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Jerks Are Worse Than Villains

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Fiction is created for a wide variety of purposes, but it's reasonably safe to say that almost all fiction has one goal in common: to make the audience feel something. If a work succeeds at this one thing, then it's accomplished at least that much. Of course, as this site has extensively documented, the emotion that a work provokes isn't always necessarily the emotion that the creator had in mind.

One common, and perhaps baffling, reaction to fiction is that audiences tend to react with greater disdain, hatred, or even outright revulsion to garden-variety Jerkass characters than they do to the actual villains of the story, even if the the villain's deeds are far more heinous in nature. While this makes virtually zero sense from a rational perspective—unsurprisingly, as cold facts often have little to do with how a person feels—there are some rational explanations for this phenomenon.

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The most plausible explanation for these reactions is a difference in context. Everyone has been affected by with garden-variety jerks and bullies in one way or another. Thus, the audience can personally relate to the everyday cruelty of such people's fictional equivalents, which can make the audience actively dislike such characters.

By contrast, many fictional villains—especially those from Speculative Fiction tales—are committing acts of cruelty far beyond those of normal experience. An Evil Sorcerer Omnicidal Maniac is doing things much worse than anything a schoolyard bully could possibly manage, but the former very isn't and can't be real. Thus, the "fourth wall" helps us accept that the villain is only there for our entertainment, whereas certain Jerkass characters feel much closer to Real Life.

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There's also the fact that Evil Is Cool. Villainous characters appeal to the desire to be rebellious and wild, or our natural fascination with forbidden things. Creators often make their villains cool, badass, funny, charismatic, full of ham and cheese, audacious, perhaps even sexy because an interesting or Likable Villain helps make an fun and interesting story. Even when the audience does hate them, they love doing so. By contrast Jerkasses typically lack the flair and charisma that makes the villain enjoyable or interesting, being not only unpleasant unlikable, but also mundane and uninteresting.

There are also storytelling devices that can depersonalize the main villain's evil. A Million Is a Statistic means that the villain can do terrible things to countless people, but because the audience doesn't know anything about those people they don't care. Conversely a Jerkass being cruel to a character the audience knows and is emotionally invested draws a more significant emotional response. Off Screen Villainy can cause this as well, as the villain doing terrible things out of sight is easy to dismiss or forget, while the Jerkass's deeds are more likely to be front-and-center.

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Some tropes that help provide explanations for this include Evil Is Cool, Evil Is Sexy, and the stereotype that All Girls Want Bad Boys (plus any applicable variations of that concept). All of these are merely expressions of the truism that rebellious, forbidden, and even dangerous things have their own appeal to people. The logical outcome for that concept, of course, is Draco in Leather Pants.

On the other hand, this can be combatted by having the villain engage in bullying, jerkish behavior themselves: See Evil Is Petty.

See also Hate Sink, an intentional example of this phenomenon where a more minor villain is meant to get more scorn than the larger villain or overall threat in the story.

No Real Life Examples, Please! It is not appropriate to discuss real-life examples of this phenomenon on this site. Regardless of how you or others may personally feel, greasy public figures or the jerks in your personal life are by no means "worse" than a genocidal dictator. Moreover, this is not the place to grouse about characters you personally dislike. This trope only discusses a verifiable phenomenon.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Despite the series having a gauntlet of villains who range from mass murderers to Omnicidal Maniacs, Endeavor is particularly despised by a significant portion of the fandom for what he did to his family. He put his five-year-old son Shouto through such hellish training that the boy was left vomiting and crying on the floor. He mistreated his wife to the point where she snapped and scarred her son by pouring boiling water on his face. And heaven knows what he did to his oldest son Touya — whatever happened, it's implied to have horribly maimed Touya and contributed to his mother's breakdown. Many fans did not respond well when Endeavor finally changed his ways, to the point of sending the author death threats. These fans reject Endeavor's Character Development and hope Dabi, a known mass murderer who has since been revealed to actually be Touya himself, slowly and painfully burns him to death.
    • Despite being one of the "heroes," Minoru Mineta is more reviled by the fandom than any of the villains. He's a shameless pervert who constantly makes unwanted advances on his female classmates, though mainly spying on them and lewd jokes, though not doing more than that. At one point, he even goes so far as to make a pass at a traumatized six-year-old. Despite not being a villain, Mineta's slimy, lecherous demeanor makes him come off as a more realistic individual to hate. Expect many a fanfic to villify him, ratchet these flaws to ridiculous levels, and face extremely brutal punishment for his "crimes".
    • Katsuki Bakugo has a small but vocal hatedom for his treatment of Midoriya early on in the series, which involves bullying him, blowing up his belongings in broad daylight, and suicide baiting him in the very first chapter. Similar to Mineta, numerous popular fanfics have author bents that vilify or otherwise brutally punish him; under the belief that he's a Karma Houdini even after his Character Development from a Jerkass into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Some writers even have his quirk stolen by All For One, resulting in some cheers despite the latter's reputation as a Card-Carrying Villain who murders For the Evulz.
  • In the Touhou Bougetsushou manga, the Watatsuki Sisters of the Lunarians are hated by a lot of fans, mostly for easily curb-stomping the protagonists and established characters while acting smug, condescending, and racist towards Earthlings. Ultimately, though, they're the Hero Antagonist who are only doing their job of protecting the moon. In contrast, the subsequent Touhou game Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom introduced another Lunarian, Sagume. Despite being responsible for two atrocities and having a plan to annihilate all life in Gensokyo, she acts much more amicably towards the protagonists, and so is much better received among the fandom than the Watatsukis.

    Comic Books 
  • An In-Universe example of this trope occurs in Arkham Asylum: Living Hell regarding Corrupt Corporate Executive Warren White. After White embezzles the life savings and pensions of nearly every one of his company's clients, he decides to plea insanity to try to beat the rap, only for the furious judge to sentence him to Arkham Asylum instead. He quickly becomes the most despised, reviled, and hated inmate in the place. Jeremiah Arkham, the head doctor, outright calls White "the worst person I've ever met"—keep in mind that Arkham houses some of the deadliest mass murderers, sociopaths, serial killers, and outright inhuman monsters in all of fiction. One of those mass murderers—the Joker himself—also declares White the epitome of evil, remarking that "I didn't steal [victims'] kids' college funds." Never mind that the Joker has probably slaughtered an entire college campus's worth of people...Somewhat justified in that, while the other inmates of Arkham have committed deadlier crimes than White, they at least have the reasoning of actually being mad to fall back on; White, who is 100% sane, doesn't get that excuse.
  • Another Batman example comes from Mr. Freeze's backstory: his former boss Ferris Boyle. Whereas Mr. Freeze (real name Victor Fries) was motivated to develop his cryogenic technology to save his terminally ill wife Nora, Boyle is a straight-up Jerkass who interfered with Victor's experiments and ended up turning him into the literally coldhearted monster he is today. Freeze's body count and crimes have long surpassed Boyle's singular action, but fans have a ton of sympathy for Victor and absolutely no love for Ferris.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aliens has two antagonists, the predatory Xenomorphs and the greedy and weak Weyland-Yutani representative Burke. The Xenomorphs are terrifyingly beloved by the fans, while Burke is so hated even actor Paul Reiser's mother was pleased when he was killed in the film. The characters themselves also share that sentiment, as Ripley chews him out with: "You don't see them (the Xenomorphs) fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage." Of course, without Weyland Yutani's repeated attempts to profit from them, xenomorphs would be physically incapable of running amok to the extent they do as they have no spacefaring technology of their own; it's always humans who come to the xenomorph planets, not the other way around.
  • Avengers: Infinity War: The Big Bad Thanos, with a goal of murdering half the population of the universe for a misguided belief this will conserve resources, is quite popular due to his Noble Demon demeanor and moments of seemingly sincere tragedy. However, the character that emerged from the film the most hated was the Guardian hero Star-Lord who, when the other heroes have stunned Thanos and are are on the cusp of defeating him, loses his temper upon learning Thanos killed his girlfriend and attacks him, snapping the villain out of his trance and allowing him to smash everyone into the floor and get a step closer to his goal of massacre.
  • Taste the Blood of Dracula: William Hargood is one of the Hammer Horror Dracula franchise's most hated characters, even more so than Count Dracula himself, due to the horrible way he treats his wife and daughter. While Dracula is quite monstrous and won't hesitate to murder anyone even For the Evulz, he still has his fans, but Hargood's abusive Control Freak nature has earned him exactly zero fans among the Hammer Horror fandom.
  • Halloween (2018): Michael Myers is considered in and out of universe as pure evil, with his moniker, "The Shape", referring to his lack of humanity. This incarnation of Michael murders seventeen people, including a young boy, upon escaping a prison transport for no reason other than he could. However, the person who gets the most hate from the fanbase from this movie isn't Myers, but Cameron, Allyson's boyfriend. He lies to her about getting drunk and kissing his ex, only to spitefully break Allyson's phone when she calls his bluff. This puts her in danger when she's forced to walk home, unaware that Michael's rampaging through the town.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: In the 2000 live-action version, while the Grinch is still the antagonist of the story, he is considered to be much nicer than Mayor Augustus. He bullied the Grinch when they were kids and even years later he still sees the Grinch as an outcast. When the Grinch was invited to partake in the Cheermeister Celebration, he was genuinely having a good time. He could have turned over a new leaf right there and then, if Augustus didn't remind him of the worst day of the Grinch's life and publicly proposes to Martha May just to pour salt in the wound.
  • Ghostbusters (1984): The villain of the story is the nightmare demigod Gozer, but the most hated character by far, even amongst the Ghostbusters themselves, is Walter Peck, a smarmy, sneering Environmental Protection Agency Officer who wants to shutdown their operation.
  • Dr. Sivana is the Big Bad of SHAZAM! (2019), and even though he does a lot of horrible things and causes several deaths, his sympathetic backstory means the audience can still feel somewhat sorry for the guy while still rooting for him to be taken down. The Breyer brothers, meanwhile, beat up a handicapped kid, so the audience can enjoy their comeuppance with zero guilt.

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter: Dolores Jane Umbridge is perhaps one of the best known examples of this trope, maybe even the Trope Codifier. Lord Voldemort, the Big Bad of the series, is a genocidal maniac who's basically Wizard Hitler. Umbridge, however, has nothing to do with Voldemort and his Death Eaters, but is far more hated for her abuses of power and generally acting as a malevolent dictator more than a teacher or administrator, and even more so in the movie, thanks to Imelda Staunton's awesome portrayal of her. A lot of it has to do with the fact that many in the audience are more likely to know someone like Umbridge than they are to know a fanatical supremacist like Voldemort.
  • Most of the Nevermoor fandom dislikes Corvus (Morrigan's unloving father), Baz Charlton (an insensitive boor and overall pain), and Inspector Flintlock (a bigoted cop), way more than the series' actual villain, Ezra Squall. Part of this is Evil Is Cool, and the fact that Squall has shown some Hidden Depths that the other three mostly lack, part of it is that Squall is a monster from your nightmares, the other three are assholes you have to deal with every day. (The fandom's hatred of Corvus, in particular, really cannot be overstated; some have joked that Squall at least encourages Morrigan and takes an interest in her education, which is more than Corvus can say.)
  • Survivor Dogs: In a series of blood-thirsty and murderous characters, one of the most disliked characters is a dog that's actually The Load of his pack: the slimeball Pug named "Whine". Whine blackmailed Lucky, inadvertently got a packmate killed, and was all too keen to let Alpha kill the Fierce Dog puppies, all because he didn't like being the Omega of his pack.
  • Temeraire: The Big Bad, Napoléon Bonaparte, is portrayed as a Worthy Opponent verging occasionally on Friendly Enemy of the protagonist Laurence, and is genuinely interested in improving the lives of his citizens. In contrast, Laurence's fellow captain Rankin is a classist, racist, sexist, speciesist ass whose defining moment is abandoning his dragon companion to die alone, begging to see him, while he goes for drinks.
  • Warrior Cats: Appledusk is one of the most glaring examples of a Base-Breaking Character in the franchise. Many readers wish he was sent to the Dark Forest or even that he was killed twice. Yet, Appledusk himself only rejected and cheated on his former mate Mapleshade, who subsequently proceeded to go on a killing spree that included him. This rejection also led to his kits being killed, and to make it all worse, it's easy to interpret Appledusk as rejecting his children as well. Appledusk's cruelty towards his own family makes him one of the most despised cats in the series, yet he never laid a claw on anyone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad: In a show featuring Walter White (drug manufacture with intent to distribute, theft, arson, multiple homicides in first and second degrees), Gustavo Fring (narcotics distribution, kidnapping, assault, multiple homicides in first and second degrees), and Jack Welker (multiple homicides including deaths of federal agents, drug manufacture and terroristic threats), the most hated character in the show by far is Walt's wife Skyler, who is hated by fandom for things like disagreeing with Walt, being "difficult," smoking three times while pregnant, and sleeping with another man while divorcing Walt.
  • Better Call Saul: Chuck is easily the most hated character in the show for constantly holding Jimmy's past as a con man against him, preaching about the sanctity of the law only to then go out and employ his own con games by using people's positive qualities against them in service to his vendetta against Jimmy, and so on. He's in the same show as the Salamanca crew and Gus Fring, who themselves do things much more reprehensible than anything Chuck does but are generally more pragmatic and do not have a tendency to be petty when they don't get their way.
  • Daredevil (2015): Karen and Foggy tend to easily be hated on by fandom for opposing Matt's double life as Daredevil even when they have legitimate reasons for taking issue with what Matt does, and have more hate than Wilson Fisk, main villain of the show.
  • Doctor Who: "Revolution of the Daleks" involves two versions of the fascist, genocidal Daleks, one of which kills multiple people onscreen, including the Prime Minister. Yet the characters who come off looking the worst are Jack Robertson, a greedy businessman who rebuilt the Dalek shells, not knowing their origin, and proved willing to sell out the Doctor and the human race only to get away scot-free , and the Prime Minister herself, who enabled Robertson in order to boost her election chances.
  • Game of Thrones: Joffrey Baratheon is easily the most hated character even when compared to the likes of his grandfather Tywin Lannister, Ramsey Bolton, or the Night King himself. Though he and Ramsey are incredibly cruel and sadistic, Ramsey at the very least genuinely loved his family (up until he crossed the Moral Event Horizon) and only targeted his enemies, whereas Joffrey had tormented his younger siblings and ordered Eddard Stark's execution simply because he believes he could do anything he wants to anyone without repercussion. Tywin, on the other hand, is a pragmatist that will only engage in any kind of acts of cruelty when it's in his best interests to do so and otherwise strives to maintain friendly relationships with the other allied Houses. And the Night King is more of a force of nature than anything else.
  • In Guest from the Future, there are two Space Pirates who kill at least one person on-screen (a Ridiculously Human Robot; there are also two victims whose fate is left ambiguous) and are willing to torture children. Are they the most universally despised ones among the fans? No, that title goes to Dirty Coward Ishutin who sees the pirates carrying an unconscious child, gets frightened into silence and insists, even when asked directly, that he saw nothing. Many have given the pirates Evil Is Cool and/or Draco in Leather Pants treatment, but never has anyone been detected doing the same about Ishutin.
  • House of Anubis:
    • Vera, Denby, and Sophia are by far the most hated villains in the show. However, fans don't hate them for their evil acts; instead, they're despised for being Jerkasses to the heroes, such as by manipulating their insecurities or getting them expelled. Indeed, they're even hated worse than the other villains, as characters like Rufus, Senkhara and the Sinners are beloved for being competent and entertaining. The other three simply don't have the same charisma and are instead just generally unpleasant.
    • Joy, Mara, and Nina all got fan backlash for being rude to other characters, without enough likable or interesting qualities to make up for it. Joy and Mara are both often considered the worst characters in Season 2 or 3 respectively, stemming simply from being jealous bullies who take things too far. Nina, meanwhile, wound up with a temper that fans considered borderline abusive, despite being the series protagonist. By contrast, characters like Patricia and Jerome made up for their jerkass traits with enough depth and comedy to make them popular.
  • The Punisher: The main villains of the first season are members of the Government Conspiracy that killed Frank's family, but none of them are as hated as O'Connor, the Angry White Man who never killed or even physically harmed anyone, and who is largely responsible for driving Lewis Wilson to go on a murder spree, starting with O'Connor himself.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the most evil faction isn't generally considered to be Chaos, a collective of evil gods attempting to conquer and corrupt the whole galaxy. Normally, that honor goes to the Dark Eldar, a group of backstabbing, decadent, hedonostic pirates hiding in the Webway and sometimes going out to kidnap people in order to torture them to death in the most horrible ways possible to stave off the devouring of their souls by one of said gods. Mind you, they can always join their Craftworld brethren and instead stave it off through proper discipline, but that means giving up the hedonism and backstabbing.

    Theatre 
  • Heathers:Heather Duke, Kurt Kelly, and Ram Sweeney are all far more disliked than the actual villain, J.D. — who is an actual Serial Killer — mainly because they lack his charisma and tragic backstory. By contrast, Heather Duke is a Beta Bitch who taunts her friend's suicidal feelings, and Kurt and Ram are Jerk Jocks and attempted rapists...which explains why many fans aren't very sympathetic when J.D. targets them.
  • In Prince Igor, the whole plot is kicked off when Prince Igor goes to war with the Cuman khans Gzak and Konchak who are responsible for devastating raids on Russian towns. However, the character viewed as the vilest one both in- and out-of-universe is Vladimir Galitsky, Igor's own brother-in-law, who starts a regime of debauchery when Igor is away on campaign and plans to seize power in Putivl for good. It doesn't help that the actual central villain Khan Konchak is revealed to be an honourable Affably Evil man and Friendly Enemy to Igor.
    Maidens of Putivl (on Prince Galitsky and his cronies): Worse than the enemies, worse than the Cumans!

    Video Games 
  • In the story of Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, the New Rubinelle Army, led by Admiral Greyfield, reignites the war between Rubinelle and Lazuria, with some help from the Intelligent Defense Systems company headed by Dr. Caulder. While Dr. Caulder is the larger Big Bad of the story, being responsible for the Creeper virus and manipulating both Rubinelle and Lazuria to wage war in pursuit of research and profits, Greyfield is very much the more heinous villain in terms of immediate action, being responsible for the deaths of two likeable COs and having little regard for the safety of his own troops. Caulder also gets points for poisoning the Mayor, an obstructive authority figure that acts as a frequent thorn in the early stages of the story.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Despite never appearing onscreen, Count Varley has drawn more hatred than even the game's main antagonists for his mistreatment of his daughter Bernadetta. In the pursuit of marrying her off to a rich noble, he's verbally abused her, tied her up to a chair for hours on end, forbidden her from interacting with commoners, and is implied to have engaged in physical beatings as well, all of which resulted in her becoming the introverted nervous wreck seen in-game.
  • In the Killzone series, the Helghast are presented as the villains, given the series has a futuristic, intergalatic World War II like theme with the Helghast being the Nazi like empire in that universe. However, the story throughout the games give a sympathetic spin on the Helghast in some parts, resulting in some fans Rooting for the Empire. While the most hated character in the series, is an impulsive jerkass named Rico who fights for the I.S.A, whom represent the heroic Allies faction of the intergalactic war.
  • Pokémon: In the Gen 1 and 2 Pokemon games, Team Rocket are the main villains, plotting to steal rare Pokemon, cutting off Slowpoke tails and serving them as food, and other heinous acts. But who gets all the vitriol from fans? Your rival Blue, or as he's known more colloquially, "Gary Motherfucking Oak", whose greatest crime...is getting to places before you do and telling you he'll "smell ya later!"
  • The Shantae series has a fun and colorful cast of both heroes and villains. In fact, Big Bad Risky Boots is a big fan favorite and several other villains are nearly as popular. However, many fans utterly loath Mayor Scuttlebutt for firing Shantae for little to no reason in almost every game and being completely shameless about it, yet getting off with almost no problem every single time.
  • Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana: Sir Carlan is one of the castaways, who is an Upper-Class Twit that views commoners as beneath him regardless of his current circumstance of being stranded on an island crawling with Primordials like everyone else, to the point that the game essentially treats him as a literal dead weight character. He's very stubborn, refuses to help out the village because of his perceived status granting him immunity from "commoner work", and doesn't treat anyone other than Laxia (who's a noble) with the same respect. For this reason, many fans consider Carlan worse than the Ax-Crazy serial killer Kiergaard and Theos de Endogram, the being inside the Great Tree of Origins who wipes out entire species off the planet in set Lacrimosa cycles to maintain the balance of life on earth. Fans weren't surprised when, in an act of desperation, Carlan attempts to escape the Isle of Seiren all by himself and ends up getting killed by the Oceanus, until it's later revealed he survived even that and got stranded on the small island in the center of the lagoon alone for days. But since finding Carlan on that island is an optional sidequest, some fans feel contempt to just leave him there.
  • Heavy Rain: Carter Blake is one of the most unpleasant, psychopathic characters in the game and he's not even a villain. His violent temper, lack of remorse towards the people he assaults in his pursuit to catch the title serial killer and his penchant for Police Brutality, almost makes him more detestable than the Origami Killer himself.
  • Persona 5: Starter Villain Suguru Kamoshida is often reviled by fans far more than the game's final target, despite the fact that his crimes affect only a single high school, while the latter runs a nation-wide political conspiracy. Kamoshida regularly physically abuses the male members of the volleyball team he coaches, and sexually abuses the female members, to the point where one of them attempts to commit suicide because of it. A teacher abusing the power he has over his students is something that the average person can visualize happening to them, or maybe even experienced themselves when they were a student.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Cinder Fall is the series' Big Bad who killed Pyrrha, and Salem is the one to guide her on this path to darkness. Yet fans love these femme fatales. It probably helps that the former is voiced by the significantly less evil Jessica Nigri, and the latter has a tragic backstory which explains why she's so evil. Similarly, Roman Torchwick is a crime boss aiding the radical White Fang in their terrorist attacks, yet fans love him for his charm and style. Cardin, however, frequently bullies poor Jaune, is a shameless bigot towards the faunus, and has even gone so far as to blackmail Jaune into doing his homework for him lest word get out that he faked his papers to get into Beacon Academy. Needless to say, no one felt for sorry for him when Pyrrha subjected him to a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • Out of the villains, Jacques Schnee has one of the worst reputations despite being among the most mundane. He's an emotionally (but not physically, aside from slapping his daughter Weiss once) abusive and neglectful husband and father who simply married his wife for wealth. He sees his kids as trophy children.
    • Adam Taurus has been sliding into this trope ever since he made his first appearance in the series. Fans may have been willing to let slide that he's the leader of the White Fang. But his treatment towards Blake while they were together? Absolutely not!

    Webcomics 
  • Homestuck
    • By far one of the most divisive characters in the comic is Vriska Serket. Mainly due to her lying, manipulation, the fact that she broke Tavros' leg and later caused his death and being the direct cause of a HUGE Wham Episode. It's not rare to see her much more reviled in the fandom than genuine villains like Jack Noir, Doc Scratch, Lord English or Her Imperious Condescension.
    • Eridan Ampora is similiarly hated by the fandom due to his creepy, desperate attitude towards Feferi, his Fantastic Racism towards the other Trolls and condescending, snooty attitude. After killing two of his friends and attempting to betray everyone, not many fans were particularly upset after Kanaya chainsawed him in half.

    Western Animation 
  • The Archer episode "Edie's Wedding" parodies this when insane cyborg Barry Dylan, who is in the process of murdering the title character, expresses disgust at Edie for her cruel behavior to her sister Pam.
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: Richardson Mole is a Spoiled Brat who does everything he can to make Fred's life a misery, and constantly flirts with Gogo (to her disgust). The team as a whole find him more repugnant than the supervillains they regularly face.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has several villains, from Father, to Cree Lincoln. However, the one character almost every fan dislikes is Numbuh 1's girlfriend, Lizzie, who is rude not only to him, but almost every other character on the show. Though then came the reveal that she's none other than part of the GKND, with the implications her relationship with Nigel was partially done for the sake of testing him. Additionally, she has grown fond of the team to send them a warning of their plans. Whether his pays out will all depend on if we see the GKND ever come to light.
  • Gravity Falls: Big Bad Bill Cipher is universally loved by the fandom, with many calling him one of the best characters on the show, despite his end goal being bringing about the apocalypse. By contrast, Preston and Priscilla Northwest are merely Upper-Class Twits and Abusive Parents to their daughter, Pacifica, and are utterly loathed by the fanbase because of it, with Preston in particular often taking many fans's "worst/least favorite character on the show" spot.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: While Hawk Moth is the primary villain of the show, and the fans rightly hate him for what he's done, it's Lila Rossi, a mundane Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and Consummate Liar, that is the most detested character due to her gaslighting and manipulative tactics towards Marinette in school. Not even equally mundane Alpha Bitch Chloe Bourgeois has this level of hate, since her jerkishness is often seen in a Love to Hate manner. In fact, Lila's actions during "Chameleon" are the number one source of "Salt Fic", a subgenere of fanfics that often make the direct result of her antics the breaking point for Marinette.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: Vexus is very well liked by fans of the show, for one reason or another. Instead, most of the fan's ire is saved for most of the people Jenny has to deal with at High School, such as Vice Principal Razinski, Mr. Mezmer, Don Prima and Pteresa. Just about the only bullies that the fanbase don’t have a bone to pick with (and even then, they have their haters) are the Crust Cousins.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Major villains who are serious threats to Equestria (Queen Chrysalis, King Sombra, Lord Tirek, etc) receive no end of love from fans. Meanwhile, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, two girls in Apple Bloom's class, pick on her and her friends for not having cutie marks yet, and fans wouldn't mind sending their filly-behinds to the glue factory. This applies to other characters like Chancellor Neighsay (before his redemption) and Sludge the Dragon.
  • Skeebo in Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures tends to be viewed in this regard. Sure, Betrayus is the evil ruler of the Netherworld who in life plunged Pac-World into global war, Dr. Buttocks is an Evil Genius who isn't even above working behind Betrayus' back to further his own goals, and Apex is an alien who nearly won in a few attempts to invade Pac-World. Skeebo, however, constantly bullies Pac, is an Ungrateful Bastard whenever Pac saves his butt, and is prone to talking big only to embarrass himself immediately afterward. While the villains tended to have some charm and humor to balance out their nefariousness, Skeebo is just a two-dimensional bully with no charm or depth to him whatsoever.
  • Scooby-Doo: The villains have ranged from petty thieves to outright attempted murderers, but the fans are fine with them since their costumed foolery is fun to watch and they'll be gone by the next episode. The worst Scrappy Doo has done, meanwhile, is make bullheaded decisions and attempt to fight people ten times his size while acting somewhat bratty, and yet he's the one that got an entire trope named after the collective fandom ire he was saddled with, and at least two continuities went ahead and made him an actual villain to retroactively justify it.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In a franchise where planet destroying super weapons and the people who command them are common, there is no more (intentionally) hated character than Pong Krell. Krell is famous for his brutally efficient tactics and it's clear shortly after he is introduced that he is that way because he utterly hates the clones the series is named for. When Krell isn't ordering suicide missions, he is belittling his troops because they were grown in a lab and no other reason. Though, it turns out Krell is in fact a dark sider, he is motivated to fall largely because he thinks clones are inferior and it's his bigotry that has earned him a spot of ire among a franchise that has produced characters nearly synonymous with the concept of evil.
  • Steven Universe: Despite the major draw of the show being the remains of a resistance fighting against Scary Dogmatic Aliens that have no care for organic life, nearly all the characters that draw the most ire are completely human:
    • During the first four seasons, Lars was one of the least-liked characters in the show, simply because he was a jerkass many people saw their own bullies in. It took him dying and coming back to life for people to start liking him, and to this day fans refer to his Character Development as a redemption arc despite his worst "crime" being a big jerk to those around him. Compare the actual antagonists of the show, whose goals ranged from "murder Steven" to "murder the entire planet".
    • Ronaldo is the most hated character in the entire series, as a Know-Nothing Know-It-All Attention Whore that is an annoyance to both Steven and the audience. Many find "Rocknaldo" to be the worst episode in the series, where Ronaldo is at his lowest and, due to a botched moral about bullying, find it an insult since he's used as an Audience Surrogate in his other appearances. Unlike other humans, he has intentionally endangered others on a few occasions, though he's nowhere near as bad as, say, Jasper.
    • Kevin was intentionally made as a Hate Sink; however, unlike the Diamonds, who have many loving followers, Kevin gets no sympathy from fans, as his self-centered attitude and harassment of Stevonnie struck a chord. The best he gets is Love to Hate due to his love of getting a rise out of others making him fun to watch.
    • Pink Diamond of the Diamond Authority sees more hatred and ire in the fandom than other members of her family. While the other Diamonds have all committed (off-screen) acts of planetary genocide and the enforcement of a rigid caste system, Pink's actions are comparatively limited. Unfortunately, said limited acts have all personally affected the main cast. This despite the fact that as the secret identity of Rose Quartz, who freed the Earth from their rule, she's actually the Big Good.
    • WickedBinge lists Marty as the most evil character in their ranking of the franchise for him being a greedy, deadbeat douchenozzle who only uses others to get himself ahead, including his own son. The second most evil character is Bluebird Azurite, who ends the series still wanting to murder Steven, held Greg hostage in order to hurt Steven, and has no remorse over the past actions of herself or her components.

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