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Informed Wrongness / Live-Action TV

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  • Happens more often than not in All in the Family, in which the assumption that Archie is always wrong runs so strongly that the writers often don't even bother to try to justify Mike's positions. Norman Lear's Opinion Myopia was a large factor in the show's Misaimed Fandom. Star Carroll O'Connor (who exercised considerable creative control over the show from Day One) intended for Archie and Mike to be dueling strawmen: Archie representing the conservative working class, who held on to outdated beliefs to their own detriment, because they were taught to value conformity and Mike representing the kind of "pointy-headed liberals" O'Connor despised; young people with no real life experience, whose solutions to society's problems would be laughably naive even to the contemporary audience. This put him into conflict with Lear, who had enough plausible deniability to convince himself that Archie (who was wrong more often than Mike was) was always wrong.
    • One late-series episode featured Edith trying to get a loan at the bank so she could buy Archie a new television as an anniversary present. However, she is denied for being primarily a homemaker with a 2 dollar per hour part-time job she only works 10 hours a week at. The show tries to spin it as the loan officer being sexist, but the fact of the matter is that Edith really failed to demonstrate that she was capable of paying back the money she was asking for.
  • Arrow:
    • In the second season, Oliver meets Barry Allen who claims to be a CSI scientist from Central City investigating a case in Starling City. When Oliver does a background check on Barry, it's revealed that he's just an assistant, and his visit to Starling is entirely off the books. When he learned about it, he confronted Barry and gave him every chance to explain himself and it turned out Barry did have a good reason to be investigating the case in Starling. Oliver is presented as a Jerkass for not trusting Barry, despite having no reason to trust someone who just came to the city and lied about his reason to be there.
    • In the fourth season in the cancelled timeline of "Legends of Yesterday" Felicity breaks up with Oliver for not telling her he had an illegitimate son. Oliver himself learned it just before she did and not only did he have to digest the news himself, but they were preparing to fight a supervillain who threatened to destroy Central City, clearly the worst possible time for discussing family issues. Still, it was Oliver who is presented as wrong.
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    • Same issue came much later when Felicity learned about it in the primary timeline. Once again she breaks up with Oliver for not telling her, even though this time the reason he didn't tell her was because the child's mother demanded he not tell anyone. The reason she wanted to keep it secret was because she didn't want Oliver's rather crazy lifestyle to affect him, and she was proven to be right when a villain kidnapped him to force Oliver out of the mayoral election. Episodes later, Felicity clarifies that it's not about the kid, but about Oliver keeping secrets from her. Again, it was the kid's mother's decision, not Oliver's, to keep it secret, so Oliver is made to be a jerk for not betraying her trust.
  • In one episode of The Big Bang Theory, Amy is acting like, to put it mildly, a gigantic bitch to Wil Wheaton for no real reason; Sheldon is understandably annoyed. For whatever reason, the episode seems to want the audience to feel for Amy and to see Sheldon as in the wrong for wanting Amy not to be a jerk without reason. In another episode, Sheldon ruins Howard's chance at his dream job by revealing to the FBI that Howard crashed the Mars Rover to impress a girl. Sheldon is treated as a bad friend who cost Howard his job. Even though Sheldon is a huge jerk who often does hurtful things to his friends without caring, in this case Howard was entirely responsible for not getting the job. Sheldon only told the truth and in fact, might have committed a federal offense if he hadn't. In another episode, Sheldon has enough of Penny's mooching ways (including stealing his food) and kicks her out of the apartment, prompting a prank war that lasts throughout the episode until Penny cheats by calling Sheldon's mom, but for some reason Penny is treated like the wronged party despite being a Pretty Freeloader and Sheldon having every right to call her out on it.
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  • In Bridalplasty this comes up in the usual reality show way. In the first episode, the brides are showing off their engagement rings, and one bride doesn't have one. She reveals that she had to pawn it because she desperately needed the money to fix her car, so she wouldn't lose her job. The other brides turn on her for being disloyal, and she eventually gets kicked off the show. However, most people would make the same choice if they were faced with crushing poverty.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Main Character Jake Peralta ends up falling into this sometimes:
    • In USPIS: In spite of the fact that his complaints about USPIS Agent Jack Danger are totally correct (Danger is an idiot who is unintentionally sabotaging a massive drug case with his incompetence and his ego, and that he is deliberately withholding vital information from the NYPD for the same reason) Jake is treated as in the wrong when he goes behind Danger's back and takes the information anyway. Yes, Jake should not have stolen information from a federal agent, but his complaints about Danger are totally brushed aside by everyone. In the end, he is forced to apologize to Danger while Danger gets off scott-free after he nearly destroyed several careers in pursuit of stroking his ego.
    • Jake gets hit with this again in Casecation when he and Amy have a disagreement over having kids someday. Even though Jake and Amy both make very solid arguments about whether or not to have kids, the episode frames Amy as being in the right and that Jake not wanting to have kids is something that he needs to be corrected on.
  • The final episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century features an alien woman who escapes from her home planet aboard a passenger shuttle and is pursued by its authorities. When the shuttle docks with the Roger's ship Searcher, the aliens demand her return. The ship's Admiral refuses, so the aliens gain control of the Searcher's and the shuttle's life support systems and start alternating both ships' temperatures between extreme heat and extreme cold in an effort to force the woman's return, each time making the temperature shift more extreme. The Searcher's science department estimates that everyone on both ships will be dead within the day from either heatstroke or hypothermia. The passengers aboard the shuttle finally vote to turn the woman over to the aliens, and do so via an emergency airlock. When Buck's friend Colonel Deering discovers what happened, she angrily upbraids them for their "cruelty" in letting the woman go, and the show clearly expects us to take her side. However: They were just passengers on a shuttle. They didn't ask for a fugitive to be placed in their midst, and expecting them to sacrifice their lives for a total stranger is a major stretch.
  • Cold Case: An in-universe example happens with the Victim of the Week in "That Woman", a teenage girl, whose classmates see her as hypersexual. The way they react to that is Values Dissonance to begin with, but adding to that, the worst she ever does is wear somewhat revealing clothing and get caught once making out with a random Jerkass, who intentionally set her up to be embarrassed in front of a bunch of schoolmates. Detectives later learn that not only was she in the school chastity club, but she was the only person in the club, including the teacher who ran it, who actually lived by the club values.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • The Season 9 Premiere picked the absolute worst time to criticize the BAU's use of profiling. In the episode, a lawyer sneers at the inherent inaccuracy of profiling when they accidentally arrest the twin brother of a serial killer, who threatens to sue - except that the arrest was not the BAU's fault at all. Putting aside their 90% success rate in the series, their profile of the killer was completely accurate, and there are dozens of witnesses to the killer's latest rampage that can attest to that. The only reason the twin was arrested was because a local officer reported a man who matched the description of the killer and the BAU followed up on it, and the twin made absolutely no effort at explaining himself-not to mention that no-one in law enforcement had any idea that the killer had any brothers, much less a twin.
    • One episode has Garcia meet a man at a coffeehouse who starts flirting with her, and Morgan encourages her to turn him down because the situation is unusual. Garcia blows up at him, and Prentiss later chews him out over it, telling him that a woman expects validation, not advice, when she talks about her feelings. Except, he did exactly what Prentiss told him he should have done. Garcia told him about the meeting, he said "It happens," and she's the one who told him it doesn't normally happen to her and the whole thing felt strange. Morgan's advice was literally that she trust her instincts.
  • Doctor Who:
    • When Harriet Jones, Prime Minister (yes, we know who she is) orders the destruction of a retreating Sycorax warship in "The Christmas Invasion", the resultant argument manages the intricate feat of having both sides show this off. The Doctor orchestrates Jones' downfall, using her actions as evidence that she isn't fit to govern Britain; the Prime Minister proceeds to defend herself by arguing that the people of Earth can't always rely on the Doctor to protect them, particularly since they live in a world where such extraterrestrial attacks are a common occurrence. On one hand, Jones is entirely correct that Earth needs to be prepared to defend itself, and that using lethal force is a painful necessity when one's enemies are willing to do the same; on the other hand, the Doctor is also entirely correct that shooting a retreating enemy in the back after a ceasefire negotiation is a terrible idea, since it makes it much less likely that one's future enemies will be willing to negotiate at all.note  However, in the show, neither side makes either of these arguments. The Doctor chooses instead to go off on a heavy-handed "man is the real monster" message, and PM Jones uses "Well, what do we do when you're not here?" as a justification for doing something at a time when the Doctor not only was there, but had just finished solving the problem. Clumsy writing manages to turn a genuine ethical dilemma into a bullheaded argument where both sides end up looking like idiots.
      • Also, the Doctor's meddling eventually leads to the Master, his arch-nemesis, becoming Prime Minister. Oops.
      • Some people have pointed out that it may actually have been better for the Universe that the Sycorax were destroyed, as they would probably have attacked other worlds that didn't have the Doctor protecting them. Also, the fact the Sycorax leader attacked the Doctor right after agreeing to make peace could show the Sycorax could not be trusted.
    • In "The Parting of the Ways" the Ninth Doctor refuses to destroy the Daleks, claiming it would be morally wrong as Earth is in the path of the weapon and he would also wipe out humanity. However before he comes to this point the Daleks have attacked Earth with such force they have probably wiped out at least most of humanity, and any who remain will probably be exterminated or enslaved. The Doctor even points out earlier that humanity have spread to other worlds and so will continue, however letting the Daleks survive will place countless other worlds in danger.
    • This is done even worse in "Journey's End", where the Tenth Doctor treats his half-human clone like a monster for wiping out the Daleks. This, despite the fact the Daleks and their omnicidal leader Davros were close to successfully destroying the whole of reality, Ten's solution amounted to temporary incapacitation, and the clone's actions result in only the Daleks (and possibly Davros) being killed. Not to mention the Doctor refusing to wipe out the Daleks on a previous occasion had led to even more death and destruction. Yet Ten uses the Daleks' destruction to show how monstrous his clone is and exiles him to a parallel world, claiming he can't be trusted.
  • Drake & Josh: In "Two Idiots and a Baby", Drake is painted as being in the wrong for abandoning Josh to babysit Walter's boss's infant son so he can play a gig with his band. The thing is, Drake never actually volunteered for the job in the first place. Josh told Walter he and Drake would do it without even asking Drake first and Drake's band had the gig booked for a long time beforehand. If anything, Josh was wrong for volunteering Drake for the task without his consent.
  • Anytime Chris, in Everybody Hates Chris, ever complains or stresses over the fact his life completely sucks (the show has that title for a reason) he's always portrayed as being wrong.
  • In an episode of The Facts of Life, Tootie learns to play poker from Mrs. Garrett's estranged husband. The audience finds out how wrong that is by the reaction of the teachers when they find out the girls are playing poker. The teachers showed less disapproval at shoplifting, smoking marijuana, drinking wine, and pretending to put out.
  • Family Matters:
    • An episode had both Harriet and Richie passive aggressively mock and chastise Carl, essentially for liking The Three Stooges. They paint Carl as being a childish sadist for liking a show about people being physically hurt, seemingly forgetting that the Three Stooges is one of the most famous series ever made and arguably set the ground for the sitcom genre and especially physical comedy after it, including Family Matters.
    • Anyone—Carl, Eddie, and especially Laura—was always made out to be the bad guy if and when they inevitably (and justifiably) got fed up with Steve. Not once did Steve ever apologize for his annoying and sometimes downright destructive behavior, but all three, again, particularly Laura, were vilified for getting angry with him, or in Laura's case, for not returning his affections. In one episode, this was Lamp Shaded: Urkel sets up a Strawman by saying to Laura "I know you don't love me because I'm weak", which Laura denies. Steve then asks why she doesn't love him, to which she replies "'re stubborn, irritating, loud, obnoxious, pushy...", to which Steve says "okay, you've made your point!" only for him, and everyone else, to immediately forget that Laura has genuine issues with Steve's personality, not to mention that she doesn't owe Steve any feelings merely because he has them for her.
  • Friends:
    • Ross is treated as intolerant of Phoebe's beliefs when he wants her to return a stray cat she found to her actual owner, an 8 year old girl. Phoebe is reluctant to do so because for some reason she thought the cat was her Mom after it went into her guitar case. For this, Ross gets chewed out for being a bad friend, because he wasn't supportive of Phoebe, like the others were. He ends up apologizing and, embarrassed for his attitude, momentarily drops his point altogether. And then, despite having made him out to be completely wrong for insisting on giving the cat back, Phoebe does a complete 180-degree turn and decides to return it as though that was what she planned to do all along rather than as the result of Ross insisting she give her back.
    • Another Ross example is in the season 4 finale, where Emily wants to postpone their destination wedding because the venue has undergone sudden construction work. Ross is portrayed as a jerk because he wants to keep the date as is and just find a new place, and Monica tries to explain to Ross about how Emily has been dreaming of her wedding her entire life and thus her wishes come first. Except Ross, Joey, Monica, Chandler and Ross's parents had flown all the way from America to England and they had already spent a fortune on planning the wedding, so Emily's desire to postpone it last minute comes across as pretty impractical and grossly inconsiderate to everyone else.
  • On Glee, whenever a straight character comes in conflict with someone gay or bi, the show has an annoying habit of painting the straight party as wrong while the queer character's own wrongdoing is conveniently forgotten.
    • Brittany dumps Artie after he calls her stupid. Keep in mind that he calls her stupid because she was cheating on him with another girl, Santana, who convinced Brittany that it's not cheating "if the plumbing is different." The breakup wouldn't be so bad but the episode in question goes out of its way to paint Artie as the wrong party, and neither Brittany nor Santana are ever called out on it.
    • Kurt outright sexually harasses Finn, who had repeatedly and politely told Kurt that he wasn't interested. Kurt even goes so far as to play matchmaker between their single parents. Once Finn's mom decides to move in with Kurt and his dad, Kurt fixes it so that the two boys shared a bedroom. Despite the inherent creepiness of all of this, Finn was portrayed horribly because he called Kurt's furniture "faggy." It wasn't until much later that Kurt was finally called out on his behavior, after viewers (gays included) complained.
    • Kurt was pissy at Rachel and Blaine for dating, going as far as to claim that bisexuality is just a coping mechanism for closet cases. When the two decide to just be friends, it proves Kurt right and makes Rachel and Blaine out to be fools. At no point is he called out on his jealousy and biphobia.
    • Mercedes telling Puck that Quinn chose Finn to be her baby's father and Puck has to respect that. Except Finn doesn't know that he isn't the father. And no matter who a mother chooses to be her partner, the guy whose sperm actually made her pregnant most definitely has rights to the child.
    • Will gets mad at Marley and calls her "selfish" for refusing to wear a bikini she is uncomfortable with during a performance that will take place in front of the entire school.
  • The Good Place: The main characters are presented with the difficulty of finding some way to combat the ennui that comes from living forever in paradise. Someone suggests that people could choose to forget some of their memories so that they can experience something again as if for the first time. This idea is immediately struck down with the reasoning that removing memories was a tactic used in the Bad Place, so it can't be the answer for people in the Good Place. Even though it was used in a completely different context, this is apparently all the reasoning everyone needs to dismiss it out of hand.
  • In an episode of Good Times, a pregnant teenage girl from the projects decides to give up her baby for adoption. All of the regular characters treat it as the worst thing she could possibly do. None of them even consider that adoptive parents would very likely give the child a better life. At the end, she sees the baby after giving birth and starts having second thoughts, and the show leaves it at the possibility that she may keep the baby. This is treated as a wonderful thing. This story was recycled, note-for-note, in Jimmie Walker's TV version of Bustin' Loose.
  • H₂O: Just Add Water - apparently the girls using their mermaid powers to dive down and salvage a sunken museum artefact becomes an absolutely despicable idea the minute a financial reward is mentioned. Never mind that they'd be saving other people quite a bit of money spent on diving teams, equipment etc.
  • One episode of Hannah Montana (as a crossover with Cory in the House, which Disney liked doing at the time) involved Hannah's bodyguard Roxie quitting and going to work at the White House because Miley called her out for interfering in a date that she went on (inviting herself along, constantly being the Moment Killer, and making her date wear a bell so that she knew when he was trying to put the moves on Miley) and yet the plot of the episode involves Miley sneaking into the White House to apologize and try to get Roxie to come and work for her again, when Roxie was completely unapologetic about attempting to control Miley's love life.
  • Happens sometimes on Hoarders and similar shows, when the subject is merely an annoyance to friends and family, rather than at risk for illness or injury or legal actionnote , and their behavior, if not exactly reasonable, is at least defensible.
  • In Hollyoaks, Ziggy Roscoe begins an affair with his girlfriend Leela's sister Tegan. Tegan is constantly demanding and possessive towards Ziggy even after he and Leela get married; acting like he's betrayed her if he wants to spend time with his wife and stepdaughter, or tries to end the affair in an effort to make his marriage work. Her actions are portrayed as justified and Ziggy is treated as selfish for not wanting to leave his wife, even though Tegan is the one trying to wreck her sister's marriage.
    • In another storyline, Ste Hay tries to get custody of his two children with his ex Amy. Amy and her boyfriend Ryan petition a court for full custody, on the grounds that Ste's on-off drug addiction is putting the kids at serious risk (and that's without taking into account his history of criminality and violence against Amy.) The viewer is supposed to see Amy and Ryan as spiteful and vindictive, and Ste as justified when he starts trying to discredit them, even though any court would be wary of allowing him access.
    • One storyline involved Maxine Blake leaving her abusive husband Patrick; she gives birth to their daughter Minnie shortly after the marriage ends. Two of her subsequent boyfriends, Dodger and Darren, demand that she have no contact with Patrick even to discuss custody arrangements or Minnie's welfare - despite the fact that Minnie has Down's Syndrome and Patrick is paying for her medical care. Both men display controlling behaviour very similar to Patrick (checking Maxine's phone, demanding that she account for her time, etc.) that makes her scared and anxious; but the show presents it that Dodger and Darren are just looking out for her, Maxine is being ungrateful, and should have known better than to speak to Patrick even for the sake of their disabled child.
    • When Peri Lomax has a Teen Pregnancy, her boyfriend Tom is desperate for her to keep the baby. He and his family convince her to go through with the pregnancy, promising that they'll raise the baby themselves if she doesn't want to. Subsequently, Tom goes back to school while Peri is expected to put her own life on hold and be a stay at home mom; Tom's family doing nothing to help (even asking their 14-year-old foster daughter to babysit rather than offer themselves.) Peri tries to get Tom to take more interest in the baby, but he doesn't. Eventually, she can't cope and decides to break up with Tom and grant him full custody. This is portrayed as incredibly selfish and irresponsible on her part, even though the main reason for her decision was that she was getting no support from him or his family (and they'd talked her out of an abortion with the promise of accepting responsibility for the child.)
  • Home and Away had a scene where Nick Smith is told off by his brother Will for having a new girlfriend, as this isn't being nice to his ex Jade. Considering that his new girlfriend isn't a friend of Jade and he isn't flaunting the relationship in front of her, it's hard to see exactly what he did wrong.
  • In House first season's Vogler arc, everybody is pissed off with House because he wouldn't give official praise to a drug produced by Vogler's firm, which is just an "improved" version of an older drug, only much more expensive. First, Vogler was forcing a doctor into praising his commercial product. Second, tricking patients into paying more than necessary for a medicine they need is still unethical even if the expensive version also works. Third, House initially agreed to do it, but in the end couldn't bring himself to, which was shown to be not out of spite but out of moral obligation. Vogler was not just being bossy or annoying, he was being downright immoral. And had House gone along, this would not have been the last time Vogler would have forced him to lie to further Vogler's professional interests. House was acting according to his professional integrity (for once) by standing up to him, but he got smacked for it.
    • Compare and contrast season three's Tritter arc, where the antagonist is similarly petty and unfair, but House is actually making it worse by being an actual selfish prick, and actually brought the problems on himself by being a Jerkass in the first place; Tritter was wrong only because he was extracting Disproportionate Retribution.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Ted is treated as an ignorant jerk for still seeing Heather as an irresponsible teenager. This is despite the fact that she really does have a very long history of being irresponsible. And the way she decides to prove Ted wrong is to have Barney and herself undressed in his office, get caught by Lily, and then accuse Ted of being a jerk for making the obvious assumption that they had sex. Yeah, way to prove you're a smart, mature adult, Heather.
    • When Barney gives Marshall relationship advice, everyone says they shouldn't listen to Barney and his advice is always awful. Sure enough, Marshall listening to Barney winds up getting him in the dog house with Lily and everyone agrees Barney's advice is wrong. Except… Marshall didn't listen to Barney's advice. He went completely off-script and that's why Lily got so mad. While Barney's advice may not have been helpful, it's not its fault because Marshall didn't actually follow it.
    • Barney and Robin are painted as being in the wrong for refusing to go on another double-date with Marshall and Lily after their horrific first double-date.
    • Ted was treated like a bad guy for having left a message insulting Lily after she broke off her and Marshall's engagement and left to San Francisco, even though the message was left during the summer when Ted was trying to get Marshall to stop moping about Lily leaving, and most people who weren't fond of Ted would have agreed with him.
    • After a little talk with ghosts Lily and his father, Marshall faults himself for bringing up the whole San Francisco debacle at Lily seven years after the event. His self-guilt rings hollow, however, since he had every right to bring it up when Lily claimed that she has never acted as selfish as him, and furthermore, Lily herself had proven unable to answer his question—whether he and Marvin are just consolation prize after her failure at the art school in SF. The later episode "Daisy" paints Marshall not only wrong for questioning Lily's devotion to their family, but also wrong about staying in NYC and becoming a judge, as he quickly changes his opinion and they wind up spending the year in Italy after finding out she's pregnant again—something that reinforces every reason Marshall had given to stay in New York.
    • One episode at Thanksgiving, Lily blows up at her father, kicks him out of her home and declares that he's dead to her. Marshall feels she's being overly dramatic and wears her down until she reconciles and invites her back in. Except, as pointed out in the episode and throughout the series, her father has effectively ignored and abandoned her since her childhood. He's always prioritized inventing and selling board games over all the major events in her life, its strongly hinted that this is the reason her parent's marriage failed. Hell, the entire episode is brought on by her father bringing one of his board games to thanksgiving dinner, the same board games he prioritized over her for her entire life. While the episode wants us to feel like Marshall does, that forgiveness trumps all, in reality it would be Lily making one more concession to an absent parent, a parent who's never made any significant outreach to her.
  • The episode of iCarly, "iMeet Fred". Freddy simply and inoffensively states that he doesn't think that Fred from YouTube is funny. Fred then pulls a Rage Quit over the statement causing the entire Earth's population to rise up and turn against Freddy. At the end, Sam pulls Freddy into a room and physically beats him with a tennis racket until he takes his opinion back. Fred then admits that he did all of this just to get some publicity. If you noticed, at no point did anybody apologize to Freddy for their violent revolt against him and at no point was Freddy standing up for his own opinion shown to be a good thing in the episode. In addition to this, it completely ignores (even by RoF standards) the fact that Freddy's opinion isn't a minority opinion; in fact, it's a majority. IRL, Fred is widely derided by both the general public and (even more so) critics. In fact, if anything, the Fangirls are very much the Vocal Minority... as Nickelodeon themselves finally acknowledged after both his series flopped.
  • In episode five of Just Add Magic, Jake leaves in a huff after the girls first ask if he took their (magic) cookbook and, when they find out he told Mama P about it, demand to know why he did that. The girls feel terrible...ignoring that they specifically asked him not to tell anybody, and he told Mama P about five seconds later.
  • This is done a lot in the Law & Order franchise, especially the original show and SVU when it comes to the actions of the police detectives. Many times the detectives will use extreme measures to get a suspect, and then act outraged when the District Attorney doesn't want to move forward with the case because of corrupt or flimsy evidence. Or they do some thing bad enough to get Internal Affiars involved, or the Defense of the suspect has a genuine reason why they believe their client was railroaded and not treated justly. Every time, the show makes it seem like their in the wrong and the detectives are always in the right, and by the end of the episode, things usually go the detectives way.
  • A later episode of Living Single had Regine at the gallery opening of her boyfriend, Keith. While there, a lecherous man gives her repeated, unwanted attention and doesn't let up until her coworker, Russell, comes to her defense. When she tries to tell her boyfriend what happened, he only points out that the man's a prominent art critic and that he hopes he'll react positively to the show. After she tells him that she's unhappy with him for not caring about what the man did, his only response is "Would it make you happy if I got a good review?" After telling her friends that Keith blew off the fact that she was sexually harrassed and was overall disinterested in her all night unless she was helping with the show (including serving the food and the parking), they all, particularly Kyle and Overton, tell her that she was in the wrong for not supporting him on his big night. She then confronts him over his insensitivity and lack of interest in anything about their relationship unless it when he's painting or they're having sex (to which he actually asks if they could have sex). Regine angrily declines and breaks up with him by the episode's end.
  • Monk. In "Mr. Monk is Someone Else," Monk is apparently supposed to be in the wrong for rudely dismissing and pushing away Harold Krenshaw, while undercover as a hit man right in front of the men who hired him, which nearly blew his cover.
  • Mr. Neutron from the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketches of the same name is allegedly evil, and the narrator assures the audience that he plans to destroy the world, yet the most evil thing he's seen doing on screen is flirting with a married woman. By all appearances, he's a nice if somewhat odd guy. All of the (considerable) destruction done in that episode is done by the military trying to stop his alleged doomsday plans by launching preemptive nuclear strikes to various places he might be - but isn't. Granted, this is most likely on purpose for the sake of comedy.
  • Season 3 of Necessary Roughness had an experimental medical procedure that was used as a performance enhancer for athletes. The good characters focused on how this was evil because of the cheating and breaking of rules. The bad guy responded by pointing out that the procedure allowed athletes to recover from career ending injuries and saved them from a lot of pain later in their careers. Based on these arguments alone, it is easy for the audience to agree with the bad guy even though we are told that what he is doing is extremely bad. There is no mention of possible side effects or the fact that the bad guy was essentially using young, impressionable athletes as guinea pigs and abusing the trust they placed in him as a mentor figure.
  • Erika in Nip/Tuck is treated as venomous bitchy Mother-In-Law character in nearly all of her appearances, and is wailed on for aggravating Julia's sense of insecurity. The problem is, in most of her appearances, Erika is trying to get Julia to stand up for herself and be proactive instead of wallowing in a giant pool of Wangst over how unsatisfied she is with her life. Sure, she's a bitch, but a comparatively minor one considering Julia's husband regularly engages in in-your-face cheating as petty revenge. It's difficult to see her as a bad person for saying Julia wasted her life by not becoming a doctor when Julia herself feels the exact same way.
  • On an episode of The Odd Couple (1970), Oscar is treated like a complete heel for wanting to call the cops and report a seemingly abandoned baby. (As it turns out, the mother did intend to come back for the baby, but he had no way of knowing that at the time.)
  • Several in Once Upon a Time
    • In Season 4 episode Sympathy for DeVil Cruella DeVil kidnaps Henry and points a gun at his head and Emma has no way to save him except by using her magic to push Cruella off a cliff. It is revealed that Cruella was not capable of killing anyone, thus making a big fuss about Emma killing her when she didn't have to and it is said that this action is leading her to her dark side, even though she had no idea that Cruella was not capable of killing Henry and she must have acted out of her instinct.
    • Snow White repeatedly apologies to Regina for telling Cora that Regina wanted to flee with Daniel and the fact is seen as if Snow White was a horrible monster for doing so, so much so that Snow White even says that she is not that different from Regina, when, in truth Snow White was only 10 years old, she couldn't imagine that Cora would kill Daniel and she only wanted Cora and Regina to reconcile, while Regina has killed many innocents (including children) only to get her revenge on Snow White. Yet she keeps acting as if the universe was being unfair to her.
  • Dustin suffers from this, once in Power Rangers Ninja Storm. While working late at Kelly's store, some hardmen working for a Corrupt Corporate Executive that Kelly refused to sell her store to, break in, with the intention of trashing the store. Dustin morphs and scares them away. Next morning he gets a minor slap on the wrist for using his Ranger powers for "everyday problems". Although Dustin does have the good sense to point out that they fight bad guys all the time and there was nothing wrong with what he did. Later in the same episode, while Shane is skateboarding in front of a news crew, a monster attacks. Dustin goes to battle the monster alone. The camera men all forget Shane and go to film the fight. Afterwards Shane chews Dustin out for not calling him for help, which would have messed up his chance to get on TV anyway, and might have looked a bit suspicious. Later other Rangers join in lecturing him about doing the right thing. Apparently the right thing is not to steal Shane's limelight.
  • In an episode of Psych, Shawn and Gus are chastised for helping a rogue agent escape the authorities. The authorities opened fire on Shawn and Gus on a pier in broad daylight, while the rogue agent saved their lives.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Meltdown", it's impossible to argue that Rimmer's not qualified to lead the good wax works droids in their war (his battle tactics involve them charging over the land mines and the result of his plans lead to the extinction of all the droids), and it's clear he's mostly doing this to live his fantasy of being a military leader. Still, Lister reacts in horror to him simply forcing the droids to start training and toughening up for war. Which considering they were on the losing side of a war, with an enemy who would not rest till they were all dead, had already killed most of them and they were down to characters who had little use in actual battle (such as Elvis Presley, Gandhi and Pythagoras), it seems hard to argue this at least was a bad idea (this itself goes a bit wrong, as he goes too far and several of them melt from exhaustion, but Lister didn't know this at the time).
  • In Scrubs:
    • Elliot gets a job in private practice, allowing her to earn double the money while having the right to drop everything the instant her shift ends. Dr. Cox and JD label her a sellout because she no longer goes the extra mile for her patients (a moral the two take seriously), instead choosing to pawn her patients off the instant she doesn't get paid to treat them. Elliot simply declares them jealous of her new money and focuses on that for the rest of the episode. By the end, JD is essentially bribed into saying he's wrong, and Elliot's treatment of her patients is never addressed again.
    • When Elliot starts sleeping with Keith, her other interns are pissed off that she keeps giving Keith preferential treatment and the best jobs. J.D sides with them at first, only to learn "a lesson" at the end and sticks up for Elliot by calling the other interns annoying and jealous, because Keith is the best intern of the group. How convenient for Elliot that she's banging the best one and therefore the issue that she is giving him special treatment is swept under the rug.
    • In the episode "My Mirror Image," Jordan tells Dr. Cox he needs to work on his anger issues when he gets angry at Jack throwing food at him and responds by doing the same thing. When the episode ends, Dr. Cox "learns his lesson" and when Jack throws food again, Dr. Cox just ignores it...because letting your child getting away with being a brat is "good" parenting? Granted, his idea of punishing Jack by dumping spaghetti on his head was a bit extreme, but this pattern of Jack being allowed to do whatever he wants by both parents continues well into the series.
    • Kim herself was subjected to this in her first on screen appearance. J.D. finds out that Kim passed on performing a risky surgery to keep her stats up and gives her a Reason You Suck speech; Kim "learns a lesson" from this and does the surgery, even though the other doctors (including Doctor Cox) treat her passing on it as a fairly reasonable thing to do considering the demands of her job. This is especially glaring when another episode sees Turk pass on a risky surgery for more or less the same reasons as Kim did and yet the episode treats it as a good thing.
  • Nathan, the love interest of Kelly in The Secret Life of Us, is depicted as having betrayed Kelly for getting oral from a woman at a party, even though it happened after Kelly and he had split up and despite Kelly kissing a man and almost having a threesome at the same party.
  • Smallville: In "Conspiracy", the Villain of the Week, Dr. Chisholm sounds like just another 'alien-conspiracy' nutcase killing off helpless Kandorians who just want to live peacefully among humans but whom he fears are part of an Alien Invasion. Good thing the cruel and horrific experiments the 'peaceful' Kandorians performed on him and other humans to regain their Kryptonian powers so they could Take Over the World occurred offscreen or they'd seem more like asshole victims. Even Clark called them out on that one, saying that human beings are not their personal guinea pigs. Part of his agreement to help was because they were his people.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In "Let He Who is Without Sin", Worf is depicted as nothing but a big party-pooper throughout his trip to Risa. Yes, he should ease up a bit, but with how much Jadzia keeps shrugging off his requests to discuss their relationship, which was the reason they were going to Risa to begin with (which was also where she wanted to go, by the way), it's hard to blame him for finally losing his cool when he does.
    • In Life Support, we are told that It was wrong for Jake to get offended by Nog's misogyny and that Jake should respect it.
  • In the TV series of Timecop, the tech guy is portrayed this way. In one episode, he chronically suggests that they not time jump right away and let him tinker with the time machine to figure out why it's acting weird, and is always dismissed out of hand for not doing things "the police way". And then the time machine screws up again. This happens several times.
  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • While Damon can never be called a saint, the show has spent valuable time trying to show that he is wrong for not forgiving his mother. This is the same mother who let him take the fall for stealing from his father, allowed him and his brother to be abused for years, abandoned them with his abusive father once she turned into a vampire, sent spies after them instead of letting them know that she was alive, replaced them with a new family to the point where she didn't care about her actual children anymore and admitted to that on several occasions, turned Enzo against them, stole their town from them and sent them packing from their own house, and kidnapped both Elena and Caroline. But, her crowning achievement has to be when she convinced Kai to put a sleeping curse on Elena, which can only be broken if Damon kills Bonnie. With all of that, and the fact that she never apologized for any of it, it's hard to see why Damon should feel guilty for being angry and not forgive her.
    • Then there's Damon's decision to let himself desiccate in a coffin until Elena wakes up to avoid screwing things up for everybody and so he doesn't do something stupid to get Elena back, which is treated by the rest of the cast as a massive betrayal and the wrong thing for him to have done which they all constantly call him out on. However, the entire run of the show both before and after this Damon has constantly shown a tendency toward often going on homicidal rampages at the drop of a hat and rushed decisions that does ruin things for the entire cast on countless occasions even when he's trying to do GOOD that the rest of the cast constantly berates him for. In fact, he had very nearly killed Elena due to magically induced hallucinations not long before this point.
  • In one episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, Stevie is considered "evil" because she leads a revolution against the law that says all children must battle their siblings and end up with only one having their powers. This isn't even argued about, no one mentions that Alex agreeing with Stevie might be because she just has a different opinion, and in the end Alex agrees that it's 100% evil. Besides that, Comedic Sociopathy is taken to new levels in that episode when they seemingly kill Stevie off. Although according to Word of God, the Literally Shattered Lives incident didn't actually kill Stevie and she was rehabilitated.
  • The Young and the Restless has had this with the larger Adam storyline. When Adam is confronted in the cabin he makes a point of noting the hypocrisy of the moral absoluteness the other characters are pulling on him. Part of the show's overarching plots, after all, are about the crimes the Newmans and Abbotts regularly pull against each other. While the tone is meant to be that the nature of Adam's crimes is such that the cabin event is justified, it's hard to escape the fact that everything he's saying about the Newmans and Abbotts is true. JT even calls Victoria out on this once she mentions this to him, angrily stating that regardless of what Adam did, the Newmans and Abbots have this disturbing habit of meting out their own brand of justice, usually without any regard to whether or not the target deserved it.
    • This has been echoed by Detective Pomerantz, who has refused to consider the theory that Adam faked his death in large part because the Newmans and Abbotts have done such a fantastic job over the years of wriggling out of punishment for crimes quite similar to Adam's murder. It's hard to ignore the fact that, while in this specific case Pomerantz is wrong, there's a veritable laundry list of crimes that the Newmans and Abbotts actually did do which they were never punished for, and Palmerance even mentions several of them noting before he leaves that he could do so all night (truthfully).
  • What Not to Wear: The hosts treat anyone with an unconventional sense of style or a disinterest in fashion as a clueless moron desperately in need of help, however they feel about the way they dress. It's telling that, rather than solicit requests from people who want advice, the setup of the show is that the hosts are actively imposing themselves into the lives of otherwise happy people at the urging of friends and relatives. Perhaps a better show would be these people getting therapy to cope with their busy-body attitudes - it could be called "How Not to Be".
  • In the Full House episode "Fogged Inn", Jesse is treated as in the wrong for getting mad at DJ for accidentally writing over his tape. The thing is, it may have been an accident, but the only reason it was deleted in the first place is because DJ went into his room and used his equipment without permission. Not only that, the tape contained a jingle he was writing for a client, and he had worked all night on it. As such, it's hard to blame him for being upset.
    • This happens again with Nicky and Alex. twice. In "Tough Love", the boys destroy Michelle's science project, and cause a big mess at the dinner table. Jessie finally scolds them for the first time, and they call him "Mean Daddy", making him realize that he's become just like his father, causing him to learn that he needs to be more gentle about the way he disciplines his boys...except the boys had clearly had issues with discipline and Jessie was completely justified in yelling at them when they ruined a nice meal cooked by Danny's current girlfriend. Especially when they gave a forced and insincere apology to Michelle over ruining her science project. They even get ice cream in the end, nullifying the punishment all together. This happens again in "Under the Influence" when the boys constantly bug Michelle when she wants to be left alone, and she naturally snaps at them causing them to get mad and chant "We hate Michelle!", and in the end she's the one who has to apologize to them.
  • That '70s Show: The Season 4 finale "Love, Wisconsin Style" focuses primarily on Jerkass Casey Kelso breaking up with Donna. Donna then attempted to get back together with Eric, but Eric rejected her because he felt like her "backup". Red and Kitty then proceed to ridicule Eric for "being so stupid" for not taking her back. Where to begin? For one, the previous episode, "Everybody Loves Casey", focused on the fact that Casey was a known jerkass (in which his younger brother even concurred), and Eric tried to warn Donna that she could be hurt. Donna, of course, shrugged it off. When the inevitable happened, Donna was broken down and crying from the heartbreak, and almost immediately asked Eric if they could get back together. So why should Red and Kitty ridicule Eric for rejecting her? She was clearly shaken, and not thinking straight. And she clearly came back to her "safe, good boy" Eric after her "cool bad boy" boyfriend Casey left her in the dust. Everything about how that situation played out screamed out that Eric was clearly a backup that Donna ran to when feeling lonely and shaken. The Broken Aesop additionally plays out when you consider the series' history. It's almost as if Eric was right when he said that his parents (mostly Red) don't truly respect him. Especially if they think he should be someone's backup. Perhaps they don't think he can do better?
  • Game of Thrones's writers and characters claimed that Daenerys's rather abrupt Face–Heel Turn was foreshadowed by a number of instances where she would Pay Evil unto Evil (watching on as her abusive brother was executed, crucifying slavers, etc). This ignored the many other instances of characters choosing to Pay Evil unto Evil (such as Sansa letting Ramsay be ripped apart by dogs or Arya feeding Walder Frey's children to him) absent any implication that those characters were genocidal psychopaths in the making. It's also hard to buy the notion that she had been unacceptably ruthless and merciless in the previous seasons considering it's Westeros and seven seasons have hammered in that ruthlessness is required for survival and mercy will almost always backfire in the worst possible way. If anything, one of Dany's more persistent flaws in the latter half of the series seemed to be that she was too lax with punishment; if she were the unforgiving and impulsive tyrant that the ending made her out to be, then Tyrion would have been reduced to charcoal about two and a half seasons prior.


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