried to save years ago out of vengeance is far from a heroic act.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Both SpongeBob and Patrick fall under this trope, they are always seen as lovable goofballs who are completely innocent, but they also do insensitive and jerkish things when they don't realize it, which include harassing Squidward by barging in his house, forcing him into their activities that he doesn't want any part in, and not noticing the harm they inflict on him. SpongeBob himself also constantly endangers Mrs. Puff by repeatedly driving recklessly and never notices her fear and doesn't realize that his actions almost got her killed.
    • Patrick is this Depending on the Writer. In "Yours, Mine, and Mine", Patrick "borrows" money from SpongeBob to "share" a Krabby Meal together, eating it himself. Then, when Mr. Krabs makes a toy, Patrick claims that since he and SpongeBob are still "sharing", he should get to play with it. Long story short, Pat eventually never lets SpongeBob play with the "toy" that he paid for and eats it just so SpongeBob can't have it. After the two eventually make-up, Pat offers to pay for some new toys, by using SpongeBob's wallet. When SpongeBob calls him out on that, he asks him "Have you learned nothing about sharing?"
  • Many of the characters fall under this in Star vs. the Forces of Evil :
    • Star may be the hero of the series, but she has a lot of actions that paint her in a much less sympathetic light. She often acts impulsively without thinking about others, is prone to running away from her problems instead of trying to fix them, suffers little to no consequences for her actions, has rather self-centered behavior in regards to dealing with romantic interests like Marco and Tom even after her character development in season 3, and shows a lot of blatant hypocrisy in season 4 by expecting others to trust her, yet doesn't have the decency to trust others, and also by scolding others for exhibiting flaws that she is still shown to have. It gets even worse in the series finale, "Cleaved", where she commits magical genocide and yet suffers virtually no consequences whatsoever.
    • Glossaryk can also be considered this. He's intended to be a neutral character with a sense of mysticism, yet he's never clear with his intentions, and shows no regret/remorse when he shows tough love with those he's helping, showing a very smug snideness. His scenes where he feels unappreciated for his efforts makes him look like an Ungrateful Bastard.
    • Moon is considered this in "Here To Help" and subsequent episodes. It turns that she was responsible for the attacks that Mina and her army inflicted on Mewni, thinking that Eclipsa was not fit to rule. Even if she never wanted any innocents to be harmed, and didn't want Eclipsa and Globgor caught in the crossfire, it doesn't change the fact that she was essentially planning a coup behind her back, and proves that she still doesn't trust Star to make her own decisions. Plus, she almost got Star and her friends killed. Her showing regret is all talk and no show, and thus Star scolding her is more than justified.
    • Pony Head really falls into this. In her first appearance, she tried murdering Marco out of petty jealousy. Subsequent episodes try showing more of her humanity, but with how narcissistic and egotistical she is, she looks like a near psychopath. Not helping things us how she's severely underdeveloped.
    • Starting in season 3, Marco is this for much of the same reasons as Star. His more jerkish, stubborn, and standoffish behavior is simply meant to be him being too confident in himself, but he's so smug and narcisstic about it that he comes across as cold and selfish, and he's never properly called out for it.
  • Super Noobs: All six of the main characters of the show.
    • The Noobs are four twelve year old kids who are tasked with protecting earth from the virus but many of their actions are far from being considered heroic. They mainly use their battle balls for selfish gain, cause mischief that wreaks as much havoc on Cornbury as the virus itself, and their behavior in many of the episodes is very bratty and rude.
    • Memnock and Zenblock too. Although they are alien warriors sworn to protect the universe from the virus and stand in as mentors to the Noobs, they spend a huge amount of their screen time either being vitriolic towards each other or taking the Idiot Ball and behaving very childishly when tempted with exploring what Earth has to offer.
  • The Teen Titans would usually go in this territory in Teen Titans Go!, to the point where it can have a sub-page because of it. The show itself is fully aware of this, due to all the Self-Deprecation and lampshading their less-than-heroic behavior, and it's usually very tongue-in-cheek about it.
    • In "Girls Night Out", Starfire and Raven free Jinx and they go on a crime spree.
    • In "Artful Dodgers", the Titans cheat at a dodgeball game between them and the Hive Five, and it's hinted they have done this before. And when the Hive win their game despite their blatant cheating, the Titans have them arrested so they would win by default. Made worse by the fact that both Robin and Starfire point out that "cheaters never prosper."
    • Also in "Artful Dodgers," Raven eats at least one opposing team of dodgeball players alive for gently hitting her that she didn't even try to dodge and it's Played for Laughs.
    • In the infamous "Staring at The Future", Beast Boy and Cyborg, upon being sent to a future where the rest of the Titans are responsible people with productive lives, decide to selfishly and deliberately ruin the others futures just to create a world where they won't have to deal with responsibility.
    • In "Baby Hands", when the Titans have their memories erased by Brother Blood, Robin takes advantage of their amnesia to retrain them to respect him by telling them outlandish stories of their origins, all to feed his ego.
    • In "Second Christmas", Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Raven lie to Starfire, causing her to miss a holiday on her planet, just so they can have more stuff.
    • In "Ghost Boy", Beast Boy treats Starfire like a slave as a prank and when the Titans cast a spell of transparency on him to make him think he's a real ghost, Beast Boy retaliates by pretending to jump into a volcano, leading to the Titans accidently killing themselves when they try to stop him. He even has the gall to laugh at them.
    • In "Opposites", Cyborg begins dating Jinx for no reason even though she's a villain, and eventually convinces the other titans to become criminals so there is nothing to keep them apart.
    • In "Salty Codgers", Raven intentionally lets the others be turned into old people by Mad Mod because she found old people adorable, causing them to die of old age. And when she pulls a Batman Gambit on Death to get their souls back, he instead turns them into zombies as revenge. Raven shows no concern as she finds zombies just as adorable as old people. This is even Lampshaded by Death.
      Death: Shortening the lives of your friends for your own selfish desires. So very evil, Raven. I love it!
    • In the episode "Mas Y Menos", while mentoring the title twins, Robin treats Menos horribly, believing him to be a hindrance to his brother Mas. He even lies to Menos about Mas being in a hospital so he could spend more time with Mas. The other Titans are appalled at his actions, but Robin shows no remorse. And when the twins's energy overloads and nearly endangers the city, Robin helps stop them, but at the end of the episode, he outright says that the most important part of being the hero is to put yourself in the spotlight and steal the glory.
    • In the episode "Puppets, Whaaaaat?", Robin is fed up with the Titans's constant disobedience, so he sells their souls to the evil Puppet Wizard and turns them into puppets. Though he helps the Titans regain their souls, the end of the episode implies he hasn't learned his lesson.
    • In "Breakfast Cheese", all four members of the team, sans Starfire, are depicted as blatant sociopathic heroes who beat up criminals for fun and use being heroes as an excuse for their violent behavior. Starfire is disgusted by their actions and attempts to curb their violent tendencies.
    • In "Brain Food", Beast Boy uses Raven's spell book to make the other Titans dumber than he is just as they are attempting to destroy an oncoming asteroid just so he could feel smart. Had Silkie, accidentally made smarter by the spell, not come to the rescue with his giant robot, the city would've been destroyed.
    • In "Lazy Sunday", after Robin donates the couch to a retirement home in an attempt to curb Beast Boy and Cyborg's laziness, the two trick the others into helping them steal it back.
    • Aqualad is depicted in much the same way in the episode "Pirates". Instead of being a Friend to All Living Things, he treats his sea creatures like slaves, constantly standing on them and using them as stepping stones. Aqualad even has a large amount of sea creatures fed to sharks to impress Raven (who, being a Designated Hero herself, enjoys watching them be eaten). At the end of the episode, it turns out he's a pirate. It would be more shocking that a superhero became a looting, pillaging, murdering pirate who treats sea creatures like slaves and has them fed to sharks if half the show wasn't essentially an animated Fauxtivational Poster.
    • In the episode "The Hive Five", the Titans's Jerkass behavior is taken Up to Eleven. After suffering constant prank calls from the Titans, the Hive decide to take a day off to avoid them. But their day off is ruined when the Titans intrude on them.
    • Deconstructed in the episode "A Farce" where Brother Blood and the Brain take the Titans to court for their careless destruction of Jump City. They are all found guilty at the end of the episode.
  • The original Teen Titans were this in the episode "Mother Mae Eye", where, at the end, they send the pie containing the titular villain to the Hive Five. It's supposed to be funny, but it's essentially attempted mass murder by proxy.
  • Tom and Jerry:
    • Jerry comes off as this when he's just being mean for the sake of it. In most episodes, we're expected to support Jerry while Tom is constantly fed to the lions because, after all, Cats Are Mean. In the writers's defense, they weren't utterly oblivious to this, and actually let Jerry lose to Tom on a fair few occasions he really crossed the line.
    • One good example of Tom actually winning is "Timid Tabby", where Tom's identical cousin George, who is scared of mice, comes over. Jerry mistakes him for Tom and keeps tormenting him when he realizes his fear, coming across as a jerk. Finally Tom and George work together to scare Jerry out of the house.
    • Other examples where Jerry loses include "The Year of the Mouse," where he is particularly sadistic, and "The Million Dollar Cat", where when Tom learns he'll inherit a million dollars so long as he doesn't harm a mouse for the rest of his life, he milks it for all its worth and torments him throughout the short.
    • There was one episode of the series where Tom was beheaded by his owner for failing to stop Jerry and Nibbles stealing food set out on the royal banquet table. Jerry and Nibbles are Musketeers in the episode, and they're stealing food from the king — the person they're supposed to be protecting — with Tom as one of the palace guards designated to keep an eye on the banquet for later that night. In other words, they're supposed to be on the same side, and the mice are still stealing the food. At the end of the episode, as the mice are walking away with their tiny arms loaded with food, we hear a drum roll, and they look up to see the rise and drop of the guillotine. Nibbles swallows the bite of food in his mouth with a momentarily surprised look, says "Pauvre, pauvre pussycat," then casually shrugs his shoulders and says "Ah, well, c'est la guerre!" and they go off happily munching with jaunty theme music in the background.
    • The DtV movies are just as bad about this, with the exception being "The Fast and the Furry". In the others, Tom and Jerry often have to team up to save the day or find the MacGuffin, with Tom proving to be a good guy. But at the end, no matter what, Jerry screws over Tom without fail for no good reason. This, considering Tom not deserving it beyond being a cat, turns Jerry into a Jerkass bordering on Villain Protagonist.
    • The attitude towards Tom being the villain and Jerry the hero no matter what was probably best shown in "Heavenly Puss," where Tom dies and is told by the Gatekeeper he will be sent to Hell if he doesn't get Jerry's forgiveness for all the times he's persecuted him. Though it was All Just a Dream, it shows very well who was always the "Good Guy" in the creator's mind.
    • In one episode of Tom and Jerry Tales, Tom actually uses this to his advantage, catching wise to the "small underdog trickster always prevails" formula, he hires an even smaller cuter ant to steal back all the food Jerry took, and takes pleasure watching Jerry become the bumbling pursuer for once. Similarly, this is a rare occasion in which Tom gets the last laugh.
    • This is lampshaded and subverted in one episode where Tom is told by the King, who is trying to sleep, that if he hears a noise Tom loses his head. Jerry and Nibbles keep trying to make noise, finally causing Tom to scream in pain, waking the King. However, they realize that they have gone too far and Nibbles sings the King back to sleep, after which the mice and Tom quietly leave the room and resume fighting.
    • Another example involving Nibbles and Jerry as musketeers. Jerry is in love with a female mouse and has Nibbles deliver love letters to her. Each time, Nibbles is beaten senseless by Tom and comes back badly wounded, even crawling to him at one point. At no point does Jerry show any concern nor try to help him, all he cares about is whether he received a love letter from the girl. And when the girl sends him a letter that spurns his affections, he rips it up, pulls out a portrait of another girl, and sends Nibbles out to do it all over again. Made even worse as Nibbles is a kid. In other words, Jerry is performing blatant child abuse on a kids' show.
    • The basic premise of most shorts that involve Spike are as follows: Something Tom does angers Spike, Spike tells Tom not to do it again or else, Jerry overhears this and proceeds to ensure Tom gets in trouble from Spike and succeeds. "Hiccup Pup" actually subverts the part where Jerry succeeds by having Tom help Spike.
  • Total Drama:
    • The Killer Grips in "The Chefshank Redemption". They're seen as being in the right for forcing Gwen into throwing the challenge for her team and subsequently eliminating herself as blackmail for how Trent would keep throwing challenges for his team to keep her safe... Even though she had no idea that he was doing so in the first place.
    • Cody in World Tour. While Sierra's treatment of him does cross a few lines, he more-or-less acts the same way around Gwen, even after she and Duncan hook up.
    • Sierra in All-Stars. While she is a nice person at times, her obsession with Cody and the rest of the cast makes her seem ill-suited to the title of "hero", and she rarely shows said niceness to anyone who isn't Cody and her violent tendencies are rather extreme, having the intention to kill Heather in one episode with a freaking drill.
    • Duncan, while the show doesn't try to hide the fact he's a bully, he keeps getting treated by others as the good guy up against the real villain. Particularly prevalent in All-Stars where there's his In-Universe Villain Decay leading everyone (especially Chris) to keep hailing him as a hero.
    • Mike seems to have absolutely no problems with keeping damaging secrets from others, only to hurt them even more when he reveals them.
    • While Shawn is treated as one of the main heroic contestants of Pahkitew Island, some feel that he comes off as a Designated Hero due to his zombie schtick getting old very fast and making him occasionally very selfish and cowardly or excessively paranoid, as well as him being partially at fault for ruining his relationship with Jasmine, and being extremely reluctant to split the million dollars with her.
    • Sky from the same season falls into this boat too because of how harshly she treats Dave late in the season, her overly competitive nature coming off as largely unjustified, and her moments of hypocrisy earning her negative comparisons to Courtney. It doesn't help that many have also drawn negative parallels with Zoey.
  • Winx Club: Prince Sky in season one; he was dating Bloom while being engaged to Princess Diaspro and lied to the former about his true identity (though to be fair, he had a good reason). He later makes it right by breaking up with Diaspro to be with Bloom, but nobody save Bloom seems to call him out on the initial two-timing.
  • In the X-Men: Evolution episode "Joyride" Avalanche becomes this while Scott/Cyclops of all people becomes the Designated Villain. To explain the premise of the plot: Lance decides he'd rather be in the X-Men to get closer to Kitty. Scott doesn't trust him. The episode consists of Lance making it as difficult as possible to be trusted (he ruins not one, but two different training exercises for the sake of being the center of attention, taunts Scott about his trashed car, etc) and so when the new recruits take the various X-Vehicles for joyrides Lance gets blamed, not because the kids frame him, but because he outright gives the adults reason to. When the new recruits take the X-Jet out, Lance jumps on with Kitty to stop them. However, when all the chaos ends Lance confesses just to get into Scott's face. When Scott finds out he was innocent he apologizes, but Lance gets insulted by the fact he didn't trust him and quits the X-Men, not because of being blamed, but because he doesn't want to try. We're supposed to have sympathy for Lance even though he did all he could to ruin his chance of freedom.


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