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Medal of Dishonor

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Church: You want to give out the symbols of Olympic victory to losers? That doesn't sound much like you, Sarge. So what will it be? Gold, silver, bronze and...
Sarge: Enriched uranium! The losers will be forced to wear radioactive isotopes, making sure they die the excruciatingly slow and painful death they deserve!
Red vs. Blue PSA: "The Olympics Suck"

You're being given an award, but not for something you're proud of. In fact, it's for something of which you're very, very not proud and for which you certainly don't want an award.

There are two kinds of Medals of Dishonor:

  • The purposeful kind - The award is a joke specifically meant to make the recipient's life miserable, such as an "award" for "ugliest hair", "worst body-odor" or "tiniest brain". These can generally be treated in two manners.
    • The award is given publicly and is meant to make the receiver a figure of ridicule.
    • The award is given by friends and colleagues as a form of good-natured ribbing.
  • The accidental kind - The award is honestly meant as an honor, but it isn't received as such. There are several possibilities here.
    • There is an ethical dissonance between the awarder and the awardee. See also Your Approval Fills Me with Shame.
    • The awardee takes it as an honor but thinks they don't deserve it. Perhaps the heroic deed was only partially successful, with the awarder taking a positive view and the recipient taking a negative one.
    • The medal itself is just an eyesore, even if the awarder doesn't think so.
    • The pain of being reminded of the cost of heroism outweighs the satisfaction of being recognized for it.
    • Advertisement:
    • The awardee believes that the road to that award was too easy to believe that the awardee won.
    • The awardee is disappointed that they didn't win first place or another more coveted prize.
    • The award is for something unremarkable like "Participation" or "Good Sportsmanship", making it the equivalent of being Damned by Faint Praise.

Either way, this can be Played for Drama, comedy, or even both. Usually, a recipient of such an award who treats it as such is engaging in Self-Deprecation or playing a Graceful Loser role. Other times, the recipient may be genuinely proud of their supposed award of dishonor, thus turning it into an Insult Backfire.

Compare and contrast with Overly Narrow Superlative and Mark of Shame. Monument of Humiliation and Defeat is roughly the same thing, but on a national scale. Compare Think Nothing of It, in which the hero might reject accolades for any number of reasons, chiefly humility. Might overlap with Zonk in a game show.


Note that for video games, only In-Universe examples should be listed. Any other examples likely fall under Achievement Mockery instead.


    open/close all folders 

  • A Ragu commercial featured a kid coming home from some competition with a participation award.
    "It means I lost."

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, James Vega is awarded a medal for saving critical intelligence on the Collectors and delivering it to the Systems Alliance, but views it as this because he had to sacrifice the entire rest of the colony of thousands of people to do it.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Mu La Flaga is given the nickname "Hawk of Endymion" in honor of his victory in the Endymion Crater on the Moon, namely destroying 5 GINNs with his Mobius ZERO. However, he knows its a formality and he hates the title because the Earth Alliance used it to cover up the fact that the battle ended when they set off a Cyclops System.
  • Bakugo from My Hero Academia is angry... well, all of the time. But he's especially furious when he's awarded the medal for winning the sports festival competition, because the person he beat to get it refused to use their full abilities, making Bakugo feel like he was being cheated and looked down upon.
    • He was so mad, in fact, he had to be bound and gagged like Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs to make him even stay on the podium for the award ceremony, and when All Might tried to put the medal on him he budged his nose and then bit into the medal ribbon so it won't go around his neck, and was still chewing into said ribbon-like an angry mad dog when class returned to homeroom that day.
  • Smoker of One Piece is furious at the promotion given for Alabasta's salvation when it is the Straw Hat Pirates who were the country's saviors. His participation in it was negligible at best compared to even his immediate subordinate Tashigi. The Government was basically cornered at this point; either cover up the truth with this sham of a medal or openly admit that pirates saved a country from one of their own rogue privateers.
  • One Saiyuki omake features the Sanzo-ikkou participating in a local fighting tournament to win some hefty prize cash. However, the prize also comes with a ridiculous "champion costume" that none of them wants. Upon knowing this, finalists Sanzo and Hakkai promptly dropped out from the match, giving the second runner up Gojyo the win. He was understandably pissed by this.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: In the Roman Legion, retiring legionnaires were given a parcel of land somewhere in the Empire. In Asterix and Caesar's Gift, a perennially drunken legionnaire is "gifted" with land that happened to contain a certain village of indomitable Gauls...
  • In one Disney Ducks Comic Universe story staring Huey, Duey, and Louie as the Junior Woodchucks, the trio builds a homemade raft, hoping to score brownie points; unfortunately, they break several safety rules by testing it in a river with rapid water, and quickly find this out for themselves. As they try to steer to safety, a wildfire starts and the other Woodchucks are cut off from the road and blocked by said river, until the raft is jammed between some rocks; everyone is able to escape using it as a makeshift bridge. The scoutmasters debate whether to punish or reward the trio, until finally coming up with a unique award, the "Doubtful Medallion".
  • The X-Wing Rogue Squadron comics have Baron Fel, best Imperial pilot since Vader's death, put under the command of an incompetent Admiral with terribly lax morals and no sense of strategy. He gives Fel and Fel's pilots medals, which Fel refuses because he thinks they didn't do anything worth accolades. They flew against Rebel pilots and, close to victory, were suddenly recalled by the admiral when the man saw reports of X-Wings too close for comfort and wanted the protection of his entire force. Fel's pilots accept at the ceremony, and we see that the "starburst" medals were designed by the admiral and are really ugly. Thus, they fall under all three of the "accidental" categories.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert
    • One comic has the Pointy-Haired Boss give an employee a t-shirt for his work on a project. Once the employee puts it on, it is revealed to say "Idiot." Then the PHB reveals that the employee's work was terrible and that he is fired.
    • In another, the Pointy-Haired Boss gives out rings with precious stones to all the team, noting that they'll get more valuable rings based on their performance, with the highest level being diamond. The next panel has the employees all examining their ring and wondering if Talcnote  counts as a precious stone or not.
  • In Knights of the Dinner Table, any member of the Black Hands who embarrasses the gaming community is required to wear "The Hubcap of Shame" and to do a silly dance while explaining it if anyone asks.
  • From Li'l Abner; the statue of town founder Jubilation T. Cornpone in the town square of Dogpatch was donated by a grateful President Lincoln, as Cornpone's incompetence as a Confederate general was instrumental to Union victory. Dogpatch residents view this as a badge of pride.
  • Peanuts:
    • In one comic, Lucy asked Schroeder, "What makes you think Beethoven was better than Elton John?" He promptly gave her a trophy for "most stupid question of the year".
    • In another, Linus gives Lucy an award for being crabby a thousand days in a row. ("One rarely gets to see such carefully-prepared sarcasm!" she muses.)
    • In another, Linus notices a very, very tiny trophy Charlie Brown has on the shelf in his room that he won in the past. "It was a hollow victory!" explains Charlie Brown.
    • In one story, Lucy enters Snoopy's brother, Olaf, in an ugly dog contest, and he ends up winning.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Cure for Love when Matsuda isn't too keen on dying for the cause Mello snarks:
    Mello: You'll go down in the books, Matsuda. In the chapter called "Fucking Idiot Cowards of History", you'll be right at the top of the page. And L will be in second place after Liza Minnelli in the 'I Have Really Shit Taste in Men' awards.
  • Established Lost Girl canon has Lauren spending some time as a doctor in Afghanistan. In The Brave, for her services there she received Cross of Valour, the second-highest award of Canada; the US Secretary Of The Army for Valour Award, to acknowledge acts of heroism and bravery; and the British George Cross, the highest gallantry award for civilians and military personnel. One officer even wrote a letter saying she should be given the US Medal of Honor, despite her being neither American nor in the military. She has them all in a box buried in a drawer and refuses to talk about them.
  • From the Harry Potter Crack Fic The Black Bunny:
    Harry led [Tom Riddle] over to a table and called for Tally. "Bring Master's victory cake," he instructed the moment she appeared. Tally bowed and instantly vanished again.
    A minute later, Tom was staring down at the table where the house elf had returned and placed Harry's chocolate cake. Words were scrawled upon the top of the cake with white icing. The message read: "Congratulations! You did something right!"

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Peanuts Movie, Charlie Brown gets a perfect score on the standardized test and is set to win a special commendation from the school. He's elated by this until he finds out at the award ceremony that he accidentally put his name on Peppermint Patty's test sheet, which ends up turning the whole thing into this trope in hindsight. He then averts it by immediately rejecting the commendation and revealing the screw-up to the assembly, which humiliates him but still preserves his integrity.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph throws away the medal he has been chasing after for most of the film because getting it back involved betraying Vanellope, his first and only friend, and her hopes of being a racer. Luckily, the hurled medal reveals a critical clue (Vanellope, who claims to have been Dummied Out of her game, is on the side of the arcade cabinet) that helps him realize how to put things back together.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In About Schmidt, Warren is staying in his soon-to-be son-in-law's room and rolls his eyes when seeing he has numerous participation ribbons and attendance certificates displayed proudly on the wall.
  • Black Crab. Caroline Edh cripples herself and gets most of her fellow soldiers killed to deliver a Secret Weapon that will win the war, because she's been told that her daughter has been found in a refugee camp and is waiting for her at their destination. She's lauded as a hero and given a medal and a promotion only to be told the story about her daughter was a Motivational Lie and she's delivered a virus that will wipe out most of the civilian population, including her daughter if she's still alive. Lieutenant Nyland also gets a promotion and a medal, when Edh shot him because he was trying to destroy the virus. When Edh finally admits they have to destroy the virus, he points out they don't have weapons. They are however decorated heroes, which they use to bluff their way to the door of the laboratory.
  • In the movie Dinner for Schmucks, the awardees think they are being honored for their unique (and very unusual) talents when they are really just being "honored" so high-level executives can make fun of them at a banquet.
  • Gran Torino: Walt Kowalski initially refuses to answer when he's asked what it's like to kill a man, but a few minutes later he gives his answer, stating that "it's goddamn awful", specifically noting that one of the people he killed in The Korean War was a scared seventeen-year-old who just wanted to give up and go home - and the only thing worse than having killed him was getting a medal of valor for it.
  • In Hannibal (book and film) Clarice Starling gets a letter from the Guinness Book of World Records congratulating her on being the female FBI agent who has shot and killed the most people.
  • The Karate Kid: Mr. Miyagi is very ambivalent about his Medal of Honor. His problems are less about why he earned it and more about the fact that while he was off with the 442nd RCT being a war hero in Europe, his wife was shipped off to an internment camp, where she had a miscarriage and died. To him, his commendations are a constant reminder that he wasn't there for his family when they needed him, and he still isn't over it four decades later.
  • In The Majestic the town received a statue to commemorate their contribution to the war effort and the soldiers who never returned. The loss was still too raw for the people, so the memorial was stored in a basement.
  • In Men of Honor Carl Brashear deserves a medal for saving a fellow deep-sea diver but the Navy in 1948 can't give an award to an African-American. The medal is given to another diver who fled, leaving his team-mate to drown. Everyone, including those originally hostile to Brashear, show their disgust at the unfairness.
  • Frank gets an award similar to Starling's in The Naked Gun 2½, for breaking the record of killing drug dealers in one season. (He admits he accidentally backed his car over the two that put him over; fortunately, they happened to be drug dealers.) But since he's a Cowboy Cop, the medal is received like a genuine achievement.
  • In Passchendaele, the main character is decorated for bayonetting a German teenager in the head while he was trying to surrender.
  • Patriot Games features a good-natured joke version: After Jack Ryan is injured foiling a terrorist attack in London, Robbie Jackson presents him with the Order of the Purple Target, a medal fashioned in the form of a purple bullseye with the inscription "Please Shoot Me".
  • In Superhero Movie, Lou Landers/Hourglass received an award for contributions to female medicine. His award? The "Douchebag of the Year" award.
  • In the movie Up in the Air, George Clooney's character reaches a milestone in air travel miles when he's his most existentially weak. When the pilot meets and talks with him on the plane as part of his reward, asking "Where you from?", he heartbreakingly admits "I'm from here."

  • Bury Him Among Kings: A young British Lieutenant who has spent the war desperate for military glory to show up his Aloof Big Brother finally does something selfless and heroic enough to merit his commander recommending him for the Victoria Cross—only he's become so sick of his former Miles Gloriosus ways he not only doesn't want it anymore, he doesn't even want it on record that he refused it.
  • The Back Story of the title character in the Soldiers Of Barrabas series has him refusing to turn up for his award ceremony for the Congressional Medal of Honor.
  • Aesop's Fables: A dog made a habit of mischievously biting people, causing his owner to put a bell around his neck to warn others he was there. Although he initially disliked it, the dog eventually grew proud of it and pranced around showing it off. Finally, an older dog tells him it's a sign of infamy, not of honor.
  • Animorphs features the "bad memory" kind. Jake's great-grandfather was a WWII veteran who received medals for his service. He kept them buried in his footlocker and didn't like talking about them. As a child Jake was confused, now having been in a war himself he understands:
    "Every time Grandpa G had looked at those medals he'd thought about the things that had happened, the things he'd seen others do, the things he'd done himself...Someday maybe there'll be medals for those who fought the war against the Yeerks. I'll need to buy a footlocker."
    • The last book notes that Jake was given multiple awards by virtually every nation on Earth. Given that he's a Shell-Shocked Veteran, he probably has a negative view of them.
  • In The Road To Damascus, the sentient super-tank Sonny is repeatedly deployed against civilian protestors by the totalitarian government. Each time, they give him a medal, which only increases his self-loathing at being used this way. When he finally realizes that his allegiance is owed to the people rather than the government and turns against his corrupt masters, his first act is to shoot the medals off with one of his infinite repeaters.
  • In Tom Kratman's Caliphate, the Martinez Award is given by West Point to the cadet with the most demerits without having been kicked out. Cadet Hamilton himself doesn't consider it something to be proud of, but the Sergeant that he reports to after leaving schooling treats it as a genuine badge of honor, figuring that nobody who doesn't have what it takes could piss off so many people without having been kicked out of the Academy.
  • The peerless book Catch-22 sums up the situation as it arises in real life perfectly:
    Colonel Cathcart: What can we give him a medal for?
    Colonel Korn: For going around twice. You know, that might be the answer - to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of. That's a trick that never seems to fail.
  • In The Da Vinci Code, Robert Langdon notes that in the month prior to the book's beginning, Boston Magazine had named him one of their "Top 10 Intriguing People," complete with a flowery description of his "scholarly allure." It had clearly been meant as a compliment, but the result was constant teasing by Langdon's colleagues and an inability of his lecture audiences to take him seriously.
  • The Horus Heresy novel Know No Fear opens with an Ultramarines sergeant named Thiel being brought in for committing some unknown transgression, which has led his superiors to force him to repaint his blue helmet red as a mark of shame until their Primarch decides upon a better punishment after the Word Bearers' rendezvous with the Ultramarines. This is all derailed when the Word Bearers reveal their true colors by launching a catastrophic sneak attack on the Ultramarines, and Thiel is soon fighting for his chapter's survival alongside its leadership. In the midst of the Battle of Calth, it's revealed what Thiel's offense was: coming up with purely theoretical combat scenarios involving Space Marines fighting other Space Marines, something that was unthinkably treasonous a mere day ago.
    Gage: That was his infraction?
    Jaer: Looks bloody pitiful from where we're standing, doesn't it?
    • In a variant of Appropriated Appellation, 40k buffs now know where the Ultramarines' practice of having normal squad sergeants wear red helmets comes from.
  • In The Killer Angels George Picket is perversely proud of graduating last in his class from West Point.
  • Patriot Games: After Jack Ryan is injured foiling a terrorist attack in London, his history students at the Navy Academy present him with the Order of the Purple Target (a medal fashioned after a large bullseye). Jack jokingly announces that there will be no grade curve in the class as a result.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • One story in Tales from the New Republic has the viewpoint character, a medic on a special forces team, be awarded a medal given to any member of such a unit after their first mission. She throws it in a dresser drawer and never takes it out again because of how pear-shaped the mission went.
    • X-Wing Series: A minor Running Gag in the Wraith Squadron sub-series.
      • Wraith Squadron has character Kell Tainer awarded with the Kalidor Crescent (an award recognizing conspicuous and simultaneous achievements in piloting skill and bravery) for the spectacular maneuver he pulled in an attempt to save his teammate Jesmin Ackbar. Kell inwardly doesn't agree to that and looks like he's going to throw up... because, well, the maneuver actually failed to save Jesmin at all and he was scared out his mind the whole time. Eventually, his friends coax him into realizing the fact that he made the attempt at all and didn't manage to crash his own bird qualified him, even if the lack of success was tragic.
      • A retroactive example; fellow Wraith Myn Donos was awarded the Corellian Bloodstripes while serving with the military in his pre-starfighter days as a sniper. After his entire first command, Talon Squadron, is wiped out in an ambush, he looks on it with a sense of shame; it takes him coming back from the Despair Event Horizon before he starts wearing them again.
      • At the end of Iron Fist, Garik Loran was almost killed and managed to limp back with both his fighter and himself in horrible shape. Parts of him and his X-Wing were "intermingled". While recovering, he was presented with the Award of the Mechanic's Nightmare - a statuette of "a New Republic mechanic with wrench upraised as a weapon. The mechanic's expression was of pure, if silly, rage." He takes it in good cheer.
        Face: I want to thank everyone who retrieved pieces of me, everyone who retrieved pieces of my X-wing, and especially those who sorted them out correctly.
      • A scene in a later book has two pilots, badly injured in the line of duty, mention after getting better that the squad didn't always show enough appreciation. In response, the Wraiths kinged them with scrap-metal crowns, gave them dowel rods with tassels as scepters, and threw brightly-colored rubbish as celebratory confetti.
        Runt: Do all kings have to suffer this?
        Wes: Well, any king with Face Loran as his majordomo.
        Face: And now the two kings fight each other to the death, and we space the loser.
        Wes: Try again.
        Face: We space the winner?
        Wes: One more.
        Face: We buy you a drink.
        Wes: That's more like it.
      • A borderline example comes from yet another scene in the book involving a wounded pilot. Piggy killed an assassin coming after Admiral Ackbar and got shot doing it. After he exits the bacta tank for the last time, he finds his squad members waiting for him, with mild taunts ("We heard the new vintage of Piggy was being decanted") and gifts ("To remind you of your time spent here, we got you some things. Bacta-flavored brandy, bacta-flavored candy, bacta-flavored cheese...")
      Shalla: Kell and I put together a little book for you. It's called "How to Dodge."
  • In the Frost novels by R. D. Wingfield, and the TV series A Touch of Frost, Frost reacted to his first wife's cancer by getting drunk and recklessly attacking an armed robber, essentially attempting a reverse Suicide by Cop. He was awarded the George Cross (awarded for "acts of the greatest heroism or most conspicuous courage"), which he's felt guilty about ever since.
  • Stefan Zweig uses this as the basis of Ungeduld des Herzens (Beware of pity): the young officer who receives the Theresia medal for his bravery in World War I was actually just committing the military version of Suicide by Cop to atone for the events which — in flashback — form the main narrative. The framing device is set in Vienna in 1938 - hinting that the author considers the reasons for the impending World War II to be no better.
  • Vorkosigan Saga
    • In Cetaganda, Miles is awarded the Cetagandan Order of Merit, the highest honor given by The Empire that is his planet's arch-enemy for most of the series. This is roughly the equivalent of an American officer during the Cold War being awarded Hero of the Soviet Union, First Class. However, when he puts on full-dress, he makes sure to wear it along with his other medals, since it puts other people intensely off-balance.
    • Another purposeful type is shown at the Imperial Academy. Cadets are 'awarded' armbands to show that they've been killed or wounded in simulated exercises. Thus the absence of said armbands is a symbol of status — and a sign that the teachers will be trying harder to 'kill' you the next time out.
    • In A Civil Campaign, when Aral gives Miles his lecture about the difference between honor and reputation, Aral points out that achieving great reputation while your honor lies broken at your feet isn't just distressing, it's soul-destroying. And Aral knows exactly what he's talking about, having sacrificed a large number of innocents to save his nation from a psychopath.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Part of Michael Bluth's Backstory on Arrested Development is that in high school, he was voted "Most Likely to Succeed"—which is treated as this trope in comparisons to such other honors as "Best Hair."
  • Battlestar Galactica:
    • Lt. Shaw is the first person to start the massacre on the Scylla and is promoted to captain for it.
    • There's also Adama's medal in Hero, one of the second type. Downplayed since Roslin knows very well that he'll use it for self-flagellation, but the alternative is him quitting and she does genuinely want to honor him, sooo... And as she puts it, the fleet needs to see it happen so they still believe in and honor him. He's going to take the medal and live it because it will make other people happy.
  • In The Big Bang Theory episode The Scavenger Vortex, the fact that Raj has slipped everyone the gold coin they were all searching for in said scavenger hunt basically amounts to this. Needless to say the contestants aren’t thrilled about his little “we’re all winners when we’re having fun” lesson, especially since the competition really brought out some nasty things about them and all for a booby prize.
  • In Blue Bloods, Jamie's partner is given a medal that was really earned by Jamie to keep from blowing Jamie's cover during the infiltration of a mob clan. The partner is not happy about the deception because it means that he has to lie to his friends and family about being a hero. However, the audience knows that the partner would have done exactly the same thing as Jamie did if the timing of events was slightly different and his actions that day earned him the medal fair and square.
  • Subverted in Boy Meets World when Cory's father gives him the second place award he'd won in boxing when he was around Cory's age. Cory's less than thrilled, especially since there are only two men in the ring. His father then explains that he came in second place in a tournament, not a single match.
  • The title Canada's Worst Driver—self-explanatory and lampshaded.
  • In The Chaser's election specials (starting with The Election Chaser in 2001), the Mal Award is given out to the candidate responsible for the biggest act of political suicide during the week. The award is named for Mal Meninga, who pulled out of his campaign for the ACT Legislative Assembly thirty seconds into the radio interview announcing his candidacy.
  • On The Colbert Report, the Alpha Dog of the Week and Tip of the Hat portion of "Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger" are frequently, but not always, examples of this — sarcastic accolades for foolishness, selfishness, and plain old douchebaggery mixed with hypocrisy presented as in-character admiration. Meanwhile, People who are Destroying America and the Wag of the Finger portion of Tip/Wag are nearly always an inversion — sarcastic condemnation of people who are noble, courageous, progressive, or at the very least not hurting anyone.
  • A regular segment on Countdown with Keith Olbermann was "Worst Person in the World," for whoever Keith had deemed most indefensible that day. Bill O'Reilly was the most frequent "winner."
  • In CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Brass keeps a Medal of Valor stowed in a desk drawer. He sees it as a reminder of how he was completely conned by a criminal and walked right into a trap as a result. He likens it to having a poster made in memory of the dumbest thing he's ever done.
  • In CSI: NY, Lindsay also sees the medal she receives in the episode "The 34th Floor" as this, as it reminds her of the night Serial Killer Shane Casey broke into her and Danny's home and briefly held their infant daughter Lucy at gunpoint. Lindsay then shot Casey in self-defense, which is the event she receives the medal for. She even chucks the medal into the waste bin at her psychologist's office, though Danny rescues it from the trash.
  • In the Enemy at the Door episode "Steel Hand From the Sea", there is a German pilot who has been awarded the Iron Cross for his actions in Poland. He has come to regard it with distaste since the actions in question largely consisted of mowing down ground troops with no defense against an aerial attack.
  • Louie Anderson-hosted episodes of Family Feud gave out trophies for "Dumb Answer of the Day" if a contestant came up with a truly horrific guess on a survey question.
  • Good Game's "Big Claim, Lame Game" award to a hyped-up but ultimately disappointing video game.
  • Haven: The episode "Survivors" revolves around a firefighter who is being honored for his bravery in helping Haven during the deadly meteor shower at the end of the previous season. However, he feels he doesn't deserve it, since he has Survivor's Guilt over the death of a fellow officer. Whenever someone congratulates him or thanks him for his service, he becomes overwhelmed and incerates anyone in the nearby vincity.
  • In Heroes Reborn (2015), Carlos Gutierrez and a fellow soldier arranged for Carlos to take credit for something the other did, in order to hide the other soldier's use of her power. Carlos was awarded a medal and branded a hero for his "bravery" and is ashamed of the accolades because in reality, he was hiding at the time.
  • On Kings, David is the fifth person in Gilboan history to be awarded the Medal of Valor...not for his actions but as an attempt to keep him quiet about other things. Even though he doesn't speak up on them, he refuses to wear the medal and throws it away. This proves important...
  • M*A*S*H:
    • The episode "Bombshells" saw B.J. being forced to leave a man behind. The Army decided to give him the Bronze Star for trying to save him, but B.J. was wracked with guilt.
      BJ: The second I cut that rope they made me a soldier.
    • Major Frank Burns was once awarded a Purple Heart for being wounded during a shelling. Of course, the piece of shell they removed from him was from an egg. The medal was subsequently stolen and given to someone more deserving, a newborn baby who had been wounded before being born.
    • Another medal awarded to Burns was intercepted before he received it and given to an underage Marine Hawkeye decided not to allow to stay in harm's way after all.
    • Chopper pilot Jack Mitchell is bucking for "Chopper Pilot of the Year" until he is diagnosed with diabetes. Hawkeye tells him he'll have to settle for Miss Congeniality. (Fellow pilot Dangerous Dan eventually tops Jack.)
    • Colonel Potter has a Purple Heart given to him after he caught a piece of shrapnel in Guam during World War Two. Seeing as said shrapnel came from an exploding whisky still rather than enemy action, and he couldn't turn down the award since the reason would have gotten him and a bunch of other people into trouble, he feels pretty bad about it.
  • The Office (US):
    • Pam was awarded for "World's Longest Engagement".
    • As well as Angela's "Tight Ass Award", Kelly's "Spicy Curry Award", and to a lesser extent, Phyllis's "Busiest Beaver Award" (misspelled on the Award as Bushiest Beaver).
  • Parks and Recreation: A few seasons in, Leslie awards Ron Swanson the "Government Employee of the Month" plaque for his work in the Parks department of Pawnee. To most in such a position, it'd be prestigious. To Ron, who's such a passionate libertarian he's in a government position exclusively to sabotage it as much as possible, this is so anathema his immediate reaction is to snatch the plaque out of her hands, saw it into little pieces, burn the pieces in a bonfire and drive all the way to Illinois to bury the ashes.
  • At the end of the two-parter pilot of Space: Above and Beyond, Nathan throws away the medal he earned in the first victory against the aliens, because of the political deception by the government that accompanied it.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Secrets", O'Neill and Carter are honored with a military award. O'Neill would not normally have a problem with this, but just prior to the award ceremony, a reporter who was planning to expose the Stargate program was killed in a convenient car accident and literally died in O'Neill's arms. O'Neill clearly does not think it was an accident and is in no mood to be honored by the organization responsible.
  • 30 Rock
    • In the episode "Rosemary's Baby", Liz was awarded a "Followship Award" (not a Fellowship Award) for effectively becoming a cog in the corporate machine.
    • After being forced to attend a sexual harassment seminar, she was given a certificate proclaiming that she was "no longer a workplace sex criminal," which she posted on her office door.
    • In the episode "Gentleman's Intermission", Tracy gets to see his own obituary and is disappointed by what it says about him. One thing mentioned in the video is that he was voted "Worst representation of a black man" nine years in a row.
  • Top Gear has the coveted Golden Cock award, a tiny rooster made from what is likely gold-painted plastic, given to, in their own words, "the presenter who's made the biggest mess of things in the past year."
  • In X Company Gestapo officer Franz Faber is given a commendation and a promotion for supervising the execution of a group of French resistance members who orchestrated the assassination of a German general. However, Faber knows quite well that the executed men were actually just innocent villagers and the massacre was done purely for political reasons to hide the fact that a SS officer confessed to the assassination. Faber agreed to supervise the executions because a refusal could see him arrested and it gave him the power to reduce the tragedy by limiting the executions to only older adult males rather than the entire population of the village. He considers it a deeply shameful action and the accolades he receives for it trigger a Heel Realization and later a Heel–Face Turn.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech:
    • The Draconis Combine has the Honor of Wakizashi. It is awarded to a high ranking person who puts the honor of themselves or their family above the needs of the Combine but has a high enough rank or political connections to avoid outright execution. A person so 'honored' is expected to commit seppuku on receipt of the award.
    • Clan Hell's Horces has the Mark Of Hell, a tattoo that a warrior is given if they were selected to participate in The Branding ritual but failed due to being argumentative, arrogant, or otherwise failing to sufficiently cooperate with the rest of their hunting party. They're expected to cover this tattoo by wearing a black armband, indicating their disgrace to fellow warriors.
    • Khan Alaric Ward managed to give Wolf's Dragoons both types at once just after Clan Wolf won Terra and the right to be called ilClan, royally pissing them off:
      • He had minted "Bloodribbons", special campaign medals given to the Warriors from Clan Wolf, Clan Jade Falcon and Wolf's Dragoons who had participated in the Trial of Possession for Terra. However, Alaric had made strategic decisions for the Dragoons that had both denied the Dragoons from striking the decisive blow against Clan Jade Falcon, but also caused the unit to take catastrophic losses. The Dragoons argued that as they had fought as part of Clan Wolf they deserved to be recognized as part of Clan Wolf. Alaric instead considered them mercenaries that had fought alongside and not as part of Clan Wolf, and so they did not merit to be recognized for their specific actions against the Jade Falcons.
      • He further awarded the Dragoons' commander a bag containing thirty pieces of silver in "commemoration" of the original Dragoons going native and ultimately working alongside the Inner Sphere to resist the Clan Invasion of 3050. This calculated insult caused the Dragoons to not only immediately storm out of the ceremony, but even more importantly, Alaric had inadvertently declared war on the Dragoons, and the Dragoons were more than happy to show the ilKhan exactly what an enraged Dragoons looked like.
  • Mutant Chronicles: Capitol hands out the Shooting Star medal to pilots and aircrews who have bailed out over enemy territory and made their own way home. The Capitol Air Force considers it to be an award for getting shot down or otherwise screwing up, and derisively refers to it as "The Golden Parachute".
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • Given to individuals who need to atone for some crime or other. They usually take the form of long scraps of parchment affixed with wax seals (though the actual heroic medals use the same, listing their accomplishments). The Sisters Repentia's punishment for their crimes is to charge into battle with chainswords, wearing nothing but strategically-placed parchments. And they still kick ass for the Emperor while doing it.
    • General Kubrik Chenkov, the Imperial Guard's contender for We Have Reserves incarnate. Every one of his operations costs millions of lives in soldiers since he has no strategy beyond "Throw more men at it", including clearing minefields, but every one of these successes results in another medal on his chest.

    Video Games 

  • Advance Wars Dual Strike gives medals for having units destroyed and being defeated, in addition to more positive awards. To get all the awards in Days Of Ruin you have to lose a bunch and get some C ranks (the lowest rank).
  • In The Banner Saga, Yngvar was named kendr (the heir to the Varl's throne for killing a Sundr, a leader and general of the Dredge. Said Sundr was a mother and he accidentally killed her child, leaving herself defenseless in despair. Returning home as a hero, he felt ashamed of this accomplishment and ran away to a small human town of Skogr with a new name, Iver.
  • You can invoke this in Crusader Kings 2, by naming one of your Nobles the Court Jester. They understandably don't take this well.
  • Cyber Nations has the National War Memorial wonder, which can only be built if you've lost at least 50,000 soldiers in war. On the other hand, it's relatively cheap and provides a nice bump to national happiness.
  • Escape from Monkey Island contains a classroom intended to re-educate pirates into model citizens. If Guybrush passes, he receives a "Certificate of Transmogrification", but looking at it in your inventory reveals that he's ashamed of it and doesn't want anyone else to see it. What he actually needs in order to progress the storyline is to fail the class so badly that he's kicked out permanently and given a dunce cap.
  • The Badge of Shame from Exit Fate. Rewarded by earning the lowest score possible in a war battle, the badge's description reads "a constant reminder of past failures" and cannot be sold, dropped, equipped or exchanged.
  • Getting any of the endings in Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator awards you with a corresponding certificate. All the certificates aside from the Certificate of Completion (for getting the Golden Ending) and the Lorekeeper certificate (for finding 3 specific Easter Eggs,) however, fall under this, including a Certificate of Mediocrity (for sitting on your hands and doing absolutely nothing for the entire game,) a Certificate of Bankruptcy (for running out of money,) a Blacklisted certificate (for getting at least 3 lawsuits per day) and a Certificate of Insanity (for stumbling upon another specific Easter Egg that causes the higher-ups to decide that You Know Too Much before institutionalizing you as a cover.)
  • Kid Icarus (NES) is one of the earliest examples in video game history for the fact that if you beat the game in a minimalist speed-run instead of making an honest time-consuming grind, Palutena "promotes" you to serve as some kind of Janitor because she believes that you are a lucky fraud for saving Angel Land from Medusa.
  • Arguably, the Cross of Glory in the light-sided ending for Knights of the Old Republic. Sure, you took out Malak, turned the Star Forge into slag, saved your crew ( You can still fail to save Bastila, though), and "broke the spirit of the Sith." Seeing as you caused the damn mess in the first place during your pre-amnesia tenure as Dark Lord of the Sith makes the honor somewhat dubious.
  • For killing The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Naked Snake receives the Distinguished Service Cross and the title "Big Boss." While the medal is genuinely meant to be an award for a job well done, Snake has by this point learned the truth behind the Boss' motives, and as such he doesn't see it as an honor in the slightest.
  • The dreaded Fizbin of Misfortune, first introduced in Might and Magic III , made appearances in the first two games of the Heroes of Might and Magic series. Just having it in your possession threw your general's morale and luck to the rock bottom, and the only way to get rid of it until the expansion to II was to disband the hero currently carrying itnote . There was absolutely no upside to carrying this item around. However, if you were to dump it in the hands of an expendable rookie hero, who then suicidally attacked the strongest enemy hero...
  • Using any of the non-Mr. Huggles cheat codes in the console version of Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots grants the player the "Cheater!" award, which essentially calls them out for cheating.
  • Our Darker Purpose: Most student medals are symbols of mediocrity, incompetence, violence, or a sadistic streak. The game's currency, Merit Tokens, are the only means to purchase rations (Juice Boxes) and so students have to kill dozens or cripple themselves to earn them.
    • The sadistic ones literally have 'merit' in the title: you need to kill a bunch of enemies and humiliate them by challenging yourself in exchange for power.
  • In Papers, Please, if the player has any citations (from letting people through when their paperwork isn't right, denying them access when it is, or other mistakes) on day 10 and day 20, the Inspector's supervisor Dimitri will "reward" him with a Recognition for Sufficience plaque. If they really screwed up and got more than 20 citations, he gives him a Recognition for Presence plaque instead: "Do not embarrass me further." People passing through the checkpoint will notice it hanging on the wall and make fun of the Inspector.
    Entrant: What is this plaque on the wall? You are recognized for presence? Way to go.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon has some skull-and-crossbones awards for the "theme park with the lowest value", the "dirtiest theme park", "most dangerous theme park" (if you have too many roller coaster accidents). In fact, for all positive awards, a negative one exists.
  • Silent Hill: Homecoming: A rather bizarre twist on this. A document notes that Alex's father received a Good Conduct medal, a Purple Heart, and a Silver Star during his time in the Army. A puzzle shortly thereafter requires Alex to pin the medals on a uniform. However, the actual puzzle exists in the nightmarish "Otherworld", and the awards are turned into a dark spin on normal American military honors. They contrast Adam's excellent military service record with the lousy way he treated his family (particularly Alex) as well as Alex and his actions:
    • The Heart of Darkness (Purple Heart) is for "permitting others to suffer" for allowing the townspeople of Shepherd's Glen to be kidnapped, killed, and brainwashed by the Order and Alex allowing others to suffer because of his actions.
    • The Vile Acts (Good Conduct) award is for "atrocities committed", is for treating Alex poorly and Alex killing Joshua. It even looks like Pyramid Head's helmet.
    • Fallen Star (Silver Star) is for "dereliction in the line of duty" is for failing to sacrifice Alex and Alex not fulfilling his role as the sacrifice.
  • Space Rangers has a few such medals, mostly given for cowardice or piracy.
  • Valkyria Chronicles has actual medals given out by Princess Cordelia as achievements. Most of them are for mission rankings, getting a certain number of enemy kills, upgrading your units, and completing certain missions, but two of them are the Crimson Heart (named after the Purple Heart,) which requires one of your units to get shot down and recovered, and the Splintered Horn, which requires you to let a unit who's unlocked a hidden potential (which means they've seen a lot of use already) die in combat.
  • Wing Commander has the "Golden Sun" medal, awarded for surviving the destruction of one's ship (by ejecting during battle). Each pilot is awarded it only once, and when you get it the first time your commander gives you a mild chewing out. After all, you generally get the medal after you failed at your primary objective.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Mage's Association of the Nasuverse has the Sealing Designation. It is a title of the "greatest honor" for magi who develop thaumuturgy that cannot be recreated as it is inherent to their body. The Mage's Association goes to great lengths to preserve this magic... by vivisecting the magus and preserving every part of their body for future study. Needless to say, the magus in question usually objects... because they won't be able to study it themselves.
  • Miles Edgeworth isn't thrilled to receive the King of Prosecutors Award in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney's fifth case, "Rise from the Ashes", because it commemorates his now-regretted career as the "Demon Prosecutor". Later revelations hint that the Chief of Police knew he would be insulted and gave him the award as part of a larger campaign of humiliation, hoping to break him or drive him out of the office.

  • A Bittersweet Life (2014) has the Bitter Awards, hosted by Bunny, who is known to be brutal with words. Each recipient falls to the ground before Bunny can even announce who it is. The first award is for the highest credit card bill, which actually has two recipients. The next award is for most unpaid taxes. The requirements for the grand prize are to text girls twice as much as they text back, always eat dinner at home on Saturdays, and look up one's ex-girlfriend on the internet.
  • Penny Arcade has the "Most Useless Motherfucker" award, given to someone who tries to downplay the problems associated with Cyber Punk 2077.

    Web Original 
  • An example of the second variant in Darwin's Soldiers: Shelton is embarrassed about the Commendation medal he got while in Dragonstorm.
  • In the SCP Foundation story Badges and Scorecards, the narrator has this happen twice.
    The only thing worse than killing an innocent girl is getting a medal for doing so.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd:
    • From an episode featuring PatTheNESPunk:
      Nerd: I'll give [your copy of Nintendo World Championships] the Nerd Seal of Approval.
      Pat: So... what, you'll take a dump on it?
      Nerd: No, that would be the Nerd Seal of Disapproval.
    • The Nerd has also repeatedly said that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the NES is the absolute worst video game he's ever played due to its ludicrous amount of Fake Difficulty (albeit Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing is the worst in terms of development quality) and that the R-Zone was the worst console he's ever played, for being a Shoddy Knock Off Product of the Virtual Boy (though he later said that the LJN Video Art may beat it out, depending on whether you count it as a console or a productivity device).
  • Newgrounds had a "prize" called Turd of the Week that was given to the Flash submission with the lowest score that passes judgment (calculated as closest score to 1.6 out of 5 after 200 votes, with 1.59 or below being disqualified). The most (in)famous submission to win this award was Strawberry Clock's B. This was discontinued in 2012 because people were flooding the Portal with crappy submissions just to get the award.
  • The Doomworld Cacoawards had a category called the Worst Wad; this was discontinued for a similar reason as above.
  • Froghand:
    • The Shitty Vaporwave Indie Game Reviews feature some token awards at the end, giving Cacti Love a special "Broken Condom award for least pleasant surprise" for physically harming his body.
      When you make me believe I'm at risk of having a seizure, then it's never a good sign for you personally.
    • The purpose of the "Froge Ball" is to give out awards for the best and worst of the previous three (six the first time) months. Such dishonourable awards include "Awards that argue for eugenics", "The Cheese Grater on the Ballsack award", and "Awards for Froge's personal incompetence".
      The awards have no structure beyond what I will state, so don't leave your comfy chairs, because you never know what to expect. Who knows, maybe Oprah will show up and give you a free car, laundering the money from her illegal hairspray business while using her book club sticker factory as a front for the revival of the Illuminati, using unprecedented access to the Internet to edit Wikipedia articles to include typos, causing readers to slowly go insane as subliminal messages are included in each and every paragraph.
  • In one episode of Critical Role, Travis (out of character) is gifted with a medal for being the runner up in his fight with an NPC. The Dungeon Master, Matthew Mercer, declares immediately that Travis' character Grog received the medal in-universe, making it this.
  • The yearly Sonic Hacking Contest had the Big the Cat community trophy, given to hacks/mods that were voted the worst submission in the contest. It too, like the Newgrounds and Cacowards examples above, was retired after 2016 when the contest was flooded with poor quality hacks.
  • In Zero Punctuation, Yahtzee refuses to list Ride to Hell: Retribution in his worst games of 2013 list, instead calling it "congealed failure" and giving it the "Zero Punctuation lifetime achievement award for Total Abhorrence". You can watch his "best and worst games of 2013" here, and you can watch his Ride to Hell: Retribution review here.
  • SF Debris: In Chuck Sonnenberg's funhouse-mirror Star Trek universe, Starfleet has the Hoshi Sato Cowering Chicken medal, with clusters. More metatextually, there are the end-of-episode awards, such as "Most Annoying Character".
  • Fundies Say the Darnedest Things gives out awards is a quote is particularly stupid/bigoted. They also have the 'fundie of the year award' for the person who does the best quotes over a year.
  • The 2015 Smosh Summer Games presents the "LVP" (Least Valuable Player) and the Most Epic Fail trophies, in addition to the normal trophies.
  • WrestleCrap has the Gooker Award, named after The Gobbledy Gooker, to this day considered one of the worst gimmicks in all of professional wrestling history. It's annually awarded to the worst angle of that year — to put into perspective of how bad the angle has to be to attain this award, Katie Vick was one of the recipients. Other notable recipients include David Arquette as WCW Champion, the NEW Monday Night Wars, and TNA's answer to the Katie Vick angle, Claire Lynch. A good measure of how bad something has to be is to look at the godawful stuff that DIDN'T "win." For instance, the absolutely without merit "Diva's Revolution" lost because the abysmal Lana-Ziggler-Summer-Rusev love tetrahedron occurred the same year.
  • Game Show Garbage, meanwhile, hands out the yearly "Wayney Award" (named after the host of the infamous 1990 version of Tic-Tac-Dough, Patrick Wayne {the son of John Wayne}, derided constantly in the game show community for being an incompetent host), to what the readers vote to be the worst game show-related thing of the year.
  • UrinatingTree has "Lolcow of the Week"note  from his "This Week in Sportsball" series, which recognizes the biggest on-field Epic Fail during the time period covered by a particular installment. He is known to give out more than one when he deems that there's a tie for biggest Lolcow.
  • In the final act of the first season of Cobra Kai, Johnny takes this attitude toward the All-Valley Finals trophy won by star pupil Miguel (punctuated by a drink in his office). He failed to realize the aftereffects of his teaching strategy until it was too late.
  • Having an entire page for a negative trope on this very wiki. On the one hand, it means people are reading or watching the work; on the other, it means there's a pretty unsatisfied portion of the fandom. In a worst-case scenario (like when an obscure work gets one of these pages), it's a sign that the poor quality has attracted an ironic fandom.

    Web Videos 
  • The Kill Count has the Dull Machete award that James assigns to the death that he finds the most unimaginative and/or boring in each movie (in contrast to the Golden Chainsaw, which goes to his favorite kill in each movie). While covering the Saw movies, he also adds the Rusty Mousetrap award, which goes to the most boring trap in each movie (contrasted with the Platinum Punjisticks, which goes to the best trap).

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of The Critic, Jay's son, Marty, participates in the school Olympics and ends up with a booby prize for placing last in every event. It was one of the few moments in the show not played for laughs.
  • Dick Dastardly gave Muttley two such medals on Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: the Doghouse Medal and the Royal Order of Sour Grapes ("for having a raisin for a brain").
  • Doug: One episode begins with Doug sitting outside the principal's office at his school. He imagines the reason is that he got a very low score on a school test. His imagination includes a "Hall of Losers" case where his test is placed. He also imagines his parents being ashamed. In actuality, he is convicted of cheating on a test since his paper is identical to another student's paper.
  • The Junior Woodchucks in DuckTales (2017) have a failure merit badge, but in the show, it's treated as a teaching lesson for past mistakes, and to learn and grow from them for next time.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy, "The Good, The Bad, and the Ed": Eddy challenges Rolf to try and earn the Urban Rangers' toughest merit badge, the Hairy Chest of Resilience Badge. After losing by one second, when Edd was convinced he had no chance at all against Rolf, Eddy was given...the Crybaby Boo-Hoo Badge. He's understandably incensed and, despite all but being in traction, demands a rematch.
  • The Fairly OddParents had a similar situation, though it was a film festival.
    Trixie: You won for comedy, and everyone knows that comedy is the lowest form of entertainment next to animation.
  • Futurama has Leela win both "Dumbest Pet in Show" for entering Nibbler, and is elected to the Blernsball Hall of Fame as "The Worst Blernsball Player Of All Time".
  • In an episode of Hey Arnold!, Phoebe commits plagiarism to win a poetry contest, and the guilt ends up driving her crazy until she confesses.
  • In the Looney Tunes 1944 short "What's Cooking, Doc?" Bugs Bunny lobbies relentlessly for the Oscar, and gets given a trophy with "booby prize" written on the back just to shut him up.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "The Show Stoppers" had the Cutie Mark Crusaders performing a rock ballad in a school talent show, hoping they'll win an award and get their cutie marks. They do win an award... for comedy. Although the CMC was more disappointed that they didn't get their Cutie Marks. Subverted as the CMC were rather happy about their award, even thinking they should do more comedy.
    • In "Party Pooped", Rainbow Dash mentions a trophy for "most stuff broken in under a minute". Both her record and the trophy are broken by some visiting yak diplomats.
  • In The Stinger of the Phineas and Ferb episode "Gaming the System," Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who happens to be wearing a Pimped-Out Dress, falls through the roof of a building where a beauty pageant is taking place just in time to be accidentally given the First Place crown.
    Doofenshmirtz: Oh, I am honored! And, at the same time, humiliated. So thank you, and curse you.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "The Front", Homer went to his high school reunion and got all kinds of rewards that embarrassed Marge, like "Most Weight Gained" and "Least Distance Traveled to Get Here". He was proud to receive every single one and was outraged when they were confiscated on the basis of his failure to graduate.
    • In "$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)", Lisa Simpson and Ralph Wiggum get "special" awards in the school's pageant on the 50 states for "obviously having no help from their parents" with their costumes. It was especially embarrassing for Lisa, who did get help from Homer with her Florida costume, but he proved hopelessly incompetent at arts and crafts (and couldn't even spell "Florida" correctly). Ralph's costume, meanwhile, was just a piece of paper taped to his shirt with "IDAHO" written on it.
    • When Homer disgraces the Stonecutters in "Homer the Great", he's forced to drag home the Stone of Shame while naked. Then when the Stonecutters discover his birthmark identifying him as the Chosen One, their leader orders them to remove the Stone of Shame ("Woohoo!") and attach the (significantly larger) Stone of Triumph ("D'oh!").
    • Abe Simpson earned the Iron Cross whilst serving in the US Army during World War II, because of his incompetence at searching for mines.
    • In another episode, the whole town was happy to earn the record of "America's Fattest City". ("Woohoo!" cheered Homer, "in your face, Milwaukee!")
    • When Marge becomes a real estate agent, a big to-do is made about getting a new red blazer with a higher title on the nametag. When she fails to sell a house in her first week (by giving back a check to Flanders after feeling guilty that she tricked him into buying a house another family was brutally murdered in) she's given a new red blazer with "Fired" on the tag.
    • The episode "Lisa Gets An "A"" is an example of the accidental kind, with Lisa getting a prize for academic excellence that she (ironically) obtained by cheating on a test (which got an "A-Triple-Plus"). The whole plot revolves about the fact that Springfield Elementary needs the award (or more specifically the extra funding money that comes with it, some of which they have already used to buy stuff) and Skinner and Chalmers try to convince Lisa to see this, while Lisa sees the truth (and having a clean conscience) as more important, even if it means tossing the school to the wolves.
    • In "Mountain of Madness", Mr. Burns says the second-to-last team to reach the lodge will get a "World's Worst Employee" trophy (and the last team will be fired.) He's not shown awarding it, but then he seems to have hired Lenny - the last guy - again too.
    • At the end of "Homer Defined," Homer's name enters the dictionary as a noun meaning "American bonehead," with the phrase "pull a Homer" meaning "to succeed despite idiocy." He and his family appear proud of his achievement.
      Lisa: Our father. Now he belongs to the ages.
    • In "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes," the "Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence" is kind of one, although no one but Burns and his lawyers realize it. It's a made-up award invented by Burns as an excuse to give Homer—whose results from a routine physical showed that he had become sterile after years of radiation exposure—a $2000 check to forestall any future medical lawsuits, while ensuring he wouldn't read the fine print. So essentially it's an award for being infertile.
  • South Park
    • In "Conjoined Fetus Lady", the school nurse given an award for her birth deformity, when she just wanted everyone to ignore it.
    • At the end of "The Biggest Douche in the Universe", TV psychic John Edward is abducted by aliens and literally named the Biggest Douche in the Universe (after being called that several times by Stan).
    • Randy once won a place in the Guinness World Records for The Biggest Piece of Shit Taken, to Sharon's disgust and shame. Played With because Randy and his friends, however, thought this was awesome; even his son Stan, usually the Straight Man for ludicrous plots like this, seemed to approve. As well as this, Bono, the previous record holder (or, perhaps more accurately, the previous record), was desperate to maintain his title.
    • In "Up the Down Steroid", Cartman pretended to be retarded to win the Special Olympics, only to lose in every event because, while technically able-bodied, he was horribly out of shape compared to everyone else. He wound up receiving the "Spirit Award," though Jimmy prevented this by exposing him.
    • In the show's first Halloween Episode, Stan dresses up as Raggedy Andy with Wendy supposed to be Ann, but she changes her mind at the last minute. As a result, he's given the "award" for Worst Costume at the costume contest, involving the entire class laughing at him.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: When SpongeBob met karate master Fuzzy Acorns and tried to prove he was worthy of a karate belt, he did so poorly that Fuzzy considered awarding him with the lowest belt possible, the clear belt, but decided that he wasn't even worthy of the belt keeping his pants up.
  • In Total Drama Revenge of the Island, whoever receives the Toxic Marshmallow of Toxic Loserdom is thereby voted off and must take the Hurl of Shame.
  • In the spinoff Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race the Ice Dancers consider any medal that isn't gold and any placing that isn't first to be this. Josee even spits with disgust when she talks about winning a bronze medal. They end up placing third in the race, and Josee throws a tantrum when they get eliminated.
  • Wing Commander Academy: a medal is refused by Blair after Tolwyn uses him as bait in a decoy operation. However, Tolwyn used the decoy operation because he was refused any reinforcements and had to use desperate measures. Blair doesn't just refuse the medal. He hurls it through the hangar forcefield and into space, claiming that it belongs to the pilots who didn't survive the operation.

    Real Life 
  • The Stella Awards, named "in honor" of 79-year-old Stella Liebeck, who bought a cup of coffee from McDonald's, held it between her knees in the passenger seat of her parked grandson's car and splashed said (180-190 F, 82-88 C) coffee on her legs as she pulled the lid off, resulting in third degree burns over 6% of her body requiring extensive skin grafts, including her groin, then sued McDonald's for the cost of her medical care — McDonald's then devoted masses of money to slandering her name rather than paying out, unfortunately resulting in the case becoming the textbook example for a Frivolous Lawsuit while it was anything but. The full case and outcome is listed in the synopsis for the book "The True Stella Awards", which is no longer compiling any more of these kinds of suits.
  • The Golden Raspberry Awards. Some recipients are good sports (and/or agree that the "award" is well deserved) and avert the trope.
    • Halle Berry had the good grace to actually collect her award in person for Catwoman (2004) with her Oscar statuette in tow. She even made a suitably effusive and weepy speech, as if she was winning the Oscar again; writer Michael Ferris also showed up to win his, thanking the boosted DVD sales by hating audiences.
    • Tom Green went there for Freddy Got Fingered, considering it an honor; even bringing a red carpet.
    • Bill Cosby had his Razzie made from marble and gold at the studio's expense when he "won" for Leonard Part 6 (the awards are typically made from materials that are worth less than five dollars in total).
    • Paul Verhoeven also went to the ceremony for his Showgirls "honors" (and stated: "I got seven awards for being the worst, and it was more fun than reading the reviews").
    • Sandra Bullock handed out a free copy of the offending movie to everyone in the audience. Then she won an Oscar the very next day (for The Blind Side).
    • When Brian Helgeland won a Screenwriting Oscar for his adaptation of L.A. Confidential, a reporter asked if he would accept the Worst Screenplay Razzie he "won" the day before (for The Postman). He said "Sure, why not?" and the Razzies founder went to Helgeland's office to give it to him. Reportedly he keeps them side by side on his shelf in his office as a reminder of Hollywood's fickleness.
    • The only other person who won both awards the same weekend besides Bullock and Helgeland, composer Alan Menken, proudly received his Worst Original Song Razzie for Newsies in 2020, and his website also shows his "nomination" for the same award for Rocky V. And lyricist Jack Feldman requested his statue so he could display it alongside the Tony won by the stage adaptation of Newsies. (Menken has mockingly said he's only an Emmy short of a "REGOT" which he has since finished).
    • Tom Selleck requested delivery of his award for Christopher Columbus the Journey.
    • Some go there as a protest. J.D. Shapiro, one of the screenwriters of Battlefield Earth, received the Worst Screenplay statue at a radio show, and went to the actual ceremony to pick up the award for Worst Picture of the Decade, because he was fired from the movie in early production stages due to Executive Meddling.
      J.D. Shapiro: Now, looking back at the movie with fresh eyes, I can't help but be strangely proud of it. Because out of all the sucky movies, mine is the suckiest.
    • Barry Pepper has said that if he knew he was going to win for his role in Battlefield Earth, he would have gladly shown up to accept it in person.
    • Ben Affleck jokingly complained on the radio about not receiving his Worst Actor award for Gigli (plus Daredevil and Paycheck). So later Affleck was given the statuette in Larry King's show, and proceeded to pull it apart saying "it's a little cheap". The trophy was then put up on eBay, and its income paid the theater used for the following year's ceremony.
    • David Eigenberg did a video to receive "Worst Screen Ensemble" for Sex and the City 2 because "he never won an award of any kind and if this was what he won, he would accept it."
    • Jamie Dornan said he would've attended the ceremony where he won Worst Actor for Fifty Shades of Grey had he been invited, so Conan O'Brien delivered Dornan his Raspberry as he promoted the final film of the trilogy.
    • Once Baywatch won the kinda positive "Razzie Nominee So Rotten You Loved It", Dwayne Johnson took to Twitter to celebrate it.
    • Dinesh D'Souza appeared in the video announcing Hillary's America as the winner of four Razzies (three for himself, Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Actor), saying that it was chosen out of petty revenge for Donald Trump's election, while adding that being recognized negatively was better than an Academy Award because "my audience loves the fact that you hate me."
    • In a case where the actor didn't go to receive, but took the message to heart, Eddie Murphy said he worked less during the 2010s because being chosen as the Worst Actor of the 2000s made him decide to take a break.
  • The Chinese equivalent of the Razzies, the Golden Broom Awards, has seen winners appear to receive their trophies, such as an actor who took the "prizes" won by his directorial debut as stimulus to improve himself.
  • Esquire magazine's annual Dubious Achievement Awards. The publishers' decision to discontinue the awards after 2008 was itself regarded as a dubious achievement by many of Esquire's readers.
  • The Ig Nobel awards are normally not this — they are given out to research that sounds silly but is actually very useful (for example, new insights on structural failure gleaned from research into how a piece of dry spaghetti snaps). However, they are also sometimes given as a criticism, such as the Medicine award that was given to several tobacco company executives who testified under oath that they believed that nicotine was not addictive; the Mathematics award given to Enron, WorldCom et al "for adapting the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers for use in the business world"; Volkswagen's award in chemistry for "solving the problem of excessive automobile pollution emissions by automatically, electromechanically producing fewer emissions whenever the cars are being tested"; and the Literature award given to the editors of Social Text due to their part in the infamous Sokal Affair. Most winners who are actual researchers do, in fact, collect their awards at the annual ceremony. The Take That! targets don't.
  • Browse through the Guinness World Records book sometime. There are records in there that few people should want to have, such as "Most Facial Prosthetics" or "Largest Kidney Stone". Jonathan Lee Riches, who won the World Record for "most lawsuits" by filing hundreds of Frivolous Lawsuits from prison, sued the Guinness Book of World Records to the surprise of absolutely no one.
    • Guinness ended up having to "retire" quite a few records because they felt they were encouraging people to endanger themselves (or their pets—The category of "fattest pet" was retired under allegations of people purposefully abusing and overfeeding their animals) or for accomplishments that could become illegal in extremes (squick-worthy example being youngest pregnancy).
  • Dutch TV used to have a consumer show which gave a golden acorn award (noting that the Dutch word for acorn, eikel, also means "idiot" "dickhead") to companies that had particularly poor consumer service. In a subversion of the trope and owing something to the Dutch cultural mindset, these companies' CEOs would often appear in person to accept the award and promise a change for the better.
  • Another popular Dutch show, Kopspijkers, had an award that changed name every season, but was essentially given to the worst thing seen on TV. The evangelical broadcasting station that literally reduced an entire class of children to tears by trashing the gifts they bought for each other to give a rather convoluted message about not having sex before marriage was a memorable winner. So was the dubious but famous medium, who was displeased with the host and said that she was receiving the number 10 from the other side. Said host later left the left-wing public broadcasting station for a billionaire's pet project channel named Talpa, originally named Ten. His career never really recovered from that move. Huh, guess the other side is pretty vengeful.
  • Italian parody news show 'Striscia la Notizia' has the Tapiro D'Oro (Golden Tapir), a statuette made to look like the eponymous animal on a wooden stand (which is nonetheless made entirely out of polystyrene) that is awarded and delivered on camera to politicians, celebrities, sports people and so on that have experienced then-recent defeats or notable humiliations of some kind, under the reasoning that the people in question are likely wearing a "long face" over their ordeals, enche the award's name. Most anticipate recieving the "prize" and are good sports about it, while some range from not-so-graceful to downright hostile about being approached.
  • The Purple Heart medal receives a mixed welcome from various members of the American military. Some see it as rewarding failure, while others see it as proof that you're willing to put your life on the line. Some recipients jokingly refer to it as the "Enemy Marksmanship Medal". Most would nonetheless probably personally favor not ever being eligible to receive the medal (which is to say, not get harmed in combat.)
    • Similarly, the Prisoner of War Medal was debated in the United States for over a decade before it was established, as some felt that receiving an award for being captured was shameful and embarrassing. However, it was ultimately passed, awarded to anybody taken prisoner in a combat situation (later expanded to also include being taken hostage by terrorists) and who behaved honorably in captivity, retroactive to April 5, 1917. Like the Purple Heart (which can also be awarded to anybody injured while in enemy captivity), it shows that the recipient went into harm's way.
  • There have occasions of people getting military medals despite not having earned them. The objective is to avoid admitting a mistake was made or the military needs good publicity. This often overlaps with Bling of War in communist nation-states.
  • When the names on the Nixon's Enemies List was revealed, Paul Newman and Daniel Schorr stated (separately) that inclusion on the list was their greatest accomplishment. Ironically, Schorr announced the revelation live on television as part of his news report, not realizing that he was on the list until he came to his own name.
  • Similarly, the Nazis had a secret list of prominent British people to be arrested in case of a successful German invasion and occupation. Several of the people included such as playwright Noël Coward considered it an honor to be included.
  • The Lowsman trophy (punning off of the Heisman Trophy), a statuette of a player fumbling a football, is awarded annually to the last player selected in the NFL draft. The player is also awarded the title "Mr. Irrelevant" and invited to Newport Beach for a parade and humiliating roast.
    • Ironically, as most teams use those late-round picks to select players best suited for Special Teams needs, whoever gets tabbed "Mr. Irrelevant" might actually garner a decent career in the league. Ryan Succop, 2009's Mr. Irrelevant, was the starting kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs when they won Super Bowl LV a decade later. There have been other notable "winners".
  • Former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey (D - NE) wasn't proud of his Medal of Honor (awarded for a routine SEAL action for essentially political reasons) and Bronze Star (supposedly for wiping out a VC base; actually a village of civilians including children).
  • The Sex Pistols certainly saw their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this way, and chose instead to not attend, scrawling an obscenely-worded note detailing just how insulted they were by the honor.
  • Gamespot, until 2012, devoted a whole section for this in their year-end awards, "Dubious Honors", where all but one award ("Best Game No One Played") are bad achievements. Awards vary, but every year included "Most Despicable Use of In-Game Advertising", "Most Disappointing Game", "Worst Game Everyone Played", and "Flat-Out Worst Game".
  • Likewise, X-Play has The Golden Mullet Awards for the worst games of the year. The award is named after the first game to receive a 1 out of 5, Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis.
    • They also hosted a segment recognizing games they couldn't give a full review on because the producers refused to allow a 0 out of 5.
  • Repugnant Battle Honours: battle honours won by Indian regiments of The British Empire for actions relating to the subjugation of India.
  • Fact-checking website PolitiFact has "Lie of the Year" awards that are given out to the most infamous false claims that they have covered that year.
  • Insomniac Games has the Snowbeast Award (picture here), given out to whichever employee at the studio made the worst aspect of a game that shipped over the previous year. Each recipient, what they made, and what game it's from, is written on its base.
    • The Snowbeast Award got its name and model in honor of what inspired it: the Y.E.T.I.s on the snowy Planet Grelbin in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, infamous Demonic Spiders for being fast (both in movement and attack speed), durable, unchivalrous, and abundant. Tony Garcia coded what shipped with Grelbin, including the Y.E.T.I.s that earned him the first Snowbeast Award; according to him and Mike Stout, Tony coded the whole level in about three days. Newly-hired Insomniacs playing the company's backlog would show up to work in bad moods after reaching Grelbin, and once they found out Tony made the level, they made sure to let him know; at first he thought it was funny, but it eventually got tiresome. Because of that, Nathan Fouts, another Insomniac employee, requested the Y.E.T.I. model from Insomniac's art department, which he used to sculpt a real-life model for what would become the Snowbeast Award. Tony, once he received the award, found it and the effort Nathan went through to make the joke hilarious, and appreciated it becoming a joke around the office in following years.
    • The next recipient is "RC3 - Carl Rocket Turret", referring to Carl Glave and the 'Noid missile station from Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. These turrets are Demonic Spiders for their missiles' awkward projectile trajectory; they fly in a gentle path upwards and out of your view before barreling directly downwards, throwing off when you would expect to have to dodge them. If the shot doesn't land on Ratchet's head, it hits the ground and emits a fast shockwave which must be jumped over.
    • Next is "RCB - Moo Insect Samurai", which, according to Moo Yu, is the Tremor enemy from Ratchet: Deadlocked. Moo reasons it's because of the large lunge that they do when attacking, though he also notes that since RAC encourages not sitting still and Tremors are fairly frail, they're not as bad as the award would make them out to be.
    • The first non-Ratchet & Clank example is "IX - Drew Mines"; this is referencing the mines from Resistance: Fall of Man, made by Drew Murray.
    • Sean Wissler received this for the creation of Percival Tachyon from Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction.
    • Daniel Gonzalez earned the Snowbeast Award for the Daedalus in Resistance 2.
    • Mark Stewart got it for the Glider Challenge in Sunset Overdrive.
    • Billy Parmenter received this for the Blarg Turrets in Ratchet & Clank (2016) - likely for the oddly finicky hurtbox enemies using them receive unless you use the Groovitron.
    • Johnny Barnes was awarded this for ice floes in Edge Of Nowhere.
    • Additionally, Shaun McCabe said in a 2019 tweet that the Snowbeast Award would be presented during the week of E3, in regards to Spider-Man (PS4) - but who received it and what for doesn't seems to have been announced.
  • One anecdote in The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation mentions that story meetings that weren't successful would have other storymen bestow the "Bomb of the Week" (or Big Bomb Award for Worst Sketch of the Week) award on the drawings. A "1st prize" likewise existed if the storyboard was approved.
  • Interesting, even the biggest awards in a field can become this. There are certain awards from the big award shows that some people are a little suspicious of because of a track record that they might be cursed. A couple:
    • Best New Artist at the Grammys: The award is notorious for its completely erratic track record. You either go to soaring new heights (like The Beatles or Mariah Carey) or your career tanks afterwards. In particular, the category has had a lot of One Hit Wonders and acts that were briefly big but couldn't sustain longterm success (Men at Work is probably the best example). Almost every Best New Artist winner is asked afterward if they're worried about the curse. More specifically, the 1990 award, which was awarded to Milli Vanilli and was later revoked. They had planned to give the award to one of the other nominees (Neneh Cherry, the Indigo Girls, Soul II Soul, or Tone Lōc), but none of them wanted it.
    • Best Supporting Actor and Actress at the Oscars: Louis Gossett Jr. said, after his win, that he felt it was something of a double-edged sword. While he did have an Oscar to his credit, he said he felt like he was trapped in a strange gray area where smaller productions don't think they can afford you (since you're an Oscar winner) and big productions don't think you can carry a film on your own (since you're a Supporting Actor). In particular, Best Supporting Actress has attracted a reputation for having a Best New Artist-like curse. While Supporting Actor often goes to well-known men in lesser roles (it's the category in which John Gielgud, Sean Connery and Robin Williams won their Oscars), Supporting Actress has had a striking number of obscure character actresses who didn't do much noteworthy work after their wins (Beatrice Straight, Brenda Fricker, Mercedes Ruehl).
    • Most "Car of the Year" awards are similarly erratic. The Simca 1308 beat out the first BMW 3-series for the 1976 European COTY, for instance.
  • People magazine puts out annual Best and Worst Dressed lists, the latter supposed to be this Trope. Sometimes a subversion, with some second and third Worst Dressed recipients often expression public displeasure at not having the number one spot.
  • Peter the Great really loved medals of this type. In 1709, he "awarded" (in absentia) an "Order of Judas" to Ukrainian hetman Ivan Mazepa for betraying him and siding with Swedish king Charles XII. In 1714, he introduced the Drunk Medal, a huge chunk of cast iron (weighing between 9 and 18 pounds), to be worn for a week as a punishment for being a Vodka Drunkenski.
  • When Finland ended up fighting alongside Nazi Germany to recover territory lost to the Soviet Union during the Winter War, their ranks included Jewish officers. Some of them received the Iron Cross, one of Nazi Germany's highest awards, which they all told the Nazis where to stick.
  • The Bad Sex In Fiction Prize, awarded annually by Literary Review to the writer who has produced the worst sex scene in literature that year. A notable nomination in 2010 (though not the eventual 'winner') was a passage from Tony Blair's memoirs about sex with his wife on the night after his predecessor as Labour Party Leader died; the nomination was a double insult to Blair, implying not only bad writing on his part but also dishonesty in the rest of the book, as it bears repeating, this prize is an award for bad sex in fiction.
  • SF fandom has (or had) the Hogu Awards, a parody of the Hugo Awards with such categories as Worst Fanzine Title, Best New Feud, Most Desired Gafication (or in non-fanspeak, the person the voters would most like to leave fandom - in a bonus parody of the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund that sends British fans to the US and vice versa, the winner of this award is said to be eligible for the Mid-Atlantic Fan Fund) and Special Devo Award for Harm to Science Fiction. The Hugo is a statuette of a space rocket on a wooden plinth; the Hogu is a wooden plinth with a scorch mark on top.
  • The Golden Poo from consumer-awareness website The Consumerist is given to the "Worst Company in America," as selected by site voters. Electronic Arts got the dubious honor (along with the resulting hit in stock and the need to send CEO John Riccitiello packing) two years in a row back in 2012 and 2013, and Bank of America has been a contender for the award ever since the website has been running the contest.
  • Italian football has Bidone d'oro, the golden trashcan, which is given to the "worst" player in Serie A. This award has only been given to top club players, so it's really closer to biggest disappointment. France also has Ballon de Plomb, the lead ball, for the most disappointing player in Ligue 1.
  • The Tour de France awards the Red Lantern (La Lanterne Rouge) to the rider who came in last. The award is named after the red light that used to shine on the rearmost car of a train. Cyclists who fell hopelessly behind on the race would actually compete with each other for this award, as "winning" would at least get your name in the papers, and get you invited criteriums, which could be rather lucrative. Not to mention that winning the Red Lantern means at least the cyclist finished the race, which given the overall distance of 3500 kilometers many participants fail to do.
    • This article describes Lanterne Rouge (in Paris-Roubaix, one of the most important one-day races in the world), and this article describes what riders try to go through to finish a race like this.
    • Giro d'Italia used to award a black jersey to the rider who was last in the GC between 1946 and 1951.
  • Cambridge University students who graduated with a "third-class honour" (the lowest passing grade for an honour's degree program) were once given a wooden spoon. The spoon got bigger and bigger with every passing year, and by the time they banned it in the early 1900s, the thing was two metres long.
    • In many sports, the team that finishes in last place on the ladder/table at the end of a season is said to have won the wooden spoon.
  • Similar to the above, the cadet at West Point who graduates with the largest number of demerits is granted the title of "the goat". This is not purely an example of this trope, though, since a fair number of people consider it quite impressive to be able to get into that amount of trouble and not get expelled in disgrace. While there is no official award, it is customary for the rest of the graduating class to pay the goat a dollar. Since the graduating class at West Point is usually about a thousand people, it makes a pretty nice prize.
  • Each year, the French soccer magazine France Football awards the "Golden Ball" (Ballon d'Or) to the best player in the world over the season. And each year, the French satirical site Les Cahiers du Football responds by awarding the "Lead Ball" (Ballon de Plomb) to the worst player of the French soccer league. Some awardees take it better than others. They also reward the "Lead Mic" (Micro de Plomb) to the worst soccer commentator on French Television − and there is serious competition on that one.
  • Evel Knievel, famed daredevil of The '70s, is listed in the Guinness World Records for "most bones broken in a lifetime" (433).
    • Since there are only 206 bones in the human body, Evel had to have broken several of them multiple times.
  • Any movie that manages to land on a list of the biggest Box Office Bombs in terms of the amount of money lost. The current (as of 2013) leaders are The Lone Ranger and The 13th Warrior.
  • School yearbooks sometimes go with this with the "Most Likely To" categories. While most of the awards tend to be the usual "Most Likely To Succeed" type awards, some yearbook committees can parody the concept with stuff like "Most Likely To End Up In Prison" or "Strangest Haircut." Others are a deliberate joke poking fun at a particular student's quirks, like a Civil War buff being voted "Most Likely To Secede."
  • Some American POWs sentenced to forced labor in WWII Nazi Germany managed to get the War Merit Medal for "high production" or performing above the standards expected of an enemy prisoner.
  • Wearing political decorations of the Nazi Party, awards directly associated with the SA or SS, or occupation service medals directly associated with the expansion of Nazi Germany in the 1930s is forbidden in modern Germany.
  • On Dutch television, there's an annual award ceremony for the best TV advertisement, the Gouden Loeki (Golden Loeki, after the animated lion that served as the mascot for the national advertisement broadcasting foundation). Its counterpart is the Loden Leeuw (Lead Lion), for the year's most annoying ad.
  • The movie poster website has an annual tradition where they vote for both the best and worst posters of the year in several categories and genres. There's also a third section, not part of the official picks, where they award various tongue-in-cheek prizes for things like "Best Review From a Dead Dictator Award" or "Least Romantic Poster for a Romance Movie".
  • The Annual Romance Cover Contest includes a "worst cover" category. There's been at least one case of an author lobbying for her own book in this category as a way of pointing out her lack of input on the art.
  • At one Felix Award ceremony (Felix Award being Quebec's version of the Grammys), Céline Dion was awarded Best English-Speaking Artist given that she just began her successful streak in the English market after having spent her early years singing only to French markets. She said in her speech that the title English-Speaking Artist doesn't suit her (owing to her Francophone roots) and thus she rejected the award. This apparently caused that particular category to be subsequently known as Most successful artist performing in a language other than French.
  • In Germany exists a extremely persistent rumor that if you manage to receive your Abitur (Highschool Graduation certificate) with exactly 4.0 (the worst mark possible since a 4.1 means you failed), you would win a car. It is unclear where the rumor originates from, but bad students are infamous for attempting to at least get the 4.0 for this reason. Considering that the student needs to get exactly 280 points (5 points in each course), it is needless to say that most candidates not only don't get a car but also no certificate.
  • The French Légion d'Honneur has become this for some people. Created by Napoléon in 1802, it was initially the greatest honorific distinction, awarded to those who achieve great service for France. Nowadays though, it is better known as "the award of the President's friends", given away to people who didn't do much to deserve it (including… the Prince of Saudi Arabia). As such, it is often refused by people who either don't want to be associated with the government in any way or reject the idea of that award entirely.
  • The Iznogoud Award is granted to the French official who has perpetrated the year's most high-profile failure.
  • Private Eye bestows the Order of the Brown Nose (OBN) upon people who engage in egregious sycophantic praise. There are also three annual awards or sets thereof announced at Christmas or New Year:
    • The Nooks and Corners architecture columnist "Piloti" awards the Sir Hugh Casson Medal for the Worst New Building of the year. (It's named after an architect whom Piloti despised because in his later years he routinely took a fee to give evidence in favour of demolishing worthwhile buildings.)
    • Rotten Boroughs, the local government column, presents a set of awards to local councillors, senior council staff, etc. that it has reported on throughout the year. The categories vary from year to year but have included e.g. "Tory Bigot of the Year", "Jailbird of the Year" and "Nepotism Award".
    • The Literary Review column presents the Christmas Log-Rolling Awards for the most blatant examples of log-rolling (i.e. writers trading favours by praising each other's books) and other such disreputable practices in newspapers' and magazines' "book of the year" pieces.
  • This story proves that this sort of thing is not as funny in reality than in fiction. (To make it even worse, the "award" was given right after the terrorist attack in Manchester, Great Britain, where 22 people were killed.)
  • While not intentionally handed out, one dubious yet frequent occurrence at the Eurovision Song Contest is the phenomenon of a country somehow not receiving points from any of the other countries. As an inverse to the famous "douze points" (12 points) awarded to a country's top pick, this distinction (as coined by longtime British commentator Sir Terry Wogan) is referred to as "nul points" (this, of course, is not proper French, but leave us not pick at straws). Thirty-nine songs over the years have received it.
    • This wasn't an uncommon phenomenon in the contest's early years. Given a voting system that only favored a country's top five, this left many songs that weren't necessarily bad, but couldn't quite finish in the top five, to languish. At least one country received nul points every year from 1962 to 1967. In fact, from 1962 to 1965, four countries each year shared last place. Notable occurrences include 1963 (where almost every Nordic country received nul points, even Sweden, along with the Netherlands - the one major exception being Denmark, who won the whole thing with a fair deal of support from their Nordic neighbors), 1964 (where Portugal became the first country to score nul points for their debut entry), and 1966 (where one of the two recipients was Italian singer Domenico Modugno, responsible for two stone-cold Eurovision classics in "Volare" and "Piove (Ciao, ciao, bambina);" it was also the sole nul points for both Italy and Monaco).
    • Following a similar fate for usually-successful Luxembourg in 1970, precautions were taken to ensure no country could finish that low again. A system from 1971 to 1973 required juries to award points to every song that year, so while a country could still come in last, it was never with nothing (as poor Malta found out when their first two entries both bottomed out the scoreboard). Then 1975 saw the introduction of the 12 points system that's more or less been used in variations ever since. People thought nul points were still basically a thing of the past...until 1978. That was when Norway sent singer/comedian Jahn Teigen and his song "Mil etter mil" to represent them in Paris, France. Apparently disgruntled at the way his song had been arranged for the contest (loud and brassy as opposed to the smooth country-rock tune he intended), Teigen decided that if that's the way his song was to be played, he'd perform accordingly. And thus, we got this masterpiece, a perfect storm of bizarre choices regarding performance, vocalization, and, er, wardrobe, with a hefty dose of Large Ham on top of it all. It ended the night with nothing, making Teigen something of a Eurovision folk hero (and, indeed, he competed on two more occasions), but that would've been the end of it. Until...
    • 1981 saw Norway once again bottom out the scoreboard with nul points, this time for folk singer Finn Kalvik and his composition "Aldri i livet." A fairly chintzy number (despite production assistance from Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA), its fate combined with that of Teigen and Anita Thallaug (who scored nul points under the old system in '63) established Norway as the "nul points country," which took Norway some time (and a win in 1985) to shake off (to a degree, but that's for later).
    • 1982 to 1983 saw more countries take nul points, with Finland's punk song "Nuku pomiin" by Kojo doing so in 1982 and the double whammy of Spain's "Quien maneja mi barca" by Remedios Amaya (an intense, let's charitably say interestingly-sung flamenco number) and Turkey's "Opera" by Cetin Alp and the Short Waves (what do you think it sounds like?) doing so in 1983. After a few more charitable years, the same fate once again befell Turkey's Seyyal Taner in 1987, Austria's Wilfried in 1988, Iceland's Daniel in 1989, and (once again) Austria's Thomas Forstner in 1991. Wilfried's "Lisa Mona Lisa" was voted by Eurovision fans to be the worst song to receive nul points in 2003. (For what it's worth, Remedios Amaya was deemed the best).
    • There were sporadic occurrences throughout the rest of the '90s. Lithuania, one of seven debuting (largely Eastern European) countries in 1994, scored nul points for their first-ever entry (a distinction it shares with Portugal), leading them to withdraw until 1999. 1997 saw two countries do so, one being Portugal and the other being - you guessed it! - Norway, a year after a highly successful hosting gig in Oslo. Switzerland's Gunvor, who by the time of the contest had become a Swiss tabloid fixture, worsened her hometown reputation by earning nul points in 1998. That was that for a few years, until...
    • 2003 saw a triple whammy for the United Kingdom's ill-fated Jemini and "Cry Baby." It was the first British entry to finish last, the first British song to score nul points, and the first English-language song to receive no points (also, it remains the only Eurovision performance on this very site's So Bad, It's Horrible page for music). The duo blamed several causes for their failure, including non-functioning monitors preventing them from hearing the backing track (and therefore starting the song in the wrong key, which they barely recovered from before the end of the song), and - in relation to that - sabotage by other contestants. Terry Wogan believed it may have been a result of "post-Iraq backlash," but the common counterpoint was that the song just kinda stunk.
    • The introduction of the semi-finals in 2004 should theoretically have made nul points even harder to achieve, as now most countries have to earn their place in the final as opposed to just being there by virtue of their score the previous year. However, the very first year of the semi-final saw Switzerland earn nul points for Piero and the Music Stars' "Celebrate" (here's why - proceed with caution) and 2009 saw the Czech Republic's and "Aven Romale" also finish their semi-final with nothing, leading them to withdraw until 2015. And speaking of that year...
    • 2015 saw not one, but two countries achieve nul points in the final.. Austria and Germany's infamous mutual Eurovision hate-crush combined with nothing from the other juries meant that both Austria's Makemakes and Germany's Ann Sophie ended the night with nul points. This made Austria the first host country to finish with no points (not the first to finish last on home ground - the Netherlands did it in 1958 and Portugal would do it in 2018), as well as tying it with Norway and Switzerland as the country to most frequently receive the dreaded score. Interestingly, Austria isn't officially listed as finishing last, despite its shared lack-of-score: due to current tie-break rules, ties are broken by placing the country that performed earlier over the country that performed later, so Germany is officially listed as finishing last.
    • Since 2016, the voting system has been changed so that each country now awards two separate scores, one from the jury vote and one from the televote. 2021 was the first year to see an overall nul points result since the change, with the United Kingdom's entry, "Embers" by James Newman, being awarded zero points in both votes. Since the voting change also meant that "zero points" was officially announced as opposed to being skipped over, the UK had to suffer the humiliation of sitting through said announcement twice.
    • Obtaining zero points in just one of the jury vote or televote rounds is more frequent; since 2016, two songs have received no points from only the jury vote (Spain in 2017 and Israel in 2019) and six songs have received no points from only the televote (The Czech Republic in 2016 and Austria in 2017, Germany in 2019, and three songs in 2021). It has also appeared in the semi-finals several times: 2017 saw no televote points for Malta and no jury points for San Marino, for example.
  • The French Gérardaward is essentially their version of the Razzie awards (and a parody of the César movie trophies, but where a César is a golden statuette, a Gérard is a cinderblock), given as a Take That! to politicians and TV/movie stars with highly evocative categories like:
    • "Gérard for Talking So Much About How Well He Did As A Local Elected Official That You Want To Tell Him To Stay In His Dump Of A Backwater"
    • "Gérard for Best Presidential Bootlicker And When We Say Boots It's A Euphemism"
    • "Gérard for Best Use Of Her Husband's Connections To Boost Her Career"
    • "Gérard for Best Actor Who Should Really Have Stayed A Stand-up Comedian"
    • "Gérard for Best Singer Who's Gone Into Acting, Or The Other Way Around, In Any Case He's Bad At It"
    • "Gérard for Best Movie Where It's Explained To You That Racism Is Bad"
      • Slight Inversion - "Gérard for Best Singer/Actor Who's Pretty Reasonable In Both, But We Wish They'd Make A Bloody Decision As To What They're Best At"
  • As of January 2019, British Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May has two dubious honours of overseeing the biggest ever defeat for a democratic government in the Commons (for her Brexit deal, 432 noes to 202 ayes, a difference of 230) and being the first government in British history to be held in contempt in parliament (for defying a vote to release legal documents related to Brexit).
  • The title of Unwort des Jahres ("Un-word of the Year") is annually awarded to the most annoying or politically incorrect neologism, euphemism, or buzzword that has appeared in German media.
  • When Nickelodeon broadcast its first ever NFL game in 2021, a playoff matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears, the network introduced a special edition of their Nickelodeon Valuable Player award. Instead of being the usual weekly trophy, this NVP was supposed to go to the best player of the game, selected by an online fan vote a la the Super Bowl MVP. However, when the game turned out to be a predictable, one-sided Saints victory, millions of adult fans watching Nick's broadcast over the standard CBS one thought it would be funny to go to the website and vote for Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears' underperforming quarterback. Despite Nick's multiple attempts to reset the poll, Trubisky won the NVP in what turned out to be his final game in Chicago.
    • Amazingly, the next year's playoff NVP almost flipped into a genuine honor. This time, Nick aired a rivalry matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, and when the underdog 49ers jumped out to an early double-digit lead, fans raced to recreate the NVP magic by voting en masse for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott. Come the fourth quarter, though, the momentum started swinging Dallas's way, as they put up 10 unanswered points to pull within striking distance of the lead—and, amazingly, Nick announced Prescott as the NVP right before the Cowboys' defense made a crucial stop to give Dak the ball for one last drive with no time-outs and the season on the line. The offense took the field, Dak threw methodically up the field to get into San Francisco territory...and then, with 14 seconds left, Dallas had Dak run straight up the middle for a first down, then failed to line up and spike the ball before time expired. Just like that, the Cowboys were eliminated, and not only did Dak's NVP become ironic again, it became a booby prize for the whole team's boneheaded mistakes throughout the game.
  • Sister Andre (Real name Lucile Randon), a retired French nun born in February 1904, became the oldest living person in France on October 19, 2017, and is currently the oldest living person in the world as of April 19, 2022. When she found out about the latter, Randon stated that she thought it was a "sad honor" that everyone born before her has now died.
  • The Ernie Awards are Australian awards for comments deemed misogynistic, held annually. They are named after former Australian Workers' Union secretary Ernie Ecob, who was known for his misogynistic remarks. One of his best-known remarks was "Women aren't welcome in the shearing sheds. They're only after the sex", which is why there is a sheep on top of the Gold Ernie.

Alternative Title(s): Medal Of Dishonour