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From Bad to Worse
aka: It Got Worse

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Kavar: I think the situation has gotten even worse.
Queen Talia: Worse? How is that even possible?
Kavar: It can always get worse. An old student is returning. I fear for us all...

Things are bad. In fact, it's all going to hell. Your family's been murdered. Your Humongous Mecha ran out of juice at the worst possible moment. An army of flesh-eating orcs is about to storm your castle. People are dying left and right. We're talking May Sweeps stuff, series finale situations. It's as bad as you've ever seen and just when you'd thought the shit had gone down, just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any worse...

It does. Much worse.

To qualify for this trope, a terrible situation must have some final perfect push over the edge. Sometimes characters within a story, usually when recounting dramatic events to others will, when asked "And then?" say, "It got worse," right before the narrative cuts to the events in question.

Very often the result of a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero. Usually gives that final push that crosses the Godzilla Threshold.

From Bad to Worse usually results in Downer Ending. If the characters somehow prevail, the result will be (if well done) Earn Your Happy Ending, or (if badly done) Only the Author Can Save Them Now.

Subtropes include:

NOTE: An important distinction between Out of the Frying Pan and From Bad to Worse is that the former requires a causal link between the initial problem and the getting worse (in this case, that solving the former ends up causing the latter), whereas FBTW does not require such a link. If you're in a pool of water with a bunch of jellyfish, and then someone releases sharks into the water, that's From Bad to Worse. If you're in a pool of water with a bunch of jellyfish, and in the act of climbing out you fall into a different pool with a bunch of sharks, that's Out of the Frying Pan; the same goes for if in the act of climbing out, you accidentally trigger a Self-Destruct Mechanism for the entire building that you're in.

See also Rock Bottom, where it's the characters who are Tempting Fate by thinking things can't get worse just before they do. Darkest Hour is the logical conclusion of such a chain of events. Hope Spot is a common double subversion; after things get really bad, they seem to get better before suddenly getting even worse. Also see Worse with Context.

Warning: spoilers ahead.



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    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics's Blackest Night storyline. All the dead heroes and villains come back as zombies, and anyone who had superpowers still have them. Heroes are dying left and right and coming back as Black Lanterns themselves. Members of the various colored Corps band together to try and stop the villain Nekron. It doesn't work. And then suddenly, with the powers he's gained, he turns every resurrected hero into a Black Lantern, Superman and Wonder Woman among them.
  • In Brightest Day, which takes place after Blackest Night, everything seems to get worse with each issue. Recently there's been The Reveal that the embodiment of Life, the Entity, is dying and even more recently the revelation that Krona, the guy who teamed with Nekron to destroy the universe the first time his dimension was breached, as well as off-handedly caused Crisis on Infinite Earths, is the mystery villain capturing the various emotional entities.
  • The "Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons" arc in Calvin and Hobbes might be the most hilarious example of this ever.
  • Matt Murdock's life and mental state during the Marvel Knights series that began with Karen Page's death. Culminating in his usurping control of an ancient ninja cult and getting possessed by its demonic founder.
  • Dark Horse Monsters: The endings of both "Jungle of the Giants!" and "Monster Island." The former ends with the protagonist defeating the giant lizard, only to find himself facing his giant son and his pet cat. The latter has Connolly escape from the monster-filled island only to discover that the island itself is a monster.
  • The last chapter of Empowered's fifth volume hits this trope hard. When you have to repair someone's suit with duct tape and carry her across the outside of a space station with buggy artificial gravity in a decaying orbit... only to find that the backup portal will only get one of you to safety? Well that was still not Rock Bottom for Emp's day.
  • Final Crisis had a somewhat lackluster one: for seven issues, Darkseid has slowly been dragging the Multiverse down an inescapable sinkhole to "a Hell without exit or end"; gradually, the situation got worse and worse and worse with half of humanity exposed to Anti-Life and becoming broken slaves, the villains organized and under the command of one of Darkseid's underlings, most heroes either depowered by the Morticoccus virus or turned into Justifiers (Darkseid's mindless soldiers) or, in the case of Wonder Woman, Furies, or even possessed by evil gods, the Green Lanterns effectively locked out of Earth, Superman kept busy in first another plane of existence and then another time and Batman imprisoned and later erased from existence; finally, Darkseid dies — and then it is revealed that, in the space between universes, where his death dragged them, there waits Something Even Worse. It's lackluster because this situation is resolved in all of four pages, as an afterthought.
  • FoxTrot had an arc where Roger, after a horrible business trip (which could be an entry in itself) that ended horribly finds him returning to his younger son needing stitches; he quits his job. He then proceeds to find out that none of his family has time (or wants) to hang out with him. To gain money, he invests... in an infomercial, losing money. He then tries stock trading... and loses more money. After all of this, he ends up going back to his job, having lost a number of paychecks, a large amount of money, and his computer, and gaining a cut in pay at his job. To top it off, his boss says to Roger's face that people in Roger's specialty are making three times what Roger does. Roger misses it, noting the shoeshine kit is still in its place.
  • Kick Ass 2 does this. Hard. It starts with Dave trying to improve his skills as a crime fighter and joining a ragtag superhero group "Justice Forever". However, Red Mist (now The Motherfucker) and his supervillain team the Toxic Mega-Cunts kills members of the group. Then later rape his crush Katie. And then kill his father. And then an all out war between superheros and supervillains breaks out, with the comic ending in Hit-Girl getting arrested.
  • Knightfall's lead up and the first twelve issues is this. Batman's already feeling the burn, troubled by the failure of capturing Black Mask, dealing with Lehah and Azrael and fighting with Commissioner Gordon's new wife Sarah when Bane busts everyone out of Arkham Asylum. Even if unvoiced, he's also suffering pretty heavily from Superman's death. Then part 3 rolls around and, after taking down Zsasz, he's suffering from mental exhaustion. A couple of chapters later and he kicks Poison Ivy in the face out of total spite. Then there's another mental exhaustion incident involving Firefly, then a gauntlet run involving the Scarecrow, Joker and Bane's goons. By the time Bane is waiting for Batman in Wayne Manor, you know things have gotten worse.
  • Maus is the story of the life of a Holocaust survivor, Vladek Spiegelman, as told to his cartoonist son (Art Spiegelman, the author) many years later in America. Having recounted in part one being persecuted and hounded throughout Poland, starved, and almost killed on many occasions, and being separated from his entire family, Vladek tells about being imprisoned at Auschwitz in part two. It is subtitled, "And Here My Troubles Began."
  • From the first page to the very last one, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) issue #7 just gets progressively worse.
  • In issue #4 of Paranoia, the protagonist King is repeatedly promoted from Red to Orange to Yellow to Green clearance for his heroic actions to defeat the N3F secret society... and is then terminated for treason, because knowledge of secret societies is punishable by death in Alpha Complex.
  • Ronin (1983) fits this trope: "Hey, it's the Apocalypse... Oh, now an ancient demon has been released... But it's okay because our life-sustaining supercomputer wants to wipe out humanity!".
  • In Gold Key Issue 23 of Scooby-Doo, a phantom jester challenges the gang to unmask him at a deserted old house. Each gang member disappears one by one, until Velma and Scooby are left. Velma disappears after examining some rubies left behind, as the jester shows up with a rhyme, as Scooby makes wordplay of the trope:
    Jester: Two little ghost breakers looking at a ruby...One tried to use the phone and then there was Scooby!
    Scooby: Yipe! Things have gone from bad to verse!
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) does this with the Metal Virus saga. Things start off bad enough, as the Zombots quickly overrun everything in their path, with several significant characters being infected, while Sonic's own infection slowly starts to overcome the Healing Factor provided by his speed. Then along comes the Deadly Six, who hijack Eggman's resources and start using the Zombots as their own army, conquering and tormenting the people who haven't been infected yet. This forces Eggman and the heroes to team up to stop them.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Cletus Kasady was an Ax-Crazy Serial Killer serving 12 consecutive life sentences for the roughly 10% of his crimes they could prove. Then his blood got infected with a stronger evolved version of the Venom symbiote. Then it got switched out for a cannibalistic cosmic parasite. Then got robot legs.
    • Played for laughs in The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #266, when after a few incidents, both the Toad and Frog-Man decide they want to be his sidekick. Just when Spidey tempts fate by saying things can't get worse, the Spectacular Spider-Kid shows up. Spidey concedes things are worse. It's left open as to whether their new super-team of The Misfits is yet worse.
  • The Ultimates: In the 2011 Hickman series. Hoo, boy. Asgard has been destroyed by Reed Richards and the City, with all the souls of the gods now existing solely in Thor's head. The S.E.A.R. has been taken over by the superhuman Celestials and Eternals. Germany has been completely absorbed by the City. A nuclear crisis is brewing in South America. Nick Fury just cannot catch a break.
  • The Walking Dead is pretty much one continuous case of this. A comic following survivors of a Zombie Apocalypse needs to keep up the drama somehow. Out of thirteen volumes, only two could be considered to have an ending where things weren't worse than the beginning.
  • The X-Men have been made of this trope at least since the mid-eighties. They exist to suffer.
    • More like the entire Marvel Universe. The X-Men just (usually) go further with it.
    • Arguably, Spider-Man has it even worse. By this point, it seems the writers at Marvel have dropped all pretense and just devoted as much effort as they can into torturing him.

  • Anal Cunt have an album called It Just Gets Worse, which is intended to be an up to eleven version of their second-previous album to it, I Like It When You Die.
  • Doom Metal band Warning's album "Watching From a Distance" is one of the most depressing albums ever made. The first song is heartrending, and each song just gets more depressing.
  • Doom metal band KYPCK's first album, "Cherno", was already depressive and crushing, especially because the songs are sung in Russian and dealt with Soviet thematics. Then "Nizhe" came along. Suddenly it feels there's no light left in the world, especially for those who are living in former Soviet nations and know what the songs really are about.
  • In another of the most depressing albums of all time, Queensryche's magnum opus concept album "Operation: Mindcrime" tells the story of an angry, drug-addicted, politically and socially frustrated young man recruited as a political assassin for a shady revolutionary who falls in love with his courier, an ex-prostitute turned nun who's still getting sexually assaulted by her priest on a regular basis. The first several songs set up the characters, who they are, what they believe, and how they got to the point they are. By the time the actual events of the story begin, Nikki (the main character) is strung out, burned out, and wants out. Then it gets worse.
    Doctor X: Kill her. That's all you have to do.
    Nikki: Kill Mary...???
    Doctor X: She's a risk. And get the priest as well.
  • Another uber-depressing (albeit absolutely brilliant) concept album is Pain of Salvation's "The Perfect Element, Pt. 1" It introduces us to an adolescent girl who runs away from home after being sexually abused by her father. On the street, she encounters a kindred spirit in a boy with whom she presumably has sex in their mutual desolation. The focus then shifts to the boy's perspective, who reminisces to the listener on the events in his life which led him to the streets all the way back to his birth. At the end of his reminiscence, it's implied that he kills his mother. He later reconciles briefly with the girl, whom he may or may not have impregnated, only to tell her to get away from him. The last we see him, he's lying on a bathroom floor, apparently considering suicide. And this is just the first part of a projected trilogy of albums.
    • Scarsick, The Perfect Element Pt. 2 pulls off something even worse: isolated, the boy is glued to the TV, often expressing disdain towards the world he sees in an adolescent fashion. His hatred towards what he sees pushes him out of his head, and his thoughts drift in between the girl and the world they both inhabit. So, what does he do? In a moment of despair, he runs to the roof, and jumps down. The album ends with a cliffhanger, with the line "In two seconds I will hit the ground" fading out, to the sound of an ambulance driving away in the background.
  • The album "Angels of Distress" by the Finnish Doom Metal band Shape of Despair. Just when you think the music can't get any more bleak and depressing, it does.
  • The Irish folk song "Why Paddy's Not at Work Today" plays this one for laughs.
  • Brooke Lundeville's folk-style ballad "The Wreck of the Crash of the Easthill Mining Disaster" only gradually reveals the full tragedy of the industrial accident and its 17 65 159 164 172; yes, the puppies count 222 ca. 50,000,000 victims' untimely demise.
  • Sonata Arctica's "White Pearl, Black Oceans" is pretty much pure this. It's about a lighthouse keeper who gets bored, goes to town, and has a one night stand with a girl. Sure, not that bad. But it then proceeds to explain how he, upon leaving that night gets the SHIT beaten out of him by her hence unmentioned husband. This leads to him lying unconscious without anyone to run the lighthouse, by the time he wakes up, a ship has wrecked. (Possibly the very same which the girl, who was pregnant, had just left in.) He pretty much goes through hell from there, and eventually kills himself.
  • The Finnish version Nainen tummissa of Uriah Heep Lady in Black must be the Ur-Example of this. The lady who appears to the protagonist is actually the Angel of Death. It gets worse: the protagonist falls in love with her, and can no longer find any joy in life, as he only waits for the Angel of Death arriving.
  • "Handlebars" by The Flobots. Most likely a social critique on people who join the army or enter politics, presenting a Coming of Age Story that just gets worse as they go on. From being carefree children to manipulative politicians to Magnificent Bastards that can bring about The End of the World as We Know It at will. The melody and music videorepresent it quite well.
  • Each of the four stanzas of The Doctor's Wife by The Clockwork Quartet shows a steady progression through It Got Worse territory. It's especially apparent in the doctor's goals: Stanza 1: She'll dance again. Stanza 2: She'll laugh again. Stanza 3: She'll smile again. Stanza 4: She'll live again.
  • The eponymous song of Savatage's Dead Winter Dead is this point in the Rock Opera's story: as winter falls, the Bosnian Civil War intensifies.
  • Miss Otis regrets.
  • Pervasive in country music, to the point that some say this trope sums up the genre.
    • There is a joke: What happens if you play a country song backward? You get a job, your car is back in the shape, you quit drinking, your dog will resurrect and your wife will come back.
  • The Protomen: in their Rock Opera, things get worse at the end of at least four songs (for the curious: Hope Rides Alone, The Sons Of Fate, Father of Death, and The Fall.
  • The Porcupine Tree LP Fear of Blank Planet goes progressively from bad to worse by lyrics on each song.
  • "Olivia", a cabaret song performed by Agnes Bernelle, plays this for low-key Black Comedy.
  • Leonid Utyosov's highly popular song "All is Well, Lovely Marchesa" (Vsyo horosho, prekrasnaya markiza) embodies the trope. To put it short: the Marchesa's horse died in a fire that destroyed the stalls and the whole castle to boot, and the fire started when the Marchesa's husband turned bankrupt, shot himself and knocked down two candles, but apart from that, all is well.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Lodi" tells the story of a musician who was once acclaimed as up and coming but now is down and out. The lyrics directly reference the trope: "Things got bad, and things got worse. I guess you know the tune. Oh, Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi again."
  • In The Lonely Island's "Space Olympics", the titular event runs into a lot of problems, like an insufficient budget limiting athletes to one meal a day and various sub-events getting cancelled. By the last verse, the oxygen has run out, and then someone "who shall not be named" hits the self-destruct button by mistake.
  • Used in "Tell Me Why" by Three Days Grace:
    It goes from good to bad to worse so fast
  • Used by Shadow of Intent. In "The Tartarus Impalement," a short spoken-word section crops up near the middle of the song.
    Twenty-seven years later, and here we still are still clinging to life, still desperately running away. And you know what? It just gets worse, and it will continue to get worse if we don't make a difference here, today...
  • In "The Trees", by Rush, the Maples are not happy. They aren’t getting enough sunlight due to their treatment by the Oaks. By the end, both Maples and Oaks are worse off:
    And the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe and saw.
  • The Lab Rats' song "Devil's Train" calls this trope out almost by name:
    She ran to the pastor at church
    To ask him what was up with this disastrous curse
    But bad went to worse

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: In "An Unofficial Tournament", Kaila shows up and everything starts going downhill, but then Keela taps into the power of the Master of the Dammed as a desperate maneuver...
    • In the flashback in "Over and Under", the Overlord of Evil intends to use a laser to destroy the World Tower and bringing about The End of the World as We Know It by opening a dimensional rift. Dylan stops him by blowing up the control panel, but this triggers the laser to fire anyway. He manages to move the laser in the nick of time, but the laser hits an invisible point where the actual rift will open up in. Now the Overlord of Evil doesn't even need to blow up the World Tower, he can just shoot at the rift's location once more to open it up!
    • In the flashback in "A Curse or a Blessing", a deep-seated curse Melinda placed on Dylan manifests as a purple spider, which he easily kills. This curse will come back as a stronger form the next day based on how he feels before he falls asleep. Its second form is a serpentine dog demon that paralyzes its attacker when hit, so he tricks it into falling off a cliff. Its third form is a Blob Monster that would've suffocated him had an Angel Guard not shown up and killed it. He realizes the curse is something that can't be stopped, and whatever form its going to take next is definitely going to kill him.
  • In 'The Camping Webisode' of DSBT InsaniT, the group's campsite gets destroyed, which sucks. Then Killer Monster shows up...
  • Happy Tree Friends: In "House Warming", shortly after Handy builds Petunia a new treehouse, it spontaneously catches fire with her in it. She falls out of it while on fire herself, so Handy tries to extinguish her with a nearby fire hose connected to a hydrant, but can't reach it due to his lack of hands. He sees a nearby bucket and pours it on her... only for it to be full of gasoline, making her burn even more.
  • Episodes 9, 10, 11 and 12 of Volume 3 of RWBY could be called "It Got Worse: The Episodes". Every time you think its hit rock bottom, the next layer of bedrock is blasted way underneath. It gets to the point where listing it all is futile, because it keeps getting worse. This culminates in Team RWBY being broken up and Team JNPR being down a member, among MANY other things.
  • SMG4: 2019 and 2020 already put the gang in dark situations, be it war or being banished to the Internet Graveyard, but oh how 2021 made this even worse when Zero finally decided to make his move. What started out with taking out a corrupted meme ends up with a monstrous virus attempting to destroy the universe.

  • The SCP Foundation has strict orders to destroy SCP-523 if an end-of-the-world scenario occurs, because the sole ability of 523 is to make everything worse—which is bad enough on its own, but it's also proportional to how bad the situation was in the first place.
    "Note: Since it seems that SCP-523's transformations are more or less proportional to the gravity of the situation it is being used for, it is imperative that it be destroyed immediately in the event of an XK-class end-of-the-world scenario, as it may turn into something that would further exacerbate the situation. Like the Sun. -Dr. Willis"

    Web Videos 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd:
    • He hates the NES Top Gun game and in the Power Glove episode, he tries to play Top Gun with the poorly-developed Power Glove accessory, an experience that he equates to "puking on a pile of shit." Then the landing sequence begins: "Oh my god, what the fuck am I doing? I'm trying to land the plane in Top Gun with the Power Glove. I can't even land it with the regular controller!" Subverted in that, by complete accident, he finally manages to land his fighter successfully.
    • He's not terribly keen on Waterworld and he has a very low opinion of the Virtual Boy, as shown in an episode dedicated to it. Within that same episode, he finds out there's a Waterworld game on the Virtual Boy. Once again, "it's like puking on a pile of shit!"
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: The titular Dr.Horrible is in love with Penny, but is to afraid to talk to her. When he finally does, she gets swept off her feet by his enemy. Then he learns that not only has Captain Hammer slept with her, but that he's only staying with her because Dr.Horrible wants her. Then, at the end he accidentally kills her. No wonder he seemed so depressed in the final song.
  • The Final Minutes is no stranger to things going downhill really fast:
    • 2050: Multiple large-scale emergencies pop up around the world, ranging from extreme weather disasters and pollution to large-scale rioting. Eventually these disasters start affecting the Earth's magnetic poles and cause a catastrophic magnetic reversal.
    • Dual Catastrophies opens on a Kessler syndrome eventnote , with the United States being pelted by incoming pieces of satellites. As the satellites fall, another emergency broadcast announces that Russia, China, and North Korea have all decided to launch a nuclear attack on the States...
    • Trumpocalypse: The former President refuses to step down from office after being declared insane, and mobilizes the Citizen Militia to support him. Riots, explosions, and natural disasters start to spring up. Oh, and it also looks like he made off with the Presidential Emergency Satchel and the nuclear launch codes...
    • UK Sci-Fi EAS: The United Kingdom being battered by meteor strikes is bad enough, but then it's announced that some of these meteors turn out to be Cybermen spacecraft.
    • Zombie Plague: The Prime Minister of Australia has been killed and turned after the aircraft carrying him was attacked by flying zombies. The emergency broadcast starts urging emergency centers to lockdown immediately and for those infected to kill themselves to not give their bodies the chance to reanimate... and then a bright red NUCLEAR ATTACK warning comes in.
  • Marble Hornets shows this quite well. Basic story is a guy named Jay (or possibly J) decides to help a friend, Alex Kralie, by watching types of a movie Alex was making but scrapped. Okay so far. J soon notices...odd things in the tapes. Kinda bad but not horrible. Next thing J knows, he's being stalked by the same thing Alex was stalked by, and being attacked by a mysterious masked man (who turns out to be his friend Tim). J decides to put this all behind him, but he receives a tape from someone in which he finds Alex has started a new life...only for the very thing chasing him to appear right at his house just because his girlfriend found a camera with a tape from the movie on it. J rushes to his friend's rescue, only to wake up in a strange town with no memory of the past 7 months. Oh and also shortly after finding someone who has had similar things happening to her, she disappears and J is attacked by the Masked Man again, forcing him to flee his hotel. So pretty much J's entire life has been ruined just because he wanted to help a friend out. Friendship can kinda suck that way, can't it? Then he finds out his "friend" is a crazy murderer.
  • The Nostalgia Critic's issues with his job. By January 2012, he was willing to kill That SciFi Guy for planning to do a review of the same thing he was.
    • At least in To Boldly Flee he Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence, saving reality in the process. But wait! Turns out his ascension trapped him in a kind of purgatory (the show Demo Reel) where he was stuck as a terrible filmmaker, who was also a former child actor whose mother committed suicide. And now he's back reviewing.
  • Basically every one of The Onion's Digital Studios Series ends up along this route:
    • Sex House: Starts as a parody of reality shows such as The Real World, very quickly turns into what some commenters referred to as a possible Hell scenario, locking them in the house and watching them slowly mentally and physically decay without food or outside interaction save for motivation for them have sex while America watches, and ends as a parody of reality shows such as The Real World.
    • Lake Dredge Appraisal: Starts as a parody of auction-type public television shows, and compiles troubles on the host until finally revealing a strange The Picture of Dorian Gray-style dredge of him, painted 600 years prior, and suggesting further injury to him.
    • Horrifying Planet: Well, this nature show just stays bad, as its point is to declare nearly everything in nature to be a horrifying disaster. In the final episode, the narrator suggests to purify Earth by pouring copious amounts of bleach on everything, as the planet is better off completely dead.
    • Onion Talks: A TED Talks parody, with two or more incarnations featuring Diabolus ex Machina endings for no particular reason.
    • Porkin' Across America with Jim Haggerty: A traveling show where regular Today Now! host Jim Haggerty goes across America sampling pork dishes. This one rather quickly went south, with him putting the show above most of his family, setting divorce procedures in play from the first stop, as everyone else he knows outside of work leaves him or dies, and he suffers debilitating injury necessitating porcine transplants until he starts to become more pig than man. All in front of the cameras. Ends with a temporary revival of Today Now!, with Tracy and a new male host reporting on "The Human Pig". Also somewhat subverted in that Jim/The Human Pig turns out to be quite happy with his new life and family.
    • The only current exception is Life Hacking with Drew Cleary, which is on hiatus or ended without anything going badly for the host, but which has already included an episode on how to kill yourself.
  • 7-Second Riddles: The multiple-part riddles often play out like this. A character will get stuck in a bad situation and need to escape, but things keep escalating after each step; what starts out as fleeing a kidnapping scenario can end up with a building on fire and zombies on the loose.
  • In Tribe Twelve Noah meets up with the Order, a cult that worships the Slender Man as a deity. After pissing them off and letting slip the names of his informants (the Dark Harvest guys who brought him there), the cult is about to kill him to ensure his silence. How could it get any worse? Slendy himself shows up.
  • Unwanted Houseguest: The Houseguest's journey to Litchfield Asylum begins with him investigating his cut telephone line.

    Western Animation 
  • The feature film version of Shane Acker's award-winning short film 9 does this twice. After 7 kills the Beast, 9 awakens the Fabrication Machine. After they kill the Winged Beast, Mr. Fab sends the Seamstress. When they kill the Seamstress, Mr. Fab sends his spider robot mook things. When they blow the factory up, Mr. Fab pulls a Disney Death, kills 5 and 6, and then kills 1 before they finally kill it. The poor sackdolls just can't catch a break.
  • Adventure Time has an episode with this trope as the title, word for word. It involved zombies overrunning the Candy Kingdom, (again) and Finn and his friends trying to come up with cures from Princess Bubblegum's incomprehensible notes. Their cures...well, they just make things worse, starting by giving the zombies wings, then huge red lips, then superhuman strength.
  • Where to even begin with Avatar: The Last Airbender? In the first episodes, the plot is: the only hope to restore peace is a young, untrained boy. But a few episodes later, we learn that in a few months, the bad guys' powers will be multiplied by 100 for enough time for them to destroy all remaining opposition single-handedly. Season 2, the gang starts getting chased by Zuko's much more competent sister, Princess Azula, and her two friends who can throw knives and block bending. Then they make enemies with the government (Dai Li) of Ba-Sing-Se and the Fire Nation captures the city by the end of the season. Season 2's finale: Aang gives up his love for Katara in order to save her by activating the avatar state, his most powerful trump card. And is shot down almost immediately by Azula, nearly rendering him worse than dead. And Azula takes Ba-Sing-Se. Then in Season 3, the Fire Nation successfully captures the entire invasion force. They introduce the Series Finale with Zuko revealing that the plan by his father upon the advent of the comet is to burn the entire Earth Kingdom to the ground, destroying all life in an attempt to claim the land as permanent Fire Nation Territory. Making the whole "Stop the Fire Lord" thing a whole lot more serious.
  • Batman: The Animated Series episode "Over The Edge" has this trope completely. After the Scarecrow kills Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon discovers that she was his daughter, and blames Batman for her death, after that Gordon reveals to Bruce Wayne that he read Barbara's computer diary that revealed everything to him and sends the largest manhunt to catch him, soon Alfred and Nightwing are caught, and Batman orders Robin to give himself up, things go downhill even more as Gordon hires Bane to catch Batman, the loss of everything destroys Batman's moral code and is willing to use lethal force on Bane, Bane then double crosses Gordon and is prepared to kill the both of them, Batman then electrocutes Bane and goes to save Gordon, but Bane uses the last of his strength to toss them off a building to their deaths. All of these events are then revealed to be Barbara's nightmare caused by Scarecrow's fear toxin.
    • Batman's "late night rendezvous" at Ivy's greenhouse in "Pretty Poison" starts with him nearly tumbling into an overgrown, razor sharp cactus filled pit only to be captured by a huge, man eating flytrap before Poison Ivy slinks out to swap spit with him against his will, then narrowly avoids being eaten to break loose from the Vagina Dentata's tendrils, dodging a now Ax-Crazy Ivy's crossbow arrows, attempting to grapple onto an overhead light fixture, inadvertently tearing it down, making it drop into nearby water, causing an electric spark which sets the entire nursery ablaze.
  • Cars 2: When Mater attempts to deactivate the voice-activated bomb bolted onto him, the bomb rejects his voice and starts a 5-minute countdown. Goes From Worse To Even Worse when they force Zündapp to tell the bomb to deactivate... which takes a whole minute off the countdown because he wasn't the one who armed the bomb.
  • Central Park:
    • In "Garbage Ballet", because Central Park's trash has been rerouted to a location that's further out, Owen and his staff can't keep up with the trash and all the dumpsters are quickly filling up. It gets worse when lunch time arrives and people are leaving more trash, and it gets even worse when tourists come by to take pictures of the trash, which hurts the park's reputation.
    • In "Rival Busker", when Owen and Cole sees a baby owl jump out of its nest during the owl live stream, they both go to the tree to put the chick back in its nest. Owen climbs the tree to put the chick back in, but Cole also climbs on and his actions leads to the branch they need to get down to be broken off. Not only do they get stuck in the tree and no one is around, besides Griffin who refuses to interfere in the story, but the mother owl returns and attacks Owen and Cole for going near her babies, endangering them even further.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door's movie Operation: Z.E.R.O. starts out with Numbuh Zero's recommissioning module being stolen, and then an old evil named Grandfather being awakened and then he takes over the world, turning everyone into Senior Citizombies, and then all of the Kids Next Door members become Citizombies save for Numbuh One, Numbuh Zero and Sector Z. And then the book of KND almost gets destroyed! Dad gum!
  • What happens in Danny Phantom episode "Public Enemies". It's bad enough he has to deal with his parent's constant pursuit of his ghostly half, but that's been upped to the nth degree after Ghost Cop Walker sends waves of cops to terrorize Amity Park, leaving Danny to not only stop the mess, but deal with the aftermath of the ghosts possessing authority figures and eventually the mayor, who declares Danny the leader of the whole ghost invasion, causing him to be a Hero with Bad Publicity. Despite Danny striving to do good regardless, the real kicker is how the entire town mistreats his ghostly alter ego for the rest of Season 1, solved only by the beginning of Season 2. That's got to be frustrating.
    • Another great example is "The Ultimate Enemy." Under stress for a big test, Danny accidentally ends up with the answers for said test! And he plans to cheat. Of course, that's not just the end of it. His teacher found out and the Fentons and friends gather together to talk about it when they're all killed. Oh, but that's not all, folks! He goes to live with his former archenemy, Vlad, whom he asks to remove his emotions (by splitting his human and ghost halves). And you'd think it'd end there, but it doesn't. Danny's ghost half kills the human Danny and then unleashes 10 years of complete destruction on everything in his path. This is why the Reset Button exists.
      • You forgot something there, his ghost half removes VLAD'S ghost half and takes it over, which causes him to become evil in the first place, and also INSANELY overpowered. It gets MUCH worse as he only gets stronger from there.
    • Oh, and probably the best example of the series? In the scene in Reality Trip where Danny's Secret Identity is revealed to the entire world, Sam looks at him and says, "Well, it could be worse." "Oh really, how?". The Guys in White then proceed to show up: "You're coming in for questioning-" "-And experiments. Lots and lots of really painful experiments." Thankfully, this episode also had a Reset Button.
  • Parts 3 and 4 of Super Ducktales are made to embody this trope. Ma Beagle is able to get a remote control that lets her take control of Gizmoduck to make him her unwilling slave and go on a personal crime spree for her. That's bad. Then she uses him to steal Scrooge's entire fortune and leave him penniless and forced to sell his own home, which just to rub salt in the wound, she proceeds to buy. Then she uses her new power to buy out the town and control it against their will. Then when Huey, Dewey, and Louie are able to discover that her new sudden gain in wealth is actually stolen from Scrooge, Ma Beagle uses her new influence over the police to get them to arrest him instead.
    • Also used in the Grand Finale "The Golden Goose." The titular MacGuffin falls into Scrooge's hands and he gleefully learns it can turn everything into gold. Put jealous Glomgold has the Beagle Boys steal it, and when Huey, Dewey, and Louie try to stop them they get turned into golden statues. A distraught Scrooge teams up with Poupon, whose temple housed the goose, to recover it as it turns out to be cursed and will transform if it's away from its resting place for too long. Scrooge, Launchpad, Dijon, and Poupon head to recover the goose, but as they arrive at Glomgold's hideout it undergo its first transformation and becomes sentient and starts turning things (and people!) into gold on its own. Then the heroes manage to catch the goose, but before Poupon can pour his temple's enchanted water on it to return the goose to normal the Beagle Boys destroy his vial. And then the goose undergoes its second transformation where it sheds its gold so it can start consuming the entire world...
    • And of course we can't forget The Movie. Bad: Dijon steals the magic lamp and has his first wish to have the genie give him all of Scrooge's fortune. Worst: Big Bad Merlock proceeds to steal it from Dijon and uses his talisman to give himself unlimited power over the lamp and genie.
  • The title and premise of an episode of George Shrinks.
  • The G.I. Joe: Renegades episode "Enemy of my Enemy features an almost constant escalation of this trope. Joes are swarmed by Bio-Vipers with guns, and that are smarter than their cousins. No problem, exploit their new fatal design flaw! But now comes Destro's Iron Grenadiers in indestructible mech-suits. Pretty bleak, right? Now how about Mech-Vipers, mech-suits wearing constantly regenerating Bio-Vipers as their skin, which proceed to rip the I Gs apart and are about to do the same to the Joes?
  • In the Golan the Insatiable episode "Winter is Staying", Dylan and Golan throw snowballs at a family who is driving. This causes them to crash (the bad). When preparing firewood, they accidentally burn their infant child (who was less than a year old) alive (the worse). They use a fire log as a replacement child until Golan destroys it in the climax of the episode.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series "Cold Fury" starts with an attack by the Anti-Monitor and the Manhunters, yet manages to get worse when Aya takes the energy from the ships engine, defeats the Anti-Monitor and takes it's place as leader of the Manhunters and leaves the rest of the crew stranded in a now powerless Interceptor.
  • In the Kaeloo episode "Let's Play Scaredy Cat", Kaeloo and Mr. Cat have to deal with an army of zombies in a dark forest on Halloween night. Mr. Cat gets Kaeloo to transform by making her angry, but just as soon as she transforms, Kaeloo is bitten and transformed into a zombie. In her transformed state.
  • Happens regularly on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic for comic effect. Noteworthy examples include "Swarm of the Century" and "The Best Night Ever", which are episode-long sequences of things getting worse.
    • It's not even just used for comedy. 2-part episodes like "The Return of Harmony" and "A Canterlot Wedding" play this for dramatic effect.
    • A particularly nightmarish example of this is "The Cutie Remark" and "The Cutie Remark Part 2" where Twilight and Spike go through increasingly horrible Bad Futures as the season's Big Bad messes up the timeline:
      • In the first dark future seen, King Sombra has returned, brainwashed the ponies of the Crystal Empire, and is waging war against Equestria, with the two nations apparently at a stalemate.
      • In the second timeline, Chrysalis has conquered Equestria and is only opposed by a small group of rebels.
      • In the third timeline, Nightmare Moon has returned, banished Celestia to the moon, cloaked Equestria in eternal night, and appears to be entitely unopposed in her rule. Even Rainbow Dash is a loyal member of her personal guard.
    • From a production point of view, the seventh season started okay, then just went further and further downhill. Starting with the last few episodes of the previous season, then continuing five episodes into Season 7, episodes started airing earlier and earlier in other countries, culminating in not only a leak of the final four episodes, but also a leak of the movie and the entire show bible.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): "Not So Awesome Blossom" starts off bad for Blossom and slowly deteriorates for her as the story goes on. Her attack plans to stop Mojo Jojo's robots lead to destruction she did not intend, leaving Buttercup to clean up the mess. Everything Blossom does goes wrong to where she runs away from home and gets a job at a fast food restaurant. It gets no better: the final straw is when she accidentally spurts ketchup all over her face.
  • Primal (2019): In the episode "River of Snakes," what's worse than almost stumbling into an enormous mass of snakes? Getting swept up in a flash flood filled with those same snakes... which is about to go over a waterfall.
  • The games in ReBoot often embody this trope. They have a tendency of appearing when the situation is already problematic, such as downloading while Bob is still unwittingly carrying a bomb. They subvert it sometimes as well, occasionally becoming a Deus ex Machina.
  • It truly got worse with the second season opener of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated than it did when Season 1 ended, which had the Mayor of Crystal Cove as the Freak who had played Fred as a patsy (pretending to be his father) in an attempt to locate the hidden treasure, which resulted in Fred disbanding the gang so he can locate his real parents while Scooby is being sent to a farm, Shaggy is sent to military school, and original Mystery Inc. mascot Professor Pericles makes off with two pieces of the puzzle leading to the treasure. Season 2 starts off with a creature called Crybaby Clown causing mass destruction, prompting the Mayor (new mayor Janet Nettles) to reassemble the team, but Daphne has moved on to greener pastures, Hot Dog Water takes her place in the team, Fred's trap to capture the clown completely fails, and the town is left in a smoldering wreck at the episode's conclusion.
  • The Simpsons episode "The City of New York Vs. Homer Simpson", Homer's flashback to his last visit to NYC goes like this, all to the tune of The Entertainer: he gets a stranger to take his photo, but after taking it, the guy steals his camera, so Homer goes to a cop to report it, and the cop steals his suitcase. Then someone steals his wallet and a bird steals his hot dog. He's covered in trash dumped from a nearby window by none other than Woody Allen, and while cleaning himself off, inadvertently tosses a banana peel onto a pimp. The angry pimp chases him and the ladder he climbs to escape falls down a manhole...
    Homer:... and that's when the C.H.U.D.s came at me.
    • In the same episode, where Homer gets a boot put on his car, and has to wait for a police officer to come by so he can submit an appeal. He waits...and waits...and he's getting kinda thirsty, so he buys some drinks from a nearby cart. Of course, now he has to use the bathroom because he drank so much. And because his car was booted in the first place because it was parked in a No Parking zone in the middle of the city (right outside The WTC complex, no less), so he can't just pee in a bush, since there aren't any. The only bathroom is in a nearby the very top floor. Unfortunately, there's an "Out Of Order" sign on the bathroom there, so he has to go to the skyscraper next door, whose bathroom is (naturally) on the very top floor. He finally relieves himself...only to look out the window to see the police officer he was waiting for the entire time put a ticket on his car and walk away. Understandably, Homer flies into a rage and smashes his car's doors and windows with an iron bar. He gives up and tries to drive off anyway, car-boot still attached. Surprisingly, he can. It's just the boot carves a massive trench into the front right tire-well, destroying much of the car on that side. Even better, when driving away from the city, Bart and Lisa are in the back, talking about the amazing day they had, and asking if they can come back here again sometime. Homer, due to being stuck driving behind a faulty garbage truck and getting constantly splatted with bags of rotting garbage, can barely give a coherent answer, due to grinding his teeth so hard. "We'll see honey...we'll see..."
    • It was also lampshaded in the episode "A Star Is Burns" with the Film in an Episode Bright Lights, Beef Jerkey where, from what was obviously security footage, Snake is holding up Apu with a sawed-off shotgun and Apu calling for help from the Police. Although Chief Wiggum was actually on the scene, he wasn't able to help because his tie was caught in the Hot Dog rotisserie machine, and was pulled in, causing him to remark "Oh boy, looks like it's gonna get worse before it gets better."
    • "The Boys of Bummer". Let's just say that Bart missing the ball is the high point of that episode.
    • In The Simpsons Movie, when Homer inadvertently thwarts the townsfolk's attempt to escape Springfield before it's destroyed by a bomb, he laments that he can't do anything right and kicks the bomb, causing its countdown to go from 8:23 to 4:11.
  • South Park:
    • BP first drills into the ocean and creates another oil spill. Then they dig again and release monsters from another dimension. They dig into the moon now, can't get worse right? They release Cthulhu.
    • Oh cmon, that's total bullshit...everyone knows Cthulhu is sealed somewhere in the Atlantic near Antarctica!

  • Steven Universe:
    • In "Keystone Motel", we already have a conflict at home. Then, at the motel, Garnet defuses, and Ruby and Sapphire are having a serious conflict. Then, the two of them unintentionally wreak havoc in the pool and the room, and then, in the next morning, Ruby goes out of control at the diner and continues arguing with Sapphire as strongly as ever. Steven quietly drops his plate on the floor in what seems to be him finally reaching his limit. This finally gets Ruby and Sapphire to stop arguing to check on Steven, and he lampshades just how awful everything has been.
    • In "Barn Mates", Lapis becomes increasingly frustrated with Peridot as the episode progresses, and Peridot keeps getting more confused herself regarding Lapis' dismissive behavior. The last straw for Lapis is when she crunches up Peridot's tape recorder, a gift that Peridot tried to give to Lapis.
    • In the plot bomb "A Single Pale Rose", the first time Pearl takes Steven into her gem, all he finds is a hyper-organized Pearl putting all her stored possessions in alphabetical order. She warns Steven that the other layers are "a mess", and she isn't kidding. The next layer down, Steven witnesses Pearl's memory of her crying over Rose's plan to give birth to him. Then, he witnesses a shell-shocked Pearl staring blankly after the events of the corruption. And then, he sees Pearl having shapeshifted as Rose "shattering" Pink Diamond. Finally, he sees Pearl's darkest secret: Rose Quartz is in fact Pink Diamond herself, and Pearl is under a powerful compulsion preventing her from telling anyone.
  • In Teen Titans (2003), the episode "The End — Part 1" ends with Raven seemingly being destroyed and her demonic father Trigon appearing, bent on destroying the Earth. "The End - Part 2" then has Trigon succeed in destroying the Earth, killing every single person on the planet except for the main characters. And that's before The Teaser is even over.
  • Thunder Cats 2011 Trapped in servitude to a thematically inappropiate villain, hated by all other races as a taskmasters, and said villain is immortal and powerful beyond belief to say nothing of his awesome pecs, then you gain one of the most powerful artifacts in existence, you face said villain and tell him you now have said weapon only for him to whip out the other 3 most powerful weapons in existence....well we can work through that I mean after a bit of fighting I separate him from one of the stones and...dear god did a that immortal mummy just whip out flying body armor, a spear, and a good 10 feet in height.. ya it got worse.
  • The Transformers Episode "Kremzeek" is basically a huge "It Got Worse" episode featuring the eponymous Kremzeek's rampage spiraling out of control.
    • just one practically decimates the Autobots, then it moves to Tokyo, then there's like 20 of them, then there's a really big one, etc...
    • Transformers: The Movie spends its first third having Megatron and the Decepticons leading an all-out attack on Autobot City, and though they're defeat heavy casualties are left on both sides, including Autobot leader OptimusPrime, dead. And then planet-eating Unicron comes in and revives a mortally-wounded Megatron as Galvatron.
    • Transformers: Animated plays this for giggles with Starscream, who has been trying (and dying) over and over to get rid of Megatron, in the same episode, no less! His latest scheme was thwarted by the Autobots and he thought that his day couldn't get any worse than this. Then Megatron shows up.
    Starscream: I stand corrected.
  • All of the Young Justice (2010) episode "Failsafe". How does it begin? Well, both the Green Lanterns and Batman are disintegrated up in space. Red Tornado warns the Team that should the Justice League fail in defeating this alien invasion, they must be Earth's heroes- good thing, too, because we then watch as every single member of the League is killed by aliens. So they launch a sneak attack, which only succeeds in getting Wolf and Artemis killed. Over the course of the episode the aliens manage to take over every major city, completely wiping out all the military. Slowly but surely the team's ranks fall, and even the discovery that the Martian Manhunter is still alive can't bolster their spirits. Aqualad sacrifices himself for the team and Superboy is disintegrated while acting as a distraction. Their hope that somehow the disintegration beams were really just teleportation beams is proved wrong, and even though they manage to destroy the mother-ship, Robin and Kid Flash die, too. M'gnn watches the mother-ship get destroyed, lamenting that while the mission was a success, the cost was too high....only for a second mother ship to drop down in its place. And then Martian Man-hunter stabs her in the chest, killing her.
    • Even with the reveal that this was basically All Just a Dream doesn't lesson the impact, because all the characters still remember this happening, and spend the next couple episodes recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

  • There's an old joke that is the essence of this trope. A farmer who's been away from home for a week drives back into town and stops for some cigarettes before he reaches his house. The sheriff pulls up and tells him some bad news...
    Sheriff: John, I have some bad news for you. Your dog is dead.
    Farmer: Aw damn, old Sport? What happened to him?
    Sheriff: He died from eatin' too much horseflesh.
    Farmer: Horseflesh?...wait a minute, you don't mean MY horses?!
    Sheriff: Yup, they perished when your barn burnt down.
    Farmer: My barn?!
    Sheriff: Oh, it was the spark from the house fire that done it.
    Farmer: My HOUSE burned?!
    Sheriff: To the ground, thanks to those damn candles at your mother-in-law's funeral.
    Farmer: Mother Sloan is dead?
    Sheriff: And buried! 'Twas the shock of her only daughter runnin' off with that hired man what did her in.
    Farmer: WHAT?! My wife has left me? You're telling me that on top of all that I have to raise three children without their mother?!
    Sheriff: What? Oh, no, no... your kids all died in the barn fire! note 
  • A Witney Darrow cartoon for The New Yorker magazine depicts a woman sprawled unconscious on her floor after receiving some stunning/horrific news via phone. Meanwhile, the voice at the other end is saying "...And that's not the half of it! Wait until you hear this!"
  • This trope of all things was subjected to this. It was originally called "It Got Worse" and defined as "a terrible situation getting some final perfect push over the edge". It became a Pothole Magnet for pretty much any situation, In-Universe and out, that might fit this trope. Not surprisingly, the situation got worse and attracted massive sinkholes and misuse as a catchphrase for anything that the editor at least thought is a bad situation, thus leading to a rename to From Bad to Worse and the original name is now a deliberate redlink.
  • In Spanish a very common expression for this is "Ir de Guatemala a Guatepeor" (mala/malo means bad, peor means worse). It makes fun of the fact that the name of the country Guatemala, ends in "mala" (bad).
  • A classic Jewish joke/folk tale deliberately invokes this trope for laughs. A poor farmer visits the local rabbi and complains—he, his wife, the wife's mother, and their many children are forced to live in a one-room house. It's crowded, it's noisy, and he never gets a moment's peace, so what can he do to improve his lot? The rabbi thinks for a moment and tells him to bring the farm's chicken into the house. The man is confused, but agrees, only to come back a week later and complain that the chicken has only made things noisier and messier. The rabbi then recommends that the farmer bring the farm's goats into the house, and the man reluctantly does so. After another week, he comes back steaming mad—now the house is worse, and everyone is furious. The nonplussed rabbi tells him to bring the farm's cow inside; the man sobs as he agrees. By the end of the week, the man's on his last shred of sanity and can barely talk to the rabbi about the huge mess, the endless noise, and the misery of everyone in his home. The rabbi then tells the man to bring the cow, goats, and chicken back outside. A week later, the now-joyous man returns and praises the sage—his house has never been quieter, cleaner, and roomier, and he's ecstatic.

Alternative Title(s): It Gets Worse, It Got Worse


The Music Studio's New Owners

Jaiden recalls on how the music studio she took piano lessons at progressively went downhill after its new owners added lessons for rock music, dancing and karate, all just to make a quick buck.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / FromBadToWorse

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