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Mayor Pain

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"Oh, I'm quite tired of this lunatic
Why must we suffer 'cuz the mayor's sick?"
Rasputina, "The Mayor"

Mayor Pain (a trope about mayors who inflict grief upon the inhabitants of their cities) usually comes in two different flavors, depending on the question: Are they evil or simply inept?

  • The Evil Mayor Pain (The Wilkins): Wickedness over incompetence. The mayor does a relatively good work with the town and can even be a pleasant person, yet they have a secret Evil Plan to carry out — or else they're A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. This is the kind of mayor that puts the "sin" in "sindaco".
  • The Incompetent Mayor Pain (The Quimby): Incompetence over wickedness. The mayor is openly incompetent and their actions are clearly due to a lack of judgment. Of course, this incompetence can have any level of disastrous consequences...

This Trope usually overlaps with Corrupt Politician or Sleazy Politician. Related to President Evil (which applies on a way larger scale). Expect some Permanent Elected Officials to fulfill this trope. Near obligatory in a Town with a Dark Secret, especially one infected with Sunnydale Syndrome. If this is an Ultimate Authority Mayor, things aren't getting better for the town, and they may need to be voted out or worse. The incompetent version may be an Authority in Name Only. The typical character, especially if he or she is an Evil Mayor Pain, who belongs to the Lawful Evil alignment.


Not to be confused with the movie Major Payne.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • An Orange Islands Pokémon episode had one of these. When a mystery creature is wandering the sewers on his island, he intends to kill it rather than capture it, as he's worried its existence will affect his status as mayor. Turns out it was his Bulbasaur he abandoned as a child. Poor thing was still happy to see him.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: The mayor of Daten City is Corset, a powerful demon with a BDSM fetish. Definitely the Wilkins type.
  • Mr. Heartland from Yu Gi Oh Zexal is an Evil Mayor Payne, and a Villain with Good Publicity and a Devil in Plain Sight. While only The Dragon during the time he's mayor (the first season) he proves worse than the apparent Big Bad of that season.
  • The Mayor in Little Witch Academia is mainly the Quimby type. He is more concerned about puffing up his own ego and earning tourist dollars than he is with things like good sense and reason. With incontrovertible proof that both magic and witches are real, he decides to remove a rock that is specifically labelled as a seal to a great evil to place a statue of himself. When the inevitable happens and a giant attacks his city, he blames the Witches and only backs down when he starts thinking of the tourist revenue. Even a Witch supporting him from a great height on her broom is not enough to dissuade him even when she gently tries to remind him exactly whose fault this whole fiasco is.

    Comic Books 
  • Hamilton Hill from the Batman comics was an Evil Mayor Pain; a competent politician, but completely in the pocket of crime boss Rupert Thorne. He was succeeded in office by Armand Krol, who was an Incompetent Mayor Pain.
  • In Batman: Earth One, Mayor Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin in the regular timeline) is Mayor of Gotham. He's also a crime boss who uses a Serial Killer named The Birthday Boy as his own personal hitman, supplying him with teenage girls as payment.

    Film — Animated 
  • Mayor Shelbourne in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs starts off as just a jerk, but once the food starts falling, he will do anything to keep it coming, since his town is now getting notoriety and he is quite a glutton. He ends up pushing Flint to keep making the food, even when told it's not safe. And when the inevitable happens, he quickly shifts the blame to Flint.
  • Tortoise John in Rango is an Evil Mayor Pain.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In La Famille Bélier, Lapidus despises deaf people and promotes industrial development, which harms the farmers.
  • Ghostbusters (2016) directly references the below movie, as Erin calls out the New York mayor feeling the city hall obstructing their job makes him like the mayor from ''Jaws'. He gets mad at the comparison. (specially as he's an aversion of the trope: the mayor is just hiding his support from the populace because Plausible Deniability will help avoid panic)
  • Mayor Larry Vaughn in Jaws. He may have a point that the tourist trade from the beaches is the lifeblood of the town's economy, but ordering them to be opened after being warned of the danger of attacks from a man-eating shark is inexcusable. The novel provides additional reason for him in the fact that it's the local Mafia strong-arming him to do it — but on the other hand he got in bed with them, meaning he's even more malicious.
  • The Mayor in Police Academy 6: City Under Siege is an Evil Mayor Payne, and is secretly the Big Bad.
  • Mayor Phlegmming in Osmosis Jones, is as incompetent as they come. It's his idiotic decisions that are the reason why Frank is such a slob and he cares more about his re-election than the lethal threat that could and almost did kill Frank. Unsurprisingly, he is fired from his job after the incident and later accidentally ejects himself from Frank's body.
  • Animal House: The Mayor of Faber, Carmine De Pasto, is a perfect example of the "evil" version. Although Dean Wormer was already looking for a reason to kick the Deltas out, it's De Pasto who exacerbates the film's events by explicitly telling Wormer that if he doesn't finds a way to expel them pronto and the Deltas cause any trouble at the parade as a result, he will have the Dean's legs broken. He also strong-arms the Dean to give money to fund the parade, which explicitly will strain the college's budget.
  • The Salvation: The dying town's mayor is also its undertaker, so he's the only one making money. It also turns out that he's in league with the villain, helping him kill the town so that it can be bought up by oil tycoons.
  • In Godzilla (1998), Mayor Ebert of New York City is a definitive "incompetent" type, obsessed with how a rampaging Kaiju and the United States military accidentally blowing up Manhattan in its attempt to save it will reflect on his chances to be re-elected.

  • In After the Golden Age, the protagonist discovers evidence linking the mayor to the perpetrators of a crime wave in Commerce City. He turns out to be a supervillain.
  • The Night Mayor is set in a virtual reality world based on Film Noir, so naturally the mayor is corrupt and incompetent. When one of the protagonists visits his office, she notes that his official portrait shows a bulge under his jacket that's either a concealed firearm or a large wad of bribe money. He also makes decisions by turning the memos into paper airplanes and seeing where they land, with consequences including a children's hospital being torn down to make room for a miniature golf course.
  • Mayor Petty is this in Sunrise, though there are hints of this in the previous book Ashen Winter. He first calls an attack on a neighboring city called Stockton, despite warnings from an autistic teenager named Ben that the attack was too predictable, and therefore would fail. Just as he had predicted, the attack fails, leading to many casualties, and he's only able to get Warren back because of a carefully planned mission by Alex and Ben. Despite this, he continually refuses to accept advice from Alex despite the fact that he was the only reason the citizens of Warren were able to obtain it again. He effectively takes credit for Alex's military successes, and evades responsibility for his own failures. It's not until Warren is completely destroyed when he is forced to move to Alex's new town named Speranta and become subservient to him, which he is quite unhappy about because he clearly hates the idea of being talked down to by a mere teenager. However, despite his blatant incompetence in dealing with the realities of a post-apocalyptic world, he is still well-beloved by the former residents of Warren, which goes to show that they love him because of familiarity and his supposed "experience" than they do about any actual merit.
  • Governor Grice from the Ciaphas Cain novel For The Emperor is incompetent, except that he's really an evil genestealer hybrid (the Evil Mayor Pain) who is disguising his treason as mere incompetence.
    • As there's no evidence he has any personal planning or administrative skills, and Grice's personal and family histories must be consistent, he probably really is an incompetent governor. They show up a lot in the setting, and tend to stay in place until they impede somebody important who can have them killed.
  • Mayor Clancy in Scorpions. He's demonstrably crooked and supposedly has ties to The Mafia and keeps a staff of hired Mooks on retainer. In addition, there are rumors that he has had people killed when they wouldn't sell him their land for development purposes.
  • Big Jim Rennie from Under the Dome definitely qualifies as the evil variant, though his title is "councilman" rather than "mayor". He's still essentially the acting mayor as he's the senior member of the town council, mayor included, who was in Chesters' Mill when the Dome came down.
  • In You Are Dead (Sign Here Please) the mayor of Dead Donkey is resoundingly unpopular and is also (separately) a drunken incoherent bum.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has Mayor Richard Wilkins III, who provides the name for the Evil Mayor Pain. On the outside, he's a polite, organized and rather efficient politician. The truth, however, is that he plans to undergo the Ascension to become a demonic snake. He also planned to use this new condition to bring order to the town.
  • Criminal Minds: Clark Preston from "A Thin Line" was going to become one, had the BAU not found out about the murders he had planned.
  • Desperate Housewives: Victor Lang, Gabrielle's husband for the first half of season 4.
  • Doctor Who: "Boom Town" has Margaret Blaine, Lord Mayor of Cardiff... or should we say, Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen, last surviving member of the Slitheen who came to Earth, who plots to use a nuclear power plant project to rip open the Negative Space Wedgie in the centre of Cardiff to power her escape vehicle so she can go home, destroying the Earth in the process. And she seems so nice!
  • Schitt's Creek has Mayor Roland Schitt who is mostly a type 2 and means well but when it comes to the Roses, especially in the first season, he morphs into a type one.
  • Once Upon a Time: Regina Mills, aka The Evil Queen, is definitely the evil version. In the beginning at least, post Heel–Face Turn she remains mayor largely because she is competent at the job.
  • Under the Dome: Big Jim Rennie is still evil in the TV adaptation.
  • Read All About It: Duneedon, the evil tyrant of the galaxy Trialvaron, has a human identity-Don Eden, the mayor of Herbertsville, Canada.


  • Mayor Pamela Winchell from Welcome to Night Vale. She's a strange mix of both the "evil" variant and "incompetent" variant, although she's not stupid and it's difficult to peg her as out and out evil. Given the way she's described, it seems more like she's just totally insane. She eventually falls more directly into the "incompetent" category after she becomes obsessed with "emergency press conferences," and later steps down as Mayor; her successor is Dana Cardinal, that being former Night Vale Community Radio intern Dana, who is much more level headed, but allows Winchell to stay in "government" (and indulge her obsession) as Director of Emergency Press Conferences. Of course, the Mayor of Night Vale's powers are actually pretty limited, with affairs seemingly being mostly in the hands of the City Council (which has had the same composition since the city was founded over a century ago), the vague-but-menacing government agency, and the Sheriff's Secret Police. Oh, and the Glow Cloud (all hail), if the issue involves the Night Vale School District in any way.

    Video Games 

  • Albus Ivory of Colour Wheel is an interesting mix of the Evil and Incompetent variants. He enacts crazy plans to take over the city, even though he's already the mayor; these plans are ridiculous, ineffectual, overly complex, easily thwarted, and cause massive damage to the city. And in one case, possibly every city on the coastline.
  • In Daryl and Susie, Daryl the dragon has a town in his head, run by an Evil Mayor Pain (based loosely on the Mayor from Buffy). This Mayor incessantly tries to get Daryl upset, for doing so makes monsters appear from Daryl's head, and collaborates with Daryl's arch-nemesis Aosoth before becoming The Starscream.
  • Leonard Zachary of the Shanafelt City Council from TRU-Life Adventures is this in all but title. Getting the city to restore the position of mayor is high on his list of priorities.
  • Played with in League of Super Redundant Heroes. Kurgh the Conqueror — warlord and scourge of the galaxy — conquers Shitropolis in his first appearance, however based on his later appearances he is a competent and dedicated mayor, doing his best to run the city efficiently.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Mayor from Action League Now is plain card-carrying evil. In fact, we only ever see him doing evil things, rather than actually, you know, mayoring.
  • Hamilton Hill as portrayed in Batman: The Animated Series was a mild example of the incompetent type, mostly as focused on Batman specifically; he's antagonistic towards Batman despite his merits (going so far as to authorise an armed task force, albeit when it does appear that Batman has started murdering people), and could be a bit critical of Gordon's decisions. In terms of actually running the city, he's fairly decent, and often depicted presiding over improvements of the city's infrastructure. Though, compared to his comic and Telltale incarnations, he's not the Mayor Evil type.
  • Vlad Masters/Vlad Plasmius eventually becomes this in Danny Phantom, abusing his authority to antagonize Danny.
  • Adam West would be the Incompetent Mayor Pain in Family Guy.
  • Clay Puppington from Moral Orel.
  • From The Oblongs, the town of Hill Valley is governed by Mayor Johnny "The Mayor" Bledsoe, a masked wrestler (talks like an American pro wrestler, wears a luchador mask with a nice suit). He's a good balance of evil and incompetence, like all authority figures in the series.
  • Mayor Spryman from Ozzy & Drix is a Quimby, a stuck-up bratty punk of a teenager that has no business being in charge of a city, though considering that Hector is a teenager it's most likely a factor of his personality that Spryman is not only mayor but acts the way he is.
  • Mayor from The Powerpuff Girls is so incompetent, he somehow managed to kill Navi when playing Ocarina of Time. It's safe to assume that the real mayor of Townsville is his much smarter assistant, Sarah Bellum.
    • The episode Impeach Fuzz sees him temporarily replaced by Fuzzy Lumpkins, a recurring villain.
    • In "Bought and Scold", Princess, another one of the girls' recurring villains, becomes mayor after buying it out from Mayor. The first thing she does is make crime legal as a way to get back at the girls.
  • After the events of the first season finale of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Mayor Jones is a definite Evil Mayor Pain. In that one episode we learn that he moved to Crystal Cove only to look for treasure, blackmailed the original Mystery Inc. into leaving, double-crossed Professor Pericles, dressed up as the Freak of Crystal Cove, and to top it off, concealed the true identity of Fred's real parents while raising him as his own son.
  • The Simpsons:
  • Mayor Bill Dewey from Steven Universe seems like an image-obsessed blowhard in his early appearances, but it ends up being subverted. It turns out he does actually care about the townsfolk; he views his job as putting their well-being first — and he doesn't want a riot breaking out, especially considering what the Crystal Gems tend to do to the town. In "Dewey Wins", when he finally realizes he's in over his head with recent events, he abandons his re-election campaign and allows Nanefua Pizza to become the new mayor of Beach City.
  • Mayor Manx from SWAT Kats is the incompetent type- he pushes all his work on his Deputy Mayor, Callie Briggs, and is mainly concerned with getting reelected. This caused some issues in one episode when it transpires he's the descendant of a famous "MegaWar II" fighter pilot named the "Blue Manx", and the Blue Manx's old nemesis, the Red Lynx, comes back as a ghost pilot to wreak havoc and settle his old score.
  • The Mayor of Tom Goes to the Mayor, who is so impossibly incompetent that he crosses a line and borders on being the evil kind of this trope.
  • A lot of the problems of Griffin Rock in Transformers: Rescue Bots can be lain at the feet of Mayor H.B. Luskey. A lot of problems in the town stem from his ego, blame-shifting, and total ineptitude at pretty much everything he does. He's at his worst in "The Vigilant Town", where his demands that an experimental computer meant to protect the town be turned on full power, even after it demonstrates that it's willing to violate civil liberties to perform its function. In Season 4, after the Rescue Bots reveal themselves as aliens, Chase runs against Luskey and wins—but Chase being The Spock, a Rules Lawyer, and a strict By-the-Book Cop didn't make him any better and he resigned, with Luskey resuming the post.
  • Mayor André Bourgeois from Miraculous Ladybug is a heavily implied Sleazy Politician who frequently abuses his power to spoil his daughter Chloé.
  • "His Dishonor, the Mayor" from Action League Now. He's never actually seen mayoring, but is instead the closest thing the League has to an arch-nemesis, and is frequently plotting to kill or harm them, or harm other people. (His voice is a parody of then-Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy, as the voice cast of the show worked on a morning radio show there.)
  • Mayor Toadstool from Amphibia is basically Joe Quimby as a toad. He's corrupt, sleazy, and amoral official who regularly embezzles the town's money, frequently tries to bribe his way to victory, and is clearly in the position for himself.


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