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Dirty Coward / Western Animation

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  • Daffy Duck of Looney Tunes is a self-admitted one of these characters, and proud of it. He'll sell out his friends in an instant to save his own hide and/or claim wealth for himself. As he puts it, "Sure I'm a louse, but I'm a live louse!" During the "Hunter Trilogy" of cartoons, he freely admits he's only sending Elmer after Bugs because it's "Really duck season".
    • Inverted slightly in the Hunter's Trilogy, while he is out for "thelf-prethervation", he also seems very set on his rival getting his head blown off. The numerous instances Elmer actually turns his attention on Bugs, and naturally screws up, Daffy will actually go up to Elmer and berate him to his face to "Shoot him! SHOOT HIM!". On one occasion, he actually snatched the gun from Elmer and attempted to do the job himself, and the latter just walked off bewildered.
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    • His greed can overcome this, though: in "Ducking the Devil" (1957), he beats up the Tasmanian Devil when Taz takes some money from him!
      Daffy: I may be a coward, but I'm a greeeedy little coward!
  • Beavis And Butthead: In "Prank Call", when the Stevensons are being threatened by Harry Sachz, Mr. Stevenson offers Sachz to beat up Stewart to save his own skin. This wonderfully backfires on Mr. Stevenson, though.
  • There are many examples from Futurama:
    • When the chips are down, Zapp Brannigan is a coward. This quote from him sums it up.
      "I surrender and volunteer for treason!"
    • Bender. In one of the movies, he, Amy, and Fansworth are trapped by a bunch of orcs in a castle. Bender tells the two ladies he has a plan. The next scene shows him holding them up and tells the orcs to take his friends first, just to give him one more second of sweet sweet life. In "Bendin' in the Wind," the crew is plunging off a cliff. Bender grabs a nearby cable, loudly declaring, "I'll save ME!" The rest of the crew is only saved by grabbing his legs just in time.
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    • Fry is also this. In "The Series Has Landed", Fry gets a moon rover caught in a lunar dust pool. He declares "It's every man for himself!" and bails out, only to sink up to his neck in the very same dust. He immediately calls for Leela to save him. He gets called this in "War Is The H-Word" when he, wielding the only charged phaser, blasts himself a hole to hide in. Though at the end of that episode, he does ride a bouncing ball to the peace meeting to save the life of his best friend.
      Zapp Brannigan: Look at this sissy, Kif. While others were fighting and dying pointlessly, he was hiding in a hole; wallowing in a pool of his own cowardice.
      Fry: That wasn't cowardice!
    • Towards the end of the series, Leela would seem to override Fry's cowardice, particularly in "A Farewell to Arms", where Fry chooses to stay behind on an apparently doomed Earth to let Leela have a chance of life.
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    • President McNeal in "When Aliens Attack": when the Omicronians invade Earth his plan is to surrender immediately, right until it seems like the invaders are after him personally, at which point he sends Earth's forces on a suicidal attack and is prepared to let humanity be wiped out rather than hand himself over. Even Zapp Brannigan has a problem with this.
  • In Family Guy, Brian went to go find George W. Bush who went missing in the midst of Hurricane Katrina. Brian finds Bush hiding in a treehouse. Bush tells Brian to go away and ignores the dog's pleas to take action by rebuking "I'm reading Superfudge!" and "Don't make me do stuff".
  • Throughout Transformers, Starscream is and always has been a dirty coward, instinctively fleeing as soon as any fight starts even leaning in the enemy's favour. He will also fight like a coward, with cheap shots and ambushes, even if he probably had the advantage anyway.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in Transformers Animated, where he makes several clones to help him overthrow Megatron (hey, it's The Starscream we're talking about here), each of which represent one facet of his personality. This being Starscream, his 'army' consists of a pantophobenote , an egomaniacnote , a suck-upnote , a chronic liarnote , a Green-Eyed Monsternote , a greedy slagger note , and... a female clonenote .
  • The Fairly Oddparents: King Grippulon, supposedly a fearsome king, frequently uses his wife as a shield when his life is in danger, and is willing to put his son on the throne after there are several assassination attempts.
  • Captain Hero of Drawn Together.
  • Antoine of the Sonic The Hedgehog animated series, initially more of an arrogant Lovable Coward, was Flanderized into this trope later on, at least once offering to switch sides when the Freedom Fighter base had supposedly been found. Even Snively found him to be a " little worm".
  • Ben 10: con-artists Argit and Simian, although Simian can and will fight if backed into a corner.
    • Ben calls Malware out on being this in Omniverse when Malware sends a gasoline tanker at a busload of innocent children just to escape Ben.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Yon Rha, the man who killed Katara's mother, is this. When confronted by his victim's vengeful daughter, he cowers in terror, and while he admits that what he did was wrong, he offers his mother's life instead of his own. Katara merely gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and leaves.
  • Dale Gribble from King of the Hill will often sell out his friends or run away.
    • Everyone on it has traits of it. Each character on the show is more than willing to abandon each other at a minute's notice or rat the other out if the thought entered their mind, but doubly so for Peggy, who would often switch sides whenever it would benefit her. Going from supporting Hank when he was accused of Racism to claiming he was Racist just so she could enjoy a Double Standard with a smug smirk on her face. Whenever it's time to put up, she backs away or blames somebody else for what had happened when she's clearly at fault.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog:
    • Eustace Bagge. There's even one episode where the shadow of a deceased man, who spent the whole night scaring other people, declared that Eustace is an even bigger coward than Courage himself.
    • While Courage is usually a Cowardly Lion and The So-Called Coward, he falls into this at least once; in "Shirley the Medium," while he at first tries to save Eustace from the monster in Horst's money box, when the monster blocks off their escape route, Courage yells, "Okay, you can have him!", throws Eustace to the beast, and bugs out in a hurry. Since this is Eustace we are talking about, you won't feel bad for him.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door
    • The Delightful Children from Down the Lane are the biggest example. Apparently, the term "fair fight" is unknown to them, and they rarely confront even one member of Sector V without at least one Dumb Muscle, an army of mooks, or a Humongous Mecha supporting them. And if they lose their edge, they're quick to run for it. Of course, you can hardly blame them; the few times they have tried to stand up to them have been Curb-Stomp Battles (with them hitting the curb) and in the Series Finale, Numbuh One defeated all five of them alone.
    • Ironically, they were once KND Operatives before being Brainwashed by Father, and they were far braver originally, as proven when the effect was reversed. (Sadly, Numbuh Zero knew of no way to reverse it permanently.)
    • On the subject of irony, Father himself was like this when he was a child. While his far braver brother led the rebellion against their villainous father, he ran and hid like a coward. Thus, his brother would become the legendary Numbuh Zero, while he would grow up to be the KND's worst enemy. Of course, he became much braver as an adult, but in "Operation: Z.E.R.O.", while his heroic brother was still more than brave enough to face their father, the younger villain still chickened out.
    • Speaking of the last two examples, Grandfather himself seems to be one when Father went berserk on him, only regaining dominance when he backs out afterwards.
    • Another example from the show is Negative Numbuh Four. Given the fact that everyone in his world is an Evil Counterpart (or a good counterpart, if the character is evil) and a polar opposite of someone in the "real" world, he is Numbuh Four's opposite in every way, and is thus a coward in every sense of the word. (Amazingly, Numbuh Four is the first one to realize this, a rare case of him holding the Smart Ball.)
  • Flash Thompson wasn't one in the original Spider-Man comic, where he usually is portrayed as hot-headed and brave enough to face villains, but Ultimate Spider-Man made him one; in this version, he has no issues with trying to offer Peter as a snack to save his skin when confronted by Venom, and even left Harry Osborn behind to escape Taskmaster.
  • The Tick has Die Fledermaus, who has no problem ditching the other heroes of The City whenever trouble comes up.
  • Safari Joe in the original Thunder Cats. Lion-O assumes he's a coward from the start, and when he finally runs out of ammo and no longer has any tricks, the hero is proven right. The villain does nothing but fall to his knees and plead for his life. (Given what he had done, Lion-O might not have spared him if this had been the Darker and Edgier remake.)
  • The king in Wat's Pig does not want to fight the battles. During the second battle, he goes and hides under Wat's covers in the countryside while his brother does all the fighting. As a result, the invaders successfully take over the kingdom.
  • Preston Northwest from Gravity Falls. He was gonna leave everyone in his mansion to burn while a ghost wreaks havoc just to preserve his own dignity. And also trying to sell himself out to an interdimensional demon to save his own skin. Too bad it didn't end well for the latter.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • Major Man was secretly a coward with superpowers whose acts of heroism were all staged in order for him to gain popularity. When confronted with a real disaster, he proves entirely useless and has to beg the girls to bail him outnote .
    • This is usually averted with Blossom, but this is played straight in "A Very Special Blossom" when she stole golf clubs. In that episode, Blossom was so scared of getting in trouble from what she did that she did a very flimsy attempt to blame it on Mojo Jojo.
    • Also averted with the main trio, but in "Cootie Gras", they repeatedly fled for their lives in the worry that they would get cooties from Mojo Jojo's secret weapon, Harry Pitt.
    • Buttercup in "Moral Decay". In that episode, she takes away teeth from villains to get rich, but she is horrendously frightened when said villains try to beat her up.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In "School Spirit", when attacked by monsters, Brittney Wong uses the people around her (including a girl in a wheelchair) as shields and shoves several of them into the monsters to slow them down while trying to escape.
  • Dagur the Deranged from Dragons: Riders of Berk is a skilled warrior, loves violence, and is chief of the feared Berserker tribe. Yet for the first two seasons he never goes anywhere without a large armada backing him up, hides behind his men in battle, panics at the first sign of things going wrong, and begs for mercy when captured. He only fights when he has no choice or he gets enraged to a point his madness takes over.
  • Aku, Samurai Jack's foe, has always been a coward, rarely ever confronting Jack unless he somehow manages to disarm him of the sword — the one thing that can harm him — and fleeing at the slightest hint that he's in danger. Jack even mocks him in one episode by calling him a "cowardly shadow" when the villain is in mid-retreat. While some may call this pragmatic, the fact that Aku ever confronts Jack in the first place shows a lack of judgment. When Aku finally meets his end, both his future and past self react with pure terror to the realization the end has come, with Past Aku desperately fleeing from Jack with an expression of horror on his face.
  • In Ivanhoe: The King's Knight, Prince John shows shades of this at least once, but not without justification. While participating in a siege, he has all of the enemy's arrows being fired at him and intends to spend the rest of the siege watching it from a hill. As John so eloquently put it, "What is the point of having an army if all of their arrows are meant for me?"
  • Batman Beyond: Nelson is a great example, beating up a schoolmate until Terry steps in and challenges him, at which point he is no longer mister big and tough.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Homer Simpson in: "Kidney Trouble"". Homer gets scared and run away from an operation where he was donating a kidney to Grampa (losing them was Homer's fault in the first place), and spends the rest of the episode fleeing in shame. After he decides to return, he freaks out and flees AGAIN, only donating the kidney because he gets crushed by a falling car while running and the doctors just takes one of his kidneys while putting him back together.
    • The whole of Springfield becomes this in "Bart's Comet" when they unanimously decide to kick Ned out of his own bomb shelter. At first, not even his wife steps forward for him, but Ned being Ned, he leaves without argument, calmly singing to himself; after trying desperately not to listen, Homer (the one who suggested it) has a Heel Realisation and leaves so Ned doesn't have to face death alone, promptly followed by everyone else.
  • South Park:
    • In "Fantastic Easter Special", when the corrupt pope told Stan he'd let his dad go if he gave him the rabbit who's descended from St. Peter, Randy begged him to make the deal, but when he did, chewed him out, saying he'd have gladly died for the rabbit. Earlier in the episode, when he was being interrogated, he said that he didn't know where the rabbit was, but if he did.... "I'd probably tell you, 'cause I don't wanna be here anymore".
    • In "Super Fun Time", when a school field trip was turned into a hostage situation, Mr. Garrison's instant reaction was "please let me go, these children are worth more to you", and for the rest of the episode, anytime they talked about killing a hostage, he yelled "not me, not me, not me, not me".
    • In "Breast Cancer Show Ever", Eric Cartman is challenged to a fight with Wendy after he makes fun of breast cancer. He spends the entire episode trying get out of said fight, to no avail.
    • A particularity nasty example in Season 20 when Skankhunt42 (Gerald Brofloski) frames his toddler son for his crimes, just to avoid getting into trouble with his wife. The other trolls are rather disgusted by this.
  • In one of the U.S. Acres episodes of Garfield and Friends, Roy ends up facing competition when a new rooster named Plato arrives in the barnyard. All the hens immediately flock to him as he proves to be very intelligent, sensitive, and refined, especially compared to Roy. Roy eventually admits defeat and leaves, but when a weasel threatens the hens, Plato runs and hides while Roy ends up saving them, causing the hens to kick Plato to the curb, and the only one who still wanted him around was Wade Duck, mainly because he liked having someone around who was more cowardly than him.
  • DuckTales (1987): "Where No Duck Has Gone Before". The actor portraying Major Courage proves to be a bona-fide coward and abandons the others on an alien ship once he realizes they really are in outer space. This came as a shock to Huey, Dewey, and Louie, but not to Launchpad.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine: Henry was this in his introductory episode, "The Sad Story of Henry". He goes inside a tunnel and refuses to come out because he's afraid that the rain will spoil his paint and isn't concerned about getting the passengers to their destination. As a result, he gets bricked up in the tunnel "for always and always and always" as punishment for disobedience. In the next episode "Edward, Gordon, and Henry", he eventually regrets his decision and was allowed out of the tunnel and overcomes his fear of the rain.
  • PAWPatrol: Mayor Humdinger and the Kit-tastrophe crew. The latter is best exemplified when they cornered Marshall for taking the scroll from them and falling back the minute reinforcements arrived. And in the Mighty Pups Special, the former prevents himself from getting captured first by leaving his nephew to face the heroes alone. Uncle of the year, everybody.
  • Zilly from Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, will do anything to avoid getting in his plane, let alone go on their fruitless missions to stop Yankee Doodle Pigeon. He was hypnotized into being brave once, but he proved to be more a hazard than when he was a coward.

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