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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.
    • 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, even to the point of rejecting it.
    • 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. See also Undesirable Prize.

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 & Manga 
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!: Kawasaki's prized possession is his master's very own frying pan, which he got after getting smashed in the face with it.
  • 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".
  • Transformers (2019): In a flashback, the Constructicons are given badges of honor by Nominus Prime for their work rebuilding Iacon. Scrapper is deeply honored... until he realizes that every relief worker present is getting the same medal, regardless of their importance or accomplishments. It's just some hokey participation trophy.
  • 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, 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 participation award.
  • 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. On at least one occasion, a trophy was taken back because an answer was on the board.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • SOKO Potsdam: Played for laughs in "Let Live". A suspect does a runner and Henschel and Samir chase him past where an off-duty Luna happens to be waiting to meet a friend for a costume party. Luna trips him and then ties him up with the tail from her Pink Panther costume. Henschel turns up at the end of the episode with a gift for Luna: the costume tail, framed, as an award for "Arrest of the Year".
  • 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 partynote . 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 Dragoon looks 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. Chenkov is also a massive Karma Houdini who has so far survived all of these frontal assaults in the thick of combat.

    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 finishing the game with at least 50 RISK) 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 (1986) is one of the earliest examples in video game history where, 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. It is even worse in the Japanese version, where the worst ending has Palutena turn Pit into a Specknose.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: The credits will list all of your deaths in each dungeon before displaying your grand total, which will be tacked onto Link's character sprite in the file select screen after resetting.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Arguably, the Cross of Glory in the light-sided ending for Star Wars: 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.
  • 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.

    Web Comics 
  • 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 
  • Catscratch: After bringing his fully-cooked ribs to the town's cook-off, Blik is told that he'll be winning... the prize for the worst-tasting ribs soaked in rocket fuel. Blik is only content because he got award out of the whole thing.
  • 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 & 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, Eddy was given a complementary prize, the Crybaby Boo-Hoo Badge. He's understandably incensed and, despite all but being in traction, demands a rematch.
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera: In one episode, Manny and Frida try to expose Zoe Aves as Black Cuervo in the midst of the school's science fair. After failing, while setting off their lab experiment, they're both given ribbons, Manny receives "participant" while Frida (who started the accusation) gets one saying "You're Suspended".
  • 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 unwittingly 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 impotent.
  • South Park
    • In "Conjoined Fetus Lady", the school nurse is 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 won a place in the Guinness World Records for The Biggest Piece of Shit Taken in the episode "More Crap", 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:
    • In "Big Pink Loser", after seeing SpongeBob's massive supply of awards, Patrick tries to earn one himself. At the end of the episode, he gets a trophy for doing absolutely nothing longer than anyone else.
    • In "The Way of the Sponge", SpongeBob meets karate master Fuzzy Acorns and tries to prove that he's worthy of a karate belt. He does so poorly that Fuzzy considers awarding him with the lowest belt possible, the clear belt, but decides that he isn'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.

Alternative Title(s): Medal Of Dishonour