Like a nobleman welcomes his guest,
With free dental care and a stock plan that helps you invest!
Beware of his generous pensions,
Plus three weeks paid vacation each year,
And on Fridays the lunchroom serves hot dogs and burgers and beer!
He loves German beer!"
This is where the Big Bad, usually, helps someone either by moving them up the corporate ladder or by helping them improve their standard of living. The person so helped in return will either repay them in the form of a favor at a later date or just join the Big Bad and his/her crew.
Can be a Deal with the Devil. Contrast Evil Feels Good and Villainous Demotivator. See also Evil Pays Better. Is absolutely Truth in Television: though naming specific real-life examples would be bad, a lot of groups the general public considers to be villainous draw in members by appealing to their basic domestic needs and making their home lives better.
- This is the modus operandi of Affably Evil Well-Intentioned Extremist and Villain Protagonist Ainz Ooal Gown in Overlord, and he ends up amassing a great many followers this way. Some of those don't actually know he is a skeletal wizard with no empathy for humans and dreams of world conquest, while others know full well and don't care, as he offers bountiful rewards and the protection of the absolute most powerful armed force in the entire world. Joining Ainz is almost always the smart choice, considering that he A) is excessively powerful and B) makes a point of honoring any deal he makes and treating his subordinates with respect, while simultaneously being extremely ruthless to anyone in his way.
- The original Wanted comic, which the below film is based on. Rather than being recruited by assassins to become a badass hero, Wesley's trained to become a supervillain. The Fraternity of the graphic novel make no pretense of heroism or righteousness — they took over the world because they could, and now Kick the Dog on a regular basis because it's fun, and encourage Wesley to do the same. In fact, at the end, in a deconstruction of the Comes Great Responsibility Aesop, Wesley pretends to have a moral epiphany, tells his sidekick/fuck buddy that he was just kidding, then mocks the reader for having a moral compass. And then he rapes you.
- The Runaways' brief alliance with the Kingpin allowed them to live in a penthouse after they'd spent several weeks camping out in their Leapfrog. It also gave them a temporary reprieve from having to deal with S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers.
- In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, this is one way the Republic Intelligence Service gains brains and brawn. At one point, a low-ranking guard says "We were told we could escape the hell of the undercity with our families... we would never have to worry about money again."
- In Equestria Divided House Whitegold hires its militia from the poor of the Manehattan Undercity improving their living conditions. One of the militia's main tasks is to keep the Undercity residents out of the richer districts.
- In The Lion King (1994), the Hyenas follow Scar because he promises to let them back into the Pride Lands where they will be able to eat as much game as they want when he is made King. Unfortunately for them, years of their excessive hunting, a drought, and Scar's inept rule have driven out most of the prey animals. The first time the Quirky Miniboss Squad of Hyenas is seen after the Time Skip, they are once again begging Scar for food.
- In The Apartment, C.C. Baxter (played by Jack Lemmon) is promoted by Mr. Sheldrake (played by Fred MacMurray) in exchange for letting Mr. Sheldrake use his apartment for his affair with Fran Kubelik (played by Shirley MacLaine).
- The Devil's Advocate: Small-town criminal defense attorney Kevin Lomax gets an offer to work for a prestigious NYC law firm whose head, John Milton, happens to be the devil as well as Kevin's father. What makes it this trope and not simply a Deal with the Devil as the title implies is that Kevin is helped unknowingly (except maybe some gut feelings along the way) and without knowing Milton's true nature and his relation with himself. Milton says in the end speech that it is because of Kevin's accepting his dad's nature that he got this far, and basically because it ran in the family.
- In Fight Club, Tyler Durden helps the protagonist live a better life by abandoning materialism and consumerism. Too bad Tyler is his alter ego who uses Fight Club as a training program for a nihilistic assault on modern society. That, and Tyler wants the protagonist's personality to die completely so he can have his body on a permanent basis.
- Frank White of King of New York recruits some new goons after they try to mug him on the subway. After scaring them with his pistol, he tosses them a wad of cash and says if they want jobs, they should look him up.
- In Wanted, Wesley is unwittingly doing this by joining the Brotherhood; he escapes his mundane daily job, which he hates with a passion, and a girlfriend who is cheating on him, and becomes an Assassin. The Reveal is that the Big Bad was the Brotherhood leader, who was supposed to liquidate the entire order as it is implied that it had served its purpose. Instead, he uses his position to increase his power and influence.
- The Red King, undead tyrant-sorcerer and butcher of gods from Max Gladstones Two Serpents Rise heads a major corporation, pays well and gives great health benefits. Without the water Red King Consolidated supplies, the city of Dresediel Lex would rapidly die of thirst.
- The original Taken from The Black Company became taken as a bid for power. It works because they are given quite a bit of land to control and each one has a pretty sizable army under their command.
- The subject of a few books by Neil Zawacki: How to Be a Villain: Evil Laughs, Secret Lairs, Master Plans, and More!!! and The Villain's Guide to Better Living.
- How to Succeed in Evil is a story about a consultant who makes a nice living assisting super villains.
- Stephen King's The Stand:
- Lloyd is a petty crook who is locked in jail when the Superflu hits. He's one of the few immune to the virus, but when the guards die off and no one opens his cell, he resorts to cannibalism to keep from starving to death. Flagg comes along and lets him out, and from then on Lloyd is his loyal right-hand man. Beyond merely saving his life, Lloyd is grateful to Flagg for giving him a position of authority and respect, and believes (although it's not clear if he's right) that Flagg supernaturally enhanced his intelligence, competence, and confidence somehow.
- When Harold Lauder considers a HeelFace Turn, this (along with revenge) is one of the justifications he considers for betraying the Free Zone. There, he thinks, he will never be more than "Harold Lauder, Citizen," whereas under Flagg, he would be "a prince." Unfortunately, Flagg never comes through on this implied promise to Harold as he does to Lloyd, and Harold is Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves instead.
- Numerous villains in the The Dresden Files attempt this on Harry but it never takes. Reason being that while Harry is aware that he's getting a raw deal for his good acts he isn't in it for the rewards, he's in it because he can sleep soundly at night.
- As with the movie counterpart, in Fight Club, intense and charismatic new-age prophet Tyler Durden preaches disaster as a necessary path to true freedom. Of course, given his somewhat nastier temperament in the novel, it's a bit more evil here.
- In the third Warrior Cats novel, Tigerclaw promises that any cats that come with him will be well rewarded later on; despite this, nobody follows him into exile.
- Despite his claims, Peter Pettigrew from Harry Potter did not betray Dumbledore because he was afraid of Voldemort. Dumbledore could have protected him effectively and he knew it. He betrayed Dumbledore because he saw a chance to be important, respected, and presumably rewarded by the Death Eaters (as opposed to being a minor player in the Order of the Phoenix). This backfired when his biggest piece of information (the location of the Potters' hiding place) ended up leading Voldemort to his death. He resurrects the guy because he has nowhere else to go, but his dreams of influence are completely blown and his highest position from then on is The Igor.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer one of the Mayor's first acts with Faith was to get her an apartment, with all the fixings, including a brand new Playstation, which for Faith is more than what the good guys had ever done for her. Then he took her miniature golfing after she was upset she had failed to turn Angel, which further seals the deal.
- On Angel this is how Wolfram and Hart operates, both by directly employing people and aiding their clients. They hire Faith as an assassin, and she intends to move up to something better. In Season 5, the protagonists are recruited to run Wolfram & Hart, with all the corporate perks attached.
- The second season of The Wire gives us Nick Sobotka, a stevedore in Baltimore's slowly dying dockworker union. As an honest man, he simply can't get enough work, as it's noted numerous times that there isn't enough traffic going through the port for people as far down the seniority scale as Nick, so he can only get a few hours a week, has to live with his parents instead of with his longtime girlfriend and son, try to avoid getting his car repossessed by parking it far away from home every night and hoping the repo man won't look that far, etc. Once he does a couple of jobs with the international crime syndicate that smuggles drugs, women and other goods into the dock, he makes tens of thousands of dollars, The Dragon of said syndicate takes a fatherly interest in him, and Nick can start looking at the real possibility of getting a place with and providing for his girlfriend and son.
- In the Supernatural episode "All Hells Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, E22), the Yellow-Eyed Demon offers Jake a better life for his family, as well as an army to command.
Yellow-Eyed Demon: But I'm sure you could get your old job at the factory back. But then, on the other hand, the rest of your life, and your family's, could be money and honey, health and wealth, every day is ice-cream sundae. And all you got to do is this one little thing.
- Breaking Bad:
- Although he had already long settled on a life of crime, this is what Walter White hopes working for Gus Fring will do for him, and indeed, Gus seems willing to act as a sort of mentor for Walt, offering advice on how to deal with the difficulties of "this life." Of course, a multi-million-dollar paycheck doesn't hurt either. Subverted. Walter is ultimately not willing to be subservient to anyone, and Gus is not willing to abide an employee who won't follow orders. Their partnership is short-lived.
- Walt later tries to use this to motivate Jesse to stick with his crew instead of retiring, offering to put him in charge of his own lab with the respect and authority that entails. Jesse refuses, already having more money than he will ever need (until Walt withholds it in a further attempt to manipulate him) and knowing all too well the toll the criminal life takes on him.
- Better Call Saul: Jimmy has a good enough lifestyle as it were, but he doesn't really get the money flowing in until he starts practicing law as Saul Goodman and also ends up getting Lalo Salamanca as a client.
- Law & Order: SVU has an episode in which a young man makes deliveries for the Big Bad. When confronted, he explains that back in China, his father was a teacher, but in the United States he works at a Chinese restaurant. The detectives ask him why he believed his father would work that job, presumably to deliver an anvilicious aesop. The boy interrupts them and answers that his father tells him all the time: "For you, so you can have a better life." He finishes by saying that this is exactly what he's trying to do. By working for the leader of a prostitution and trafficking ring, he got the respect and money he craved and couldn't obtain honestly.
- In Mage: The Awakening, this is the main appeal of joining the Seers of the Throne, who are given much power and influence in exchange for working to keep the world under control and doing the will of the Exarchs. Their Sourcebook even details a Merit which allows Seers of most ranks to live with prestige and luxury. It's noted that the Merit doesn't provide any actual money, though, which means the privileges can be revoked by higher ranking Seers.
- Forgotten Realms: This is the M.O. of Asmodeus, God of Sin. While an evil deity with evil goals, he generally rewards his faithful in life. In the after life, not so much.
- Exalted: This is the modus operandi of the Yozi cults, and the Green Sun Princes are expected to act as general managers. The Yozis will genuinely make you strong, rich, and famous, as long as you don't mind the Body Horror.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- In the background fluff, this is a common reason why Imperials have been known to defect to the Tau. Yes, they will be second-class citizens to xenos scum, but at the same time, life under the Tau is much easier — far more free time, greater personal freedoms, higher standards of living, etcetera.
- Whether the Tau Empire is less or more evil than the Imperium of Man is a pretty ambiguous question, so depending on your view, the "evil" part of the trope name may not apply.
- More insidiously, many Chaos cults begin as genuine organizations to reform the Imperium (and it needs a lot of reforming), and as they grow, they attract the attentions of Warp-tainted individuals who use them for their own purposes.
- In Resident Evil 5, Excella Gionne's backstory is this. She was born into a branch off of the main family and went into Tricell Pharmaceuticals. She worked her way up and eventually was brushed aside because she wasn't a member of the founding family. Wesker comes in and gives her information about making bio-organic weapons and she is able to corner that market when Umbrella folds. She is then promoted to the head of Tricell Pharmaceuticals as a result. But not for long.
- Cerberus takes this approach with Shepard in Mass Effect 2 in a glorious aversion of With This Herring. They are still up to all the horrific experiments and other tricks they were in the first game, but manage to throw the entire fandom into a Flame War by not only resurrecting Shepard, but providing him/her with every resource imaginable. Brand spanking new Cool Starship, the most advanced in the galaxy with as much Reapertech as they could steal - and leather seats. A handpicked crew, including a certain awesome Ace Pilot. Leads on recruiting the most astounding badasses in the galaxy. And periodic injections of money, supplies and intelligence. If you don't think of the DLC packs as a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, they even arm you with some of the most powerful weapons in the galaxy right out of the gate!
- Seen with Archon Delaine's Kumo Crew of Elite: Dangerous, they're quite clearly the most evil of the super powers; their leader looks like a vampire and their logo is a skull-spider; which is tattooed on his freaking forehead!. However they have some pretty nice bonuses if your willing to work for them (assuming your doing mostly illegal acts such as pirating and smuggling at least); notably making pirating in their own systems easy and their super weapon being pretty sweet; especially when many of the others are rather useless. Don't expect a warm welcome with most of the community though.
- Fallout 3: So, you're a bright-eyed and able-bodied vault dweller, out into the Capital Wasteland in search of your father or riches? First place you come to's quaint little Megaton. You could always help the local sheriff disarm the town's namesake nuke and get yourself a squalid little shack and 100 caps. Or, alternatively, you can arm the thing and score up to 1000 caps and a penthouse suite with a stunning view by working for the bad guys. By the first hour out of the vault in Fallout 3, you've already bettered your living arrangements more through evil than good. Enjoy the chance to drink the wasteland dry if you don't feel too terribly like saving it.
- Over in Fallout: New Vegas, however, it's downplayed. While working for the Legion you will become like a god to them and have your face on one of their coins, but they still won't give a rat's ass about your living arrangements. Working for House will get you this in spades in the form of a permanently comped suite at the Lucky 37, although he's A Lighter Shade of Gray compared to the Legion.
- Fallout 4 has the Institute. As opposed to a standard military bunker in a rusted airship, a crumbling tomb under a church, or a home-built shack in the middle of nowhere, the Institute by far has the most impressive lodging, with clean, Raygun Gothic walls making everything around your bed seem like an oasis compared to the rest of the wastes. The gameplay mechanics aren't immune to this, either! In Survival mode, conventional fast-travelling is disabled, meaning you have to hoof it to every location on foot. There are two exceptions to this: The Brotherhood of Steel's vertibirds that you can call down with signal grenades, and the Institute's Molecular Relaynote system. In the case of the Brotherhood of Steel, while you may not have to sit through hours of walking to get from point A to B, you still have to potentially get shot out of the sky due to the pilots' incompetence. Contrast this to the Molecular Relay, which allows you to get from point A to B with only two loading screens in and out of the Institute. The cherry on top? The teleportation only takes a minute of in-game time.
- Riku gets kind of mocked by Ansem for this in his storyline of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. "You cast away your home, your friends, everything...but at least they gave you a nice room." Riku doesn't find this funny.
- In Half-Life 2, the Combine has the Civil Protection, which promises better living conditions if one were to join it.
- No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M.'s Way has protagonist Kate Archer infiltrate the India branch of H.A.R.M. The manager who gives her a job says that though he is offering an entry level position, she will find the pay and benefits very competitive by the evil-industry standards.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, when playing as the Sith Warrior you are the Big Bad (or his Dragon at least) and have the chance to pull one of these when trying to draw a specific Jedi out and turn her to the Sith. One option to make said Jedi squirm is to give her parents a better standard of living with the 'evil' empire than they could have dreamed of in the 'good' republic.
- It's also explained why But Thou Must! when it comes to working with the Empire as a Bounty Hunter. The in-game codex explains that while Braden (the hunter's mentor) was apolitical, taking jobs from Hutts, Imperial Intelligence, and even the odd Jedi One of the Consular's companions used to be with his stable, the Republic has all but outlawed the profession, leaving hired guns to work for either the Hutts or Imperials. The Imperials counter by being better about contracts than Hutts.
- The Orochi Group of The Secret World tends to draw in a lot of employees thanks to this - along with its sheer ubiquitousness. The company treats its employees very well - a necessity given the extremely dangerous substances they're required to work with; Lisa Hui acknowledges that she receives a very generous pay packet for acting as security for field researchers, along with spectacular benefits and better food than you'd expect. Out of the field, Orochi subsidiary Manticore Research provides generous healthcare benefits and compensation, along with life insurance payment and company-sponsored funerals for the inevitable casualties of their experiments.
- The Wolf Among Us deconstructs this; the Crooked Man gets virtual control over Fabletown by giving the residents a better quality of life than they got with the Vast Bureaucracy... but the Easy Living part only lasts as long as hes luring them into a deal. After that they end up in a massive amount of debt, with the Crooked Man violently harassing them for the money or making them work as indentured servants to pay off the loans. Even his own henchmen come to regret working for him, as he straight up breaks promises to them; Georgie gets thrown under the bus to try and stop Bigbys investigation, despite Crooked Man previously insisting that he would help Georgie avoid prosecution.
- A Main Theme in Black Geyser: Couriers of Darkness; the entire kingdom was cursed by Zarnilsa, the goddess of greed, envy and resentment turning all the inhabitants into greedy Jerkasses and it's up to you to do something about it. The question is do you want to do the right thing and lift the curse or do what a typical RPG gamer would do and do evil stuff to gain better loot.
- The main villain group of City of Heroes, Arachnos get good pay, free medical care, free schooling for the children of soldiers, state provided company housing in the capital, sick days and three weeks paid vacation a year. The Big Bad specifically keeps life dog-eat-dog in their home country and as a result quite a lot of people would sign-up just to afford food, the additional benefits keep them from shopping around with rivals. It should be noted though that everyone is a Card-Carrying Villain. anyway, so this is -Not- a case of Affably Evil, just practicality.
- In The Order of the Stick:
- Naturally, this is lampshaded after Tsukiko defects to the Big Bad's side, since the interests that the good side jailed her for get her a job offer from Team Evil.
- Tarquin became an Evil Overlord specifically for the job benefits, believing that eventual death by Hero is worth a lifetime of wealth and power.
Tarquin: Somewhere between "Villain of the Week" and "Good Triumphs over Evil", there's a sweet spot where guys like me get to rule the roost for years.
- Defied by Mr. Stratus in Our Little Adventure when the Emperor gives him a job offer as his head tactician. The result of this is, of course, a face full of lightning and an ensuing battle.
- This in Sluggy Freelance.
Torg: Wow! When you become a vampire, men become broad shouldered and muscle-bound and women become tall and thin! You ever think of selling this on QVC?
Lysinda: Foolish mortal... do you really think humanity would give up its immortal soul forever just to look good?
Sylvia: "Infomercials next quarter." Check.
- In Widdershins, Mr. Luxuria recruits Ms. Acedia to his criminal enterprise by promising her the lavish life of the Idle Rich once it's done. Ironically, when the scheme is disrupted, she spends years of work and a lot of money trying to follow through on it.
- The plot of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is this essentially as the title character attempts to join the Evil organization to gain respect and prestige. There was also something about social reform that he never seemed entirely clear on.
- The title character of Interviewing Leather by Eric Burns (now Burns-White).
- In the latest Cheat Commandos short from Homestar Runner, Reynold defects to the villains side because they actually let him DO things.
- Ted in The Joker Blogs says he's cooperating with the Joker because he wants to die, but you can tell the respect is a factor.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Shredder does this with two of his dragons, Karai and Hun. With Karai, the trope comes into play due to the fact that the Shredder is the Daddy Warbucks to her Annie; Hun, while already a criminal, was allowed to move up from "gang leader" to "syndicate higher-up" thanks to his association with his "Master".
- In Kim Possible, the business of villainy (conventions, magazines, Jack Hench's henchman hiring agency) is Not So Different from any other sort of big business.
- The Venture Bros.:
- In order to come up with a competent and cheap workforce for Dr. Venture, Dr. Killinger hires a team of Venchmen, all of whom are on a work/study program paid for by the state. Evidently, the life of a henchman has some degree of allure.
- Killinger is also trying to do this to Dr. Venture himself. He provides the Venchmen, new threads, helps get his finances in order, and improves the lives of his family. It isn't until the end that he reveals this was all to get Venture to join the Guild Of Calamitous Intent as a fledgling supervillain, with his brother Jonas as his archenemy. Venture has a Heel Realization and refuses, and Killinger departs.
- Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz of Phineas and Ferb does not only have his own evil incorporation, and plans of an evil institute, but he's also a member of LOVEMUFFIN, an evil organization with evil doctors and scientists that not only have invention contests and buffets but also hosts pageant-like contests of evil. There also seems to be a variety of evil magazines, one of them being the Evil Beat magazine which is purely about evil of dance. It also appears that some branches of evil corporations on the show have different kinds of benefits, such as maternity leave.
- The Simpsons: In the episode "You Only Move Twice", this is how the Affably Evil Hank Scorpio recruits Homer Simpson as the manager to run the nuclear power plant that powers up his giant doom laser. He is generous with employee benefits, firmly believes in a casual workplace, is quick to give compliments and an all around amazing boss.
- South Park:
- In "Sexual Harassment Panda", town lawyer Gerald Broflovski represents everyone in South Park in a number of frivolous sexual harassment lawsuits that leave South Park Elementary and much of the rest of the town destitute and the Brovlovskis in a palatial new home. When his son Kyle questions the morality of this, Gerald can only reply, "Just look at this house, Kyle!"
- In "Crack Baby Athletic Association", Kyle joins with Cartman to create an athletic league exploiting crack babies (in a clear parody of the NCAA). Kyle tries to justify this in various ways, but is both attracted to and troubled by the luxuries he now enjoys at the expense of the crack babies.
Kyle: Well sorry, Skippy, but the world isn't always black and white! Just because some people are born poorer than others doesn't mean I can't enjoy a few McDonald's french fries in a hot tub of gravy from Kentucky Fried Chicken!
- In Dan Vs. "The Boss", Dan's new boss who is really a demon from Hell demands that Dan help her kill Chris for discovering her secret. When Dan protests, she offers him an expense account and a company car. Prior to this, Dan admitted to Chris that he's really looking forward to joining the forces of Hell, believing that he'd finally found his calling. In the end, Dan chooses his friend over Hell's promised luxuries.