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Dude, Where's My Respect?

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"Let me tell you the kind of world I live in. It is a world of miserable, bitter, ungrateful paramecium who lash out at you in a state of perpetual rage for not solving their problems fast enough."
The Plutonian, Irredeemable

So, you're a hero who's a fair way through your quest. You've slain fire-breathing dragons, or assassinated mob bosses, or torn apart an army base filled with hostile aliens. You've cut a swath through the land, slaughtering anything or anyone who gets in your way and spit in the face of impossible odds. You're well on your way to finishing the job. When you need a favor, anybody who knows who you are should be too grateful or too afraid to turn you down. But instead...

"Go clean out my stables."

"Go throw around some Cuccos."

"Go collect some apples from my garden."

"Go beat up this guy that's been hassling me."

"Don't you know who I am? Where's my respect?" Of course, you've got no choice but to debase yourself and comply with this humiliating request, even though you've probably gone From Nobody to Nightmare and by rights you should just kill them and take what you need. Is a little empathy so hard to muster? Also, don't expect merchants to give you a discount or something because you're a known hero and benefactor. Hell, some will even try to charge you more because you're famous.

An Ideal Hero will fetch cats from trees all day long, but then again they're probably either a Slave to PR or just plain have nothing better to do between beating the tar out of villains. Expect villains, rivals, and some civilians to act like Ungrateful Bastards in part because of this; in extreme cases they may say "Then Let Me Be Evil." The Glory Seeker hates this. Conversely, the Humble Hero will receive praise, but brushes it off saying, "Think Nothing of It" or "All a Part of the Job."

Particularly nasty ones are Impossible Task. Contrast No Fame, No Wealth, No Service, where fame is recognised and is the only reason a character makes any headway. Often crosses with Hero with Bad Publicity. Contrast Famed In-Story, 100% Heroism Rating, and The Player Is the Most Important Resource. See Entitled Bastard, who usually delivers this.

On the other hand, someone may have this attitude when they've actually done no more than the bare minimum. Granted, if he's a Jerkass making an effort to do something nice for a change, he may have exceeded expectations, but this still has shades of believing It's All About Me. See also Dogged Nice Guy.

When this happens to the heroes over the course of multiple stories, the culprit is usually Status Quo Is God. In order to keep the setting and its characters consistent from beginning to end, or at least without huge changes, it's necessary for the characters other than the heroes (and often the heroes themselves) to behave much the same as when the series got started.

Please restrict Real Life examples to people who have been Vindicated by History already. As Truth in Television as this is, it's normally too personal to be considered.

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Other Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Fairy Tales 

    Films — Animation 
  • Tony Toponi complains briefly at the end of An American Tail for not being thanked for his efforts to reunite Fievel with his family, but he receives a kiss from Bridget and all is well again.
  • In Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Joker is making an announcement over the Arkham Assylum intercom after the inmates take over, playing up the role as the new head orderly. He then calls to "Nurse Harley" to continue with his latest plan, only for Harley to stand there and glare at him until he finally relents and calls her "Doctor Quinzel".
    Harley: Ya damn straight! [muttering to herself] Eight years of college, a three year residency, and he says "Nurse"!
  • Downplayed in Klaus (2019). Jesper is initially quite miffed to see the children praising Klaus and not giving him any credit for delivering the toys Klaus makes. However, before he's even done listening to the montage, he becomes amused by the supernatural elements, and bonds with Klaus by describing them to him.
  • In the beginning of The LEGO Batman Movie, The Joker hijacks a cargo plane full of explosives as phase one of his evil plan. However, the pilot isn't too upset, because, "[Batman] always stops [Joker]." much to Joker's annoyance. This turns out to be a plot point; Joker's furious that Batman doesn't see him as his greatest nemesis, but as "Some guy I fight."
  • In Monsters University, Mike works hard to search for appreciation for his Scaring intellect despite lacking ability.
  • Even after Mulan has single-handedly wiped out the entire Huns army and saved all of China, she loses the trust she's earned from her former allies simply because they find out she's really a woman. Chi-Fu even orders her to be executed, but Shang spares Mulan in return for saving his life priorly. It takes her doing it again to regain their trust, and even so, Chi-Fu is still deeming her worthless.
  • This is Private's goal throughout Penguins of Madagascar — he wants to be treated as a valued member of the team, but everyone else (especially Skipper) just sees him as the Tagalong Kid.
  • This is Rosita's arc in Sing. She wants her dream of singing to be recognized by her family but her children are too young and immature to take it seriously and her loving but Workaholic husband is too drained to notice.
  • This is the Spot's modus operandi in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. After being treated as just another bad guy for Miles to beat up throughout the movie despite his potential for mass destruction and being remembered as that guy that got hit with a bagel in the previous movie, Spot becomes more incensed and unhinged, going across dimensions with an Alchemax to strengthen himself eventually becoming the Transhuman Abomination "Black Spot".
  • Wreck-It Ralph: This is actually the driving force of the movie's plot. The titular Ralph is the villain of Fix-It Felix Jr., and thus is constantly snubbed by the NPCs of the game, the Nicelanders. But he's 100% a Punch-Clock Villain; he runs the role he was assigned, without which the entire game would get shut down. And after going thirty years without so much as a "thank you," he's pushed to the point of game-hopping (which is taboo) to try to earn the respect he wants.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played for Drama by Salieri in Amadeus; Salieri is insanely jealous of Mozart and fears that his own musical contributions are being forgotten. In reality, Antonio Salieri was famous in his own time as a highly-regarded composer whose contributions to music are still recognized today. In addition to introducing opera to the Viennese court and setting the stage for the development of German opera, Salieri was responsible for teaching (among others) Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt. Even Mozart himself acknowledged Salieri's talent. For what it’s worth, one can interpret Salieri in the film as an Unreliable Narrator who is still objectively very successful and respected (indeed, Mozart himself professes great respect for him at one point), but doesn’t see it because he’s so fixated on Mozart.
  • Rachel/Ellis in The Black Book is deemed a traitor and collaborator after World War II despite being a Jewish member of the Dutch Resistance, mostly because in her work as The Mole, she worked for the Nazis and became chummy with a sympathetic Nazi officer.
  • Die Hard: No matter what adventures McClane may go on, by the start of the next film he'll be back to being a Jerkass with a miserable home life. Seriously, this is a man who has now single-handedly thwarted four major terrorist attacks on the country (well, only one was actually terrorism, the other three were robberies disguised as terrorist acts), but still McClane should seriously be invited to train Delta Force in urban combat and anti-terrorist tactics.
    • The third film, Die Hard with a Vengeance, was the only one in the series to suggest McClane has achieved any level of fame from his actions, with various people scoffing at his media appearances. In real life, the passengers on United 93 are lauded as heroes, and they didn't survive their counterattack on their hijackers. If McClane was a real person, his face would have been added to the U.S. flag by now...
    • Discussed at length in the fourth film, Live Free or Die Hard:
    McClane: You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin'. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can't remember your last name. Your kids don't want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy.
  • In Flags of Our Fathers, a Real Life story of three men thought to have been involved with the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi. Of the six flag-raisers depicted, only Ira Hayes is truly in it. Not interested in the least what respect that could bring, denies his involvement, but is later identified. Ira doesn't mind his unit calling him such things as Chief or Red, but it's after becoming a war hero that this starts. People he's meeting seem to only make comments solely on the fact he's Native American. Ira begins heavily drinking in order to cope with the entire situation nowadays. Angrily explaining an incident he started up outside a bar was because they wouldn't service him, the bartender claims it's because they "don't serve Indians".
  • Forrest Gump:
    • Lt. Dan wanted to die in combat, so naturally, he doesn't take living with amputated legs too well. And watching Forrest receive a Medal of Honor from the President himself sure didn't help.
    Lt. Dan: They gave you the Congressional Medal of Honor.
    Forrest: That's Lt. Dan... [turns around and sees Lt. Dan] Lt. Dan!
    Lt. Dan: They gave you the Congressional Medal of Honor!
    Forrest: Yes sir, they sure did.
    Lt. Dan: They gave you, an imbecile, a moron who goes on television and makes a fool out himself in front of the whole damn country, the Congressional Medal of Honor?!
    Forrest: Yes, sir.
    Lt. Dan: Well, then, that's just perfect! Yeah, well I just got one thing to say to that. Goddamn bless America.
    • Forrest himself has been in so many historical events and done so much, from winning a Medal of Honor to being a millionaire tycoon, yet no one recognizes him ever and TV reports just call him "a gardener from Greenbow, Alabama". That being said, it really isn't like he goes around asking or demanding respect. He doesn't even seem to realize that he's being slighted in any way.
  • Fredo's problem in The Godfather Part II. It gets him killed.
    Fredo Corleone: I can handle things! I'm smart! Not like everybody says! Like, dumb. I'm smart, and I want respect!
  • In the World War II-set French comedy Gramps Is in the Resistance, the most zealous of Les Collaborateurs around is Adolfo Ramirez. As a French agent of The Gestapo, he expects the Germans to at least be friendly to him. They're not, because they either don't respect slimeball traitors to their country like him or just because he's a loud, obnoxious and useless idiot who stands in the way or causes chaos.
  • In Groundhog Day, Phil notes that one kid that he has saved multiple times in the "Groundhog Day" Loop has never thanked him.
  • In The Hard Way, NYPD Lieutenant John Moss's girlfriend Susan breaks up with him. She says (contrary to what he might think) it's not his personality, it's his job; being a policeman attracts too much danger. With a bitter smile, John says he understands: nobody wants the police around, unless and until something bad happens, "then we're the Second Coming."
  • In The Haunting (1999), Elinor spent 11 years of her life taking care of her invalid mother, only for her sister Jane to inherit their mom’s apartment. Both Jane and her husband immediately decide to sell it, leaving Elinor homeless. When Elinor protests, Jane says she may live with them... as long as she’ll babysit their bratty son.
  • In The Hebrew Hammer, the title character has saved Hanukkah, and has dinner with his stereotypical Jewish Mother, who's been berating him the whole film for not being a doctor. She actually is proud, just playing it up.
    Mrs. Carver: So you saved Hanukkah! It's not even one of the High Holy Days!
  • In Heroes for Sale, WWI veterans sacrificed a lot for their country but are treated badly by society. Sadly, this is Truth in Television.
  • In Inglourious Basterds, Private Zoller, German National hero and star of a propaganda film introduces himself to the owner of Parisian cinema, and waits for her reaction. She looks at him like, "Who the hell are you?"
  • In Irreconcilable Differences, Albert and Lucy's relationship starts to fall apart partly because Lucy feels she isn't getting enough credit for the success of An American Romance. Lucy co-wrote the script and was so important to Albert's writing process that he could barely even start it without her, but Albert becomes a big name in Hollywood while Lucy remains unknown.
  • I Shot Jesse James: The main character Robert Ford often feels frustrated by how everybody treats him as a filthy coward and sneak for shooting Jesse James In the Back, even though he is legitimately trying to contribute to society.
  • Juice: Bishop boasts on, about tiring of the harassment by police, gangs, and a local bodega owner.
  • The Man from Laramie: Fundamentally at the heart of the (numerous) issues that both Dave and Vic have is the fact that Dave doesn't feel like either his father nor Vic respect him enough as the presumed heir of the Waggoman land, and Vic doesn't feel like either Alec nor Dave respect him enough as the guy who's basically been left to run the ranch and try to keep a leash on Dave.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Regarding Jane Foster's motivation in Thor, her actress, Natalie Portman, explained that her theories about connecting dimensions have her being looked down by the scientific community. By the time of Love and Thunder, she's world-renowned for her contributions.
      Natalie Portman: Everyone thinks she’s on the fringe of science and that she’s this kook, so this is her opportunity to prove herself.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang/Ant-Man gets extremely annoyed when Tony Stark has no idea who he is, considering Scott helped save the day in Ant-Man. (That said, Ant-Man is a relative newcomer to the superhero community at that point, so he's pretty small-time.)
    • And, it carries over into Avengers: Endgame: when the team is having lunch in a dinner, some kids ask Professor Hulk if they get a picture with him. Scott obligingly takes the shot and then asks if they want one with him as well. They're like "no, we're good." Banner even tries to get them to until Scott just says for them to forget about it. (In fairness, Scott had just spent five years outside existence. Given the age of the children, it was a little unreasonable for Scott to expect them to remember him.)
    • Also in Avengers: Endgame: This attitude is what reveals Thanos to be a Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist. When the people of the universe are not grateful to him for culling half all life to save the other half, he decides to destroy the entire universe and create a new one where people give him the respect he feels he deserves.
    • In Thor: Love and Thunder, Zeus laments that mortals no longer fear or worship the gods as they once did, instead turning to superheroes. Completely ignoring this is the fault of the gods failing to fulfill their duty to protect the mortals, he decides the proper answer is sending his son Hercules to kill Thor and remind mortals why gods are to be feared.
  • McLintock!: Davey Elk is a college graduate, a track runner, a bookkeeper, and a telegrapher, and seethes at how everyone in town just calls him "the Indian."
  • In My Fair Lady, after all the hard work and Training from Hell Eliza went through to make her success at the Embassy Ball a possibility, Professor Higgins takes all the credit for himself and completely ignores her until she lashes out at him in a fit of very justifiable rage, and even then, he's still confused by her anger.
  • The titular character of Nixon, is embittered by the lack of credit he is given for ending the Vietnam War and improving the peaceful relations with Russia and China.
  • Part of Newt's rant in Pacific Rim: Uprising as he reveals himself to be the Big Bad is about how people never gave him any respect. Although due to the level of alien influence he's under, he keeps shifting between first- and third-person pronouns.
  • Prey: Naru is a competent hunter and very skilled tracker even at the beginning of the film. However, only her brother indulges her desire to hunt since she's a woman, with the other male hunters disdainful toward her and her mom worried about this. She proves herself by the end of the film however by killing the Predator which kills all the male hunters, returning to her tribe with the reward of being made war chief.
  • Director Krennic has this going on something fierce in Rogue One. He oversees the construction of the Death Star, the most powerful weapon in the galaxy — and Governor Tarkin takes control of it as soon as it's operational. He asks Darth Vader to put in a good word for him to the Emperor — and gets a (non-lethal) Force-choke. He then goes to Scarif to make sure the Death Star hasn't been compromised — and is ultimately killed by his own superweapon.
  • In RRR, Ram gets passed over for a promotion even after navigating a literal Mobstacle Course to arrest one man, and single-handedly stopping said mob.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), it's clear that Raph doesn't respect Leo's leadership at first, but it's also clear that Leo is in charge because no-one is able to keep the team together like he can. Raph eventually realizes that following Leo's orders is the only way for them to win.

  • 3 Doors Down's famous career-making single "Kryptonite" features a narrator who uses the character of Superman as an allegory for how he feels like someone in his life or perhaps the people in his life in general make him feel this way by taking everything he does for granted. The narrator points out that he works hard to do things that the person/people he is addressing want him to do, essentially becoming their Superman despite their lack of acknowledgement. He notes that he really doesn't mind the work, but it's the lack of appreciation that leaves him extremely frustrated. Still, he will always stand by the song's subject with all of his might. He also wonders if when he's doing well and being strong whether the person(s) will still be there for him, as Brad Arnold says:
    "It's not just asking, If I fall down, will you be there for me? Because it's easy to be there for someone when they're down. But it's not always easy to be there for somebody when they're doing good. And that's the question it's asking. It's like, If I go crazy, will you still call me Superman? It's asking, If I'm down, will you still be there for me? But at the same time, If I'm alive and well, will you be there holding my hand? That's kind of asking, If I'm doing good, will you be there for me? Will you not be jealous of me? That's the basic question that song's asking, and maybe throughout the years of singing that song, I might have come up with more meanings for it than it actually might have originally had."
  • "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" by The Smiths:
    If you're wondering why
    All the love that you long for eludes you
    And people are rude and cruel to you
    I'll tell you why
    You just haven't earned it yet, baby
    You just haven't earned it, son
    You just haven't earned it yet, baby
    You must suffer and cry for a longer time

    Myths & Religion 
  • Greek Mythology:
    • Hercules was originally sentenced to ten labors, but the king ruled out two of them and sentenced him to two more. Most of the Labors were designed in the first place to kill him, humiliate him, or just make his life miserable, and the guy would use any excuse he could find to prolong the thing. Like stating that mucking out the Augean Stables didn't count because he'd received outside help...from a river. Though some versions have Hercules aware of this and get back for it, like bringing a barely-restrained, giant three-headed fire-breathing Hell Hound to the guy's palace. In another story, the Trojan princess Hesione was Chained to a Rock to appease a sea monster set loose because the king of Troy had cheated the gods of their payment for building the walls of Troy. Hercules rescued her, whereupon the king of Troy tried to cheat him. Hercules, however, did not take it quietly and sacked Troy.
    • A fairly common trope. A king would try to kill a hero, either out of personal vendetta, fear of a prophecy, or as a favor to another king. But the king would learn of this need after receiving the hero into his household, and the code of Sacred Hospitality (xenia) of the time forbade him from killing a guest. So the king would set the hero on some Impossible Task (usually "kill this monster"), which the hero would feel obligated to complete because of the responsibilities of a guest under the same code, hoping the hero would die in the attempt. He usually didn't.
    • So many troubles in Greek myth got their start with somebody not paying proper respect to somebody else (a deity, somebody they knew, even a chance-met stranger) that it could almost be read as a collection of cautionary tales against this trope. The Odyssey in particular started because Odysseus didn't perform the necessary sacrifices to Poseidon for a safe voyage (granted, tormenting the guy for twenty years was a bit much).
  • God invokes this trope with Himself in the Book of Malachi from The Bible:
    A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My fear? says the Lord of Hosts to you, O priests, who despise My name. (Malachi 1:6, Modern English Version)
  • Even Jesus gets hit with this one: "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household." (Matthew 13:57) He also tells His followers not to do good deeds for praise, Earthly rewards, or recognition, but rather for the sake of doing good, and not to expect even so much as a "thank you."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Circa-2006, The Undertaker might have been a powerful, otherworldly demon mortician with a WrestleMania win streak in the double digits, who once led a demonic cult, nearly crucifying the Chairman's daughter, and frequently sending other wrestlers (including his own brother) to hell, but did that stop General Manager Theodore Long from utilizing him to attack and injure other wrestlers who had petty squabbles with Teddy? Nope.
  • Molly Holly:
    • A great all-around in-ring talent and known outside the ring as one of the nicest people in the business, Flanderized into her gimmick of a prude with a large butt.
    • In-universe in 2003 when she and Gail Kim complained about Lita and Trish having a book and DVD respectively — while she was WWE Women's Champion and got no extra press.

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Kingmaker adventure path for Pathfinder, the player characters can be the rulers of a small country, and yet their subjects will still give them fetch quests.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Imperial Guard make up the vast bulk of the Imperium's war machine and are responsible for most of its defenses and conquests; it's said that if the Space Marines are the tip of the spear of the Imperium, then the Imperial Guard are the rest of the spear head, the spear shaft, and the guy holding the spear. But both in- and out-of-universe they are forever forgotten and pushed aside by the Space Marines.
    • The Fall of Medusa V global campaign of 2006 provides a meta example. The results of various worldwide tournaments were submitted to determine the fate of the planet Medusa V. The Space Marines and Imperial Guard lost a good majority of their battles; the former due to Space Marines being the usual go-to army for novice players, and the latter because they were consistently bottom-tier. However, the Space Marines were (and still are) far and away the most popular army of the game, and seeing a Space Marine defeat as a serious setback to the brand's image, Games Workshop declared that even though the Space Marines and Imperial Guard lost the majority of their battles, they were still the canon winners of the campaign on moral grounds note . Understandably, the players of the other factions were less than pleased.
    • In the backstory, Perturabo suffered heavily from this, due to him and his legion being typecast as siege experts. They would get assigned either brutal meat-grinder sieges or garrison duty, with the latter featuring such madness as ten Iron Warriors guarding a planet with a population of millions — with the completion of a planetary campaign rarely heralding anything other than assignment to another meat-grinder. This was so prevalent that prior to the Drop Site Massacre, traitor marines constructing fortifications for Horus' forces were heard asking why the Iron Warriors weren't doing the work. This is particularly grim given that the Emperor's Children, another Space Marine Legion, were given special honours (such as being permitted to wear the Emperor's aquila on their breastplates, something no other Legion was allowed to do) because Fulgrim gave an impressive speech once.
  • In Lords Of Waterdeep, players may impede their rivals by giving them high-cost low-payoff "Mandatory Quests", which must be completed before any regular quests.

  • In Ajax, the main character's anger is slightly more understandable relative to his culture where self-worth is based on publicly received respect. Odysseus wins Achilles' armor through persuasion, but Ajax, the greatest warrior on the Greek side, has reason to think he deserved it more. He goes on a rampage over this issue.
  • In My Fair Lady, after having convinced all guests at a high society ball (including a linguistics expert) that she is a foreign princess, former flower seller Eliza Doolittle is very disappointed when all the credit is given to Professor Higgins.
  • In Spamalot, Patsy faithfully follows and serves King Arthur for the entire journey... But that doesn't stop Arthur from singing a song about how alone he is.
  • James Daley in That Championship Season works hard as a junior high school principal, but makes barely enough money to support his wife and five children, and the students at the school regularly scrawl graffiti on the walls insulting him. He is managing his former basketball teammate George Sitkowski's mayoral re-election campaign, but is distraught to discover that George is considering bringing in a new management team from Philadelphia to give the campaign a much-needed a shot in the arm. He has spent a large part of his adult life trying to prop up his alcoholic brother Tom, and has never been so much as thanked. Late in the play, he tries putting himself forward as a mayoral candidate instead of George as a way to get the respect he feels he deserves, but no-one is interested, and when he objects to the way he is treated by everyone, he is dismissed as a whiner.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In any of the first three games, Phoenix is respected by almost NOBODY except his friends/assistants (and even then they may make fun of him), even though he's solved cases that were unsolved for years, and gotten EVERY SINGLE ONE of his clients a Not Guilty (except Matt Engarde, but he really was guilty so it was all good) in his entire short career. The prosecution (understandable), witnesses (also understandable, especially if they did it), the police, and even the judge respects every prosecutor in court (even the ones that whip him and insult him), and they never cease to tell Phoenix that the only reason he wins is because of luck or his old mentor helping him. This eventually reaches a head in the fourth game where this is one of the reasons Kristoph set Phoenix up to lose his badge; he thought Phoenix was beneath him and used the forged evidence to frame him. Ultimately averted for Phoenix in Dual Destinies, where he has been elevated to living legend in the legal world.
    • This seems to have been passed onto Apollo Justice as well since almost everyone seems to put him down for being a loud rookie with two "horns"/spikes on his hair.
    • Edgeworth himself, who has been praised by many people in game, got roughly the same treatment when he played for the Defense (he even wondered if there was a "Kick Me" sign on his side of the court). And in his own spin-offs all the witnesses and potential suspects go out of their way to be unhelpful as possible and Edgeworth's sidekick, Kay, seems to try and be annoying as possible to Edgeworth in public. It's even worse in the sequel, when, despite DISMANTLING A CRIME SYNDICATE that had been evading police for 10 years over the course of TWO DAYS a mere two weeks earlier, Edgeworth spends the entire game dealing with the Prosecutorial Investigation Committee, which seems determined to get his badge revoked so that he can be replaced with a 17-year-old who resident idiot Larry Butz considers stupid. Somewhat justified though because said 17-year-old is the son of the Chair of the PIC and former Chief Prosecutor, who hates Edgeworth's guts and is directly responsible for the whole PIC mess.
    • Ironically, despite dealing with a literal Witch Court, Phoenix actually does a lot better in Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney after winning his first witch trial (he was severely mocked in the first). At the beginning of the second one, the Judge and the prosecutor acknowledge his skill out loud, as he'd, well, gotten basically the only Not Guilty verdict in the history of Witch Court. They don't go easy on him, but they admit that he knows what he's doing, which is more than he ever got in real court.

    Web Animation 
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, other Custodes have no respect for their Captain-General, even going as far as to call him Little Kitten. Until season finale they didn't even know who their Captain-General is, and even in second season, they treat him as competition at best. He's starting to get annoyed with this. Even the factions of the Custodes that aren't batshit Macho Camp don't treat him with great respect, only reluctantly coming along with Kitten on his quest to Mars when he asks them. And his position as a High Lord of Terra doesn't help him much when confronting people other than the Custodes either.
    Captain-General: We are here to speak to your Fabricator-General.
    Skitarii: Access. Denied.
    Captain-General: do realize that I'm a High Lord of Terra?
    Skitarii: You. Do. Realize. That. Access. Denied.
  • In the last video of the PONY.MOV series, SWAG.MOV, Applejack/Jappleack finally returns from the alternate dimension she was warped to during the events of the spinoff blog "Ask Jappleack", fresh from defeating an apple-shaped Eldritch Abomination and eager to tell the other ponies about her exploits. Everyone in the room, even Rainbow Dash who has just saved her own dimension from Discord by traveling into the past and changing history, just tells her to shut up and that nobody cares.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Agent Washington falls prey to this. Throughout the course of Reconstruction, Wash selflessly puts his life on the line, getting beaten, blown up, shot and incredibly annoyed by his team mates all in the name of bringing a corrupt military program to justice. For all his efforts, he gets arrested. For the lack of his team's efforts, they get brand new bases. In Recreation, he appears to pull a Face–Heel Turn, shooting Donut and Lopez in the course of trying to capture Epsilon; however, he feels it's his only route to escape prison until he and the Reds and Blues team up to stop the Meta; they then help him fake his death. After that, he mellows out a lot, but still struggles to get any respect. A time travel experience in Season 17 reveals that the Freelancers never gave him any respect, making him empathize much more with Donut's situation in the Reds and Blues.
    • Church is by far the most competent out of the Reds and Blues (which is admittedly a low bar to clear) and the one who generally has to play the Only Sane Man and keep them on track, on top of Taking a Level in Badass each season following Reconstruction. However, while the Reds and Blues do like him, none of them respect him, and Tucker flat-out refuses to acknowledge him as a superior officer. It's justified, since Church also happens to be an egotistical Jerkass who insults them all on a regular basis, occasionally lets bodily harm come to the Blues if he feels like it, and has no respect for any of them.
    • Donut. He's a legitimately competent soldier in spite of being something of a moron and remains loyal to the Reds and Blues, but they generally tend to treat him like crap, to the point of forgetting about him entirely after he died. Twice. He becomes increasingly bitter over this in the later seasons, and at one point notes that Wash - the guy who shot him - gets more respect than him.
    • Inverted during The Chorus Trilogy. The Reds and Blues have become renowned throughout the galaxy as war heroes thanks to their exploits in previous season, and they frequently try to convince anyone who buys into the hype that they're actually incompetent morons who have no idea what they're doing and generally survive through luck or having a Freelancer agent backing them up.


    Web Original 
  • In Courier's Mind: Rise of New Vegas, The Courier suffers from this early on, as he ends up doing a lot of tasks for the New California Republic, yet it takes a long time before he gets serious recognition for his work. This also tends to get him screwed out of payment until the later seasons.
    • Inverted when The Courier arrives at The Great Khan camp. One of the guards abruptly tells The Courier he now has access to their special weapons as thanks for all the help he's given the tribe before. The Courier has no idea what she's talking about at first, until he remembers negotiating safe passage for several Khans cornered by the NCR back in Boulder City. He's shocked that they remember something like that, given how long it took him to achieve similar adoration from the NCR.
  • In Dino Attack RPG, Andrew "Pyro" Jackson felt this way during the Final Battle. After helping the Dino Attack Team retake LEGO Island and Gold City, he is rewarded by his teammates telling him to shut up and put some clothes on. Given that he was running around in his underwear and shouting loudly into the radio, while his daughter was posing as him so no one recognized him as agent Pyro, the lack of respect was justified, though.
  • Rats SMP: Around Day 10, the Chef of the Mansion, Cassandra, writes about being frustrated about how she spent seven years at culinary school training for her job, only to be hired by a family that doesn't appreciate her cookingnote , and only the other household staff respect her. She has considered quitting her job because of this and drowning her sorrows in melon juice she doesn't have. Apo finds this note and gets Bek and Scott to help him give her some presents and the melon juice she wanted, albeit with some jokes about how the rat protagonists are definitely not responsible for the food disappearances and not part of Cassandra's causes for grief.
  • Solid jj:
    • "The Justice League Remembers Hawkman Exists" is this for Hawkman, as the Leaguers start to realize there's not a lot of benefit to having him on the roster: he can fly, he swings a mace (which murders people), he very slowly reincarnates after being killed in battle... and that's about it. Batman even points out that while Aquaman's "sucking" is fun and part of his personal brand, Hawkman is just kind of pathetic. After Hawkman pleads for tolerance and respect, they all gain a newfound appreciation for Aquaman instead.
    • Aquaman in "Classic Aquaman" takes umbrage with how Batman treats him, taking him away from his heroism underseas to unclog a toilet in the Hall of Justice. Aquaman even points out that he's the king of Atlantis — indeed, he's shown as a noble diplomat and warrior in the beginning — and yet gets reduced to such a menial task on land while the rest of the Justice League go on their separate missions. Batman tries to defend himself by pointing out it's because they tend to just leave Aquaman out of the missions that he decided to call him in for this one.
  • In The Spoony Experiment's Ultima Retrospective, it seems that the player character gets a lot of flack, especially in the later games when it makes the least amount of sense. "I'm the goddamn Avatar!"

    Real Life 
  • In Russia, this has been the case for veterans of the Great Patriotic War (World War II as experienced by the Soviet Union), which are rapidly forgotten for now and get only formal respect. Frontovichka ("front-line girls") especially were Soviet Union women who participated in WWII, who came home to public scorn and were erased from history; the name frontovichka became a terrible insult (on the level of "whore"). Many women who fought had been granted medals, but were forced to hide their accomplishments to protect themselves afterwards. Russians and other former Soviet states as a whole feel that the rest of the world neglects or undermines their contributions and hardships during the war, despite numbering the highest in civilian and military casualties and contributing more to the downfall of the Nazis than any other single nation.
  • Nikola Tesla. Mostly due to actions of Thomas Edison, his reputation was ruined, and he never got the Nobel Prize for Physics he deserved even though his research was the basis of much of 20th century electricity-driven technology. Until a popularity surge many decades after his death, he was barely mentioned in history books.
  • James Clerk Maxwell was a British 19th century physicist who laid down the foundation for Einsteinian Relativity and basic quantum mechanics by demonstrating that light is formed of electromagnetic waves, but few people have ever heard of him. Some scientists believe that if he hadn't died of cancer at age 48, he might have beaten Einstein to the theory of Special Relativity by around 4 decades. In fact, Maxwell's Four Equations are a solution to Einstein's Special Relativity's equations, so in effect Einstein proved Maxwell correct (as far as his equations went, but disproved him in terms of requiring an ether).
  • Benedict Arnold was one of the best U.S. generals during the American Revolution and in particular his victory at Saratoga (in which he displayed both great skill and extraordinary bravery) was the turning point in the war, one of several occasions his insights and leadership turned the tide of battles after he had suffered crippling wounds. While Arnold probably didn't help his case by being generally unpleasant to his fellow officers and openly claiming to be the best general on either side of the war (the possibility that he might have been right doing nothing to quell his ego), he was constantly passed over for commendations and promotions in favor of politically motivated selections, and generally treated like shit by his (often less competent) superiors. From a historical perspective, his becoming a turncloak is quite understandable. Ironically, after his defection Arnold was rewarded by the British with a commission of brigadier general, a reduction from his Continental Army position of major general. He was treated with contempt by his superior, Sir Henry Clinton, and mistrusted by his subordinates because they considered him a traitor — both to Great Britain and to the colonists. In other words, he received a lesser version of Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves...
  • During the golden era of heavyweight boxing, the now late boxing legend Joe Frazier had to struggle and earn the heavyweight championship the hard way. However, he was always in the shadow of Muhammad Ali whom many people believed was still the true champion. Frazier, at first, still liked Ali and even gave him some money during his boxing exile and helped him get his boxing license back, so the two can finally fight. How was he thanked for this? Ali went on a bashing campaign, calling Frazier some of the worst names he'd ever call an opponent. To make matters worst, the boxing fans and even the media, mostly took Ali's side and joined in ridiculing Frazier. After the two fought for the first time and Frazier won, the crowed still chanted for Ali. When Frazier fought and lost his title badly to George Foreman, the most played back clip of the fight, was the one where Howard Cosell said "Down Goes Frazier!." It's still a well known statement today. Over time, however, people began to feel sorry for Frazier and even got on Ali for his cruel ways back then, forcing him to apologize. Today, Frazier is considered just as great as Ali, but for different reasons.
  • Rodney Dangerfield made this his main schtick. Ironically, his "I don't get no respect" catchphrase is precisely what has made him so popular and renowned by the public.
  • Ringo Starr apparently suffered some of this (being just the drummer), to the point where he walked out on The Beatles during their infamous White Album sessions. They got on without him by getting Paul McCartney to fill in, but ultimately sent him a telegram telling him how much they needed him. George even decorated his drum kit with flowers when he came back, and before the band performed their final concert on the rooftop, Paul left him a card saying "You're the best drummer in the world."
  • Similar to the above, Dave Grohl cites this as the reason he learned guitar. Back when he was on a world tour with Nirvana, they were all given nametags in Germany. Grohl noticed that his tag said something different than Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic's. When he asked their guide, he explained that theirs said "Musician." Grohl then asked what his said, and was told "Drummer."
  • Rafael Nadal has more French Open titles than anyone in the history of tennis, but is usually The Un-Favourite when he plays the French Open, with many people, the French crowds included, deriding him for being an Invincible Hero there.
    • Meanwhile, his countryman David Ferrer has become more well-known for the alleged lack of respect he gets from tennis pundits and fans than anything about his actual gameplay. The Indian Wells tournament organizers even forgot to put his opening round match on the schedule once — and this was when he was the fifth-best player in the world!
    • Novak Djokovic suffers from this trope to an extent too. Despite his massive achievements and long stints at No. 1, his history/status as the player who's beaten longtime legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal the most times means that he's often not the crowd favorite in his major matches. When he beat Federer in the 2015 US Open final, many reports on that match observed that the crowd was so pro-Federer that they were loudly cheering for Djokovic's mistakes despite Djokovic being the No. 1-ranked player who was in the midst of having one of the best-ever tennis seasons at that time.
  • Jackie Gleason had lots of fans, but he was snubbed every year at the Emmy Awards. Supposedly, his friend and co-star Art Carney (who won six Emmys in his career) was upset that Gleason had never won the award, and locked up all of his statuettes whenever Gleason visited his house.
  • Jobs that are in the public sector (retail, police, teachers, etc.) rarely get thanks for the hard work they do for the people they serve. Many war veterans that returned home alive and well can also get the same treatment from their fellow countrymen.
  • The discovery that the Earth orbits the sun has been attributed to Copernicus for many centuries, at least among laymen. In truth, the idea was conceived and partially proven almost two thousand years earlier by Aristarchus of Samos, whose texts were studied by Copernicus. Have you ever heard of him? The scholar Aryabhatta of India had also postulated heliocentrism in the second century AD, but he is unknown outside of India. He did get his due when India’s first ever satellite was named after him.
  • Speaking of India, the scholar Bhaskara II laid down the foundations of what would become algebra, long before Khowrazimi’s famous book introduced the concept. Like Aryabhatta above, Bhaskara would receive recognition, when the Indian Space Research Organization named a seminal satellite after him.
  • Although some factions of the Norwegian resistance movement got their due after World War II, several others did not. Thus, the communist resistance, who had fought the German occupation with a fervor like any others, ended up under surveillance, and their leaders even got arrested (after 1950). The Norwegian "war sailors" got it even worse. The Navy men had suffered heavy losses in the convoy business, constantly being shelled by German submarines and planes, securing a life line to the British Isles. The Norwegian flotilla was almost solely responsible for the shipment of crude oil and petrol to the UK, without which the R.A.F. never would have gotten off ground (with disastrous results). This unit also, under great peril, managed to secure a route for resistance and refugees across the North Sea. Due to some shade agreements with the shipping elite in Norway, the sailors got nothing out of it, no economic compensation whatsoever, and they even had to pay for treatment (many of them lived as Shell Shocked Veterans the rest of their lives). If any particular group in this country ever invoked this trope time and again, it was the war sailors.
  • During World War II, many ethnic minority units endured horrendous discrimination in spite of their contributions to the war effort. The Senegalese Tirailleurs were often denied the benefits of their white counterparts in the French Army even though they are more likely to be executed by the Nazis, which culminated in ugly incidents like French Army soldiers executing Tirailleurs who protested about denied pensions. Likewise, US Army's 442nd Infantry Regiment, which is comprised entirely of Japanese-Americans, became one of the most decorated units in the US Army, yet its member were routinely accused of being spies for Imperial Japan and their families were locked up in internment camps.
    • One particularly famous American example of this was the Tuskegee Airmen, all-black units (both flyers and support troops) trained as combat pilots despite the racist attitudes of the US during the 1940s. The 332nd Fighter Group became both for their combat prowess (they were, ironically, some of the best trained fighter pilots in the Army, due to being shuffled around from one training unit to another before they were finally allowed to go into combat) and for the flashy red-tailed paint jobs the 99th Fighter Squadron used so bomber crews would always know who was protecting them. They eventually developed a reputation as unparalleled escort pilots, with wartime propaganda claiming that the black pilots never lost a bomber on an escort mission (this turned out not to be true, but the reputation stuck.) A similar bomber unit was formed, the 477th Bombardment Group, but the war ended before they saw combat.
  • Several women's auxiliaries were formed to support the war efforts of different nations during WWII as well. In the US, these units usually served in various roles stateside to free up fighting men for the front lines. Women's Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, often flew ferrying flights, flying unarmed fighter planes from the US to combat theaters, or piloted transport planes carrying troops and supplies. It wasn't until the 1970s that these women's auxiliaries were granted status as military veterans and allowed to collect veterans' benefits.
  • Evoked by the last line engraved on this lighter carried by a drafted U.S. Soldier sent to fight in The Vietnam War.
  • Lothar Malskat was a German painter under the employ of Ernst and Dietrich Fey, who were brought in to restore cathedrals. The first time was Schleswig Cathedral in 1937, where they wanted to restore medieval frescoes that had been damaged in an earlier restoration to their former glory. However, they were so badly damaged that the Feys asked Malskat to repaint it completely and then tried to pass it off as the restored original. Later, in 1951, Dietrich Fey brought Malskat on to similarly "restore" medieval frescoes in the war-damaged Marienkirche in Lübeck. In both churches, Malskat's work looked authentic, but contained subtle anachronisms, such as turkeys in 14th-century Schleswig, or religious figures with faces based on contemporary German movie stars like Marlene Dietrich. After Fey's "restored" frescoes at the Marienkirche were vaunted by the press and West German government, Malskat grew envious, and announced that he had painted the frescoes at Schleswig and Lübeck. After this failed to attract enough attention, Malskat had his lawyer sue himself and Dietrich Fey, knowing that this would open a formal inquiry and attract attention to boot. During the trial, Malskat proved he had painted the frescoes, and was sentenced to 18 months (Dietrich Fey got 20).
  • Brazilian voice actor Marco Antônio Costa ended up falling out with Disney due to an escalation of this. First, as he dubbed over Bail Organa in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he discovered that he was recast as C-3PO. Then, in spite of recording the trailer for Tomorrowland was replaced for the eventual film. And ultimately, angered at Disney spending big bucks to have a Youtuber as a Celebrity Voice Actor in Finding Dory, when it was time for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, he asked a bigger salary (though he noted as slightly larger than his usual fee, and nowhere as big as what the Youtuber got) to return as Jack Sparrow, claiming the success of the movies gave him the clout to deserve this. Disney not only replaced Costa, but chose to blackball him from all future projects.
  • When the COVID-19 Pandemic first hit, many nations imposed lockdowns to contain the spread. While exact measures vary between countries, they generally intended people to stop going to work and stay in their homes, with the exception of "essential workers" required for the functioning of society. This category again varies per nation, but often includes professions such as supermarket staff, truck drivers and garbage collectors. More than a few people noted that these "essential workers" were never treated or paid as such before this moment, as opposed to the various high paying, high status jobs that the world could evidently do without quite well.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dude Where Is My Respect



While the Cartoon Cartoons are going to work, Scrappy-Doo laments how he's never given respect for keeping the cartoon industry fresh. While people like Buck Tuddrussel and Eustace like him fine enough, others either don't respect him or don't know who he is, leading Scrappy to have a complete mental breakdown.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / DudeWheresMyRespect

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