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Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery

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"I have self-diagnosed Asperger's so I can pretty much say whatever I want. I'm so much better than you. Sorry, Asperger's."
Sugar Motta, Glee

Contrary to many people's preconceptions that disabled people are all nice or otherwise pleasant to be around much like many depictions of the Magical Differently Abled Person, disability does not prevent the person with it from being an unpleasant person. Some will even use their "illness" to get away with saying things that are at best inappropriate, and at worst outright offensive.

Another variation will have the character claim to have the disability despite the lack of a professional diagnosis, or fake the symptoms so that they can get diagnosed with it. This character generally comes from a privileged background and has thus become accustomed to treating other people poorly. Usually, this character is just a Jerkass or Attention Whore, and would be exactly the same if they did not have or did not claim to have the disability. A popular subject for this over the Internet is Asperger Syndrome.note 

The "faking it" variation is a parody of similar behavior in real life, which can be a Berserk Button for people who actually are disabled, due to the prejudice they are targeted with every day compounded with having to put up with ignorant assholes who are adding insult to their injury by claiming to have it just to get attention and/or have a convenient excuse for being a jerk.

A Sub-Trope of Acquired Situational Narcissism. Arguably an in-universe example of Flawless Token. When a disabled character is not entirely jerkass, but just snarky, they are a Disabled Snarker. When a disabled character isn't just a jerk but also evil, then it's Evil Cripple. When a character uses their age rather than an illness to get away with similar behavior it's Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!. When a character's disability has real negative effects on their personality or behavior, it's Ailment-Induced Cruelty.

There is some Truth in Television to it: a disability can have a serious impact on a person's personality traits. How much, depends on many factors: the circumstances that led to the disability, the type of life held before the accident (a bookworm may adapt to a wheelchair more easily than a sportsman), the level of support of friends and family, previous personality, how old were they when they became disabled (someone born deaf is less likely to experience Sense Loss Sadness than an young adult who lost their hearing), etc. It goes without saying that clumsy handling of the trope can very easily result in Unfortunate Implications. Of course, No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    Comic Books 
  • The 2000's Aquaman comic retconned Black Manta into having severe autism. When Arthur gets rid of his autism Manta appears to Heel–Face Turn and becomes his ally, but then betrays and tries to kill him at the first opportunity because, autism or not, he's still a bad guy. When Aquaman turns out to be Not Quite Dead and comes after him, Manta claims his autism relapsed.
  • In She-Hulk, Mallory Book uses the fact that she was left in a wheelchair as a result of one of She-Hulk's fights to justify making her day job as difficult as possible by taking on supervillains as clients, which prevents She-Hulk from representing most of her superhero friends.
  • Inverted with Professor X of the X-Men. Every time his ability to walk is restored to him, he eventually turns evil.

    Fan Works 
  • Codex Equus: Deconstructed with Prince Healing Song. While this never occurred with his blindness — having accepted long ago that he'll always be blind even after Ascending to godhood — it turns out he was using the trauma he suffered at War Rock's hooves to justify his attitudes, even unconsciously. The behavior that resulted not only led to his friends putting him at arm's length (because they were snarked at whenever they tried helping him), but also led to him nearly dying in a fight against a powerful foe. Eventually, he gets skunked and chewed out by Nittunak, forcing him to realize he needs to overcome his toxic mindset in order to truly heal.
  • Feralnette AU:
    • One of Lila's favorite ways to manipulate others is claiming to suffer from a variety of conditions in order to feign vulnerability and dependence upon others. This includes claiming that she suffers from a "lying disease" that forces her to compulsively lie, and insisting that anyone who calls her out on her Malicious Slander is being 'ableist'.
    • Alya defends one of Lila's most blatant slander attempts by revealing her "lying disease" to Ladybug and Chat Noir. This backfires, as Ladybug immediately points out that Alya just revealed that she knows Lila "has trouble with the truth"... yet was still treating her as a trusted source for her Ladyblog, not bothering to fact-check any of her claims because she wanted to use them as "exclusive insider information". Alya subsequently doubles down on defending Lila, convincing herself that Ladybug is being 'unfair' to them both and not taking Lila's condition into account.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • In the 1990 Paul Hogan comedy Almost An Angel, the film's hero, Terry Dean, is in a bar when he encounters Steve Garner (Elias Koteas), a wheelchair-using Jerkass who is using his disability as an excuse to push other people around. Dean calls Garner out on his behavior with a veiled hint that if Garner doesn't stop being such a jerk, Dean will beat the crap out of him. The other bar patrons object, claiming that you shouldn't fight a guy in a wheelchair. So Terry Dean pulls up a chair, puts it within Garner's arms-reach, and sits down in it. He then raises his fists, saying that the fight will now be fair.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice sees a Wayne Enterprises named Wallace Keefe, who lost his legs due to the events of Man of Steel's climax—and becoming embittered towards both Superman and Bruce Wayne, refusing disability pay from Wayne Enterprises, sending hate mail to Wayne (even saying that Wayne let his family die - despite Keefe's family being alive and well, having abandoned him), and defacing the statue of Superman by tagging it with the words "False God". Of course, how much of this is his own jerkassery or Lex Luthor messing with him is up for debate.
  • Doctor Strange: Even though Christine is incredibly supportive, Stephen is bitter after the accident destroys his hands.
    Christine: This isn't the end, there are other things that can give your life meaning.
    Stephen: (derisive) Like what? Like you?
    Christine: ... and this is the part where you apologize.
    Stephen: This is the part where you leave.
  • Hinted at with Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) in As Good as It Gets. While he doesn't claim that his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder causes him to bully people with his endless pestering about how they don't live up to his (ridiculously high) standards, it's likely he has a self-serving inferiority complex that assumes that this trope will be enforced anyway because people will feel sorry for him and let his "mistakes" slide. Indeed, he is genuinely shocked when people angrily call him out for saying offensive things.
  • The Idiots stars a cast of pathetic middle-class jerks invoking both this and Inspirationally Disadvantaged by going out in public and pretending to be developmentally disabled, partially to take advantage of people's generosity but mostly to amuse themselves as part of a juvenile game.
  • The title character of Rory O'Shea Was Here is in a wheelchair and frequently tries to pick fights or break the law, knowing he won't be penalised because of his disability. This is one of many things he's called out on later in the film.
  • Dwight in Scary Movie 2 takes Don't You Dare Pity Me! to such an extent that it crosses into this (albeit Played for Laughs).
  • Played with in Waiting... by an elder gentleman who gets into a discussion with Monty and the new hire about how much he enjoys being a senior because it means he can do outrageous things like Flipping the Bird at a group of schoolchildren, and as long as he smiles while doing it people assume he has Alzheimer's. Then he mentions sometimes a person will slap him and he'll realize he was flipping someone off without noticing he was doing it, so maybe he actually does have Alzheimer's.

  • The Berenstain Bears: Deconstructed in the "Big Chapter Book" The Berenstain Bears and the Wheelchair Commando. As the title implies, Harry McGill, a new student in a wheelchair, comes to Bear Country and begins attending class with Brother and his friends. Harry refuses to be pitied, which is understandable, but the problem is that he views any sort of kindness or decent treatment as nothing more than "special treatment" because he's in a wheelchair. As such, he's become incredibly abrasive and rude to everyone, even those who are genuinely trying to befriend him or help him adjust to an unfamiliar environment regardless of his mobility. When Brother defends him from Too-Tall's nastiness, Harry lashes out—and Brother, who's finally had enough of the other cub's Jerkass nature, gives him a brief "Reason You Suck" Speech and points out that being in a wheelchair is no excuse to treat people like dirt. Harry has a Heel Realization and gradually softens throughout the rest of the series.
  • Bigend Books: This is Bobby Chombo in a nutshell. He is a creep towards women and a jerk to men and then uses his anxiety disorder to make it someone else's fault. It's even debatable if his disorders are a disability or a superpower, considering how he uses them as a scalpel to cut through social situations he doesn't want to deal with.
  • Averted with most of the disabled and/or ill characters in the Chalet School series, but one exception is Naomi Elton in Trials for the Chalet School. She is disabled as a result of a car accident, needing a cane to walk, and has what Elinor M. Brent-Dyer calls a 'warped personality', using her disability as an excuse to be awkward and abrasive. Of course, she gets better.
  • The title character of Maurice Level's short story "The Cripple" lost the use of his hands in an accident with a grain-thresher, and receives regular compensation from a farmer who suspects him of faking the disability. On his way home after receiving a payment, he sees a girl drowning but is unable to grab her hand to save her. The end of the story reveals that he is indeed faking his disability, and let her drown to avoid giving himself away.
  • Referenced in The Drawing of the Three: when Roland enters Detta Walker's head, she screams, causing a nearby security guard to catch her in the act of shoplifting. He goes to apprehend her, but notes that it's going to be a "shit bust" because it's "hard to convince a jury that cripples can also be slime".
  • The wheelchair user title character of German satirist Robert Gernhardt's short story Henry der Krüppel (Henry the cripple) behaves in ways that make the oh-so-politically-correct narrator cringe all the time, referring to himself and others like him as "cripples" even though the narrator insists that the term is demeaning to the disabled. When the narrator mentions Helen Keller and Frida Kahlo as inspiring examples, Henry retorts by invoking disabled Nazi war veteran Hans-Ulrich Rudel. The story plays with the trope since most of the time Henry enjoys making the narrator (who somewhat patronizingly wants to feel better about himself by helping a disabled person) feel uncomfortable. Gernhardt got quite a bit of flak for this story - from non-disabled readers who expressed outrage on behalf of the disabled. Meanwhile, he got positive reactions from disabled readers, including requests to allow them to reprint the story in their own magazines.
  • In House Rules, Jacob is a Jerkass and considers his autism as a legitimate excuse for being such, as well as that autism is the next step in evolution.
  • In the Millennium Series, Lizbeth Salander allows the Swedish government to classify her as disabled well into her twenties because it allows her to get away with less professional conduct and her legal guardian protects her from most of the annoyances that being falsely classified would bring. This backfires terribly after her legal guardian suffers a stroke and his replacement exploits her disabled status in order to force her into sex in exchange for access to her own money.
  • In The Secret Garden, wheelchair user Colin combines this trope with Spoiled Brat at first. He gets better by the end though, both morally and physically.
  • The Woman in White: Frederick Fairlie uses his chronic illness as an excuse to stay in his suite working on his own hobbies and ignore his family, and to be rude to anybody who manages to get in to talk to him. Some of the characters suspect he's exaggerating the severity of his illness for this reason.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bones:
    • Averted completely with Doctor Temperance Brennan's clear case of Asperger's Syndrome. She has little grasp of social cues, general etiquette, and people's emotions but if anyone points out that her actions or her words may have caused offense, she is immediately apologetic. At first, Booth doesn't seem to really understand that she genuinely doesn't understand some of the basics of social interaction. However, her best friend Angela is always ready to interpret for her and her colleagues are aware of the problems she has. In later seasons, Booth begins to be able to translate between her and strangers like the local law enforcement. She does seem to be getting better at finding social cues as she spends more time interacting with strangers, and talking to a therapist regularly, though her "out of character" behavior still sometimes unsettles people after this.
    • Her cousin, also showing signs of autism that are as extreme as Brennan's, also quickly tones down the behavior in question (citing quotes from Benjamin Franklin in response to anything and everything) as soon as somebody mentions it being an issue.
    • Averted again, by season 11, as Hodgins ends up in a wheelchair. He is a jerk to everyone, especially his wife Angela, making sure to tell everyone he is paralyzed and angry, freely being a jerk even to his boss. Several times Brennan and Cam have to put him back in line. It's not until he threatens divorce and has a big fight with his wife that the two finally start working on their issues. At no point, however, does anyone excuse his jackassery due to his disability.
  • Captain Caïn from, well, Caïn was already an asshole before he ended up in a wheelchair, but now he can mock the "bipeds" around him and watch them hesitate to respond in kind to a disabled man. The few that don't hesitate get slightly more respect from him.
  • In Curb Your Enthusiasm, Michael J. Fox appears As Himself, irritating Larry but claiming it be due to Parkinson's Disease, such as shaking a can of pop and handing it to Larry.
  • Connor of Degrassi. As soon as he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (never mind that the very portrayal of the disorder was totally inaccurate), he decided that it was okay to be a complete dick to everyone, especially his friends.
  • Parodied on Designing Women, when Allison (played by Julia Duffy) says that she is unable not to be annoying, and a psychiatrist has diagnosed her with OPD, or "Obnoxious Personality Disorder."
  • Dr. Romano of ER was always a jerk, but claimed he grabbed various nurses due to a malfunction of his prosthetic arm.
  • Facejacker: Dufrais, one of the personas, lives on this trope. He is in a wheelchair but is an unpleasant, mean-spirited Jerkass.
  • Garfunkel and Oates: On the show, Timmy the little boy who's dying (and in a wheelchair), notes he can get away with practically anything because of it. Kate and Riki admit they can't call him on it due to this.
  • From the day he came out of his coma, numerous General Hospital characters have used Jason Morgan's brain damage as an excuse for his horrible behavior. To the point where his new girlfriend Robin instantly forgave him for cheating on her with Carly because he supposedly was genuinely unable to understand that it was wrong to sleep with someone else while dating her.
  • Sugar Motta from Glee uses her (self-diagnosed, this is important) Asperger's Syndrome as an excuse to be rude to everyone. This aspect of her personality was dropped when the writers were rebuked by fans who didn't quite get that she wasn't supposed to be a serious portrayal of someone with Asperger's.
    • A combination of Sue Sylvester's protection and this trope keeps Becky Jackson, a student with Downs Syndrome, from ever having to answer for her actions. Sue encourages her to take advantage of this.
  • One episode of The Golden Girls features Blanche meeting a guy in a library, only to discover after the fact that he's actually in a wheelchair. After some initial awkwardness and a pep talk from the other girls, she decides to take a chance on dating him...only to discover that the guy is already married. He tries to invoke sympathy for himself by claiming that his wife doesn't understand him, but Blanche—who, for all her Really Gets Around ways, refuses to commit adultery—tells him that she does understand that he's nothing but a cheating jerk and kicks him to the curb.
  • The Good Wife: Recurring antagonist Louis Canning is a lawyer with tardive dyskinesia incurred as a side effect of medicine and invariably plays up his disability in court to elicit jury sympathy. The big joke being, his professional specialty is defending corporations from class-actions over the very type of wrongdoing from which he incurred his disability in the first place. Lampshaded in one incident where he tried it on a wheelchair-using judge in conference; the judge basically went, "Yeah, I'm a paraplegic, so what? Knock it off and present your case."
  • House could be called "Disability As An Excuse for Jerkassery: The Series."
    • It comes with some serious deconstruction though; although Dr. House justifies his jerkassery with his injured leg, he was a jerkass well before that. He does however at least once (seemingly sincerely) say that his injury did make him worse. Or at least, gave him an excuse to be worse. In one episode, Wilson argues against diagnosing House with Asperger's Syndrome because he'd just use it as an excuse to be an even bigger jerk (though his jerkassery often brings some humorous moments).
    • The aptly named episode "The Jerk" had a real jerkass teenage patient. After almost an hour of showing just how obnoxious this kid was, including insulting everyone, sexually harassing Cameron, and even flashing her, it turns out that the kid really is sick: Iron Poisoning. His liver has difficulty processing iron properly and his mother asks House if the illness is the cause for the kid to be such a jerk. House denies it.
      House: "It's not. You just raised a little jerk."
      • In fact, a significant part of the diagnosis comes when House realizes the kid's attitude isn't a symptom of his disease. Realizing the kid is a genuine jerk who is also genuinely sick is what allows House to deduce the illness is iron poisoning.
    • Another episode has an 8-year-old boy developing a crush on Cameron, pinching her buttocks, and then attacking Chase when Chase and Cameron share a moment together. Turns out he is sick; his aggressiveness was directly caused by having a hundred times more testosterone than normal and is key to cracking the case.
    • The episode "No More Mister Nice Guy" deals with a man who is seemingly too nice, which House thinks is a symptom. The man eventually tests positive for syphilis, and since that affects the brain it could influence personality. Kutner does a test on House's blood, which confirms that House has syphilis too. The team wonders if this is why he's such a jerk, which is seemingly confirmed when House acts significantly nicer after taking the treatment. Except of course, House faked the test and is now faking being nice just to screw with them.
  • In The Inbetweeners, Alistair was a Jerkass before his kidney transplant left him in a wheelchair and his illness didn't humble him at all. It's made funnier because the people around them see him as Inspirationally Disadvantaged, which he exploits to get attention from girls.
    Jay: He's a dick! I never liked him when he was well, I never liked him when he was ill and don't like him now he's getting better... He was a complete bell-end. He was worse than Briefcase... He's not going to have got more interesting in a hospital bed attached to a drip for a year... and he used to stink.
  • In the Dark: Murphy can get away with a lot given her blindness, and she knows it. Overall she's not a jerk, but at times she does take advantage of it.
  • Averted by Roy (Chris O'Dowd) in The IT Crowd episode "The Work Outing" when he pretends to be disabled in order to cover a series of lies stemming from wanting to use the handicapped restroom at a theatrical performance. Each of his lies, however, only serves to make the situation worse for him and at no point does he use his faux disability as a reason to be more or less of a jerk.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Frank pretends to have AIDS so he can cut lines at a water park.
  • The BBC Three sitcom Jerk is about a man with cerebral palsy who's also an asshole and knows that he can get away with anything.
  • Just Shoot Me!:
    • Elliot's brother Donnie faked a mental disability for twenty years just so that he could get away with mooching off the family and not have to work.
    • In another episode, Maya dates a blind guy who turns out to be a jerk to everyone else. She continues dating him despite this until he asks her to describe porn for him (there's a similar plot on Empty Nest where Carol is determined to ignore the fact that her blind boyfriend is a jerk, but she finally snaps and tells him off).
  • The Kids in the Hall featured Bruce McCulloch in a recurring role as an unpleasant guy who tries to elicit pity sex from women because he has a cabbage for a head (seen as cabbage leaves in place of hair).
  • Law & Order: In "Virus", the father of a hacker on trial for tampering with medical computers uses his impending blindness as justification and encouragement for the son's behavior. Sort of a disability jerk by proxy (the son had done this to avenge his father, whose condition they blamed on some doctors whom they couldn't successfully sue).
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Silencer" has most of the hearing-impaired people featured act like this. While the one hearing-impaired person has an excuse for acting that way (his hearing sister who was supposed to take care of him ran off to live her own life and fearing that his girlfriend, who was getting a cochlear implant, would do the same, he kills her doctor), another felt her deaf newborn niece was "born right" and one Designated Hero of the school was a very antagonistic, embittered asshole who even went as far as to shoot a (hearing) woman who dared to speak with the detectives.
  • The Lou and Andy sketches in Little Britain were built around the concept of a jerkass who is pretending to need a wheelchair and possibly faking learning disabilities in order to both be lazy to the nth degree and get away with being demanding ("Want that one..."), contrary ("...don't like it."), and to get away with horrible and ludicrous behavior up to and including murdering a woman who wouldn't take his attitude. All this to the complete unawareness of his carer Lou Todd, a rather put-upon man who Andy basically treats as a slave.
  • In a Mad About You episode, Paul & Jamie are on a "feel-good" quest. But when they watch a "feel good" movie at the theaters, they encounter a boorish Jerkass in the audience. Once Paul realized the man was disabled, he backed down, only to receive a blow to the gut. On instinct, Paul punched the man in the eye, resulting in everyone yelling at him for attacking a disabled person while the man in the wheelchair exaggerated the amount of pain he was in.
  • One recurring sketch near the end of MADtv (1995) featured a jerkass mentally disabled man who constantly insulted everyone around him, but always got away with it due to his disability.
  • Never Have I Ever: Deconstructed and Discussed. Devi has undeniably experienced a lot of serious trauma, physical and emotional, but Fabiola makes clear to her that it's "not a free pass to treat [them] like crap." Part of her Character Development is improving her treatment of others as she tries to heal from her trauma.
  • In Night Court, a recurring character, a blind woman, was bitter, irascible, and mean to everyone. Because of her condition, few people call her out on this. Ironically, before she lost her sight, she was an even bigger jackass.
  • In an episode of The Office (US), Michael suffers from a very mild burn on his foot, and ends up using a wheelchair. What's more, his constant demands distract everyone from Dwight, who is genuinely injured (he suffered a concussion when he crashed his car into a pole rushing recklessly to Michael's aid.)
  • Ana Guerrico, from Padre Coraje. Falling in love with the priest, and being told that she can't do that, does not help much...
  • It's far from being the only excuse he gives, but Rimmer in Red Dwarf sometimes blames at least some of his awfulness on the fact that he suffers from the worst disability there is: he's dead.
  • One episode of Reno 911! sees Jones and Garcia forced to take a cancer patient on a ride-along. Said cancer patient insults Jones and Garcia, cheerfully discusses how his hobby of raping the female patients in his ward, and manages to convince Jones to let him hold his sidearm... and then fires it into a crowd.
  • Saturday Night Live played a "lost ending" to It's a Wonderful Life where the townsfolk formed a mob to wreak revenge on Mr. Potter-when they find out he doesn't really need his wheelchair they get furious and really lay into him. An interesting note: the reason for Mr. Potter's wheelchair in the first place was that actor Lionel Barrymore needed one in real life.
  • SCTV station manager Guy Caballero is always seen in a wheelchair, though he doesn't need it; he just uses it "to get respect."
  • Seinfeld:
    • George Costanza once faked a disability in order to get a number of perks at his job. He quickly began acting like an even bigger jerk than he does normally, even going so far as to have a secretary carry him to his office. The worst part is that this wasn't even really intentional on George's part. George showed up to the job interview while still recovering from injuries he received in a previous episode and was using a cane to help him walk. His new boss just assumed he was handicapped. George was even going to correct him, but then his boss mentioned the private bathroom he'd be getting...
    • In the episode "The Bubble Boy," Jerry pays a visit to a fan who has to live in a plastic bubble, but he turns out to be a jerkass who sexually harasses Susan and picks a fight with George over a game of Trivial Pursuit. But when George fights back, the neighbors are outraged: "What kind of person would hurt the Bubble Boy?". The Bubble Boy doesn't even intentionally play up his disability to get people to excuse his behavior. All he does is act like a dick and everyone gives him sympathy anyway.
  • Sherlock: Averted, by the title character who regularly corrects people that he's a high-functioning sociopath whenever anybody calls him a psychopath over his antisocial manner, but never uses it as a reason why he should be allowed to behave that way.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Ethics" Worf was paralyzed due to an accident in the cargo bay. When Worf insists on taking his own life as his cultural traditions demand both Crusher and Riker believe that he is being a jerkass. Picard has to remind both of them that Worf is not a human and he has his own cultural imperatives that he is acting on.
  • In Stupid Stupid Man, the editor Carl hires a paraplegic man for the sake of filling out a quota. Said paraplegic turns out to be whiny, belligerent and sexually harasses the female staff. Carl turns a blind eye to all of this to save face, but is quick to change his tune when his new employee starts threatening to sue him for minor infractions. The episode ends with the disabled man getting hit by a car.
  • This is Wonderland usually depicted mentally ill people with incredible amounts of sympathy, however, a two-episode arc at the end of season 2 dealt with a violent bipolar man who self-medicated with illegal drugs and alcohol. He refused all actual treatment and help and was clearly using his condition as an excuse to be able to act out and use however he felt like it. At one point, he literally screams "I have a f*cking disorder!" on the stand.
  • In an episode of Three's Company, a man named Jim Walsh who bullied Jack in the Navy is invited by an unknowing, well-meaning Chrissy to the roommates' apartment. Walsh is a complete and utter Jerkass who happens to be blind, and plays on sympathy to get away with his abhorrent behavior, even shaming Jack for attempting to hit him after relentlessly egging him on to do so. Frustratingly, Walsh ends up being a Karma Houdini.
    Serves ya right, trying to hit a blind man!

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In late 2006, Eugene (who is portrayed as a wrestler with Special Needs) had a VERY brief Heel Run. After turning on and defeating "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Eugene would then shout "I'M SPECIAL!!" His "I'm Special" gimmick would return the week after when he attacked Val Venis when he was hosting the Kiss Cam. Afterwards, the turn was quickly forgotten, and Eugene returned to his Face Routes the following month.

  • Harry in Nebulous has been severely injured by the protagonist, Nebulous, and has been left a Davros-style mad scientist on a life support system with an electronic voicebox that has No Indoor Voice. He constantly reminds the protagonist about how his entire existence is agony while describing increasingly horrific medical problems caused by his cybernetic parts in his shouty electronic voice, but he's honestly more sympathetic than Nebulous is.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • In his special Voice in my Head, Christopher Titus talks about his friend and fellow comic Michael Aronin, who suffers from cerebral palsy and one time turned up the disability "3000%"note  in response to a waitress who thought Disabled Means Helpless.
    Titus: Mike, dead serious, "That bitch deserved it."
    Titus: I see Satan flash across Mike's face, and my first thought is "You don't deserve better parking, because you're an evil prick."

    Video Games 
  • In Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, Big Bad Monaka fakes being a wheelchair user in order to garner sympathy from the other kids at Hope's Peak Elementary, manipulating her fellow Warriors of Hope by playing The Cutie. She shows absolutely no sympathy or remorse for her actions, callously dismissing the death and destruction they're causing, as well as the suffering of her supposed allies. She even declares that pitiful children are able to get away with anything.
  • Assiette Genoise, the girl in the wheelchair from Princess Maker 5 always speaks rudely to the daughter protagonist, except for when there’s a third person in the conversation.
  • The Warriors: Birdie, a high-ranking member of the Turnbull A.C's, is paralyzed from the waist down and gets around in a wheelchair. He's also one of the biggest dicks in the entire game, which is saying something since almost every character is a gang member, and likes to have other Turnbulls rough up his victims, then run over their crotches with his chair when they're helpless. He's also one of the few characters in the game to use a gun, the others being the Lizzies (who only use it during an ambush) and Big Bad Luther, leader of the Rogues.

  • Mituna, Sollux's Dancestor in Homestuck, tends to burst out into profanity and Anti-Seadweller slurs frequently. However, this is because he suffers from severe brain damage that has left him with a split personality and intellectual disability, compounded by several speech impediments and a particularly frustrating typing quirk. As a result, most people don't take his outburst too seriously.
    • Terezi's blindness has never stopped her, but she does use her disability as an excuse to troll people for inadvertently using vision-based metaphors.
  • According to Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, this is called "Assburger's Syndrome".
  • Something*Positive: As a young boy, Fred was admitted to a hospital for an ear infection, where he was antagonized at every turn by a boy in a wheelchair, who used his disability as an excuse to rage at the world, and every other child at the hospital hates him. Eventually, Fred and his friends team up to scare him and teach him a lesson... whereupon it is revealed that the boy is in the hospital for a heart condition, and the shock of the scare ends up killing him.

    Web Original 
  • An episode of The Bedfellows, appropriately titled "Aspergers," has Sheen's erratic, antisocial behavior diagnosed as the titular illness. Sheen, being Sheen, proceeds to rampage out of his doctor's office, speed through traffic, shove his way to the front of a prescription line and eventually resist arrest for all of it by shouting "I HAVE ASPERGERS!" over and over the whole time. It turns out he doesn't have the disorder at all. He's just a jerk.
  • Parodied in the "I'm Literally Neurodivergent and a Minor" meme. Everyone from Light Yagami to Walter White cites neurodivergence as an excuse for killing people.

    Web Videos 
  • A variation is discussed in Screen Rant Pitch Meetings, where the Screenwriter describes the main cast of The Big Bang Theory as a group of incredibly unlikeable people but they'll be "playing the quirky card" with them so that their negative traits will be seen as some form of ambiguous disorder and thus they'll be seen as endearingly wacky sitcom characters rather than a bunch of annoying jerks.
  • Jeffy Jeffy from SuperMarioLogan literally is the younger version of this when revealed to be quote on quote "disabled" by Brooklyn T. Guy, which this is compared to how much of a retard he really is and how much a insufferable brat he also is to Mario in a way that it is more easy to say that it was intolerable for using disabilities as a excuse instead.

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in Archer. When the titular character finds out he has cancer, he takes advantage of everyone's good nature (such as taking his valet's holiday and convincing Lana to sleep with him again). Once he's indulged, Archer changes his tune and tries being nicer to all the people he knows, even claiming that he probably deserved cancer after being such a dick his whole life.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Toph is frequently tomboyish and rather rude. She also uses her blindness as an excuse for her behavior. On two occasions, Katara calls her on this (once for not pulling her own weight, and again for scamming people).
  • The Boondocks: Downplayed in "The Passion Of Reverend Ruckus". Uncle Ruckus was always a Jerkass due to being a Boomerang Bigot, but when he gets diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, he decides to use what little time he thinks he has left to start a religion that preaches that Black People should hate themselves for being black. Him being struck by lightning, which somehow cures his brain tumor, does nothing to make him a better person.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Petarded", Peter uses his recent diagnosis of being intellectually disabled to be even more of an asshole than usual, being abusive to people, shoving to front of lines, breaking into a women's bathroom, and just generally misbehaving all with a "sorry, retarded" to avoid any punishment. Deconstructed when his ridiculous behavior causes Lois to end up in the hospital with severe grease burns, and then child services make the Griffin kids live with Cleveland until Lois heals up because Peter's actions have proved he's too unfit to be a single father.
    • In "Extra Large Medium", Chris goes on a date with a girl with Down Syndrome, who ends up treating him pretty awfully. Finally fed up with the abuse, Chris comments that he thought people with learning disorders were different and nicer than other people, but now he realizes that they can be just as mean and selfish as everybody else, and they break up.
    • Inverted with Joe, who is paralyzed from the waist down but generally outgoing and friendly. In one episode where Joe regains the ability to walk, NOT being disabled makes Joe shun his friends and his wife in favor of a set of new friends. It isn't until Joe gets crippled again that he is brought back down to humble levels. Even then, a lot of jokes about him involve him being a brutal asshole to his family (he mentions at one point that his Competition Freak mentality made him beat the living hell out of his own son when the kid won a game) and as a cop, but it's left in the air about how much of his jackass behavior is caused by his disability.
  • King of the Hill: When Hank hires a man named Leon, he later finds out that he's actually a drug addict and promptly fires him, telling him he has until 5:00 to clean out his desk and gives him the number of a rehab center. Unfortunately, this gets Hank in legal trouble with the Americans with Disabilities Act; since drug addiction is considered a disability if the addict is in rehab, he cannot be fired because of it, and Leon checked himself into the rehab center Hank sent him to at 4:30, half an hour before he was "officially" fired. Leon then starts to make unreasonable demands for accommodation which the local Obstructive Bureaucrat is only too happy to enforce, and it doesn't take long for the rest of Strickland Propane's employees (minus Hank) to take advantage of it as well, using their so-called "disabilities" to get out of having to do any work and just goof off all day.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: When under pressure from Adrien, Lila claims to have a rare mental disorder that forces her to lie compulsively in order to get Marinette out of trouble. While pathological lying is a genuine thing, and it's implied that Lila might be a genuine case (for instance, she insists on lying to Adrien in "Onichan", even though he knows she's a liar and confronted her about it in "Chameleon"), she likely isn't aware of this herself, and any possible sympathy for her is negated by her general sociopathic behavior.
  • In The Proud Family, Valentine's Day Episode, Penny dates Johnny, a wheelchair-using boy (voiced by a young Shia LaBeouf), who seems angelic at first but turns out to be a rude prick who uses his disability to get his way. When Penny finally tells him off for his behavior and breaks up with him, her parents tell her that they're proud of her for standing up for herself and their family.
  • In South Park, Eric Cartman has done this a few times:
    • In "Le Petit Tourette", he claimed to have Tourettes so that he could get away with making racial slurs and insulting people. This is only assisted by the self-righteousness of a Tourettes' spokesman, who interprets every suspicion about Cartman as malicious bullying. He's eventually hoisted by his own petard, though, as his ability to self-censor disappears, meaning his outbursts reveal some very embarrassing things about himself.
    • In the episode "Ass Burgers" he attempted to do this with Asperger's Syndrome but failed due to a very basic misunderstanding of the condition (he thought it meant that burgers come out of his ass; ironically, doing so and farting on the burgers made them taste really good, giving him an idea for a lucrative business venture).
    • In "Raising the Bar", he gains weight in order to obtain a mobility scooter through his mother's health insurance. The first thing he does is attempt to drive it into Kyle's bathroom, and demand that he modify his house to make it handicap-accessible. He then proceeds to bemoan how humiliating it is to live with severe obesity while acting like an Entitled Bastard, doing things like holding up traffic by driving his scooter in the road. At Disneyland, he even harasses a boy in another mobility scooter, assuming that he has no business in the handicap line because he isn't fat when he's using the scooter because he has no legs.
    • In "Buddha Box", he gets diagnosed with anxiety, which he uses as an excuse to spend all day on his phone while wearing the titular Buddha Box (a box worn over the head with a monitor inside, allowing a person to use their phone without any distractions). Whenever someone calls him out for using his phone while wearing a box on his head in inappropriate situations (like at school, or at a water park), he immediately bursts into a rant, screaming about how he's being mistreated for his anxiety, how his anxiety makes it hard for him to express himself, and how everyone has anxiety. That last point ends up working a bit too well, and by the end of the episode, everyone in town has used that argument to self-diagnose with anxiety and wear the Buddha Box (except for PC Principal and Strong Woman, who take advantage of everyone's distraction to finally act as parents for their PC Babies without fear of being judged).

Alternative Title(s): Screw Politeness Im Disabled