Follow TV Tropes


Hero with an F in Good

Go To

"Doesn't it say something ugly about me, if I make a pretty excellent villain and a crappy hero?"
Weaver, Worm

The Minion with an F in Evil became a Punch-Clock Villain because Evil Is Cool, but his Pet the Dog personality foils his bosses' plans. The Hero with an F in Good is also (usually) a nice person deep down, and sometimes daydreams of becoming one of The Hero's True Companions, or being the hero by himself; but serious character flaws make it a poor career goal. He doesn't have a problem with doing heroic things, but he does have trouble when it comes to other aspects of being good.

Typical Characteristics:

This character differs from other related tropes as follows:

  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Both are genuinely well-intentioned characters with a negative reputation, but only the Hero with an F in Good deserves it.
  • Designated Hero: Both want to be seen as the Ideal Hero, but while the Hero with an F in Good honestly tries and fails, the Designated Hero does not care and still gets away with laziness. Furthermore, the Designated Hero's flaws are obvious only to the audience, whereas the Hero with an F in Good's flaws are noticed by the other characters. The former character type is subjective, while the latter character type is objective.
  • Knight Templar: Has a vision of "Good" that is fanatical and not compatible with actual good guys. Unlikely to want to be with the good guys unless it is as a Psycho Supporter.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: both are hard to approach at first because of being flawed, yet have good hearts. Unlike the Mr. Vice Guy, however, the Heroes with an F in Good are never excused for their flaws as they directly interfere with their status as a hero.
  • Noble Demon: while the Noble Demons cultivate their negative reputation, the Heroes with an F in Good dislike their negative reputation. However, if the former character types do a Heel–Face Turn and realize they do not know a thing about being a hero, they can become the latter character type.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: neither character type is inherently malevolent; villainy is just a job. However, the Hero with an F in Good usually hates this job and does it because it is the only one that sufficiently pays the bills.
  • Villain Ball Magnet: it isn't the universe that paints the Heroes with an F in Good as villains, it is their own flaws.

Allowing them entry into a Super Hero organization, etc. may cause serious problems for the group's reputation, cohesiveness, etc., so instead they sometimes become Flanderized into recurring Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains who the heroes can still count on when the Big Bad crosses the Moral Event Horizon because Everyone Has Standards.

Compare The Team Wannabe, Underling with an F in PR and Half-Baked Niceness. Contrast Nominal Hero and Token Evil Teammate.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Baccano!:
    • Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent work on atoning for their previous (harmless) crimes by stealing large amounts of cash and goods from wealthy families Just Like Robin Hood.
    • Half of this show's cast fits this to varying degrees, as even the protagonists are often The Mafia, a Noble Demon, a liquor bootlegger, etc.
  • Bleach: Don Kanonji was a harmless version. He believed he was a role model for children everywhere, a hero who made life bearable for children everywhere by showing there that there was someone in the world who stood up to the monsters that go bump in the night. And then he learned the tactics he was using were actually creating the very monsters he thought he was fighting.
  • Danganronpa 3: Juzo Sakakura, the Ultimate Boxer. He's on board with the team that investigates the corruption within Hope's Peak Academy... but he's extremely prone to violence and tends to unwittingly make things worse with it to the point that he came off like a Token Evil Teammate Jerkass.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero had Heroic Wannabe Dr. Hedo, Dr. Gero's grandson and a Reluctant Mad Scientist who had no love for his grandfather or his ideals but ended up working for The Remnant of the Red Ribbon Army regardless because they were the only ones that would hire him. Despite idolizing superheroes, his Establishing Character Moment is blowing up some guys for making fun of him as he left prison, which he was sent to in the first place for Grave Robbing for his research. He sought to create the Ultimate Life Form in the form of the Gamma twins in order to have them help people, but since they were all stuck working for Red Ribbon they ended up doing more harm than good until their Heel Realization. Furthermore, he went along with Magenta's plan to Resurrect the Villain and clone Cell, although he was Genre Savvy enough to give him a weakness. In the end, Bulma recruits him for Capsule Corp so he can atone for his crimes and give back to the community.
  • Durarara!!: Shizuo Heiwajima is definitely a nice guy underneath judging from his inner monologues (maybe even too nice) — it's just that his massive anger issues and Unstoppable Rage tend not to discriminate between bad guys and innocents. After all, he can't be that accurate with a thrown vending machine.
  • Sōsuke from Full Metal Panic! on his worst days. He's mostly a good person at heart, but he's also a Child Soldier who was trained as an assassin by the KGB, brought up as a freedom fighter in "Khazakhstan", and was working as a freelance mercenary by the time he reached his teens. As such, he approaches every situation as a battlefield operation and is completely incapable of understanding civilian life, with the result that outside of actual combat situations he frequently does more harm than good with his disproportionate applications of violence.
  • Shinn Asuka from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny wants to do the right thing, and protect innocent people. Unfortunately, his anger issues and inability to see shades of grey coupled with the fact that his boss is a Machiavellian Villain with Good Publicity, sees him on the wrong side for most of the series, advancing the agenda of the series' Big Bad while remaining unaware of it.
  • Katsuki Bakugo from My Hero Academia was gifted with a powerful Quirk, excellent grades, and has the ambition to become one of the greatest heroes, however he also has plenty of Jerkass tendencies that leave many wondering if he is fit to be a hero. This eventually leads to him being kidnapped by the League of Villains because they think being a villain would fit him better. He later also fails his provisional license exam because he kept insulting the people he was supposed to be rescuing during a mock disaster scenario.
  • Naruto:
    • Itachi Uchiha might not be what he appeared to be at the outset, but there's still the fact calling him "one of the good guys" is quite a stretch. While Itachi killed the Uchiha family to prevent a devastating civil war (although wholesale genocide as a peacekeeping measure is rather fucked up, too) rather than simply as a way to test his own powers, he made some rather complicated decisions regarding sparing his little brother Sasuke; rather than simply kill him, Itachi decided to spare his life and try and make Sasuke hate him enough that he could commit Suicide by Cop later to turn Sasuke into a hero and let him live free of the shadow-conflict that consumed their family. Unfortunately, he did this by inflicting horrific Mind Rape upon Sasuke on the night of the massacre and later on, emotionally crippling Sasuke for the rest of his life, and Itachi's eventual suicide at Sasuke's hands was implied to be just as much for Konoha's sake and his own self-loathing as it was out of any affection for Sasuke. Unsurprisingly, a lifetime conditioned into obsessive hatred for his brother to the exclusion of all else means Sasuke goes completely off the deep end once Itachi's gone and Tobi gives him a slanted account of Itachi's life, but Itachi turns out to have had a plan for this; using Sasuke's erstwhile best friend Naruto as the delivery system, if Sasuke failed to become the hero Itachi wanted him to be, Itachi left behind a posthumous genjutsu that would brainwash Sasuke into protecting Konoha with his dead best friend's mind-controlling eye. While he is depicted as a man who made many sacrifices and tough choices, Itachi is still dangerously close to just being a Manipulative Bastard with an Omniscient Morality Licence.
      • When he was revived via Edo Tensei, he eventually acknowledged that he was wrong, and realized that the most he could do was hope Naruto would fix everything.
    • Danzo is an even worse example, being the guy who influenced Itachi; he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist whose methods can be condensed into "If it's dangerous to the Leaf, destroy it" and "If it can be useful to me, force it under my control". Unsurprisingly, these coldhearted policies have given Konoha more enemies than allies, as basically every flashback involving Danzo shows that his actions are connected to the Start of Darkness for such villains like Pain and Kabuto. And Danzo's definition of "Village" goes only as far as what he controls directly; everyone else is "Acceptable losses". When he goes to an international summit as substitute Hokage, he causes an incident getting caught trying to hypnotize the meeting moderator.
  • The G-5 Marines in One Piece are known for doing hideous things that on the surface are hardly considered "good", but they have good hearts and they do things that they did to help the populace.
  • Tantei Opera Milky Holmes: Also known as "Magical Policegirls Who Have An English Detective Motif But Could Not Sleuth Their Way Out Of An Unlocked Room", the ONLY thing competent about these magical girls is their exceptional talent in magic artes. The anime explores their lives during a period when they lose their powers - absolute FAILURES in basic detective work, broke and living in their mom's attic, and constantly making friends with celebrity criminals because they outright paste the paper-thin disguises if the villains don't have one. Powers or not, they are an utter disgrace to the good name of legendary detectives everywhere.
  • Tentai Senshi Sunred is a short-tempered bum with a pachinko addiction who survives day-to-day on the sufferance on his girlfriend Kayoko. His glory days of Sentai leadership long behind him, he now fights the monsters of Evil Organization Florsheim simply because they won't leave him alone, and mostly tends to treat it as an annoyance he'd rather be without. That said, he has some Pet the Dog moments.
  • You're Under Arrest!: Strikeman, the self-proclaimed hero, only causes more damage than good on anything.

    Comic Books 
  • Hank Pym from The Avengers. He tries to be a hero but his unstable personality sometimes makes him more of a menace. He'll occasionally go through periods of conquering his demons enough to be a worthy hero, such as leading the Mighty Avengers team who, in-universe, nearly overshadowed Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers. However, just as often Hank falls into old habits and his tendency to screw up things flares up. Not helping matters is that no one, in-universe or out, is ever going to forget the wife-slapping incident, which exacerbates Hank's belief that he's a No-Respect Guy and has to do something big to fix everything. And, of course, there's creating Ultron. It's something he'll likely regret for the rest of his life.
  • During Marvel's event AXIS, many characters get their morals and personality traits inverted, and in the process, Carnage becomes this. He feels a desire to do good and help people but he is TERRIBLE at it and is still incredibly violent.
    "They can't rob the bank if I burn it to the ground first!"
  • Depending on the Writer, Deadpool can be this when he tries to be a good guy. He's too violent and psychotic to really pull off being a hero, too conflicted and silly to really be a villain, and tends to swing between Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain like a pendulum. Most of the heroes of the Marvel Universe can't stand working with him (Cable and Siryn being rare exceptions), and considering it's a Crapsack World where even guys like The Punisher and the Hulk are afforded some respect and trust, that's saying something. F in Good or in Evil, depending on your side: during the Civil War storyline, he becomes a registration enforcer... then he attacks superhero groups because he doesn't check that they had registered!
  • Jimmy, descendant of ex-masterspy Campion Bond wouldn't be said to be a "hero" in the classic way we know, and he's always been depicted, and says so himself in both movies and books and other adaptations, that he's just a "blunt instrument" that works for Queen and Country. In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's graphic novel, The Black Dossier, he's ostensibly working for "the good guys", the British Government, in a post-Big Brother England, and he's still a ruthless spy, but both of his usual tactics (seducing women and espionage/fighting) are shown to be really incompetent at best, and dangerous to others and himself at worst, and its stated by the current M and boss of M-16, Harry Lime, that he's still allowed to operate just because of his renown and reputation, and his past accomplishments in defeating a certain evil doctor in Jamaica. It's later revealed that Jimmy actually DIDN'T defeat any Doctor No, because there was NO doctor, and he lied through his teeth off this accomplishment. Later, brutally deconstructed as we're shown that he's actually MUCH better and DANGEROUSLY competent in being a Bond villain himself, after he rejuvenates and takes over M-16 itself and begins a massive rampage against everything and everyone. He wasn't much of a hero to begin with, and he gets worse until the very end.
  • The Green Goblin went through this after his Heel–Face Brainwashing into the Gold Goblin. Even after the Sin Eater cleanses him of his sins and ingrained villainous impulses, Osborn spends much of The Amazing Spider-Man (2022) barely nicer than his pre-Green Goblin days, acting as a demanding boss to Peter and Kamala Khan, and raising Normie like he did Harry albeit with labored if earnest patience. The Gold Goblin mini-series even suggests that his attempts at being a superhero are just a way to vent out his frustrations at attempted reform through vigilante violence.
  • The Dark Horse Comics miniseries Furious revolves around a rookie superheroine who wishes and tries hard to do good, but is humiliated in her first outing and her reaction is to give the person heckling her a super-strong No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, which leads to Internet memedom, which leads to more heckling, which leads to her developing a Hair-Trigger Temper and more beatdowns… rinse and repeat, although she definitely still wishes to be a hero in spite of all.
  • Henchgirl: Mary Posa's attempts at heroism or letting her conscience rule her actions end up backfiring spectacularly. Her leaking the orphanage corruption scheme with Mannequin prompts the Butterfly Gang to smash him to pieces, forcing her to put him back together....badly. He's injured, bleeding, and in pain for the rest of the series.
    • Mary trying to save her parents from Gunpowder in Issue 9 ends up with Mary blowing Gunpowder to smithereens, showering the crowd in the ballroom with Ludicrous Gibs. Mary doesn't help matters by beating up and Butterfly Zapping a whole SWAT team until she's finally arrested.
    • Mary going back in time in Issue 10 to become a better person. Mary does become a near-perfect child – using her adult knowledge in elementary school to be thought of as gifted, befriending the new kid, putting a bully in her place, being kind to her little sister, tipping off her superhero parents to villains' schemer, and becoming famous as Psychic Tot. Which unravels disastrously when the time travel wears off and a clueless seven-year-old Mary is exposed as a fraud, embarrassing her parents and forcing them to leave town.
    • Fred shows poor use of his powers; his astral projection is useless in confronting villains; Mary has to save him from robbers in Issue 1. He does use his powers to escape twice, but he ends up being broken to pieces, but put back together by Mary in Issue 5, then broken permanently in Issue 11. However, Tina, Sue, and Consuelo help him use his powers for surveillance effectively in Issue 11.
    • Consuelo rushes recklessly into battle against villains....and gets curb-stomped by Coco in Issue 4 and put in the hospital by Mary in Issue 6. But she does help the police capture Mary in Issue 9, bloodies Coco in Issue 10, and is effective in the lab raid in Issue 11.
    • Amelia recklessly uses magic once she gets to Crepe City in Issue 8. While it's effective on common criminals, Roadmeister, and in a fight against Mary, she naively walks into Coco and Mary's trap in Issue 9, then uses her most powerful magic artifact as a death ray, killing Coco in cold blood, trying to kill Mary, wounding Paige, smashing Fred's body, and killing 11 homeless people and an actor researching being a hobo who gets caught in the shoehorn factory collapse. Perhaps use your magic to bind Coco and Mary and turn them over to the police?
  • Magog from the Justice Society of America exemplifies this in his modern incarnation.
  • Karl from Marvel Adventures: The Avengers. He used to be a Minion with an F in Evil but reformed, meaning he's now more of a danger to the Avengers than he ever was before. Basically Karl is successful at everything that's NOT what he's currently trying to accomplish, as exemplified by him nearly tearing the Avengers apart with a Hate Beam thinking this would improve their teamwork.
  • Bizarrogirl in the eponymous Supergirl storyline. Bizarrogirl's more genuinely stupid than suffering from the usual Bizarro backwards logic. She's pretty destructive even if she doesn't usually mean it. As she grows to understand other people she becomes more genuinely heroic.
  • Booster Gold before he grew out of it. Aside from being big on corporate sponsorship, Booster once opened a Justice League-themed casino using the entirety of the League's funds without the League's consent to use the funds or their endorsement. He also stole all the tech he uses to fight crime as well as the time machine he used to escape to the past. His partner in the casino venture, Blue Beetle, would fall into this category too, but he had a longer history of heroism and only got into this sort of trouble when Booster was around.
  • Depending on the Writer Green Arrow: Even at his worst, Oliver Queen is a good man trying to be better. However, even the most charitable interpretation of his history involves parental neglect (i.e. abandoning Roy Harper to travel the country with Hal Jordan and kicking Roy out of the house when he discovered his drug use) and emotional abuse of longtime girlfriend Dinah Lance. Ollie's biggest issue was once being too possessive/protective of Black Canary, Ollie's solo adventures with Shado and Marianne did make Dinah question Ollie's faithfulness, even before Shado confessed to raping Ollie and having his child. And while it's unclear if Oliver was aware of Connor Hawke's existence in the Rebirth timeline, he still reacted badly to the news that he had an unknown son in the original timeline. While some reboots have offered some explanation for his behavior (such as Oliver's bad experience with heroin in Green Arrow: Year One causing him to ask how anyone could willingly take it), Oliver Queen can still be a self-righteous hypocrite.
  • Max Damage from Incorruptible. He got scared straight when the resident Captain Ersatz of Superman snapped and went on a rampage. The book's about his struggle to redeem himself, but all he knows about being good is "do the opposite of what you used to do".
  • Plastic Man from the Justice League of America is frequently this, betrayed by his criminal background and frivolous, comedic personality.
  • This was a persistent problem with Magneto's first Heel–Face Turn in the 1980s. THE Big Bad of the entire franchise, making way for the new villains by joining up with the heroes, on a permanent basis? Unprecedented in American Comic Books. That Big Bad going from a Magnificent Bastard who had ham as a side dish with every appearance to a whimpering mess who couldn't make a decision to save his life and deferred to the team leader without even acting as a Hypercompetent Sidekick, but rather just another — or even an underpowered and inexperienced — member of the team? Not so good. Thankfully, his Hazy-Feel Turn during the 2010s was much better handled.
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. in general. They are supposed to be a super police force to respond to superhuman threats, but they regularly screw up, make things worse, or were the cause of it from the beginning.
  • Sonic in Sonic the Comic was this to a T. Sure, he did do a lot of good deeds for the denizens of Mobius and fought off Robotnik at every turn, but not without flaunting his Awesome Ego and being a douchebag to his fellow Freedom Fighters, from taking credit for the others' own good deeds to insulting them every chance he got, such as constantly calling Tails a "pixel-brain" (and that's without getting into his Superpowered Evil Side). Sonic the Comic – Online! would eventually show that there's only so much of this behaviour one can get away with until people start turning on them (of course, it was all part of a smear campaign to paint Sonic as a villain, but some of the things that were leveled against him really did happen).
  • The Spectre, God's Angel of Vengeance, has such a horrifically skewed sense of proportion and priorities that he needs to be kept bound to a morally upstanding human soul just to reach the level of Good Is Not Nice Sociopathic Hero. That's right, not only did he get an F in good, but God gave him a cheat sheet, and he's still only getting Cs and Ds. The Hal Jordan version of the Spectre is a lot less vengeful but makes up for it by being incompetent, such as the time he restored Wally West's secret identity by making everyone in the world forget who the Flash was. Including Wally.
  • Doctor Octopus during Superior Spider-Man (2013). He wants to prove he can be a hero, even more be a better Spider-Man than Peter Parker ever was, but his ego and overthinking the situation causes him to make things go down the drain and destroys any goodwill Spidey had brought up.

    Fan Works 
  • With Failure to Explode, Katsuki Bakugou's lack of Rescue Points biting him in the ass may be on its way to become a Fandom-Specific Plot. In this instance, a fight against a villain going destructively pear-shaped courtesy of Glory Seeker Heroes makes the government decide to modify Hero school acceptance rules so applicants will not be taken in if they don't get even a single Rescue Point during testing (this measure, like the Points themselves, are kept a Secret Test of Character especially because it's so easy to get them - any common-sense act of helping people merits one). Of course, Bakugou gets absolutely none because he cares none about other people, so he gets no Rescue Points, he is denied entry to UA, and this leads to a severe Humiliation Conga.
  • Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!:
    • As shown in the anime folder above, Katsuki Bakugo remains this way in this story. It actually bites him in the ass much earlier than in canon, since while he scored the highest Villain Point count in the UA entry exam, his complete lack of Rescue Points led him to be knocked down to the bottom of the Top 10 ranking by Izuku and "eight random nobodies", as he puts it. His explosive temper and abrasiveness make it hard to believe that he could ever be saving people and almost nobody wants to approach him.
    • Shouto Todoroki is a less obvious example, but also arguably a worse one. On top of being smug, cold, and distant, he's insistent on doing everything his way and brushes aside attempts to compromise or make friends. He also uses his powers to vent, causing property damage in the process, with no signs of remorse or reflection. It's telling when Bakugou of all people compares him to Two-Face, an outright supervillain. This reaches its logical apex at the USJ incident when he continues the fight Nomu despite it being clearly out of his league and refuses Izuku's attempts to extract him, to the point of outright attacking him. His actions cause Izuku to be severely injured, which the rest of the class blame on him, and gets him suspended on top of that. And when he gets back, he's completely unapologetic about nearly getting Izuku killed and even embarrassed him by spreading the rumor that he's All Might's son — which is something he just theorized by sheer Insane Troll Logic.
  • Coeur Al'Aran tends to write Team RWBY as this in his fics, particularly in non-comedic works, with the four of them often running on Protagonist-Centered Morality and throwing themself at anything they think is bad without bringing it to the attention of the teachers or the authorities.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic A Rose And A Thorn 4: Origins, the OC Project: Midnight desperately wants to help save the Ark, but his anger issues and inferiority complex actually cause a good chunk of the Ark's problems.
  • In The Vigilante Boss and His Failed Retirement Plan this comes to bite Bakugo (again) in the ass even harder than in canon and the above example when he takes U.A.'s admission test because the teachers in charge of supervising it notice that while he got a near-perfect Villain Point score, he has absolutely zero Rescue Points. It is then mentioned that everybody else who has ever scored high on the test obtained at least a single Rescue Point, even if accidentally, by stopping to help some fellow test student that was going to get hurt out of basic decency. This raises a red flag, because they now believe that Katsuki gives absolutely zero shits about the rest of the world if it's not directly affecting him, so they decide to do some additional background research and, once they find his history as a bully, they refuse to enroll him because they fear he will be a disruptive student.

    Films — Animation 
  • The titular character Megamind accidentally turns an ordinary cameraman named Hal Stewart into Titan so he can have a hero to fight. Unfortunately, what he didn't know was that Hal has a crush on his co-worker Roxanne Richie to almost stalker levels and he sees the powers as a way to finally be with her. When she justifiably tells him that they will never be together, he throws a temper tantrum and decides to become a villain instead. And when he finds out Megamind was the one who orchestrated everything, he tries to kill him.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Animorphs:
    • Rachel is the strongest, most gung-ho member of the team, but her courage starts to melt into darker forms of thrill-seeking, and by the end of the series she has become virtually a full-fledged Sociopathic Soldier.
    • Rachel's the most powerful example, but really, they all get this way after a while, particularly Marco and Jake. It's one of the running themes of the series — and the great thing about a series that's 54 books longnote  is that it happens so slowly and gradually that there's never really a moral event horizon. It just happens. One of the themes is that War Is Hell and you become less... you... as time goes on, one I Did What I Had to Do moment at a time. Worse, (well, best in terms of writing, worst in terms of what it's like to live in that world) it's hard to say that any of the things they ended up doing were unnecessary.
  • Artemis Fowl: For a while, Artemis' Heel–Face Turn was impeded by his love of devious plans, until he realized that a Chessmaster doesn't have to be a villain.
  • The Bad Guys series has Mr. Wolf, Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Piranha. Originally villains that the population was afraid of, the four of them decided to turn to the side of good. Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and they have issues doing heroic deeds, but they slowly start to ease into their roles throughout the series.
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant:
    • Thomas Covenant becomes one of these in the first trilogy, after an act that many consider a rare "heroic" Moral Event Horizon. Covenant himself is sickened and guilty over what he's done and tries to make up for it where he can, but he generally just winds up making things worse. For example, he's trying to atone for his rape of the village girl Lena. He knows that Lena loves the Ranyhyn, so when he's able to command them at one point, he tells them to visit her annually. Problem is, they're still held by this command when the Big Bad is on the verge of destroying the world, and it keeps them from fleeing to safety. This nearly leads to the extinction of the Ranyhyn. It's worth noting that while Covenant does turn out to be a good person, (very) deep down, it takes three whole books for either him or the reader to admit it.

      In a very real sense, the entire point of the first trilogy is the psychological redemption of an utterly broken man into someone who can live with himself — the first book setting him up as someone the audience very likely hates as a reflection of how badly he already hates himself. And since the series very strongly straddles the line between reality and psychological allegory (and occasionally argues that both answers are valid), by definition saving the Land saves his own soul — and vice-versa.
    • This entire framework continues into the second trilogy — except instead of being Covenant's redemption, it's the story of how Linden is ultimately tested and redeemed (and no, all the references in the series to alloys and forging aren't coincidental at all). It's hard to tell if the third (and final) tril... err, tetralogy follows the same pattern, and if so, precisely WHO is being redeemed. As of the third book, it's clearly not Joan, Jeremiah shouldn't need to be redeemed, and Roger shows absolutely no sign of showing an ounce of remorse or growth. If anything, the true harrowed character (if any) might be Lord Foul himself, "She Who Must Not Be Named", or the entire world of The Land as a whole.
  • The Dresden Files: Molly Carpenter; Nice Girl, not very good with using moral methods to present moral outcomes. There's a reason there's a death sentence over her head if she gets out of line. Her first use of her mind magic is understandable; she didn't know about the laws of magic and was trying to get her pregnant friend off drugs. Problem is, she screwed up and permanently damaged her friend's boyfriend's mind. And even after Harry explains things and she gets the Doom of Damocles (basically, one shot and if she screws up, that's it for her and Harry), she still gets the temptation to use mind magic every so often. Black Magic is addictive; there's a reason the White Council executes all Warlocks unless a council member is willing to put their own neck on the line.
  • Elric Womanslayer from The Elric Saga wishes to turn his kingdom of Melnibonea and its cruel, hedonistic inhuman inhabitants away from its indulgences and usher in a new age of Enlightenment, with Melnibonea becoming a byword for justice. And to his credit, Elric is idealistic and concerned with morality (which he alone of his people understands - because he's the only one that reads much beyond spell books, exotic art and whatever else a Melnibonean is interested in) plus he's one of a tiny handful of Melniboneans who find torture to be distasteful. Unfortunately, he's got the Melnibonean trait of being cruel when angered and he's very vengeful. While most Melniboneans are indolent, Elric is rash and has resultant lapses in judgement such as installing his cousin Yrkoon, who earlier tried to kill him and lusts after his own sister Cymoril (Elric's fiance), as regent while Elric goes to learn more about morality. Elric's issues make him such a poor hero, that soon after he's revealed to be an avatar of the Eternal Champion and supposed to keep Chaos from wiping out the world - he fails and is reduced to just banishing Chaos and using an artifact that allows a new world to eventually be born. Sadly most other Eternal Champion avatars aren't much better.
  • Fino of I Couldn't Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job is the daughter and heir of the late Demon King, and much of what she had been taught in the past was to groom her to become one as well. As such, even though she wants to leave behind that lifestyle and become a hard worker at a department store, she still has a tendency to fall back into old habits.
  • The Lost Stars, a spinoff of The Lost Fleet series, gives us "Planetary CEO" turned President Gwen Iceni of the Midway star system. She led a successful coup d'etat against the brutally repressive corporatist oligarchy known as the Syndicate Worlds in the first chapter of Volume 1 and then spent the rest of the book trying very hard to stop herself behaving like a brutally repressive oligarch out of sheer force of habit, and not always succeeding. Her character arc throughout the rest of the trilogy is about bringing that F up to a passing grade and overcoming some of her trust issues in the process.
  • The Once and Future King describes Tristam as one of these. Basically he's got the rough idea of the Knight in Shining Armor but doesn't really understand why he should act like one — particularly when sex is involved.
  • In the obscure children's book The Story of Simpson and Samson (by Munro Leaf, who also wrote The Story of Ferdinand), Sir Simpson looks like and does his best to be a classic heroic knight. He's not very good at it, generally wreaking so much incidental havoc that the peasantry desperately hopes he won't try to help them with their problems.
  • Captain Courage, of the Whateley Universe. He tries to be a hero, but he has so many illegitimate children and paternity suits that there are more wanted posters out for him than for most supervillains. In most places, he's now known as Captain Condom instead of his real codename.
  • Peril in Wings of Fire was used as a weapon since her childhood due to a scale condition that makes her deadly to other dragons. As a result, even though she's come over to the side of good, she's still got a bad reputation and the capability of killing other dragons instantly, which is somewhat of a hindrance to her redemption arc. Additionally she's extremely volatile (stating she's 'not sure what a mild emotion would feel like'), has very questionable social skills, a tendency to threaten graphic violence as conflict resolution, and generally her code of ethics are completely out of whack, as she's still struggling to figure out 'why murder is wrong'.
  • Worm and sequel Ward is filled with characters—some of whom are former criminals and some who aren't—who nominally work for the good guys but are unscrupulous, petty, brutal, unethical, or worse. Examples include Alexandria, Armsmaster, Weaver, Glory Girl, Panacea, Brandish, Assault, Emily Piggot, and others.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffyverse:
    • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
      • Spike from seasons 5 and 6 frequently falls into this trope, often doing things not because it's right but because it's what Buffy would want.
        Spike: I'm not sampling, I'll have you know. Just look at all these lovely blood-covered people. I could, but not a taste for Spike, not a lick. Knew you wouldn't like it.
        Buffy: You want credit for not feeding off bleeding disaster victims?
        Spike: Well, yeah.
        Buffy: You're disgusting.
        Spike: What's it take?
      • It starts back in season 4 when he's "forced" by his condition (he only could hurt monsters, but not humans) to fight alongside the good guys.
      Spike: What's this? Sitting around watching the telly while there's evil still afoot? It's not very industrious of you. I say, we go out there, and kick a little demon ass. What, can't go without your Buffy? Is that it? Too chicken? Let's find her. She is the Chosen One, after all. Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty. Let's annihilate them. For justice, and for the safety of puppies, and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil. Let's kill something. Oh, come on!
    • Angel:
      • In the comics, Illyria's road to heroism hits a few roadblocks. To prevent a demon from leeching off Jeremy's energy, she dutifully punches a hole clean through Jeremy's chest. Ouch.
      • In the climax of "After the Fall", she reverts to her primordial demon form due to the machinations of Gunn and starts wrecking Los Angeles. The Senior Partners fix her so she returns to "normal".
  • The superhero team The Seven in The Boys (2019). Once in a blue moon, they'll actually try to be heroes. However, they lack skill with their powers, pay little mind to collateral damage and Vought is very selective about which crimes they can prevent. Notable examples include The Deep's attempt to save a dolphin, the barbaric mishandling of Flight 37, and Hughie's girlfriend Robin's (accidental) murder at the hands of the speedster A-Train.
  • Charmed (1998): Cole Turner. While, admittedly, he is the victim of double standards, he does have trouble doing good, even during the times he isn't being treated unfairly. Often ends up solving problems using violence.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • You could almost make a Drinking Game about how many times Karen Page's attempts at doing the right thing end up with someone else being killed or put in the hospital. Best seen in season 3, where Matt's first two fights with Dex end up being the result of these. Matt and Karen's effort to bring in Jasper Evans to speak to being paid by Wilson Fisk to shank Fisk culminates in Fisk sending Dex to the Bulletin, with the end result being a bunch of Karen's coworkers being killed, Ellison hospitalized, Jasper being executed with Karen's gun, Matt and Foggy both being wounded, and Matt's reputation being disgraced due to Dex impersonating him. Karen's response to this attack is to visit Fisk in his penthouse and try to provoke Fisk into attacking her by revealing how she killed his best friend James Wesley, which culminates in Fisk putting a hit on her, sending Dex to the church where she hides, and Father Lantom being killed trying to protect Karen.
  • Doctor Who: The First Doctor is this for most of the first season. He grows out of being the Token Evil Teammate after his first story (where he abducts two schoolteachers, dumps them in the Stone Age and tries to bash a man's brains out with a rock because he might slow him down) but even in "The Daleks", where he takes a more heroic role and uses his brains to defeat a bunch of horrible racist tanks, he deliberately sabotages his own TARDIS to persuade the teachers to explore a ruined city with him and expects them to forgive him for it once he admits it. In "The Aztecs", he does his best to save the other travellers from the results of Barbara's meddling but still gives a warrior a sleeping drug to use to cheat in a fight, only deciding this might have been wrong when he finds out the opponent is Ian. He negotiates peace between two warring races, ousts a corrupt politician, and gets proper treatment for a victim of Mind Rape in "The Sensorites", but still ends the story by attempting to dump Ian in the middle of nowhere just because Ian made a sarcastic comment about his driving skills. It's not really until "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" when he declares himself "a protector of Earth" while yelling at a Dalek, that he graduates to hero status.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Subverted in "The Gang Gets Extreme Home Makeover Edition". The gang tried to do something nice by giving an immigrant family a home-make-over, only for it to lead to an Accidental Kidnapping situation. So you'd think it'd be this. But it was clear from the beginning that they're only doing it for some karmic reward and not the goodness of their heart.
  • Tsukasa, the titular Kamen Rider Decade, is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at the best of times, but when he tries manipulating other people for the greater good, his rather extreme methods place him squarely in this trope.
  • Dr. Cox of Scrubs may be an insensitive egomaniac incapable of perceiving what "being good" truly is, but he always, always has his patients' best interests in mind. At least when it comes to their health; he genuinely doesn't give a crap whether they like him or not.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • After being voted PGWA's 2008 wrestler of the year by Pro Wrestling Digest, Josianne came to the (mistaken) conclusion that she had become a fan favorite and sought Genni Right's advice on how to wrestle like one. When Josianne proved to be bad at it, she blamed her new "manager".

    Video Games 
  • In Season 2 of Batman: The Telltale Series, depending on your choices, you can see The Joker of all people become a vigilante like Batman, instead of a criminal. Unfortunately, because of his emotional instability and general Ax-Craziness, he eventually devolves into this, especially as he struggles with Batman's biggest rule. When he finally snaps, Batman has to take him down, after which he will tearfully admit that he just isn't cut out to be a hero. Thankfully, if you tell him that his friendship did genuinely mean something to you and you weren't just using him to infiltrate the Pact, it ends on a bittersweet note in the Post-Credits Scene where John is locked in Arkham Asylum and Bruce comes to visit him, showing that Bruce still believes in him and there's hope for him to be a good person yet.
  • Mr. Torgue from the Borderlands 2 DLC pack "Campaign of Carnage" is a nice guy, but a bit too reckless and testosterone-pumped for his own good.
  • Jowan of Dragon Age: Origins is a blood mage who, unlike the others you meet, is perfectly well-meaning and just wants to live a normal life and do some good. Unfortunately, his efforts at doing so all end in disaster. According to Word of God, Jowan was supposed to be a recruitable party member with the ability to teach mages Blood Magic and a possible love interest for the female Player Character. Time constraints have forced the developers to cut him down to an NPC.
  • Fallout 4:
    • Token Evil Teammate Strong is a super mutant who learned about "the milk of human kindness" and wants to be a better person. Unfortunately, compared to super mutant companions from previous Fallout games, he sucks at it because he's too stupid to realize that cannibalism and random acts of murder aren't acceptable in most human company. It doesn't help that he's also too stupid to understand metaphors and thinks the milk of human kindness is an actual drink that will turn him into a good person once consumed, so he makes no effort to actually better himself beyond searching for it. Nonetheless, he does tend to approve of helping people and tends to be upset at selfish options, so there's that.
    • The Institute is the game's Big Bad and is a faction of Stupid Evil Well-Intentioned Extremist Mad Scientists who claim to want to forge a better future for The Commonwealth... except they're the ones who destabilized the region in the first place. They habitually Kill and Replace people with Ridiculously Human Robots while sending the less human ones to raze towns for parts, destroyed the attempt to form a regional government and killed all the representatives present for no reason, and created the Always Chaotic Evil Super Mutants (again, for no reason) before unleashing them on the surface once they got bored of them. They spend the entirety of the game claiming to have humanity's best interests at heart, but for the entirety of their postwar history acted as nothing more than a detriment.
  • Yuffie from Final Fantasy VII tries to be good, but she just accidentally gets an entire trope name after her inability to do so.
  • With his penchant for believing Obviously Evil villains, Terra in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is this. He eventually grows to a B- by the game's end.
  • David Madsen from Life Is Strange genuinely wants and tries to protect his stepdaughter Chloe and the students of Blackwell Academy, but his paranoia makes him go too far. It's the reason why the police rejected him.
  • MadWorld: Jack, according to himself:
    Jack: I don't help people, I kill them.
  • Peacock from Skullgirls is basically on the side of good, opposing Marie and the Medici Mafia, but she's borderline Ax-Crazy and frequently ends up in fights with allies and potential allies who she deems to be in her way.
  • Captain Martin Walker, protagonist of Spec Ops: The Line, was sent to Dubai six months after monster sandstorms wrecked the city to find out what happened to the 33rd Infantry Battalion, its commander Colonel Konrad, and the civilians they tried and failed to evacuate. Walker's orders are to simply find survivors, pull back, and report to his superiors, but when Walker blunders into a civil war between the rogue soldiers, he decides to get involved to try to fix things. He fails — first Walker kills US soldiers in self-defense when they mistake him for a CIA operative inciting the civil war, then he uses banned white phosphorus mortars on a camp between him and his next objective (inadvertently massacring civilians in the process), and when he decides to help the local (also possibly rogue) CIA team put an end to the conflict, they trick him into destroying the city's water supply, dooming thousands to die of thirst. In short, everyone would have been better off if Walker had simply turned around after the game's first chapter.
  • Illidan from Warcraft desperately wants to be revered and, if possible, be revered for being a hero. However, his attempts to be a hero always end with him crossing another Moral Event Horizon.

    Visual Novels 

  • Amya: Vincent does his job because he needs to get paid - but when things start to go badly he doesn't hesitate to let his abductees loose.
    Feng: No way. A superhero wouldn't cut a living human being's ribs out one at a time out of curiosity.
  • Gawaine in Arthur, King of Time and Space. He understands why Arthur's code of chivalry is better than the old "might is right" philosophy (sort of) but well, he was raised by Morguase and Lot, so it's sometimes hard for him to act accordingly. He does try though, at least until health problems lead to him siding more with Agrivaine.
  • Darths & Droids: The party are ostensibly the good guys, but as all too often occurs in the sort of tabletop games the series lampoons, they instead end up being the cause of most of the problems they face. Ben and Corey are about the only ones who take their role as good guys seriously; all the other players gleefully embrace the Video Game Cruelty Potential or are just plain suck at being heroes.
    Yoda: (after hearing a long-winded explanation of how Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan engaged in numerous highly illegal activities — including but not limited to theft, kidnapping, human trafficking, blackmail, and conspiracy — on what was to be a diplomatic mission) Hmmm. Remedial course on Jedi ethics, you need.
  • Girl Genius: For centuries the Heterodynes were bloodthirsty conquerors who ravaged the countryside with their monsters. While the Heterodyne Boys were the first truly good Heterodynes, there is some evidence that their father, Saturnus Heterodyne, was trying to be good in order to impress his wife — he was just terrible at it. For example, during the Year of Three Winters, he kept the town from freezing to death by building a nice big bonfire... out of the town hall. The Corbettite monks are a religious order who provide free transportation everywhere and are insistent about always being on time. Saturnus built them a sapient train that doesn't need rails and can even build more of itself at any time... except it's a glutton that hates schedules.
    Agatha: So it's an evil train. Of course it is. My ancestors couldn't have built a teapot without making it some kind of evil engine of destruction.
  • Homestuck: Vriska Serket is on the side of good and is very invested in the idea of being a hero, but she's a manipulative, backstabbing, self-serving egomaniac all the same, and has quite a bit of difficulty getting over this.
  • Misfile: Cassiel is Satan's niece, and normally just bothers the main characters with Poke the Poodle evil plots (such as serving them sub-par snacks). When she decides to do nice things for her mortal friend, however, she ends up screwing things over pretty bad.
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: The main character could be the poster girl for this; while she dies as much as any super-hero (as in, rather often) the Devil is a little bewildered as to why she's the only one sent to him each time.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Belkar is a subversion. Being the Token Evil Teammate, he finds a way to do what the rest of the party expects of him, but in the most evil — usually violent — way possible.
    • Elan plays the trope straight, sometimes because he's The Ditz (to the point at which Roy briefly abandons him to his fate) and sometimes because he's too Genre Savvy.
  • Roommates: Jareth is a Running Gag... when he succeeds by some miracle the power of Narrative Causality gets him. Just take a look at this lovely banner. To explain he has a quite inhuman personality and if he didn't want to be a hero this badly he would make a quite terrifying villain. ("This must be like being gender-confused just with good and evil.")
  • Something*Positive: Mike is coming to the conclusion that all Boston's superheroes are sort of jerks. Including himself, obviously. (Mind you, it's the ones who don't seem to be jerks that you need to watch out for.)

    Web Videos 
  • The main trio from 1 For All try to do the right thing, but between Nixie's pyromaniacal tendencies and Evandra's want to fight everything, this gets very trying. "Roll to Seduce" and "Murderhobos" show just how bad this can become.
  • Jace from Deagle Nation qualifies for this trope — he sincerely wants to be a good person, but has a very hard time knowing what is right and what is wrong.
  • The titular character of DR. BEES interprets "heroism" to mean "releasing massive swarms of bees upon people." He's never met a problem he didn't try to resolve through large-influx-of-bees-based methods, including a family picnic, a crowded bank, and an office suffering the repercussions of International Bring A Shit-Ton Of Bees To Work Day. Despite this, he seems to be genuinely regarded as a respected hero and is regularly called upon to face dastardly supervillains like The Comforter.
  • From Flander's Company, you have environmentalist superhero Recycle-Man. Before a full Face–Heel Turn, his "heroing" consisted in violently beating up innocent people just for not recycling properly. He admits himself that maybe he had been slightly lacking in... tact.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Zuko yells "Why am I so bad at being good?" after he accidentally burns Toph, but he may not fit the trope. Zuko did waver between bad and good, but it was more a case of wavering between My Country, Right or Wrong and Defector from Decadence than wavering between Anti-Villain and Anti-Hero. Probably helps that he was pretty ineffective as a villain too. In the episode "Zuko Alone", he fits the bill better than usual, though. He's just beginning to find himself in that episode and gets reluctantly drawn into a conflict with some corrupt Earth Kingdom soldiers that are abusing their position in a small village. He struggles with not wanting to get involved (and of course hiding that he is a firebender), but in the end, saves the day. When he tells the earthbender EXACTLY WHO just beat his ass, turns sour when the townsfolk (including the little boy he just saved) no longer want anything to do with him after seeing his firebending. On top of that, the reason the boy was in trouble at all was that Zuko gave the child his own dagger as a parting gift and the boy threatened a guard with it.
  • Plastic Man in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, like all his other incarnations. Recently redeemed and enthusiastic about being a hero, but frequently exasperates Batman with his difficulties being competent and not stealing stuff.
  • Care Bears (1980s): When Beastly tries to join the Care Bears, they send him to their school so he can learn to be good. The teacher asks what to do upon seeing a bully picking on a little boy. Beastly responds that he would help the bully to shove the boy into a mud puddle. After the teacher declares that answer wrong, Beastly asks if it should be a water puddle instead.
  • Donkey Kong Country:
    • In the episodes "Get a Life, Don't Save One!" and "Bluster the Benevolent," Bluster Kong tries to legitimately help DK and his fellow apes, but his attempts are so destructive (not to mention annoying and overblown) that We Want Our Jerk Back! ensues. In one episode, Bluster successfully steals the Crystal Coconut and loses it. He then proceeds to work against DK and Diddy to retrieve it because he wants to be the hero, but just hands it over when asked by Klump out of fear. When it comes down to it, Bluster's selfishness and cowardice overpower any good he's attempting to do.
    • Also, Klump in "Klump's Lumps"; when allowed to stay with the apes after being fired by King K.Rool, proves to be just as big a bungler when it comes to doing them good as he was helping K.Rool's schemes.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Adam West/Catman believes himself to be a great superhero, but is little more than a cat-obsessed Cloudcuckoolander. He often mistakenly attacks innocent civilians while letting real crooks like purse-snatchers get away, and typically causes more trouble than he prevents. In fact, it's only thanks to Timmy and his fairy godparents that Catman has avoided jail time as long as he has. That being said, as shown in the episode "Catman Meets the Crimson Chin," he actually does prove to be a competent hero when there are real villains to fight.
  • Futurama:
    • Bender...
      Fry: Now me and Leela are forming an awesome crime-fighting duo.
      Bender: Wow, crime-fighting. Cool. You say you're a duo? Yeah, duos are good. Of course sometimes they're a little short-handed. See ya. With two humans you'd think there'd be a robot in there... to balance things out. But, whatever. I have these three costumes you could use. But, I guess I'll just throw one away.
      Leela: We'd love to have you on the team, Bender. But aren't you more on the supply side of crime?
    • Zapp can be this when he's not an antagonist. Disturbingly incompetent and overtly contemptuous of his own men, he launches a war of aggression For the Evulz in "War is the H-Word".
  • Harley Quinn (2019): Coming off her Heel–Face Turn at the end of season 3, Harley Quinn is shown to be exceptionally poor as a hero. While she can definitely hold her own in a fight, and gets the job done, she doesn't really understand that there is more to being a hero, especially one with a strict code as the Bat Family beyond kicking ass; especially after brutally killing Profesor Pyg and violating their no-kill rule. It doesn't help she's still in love with Poison Ivy, not only an active villain, but one of the heads of the Legion of Doom.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: In the episode "The Good Guys", Chow, Ratso, and Finn, tired of constantly losing to Jackie Chan, attempt to reform. At the end of the episode they go right back to being evil, saying "We're just no good at being good." In the Grand Finale, they do, however, finally reform.
  • Justice League: The Huntress gets kicked out of the League for attempting a revenge killing on a mobster who killed her father but was going to escape punishment by ratting on his associates.
  • Looney Tunes: When he plays the hero, Daffy Duck ends up as both this and a Heroic Wannabe. Played for laughs in the cartoon "Stupor Duck". Daffy mistakes dialogue from a radio drama as the plans for a villainous Mad Bomber, so he sets out as Stupor Duck to "thwart" them. He rights a to-be-demolished building, stops a staged-for-filming railroad accident, forcibly surfaces a diving submarine, and finally gets sent to the moon on a rocket.
  • Coop of Megas XLR. He's a good guy, and far from incompetent (but still within view of it), he's just a Destructive Savior to the ninth degree. One episode dealt with some alien superheroes mistaking him for an outright villain, and their nemesis thinking he was trying to pull an Eviler than Thou.
  • Chloé Bourgeois of Miraculous Ladybug becomes one of these when she stumbles into the Bee Miraculous. As Queen Bee, her first impulse is to stage a disaster so she can look good saving everyone, and when Ladybug discovers what she did and points it out, Chloé doesn't even seem concerned until people start remarking on how irresponsible it was. Ladybug does later agree to give her a second chance, and she seems to improve for a while, but her It's All About Me attitude shines through whether in or out of the suit, and she's very dismissive of the other members of Ladybug's team save Ladybug herself. She then becomes incredibly offended when she doesn't get called in for a mission involving her parents, to the point that she sides with Hawk Moth, getting her apparently permanently kicked off the team. In a later episode, she takes over a film that the other characters were creating, inserts herself as a superheroine in the lead role, and declares that her character would not rescue the other characters in the film who have been rendered unconscious.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Princess Luna turns out to be this. She is a genuinely sweet and nice pony, but she is thin-skinned and her aggressive awkwardness comes off as creepy or threatening. When she is rejected, she has a tendency to lash out with hordes of spiders and lightning storms, then desperately try to cover it by joking about getting the spiders in the net. She later decides to embrace Evil Is Cool and Rule of Scary by playing herself up as a fake, pretend villain. Because life's no fun without a good scare. In Luna's case, she is genuinely good at heart and doesn't have trouble doing things that are good, but there is the slight problem that (a) she used to be the setting's version of the devil, and (b) she is scarily powerful, to the point that the weather changes with her mood, her hooves cause the ground beneath her to crack, and if she forgets herself and uses her real voice it will send you flying, and that is when she is actually trying to be friendly. She has got a B+ in good and an F at reassuring the populace until Twilight helps her with that.
    • Starlight Glimmer tries to complete friendship lessons by brainwashing Twilight's friends into doing her bidding.
    • Also Discord, who often means well, but constantly ends up letting his nature as an immature, sociopathic Master of Chaos get the better of him. Despite wanting to be good and have friends, he retains a rather sadistic sense of humor, a jealous and possessive attitude towards his closest friend (Fluttershy), and a nasty temper. This does not help his case. Then there is his well-intentioned but misguided actions in Season 9 regarding the Legion of Doom, namely that he organized it in the first place, under the alias of Grogor. Discord saw that Twilight needed a confidence boost, and decided the best way to accomplish this was to break several previous villains out of prison so the Mane Six could defeat them once and for all. Unfortunately, he fails to keep a close eye on them, allowing the villains to steal his chaos magic and expose the ruse, leading to Equestria almost getting destroyed in a Near-Villain Victory.
  • PJ Masks: Season 2 introduces Armadylan, an armadillo-themed mask who wants to be a hero, but is far too reckless and destructive to be one. He also tends to side with the villains against the other PJ Masks because they don't want him on their team.
  • The Simpsons: In "The Old Man and the Lisa", after losing his fortune, Mr. Burns unsuccessfully tried to be good. He tries his hand at recycling and ends up using the plastic he recycled to overfish the nearby sea.
    Lisa: When you try to be good, you're even more evil!
  • Eric Cartman's alter ego The Coon in South Park is perfectly convinced he is fighting crime and making the world a better place, oblivious to the fact most of his acts of 'heroism' revolve completely around glorifying himself or harassing innocent people he mistakes for criminals (eg. attacking a "rapist" that was having a romantic moment with his girlfriend or bullying Harmless Villain Professor Chaos). Both of his appearances so far have culminated in him turning on another hero he believes is outshining him and more or less becoming the episode's villain in the process, still convinced he is the town's beloved hero.
    Mysterion: You are the bad guy, Cartman! You!
    Coon: I'm making the world a better place!
    Mysterion: For you! You're making the world a better place for you!
    Coon: [beat] Riiight, and that's what superheroes do.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Bizarro thinks he's Superman, so goes around "saving" a building from what he didn't realize was a scheduled demolition, and "fixing" an opening draw bridge, thinking it was falling down, causing a ship to almost crash into it.
  • Jinx in Teen Titans (2003) to an extent. Part of why she became a villain in the first place was because her power to screw everything up corresponded the most with villainy. By series' end, she pulls a Heel–Face Turn and gets it mostly right this time.
  • Played for Laughs in The Venture Bros. with patriarch Rusty Venture, a Mad Scientist and Jaded Washout who just wants to be a respected scientist and leave his abusive Fake Ultimate Hero father's shadow. However, he ends up neglecting his own sons and his contributions to the scientific community are morally dubious at best. Examples include a Soul Jar for his sons, a Lotus-Eater Machine fueled by an orphan's heart (that became the Trope Namer for Powered by a Forsaken Child), and a Frankenstein's Monster (that became the page image for Came Back Wrong). One episode in particular has the Affably Evil Dr. Killinger show him that he would be much more successful as a supervillain, upon which he has a Heel Realization. In spite of this, after inheriting his brother's company he almost immediately gets into hot water for performing Mind Control experiments. In the Grand Finale he has to prevent a Colony Drop from destroying Manhattan, and attempts to just save himself but experiences Conscience Makes You Go Back.


Video Example(s):


Bluster Kong

When Bluster thinks he is going to die, he decides to try and become a hero to improve his reputation. Unfortunately, he is not very good at it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeroWithAnFInGood

Media sources: