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Evil Is One Big, Happy Family

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Lee: Don't be silly. Why would we want the lich to win?
Qarr: ... Because we're Evil?
Cedrik: And that makes us all one big happy family? Screw that.

The world is divided into two camps: good and evil. Of course, all the good guys work together (usually), but what do the evil guys do? Well, they also work together, of course! Because if you're not good, you must be evil, and Evil Is One Big, Happy Family. Evil beings understand each other, and they all have the same goal in mind: to destroy Team Good! So it's only natural for them to sing together in perfect harmony. Otherwise you'd have an Enemy Civil War, and that's no fun at all (for the bad guys, anyway).


This trope could include instances where either evil or good beings mistakenly think evil is one big happy family.

Common in Video Games in general, where it tends to be all the enemies in the room versus you (see also Gang Up on the Human). Often it's just that you're dealing with a single enemy faction, but it's also common for random monsters in the field to seemingly target the player exclusively.

Compare with Black-and-White Morality, Villain Team-Up, Enemy Mine. When Evil is one big not-so-happy family, it creates Teeth-Clenched Teamwork or Right Hand vs. Left Hand. The total opposite is Evil vs. Evil.

Since most works other than video games aren't usually this naïve, there's no need to list straightforward aversions. If evil characters are just working together because they specifically belong to the same faction or have a common goal (beyond being evil), that's not this. Also doesn't mean actual families that are evil, or some specific evil characters being like a family to each other, or this particular family.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato has an interesting subversion in the second season: Zordar and Desslok understand each other, so Comet Empire generals and Invidia are just irritable when both Zordar and Desslok are around. When they're behind Zordar's back, they start acting like playground bullies and finally throw Desslok in prison.

    Comic Books 
  • The Secret Six (or at least Catman) believe this in The DCU... and it's a family they don't want any part of. They see themselves (or at least Catman does) as occupying a middle ground, rejecting both the Secret Society of Super-Villains and the Justice League of America. Of course, they're hardly the only villains to be on the outs with the Society....

    The Society itself began to fall apart shortly after Infinite Crisis and was effectively dead by the end of Final Crisis. Having your entire organization get possessed by Darkseid tends to put a crimp in your membership renewals.
  • The Flash has a wide enough range of villains that there are cross purposes in battling, but his most persistent supervillain team The Rogues has this, as despite them having a range of mental illnesses and problems, they end up functioning quite well together, held together by the good leadership of Captain Cold.
  • Batman's rogues will occasionally act cross purpose to each other, such as say The Penguin and Two-Face getting into a gang war. However, their mutual hatred of Batman has them generally acting civil with each other, often stopping by Penguin's place for drinks and plotting new plans to take over Gotham and destroy their arch enemy.
  • Supreme has Daxia, a realm composed of hundreds of versions of his nemesis, Darius Dax. They have the occasional bout of bloodshed among one another, but mostly get along pretty well.
  • Played with in the Marvel Comics event Acts Of Vengeance. Loki gathers together some of the great supervillains of the world (and the Wizard) as part of his plot to destroy The Avengers. This involves putting the Red Skull (epic Nazi) in the same room as the Mandarin (Chinese), Doctor Doom (Romani), and Magneto (Jewish Holocaust survivor). They start out insulting each other, and eventually Magneto seals the Skull in a windowless room with no particular plans to let him out. Turns out that Loki both expected and intended this.
  • The Marvel Universe in general averts this trope, as most of the major villains have mutually exclusive goals or simply don't play well with others, which is why villain teams like the Sinister Six and the Masters of Evil have such high turnover rates. This was best demonstrated during the Secret Wars crossover event, when the Beyonder placed several of the villains together in one team and apparently expected them all to get along. What actually happened? Ultron immediately tried to kill everyone, Galactus left to do his own thing, and Dr. Doom, despite being elected leader of the group (yes, really), keeps running his own plans to get power only for himself.
  • Averted in Forever Evil. While the villains of DC Comics want to take over, not everyone has the same goals. This causes confrontations; especially when the Crime Syndicate appears.
  • In most appearances the members of DC's Crime Syndicate — alternate universe evil versions of Superman (Ultraman), Batman (Owl-Man), Wonder Woman (Superwoman), Green Lantern (Power Ring), and the Flash (Johnny Quick ... no, not that Johnny Quick) ... get along at least tolerably well; each of them seems to realize that the others have strengths that they personally don't, and that a fifth of the pie (especially if it's a larger pie) is better than no pie at all. The extent of this tends to vary between stories, with some versions having the members share a Villainous Friendship and genuinely care about each other, others with the group all openly loathing one another and barely managing to work together.
  • Averted in Chew; a villain holds a shindig and invites bad guys from various backgrounds, but they get on each others nerves.
    Thug: The Marilyns and the Kings don't seem to like each other too much. Toss up between who's creepier, the Satanists or the Nazis. And those damn Civil War re-enactors waving their muskets around at everybody...
  • While he does not play it straight in all Chick Tracts, Jack Chick often presents his villains this way, with Satanists and Godless Commies cheerfully allying with the Roman Catholic Church to persecute true (i.e., Protestant) Christians. Within the context of the stories, it makes a certain amount of sense (or more than in real life, anyway), since all of these factions are really controlled by Satan, whether they know it or not.

    Fan Fiction 
  • All the super villains in Tony Stark is Not a Supervillain get along just fine, if only on poker night. They're quite incensed by Steve Roger's group both for being incompetent and for injuring one of their members (Tony Stark).

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Slacktivist has argued that this is part of the worldview of the Left Behind series, although perhaps "evil" should be substituted with "everyone who is not part of the Rapture-able Christians". For example, the world's Hindus, Muslims and Catholics show little opposition to an enforced worldwide pantheistic/polytheistic religion, since that's the sort of thing the authors believe liberals would like, and if you're not a member of the correct Christian sect, you're some kind of liberal. The reasoning behind this would be that all false religions were originally created and are maintained by the Devil to serve his purposes, so if the Devil decides to merge them all together into a global religion, all their adherents shouldn't have any problem with it. To be fair, there are plenty of examples in the book of factions against the Global Community who aren't Christians, such as the Militia, some Muslims, Israelis. Still, most of the citizens of the new One World Order knuckle under with little if any protest.
  • In Paradise Lost, Milton suggests that this is actually something the devils do better than humans, even though humans have the potential for good:
    O shame to men! Devil with devil damned
    Firm concord holds, men only disagree
    Of creatures rational, though under hope
    Of heavenly grace: and God proclaiming peace,
    Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife
    Among themselves, and levy cruel wars,
    Wasting the earth, each other to destroy...
  • In the James Bond novels, bad guys of radically different ideologies have no trouble working together. At the apex of this is SPECTRE, which is headed by members from both Eastern European secret police and the Mafia, not to mention former Soviets and Nazis. How exactly did Blofeld manage that?
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, Lewis cites the Milton quote above, and then discusses the means by which his diabolic evil bureaucracy manages to keep infighting down to about the office politics level.
  • In Victoria, The World Islamic Council note  all coordinate with the local Black Muslims to take over Boston and crucify every White Christian, with the full support and approval of the UN. However, the WIC secretly kidnap as many Black Christians as they can smuggle out behind their local allies' backs for the Slave Markets.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Charmed Episode 9 season 4 "A Muse to My Ears", two warlocks harass a shape-shifting demon.
    Demon: Back off; we are on the same side.
    • Of course, they kill him anyway to take his power, but that is beside the point.
  • Lampshaded in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit by Chief Cragen: "That's why the criminals get away, they work together, and we don't."
  • This trope is what the Master is constantly going for in the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Weyoun quotes it almost word for word in "The Changing Face of Evil". Subverted since Damar starts to organize his betrayal in this very episode.
  • In Merlin (2008), during and after Season three almost every villain that appears either works with or for Morgana. She also works with the bad guys several times before Season three.
  • This is the role of K.A.O.S. in Get Smart, the 'organisation dedicated to the forces of evil and rottenness'. The group included examples of almost all stock movie villains of '60s cinema (even those that should have logically been enemies, like Russian spies and Nazis). Subverted in a couple of episodes where third parties forced Control and K.A.O.S. to work together.
  • Kamen Rider crossover events (beginning with Kamen Rider Decade) tend to have massive team-ups of all previous Rider antagonists, with seemingly no friction despite their wildly contrasting motives. Just for starters, the Lords from Kamen Rider Agito claim that their overall goal is to protect humanitynote ; this alone should be enough to bring them into conflict with all the groups who want to Kill All Humans, but then you factor in the Grongi from Kamen Rider Kuuga, who are expressly stated in the backstory to be the Lords' mortal enemies and fought a Great Offscreen War between the two shows.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Old-time (pre 1990ish) Professional Wrestling was like this. All the faces liked each other and worked for the common good, and all the heels at least tolerated each other and worked for the common... bad(?). Until someone inevitably did a Face–Heel Turn or Heel–Face Turn, of course; then all the heels liked the former face or the faces liked the former heel, as the case may be. Justified in the territory days, when rabid fans would try to legitimately injure or kill Heels. Although promoters would typically ensure police were around to provide security, if things got out of hand the Heel locker room had to look out for their own. Many old-time Heels have at least one story of being surrounded by angry fans only to have their fellow bad guys fight their way into the crowd and pull them out. The ultimate example would be when every single Heel in the building had to come to rescue Freddie Blassie from a full-on riot after his victory via cheating over Bruno Sammartino.
  • This was one of the first tropes to be phased out as part of WWF's more realistic, Darker and Edgier reinvention in the late 90s, mainly because it really didn't make sense for, say, a Wild Samoan to be allied with an evil tax accountant against cowboys teamed with bikers.
  • Ever since the Trope Codifier The Four Horsemen, a group of heels is infinitely more likely than a group of faces to form a Power Stable like The Corporation, the New World Order, Evolution, the Main Event Mafia, or The Nexus. Usually, a heel stable (at their start) is a well-oiled machine while the faces they fight just barely get along. Members of the stable will often go to extreme lengths to help their mates (such as run-ins) in comparison to their rivals. While a heel stable never lasts, a powerful one usually takes several months or even a couple years before they truly crack apart — though, again, the Horsemen have reincarnated again and again in the last four decades. The main reason probably being that, in (ostensibly) a sport based primarily around one-on-one competitions, assistance from allies is often cheating; naturally, this bothers heels less than (traditional) faces.

    Tabletop Games 
  • It's one of common bad styles in Tabletop RPG that use Character Alignment. Gave birth to "Evil Champion" player archetype.
    • The Dungeon Master's Guide for Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons cautions against this kind of thing in its advice about villains in chapter 5, under "Handling NPCs". "Monolithic evil is unrealistic," because "the goals of one selfish, destructive creature by definition conflict with the goals of other selfish, destructive creatures."
    • The 2nd edition Player's Handbook also calls out this type of thinking, stating that "a group of players playing a harmonious evil party are simply not playing their alignments correctly".
    • And it's one of few things that can make good GMs boast their exploration of GM Cruelty Potential.
  • In In Nomine, if you analyze the networks of friendships and enmities among the powers of Heaven and Hell, you find that Hell has larger, more stable blocs, than Heaven does. (On the other hand, rival demons try to kill each other, while rival angels are usually just rude and obstructive.) Which effectively implies that "evil is a happy family" because who doesn't play along doesn't survive.
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000:
    • The board games HeroQuest and Space Crusade. In both cases, the semi-GM-like evil-side-player plays "Chaos", but commands a combination of orcs and goblins, undead and Chaos forces in the first; and Orks, Necrons, Tyranidsnote  and Chaos Space Marines in the second. In the original wargames, these are all mutually hostile factions with at most the occasional Villain Team-Up.
    • In the main verse, this view is occasionally held by those who've had very few dealings with Chaos. Those who have are happy to let Chaos' inherently divisive nature (yes, even for those aligned with Chaos Undivided rather than one of its four gods) make their job easier, such as letting heavily-armored berserkers take out a fortified barricade aletting them suffer Death of a Thousand Cuts at cultists' hands before moving in their own squads. Unfortunately, there are some who take it a step further by directly using Chaos against Chaos (possessed weapons, daemonhosts, artifacts, etc.). This never ends well.
    • In Blood Bowl, the Chaos Pact team is mostly human Chaos Warriors, but also includes a Dark Elf, a goblin, a Skaven, an Ogre, an Orc, a Troll, and a Minotaur. Somewhat downplayed in that all of the non-stupid (everyone but the Ogre, Troll, and Minotaur) have Animosity, a skill that implies they hate working with each other. Played straighter in the video game adaptation Blood Bowl 2 with the Chaotic Player Pact, where not only can you have multiple non-human players, but all but a specific group of Skaven lack the Animosity skill.
  • The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game groups all "factions" into "Good" and "Evil" sides, and everyone in a side always work together. Most players, however, are expected to come up with some justification for why the different factions in their armies are working with each other, and "Good" and "Evil" are simply short hand for the perfectly logical super-factions of "the Free Peoples and allies" and "Sauron's forces and indirect allies (like Shelob and the Balrog)" within the context of Middle-Earth.

    Theme Parks 
  • All of the "Icons" for Universal's Halloween Horror Nights get along with each other just fine (despite some of them having differing motivations for being evil) and typically come together to form a Big Bad Duumvirate whenever the event is celebrating an anniversary.

    Video Games 
  • While not always evil, per se, the monsters in the countryside of Final Fantasy XII are, despite being feral beasts, very very capable of teamwork. When they're of the same species, like Wolves, that's fair enough. When it's a Wolf, a Crocodile, and a T. rex simultaneously, it sticks out. (Although the T. rex is likely to eat the wolves and crocodiles.)
  • Subverted in the last dungeon of the first chapter of Neverwinter Nights 2. The Warlock and his demon army are battling against the Githyanki and against you as you wander through the caves. Both of them are opposed to the actual main villains, who themselves have a falling out at the end of the second act.
  • Subverted on a few occasions in The Lord of the Rings Online.
    • In the Moria expansion, while you won't see any enemies fighting each other, paying attention to the quest descriptions will show that there's no happy family here. The Moria orcs are ruled by Mazog, but they are by no means the only orcs in Moria. Sauron has sent a number of orcs from Mordor there, and Saruman has sent emissaries to Moria himself, both of them trying to bring the local orcs under their command. A number of questlines deals with this, where your character is tasked with doing things that will make the orcs of the different factions fight each other, instead of joining forces.
    • Another example occurs in Goblin-Town. Orc-emissaries from Angmar are there to suggest an alliance between Angmar and the goblins of the Misty Mountains. Their offer is turned down in a homage to 300.
    Bhoghad, Emissary to Goblin-town: Goblin, this talk is foolish. It is pointless. We are the army of Angmar. To defy our might and our strength is... madness!
    Ashûrz the Great Goblin: Madness? Madness? You fool! This is Goblin-town!
  • Both played straight and averted in City of Heroes. There's quite a few places where you can see villain NPCs of different factions fighting each other, sometimes to the "death"... But if you try to jump in, all of them will gang up on you.
  • Ditto for City of Villains. About half the missions you get will have you beating up other villains, with the remainder divided between beating up heroes and/or working for other villains.
  • Likewise is Dissidia Final Fantasy, in which all of the heroes and all of the villains are aligned into two factions. Though, while they officially all belong to Chaos, there are plenty of sub-factions and personal plots involved. In its simplest form, the Emperor has a naked disdain for the "destroy the world" villains (like Exdeath and the Cloud of Darkness), Golbez is playing all sides, and nobody works well with Kefka.
  • Halo generally averts this:
    • The Covenant, the Flood, and the Forerunner Sentinels may all be trying to kill you, but they're also trying just as hard to kill each other.
    • In Halo 2, the Covenant itself devolves into civil war as fighting breaks out between the Elites and the Brutes, and they're happily tearing each other apart even as they're also trying to kill you; in the last part of one level, Cortana even encourages you to hang back and let them finish each other off (though on the higher difficulty settings, any Elites and Brutes that spot you will actually momentarily stop fighting each other in order to try to kill you).
    • Also averted in the background lore; not only do the various races of the Covenant hate each other for the most part, but even sharing the same species is no guarantee of solidarity, with backstabbing and assassinations being the norm in political life.
    • It's played straight in Halo 4 with the Covenant remnant and the Prometheans, though the two sides only stop fighting each other when the Didact retakes control of the latter and allies with the former. After the Didact is defeated, control of the Prometheans is given to Covenant remnant leader Jul 'Mdama. However, this alliance of convenience has completely broken apart by the beginning of Halo 5: Guardians, due to outside forces taking control of the Prometheans and turning them against Jul 'Mdama's Covenant forces.
  • In Warcraft III, we have that neutral hostile is one happy family. All different creep races may work together depending on the map. Some pairings made some sense, like Ogres and Trolls (as a Call-Back to Warcraft 2). Other pairings were not so logical, like usually placing trolls to support Magnataurs or golems.
  • Averted in Siren 2, where the Shibito and Yambito often attack each other and prioritize doing so over attacking humans. There are several levels where you can take advantage of this to sneak past enemies.
  • Averted in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Scanning various Space Pirate terminals reveals that the Space Pirates are having a hell of a time trying to fend off both Ing attacks and Dark Samus. Dark Samus is also seen at one point hanging back to allow Ing to attack Samus, and at another mercilessly blasting her way through Ing standing between her and Phazon.
  • Semi-forced in the Warhammer Online MMO. Granted, it's not unheard of for the forces of Chaos to use the Orks as pawns, or the Dark Eldar to play everyone else for fools, or the Orks to join up with either side for the chance at a good fight; it's just extremely unusual for any of those factions to get along with itself long enough to form a grand scheme, let alone all three forming a coherent army big enough to get the humans, dwarfs and high elves to get together and form a massive alliance. Although explained away as basically a Gambit Pileup, it's pretty much understood that a "good versus evil" scheme is easier to implement than a "humans, dwarfs and elves only kinda-fighting each other versus Chaos versus Dark Elves versus Orks versus all the NPC things".
  • Averted in Doom. It only takes one or two stray shots to get a roomful of enemies (of different types, though bullets are fair game) to kill each other instead of you. In-universe, Cacodemons and Barons of Hell hate each other so much that they turn each other into bloody decor. Cacodemons go so far as to crucify Barons of Hell even though they don't have hands.
  • Averted in Iji, where the two alien factions actually prioritize killing each other above killing the player.
  • Averted in Blue Dragon. Putting certain enemies together in a fight will result in a Monster Battle, where the enemies will attack and kill each other before turning on you.
  • Endemic in the backstory of Fall from Heaven, where the reason the evil gods are evil is precisely that they all agree the world is a failure and that they should work together to prove that by corrupting it. The good gods have no reason to cooperate and generally don't get along that well. In gameplay, evil factions get a nice diplomatic bonus with each other (though that's mostly so that they'll be fighting the good factions rather than each other - good factions get the same bonus with each other), and that's just the visible one - there's also an extra hidden modifier that make them respect each other for being warmongers.
  • In The Legend of Zelda, every single enemy will attack you and not each other. This sticks out when you're fighting an Octorock, a bat-like Keese, and a blobby ChuChu at the same time, and all they're focused on is you.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is very guilty of this. Enemies even seem to form their own teams, following each other and attacking you just for being on the floor. Also, the backstory is that the earthquakes and other natural disasters have made wild Pokemon go mad, and attack the 'friendly' Pokemon that go into the naturally made caves, but only the Pokemon that enter, not the ones that were already there. There are even 'Monster Houses' where, upon entering the room, the games shouts at you "It's a monster house!" and about fifteen to twenty Pokemon drop from the ceiling and all attack you, even if it contains multiple Pokemon species.
  • Averted and then played straight during many "Crime In Progress" events in Batman: Arkham Origins, when, as Batman, you encounter warring gang factions who instantly resolve their differences so they can all attack you. This can result in, for example, both mobsters and corrupt SWAT teams shooting at you simultaneously. Justified in that if Batman wins, they all lose, so it's just common sense to aim at the most dangerous target.
  • The monsters of Chrono Trigger almost universally play this straight, with many monsters having team-up attacks much like your party's own dual-techs. The one notable aversion are when facing teams of Gnawers and T'Poles: when injured, the Gnawers will bite and kill the T'Poles to restore their own health, which is much easier for the player than attacking the T'Poles directly that have lots of health and a nasty Counter-Attack.
  • Averted in Guild Wars 1, where you'll often find opposing armies fighting each other, or lure groups of them close enough to make them fight. Notable examples include the Mursaat wiping out the xenophobic Stone Summit dwarves in the Ice Caves of Sorrow mission and the undead fighting the White Mantle in Kryta. Oftentimes hostile wildlife will also attack different factions, though "hostile wildlife" in and of itself seems to be a single faction, playing it straight where trolls won't attack spiders or centaurs. Later on in the Nightfall campaign however, it's also played straight when it's revealed that the big bads from the previous two campaigns worked for Abaddon. All three's elite armies fight side by side at the end of the campaign.
  • In Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem Forever, Duke has to deal with aliens that seem to be from completely different species and factions, and fight side to side to conquer Earth.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • This is averted by the Daedric Princes. While technically beings Above Good and Evil who operate on their own Blue-and-Orange Morality, the majority of them are considered "evil" by the average denizens of Tamriel. Despite this, most of the Princes despise each other. Two of the most malevolent, Molag Bal (Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption) and Boethiah (Daedric Prince of Plots and Betrayal) can't stand one another and often have their worshipers working against each other every chance they get. Likewise, Molag Bal doesn't get along well with Mehrunes Dagon (Daedric Prince of Destruction) either.
    • Played straight by the Dark Brotherhood, an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil. They may be assassins, but they do consider themselves family.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: Discussed with the (somewhat) Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Count Hassildor. In the main quest, he explains that even the more evil vampires wouldn't help the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon Take Over the World, since he would want to subjugate them and they wouldn't care to be anyone's servants.
  • Grim Dawn: Zig-zagged. It's heavily averted between factions, as Beasts, Undead and Eldritch Horrors will attack any other, Kymon's Chosen or the Order of Death's Vigil are still fighting for humanity no matter how much they hate each other (and you, depending on which one you sided with), and Cthonians and Aetherials hate each other even more than they hate you. Played straighter within factions themselves, mostly in the case of Beasts, as creatures you'd expect to prey on each other or compete will just gang up on you eagerly.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The three fiends name the trope because they aren't at all inclined to work with Xykon — even though, as embodiments and champions of evil, fiends actually have a reason to want evil itself to win, whereas most evil characters simply want to advance their own ends by evil means. This both defies the trope and, in a way, plays it straight: the species of fiends are divided by war, but these three are working together (and almost seem to like each other) in spite of this, because they understand how much the war holds them back. At the same time, they are not going to help other evil guys further than what is useful for them.
    • Redcloak brought to Jirix's attention repeatedly the fact that Xykon, while a powerful ally, is more of a "rabid mammoth currently running in a right direction" sort than "good friend" sort.
    • Tarquin, for his part, seems to enthusiastically embrace the trope. Despite all being evil and having distinct ultimate goals and values, his adventuring band has remained together through thick and thin for decades and have set themselves up as shadow leaders for an unending series of puppet empires. They appear to be genuine friends in addition to being colleagues.
      • On the other hand, Tarquin offered help to take on Xykon, if nothing else having Xykon around means Tarquin can't live out his dream to be the Big Bad of the series.
      • In contrast, the good counterpart, the Order of the Scribble, had a lot of trouble getting along.
  • The PVCC of Sonichu infamy functions as this, in their never-ending quest to keep Chris from getting laid.
  • Abyssals from Bibliography instinctively work together even if their pre-descend selves were enemies.
  • In Draconis Wicked, Draconis explains to Snakey that they are not a family.

    Web Original 
  • An article in The Onion from the early months of the Iraq War takes this to an extreme: "Relations Break Down Between U.S and Them"..
  • In the Count Jackula review of Twas The Night Before Christmas, Jackula reveals to Linkara that he did not wage his war on Christmas just for senseless chaos and destruction. Instead, it was meant to be his own personal Christmas gift to the forces of darkness, as well as a reminder to all of those who have been abandoned and forsaken around the holidays that they are not truly alone.
    Jackula: Do you think that the children of the night do not have children of our own?

    Western Animation 
  • This was common trope during Merchandise-Driven cartoons of the 1980s, such as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. This was generally because the majority of the villains were all henchmen of a single Big Bad or part of an organization. This tended to be less the case as time went on and new characters were introduced to sell more toys:
    • G.I. Joe started with Cobra Commander leading the Cobra organization with agents such as Destro, The Baroness, Tamox and Xamot, and Zartan at his command. Over time, each one of them would get episodes where they would put their own plans into action to wrest control of the organization, eventually leading to the creation of Serpentor, an Even Bigger Bad who would eventually wrest control of Cobra entirely.
    • The Masters of the Universe toyline later created two more evil factions: the Evil Horde from She-Ra, whose whole purpose was to avert the trope (they were even more against Skeletor than He-Man) and the Snake Men, who played it straight in the original toyline yet averted it in the 2002 version. The 2018 She-Ra show zig-zags this trope, with most high-ranking officers within the Horde having no problem abusing and manipulating their underlings if they believe it will get results, while more Affably Evil members like Scorpia play this trope straight, being quite friendly and casual with their villainous colleagues.
  • This is also a very common trope on shows with a number of recurring Villains-of-the-Week; the first season or two has some bad guys with crappy schemes that get beaten by five spunky multi-ethnic teenagers and their Deus ex Machina, so the bad guys figure they can pool their resources, usually in a season finale. Usually they will be under the leadership of whichever baddie is the most conniving; occasionally a new extra-powerful villain will show up to unite them all. On Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Zarm the God of war, played by Sting (and later replaced by Malcolm McDowell) got pig-guy Greedly, radioactive bermuda shorts guy Duke Nukem, evil science chick Dr. Blight, rat-thing Skumm, and evil CEO ponytail guy Plunder together and everybody became One Big Happy Family. For a while.
  • Xiaolin Showdown features some problems with the alliance between Chase Young and Wuya (namely, she has Chronic Backstabbing Disorder), but by the end of the third season, they've decided to stop arguing and stay together for the sake of Evil. Parents of the year, they're not.
  • Happened once in SWAT Kats. After realizing that their goals are pretty much the same, Evil Overlord Dark Kat and Mad Scientist Doctor Viper decide that they should work together, and even decide to recruit the Mange couple. Dark Kat called off the division of spoils -splitting the city- after the good guys were caught but before they were dead. That never works. The Manges had also cut a deal with Viper for him to remove DK's control collars from them because they suspected Dark Kat might doublecross them.
  • Played with in Kim Possible, mostly centering around Doctor Drakken, the resident loser Mad Scientist. Super-villainy itself is treated as an entire sub-culture with its own clubs, magazines, and Hench Co. Industries, a private enterprise supplying henchmen and gadgets for a price. Drakken, being an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain whose schemes always fail, is usually too poor to afford that kind of stuff, so he ends up stealing from Hench Co. and other villains, notably his Always Someone Better rival Professor Dementor, though even then in their very last scene they are actually having coffee together. Then there are villains who actually are family: the Seniors are a father-and-son villainous duo, and Drakken himself is a cousin of evil mechanic Motor Ed. In the finale he finally ends up hooking up with Shego. They aren't the only evil couple to show up either.
  • Young Justice is more "Evil Is One Big Loyal Conspiracy with a Common Goal." Nearly every villain in the entire series outside of the Reach is either a member or agent of The Light. Some might be out of the loop, but generally they are all in alliance with one another to some extent. Even some of the villains who don't like each other (Sportsmaster and Cheshire; Icicle, Sr. and The Riddler) often turn out to be allies through their connections to The Light. As this is a series where even The Joker and Lex Luthor are team players, it seems that The Light has managed to convince every supervillain on Earth to work together for their mutual benefit. Particularly notable that every single member is loyal enough that nobody has confessed any knowledge of The Light to an outside authority or otherwise betrayed The Light to any major degree.
  • In The Venture Bros., the situation is strangely similar to Kim Possible in that Villainy is presented as a sort of very weird subculture. There are even gated communities specifically for super-villains. Super-villains at large are at least polite to each other and show basic courtesy, though backstabbing and rivalries aren't unheard of. The main reason for all of this is that the super-villain trade union, The Guild, has very strict guidelines for super-villain behavior and discourages in-fighting since that would make them more vulnerable. Villains who try to break the rules don't last long, as Phantom Limb discovered.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, all the main villains are supportive of each other for being evil, regardless of motive. As long as they're in the crime business. Especially Mojo, HIM and Fuzzy, who have somewhat of a Villainous Friendship, but the rest of the main villains count too.
  • Ben 10 regularly subverts this by generally having villain team-ups self-destructing thanks to rivalries and conflicting motives. Later entries in the original's continuity also took it further with the Forever Knights, showing them to be divided into several factions with different motives: one just wanting to Take Over the World, another that has Fantastic Racism against aliens, and yet another led by a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to stop an Eldritch Abomination from destroying everything.
    • Played with hilariously in one episode where third string villains Billy Billions, Captain Nemesis, and Kangaroo Kommando form a team called the Vengers in an effort to outdo Ben in the superhero game (and thus score the victory they couldn't as separate villains). After trouncing all three as Brainstorm, Ben seemingly calls it quits, retiring as a hero and leaving the trio to their own devices. Turns out Ben had already figured out that, without him to focus their aggression on, the Vengers' collective egos would lead them to self destruct.
      Ben: But I thought it would take a few months, not a few hours.
  • Batman: The Animated Series, for the most part, has the rogues gallery all get along quite well and even get together to play poker on occasion, and of course they are more than willing to team up to take down their common foe Batman. Often averted with Two-Face, who has enemies in The Penguin, Rupert Thorne, and of course Poison Ivy: the one person both of his halves can agree they want to take her down for attempting to murder him first:
    Two-Face: Half of me wants to strangle you.
    Poison Ivy: Oh? And what does the other half want?
    Two-Face: To hit you with a truck.
    Poison Ivy: [to the others] We used to date.
    Everyone else: [understandingly] Ah.
  • Played for Laughs in The Batman in one episode when The Joker is dressed up as Batman and foiling crimes (It's The Joker; just roll with it). He shows up to foil The Penguin's robbery and the penguin's outraged reply makes it clear that, at least as far as he's concerned, the villains aren't supposed to mess with each other's schemes:
    The Penguin: Are you out of your gourd?! I'm in the middle of a heist! You don't see me barging in on your "gas all of Gotham" schemes! IT IS CALLED PROFESSIONAL COURTESY!!!
  • Both subverted and zig-zagged on two different occasions in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The season four finale had Tirek and Discord join forces, only for the former to waste no time backstabbing the latter as soon as the Reality Warper was no longer useful. Later, the season eight finale has Tirek help Cozy Glow in her plot to take over Equestria, out of revenge for being sent to Tartarus. Only to turn around and assist the heroes when he realizes that if he doesn't, they'll remain stuck in Tartarus with him, and he just doesn't want to deal with that headache.


Video Example(s):


Count Jackula

Count Jackula reveals the true reason why he declared his War on Christmas.

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Main / EvilIsOneBigHappyFamily

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Main / EvilIsOneBigHappyFamily