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Kindness Ball

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This is when Taking a Level in Kindness is plot-required. Sometimes, an otherwise mean person becomes a Nice Guy unexpectedly, most likely to advance the plot or sometimes simply for humor value, or for a positive moment.

In-story, the sudden change in behavior can have a variety of reasons. Sometimes they're mundane everyday reasons such as merely being in love with someone. It can also often happen in Christmas specials. Others could because of certain scenarios; maybe that one character comforts the other character in distress. Sometimes the Kindness Ball is a more literal thing, such as cake. Of course, supernatural, paranormal or abnormal items being the literal Kindness Ball is common too.

Sub-Trope: Merciful Minion

Compare Kindness Button - when there's a specific trigger that causes nice behavior in an otherwise mean character, or Jerk with a Heart of Gold.

Opposite of Jerkass Ball.

May overlap with Pet the Dog, Not Himself, Nice Job Fixing It, Villain, and Depending on the Writer. If done in a particularly exaggerated manner that in no way befits their normal characterization it is likely an Out-of-Character Moment.

Despite being a temporary change of personality plot wise, characters can eventually snap themselves out of it, leading to a We Want Our Jerk Back! scenario.


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    Fan Works 
  • In Episode 7 of Kedabory's Muppet Mania, the French Chef, who is normally very serious and hot-tempered, finally shows a softer side during the final number as she's moved by Kermit's monologue about family. She even temporarily puts aside her heated rivalry with the Swedish Chef, who until then had been a regular pain in her ass, to sing a portion of the closing song together. Of course, by their next appearance in Episode 10, she's right back to her stubborn ways.

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows finally has Percy Weasley removing the giant pole up his rear end and showing affection towards his family. This coming from the guy who pretty much disowned them after joining the Ministry of Magic, returned the sweater his mother knitted for him, didn't even visit his injured father in hospital, and had to be pressured by Scrimgeour to visit his family which was actually a ploy to for the Minister to talk to Harry.
  • Blackstar from Warrior Cats, known for being a difficult cat to get along with at best and an outright villain at worst, was very nice to the cats who went to fight the beavers and return water to the lake, offering them prey when they wandered into ShadowClan territory. Lampshaded by Lionblaze, who asks, "Who are you, and what have you done with Blackstar?"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ghosts (UK): As a Sleazy Politician, Julian is almost always amoral and self-centered. On one occasion, however, Mike delivers a heartfelt pitch about Button House that he regrets not having turned the camera on for, only for Julian to reveal that he had pressed record.
  • Jessica Jones: Jessica is known to be a very rude, cynical, sardonic and pretty much pushes everyone but a select few people out of her life. However, she has a soft spot for those who are victims of the mind controlling villain known as Kilgrave. She will go out of her way to help these people and keep them from coming to harm.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon, who is known for being a jerkass, shows sympathy to Howard after his mother dies, because Sheldon's father died and he understands the pain of losing a parent.
  • Victor from House of Anubis has had a few of these, most of them occurring in a moment of surprising affection for the kids, saving them twice from Rufus Zeno. However, a more noticeable example happens in season two when Vera is petrified by Senkhara. With the only way to free her being to give the students all the reflectors and let them move ahead in the game, that's exactly what he does, and his out of character attitude is noted by the students.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Fraggle Rock: In the episode "The Great Radish Caper," Junior Gorg, who is known for trying to catch and thump Fraggles, takes this after wandering about in search of a friend, dragging Mokey along so she can help him recognize a friend when he finds one. When he realizes how much Mokey misses her friends, he brings her back to the garden, despite not having found any friends of his own, and lets her go home.

    Western Animation 
  • Daffy Duck takes the role of King Arthur in Bugs Bunny in King Arthur's Court. While still a rather apathetic and self-preserving figure, he is rather compliant and friendly to the requests of Bugs Bunny (who he is usually a bitter rival towards) and even willingly hands him the crown during the climax.
  • Kiki the gorilla (a parody of Koko the gorilla who loved cats) from the Animaniacs Rita and Runt episode, "Kiki's Kitten" is isolated from the other gorillas because she is so aggressive toward them and she is so aggressive in general. However, cats and kittens, including Rita and the orange female cat in the episode, are her Kindness Ball, although she can be rough with them.
  • Gargoyles: Xanatos is normally a morally gray business man known for his complex schemes and has fought with the protagonists a number of times. What makes him finally settle his quarrels with the protagonists is him having a baby and the protagonists helping him out when said baby is threatened.
  • The Jetsons has an episode that has Cogswell Cogs build their corporate headquarters six inches over the property line. Cosmo Spacely, Cogswell's competitor, exults at this fault until it's revealed that the plans were upside-down. It's Spacely's building that's intrusive. Rather than crushing his longtime nemesis, however, Cogswell allows Spacely to buy the building and its plot from him.
  • The 1957 Merrie Melodies cartoon Zoom and Bored sees The Determinator coyote try using a huge harpoon gun upon his prey. However, the harpoon's reel line loops around the coyote's ankle, and takes the poor critter on a wild ride across cacti, under rocks, into traffic, and into the path of a locomotive. Coming to rest atop a precipice, the coyote gasps in relief and amazement that he survived this ordeal relatively intact. The Road Runner zips into position unnoticed behind the coyote, poised to "beep beep" his adversary over the edge with fright, as he is wont to do. Instead, the Road Runner, Breaking the Fourth Wall, addresses the audience by Talking with Signs that read "I just don't have the heart," before zipping away offscreen, iris out.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Magic Duel", Trixie seizes control of Ponyville and goes on a power trip, sealing the whole town under a glass dome and preventing any pony from entering or leaving. She makes one exception in her reign of jerkassery: briefly lifting the seal so a group of beavers can carry a log out of the town. And that proves to be Trixie's undoing—Fluttershy is hiding in that log, and she carries a crucial message out to Twilight Sparkle, who saves Ponyville from Trixie shortly after.
  • Mr. Burns from The Simpsons can hold this ball in some episodes. The best example of this was in the episode "King-Sized Homer", where he did everything from leading a calisthenics session, to politely pushing Homer back when Homer slides into his office on an oil slick, to honoring Homer's gambit to be considered disabled, to agreeing to do whatever Homer wants in exchange for saving the plant (which ended with him paying for Homer’s liposuction).
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, Mr. Robinson, Miss Simian, and several other "mean" characters have a lot of these.
  • Bender in Futurama is normally a classic Jerkass, but in episodes focusing on him, he tends to develop a noticeably more empathetic and kind side (which is strange, since one episode explicitly claims him to have a Lack of Empathy). "Godfellas" is probably the preeminent example, where he's shown genuinely doing his best to help the Shrimpkins (well, after the Single-Precept Religion is in place, anyway), and being downright miserable when his attempts go south.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "A Pal for Gary", Mr. Krabs, who usually isn't into doing anything that doesn't make him money, is pretty reasonable; willing to understand SpongeBob's dilemma with Gary and even accommodates him to take Gary to work at the end of the episode.
    • In "Little Yellow Book", Mr. Krabs actually pretty reasonable; he doesn't laugh at SpongeBob's secrets when Squidward shows everyone his diary and while everyone else becomes abusive and cruel towards him after SpongeBob runs out crying (despite laughing at SpongeBob's secrets before then), Mr. Krabs simply tells Squidward to apologize in a calm but firm manner.
    • In "Tutor Sauce", the incredibly cheap and stingy Mr. Krabs gives Pearl money for shoes with no hesitation. Later in the same season ("Lame and Fortune"), he has a nightmare about Pearl "spending all his hard-earned money on shoes", which is even scarier to him than dying.
    • In "Two Thumbs Down", Squidward doesn't show any of his signature hatred of SpongeBob. He's happy to get a thumbs up from him, and when SpongeBob breaks his thumbs and can't cook, he meekly comments "my thumbs work..." and tries to help him (although SpongeBob refuses).
    • In "Something Narwhal This Way Comes", series villain Plankton is happy to call his family and get rid of the Nearwhals, not even expecting anything in return. The problem doesn't even affect him, only people he either doesn't know (Nobby, Narlene) or doesn't like (SpongeBob, Mr. Krabs).
    • Plankton and Karen usually have an Awful Wedded Life where she's exasperated by his constant failures and he finds her annoying and naggy. In "Tango Tangle", Plankton surprises Karen with a thoughtful birthday gift, and the two of them love dancing together. Notably, this is one of the rare instances where Plankton doesn't need any external motivation to make Karen happy.
  • Kamp Koral:
    • Mr. Krabs, who usually couldn't care less about campers' well-beings and only gets involved if he can find a way to make money out of it (such as in "Sun's Out, Fun's Out", "First and Last Aid", and "Night of the Living Stench"), in "Boo Light Special". Here, he's constantly overworked with helping the campers play games, gives them safety equipment, unclogs the outhouse, helps manage the store, all at once for no particular reason; he's not getting anything out of it and it's not even set up like he has to do it to avoid a lawsuit or keep his job. He's just doing it all out of his own volition, and the only reason he hires the Dutchman is because he had no other options and had to save some kids from sudden death.
    • Mrs. Puff, a teacher who hates children and has tried to murder a camper's beloved pet ("Camper Gary"), ignores Sandy's serious concerns ("The Ho! Ho! Horror!"), and enters a demolition derby to injure kids ("Lake Crashers"), gets the Kindness Ball in "First and Last Aid". Here, she's horrified by Mr. Krabs' apathetic reaction to the campers' injuries (which are more Amusing Injuries, like Patrick having a jellyfish net stuck on his head, than anything serious), and implores him to hire a nurse to take care of them. This is despite the fact that she's tried to do direct harm to the campers and has been shown to be equally as uncaring as Krabs other times.
  • On very rare occasions, Eric Cartman from South Park can show genuine kindness. In "Major Boobage", after cats are banned from the town, Cartman selflessly shelters them in his attic. This does get joked on in the ending, where Kyle asks Cartman if he could think of there being any similar time in history where living beings were persecuted by law and forced into hiding to survive on the goodwill of others, and Cartman claims it's not ringing a bell.