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Jerkass to One

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People don't often treat everyone the same way to the same degree. Often the resident Jerkass is more of a jerkass to some people than to others. The poor guy who bares the brunt of it is often the Butt-Monkey, in some cases normally friendly characters may be given the Jerkass Ball for the sake of causing misery to the Butt-Monkey.

Comes in two different flavors:

  • Cruel To One: The Jerkass is (relatively) nice to everyone but there is one person that they can't help but pick on. Can overlap with Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. May also overlap with Tsundere (the B type).
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  • Crueler To One: The Jerkass is cruel to everyone but focuses their viciousness on one target. They're commonly the Arch-Enemy or The Rival of The Hero.

Contrast Hates Everyone Equally if they mistreat everyone in the same extent, and Morality Pet if they're a jerk to all but one. If the Jerkass is a boss and the one is an employee, see Boss's Unfavorite Employee.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bloom Into You has a largely downplayed example. Sayaka is on good terms with most of Toomi East's student council, and is best friends with Touko, but there's some largely unspoken hostility between her and Yuu, since Sayaka is jealous of Yuu's closeness to Touko. The two of them do eventually work things out.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Katsuki Bakugo, in general, is a total prick towards everyone, but he's especially crass towards Izuku Midoriya. It gets so bad, almost nobody likes him in-universe, even if they do admire his power — and one of the things that puzzles everybody, In-Universe and out, is Izuku's unrelenting drive to continue to white-knight Bakugo as a former friend even if by the time the series starts he's been mercilessly bullied for a decade and in the very first chapter Katsuki even told Izuku to kill himself, an act that the author himself has since considered Early Installment Weirdness.
    • Inasa Yoarashi is jovial, upbeat, passionate about heroics and a Nice Guy to almost everyone... except for Shoto Todoroki. In the past, he tried asking Todoroki's father, Endeavor, for an autograph, only to be coldly rebuffed and told to "stay out of [his] way". He tried being nice with Shoto, but was rebuffed and told the same thing. This cold attitude flies in the face of everything he believes a hero should be. As a result, Shoto's the only student at the License Exam that Inasa is outright caustic towards.
  • In New Game!, Tsubame "Naru" Narumi gets along well with most of the Eagle Jump staff, but is fairly hostile to Nene Sakura, since Naru believes (not without reason) that Nene got her job due to connections with her boss Umiko, and doesn't take said job seriously. The latter strikes close to home for Naru, who's desperate to prove herself and get a job in the gaming industry in spite of her parents' opposition to it.
  • Pokémon: At times, Ash Ketchum, an otherwise All-Loving Hero and Nice Guy, can be this to the Team Rocket trio. In "Wake Up Snorlax", Ash blasts off the trio in a Pokémon battle simply over the right to capture a wild Pokémon. While Team Rocket are thieves, notably in "So Near, Yet So Farfetch'd", Ash and company easily forgive a far more competent Pokémon thief.
  • Rosario + Vampire: In the anime, Kokoa is more of a straight-up bitch than a Tsundere as she was in the manga and is generally rude, disrespectful, and bitchy to everyone, causing trouble for the rest of the cast on two separate occasions due to her attitude. However, she's especially a Jerkass to Outer Moka, openly preferring Inner Moka to her and refusing to acknowledge Outer Moka as her sister.
  • Seraph of the End: Inverted with Mikaela. He treats everyone but his adoptive mother Krul and his childhood best friend Yuuichiro with complete disdain and clear hostility. And the "crueler to one" from him is applied on Ferid - kind of hard not to loathe the guy when he killed almost everyone in your family.
  • Time Bokan: In the series that helped codify the Terrible Trio trope, it wasn't uncommon for the heroes to be kind and forgiving to everyone, but the incompetent villain trio, who would always be given a painful slapstick comeuppance.
  • Kicker of Transformers Energon is an arrogant loudmouth all around, though his teammate Ironhide tends to get the bigger brunt of it, being ordered around, insulted and even physically abused to a degree. Perhaps due to dealing with him far less often, everyone else tends to just think it's funny (par Ironhide's fanboy team, Kicker's treatment lightened after a Death Glare from one too many kicks to the shin).
  • In Yuri Is My Job, Mitsuki Yano/Ayanokouji gets along reasonably well with her coworkers at the salon, but despises Hime. Initially, it seems to be because of Hime's slip-ups on the job and because she doesn't seem to take her work seriously, but it turns out that it's because Mitsuki believes that Hime betrayed her by quitting the piano recital they were both supposed to play at.
  • Zatch Bell!: When the horse Mamodo Ponygon is first introduced, he easily gets along with Zatch, Tia, and all of Kiyo's classmates... but has an instant dislike of Kiyo. It's later revealed that Ponygon only felt hostile towards him because Kiyo already had a mamodo, so he found no reason to try to get along with him; after this point, they get along better.

    Comic Books 
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    Fan Fiction 

    Film 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Thanos is rather abusive to his children but he has a form of twisted love towards them in that he believes he is doing what he thinks is best for them. However, he is infamously cruel to Nebula whom has shown to be a failure to him in that he openly declares Gamora as his favorite daughter right in front of her, is fully willing to torture her just to extract the Soul Stone's location from Gamora, and later declaring that the only reason he didn't kill her is because it would a waste of parts.

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter.
    • Snape is a Crueler To One. He's a Sadist Teacher to all his non-Slytherin students, but is particularly nasty to Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom, and, to a lesser extent, Hermione Granger.
    • Like Snape, Draco is a jerk in general but focuses his attention on fighting with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
    • Sirius is normally a decent person, even kind, but he is uncharacteristically vitriolic towards Kreacher, on account of the house-elf reminding him of his horrible childhood.
    • James was a bit of a bully and an arrogant little jerk in school, with a habit of hexing other students for fun. But as far as we know, the only person that had a real beef with him was Snape, and that was a complicated and hate-filled rivalry. It's telling that when James matured and learned humility, he never stopped getting into fights with Snape. However, according to Sirius and Remus, James only did so out of a desire for retaliation.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Crueler To One with Alliser Thorne, who picks on all the recruits but has a particular disdain for Jon Snow and Sam Tarly.
    • Catelyn Stark is Cruel To One to Jon Snow. Though she usually acts like a Proper Lady, she can't seem to help being cold at best, malicious at worst, to her husband's bastard son.
    • Tywin is Crueler To One to his son Tyrion. While Tywin has no problem treating everyone around him as pawns, the fact that Tyrion's birth killed his mother means that he is the only person Tywin exhibits outright hatred towards.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Captain Holt is a subversion of Cruel To One. In the earlier episodes, Jake thinks Holt just wants to make him miserable, but Holt is actually using a Tough Love approach to making him a better cop.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Principal Snyder is a Sadist Teacher and Child Hater in general, but focuses quite a bit of his venom on Buffy and the Scooby Gang. He's always fully prepared to believe the worst in Buffy, to the extent that he admits to getting "tingling pleasure" out of messing with her. It's to the extent that in the season 2 finale, when Buffy is believed to be a murder suspect, Snyder, despite full knowledge that she didn't kill anyone, lies to the police and says that Buffy is always behind any trouble.
  • Drake & Josh: Megan is a "Jerkass to Two". She is an evil, conniving brat to the titular characters, but acts sweet and adorable to everyone else.
  • In House of Anubis, Patricia was, at first, downright nasty to Nina when she arrived in the school. Though she got into issues with her other housemates as well, everything stemmed from the way she treated Nina. Eventually, she got better, and even when she went on to be a bit of a Jerkass to both Eddie and KT, it never reached the same level as it did with Nina.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Robin, who is normally blunt and sarcastic but still nice to her friends, tends to treat her co-worker Patrice with extreme hostility. Also a case of Irrational Hatred, since Patrice is a Nice Girl who genuinely likes Robin and never does anything to provoke her.
  • Kaamelott: Perceval is a shining example of Dumb Is Good, but after his best friend's wife pulls a Love Ruins the Realm on Arthur, he always singles her out for childish insults.
  • Merlin: After the first few episodes, Prince Arthur evolves into a benevolent, kindhearted good guy... who still teases, insults, and belittles Merlin nearly all the time. However these scenes are largely Played for Laughs, since deep down he cares about Merlin and is also willing to risk his life to protect him.
  • The Office (US):
    • Micheal comes off as an obnoxious, selfish jerk most of the time but it's mostly due to his lack of self-awareness and he really tries to get along with people. However, when it comes to Toby, he's never Innocently Insensitive, as he intentionally and constantly treats him like dirt for no reason.
    • Jim is a pretty easygoing, likable guy, but he always teases and pranks Dwight (some of his pranks are pretty mean). Dwight, on the other hand, is never really nice to anyone, but he's mostly hostile towards Jim.
  • Scrubs:
    • The Almighty Janitor is a Cruel to One example. He makes a point of tormenting JD while leaving everyone else alone (unless he's provoked). He sometimes even uses this fact to make JD look bad in front of everyone else.
    • JD himself is generally a very Nice Guy, but takes an instant dislike to Keith in season 5. He jokes, encourages and has fun with all of his other interns, while consistently taking subtle jabs at Keith. After Eliot and Keith start dating, JD begrudgingly agrees to be nice to him, out of respect for his friend.

    Video Games 
  • BlazBlue: Jin Kisaragi is normally prideful and condescending towards most people, but he's more jerkish to his subordinate Noel because she looks like his little sister, whom he hated when he was a child.
  • Sakura Wars: Sumire Kanzaki is a general Rich Bitch and Spoiled Brat towards most people, but tends to be especially jerkish to Sakura.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Tenebrae loves to pick on Emil. Tenebrae does occasionally pick on the others (usually if they say or do something stupid), but Emil gets it constantly.
  • Yandere Simulator: Osana Najimi is a nice girl for the most part, but she can get pretty abrasive towards Taro Yamada (aka "Senpai") because of her feelings for him.
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    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
  • Archer: The title character is known for being a Jerkass by everyone, but is especially cruel to two people. One is his butler Woodhouse, as Archer treats him as if he were subhuman. The other is his submissive co-worker Cyril Figgis, their dynamic is almost identical to a high school bully picking on the class nerd.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: Eustace Bagge is a grumpy, selfish, cruel old man, and an all-around asshole to everyone, to the extent that the episode "Curtain of Cruelty" had him labeled "the meanest creep in Nowhere." However, he's especially an asshole to Courage, constantly insulting him, scaring him, physically abusing him to a degree, and refusing to show him a bit of gratitude no matter how often Courage saves his worthless butt. It reaches a head in "Ball of Revenge," where Eustace gets so sick of Muriel constantly pampering Courage and ignoring him that he arranges a Villain Team-Up specifically to have Courage killed. Of course, every time he mistreats Courage, Muriel is quick to give him a quick whack in the head with a rolling pin or whatever else may be handy.
  • The Dreamstone: The Land of Dreams is Cruel To One, it's people are usually messianic and peaceful, and only aggressive towards bad guys. The Urpneys, Frizz and Nug however are The Drag-Along that unwillingly assist in Poke the Poodle levels schemes, while the heroes treat them as Villain Ball Magnets and ironically utilise far more merciless vitriol and brutality on them than even the genuinely evil villains. This was likely an unintentional case of Designated Villainy however, later episodes at least tried to make the heroes only proportionately nasty towards the Urpneys.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • Kevin is often seen by fans as the resident bully, but he actually has a good relationship with the other kids most of the time, and is mainly a jerk to the titular characters. Sometimes it's justified, other times...not so much. He also can tolerate Edd and (to a lesser extent) Ed, but he really hates Eddy and picks on him the most.
    • Sarah is shown to be unpleasant and bad-tempered to the other kids, except for Jimmy, Nazz, and sometimes Edd. The two people she is horrible to the most are Ed (her brother) and Eddy.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
  • Family Guy:
    • The Griffin family all devolved into particularly horrible excuses for human beings by the later points of the series, but they focus a lot of their vitriol and bullying on Meg. Lampshaded in one episode, when Meg finally has enough of their crap, the whole family starts to have a nervous breakdown due to lacking their usual "lightning rod".
    • In early seasons, Stewie is an evil Enfant Terrible but is especially antagonistic towards his mother Lois and is constantly plotting ways to kill her.
    • Glenn Quagmire flip-flops between a heartless sex hound and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold but normally gets along with most people. However, from Season 8 onwards, he completely despises Brian and is openly rude to him whenever they interact.
    • Carter Pewterschmidt is a Rich Bastard, but is particularly cruel to his son-in-law Peter.
  • Gravity Falls: Ford Pines is a Cool Old Guy to be around and is enthusiastic about oddities. But his treatment towards his brother Stan is a different story, as he held a grudge towards Stan over an incident with his science fair project that happened years ago, and had refused to acknowledge all the good deeds Stan had done.
  • Hey Arnold!: Helga is a complex case due to her Sour Outside, Sad Inside, she's generally curt and abrasive towards everyone, though she obsessively picks on Arnold, largely due to her crush on him that she seems unable to express in any other way. When a therapist observes her behaviour, she very quickly fathoms what's going on just by the excessive amount of time she spends harassing Arnold.
  • Josie and the Pussycats: Alexandra Cabot tours since her brother is their manager. Alexandra is a Royal Brat who's snippy and thorny to almost everyone, but she has special guile for Josie. Josie is the band's lead singer, and also has the arm of Hunky Alan Mayberry, both of which Alexandra covets. Alexandra has no qualms using sabotage and subversion upon Josie, though she avoids The Starscream-level malice and firmly remains the Token Evil Teammate of the group.
  • Kaeloo: While Mr. Cat is rude and cruel to everyone, he mostly leaves people alone unless they really annoy him. His really Ax-Crazy, sadistic side mostly comes out around Quack Quack and, as of Season 2, Pretty.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • Chloé Bourgeois, The Bully, is mean, thoughtless and rude to everyone who isn't A) Her parents or B) Her childhood friend Adrien. That said, she makes an actual effort to see that the heroine Marinette is as miserable as possible.
    • Lila is a sociopathic Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Consummate Liar who has no problem trying to destroy anybody who wrongs her, but she is explicitly the sworn enemy of Marinette and Ladybug and will do anything to make her life hell, even become The Dragon to Hawk Moth, endanger all of Paris to bait Ladybug, try to get her killed and in one episode it's implied that she takes over Hawk Moth's role in the future and will/has sent an Akuma back in time Terminator-style to get rid of Ladybug— even Adrien, who knows how bad she is and doesn't wants to be friends with her, gets it that bad.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Susie Johnson puts on a sweet face in front of everyone but Candace, whom she routinely torments for trying to get close to her brother Jeremy.
  • The Proud Family: Suga Mama is generally a Cool Old Lady, if a bit cantankerous, but she can't seem to stand her own son, Oscar.
  • Rugrats: Angelica bullies all the babies but seems to take special fondness in picking on Chuckie, the Nervous Wreck of the group.
    Tommy: *angrily* Angelica, why do you always have to pick on Chuckie?
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one episode ("Black Eyed Please") has as its B-Plot Lisa getting a substitute teacher (Ms. Cantrell, voiced by Tina Fey) , that turns Lisa's school life into a living hell while treating all of the other kids at her class well.
    • Homer's infamous dislike of his good-natured, religious neighbor, Ned Flanders. While Homer is overall not a very pleasant person, he outright fantasizes about Ned suffering in horrible ways.
    • Homer is also this to Bart. He's never physically or (at least voluntarily) mentally abusive to Lisa, Maggie, or Marge (in one episode he's Driven to Suicide at the idea of having been violent to and actually hurt Marge) note  With Bart, it's different, since he often strangles him as a Running Gag, is deliberately neglectful in general, and in several occasions it's mentioned that he has no problem telling Bart that he was an accident right to his face.
    • Superintendent Chalmers really, really hates Principal Seymour Skinner, to the point that in several episodes (such as "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Badasssss Song") it's showcased that he enforces George Jetson Job Security on Skinner and his antics whereas he's okay with any other principal or teacher being an abusive asshole that drives the school into the ground (the only three things he considers an absolute limit being getting blackout drunk during school hours, being physically abusive to the students and leading students in prayer).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons:
  • South Park: Eric Cartman is a Jerkass in general when he’s not being The Sociopath, but he likes to rip on Kyle more than everyone else, especially for being Jewish (and the hatred is mutual). Although in the first few seasons it was often Kenny that Cartman would single out for unprovoked prejudice.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • While Squidward is generally a snide, rude asshole to everyone around him, and has personally admitted to hating everyone in Bikini Bottom on more than one occasion, he's much ruder and meaner to SpongeBob than he is to anyone else. To be fair, much of Squidward's attitude toward SpongeBob is justified, since SpongeBob constantly harasses him and his antics often ruin Squidward's day.
    • SpongeBob is typically the only person whom Mrs. Puff holds a grudge against. Aside from him, she's usually outgoing and friendly to everyone. It's easy to see why she's hostile toward him, considering the amount of times he has endangered her with his reckless driving and gotten her arrested.
    • While Mr. Krabs has become a cold-hearted, greedy Jerkass who only cares about making money at the expense of everyone else, he seems to have a special hatred for Plankton, making efforts to actively sabotage Plankton when he's making legitimate profits or simply trying to make him miserable. He's at his lowest in "One Course Meal," where Krabs relentlessly torments him psychologically by dressing up as Pearl (since whales eat plankton), to the extent that Plankton is nearly Driven to Suicide, all for the sake of a cheap laugh.
  • In most Transformers interpretations, Megatron is a Bad Boss all around, but saves most of his vitriol for The Starscream of his crew. Especially evident with G1 Starscream, who got the worst of Megatron's abuse, if for good reason since the former was famed for relentlessly insulting, defying or trying to overthrow the Decepticon leader.

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