Man: Oh please, it's only a tiny bit... I couldn't see it.
Manager: Ah, you're good, kind, fine people for saying that. But I can see it. To me, it's like a mountain. A vast bowl of pus!
This trope is when somebody does something wrong, but it's a mild wrong, like a white lie, a low misdemeanor (as in a $20 fine), or something that at most gets a "Hey! Not cool!" from your friends, and then the show treats it as crossing the Moral Event Horizon or at least coming dangerously close.
That lollipop you shoplifted? Those 50 cents it cost will land you about 50 years in prison! You scumbag. How could you? The United Supermarket Corporation will starve because of you! How do you sleep at night, knowing what you've done!?
This trope comes in 3 varieties:
- Writers think this isn't that bad, but exaggerate for effect. So this isn't moral dissonance, it's just Anvilicious. Even if the thing is wrong, presenting it as something magnitudes worse usually makes it a Clueless Aesop. Can't Get Away with Nuthin' uses this a lot.
- Writers use Values Dissonance for dramatic effect. This is common in Dystopias, police states, Historical Fiction, and cults. But it can also be used to make organizations look like this when they aren't, like with Dystopias. But thanks to Values Dissonance, this is often about real cultures from the past or present.
- Writers invoke Values Dissonance for comedic effect. A lot of the well-written animated shows, even dating back decades, would do this. And Sitcoms will do this as well. Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking or Selective Enforcement is often invoked here. This can overlap with the second case when the intent is dark humour.
Since laws all over the world are rife with Values Dissonance, things that are misdemeanors or not even illegal in one country but treated as serious crimes in others can seem like this.
- All Crimes Are Equal: Even the most minor crimes have extreme punishments.
- And That's Terrible: When a work states that something is bad without saying why.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Listing a list of bad things, but the last one is the least worst.
- Comical Overreacting: A character overreacts to something as a gag.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: A different culture is deliberately played as immoral compared to the writer's culture.
- Designated Evil: The author tells the audience something was a big wrong but doesn't support it in any way. It may not appear to the audience that it's wrong at all.
- Designated Villain: When a character is evil, without necessarily having done anything particularly bad, because the script needs him to be.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: A standard "crime" in comedic works.
- Disproportionate Retribution: A harsh punishment for minor offenses.
- Easy Road to Hell: A character is sent to Hell over something very minor.
- Everything Is Racist: A character who routinely mistakes blatantly non-bigoted things as bigoted.
- Evil Is Petty: A villain is not just evil, they're mean in mundane ways too.
- Express Lane Limit: Going one over is a standard "crime", especially in comedic works.
- Faux Horrific: Fearing over something mildly intimidating.
- Grounded Forever: A ridiculously-long grounding.
- Informed Wrongness: A YMMV page for when the audience disagrees with the author's claim that a character was in the wrong.
- Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: A character is punished horribly for a minor crime.
- Law of Disproportionate Response: Characters who routinely deal with all kinds of crazy stuff, but lose it over something minor.
- Loony Laws: Something bizarre is illegal.
- Lost Food Grievance: A character becomes very sad or angry over lost food.
- Mattress-Tag Gag: another standard "crime".
- Poke the Poodle: An "evil" act that's ludicrously minor.
- Political Overcorrectness: A character tries too hard to be PC.
- The Scourge of God: Where the author uses a monster to inflict brutal punishments for incredibly minor vices such as marijuana use, being a bit obnoxious, or even just being "promiscuous" (especially a promiscuous female).
- Serious Business: The act isn’t technically a crime, but the blowback is just about as harsh.
- Silly Reason for War: Characters war over something bizarre.
- Trivial Tragedy: A character is ridiculously sad over something minor.
- Dissonant Serenity: The inverse of this trope in many ways; a serious wrong or something that is no laughing matter, such as murder, gets brushed off as a mild inconvenience at worst.
- Easily Forgiven: Genuinely terrible crimes are shrugged off.
- Kick the Dog: An action that helps characterize a morally neutral or ambiguous character as bad.
- Mistakes Are Not the End of the World: People react to a slip-up with understanding and forgiveness.
- Moral Event Horizon: A crime committed really is horrific and unforgivable.
- Understatement - Insufficient reaction on something horrible.
No relation to the notion of a "felony/misdemeanor"note in some real-life jurisdictions, such as California.
- The advertisements where the cow hunts down (and presumably kills) a man who decided he'd prefer eating dead chicken over eating dead cow. Also leads to Fridge Logic; do the cows want to be eaten?
- GameFly commercials. Various gamers having epic level temper tantrums over a bad game they purchased, complete with screaming, destruction of personal property, and chucking televisions off their roofs. They have also done commercials about the horrible trade-in rates used game stores tend to give (resulting in the same level of carnage), which makes a little more sense.
- Subway has a line of commercials best paraphrased as "Fast food will ruin your life." Someone ordering a fairly normal fast food meal is told things like they'll instantly get fat, be abandoned by their significant other, and need therapy.
- A carpet cleaning service, Stanley Steemer, has a commercial where two of their employees see a rolled-up carpet set up for trash collection. Both react as if it were a corpse, complete with one racing out to its side, cradling it tenderly, sobbing "I could have saved this one!", and ending with a Skyward Screamed Big "NO!"
- A commercial for the sweetener Truvia shows a woman committing a particular act. After she completes this act, the shame and self-loathing on her face is glaring. Her SO walks up and looks down at her with a look of absolute disgust. The heinous act this woman committed? Eating a tiny piece of cheesecake, which could have led to her getting fat. Yay eating disorders!
- In a similar vein to the GameFly commercials mentioned above, there was once an ad campaign for Shout Advanced spray. The ad consisted of a woman tossing her washing machine and dryer out a second-story window while screaming to the heavens, "I HATE SET-IN STAINS!" Her neighbor manages to one-up her by throwing the aforementioned appliances through the roof.
- A Woolite detergent commercial directed by Rob Zombie portrays some of the less favorable outcomes of a wash cycle (stretching, shrinking and fading) in the style of cold-blooded torture.
- One credit card commercial showed people streaming through a checkout counter with astounding speed, swiping their cards with mechanical precision. Then one guy pauses for a moment to pull out cash. The line comes to a halt, and every single person there gives him a very nasty look for not being a credit-card-using speed demon.
- Johnny Turbo fights tooth and nail against the evil Feka corporation for trying to make a profit with a competing product that wasn't released first.
- Oak milk. One ad has a somewhat odd fellow walking through a near-deserted fairground at night rambling about a state of "hungrythirsty" before declaring:
- TV spot for Polaner All Fruit preserves has three people asking "please pass the All Fruit" in a posh British accent followed by an American Southerner asking "Wouldja please pass the jelleh?"
- One commercial for Kraft Meltdowns featured a principal losing his temper and screaming over the PA system, all because somebody parked in his parking space.
- BoBoiBoy: BoBoiBoy rejects Fang from joining BuBaDiBaKo because it's for good people only, and Fang recently made BoBoiBoy pay for Fang's donut, pranked BoBoiBoy when he was asleep in class and made it look like BoBoiBoy was giving roses to Papa Zola, which apparently makes Fang more evil than Adu Du ever was.
- An infamously memetic panel from The Super Dictionary illustrates the word "forty" by showing Lex Luthor stealing forty cakes. That's as many as four tens. And That's Terrible.
- Scott Pilgrim:
- The Vegan Police treat vegans who don't adhere to a vegan diet as criminals. Since veganism gives people superpowers in the series' universe, it seems reasonable to take it seriously.
- While she was callous to them, all of Ramona's Evil Exes unite to destroy all her subsequent boyfriends and ruin her romantic life.
- Max and Moritz by Wilhelm Busch: Killing her chickens was mean, but the widow reacts in a way you could think they had killed her children.
- A type 3 example appears in The Flash, in a flashback to the exploits of 1930s Knight Templar the Clipper. At one point he rescues a family from a burglar and then starts handing out punishments for their "crimes"—right on down to the boy who accidentally broke another child's toy. The punishment is to have all of his toys set on fire.
Boy: Even Pooky?
The Clipper: Of course Pooky! Pooky is the stigmata of your evil!
- In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hyde eventually reveals what horrible sins that Verse's Dr. Jekyll had seen in himself, that had led him to try to isolate his "evil nature" in the first place. His "heinous crimes"? Borrowing a book without asking, and feeling sexually attracted to young men without ever acting upon those feelings. The latter was viewed as slightly more heinous in Victorian times than today, but nevertheless.
- A Spike (IDW) comic has Spike say Drusilla's cheating on her lovers is worse than her being a soulless killer. Beck doesn't agree.
- Part of Ultra Magnus' shtick is arresting his fellow Autobots for things such as poorly written signage, improperly adjusted insignia, or using informal nicknames, and throwing them into the brig. It becomes much less funny when it turns out he's doing this because he's having a post-war breakdown, and his boss uses this as grounds to fire him.
- Annihilation: Conquest shows a Kree prison where several prisoners (whom will go on to form the modern Guardians of the Galaxy) were arrested for things like parking fines (Rocket Raccoon), impersonating royalty (Groot), and attacking Kree soldiers (Captain Universe). Then we see Bug, who is in prison for getting a Kree woman pregnant. The Kree are absolutely serious about their "genetic purity".
- In a story arc across several Marvel titles in the late 1970s/early 1980s The Punisher suffered a drug-induced psychotic break and began dispensing his brand of lethal justice for such heinous crimes as littering and jaywalking.
- The Simpsons: One issue has Sideshow Bob being released from prison to free up space for the real scum, people who talk on the phone while driving, or tape baseball matches without permission.
- The Hell Boy short story "Pancakes" involves a young Hellboy being convinced by his human father to eat Pancakes. Hellboy decides he likes them. The end, except the Princes of Hell are shown lamenting this momentous turn of events, declaring Hellboy "lost to them now."
- In Bloom County, one Sunday Strip has W. A. Thornhump, Chairman of the Board proclaim Bloom County Features, Inc.'s dedication to abiding by drug laws. While most of the strip's "actors" are pronounced drug-free by the lab tests, Bill the Cat is revealed to have 139 ounces of Brazilian cocaine in his body, yet is recommended only for probation due to being "not expendable." However, the verdict for Berkeley Breathed, due to "one marijuana brownie eaten six years ago," is: "DRUG ADDICT. RECOMMENDED EXECUTION."
- Bakery "Enemies": While Marinette is going on two days with minimal sleep, she thinks Adrien is pure evil for violating labor laws. The violation in question being that he himself is working unpaid overtime.
- When Calvin attempts to take on the mantle of Batboy in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, this happens:
Calvin had arrested three old ladies for "illegal poodle ownership", bagged four bulldogs saying that they broke the fire hydrant law of America, and turned in ten shocked people who had "illegally thrown candy wrappers into a trash can".
- A Certain Droll Hivemind:
- Misaka-11111 calls out Eiko for using her power to steal from a soda machine. Eiko rolls her eyes and says it's not like she's killing anyone. 11111 notes to herself that the city authorities have historically been far more accepting of mass murder than petty theft.
- When Misaka-11111 forgets her lunch, she thinks she's going to starve to death and bugs the rest of the Network for help. Once she's annoyed them enough, Misaka-10032 throws some sandwiches over the fence for her. But she ate one and a half of the sandwiches first, which 11111 complains about for the rest of the fic.
- Cheating Death: Those That Lived: President Orion, the "tubby tyrant", makes it a capital offense to call him fat.
- Type Two in What Hath Joined Together: After defending Twilight Sparkle from a furious noble's assault and taking his share of injury from the ordeal, Flash Sentry's gesture of respect for the princess is to give a gentlecoltish kiss on her hoof. For this Equestrian society, his action is several orders above that permitted by his social standing, and only thanks to Celestia's intervention was Flash merely verbally disciplined rather than dismissed outright.
- A Great and Powerful Heart: Trixie ends jailed and heavily fined over a simple paperwork error and letting foals too near her cart. Justified as Sheriff Brass is an anti-unicorn supremacist who had it in for her, and was also trying to recruit her into an unwanted task.
- Limefrost Spiral in Manehattan's Lone Guardian develops a grudge towards Leviathan. Why? Because the Reploid dive-bombed a swimming pool while Limefrost was trying to sunbathe close by.
- One for All and Eight for the Ninth: A hero tries to arrest some teens because they were watching a Gentle Criminal video, claiming they were aiding and abetting a villain.
- Gentle Criminal and his crew, the Tea Spillers, are even marked as S-Class Villains just because they are revealing corruption schemes.
- Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: What Came After: Popplio's reaction to a Cacturne outlaw returning already-worn hats for a full refund is this.
Popplio: I know what he's doing! He's buying a hat at one Flaaffy Fashions store and returning it for a full refund at the next Flaaffy Fashions store! HE MUST BE STOPPED!
- Principal Celestia Hunts the Undead: Flash is mentioned as having gotten detention from Ms. Harshwinny for using the wrong word - saying "pacifically" instead of "specifically".
- In Minecraft fan animation Villager News, Villager #4 is chased down by the police and sentenced to eternal banishment in the Pit of Death for "his complete distaste of our laws", littering a piece of dye.
- In this Super Smash Bros. fic, Pit gets dragged into Silent Hill's Otherworld for leaving the iron on once. It's explained by Zelda's description of the place; you have to "have the weight of great sins on your back" to get pulled there, and Pit was apparently feeling massive guilt over this incident (in contrast, the self-admitted mass murderer Ridley wasn't dragged there because he felt no guilt over his numerous atrocities).
- Vow of Nudity: In a flashback set in the tyrannical Genasi Empire, a palace representative threatens to seize a noblewoman's entire estate when she doesn't answer the door quickly enough.
- The Rivera family react to seeing a Mariachi player offer to let Miguel play his guitar with the same horror and protective outrage as if he was street dealer offering the kid drugs, and they chase him away just as ferociously.
- Héctor's arrest charges include "falsifying a unibrow".
Héctor: That's illegal?Officer: Very illegal.
- In Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, this initially seems to be the case with "fish slapping", the in-movie crime of the biblical Ninevites for which they are despised, and for which they will apparently be wiped out. This would be justified in that it's all a story being told by modern day "Pirates", and saying what the real Assyrians did (i.e., routine torture and execution of captured prisoners, cutting off and tallying the right ears of slain enemies, being executed for failing to maintain the daily quota of said ears, etc) would be inappropriate for their young audience. Ironically, however, in the end this would actually be subverted. Or rather, the Ninevites are the ones guilty of this. It turns out that "fish slapping" extends to a form of execution called 'The Slap of No Return.' The Ninevites think it's funny, and they intend to have Jonah and his friends executed for accidentally stealing snack food. Kind of gives the term "fish slapping" a whole new perspective.
- Sleeping Beauty: Maleficent curses the princess to die because she got snubbed an invite to the party. The only thing that can be done is soften the curse to magical sleep.
- In The Big Lebowski, Walter pulls a gun on a fellow bowler for stepping over the line in a league match and refusing to take the penalty. "MARK IT ZERO!"
- In Date Night, Tina Fey and Steve Carell take a reservation from two people who never show up. No matter how immoral the criminal they are facing, or how ridiculous the rest of their story is, every other character reacts to the reservation part with a shocked "Who DOES That?!"
- Averted in My Cousin Vinny. The city slicker students think the small-town police are going berserk just because the kids accidentally shoplifted some tuna. Turns out they're actually the main suspects for murdering the convenience-store clerk.
- The Sandlot - type 3 - "YOU PLAY BALL LIKE A GIRL!"
- Airplane II: The Sequel plays this for laughs by having various characters on the lunar shuttle react deadpan to being told they're off course with a malfunctioning computer, but they go berserk when told they are out of coffee.
- In Canadian Bacon, a group of American Sheriff's Deputies gripe about things they don't like about Canada while watching a Canadian hockey game. When one of them says Canadian beer sucks, the entire stadium goes quiet, then erupts into a gigantic melee. The cops even start beating on him when they find out what he said. This is even funnier when you remember that actor John Candy (who says the line) is Canadian.
- You've Got Mail: While Kathleen and Joe are having a tiff at a dinner party (shortly after small-bookstore owner Kathleen finds out Joe is part of the corporate Fox Books hierarchy), he nonchalantly scoops some caviar off a dessert plate onto his own. Kathleen is offended by that ("That caviar is a GARNISH!"), prompting Joe to look her in the eye and wordlessly put more caviar on his plate.
- In the educational short Cheating (as seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000), the short's main character is caught cheating on a test. The teacher fails him for it... followed by being kicked out as student president and being ostracized by his peers. It's lampshaded during the host segments of MST3K when Crow T. Robot copies Gypsy's paper, everyone catches him doing so... and Tom Servo demands Crow's death.
- Undercover Brother. When Undercover Brother smashes a bag of chips, a Mook guard says that he just bought them! Undercover Brother apologizes.
- Apparently, according to Ron Fox from Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, people with brown skin who smoke marijuana on an airplane are automatically terrorists (It Makes Sense in Context).
- In The Dilemma, the one "big secret" that Ronny has kept from Nick for years is that he dated Geneva... during college... before Nick and Geneva ever even met. In the crucial scene, the anger is directed toward Ronny, not Geneva, whom Nick is married to.
- In Brubaker a man who had two felony convictions is arrested for Drunk and Disorderly, and when he wakes up, the toilet in the cell is broken. Everyone in the cell blames him, so he's charged with "Destruction of City Property worth over $50," a felony, which makes him "a habitual criminal" for which he's sentenced to life imprisonment. As he points out to the warden, "I got life for a toilet."
- In Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, Bill's Ironic Hell is derived from a relatively minor "crime" he committed when he was ten years old, stealing his brother's Easter basket. (Possibly due to self-induced guilt over it, but exactly why the Devil couldn't think of something more severe makes one question just where he stands on the morality scale.)
- Dead of Night: In "The Golfing Story", cheating at golf is considered the most heinous sin a man can commit. So serious that Potter returns from the dead to punish Parratt for it.
- In Curse of the Headless Horseman, the Horseman's only aggressive act is to splash people with blood from a severed head. Unpleasant and disturbing certainly, but nowhere near the terrifying atrocity the hippies seem to regard it as.
- Inspector Gadget 2: At the beginning of the film, Gadget arrests an elderly woman—who turns out to be Chief Quimby's mother—for drag racing and driving without a license. In reality, she was only going .3 MPH over the speed limit and accidentally left her wallet at home. While Quimby chews Gadget out for this, it is mentioned that the latter had arrested a group of girl scouts the previous week. Their crime? Selling cookies that were three days past expiration date. Riverton's crime rate has fallen significantly since Claw's imprisonment, so Gadget is bored due to the lack of real crime. Of course, Claw escapes from prison soon after that.
- In Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, Al gets arrested for lewd behavior when, during a drunken bender in front of 20,000 concertgoers, he suddenly whips out... his accordion. And no, that's not a euphemism.
- The video to John Waite's "Missing You" uses type 2 because this is about his girlfriend suddenly leaving him for no reason. At one point, he breaks a phone booth phone out of anger and heartbreak.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic:
- "Don't Download This Song" mocks the Digital Piracy Is Evil message (making it a type 3).
Cuz you start out stealing songs,
Then you're robbing liquor stores,
And selling crack, and running over schoolkids with your car!
- Also by Weird Al, the narrators of "Young, Dumb and Ugly" treat their own actions like this.
We got a reputation round these parts,
We only leave a ten per cent tip -
Sometimes we don't return our shopping carts,
Stay out of our way and don't you give us no lip
'Cos we're young - dumb and ug-ly ...
- "Don't Download This Song" mocks the Digital Piracy Is Evil message (making it a type 3).
- They Might Be Giants, "Why Did You Grow a Beard?"
Why did you grow a beard?
Why did you grow a beard?
I can't leave you alone for five minutes
What the Christ? What the Devil?
- "Crime Spree" by MC Frontalot. Front acts like a criminal mastermind, even though his crimes are petty at best.
- Arlo Guthrie's song "Alice's Restaurant" has a Type 3 example, where the singer and a friend of his get put in jail for littering. This actually works out to his benefit later.
You see, Group W is where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the US Army and burn women, kids, houses and villages after committing your special crime ...
- Furthermore, the mother-rapers, father-stabbers, and father-rapers on the group W bench all move away from him in disgust when he admits he was in for littering.
- Trouble on my Mind by Pusha T ft. Tyler, The Creator is about wanting to cause trouble yet has lyrics such as "Let's hit a couple bars and give some bitches wet willies." The music video features the two throwing eggs at random passerby, doing wheelies in a Rascal and trashing a hotel room.
- Psychostick thrives on this, with songs like "I Hate Doing Laundry" and "Don't Eat My Food".
- The offences listed in "You Can Get Arrested For That" by Greg Champion consist mainly of things like buying an Olivia Newton-John record and not eating all your vegetables.
- "It's a Quiet Town" by Danny Kaye and The Andrews Sisters describes a sleepy western community where the townsfolk don't mind cattle rustling and violence, but they'll shoot anyone who makes too much noise.
- In The Simpsons Pinball Party, the player activates Couch Multiball by getting three balls onto a couch figure on the upper playfield. When they do so, this exchange occurs:
Chief Wiggum: You're under arrest!
Homer: For what?
Chief Wiggum: Hoarding pinballs!
- In Judge Dredd, the punishments for civilians fall into this category, such as 50 years imprisonment for littering.
- It's never more blatant than when the audience boos a Foreign Wrestling Heel simply for being foreign. The heel might not even have had the chance to commit any misdeed yet, or at worst has simply declared his native country to be the greatest in the world (something that Americans are saying all the time, and they hardly ever seem to get scolded for it). A good example was French-Canadian wrestler Sylvan Grenier, who in the summer of 2006 became Quebec's "Ambassador to the World" and was forever talking up how great the province of Quebec was. He was certainly annoying, and perhaps a bit Faux Affably Evil, but the American crowds treated everything he said or did as negatively as if it came from King Booker or Mr. Kennedy (two of the biggest heels on SmackDown! at the time), even if it was morally neutral or an honest mistake. Sylvan was eventually given some Kick the Dog characteristics to retroactively justify all this hatred, but the principle still applies.
- Even more blatant. Muhammad Hassan. His gimmick was of an Arab-American who loved America but hated the way he was treated after 9/11. Sample quote: "I am an Arab-American, I grew up right here in America. I went to the same schools, I ate the same food, and there was never any animosity between us. But since 9/11, you people tend to generalize or stereotype people like me. We are singled out. We are humiliated. We demand the same rights that any American has!" What happened? Wrestling fans, who are not known for their tolerance of non-whites, automatically made him the villain, all due to his character's race.
- Also often used when a Heel ends up in charge of a promotion/show. A typical reaction: "You didn't say 'mister' when addressing me. Tonight you're going to defend your championship against the five most violent people in the entire industry, in a row, no breaks." Then when the Face inevitably wins anyway, "Even though you survived the gauntlet, I'm still stripping you of your title, because you didn't win the last match in the time limit I just now put in."
- In one episode of The Navy Lark, Able Seaman Goldstein is accidentally promoted to Admiral. he decides to take his "temporary flagship", HMS Troutbridge, to his homeland of Wales to act out the role of the local boy made good. In the process, he drives the crew crazy with a daily schedule of tours, cruises for friends and family and other activities. In the end, Cmdr. Murray and CPO Pertwee let slip to Goldstein's mother that Radio/Troutbridge uses oil-burning boilers. Wales is known for its coal industry. It's all that Goldstein can do to keep his mother from disowning him and urging the citizenry of Swansea to lynch him as a traitor to Wales.
- Bleak Expectations: Among the numerous ridiculous laws of Victorian England, it's illegal for a grown man to cry. It's also treason to like anything French.
- John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme: When Finnemore is contacted by the British Government to restore Queen Victoria to life by putting her brain in a gigantic robot body, one of the first signs that Cybernetics Eat Your Soul is applying to Her Majesty is when she looks out of the window to find the nation in mourning for her, and instead of pleased by their devotion, she furiously asks, "Why. Weren't. You. This. Sad. ABOUT. ALBERT?!"
- In Vow of Honor, the PCs are discount paladins sworn to uphold the Tenets of Honor, which empower them on a superhuman scale. Breaking these Tenets is as easy as... saying a swear word. Or getting sick. Or being late for a meeting. Or arguing with someone.
- Lawful Stupid Paladins are generally played this way, or forced to be played this way by a Killer GM.
- In The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Jimmy's crimes, by increasing severity of the sentences he is handed by the Kangaroo Court, are: indirect murder of a friend (the man who killed him in the ring is unknown to the court because he's the prosecutor); breach of the peace; seducing a girl (i.e. a prostitute); singing a subversive song; and not paying for two rounds of whiskey and a broken bar-rail. For this last offense, which the court declares to be the most heinous crime in the world, Jimmy is sentenced to die in the electric chair. It may even be worse than premeditated murder (a crime which the prosecutor bewails using exactly the same words), because one accused of that might have money to bribe the judge. To show how heinous this is in comparison, a "Wanted!" Poster for all three judges is projected while they pass sentence on Jimmy.
- In Zombie Prom, Miss Strict notices that Jonny Warner's jacket is missing an "h". Jonny explains that he's spelling his name without it now, Miss Strict tells him it's not wise to defile a good Christian name and tells him to put it back in. When he (calmly) tells her he kind of wants to keep the "h" out, she immediately decides that he is a hooligan ("With an "h"!") and the other students are in awe of the "Rebel Without An "H"!", as they see it.
- In "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream" from The Book of Mormon, Elder Price sings about the worst sin he's ever committed, one that's left him haunted by guilt for his entire life: when he was five, he blamed his brother for taking a donut that he actually ate himself. He also thinks that deciding to walk out on his mission in Uganda makes him worse than Hitler. Hitler himself, Genghis Khan, Jeffrey Dahmer and Johnny Cochran are all appalled by Elder Price's rulebreaking.
- Starship has Junior, whose motivation is to procure one million spacebucks. Why? To buy weed.
- In The Complete History Of America Abridged, Lt. Flush moves in to arrest Spade, identifying him as "the sick and twisted pervert responsible for...disco." Spade can't deny the charge: disco's his favorite kind of music.
- The plot of The Mikado is kicked off by the title character's proclamation that flirting is a capital offense.
- In his opening number, Beetlejuice threatens to kill anyone in the audience whose cell phone goes off during the performance.
- In CLANNAD, Tomoya and Youhei are considered delinquents, though all they do is skip class and show up late when they do bother to attend.
- Breaking any of the school rules in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc warrants a gruesome death from Monokuma. All infractions are treated equally. Given that Monokuma is the sociopathic Big Bad who is keeping the students locked up and forcing them to kill each other, breaking the rules is only seen as wrong by him. Because it ruins his fun. Everyone else in the series only sees breaking the rules as bad because it hurts them.
- In the sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, littering is considered an infraction punishable by death.
- Played for Drama in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice with Khura'in's Defense Culpability Act. This country punishes lawyers that can't prove their clients innocent with the same fate of their client. Therefore, if the client is given the death penalty, the lawyer is executed too. This has caused lawyers to virtually disappear in Khura'in, both by mass execution and by fear of blowing it in court, setting up a revolution in the shadows.
- According to this video by Israeli animator Leigh Lahav, in the fangirl community, giving an unwanted spoiler is punishable by death.
- In the Valentine's Day episode of Teen Girl Squad, Cheerleader invokes the wrath of a WIIIIRELESS WIZAAAARD by texting somebody who is only a few feet away from her, and making a "frontways Cupid" that looks like a "USB Dongle goblin".
- In the GoAnimate "Grounded" videos, just about anything can result in someone getting grounded, arrested, or worse. Even just calling someone a rude name, littering, pulling a prank on a sibling, or even getting a math problem wrong can, and very much has, resulted in absurdly long grounding times or Humiliation Congas in the form of (sometimes fatal) "Punishment Days".
- Dragonzball P
"Kaka carrot cake, when I was a child he... he... HE DIDN'T INVITE ME TO HIS BIRTHDAY PARTY!"
"YOU MONSTER, FRISBEE!"
- In The Grossery Gang webseries, according to the "Bug Strike" movie, breaking out into spontaneous music numbers are a crime in Cheap Town. Egghead is at least his 100th strike, yet still continues to do it, regretting nothing.