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Hidden Heart of Gold

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Tristan: How can I ever thank you?
Captain Shakespeare: Don't mention it.
[Tristan laughs]
Captain Shakespeare: No, seriously, don't mention it. Reputation, you know — "a lifetime to build, seconds to destroy".

Bob is a total Jerkass. He's the type to knock a guy down and kick him when he tries to get up, the type who'll bed a girl then toss her aside. Just ask anyone. Bob's a guy you do not mess with. Come to think of it, just ask him. His "rep" is such that he's a slave to it. And for a guy like him, stuff like that is what makes others fear and (sometimes) respect him.

So why is a nice girl like Alice with him? Well, Alice knows of a different side, one where he's always nice to her when they're together; she's seen him do a few good deeds when he didn't know she was watching. Like reading to orphans, making donations to charity, or just plain helping others. Thing is, eventually Alice is going to confront him about his true self, call him out for his crime of... kindness.

He'll acknowledge it of course, reluctantly, only to threaten grievous bodily harm on Alice should she breathe a word. But the secret will be out. Even if Alice tells no one else, it will mark a milestone in the Character Development of both, and viewers will be better able to sympathize with him. Especially if he's a Sergeant Rock.

Compare Villains Out Shopping, Think Nothing of It, Peer-Pressured Bully. Contrast with Affably Evil (which is an evil character that isn't truly mean or "evil"), Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk (when the "heart of gold" turn out to be "fool's gold"), and Holier Than Thou (where a character firmly believes that they're morally "better" than others). Jerk with a Heart of Gold characters generally have more emphasis on the 'jerk' while still caring.

See also Let Us Never Speak of This Again and Punch-Clock Villain.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Discussed with Annie Leonhart, from Attack on Titan. Though she is noted to be aloof and unfriendly, several people express the opinion that she is a much kinder person than she would like to admit. This seems to be an accurate assessment, as glimpses of genuine warmth are seen when she teaches Eren her unique fighting style. Armin even tells her that he thinks she's actually a kind person, something she outright denies. She later spares his life because of this, which comes back to haunt her. Her roommate, Hitch, describes her as being afraid to make friends and she is absolutely correct. Between her father raising her as a Tyke Bomb and her mission as The Mole, showing her kinder nature is the worst thing she could do. Word of God confirms that underneath her cold exterior, she's an "ordinary girl".
  • Beauty and the Beast of Paradise Lost: Beast is arrogant, cynical and boorish, especially to Belle, to whom he belittles and provokes for acting as a doormat. However, he is also the only one to care if she lives or dies (before Isolde steps in). As the story progresses, it becomes clear he is putting on an act, so people will not be punished for loving him, as it happened in the past. On Belle’s first day in the castle, he doesn’t allow her to eat anything from the table and disgusts her with his Jabba Table Manners, but falls in the next moment victim of poison. She learns that someone was poisoning his food, at the hopes of breaking the curse by killing the Beast (he takes that very naturally), and realizes he didn’t let her eat for that reason. In another moment, he drops his cape on Belle telling her to fix it; she doesn't find any loosen stitches on it, so she suspects that Beast noticed she was wet and shivering. He eventually learns to be nicer to her.
  • Black Lagoon's resident Guns Akimbo Dark Action Girl, Revy, is waiting for Rock in a park in Japan...and ends up showing a bunch of kids who're nearby playing with pop-guns how it's done, including how to die realistically. When she finds that Rock's been watching, she blushes bright red and begins threatening him with death if he ever tells their friends in Roanapur.
  • Bleach:
    • At the beginning of the manga, it's revealed that Ichigo had been carefully cultivating this kind of image when Kon, using his body, tears that image to shreds by romancing the females in his class. Ichigo is not happy. Ichigo's cold and distant behavior toward Keigo, Mizuiro, and Tatsuki before going to rescue Orihime is also an example; he doesn't want them getting involved in the world of the Shinigami and getting hurt as Chad and Orihime already have.
    • Uryuu Ishida isn't so different from Ichigo and tries to cultivate the Aloof Ally persona. If someone needs his help, however, he doesn't hesitate to do his best. He's gone from helping rescue so-called enemies to friends to... sewing up a little girl's broken teddy. His facade ends up as shattered as Ichigo's.
    • Soifon deliberately acts hostile to her subordinates so that they can become stronger. This is especially true with her lieutenant, Omaeda, whom she motivates (through reverse psychology) to stay alive during the battle against Aizen's forces. Lampshaded when Renji reacts with shock to Soifon's open kindness only to be chastised by Rukia, who points out that Soifon's always been a kind person.
    • Uryuu so sincerely believes his father's jerkass attitude that he assumes Ryuuken is trying to kill him instead of restoring his powers as promised. Ryuuken seems to encourage Uryuu to think the absolute worst about him. However, Isshin greatly trusts Ryuuken as both a colleague and friend and Ryuuken is also gentle and protective towards Ichigo and Orihime behind Uryuu's back. Flashbacks reveal that Ryuuken is a very decent man Beneath the Mask but prefers to appear uncaring for reasons that have been only partially explained.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Touya sets himself up as a Big Brother Bully who teases Sakura almost non-stop to the extent that she often fantasizes about bullying him back, but he's actually quite a caring person and fiercely protective of her. Nonetheless, the act is successful enough to convince an All-Loving Hero like Sakura that he's nothing but an annoying brother with one or another nice moments, and when she actually finds out how much he cares, she's driven to tears.
  • The Dangers in My Heart: Ichikawa is a moody, irritable kid who thinks of himself as a disturbed character holding back an urge to murder… though in reality he’s incredibly anxious around people, hates attention and being vulnerable in general. Despite what he tells himself, he hates seeing other people down in the dumps (especially Yamada) and pushes himself to covertly maintain “peace” among his classmates (especially Yamada) even at his own expense and expecting no benefit in return. Heck, even his murder fantasies are just an immature response to others doing something stupid or jerk-ish.
  • At the start of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Giyu Tomioka comes off as rather cold and practically emotionless. He's first seen trying to kill Nezuko, a young girl who was turned into a demon, despite the fact that she hasn't eaten any humans yet, and expressing disdain for Nezuko's brother Tanjiro's naivete when he says he'll find a way to save her. Giyu's Internal Monologue reveals that he feels guilty for not making it in time to save Nezuko and her family, and after Tanjiro shows his determination by nearly hitting Giyu with his hatchet, Giyu refers him to his old mentor, Sakonji Urokodaki. Much later, Giyu protects Nezuko from his colleague Shinobu, and vows that if Nezuko attacks a human, he, Urokodaki, and Tanjiro will all commit seppuku.
  • Dragon Ball: Vegeta is this or else a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. He's still quite ruthless, mean, and cold, but as the series progresses, he grows to love his wife Bulma and his son Trunks (both of them), becomes more approachable with the other Z fighters, softens enough to be able to subdue his pride for the sake of what matters more, and is clearly in Vitriolic Best Buds relationship with Goku.
  • Honoo No Alpen Rose: Jean-Jacques may be a hitman with a slew of family issues, but even he is horrified by the Count's plans of an "ideal nation", and weeps at Lundi jumping in front of the bullet meant for Henri Guisan. He eventually turns to the side of good, and years later, is still shown to be close to Lundi as he attended his wedding.
  • Erina Nakiri of Food Wars! starts out the story as a haughty and prideful Academic Alpha Bitch, the best chef of her generation and very aware of it. The early arcs hint that she does have a soft spot for people close to her, like her assistant/best friend Hisako, but her upbringing (in no small part thanks to her Abusive Dad) has left her with No Social Skills. She gradually opens up as she interacts with the protagonist Soma Yukihira, especially once she learns that he's the son of Joichiro Saiba, the only chef she admires and wants to emulate.
  • Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist is a mild case. He pretends to be a ruthless careerist just so that people don't take him seriously and he can proceed with his plan of overthrowing the oppressive military.
    • Much more so is Olivier Mira Armstrong. She lives by the philosophy of "survival of the fittest" for everyone, but when her scout team is devoured by Pride and her superior prevents her from sending a search party to find them, her response is to slash him with a sword and shove him into wet cement, and send the search party anyway. When she sends the search party, she tells them that they only have 24 hours to find the missing scout team. If they don't return before the 24 hours is up, they'll be sealed in the tunnel. However, she gave the guard a broken watch, so the search party would not be entombed in the tunnel even if they went over the time limit. When the leader of the search party thanks her for this gesture, she tells him she has no idea what he is talking about. She makes her contempt for her younger brother Alex clear both physically and verbally, but was horrified when he got pummeled badly by Sloth.
    • Greed also qualifies. A massive egomaniac who operates on an It's All About Me lifestyle, everything he does is under pretensions of helping his goal to obtain everything in the world. He calls his subordinates 'possessions', and will only work with people if they're working for him. But this avarice of his extends to not wanting his 'possessions' taken away from him, which means he'll watch out for and protect his underlings, fiercely, and will stop at nothing to get back at anyone who dares harm them. He'll even dismiss people to keep them out of harm's way if they are injured or otherwise not up to the task of fighting. It takes right up until the final battle and some egging on for him to finally admit that his 'greed' was really only a desire for friends.
  • The Secret Garden: Mary wasn't a bad person, but years of never being treated with proper love and care left her a cold and selfish person. If it wasn't for Dickon reaching out to her and Ben encouraging her to follow her passion of gardening, she would have remained that way.
  • Gintoki of Gintama occasionally (frequently) does questionable things, but has always come to people's rescue, even if he has to put his own life on the line.
  • As revealed in Chapter 143 of Jujutsu Kaisen, Yuta Okkotsu willingness to kill Yuji was an act. He planned with Gojo, in the case that anything happened to take him out of the picture, to be given the role of executioner before anyone else to ensure that Yuji would survive, and reassures him in private that he isn't to blame for the mass death in Shibuya.
  • Kagerou Daze: Takane Enomoto. She's alienated by her peers for her frightening expression and grumpy demeanour, and is hostile even to her only friend Haruka as a default. But, as their time together creating a game for the school festival proves, there's a dorky cutie in there somewhere.
  • My Monster Secret:
    • Mikan, at least early on, constantly screws with other characters and threatens to expose their deepest secrets in the school newspaper. She also constantly tries to hide the fact that most of her "Evil Queen" persona is an act, and several other characters point out that she's not actually as evil as she makes herself out to be (for instance, most of what she ends up putting in the paper looks harmful, but the majority of content is so obviously fabricated that nobody actually believes any of it). Later on, Character Development kicks in, and she starts to become at least a little less insistent on how evil she is.
    • Akane spends most of her time wavering between being The Gadfly and a Troll, but she's the closest thing the story has to a Big Good, and she does genuinely have the best interests of her students at heart. She just prefers to bury any assistance under a heap of scorn because she finds it funny.
    • Karen thinks she's one of these, constantly reminding everyone around her that she's a devil who will exact a terrible price for her assistance and that they remain unaware that she's behind any actual kind acts. In reality, she's a thorough Minion with an F in Evil, and her Heart of Gold is nowhere near as hidden as she believes it is.
  • Aburame Shino from Naruto is tall, silent, ruthlessly intelligent, and has the creep vibe going for him with his manipulation of chakra-eating insects. He also threatened Naruto to never tell anyone...that he has a sense of humor.
  • Evangeline of Negima! Magister Negi Magi tries to keep up her reputation as a horribly evil mage, but everyone who actually knows her realizes that that's not really the case. Eva has to keep reminding them that she's really actually evil, because if she doesn't they keep forgetting.
  • Onani Master Kurosawa: Sugawa is a Japanese Delinquent and The Bully at first, but shows Hypocritical Heartwarming, eventually proving herself Tsundere towards Kurosawa as a Reformed Bully, making some Suspiciously Specific Denial statements about her kindness.
  • Kyouya Ootori from Ouran High School Host Club is cool, calculating, and apparently only acts when it's within his interests. However, he's genuinely caring and considerate and simply maintains an indifferent facade. He's also incredibly gracious and forgiving towards his near-abusive father.
  • Pretty Sammy: Even though Konoha Tough was portrayed as a rude girl that tortures Misao and Sammy with intentions of ruling the world, she actually helps Misao by hitting the monster of the week, shows proper care to the popular kid, and eventually becomes nicer at the end of the series.
  • Homura Akemi of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is also a mild case. She behaves coldly, but if not for her selfless actions, the other girls probably would have died several times over. Actually, they did. The whole reason Mami died in the first place was that she didn't take the time to listen to Homura's warning. It's also revealed that her entire purpose is to protect Madoka from the fate of becoming a Magical Girl, having gone through multiple timelines and seen how much suffering she goes through because of this.
    • Ironically, this becomes a REALLY BAD THING in the movie: her desire and determination to protect her friends from having everything they did undone ends up going against their free will (yeah, blame Kyubey for this awkward situation), which breaks her spirit but not her willpower or love, causing her to become a God of Evil. Homura, now able to bend reality to her will with nobody able to judge her, defies Madoka's wishes... and saves the world, gives Madoka (and friends) her life back, and slows the flow of witch transformations to a CRAWL. All for Madoka. The reason she still "represents evil incarnate" is that she trapped the girls in their pathetic former lives to save them, leaving them unable to help anyone or prevent the eventual destruction of the universe. So now she's the queen of all jerks to her friends, not for torturing them but for BELITTLING them, but she still loves and cares for them.
  • Rebuild World: Due to Akira growing up being constantly betrayed in the slums, when there and with Sheryl’s gang he builds up, Akira keeps up a facade to keep anyone from seeing him as weak, and attempts to be The Dreaded with mixed results. But Akira can be surprisingly caring, is an Uncle Pennybags with the gang, and almost seems Tsundere with Sheryl due to his Sugar-and-Ice Personality.
  • Don't know if it counts, but in an episode of Zoku Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Itoshiki reveals that he's actually doing good for society when people aren't looking.
    • Later segments taking place in his house show that he actually cares about his students; he keeps framed photos of them that they obviously gave to him (ie several of the girls posing in maid outfits). Also there's a photo of Kafuka disguised as a college student who occasionally cooks for him and asks him how his day went, but if he knew that he probably wouldn't keep that one.
      • Well, probably not...
  • Dandy from Space☆Dandy Is a huge jerk most of the time. He constantly hits on women, tries to grab their asses any time he comes across one he likes, won't hesitate to try to charm women for their money, and has no qualms about abandoning his crew if it means saving his own skin. However, in Episode 5, he travels with an orphaned alien girl to register her for money and leaves her at the motel one night, insisting he's going to BooBies leading to an argument. What he really did was spend the night looking for her grandfather, the only relative she had. Later, when she's kidnapped by other alien hunters, he proves that NOTHING, not even being trapped in the body of a stuffed penguin will prevent him from saving someone he cares about.
  • Loid Forger aka Twilight from SPY×FAMILY may be presented as a ruthless and emotionless spy but he's actually a selfless person at heart and is far kinder than he gives himself credit for.
  • Coach Kashibawa from Touch (1981) is a bitter, bad-tempered, abusive man but he has one. Hard to unearth, but it's there.
  • Kurogane from Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- starts out very much this way...verbally, he refuses to have anything to do with Syaoran's quest to save Sakura, but you never see him leave the group, either. He wanted to get home, and they had the only means to do so (albeit randomly). Yup. They were his only chance of getting home, and he had a quest to complete at the same time, so he was pretty much forced to stay with them. After he is returned to Japan he has no more reason to stay with the others, but he does so anyway, stating he can keep two promises. Never mind how caring he is towards his traveling companions, even the white manjuu (Mokona).
  • Katherine of Voltes V. Despite her Lady of War exterior, and the fact that she's a core part of the Boazanian Invasion Force, she eventually becomes horrified by the atrocities she witnesses firsthand and fears that she'll lose Heinel because he's dedicated to take over the world no matter what. When Jangal commits suicide, Katherine bars Heinel from going to fight, shoots him with a stun gun, and takes him to safety. She frequently begs him to leave and tells him that war only causes more and pain and destruction, but Heinel is so far gone in his beliefs that he ignores her.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Seto Kaiba may seem like a Jerkass at first, but then you find out what he's been through in his life, including losing his parents, defending his brother from bullies, and being adopted by a jerk who later worked him half to death. Plus, turns out he has a real soft spot for kids, and especially orphans, seeing as he is one himself. In fact, in a flashback, you see him and Mokuba making an amusement park out of sand, and little Seto says "Someday, this will be a real theme park! And all the orphans will get in for free!"

    Comic Books 
  • Reggie Mantle from the Archie Comics. He's about as jerky as a character can get without being a full-on villain and wants everyone to know it, but deep down he does have a definite caring side. One issue has him helping Dilton get a date on the sole condition that nobody finds out it was Reggie who helped him, and another has the gang think he's sneaking out at night to pull pranks when really he's sneaking to an animal shelter to volunteer. Similarly, there's an issue of Betty's Diary where she learns he regularly visits an elderly lady in a nursing home because she used to babysit him and is so sweet to her most of the residents and staff assume he's her grandson. Naturally Reggie gets Betty to swear never to tell as it would ruin his reputation.
  • In one Donald Duck comic, Scrooge McDuck is being pestered for "not contributing to society", compared with another millionaire. In response, he starts some half-attempted projects to do good for society. Naturally, they fail. Miserably. It was so bad that Scrooge solemnly declares that he wouldn't dare to make another attempt like that ever again. Then it's revealed that the philanthropist millionaire got his funds from Scrooge himself. He did that because he wants to preserve his image as a "tough businessman" while helping society secretly.
  • Saturn Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes once infamously pulled this off in an effort to evoke a Heroic Sacrifice. While she's always been known as something of a hardass (to the point her nickname's "Iron-Ass Imra"), Saturn Girl took it to new levels when she got elected Legion leader. After rigging the election with her mental powers she made herself out to be a tyrant covertly copying the abilities of the Legionnaires and then suspended them for dumb reasons. It was all part of her plan to stop the invasion of an alien warlord, by turning herself into a one-woman Legion and sacrifice herself so no one else would die even if her teammates thought she was a giant bitch.
  • Him is one of The Powerpuff Girls' most evil arch-enemies in that he likes to play with their minds in the nastiest ways. In the comic book story "Presents Of Mine" (DC issue #57), he coerces Buttercup to spend her allowance to buy herself a gift as she and her sisters are out to buy something for the Professor. But when Him sees the Gangreen Gang stealing from a charity bin, he helps the girls kick their asses.
    Him: Even I wouldn't stoop that low!!
  • Superman: Lois Lane fits this trope. Her heart of gold is not that hidden (she is fiercely loyal, after all). She does often attempt to hide her softer side because she's afraid of seeming vulnerable, but the truth is she's willing to go to the ends of the earth to fight for justice and protect the people she loves.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye:
    • Whirl. Whirl's jerkass-like behaviour is more aggressive and stupid compared to grim, foreboding, and silent Cyclonus. He does have trouble dealing with others in positive ways but is still capable of compassion. Whirl volunteers to jump-start Rewind's spark, and when Rewind's conjunx endura Chromedome offers him anything for doing so, all Whirl asks is that Chromedome stop hugging him.
    • Cyclonus does not deal well with others, but is compassionate on occasion. He scorns Tailgate's ritual offering of innermost energon and tosses the vial to the ground... then stops at the door and goes back to help Tailgate clean it up. It's probably why, once they stop trying to kill each other, they get along so well.

    Comic Strips 
  • Hägar the Horrible: In the march-27-2016 strip, tough Viking Hagar tells a cute little bird how much he loves the spring, with all the sunny skies, butterflies, and rainbows — then he quickly looks around, and threatens the readers if they tell anyone about that.

    Fan Works 
  • The Apprentice, the Student, and the Charlatan: Nova's Establishing Character Moment is to buy a homeless pony an apartment, and then swear him and the landlord to total secrecy about it. He's trying to keep his head down so his parents don't come looking for him, as he doesn't have the best of relationships with them.
  • The Black Sheep Dog Series has Orion Black. He's an arrogant, narrow-minded aristocrat who looks down on those he thinks is beneath him, and blackmails his own son for not falling in line with the family traditions. Despite his harshness, however, Orion does care for his family and is willing to risk his own life to protect them, even if they are unaware of what he's doing.
    Dumbledore: You and Regulus share a determination to protect the ones you love—in some cases whether they want it or not. And I need hardly add—you both have a strong desire to draw as little attention to yourselves as possible while doing so. I believe you both prefer the loved ones in question know little, if anything, about what you're up to.
  • A Crusade Of Blood and Dust: Leman Russ puts up the front of an obnoxious, boisterous Blood Knight whom few of his fellow Primarchs like or even respect; it's revealed during the Burning of Prospero, however, that this is an act he puts on as part of his role as "The Emperor's Executioner" and one he absolutely despises being forced to put on. His role is to be the Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the brothers he loves, so he keeps them at arm's length by playing the part of a Noble Savage Jerkass, to make it easier when he eventually has to execute them... just like he did to the lost Primarch's. During his battle with Magnus, Leman plays this part to the hilt to goad the Crimson King into acting recklessly, even as his internal monologue reveals how much he hates what he's doing and wants Magnus to surrender peacefully.
  • Everybody's Gotta Leave Sometime: Lucy Van Pelt's good side is real well-hidden but it exists, as proven when she points out to Charlie Brown that his baseball team would never pick another manager.
  • Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Although Germany yells at Italy at a constant basis and is strict towards him, Germany is also is kind and gentle towards him as well.
  • Her Fractured Spirit: Pearl and Marina tease each other on camera but it's all just for show. In their private life, they're a happy couple in a Secret Relationship.
  • In the Kingdom's Service: Cardin Winchester pretends to bully Velvet Scarletina as part of their cover as Vale Secret Service agents. In reality, the two are actually in love.
  • Limpet AU: Vader absolutely refuses to admit that he Took a Level in Kindness thanks to Palpatine's death and Luke's influence, makes up seemingly "pragmatic" excuses for his more merciful actions, and dismisses his doting treatment towards his grandchildren (including babysitting Ben and putting up with the kids' antics) as nothing but necessary diplomacy to survive in the New Republic. Absolutely no one believes him.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles:
    • After Naruto was presumed dead during a mission only to be revealed to still be alive several days later, Sasuke says this to Hinata:
      Sasuke: Don't tell him I said this, but yeah. I actually missed having the knucklehead around. It's certainly a lot more... interesting with him around.
      Hinata: (giggle) Awww. You're just a big softy under all that cool exterior.
      Sasuke: Softy?! Whatever! Just don't spread it around 'cause I'll just deny it.
    • According to Tenten, Neji considers Naruto to be like a brother, but he would never tell that to the latter.
  • Showdown: No Holding Back: Many of the tributes who do harsh things in the arena have some Pet the Dog moments or sad inner monologues, as do Angel and Berenice, the District 5 and 11 Escorts. Angel is described as detached-looking but silently offers words and gestures that help Victor and Mouse appear strong-looking on the reaping stage. Berenice is a bit over-dressed and seems kind of snotty during the reaping but goes out of her way to be nice to Apple and give her good advice (with Mesmer commenting she’s starting to care too much for her own good), although in a way Apple sees as Condescending Compassion.

    Films — Animated 
  • Hansel in the Netflix film Secret Magic Control Agency is a con artist passing himself off as a magician. His introductory scene shows him tricking wealthy townspeople into buying fake protective amulets. Then a girl comes up to him after the show; she and her little sister are orphans, and the sister is sick, and she can't afford to pay a doctor or buy an amulet, but could she please maybe just borrow one for a while? Hansel tells her the magic doesn't work on children ... but he can give her some magic golden coins to pay the doctor instead. Just don't tell anyone it was him, or the coins will turn to dust!
  • Tom and Jerry: The Lost Dragon: The village baker is nicer than his neighbors but hides it. He loudly and rudely berates Athena's efforts to collect food for the unruly animals in her care while winking at her and sneaking some food into her basket.
  • In Treasure Planet, Silver vigorously denies to the other pirates that he actually cares about Jim Hawkins (whom he certainly does care about, and whom he knows sees him as a father figure). Unfortunately, Jim overhears this.
  • The Chief Blue Meanie from Yellow Submarine reveals at the end he had this all along:
    Chief: I never admitted this before, but my cousin is the Bluebird of Happiness!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Accidental Hero: Dustin Hoffman's character is a divorced misanthropic cynical petty crook, constantly declaring that everyone is out for themselves and no one else. When a plane crashes before his eyes, he begrudgingly gets the emergency door open and ends up rescuing multiple people, muttering angrily the entire time, and even robbing one of the people he saved. He then flees the scene before anyone can identify him, and has no interest in taking credit until he learns that someone else received a large reward by claiming to be the rescuer. In the end, he strikes a deal to let the guy take credit in exchange for splitting the money. The final scene is him finally telling his son what happened, and when his son is surprised that he'd risk himself for others, he replies "I f***ed up."
  • Tony Stark is pretty adamant that none of the title characters in The Avengers other than Bruce ever find out he actually gives a damn. A prime example: when he's alone with Coulson, Tony's seen assuring him that all Coulson has to do is say the word and pick a weekend, and Tony will personally fly Coulson to Portland to make up with his cellist ex-girlfriend and "keep love alive!" Much later in the film, after Coulson is killed, Steve cautiously asks Tony if he had a wife, to which Tony replies, "There was a cellist -- I think" and then proceeds to snort derisively and fumblingly call Coulson an idiot for trying to take on Loki while turning away so Steve can't see the tears in his eyes.
  • Samuel Gerard from The Fugitive. He explicitly sees his sole job as capturing the titular fugitive, with zero interest in figuring out whether his incarceration was just. One of the most famous lines is when Richard proclaims his innocence, and Gerard responds "I don't care". Over the course of the film, he becomes increasingly skeptical that Kimble is a murderer, and ends up going out of his way to solve the murder and set Kimble free.
    Kimble: I thought you didn't care?
    Gerard: I don't... Don't tell anybody, okay? (chuckles)
  • In the film version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Cindy Lou is the first one to see this side of the Grinch when he saves her from being crushed by a sorting machine. When she tries to thank him, he angrily denies it, claiming he only pulled her out because she was "improperly packaged", and tries to scare her by "properly packaging" her with gift wrap before leaving. However, she isn't very convinced, as the narrator says:
    Sweet little Cindy didn't know what to do.
    In her head, bum-tumbled a conflict or two.
    "If the Grinch was so bad,
    then why did he save me?
    Maybe he wasn't so bad."
    Maybe. Just maybe.note 
  • Captain Klenzendorf of Jojo Rabbit is a Nazi officer during WWII. A laughably incompetent Jaded Washout of a Nazi who betrays some skepticism about the Nazi agenda, but still a Nazi. However, as the movie progresses, it's revealed that Klenzendorf is more than just skeptical about the Nazis. He deliberately misleads the Gestapo, at great risk to himself, to save the life of a Jewish hideaway. This revelation suggests that he isn't even incompetent; his actions were all Obfuscating Stupidity to undermine the Nazis.
  • The Leopard Man:
    • Jerry puts on a show of being unaffected by the escape of the leopard he rented and the death of its first victim. However, he wants to help pay for the dead girl's funeral and accompanies the hunting party seeking the leopard. He soon admits that he is torn up with guilt and concern but has always worked to hide such feelings.
    Jerry: I learned [growing up] it didn't pay to let anybody know how you feel or really think.
    • Jerry's girlfriend Kiki is similarly more sentimental than she acts. She tells Jerry not to be "soft" and give Teresa's family money for their funeral expenses immediately after secretly doing so herself.
    Kiki: Maybe I'm tired of pretending that nothing bothers me. That all I care about is myself.
  • In Captain Shakespeare's case in the Stardust film, he has a fearsome reputation as a remorseless killer pirate that would be completely demolished if word of his Nice Guy Flamboyant Gay self Beneath the Mask were known. Hilariously, his crew knew all along.
  • Star Wars: Han Solo spends the whole of A New Hope letting everyone know he's just in it for the money (even using the exact phrase "I'm in it for the money") — then comes roaring back at the critical moment to help Luke destroy the Death Star.
  • Discussed in The Thin Red Line with regards to Sergeant Welsh, the local cynic whose gruffness and aloofness effectively mask the compassion he feels for his men.
    Witt: You care about me, don't you, Sergeant? I always felt like you did. Why do you always make yourself out like a rock?

  • In Jon Stewart's America (The Book), there is a spoof article in the section on negative campaign ads about Caligula, whose opponents launched a devastating smear campaign portraying him as a "pretty nice guy" by revealing that he helped little old ladies across the street and gave money to orphans. Caligula apparently went into "damage control mode" by publicly sodomizing a puppy.
  • Discworld:
    • This is mentioned as the anti-crime of "whitemail"— revealing a mobster's charity donations to his colleagues, for example, and thereby discrediting him as a hardened criminal.
    • In Men at Arms, new Night Watch recruit Angua finds a list of women's names and dollar amounts. She assumes they are prostitutes paid for by the heavy-drinking, bitter Captain Sam Vimes. She is coldly informed by another guard these are the widows and children of guards who have died in the line of duty — and Captain Vimes is giving over half of his pay to support them since there is no support network for them.
  • In For Love of Evil, of all people Satan is this. He always honors his promises and felt the most joy when he performed several truly selfless acts. The key is he is still Satan and has a job to do — bringing out the latent evil in souls and reforming dominantly evil souls. He himself, apart from his job, is a truly good man. But he needs to keep this deeply hidden for obvious reasons.
  • One of the books based on Get Smart had the revelation that KAOS' sinister "Doomsday Plan" was in fact the "Dooms Day Plan" — that is, a retirement party for longtime KAOS agent Arthur Dooms. KAOS was desperate to keep Max from revealing this. Fortunately, the Chief realized that if KAOS were outed as softies, CONTROL's budget would be cut.
  • Fisk from the Knight and Rogue Series. After his last 'lesson' from his Evil Mentor he became a little bitter and untrusting of others, so he isn't openly kind, even if he has good intentions. He also tries to cultivate his criminal look in the first book, to the point where he won't even admit to liking to read.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Denethor. Very deep down, but he does love both his sons.
  • Breeze from the Mistborn trilogy is like this, he acts like a cynical, lazy, pompous manipulator, but it's made clear when he gets viewpoint sections that a good deal of his manipulation is well-intentioned, though he prefers to downplay this.
  • Moongobble and Me: Fazward's generally portrayed as a jerk to Moongobble. It's not until the end of book 3 that it's revealed he's actually been acting this way as part of a Secret Test of Character for Moongobble; after Moongobble passes, Fazwad is much nicer.
  • Pride and Prejudice: Mr. Darcy reveals himself to be this when he steps in to ensure that Wickham marries Lydia, protecting the reputations of her sisters and keeping Wickham from continuing to debauch at the expense of other young girls. He demands that no one but Elizabeth's aunt and uncle know about his involvement in the matter, and goes so far as to insist that her uncle take all the credit. This ends up being a plot point, as Elizabeth was at first turned off by his Jerkass tendencies, and starts to fall in love with him after she discovers what a good man he actually is.
  • The Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride eventually reveals that he has one of these, as revealed in the explanation Westley gives to Buttercup.
  • Daylen Shadow of the Conqueror attempts to avoid any association with his heroic deeds, and when caught on them, insists that they're just common decency and don't merit any attention, largely because of his guilt. Because he's Reformed, but Not Tamed, most people are put off enough by his personality that they don't see any deeper. Sain and Ahrek even discuss this trope in regards to him, at one point.
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, Springheeled Jack saves Valkyrie from being murdered by Billy Ray Sanguine, then realises that he helped Skulduggery, and asks Valkyrie not to reveal it. This may also be due to the fact he doesn't want Skulduggery to know he's escaped from prison. Because you're pretty much screwed when you have Skulduggery Pleasant and/or Tanith Low on your heels, no matter how springy they are.
  • Space Glass has Ratroe Calaranzo, who is utterly cold, but risks everything every day to provide for his little siblings. He's also fairly sweet to Amy, who reminds him of them.
  • In Spinning Silver, Miryem has to crush her sense of empathy towards the other villagers when she takes up her father's duty of collecting their debts. She knows that if she wavers even once with a debtor, the rest will pile on their own excuses. She's more easily able to do this because she knows many of them are lying about their ability to repay (and if they aren't, their open antisemitism gives her little inclination to sympathy). However, she treats her indebted servant Wanda with fairness and consideration, teaches her math so she can be an assistant, and includes her in the family dinner. When she learns just how bad Wanda's father is, Miryem works out a plan that will keep Wanda able to work and secretly save up for an escape even after the debt is paid.
  • In The War Gods Own, Bahzell, a divinely ordained paladin, finally reconnects with his father, who has been known as a hard-hearted pragmatist. Then this happens:
    Bahzell: I did remember as how you'd always said a man looks after his own in this world, and lucky he is if he can do it. I'd not thought it through then, but it came to me that perhaps 'his own' was after taking in just a bit more people than I'd first supposed you meant."
    Bahnak: It was that, but it's not so very wise to be letting those as wish you ill realize that it does, now is it?
  • Mr. Jenkins, the principal in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wind in the Door. Meg spends her entire grade school career and a good chunk of Charles Wallace's butting heads with the strict, humorless, and seemingly uncaring Mr. Jenkins; but during the book's adventure, Calvin shares with her an incident in which his family could not afford shoes for him, forcing him to go to school in a pair of too-small women's shoes that he had to cut the heels and toes off of in order to wear. Mr. Jenkins bought a brand new pair of shoes for him and clumsily scuffed them in a paper-thin effort to pretend that they were cast-offs.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tracy from 30 Rock is a Cloud Cuckoo Lander who actively cultivates a "Bad Boy" persona with his irresponsible partying antics. In one episode, he becomes furious at a tabloid revealing that he's never once cheated on his wife. When Tracy won an Oscar for his role in a gritty urban drama about poverty and abuse, he became a respected serious actor overnight. He was overwhelmed by the responsibility that came with his accolades, so began acting crazier and more offensive than ever to shed his new reputation. His acting out culminated in him jumping in a lake, ultimately saving an old man from drowning, then begging the man not to tell anyone.
  • Ambulance Chaser Arnold Ripner from Barney Miller is struck with sheer moral outrage when he meets a former client who has been turned into a vegetable via Lobotomy and threatens to sue the man responsible pro bono if he ever tries it on someone else. When Barney points out that such words could be considered "noble," Arnold threatens to sue him for slander.
  • Veronica in Better Off Ted does this regularly, often hiding her good intentions behind the company agenda.
  • The Boys (2019):
    • Lamplighter taunts Frenchie over being unable to stop him from burning Mallory's grandchildren, claiming that he may also be as much of a pyromaniac as he is. He then drops it when admitting that he didn't mean to kill Mallory's grandchildren and that he deeply regrets what he did.
    • Two characters show this in the second season finale. It turns out Butcher and his dad were both wrong: Billy does have a softer side. And Queen Maeve, despite her apathy and harsh words to Starlight, has enough heart left to give a damn and help her and The Boys after all.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Strackman Lux in "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead", set up as a paranoid, uncooperative type obsessed with patents and IP, but it's all a front to keep CAL safe, who is his child-like aunt. He's actually quite nice.
    • Although Epzo in "The Ghost Monument" is a misanthropist who doesn't like to rely on anyone, he still pulls the Doctor and Yaz onto his ship when he could have left them to asphyxiate in open space. (Granted, both he and Angstrom did assume that saving them was a bonus-earning Rally challenge...) It's a bit less hidden at the end.
  • Ice Tray from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Aunt Vivian dislikes the youth for his thuggish demeanor and lack of intelligence, but Will ends up revealing that when they were children, Tray would beat up the bullies that used to hassle Will because of his love of reading.
  • Game of Thrones: Littlefinger describes himself as such:
    "Don't tell anyone (I helped you). I have a reputation to maintain".
  • Glee: Sue Sylvester has one, though she doesn't use it any more than she needs to, and will often Hand Wave it as a selfish act. However, her sister and, later, Becky are out and out Morality Pets. She also takes a zero-tolerance stance on homophobic bullying. And as of "Choke," domestic violence.
  • Demon Crowley from Good Omens (2019) is actually a big softie, he does countless good deeds throughout the series, most of them for the angel Aziraphale, but you better not thank him or point out his kind nature. At some point in series one he pins Aziraphale against a wall for saying how nice the demon is.
    Aziraphale: You know, Crowley, I’ve always said that deep down, you really are quite a nice…
    Crowley: Shut it! I’m a demon. I’m not nice. I’m never nice. Nice is a four-letter word. I will not have…
  • House of Anubis:
    • Jerome Clarke. When you first meet him, he is shown as a manipulative, uncaring person who will gladly blackmail his other housemates and trick his best friend into humiliating himself. However, eventually it is discovered that he really does have a heart, shown when he gets closer to Mara Jaffray, his friend and future love interest. The longer the show goes on, the more his good side is shown, from struggling to help his formally missing father fix their past to protecting and aiding his fellow students when it is needed.
    • Victor also fits this trope. Despite being the villain, he is proven to really care about the students deep down, when he kicked Vera out for hurting the students and sacrificing his last tear of gold to save a dying Joy Mercer.
  • Barney Stinson of How I Met Your Mother:
    • He once flew from New York to San Francisco in order to convince Lily to return to her ex, Marshall — but then forced her not to tell their other friends. However, his heart of gold only applies to his friends and family. For other people, he's a complete and utter Jerkass, especially with regards to his treatment of women.
    • He also ran halfway across the city when he heard Ted had been in a car crash and was in the hospital, and then tried to pass it off as having just been randomly wandering around the area (no one believes him for a second).
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Taiga Hanaya. He can be a nice jerk to his Morality Pet, Nico Saiba, but outside he perpetuates a reputation of uncaring and unrepentant one to drive people away. He slowly stopped caring about trying to maintain it around her as she never bought it in the first place. The fact that she loves to spoil his efforts doesn't help matters.
  • Kamen Rider Zi-O: Geiz Myokoin puts some real effort into his image as a pragmatic soldier out fix the future, but it often comes across as either black comedy or just plain cute try in the way watching a child trying to be buff and adult is. For the record, Geiz is not a child anymore but only gets to grow up (somewhat) through the story anyway.
    • Threating to kill his great adversary with a baguette or flinging a butter knife at him when asked to pass it really doesn't work.
  • Leave It to Beaver: Every time Eddie Haskell does something nice he insists that no one tells anyone; he's got a reputation to maintain.
  • Gene Hunt from Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes (2008) is known by his colleagues and enemies to be a ruthless and brutal interrogator who rarely gives anyone the light of day — but his colleagues also know that if a police officer is in danger, Gene Hunt will risk his life in order to save his comrades. For example: In the first episode of Ashes to Ashes (2008) when Shaz is kidnapped, everyone in the office is stuck on how to rescue her when Gene exits from his office and gives his catchphrase: "Fire up the Quattro" and storms away to the docks to catch the baddies in his own particular guns a-blazin' western way.
  • Charles Winchester from M*A*S*H.
    • In one episode everyone thinks he is being a jerk for refusing to share a giant box of chocolates he got from home. Turns out he's giving the box to a local orphanage but doesn't want anyone to know because it is his family's tradition to do anonymous acts of charity at Christmas.
      • Klinger finds out about this when Winchester berates the head of the orphanage for selling the candies instead of giving them to the children. The guy points out that the candy would have made them happy for an evening, but the money from the sale can feed them for a month. Winchester realizing his faux pas and humbly backing down ("It is I who should be sorry. It is sadly inappropriate to give dessert to a child who's had no meal.") is part of The Reveal here — Winchester isn't known as one to back down or apologize — and Klinger later reveals his knowledge to Winchester by bringing him the leftovers from the Christmas party and saying it was an anonymous donation.
    • In fact, Winchester's best moments tended to come when he was separated from the rest of the camp in a plot of his own. For instance, in "Morale Victory", while Hawkeye and BJ were trying to sort out a party, he was helping the pianist who had lost the use of his hand. And again in "Run For The Money", while they were helping Father Mulcahy with the race, he was helping a bullied soldier who stuttered.
      • An earlier episode of the show had Hawkeye and Trapper helping Margaret who got crazy drunk after breaking up with Frank (albeit temporarily). After sobering up, Margaret expresses herself in the O.R.:
    Margaret: Doctor... uh, doctors... I just want to thank you for what you did for me.
    Hawkeye: Don't mention it.
    Trapper: To anyone. We've got reputations to uphold.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: "Gold" may be an exaggeration, but Dr. Forrester at least has a hidden heart. After Dr. Forrester apologizes to Joel & the Bots for making them watch Manos: The Hands of Fate, he tells them to keep it a secret or he'll kill whoever else finds out.
  • Principal Osgood Conklin on Our Miss Brooks. "Old Marblehead" may be a pompous, underhanded dictator of a principal, but from time to time he shows his good side:
    • In "The Hobby Show" he helps fix broken toys to give to needy children.
    • He's a member of the "Citizen's League."
    • He helps throw a Christmas Party when he believes Mrs. Davis' sister Angela is dying in "A Dry Scalp is Better Then None."
    • He helps Miss Brooks and co. find a missing postman in "Postage Due."
    • Offers to adopt orphans in "The Twin Orphans" and "The Miserable Caballero."
    • He helps Miss Brooks and Mrs. Davis out of problematic situations in "Four Fiancés" and "Marriage Madness," among others.
  • In an episode of Primeval, James Lester saves the ARC's menagerie from getting euthanized. When Abby tells him she thinks he's quite nice under his cold exterior, he playfully threatens to sue her.
  • Brian Kinney from Queer as Folk (US) always helps his friends without them knowing.
  • Red Dwarf: Arnold Rimmer, despite being a truly repugnant individual whose arrogance and selfishness are only matched by his neuroses and cowardice, has the odd moment of sheer compassion and bravery. His alternate universe counterpart shows what he would be like if he wasn't so pathetic.
  • Bob Kelso in Scrubs is initially portrayed as a pure Jerkass devoid of empathy, who only cares about the hospital's finances. His heart of gold is only slowly and sporadically revealed as the show goes on. These hints are first dropped when it becomes clear that he has plenty of people in his private life who actually like him. It is eventually revealed that Kelso intentionally takes on the role of the bad guy in order to unite the staff. When he temporarily drops it, the staff is torn apart by bickering and it nearly costs a patient his life. Likewise, it is shown that his lack of emotional attachment towards patients is entirely because of the hard decisions he has to make as the Hospital's Chief. They nevertheless affect him, but he simply doesn't show it.
    • Likewise, Dr. Percival Ulysses Cox:
      Oh, and Barbie? Let's say word were to leak out that Dr. Cox was doling out the feel goods... I'll make you pay. You have no idea. Huge.
  • Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks. At first sight, she seems to be a spoiled troublemaker who aspires to be a femme fatale (often successfully), but with time it is revealed that she's actually a lonely innocent with good intentions. She also seems to be the only virgin in the whole Twin Peaks town.
    The director Todd Holland on Audrey's character: "She's one of my favorite characters because you thought she was such a big slut and she's probably the most moralistic person in Twin Peaks and that's all tremendous fun. The ones like her father feign morality and are incredibly treacherous, but they carry on a good business front."
  • Dr. Gregory House is a Card Carrying Jerk Ass who nevertheless deeply cares about his patients and seems to hate himself for it.

  • In Goddess Creation System Mingluan's prank gift of Xiaxi to Mingyi in the 'mission trial run' results in her being executed while he hardly bats an eye, but when the scenario is reset he's shown protecting her from what he thinks are bullying servants showing that he does care. Sort of. Xiaxi herself is not particularly impressed given that she was beaten to death once because of him.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The World Wrestling League version of Los Rabiosos were supposed to be greedy thugs, in contrast to the politically active, self-sacrificing group La Rabia. The "problem" was, as the groups used to be one prior to WWL, that the Rabiosos members were just as socially active as their babyface counterparts and as time went on, more and more fans knew it. This made Los Rabiosos increasingly harder to boo, especially against anyone other than La Rabia.


    Video Games 
  • In Cave Story, when Balrog shows up in the Labyrinth, Curly catches him off-guard by asking for help in moving a large boulder. After a beat, his first impulse is to move over and start to help you. Then he remembers he came to kill you, and a boss fight ensues. After his defeat, he single-handedly moves the boulder for you, saying not to tell ANYONE about it. He even leaves you a missile upgrade!
  • Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, the Warden can invoke this when speaking to Leliana if the player so chooses. In one of their conversations, Leliana will mention that the Warden has a very intimidating presence. If the Warden reacts well to one of her stories, she will remark that it's good to find out that the Warden is secretly a romantic, to which the Warden can reply, "But don't tell the others."
      • Sten is also guilty. If put in the traveling party with him, Leliana will remark that she caught him doing things like "dangling string for a kitten." Sten, of course, vigorously denies this, claiming he was helping it train.
        Leliana: Softie!
      • Even Morrigan can develop one if the player can get her approval high enough. When she first joins you she responds very negatively to altruistic acts if she's in the party, but as her approval gets higher she's much less likely to complain, and will actually begin expressing affection for you rather than just tagging along because her mother said so. Harden her, and she'll genuinely admit to seeing you as a friend, her voice actually breaks and she's on the verge of tears when she says it. If the Warden is female, Morrigan can make the observation that she sees the other woman almost like a sister. If romanced, she'll even confess that she loves you. Of course, she remains as vicious to Alistair as ever and still leaves you at the end of the game (though the Witch Hunt DLC can end with a romanced male Warden and Morrigan staying together for good).
    • In Dragon Age II, Varric is a snarky scoundrel with a budding crossbow fetish whose companion base is in the local Bad Guy Bar, who has no problem with handing out the occasional summary execution if someone really has it coming. He's also, deep down, one of the nicest people in your party, especially to Merrill — at one point he tells her to stop cutting through Lowtown alleys at night because while nothing ever goes wrong when she does so, arranging for that nothing to continue happening is costing Varric a fortune.
  • Tharja from Fire Emblem: Awakening is the creepy dark mage who only seems to care about casting hexes and obsessing over the team's tactician. If you view some of her supports with other characters, however, she actually does a lot of things out of kindness, such as finding out where Nowi's parents are and trying to shield her from the truth that they're dead, or mind-controlling Virion into helping her comrades around the camp.
  • Knight Bewitched 2: Even after being freed from Lilith's master, Lissandra is still very haughty and rude to the party, and seemingly shows no sadness when they Mercy Kill her brother. After the credits, she secretly visits her brother's grave and swears to defeat Lilith's master.
  • Nick from Left 4 Dead 2 is infamous for his Jerkass comments, but when healing Ellis or Rochelle, he'll often say something along the lines of, "Don't tell the others... I'm only doing this for you."
    • He will also say it to Coach, but only very rarely.
    • Nick has a combination of both Jerkass lines and extremely sympathetic lines (you can hear them all in the audio listing). While some lines are callous, especially regarding Ellis or Rochelle's deaths, in others his rather simple lines are delivered with heart-felt grief or compassion (even for Ellis). Especially true for Coach's deaths, some of which sound like Nick is utterly crushed by the loss of the heart of the team.
  • Minecraft: Story Mode: Petra is known for being a hothead, and in Season 2 she goes behind Jesse's back twice. But she cares very much about her friends, and is "a big old softy" deep down.
  • Persona:
    • Shinjiro Aragaki from Persona 3 fosters the identity of an intimating loner, and often gets embarrassed when people discover his softer side.
    • Persona 4:
      • Kanji Tatsumi puts up the guise of a Delinquent to hide his softer side and enjoyment of things most people would consider "unmanly", such as making clothes and dolls. A major part of his Character Development is based around him learning to be comfortable with himself without relying on his facade.
      • It's implied that Kinshiro Morooka's Jerkass tendencies toward his students is really him using Tough Love to push them to their limits, though he doesn't last long enough for the player to learn if this is the case.
    • Sojiro Sakura from Persona 5 puts on a tough front towards Joker early on, but it quickly becomes apparent that this is just a facade and he's actually very warm and friendly.
  • Flannery, the Lavaridge Town Gym Leader in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, is a sweet girl who tries to act tough and intimidating in emulation of her grandfather, the former Gym Leader. Emphasis on tries — Flannery is endearingly terrible at keeping up the facade and drops it entirely after the player defeats her.
  • Don Paolo does this in Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. Despite being Layton's self-determined nemesis, the Big Bad of the first game, and also causing trouble in the second game, he comes to the aid of the heroes, most notably by repairing Layton's car (and giving it awesome upgrades) so the professor can rescue his adopted daughter, who has been kidnapped. When Layton attempts to thank him, he snaps at him.
    Don't get emotional on me, Layton. I'm only doing this for Flora.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2: Arthur Morgan is one. Towards most of the strangers, he will usually mock or scoff at them but ultimately agrees to help. In one case a black doctor has his wagon stolen by a bunch of racists; after hearing that the doctor was working for free to help people, Arthur tells him to wait and goes off to retrieve his wagon without promise of pay or reward, he simply does it out of the (small speck of) goodness in his heart.
  • In Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, the Battleaxe Nurse Bertha will join your character if you choose "Spare Leon".
  • Scarlet Nexus: Shiden, often making Suspiciously Specific Denial statements to the rest of The Squad and being a contrarian. It’s shown to be a rebellious reaction to Shiden’s overly doting parents. It takes until his last bonding event with Yuito to admit that he was wrong in thinking at first Yuito was weak, and in Kasane’s story he outright admits to being the trope.
  • Dr. Kauffman at the end of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories gently telling Cheryl that her father is dead and that she needs to go on with her life.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Shadow is a violent, egotistical Jerkass whose actions border on out-and-out villainy on occasion, but he's always on the side of justice and he genuinely cares about others, even if it's very hard to see.
    • Rouge may be a thief and is obsessed with jewelry, but she's far from being one of the bad guys. When push comes to shove, she will help others and do the right thing in spite of her selfishness.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • Light side-aligned player characters in the Imperial faction pretty much live by this.
    • When feeling particularly charitable, a Smuggler will sometimes ask the person they help to not say anything about it, for they have "a reputation to uphold."

    Visual Novels 
  • Ban from Spirit Hunter: NG constantly bickers with the cast and pretends to be tolerant at best of Akira, but after Akira is arrested, Rosé reveals that he was secretly worried and offered up a prayer for Akira's safety.
  • Prosecutor Barok van Zieks from The Great Ace Attorney initially comes off as a cold, stern racist Jerkass Amoral Attorney. His hidden nice side is only revealed to his few close friends, like Albert Harebrayne. He also begins to show Ryunosuke more respect as the game progresses, to the point where van Ziek's nickname for Ryunosuke, "my learned friend", stops sounding so sarcastic and rings true.

  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl has Paulo and Lucy; Paulo tries to keep up an outward appearance of being a Ladies' Man, but deep down he actually respects the women around him and is always happy to help them out for completely altruistic reasons. Likewise, Lucy has a prickly exterior but is a total sweetheart towards her pets.
  • In Dumbing of Age, Sarah generally presents herself as a "bitchy killjoy misanthrope", but she actually does care about her roommate Joyce.
  • The Nightmare Knight from Cucumber Quest might be an ancient evil that has tried to conquer Dreamside for thousands of years...but we do get to see a few glimpses into his softer side when push comes to shove.
    • The first is any time he interacts with Princess Parfait. He saves her from a couple of bullies, is willing to engage in conversation when she's alone, and secretly delivers letters to her boyfriend.
    • The second is from a Wham Shot in chapter two: his minions Noisemaster and Mutemaster are about to successfully blow up the city of Trebleopolis... until the blast is dissipated by a starry, purple barrier that is very heavily hinted and confirmed to be put up by the Nightmare Knight. He lets someone else take the credit for it, of course, because he still needs to be known as the bad guy.
  • My Deepest Secret: Downplayed with Hanamika. Most of her standoffishness is revealed to be due to her introverted personality rather than any true unfriendliness, and she's a perfectly decent person beneath it all.
  • In Weak Hero, after being picked on one too many times, Gerard takes on the persona of Mad Hound so he can beat down bullies before they have a chance to attack him first. While he tries his hardest to become a standoffish badass, it's all too obvious that he's still a goofy, kind-hearted boy.
    Gerard: [to himself, after saving a child from being run over] Don't look so nice. Put on your scary face. Mad Hound. Mad Hound.

    Web Original 
  • The Amazing Atheist: While it's admittedly very well hidden, he does seem to care about injustice and often rants about bad people.
  • In My Grandfather's World War II Journal, Jean is introduced as an Abusive Husband towards his sweet and frail wife, Elise, while also having an affair with a waitress named Fiona. It isn't until his dying moments that Jean reveals what kind of man he really is: A loving husband who made a Deal with the Devil to cure his wife's fatal illness in exchange for Jean binding himself to the demon. The demon returned 30 days after Elise's recovery in the form of Fiona and made Jean its Sex Slave while also ordering him to never show any affection toward his wife.
  • The Other Guy (not Rob) from Channel Awesome. Brags about being the shadowy puppet-master of The Nostalgia Critic, but also shows concern for him when the Critic's not lucid enough to notice.

    Western Animation 
  • Final Space: Clarence ultimately. It's initially ambiguous whether he truly cares for his adoptive children Ash and Fox or he just sees them as valuable muscle and is being a Benevolent Boss to keep them around. Whilst Clarence does betray them with the rest of the Team Squad based on wounded pride, even causing serious injury to Fox (although threatening Fox's life was unintentional on his part), his final appearance in Season 3 after he's had some time to realize that being a piece of scum all his life has done nothing for him but leave him completely alone confirms that yes, he does indeed love Ash and Fox.
  • Bender from Futurama:
    Bender: You all go without me. I'm gonna take one last look around. Y'know, for uh, steal.
    Fry: You're going back for the countess, aren't you?
    Bender: [He pulls Fry aside.] ...All right, I am. But I don't want the others to know! If I don't come back, just say I died robbing some old man!
    Fry: I'll tell 'em you went out prying the wedding ring off his cold, dead finger.
    Bender: I love you, buddy! [He hugs Fry.]
  • Helga G. Pataki from Hey Arnold! started using this in preschool in response to Harold teasing her over her crush on Arnold, becoming a Loving Bully in the process.
  • Roxy from Jem is usually presented as a hard-as-nails Jerkass; however, when she leaves The Misfits in one episode, her nicer side appears. While she's still not a Nice Girl, she's much happier and sweeter than when she is around Pizzazz.
  • Kaeloo: On rare occasions, Mr. Cat has proven that he does care deeply about Kaeloo, Stumpy, and Quack-Quack, and he does nice things for people. He explains to Quack-Quack that he believes that nice people get "stepped on" so he makes every effort to appear mean and tough to avoid being bullied himself.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: Mertle's sidekicks Yuki, Elena, and Teresa are revealed to be not as mean as they thought at one point, and they let Lilo and Stitch know they're only mean to her whenever Mertle is around, to her insist. In reality, the girls secretly despise Mertle.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Mitchell hides behind a jerk facade as revealed in the Christmas Episode. Mitchell acts mean to Jet and his friends, and Mitchell claims that he "doesn't do friends", but Mitchell isn't really mean, he's really just a lonely kid who wants to join Jet's group of friends, but doesn't know how to fit in. Mitchell can be really caring and sweet when the situation calls for it, especially towards Mindy. Fortunately, he gets his happy ending.
  • In the The Simpsons episode "Homer Loves Flanders", Flanders recognizes Moe as the guy who reads to children at the hospital. The latter's response?
    Moe: [Grabbing Flanders] If this gets out, the next words you say will be muffled by your own butt.
    • And then a later scene shows Moe reading to the homeless as well.
      • And being reduced to tears by what he's reading (the end of Little Women).
    • Bart also has this going on, due to being an Affection-Hating Kid.
      Marge: Do you think you're being nice enough to your sister, Bart?
      Bart: Oh yeah, easy.
      Marge: You do love her, don't you?
      Bart: Oh, Mom.
      Marge: Well, you do, don't you?
      Bart: Don't make me say it! I know the answer, you know the answer, he [Homer] knows the answer. Let's just drop it, okay?
  • Touched upon in a Thomas & Friends episode "Diesel and the Ducklings". Diesel, who is known to be an obnoxious bully to the steam engines and boasts about diesels being superior over them, is shown to be sweet and gentle to ducklings. When Thomas spots him with the ducklings, Diesel tells him not to tell the other engines about his soft side, thinking they will laugh at him. Thomas promises, but with the condition that Diesel must be nice to the steam engines. Throughout the episode, Diesel finds it hard to be nice, especially when his friends Arry and Bert are around. When Thomas finds out that Diesel failed to live up to his promise, he decides to show Arry and Bert the ducklings Diesel was talking to, which nearly leads to him harming them. After Diesel had stopped him from running to them, Thomas praises him for his heroism, which he denies. That is until Arry and Bert begin showing affection towards the ducklings like Diesel has. The episode ends with Thomas stating that all three diesels are big softies at heart when it comes to ducklings.
  • Duncan from Total Drama. When DJ loses his pet bunny, he lures a new one close by with food and pretends it must have just been hiding. His "girlfriend" catches him, but he denies it. He got called on it again in a later episode by Leshawna, (his girlfriend told her) when she denied his claim that he was completely heartless, and then Duncan admits he lost a pet once too and didn't want DJ to suffer like that.
    • In the final episode of TDA, Chris shows the audience that Duncan would wake up in the middle of the night to tuck his teammates in while they were sleeping. All together now: awwww.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Jerkass Facade


Duncan's soft side

Duncan, the resident bad boy, tries to deny that he found a new bunny for DJ, not wanting to be seen as soft.

How well does it match the trope?

4.96 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / HiddenHeartOfGold

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