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Jerkass Ball

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This is when Taking a Level in Jerkass is plot-requested. Sometimes, an otherwise nice person becomes a Jerkass unexpectedly, most likely to advance the plot or sometimes simply for humor value.

In-story, the sudden change in behavior can have a variety of reasons. Sometimes they're mundane everyday reasons such as merely having a bad day and can include longer-term ones such as intense levels of stress over an extensively period of time. Others could because of certain scenarios; maybe that one activity just has them lose their patience. Sometimes the Jerkass Ball is a more literal thing, such as alcohol and the character in question being a mean drunk. Of course, supernatural, paranormal or abnormal items being the literal Jerkass Ball is common too; the portrayal of Superman under the effects of Red Kryptonite is an example.


If done to deliberately take The Straight Man or Nice Guy down a peg, it counts as Not So Above It All.

Opposite of Kindness Ball.

Common in You Go, Girl! plots, where male characters who have never demonstrated any kind of sexist behavior before suddenly turn into raging Straw Misogynists.

Acquired Situational Narcissism is a specific ego centered example of this trope.

May overlap with Not Himself, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!, Depending on the Writer and Comedic Sociopathy. If done in a particularly exaggerated manner that in no way befits their normal characterization it is likely an Out-of-Character Moment or a Moment of Weakness. If the character has not actually become a Jerkass, but merely presented that way, it's Superdickery. Not to be confused with the Haters' Ball.

Despite being a temporary change of personality plot wise, characters can eventually snap themselves out of it, leading them to an apology and/or a reconcilement scenario between the other characters during the plot.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Ranma ½, Ranma's dad Genma was always a bit of a careless jerk, but definitely took a level with the introduction of the Nekoken (a super-secret technique that can only be taught by torturing children), turning him from Bumbling Dad to insane, nightmare dad. It's also a case of Never Live It Down, since he rarely does anything else that approaches that level of horrific stupidity.
  • In the Doraemon 2014 reboot episode "Noby the Robot", Noby firmly grasps the ball as he shirks all responsibilities by making miniature robot versions of his friends and bossing them around. Of course, this ends badly for him and his mom denies supper until he pulls all of the weeds himself like she asked.
  • As much as the Juuni Senshi Bakuretsu Eto Ranger tend to get on each others' nerves already, the team was collectively being cruel even by their standards during the first part of Episode 5, as the show wanted Tart to feel the need to change into her Hotter and Sexier Second Form.
    Hols: Tart! Hurry up and move that big butt of yours off me, somewhere else!
    Tart: What? Well, I'm sorry my butt is big! Leave me alone!
    Nyorori: Telling a lady her butt is big is terribly rude nyorori.
    Hols: But it's true!
    Bakumaru: So, then, the one with the big butt didn't mean to say that... let's find the Ugly Duckling!
    Bakumaru: What do you think, Tart?
    Tart: (Inner Monologue) No matter what, my butt is big]]...
    Bakumaru: What is it? Are you still worked up over what happened earlier?
    Urii: What happened earlier?
    Nyorori: Yeah, it's ugly, nyorori.
    Hols: Yeah, it's ugly.
    Tart: (growls) I'll always be the ugly, big-butt bird! You guys' constant chatter is irritating. Hmmph...
    Bakumaru: Hey! Wait, Tart!... Jeez, acting all saucy... Who are you? The one calling herself ugly, big-butt, and hysterical?
    Urii: You added one more.
    Bakumaru: ... ah, did I?...
  • Even after Sakura's Character Development in the manga, the Naruto fillers tend to ignore that for the sake of comedy.
  • Throughout Year 2 of Amazing Agent Luna, Luna, Francesca, and Oliver all grip it tightly at various points for a variety of reasons, from Fantastic Racism towards the science-y to feelings of near-total abandonment.

    Comic Books 
  • Black Canary Deconstruction. During the Cry for Justice and Rise and Fall storylines, Black Canary (Dinah Lance) abandons her husband Green Arrow I (Oliver Queen) and her adopted son Speedy I/Arsenal/Red Arrow I (Roy Harper). When Oliver is in prison for the murder of Prometheus, she returns her wedding ring and declares their marriage over. When Roy goes back to using heroin after the pain in his right arm becomes too unbearable because of the infection and the horrible prosthetic Cyborg made, she officially considers him a lost cause. It is implied that Dinah was traumatized because of the events of the story and was lashing out at them. In Birds of Prey, it is revealed Dinah harbors a huge amount of guilt for her actions and regrets abandoning them when they needed her the most.
  • Justice League: Cry for Justice hands the ball to several heroes, making them increasingly violent and sadistic in their efforts to track down criminals. The worst of them is Ray Palmer, who tortures information out of Killer Moth by shrinking to a microscopic size, entering his brain and enlarging slightly to simulate a stroke—the same method Jean Loring used to kill Sue Dibny.
  • Superman: Distant Fires had Captain Marvel not only become arrogant and power-hungry, but the main villain of the comic, trying to kill Superman for leadership. Keep in mind that Captain Marvel is usually one of the more kindly DC Superheroes. Though then again, this was an independent comic and was never canon.
  • In Green Lantern: Rebirth, after Parallax, the cosmic horror living embodiment of fear, has started wreaking havoc on Earth, the recently returned Hal Jordan gets ready to lead the rest of the Earth Green Lanterns against it... and Batman stops him for no reason other than being unreasonably paranoid and distrustful.
  • X-Men:
    • Professor X has a notorious habit of clinging on to the Ball at times. For example, at the very beginning of The Dark Phoenix Saga, Charles has freshly returned from space, and after a few weeks with the X-Men Cyclops finds Wolverine storming out of the Danger Room in a bad mood, telling Cyke to tell the Prof he's not going to be treated like a kid. Cyclops goes to chat with the Professor, and tries telling him the current X-Men team are not a bunch of teenagers in need of guidance, but grown adults who know full well what they're doing and how to do it. Chuck's response? "Yes, that's your fault, and I'm going to have to do something about it." Cyclops doesn't manage to get through to him before they're distracted by Cerebro going off.
    • In Classic X-Men, Bobby/Iceman isn't pleased at all with all these strangers joining what he considers his family, even when they are being friendly to him. He outright attacks Thunderbird (basically reinforcing Thunderbird's notoriously crappy attitude to the other X-Men).

    Fan Works 
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton
    • Clover try to set up Alex with one of Dash friends Dale even those she know Alex is dating Danny, because Danny not into sports like Alex. And when Dale try to attack Alex for not leaving Danny for him, Clover did not care. To be fair accounting to Word of God, Dash stoping Dale attacking Alex for pragmatic reasons was the reason she did nothing.
    • Clover dumped Dash for Ron because he was temporary rich, then went back to Dash when Ron lost his money, only to regretted not staying with Ron when she learn that he get his money back. Yes Dash a jerk, but at the time he did nothing to deserve that.
    • During the So Totally the Drama arc when Clover learn that Kim and Ron we're dating she was disgusted, she mock the both of them behind there back, whispering to Alex that Kim is either desperate or hoping Ron would become rich again. Despite the fact that she dated Ron for his money and regret dumping him when she learn he get his money back.
  • Total Drama What If Series Sky gets a huge one. Just like Leshawna, she pretends to cry so her team would let her be with her sister. Unlike Leshawna, when she was exposed, she doesn't feel bad for it and to add insult to injury, she insults the remaining contestants behind their back and still doesn't apologize. This disgusting and vile behavior gets her eliminated.

  • The Phantom (1943): Byron, Diana's love interest in the expedition, gets handed one near the end, revealing that he's only in it for a cut of the lost treasure, and selling out to the bad guys after Professor Davidson points out that if the expedition finds any treasure it will probably go into a museum.
  • Muppets Most Wanted has the Muppets themselves (except for Kermit, Animal and Walter) get hit with this. They let their own egos get the better of them to the detriment of their stage show and spend much of the film treating Kermit rather inconsiderately, from shoving him aside in favor of Dominic to not noticing that his identity has been stolen by Constantine despite how blatantly obvious it is. Even Fozzie, Gonzo, and Scooter - usually three of the nicest Muppets around - aren't immune to this. It isn't until Constantine under his Kermit guise publicly proposes to Miss Piggy do they start to get better (they express concern over what will happen to to the world tour and them after Kermit (alias Constantine) and Piggy are married. He tells them they now have all the freedom they want and that he's done with the Muppets, leaving them devastated and depressed) and they drop it completely when Constantine is exposed.

  • The Demon Headmaster: In The Prime Minister's Brain, Dinah grabs it when she falls victim to the card inviting her to the Junior Computer Brain Of The Year Competition and starts an argument with Mrs. Hunter over wanting to go to the competition. She's immensely guilty once she's back under her own control and apologizes to Mrs. Hunter.
  • One of the reasons why Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a Contested Sequel is because of Harry's more abrasive characterization. When he's not brooding, he's yelling at his friends and teachers, and breaking up with Cho for calling out Hermione on permanently disfiguring her friend for cracking under pressure against Umbridge. In this case, the reason is due to intense levels of stress with the return of Voldemort and more prominently, being left in the dark about it... not to mention the Ministry more or less conspiring to keep everyone in the dark about it. It's also implied that a large bit of it is pent-up aggression from the events with the past 4 books. In the early chapters, he gives a colossal rant to Ron and Hermione about everything he dealt with and how he's left in the dark since Voldemort's return despite being a prime target and fully knowing what the dark wizard can do.
  • Septimus Heap: The usually nice titular character was rather mean to his sister Jenna at the beginning of Darke, for ostensibly no reason other than to disregard her warnings about a building danger in the Palace.
  • Star Wars Legends: There's a point in Galaxy of Fear where Tash starts pulling away from and being more mean to her brother, which confuses him; since their parents died she's halfway been Promoted to Parent, halfway a partner in their close Brother–Sister Team. Partly this serves to get her involved in the plot, but it's also partly because Tash is almost fourteen, growing up and not needing to be as close anymore. She quickly softens and apologizes for being mean, but while they stay close, in later books there's more distance between them than in the first six.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Penny tends to get stuck with this often despite being quite a Nice Girl in her "normal mode". Usually it's done in order to create conflict between her and Leonard.
    • Bernadetta starts grabbing it in later seasons, becoming increasingly shrill and bossy, particularly towards Howard. Then there's that episode where her Competition Freak tendencies surface, like yelling at Leonard so much during a scavenger hunt she set off an asthma attack.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a short list of those who played with this ball... Buffy Summers, Dawn Summers, Xander Harris, Willow Rosenberg, Rupert Giles, Angel, Spike, Oz, Tara Maclay, Riley Finn, Anya... examples include going off the rails from trauma, anger at the actions of another character, being a Bratty Half-Pint or needing to Shoot the Dog, or Not Himself, or Token Evil Teammate, to cut a very long story short Joss Whedon's Signature Style is Rule of Drama and happiness is boring, anything to twist the knife and twist the characters to pull this off will be done.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Reign of Terror", Ian makes a sarcastic comment about the Doctor's driving skills. The Doctor suddenly forgets all of the Character Development he's had since the series starts and announces that he's going to just dump Ian and Barbara in wherever the next place they land as punishment for being ungrateful.
    • In "The Dæmons", the Third Doctor becomes quite uncharacteristically nasty, in particular aggressively bullying a UNIT technician for only having twentieth-century scientific knowledge, and encouraging Jo to make fun of the Brigadier but then coldly accusing her of insubordination. It's probably meant to be because of how genuinely scared he is of Azal, but this isn't explicitly stated in the story.
    • In "The Brain of Morbius", the Doctor forces Sarah to continue helping him investigate Solon's experiment despite the fact that she was recently blinded and is freaking out and begging him to take her back to the TARDIS. The story even gives him a good excuse not to go back to the TARDIS anyway since the Sisterhood stole it, but this isn't mentioned by anyone and the TARDIS isn't even shown heavily in the scene of their escape from the Sisterhood, making it come across as if he's putting Sarah into a dangerous situation out of sheer lack of caring.
    • "Time Crash": The Fifth Doctor begins the minisode uncharacteristically angry, but calms down once the other occupant of the TARDIS reveals his identity.
  • Girl Meets World's Farkle grabs onto of it in the episode "Girl Meets Crazy Hat", when he decides to make muffins made of nothing but sugar.
  • A first-season episode of Gotham has Gordon catch it after practically the whole GCPD abandons him to Zsasz, to the point where he actively screws over one cop at one point in the episode.
  • House of Anubis- There's one part in season three where Fabian rejects Joy. Being the nicest guy in the house next to Alfie, one would expect him to let her down gently like he'd done all throughout season two. Instead he rejected her in an incredibly harsh way, leaving her utterly heartbroken and to quit Sibuna.
  • Power Rangers Super Megaforce: In "Spirit of the Tiger", a Monster of the Week steals the team's weapons. This causes Troy to inexplicably suffer from this trope, chastising the rest of his team for letting go of their weapons for the majority of the episode (despite the fact that the team is still able to fight using the powers of Wild Force) - something he continues to do even after Jake and Gia learn from Casey Rhodes how to use some kung-fu. Although Megaforce is often criticized for being a Shot-for-Shot Remake of both Tensou Sentai Goseiger and Kaizoku Sentai Gokaigernote , it's worth noting that this is something that wasn't in the latter at all, since while Marvelous (Troy's sentai counterpart) was annoyed by the events of the corresponding episode in the Sentai, he didn't take it out on his fellow Gokaigers.
  • In Sex and the City, Carries grabs this many times over the course of the show:
    • When on a trip with Samantha after taking a long, stressful train journey, Carrie kicks Samantha out of her room when she's having a bath because she wants to have sex with Big.
    • She invites Big (the man she cheated on him with) to Aidan's country house, without asking Aidan his permission.
    • When Miranda accidentally pulls her neck so badly she can't move, Carrie sends Aidan to go help her, even though Miranda fell in the bathroom and is naked, then when Carrie comes over to apologise and brings bagels, she forgets the cream cheese and derails the conversation to whining about how Aidan hasn't forgiven her for cheating on him. Miranda calls her on it.
    • After Samantha gets a chemical peel that badly burns her face and tries to cancel attending Carrie's book launch, but comes anyway when Carrie begs her to. When Samantha shows up, Carrie demands she take her veil off, then after Samantha does, all Carrie does is mock her appearance.
    • When Carrie and Miranda are having a double date with their exes, Steve and Aidan, Carrie decides she wants Aidan back, so she forces Miranda to leave and take Steve with her.
    • Carrie gets angry at Charlotte for not offering her money after Aidan tells her she has to move out and shows up at her apartment to yell at her. Charlotte retorts that Carrie is thirty-five years old and needs to learn to take responsibility for her own finances.
  • In Smallville, red kryptonite is Clark's personal Jerkass Ball.
  • Captain Archer from Star Trek: Enterprise played around with the Jerkass ball in the episode "A Night In Sickbay", rudely dismissing the idea of the Kreetassans being insulted because Porthos relieved himself on a tree (the fact that he brought his dog on a strange alien planet is a bit looney in itself), whining because they won't give them the plasma Injector that they need without him apologizing first, threatening to whiz on their trees himself, and berating everybody around him. The story writes in that this is because of his sexual tension with T'Pol.
  • The X-Files: Agent Mulder seems to be holding the Jerkass Ball in "Beyond The Sea". He's compassionate enough and he genuinely feels for Scully who is dealing with the loss of her father. He actually calls her Dana several times and suggests her some time off. But he also mocks her for only slightly tending to believe in Boggs, a Serial Killer with Psychic Powers, even though that's something he does all the time. Moreover, he reproaches her for following Boggs's leads (suggesting that it is foolish) and then for not admitting the truth to the investigating team (implying that she is not honest). When she returns to her usual rational explanation at the end, Mulder backs off and asks her why she cannot believe after all she has seen. He was seriously messing with her, probably still not trusting her entirely. Mind you, Agent Scully was originally assigned on the X-Files Unit to spy on him and to debunk his work, but they were seen working well together in episodes that preceded this one.

    Video Games 
  • The boss fight against Mister Freeze in Batman: Arkham City only occurs due to both characters suffering from this trope. Batman is dying from The Joker's infected blood, and Mr Freeze is the only one able to create a cure, so they work together. Upon getting Freeze what he needs to complete the cure, Freeze suddenly decides to destroy one of the two phials and use the only remaining one to blackmail Batman into finding his wife Nora. Instead of simply agreeing to this (which he promised to do anyway earlier), Batman attacks him, forcing Mr Freeze to go all-out in self-defense. They immediately go back to being allies after the fight and never mention it again, and thanks to their fight, Harley Quinn steals the cure.
  • In Fire Emblem Gaiden, an offscreen example happens in the A rank event of Mathilda and Clive's support. Clair, Clive's younger sister, berates Mathilda for showing up Clive on the battlefield, saying it's "unbecoming" of her. Not only does Clair never express these beliefs anywhere else in the game, but she's completely respectful of Mathilda in their supports ("You truly are strong, Mathilda. I hope that I might learn from your courage."), and you can compare the two here.

  • In Gunnerkrigg Court Chapter 31 "Fire Spike", the cool-headed and stoic Annie argues with much-less-cool-headed Reynardine, beginning with copying her friend Kat's homework, effectively leading to revealing to him a secret that her mother has kept from him her entire life, one that Annie had learned about not 10 minutes ago. She harshly hammers the nail into him about it for little reason until he retaliates in frustration by making what is essentially The Reveal to her. Annie generally never acts this way and doesn't have much reason other than being visibly frustrated previously, but as a whole she's generally stoic.

    Western Animation 
  • In the The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Hero", Nicole and Anais become flat-out abusive, denying Gumball and Darwin necessities such as food and use of the shower, along with trying to brain them with cement cupcakes, just because they were complaining about their father at school.
    • "The Words" sees Darwin, very reminiscently of Fluttershy from My Little Pony, take a lesson in assertiveness too far when he ends up hurting everyone else's feelings when he begins airing out his pet peeves he has with them. It takes Gumball giving him a literal verbal smackdown to get him to see the error of his ways.
  • Arthur:
    • An egregious example of this happens in the episode "So Funny I Forgot To Laugh". Arthur, an established Nice Guy and a frequent bullying target, temporarily gets derailed into a bully just because the writers needed someone to harass one of his classmates over a sweater and deliver an anti-bullying Aesop.
    • Jane and David Read are normally two of the nicest parents in any kids cartoon, but in the infamous episode "Arthur's Big Hit" they grab this by first not letting Arthur tell them why he punched D.W. in the first place and then when Binky punches Arthur, they tell him that he now knows how D.W. felt when he punched her. instead of telling Binky's parents about it.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Aang is normally a Cheerful Child and All-Loving Hero, but there are two notable instances in the series that take an unfortunate toll on him — in "The Desert", after Appa gets kidnapped, he goes into a severe state of emotional stress and spends a good chunk of the episode being rather grumpy and confrontational, only calming down after Katara brings him out of the Avatar state with a Cooldown Hug. Later on, in the first quarter of "Sozin's Comet", after being told by basically everyone that killing Ozai is the only option for him, he stubbornly refuses to do such a thing (in his defense, though, he is a monk, so it's not surprising that he would hold that view) and forces his friends to come up with another solution before running off in frustration.
    • Similarly, Katara is prone to doing this from time to time as well despite being the calm and sensible Team Mom of the group. Here are a few examples for proof:
      • She has a brief moment in "The Waterbending Scroll", when after Aang subconsciously bests her at waterbending, she yells at him out of jealousy. After Sokka gives her a "What was that for?" look and she sees Aang beginning to cry, she has a Jerkass Realization and apologises.
      • When Zuko joins the group after finally making a Heel–Face Turn, she is the last person to trust him and is rather spiteful towards him on a few occasions, such as when she teases him about how his firebending skills have dropped in quality in "The Firebending Masters" and making a mean-spirited remark towards him about what happened to her mother in "The Southern Raiders". In the latter episode, she also bluntly tells Sokka that he didn't love her mother as much as she did after deciding to locate her murderer. After she and Zuko confront the murderer, she finally reverts back to her normal personality and fully accepts him into the group.
  • The Dragon Prince: When Callum is in a coma because of his use of dark magic, Rayla spends two episodes being angry at him for doing so even though he did it to save her life. To be fair, however, she still gives him doting care and throws in a gentle word of encouragement every now and again. Subverted when she begins to understand how serious Callum's fever dream, or dark magic coma, is after Callum begins having trouble breathing.
  • Combination of this and Idiot Ball in The Dreamstone, Rufus is usually extremely obedient and friendly to the point of being saccharine. Whenever the plot calls for the Urpneys to steal the Dreamstone however, he seems to gain an arrogant streak, disobeying the Dream Maker's orders and messing with the stone so as to give the villains an opening.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • Normally the nice girl, Nazz gets this from time to time, the most jarring example is in the episode "To Sir With Ed", when she humiliates Eddy in his house when she was supposed to be babysitting him. She also always laughs along with the other kids when the Eds are humiliated, but this probably is more about her being Not So Above It All.
    • Ed in "Little Ed Blue" as well. While many see his anger in this episode more as Took a Level in Badass since he managed to tell Sarah off and gave Kevin a well-deserved beating, as well as his constant pummeling on Eddy, he still qualifies here since he nearly snapped Plank in two by the end, which would've been the case had Jonny not taken out the pebble in Ed's shoe.
    • Even Edd, the most sympathetic and arguably the nicest character on the whole show, has his rare moments where he can come across as a major douchebag. A great example of this is shown in "Sorry, Wrong Ed" when he becomes completely callous of all the precarious predicaments Eddy gets into in the hands of the curse of the telephone. Even when Eddy gets trampled by hippos and even zapped by lightning right in front of Edd, Edd, again, considers it all a coincidence and even smiles at the pain Eddy suffers in the end, which has him getting the impression that being right is more important than the well-being of his friend.
    • Jimmy is more prone to holding it in later seasons of the show. It's mostly due to flanderization. A famous example is in the episode "If It Smells Like an Ed", when he frames all three Eds because Eddy gave him a wedgie. While Eddy deserved it, Ed and Edd were punished simply because they stood by Eddy's side.
  • The Fairly Oddparents: The plot of "The Great Fairy Share Scare" seems to require Timmy to be an incredibly selfish Jerkass in order to make the plot work. This is pretty glaring as he had been seeing some Character Rerailment after being a jerk in some of the previous seasons. In fact, most of the post-Chloe episodes require him to be an even bigger jerk than normal to contrast her Incorruptible Pure Pureness.
  • Nearly every Family Guy character is prone to this based on Rule of Funny. Lois and Brian, who by default are somewhat straight-faced and fairly empathetic characters, can become selfish, vindictive and outright sociopathic jerks if it helps with the shock value comedy. To a lesser extent Seth McFarlane's other works are prone to this as well.
    • This was used so many times with Lois and Brian that eventually they just became full-blown Jerk Asses by default.
  • Goof Troop has a couple of instances:
    • In "Queasy Rider", the resident Extreme Doormat Nice Guy PJ is shown laughing at his friend, Max, after Max was humiliated. Later, after Max is being somewhat rude to him, PJ deliberately sets an overflowing hose off on Max. It's not unheard of for PJ to get revenge, but it usually requires more provocation, and regardless of circumstances, he otherwise never does anything worse to Max than be brutally honest.
    • "Bringin' on the Rain" takes a character who's already consistently a Jerkass, Pete, and turns his Jerkassery Up to Eleven. He likes to mistreat his neighbor, Goofy and his son, PJ, but he generally doesn't do both in the same episode, and when he does, the offense to one is small or subtle; sometimes he won't blatantly torment either one. In this episode he is crueler than usual to both of them: deliberately getting Goofy arrested for "two consecutive life terms" just so he could win a gardening contest and forcing PJ to do difficult manual labor during a drought while consciously depriving him of fluids. He has no remorse for any of his actions, only relenting about Goofy's treatment once caught, and acknowledging PJ's as if it weren't a problem twice. In the end, his punishment is left up to the viewer's imagination.
    • In "Inspector Goofy", Goofy, Peg, and PJ all carry one. Goofy for engaging in Selective Enforcement after promising not to, Peg by having no sympathy when said selective enforcement results in Pete getting kicked out of the house and taunting him with food, and PJ for using one of his two lines to suggest selling Pistol to the circus. This is more jarring if you think that Goofy and PJ are typically the nicest characters on the show. In particular, Goofy usually doesn't do anything deliberately mean, and PJ almost never strikes first and seldom strikes back. While Peg can be ruthless in enforcing her rules, she typically doesn't do anything blatantly cruel.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • Arnold, who's normally a nice kid who acts as The Conscience to his peers, has taken the Jerkass Ball on occasion. The most notable incidents are in "New Teacher" and especially "Egg Story".
      • In "New Teacher", Arnold's teacher Ms. Slovak retires from teaching and is replaced with Mr. Simmons. Although Simmons is a nice man who is very passionate about teaching, the students don't like him very much due to his effeminate personality, so they decide to bully him to the point that he quits. Not only does Arnold not object to it, he joins in on it!
      • In "Egg Story", Arnold and Helga are partnered together to care for an egg as an exercise in parenting. Helga, rather than be a Loving Bully to Arnold, decides to try and be nice to him for once. Before she can, Arnold rips her a new asshole, telling Helga that he is done tolerating her abuse (understandable, but Helga hasn't done anything bad to him up to this point) that he doesn't like her (obviously untrue, since Arnold has admitted to liking Helga in the past and knows that she's not a bad person deep down) and would rather work with anyone else but her (they've successfully worked together several times before this episode, aside from the "Biosquare" project). While it was probably done as Karmic Retribution to Helga for all the times she was mean to Arnold, Arnold is so much of a dick in this episode that it's difficult to take his side. Helga gets furious and rightfully calls Arnold a "big, dumb jerk." The two spend the rest of the episode arguing as a result.
    • Phoebe takes the Jerkass Ball in "Hall Monitor" after Helga teaches her to stop being an Extreme Doormat so that she can be a better hall monitor (Helga being the former Hall monitor.) Phoebe takes it way too far, and has to be talked down by Helga at the end of the episode.
    • Mr. Green in "Harold the Butcher", after getting his Berserk Button pressed by Harold stealing his meat, he is so blinded by his constant grudge against Harold that he acts like a Mean Boss towards Harold when he is punished to work at his shop and then vehemently refused the poor kid's offer to work full-time. However, by the end of the episode, Mr. Green forgives Harold and hired him as his apprentice.
    • "A Day in the Life of a Classroom" has Mr. Simmons hold this when he prepares for the titular documentary. He loses so much sensibility that he even wrote scripts for the students to read off of. Naturally, it goes south during filming (plus at one point, Simmons snaps at Harold and makes him cry), and Arnold points out that Mr. Simmons has always been a great teacher.
  • Hilda: Episode 9, Frida firmly grabs the ball; she tries to make Hilda and David believe a ghost is responsible for the mess in her room, when it’s actually her own doing and till recently a ghost used to clean it up. She lets her friends do pretty much all the work when they help to clean up her room. She gets into two fights with David when he makes fun of her belief that rooms cleaning themselves is normal, and tells her she should accept not being perfect. Finally, when their attempts to get the missing book back fail and David and Hilda try to cheer her up, she lashes out at both of them, eventually driving both her friends away.
  • The rather infamous episode of Justice League Unlimited, "Clash", had Superman take firm hold of the Jerkass Ball, becoming uncharacteristically irrational and antagonistic towards new league member Captain Marvel.
  • The Land Before Time TV series: The episode "Search for the Sky Color Stones" gives one to Ducky and turns her into a greedy, paranoid, deceiving hoarder who would rather hunt for geodes and keep them all to herself, becoming distrustful of her friends and even forgetting about Spike who is helplessly stuck. Especially jarring considering she never acted like that before or after. She does, however, have a Heel Realization after a life-or-geode decision and apologizes to Spike afterwards.
  • The Loud House: Lincoln and his sisters are generally good but flawed kids, but in the first two seasons there are quite a few episodes where they (or at least most of them) are all derailed into unlikable jerks for the sake of the plot. Examples of this are "Sleuth or Consequences", "Making the Grade", "The Green House", "No Suck Luck", and "It's a Loud, Loud, Loud, Loud House". Thankfully, As of Season 3, this has been happening with less frequency.
  • This happens on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic on a regular basis due to the Aesop-centric formula of the show. Some particularly glaring examples are:
    • In "The Ticket Master", when Twilight receives a ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala, everypony starts to chase her for it including her friends- yes, even Fluttershy. As a reminder, this was the first episode after the pilot.
    • In "Bridle Gossip" when Zecora, a zebra comes to town and is the victim of Fantastic Racism by everypony (including the Mane 6 minus Twilight and Apple Bloom, and even then Twilight briefly joins in when their suspicions are seemingly confirmed). Apple Bloom later follows Zecora home to see if the racism is justified and the Mane 6 try to get her back. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Discord, the Big Bad of the Season 2 Premiere has the power to Invoke this trope on others.
      • In the same premiere, Twilight seemed to be holding it because she lost patience with her corrupted friends; when Spike had practical concerns such as Rainbow Dash, who was corrupted at the time, being missing, Twilight doesn't care at all about it and makes him take her place in the Elements of Harmony ritual. This fails for obvious reasons.
    • In "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", Ponyville's insensitivity and impatience almost costs the Apple family their livelihood. In all fairness, the Apple family were also being inconsiderate to their customers, what with making them stand in line all day only to sell out early and leave the ponies in the back empty handed (er, hooved). Would it have killed them to raise the price? Or set up a pre-order system? Or at least limit the amount of cider per customer per day so Pinkie Pie couldn't walk off with a whole load while the others go thirsty?
    • In "Putting Your Hoof Down" Angel treats Fluttershy like crap, forcing her to go to the market so he can eat his favorite foods. Once there everypony hates her guts and tries to take advantage of her. For example a cherry costs her 10 bits but when another pony buys another cherry it costs only 2 bits. Tomatoes are now 2 bits rather than the one they were yesterday. Fluttershy gets assertiveness training from a visiting motivational speech-giving Minotaur named Iron Will, but eventually goes mad with her newfound assertiveness and starts bullying anyone who so much as vaguely inconveniences her. She snaps out of it when she manages to make her friends cry as a result.
    • "Lesson Zero", where the usually reasonable and fair-natured Twilight Sparkle has an outright Sanity Slippage from being tardy in writing a friendship letter, and resorts to causing a problem in order to have material. The other Mane 6 bouncing with the ball laugh at her problem and tell her she is overreacting.
    • Twilight holds it again in "Baby Cakes" when Pinkie Pie finds herself overwhelmed taking care of the Cake twins while Mr and Mrs. Cake are away, especially as Pumpkin starts displaying absurdly powerful bursts of unicorn magic and Pound Cake's wings have come in, smugly telling Pinkie Pie that she knew Pinkie Pie couldn't handle the responsibility of taking care of newborn babies. Pinkie Pie is understandably offended and kicks Twilight out.
    • Held by Pinkie Pie in "Filli Vanilli," where she is really Innocently Insensitive about Fluttershy's severe stage fright. She is called out on this by the rest of the cast though. What makes this more noticeable is that an early episode showed her pranking all of her friends except for Fluttershy, because she was aware that Fluttershy might be too sensitive to handle it, a level of consideration she rarely ever shows again. Also her behavior in "Luna Eclipsed" did NOT help make Princess Luna feel comfortable around her subjects in Ponyville, only managing to make ponies more afraid of the now reformed Princess, though she tries to justify her behavior by claiming she was only pretending to be scared in order to get into the Nightmare Nightnote  spirit.
    • It's also held by Spike in the episode "Secret of My Excess", where he ends up being overcome by a dragon's hoarding instinct and starts abusing the fact that it's his birthday to try and get free stuff from people until it eventually gets out of control and causes him to become a huge, savage dragon.
    • Rainbow Dash holds it occasionally. Some notable examples are a lot of early S1 and S2 episodes where she is very abrasive to her friends, and doesn't seem to care about anyone but herself. One glaring example of this is in "The Mysterious Mare Do Well", though the rest of the Mane Cast's behavior in that episode when trying to get RD to learn a lesson in humility could also count as a accidental Jerkass Ball moment for them, as well. This is to show she's flawed, and she does have plenty of moments where she is nothing short of nice. It's possible she just pretends to be abrasive.
    • The Wonderbolts in "Rainbow Falls". Hoo boy... Not only do they not visit their teammate in the hospital, but they outright replace him with Rainbow Dash. This has led to much backlash against Spitfire.
    • Applejack in "Honest Apple", where she's tasked with critiquing the practicality of some fashion designs and ends up offending everyone who made them by not tactfully filtering her opinions. This has been regarded an out-of-character episode for the normally reserved and humble Applejack, who usually isn't so gung-ho with abrasive and harsh criticism. In fact, this seems more like something Rainbow Dash would do than Applejack!
    • A common complaint with "Fame and Misfortune" is that most of Equestria gets hit with the ball, with even episode writer M.A. Larson utterly despising how the Hasbro executives, the ones who came up with the episode's premise, forced him to write beloved characters as completely unsympathetic jerks. As soon as the Friendship Journal is published for the public to read, kids become over-obsessive about Rainbow Dash while brushing off Twilight Sparkle entirely, and older ponies laugh at everything Pinkie Pie says even though it's not funny, try to insert themselves into Applejack's family life, harass Fluttershy for learning the same lessons over and over again, and boycott Rarity's business because they didn't like her lessons. It reaches its head when mobs of ponies surround Twilight's castle and act like they're fictional characters in-universe, with one saying Twilight's "character" would be more interesting if she'd stayed in Canterlot. The kicker is that, unlike the prior examples, they don't learn their lesson and continue to engage in petty squabbles with each other up until the very end of the episode, with the only exceptions being the newly-introduced Toola Roola and Coconut Cream. This quote from the episode puts it best:
      Pinkie Pie: YOU'VE KNOWN ME FOR YEARS!
  • Shaggy and Scooby got this in one episode of the The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries. Velma, who now works for NASA, invites Daphne, Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy, to a dinner at the White House, in honor of an achievement Velma's made. A TV Crew approaches Velma for an interview. Shaggy and Scooby jump up, push Velma aside, and then begin making faces and saying "Hi mom!". On live TV. Shaggy and Scooby, arguably two of the nicest people in gang, suddenly become obnoxious bastards while their friend, the one who invited them to this prestigious place, was in the middle of being honored. For a gag. Velma's very hurt look throughout the scene does no favors. Fortunately they're back to normal quickly.
  • The early Peanuts special He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown! let nearly the entire cast hold it. Highlights include Snoopy actually physically attacking Charlie Brown and Linus, Peppermint Patty treating Snoopy as a slave, and even Charlie Brown himself at one point nearly strangling Snoopy with a leash!
  • Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls is typically a Nice Girl, with the exception of the episode "Bubblevicious", when she starts beating up citizens for minor offenses. The episode centers on Bubbles becoming frustrated with how her sisters and the professor babying her. She sets to prove them wrong by taking the training simulator Up to Eleven and after some initial trouble, she proceeds to crush the monsters of the simulation and she becomes much more aggressive. She calms down and reverts to her old self when her sisters stop babying her and admit she's hardcore.
  • In the Recess:
    • In the episode "Lost Ball" where Gus accidentally kicks their one good ball over the fence, Mikey is only one of his direct friends who gives him a hard time about it, even though he's supposed to be one of the nicer kids.
    • Then there was the episode where Gus temporarily became King and the power went to his head. Changing the name Kickball to Gusball, changing the school's anthem into a personal vanity song, and imprisoning everyone for the slightest offense, especially when not agreeing to mining for cookies. And if anyone dare try to explain that cookies don't grow in the ground it only makes him more psychotic.
    • King Bob has also handled the Jerkass Ball several times. Arguably, the most egregious example occurs in "Fort Tender," where he doesn't lift a finger to help TJ and his friends regain their eponymous fort from Lawson and his Gang of Bullies on the grounds of a "Finders Keepers" rule. And when Gus protests that it's unfair, King Bob admits it but refuses to repeal it anyway. Judging him from that episode alone, you'd think, "It's a wonder King Bob hasn't been overthrown by littler kids."
    • Gretchen also held it in "Pharaoh Bob" when King Bob becomes obsessed with being remembered and decides to build a pyramid out of mud, making Gretchen his advisor. When Gretchen's friends complain about how they're being forced every recess to build a pyramid and are getting in trouble with their parents for coming home filthy, Gretchen ignores their problems and yells at them to continue it. She only snaps out of it when Bob goes overboard and starts using the hose on his subjects when they rebel and quits on the spot.
  • Roman City: When the Druids attack Verbonia while he's on a diplomatic trip, Gaius Valerius, feeling betrayed, subjugates all the Celts in Gaul—even the very diplomacy-minded Acco Bouviax is sent to labor in the quarries. It takes the combined efforts of Marcus Fabricius, who appeals to Caesar Augustus himself, and Acco's daughter Aiden, who catches wind of an assassination plot against the Emperor during a Druid meeting and saves him from a Druid assassin, to convince Valerius that his general temper tantrum against the Celts was wrong.
  • In Rugrats, Chas Finster handles it big time in "Chuckie is Rich" when he wins ten million dollars in a sweepstakes contest and goes through Acquired Situational Narcissism. Thankfully, his son Chuckie averts this trope, instead finding rich life a miserable existence. Of course, Chas gets over the snobbishness when he loses nearly all of his money in a bad investment.
  • The Simpsons: In "The Boys of Bummer", everyone in Springfield other than the Simpsons holds the ball when they torment Bart just for missing a game-winning catch in a baseball game, even going so far as to goad him into committing suicide.
    • In the episode "Separate Vocations" Lisa suffers the dual whammy of having a vocation aptitude test result of 'housewife' and being told she'll never be a great saxophonist because her fingers are too stubby. She turns into a Bad Girl, smoking in class, backtalking her teacher, and finally coming up with a plot to steal all the Teacher's Edition textbooks to sow chaos. Inversely, the same episode has Bart becoming a good kid after getting the result of 'police officer' on the same vocational aptitude test. Which he has to forsake to bring his sister back and induce the Status Quo.
    • One of the most infamous examples is "On a Clear Day, I Can't See My Sister". Bart plays a few pranks on Lisa during a field trip, which results in her getting a restraining order against him, then proceeding to abuse him with it (which is actually illegal). It gets to the point that she coldly forces Bart to live outside to be Raised by Wolves, then refuses to let him back in even when Marge asks her to get rid of the order. She gets away with all of it, too.
  • Stan and Kyle of South Park are usually Only Sane Men to the craziness of the world around them, and act as more moralistic foils to Cartman. At times however, often when Cartman is not in a starring role, they can act rather selfish or immoral, having nothing against using similar bullying or conniving tactics as Cartman to get what they want. This is more toned down in later seasons, though still pops up every now and then.
  • To be brief, the characters of SpongeBob SquarePants seemed to pass around the Jerkass Ball like a hot potato in the post-movie episodes. That is, until Stephen Hillenburg came back to the show and undid everything, including the Character Derailment.
    • Similarly to Lois and Brian on Family Guy, Patrick and Mr. Krabs eventually became full-blown Jerkasses by default as a result of the writers abusing this trope.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine, much akin to Friendship Is Magic, utilizes this often for Aesop value. This is especially prominent in later episodes, where even formally wise and kind engines like Edward can suddenly gain bouts of Acquired Situational Narcissism or Fantastic Racism.
  • In The Tick episode "The Tick Vs Arthur", Arthur is tired of being weak and being everyone's punching bag, so he steals villain Baron Violent's belt which gives him his super strength. At first he uses it for good, but after a while, he begins to abuse it, demanding respect and free things from everyone. When the Tick tries to interfere, Arthur beats him up. Eventually, after some convincing from his girlfriend, Carmalita, Arthur realizes what a jerk he's become and destroys the belt.
  • Some of Tom and Jerry shorts employ this. It's often Tom who's being the bad one, but Jerry sometimes gets it, in order to justify Tom winning, even if often Jerry gets away with it.
  • Total Drama: The show has a tendency to have characters normally known for being Nice Guys or Girls and give them a sudden or unexpected Out-of-Character Moment of jerkassery - and unlike with the show's Idiot Ball moments, it's rarely to justify an elimination.
    • DJ is sometimes shown picking on Harold along with Geoff and Duncan, despite the fact that he's ordinarily a contender for the nicest character on the show. Geoff to a lesser extent, as most of the time outside of this arc (in season one at least), he's shown to be nice, if not quite as nice as DJ.
    • Bridgette is another common victim of this. Despite normally being one of the nicest characters on the show and having a compassionate and pacifistic personality, she has occasionally done some rather mean or violent things, such as ridiculing Tyler for his phobia of chickens, acting like a Clingy Jealous Girl towards Geoff, and even hitting him for saying unflattering things about her.


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