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Berate and Switch

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"Greasy walls. Rickety bed. Crazy neighbors. [Beat] I love it!"
Judy Hopps, Zootopia

A character assesses the person, thing, or situation in front of them, and share their opinion of it. They list what would presumably be unpleasant, unfavorable, or unlikable qualities, actions, or ideas, and it seems like they are about to strongly disapprove of the whole mess. But their conclusion is the opposite of expected: they are very happy and approving. The comedy comes from the fact that obsession and revulsion can result in a similar level of enthusiasm. Beauty, fashion sense, cuisine choice, and other preferences are all in the eye of the beholder.

Unlike Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad, this trope is used for comedy. For example:

Bob: Look at this car! It's covered in rust, the stuffing's coming out of the seats, and you have to kick the trunk to get it to open. [smiling] Beautiful, isn't it?

Can be inverted: the character describes pleasant or desirable things, like a beautiful sunny day, flowers, and puppies; then they declare their loathing for it all. May overlap with Do Wrong, Right: it may seem like the character is about to denounce evil acts because they are wrong, only to reveal they would approve of those evil acts if they were done more competently. Compare and contrast Bile Fascination and Guilty Pleasure, where a character knows something is bad or that they should not enjoy it, but they feel curiously or shamefully attracted to it anyway.

Not to be confused with Evil Virtues, which are about genuine virtues applied to evil. Can be incorporated into a Chew-Out Fake-Out. Compare Arson, Murder, and Admiration, Bait-and-Switch Comment, I Have Just One Thing to Say, I Like Those Odds. See also Too Kinky to Torture.


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  • One ad for UK betting agency Paddy Power has a hipster-looking man visit a burger van and ask whether they have any vegan options. The man replies, "Vegan?", in what sounds like an offended tone... then proceeds to rattle off a very impressive list of vegan options.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Killing Joke, the Joker assesses a run-down amusement park as a potential hideout:
    The Joker: Well, it's garish, ugly, and derelicts have used it for a toilet. The rides are dilapidated to the point of being lethal, and could easily maim or kill innocent little children.
    Estate Agent: Oh. So you don't like it?
    The Joker: Don't like it? I'm crazy for it.
  • Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #5 has this conversation between Captain America and an anonymous caller who asked him to come to a Hydra base disguised as a normal town.
    Cap: The whole town? How many people?
    Caller: About... let's see...uhh... five thousand. Give or take.
    Cap: Five thousand Hydra personnel, and you want me to come in and steal a baby rhino?
    Caller: Yeah. That's about right.
    [Beat Panel. Cap grins.]
    Cap: I'm on my way.

  • In Avengers: Infinite Wars, when talking with Anakin Skywalker about Ahsoka Tano, Steve Rogers observes that the two Jedi are both “arrogant, cocky, self-centered [and] totally sure of themselves to an absurd degree”, but makes it clear that he admires both Anakin and Ahsoka for their strong will, compassion to their friends and concern for those under their command.
  • At the end of the first episode of My Hero Academia Abridged, All Might describes Izuku's actions in a positively brutal manner.
    All Might: You rushed in where even the so-called Pros hesitated. And as I watched from the crowd, I thought to myself that if even this young, Quirkless, reckless, insignificant, foolish, pathetic, astronomically stupid boy could find the courage to step into a situation that - and I must reiterate - he had no business in, well... Let's just say it sparked something in me that I thought died a long time ago. But far more importantly, it made me realize one undeniable fact... Young man, you too... can become a hero.
    Izuku: Wow! That was really mean! Until it wasn't!
  • The (Questionable) Burdens of Leadership of a Troll Emperor: Naruto offhandedly refers to Kim Kardashian as a "grabby whore with a good PR agent" while thinking of her as having subpar intelligence and no actual skills. But he rather respects her for becoming rich and famous despite said deficits.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, Gaston tells the asylum warden of his plan to force Belle to marry him by threatening to commit her father. He says "That's despicable... I love it!".
  • In Zootopia, Judy's assessment and conclusion of her situation when she moves into her rather small and tacky apartment at the titular city:
    Judy: Greasy walls. Rickety bed. Crazy neighbors. [Beat] I love it!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sister Act:
    Reverend Mother: I hold you responsible for all of this. For introducing a lounge act into my convent, for utterly disrupting our lives, and exposing us all to mortal danger.
    ...thank you.
  • Star Trek: Generations. Data has recently had an emotion chip installed and is busy experiencing new things. When he tries one of Guinan's new drinks he hates it (as it tastes revolting) but eagerly asks for more.
  • The Addams Family:
    Morticia: Last night you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again!
  • The Imitation Game:
    • Major Menzies when ask by Turing and Joan to help them keep the successful codebreaking a secret from the higher ups.
      Menzies: Maintain a conspiracy of lies... at the highest levels of government!?... [pause] ... Sounds right up my alley.
    • Turing also does this in one scene:
      Turing: This distraction is completely unacceptable... [pause] ...Please take a seat so we can begin.
  • In Pacific Rim, Marshal Pentecost's scolding about Becket's reckless yet successful fighting maneuvers ends up being a compliment.
    Pentecost: [frowning] In all of my years fighting I've never... [smile appears on his face] ... seen anything like that. Well done.
  • Inversion in Addams Family Values: the family is shocked when the baby turns out to enjoy hearing pleasant stories read to him and that he has curly blonde hair.
  • Dumb and Dumber: After Lloyd traded in the van for a moped to get he and Harry to Aspen:
    Harry: Just when I think you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you do something like this... and totally redeem yourself!
  • Godmothered: Grant seems like he is criticizing Mackenzie for bringing Eleanor with her and faking news stories by having her do something ridiculous. He then says "She's a chaos machine. And you should be ashamed of yourself...For not cutting me in sooner! You're good. She is ratings gold."
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, The Shredder sends one of his Foot ninja to follow April O'Neil and track the Turtles through her. The ninja comes back with an enlarged dandelion as a result of TCRI's chemical dumping;
    Shredder: This is not the reason I sent you to follow her.
    Ninja: I know, Master, but I-!
    Shredder: Silence! This is even better.

  • In A Christmas Carol, a reformed Scrooge employs this trope when Bob Cratchit returns to work on the day after Christmas:
    Scrooge: Hallo! What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?
    Bob Cratchit: I'm very sorry, sir. I am behind my time.
    Scrooge: You are? Yes, I think you are. Step this way, if you please.
    Bob Cratchit: It's only once a year, sir. It shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.
    Scrooge: Now, I'll tell you what, my friend. I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore... and therefore, I am going to raise your salary! A merry Christmas, Bob! A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you, for many a year! I'll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this afternoon, over a smoking bowl of Christmas bishop, Bob! Make up your fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another 'I', Bob Cratchit!
  • In Monstrous Regiment, Igor at one point says that a bar's beer tastes like horse piss, and he should know. After the other troopers make the bartender give them better beer, Igor sticks with the bad stuff.
    Igor: Look, I never thaid I didn't like it. Thame again?
  • In book 6 of Ranger's Apprentice, a knight is sizing up a group of Skandian pirates he's been put in charge of. Scars, nasty tattoos, long greasy beards, beer guts; all in all as untidy, rank-smelling and rough-tongued a bunch of pirates as one could be unlucky enough to run into...
    Sir Horace: They're beautiful.
  • In his Revolutionist's Handbook, George Bernard Shaw writes "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Sergeant Jeffords catches one of his detectives wasting time judging pies from two stores even though the entire squad is in a Race Against the Clock. Jeffords deems this unacceptable — then gets everyone else to join in.
    Jeffords: If you wanna know which restaurant has better pies, you can't just have one guy try one pie from each place! Everybody needs to try all the pies, from both places.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the episode "Intervention," Spike, after being captured and brutally tortured by Glory for information on the Key, is rescued by the Scoobies and dumped back at his crypt. Buffy, posing as Spike's Buffybot, comes back to the crypt to discover whether or not he sold them out, and discovers that Spike chose to endure Glory's torture to protect Dawn, to the extent that he was perfectly willing to let Glory kill him. Buffy kisses him as a thank you, and Spike immediately realizes that it's the real Buffy:
    Spike: And my robot?
    Buffy: The robot is gone. The robot was gross and obscene.
    Spike: It wasn't supposed to—
    Buffy: Don't. That thing, it... it wasn't even real.
    [she turns to go, then turns back to Spike for a minute]
    Buffy: What you did for me and Dawn... that was real. I won't forget it.
  • From The Monkees episode "Monkees in the Ring":
    Mike: You're gonna be going through a lot strange cities, and there's always this one hotel: one with a lot of heavy drinking, a lot of fast women, and a lot of loose talk. You know what to do when you get to town?
    Davy: Find that hotel!
    Mike: And you'll do fine.
  • The Good Life: Tom and Barbara usually eat healthy food they've grown in their own garden. In "The Pagan Rite" when they are out to dinner, they say that their food is full of artificial additives, cholesterol, etc., and Tom ends up saying, "Great, isn't it?"
  • A typical Get Smart quote:
    Chief: You understand your current assignment means you will be in constant danger, unable to trust anyone, and face torture or even death.
    Max: And...loving it.
  • The various versions of The Addams Family are full of this trope, a rainy day will be described as something beautiful, flowers with only stems are more attractive, and dolls should be headless.
  • The Aquabats! Super Show! combined this trope with Strange Minds Think Alike. First the MC Bat Commander describes being on tour involving truck stop food, public restrooms and a complete lack of showers as the best thing ever. After their Battle Tram is stolen by an unscrupulous carnival worker named Carl, he describes going out on the open road the exact same way; truck stop food, public restrooms, and complete lack of showers is like heaven on wheels.
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Letter," a haughty older couple, the Armstrongs, examine, and analyze, a painting of Kramer. The woman reads admirable qualities into his character while the man describes him as a "parasite," a "sexually depraved miscreant," and a "loathsome, offensive brute," cumulating in a mutual decision to buy the painting:
    "He bends time and space!"
    "He sickens me!"
    "I love it."
    "...Me too."
  • Gilmore Girls: when Lorelai finds out Rory was the cause of a fistfight between her boyfriend and her ex at a Wild Teen Party that ended with the cops being called.
    Rory: Jess and Dean got into the fight.
    Lorelai: Over you?
    Rory: I was a contributing factor.
    Lorelai: Was anyone hurt?
    Rory: No.
    Lorelai: And that's why the cops came and broke up the party?
    Rory: Yes.
    Lorelai: So not only did you go to a cop raided party, but you started the raid?
    Rory: Yes.
    Lorelai: This fence is broken because of you? This crap is on the ground because of you?
    Rory: What's your point?
    Lorelai: (singing) Did you ever know, that you're my hero?
    Rory: (mortified) Oh my God.
  • El Chavo del ocho: Don Ramón gets in trouble with Doña Florinda because el Chavo accidentally hits Quico with his slingshot. El Chavo asks for his slingshot back, and Don Ramón tells him this:
    "Look Chavo, I'm warning ya. If you hit Quico with the slingshot... [smiles] I'll give you a prize."
  • Sherlock: From "His Last Vow":
    John: What sort of case?
    Sherlock: Too big and dangerous for any sane individual to get involved in.
    John: You tryna put me off?
    Sherlock: God, no. I'm tryna recruit you.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Warhammer 40,000 sourcebook Codex: Catachans has some flavor text in which a member of the Catachan Jungle Fighters Imperial Guard Regiment describes the Death World of Varestus Prime:
    We've run into scorpions the size of battle tanks, three men died from Eyerot last week. I've sweat enough to fill a lake, my boots got sucked into a sink-swamp and the trees are so thick in places, you can't squeeze between them. Emperor help me, I love this place! It's just like home!

  • In Critic's Choice by Ira Levin, Charlotte, trying to save her daughter's marriage to Parker after he reviewed her play, tries and fails to invoke this trope:
    Angela: I don't know where I'm going or with whom! But I can't stay here, Mama! I can't! He's a bully and a sadist and an egomaniac and— and—
    Charlotte: And he's pompous and self-righteous and he takes his work too seriously and you love him!
    Angela: No! I hate him! I never want to see him again, not if I live to be five thousand!

    Video Games 
  • Champions of Norrath: One of the Shadowknight's quotes hints at this:
    Shadowknight: Whoever designed this dungeon was sick, twisted and half-mad... my compliments!
  • The Curse of Monkey Island: In order to beat Edward van Helgen at the banjo duel, you have to shoot his instrument while he's in the middle of a wild solo. He sputters about what a low-down dirty trick that was... then says "I completely misjudged you. You are a pirate, after all!"

    Web Comics 
  • From Vexxarr:
    Vexxarr: If you think the Emperor was enraged before, he'll boil away entire star systems to get me now! Once word of this gets back to Bleen, I'll be the most hated, despised and feared cnidarian in the galaxy!...YESSS!
  • At one point in Freefall Sam says of Florence "She's out all night, doesn't check in to tell us where she's been, and now we find out she's been incarcerated. Helix, my hard work as a role model is finally starting to pay off."
  • In The Whiteboard, Anthony the construction foreman drops by the shop and Doc offers him coffee.
    Anthony: I dunno. Is it the same nasty, toxic, spoon-meltingly awful stuff you usually make?
    Doc: Of course.
    Anthony: Great! I'll have mine black, with pretty much all the sugar you got.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Mr. Middleman tells Riff that he's noticed that after Riff was babysitting his goddaughter, she only seems better behaved afterwards because she's now scared of everything. But hey, he believes that fear is the basis of good parenting.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: During the mission to Mountain Glenn, Dr. Oobleck finds out that Ruby had smuggled her family corgi, Zwei, with her in a backpack. When it seems he's about to chastise the young girl for bringing a dog on such a dangerous mission, he instead praises her choice and explains that dogs are the ideal companions for Huntsmen due to their heightened senses and perceptive noses. Ruby smugly informs her teammates that she's a "genius".

    Western Animation 
  • My Adventures with Superman: In episode "Hearts of the Fathers", when confronting the trio, Perry White tells them that they've brought him more trouble than every other intern they've ever had at the Daily Planet and asks them if they know how they deal with that kind of behaviour. He then shows them the new story that credits the three of them and tells them that since they're terrible as interns, he's promoting them to be reporters.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Sweet and Elite", Rarity spends time hanging out with posh ponies instead of designing her friend Twilight Sparkle's birthday dress. When Twilight shows up out of the blue, she seems to hate the plain dress, until she says she loves its simplicity and practicality.
  • Futurama:
    • In the first episode, after Fry is unfrozen in the future, he reflects on how his girlfriend, parents, and everyone he's ever known is dead, pauses and says "Woo-hoo!"
    • In "The Route Of All Evil", after Dwight and Cubert's Awesome Express venture finally falls apart and they run crying to their parents (whose own business they had earlier destroyed):
      Hubert: Why did you boys do all this?
      Hermes: Proud of you?! You ruined us with sleazy business practices and a complete disregard for human decency! [Beat] Of course we're proud of you.
      Farnsworth: Damn right we are!
  • The Joker on The Batman has a pretty low opinion on Harleen Quinzell's talkshow:
    Joker: "Pop Psychology at its worst! That girl's theories are unfounded, her professional manner's a joke, and her training, if ANY, is shoddy at best! (Beat) I LOVE THIS SHOW!"
  • Teen Titans has this gem:
    Cyborg: (angrily) I can’t believe you two would just BARGE into Robin’s room while he’s gone, DRESS UP in his uniform and PRETEND to be Robin!
    Beast Boy and Starfire: Um…
    Cyborg: (childishly) WITHOUT ME!!!
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Azula expresses her jealousy at how Ty Lee manages to catch the attention of so many guys while none will look at her. Ty Lee gives her advice for picking up guys.
    Ty-Lee: If you want a boy to like you, just look at him and smile a lot, and laugh at everything he says, even if it's not funny!
    Azula: That sounds shallow and stupid. Let's try it!
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: In "Normal Boy", when Jimmy gets dumbed down thanks to a malfunctioning invention:
    Carl: Uh, normal Jimmy seems kind of stupid.
    Sheen: Yeah, he's pretty messed up.
    Sheen: I like him!
    Carl: Me too!
  • Magical Girl Friendship Squad: When Nut watches reality TV:
    Nut: Oh, this is horrible! ...I love it!
  • Speed Racer: The Next Generation: In "The Fast Track", Zile Zazic delivers this to his scientist Joel after he plants a virus in the Racing Academy's virtual track that nearly kills Zazic's daughter and Speed in revenge for Zazic firing him for a previous incident:
    Zile: Hello Joel, so good to see you! That little virus you put in the virtual track computers has cost me a lot of money! Not to mention almost killing my daughter.
    Joel: Are you going to have me arrested now?
    Zile: Oh no...
    Joel: *gulps* Are you going to... eliminate me?
    Zile: What I'm going to do is... give you a promotion!
    Joel: What!?
    Zile: That virus was genius! If you had only told me months ago you could do that type of thing, the Mach 6 would be history by now!


Video Example(s):


From Interns to Reporters

Clark, Lois, and Jimmy are finally promoted to reporters after writing a story on Superman saving Metropolis from Parasite.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / RankUp

Media sources: