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Memetic Loser

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Got so bad they had to start keeping count. Still better than Yamcha and Raditz, though. Plus, at least the former two got bones thrown their way.

Vegeta: Congratulations, you've just destroyed the equivalent of 3 Raditz.
Krillin: That's right. What now, you son of a bi—
Vegeta: Nappa here is worth 5 Raditz.
Krillin: ...what?
Vegeta: And I am worth 15 Raditz.
Krillin: [disappointed] I...oh.
Nappa: Aw, come on! Don't get so down on yourself! At least you've proven that your Raditz is still stronger than our Raditz.
Raditz: [in the afterlife] I...hate...all of you!
Dragon Ball Z Abridged, episode 8
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Sometimes a character is shown to be competent, maybe even heroic and badass. But that's not what they're remembered most for. Instead, they become remembered for their supposed "lameness". The fandom flanderizes that one time the character made a stupid mistake or got defeated in a shameful way, to the point that as far as the fandom is concerned they're a complete weakling who cannot defeat an insect.

Maybe a parody version of the character is more well-known than the character themselves to begin with. Maybe the character is weak or unskilled at the beginning of a series, but gains more skills and goes through Character Development later after the character's initial portrayal had already burned its way into most peoples' minds. However it happened the character's "lameness" undergoes Memetic Mutation and they reach Butt-Monkey status within Fanon. Expect no one to care because it's funny.

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In video games, particularly games with fan-tiered characters, this can happen to characters that are perceived as low-tier characters. Going into a multiplayer game with one of these can easily lead to mockery or even getting booted just for picking a character seen as weak, even if you're skilled enough to make excellent use of the character's abilities. Maybe the character is Difficult, but Awesome, but people only focus on the "Difficult" elements because the majority of people who use that character don't quite get a good grip on their potential. Or maybe the character is good and doesn't need hundreds of hours to be good at, but people still think the character is garbage for whatever reason.

Occasionally, the character may also be depicted as The Woobie because people also feel sorry for the character, and may end up as the Fan of Underdog. A Memetic Loser can actually become very popular if their Fanon characterization is amusing or sympathetic enough.

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Contrast Memetic Badass, Watch It for the Meme (for when it's something bad enough to draw people in). Compare What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? (which is a possible cause of this trope being in effect), What Measure Is a Non-Badass?, Butt-Monkey, The Scrappy, Tier-Induced Scrappy, and Never Live It Down.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Hank Pym will forever be known as the lame guy that hit his wife that one time and has the not-so-useful power to controls ants and reduce his size, regardless of his portrayals in later comics or the fact that, when his powers are well portrayed, he's nothing short of terrifying. He started to grow out of it a bit however, thanks to his appearances in Dark Reign, his portrayal as a Badass Pacifist in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! (among other things, he went toe to toe with Frost Giants, guys who usually give Thor trouble, and impressing Sif and the Valkyries in the process), and more recently his well-received appearance as a grumpy yet badass old man and former superhero who mentors Scott Lang in the Ant-Man.
  • Aquaman often gets hit with this, mostly due to his memetic Super Friends incarnation. We even named a trope for the inane hoops one has to jump through to make Aquaman's hyper specific skill set seem useful in a team setting. Though he started to shed this due to the public being introduced to his more badass interpretation, such as his appearances in Injustice: Gods Among Us and the DC Extended Universe.
  • Bucky Barnes used to vie with Robin for the position of the proverbial lame sidekick. Then Ed Brubaker brought him back as the titular character in Captain America: Winter Soldier and revealed he was essentially a Child Soldier and brought him as a Brainwashed and Crazy assassin. Because of Adaptation Displacement, his original portrayal tends to be mostly overlooked by this point.
  • X-Men:
    • Cyclops gets this in some form; while certainly a badass, and a strategist on par with Captain America, he still stands next to Wolverine. He has a rather justified reason to be moody or angsty, and his dislike for Wolverine spending time with his wife is understandable given that Wolverine is constantly hitting on her, but some fans flanderize this as him being a real whiner baby; Twisted Toyfair Theatre being notable examples. He is also considered this by his actual fans, who seem to enjoy mocking his Accidental Innuendos, lack of social skills and general dorkiness, but (for at least a few of them) these are qualities that they view as adorable; still it's not uncommon for fans to say they like him because he's a badass but bad at being one.
    • Apocalypse has been considered this in some circles due to how many times he gets beaten by weaker mutants such as Magneto, being manipulated by the Celestials and his reliance on their tech, and his relative unimportance in the grand scheme of things compared to other villains like Thanos or Ultron. In the House of M continuity, he even cowers before Black Bolt and gets vaporized by a whisper from him. Thanos, in comparison, takes a full-on scream from Black Bolt and only gets his armor destroyed and a couple gashes. It doesn't help that he's easy to beat in X-Men vs. Street Fighter.
  • Poor Killer Moth. He's been kicked around Gotham so many times that it's near impossible to remember that he was actually a pretty big threat to Batman when first introduced. He's a Memetic Loser in-universe, with his reputation going further and further downhill ever since he got effortlessly beaten up by Batgirl on her first night out. Writers tried to beef him up by having him become the genuinely scary Charaxes by making a deal with Neron, but ultimately Charaxes got retconned away and he went back to being the Butt-Monkey of Batman's Rogues Gallery. The Batman took this to its logical conclusion in terms of sheer lameness; he's not even a true independent supervillain, he's the Penguin's coffee boy.
  • While probably not as bad as Aquaman, Robin was famously considered lame for quite a while after the 60's Batman live-action series, mainly for the catchphrases, silly costume (complete with shorts), and Burt Ward not being very imposing or intimidating. It doesn't help matters that Batman & Robin is often considered one of the worst superhero movies ever made, or that Christian Bale publicly stated that he'd refuse to film anymore Batman movies if Robin were ever added to the franchise. This has started changing in recent years thanks to significantly more impressive portrayals in stuff like Teen Titans and the Batman: Arkham Series, but it's still not uncommon to find people who joke about Robin (or any sidekick) being lame.
  • Spider-Man villain Hydro-Man is infamous for constantly sabotaging his own victories. It's expounded by the fact that his power/gimmick (hydrokinesis) is insanely useful, so the only excuse he really has for constantly losing is incompetence. To give you an idea of how bad it is, the RiffTrax crew uses his name as a by-word for stupid and self-defeating villains.
  • Fanon portrayals of The Riddler seem to be stuck in the Silver Age. Batman has many incompetent foes, but Riddler is the one who is always brought up for it, even though he's actually right up there with Joker in terms of danger factor, and has been treated as equal or nearly equal to the Joker in many comics. For some, it simply boils down to his self-defeating Weaksauce Weakness, as it makes it difficult to believe he could ever succeed in anything when he deliberately and unavoidably sabotages himself.
  • Hawkeye. In canon, Hawkeye is the Badass Normal of the Avengers, trained by Captain America in close-quarters combat, an expert swordsman good enough to be able to pass for a ninja, and is literally the world's greatest marksman. In spite of this, thanks to his goofy sense of humour, his colourful costume, being Book Dumb, and a less-than-impressive depiction in The Avengers (which was his first real introduction to mainstream audiences), he's often regarded as a joke, dismissed as the weakest Avenger, if not weakest Superhero in general, and given serious disrespect. His portrayal in Avengers: Age of Ultron made things better for some, but he still struggles to get respect outside of his fanbase.
    • Making matters worse, the critically acclaimed Matt Fraction/David Aja run on his ongoing acted as a deconstruction of Badass Normal characters and explored a realistic take on Hawkeye's character; though he's still depicted as a competent fighter, it demonstrated how being a One-Man Army won't last long if they have enough mooks. However, fans and critics exaggerated it to the point Hawkeye appears completely incompetent, leading to accusations of Badass Decay. The following run by Jeff Lemire then made things worse by taking this interpretation and making it canon, with Clint now completely incompetent.
    • His poor reputation is even referenced in the movies themselves. In Age of Ultron, Black Widow jokes about how he actually keeps the team together because the other Avengers all have to work hard to pretend he's useful. In Captain America: Civil War, Ant-Man calls him "Arrow Guy" because he doesn't know his name, and then later, this exchange occurs:
      Hawkeye: We haven't met yet. I'm Clint.
      Black Panther: I don't care.
    • Jeremy Renner, the actor who plays Hawkeye, even did a humorous skit on Saturday Night Live where Hawkeye's uselessness next to the other Avengers was played for laughs. Later, he did a parody musical performance on The Tonight Show about how even though Hawkeye's powers aren't that impressive, he still has other good qualities.
    • Hawkeye gets this treatment despite being made an honorary Justice League member in JLA/Avengers, making him the only character in comic book history to be a member of both the Justice League and The Avengers.
  • It's not uncommon for people to take out-of-context Archie Comics caps and portray Archie as a stereotypical "nice guy" who expects kisses and dates in exchange for being sweet. Some comic issues have portrayed him that way, but it's not his normal characterization.
  • Though canonically one of the strongest Green Lanterns, Hal Jordan is treated as this in some circles, mostly for the anomalous number of 50s and 60s comics where a guy who's battled entire alien warfleets gets hit on the head and knocked out by a random thug. Given his frequent cases of Plot-Induced Stupidity, those same circles tend to assume he's developed brain damage.
  • While not as maligned as Aquaman or (Gi)Ant-Man, you'll find very few people outside of the fanbase willing to stick up for any version of Hawkman. These three share the same general problem: most people only know of them through team books, which more often than not have lineups based on Popularity Powernote  instead of any real synergy. As a result, you'd often have at least two characters with overlapping powers/fighting styles, and whichever one had the bigger fanbase would often reduce the other guy to a Poor Man's Substitutenote . As the Western Animation section below notes: why give Hawkman any respect when Superman has all your Flying Brick needs and then some?
  • M.O.D.O.K. would be a fearsome villain - his name is an acronym for "Mental Organism Designed Only For Killing", and he more than lives up to it with his love of murder, torture and horrific human experimentation, with his sadism the only thing that matches his Super Intelligence... except that his design consists of a gigantic and hideously ugly head with tiny little limbs sticking out of it. Because of how stupid this appearance is to modern readers, he's become an absolute joke, with even the creators of post-90s non-comics depictions tending to play up his goofiness. The comics have begun to acknowledge that, but sometimes like to unsettle readers by reminding them that, yes, he looks silly, but he's a deadly serious monster. Just ask The Unbelievable Gwenpool, who got a firsthand demonstration that looking ridiculous doesn't make M.O.D.O.K any less a sadistic and ruthless killer.
  • When Sideways introduced Tempus Fuginaut, an expy of Marvel's Uatu The Watcher and a multiversal guardian, he quickly became this. While he would later be stated to be to protect the DC Universe from the Dark Multiverse first seen in Dark Nights: Metal, the fandom had a massive field day with this extreme case of Remember the New Guy?, as he'd logically been involved in events like the various Earth-One/Earth-Two pre-Crisis stories, Crisis on Infinite Earths itself, Zero Hour!, JLA: Earth-2, Infinite Crisis, 52, Final Crisis, Flashpoint, Forever Evil, Convergence, The Multiversity, and the aforementioned Dark Nights Metal and yet was nowhere to be seen, leading to cracks about how bad he is at the job — a sentiment shared by Duke Thomas in the Tales from the Dark Multiverse story about Metal as, after having transformed into the Last Knight, he called out and attacked Fuginaut for his refusal to help the universes in the Dark Multiverse.

    Film — Animation 
  • The canon version of Elsa from Frozen is not this, however most modern AUs usually turn her into this. Elsa is depressed and anxious in canon but this gets exaggerated into her being a socially inept NEET. Part of this is due to fans having difficulties transferring her character into a modern, non-magical world. They end up making her a shut-in because she suffers from depression and social anxiety, instead of having her depression come from hating her powers (though Word of God is that she does have an anxiety disorder). Another reason for this is because of the popularity of the fanfic /r9k/Elsa Is Suffering.
  • The Storm King from My Little Pony: The Movie (2017). Seeing that this is a movie, you expect him to personally provide an epic showdown... only for him to not only go down in one hit from the Mane 6, but also get himself petrified and shattered shortly afterwards. This is despite the fact that he was able to conquer many lands before moving on to Equestria, even forcing an entire kingdom to hide because he was too powerful. It’s just that all this was done off-screen. But on-screen, he was at least able to get a Near-Villain Victory by robbing the four Equestian princesses of their magic to power the Staff of Sacanas, and conjuring a massive tornado to ravage Canterlot. And even after getting momentarily knocked down and seperated from the staff, he was doubly determined to get it back, before his ultimate demise. It’s also worth noting that both Twilight and his former Dragon Tempest almost died to defeat him.
  • The title character of Bambi is frequently the poster child for Tastes Like Diabetes, and often exemplified whenever mocking Disney's cutesy, cloying image. This is despite the fact that only half the film has Bambi as a naive Momma's Boy fawn getting into cutesy antics (and losing his mother), with the latter half taking on a much darker tone and focusing on Bambi growing into a formidable stag. Counting the much later midquel, even the fawn-era Bambi had his badass moments.

    Film — Live-Action 

    Jokes 
  • Not even superheroes are exempt from this:
    "Riches, fame, and physical development don't change the fact that you're still a grown man living in his parents' basement, Master Bruce."

    Literature 
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Gerold "Darkstar" Dayne is regarded this way by a good portion of the fanbase. This stems partially from his rather cheesy name, appearance and persona, with lines like "I am of the night" seen as trying too hard to invoke Evil Is Cool, crossed with the fact that for all his boasting and buildup as a badass the only thing of note he does is try to kill Myrcella Baratheon (an unarmed and defenceless little girl) a task which he fails at. This has led to his nickname "Dorkstar" and general perception as a whiny, pretentious Emo Teen and incompetent poseur with an over-inflated opinion of himself. he inevitable comparison is to the Red Viper, who is actually a badass.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The entire Hufflepuff House has a reputation for being the "loser" house at Hogwarts due to them being almost completely irrelevant to the plots and often being Flat Characters (especially in the films). Cedric Diggory is the only prominent member of said house in the series, and his biggest contribution to the plot was that he was killed off by Lord Voldemort. Dialogue from the books seem to indicate that they are memetic losers in-universe as well.
    • The Chudley Cannons. Word of God says when asked if they would win a game, "they'd need to replace the entire team and down several cauldrons of Felix Felicis."
    • Voldemort for instigating the entire series by losing to a baby (to be fair, it was Lily’s magic protection spell, but still a fail nonetheless). This hurts Voldemort’s pride so much that he spends the entire rest of the series (and his life) trying to kill this baby in revenge... that baby grows up and ruins Voldemort’s plans, sometimes re-killing him in the process. Even worse is that Voldemort is meant to come across as The Dreaded, but due to losing over and over again to the same kid almost every book, he comes across as quite incompetent. The film adaptations take his loser status Up to Eleven; he was decently intimidating in the first two movies, but ran into some Narm in movies 4 and 5 due to his strange antics, and then became a full-on loser in movies 7 and 8 due to his overused “NYEEEEAH!” shout in the trailers, hilariously awkward hug with Draco Malfoy, sounding like he sneezed during his most important use of the killing curse, and then having the most hilariously stupid villain laugh before the final battle. Neither version of Voldemort is taken very seriously anymore, but at least the book version didn’t hit the unbelievable amount of cheesiness the film version did. This is actually inverted among the fanfic sporking community, who tend to get very angry when a “clever” author downplays the threat he poses, with the sporkers saying Voldemort would effortlessly kill or torture the OC or “improved” Harry because it amuses him.
    • Ron Weasley is often considered a loser among fans, despite his accomplishments, for his reputation as the weakest link of the main Power Trio. While Harry is respected for being The Chosen One and Hermione is respected for being The Smart Girl, Ron gets stereotyped as just being the dumb tagalong friend. Fans will often cite his actions in The Goblet Of Fire, where he briefly Took a Level in Jerkass AND Took a Level in Dumbass, despite him being much better in both previous books and later books. The films also gave him several goofy scenes where he’s casually eating rather than worrying about the problem at hand, and The Half-Blood Prince in particular gave him some dopey facial expressions and antics at times that get heavily memed, but this was under the effects of a love potion clouding his judgment. With his out of character moments accounted for, he really isn’t that much less competent than his friends, and was even crucial to destroying some of Voldemort’s horcruxes.
  • Warrior Cats fans will never let Longtail live down getting beat up by a kittypet in the first book. To make it worse, Rusty couldn't have been much older than a kit, so it's basically like getting beat up by a ten year old who's never fought anyone before.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Xander Harris from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The man shall always be 'The Zeppo' of the Scooby Gang, one of the guys who Whedon goes above and beyond the call of duty of putting through the wringer. His achievements (for the most part) are talking his way to victory (ex. bluffing a Mad Bomber zombie into running away on "The Zeppo", getting the rocket launcher to destroy The Judge, confronting DarkSide!Willow when she decides to wipe out the planet) rather than beat the hell out of the bad guy doesn't help. If anything, fanfic attempts to give him a level in badass tend to go the other way. Xander's Memetic Loser status has been sealed by the fact that other stories have started invoking his name to describe under-powered characters. (e.g. Bruno in Ms. Marvel (2014) calls himself and Ms. Marvel's other unpowered friends her "Xanders".)
  • Ray Palmer/ The Atom from Legends of Tomorrow. This guy is supposedly The Smart Guy of Rip Hunter's makeshift Justice League; however, he also has the status of being a Butt-Monkey and a fine example of how Good Is Dumb as he makes mistake after mistake while trying to become a legendary hero.
  • The Rival from The Flash (2014), a minor villain from the start of season 3. He's evil speedster, a gimmick usually reserved for major villains, but is also a generic and totally weak bad guy with no discernible motivation; his only real role is to introduce the actual main villains of the season, Dr. Alchemy and Savitar. This has caused the fandom to jokingly treat him as a pathetic red-headed stepchild type character who's constantly being ignored by all the other, cooler speedsters.
    • HR is a heroic one, due to being a Non-Action Guy and Butt-Monkey who eventually turns out to have lied about being a scientist. Fans like to joke that he's either the biggest loser in the multiverse or the best actor in it. Possibly the latter, because he was shown to have deep-rooted anxiety and inferiority issues, and his Heroic Sacrifice became the only way to stop Savitar, saving Iris and their future. And the only reason Savitar was convinced he was 'Iris' due to his convincing acting during distress. It has gotten to the point that HR is also considered somewhat to be a Memetic Badass who can defeat anyone by just switching places.
  • Nobody is the world's biggest loser compared to Al "Cosmic Plaything" Bundy from Married... with Children. He's treated like crap by his wife, his kids, his neighbors, his friends, the town, the country, people he randomly encounters, and even God likes making his life a living Hell. He comes up with a zany scheme every episode to make his life suck just a little less, but always fails horribly. The only reason he goes on living is because his very existence annoys his family and enemies. He might even be the new poster boy for this page if he weren't so unlucky.
  • The Mole: Poor Ron Boszhart from the Dutch version. He was an Ascended Fanboy who was eliminated in his first season before he got to meet his fellow contestants. Then he returns for an all-stars season as a Joke Character and is treated with absolutely zero respect by anyone(fans, contestants and even the hosts tend to make fun of him). He also quickly establishes himself as The Load and The Ditz.
  • Revolution: The way the Hatedom tells it, Charlie Matheson is the biggest loser in the entire show. This is in spite of the facts that she helped get Miles Matheson back into the game, put a sniper rifle in the hands of a rebel group, and took down a number of Monroe militia members like Lieutenant Slotnick and Sergeant Joseph Wheatley.
  • The Walking Dead: Owen, AKA the Alpha Wolf/ W Man. This man is supposedly the biggest villain in the first half of Season 6, but he ends up being the biggest failure of a villain ever. He ends up killing no named characters himself, gets his ass handed to him in every fight scene he has, and dies rather unceremoniously getting shot by Carol in the middle of an apparent Heel–Face Turn. After turning into a zombie he never kills anyone then either before getting put down permanently by the same guy who beat him up in his debut appearance.
  • Hiromu of Tokumei Sentai Go Busters will forever be remembered for freezing in front of a chicken.
  • Harry Kim from Star Trek: Voyager. He spends the entire series as an Ensign, gets killed off and resurrected more than anyone else, gets kidnapped multiple times, and is the only character in the franchise to be formally reprimanded for Boldly Coming. SF Debris coined the phrase "Poor, dumb Harry" to highlight every pitiful moment he has, and there are many.
  • Barney & Friends: Barney the dinosaur, due to massive amounts of Anti-Barney Humor.
  • Survivor:
    • Francesca Hogi was the sole two-time first boot on the show. Good luck not trying to get this status from the fans after that.
    • Despite him playing a "perfect game" on his first season, J.T. Thomas has gained this status after making a bunch of idiotic moves such as giving somebody from his other tribe that he never had a chance to watch his first season nor played with the hidden immunity idol on Heroes vs. Villains, telling Brad his tribe's entire plans at Mana/Nuku Tribal Council leading into Malcolm's elimination on Game Changers, and not bring his own hidden immunity idol when he was clearly at the bottom of his own tribe within that same latter season. It has gotten to the point that a good portion of the fandom credits Stephen for J.T.'s strong Tocantins performance over J.T. himself.
    • From the Australian version: Sam Schoers definitely qualifies, just for being the only player on any (English-language) Survivor version to have zero Confession Cam segments.
  • 24: Kim Bauer tends to be the laughing stock of the series for being the Trope Namer of Trapped by Mountain Lions. The trope refers to irrelevant subplots that waste time from far more engaging main plots. The specific birth of the trope was when Kim got lost in the woods and encountered a cougar, which had absolutely nothing to do with the main plot of Jack Bauer trying to stop terrorists from nuking the city. It was FAR from the only instance of Kim getting into a random weird predicament and wasting episode time. She was only a main character in the first three seasons, and only got involved in irrelevant subplots in seasons 1 and 2, and her seemingly irrelevant subplot in season one actually did turn out to be orchestrated by the Big Bad and a huge part of his plan, meaning that season 2 was the only season where her subplots were truly irrelevant. It doesn’t help that she had so many of them within that one season, though... but she became so infamous for it that most people consider her the biggest loser on the show for her seeming inability to just have a normal day. Unlike the entire rest of the cast, this is WITHOUT any of her misfortune even coming from the actual problems going on in the story! It really doesn’t help that her father, Jack Bauer, has Memetic Badass status, because it makes it look like the Bauer family apple fell VERY far from the tree.
  • Raj from The Big Bang Theory worries in one episode about becoming this because all the other guys have girlfriends:
    Even if I get one someday, I'll still be the guy who got a girl after Sheldon Cooper!
  • Cobb Vanth from The Mandalorian is a legitimately skilled Badass Normal in-universe, but unfortunately for him, the fact that he's wearing Boba Fett's scavenged armor (which does not fit him) when first seen makes jokes about him being a weird Boba Fett Fanboy who goes to work in cosplay all too easy and appealing, so that's the sort of portrayals he gets.
  • Kamen Rider Decade: Yusuke Onodera has often been the butt of all jokes for his uselessness since he doesn't transform that much and when he does, he doesn't make any difference in fight scenes. He has been the measuring stick for how useless a character can be in a Kamen Rider show.

    Music 
  • The majority of Korean Pop Music artists are seen as this by J-pop fans due to their heavy rivalries.
  • From the classical composers, Julius Fučík. Not only he has an Unfortunate Name in English, but also his most famous work, "Entry of the Gladiators", is best known nowadays as the Standard Snippet in Happy Circus Music. Fučík wrote the piece to celebrate the champions of the Roman Gladiator Games, the epitome of manliness, but now it's associated almost exclusively with goofy clowns and afro-wearing zebras. Quite a big fall from grace.
  • Not as much the case today because Society Marches On, but in the earlier days of the internet (late 2000s-early 2010s), teenage music artists on YouTube typically got this reputation almost automatically once they hit a certain level of popularity. Two artists in particular really got the worst of it.
  • Nickelback has the reputation as “the worst band ever” among so many people that making fun of them is not just a meme on the internet (which it is), but common practice when anyone talks about bad music in general. It is for, as many agree, every song sounding the same and for that being very noticeable because of singer Chad Kroeger having a Yarling Large Ham voice. Still, they have made many catchy songs that have been radio hits despite this.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Goliath from The Bible is only remembered as that abnormally large and heavily armored soldier who was easily killed by David, who was roughly half his size, far less experienced, and had practically nothing save for a sling and a rock. And, y'know, literally God's help on his side, but who cares?

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Thanks to a screw job finish, The Spider Lady became one. Originally managed by the Fabulous Moolah, Moolah would take the Spider Lady's mask after her "charge" failed to defeat Wendi Richter and "won" the belt from Richter herself, after which an incensed Richter, who had kicked out at one, unmasked Moolah. The original Spider Lady faded into obscurity and the gimmick would only be used by jobbers for the next 30 years.
  • Unfortunately for the Wildcat Chris Harris of an otherwise well remembered incarnation of America's Most Wanted with James Storm, Braden Walker is largely remembered for his much more stellar career.
  • Kevin Nash tends to mostly be remembered for the time he tore his quad on Raw while walking across the ring. He's hardly the only person to have suffered such an injury (Triple H has had multiple quad-tears and Vince McMahon managed to tear both his quads in one night), his massive unpopularity with the Smart Marks made sure he never lived it down. Now the fandom is convinced anything he does will cause his quad to tear.
  • Sin Cara, after botching one to many times during his tenure has become synonymous with the word.
  • As much as he is both loved and respected by fans, Sting falls here. Between his reputation as "The Dumbest Man In Wrestling"note and rarely, if ever, winning any feud he was in, he has been firmly categorized as this.
  • Kelly Kelly was, at worst, average in the ring, but fans often focus only on her earlier performances, exaggerated her weaknesses (such as being unable to properly run the ropes) and if you ask these fans why women's wrestling declined at the end of the 2000s, chances are that they blame her for it.
  • Ashley Massaro has it even worse than Kelly. You'd be hard-pressed to find a single Smart Mark or diva fan that is a fan of hers and doesn't blame her for kickstarting the decline in women's wrestling (she came along before Kelly, right around the same time that fan favorites Lita and Trish Stratus retired). While she was hardly the only factor, she seems to get a fair share of the blame mostly due to how hard she was pushed and how little training she had been given. Diva Dirt writers loved mocking her. Though opinions on her have likely softened in light of her suicide in 2019.
  • Becky Lynch. Not with her ring ability, but rather just her downright terrible luck with allies. Becky is infamous over the fact that the poor woman cannot keep a friend to save her life leading to her being compared to Sting with the amount of unfair backstabbing she is going through. Taken Up to Eleven when La Luchadora (the Luchador Becky disguised herself on to fight Alexa Bliss) is impersonated by an unknown person (later revealed to be Mickie James) and distracts Becky to cause her to lose against Alexa Bliss, which basically means Becky was betrayed technically by herself.
  • Rosa Mendes is universally agreed to have been the most useless Diva on WWE's roster, especially since she was employed for nine years (eleven if you count her time in developmental). She was used as a jobber, only receiving one televised win and that was via DQ. Based on this information, it isn't really "memetic" though.
  • Marty Jannetty. Despite once being half of one of the greatest tag teams of all time, along with being a former Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion, Jannetty will be forever known as being "the untalented guy who was completely overshadowed by his former partner and fell into obscurity after the team broke up." Any wrestler who ends up on the bad side of a Breakup Breakout is dubbed "The Jannetty" of the group by the fandom.
  • Mike Jones, better known as Virgil or Vincent, is probably the Butt-Monkey of professional wrestling. He was the bodyguard of both Ted DiBiase and the New World Order and provided about as much protection as a broken condom. He's also not very popular with fans, with there even being photos of him alone at wrestling conventions.
  • Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake was once a fairly over midcarder in the WWF, until he got injured parasailing. Then he went to WCW and underwent so many gimmick changes that it became impossible to take him seriously. Not helping matters is that his best friend is none other than Hulk Hogan, so it's not uncommon for people to (understandably and not without justification) accuse Beefcake of riding Hogan's coattails. Nowadays he's commonly referred to as Brutus "the Fucking Barber" Beefcake in a derisive tone, thanks in no part to Ric Flair's son-in-law Conrad Thompson coining the term on his podcasts.

    Sports 
  • German association football team Tasmania 1900 Berlin is always referenced whenever a team as a huge losing streak in the Bundesliga. They just played one season, were immediately relegated to never reach the highest level again and the had by far the worst season's record in Bundesliga history (out of 34 games, they won 2, drew 4 and lost 28 and only scored 15 goals).
  • Several infamous "Draft Busts" are often referenced when a recently-drafted player fails to meet expectations.
    • In the NBA, the most infamous examples are Sam Bowie (picked before MICHAEL JORDAN), Darko Milicic, and Kwame Brown
    • In the NFL, we have Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell.
  • The Chicago Cubs used to be this during their 108-year World Series drought (and still are in St. Louis).
  • The Cleveland Browns have an absolutely abominable reputation among many United States football fans, enough that not one but two different fans made cracks about the Browns' lack of football prowess in their own obituaries. In 2017, they became only the second team in NFL history to finish a season with zero wins and sixteen losses, achieved the longest active playoff drought in the NFL, and are widely regarded as being one of the very worst, if not the worst teams in the entire league. This meme perhaps says it all. However, by 2020, they Took a Level in Badass and not only did they make the playoffs for the first time in 18 years, they won their first playoff game in 26 years by beating their hated rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • The New York Mets baseball team is the butt of jokes and is overshadowed by the New York Yankees.
  • Haru Urara, a Japanese racehorse that never won a single race and ended her career with a miserable 0 - 113 losing streak. Haru gained national attention during the economic crisis of the early 2000s, and became a symbol of pluck at a time when the public needed one. People credited the horse with inspiring them to never give up and ultimately saved her home track from bankruptcy before retiring.
  • Australian Rules Football
    • The St Kilda Saints have won only one premiership (1966), and hold the records for longest losing streak and most wooden spoons (last-place finishes) in league history.
    • The Gold Coast Suns, who joined the league in 2011 and are yet to make the finals.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers are the NBA's perennial whipping boys. Like the aforementioned Mets, the Clippers live in the shadow of their wildly-successful crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers. Unlike the Mets, who at least play in their own stadium, and whose up-and-down tendencies gave them two championship rings and a host of signature players and moments to look back on, the Clippers have spent most of their history completely in the dumps while sharing the Staples Center with the Lakers since 1999, and even in their best years, they've never made it to the Western Conference Finals, infamously blowing two 3-1 leads in the conference semifinals in the last five years.
  • The New Orleans Saints spent a solid 20 years in the NFL's doghouse from their founding in 1967 up through the mid-80s. The team's stats were consistently abysmal, with local fans usually referring to them as the "Ain'ts" rather than the Saints. In the 1980 season, they lost their first 14 games, prompting local sports journalist Buddy Diliberto to recommend that fans start wearing paper bags over their heads at home games so that they could not be associated with the embarrassments happening on-field. Many fans took his advice. The team finally started getting competitive in 1987 (their first winning season ever), then champion-caliber from 2006 on, with coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees leading the team to its first Super Bowl win in 2009.
  • The 1899 Cleveland Spiders team, generally agreed to be the worst in MLB history. They only won 20 games due to their owners forcing all the good players to go to St. Louis. They were so bad, the Spiders got an amateur baseball pitcher to play their final ever game.
  • National Hockey League
    • The Toronto Maple Leafs are technically the second-most-successful team in the NHL's history in terms of the number of Stanley Cups won, but they have not even made the final since their last win in 1967, and the seeming inability of even good Leafs teams to advance in the playoffs has made them a punchline in the NHL. Most recently seen in 2021, where they entered the playoffs as the #1 team in their division only to lose in the first round to their hated rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, who were the lowest-ranked team from any division to make the playoffs. Even worse as the Leafs had a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series, only to lose the next three games straight.
    • The Buffalo Sabres are also a frequent target for this sort of humour.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Abbadon the Despoiler, or, as fans like to call him, Failbaddon the Armless. Though the character canonically is a very badass and dangerous villain and is one of the most dangerous units in hand-to-hand in gameplay, the fact he led no less than Thirteen crusades against the Imperium, and still failed to destroy it led to the development of his fanon portrayal as a General Failure. Even as Gathering Storm started to turn things in his favor (and even then, it's a Pyrrhic Victory), he hasn't quite shed his Failbaddon reputation. (As for the "armless" thing, it's because the arms on his figurine fall off easily.)
    • While the Imperial Guard is acknowledged to be full of hardcore individuals, as a whole they will never escape their reputation as useless and squishy, losing horribly to anything the galaxy can throw at them. However this is mostly a reputation crafted by their fans, who love the idea of them suffering horribly but still getting back up. The Gathering Storm event mentioned above helped them get points in badass because even to the very end, Cadia didn't fall. The planet tore itself apart from a Negative Space Wedgie, sure, but in terms of "Guard was defeated and Chaos conquered the planet", no, it didn't fall.
    • And then you have the Planetary Defense Forces, who are seen as this by fans and by the Imperial Guard in-universe. It's not exactly their fault, since the PDF tends to be made up of anyone who didn't meet the IG's recruitment standards, has Armchair Military superiors at best (and outright traitorous Chaos-worshipping seditious nobles/ Tyranid catspaws at worst), have equipment the IG finds laughable (and IG equipment is often compared to T-shirt and flashlight in comparison to the stupidly powerful standard weaponry the other factions have), and more often than not their planet is taken completely unawares by the threat of the day.
    • Very, very few players still take the Avatar of Khaine seriously. It's supposed to be a fragment of a War God, embodied in a giant statue of pure, mobilized rage, but in terms of storyline they're usually just heavily crapped on by anyone the GW writers want to look good. Khaine himself ends up taking a bit of splash damage from it too, though he's too fragmented to be much of a character anyways.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Rainbow Dragon, thanks to being a "boss monster" that even in it's own archetype is vastly outshined by other options the archetype has, note  and generally having lackluster effects for the amount of trouble needed to go through in order to summon him.
    • Sangan quickly became this thanks to a series of cards showing his trip to where banned cards go and his terrible luck along the way, along with shades of being The Woobie.
  • Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded from Magic: The Gathering was clearly intended to a terrifying villain, being a dimension-traveling half-demon man driven only by his joy in inflicting pain on others. However, this bloodcurdling concept didn't carry over to his actual card as it can be easily ran over and takes ages to set up his good effects that are not worth the ridiculous amount of effort. It didn't do Tibalt any favors that his card was packaged in a Duel Deck set in which he is pitted against Sorin Markov; because Tibalt's story appearances were zilch afterwards, fans speculated that Sorin killed Tibalt in their fight that presumably lasted seconds before Word of God stated that he is still alive but elsewhere. To this day, Tibalt is still seen as the worst planeswalker in the game and little more than Sorin's punching bag.

    Webcomics 
  • Radditz's usual portrayal as this is played with in Dragon Ball Multiverse. Besides losing on the first round on the main storyline, a minicomic was published which made fun of the concept.
  • Roy in almost every Awkward Zombie comic he appears in after his exclusion from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. While some of his loserdom is very much deserved, becoming an extremely petty and jealous person after his exclusion, that doesn't excuse the rest of the roster of fighters collectively forgetting about his existence, Master Hand blowing him up twice, or his own old roommate Marth barely tolerating him upon his return as DLC. He was barely even an afterthought when he was announced alongside Ryu.
  • Mayor Christian Weston Chandler from Sonichu gets this treatment for being an Author Avatar, being very corrupt, and taking up more page time than the title character.
  • This Hark! A Vagrant comic parodies the tendency of Sherlock Holmes adaptations to portray Dr. Watson as a bumbling idiot who doesn't really contribute anything to solving the mysteries by having a shorter, fatter Watson who mistakes a jar of jam for evidence replace the original, who complains "a brave, intelligent ladykiller wasn't interesting enough?"

    Web Video 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Radditz, to the point that Vegeta and Nappa use him as a substitute for "weakling" and measure Power Levels in "Radditzes" (Nappa is five Radditz, and Vegeta is fifteen Radditz). The second season extends this to the point where he's used as a measure of currency (Around one dollar).
    • Krillin combines this with Lovable Coward. Krillin Owned Count, anyone? But in the end, Krillin finally gets his redemption when he hooks up with 18. It comes complete with the destruction of the Krillin Owned Count.
    • And of course, Yamcha. In one video the characters even state that the only reason they make fun of Krillin so often is because Yamcha isn't around as much. Word of God posits this is also the reason it wasn't called the Yamcha Owned Count.
    • This compilation video sums it up quite nicely.
      Yamcha:: Let's be honest. If I stay, I'll probably just get in the way.
      Tien: Yep.
      Piccolo: Probably.
      Gohan: No offense.
      Vegeta: Why are you even here?!
      (beat, showing Yamcha looking hurt)
      Krillin: SENZU BEAN!
    • Hell, just about every team has their own Memetic Loser, as if there's a diversity quota or something. Radditz is this for the Saiyans, Appule is this to Freeza's force, and Guldo is this to the Ginyu Force. The androids have Android 19, the poorly programmed fat mime.
  • Escape the Night has Roi and Teala. In canon, Roi is very unlucky and often placed next to the way smarter guests. In fanon, Roi is usually The Ditz and The Klutz. He is not too far off from being Too Dumb to Live. He becomes an Expy of Tyler from Total Drama. All of Roi’s better qualities are removed and his lesser qualities are Up to Eleven. Teala is often portrayed as having no qualities that could be useful, but a dozen qualities that make her unfit to do a task or useless. The only good thing Teala has on her side is luck, which she only uses to never get picked for a challenge despite getting seemingly every vote against her. Teala being a Memetic Loser is not too far off from her canon counterpart, who only survives as long as she did through dumb luck.
  • Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque : La Série Abrégée: the Silver Saints. Whenever they get a mention by the characters, it's either as a synonym for "weakling" or to reference the fact they are essentially being used as cannon fodders by the Great Pope.
  • The YouTube parodies of Downfall frequently portray Adolf Hitler, a once feared and powerful man, as a slapstick magnet or a genuinely incompetent villain where his plans constantly fail, usually at the hands of Hermann Fegelein. He gets a fair amount of abuse in other series like The Frollo Show, especially in a scene where there's a question designed to send Scanty on a risky mission instead of him...
    Stocking: The first one to name five German cities won't go.
    (Smash Cut)
    Hitler: That question was hard! Why did it have to be so hard?!
  • On Barshens, Barry just can't catch a break. He typically ends up last in games, either through his own ignorance or Stuart's mastery of everything. Though sometimes, Barry gets robbed of victory thanks to Paul's incompetence.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Twist is usually mocked because of her dorky appearance and the lispy way she speaks.
  • The Professor, the main villain of the TV Felix the Cat cartoons, is one in-and-out of universe, simply because he's such a pathetic villain who is doomed to always lose to Felix and get his butt handed to him either by the cat, his own hand, or just sheer bad luck. There's a reason he's considered one of the poster children for both Harmless Villain and Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain.
  • Ma-Ti from Captain Planet and the Planeteers. To the point that this very Wiki named a trope after the supposed lameness of his powers. When in actuality, Heart Is an Awesome Power, and much more practical than say, his fellow Planteer Wheeler's ability to accidentally burn down a forest if he's not careful (to say nothing of having a power that can never be used directly against the enemy since a children's cartoon could never get away with setting people on fire).
  • Master Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger Force can be considered this as he's a Too Dumb to Live Self-Disposing Villain protagonist who dies in almost every episode he's in.
  • Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama is so unlucky that he's the Trope Namer for My Friends... and Zoidberg.
  • South Park:
    • Kyle has become this due to always being humiliated by Cartman or the Villain of the Week.
    • Cartman himself. While a Manipulative Bastard and an occasional Karma Houdini, his hilariously pathetic depiction whenever he does get his comeuppance makes him this, often bawling like a two year old or shirking from the mildest of physical threats.
    • Kenny, Trope Namer for They Killed Kenny Again.
    • Al Gore is treated as this in-universe by the entire town. Apparently, he desires attention and appreciation for his hunt for ManBearPig, but unsurprisingly nobody cares.
  • Super Friends: NONE of the Super Friends are particularly cool in hindsight, not even the ones based upon badasses. To elaborate:
    • Even if they were all busy saving the world Once per Episode, like Batman, they're still this. It's common in parodies for the Super Friends to be portrayed as overly friendly, old-timey, cheesy heroes that wouldn't be able to hold a candle to the Darker and Edgier later interpretations of the Justice League and what they go up against.
    • As noted above Aquaman gets this a lot because of his Super Friends version. Unlike the other heroes on the show though, for a long time it tainted the public's perception of him in other media as well (hence why he also gets his own mention in the comics section).
    • The Wonder Twins are often mocked and parodied for having a cheesy power set. Zan, the one that could take the form of water, gets this twice as hard because of how his power looks next to Jayna's ability to turn into any animal. As pointed in a Cartoon Network spoof commercial he could be beaten by a sponge...and not even an evil sponge. The New Adventures of the Wonder Twins play up their uselessness for Black Comedy.
    • The original Wonder Duo, the powerless kid sidekicks Wendy and Marvin (and the Wonder Dog!) also get this often because of their perceived uselessness and unexplained presence (the powerless kids get to hang out with the all powerful grown up heroes, why exactly?). note  In one comic, alternate versions of them show up as the kids of the villain known as Noah "The Calculator" Kuttler and befriend the Titans only to later get either mauled to death (Marvin) or severely injured (Wendy) by The Wonder Dog (or rather, a shape-shifting demonic dog owned by Ares), deconstructing their presence in a superhuman setting. Wendy at least managed to re-invent herself as the Handicapped Badass Proxy, Barbara Gordon/Oracle's associate and sort-of Junior Counterpart.
    • The Super Friends versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl are often mocked for having the ability to fly... on a team with an overfilled Flying Brick quota that already has that covered and then some. In a The Fairly OddParents spoof, Veronica became the Hawkgirl parody "Hawkgal" who had "all the powers of a hawk and a gal!" And she was the the last to arrive at a fight each time because how slowly she flew in comparison to the others, and then had her butt handed to to her once she actually got there.
  • The Legend of Korra: Mako, whose loserness is mostly played up by shippers who don't like him due to both his girlfriends breaking up with him then being in a relationship with each other. Even prior to that much of his hatedom portrayed him as a loser during Book 1 for being seen as a Jerkass cheater. Ironically many of these fanworks had Korra and Asami ditching him for each other, or Asami outright only using Mako as an excuse to get near to Korra (with the common joke being an amazing driver like her couldn't just bump into a boy accidentally like that). Back then Korra/Asami was a pure crackship.
  • Pearl from Steven Universe became this around season 2, after it became clear that she had a somewhat obsessive crush on Rose. While the show itself depicts this as unhealthy and a tad selfish, fans tend to jokingly exaggerate it to Pearl being a pathetic loser and stereotypical "nice guy" who expects love in return for being decent but can never get it.
  • Bill Dauterive from King of the Hill is treated as this both in-universe and out of universe. The man tolerates so much hardship throughout the series and can never catch a break, but for whatever reason he continues going on.
  • Donald Duck, both in-universe and out. There is a reason why he's the current poster image of Born Unlucky. The rebooted DuckTales series continues this tradition, especially with his infamous lack of screen time in the show, though it also shows that Donald has some fearsome Determinator powers when it comes to protecting his family.
    Who gets stuck with all the bad luck?
    No one but Donald Duck!
  • The protagonist of Caillou is a rather normal four year old boy who has his fair share of temper tantrums. Due to a Periphery Hatedom, Caillou is often portrayed as a whiny brat and a Butt-Monkey. This is especially common in Go Animate works.
  • The Backyardigans: If there's any character from this show that people love to make fun of, it's Tyrone. Even the writers seem to hate him.
  • Jean Grey from the 90s animated version of X-Men is mocked for being utterly useless. She constantly needs to be saved and she faints every time she does anything. The absurdity of it gets to the point where she loses to a power cord. It's often joked that Scott screams her name out of his frustration with her instead of concern.
  • Scooby-Doo gives us Scrappy-Doo. You know you’re a memetic loser when you have the “character hated by the fanbase” trope NAMED after you. This reputation mainly came from him being a Fearless Fool, causing more trouble for Scooby and Shaggy than he was worth, and being a failed Kid-Appeal Character who was so disliked that the following incarnations of the series have mostly pretended that he never existed in the first place. That is excluding the 2002 film, which brought him back as the villain (therefore, putting him in a role in which he’s meant to lose) solely to provide Catharsis Factor for the fans.
  • Looney Tunes
  • The Legend of Zelda’s incarnation of Link isn’t that bad if strictly compared to typical 80s cartoon heroes, but when compared to the several well-regarded video game incarnations of Link (and he is usually compared to the video game Links) he is definitely this. Fans tend to ignore any good qualities in favor of only remembering his annoying CatchphraseWell, Excuse Me, Princess!” and his several failed attempts to get a kiss from Zelda. He is usually brought up as the prime example of why Link should always be a Silent Protagonist, claiming that this incarnation’s personality is proof that he should never speak again. He got a little redemption during his Guest Star appearance in Captain N: The Game Master where he was portrayed as more competent and finally got his kiss from Zelda, but sadly for him this appearance usually isn’t remembered by fans.
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
  • The titular protagonist of Johnny Test is supposed to be cool In-Universe, but due to the show’s extremely vocal Hatedom, the character tends to only be remembered as being insufferable, and as a result of that, a loser, to many Real Life viewers and non-viewers alike instead.
  • The Fantastic Four (1978): Magneto, one of the biggest Marvel villains, gets relegated to a massive joke who gets outsmarted by a wooden gun.
  • Invincible (2021): While the Guardians of the Globe managed to put up a decent fight against Omni-Man, Darkwing fell into this trope when he attempted to fight Nolan by...just dropping from the ceiling in an attempt to ambush him, which got him thrown around like a ragdoll to his death. It's especially stupid considering Darkwing is the show's resident Batman Parody, yet didn't have any sort of contingency plan in place if Omni-Man went rogue.

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