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Memetic Badass

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"Death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there'd have been a fight."
Thomas R. Marshall on learning of the death of Theodore Roosevelt

A specific form of Memetic Mutation when the fandom of a series exaggerates a character's capabilities and combat skills to preposterously epic god-like levels. Despite the name, it doesn't necessarily have to be a widely known Internet meme, and is sometimes just an in-joke among the fan-base. In some cases, the writers agree.

While Memetic Badasses can come in all shapes and sizes, there are two recurring flavors:

  • The Unironic Badass (a.k.a. The Chuck Norris): An admirable character who in canon has demonstrated enough impressive feats and is a big source of awesome moments, to the point that the fandom stops asking "What else can they do?" and instead wonders: "What else can't they do?" It's at this point that their abilities, if they weren't already hyperbolic to begin with, enter Tall Tale territory in Fanon. Expect to see them pull off feats Beyond the Impossible, inflict Russian Reversals on anyone or anything that messes with them, and embody any noun or concept they damn well wish, all thanks to their sheer awesome.
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  • The Ironic Badass (a.k.a The Shaggy Rogers): An otherwise weak, unimpressive or outright silly character whom Fanonfor the sake of ironic humor — portrays as more awesome than they actually are. Unlike the above, it's not just the absurdity of their exaggerated feats that is played for humor. It's also the idea that this particular character, of all people, could kick ass and be more awesome than they have any right to be, running on the same principle as tropes like the Fighting Clown and the Lethal Joke Character. As such, it is very common to see them humiliate any conventionally "cool" character in a fight.

Often overlaps with Fan Wank. Fear too the Memetic Psychopath, and especially the Memetic Molester.

In-universe, this can be the result of being Shrouded in Myth, or a God-Mode Sue if done poorly.


Upgrading the badassery significantly with a character from a previous work is an Adaptational Badass. When done to a historical character, it's a Historical Badass Upgrade.

Compare Testosterone Poisoning. Contrast Memetic Loser.




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Ask any wrestler who the toughest person in the business is, and they all have the same answer.

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