This trope is about Those Guys, and how you can Never Trust One of Them. Who are "they"? Those Guys. You know. Them!
This trope usually appears when a character has had a past problem with a member of a specific ethnicity/religion/ideology/gender/species/blood type or what-have-you. Ever since that time in the past, the character has known that anyone else belonging to his particular Target Group of Rage is not to be trusted. Call them crazy, they're just prepared. "You can Never Trust a type AB-positive!" the character will exclaim at every opportunity.
Alternatively, the character may just be a bigot. Perhaps all members of his particular blood type have been told from infancy that AB-positives are born evil, and he's just expressing what his society has told him is true. Or maybe there's no particular reason given for the bigotry.
Regardless of how the character came by his negative opinion of the despised group, this trope almost always leads to An Aesop about how all members of a group are individuals and should be treated as such and not be negatively stereotyped just because the last AB-positive you met killed your entire family and ate your dog. Not all AB-positives are evil! Thus, stating "Never Trust a (whatever)!" is just Tempting Fate.
A slightly modified version of the trigger statement might be expressed as "Only they are ever Like That" — as in "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." No one else ever does. Ever. Period. You heard me. Don't argue.
Obviously this is subverted if it turns out that, whoops, yes, all AB-positives are in fact evil and not to be trusted. Normally only done in cases of Fantastic Racism, although certain authors actually try to make Real Life groups fit this mold. Never trust an author like that.
This would be Unfortunate Implications, but the unfortunateness is not implied, it's stated outright.
Compare Irrational Hatred and General Ripper. Not to be confused with Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, or with not trusting Those Two Guys.
- Ouran High School Host Club parodied this - actually using blood type AB as their example. The Straight Man Haruhi brushes this off as superstition — until she learns that Kyouya belongs to this group, which leaves her totally convinced.
- Calvin and Hobbes: Never never never never never trust a tiger.
- A Peanuts poster featured Snoopy looking battered, with the caption: "Never trust a smiling cat!"
- In Hunting Series it's revealed that despite the Agents letting the hunters live in the Matrix, the hunters never really trust the Agents because of the normal rebels getting killed on a regular basis. Smith is a subverted example as he's the only Agent that Sam, Jess, and Dean along with Bobby, John, and Neo trust. The reason - he's become an ex- Agent.
- Frozen II: King Runeard doesn't trust the Northuldra, since they practice magic.
- Hoodwinked!: "Never trust a bunny" is used by the Wolf as an Ironic Echo. When he first says it, he and Twitchy have just made the mistake of trusting Boingo for directions to Granny Puckett's house, which has led them into a bat-infested cave. Twitchy nods in approval. However, it becomes more powerful later when, after Flippers makes The Reveal about who the culprit is, the Wolf says, "I knew it! Never trust a bunny!"
- Zootopia: deals with the social themes of prejudice, profiling, and stereotyping. In this world, foxes as a species have the unfortunate social stigma of being considered sly, shifty, and untrustworthy.
- Once Upon a Time in the West: "How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders? The man can't even trust his own pants."
- Aliens: Ripley is outraged to learn that there is an android on the mission, after what one did in the first movie. A key subplot of the movie is that this one proves to be a hero.
- Dragonheart: "Never trust a dragon."
- Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings.
Gimli: Never trust an elf!
- Subverted in I, Robot (not the books): the robots really weren't to be trusted. Except for one.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe: Hank Pym, after being burned by Howard Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. when they tried to replicate his research on Pym Particles as shown in Ant-Man, has developed a distrust of the entire Stark family, including Howard's son Tony. Hank's protegé Scott Lang remarks in Captain America: Civil War that Hank told him before that the Starks were never to be trusted.
- The trailers for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest included the caption "Never trust a pirate."
- Captain Kirk in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: "I've never trusted Klingons, and I never will."
- Never trust atoms. They make up everything.
- An inversion: Always trust people who like big butts. They cannot lie.
- Sherlock Holmes, legendary misogynist: "Women are never to be entirely trusted — not the best of them."
- The 39 Clues: "Never trust a Cahill."
- Harry Potter: "Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain."
- The Princess Bride: "I could give you my word as a Spaniard." "No good. I've known too many Spaniards."
- Redwall: Marlfox, "Never trust a vixen, never trust a vixen!" Variation, in that it's actually a member of the group in question saying this (during a dream sequence, but nevertheless). Mossflower's foxes are proud of being untrustworthy.
- The D'regs pride themselves on being untrustworthy:
Ahmed: He is being looked after by an old lady whom I trust.
Vimes: Your mother?
Ahmed: Ye gods, no! My mother is a D'reg! She'd be terribly offended if I trusted her. She'd say she hadn't brought me up right.
- Commander Vimes has a brief monologue about how quick people are to blame Them for the troubles of the world, rather than admit that the fault might be with Us.
- The D'regs pride themselves on being untrustworthy:
- Mort has "Never trust a Grand Vizier." (Though it's a bit different from other examples of this trope, as that's actually pretty sensible advice.)
- There's quite a lot of this going on in the Dark Life series: The Topsiders don't trust the Pioneers, the Pioneers don't trust the Surfs, The Surfs don't trust the Pioneers who don't trust the Topsiders...and nobody trusts the Outlaws.
- In Warrior Cats, the Clans often say this about each other.
- In I, Claudius, Herod Agrippa repeatedly advises Claudius to never trust anybody, and he's absolutely right. Claudius once writes him a letter saying that he has taken Herod's advice and trusts no one — with the exception of several people whose names he lists, Herod among them. All of them, Herod included, prove to be untrustworthy.
- "The Railway Series": "Never trust domeless engines; they're not respectable."
- In The 13 Ĺ Lives of Captain Bluebear, it's repeatedly said you should "Never trust a tunnel troll!" Only one tunnel troll features in the story, though, so it's not certain if they're all untrustworthy (though the lexicon says they are).
- A Song of Ice and Fire. Catelyn Stark warns her son never to trust a Greyjoy. Robb Stark doesn't listen and sends Theon Greyjoy to negotiate an alliance with his father Balon. Robb forgot that the reason he grew up with Theon and regards him as his best friend is that Theon is a hostage for his father's good behaviour. With his son delivered back to him on a plate, there's nothing to stop Balon Greyjoy from turning on the Starks.
- In Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell quotes a proverb along these lines: "Trust a snake before a Jew and a Jew before a Greek, but don't trust an Armenian." Yep, Values Dissonance ahoy.
- In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Mr. Beaver says, ďBut in general, take my advice, when you meet anything that is going to be Human and isnít yet, or used to be Human once and isnít now, or ought to be Human and isnít, you keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet.Ē
- Dragonlance: The New Adventures: In Bronze Dragon Codex, the human protagonist Tatelyn hates all dragons, even metallic ones, since a metallic dragon (Asvoria inside Raedon the copper dragon's body) attacked her village. Simle the bronze dragon hates all humans since some evil ones stole her siblings' eggs to turn into draconians.
- Star Trek: "Never trust a Klingon."
- This was discarded after the events of Star Trek VI and killed for good by TNG.
- Also Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #47: "Never trust a man wearing a better suit than your own." It may seem odd for the Ferengi to advise distrust of the wealthy, but it may be prudent if you interpret the other guy's wealth as proof that he's better at wheeling and dealing than you are.
- Similarly, the Romulan proverb: "Never turn your back on a Breen."
- According to most Bajorans, you should never trust a Cardassian. While not all Cardassians are evil, they did take over Bajor, kill a large percentage of the population, turn another large chunk into slaves, and generally act like Space Nazis for 50 years, so you can see how they got the idea. Not to mention the fact that Cardassian politics seem to practically run on Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, to the point where Garak was rather harshly critical of Julius Caesar because he thought the plot relied on the titular character being implausibly naive.
- Doctor Who:
- In "The Green Death", the Doctor tells a joke that ends with the line "Never Trust A Venusian Shanghorn." It's the only part of the joke we get to hear.
- Cassandra in "New Earth": "Never trust a nun, never trust a nurse and never trust a cat." By the way, we're dealing with people who are all three at once. Nun nurse cat-people. Although in that case they really shouldn't have been trusted...
- The Cybermen on the Master, in "The Five Doctors": "He is an alien. Aliens are not to be trusted." The Cyberleader then disagrees: "It is not necessary to trust him."
- On Gallifrey they have a saying: "Never turn your back on a Prydonian."
- I, Claudius has Herod Agrippa give this advice to the title character:
Herod: Well, just one more piece, then I'm done. Trust no one, my friend, no one. Not your most grateful freedman. Not your most intimate friend. Not your dearest child. Not the wife of your bosom. Trust no one.
Claudius: No one? Not even you?
- Game of Thrones:
- King Robb's mother warns him to "never trust a Greyjoy!" He ignores this advice and dispatches his childhood friend Theon Greyjoy to make an alliance with his father. Unfortunately, Theon was sent to Winterfell as a child to make sure the rebellious Greyjoys stayed in line. Not only has Robb returned their hostage, Theon also knows that Winterfell is weakly defended.
- Littlefinger is teaching the ways of the royal court to Ned Stark: "Do you have someone in your household you can trust?" Ned, eagerly: "Yes." Littlefinger: "Wrong answer." Later on, when Littlefinger betrays Ned, he says "I did warn you not to trust me."
- M*A*S*H: A couple of times, Sherman T. Potter says, "Colonels, can't trust any of them," despite the fact that he himself is a colonel. Justified in that unlike most colonels seen in the series, Potter is not bucking to become a general.
- 3OH!3's 'Don't Trust Me.' "Don't trust a ho, never trust a ho, won't trust a ho, WON'T TRUST ME."
- From Space Girl by The Imagined Village.
My mama told me I should never venture into spaceBut I did, I did, I did.She said no Terran girl could trust the Martian raceBut I did, I did, I did.
- Tom Waits's song "Telephone Call From Istanbul" (on his album Franks Wild Years) features the line "never trust a man in a blue trenchcoat" amid a slew of other Word Salad Lyrics.
- This very wiki has Never Trust a Trailer, though there's unlikely to be any Aesop against our anti-trailer bias anytime soon. Trailers really are Always Chaotic Evil though. So that's okay. Except for the one behind Optimus Prime. Ultra Magnus', remains uncertain...
- Billy Blade promoted Vendetta Pro Wrestling as a place of tolerance and equal opportunity, but when it came time to give a foreigner a booking, he was always apprehensive. When he was champion and the time came to give a brown man a title shot he always resisted because the truth is he doesn't trust you kind of people.
- Team America: World Police has "Never trust actors."
- "Put not your trust in princes, in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation." — Psalm 146
- "One of Crete's own prophets has said it: 'Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons" — Titus 1:12. It's possible that Paul was writing tongue-in-cheek, as he was writing to a church leader in Crete himself, and invoking the so-called "Epimenides Paradox": If a Cretan says all Cretans are liars, is he telling the truth?
- Shadowrun has "never trust an elf" and "never deal with a dragon" as two of its most oft-quoted pieces of street wisdom.
- In Civilization V, the in-game encyclopedia entry for the city-state of Sidon mentions the Biblical princess Jezebel, who — according to the first Book of Kings — married the Israelite king Ahab, promoted Phoenician paganism over the Hebrew faith, and eventually got assassinated by her own eunuchs and thrown to the dogs in the street. As the Civilopedia puts it: "There are two great lessons from this story for all rulers: first, don't mess with the people's religion, and second, never trust the royal eunuchs."
- Diablo: Among drunkard Farnham's words of wisdom: "I've never seen [Adria the witch] eat or drink, and you can't trust somebody who doesn't drink at least a little." Diablo III reveals that he was right to be wary of her.
- Final Fantasy:
- Steiner of Final Fantasy IX despises thieves and brigands... which isn't unreasonable except for the inordinate length of time it takes him to acknowledge that Zidane is a worthy ally. He also continues to act as though Garnet's absence from Alexandria was Zidane's fault even after Garnet makes it clear that she would have left anyway and that Zidane was hired by her own uncle to spirit her away for her own protection.
- Final Fantasy X: According to Wakka, you can never trust an Al Bhed. He eventually gets over it, after finding out that Yuna is half-Al Bhed and Rikku is full Al Bhed (and Yuna's cousin at that).
- Steiner also maintains his antipathy for anyone who acts like a brigand in Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia. He's horrified when he tries to bar Faris the Pirate from joining and is informed that he's already surrounded by thieves and pirates.
- Jagre from Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise: "If there's one thing I hate, it's a goddamn martial artist".
- In King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder!, the Narrator might tell King Graham, "Never trust a bad guy, Graham."
- Mass Effect:
- Tali hates all AI and synthetics since her people were driven off their planet by the geth.
- Wrex advises Shepard not to trust rachni, since his people were brought onto the galactic scene to wipe them out. In 3, he even sends Shepard an email cautioning them not to trust the rachni.
- Similar to Tali, Jaavik hates synthetic life forms, telling Shepard to get rid of EDI and Legion at every opportunity.
- In Andromeda, at the end of one quest Jaal (an angara) implores Ryder not to trust the Primus, a kett, because the kett can't be trusted. Jaal has eighty years of precedent backing up his words - the kett in the Heleus Cluster have broken every promise they've ever made to the angara, usually followed up by claiming the angara broke their word first. However, in this specific instance, the Primus is actually true to her word... which happens to involve betraying her superior. Not helping her case...
- In the penultimate episode of Star Trek Judgment Rites, Klingon captain Klarr's aide is suspicious of the Starfleet team members no matter what they do, always accusing them of being up to something or acting to destroy the Klingon Empire. In practice, he is there to serve as a contrast to his captain, who is easily one of the most level-headed, honorable Klingon ever seen in any Star Trek work. This helps justify the decision to invite Klarr along for the final mission, especially after he punches his aide out cold.
- Star Wars games
- Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast has the immortal One-Liner: "Never trust a bartender with bad grammar."
- A randomly comedic line in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is "Fat people always lie."
- In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Atton distrusts droids, both those who deserve his distrust (HK-50) and those who do not (T3-M4).
- Warcraft: "Never trust an elf!" — Is the annoyed quote of Grand Marshall Garithos, who's a capital R racist to anything non-human and treating them horribly because they're not human. Not only does this result in Prince Kael'thas and the Blood Elves consorting to demonic forces under Illidan that promised 'better treatment' and then having them betray the Alliance (and Garithos, Properly Paranoid or not, planned to just execute them), other races within the Alliance (especially Dwarves) hates him and this made him easy pickings for Sylvanas to use as a pawn to reclaim Lordaeron and killed him when he ran out of use and no one, not even future Alliance leaders like the Wrynn family, had anything good to say on him.
- Weiss Schnee of RWBY holds the opinion that all Faunus are treacherous criminals and terrorists, stemming from her family's conflicts with the White Fang, a Faunus terrorist group. She's none too pleased when it turns out her teammate Blake Belladonna is not only a Faunus but a former White Fang member too (though, of course, Blake is a very moral person... emphasis on former White Fang member).
- Sarge from Red vs. Blue HATES the blues. He always takes the opportunity to remind his team to never trust a dirty blue. Church later comes to subvert this in a speech explaining why you should and should not hate someone.
Church You shouldn't hate someone for being red or blue. You should hate someone when they are an asshole.
- Self-hating Black man Uncle Ruckus (no relation) seemingly creates a full song on the spot invoking this trope upon meeting the Freeman family, in the first episode of The Boondocks. The title? "Don't Trust Them New Niggas Over There".
- South Park:
- Never trust something that bleeds for four days but doesn't die.
- Cartman once did a school project on how Gingers are evil. The other kids tried to teach him An Aesop by sneaking into his room at night and making him look like a Ginger. Cartman changes his opinion on gingers, now convincing them the world needs to be exterminated of all non-Gingers.
- This exchange between O. J. Simpson and... er, Roger Rabbit in Robot Chicken:
Roger Rabbit: I knew I couldn't trust your kind!
OJ Simpson: What the *bleep* is that supposed to mean?
Roger Rabbit: REAL PEOPLE! I MEANT REAL PEOPLE!
- The Simpsons: In "Homerpalooza", Homer reminds the audience at Hullabalooza not to trust anyone over 30.
- Inverted in one episode of Father of the Pride, where the moral of the story is that just because somebody's from a poor minority group doesn't mean they're incapable of crime.
- Beast Wars: Rattrap on those stinkin' Predacons. The only thing he holds with more contempt is a stinkin' Decepticon.
- "All Cretans are liars" — Epimenides of Crete