Follow TV Tropes



Go To
Gee willikers! This guy means business!

"You are a sniveling little suck-up sellout full of sufferin' succotash, son!"

This character type appears in family-friendly works or works that have children as the intended audience. They are supposed to be a supreme badass, but are unfortunately hampered by their target audience. They are as much John McClane as can be squeezed by the censors, and they are often much tougher than their companions. Still, they are usually not allowed to smoke, drink, bed numerous people, swear, or do too much fighting or killing, and that is quite a list of hurdles to making them a rough-edged Mister Falcon.

Expect huge amounts of Gosh Dang It to Heck! and Never Say "Die", although they will use the worst euphemisms they can get away with and "curse" more often than their companions. Their favorite phrases are "kick some butt/tail" and "Shoot!" For some reason, this type of character tends to be Totally Radical.

The badbutt tends to use Family-Friendly Firearms. When they are wielding a sword, expect plenty of the Inverse Law of Sharpness and Accuracy. If they do get real guns, they'll never be shown actually shooting another person with them. If they're an assassin who uses any combination of those weapons, don't expect to see them kill anyone on-screen and especially don't expect them to succeed against the main hero.

Expect them to sound like Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cagney, Joe Pesci, or one of many other "tough-guy" actors. Occasionally it will be the genuine article, but more often they'll have a different voice actor do an impersonation.

Badbutts originally from mature works are commonly found in crossovers with family-friendly works.

Not to be confused with legitimately badass characters who happen to be from a kids' show, movie, etc. (e.g. the cast of the Star Wars: Clone Wars shorts). Has nothing to do with Gasshole.

Compare Clueless Aesop, another trope where being kid-friendly can get in the way. Rule-Abiding Rebel is when a character doesn't even try to come off as this; Finger-Snapping Street Gang, when the most intimidating thing a group of these characters ever does is snap their fingers in rhythmic unison; The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, when a creator wants to depict a character with a badass profession, but never actually shows him or her doing anything related to said badass profession; Rated G for Gangsta is when a genuinely edgy public figure turns themselves into one of these for marketing reasons. This character may also use Parenthetical Swearing and/or Unusual Euphemisms. See also Defanged Horrors.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Seto Kaiba in the 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! suffered this, or at least to the degree that someone who plays children's card games can be badass. The heavy censorship in the show prevented him from beating people with his apparent martial arts skill or jamming guns with a card tossed in the air (among other non-gaming-related shows of badassery).
  • Mister Stuart in Sonic X. He is the teacher of Chris who can give a group of agents a beating. This was cut out by 4Kids, but the Mister Stuart in the Japanese version is an all-around badass.

    Comic Books 
  • Nova: While Richard Rider can get quite violent with his powers (and there was that time he killed Annihilus by reaching down his throat and ripping his internal organs out), it's acknowledged and even lampshaded that he hates swearing and doesn't seem to like smoking or drinking either.
    Blue blazes!
  • Wolverine: Whenever Marvel Comics does a family-friendly book featuring Wolverine (such as Wolverine: First Class) readers are treated to the sight of a berserker with foot-long, razor sharp, metal claws that never sheds any blood. This is usually accomplished by having him only use his claws on inanimate objects like doors and cars, and punching living creatures instead. How robots fare depends on how family-friendly the book is supposed to be — i.e. "all ages" or "for kids only" — and how human-like the robots are. Having Wolverine constantly retract his claws during combat does have the side effect of allowing them to have Wolverine constantly extend his claws, which is his equivalent of dramatically cocking a gun. Wolverine also never drinks or smokes in "family-friendly" books, though he rarely smokes in regular comics anymore these days either.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dennis the Menace (US) really was a terror as far as 1950s kids go (he is often forced to sit in a corner as punishment), but the black-and-white TV series from the early '60s sanitized him so completely that Jay North (the actor who plays him in that series) comes off as grating instead.
    • Moreover, the strip seems to have followed suit, culminating in the modern day where the very worst that can be said of Dennis is that he's... a very mild annoyance, and frequently not even that.
  • Dilbert has Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light as an obvious stand-in for Satan. However, Phil only "darns" people to "heck" and carries around a giant spoon.

    Fan Works 
  • For many crossovers involving family-friendly fare with even more Darker and Edgier titles, it's generally common to have cases with this.
    Films — Animated 
  • In The LEGO Movie:
    • Exaggerated and Played for Laughs with Batman, as he desperately wants to be seen as a Darker and Edgier, angsty, brooding figure but just comes off as trying way too hard. Justified in that the story is being told by an 8-and-a-half year old boy who is engaging in his play at home, and this depiction of Batman is likely based on his immature idea of what a real badass is like.
    • Bad Cop is closer to an actual badass as the tough as nails Dragon to Lord Business, and yet he never uses anything worse than "Darn, darn, darny darn!" when voicing his frustrations at not being able to catch the heroes. Justified for similar reasons as Batman: he's played by an eight-year old who probably hit upon real badassery by accident while trying to make Bad Cop a legitimate threat to the heroes, but the kid still can't swear.
  • Shank and the other gang members in Ralph Breaks the Internet are the feared antagonists in an ultra-violent racing game inspired by Carmageddon and Grand Theft Auto, but other than incinerating two players (who can, of course, just start the game over again), we never see them do anything brutal. Overlaps with Dark Is Not Evil, as (like the vast majority of video game villains in the Wreck-It Ralph films) they are all pretty decent people when off the clock.
  • Played for laughs in Trolls World Tour when the Snack Pack try to impersonate the Rock Trolls. When called on it, they improvise a song that's sufficiently loud and angry-sounding, but the lyrics don't quite match up. They still manage to enter despite this, due to the idiotic nature of the guarding Rock Troll Sid Fret.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Kelly Leak in the remake of The Bad News Bears somewhat comes off as this, despite the movie being PG-13. In the original film he smoked cigarettes, drove a motorcycle, and initially bullied some of the Bears. In the remake, however, he doesn't smoke, doesn't really have much of a bad attitude towards anybody except his former coach, that which is understandable, and his motorcycle is even replaced with a dirtbike.
  • Courageous is an interesting example in that being a Christian film, the cops are often shown doing pretty spectacular things (even with both stun-guns and real bullet-guns), minus the profanity and the smoking, drinking, etc. Except at the picnic where they do drink, just responsibly.
  • Leeroy Brown in Crocodile Dundee II. He has a reputation at the community bar for his tough-guy demeanor and for selling what the bartender maintains is illicit substances. Turns out the "heavy shit" he regularly sells is nothing worse than simple office supplies, and his gangsteresque persona is just an act to live up to the reputation of his name. However, he does have connections with genuine tough guys who he enlists to help Mick rescue Sue.
  • The T-Birds from both Grease and Grease 2 come off as this somewhat. They smoke and drink, but in general act more like arrogant bully wannabes than actual tough guys. The most violence committed is the shoving match at the dance in the first movie and the T-Birds throwing pies at the Scorpions at the carnival. The only blood drawn in either movie is Frenchy piercing Sandy's ear.
  • The Moopets from The Muppets (2011). They're presented as seedy, lowlife thug types, but don't drink, smoke or swear (although we do see Miss Poogy sharpening a knife at one point, for unknown purposes).
  • Pretty much everyone in Operation: Dumbo Drop. The setting of the Vietnam War, combined with the movie being rated PG and produced by Disney, led to a lot of scenes where American GIs fired their guns in the air to distract the Viet Cong soldiers before incapacitating them with judo throws.
  • Machete in the Spy Kids movies was about as badass as Danny Trejo could be allowed to be with the PG rating. This was later turned around, though, once Robert Rodriguez gave Machete his own, very R-rated movie, where he was very much not this trope.
  • The gangsters in Little Caesar (and other mob movies of the 1930s), due to The Hays Code, couldn't be shown - or even explicitly stated - to do anything especially bad, for fear that this would corrupt America's youth. Therefore, you get a lot of implication and innuendo, with lines of dialogue like "You're gonna need a coffin." This is sometimes credited with starting the trope of mobsters speaking mainly in Double Speak euphemisms, talking about having rivals "whacked" or made to "sleep with the fishes".
  • Paddington 2 has a lot of fun with this in its prison scenes. At their worst, the inmates acts like comic schoolyard bullies, and Paddington's inherent willingness to see the good in people - along with a laundry mishap turning all their uniforms a cheerful shade of pink - ends up softening them further still. In one scene, he's teaching the Fighting Irish prison cook, Knuckles McGinty, how to make marmalade, and is impressed with how handily Knuckles slices the orange peel into tiny strips, leading to this exchange.
    Paddington: Where did you learn to use a knife like that?
    Knuckles: You don't wanna know.
  • Blue Velvet is a subversion of these types of stories, with a clean-cut young man trying to solve a local mystery in his quaint hometown. The first act of the movie feels like a Hardy Boys story. Up to this point in the movie, there has been no swearing, and only a few indications of offscreen violence. Then we meet the villain, and quickly realize that things are about to get a lot more real than the hero was prepared for.

  • Played for laughs with Truckle the Uncivil in Interesting Times. Mr Saveloy insists that he cut down on the bad language, and gives him a list of acceptable alternatives. He finds it doesn't work; even when Truckle uses a milder word, what you hear is the word he means.
  • Pale: Goblins tend to be extremely foul-mouthed, as they are embodiments of crudity, vulgarity, and generally being disgusting. Toadswallow is a goblin who tries to temper his language with somewhat more polite versions, because his particular business is working with Practitioner children who are being introduced to goblins. There's one scene where he's in the middle of singing a Bawdy Song but censors himself in the middle of a lyric because he noticed a child nearby. (This wasn't always the case with him. For instance, his name wasn't originally Toadswallow...)

    Live-Action TV 
  • 21 Jump Street: Every instance of the word "ass" was dubbed over with the word "tail" in the first season, leading to "I'll kick your tail!" and such. The mouths of the actors clearly are saying "ass" though.
  • Davy Crockett: Mike Fink is both the most respected and most feared riverman in the territory. The first time his "I Am Great!" Song plays, people react with terror to him coming into their town for some business and carousing. Women are riding out of town and storekeepers are boarding up their windows to match with the lyrics in his song. However, the worst he does onscreen is make boasts, drink, lightly kick the Butt-Monkey of his crew now and then, and get into bar fights that xan be destructive but don't live up to the level of terror he inspires.
  • Dean Moriarity on Wizards of Waverly Place wears a leather jacket, kisses lots of girls, and is a temporary tattoo artist. Real badass there.
  • The Fonz from Happy Days started out as a tough guy, but grew into this after he became a Breakout Character.
  • Much talk was made of how Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World was such a badass in high school, but this was ultimately a kid who didn't lose his virginity until senior prom at the earliest (and possibly not until college), never smoked or did drugs, and got drunk like twice in his life.
  • Most Power Rangers are this. Case in point, the entire original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers team - they're described in the opening sequence as "teenagers with attitude", but generally seem to be upstanding, rule-abiding citizens. Once in a while one will prove to be an actual (but still family-friendly) badass.
  • There is a Disney XD sitcom called I'm in the Band that is constructed entirely from this trope. It's kinda like Van Halen starring in Full House.
  • The titular character of ABC Family's The Middleman, although it's an interesting, tongue in cheek example of the trope. He's known for colorful euphemisms to replace swears (The saltiest he's been heard saying is "Coming in hotter than the devil's wedding tackle.") and in fact admonishes his sidekick for swearing. (It's censored with the tell-tale bleep and a censor box.) He also beats information out of a mook by repeatedly hitting the guy's head against a car... while reaching for a tall, cool glass of milk. It builds healthy bones.
  • Jay and his group in Degrassi: The Next Generation were supposed to be the school's dangerous crowd of at-risk teens, but when the worst thing they did was break into a candy vending machine in the school...
  • The Disney Channel Original Movie Radio Rebel is a gender inverted, badbutt-style reimagining of Pump Up the Volume.
  • Ace in Doctor Who. She was intended to be much tougher than the usual companion, but she wasn't allowed to swear (leading to some quite comic Gosh Darn It to Heck! and Curse of The Ancients) and only ever seemed to use her explosives on robots or Daleks.
  • Rocky Jones, Space Ranger episode "Kyp's Private War" features the titular 10-year-old, who engages in such heinous acts of sabotage and rebellion as... letting the air out of everyone's tires, or playing a loud radio device at all hours of the night.
  • The villain of the Midnight Caller episode "Kid Salinas" calls another character a "worthless sack of poop."

  • Hevisaurus, a Finnish metal band for children. Scary-looking dinosaurs in leather and spikes, playing Heavy Metal, with completely kid-friendly lyrics.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic:
    Raisin' hell, bendin' the rules just a little
    We're livin' only for thrills
    We squeeze our toothpaste tubes from the middle
    And wait until the last minute to pay our telephone bills!
    • The two gang leaders in the video for "Eat It" fighting each other with eating utensils while holding a rubber chicken together.

  • G.I. Joe's Dreadnoks are very much Badbutts. Despite being described in the file cards as a biker gang that is enough of a public menace that G.I. Joe, a military task force, has to deal with them, instead of local, state or Federal law enforcement, the crimes in their file cards often include offenses like "Passing Stopped School Buses at High Speed", their main criminal enterprise is operating a single bootleg gas station in the Florida Everglades, and their odious personal habits include brushing their teeth with grape soda (their Trademark Favorite Food), eating one bite out of every donut in the box and putting them back, and never changing their socks.

    Video Games 
  • Star Fox 64:
    • Falco Lombardi is as hardcore as a fighter pilot in a game with an E rating can get. His favorite pastimes include kicking some tail and sarcastically calling you "Einstein." If he gets angry, he'll exclaim "Crud!"
    • Wolf O'Donnell with his dramatic "What the HECK!?" Star Fox: Assault and Super Smash Bros. Brawl veer him more into legit badass territory. His vocabulary doesn't get any harsher than calling people idiots or weaklings, however, and Never Say "Die" is in full effect.
  • Spyro the Dragon and his sidekick, Hunter, both fall into this in the original trilogy. They get away with as much attitude as the game ratings will allow. Unfortunately, lines like "You kicked their darn butts!" tend to send their lines into Narm territory.
  • The titular character of Sonic the Hedgehog is famous for his attitude, but since he mostly appears in family-friendly games, this trope is in effect. However, in Shadow the Hedgehog, the titular character does get to kill and swear. The characters around Sonic tend to get exasperated by his cocky, larger-than-life way of carrying himself and mildly Jerk with a Heart of Gold behavior sometimes.
    Amy: He can be such a brat sometimes!
  • Final Fantasy VII's Cid Highwind, when in the Kingdom Hearts series, became this by way of adaptation. In the original game, he's a chain-smoking Grumpy Old Man with the filthiest mouth ever burned to a CD-ROM. In the jump to Kingdom Hearts, he replaced his cigarette with a strand of grass and spends his time tending a shop instead of killing people with phallic objects.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, this is inverted for Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy when they appear in the series. Although they were no stranger to violence in their early cartoons, they started being known for being harmless characters that mostly appeared in Lighter and Softer kiddie fare (the preschool show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse being the prime example). With Kingdom Hearts geared towards an older audience (but still family-friendly), the trio was effectively allowed to not only return to violence, but to act as warriors/mages and genuinely kick some ass alongside Sora. The same goes for Mickey's appearance in Epic Mickey.
  • Sharla Rae Norvell, the leather jacket-wearing rebel from the Purple Moon games, is designed to still be sympathetic, so she couldn't really be that rebellious or the parents would have complained. Her Freudian Excuse is played up, her vocabulary seems a little strained, and when she's introduced in Rockett's New School cutting class, the locker feature emphasizes that she's only pretending to smoke cigarettes.
  • Many of the racers in SSX Tricky possess potent levels of attitude, but they're in an E-rated game. Elise has a tendency to shout Gosh Dang It to Heck!-isms really loudly in lieu of more potent vocabulary, as do Mac, the Pretty Fly for a White Guy rapper/skater, and Zoe, the punk chick whose aesthetic feels more Pop Punk than hardcore as a result. There is plenty of fanservice for an E-rated game, though; Elise is featured prominently on the cover as a Ms. Fanservice Statuesque Stunner even if she doesn't show a lot of skin, while Zoe and the Venezuelan beauty queen Marisol both get skimpy outfits as unlockables.
  • Red Savarin of Solatorobo: Red the Hunter is a friendly mercenary with a huge ego. He goes around with a Stock Femur Bone in his mouth, yelling "Furballs!" and kicking butts with his custom made Mini-Mecha by grabbing and throwing everything he see.
  • Marvel: Contest of Champions is a T-rated game that features characters from across the Marvel Universe, including several from series that are definitely not family-friendly, including Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Hence when those characters appear in the game they're noticeably toned down from their live-action counterparts, especially Jessica Jones, who has by far the foulest mouth of all the major characters in her own series.
  • Geralt of Rivia as he appears in Soulcalibur VI. He's from a Hard-R Dark Fantasy series that rivals Game of Thrones in blood, sex and adult themes, so to make an appearance in a lighter T-rated fighting game, his character had to be toned down. There's no blood from his attacks, his language is more restrained, and his multiple romances are not alluded to (though it is suggested he gets it on with one NPC). That said, the Soul series is still far from kid-friendly, has plenty of sex appeal itself, and is filled with genuine badasses, so in this case it's more like a downgrade from "badass motherfucker" to just plain "badass."
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Solid Snake retains a USP in his holster but isn't allowed to use real firearms other than explosives. He doesn't smoke or swear, and his speech pattern in his Codec conversations is a bit Lighter and Softer than in his original game. Otacon at one point tells Snake that if he gets hit by one of Samus's weapons, "you can kiss your butt goodbye."
    • Bayonetta is a fair bit more intact, likely due to being less realistic (she's allowed to use guns, but they're magic guns strapped to her heels so presumably, they let it slide). Still, she doesn't swear (though she's classy enough that it still fits), her nudity is toned down considerably, and her Lovable Sex Maniac status is kept to a few suggestive remarks. She's still almost completely in-character, which surprised a lot of fans.
  • Wario was generally this during his Mascot with Attitude days, playing up his gimmick as a rebellious and hardcore Anti-Hero, but not going too far over the line. His first game, where he was extensively marketed as "the bad guy", he steals his treasures from a group of ruthless pirates, led by another bad guy. Later Wario Land games pit Wario against monstrous villains that are far worse than he is, thus keeping him in a favorable role with the audience.

    Web Animation 

  • X-Pletive from Essay Bee Comics Presents Fusion is a parody of this trope—he is a badass minister with high moral standards. He especially hates swearing. But his powers come from stimulating anger centers of his brain and the best way to get the riled up is to swear, so he swears like a drunken sailor.

    Web Original 
  • This guy raps about being "the baddest of them all", making out with girls, and having "four hundred scars and four hundred guitars".
  • When many Pooh's Adventures videos had these peeps from any media aimed at a Teenage/Young Adult/Adult audience, parts of the content have to be cut, much to the chargin' fod the others who wanted to do anything what they want in a proper way for the crossovers at times (although some videos had downplayed this, however).

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Bart was conceived as a non-badbutt version of Dennis the Menace, but following edgier animated shows make him look like this trope by comparison. This was pointed out in South Park Bart told Cartman he once cut the head off a statue, to which Cartman replied that he once tricked a boy into eating his parents, and was used to great effect in the crossover episode with Family Guy. Both Dennis and Bart show how Badbutt can overlap with Menace Decay; both were legitimately pretty serious "bad kids" in their heyday, but Values Dissonance means they just lost their impact over time.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series:
    • Poor Spidey took quite a beating due to TV executives not letting him punch anyone. note 
    • The SM:TAS take on Punisher falls under this trope. "Next time, Spider-Man... I will use lethal force!"
    • They did a Story Arc with Carnage, who (as his name sort of implies) is a superpowered Serial Killer in the original comics. Since he wasn't allowed to kill anyone in a children's cartoon show, he kind of sucked (literally, he sucked the life force out of people). However, this restriction had an In-Universe excuse—Carnage was under the control of another villain trying to gather lots of life force, who stopped him whenever he wanted to "have fun" instead of doing his job. One line by Robbie Robertson about Cletus Kasady (Carnage's human identity) having "done things even the Post wouldn't print," when nobody talks about murder or death (remember, serial killer) makes this painfully obvious to any audience member over the age of ten.
  • The lack of violence in Superfriends hit the cast pretty hard, but especially Aquaman. The other cast members had something cool to fall back on: Superman's myriad powers, Batman's gadgets and detective skills, Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth and invisible jet. Poor Aquaman got stuck with "talks to fish" and wasn't able to live it down for almost half a century. note 
    • The villains didn't get off much better. Solomon Grundy was the most powerful villain in the show, able to pick up Superman and... run around with him for a moment, then gently set him back down on his feet.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles combine this with equal parts Totally Radical. This is especially blatant if you go back and read the original comics, which are much much darker.
    • Let's kick shell!
    • The fact that the theme song emphasizes the fact that Raphael is "cool but rude" and the coolest/rudest thing they could think of to showcase that fact was him sticking his tongue out/throwing a pizza at the camera.
    • The comic book turtles had no problem cutting up human foot soldiers, but they were replaced by robot ninjas in the first TV series.
    • It especially got to be a problem when the writers decided that they couldn't show Mikey using nunchucks ever, not even in ways that caused no damage. They gave him a grappling hook that doubled as a magic lasso to tie up enemies, which made him look soft, even as Lighter and Softer as they already were. Making this all the sillier was that originally, all four Turtles carried a grappling hook, which made Mike look redundant when it became his default gadget.
    • The Turtles from the 2003 TV series, on the other hand, are more flat-out badass despite being from a children's show (a fairly dark one, at that).
  • The SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron are also quite fond of this, although "Crud!" is the worst they can get away with. The use it liberally, however.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Toph has shades of this, especially while training Aang. She is fond of calling Aang "twinkle toes", which may qualify as a Parental Bonus.
    • It apparently runs in the family. In the The Legend of Korra episode "Welcome to Republic City" her no-nonsense daughter Da Chief Lin Beifong is rather hamstrung in her dialogue while interrogating a perp.
      Chief Bei-Fong: That's ancient history. And it's got diddly-squat to do with the mess you're in right now!
    • Sokka is The Smart Guy, but still was able to occasionally hit people with his boomerang. He gets a Cool Sword in a later episode, yet due to the nature of the show, can't hit people with it since that would draw blood. Likewise, Mai's knife skills are impressive, but the restrictions of children's television mean that she'll only be able to pin people's clothing to walls.
    • Avatar: The Abridged Series parodies Jet's status as this, where he makes the comment that he is so badass, that if the show weren't TV-Y7, instead of having a blade of grass in his mouth he'd have a cigarette.
  • Wolverine in every Saturday-morning kids-show version of the X-Men ever.
    • In the '90s series he was never able to land a single hit with his claws unless his target was a robot, immune, or could instantly heal it off. If he managed to pin someone and raise his claw to strike, someone else would convince him to stop or he'd be blindsided and the victim would escape unharmed. This was made even worse by the network Standards & Practices office, who further watered down Wolverine. One comment from the episode "Longshot" literally wouldn't even let Logan be a badbutt, asking them to replace or remove the phrase "we saved his butt from some of Mojo's goons."
    • In X-Men: Evolution, he always wore his motorcycle helmet while riding. Because having an unbreakable skull and healing factor wasn't protection enough. Justified, as while he doesn't need a helmet for safety reasons, wearing one means he won't have to deal with the hassle of being ticketed for a safety violation or get covered in squashed bugs.
  • The Legend of Zelda (1989):
    • Link never actually uses his sword as a proper weapon, at least on sentient opponents, likely due to TV standards of the time. He instead takes advantage of its beam-shooting properties and thus uses it more like a sword-shaped Boom Stick. Downplayed in his later appearances in Captain N: The Game Master, where he actually was allowed to stab and slash enemies with his sword.
    • In "Stinging a Singer", he initially turns down a sword offered to him by Sleezenose, a conman working for Ganon and posing a wandering merchant, as he sees it as useless for not firing beams, but Sleezenose persuades him to trade it for his sword due to supposedly having the power to make ladies like him, but it turns out it's fake. When he tries to block the beam of one of the three Patras chasing Zelda, the sword's blade breaks, leaving him virtually defenseless against them and Ganon, leading to him and Zelda being captured and imprisoned in the Underworld.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: These men (and women) are supposed to be the best of the best of the best that the U.S. armed forces can offer. And yet, starting with the second season, they routinely find themselves run into the ground by their new drill sergeant: Sergeant Slaughter—a pro wrestler. And Snake Eyes, supposedly the baddest of the bad (a ninja, no less, who except for the lack of a healing factor and indestructible skeleton might even be good enough to give Wolverine a run for his money), never even manages to land a single blow on his opponents. Fat lot of good all of those blades, small arms, and martial arts training do under the circumstances.
  • Conan the Adventurer. It's Conan the BarbarianFOR KIDS! Interestingly, the show was hailed by many fans as capturing the authentic feel of the novels and comics better than the movies, despite Conan not doing much in the way of kingdom-building, enslaving, and stamping-beneath-sandaled-feet. Mesmira defiantly straddled the line since most of her schemes would have killed somebody in a more mature-rated show. Instead they are Put on a Bus or rescued in the nick of time. Wrath-amon seemed on the surface to be more dangerous as the main antagonist, but in reality suffered from the same madman plan hangups as Cobra Commander, except with magic. Over the course of the series, only a handful of characters actually died, as most of the people Conan fought were Serpent Men, who would be magically banished to the Abyss if they ever touched his Star Metal sword with their bare skin, allowing Conan do defeat them in droves without ever shedding blood. (Said banishment ended up being bad for Conan in the series finale, though.)
  • Fowlmouth from Tiny Toon Adventures has, as his name would suggest, a problem with dirty language. In the early series he would curse constantly, which was censored with the classic BLEEP sound - his starring episode sounded like it was edited by a mouse dancing on a Morse Code transmitter. Apparently this was too suggestive, as in the Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation special he was reduced to saying "dad-gum" instead of his usual cussin', pretty much losing the character's (admittedly one-dimensional) point for existing in the first place.
  • Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm was a badbutt in the same way as the animated version of Wolverine, complete with silly one liners.
    Nothing burns hotter than ice!
  • From the same USA Network animation block: Wing Commander Academy's Maniac. His tactics were downgraded to merely 'unorthodox' and 'not by the book,' not the complete batshit insane mess he would later become.
    • That's also because it's a prequel show to Wing Commander III, and thus his mental state is a lot better.
  • Highlander: The Animated Series. The kids version of a franchise about people chopping each others' heads off with swords for recreation. Only the Big Bad and his henchman are ever allowed to kill anyone, and never fully on-screen.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • Jade and the "ancient art of butt-whoop." Jade is only supposed to be about ten years old, after all.
    • Jackie's "yang" side, as brought out by the Tiger Talisman. In his first appearance, he was stealing and beating the crap out of people just for kicks and giggles. But as seasons went by, his actions became swayed by whether or not a small child thought he looked "cool." After his debut episode, Jade guilt trips him into being less of a jerk, so the badass who restrains himself for the benefit of kid watchers is basically applied in universe.
      • You could make the argument that this simply hilariously cements Jackie himself as just that much of a candy-ass that even his "evil" side is easily browbeaten into just being a Badbutt.
    • The Dark Hand itself. Supposedly an uber scary criminal syndicate with its hands in everything, and capable of giving the secret service organisation constant grief, they still don't use any guns and they'll only actually use weapons capable of drawing blood against Jackie who is capable of easily dodging them anyway. And this being a kids cartoon, the 3 most active henchmen resemble The Three Stooges more than professional criminal badasses. And of course they eventually hit massive Villain Decay, going from having a ton of members to just the three stooges henchmen, The Dragon (who went from nearly killing someone to being a strong yet bumbling opponent) and the leader who lost all his fighting skills and ended up a cowardly hobo.
  • Recess:
    • TJ is the most awesome fourth grader ever.
    • And there's Spinelli, the "tough girl" who repeatedly threatens to punch other kids, but is never allowed to actually do this.
    • The cartoon utilizes this trope often in combination with Mundane Made Awesome for some of the recurring characters, such as Hustler Kid, who sells things like contraband candy to the other kids. One episode revealed that other schools have their own Hustler Kids.
  • Lobo as he is presented in Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League. He drinks, but the drink is only implied to be alcoholic (it is highly explosive though), he uses only family-friendly swears (the exact same ones he uses in the comic, point of fact), only alludes to serious violence and never kills anyone on-screen, has a family-friendly laser gun, only uses his signature meathook to grab things in a non-harmful fashion, and doesn't go much further than a few sleazy comments towards Lois Lane and Wonder Woman on the 'sex' front. He's also shown to have, if not a Hidden Heart of Gold, at least a Hidden Heart of Pyrite or some other almost-precious-looking metal. This is one case where it actually sort of works, since rather than try to sell Lobo's violence or debauchery the creative team played up the absurdity and asshole-ishness of the character instead. Averted with Lobo (Webseries), where he is Truer to the Text and has emphasis on his violence and debauchery.
  • Adventure Time:
    • Finn and Jake zigzag around this all the time. The show also uses idiosyncratic slang words and phrases. "Oh my Glob" is probably the most commonly used of these. (In their universe Glob is an actual character and a Cosmic Entity seemingly equivalent to a God, however). In the earlier episodes there was some usage of mathematical terms (and the word "mathematical" itself) as all-purpose expletives and intensifiers, though this isn't as common in the later episodes.
    • Marceline is a half-vampire who eats shades of red. The season 5 episode "Red Starved" establishes that she can drink blood, but chooses not to for moral reasons.
  • This sort of thing crops up a lot in the more dramatic episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. While nearly every character has moments, Rainbow Dash and Applejack probably get it the most often, with the former often acting like a hotshot athlete/fighter pilot and the latter being a rough and tumble cowgirl. It's especially evident in the comic, which goes pretty much as far as it possibly can with the "Let's go kick some flank/rump/butt" style storylines as they can manage while still being an all-ages comic. On the antagonist side of things, you get characters like Gilda and Lightning Dust who fill this niche before folding over into Vile Villain, Saccharine Show territory (which FiM also covers).

Now go find another trope, or we will be forced to verbally castigate you in front of your peers!

Alternative Title(s): Tailkicker