There are certain characters who receive a lot of hatred from the fanbase for one reason or another. Most often, when their creators pick up on the hate, they have a couple options. They can ignore it, tweak the character into a more likable version, or even play it for laughs. Sometimes, however, the creator(s) have become so attached to this character for whatever reason, whether because they see something of themselves in the character or the character reminds them of someone they were close to or the character represents something they admire, that they decide to increasingly focus on him, magnifying the importance of his role, and having the other characters talk about how awesome he is, in painful ignorance of — or sometimes in spite of — the fans' obvious hatred.
That's the Creator's Pet in a nutshell.
The main characteristic of the Creator's Pet is that the writers' focus on him is detrimental to the show. It's not that the parts featuring this character necessarily suck more than the rest, but that so much effort is being directed to him that it detracts from the quality of the series as a whole. It's as if the writers think that there's nothing more important than browbeating the viewers into falling in love with this one character. And it never works. In fact, shilling a character excessively can cause other characters to be drawn into the hatred.
- Hated by fans (The Scrappy)
- Loved (or worshipped) by the writers (Creator's Favorite)
- Put into big scenes for no reason (Character Focus)
- Talked up by the other characters (Character Shilling)
Unless it meets all of these criteria, it doesn't fit.
Compare Spotlight-Stealing Squad, which happens when Character Focus pushes a lot of the other characters out of the limelight for an extended period of time; Periphery Hatedom, when this kind of character is hated by people he's not even targeted at; the Canon Sue, which is frequently also this trope by default; and the GMPC, which is often this in a Role-Playing Game.
Compare Character Shilling, which is unwarranted praise for one character by one or more other characters, regardless of fan reaction. Contrast Shoo Out the New Guy, whom the creators get rid of as quickly as possible, the Unpopular Popular Character and the Designated Monkey, who's adored by fans despite being loathed in-universe. Finally contrast Ensemble Dark Horse, a character who receives relatively little Character Focus but is adored by fans. On the flip side, take note of Creator Breakdown and Artist Disillusionment, which can happen when the author vehemently disagrees with the fans and takes it out on the show.
Note: Although this is subjective, only blatantly obvious or creator-acknowledged examples should be listed in the pages below.
- Comic Books
- Live-Action TV
- Newspaper Comics
- Professional Wrestling
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Comics
- Web Original
- Western Animation