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Evil Is Petty

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This trope is under discussion in the Trope Repair Shop.


Dr. Polaris: You gonna wash your hands?
The Flash (in Lex Luthor's body): No! 'Cause I'm evil.

The tendency of "evil" to include not just major acts of villainy and attempts to take over/destroy the world, but also generally being an utter dick. Some examples include:

This is when you have a villain that slaughters a village, bombs a country, murders the president... And then picks a pocket, trips an old lady, sticks a kick-me sign on a police officer, takes someone's parking space, and cuts in line at a fast-food place.

They're not just evil on a large scale; they're evil on all the tiny little details of everyday life they might experience in any possible situation. This trope opposes Affably Evil and Evil Is Cool — this villain is just a colossal pain in the ass, even leaving their alignment out of the question. And often, they get a kick out of being a pain. And it must be pointed that petty motivations do not take from the cruelty and malice of the acts — in fact, they are just as likely to lead past the Moral Event Horizon, and may even make the villain more hated to the audience than they would be otherwise, as there is nothing grandiose or admirable about him. They are just a scumbag of a bully. More often than not, it is a trait of a Psychopathic Manchild or, even worse, a Complete Monster.

In video game settings with a Karma Meter, this means that being classified as Evil requires not just being uncaring towards people, but going out of your way to be nasty in any circumstances - an unfortunate side effect of there being an in-game benefit from reaching particular levels of evil. When maxing out your Karma Meter gives you a stat boost, you're strongly encouraged to do every little act of evil you can to get there as quickly as possible.

May overlap with Hate Sink, a character massively despised for actual villainous actions; and Jerks Are Worse Than Villains, where a jerk is disliked by the audience more than the actual villain is. Contrast with Poke the Poodle when all the supposed villain does is something actually harmless — they don't do anything overwhelmingly evil, but frequently behave like a mild dick to maintain their Villain Cred. See Harmless Villain for someone who lives for doing this.

An opposite trope is Affably Evil, in which a villain genuinely behaves in a very pleasant, friendly, and/or downright honorable manner. The Magnificent Bastard always avoids this trope; magnificence and pettiness don't mix.

Not to be confused with Disproportionate Retribution, which is about committing major evildoings or retaliations over minor slights or petty motives. Evil Is Petty only applies to the actions being petty as in minor evils, so murder or anything similarly heinous does not count in any context.

See also For the Evulz, Card-Carrying Villain, The Devil Is a Loser, Even Evil Has Standards. For examples where a petty action ends up harming the villain, see Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat, The Dog Bites Back, and Stupid Evil. If the villain manages to keep his reasons secret until the climax and the protagonists act stupefied at the discovery of such a petty reason, see Disappointed by the Motive. Badbutts can have similarly petty motives.

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    Asian Animation 
  • Noonbory and the Super 7 loves this trope.
    • Wangury, the series Big Bad, and by extension his henchmen, Mungury and Taegury. Most of their "diabolical" schemes only involve stealing food. The only thing they've done that could be considered evil is bringing a giant Wangury statue to life and having it go on a rampage.
    • Coldygury, despite being considered a villain, really only has explosive overreactions. Out of all the villains, he's probably the nicest.
    • Dozegury may be an Evil Genius, but that doesn't exempt him from being this. Some of his crimes include: trying to catch a wishing star, creating an evil Noonbory clone, and ruining one of Cozybory's paintings (although framing Totobory for the last one is pretty heinous, for obvious reasons).
    • Rosygury is probably the only villain whose crimes are actually evil. She's actually kidnapped creatures native to Toobalooba multiple times (once by accident).

    Comic Strips 
  • In one Sherman's Lagoon arc, Megan falls victim to identity theft. Even worse, the thief is buying things she wanted but never had the chance or reason to buy. Megan comments that the thief knows her personally and is buying those things to upset her, and Sherman wonders aloud if they know anyone that mean and petty. Not to mention bored. Cut to Hawthorn the hermit crab's hole, where Hawthorn has a defaced picture of Megan.

    Fairy Tales 
  • How Jack Sought The Golden Apples: The older brothers swap Jack's golden apples for their own gilded apples and present them to the king as their own. When Jack arrives, he's happy to see his father well, but wants to show that he also tried to cure him. Unable to bear Jack even getting a little affection, the brothers accuse him of trying to poison the king.

    Film — Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatians: Cruella de Vil. She's not the trope namer for Cruella to Animals for nothing. She wants to kill the eponymous dalmatians to make a fur coat out of them. Dog hair isn't particularly soft or warm, so why does she want this sort of coat so badly? Just so she can be sure that they're dead, that's why!
  • Aladdin: Jafar keeps hurting his own pet parrot for very little reason. (Of course, everything else hurts Iago too.)
  • Alice in Wonderland: The Queen of Hearts. Painting her roses red is generally not a good idea.
  • Balto gives us Steele: he routinely antagonizes Balto whenever he has the chance and takes extra measures to ensure that nobody else but him wins the praise and glory of retrieving the medicine to keep his ego pacified.
  • Beauty and the Beast: Gaston slowly slips into this when Belle constantly rejects him, since he thinks he "deserves it".
  • The Book of Life: Don't you dare make Xibalba lose a bet, however unintentionally.
  • Ernesto in Coco is such an arrogant, self-obsessed jerk that after he murdered his best friend and ghostwriter Hector, he included a scene depicting the exact way that he killed Hector in his movie, casting himself as the hero in Hector's place who realized he was poisoned. It's bad enough that he killed the man, but Ernesto apparently felt the need to brag about it and posthumously rub it in Hector's face.
  • Gru in Despicable Me. His Establishing Character Moment is to console a crying child by blowing them a balloon animal, then popping it right in the child's face, shocking them into silence. A few minutes later, he hits the cars in front and back of his monstrosity of a vehicle repeatedly while he's parallel parking. Not out of ineptitude, mind you, he parks perfectly; he does it just because it will make two strangers' days a little worse. Other examples abound. He gets better.
  • Groove Squad: Both Star and her dad are shown to be this, more so in Star's case —
    • Even if Star is arguably just as evil as her dad, it's mostly when it comes to high school-related matters, such as trying take Chrissy's place as their school's head cheerleader and trying to get Fernando to choose her over Chrissy. Star even ends up going to her dad to get him to do something about helping her become her school's head cheerleader.
    • After Dr. Nightingale discovers that Chrissy, Ping and Mac are the Groove Squad, he sets a trap by kidnapping Adrien and his dog and forces Adrien to call Chrissy and her friends to get them to come to a fruit-canning warehouse. Dr. Nightingale does not only to prevent the Groove Squad from stopping his plans, but he also does it to help his daughter become the new head cheerleader at Bay City High School.
  • Scheck from Hey Arnold! The Movie. His motivations to level Arnold's neighborhood and replace it with a shopping mall go beyond greed — he's doing it to avenge the defeat of his ancestors who suffered a humiliating defeat during the Tomato Incident, which took place during the Revolutionary War.
  • Both of the main antagonists of The Incredibles movies have this as part of their motivations:
    • The Incredibles: The main bad guy Buddy Pine, aka Syndrome began his path to villainy because Mr. Incredible rejected him as a sidekick. Note that the latter only rejected him out of concern for the former's safety, as well as a growing frustration with Buddy's interference in his work. Unfortunately, Buddy never saw it that way.
  • Regular Show: The Movie: Future Mr. Ross has wiped out entire timelines and plans to destroy all of space, time, and existence. Why? Because he lost a volleyball game.
  • The LEGO Batman Movie is all driven by The Joker feeling spurned once Batman says he is not his Arch-Enemy. Whenever they discuss it again afterwards, it's treated as if it's an actual relationship.
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: Mentioned in Zira's Villain Song.
    Now, the past I've tried forgetting
    And my foes I could forgive.
    Trouble is, I know it's petty,
    but I hate to let them live!
  • Megamind: Titan starts a destructive rampage across Metro City destroying many buildings and endangering the inhabitants, simply because he got rejected by Roxanne Ritchi.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: Although being interrupted by his cloning machine and not seeming to notice, Gallaxhar claims to have destroyed his entire home planet simply because he had disagreements with his parents and wife.
  • Monsters, Inc.: Where to begin with Randall Boggs? He's been holding onto a grudge towards Sulley simply because he bested him in their college years enough to turn downright murderous towards him in the present. He also extends this grudge towards his former friend, Mike, soley because Mike is associated with Sulley.
  • Pocahontas: Governor Ratcliffe is constantly bullying Thomas.
  • The Rescuers: Madame Medusa, natch. "What makes you think anyone would want a homely little girl like you?" Said to a child with heavy self-image issues — and after she'd tried to get the kid to like her, no less!
  • Robin Hood (1973): When Prince John isn't busy making the people of Nottingham miserable, he spends most of his time tormenting and abusing his assistant, Sir Hiss.
  • Rock and Rule: Mok Swagger's ultimate master plan is siccing a monstrous demon on his loyal fans to slaughter them en masse. Why? Because his last concert didn't fully sell out. In fact, his voice actor claims that this whole mess was over Mok noticing that his last concert had two empty seats.
  • Sleeping Beauty: Maleficent. "How dare you not invite me to your baby shower!"
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Evil Queen. Don't you dare be prettier than her.
  • The Thief and the Cobbler: Zigzag tries to have Tack beheaded, and later has him thrown in the dungeon and tries to feed him to his pet vulture Phido, purely because he stepped on a tack that Tack accidentally dropped in his path.
  • Treasure Planet: Scroop bullies Jim around and when Mr. Arrow puts a stop to it he kills him and makes it look like it's Jim's fault.
  • In Turning Red, Tyler seems to bully Mei simply because he is jealous of her having friends while he does not for the most part.

  • The mad science fantasies in Barenaked Ladies' "Some Fantastic" apply murder and brainwashing to solve minor problems or make romantic gestures.
  • Eartha Kitt's famous "I Wanna Be Evil" differs from standard Villain Songs in that she doesn't sing about riches, power, or triumphing over the hero, just everyday Jerkassery and slightly unwholesome behavior.
  • The protagonist of "When You're Evil" by Voltaire is mean For the Evulz. He loves how much of an evil jerk he is.
    While there's children to make sad,
    While there's candy to be had,
    While there's pockets to be pick,
    While there's grannies left to trip
    down the stairs, I'll be there,
    I'll be waiting 'round the corner,
    It's a game, I'm glad I'm in it,
    'Cause there's one born every minute
  • Basically the premise of Denis Leary's song "Asshole":
    I use public toilets and I piss on the seat,
    I walk around in the summertime sayin' "How about this heat!"
    I'm an asshole!
  • Eminem's Slim Shady character has done nearly every single thing on the above list, apart from the thing with the bike. Listing specific songs, lyrics or even albums is impossible, because songs like about Slim Shady just doing depraved and petty things for no/minimal reason make up the majority of two decades of work — but The Slim Shady LP is a decent place to start.

    Myth & Religion 
  • Inverted in Christianity; Good is Petty. The Bible makes it clear that the small things matter just as much as the big ones. And a 'perfect' God would be free of even the slightest, pettiest of flaws.
    He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Done in excess with the majority of the Heel roster in any fraction or franchise in fictional wrestling, just to make sure the audience knows who to boo. Almost every bad guy wrestler is an overblown Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up, playing dirty tactics, picking on weaker or severely incapable members of the roster, or just in general finding any petty excuse to make someone else's life an utter hell. A good example is Ryback, who went from dealing out potentially crippling injuries to guys in the ring to dumping a plate of food on some guy at the buffet table backstage and mocking him about it.
  • Vince McMahon himself. After losing the ECW Championship (which he didn't win fairly in the first place) to Bobby Lashley, Mr. McMahon temporarily lost his mind, becoming eerily silent and then babbling random nonsense. When he recovered, he did everything he could to make everyone else feel as miserable as he did, starting with forcing titleholders into impromptu title matches in the hope they'd also lose their gold and culminating in "indefinitely suspending" Ashley Massaro because she accidentally spilled coffee on him. Which was made all the worse by his seeming reasonableness at first, "forgiving" Ashley as long as there were other people around and then, once he had the two of them alone, vindictively turning on her and then mocking her when she burst into tears.
  • Carlito Caribbean Cool, during his then most recent feud against his enemy of thirteen years, Ray González, joined Juan Manuel Ortega's group that was put together to end Carlito's own family and The Revolucion dedicated to making sure he'd never be WWC Universal Champion again, used them to give what he thought was a Career-Ending Injury to González, went to Ray González's mini market to rearrange the merchandise, harassed Ray's son while he was at it, and then made a video of the whole thing so the audience could watch him watching it and laughing about it. The irony is that Carlito was so consumed by his desire to belittle Ray González that he didn't realize he basically became Ray González by doing everything González did that that lead Carly to become a pro wrestler in the first place.
  • After winning WWC's Universal Title belt "The Precious One" Gilbert got on a plane to Tampa Florida and then stalked Orlando Colon for the purpose of finding out when Orlando's son was alone so he could taunt the boy over the fact his dad was not Universal Champion. Why? Because Orlando tended to interrupt the group beatings Gilbert directed at random baby faces by swinging Carly's shovel. Also, Orlando made Gilbert bleed once.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Each Beholder considers itself the paragon of its kind and will fly into a murderous frenzy upon seeing another, even if the differences between them are minute things like eye size or skin color.
    • Shemeshka the Marauder often acts like this in the Planescape canon in general, and is especially like this in Shemeshka's Planescape Storyhour, although she is more than capable of horrifically averting this trope is she chooses to.
    • Greyhawk's Nerull — Greater God of Death, Hater of Life, Foe of All Good — is known for manifesting at gravesides just to put the fear of Himself in funeral-goers.
  • In Exalted, this is kind of the Ebon Dragon's thing, as the Principle of Villainy. To pathological extremes: it would give him a psychotic break if he didn't screw someone over when he had the opportunity, no matter how small.
  • Games Workshop:
    • Most Chaos worshippers will (if not right away, then eventually) start committing atrocious acts of evil and carnage for no other reason than they can. The Chaos Champion Sigvald the Magnificent from Warhammer Fantasy, for example, once razed an Imperial town he was passing through because he didn't like the taste of the wine they served him.
  • This trope is probably the best description of the PCs from kill puppies for satan. They're loser Satanists who kill puppies for satan because they can't think of anything eviler to do... and Satan won't let them anywhere near any of his important plans, like tempting people to sin (also, the demons have a union and don't appreciate people taking their jobs).
  • Magic: The Gathering: When the evil dragon Nicol Bolas isn't trying to ascend to godhood and take over the multiverse, he busies himself with being a vindictive dickhead who takes everything way too personally. The first thing he does upon being freed from the Meditation Realm, rather then enacting any important plans, is hunt down all the descendants of the man who put him there and kill them and all their loved ones as spiteful revenge. When talking with any of the heroes, he goes out of his way to be as annoying and difficult to understand as possible just to mess with them. And the thing that made his Spark ignite in the first place was seething with jealously that his heroic twin brother had uncovered his Spark first and thus had something Bolas didn't.
  • The gremlins in Pathfinder personify this trope: they are all small and not very powerful but they like to curse people and wreck property just to be assholes.

  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Poke the Poodle/Aristocrats Are Evil: In Act I Scene I, a Marquis explains the reason because the band of young Marquises always get late to the theater:
    A Marquis (seeing that the hall is half empty): What now! So we make our entrance like a pack of woolen-drapers!
    Peaceably, without disturbing the folk, or treading on their toes!—Oh, fie!
  • Doctor Faustus: You might think a so-called genius like Faustus would be able to accomplish a lot with his demonic powers, but instead he squanders them on childish pranks.
  • Don Juan in Molière's play of the same title engages in some of this apart from his traditional womanizing. He stiffs his tailor of payment, and in what has been judged a Moral Event Horizon crossing since the play was written, shows his evil atheist credentials by telling an old beggar that he will only give him money if the beggar blasphemes against God.
  • Macbeth: Just before they trigger Macbeth's descent into villainy, one of The Weird Sisters complains that a sailor's wife refused to share her chestnuts on demand, so she plans to get the sailor Lost at Sea and drive him insane.
  • Iago in Othello decides to destroy Othello's life over not getting the promotion he wanted.
  • In Ruddigore, when Sir Despard must commit an evil act daily to appease his family curse, the only crime that his ghostly predecessors will give him a pass on is shooting a fox. For context, Victorian aristocrats would consider shooting it unsportsmanlike, since that's what hounds are for.

    Web Animation 
  • Bleach (S) Abridged: Aizen's canon boredom has led him to use his illusion powers largely for pranks on his co-workers and subordinates. A list:
    • He spent most of his time in Soul Society pretending to be Josh Groban. And even after he reveals that his name is Aizen, he uses Kyoka Suigetsu to replace 'Aizen' with 'Josh Groban', and most of his Arrancar subordinates don't even know he's not really Josh Groban.
    • Tosen and Aaroniero are both The Unintelligible because Aizen thought it would be funny if everyone could only hear their speech as mumbling and bubble noises, respectively.
  • The DEATH BATTLE! between Goku Black and Reverse Flash has Eobard Thawne do this, naturally. His very first action in response to his opponent (which starts the fight for real, mind you) is to knock Black's cup of coffee out of his hands. He then proceeds to continue to troll Black throughout the fight (as well as ensuring Quicksilver's death from his fight against Barry by setting up the samurai statue that Quicksilver would find himself impaled on).
  • Hazbin Hotel: In addition to all the murder, arson, cannibalism, rape, and rampant drug use, the denizens of Hell are just assholes. Constantly and unnecessarily. Katie Killjoy refuses to shake Charlie's hand because she doesn't touch "the gays," Sir Pentious spends half his time demeaning his own loyal minions, and everyone mocks Charlie's idea for redeeming demons.
    Vaggie: Wait, are you being sexist or racist?
    Angel Dust: Which one pisses you off more?
    • Sister series, Helluva Boss, isn't much better, with beings that were actually born in Hell as main characters. In one case, a squabble over a parking spot leads to the wanton spread of venereal disease, several murders, and a mutant fish attack, all against human college kids on spring break.
  • In Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, Alucard tends to do tiny, evil, petty things to get at his co-workers and boss mostly because he knows it either annoys or makes them uncomfortable. These include things like pretending to be aroused over the phone while in an argument with Integra, tilting every painting in the hallway while going to a meeting, and mind-controlling a desk clerk in a hotel into throwing Chevy Chase out of a penthouse so he can take it for himself (and also making him believe White Chicks was "amazing"). Of course, this doesn't mean he won't also do monstrously evil things too; after all, he does have a massive army of millions of souls he's enslaved from all of the people he's killed and eaten for several centuries.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, Tzeentch comes across less like Magnificent Bastard he is in canon and more like petty bully, swinging insults at Magnus and launching into overthinking everything just to annoy the Emperor. Nurgle as well, as his idea of making the Emperor go over to their side consists of giving him phantom itching.
  • The Most Epic Story Ever Told in All of Human History: Some of Ridiculously Epic’s behavior doesn’t gain him any advantages and is simply done For the Evulz. For example, taking Epic Fail’s slurpie and spitting it in his face, and later taking Captain Epic’s slurpie just to spike it into the ground. Neither of them did anything to warrant this.
  • O'Malley the megalomaniacal AI from Red vs. Blue once launched into an evil rant when handling a $20 co-pay for his host's medical services.
    O'Malley: Hah, huhaha you fool, and we want the twenty dollars up front!
    Church: Fine!
    O'Malley: And in cash...
    Church: Oh whatever!
    O'Malley: Ah you moron! If you'd used a credit card you could have gotten airline miles! Or at least a thirty-day grace period with no interest. You fiscally irresponsible fools!
  • RWBY:
    • Adam Taurus wants to make Blake suffer by slaughtering everyone close to her, all because she walked away from him when she couldn't stomach his increasingly violent behavior anymore. Blake believes that Adam's desire to destroy humanity isn't because he believes that equality between humans and Faunus is impossible, but rather because he doesn't want equality to come about due to the injustices that he personally suffered in the past. To drive home just how pitiful he is, Blake admits that she's come to see him as the embodiment of spite. Not hate or even rage, just spite.
    • Going hand-in-hand with her egomania, Cinder Fall is driven to uplift herself while bringing everyone else down. If someone she perceives as beneath her gets the better of her, she will pay them back in the worst way possible, even if doing so is either pointless or detrimental to the long-term plan. She agrees to a deal with Raven to kill Qrow in exchange for her services because it will also allow her to get back at Ruby for maiming her, blowing off Watts' argument that doing so could jeopardize Salem's plans, and when Jaune damages her eyepatch, she flies into an Unstoppable Rage, rants at him for his audacity in thinking he could fight her, and impales Weiss with a flaming javelin reminiscent of Pyrrha's just to spite and hurt him.
    • As revealed in Volume 7, Dr. Watts' entire motive for joining with Salem is out of bitterness and jealousy that Ironwood chose Pietro Polendina's P.E.N.N.Y. project over his own work. Despite being an elite Atlesian scientist who was given everything he could have ever wanted, Watts was so outraged that he devoted himself to getting revenge on Ironwood for the perceived slight, going so far as to join the Big Bad just for the chance to ruin Ironwood. He also goes out of his way to mock and degrade Cinder to her face simply because he doesn't like her, and in his very first appearance in Volume 7, causes several traffic accidents and a full-on collision just so he doesn't have to break his stride as he walks down the street.
  • SHARE MY STORY: It's implied that Brandon only got together with Clara to spite the protagonist.
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, the incident described in the anime section is even worse — Grimlock killed his wife (and there's no indication that he got Laughing Coffin to do it this time) because she wouldn't make him a sandwich one day (she was planning a raid with the rest of her guild). Unlike in canon, where Grimlock is sent to prison, here his guildmates beat him to death just offscreen.
  • In the YouTube Poop video "Big Bird Brings Death To Sesame Street", Big Bird decides to murder the other residents of Sesame Street simply because he is tired of the winter season. Presumably to avoid being caught by the authorities, he disguises his weapons as pretty flowers.

  • Dregs: Von Willendorfer has an evil plan to make all of his peers' plumbing overflow simultaneously, in revenge for having been disrespected. Unfortunately, he's also dangerously stupid and thinks the best way to go about this plan is to set off the entire blastol store at once.
  • Eerie Cuties: This applies to Melissa whenever she's in "Heel"-mode. During which, she'll lash out at anyone who gets on her bad side, even if it's unprovoked. Simply looking at her the wrong way is enough to make her cast a spell on whoever did it. She even cast a spell on Layla to take away her boobs, just 'cuz she said Melissa couldn't compete with her figure.
  • In El Goonish Shive, this filler strip shows Pandora considers nonsensical graffiti to be Chaotic Evil. Later comics reveal that she's not actually evil, she just likes doing random and occasionally annoying things because she finds them funny.
  • The Blacksmiths of Godslave, after losing the second ba to Edith, start to harass her daily and pick fights with her by stealing her stuff and forcing her to battle them to get it back. At some point, they take her phone and change her Instagram password before she can get it back.
  • How To Be A Mind Reaver: In order to get revenge on Rowan, Cthu decides to get back at her by... using the Sacred Flame and making pudding to make her too fat to wear her favorite dress. Talk about evil.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons:
  • Looking for Group has Richard, who throughout the series has several moments of both badass villainy and this, both shown in his musical number. It's shown that he needs to commit petty acts of villainy to maintain his immortality, so how much of this is genuine For the Evulz or just a Necessarily Evil is up in the air.
  • Magick Chicks: If you think Mel's petty, Cerise has her beat by a landslide. So much so, that she was willing to kill 9 classmates, including her two best friends, Melissa and Jacqui for the sake of popularity!
  • MS Paint Masterpieces: The character Allegro definitely counts. Discussed and lampshaded here.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Xykon positively revels in being evil. Sure, he's got his Evil Plan for World Domination. But he's never so busy being the Big Bad that he won't take time to kill his minions because they asked for a pay raise, kill his minions because they asked to be paid, or inflict pointless suffering on random innocents out of boredom. He once murdered a potential minion vying for his allegiance just because his name was too long to remember. As is clearly spelled out in The Order of the Stick: Start of Darkness, he thinks Even Evil Has Standards is for pussies. And nearing the end he reveals in a moment of frustration that the whole point of his evil endeavors and nefarious plan is to make sure not even the gods themselves can order him around or tell him what to do in any way, shape or form.
      Rich Burlew: He's completely and wholly unapologetically Evil, but more to the point, he's kind of a dick.
    • The protagonist team's Token Evil Teammate Belkar is just as bad. If he can't get away with pillage and mass murder, he'll happily settle for petty theft and random insults For the Evulz. Even as he begins to undergo some character development, Belkar seems determined to maintain an image of pettiness so others won't notice his mild alignment shift.
    • Nale, Elan's Evil Twin, tried to kill Elan solely because his good twin rejected an offer for them to form their own party. While Nale had already been hired by Xykon to kill the Order, he makes it clear that the attempt on Elan's life was entirely because of the rejection. Later on, Nale declared that, "The Linear Guild is practically synonymous with taking disproportionate revenge over quasi-imagine slights!"
    • Tarquin also falls into this, to the point of trying to destroy a man's life for daring to speak to him as an equal.
  • Princess Chroma gives us the Shade, who kidnaps the heroine and leaves a note for her mentor, mocking him in Leet Lingo.
  • Scarlet Lady: Both the Big Bad and the Evil Hero qualify for this.
    • Gabriel Agreste, AKA Hawkmoth:
      • He gives "The Bubbler" a garish outfit and makes "Horrificator" a mute because both of them mouthed off at him.
      • After he is unable to come to Career Day after he promised he would, Adrien implies he will ruin his diet by helping himself to the free croissants Marinette has brought. Gabriel's reaction?
        Gabriel Agreste/Hawkmoth: Oh, I am akumatizing the s**t out of someone now.
    • Chloé Bourgeois:
      • She kicks off the story by stealing a box from Marinette's purse (unaware that it contains the Ladybug Miraculous) because she stood up to her.
      • In "Lady Wifi", he gets Alya suspended from school for snooping in Marinette's locker simply because Alya suspects Marinette of being Scarlet Lady.
      • In "The Gamer", she tries to get Marinette killed at the Akuma's hands because she was hanging out with Adrien.
      • In "Reflekta", she refuses to let Marinette delete the class photo so another can be retaken, even though Adrien is seen pushing her off him in the original one, because she can't handle not being next to Adrien.
      • In "Timebreaker", after stealing Alix's watch from Marinette's hands, she proceeds to toss it into the track so it will break when Alix passes by - all because Alix pushed her aside when she arrived to the track while reminding her she wasn't invited.
      • In "Volpina", when Lila boasts of being her Secret Identity's friend, she decides to prove her wrong by publicly humiliating her and tossing her into a fountain.
      • In "Kung Food", learning that Wang Cheng is related to Marinette is enough reason for her to ruin his cooking so he can't win the contest.
      • When Ivan and the others prevent her from getting in the Couffaine's boat in "Captain Hardrock", she files a noise complaint with the closest cop to stop their concert, and rides with the police so everyone knows she's the one that caused it.
      • In "Princess Fragance", she rips Rose's letter for Prince Ali in front of her just to make her sad.
      • In "Despair Bear", she makes a prank call to the firemen to mess with Marinette's father's bakery lesson.
      • In "Ikari Gozen", she decides to try to ruin Kagami and Marinette's attempt to win the contest because Adrien spends too much time with them already.
      • In "Prime Queen", she openly states she doesn't want to rescue Lila nor Alya because they snubbed her during the interview.
      • In "Zombizou", she ruins Marinette's birthday present for Mme. Bustier just because she wants to "remind Dupain-Cheng of her place".
      • In "Reverser", she rips Marc's diary and screams at him and Nathaniel because the latter made an unflattering drawing of her.
      • In "Frozer", she has her father close the ice rink because Adrien and Marinette were having their first date there.
      • In "Frightingale", she forces her father to cancel Clara's music video shoot because it's not going to feature Scarlet Lady.
  • The villains of Sonichu commit murder and attempt to destroy the town several times, but their entire goal is to prevent Chris from getting laid and post homoerotic art of the Sonichus online.
  • This Stolen Pixels presents Lucien, Big Bad of Fable II, as this trope. Given he in-game kills your family and dog only because he can, he may be an example of the trope canonically as well (but since he's the villain, he has no Karma Meter).

    Web Original 
  • The Nazi leadership in The Anglo/American – Nazi War engage in this when it issues Order 571: as the Nazis are losing the war in Europe, they begin withdrawing back behind the German border and systematically destroying anything of cultural significance as they go. This include a televised destruction of Paris so thorough that the capital of post-war France has to be moved to Lyon. In-universe, post-war historians are baffled at the insanity of diverting a considerable amount of military manpower and resources to what is effectively glorified vandalism.
  • This is probably the most disturbing and terrifying thing about the main antagonists of Deep Rise: they will intentionally and thoroughly sacrifice themselves after decades of ruthless genocide just to insult the protagonists. This is the equivalent of stomping on a horde of ants for fun, then lying down and slitting your throat so the ants can eat you alive. The fact that they will go to such lengths just to control a few individuals within a civilization that they have no respect for is well-discussed and derails most of the protagonists' plans. It turns out that as much as they loathe the protagonists, they HATE the "Alien Sunshine and Ponies Forevah" Royal EVEN MORE — and the protagonists are the only ones who can kill her.
  • The narrator accuses Cao Cao of this in Farce of the Three Kingdoms, for executing Yang Xiu. Cao Cao objects, saying that he had completely logical (albeit still evil) reasons for doing so.
  • Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72 has POTUS Donald Rumsfeld ordering for wounded US soldiers to be executed by their own officers, just to duck out of paying for their medical expenses.
  • The Fear Mythos has the Fears, who tend to be treated like this when not incomprehensibly eldritch. (This rarely makes them less intimidating, although this can be lampshaded and deliberately flanderized when it comes to more comedic stories.)
  • On If I Were You, Jon Wolf pretty much is this trope. Hosts Jake and Amir will frequently recount stories of Jon Wolf going out of his way to make the lives of others more inconvenient. To cite one particularly petty example, he and his friends will frequently go to a fancy restaurant and each of them will order the most expensive item on the menu (usually lobster). Once their dinner is served, none of them will take a single bite, and they'll leave the restaurant without so much as touching their food. They'll pay for their food and even leave a hefty tip, but they won't eat it. And Jon Wolf does this solely for the satisfaction of knowing that the restaurant will have to throw out several perfectly good lobsters later that night.
  • The Magnus Archives has this as a common trait of servants of The Desolation, especially Jude Perry. As the Desolation represents the fear that all that you hold precious will burn, its cultists are typically petty, destructive bullies who revel in destroying people just when their lot is about to improve.
  • In Musical Hell, Diva makes no secret of the fact that she sometimes judges a movie's "sins" based on purely petty reasons. Or in her own words: "I'm a demon. I don't do fair."
  • Tails of the Bounty Hunter has Gobor Grizzer defecating on the floor and daring Cale Tomlik to eat it, and if he doesn't, Gobor will order one of his men to set off a chemical weapon inside of a crowded basketball stadium. One of Gobor's own men is disgusting by this, and Cale calls out Gobor on how childishly petty he's being.
  • Tails of Fame features Rast Racklyn criticizing a random pedestrian for wearing shoes. He later steals twenty dollars from a homeless person just because he felt like it.
  • Under The Cold Moon features Siegfried repeatedly dicking with Hardestadt in childish ways, such as kicking at his cane just to watch him stumble and nearly fall down.
  • The Ivory Lagiacrus from the Jaya hunting mission in We Are Our Avatars. It destroyed ships around Jaya for the hell of it, posed in photos like an egotist, and took a little girl's ice cream cone. The hashtag for that particular picture was YOLO.


Alternative Title(s): Taking Candy From A Baby


Sir Pentious Fights Alastor

Despite attacking him twenty times, Alastor doesn't really take Sir Pentious as a serious threat and claims he doesn't remember him. But when Pentious rips his jacket, Alastor definitely remembers him now.

How well does it match the trope?

4.82 (33 votes)

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Main / UnknownRival

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