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Blessed with Suck

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Be Careful What You Wish For... otherwise, you'll wind up like this moron.

"And as he drove on, the rain clouds dragged down the sky after him for, though he did not know it, Rob McKenna was a Rain God. All he knew was that his working days were miserable and he had a succession of lousy holidays. All the clouds knew was that they loved him and wanted to be near him, to cherish him and to water him."
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One way or the other, something you think is going to be useful turns out to be worthless.

Blessed with Suck is one of those tropes that comes in a few distinct flavors. Generally, it's when a character is given a special ability that seems to cause nothing but trouble:

  1. By far, the most common variation is that the writers have seen fit to give you a special power that is, to be frank, stupid, humiliating or useless.
  2. In other, more extreme cases, your power is actually too dangerous to use. See also I'm Having Soul Pains.
  3. Sometimes your power sounds really, really cool at first, but it turns out to have a lousy limitation or weakness, control problem, lacks the Required Secondary Powers, or (in the worst cases) has very dangerous side-effects.
  4. Sometimes the blessing is actually beneficial — but extenuating circumstances have ruined the potential fun. For example, A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read, And Your Little Dog, Too!, Power-Upgrading Deformation or Mutant Draft Board.
  5. If a power grants a character the ability to improve their lives in any way possible, expect it to be unable to do the one particular thing that makes the user truly happy, with usual examples such as curing some permanent injury, getting the girl, and the like.
  6. Often the original "blessing" turns out to be a curse when you stop to think about it, thanks to Exact Words, or not taking into account the intrinsic consequences. For example, Midas Touch. This is usually a Fantastic Aesop.
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This blessing may take the form of Applied Phlebotinum, privileges, or special abilities. For artistic cases (real or (self-) imagined), see Muse Abuse.

May be caused by a Literal Genie. May also result in With Great Power Comes Great Insanity either as part of the blessing or a result of its psychological effects.

Opposite side of the same coin from Cursed with Awesome, in which a "curse" actually is cool and helps the character, even if they refuse to believe it and just want to be normal. If the "blessing" is somehow removed via Aesop learning, then the Curse Is Foiled Again. If a character is given a lame power but manages to use it to great effect, you've found that Heart Is an Awesome Power.

This is Older Than Feudalism, and it's a perfect way to teach the Aesop of Be Careful What You Wish For. Supertrope to Does Not Know His Own Strength, Immunity Disability, Midas Touch, So Beautiful, It's a Curse, and Who Wants to Live Forever?.

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Compare/contrast with Awesome, but Impractical (which it is often mistaken for by the looks of most of the tropes), Super Loser, Super Zeroes, Power Incontinence, Bad Powers, Bad People. See also Curse. Contrast a Curse That Cures, when a Curse cures a character of an illness or disease they already had. For characters blessed with awesome, see With Great Power Comes Great Perks.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 
  • Charming: Any woman whom Prince Phillipe looks in the eyes falls madly in love with him. Unfortunately for Phillipe this was meant as a curse by his father's jealous ex, and it is a curse; he has no control over this power, and it's made a mess of his life. Ironically, the one woman Phillipe is interested in, the roguish burglar Lenore, is completely immune to his power, and is only helping him with his quest to break the curse because the king offered her a pardon and a small fortune.
  • Just about every Madrigal in Encanto (except Mirabel) has a magical gift of some kind. Luisa has Super Strength, Pepa has mood-based Weather Manipulation, etc. Sounds cool, right? Well, no. Due to the high expectations of family matriarch Alma and the rest of the town, the cons end up outweighing the pros. Luisa is constantly overworking herself keeping up with the town's requests, Pepa is immensely stressed in trying to keep her mood under control to avoid summoning unwanted rain, the list goes on. It ends up subverted when Alma finally realises the harm that her pressure is causing her family, and the Madrigals become far happier when they aren't trying to be perfect all the time.
    • And, we don't talk about Bruno!
  • Elsa in Frozen considers her powers this until she learns to control them. Having powers over ice and snow is cool. Nearly killing your little sister when you are both just children and years later accidentally putting your whole kingdom in eternal winter due to Power Incontinence is not.
  • Hercules has this in spades:
    • Hades has all kinds of incredible powers — he can easily control flame, never ages, and possesses immortality. Unfortunately, he's been assigned a job that he hates — dealing with dead people all day — while the other gods get to spend their days on the sunny Mount Olympus. Because of the nature of the job (there's always someone new dying), he's stuck in the Underworld and never gets a break.
    • Hercules himself has Super Strength. Yay! But that Super Strength never turns off, and when combined with the natural klutziness of a teenager, it leads to pretty much everyone in his hometown hating him (they outright call him a freak). Plus, he's a god among men and doesn't know it, so he spends his entire childhood/teenage years feeling like he doesn't fit in with other humans.
    • Meg has apparently been granted immortality and eternal youth by a god. Trouble is, that god is Hades. And she only gained her powers by making a Deal with the Devil — she sold her soul to save her boyfriend's life, and he repaid her by running off with another woman. She now has to do whatever Hades tells her, and as a result, doesn't seem to have any friends or people she's close to.
  • The baker accuses Joseph of being this in Joseph: King of Dreams after being told that he will be executed in three days and birds will feed on his flesh.
  • Moses from The Prince of Egypt is God's Chosen One, but he is forced to be the instrument of the 10 Plagues of Egypt. This pits him against his once beloved brother and old home, and he's very unhappy to have to bring destruction in God's behalf to a place he once loved and getting entirely innocent people killed in the crossfire.
  • Rapunzel of Tangled. Oh sure, it's awesome to have hair that glows and heals any wound and reverses aging, but when you get kidnapped from your birth parents, and said hair grows 3 times as fast as regular hair, there are problems that can arise. For instance, it apparently takes 3 hours to brush her hair, and 6 hours to wash it. And with 70 feet of it by the time you're 18, it can also be a real drag (literally) to lug around. And yes, you could braid it to make walking easier, but then if it catches on anything, you're stuck.
  • Turning Red: Mei's ancestor Sun Yee prayed to the gods for a way to defend her family and village from invaders during wartime, and the gods granted her the ability to turn into a huge and powerful beast at will. This gift was passed down through her descendants, but they gradually found that turning into a giant red panda every time you got too emotional became progressively less useful as times changed and they moved to another country. Mei's mother calls it a blessing that became an inconvenience. By modern times, they'd begun locking the panda spirit inside talismans to keep it from coming out.
  • Wreck-It Ralph:
    • "WHY DO I FIX EVERYTHING I TOUCH?!" Mr Fix It powers are cool and all until you're trying to break out of prison and your efforts are simply making the prison sturdier. Like a reverse This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman.
    • Vanellope has the power to teleport, which is incredibly handy in a racing game like Sugar Rush. But she has it because she's a "glitch" — that is, the video game code that she's made of is inherently corrupted. Everyone treats her like dirt for her condition, even though it makes her one of the best racers in the game. It turns out this Fantastic Racism is something of an Enforced Trope: When King Candy/Turbo took over the game, he reprogrammed its code to make everyone forget that Vanellope was actually the princess of the realm. When Turbo's defeated and Sugar Rush restored to its former state, the population's memories are restored as well, and they welcome Vanellope back with open arms, despite her glitch.

    Music 
  • Jim's Big Ego's song, the Ballad of Barry Allen, explores the logical consequences of perceiving time as a speedster and the loneliness and boredom that comes with being the fastest man alive.
  • The narrator of Type O Negative's "Suspended In Dusk". Sure, he's an immortal vampire with who knows what kind of powers, but he can't keep love interests as they all end up succumbing to old age while he lives past their expiration dates.
  • "Belle of the Boulevard" deconstructs Head-Turning Beauty, implying that the heroine's beauty and seemingly perfect life is masking how unhappy she is, and that she is seen as "easy" by men.

    Web Animation 
  • Just how pervasive is this trope? Well, on Homestar Runner, Strong Bad got an email asking what he would do if he had the ability to transform. Strong Bad immediately assumes that he'd have to somehow be Blessed With Suck:
    Strong Bad: If comic books, cartoons, and Sci-Fi Original Movies have taught me anything, it's that shapeshifting comes with a bunch of boring rules and restrictions that limit its potential Turn-Into-A-Bulldozer-Whenever-I-Wantity. You can turn into a machine gun but not bullets, contemporary jazz turns you back to normal, you can only turn into presents your grandma's knitted for you. Crap like that. For example, let's say I could turn into any species... OF BALLOON ANIMAL!!??
  • In Red vs. Blue, Simmons talks about terrible superpowers: the ability to fly, but only north, being able to teleport only one foot at a time and the power to turn into the Hulk... but only when you're asleep.
  • In RWBY, everyone's got a Semblance, a special power that only they can do (super speed, creating illusions, etc). However, it's later established that not all Semblances are cool and useful: your Semblance can be, for instance, to cause misfortune to the people around you. The character in question, Ruby and Yang's uncle Qrow Branwen, does note that it can be useful when in a fight because it causes bad luck for their opponent, but it also means that they have to keep away from family and friends.
    • Later on, in Volume 7, we are introduced to Robyn Hill, a former Huntress and politician whose Semblance makes her a Living Lie Detector. While that utility is nice, it's ultimately not useful in combat, and it causes people who know of her power to keep their distance from her, lest she suss out their secrets.


 
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