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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"
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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.

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Not to be confused with the movie Major Payne.

Examples

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    Anime & Manga 

    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.
  • Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade: The Mayor 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 labeled 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.
  • Tortoise John in Rango is an Evil Mayor Pain.
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    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, while secretly funding the Ghostbusters as he sees them as the only legitimate means of fighting ghosts.)
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • Read All About It: Duneedon, the evil tyrant of the galaxy Trialvaron, has a human identity-Don Eden, the mayor of Herbertsville, Canada.
  • Under the Dome: Big Jim Rennie is still evil in the TV adaptation.
  • The Wire: Mayor Clarence Royce fits squarely in the Quimby camp, taking a purely superficial approach to the city's crime problem by pressuring the Baltimore Police to produce data which suggests the murder rate is falling, which in turn forces the department to "juke the stats". Tommy Carcetti starts off better when he replaces Royce, but he gradually puts the needs of the city on the back burner as he eyes a run for governor. However, Carcetti's arc reveals that it's the system rather than whoever is at the top which is responsible for the city's plight.

    Music 

    Podcasts 
  • 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 
  • City of Heroes's signature Mad Scientist, Dr. Aeon pulls double duty as both the Wilkins and the Quimby at the same time. Since he works as a governor of a City of Villains, naturally he is evil. He takes public office as little more than an excuse to get funding for his mad experiments. So he is unapologetically evil, but while he is a decent mad-scientist he is utterly inept as a politician and his attendants/babysitters need to do the actual policy-enforcement.
  • In the SimCity series of games, the players themselves can easily invoke this, due to the whole Ultimate Authority Mayor aspect giving you control of natural disasters and Alien Invasions.
  • Mayor Roger C. Hole from Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is hopelessly corrupt, and winds up getting killed by a member of a gang he was being paid to harass. Donald Love later tries to be this, but loses in the election to Miles O'Donovan.
  • The mayor of Teufort in Team Fortress 2 is definitely a Mayor Evil, acting completely friendly while he charges the Spy and the Scout not for the crimes they've actually committed, but as scapegoats for the awful things he's done as mayor. He's actually a Mayor Incompetent, as he did all those things because he's too brain damaged to know they were wrong (and his constituents are no better).
  • In Saints Row, city alderman Richard Hughes plans to become this by tricking the Player Character into killing the previous mayor and others, but is Killed Off for Real himself. In Saints Row 2 his wife actually becomes this, even going so far as to hire the leader of a powerful criminal organization to spray fecal matter at Ultor properties around town.
  • Justin Lawson, the mayor of Concordia from Season 4 of Criminal Case. Haven been thrust into the office of mayor after the previous mayor was assassinated, he goes to extreme lengths to eliminate crime in the city, including forming a secret police answerable only to him, suspending civil liberties, and executing lawbreakers regardless of their offense.
  • In Batman: The Telltale Series, Mayor Hamilton Hill is still an Evil Mayor Pain and in the pocket of a crime boss, but here, he's part of a triumvirate with both Carmine Falcone and Thomas Wayne and all three essentially ran Gotham. He also put the hit on the Wayne family. Harvey Dent spends the first two episodes running against him for mayor but, the whole thing goes moot when the Penguin fatally shoots Hill.
  • Mayor McDonough of Diamond City from Fallout 4 qualifies as an Evil Mayor Pain. He threw out all the city's ghouls upon first coming to power, turns a blind eye to the kidnappings and synth infiltrations that have been going on in town, and Piper Wright, the Intrepid Reporter in charge of the city's only paper, even suspects him of being a synth himself. She turns out to be right.
  • Mayor Scuttlebutt from the Shantae series is an Incompetent Mayor Pain on the verge of being a Running Gag. While a reasonable enough official in the first game, his incompetency begins to show in Risky's Revenge when he fires Shantae from her job and later sells the town to the Ammo Baron rather than try and deal with his forces and Risky at the same time. In Pirate's Curse, he would have been able to buy Scuttle Town back from the Ammo Baron...IF he hadn't spent the between-game interim eating the cheap waxy chocolates bought with the money he got for the deed. And then in Half-Genie Hero, he fires Shantae again after Risky's attack leaves Main Street in flames and gives her post to Holly.
  • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin's Mayor of Freehaven is pretty much constantly skirting Evil and Incompetent. He's a transparently self-centered, hideously smug guy who insists on abusing any authority given to him. The guy is mostly defined by him a) constantly ordering around the main characters and demanding they cater to his every whim, and b) constantly disrespecting the main characters and attempting to kick them and any civilians traveling with them out at any opportunity. However, he doesn't dip into outright evil until he becomes The Quisling — which doesn't end well for him.
  • Heart of the Woods has Evelyn Fischer, Morgan's mother and the mayor of the small town of Eysenfeld, who's the Evil type. Evelyn is actually a rogue fairy known as "The Moonsick One," who has been stealing people's bodies for centuries to prolong her life, resulting in the village sacrificing people every generation. She uses a Glamour to win the loyalty of the town's citizens, and is apparently responsible for cursing people who get close to her daughter Morgan. She even doesn't care for her town, since by the end of the game, she's decided to possess Tara and leave Eysenfeld in the body of a minor internet celebrity.
  • Clam Man: Mayor King initially seems like a typical politician (although Clam Man seems to be one of the few people who isn't fond of him), but eventually turns out to be the Evil type. He's the real Big Bad of the game, leading a conspiracy to demolish the part of the city where Clam Man lives, since many people have complained about how trashy that area is, and King wants to secure his re-election.

    Webcomics 
  • 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.
  • Mayor Sidewinder of Poison Ivy Gulch is the incompetent type and he comes off as a Sleazy Politician too. Examples of his incompetence are renaming a street rather than clean its stench and giving a non-answer to a citizen's question.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • "His Dishonor, The Mayor" from Action League NOW! is basically the closest thing the titular Action League has to an arch-nemesis, and plain card-carrying evil to boot, frequently plotting to harm or kill the League, 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.) We only ever see him doing evil things, rather than actually, you know, mayoring, which leads to the question... What is he the mayor of?
  • 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:
  • In the Sonic Boom episode "Mayor Knuckles", Knuckles is asked to fill in for the mayor for an afternoon. He quickly turns into a Quimby, approving any proposal brought before him without reading it first and creating a lot of problems in the process. For example, he allows the town’s only garbageman to take an immediate six-month vacation without hiring a replacement, causing everyone’s trash to pile up uncollected.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mayor Robert "Bob" White on Doug, whose entire platform seems to be "Vote for me!" He never seems to do anything but campaign for re-election, which is probably why he ends up being replaced by Doug's neighbor Mrs. Dink.
  • Mayor Pelican from Blinky Bill certainly counts, as his incompetence and narcissism cause plenty of annoyance for the people of Greenpatch.
  • Mayor Mellow from Grojband is a bumbling idiot who takes advice from a picture of his late mother and often dishes out Disproportionate Retributions in response to anything disrupting Peaceville's, erm, peace.


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