Follow TV Tropes

Following

Even Evil Has Standards / Western Animation

Go To


The following have their own pages:

Examples:

    open/close all folders 
Advertisement:

    A-C 
  • In Adventure Time, twice the Ice King has invoked this trope:
    • The Ice King is perfectly fine with princesses and forcing them into marriage. Despite that, even he knows that abducting a now 13-year old Princess Bubblegum in the episode "Mortal Recoil" would make him a pedophile.
    • Revisited in the episode "Hitman" when the Ice King unwittingly hires a deadly hitman to hit Finn and Jake. Once he discovers his error, he is horrified at the prospect of murdering his own nemeses. (His motives on this one are debatable. Ice King is insane, but a part of him realizes that he is. He starts treating Finn and Jake as friends because the tiny little sane part of his mind realizes that they're stopping him from hurting people.)
  • Animaniacs:
    • Subverted in this clip from the episode "H.M.S. Yakko":
      Captain Mel: Though I be a pirate swine / I still have to draw the line / And so I will not push ye overboard!
      Pirates: What, never?
      Captain Mel: No, never!
      Pirates: What, never?
      Captain Mel: (pushes them overboard) Hardly ever!
    • Played straight (in a rather bizarre way) in the famous "Potty Emergency" episode, which starts with the Warner siblings watching a science fiction movie in a theater called Brain Eaters where an alien is chasing an attractive heroine for rather obvious reasons. Wakko excuses himself to use the men's room, leading to the situation that the episode is the Trope Namer for; at the climax of the episode, he returns to the theater, where the movie has reached a scene where the alien has captured his victim; Wakko leaps inside the movie screen, letting the victim escape, making the alien angry, but managing to find a room and use the toilet. As Wakko leaves the room, the brain-eating alien remarks, "That was disgusting! He didn't even wash his hands!"
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force:
    • Master Shake is usually a childish and selfish bastard who torments Meatwad, even going as far as microwaving his cat alive. Still, even he has to say something when he finds out that Frylock was making chemical filled balloons to use on children at birthday parties.
    • He also appears visibly shocked in one episode when Meatwad offhandedly mentions how a security guard once led him into the bathroom in a mall to show him "how not to touch people."
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Zuko's father maimed him for speaking out against intentionally sending lines of inexperienced troops to die simply to wear down the enemy's defenses for their more experienced forces. In another war meeting, Zuko became uncomfortable when his sister proposed to burn the entire Earth Kingdom continent. Zuko wanted to speak out, but he couldn't, because he remembered what happened the last time he did. It takes Zuko a long time to realize that the Fire Nation's war of aggression is wrong, but this shows he has some standards compared to his father. He also goes through a period as a bandit, but he's not willing to steal from a pregnant woman even when starving, nor does he rat out a small annoying child to a thug soldier who got him in trouble.
      • In one of the comics, Ozai claims that part of the reason he burned Zuko was that Zuko didn't stick to his ideals. Zuko was willing to fight the general he had insulted, but backed down upon seeing that his opponent was his father. Here we see how their standards conflicted with one another: Ozai believes in standing by what you believe in, even if that means fighting against your family, while Zuko will only comes to blows against his family when absolutely necessary.
    • Despite all the animosity between them, Zuko still tried to save Zhao even though Zhao once tried to kill him.
    • Subverted with Azulon, when he responds with extreme disapproval to Ozai's selfish and callous request to make him his successor for Fire Lord instead of Iroh, immediately after — and because — Iroh lost his only son. Azulon then says he wants Ozai to feel the same thing, and expresses his desire for Zuko's death. We also find later that Zuko has a Missing Mom because she accepted exile from the Fire Nation as part of her deal with Ozai, who really did intend to go through with killing Zuko, to save her son's life and help Ozai take the throne from Azulon.
  • The Batman episode Team Penguin reveals that Killer Croc of all "people" has at least some humanity inside of him when they believe Killer Moth was killed by the fumes from their stolen chemical. Not only does he actually express some pity for the kid dying in such a gruesome manner, but Penguin's aloof reaction to it makes him walk out on the team.
    Killer Croc: Ugh, it's Moth! Was him, anyway. Poor guy.
    Penguin: I feel awful. We'll buy him a wreathe with the profits. Now grab the canister and let's do this!
    Killer Croc: You couldn't lead us out of a paper bag! I'm gone!
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold:
    • In the episode "Chill of the Night", Lewis Moxton admitted on his death-bed that, despite acting on orders to kill Thomas Wayne, Joe Chill went too far in shooting Wayne's wife Martha. As he put it:
    "Sure Wayne had it coming, but I ain't no monster... Left that kid without a ma. Felt kinda bad about that."
    • Two-Face is honor bound to follow the result of his coin toss. When his goons want to have Batman killed anyway, he helps Batman fight them off.
  • Beast Wars
    • The Predacon's Tripredacus Council officially condemns Megatron as a rogue and sends two agents to stop him (one as a spy in his ranks, the other as an assassin). While officially, this is because the Council believes the Predacons need to wait for the opportune moment and build up their resources before striking, and Megatron's actions threaten that, their over-concern about his survival seems to hint they know about his attempts to Make Wrong What Once Went Right, and consider it too drastic and dangerous a plan even for them.
    • Also, Tarantulas' grotesque eating habits — he is frequently shown eating living creatures, and has made at least one serious attempt to eat another Transformer — and general Mad Scientist antics repulse the other Predacons.
    • In sequel series Beast Machines, Megatron is working towards genocide and Thrust is fine with that. What really angers Thrust is Stryka, Obsidian and Jetstorm (though Jetstorm was forcibly reformatted) turning traitor.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse: Despite his Undying Loyalty to Zs'Skayr, Dr. Viktor is revolted by his master's plan to resurrect the Vladats (his species' extinct natural predators who used to enslave them as food until the Transylians rebelled against them leading to their demise) for his own selfish desire of ruling the universe. At the end of the episode, he ultimately betrays Zs'Skayr and makes a temporary alliance with Ben in order to prevent their ressurection.
  • Bob's Burgers
    • In the episode "Beefsquatch", Bob and Gene both enlist the help of Louise to prank each other on a morning show cooking segment because of a jealous feud. However, the pranks get more dangerous/disgusting as the feud intensifies, to the point where even Louise is disgusted by how low they've sunk and and cuts them both off at the dinner table. She then leaves dinner to "shower and try to get the filth off". Mind you, this is a girl who is overtly aggressive and manipulative when she stands to gain something, takes an almost perverse pleasure in ruining other people's days, and in the episode "Ears-y Rider" threatens to have a violent biker gang cut off a bullying teenager's ears for stealing and allegedly throwing away her signature pink bunny-ear hat.
    • Linda's former fiancé, Hugo the health inspector, is so petty and vindictive that he constantly jumps at any opportunity to punish Bob, even when the infractions are things that he would normally see as not worth his time. But he refuses to frame him. By contrast, his temporary replacement in "Nude Beach" accuses Bob of having a rat infestation and dumps rat feces on the floor, all because Bob wouldn't let him play his terrible rock music in the restaurant.
    • When Linda needs to get Bob out of the restaurant to plan a surprise party, she asks Hugo and Ron to bring Bob along on their daily inspections. Hugo only agrees to this if Linda calls Hugo's parents and tearfully begs them to see if Hugo will take her back. Linda and Ron are both equally disgusted by how pathetic that is, and keep in mind Ron's the only person in the entire show who likes Hugo unironically.
  • The Boondocks:
    • Riley Freeman is a rude wannabe gangsta, and never listens to his grandfather nor his older brother. But in "Smokin' With Cigarettes" he was downright disturbed and horrified of what a horrible sociopath Lamilton Taeshawn is, especially when he shoots Betty von Heusen's dog.
    • Also, when Uncle Ruckus asked the sexually depraved inmates if they were going to rape the children. The inmates responded with a disgusted "Hell no! What do we look like, priests?"
    • Ruckus himself considers mocking or abusing the disabled to be inexcusable, as shown in "The New Blacks".
  • In Bravestarr, the villain Tex Hex's main sidekick Scuzz smoked a cigar and was a walking Aesop for the evils of smoking, constantly coughing and suffering from his own habit. The other villains frequently expressed disgust at this habit, with lines like "I may be evil, but even I'm not stupid enough to smoke!"
  • Codename: Kids Next Door
    • In "Operation I.T." Father temporarily becomes Soopreme (Supreme) Leader of the KND, planning to infest the treehouses with broccoli. Numbuhs One and 362 attempt to catch him in the Moonbase, but can't because of Father duplicating himself. That's when the Delightful Children From Down the Lane, the recurring antagonists who obey all adults, give the KND Code Module (used to find the DNA of any active KND operative) to them.
      Numbuh One: Why should we trust you?!
      Numbuh 362: Because Father said it himself. Nobody likes broccoli. Not even them.
    • In another episode, Sector V battles against a giant white asparagus in a sea of asparagus. At the end of the episode, Captain Stickybeard fires his bubblegum cannons at it. He then states that while he and the KND are still enemies, he'd rather team up than let children eat vegetables (or be eaten by a vegetable).
  • In the C.O.P.S. episode "The Case of the Lowest Crime", Big Boss rejects a distribution agreement from Addictum, a drug dealer. He throws him out, and lectures his cronies about how the amount of hell they'd catch if he catches them doing drugs. He goes further than this when he and his gang assists the titular cops into an uneasy truce for the sake of bringing Addictum to justice, after his nephew accidentally becomes poisoned by the drugs in a shipment heist gone wrong.
    Big Boss: Shaddap! In my time, I've committed many crimes. I wanna make money in the worst way. But drugs is where I draw the line, creep! DRUGS KILL! Buttons!
    Buttons: Yes, Sir.
    Big Boss: Take this piece of human scum and throw it out!
    Buttons: Yes, Sir.
    Big Boss: Oh, and Buttons?
    Buttons: Yes, Sir.
    Big Boss: See that he lands in something as filthy as he is!
    Buttons: Yes, Sir.
    Addictum: Hey, take it easy!
    [Buttons leaves, dragging Addictum behind him like a sack of potatoes]
    Big Boss: And just for the record, don't let me catch any of you lamebrains messing with drugs!
    Berzerko: Aw c'mon Uncle! I may be a lamebrain, but I ain't stupid!
    Big Boss: Good. Now, let's get back to getting money the old fashioned way — by stealing it!
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog, Eustace likes to torment Courage, but when the vet plans to send him in a rocket to the moon, he fiercely disagrees.
  • Cow and Chicken: Surprisingly enough, The Red Guy (you know, Satan) shows this. In the episode "Cow Fly", he generally feels sorry for Cow after she lost her friend (a fly to be exact) and offers a wiener to her as a replacement. Then again, The Red Guy is more Chaotic Neutral than Evil, since he has a completely different motivation in every episode.
  • The Critic: When Jay screams at his mother and tells her to "drop dead" in a special mother's day episode of Coming Attractions, he becomes a social pariah. Richard Nixon refuses to sit next to him in a restaurant, claiming his mother was a saint.
    Jay: I'm sure she was uninpeachable!

    D-F 
  • Subverted in the Danger Mouse episode "The Ultra Secret Secret". Baron Greenback wants to join forces with DM to stave off an alien attack, but Greenback himself staged this fake attack to lure DM to his destruction.
  • While not all of the ghosts in Danny Phantom are evil per say, they still aren't on the best of terms with the protagonist. Even so, they all uphold their traditional Christmas truce and gang up on the one ghost who breaks it by cursing Danny.
    • In The Ultimate Enemy, Vlad Plasmius's alternate future self actually felt extremely bad for Danny (who lost his parents and friends in an accident) and took the kid under his care, with no strings attached or any evil plans in mind. Also, he went into exile over guilt for creating Dark Danny, who turned the world into an apocalyptic wasteland, and is horrified as to what Dark Danny does to his human half.
  • In Dan Vs. the title character is a violent Jerkass with a Hair-Trigger Temper who will go to a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for the most minor of inconveniences, but he has numerous virtues and lines he won't cross:
    • He sticks to his Blue And Orange moral code. One episode has him hunting down the werewolf who scratched his car so he can scratch the werewolf's as payback, admonishing Chris for wanting to kill the werewolf as he sees it as Disproportionate Retribution (He doesn't care the werewolf's a monster; he's just mad someone scratched his car), while another episode has him calling off his revenge on a Wild West Fair that he felt cheated him out of his money because, during his attempts to take said revenge, he got to do what he felt was his money's worth like fight a sheriff and have a showdown at high noon.
    • He also seriously draws the line at harming animals. He tries to blow up a noisy animal shelter but once the animals give him the Puppy-Dog Eyes he can't go through with it and frees them first (leaving the employee to be blown up, mind), while another episode has him put his vengeance against a restaurant on hold long enough to free the lobsters they intended to boil alive.
    • More Played for Laughs, but Dan was pretty surprised when his best friend Chris admits that he would kill for bacon.
  • Many of the Darkwing Duck villains have their moments:
    • When the first incarnation of Negaduck — Darkwing's evil side split from him and then galvanized into an energy being — tries to destroy all of St. Canard, Megavolt helps the good Darkwing stop him because "there won't be anything left to rob!".
    • Another episode has plant-villain Bushroot help stop an invasion of alien plants because he's an Earth mutant plant-duck. (Possibly a deliberate homage to the Joker/Red Skull moment.)
  • DC Super Hero Girls 2019's version of Catwoman has a long history of mischief, theft, manipulation, and a slightly nebulous question of how far she'll go to thwart the heroes. However, although she tries to play it down as not wanting to see anything happen to "where I steal stuff", her shocked reaction to Lex Luthor's master plan — "You're really gonna let all those people die?" — is sincere and summarily leads to going full Screw Destiny to prevent the disaster.
  • The Jew Producer from Drawn Together is very rude to the show's cast and often forces them to do demeaning things, but is shown in the direct-to-DVD movie The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie to be very intimidated by his boss the Head of the Network and is horrified by his insistence to erase the Drawn Together cast after their show got canceled. One scene even has him object to his boss ordering him to erase an entire pastiche of your garden variety Disney kingdom on the grounds that it is "the happiest place on Earth".
  • In the Evil Twin episode of Duck Dodgers, everything Dodgers lists during the Spot the Imposter scene as evidence he's the real Dodgers is something horrible he's done to the Cadet. At one point, Drake Darkstar breaks character to say "You sold his sister to the sausage factory? Dude, that's cold."
  • Ducktales 2017:
    • Magica DeSpell spends the penultimate episode of the first season trying to manipulate Scrooge McDuck into giving up his Number-One Dime, and the steps she's taken to get so close to her revenge and keep her hand secret have shown an escalating abuse to the only duck who'd help her. Seeing Scrooge as a wreck, she spends the episode assuming he's just being a wily old adventurer playing at weakness, but when it finally becomes clear her archenemy really has hit a personal rock-bottom, she's genuinely disturbed and complains in an aside about "[making] me pity you", even though her stated reason is it's not how she pictured killing him.
    • Played for Laughs in "Happy Birthday, Doofus Drake!"; regular villains Glomgold, Mark Beaks, and Goldie O'Gilt are just as disturbed by the antics of the titular Creepy Child as everyone else is.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy movie, the kids from the cul-de-sac really see how Eddy's older brother has always treated Eddy with verbal and physical abuse (as well as learning that Eddy's swindling attitude was always an attempt to get his brother's respect.) The Kanker Sisters (particularly Lee) are outraged over Eddy's brother's abuse, and all the cul-de-sac kids are absolutely disgusted, including Kevin, the neighborhood bully who always called the Eds "dorks" and disliked Eddy most of all,) and Sarah, Ed's spoiled, bossy, and incredibly short-tempered younger sister, who regularly beats up all the other kids (except for the Kanker Sisters, who even she's terrified of) to the point where she would be willing to kill them out of anger just to get her way as the only way every day. They all team up to take down Eddy's brother, and now that Eddy doesn't need to be a jerk anymore, and the kids have a newfound sense of empathy for them, they all truly become friends (except for Jonny, who was Late To The Revelation and ended up becoming the cul-de-sac's new social outcast).
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera: Pumo Loco may love causing mayhem and robbing everything (even the police station), but if you mess with his family, you’ll get crushed by a giant robot arm.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • Despite his obsession with FAIRY GODPARENTS!, Mr. Crocker finds the idea of keeping a fairy baby (IE: Poof) from their parents to be too cruel. (He actually thought Poof was a normal (albeit floating) human. In the end he thought Cosmo and Wanda turned his "Denzel Junior" into a Fairy. He decided that keeping him away from his kind was cruel, and that he can't mount his kin on the wall either. So he sets "DJ" free.) It also happens when Denzel is reduced to a crossing guard and he saves Timmy. Foop and Dark Laser are also no exception, as Foop would not allow Crocker to steal his powers and was also horrified by Vicky. Dark Laser would not allow Flipsy to be run over.
    • Implied in "Dream Goat!" When Timmy comes clean about letting Chompy go, Vicky looks shocked as she spits the water out her mouth.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Parodied in the TV movie, Good Wilt Hunting. When Wilt is in prison there are groups of stereotypical prisoners who rattle off their misdeeds. When the last one says that after he got in an argument with his wife, he took away the dog he gave her, one of the others remarks "That's just evil." In a moment of Fridge Horror, the inmate's story can be interpreted as him killing the dog.
    • It's done again moments later in the same episode when Wilt admits to doing something worse, when the other inmates don't believe him he tells his sad story. He says that he broke his little boy's dream, which makes all the other inmates react like it's the worst thing ever. Though they are a lot more sympathetic when they hear the whole story.

    G-K 
  • Garfield and Friends:
  • While calling him evil would be going a bit far, Macbeth of Gargoyles does this trope repeatedly. In his first appearance, he was contracted to take out the gargoyle clan but refused to attack them during the day, when they turn to stone and are thus helpless. And it's highly debatable as to whether he even intended on killing them at all; what's more likely is that he just wanted to use them to draw out Demona. Interestingly, he keeps this rule even when brainwashed by the Weird Sisters.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • He gets over it quickly, but Gideon is creeped out by Bill Cipher when the demon telekinetically yanks a deer's teeth out as a "gift" for Gideon.
    • Pacifica Northwest belittles everyone, humiliates them, and is best at everything, but in "The Golf War", she expects a fair game, and was angered that the Pines twins tried to cheat. This is tested further in "Northwest Mansion Mystery", where Pacifica discovers her family are a bunch of lying, cheating, sociopathic card-carrying backstabbers. Needless to say, she is horrified by this. Spoiled she may be, but Pacifica is not that cruel.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
    • Mandy is all in favor of revenge and dreams of ruling the world as a dystopian dictator, yet she will not condone cheating. Mandy also harshly punishes anyone who so much as annoys her, but finds Jeff the spider too polite to kill, despite Billy begging Mandy to do it.
    • Skarr shows signs of this in "Company Halt", the Fully Absorbed Finale of the series' sister show Evil Con Carne:
      Skarr: I'd do anything to get rid of that kid...
      Boskov: (Says something unintelligible in bear-language.)
      Skarr: Well, anything but that. I can't believe you even suggested that, you sicko!
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law:
    • The Duplicator (voiced by Lewis Black) getting revenge on Birdman by getting him jury duty. When Birdman has only a $3 food voucher and chimichangas cost $27.90. The Duplicator starts rubbing it in his face until he realizes how bullshit that kind of price is, breaking into one of Black's trademark rants. He then makes a bunch of copies of Birdman's voucher.
      Duplicator: There! Now you owe him $8.10!
    • Phil Ken Sebben is a Bad Boss and thinks nothing of terrorizing his law firm, but even he wouldn't shoot a baby dinosaur and looked horrified when a Dick Cheney Expy had no problems doing so.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • A variation which comes across as this: When Rhonda (forced by circumstance to pretend to be his girlfriend) publicly dumps Curly and humiliates him, Helga is disgusted with her and tells her she has a black heart. To Rhonda, Helga is the biggest Jerkass around (only the audience knows about her hidden heart of gold.)
    • Speaking of Helga, the other children aren't really evil (but can be cruel Jerkasses at times) but even they called Helga out when she framed her nanny for theft.
    • She also apologized sincerely to Arnold when her dad made a insensitive remark about Arnold being an orphan, since it's only thing that truly hurts him.
    • In The Jungle Movie, Curly offers to turn traitor and be the camp snitch for La Sombra, but is rejected due to being too nuts even for him.
      La Sombra: Sorry kid. You are too loco even for us villains.
  • On Hoops, Ben Hopkins is utterly foulmouthed and crass, seemingly without morals or ethics. That said, he states that while he would beat up a kid with Hodgkin's, he wouldn't dream of beating up one with advanced Hodgkin's.
  • Invader Zim: Dib uses this to negotiate with Mortos Der Soulstealer.
    Dib: I just know he's up to something evil!
    Mortos: Mortos like evil...
    Dib: No, this is bad evil.
    Mortos: Oh.
  • Eric Raymond from Jem may be a Corrupt Corporate Executive, but he draws the line on hurting people, and in one extreme incident, helped stop an assassination attempt.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat may be a sick and twisted pervert, but when he reads the story of Sleeping Beauty, even he is disgusted by the idea of kissing someone while they're unconscious.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Scarlemagne claims this as he says he only uses his pheromones on "lower-class primates" (namely humans) but not on other apes or monkeys but we know this is a lie as in the second season he uses his pheromones to force a peaceful monkey Mega-Mute to do his bidding, and that was before finding out the Mega-Mute Was Once a Man.

    L-N 
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Zaheer and the Red Lotus may be anarchists, but even they drew the line at Unalaq wanting to bring the world into darkness. Well, his way, at least.
    • Varrick is a Corrupt Corporate Executive of the highest degree, manipulating and backstabbing people to help line his pockets. However, much to his own surprise, he balks at the idea of making spirit-based superweapons in Season 4, because he saw the effect himself via experimentation. His standards are strong enough that he refuses to make a superweapon for the United Republic to counter Kuvira's Fantastic Nuke.
  • Looney Tunes: In the cartoon, "The Hole Idea", a scientist invents the "portable hole", but his nagging wife is not impressed and criticizes him for his dumb inventions. By the end of the cartoon, she falls through one of his portable holes and apparently, down into Hell, but Satan brings her back and asks, "Isn't it bad enough down there without her?"
  • Looney Tunes Cartoons: In "Pest Coaster", Yosemite Sam goes to extremes to keep Bugs off his roller coaster, including laying dynamite on the track. But when he sees a baby on the coaster with Bugs, Sam hastily removes the explosives and tries to get rid of them. The baby was later revealed to actually be a pull-string doll.
    Sam: I despise me some animals, but I would never hurt an innocent little baby. I'll even prove it to you!
  • Metalocalypse: Even Dethklok, the darkest, most brutal and metal band on the face of the planet, is absolutely horrified at the sight of malnourished supermodels being stripped of their skin.
    Nathan Explosion: Oh, my god, what a horri- you're fired, by the way!
    • A simple ring of the Dethbell probably would've sufficed.
  • Moral Orel: Clay Puppington is one of the most despicable people in the town of Moralton, which is saying a lot. However, in "Orel's Movie Premiere," he's shocked when Dr. Potterswheel suggests that he might be molesting Orel.
    • Coach Stopframe by no means a good person, but even he eventually sees Clay for what he is. Also, he was visibly repulsed by the Satanists and their hedonistic ways to the point where he actually mouths "What the fuck?"
      • Coach Stopframe is told by Clay that his son Orel came between him and the bear when he shot Orel's leg. But when Orel tells him the truth, that Clay shot his leg while drunk and blamed the bear, he was appalled. You can hear the anger and disgust in his voice when he tells Orel that his coming between him and the bear is one of the lies Clay made up.
        Orel: And then he told everyone that I accidentally shot myself or the bear shot me.
        Stopframe: Or that you got between the bear and him.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the Season 5 finale, Starlight Glimmer is visibly upset by the Bad Future scenario note  Twilight shows her as a result of her meddling with time. Starlight is still driven by anger and revenge, that it still takes a bit more talking to by Twilight, but by that point, the realization left its mark and the change was already beginning to set in on Starlight.

    O-Q 
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: Big Bad Lord Boxman is a Card-Carrying Villain with a serious case of Black-and-White Insanity, but he still has moral lines he will not cross:
    • In "We're Captured," Boxman has K.O., Rad, and Enid captured in his lair coincidentally on the same night he's having an important dinner with fellow villain Professor Venomous. When K.O. jumps to the conclusion that Boxman plans to cannibalize the three for dinner, Boxman — clearly offended by the insinuation — responds by saying "Please. I'm a villain, not a monster."
    • In "The Power is Yours," a Crossover with Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Boxman questions Dr. Blight's plot to pollute the earth just for the hell of it. He still goes through with it, albeit very reluctantly.
    • In "Dendy's Video Channel," Boxman is horrified by the rampage of wanton destruction orchestrated by Venomous' Split Personality Shadowy Figure, enough that Boxman officially calls off their partnership despite the Villainous Friendship (and implied Unholy Matrimony) he shared with Venomous prior.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Despite his melagomania, Dr. Doofenshmirtz despises world domination in general, finding it crazy. "Like left-boot-trap crazy."
    • There's also his reaction to finding out that Perry's boss, Major Monogram, doesn't pay his long-suffering intern Carl.
      Monogram: He gets college credit.
      Doofenshmirtz: Are you sure you're not evil?
  • From Pinky and the Brain, the Brain would often have moments like this:
    • Brain, who has been shown to be willing to go to any length to take over the world, develops a plan to take over the world by selling cigarettes to children. He would have succeeded... except he was unwilling to go through with it.
    • Not to mention that he's willing to save the world if Snowball is trying to conquer it, because Snowball is much worse.
    • In another episode involving time travel, one of the Brain's plans end up rewriting history so that the population of the world consists entirely of moronic Pinky clones. The Brain is so horrified that he immediately plans to go back in history to set things right. Pinky asks the Brain why he plans to do that, because with a population like that, it would be easy to rule the world! But even the Brain has standards, and the Brain confirms that Pinky is right... but who would want to?
  • Popeye:
    • Seein' Red, White and Blue has Bluto feigning an injury in order to get out of being drafted into the Navy. But when he sees Popeye getting beat up by Japanese saboteurs, then he gets mad ("Dey can't do dat to da Navy!!"). After a can of spinach between them, Popeye and Bluto mop the floor with the enemies and Bluto signs up.
    • In "The Astronut" (1961) Brutus and Popeye are attending a masquerade party at Olive's as a sheik and a spaceman, respectively. When an actual alien being arrives and causes a disturbance and knocks both the guys out, Brutus reaches for Popeye's spinach and administers it to him ("This is a job for Popeye!") so he can right things again.
    • Wimpy is a con artist but he wouldn't kill his friend Popeye just because the Sea Hag offered him a hamburger. Two initially were enough but Wimpy instead denounced her to Popeye.
    • Another cartoon had Wimpy inheriting a fortune. He is the referee in a prizefight in which Popeye is a participant and he bets his entire estate on Popeye's opponent. To ensure a victory, Wimpy's butler ambushes Popeye with a mallet. Wimpy starts to count Popeye out but he just didn't have the heart to do it. He sobs as he counts, and then gives Popeye a can of spinach. Popeye defeats the opponent and Wimpy says goodbye to his fortune.
  • Punky Brewster: The animated episode "Camp Confusion" featured a series of Olympic-style events between the ritzy Camp Towering Pines (where Margaux is) and the not-so-ritzy Camp Tumbleweed (where Punky is staying). When Margaux accuses Punky of using Glomer's magic as leverage, Glomer offers to stay with Margaux. But ensuing events start to take a turn for the worst for Camp Tumbleweed as Camp Towering Pines' leaders decide to cheat and they entice Margaux to do as well. Camp Tumbleweed eventually wins with Towering Pines' penalty to be Tumbleweeds' dishwashers. Once Margaux finds out the Towering Pines' was cheating, she renounces them and joins Punky at Camp Tumbleweeds.
  • This comes up in Quack Pack in the episode "Gator Aid". Donald Duck and Daisy Duck pretend to be specialists hired by the villain of the episode, The Colonel. At one point, Daisy incorrectly guesses that she has been instructed to kill Donald. The Colonel's response is to say "Ew! You really are tough!", suggesting that he does not approve of lethally punishing incompetence.
Advertisement:

    R-T 
  • ReBoot, even Megabyte can display this trope on occasions:
    • When a captured Megabyte learns what Bob hopes to do to him (reprogram him so that he's no longer a virus), he replies, "And they call me a monster."
    • Also, when he's going to dissect Frisket to obtain a MacGuffin the dog swallowed, he tells his henchmen to take Enzo away because "The boy doesn't need to see this." He won't let Enzo say good-bye first, though.
  • Roboroach: Mandible Lecter is the world's most wanted bug eater, but he won't eat anyone with an unhealthy diet, which is why he refused to eat Reg.
  • The Saturday TV Funhouse parody of The Smurfs and The Anna Nicole Show has Gargamel expressing disgust at Smurfette's Reality TV show.
    Gargamel: Eugh, what a mess. Why don't they get her some help?!
    Gargamel: What sleazebag greenlit this show?!
  • The Secret Saturdays: Greedy, amoral bounty hunter Van Rook admits that even he finds it disgusting that the Himilayan Yeti (actually V.V. Argost) murdered innocent people who hiked on the mountain for fun and took their personal belongings as souvenirs.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: Hordak of all people gets a moment in the episode "Into the Dark Dimension". Both Hordak and She-Ra are thrown into the eponymous Dark Dimension and must earn their freedom. She-Ra succeeds while Hordak fails. She-Ra refuses to go back to Etheria alone and even risks her life to save Hordak. The two return to a battle between the Horde and the Rebellion (with each side blaming the other for their leader's disappearance). Hordak immediately calls off the Horde attack and grants the Rebels safe passage back to their home out of gratitude to She-Ra. Everyone's surprised by Hordak's actions, including Hordak himself.
  • The Smurfs: Gargamel and Azrael both have lifelong goals to destroy the Smurfs and gain untold wealth, power and respect ... but there is a point where even he has pause in helping people he has formed alliances with to carry out his wishes. Examples:
    • In one episode, he saves the life of a stray cat Azrael has befriended that his godfather Lord Balthazar wanted to kill for her fur ... just because he saw Azrael had found (gasp!) love and companionship.
    • In another episode, Gargamel and Balthazar have kidnapped Puppy and plan to take the magical locket from around his neck, in an effort to gain access to its powers. When initial tricks are unsuccessful, Balthazar proposes placing Puppy in a guillotine and chopping his head off (no, seriously) ... to which Gargamel decides this whole scheme to destroy the Smurfs isn't worth it.
    • During the Smurf's 1982 Christmas special, Gargamel — in exchange for a scroll that he uses to burn down the Smurf Village on Christmas Eve — turns over two children (who have become separated from their grandfather after a sleigh accident) to a stranger, who unknown to him plans to take them away (in revenge for their uncle always thwarting his plans to overthrown his kingdom). Later, when The Stranger thinks Gargamel has betrayed himnote , he forces him and Azrael to join them in accompany them on "The Final Journey." Gargamel, realizing that the children's lives are in danger note  refuses to go along with his plan and, after at least two escape attempts are stopped, is forced to rely on Papa Smurf to save his, Azrael's and the children's lives.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM), Dr. Robotnik sounded surprised that Antoine Depardieu seemingly betrayed his friends in order to give him the Power Ring. He even asks him why he betrayed them. Though he might've just been suspicious.
  • Captain Skyhook, arch-nemesis of The Space Kiddettes, will stop at nothing to get their treasure map... but won't actually hurt them, because they're only children. Static, his right-hand man, has no such reservations, but Skyhook is always quick to admonish him for suggesting violence.
  • One episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series has Peter facing off against the Insidious Six because they realized the dude who was always taking Spider-Man's pictures might have a connection to him, and kidnapped Aunt May. As luck would have it though Spidey's been depowered and thus swiftly gets the crap out of him, making Doctor Octopus conclude there's no way Peter Parker could actually be Spider-Man if they beat him so easily. Silvermane then accuses Kingpin of kidnapping an old woman and strong-arming her desperate helpless teenage nephew into dressing up as Spidey to rescue her, and he is pissed.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants,
    • Plankton will never give up on stealing the secret formula, but he is shown to be really disgusted on how bad Mr. Krabs' greed is. Another example is when Sandy tries to break the record for having raw chum in her mouth, Plankton is hesitant at first, stating that no one can handle chum raw. Basically, even though he's determined to have people eat his chum, he would never serve it raw. As quoted by him, "And I thought I was evil."
    • Mr. Krabs is very money driven and did some illegal practices with his business, but does have some standards. Even after the Character Decay from later seasons, his belief on Krabby Patties being made love and care by hand is more important to him than money, and is utterly appalled when after selling the Krusty Krab to a restaurant chain, he finds out that they have taken to simply mass-producing Krabby Patties on a conveyer belt using grey goo that may or may not even be meat. Also, in "Little Yellow Book," Mr. Krabs calls out Squidward after he reads SpongeBob's diary to everyone in the Krusty Krab. Note that Mr. Krabs was not one of the people laughing at SpongeBob's secrets, meaning he's not being a hypocrite.
    • The Flying Dutchman himself was surprised that Mr. Krabs was not only eager to sell his soul and took the whole ordeal lightly, but he also sold his soul several times to other ghosts, monsters, and to SpongeBob (he was five bucks short on payday.)
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • Ludo and his forces have Surveillance as the Plot Demands, but agree that using it to spy on Star in the bathroom is just wrong.
    • If Toffee is anything, he's a man of his word and spares Marco from being crushed after Star agrees to his demands. Also, it was he along with Buff Frog who pointed out that spying on Star in the bathroom is disturbing.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • "Corruption": When the prime minister Almec accuses the terrorist organization Death Watch of poisoning numerous children, Satine, the duchess of Mandalore, quickly points out that all their attacks have been directed at her and her administration. Sure enough, the Death Watch is innocent, the children had been poisoned by a toxic diluting agent in the black market tea they had been fed due the closure of trading routes, and the one who had established the black market ring was Almec himself.
    • "The Box": ruthless Bounty Hunter Cad Bane saves Rako Hardeen's life when criminal mastermind Moralo Eval attempts to kill him in the titular testing facility, saying that if Eval wanted to kill Hardeen, he should fight him like a man.
    • "The Wrong Jedi": Tarkin, who at this point in the Star Wars timeline is already well known for his ruthless methods (including how he cleaned up a whole sector from piracy: he put a pirate gang he captured in a container, threw it in the closest star, and broadcast the screams as they were cooked alive), has spent the last few episodes trying to convict Ahsoka, fully knowing she'd be executed for treason if convicted, but upon being faced with clear evidence of her innocence, including a full confession from the actual culprit Barriss Offee of both committing the crimes and framing Ahsoka he's appalled at having trying, and almost succeeding, to kill an innocent. As anyone who watched the original trilogy knows, he's going to lose said standards.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • "Call to Action": Co-Dragons Agent Kallus and Minister Tua are both visibly horrified by the Grand Inquisitor beheading Commandant Aresko and Taskmaster Grint for incompetence on Grand Moff Tarkin's orders.
    • "The Honourable Ones": While stranded with Zeb, Kallus reveals that, contrary to his previous claim, he was lying about ordering the use of disruptors during the massacre of Zeb's homeworld, and implies he wasn't pleased to participate in such a slaughter.
    • "Hera's Heroes": Grand Admiral Thrawn is quite contemptuous of Captain Slavin's xenophobia, as well as his suggestion to destroy something he considers art.
    • "An Inside Man": Kallus, and Lieutenant Lyste to a lesser degree, are both visibly disturbed by Thrawn letting factory worker Morad Sumar be killed by an overheating speeder bike as punishment for sabotaging it.
    • "Through Imperial Eyes": Lyste is completely shocked when Kallus refuses to back him up when he gets arrested for being the traitor in the Imperial ranks, likely realizing at that point that Kallus is the actual traitor.
  • Played for laughs in the Super Best Friends Forever short "Solomon Grundy No Fight Girls", where Solomon Grundy refuses to fight Supergirl, Batgirl, and Wonder Girl due to drawing the line at violence against females. The three young heroines then try to taunt Grundy in order to provoke him into attacking before they realize that they don't have to hold back just because Grundy refuses to fight them. After they end up kicking his butt, Solomon Grundy starts reconsidering his refusal to fight girls.
  • TaleSpin:
    • Shere Khan in is more a sleazy corporate executive than anything; still, when he discovers a town he owns is using slave labor to mine a rare ore ("Citizen Khan"), he insists it was done without his consent. "I desire only money and power. Unpresentable employees provide me with neither."
    • Another example, from a different episode ("Louie's Last Stand"), but equally fitting the trope. One of his employees forges his name on an official letter that gives him complete control over Khan's personal military. Why? To get Louie off of his island before his lease expires so he can take control of it for Shere Khan. Needless to say, Khan is not impressed with him (but he is impressed with how Baloo, Louie, and Kit were able to defeat his highly-trained soldiers). Said employee is swiftly fired after Khan arrives on the scene.
    • In "Save the Tiger" Shere Khan shows that he will work to repay somebody who saves his life, though he did have a limit will Baloo constantly made demands of him and led to him making a scheme to get out of it that left Baloo broke, which turned to be a Batman Gambit for Baloo to beg for him to set everything back to normal, which he promptly did and then leaves him alone.
  • El Tigre
    • Villainy isn't a matter of moral alignment here, but a sub-culture of its own, so this trope comes up now and then. Puma Loco, a Card-Carrying Villain if ever there was one, draws the line at harming a family member.
    • More Played for Laughs but in one episode, all of the supervillains present were horrified when El Tigre gave Dr. Chipotle Sr. a wet willy.
    • Family is a major theme of the series, and when the struggling-with-his-Character Alignment El Tigre goes behind his father's back and it gets ousted in front of villains, even the villains are absolutely horrified.
    • Minor villain Spoon Bender is part of a plot to pretend to be in a villain reform club (kind of like AA meetings) to use Maria's house to tunnel into a neighboring bank to commit a massive heist, but when Maria shows legitimate concern and kindness for them, Spoon Bender can't go through with it and undergoes a Heel–Face Turn, and proves just what control over spoons let you do.
  • In Transformers: Prime, Starscream is arrogant Smug Snake looking out only for his own best interests, but even he is disturbed by Megatron leaving Breakdown to get torn to pieces by MECH simply because Megatron saw him as not worth saving after getting captured by humans, and actually goes out on his own to rescue him.
    • Prime's version of Starscream is also notable for exhibiting a strong sense of gratitude: when Arcee saves him, he makes sure to free her from Airachnid, and when Megatron saves his life, he gives up his traditional habits.
  • T.U.F.F. Puppy:
    • While Verminous Snaptrap is too silly to be considered evil, he draws the line at killing people on their birthdays without having them to celebrate it first. In his defense, he said that "No one is that evil."
    • When Snaptrap asks for suggestions on how to get revenge on the "Meanies" at the monotrail for not letting them ride, Francisco suggests that they eat them, to which Snaptrap claims is just "dark and disturbing."
    • More Played for Laughs but the reason why Snaptrap tells the agents his latest plan is because he thinks it's rude not to.
    • Kitty's evil sister always calls her mother.
    • In "Top Dog", a crime organization called FLOPP is formed and several of the members discuss what their next act of villainy will be.
      Escape Goat: "We can get in a crowded elevator, and push all the buttons!"
      Meerkat (the leader):
      ' "We're criminals, not monsters!"
  • In Turtles Forever 1987 Krang and Shredder, Karai, and Hun turn on 2003 Shredder after it's revealed that he plans THE DESTRUCTION! OF! REALITY! ITSELF!

    U-Z 
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: In "Run Pig Run", Loki, disguised as a hot dog vendor, gives Spider-Man an enchanted hot dog, and reveals himself after Spidey takes a bite. Spidey quickly demands to know if Loki spat in the hot dog, to which Loki admits that, while he did think about doing so, even he isn't that merciless.
  • Wacky Races:
    • Zig-zag: Dick Dastardly will call the police to report that the Ant Hill Mob is at large, but only to hamper the Mob's progress in the race.
    • In "Whizzin' To Washington", Dastardly zooms ahead of the other racers and tries to prove he can win a race without cheating. He stops short of the finish line because Muttley wanted his autograph.
    • In "Scout Scatter", the Ant Hill Mob didn't hesitate before risking themselves to save a boy scout from a waterfall even if it meant increasing the chances the Sheriff would catch up with them. (they escaped)
    • In the reboot, Dastardly disables all his booby traps in one race to prove he can win without cheating. When calamities occur on the race route, the other racers assume it's Dastardly's doings but he vehemently denies it. And he is proven right as a horde of ornery penguins stand in their way.
  • The titular character of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?. When Lee Jordan cuts the rope that Ivy and Zack are holding onto while he's escaping with Carmen, sending them into the ocean, to say that Carmen was not pleased would be a bit of an understatement. Also, both Lee and Maelstrom are violent and willing to risk innocent lives while Carmen isn't; in fact, she's saved Ivy and Zack's lives more than once.
  • In Wild Kratts, Donita may be perfectly fine with freezing animals in suspended animation to use in her fashions, but she is less than impressed by Zach's theft of the Arctic Pearl.
  • It happens in WordGirl from time to time, like when villains got their feelings hurt by the alien villainess Miss Power.
  • The old X-Men cartoon had Magneto take this role twice. The first is when he constructed an orbital safe haven for mutants and armed it with enough nuclear missiles to wipe out all life on Earth. Even he however, is disgusted when he finds that Fabian Cortez fired off one of the missiles at Earth with the intent of kill normal humans simply because he hates them that much. Later in the end of Season 4 during a Villain Teamup with Apocalypse, he works with and then turns on him when he finds that Apocalypse' plan involved wiping out the whole of reality so he could recreate it in his own image, berating him a plan that would kill "the innocent along with the guilty." Even Apocalypse' minion Mystique turns on him by that point. Magneto expected Mr. Sinister to also have standard regarding the plan. He didn't. In both cases, Magneto having standards prompts a Heel–Face Turn.
  • X-Men: Evolution:
    • Not so much evil as just criminals, but the Brotherhood show that they're not willing to let Apocalypse turn the world into mutants, knowing that most wouldn't survive the change.
    • Avalanche, too, showed that while he may be violent and prone to aggression, he's unwilling to allow a town to be blown up or ignore an old lady's cry for help.
  • Young Justice:
    • Mr. Twister openly admit to being disturbed by the Justice League using their teenaged protégées as Child Soldiers.
    • While he quickly realized the "Terror Twins" were really Superboy and Miss Martian, Icicle Jr. was disgusted when the two kissed while he still thought they were siblings.
    • When Mongul — an alien tyrant knocking down everything that could be a problem in his plans of galactic conquest — plans to destroy the Earth rather than let the aliens known as "the Reach" take it over themselves, he claims that their annihilation would be a better fate than whatever the Reach were going to do if they actually won. Surprise, surprise, the people of earth don't agree with his reasoning.
      Mongul: Your deaths today in the face of the Reach are a mercy. My grand laser emitter would have ended your world in a matter of minutes — another mercy. But it seems the mercies of Mongul are not appreciated, so we will do this the hard way, and the WarWorld will unleash all its weapons on the Earth. You're welcome.
    • Subverted with the Light's decision to not kill the family members of the Justice League because doing so will evoke the full fury of the heroes. When disgraced member Ocean Master targets a playdate of League children, Lady Shiva is sent to kill him and remove any evidence of his intent without the parents or the kids noticing.


Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report